266 in the Baltic

266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 29 Dec 2017, 07:41

Well, here we are, ready to roll out models of the WW2 aircraft associated with Biggles and the lads.

I have picked the very first WW2 aircraft they used, the top secret (and totally imaginary) marine aircraft from "Biggles in the Baltic." This aircraft has the rather boring name of S.I. Mk1A, but it has a number of attributes quite hard to duplicate in the real world. The good news is that I have found a kit, just arrived (from Greece of all places) which meets the need. It looks the part, the original did what was needed for the story (with a little literary licence) and it has an equally boring name to the S.I. Mk1A. I suspect it may have been the inspiration for WEJ, as it did a similar job in the real world. More on that later.


image021.jpg
image021.jpg (51.83 KiB) Viewed 1361 times


Here is Howard Leigh's interpretation. As mentioned in the Group Build signup page, this version is of old technology, and the one I will build is as modern as the story requires. I'll put out photos in due course but meantime, I have to advise that there will be a BIG gap in the construction process. I've had a short notice chance to go on a once in a lifetime expedition, with the result that most of the build will have to be done in the last two weeks, after I get back. If necessary I'll beg VV for an extra week, but I hope to be done on time. Afterwards I'll share a few expedition pictures. It's to a Biggles related place and I hope to get the relevant Biggles books stamped as having been there. Enough for now on either topic, good luck to the other modellers; I'll hope to catch you up soon!

And here, to pique the interest, is an obscure photo of the model kit that will become the S.I. Mk1A:

DSCF5249.JPG



Enjoy.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Spitfire666 » 29 Dec 2017, 10:21

266 wrote: I'll put out photos in due course but meantime, I have to advise that there will be a BIG gap in the construction process. I've had a short notice chance to go on a once in a lifetime expedition, with the result that most of the build will have to be done in the last two weeks, after I get back. If necessary I'll beg VV for an extra week, but I hope to be done on time. Afterwards I'll share a few expedition pictures. It's to a Biggles related place and I hope to get the relevant Biggles books stamped as having been there. Enough for now on either topic, good luck to the other modellers; I'll hope to catch you up soon.

That sounds great 266 :!: I hope you have a marvellous time and look forward to hearing more when you get back. 8-)
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby kylie_koyote » 29 Dec 2017, 12:16

Have a lovely trip and we look forward to your creation upon your return.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Kismet » 29 Dec 2017, 12:54

This all sounds rather mysterious and very exciting. Have a great time. I'll look forward to hearing about it when you return.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 30 Dec 2017, 01:46

Cool project, 266!

Seeing what y have put up here the brain immediately starts working - what type is it he means to build to stand in for the ones in the book? The picture on the book sleeve is obviously fiction - no British floatplanes with such a configuration in 39/40. If it had had an inline engine it could have staged as a Supermarine type. It is. after all, designated "S1". But it has a radial engine, which also seems the case with the model you have selected. It is also a biplane, as opposed to the one pictured in front of the book. So, what we should look for is a British mid-30 bi-plane floatplane.

It's about 60 years since I read the book so I had to find a short resume. It says little about the plane, except it is usually flown single-handed - could have an observer or rear gunner position and, if I remember correctly, an enemy plane was also shot down. IOW, it should have a forward-firing machine gun. What restricts the search, however, is that in the end of the book an enemy ship is allegedly "torpedoed" by Algy. This means that the plane in question should be able to carry an 800-kg. torpedo. The only one I can think of is the Fairey Swordfish, it is known to have operated on floats, too. Another is the Blackburn Shark. But none of these have a similar wing silhouette to the model you have chosen. That these planes were strictly "naval" should, of course, be no problem for our heroes..... :D ....

Looking forward to see what it is you are building!

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 10 Feb 2018, 01:39

Back in circulation after an amazing month - an opportunity I just could not miss. Starting to settle back and thoughts turn to the Group build. I hope I have time and space to make my SI Mk1A a reality. Here is a clue to where I've been....

fi.JPG


Maybe more later, but meantime I need to focus on turning a reasonably complex kit into a fair reflection of the book.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby kylie_koyote » 10 Feb 2018, 03:08

I’m eager to hear all about it!
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Kismet » 10 Feb 2018, 09:38

Please say there was gold and an old shipwreck involved!
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 10 Feb 2018, 11:01

Kismet wrote:Please say there was gold and an old shipwreck involved!


Yes to both - but I didn't see either of them.

Plus, all my copies of "that book" were with me...and yes, I did read the story "on location!"
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Kismet » 10 Feb 2018, 12:02

That's wonderful, 266. I hope you had a splendid time, and if you'd like to share any more details I'd love to read them.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 10 Feb 2018, 21:49

Will share more soon. Thanks for your interest! Meantime I am settling back into home life and trying to get my "Baltic" model under way. It will be a minor panic to finish before deadline.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Fairblue » 10 Feb 2018, 22:10

Kismet wrote:That's wonderful, 266. I hope you had a splendid time, and if you'd like to share any more details I'd love to read them.

Echoes above. A wonderful experience, 266.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 21 Feb 2018, 04:14

Well, here we are....again. As discussed in the signup thread, time and chance are against the finishing of this model in the allotted time frame. Apart from my month of absence and subsequent catch-up, we have just had a cyclone through. So far we have survived well, more than can be said for others. Still states of emergency in force around the country but the worst is over.

I now turn my gaze to the unfinished model. I will continue, but at leisure so that I can do justice to it - I know only too well what happens when I try to rush things! On that basis, expect a finish about the end of March. Details will continue to appear on this Group Build page.

First, a bit about the book aircraft. WEJ describes it as a "clean-looking kite" with large twin floats. It has guns in the wings and can carry bombs or a torpedo between the floats. It has a gun mount at the rear of the cockpit, which can be faired over when the aircraft is used as a single seater. There are flaps to facilitate short takeoffs and landings, and it can fly at 280mph. Wheels were available for amphibious operation.

Now for the model. It is a clean-looking kite with large twin floats. It has guns in the wings and can carry bombs or a torpedo between the floats. It has a gun mount at the rear of the cockpit, which can be faired over when the aircraft is used as a single seater. There are flaps to facilitate short takeoffs and landings. Differences? The model subject can fly at 260mph, and the wheels were for taxiing up a beach rather than landing. But, with very little imagination, it works for me. Plus, it has an equally boring name to the SI Mk1A. Identity to be revealed ... later.

Here are the large twin floats:

DSCF6318.JPG


Meanwhile I am slowly painting the big bits and will do the fiddly bits soon.

Here are the wings starting their camouflage: (I am painting the 1939 camo scheme rather than that in the instructions...which is for a later aircraft.)

DSCF6317.JPG


I have started painting the inside of the cockpit, but more pics later when it starts to get interesting. I have some aftermarket letters coming from Mr Ebay so I can signwrite the aircraft name. For those bursting to know, I'm making Ginger's aeroplane, the "Dingo."
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Frecks » 21 Feb 2018, 09:15

I hope the build goes well 266. Very glad to hear you survived the cyclone.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 21 Feb 2018, 10:56

266 wrote:First, a bit about the book aircraft. WEJ describes it as a "clean-looking kite" with large twin floats. It has guns in the wings and can carry bombs or a torpedo between the floats. It has a gun mount at the rear of the cockpit, which can be faired over when the aircraft is used as a single seater. There are flaps to facilitate short takeoffs and landings, and it can fly at 280mph. Wheels were available for amphibious operation.

A British single-engine floatplane, with an observer position, at the beginning of the war flying at 280 mph. - a dream come true..... ;) ....

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby kylie_koyote » 21 Feb 2018, 12:11

That looks like it is coming together nicely! I am looking forward to your updates.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Fairblue » 21 Feb 2018, 15:27

Lots of goodies in this thread. Looking forward to seeing them all.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 04 Mar 2018, 01:48

Time passes and a little progress has occurred. More bits have been painted and the wing and floats are now together:

DSCF6342.JPG


Still a bit rough, more painting to go after assembly, and a heap of fiddly brass bits to go on the floats and in the cockpit.

With regard to the book aircraft, we know it was used by just one squadron, based on a cold, bleak rocky island in the middle of nowhere, making sorties against the German forces as required. The real aircraft I have chosen was, oddly enough, used by just one squadron, based on a cold, bleak, rocky island in the middle of nowhere, making sorties against the German forces as required. Hm. Maybe I am on the right track here, given that it is supposed to be an imaginary aircraft! More bits to come as time allows.

Here is a picture from below: (sorry, can't make it sit up straight)

DSCF6341.JPG


And here is the Howard Leigh version:

Titlepage.jpg


Note the cantilever floats as opposed to Howard Leigh's wire-braced strut mounted floats. According to WEJ, the SI mk1A was able to drop bombs or a torpedo from between the floats. My selected model can do that, but HL's illustration would not - the weapons would be caught on the struts and wires with unfortunate results for the aircraft. So I'm sticking to my theory that the machine was a much more modern design than HL's early 30's technology, and I'm pretty sure it's closer to what WEJ had in mind.

More in due course...
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 06 Mar 2018, 09:42

Aaah....that would have to be the Northrop N-3PB! Alas, a US-manufactured plane, but nevertheless! A good solution to fool the Germans - flying a US-manufactured plane..... :)

The N-3PB was operated by the Norwegian Naval Air Force. 24 were ordered before the war but could not be delivered before the German invasion of Norway in April 1940. Consequently, they were delivered to the Norwegian training camp in Canada and afterwards organized in a squadron (330) flying anti-sub patrols from bases on Iceland.

Let's say the Norwegian authorities - the exile government - in England let Biggles have three of these.... ;) .....Maybe some on their way by ship to Norway were diverted to England, as were some of the Norwegian Hawk 75s (P-36) in the same period. Here's a YouTube clip from the 330 squadron at Iceland.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcmm1nS1vn4

If you let YouTube jump to the next sequence you shall also see a movie of the extraction and re-building of the last N-3PB, one found in a river on Iceland. It's presently displayed in the Air Museum near Oslo Airport/Gardermoen.

Am I far off...?.... :D ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_N-3PB

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 06 Mar 2018, 23:44

Well spotted Fred! Yes, my SI Mk1A is actually an N-3PB, and here is a candid shot of Biggles and Ginger airborne over the Baltic. Maybe.

11_zps09pkqbyg.jpg


The unimaginatively named N-3PB was derived from the Northrop A-17 attack aircraft of 1935. The A-17 was also used by commonwealth forces, where it was named the Northrop Nomad. The seaplane version was requested by Norway, but the aircraft finished up in the RAF serving with 330 (Norwegian) Squadron. Its operational base was Iceland. In looks and capability it is as close as possible to WEJ's imaginary machine and once I have "Dingo" written on it, nobody will know the difference. Maybe.

Meantime I've started the fiddly bits and will have a progress photo late next week.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 07 Mar 2018, 12:38

266 wrote:Well spotted Fred! Yes, my SI Mk1A is actually an N-3PB, and here is a candid shot of Biggles and Ginger airborne over the Baltic. Maybe.

And a nice plane it is! At times I have been very frustrated of the fact that the Norwegian authorities didn't act more energetic before the war. With a little more drive they could have had the 24 N-3PBs, 36 DB-8A-5N dive-bombers and 50 Curtiss Hawk 75s in service in April 1940. Only 6 of the 12 He-115 ordered had been delivered, too. One day I shall write a book about it.

I didn't even know there was a kit available for the N-3PB (Northrop no. 3 - Patrol Bomber). What brand is the kit, please?

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 07 Mar 2018, 21:10

"Special hobby" kit. And with people like Quisling in government no wonder things were slow!
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 07 Mar 2018, 22:02

266 wrote:"Special hobby" kit...

Thank you.

266 wrote:And with people like Quisling in government no wonder things were slow!

Hmm - sorry, you need to read up on your history - Quisling had nothing to do with the subject in question. His time came later.
Did you know he was awarded the OBE.... ;) ...He was also the British representative in Moscow 1926-1929... ;) ..and, as a cadet, he went through the Norwegian Military Academy with the best results ever. His political stance was much like the British before the war - the Russians were the bad guys. Chamberlain liked Hitler, you know..... ;)

Before the war there was Labour government in Norway. Not that the right-wing parties they took over from a little earlier did much more for the defence of the country. On the contrary. But Quisling was only involved in the government, as a defence minister, in the period 1931-1933, before he established his own political party.

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 08 Mar 2018, 06:24

I stand corrected.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 08 Mar 2018, 08:46

266 wrote:I stand corrected.

No problem. I have found that there also exists a 1/48 model kit of the Northrop, probably developed by the Norwegian IPMS, but it is very hard to come by.

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Foolscap » 08 Mar 2018, 08:49

A fascinating thread...and such painstaking details involved in construction.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Fairblue » 08 Mar 2018, 10:00

Foolscap wrote:A fascinating thread...and such painstaking details involved in construction.

And in research, too.
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby fredleander » 10 Mar 2018, 09:16

266 wrote:I stand corrected.

Thought this might be of interest to you - found a building thread on the N-3PB on the Norwegian IPMS by one of its members:

https://www.ipmsnorge.org/forum/index.php?topic=17703.0

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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby 266 » 15 Mar 2018, 08:08

Back to the Baltic....

I still hope to finish by the end of the month but life has a habit of getting in the way. Still, some progress has been made, as illustrated:

DSCF6359.JPG


On the boxtop are the floats, slowly moving towards completion; several bits of semiconstructed cockpit components; the undercarriage; and the fiddly brass bits I am slowly working through. For scale I have included an American one cent coin. Bits remaining on the photoetch sheet include parts for seat belts, control levers, gun sights and a couple of float attachments. I'm finding a need for a magnifying glass to work on them.

The fuselage is not yet featured as I have yet to put all the fiddly bits into it before gluing the two halves together. After that the fuselage will meet the wings, another coat of paint will be applied, then on go the markings. That will be the end of construction for my version of the SI Mk1A, alias Northrop N-3PB. Hopefully we will all be in a better space to apply ourselves to the next group build, circa July.

Once finished I hope to give you an outline of my journey into the scene of "Biggles Breaks the Silence" - complete with a story of lost ships and missing gold....
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Re: 266 in the Baltic

Postby Frecks » 15 Mar 2018, 09:15

Looking forward to that - I hope you did not get lost and run around in a blind panic like Ginger :lol:
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