I basically just used Testors S4 UFO model as a basis. Added a bunch of lights. Removed the top, cut a hole placed a garden scene inside, put on a magnifying lens and there you have it.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
At the time that the Mk V was placed in production there were growing fears that the Luftwaffe were about to start mass-producing very high flying bombers such as the Junkers Ju 86, which could fly above the reach of most fighters of the time. It was decided that a new Spitfire variant would be required with improved high altitude performance. During a meeting held at the RAE at Farnborough on 17 February 1941 the Air Ministry asked "that a Spitfire should be provided with a pressure cabin capable of maintaining a pressure differential of 1 lb per square inch at 40,000 feet." A Marshall-manufactured compressor was to be used, and it was agreed that the sliding canopy could be replaced by one which could not be slid open, as long as it could be jettisoned by the pilot.
The pressurised cabin was used to counter the physiological problems encountered by pilots at high altitudes. The cabin was not like the fully pressurised cabin of a modern airliner; the pressure differential provided by the modified cockpit of the VI was only two pounds per square inch (which was double the Air Ministry requirement). To achieve this, the forward and rear cockpit bulkheads were completely enclosed, with all control and electrical cables exiting though special rubber sealing grommets. In addition, the side cockpit door was replaced with alloy skin and the canopy was no longer a sliding unit: externally there were no slide rails. Once the pilot was in, the canopy was locked in place with four toggles and sealed with an inflatable rubber tube. It could be jettisoned by the pilot in an emergency. The windscreen of production Mk VIs was the same as the type fitted to the Mark III and some Mk Vs although it was fitted with an inward opening clear-view panel on the port quarter pane. The effect was to make 37,000 ft (11,000 m) seem like 28,000 ft (8,500 m) to the pilot, who would still have to wear an oxygen mask. Pressurisation was achieved by a Marshall-manufactured compressor located on the starboard side of the engine, fed by a long intake below the starboard exhaust stubs. Mk VIs were built with the Coffman cartridge starter, with a small teardrop fairing just ahead of the compressor intake.
The engine was a Rolls-Royce Merlin 47 driving a four-bladed Rotol propeller of 10 ft 9 in (3.27 m) diameter; the new propeller provided increased power at high altitudes, where the atmosphere is much thinner. To help smooth out airflow around the wingtips the standard rounded types were replaced by extended, pointed versions extending the wingspan to 40 ft 2 in (12.2 m). Otherwise the wings were Type B.
The maximum speed of the Mk VI was 356 mph (573 km/h) at 21,800 ft (6,600 m). However, because of the limitations of the single stage supercharger, at 38,000 ft (12,000 m) the maximum speed had fallen away to 264 mph (425 km/h). The service ceiling was 39,200 ft (11,900 m).
The threat of a sustained high altitude campaign by the Luftwaffe did not materialise and only 100 of the Mk VIs were built by Supermarine. Only two units, 124 Squadron and 616 Squadron, were fully equipped with this version, although several other units used them in small numbers as a stop-gap. More often than not, the Spitfire VIs were used at lower altitudes where it was outperformed by conventional Spitfires. At high altitudes it was discovered that modified Spitfire Vs could perform almost as well as the Mk VI. At low levels, especially, pilots were often forced to fly with the canopy removed because the cockpit would get uncomfortably hot and they were not confident it would be possible to jettison the canopy in case of an emergency.
In 1943 five Spitfire VIs (BS106, BS124, BS133, BS134 and BS149) were converted to improvised PR Mk VIs by 680 Squadron in Egypt. These aircraft had been "tropicalised" using the same bulky Vokes filter and other equipment used by Spitfire VB Trops, as well as being painted in a "desert" camouflage scheme.
By the time these aircraft arrived they were no longer required to intercept high-flying Junkers Ju 86P reconnaissance aircraft although there was a need for a pressurised RAF photo reconnaissance aircraft to carry out missions over Crete and the rest of Greece. 103 MU at Aboukir carried out the modifications by removing the armament and installing vertical F8 cameras in the rear fuselage. These Spitfires were used a few times in April and May 1943 but were withdrawn from service by August. They were the first pressurised PR Spitfires.
Friday, June 8, 2018
One often sees images of the Space Shuttle riding atop of a Boeing 747. So I wanted to see how the Orion III shuttle would look.
Though they are not the same scale I think they look pretty good together.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
The Nieuport 24 was a French sesquiplane fighter aircraft during World War I designed by Gustave Delage as a replacement for the successful Nieuport 17. In the event its performance was little better than the type it was meant to replace, which was largely superseded by the SPAD S.7 instead. Operational Nieuport 24s served with French, British and Russian units, and the type also served widely as an advanced trainer.
The Nieuport 24 introduced a new fuselage of improved aerodynamic form, rounded wingtips, and a tail unit incorporating a small fixed fin and a curved rudder. The tailskid was sprung internally and had a neater appearance than that on earlier Nieuports. A 130 hp Le Rhône rotary engine was fitted.
There were initial structural problems with the new tail, and most production aircraft of the type were of the Nieuport 24bis model, which retained the fuselage and wings of the 24, but reverted to the Nieuport 17 type tailplane, tailskid and rectangular balanced rudder. The new tail was finally standardised on the Nieuport 27.
A batch of Nieuport 24bis were built in England for the Royal Naval Air Service.
The standard armament of the Nieuport 17 (a synchronised Vickers in French service - a Lewis gun on a Foster mounting on the top wing in British service) was retained to save weight and retain a good performance, although many 24s were used as advanced trainers and normally flown without guns.
In the summer of 1917, when the Nieuport 24 and 24bis. were coming off the production line, most French fighter squadrons were replacing their Nieuport 17s with SPAD S.VIIs – and many of the new fighters went to fighter training schools, and to France’s allies, including the Russians, and the British, who used theirs well into 1918, due to a shortage of S.E.5as. A few French units retained the Nieuport through late 1917 – the type was actually preferred by some pilots, especially the famous Charles Nungesser.
Some of the large number of Nieuport advanced trainers bought by the Americans for their flying schools in France in November 1917 were 24s or 24bis.
Friday, June 1, 2018
The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to attain operational status and as such "introduced a new vogue in fighter design." The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter, nicknamed "Ishak" or "Ishachok" ("Donkey" or "Burro") by Soviet pilots, figured prominently in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the Spanish Civil War – where it was called the Rata ("Rat") by the Nationalists or Mosca ("Fly") by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel").
While working on the Polikarpov I-15 biplane, Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov began designing an advanced monoplane fighter. It featured cutting-edge innovations such as retractable landing gear and a fully enclosed cockpit, and was optimized for speed with a short stubby fuselage (similar to the Gee Bee R-1) and a Wright R-1820 radial engine in a NACA cowling. The aircraft was small, light and simple to build.
Full-scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933, and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction, using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings employing a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, dural ribs and D1 aluminum alloy skinning on the center and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran along almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps (in the manner of more modern flaperons) by drooping 15°. The cockpit was covered by a 40-centimetre-wide (16 in) canopy which featured an Aldis-type tubular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with rubber bungee cords. A 225 l (59.4 US gal) fuel tank was fitted directly in front of the cockpit. The main landing gear was fully retractable by a hand crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62×54mmR (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and 900 rounds of ammunition.
These features were proposed at first by Andrei Tupolev; however, the NII VVS was more concerned about the stresses a typical combat aircraft was subjected to in combat, and initially considered the risk too great. However, TsAGI, with the help of the 3rd Design Brigade under the leadership of Pavel Sukhoi and Aleksandr Putylov, eventually convinced NII VVS that what was being proposed was not only feasible, but would enhance the aircraft's performance.
The TsKB-12 was designed for the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 9-cylinder radial engine (rated at 529 kW/710 hp); a license to build this engine under the supervision of the Shvetsov design bureau in the Soviet Union was being negotiated. As the license was not yet approved, Polikarpov was asked to settle for the less powerful M-22 (Soviet-built version of the Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9ASB, which itself was a licensed version of the Bristol Jupiter VI) with 358 kW (480 hp). This was deemed acceptable because the projected top speed still exceeded 300 km/h (185 mph).
The M-22-powered TsKB-12 first took to the air on 30 December 1933 with the famous Soviet test pilot Valery Chkalov at the controls. The second TsKB-12, with a Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller, flew in January of the following year. Initial government trials in February 1934 revealed very good maneuverability, but the aircraft did not tolerate abrupt control inputs. Thus the TsKB-12 was deemed dangerous to fly and all aerobatics were forbidden. The M-22 version was preferred due to the vibration of the Cyclone-powered aircraft. Pilots commented early on about the difficulty of climbing into the cockpit, a trait that persisted through the I-16's service life. Before continuing test flights the designers had to answer the question of spin behavior. Wind tunnel testing suggested that the TsKB-12, with its short tail, would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare, it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose. On March 1 and 2, 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing the controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). In fact, the I-16's stablemate, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.
Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 359 km/h (223 mph). The manually retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. On 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in the flyover of Red Square. Approximately thirty I-16 Type 1 aircraft were delivered, but were not assigned to any VVS fighter squadron. Most pilots who flew the I-16 Type 1 for evaluation purposes did not find the aircraft to have many redeeming characteristics. Regardless of pilot opinion, much attention was focused on the Cyclone-powered aircraft and the M-25 (the license-built Cyclone). On 14 April 1934, the Cyclone prototype was damaged when one of the landing gear legs collapsed while it was taxiing.
The third prototype with a Cyclone engine incorporated a series of aerodynamic improvements and was delivered for government trials on 7 September 1934. The top speed of 437 km/h (270 mph) no longer satisfied the Air Force, who now wanted the experimental Nazarov M-58 engine and 470 km/h (290 mph). Subsequently, the M-22-powered version entered production at Factory 21 in Nizhny Novgorod and Factory 39 in Moscow. Because it was the fourth aircraft produced by these factories, it received the designation I-16 Type 4. Aircraft fitted with these new engines required a slightly changed airframe, including armor plating for the pilot and changes to the landing gear doors to allow for complete closure.
The M-25 fitted I-16, the I-16 Type 5, featured a new engine cowling which was slightly smaller in diameter and featured nine forward-facing shuttered openings to control cooling airflow, a redesigned exhaust with eight individual outlet stubs, and other changes. The M-25 was rated at 474 kW (635 hp) at sea level and 522 kW (700 hp) at 2,300 m (7,546 ft). Due to the poor quality of the canopy glazing, the I-16 Type 5 pilots typically left the canopy open or removed the rear portion completely. By the time the Type 5 arrived, it was the world's lightest production fighter (1,460 kg/3,219 lb), as well as the world's fastest, able to reach speeds of 454 km/h (282 mph) at altitude and 395 km/h (245 mph) at sea level. While the Type 5 could not perform the high-G maneuvers of other fighters, it possessed superior speed and climb rates, and had extremely responsive aileron control, which gave it a very good roll rate, which led to precision maneuvers in loops and split-Ss.
A total of 7,005 single-seat and 1,639 two-seat trainer variants were produced.
Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. Evaluations from pilots confirmed the experience with prototypes. Controls were light and very sensitive, abrupt maneuvers resulted in spins, and spin behavior was excellent. An aileron roll could be performed in under 1.5 seconds (roll rate over 240 degrees/second). The machine guns were fired via a cable and the required effort, coupled with sensitive controls, made precision aiming difficult. The rear weight bias made the I-16 easy to handle on unprepared airfields because the aircraft was rather unlikely to flip over the nose even if the front wheels dug in.
The I-16 was a difficult fighter to fly. The pilots had poor visibility, the canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil, and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard maneuvers, which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position. The front section of the fuselage, with the engine, was too close to the centre of gravity, and the pilot's cockpit too far to the rear. The Polikarpov had insufficient longitudinal stability and it was impossible to fly the aircraft "hands off".