Author Topic: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940  (Read 3626 times)

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2021, 12:11:20 AM »

I managed to get a couple of days off work, made some decent progress . . .
Okay, with the Snipe, before I can attach the undercarriage, the cowling needs to be fitted, but before I can do that, the inside of the cowling and firewall needs painting, and the engine needs painting and fitting.


With the Siskin, the inboard corner of the elevator was damaged, and needed re-shaping.
I _should_have measured it properly and marked out both sides, but, I did it by eye, didn't I, which as we all know leads to the 'shaping one side, then the other side not matching, then the first side not matching the second, and so on' cycle, and I've taken too much off. Never mind it'll have to do . . .
Here's the progress so far . . .
The wings fitted to the fuselage,








and the undercarriage and detail parts fitted.





Now, rather than use the kit engine, which both looks a bit anaemic, and I want for another project, I'm going to be using this :-





which is available from HERE :-


https://www.shapeways.com/product/VSEHGXHQD/1-72-blackburn-shark-engine?optionId=60681050&li=marketplace


It's supposed to be a Panther, rather than a Jaguar, but it has that beefy look about it that the kit parts lack.
Here it is mounted on some runner for painting,





once done I will cut the runner short to make a stub for mounting to the model, it's just test fitted here.





Also, I've made some progress on the Siskin's successor, the Bristol Bulldog.
The fuselage assembled,





and the tail surfaces attached.





The parts for the wing,





assembled,





and fitted to the fuselage.





Finally, the undercarriage and detail parts added.





Unfortunately, owing to the age of the kit, and the cutting and fitting needed to attach the wing, it's a bit lopsided on the UC, but we'll do what we can . . .


That's All For Now, Stay Tuned . . .


cheers,
Robin.

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2021, 06:36:24 AM »
Excellent choice of engines for the one-wing Siskin! A 65% power increase for a bit more frontal area and a few hundred pounds of added weight. Then take away the 'extra' wing and all that struttage ... your one-wing Siskin is going to be a rocket!

Loving your Bulldog too. Its already got a strong Bristol Type 133 vibe - just without the gawky inverted gull wing and trousered main gear. I like it  :smiley: :smiley:
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2021, 10:05:55 PM »
Excellent choice of engines for the one-wing Siskin! A 65% power increase for a bit more frontal area and a few hundred pounds of added weight. Then take away the 'extra' wing and all that struttage ... your one-wing Siskin is going to be a rocket!


The engine is still intended to be a Jaguar . . . it's just that I think that the 3D printed engine looks better than the kit parts, as I said, the kit parts are bit 'weedy', to my eyes.
The Bulldog is a very important type in the history of the 'Black Diamonds', serving for longer than any other type, and in more than one version . . .  ;)


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2021, 05:05:06 AM »
The engine is still intended to be a Jaguar . . . it's just that I think that the 3D printed engine looks better than the kit parts, as I said, the kit parts are bit 'weedy', to my eyes...

Ah, gotcha. I thought you were bunging a Panther onto the one-wing Siskin.
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2021, 05:58:31 AM »
Also the Panther is too late for the Siskin, it's first run wasn't until 1929, according to Wiki . . . and Lumsden's 'British Piston Engines'.
The 'Black Diamonds' would get Bulldogs in 1930 . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2021, 11:33:25 PM »

Part Three: Siskins . . .


With it's angular lines, stalky undercarriage, windmill sail wings, and gruff, crackling, uncowled Jaguar engine, the Armstrong Whitworth Siskin would not immediately be thought of as the ideal aeroplane with which to perform precision aerobatics, especially when compared to the dainty Snipe.  Nevertheless, combined with the expert skills of it's pilots, the Siskin was to provide some of the most thrilling displays of the 'Black Diamonds' ' whole existence.
The Team's adoption of the Siskin was not universally welcomed, several of the Team's pilots preferred the contemporary Gloster Gamecock, however it was decided that the Siskin's problems, mostly engine-related (including in-flight fires), were a lot less serious than those of the Gamecock, which had a tendency to develop unrecoverable flat spins, aileron flutter, and disintegrate in flight . . .
As the Siskin's engine problems delayed it's full entry into active service, the 'Black Diamonds' would not receive it's new aircraft until late 1924, when the first Mark IIIA's arrived, in time to commence working-up for the 1925 display season. The advent of the new aircraft also bought changes to the formation of the Team. The number of aircraft was increased from six to nine, three of which would operate as a separate sub-formation in opposition to the other six, for certain manoeuvres.
This was, in part, due the fact that the Siskin was a larger, heavier aeroplane than the Snipe, and thus had to operate at a higher altitude and greater distance from the audience than the Snipe. The larger number of aircraft would help to offset this. Also, this change allowed more complex and sophisticated manoeuvres to be performed, advancing the state of the aerobatic art. Further, the extra three aeroplanes would also perform a second, separate display, connected together by 'Sandow' elastic cords at the wingtips, from take-off to landing. This would replace the old 'Yellow Peril' crazy flying Camel display, as this aircraft was now both worn out, and short of spare parts.
A further development arose from the fact that the Siskin's Jaguar engine was fitted with exhaust pipes. A system was developed, that allowed oil to be introduced into the hot exhaust manifold. This would vaporise and partially combust, emerging as dense, white smoke, leaving a showy trail, and revealing the aeroplanes' path across the sky.
The 'Black Diamonds' would pilot their Siskins to great effect and acclaim, until the 1930 season, when they would change over to their new Bristol Bulldogs . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2021, 05:58:30 AM »
Okay . . .
Back to the Snipe. Engine and cowling painted and attached, needed some filler at the joint,






and undercarriage fitted.






Off now to be primed and painted . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2021, 08:46:33 AM »
Great backstory on the Siskin. And loved the description ... especially the "windmill sail wings"  ;D

Good start on the Snipe  :smiley:  The portly fuselage proportions are really emphasized on the one-wing Snipe!
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2021, 05:21:58 AM »
When I was trimming the siskin wings to shape, I dunno, they just reminded me of windmill sails, seemed too good not to use . . .
The Snipe is rather tubby, isn't it. Be interesting to know if the benefits of a faired fuselage outweighed the disadvantages of increased wetted area.


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2021, 11:44:01 PM »

I've got 3 Silver Machines !  ;D    :icon_music:





Now off for masking and painting . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2021, 03:07:24 AM »

Part Four: Enter the Bulldog.


When compared to the pugnacious Siskin, the Bristol aeroplane looked more like a greyhound than a Bulldog. Although, like the Siskin, it had an uncowled, radial engine, the rest of the airframe was totally different. Slender, sleek, and curvaceous, the Bulldog looked every inch the thoroughbred it was. Blessed with a more powerful, and, more importantly, reliable engine, the Bulldog took the performances of the 'Black Diamonds' to new heights (pun intended). Like the Siskin, the Bulldog was also equipped with a smoke-making device fitted to the exhaust system.
It was during this period that the  'Black Diamonds' began to perform at events in Europe, one particularly memorable display being that for the Bastille Day celebrations in 1934 in Paris.
With the entry into service of the Gloster Gauntlet in 1935, the  'Black Diamonds' pilots were hoping that this aircraft would become the Team's new mounts. However, owing to the limited number of these aeroplanes ordered and placed into service, there were none available to equip the  'Black Diamonds' ( the same situation had occurred when the Hawker Fury was taken into service). Instead, the Team's trusty Bulldogs were about to gain a new lease of life . . .


cheers,
Robin.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2021, 03:09:28 AM by robunos »
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2021, 07:24:31 AM »
Nice! And good point about the Bulldog name.

The Bristol Type 105 was a svelte, almost dainty aircraft - nothing at all like the pushed-in face and bandy legs of the bulldog!

Maybe Bristol should have recycled the Bullfinch name? And whilest on Bristol names ... what the hell was the origin of the name Bullpup?
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2021, 02:22:47 AM »
Nice! And good point about the Bulldog name.

The Bristol Type 105 was a svelte, almost dainty aircraft - nothing at all like the pushed-in face and bandy legs of the bulldog!

Maybe Bristol should have recycled the Bullfinch name? And whilest on Bristol names ... what the hell was the origin of the name Bullpup?


It's not simple, but simply, when Bristol were working on what would become the Bulldog, they built several prototypes, all somewhat different, but basically either larger and Jupiter powered, or smaller and Mercury powered. The larger ones were called Bulldog, which automatically made the smaller ones Bullpup . . . interestingly, the Mercury powered version was the preferred one, however the Mercury engine was not reliable enough to meet the required in-service date.


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2021, 02:23:48 AM »

The Snipe finished . . .





























I managed to snap the axle while I was fitting the wheels, which is why it's not straight, I must be more careful with the next one . . .


cheers,
Robin.

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2021, 02:25:15 AM »



The Siskin completed . . .


































cheers,
Robin.

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2021, 02:26:46 AM »



The Bulldog finished . . .


































cheers,
Robin.

By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2021, 11:17:02 AM »
Oh, those are marvelous! I love the black-and-silver scheme - especially the angles on wings and horizontal tails  :-*

My only real concern is whether or not those upper surface roundels are big enough? Will they stand out at an airshow?  ;D

The OWB Siskin looks as pugnacious as ever but no prizes for guessing that the ill-named Bulldog is my personal fav  :D
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2021, 05:21:15 AM »


Thanks . . .  8) :-[
The roundels on the models are the ones supplied with the kits. That was the idea as mentioned in the back story about the display scheme being "easy to revert to the standard fighter colour scheme when necessary." The Team's Riggers would just paint black dope onto the wings around the roundels leaving a silver ring, then when the aeroplane was rotated back to a Service unit, the black would be doped over with silver again. Likewise, there are no special markings on the undersides of the aircraft.
I lost count of how many variations of the black pattern I tried. I still hadn't really decided by the start of the GB, and had to just go with it, but it does look rather good . . . Likewise the markings on the fins, I was going to use the kit supplied rudder stripes, but they take so long to do properly, I wouldn't have got the models finished by the end date (of course now there's an extension . . .) But this is an alternate timeline, where the RAF switched to rudder flashes upon it's formation . . .


cheers,
Robin.


By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline Buzzbomb

  • Low Concentration Span, oft wanders betwixt projects
  • Accurate Scale representations of fictional stuff
    • Club and my stuff site
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2021, 06:57:16 AM »
Really like the way that came out. Well done

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2021, 03:55:51 AM »
Thanks for moving the thread, I will be picking things up again shortly, just nee
d to get my 3D printer working properly . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #45 on: August 26, 2021, 06:26:08 AM »
... I will be picking things up again shortly ...

Any subject-matter teasers on offer Robin?
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline robunos

  • Can't afford the top wing of his biplanes...
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2021, 05:20:23 AM »
Well, we're only up to 1935, and the 'Black Diamonds' didn't officially cease to exist until 1940, when the World War started, although the flew their last display at the end of the 1939 season, so we still have at least two more types to see, plus like most aviation units, as well as their 'operational' aircraft, they had liaison/communications aeroplanes, as well as proficiency trainers, and the usual 'hacks'. I'm also toying with the idea of the Team having it's own transport for the ground crews, etc., a 1920s/30s 'Fat Albert', if you like . . .


cheers,
Robin.
By the pricking of my thumbs, Something Whiff-y this way comes . . .

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #47 on: August 28, 2021, 02:18:38 AM »
Nice! So, at least two more Black Diamonds  :smiley:

... I'm also toying with the idea of the Team having it's own transport for the ground crews, etc., a 1920s/30s 'Fat Albert', if you like . . .

Well, yes, I do like! Bring on "a 1920s/30s 'Fat Albert'"  :D
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...

Offline kim margosein

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #48 on: August 28, 2021, 11:31:13 AM »
I'm also toying with the idea of the Team having it's own transport for the ground crews, etc., a 1920s/30s 'Fat Albert', if you like . . .Handley Page HP 42?

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: The 'BLACK DIAMONDS' - the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team 1920-1940
« Reply #49 on: August 29, 2021, 01:03:37 AM »
. . .Handley Page HP 42?

Vickers Victoria and Valentia?
Auferstanden aus Ruinen; Glück für Menschen und Maschinen ...