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Stories / Re: Jackrabbit
« Last post by elmayerle on Yesterday at 03:47:15 PM »
Reasonable enough assumption on the Prarie Rattler, now that I understand the set up.  It's going to be interesting to see where you take this story and where Canadian production ends up serving.
Aero-space / Re: Airvell 1/72 Avro Mancaster B.I/B.III
« Last post by Old Wombat on Yesterday at 01:38:46 PM »
Thanks, gents! :icon_alabanza: :icon_alabanza: :icon_alabanza:

And your turrets are most intriguing  :smiley:

Turrets are just the standard F.N.5A nose turret & early version F.N.20 rear turret (the Revell kit, unlike the Airfix kit, doesn't have the F.N.82 rear turret option) hacked up to fit the 20mm cannons. ;)

I know it's too late to change it, but it reminds me of a solid nose B-25 with .50 cals and a cannon.

If you saw them side-by-side you would realise how weird that would look, she's easily twice the size of a B-25. ;D
Aero-space / Re: Airvell 1/72 Avro Mancaster B.I/B.III
« Last post by Frank3k on Yesterday at 10:11:23 AM »
That front view is amazing! I know it's too late to change it, but it reminds me of a solid nose B-25 with .50 cals and a cannon.
Profiles and Pixels / Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Last post by Frank3k on Yesterday at 10:09:21 AM »
Both the Israeli Buchon-ish S-199 and the Bloch MB 153 look great! Both are easily buildable from existing kits. The S-199 needs the canopy from an Eduard or  KP S-199.
Profiles and Pixels / Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Last post by apophenia on Yesterday at 09:29:59 AM »
Sport25ing had suggested a WW2 version of the American-manned La Fayette Escadrille. The obvious mount would be the Curtiss H75 fighter, but then I remembered the one-off Pratt-powered Bloch MB 153 ...

L'Escadrille de La Fayette (Encore)

As a part of its belated programme de réarmement, the French Armée de l'Air decided to form Légions étrangères de l'air in April 1938. This was prompted by Hitler's 04 Februrary creation of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and then was given political approval in the wake of the 12 March Anschluß. Within weeks, the AdA was receiving inquiries from potential volontaires américains which helped decide the nature of the first Escadrille de Chasse (Légion étrangère).

In mid-April, the Groupe de Chasse II underwent a re-organization. The fifth escadrille, GC II/5, was stood down just before Easter (being officially reformed as GC II/9 on Tuesday, 19 April 1938). Other than confusing paymasters, the purpose of standing down GC II/5 was to free-up its history-steeped squadron name - La Fayette - for use by the new, American-staffed volunteer squadron. The storied Escadrille de La Fayette of WW1 fame, it was thought, was sure to be a factor in recruiting US volunteers to the French cause.

On 01 June 1938, Escadrille de Chasse 1 (aka the 'Escadrille Américaine') was stood up - under commandant Marcel Hugues - as the premier unit of the new Groupe de Chasse IV/1 (Légion étrangère) or GC IV/1 (LÉ). Operating the gull-winged Loire 46 C1 fighter, EC 1 began operations as part of the reserve force of ZOAE ( Zone Aérienne Sud). However it was planned to re-equip the unit with Curtiss H75s when those American-made fighters began arriving in France in December 1938. But this never happened.

For unrecorded reasons, EC 1 'La Fayette' would be equipped with French-built Bloch MB 153 fighters instead of the Curtiss type. The MB 153 had begun as a straightforward re-engining of the Bloch MB 152 airframe. As such, the American Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp SC3G would meet the AdA policy of adapting suitable foreign substitute engine to French combat aircraft. However, the design office of the Société Anonyme des Avions Marcel Bloch (SAAMB) [1] saw advantages in a more thorough redesign of the existing fighter airframe.

The engine installation was penned at the SAAMB design office at Courbevoie. Simulataneously, conversion work (of MB 152 No. 449) was undertaken at Châteauroux-Déols. At the end of November 1938, the prototype Bloch MB 153-01 first flew from Châteauroux airfield. On 05 December, the MB 153-01 prototype was delivered to the Centre d'essais du matériel aérien at Villacoublay for testing. CEMA had several criticisms of the type, most of which had already been anticipated by Courbevoie.

Before the prototype Bloch MB 153-01 had even been rolled out, design work had begun at SAAMB of the production type MB 153 C1 fighter. The most dramatic change was the rearward placement of the cockpit. This anticipated the later Bloch MB 155 but, in the case of the MB 153, the move was dictated by space required for additional armament. SAAMB was well aware that no HS 404 cannons would be made available for the MB 153. Instead, the MB 153 fuselage was redesigned to accept cowl guns and their ammunition boxes.

Cowl guns were possible because the American engines had synchronizing gears fitted. The MB 153 C1's synchronized armament would be twin 7.5 mm Mle 38 machine guns (made by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium). Another four guns would be mounted in the wings outside of the propeller arc. These 7.5 mm wing guns could be FNs or French MAC 34 depending upon availability. As a result, the MB 153 C1's six-gun armament - two synchronized, four free-firing - was identical to that of the AdA's American-made Curtiss H75s.

As originally envisioned, the MB 153 was simply to be a Bloch MB 152 airframe fitted with an American Pratt & Whitney engine. However, this did not stop negative comparisons between the French and US fighters. The latter was lighter but had more wing area - which led to superior handling and manoeuvrability. That said, the MB 153 C1 was an improvement over the Gnome-Rhône-powered MB 151/152 (having shed over a hundred pounds in engine weight alone). The Bloch MB 153 C1 was never going to be a great fighter but it was available. The Bloch fighter was also more affordable than the US-made Curtiss. That should have meant more MB 153s in the fray but, alas, production at Châteauroux-Déols never caught up with demand.

Image A Bloch MB 153 C1 of GC IV/1 (LÉ) in May 1940. This aircraft is the mount of the commander of Escadrille de Chasse 3, [/i]capitaine[/i] Edwin Parsons, MM. [/i]Cap.[/i] Parsons - an ace from the WW1 La Fayette Escadrille - was on leave from the US Naval Reserve.

During the 1940 fighting, Parsons added only two confirmed kills to his WW1 score of eight. It was his aircraft's markings which caused a stir. [/i]Cap.[/i] Parsons had his fuselage roundels retouched with the central 'dot' resembling a US Navy 'star'. When these markings featured in an article about American volunteers in the International Herald Tribune, an immediate protest was registered by William Christian Bullitt Jr., the US Ambassador to Paris. The markings were then quickly returned to standard French form.

In a minor point on markings, note that the famous La Fayette emblem of Chief Sitting Bull has been altered. Although fairly true to the original, the head-dress substitutes US 'stars' for the now-besmirched swastikas used during WW1.


[1] The Société des Avions Marcel Bloch had been nationalized in 1937 to be subsumed into the  Société nationale de constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest (SNCASO). The new Société Anonyme des Avions Marcel Bloch operated strictly as a design office, with all serial production being performed by the state-owned SNCASO.

Edit: Forgot to mention, this image started off as a perfectly innocent MB 152 profile by Thierry Dekker ...
Aero-space / Re: Airvell 1/72 Avro Mancaster B.I/B.III
« Last post by apophenia on Yesterday at 09:22:45 AM »
Yes, looking good. And your turrets are most intriguing  :smiley:
Land / Re: This complicates things.
« Last post by Dr. YoKai on Yesterday at 05:02:22 AM »
 Turned out great, Frank-no surprise there! Nice to hear it's going to the source of inspiration.
Land / Re: M274 ½-ton 4×4 Utility Platform Truck - AKA "Mechanical Mule"
« Last post by Kerick on Yesterday at 03:56:56 AM »
Or you can buy an example of the real thing:

And it sold for $5,000! Not for me.
Aero-space / Re: Airvell 1/72 Avro Mancaster B.I/B.III
« Last post by The Big Gimper on Yesterday at 03:39:48 AM »
Awesome re-assembly of bit and bobs from many sources Guy!
Aero-space / Re: F-104 Starfighter Ideas and Inspiration
« Last post by GTX_Admin on Yesterday at 03:20:59 AM »
Just a cool photo:

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