Tailhook Topics

by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, April 12, 2020

F4U-5 Redux

Why the chipmunk-like filled cheeks on the F4U-5? The reason was the addition of air ducts leading from the inlets on the cowl ring back alongside the engine to the -5's auxiliary stage superchargers aft of the engine.
For more, see https://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-last-propeller-pulled-corsairs-f4u.html

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lockheed P2V-3 Neptune

Lockheed designed and built P2V patrol bombers with seven different dash numbers, all powered by the Wright R-3350 engines. The XP2V-1 first flew in May 1945 as the war in the Pacific neared its end. Three more dash numbers, generally associated with ever increasing takeoff horsepower, followed in fairly short order but none were built in large numbers due to the austere military budgets that followed World War II. The P2V-5, with yet another more powerful R-3350, first flew in December 1950, just in time to benefit from the resumption of military spending engendered by the Korean War. Almost 500 P2V-5s and MR.1s were built. It was followed by a relatively small quantity of P2V-6s, theoretically capable of fighting its way in and out of shipping lanes and harbors where it was to lay mines, and 287 of the final dash number, the -7, which was soon optimized for antisubmarine warfare.

 For a pretty good summary of the various Neptunes, click HERE

Since the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force utilized the P2V-7, it was appropriate for a Japanese plastic model-kit manufacturer to produce one in this configuration. It was first released in 1972 and has been frequently reissued with different decals. While some of configuration details, notably the canopy, are unique to the -7, "cottage-industry" conversion kit manufacturers have provided the details necessary to backdate the -7 to the -5. See http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2020/03/lockheed-p2v-5-vs-7-neptune.html

However, my main interest in the Neptune is that the Navy optimized a handful for a very specific mission after World War II, the delivery of a nuclear weapon from an aircraft carrier. This was the P2V-3C. While the conversion to a -3 is more extensive than creating a -5 from the -7, it is not a significantly higher degree of difficulty. For a detailed -3 conversion build-article by Edward Ellickson, aka TheRealMrEd, click HERE. It is profusely illustrated. Even though you may not be interested in a P2V-3 model, it is entertaining and informative, with lots of modeling tips and descriptions of a few problems necessitating creative solutions. Moreover, unlike some of us (me for one), Ed completes his challenging projects.
Edward Ellickson model and photo

While the P2V bomb bay wasn't big enough for the Mk 4 atomic bomb, it could accommodate the original Mk 1 and carry it a long way, particularly after fuel tanks were added to the nose and aft crew compartment. As a result, it was a quickly created placeholder until the North American AJ Savage, which was literally designed around the Mk 4, was ready to deploy. To reduce drag, the radar was moved to the nose and the upper turret was removed, along with the tail bumper and every other external excrescence.
The P2V-3C was to be deck launched from the big Midway-class carriers by utilizing JATO.

The initial plan was to recover it back aboard by the usual means, but after an evaluation of the degree of difficulty during field-landing trials at Patuxent River, the tailhooks were removed and the operational concept was to crane the P2V-3Cs aboard when required. This picture was taken during the tailhook proof-load testing at Lockheed.





More later...






Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Lockheed P2V-5 vs -7 Neptune

Hasegawa occasionally releases their 1/72 P2V-7 (P-2H) Neptune kit (it was also sold under the Revell brand). There were more than seven notably different configurations of the Neptune but one of the most popular besides the -7 was the -5. It was produced with at least three different noses and three different aft fuselages (defensive armament, MAD installation, and sensor dispenser) and certainly the most colorful paint schemes not to mention its civil use as a fire bomber. Note that the OP-2E was a modification of the -5 and the AP-2H was a modification of the -7.

For the P2V-7 bow turret and the tail-gun installation on earlier P2Vs, see http://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2016/02/early-p2vs.html

One -5 configuration closely resembles the -7 but there are exterior differences. The most obvious is the enlarged canopy of the -7.
The need for a longer bomb bay resulted in the big radome being moved four feet forward. This required relocating the nose-landing-gear wheel-well forward and shortening it, in part by lowering the pivot point of landing gear for retraction (the shock strut travel also appears to have been reduced).
Note that I have been unable to find an accurate length of the P2V-5 with the observer nose. What is shown is at Fuselage Station 0 based on scaling photographs taken from the side at a distance to minimize distortion.

As part of the -7 redesign, Lockheed relocated the engine controls, which had been on a pedestal between the pilots, to the forward end of the overhead console. That required bulging the canopy upward. Another major change was adding a large radar repeater screen and overlaid plotting board to the center of the instrument panel. I'm not sure why the cockpit was moved forward a few inches.

 Note that the P2V-3 inboard profile included above should be very similar to the P2V-5's, which I do not have.
There were three different canopies.

The P2V-5 (P-2E) canopy was bulged laterally, the overhead hatch was enlarged, and the two small side windows were changed to one large window and a narrow oval one.

The overhead hatches appear to have been slightly bulged upwards as well.
Igor Kolokolov

One unusual feature of the later P2Vs (-5 through -7) is the asymmetric engine cooling/exhaust configuration. The right side of the nacelle was configured with one exhaust stack and two cowl flaps; the left side, with two exhaust stacks and one cowl flap.
The Hasegawa kit instructions are quite clear in this regard and need to be followed to the part-number letter, literally.

My build notes (for a P2V-3C) state that the cockpit floor provided in the kit should be placed under the locating pegs rather than on top of them. This was confirmed in another modeler's build review.

The main error with the kit involves the landing gear. First, the sit. As built, the model does not have the correct nose-up "sit". I think the main landing gear is possibly too long. Larry Templeton wrote that he had to increase the height of the nose landing gear strut by 1/8 inch to get it right.

Not quite as obvious but not too difficult to fix are the width and offset of the nose landing gear wheel well and location of the main landing gear laterally in its wheel well. This holds for all P2V dash numbers.

The upper part of the nose gear strut and the nose wheel itself are located on the center line of the airplane. However, the lateral strength of the strut is partly provided by a brace that extends to the right side of the strut. Only one side of the strut is braced in this case because the left side of the fuselage below the cockpit floor is dedicated to a tunnel leading forward to the compartment in the nose. As a result, the well is offset to the right. Up through the P2V-6, the nose wheel well extended 12 inches to the left and 24 inches to the right for a total of 36 inches. On a pretty good Lockheed P2V-7 drawing, it extends 12 inches to the left and only 18 inches to the right for a total of 30 inches. In both cases, the gear doors appear to be the same width, i.e. 18 inches on P2V-1 through -6 and 15 inches on the P2V-7.

                       Igor Kolokolov                                                  Bill Spidle             

Note the different distance between the right side of the wheel well and the lateral brace (1) as a result of the narrowing of the wheel well in the -7, the difference in the shape of the lower section of the nose gear strut (2), and the different location of the nose gear steering piston (3).

The Hasegawa kit has the main landing gear mislocated in its wheel well. The strut needs to be relocated inboard so the center of the distance between the outside of the strut and the outside of the wheel is on the center line of the nacelle.
The main landing gear strut and the side brace attached to it are mounted on the aft side of the bottom of the wing torque box. The "Y" retraction strut is not symmetrical as it is in the kit but displaced inboard and mounted on the front side of the bottom of the wing torque box. The wheel, when retracted, is located between the front of the wing torque box and the engine firewall.

Note, this is a P2V-3 main landing gear wheel well; the P2V-7's is different. See the links below for pictures of the -5 and -7 nacelle interiors.

One less notable error in the Hasagawa kit is the missing "kink" in the aft fuselage that was introduced with the production P2V-1s. In effect, the empennage was rotated 2° downwards at fuselage station 764.4, which was about half way between the leading edges of the vertical fin and the horizontal stabilizer as shown on this Lockheed P2V-7 drawing.
The omission of the kink is masked by the presence of the radome on the bottom of the fuselage. My guess is that this was done as the simplest way to increase the incidence of the horizontal stabilizer.

With respect to the horizontal stabilizer itself, the elevator appears to be very large relative to the stabilizer. The elevator is in fact represented by a less prominent panel line aft of what would be taken to be the leading edge of the elevator. Lockheed incorporated a variable-camber stabilizer to provide the smallest possible horizontal for the stability and pitch control requirements.
Aviation Week, 25 July 1949

There are at least two basic conversions of the Hasegawa kit to the -5: Falcon Triple Conversion VII and BlackBird Models. The former is vac formed and provides the bow and tail turrets; the latter is resin and comes in at least two versions: BMA 72029 Neptune MR.1 and BMA 72032 OP-2E.
Note that RedRoo distributes BMA 72029 with RAAF decals.
Although not in stock at the moment, their website is https://www.redroomodels.com/. They're easy to work with so take a look at their site and leave them a note to let you know when they have one available.

Hannants currently lists BMA72032 as not in stock but they do take back orders for it; decals are separate: they have Blackbird BMD041 P2V-5 decals for VP-2 and VP-5 and BMD048 decal for a Argentine P2V-5 in stock but don't currently list the requisite BMA 72029. See https://www.hannants.co.uk/.

The Falcon conversion can be found with a Google search.

Click HERE for an OP-2E build review on Britmodeler

Click HERE for an ambitious P2V-7 build on Britmodeler. 

Click HERE for details on the inside of the P2V-7 engine nacelle.

Click HERE for excellent walkarounds of a P2V-5 and P2V-7 configured as "Borate Bombers" that show some of the differences and details.









Saturday, November 9, 2019

Douglas AD-4W/AEW.1 and Sword 1/72 scale AD-4W/AEW.1 Kit



As a result of Sword issuing what appears to be a pretty good 1/72-scale kit of the Douglas AD-4W/AEW.1 and Ed Barthelmes providing a wealth of information on the type, I created and updated posts relating to both the kit and configuration details of the airplane. An earlier post (which was part of the basis for Sword's kit), can be found here: https://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2018/06/ad-4w-skyraider.html It has been updated to correct errors on my part.

My post following the release of the Sword kit is here: https://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2019/08/sword-172-douglas-ad-4w-skyraider.html Note that it has been updated with corrections and new information several times.

Ed subsequently made a deep dive into his Skyraider files and came up with not only a detailed list of AD-4W differences by Bureau Number but also a cross reference of those Bureau Numbers (and therefore configuration) and the AEW.1 serial numbers, which are a lot easier to see than Bureau Numbers. That excellent synopsis can be found in another of my blogs, Tailhook Topics Drafts, here: https://tailhooktopics.blogspot.com/2019/11/douglas-ad-4waew1-antenna-configurations.html

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

McDonnell XF2D-1 Banshees

John Rieley asked me a question about the XF2D-1 (XF2H-1 after BuAer changed McDonnell's company designation from D to H when Douglas was awarded a contract for its first Navy fighter in more than a decade), which caused me to review the content of my post on the Banshee family (see https://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2009/12/f2h-banshee-modeling-notes.html). It turns out that I was a little sloppy in my summary of the prototype configurations.

There were three XF2D-1s, BuNos 99858-99860. Only the first two had forward fuselages that were one foot shorter than the production F2H-1. The third one had the longer fuselage but still had the shorter canopy of the other two XF2D-1s. There were numerous detail differences among the three airplanes as well. The best single reference is a drawing posted by Ron Downey in his excellent blog, Aviation Archives (http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com/): http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com/2015/07/xf2h-1-aerodynamic-three-view.html

Some of the numbers on that drawing are hard to read. From a configuration standpoint, the most significant are the ones inside small triangles. These are 1, 2, or 3 that denote specific configurations of 99858, 99859, and 99860 respectively. Note that a given XF2D-1 might have flown with more than one configuration; the drawing doesn't show all of the alternatives.

This is a crop from that drawing that illustrates the longer forward fuselage of BuNo 99860.


BuNo 99858

The first XF2D-1 flew with a significant amount of dihedral in the horizontal tail, presumably to raise them up out of the jet blast from the J34 engines and the original short wing trailing edges on either side of the tailpipes.

 Bob Edholm flew it first and is also the pilot in the following pictures.

BuNo 99859

The second XF2D-1 flew with less dihedral in the horizontal tail and a larger dorsal extension forward of the vertical fin.

It would eventually be configured with the extended trailing edges on both sides of the engines, near-final empennage (note the small horizontal fence at the juncture of the leading edges of the vertical and horizontal fins), and tip tanks being evaluated for the F2H-2 (the production F2H-1 did not have tip tank provisions.


BuNo 99860


Except for the shorter canopy, the third XF2D-1 was very similar in configuration to the production F2H-1, shown here.

The canopy was probably lengthened for production for the same reason that the inboard trailing edge of the wing was extended aft: to increase the fineness/thickness ratio and thereby reduce transonic drag.






Monday, October 14, 2019

John's Models

If you go to the National Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola (you should even if Naval Aviation isn’t your main aviation interest) and you’re a modeler, then you should plan to visit John’s Models at 1206 E. Kingsfield Road, Cantonment, FL about 18 miles north of the museum. Note that John’s store is only open Tuesday-Friday from 5pm to 730pm and Saturday from 10am to 5 pm.

The Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/johnsmodels/

I was surprised to find that John Struck's store was not in a strip mall but is a small building a short way up a gravel driveway. However, there is a big sign near the road in the open field to the west of the driveway with an arrow pointing the way.


John has a large and eclectic stock of old and new kits (airplane, automotive, figures, sci-fi, military vehicle, etc.) in all scales. I went in not needing any 1/72 aircraft kits and came out with two, one old and one new.

Highly recommended

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Grumman F-111B Modeling

Bill Gilman provided an article on his excellent conversion of a 1/72 Hasegawa F-111C to one of the F-111Bs on Hyperscale: http://www.hyperscale.com/2019/galleries/f111b72bg_1.htm

Bill Gilman Photo

The single best reference on the F-111B?

Steve Ginter is sold out but Sprue Brothers usually has a few in stock and I still have some. If you want to buy one or receive a free Xerox copy of errata and additional information, just provide your email address to me in the comments below (it will not be published).

Or you can just type F-111B in the space at the upper left of this website with the magnifying glass and get a list of several past F-111B posts.