Author Topic: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber  (Read 21013 times)

Offline kitnut617

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Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« on: April 15, 2012, 01:30:54 AM »
I've finally got another idea sorted out, I'm going to convert an Airfix Short Sunderland into a turbo-prop powered amphibian water bomber, probably with some Canadian operater markings, like Air Spray or Buffalo Airlines.

I plan on removing all the turrets from the kit, bomb racks will be gone and I intend to straighten out the wings so that the engine nacelle centerline is back where it was, which is parallel with the fuselage centerline.  I'm going to use a couple of RR Dart engine conversions which Heritage Aviation sell for their Dart Dakota set but I won't use their propellers which come with it as they're a bit small in diameter.  Instead I'll use an Aeroclub set, P018.

Reading about the Sunderland I found that Short had originally designed the Sunderland to have a C.O.W. 37mm cannon in the nose and a hand operated Vickers 'K' machine gun in the tail.  The requirement was changed after the prototype had flown, the 37mm was deleted and a power operated four-gun turret to go in the tail position.  This changed the cg point quite a lot and to overcome this problem, Short rotated the whole wing backwards from the rear spar connecting pins, and added a spacer in between the front spar connection.  From what I can figure out, this change the rear spar angle from 4 degrees forward of perpendicular to the fuselage centerline, to 2 degrees backwards of the perpendicular line. In the top photo here you can see I've marked the various center lines (nacelles, spars etc), also you can see the turbo-prop nacelles I'm going to use which are practically the same diameter as the corresponding section on the wing.

For the undercarriage, I'm going to go with something that will look like what you find on a CL-215/415 water bomber, but modelled from what you find on a Catalina.  Nose u/c and wheel will be from a 1/72 B-24 and the main u/c gear will be a modified 1/48 Catalina set.  Main wheels I've not quite decided on at the moment, I've order a bunch of different wheels so until I get a visual on the things I will leave that for the moment.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 01:33:17 AM by kitnut617 »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 03:44:06 AM »
This is going to be great!
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Litvyak

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 06:25:40 AM »
Can't wait to see this one come along! I love Sunderlands.
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Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 09:45:26 AM »
I hope not to disappoint you guys ---

Doing some further reading about RR Darts, I find they are really quite a compact design, being a centrafuge compressor design, you can see the relationship with the RR Trent that was installed into a Meteor.  This will allow me to shorten the engine nacelle somewhat and looking at some cutaways and such, I think the exhaust will go over the top of the wing too. That'll keep it in line with how the exhaust was directed on a regular Sunderland.  I've seen some drawings of the exhaust and it has a rectangular shaped exhaust pipe, which look a little like the late Harrier forward nozzles so I'll use some of those I have.  I'm thinking that with all the turrets removed and the nose u/c and bay up front, straightening out the wing wouldn't be a problem cg wise if I shorten the nacelles.

I'm waiting for some u/c parts to arrive from Scale Aircraft Conversions, then I can plan the main u/c bays in the side of the fuselage.  One thing I noticed with the Sunderland kit is right where I think the u/c gear should go there's a large door hatch just under where the bomb racks are wheeled out.  This will work in with the backstory.

Offline Scooterman

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 09:44:45 PM »
hehe this is going to be killer.  Can't wait!

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 04:00:21 AM »
The u/c parts arrived in the mail today, the 1/48 Catalina gear look just right, now I can get a good idea where I want to go with this.

Offline Eddie M.

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 04:50:28 AM »
I am really looking forward to this...... 8)
He really DID lose his marbles!

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 05:36:07 AM »
Watching with great interest...

Brian da Basher

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2012, 02:27:43 AM »
As some of you know I like my 'what-if's' to be somewhat plausable, so I've been doing some research on the RR Dart engine.  Basically I started by trying to find out what sort of power rating this Dakota conversion had (there were three RW Dart Dakotas flown by BEA BTW), and found out that they were a 1600 shp variant.  Quite a jump in power over the standard R-1830's the DC-3/C-47 used.  This actually was something in line of my thinking when I started to plan the Sunderland TP, I wanted more powerful engines so it could carry a better cargo load (water in this case).

I then found a chart on various turbo-prop engines ( http://www.jet-engine.net/civtsspec.html ), manufacturer, power rating, what aircraft they were used on, so scrolling down to the RR Darts I saw that they came in a number of power ratings, from 900 shp (the first Viscount) to nearly 3000 shp (a Convair twin prop), although most of the variants were rated between 1800-2200 shp.  It got me thinking to what else could have been powered by the Dart and rumaging through some of the stash boxes, came up with some additional ideas.  The kit converion is made as a direct replacement for the Airfix/Italeri DC-3/C-47 kit, so I began looking at other aircraft powered by R-1830's. This led to other aircraft with engines about the same power, so how about a DC-4, sort of a counter to the Viscount, or later the DC-6. Then I found that the nacelle size is exactly the same diameter as the nacelle on a  ----------- Shackleton.  Now this does sound like a conversion that needs to be done, and I'm wondering why it was never even considered. The Griffons on the Shack' were rated at 1950 hp each, so  a 2000 + shp Dart would be very plausable. Lancaster and Lincolns also come to mind.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 03:39:22 AM »
Interesting idea.  A turbo-Shak sounds very, very interesting...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 05:23:54 AM »
Interesting idea.  A turbo-Shak sounds very, very interesting...

Some time ago I bought a whole bunch of Frog-spawn Shackletons from the Big H, they were selling them for 8 quid each. They had no decals or instructions and were just bagged in very flimsy plastic bags.  The plan was to build one of each variant and then one of the proposed MR.4.  Well that has gone out the window so I might as well do a TP shack' using some of these Dart conversion sets but with different propellers, maybe with five blades each.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 08:30:15 AM »
kit': Canadair considered a Dart North Star. Apparently the engine mounting points were the same. So the Lancaster and Lincolns make perfect sense. Another potential R-1830 replacement that comes to mind is the Liberator. Turboprop waterbombers?
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Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2012, 09:48:03 PM »
I had thought about the B-24 apop', and the B-17.  I hadn't realized that the engine mounts were the same for a Merlin engine, it's almost as if it was planned as a substitute engine -----

That opens up a whole lot of other possibilities for it's use, Battle, Fulmar, Spitfire, Hurricane, maybe instead of the Griffon Tempests.  I know about the Cavalier TP Mustangs, got the Heritage Aviation converion of one of those and was only just looking at it last night to see if it would be a better fit on the Sunderland (it's not)

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 10:03:58 PM »
Back to the Sunderland TP --

I've found a set of decals I will be using for this project, CanMilAir do a Buffalo Air operated Catalina Fire-Bomber sheet and I'll buy it in a different scale.  Doing some calc's I think it will need to be printed in 1/52 scale, although I could get away with either 1/48 or 1/60.  Length, height and span comparisson between a Sunderland and Catalina seem to work out at around 1.34 bigger for length, 1.6 bigger for height, while there's not much difference in wingspan, it being 1.1 bigger, all these favouring towards the Sunderland.

http://www.canmilair.com/products.asp?cat=46&pg=9

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Sunderland TP Amphibian Fire-Bomber
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 03:39:02 AM »
I always learn something when I read your updates, kitnut! Never knew about those engine mounts before. Thank you.

I like your idea of going with 5 bladed props for this project. That should make your firebomber look even more powerful.

Brian da Basher