Author Topic: Apophenia's Offerings  (Read 403905 times)

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2025 on: February 10, 2019, 07:19:03 PM »
With the Porpoise you've almost designed a British F4U Corsair! :smiley: :smiley:
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2026 on: February 11, 2019, 12:56:41 PM »
Albeit an underpowered one...
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2027 on: February 20, 2019, 05:51:48 AM »
Merlin-powered Sea Defiants - Boulton Paul Turretless Fighters

While 'recycling' already prepared Defiant components distracted Boulton Paul's design department, other Sea Defiant variants were proceeding down the Wolverhampton production lines. A comparatively simple derivative was the Sea Defiant Mk.III, a turretless 2-seater with its fixed armament concentrated in its wings. The Sea Defiant Mk.IIIAs were production line conversions of near completed Defiant Mk.I airframes. Production picked up with the new-production Sea Defiant Mk.IIIB model. Both Mk.III variants were powered by 1,080 hp Merlin VIII engines - the Royal Navy's version of the RAF Defiant Mk.I's Merlin III.

Initially, the turretless 2-seat Sea Defiants were seen as 'interim' fill-ins for the pending Fairey Fulmar fighter. This proved largely unnecessary as Fairey was able to prototype and begin building production-model Fulmars with impressive rapidity. By the time that Fulmar Mk.Is began entering FAA squadron service, the Sea Defiants were already proving their worth. Both 2-seat fighter types were powered by the same engine but the smaller Sea Defiant airframe gave the Boulton Paul fighter a speed and manoeurability edge over its Fairey competitor. On the deficit side, the Sea Defiant was marginally tricker to land-on and was - despite the huge centre fuselage tank installed on the Sea Defiant Mk.III - somewhat shorter ranged. [1] Another difference was in armament. While a Fulmar gunner could deploy his flexibly-mounted Vickers GO for self-defence, the Sea Defiant Mk.III's back-seater acted solely as an Observer/Navigator.

Top Sea Defiant Mk.IIIA of No.835 NAS while ashore at Lee-on-Solent. This squadron had been formed in late 1940 specifically to operate Boulton Paul's two-seat carrier fighter.

The Sea Defiant Mk.IV was to be a single production-line, 'modular' development capable of being completed as either a turret fighter or a turretless 2-seater. However, like the RAF before it, the FAA was beginning to question the utility of the turret fighter concept. In the end, the Sea Defiant Mk.IV was eclipsed by a more powerful and fully developed variant - the Sea Defiant Mk.V. Originally this variant was to have been named Pelorus in reference to an anticipated role as an FAA 'pathfinder'. However, the most important change was introduction of wing-folding for carrier operations - a single, vertical fold being incorporated immediately outboard of the centre section join.

Introducing wing-folding was disruptive at Courtauld's Factory in Wolverhampton which built the centre sections. However, wing-folding was introduced at the same time as a completely new main undercarriage for the Sea Defiant Mk.V. Although Lockheed had worked wonders in fixing the worst aspects of the original Defiant landing gear, Dowty elected to embark on a complete redesign based on the needs of a dedicated carrier fighter. This new main undercarriage had nothing in common with Dowty's original design, being essentially a scaled-down version of the beefy gear developed by Dowty for the RAF's hefty Hawker Typhoon fighter.

Otherwise, the Sea Defiant Mk.V was externally similar to the 'interim' Sea Defiant Mk.III, being distinguished primarily by its wing leading-edge radiators [2] and a raised pilot's canopy. A less visible change was the introduction of the 1,175 hp Merlin XII in the Sea Defiant Mk.VA. That variant retained the eight .303-inch Browning guns of the Mk.III but cannon armament was also planned from the outset. The Sea Defiant Mk.VB was to have a fixed armament of four 20 mm Oerlikons - this being a standard Royal Navy anti-aircraft cannon. However, few Mk.VBs were completed before the Admiralty decided to follow the RAF's lead in making the British Hispano the standard aircraft cannon. This led to the Sea Defiant Mk.VC, late production models of which were powered by the 1,280 hp Merlin XX engine.

Bottom The first Boulton Paul Sea Defiant Mk.VC - a cannon-armed prototype conversion of an early production Sea Defiant Mk.VA airframe. Note that the process of updating this aircraft's markings has yet to extend to its tail flashes.
__________________

[1] Maximum range for the Sea Defiant Mk.III was just over 650 miles flying at its most economical speed. By comparison, the Fairey Fulmar had a range of 780 miles.

[2]Moving the coolant radiators from the belly to the wing leading-edges was mainly done to address FAA concerns about the effects of the earlier, large belly 'bath' when ditching. An incidental benefit was being able to install a small, window in the belly for downward-viewing by the Observer.

As would later become apparent, the belly radiator created no addition dangers when ditching in the early-model Sea Defiants. Nevertheless, the Mk.Vs did gain a few knots through the reduced drag of their new radiator arrangement.
"Gentlemen, this is all very well in practice. But does it work in theory?"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2028 on: February 20, 2019, 06:10:17 AM »
Sea Defiants - Boulton Paul Turretless Fighters

Introducing wing-folding on the Sea Defiant Mk.V, many of the Fleet Air Arm's objections to the Boulton Paul 2-seat fighters were satisfied. Despite this, Royal Navy planners continued to view Sea Defiants as 'interim' aircraft serving while the FAA awaited the Fairey Fulmar. As such, there was every danger that Boulton Paul's only production design might yet be cancelled. Accordingly, JD North's Wolverhampton design team began draughting radically improved developments of the Sea Defiant.

Ironically the turretless Sea Defiant Mk.III and Mk.V were being built to contracts based upon the Air Ministry's Specification N.8/39 for turreted replacement for the Blackburn Roc. At the same time that N.8/39 was issued, another specification - N.9/39 - was issued for another 2-seat carrier fighter to replace the fixed-gun Fulmar in the future. N.9/39 revised as Operational Requirement 82/Specification N.5/40 was to produce a more advanced 2-seater the Fairey Firefly powered by the new Rolls-Royce Griffon V-12. There was little chance that any warmed-over Sea Defiant design would be able to match this new fighter from Fairey.

With this realization in front of them, John North's team turned their attention to single-seat naval fighters. The original scheme from the Boulton Paul Aircraft Department design office was the P.104 concept. The Napier Sabre powered P.104 was to have a deeper fuselage and widened wing centre section to accommodate larger wing leading edge radiators and a taller main undercarriage to clear the large-diameter, 4-bladed propeller. [1] The rear fuselage and tailplane were also redesigned - in a manner similar to the rival Blackburn Firebrand. And therein lay the problem. The FAA already had an entirely new Sabre-engined fighter in development. With its minimal commonality with the Sea Defiant, the P.104 was seen are have few advantages over the promising Firebrand.

As an alternative submission, North's team produced the P.110 - a more direct single-seat derivative of the Sea Defiant. Whereas the Porpoise had essentially been a single-seat, radial-engined development of the Sea Defiant airframe, the P.110 was a much more thorough redesign. The P.110 wings, rear fuselage, and tailplane were virtually unchanged from the late-production Sea Defiant Mk.VC, as the 1,280 hp Merlin XX engine. The key changes were in the shortened centre fuselage section which accommodated the single-seat cockpit. The cockpit canopy was now well-faired into the rear fuselage and a retractable tailwheel was adopted. Here, JD North et al had a single-seat aircraft which could be quickly introduced into production as the FAA's Boulton Paul Boudicca F.Mk.I carrier-borne fighter. [2]

Top Boulton Paul Boudicca F.Mk.I carrier fighter of 880 NAS ashore at Arbroath, 1943

Successive variants were the Boudicca F.Mk.II with a 1,470 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 55 powerplant; the Boudicca F.Mk.IV with low-altitude 1,645 hp Merlin 32 and 4-bladed propeller, and the Boudicca F.Mk.V which to take the Merlin 45, 46, 50, 50A, 55, or 56 with equal facility. [3] The introduction of the Boudicca F.Mk.II, allowed the FAA to transfer most of its short-range, 'interim' Supermarine Seafire fighters to shore-based squadrons. As Wolverhampton ramped up Boudicca production, the design department worked at improving its top-speed performance. The powerplant of choice was the larger Rolls-Royce Griffon - an engine for which the Royal Navy had priority. Accordingly single Boudicca F.Mk.IV was re-engined with a 1,730 hp Griffon IIB as used in the Fairey Firefly F.R.Mk.I.

The Boudicca Mk.X - as the Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered conversion was re-designated - could hit 385 mph at 13,500 feet. However, controllability had suffered. Not only was the Griffon much more powerful, it also turned in the opposite direction to that of the Merlin. For acceptable landing-on performance, production model Griffon-powered Boudicca fighters would require substantially larger fins and rudders. Such a tailplane was test-flown on a Boudicca F.Mk.I airframe. JD North also took the opportunity to introduce a new, 'sting' arrestor hook and revised retractable tailwheel. Once successfully test-flown, the entire rear fuselage and tailplane from this Mk.I conversion was transferred to the Boudicca Mk.X trials aircraft. The Griffon-powered Boudicca was now ready for production.


The first production-model Griffon-powered Boudicca was the F.Mk.XI powered by the same engine type as the Mk.X conversion. By early 1944, the F.Mk.XI had been surpassed by the Boudicca F.Mk.XIII fitted with a 1,735 hp Griffon III. [4] The Boudicca Mk.XIV mounted a 1,850 hp Griffon VI but was otherwise similar to the F.Mk.XII. The ultimate Griffon-powered Boudicca was the F.Mk.XV. This late-war variant introduced the 'bubble' canopy trialled on the Merlin-engined Boudicca F.Mk.III and a 5-bladed propeller - as well as well as slightly extended, squared-off wingtips with lengthened ailerons.

Bottom The prototype Boudicca F.Mk.XV (with one wing folded to show revised wing tip).

Development of several Boudicca variants was cut short by the end of the war. The Boudicca F.R.Mk.XVII was to be a Cunliffe-Owen produced recce-fighter version of the Wolverhampton-built F.Mk.XV. The Boudicca F.Mk.XIX was to introduce a four-cannon wing armament replacing the machine guns of earlier variants. [5]
__________________

[1] The RW Boulton Paul P.104 was actually a twin-boomed pusher fighter with a ground-attack emphasis.

[2] This decidedly non-nautical name originated from a brief flirtation with a joint RAF-FAA fighter project. The RAF saw this Griffon-powered, single-seat Defiant derivative as a backup for its troubled Hawker Typhoon programme. When it became apparent that Griffon engines would not be immediately available, the RAF lost interest. As a distinct Royal Navy project, what was to be the 'Sea Boudicca' dropped its nautical prefix.

[3] The Boudicca F.Mk.III was a prototype used to test an all-around vision 'bubble' canopy.

[4] The Boudicca F.R.Mk.XII was a fighter-reconnaissance proposal which was not produced.

[5] From the Boudicca F.Mk.V and all Griffon-engined Boudiccas, the quartet of 0.303-inch Browning machine guns was exchanged for a pair of 0.5-inch Brownings. From the Sea Defiant Mk.VC to the Boudicca F.Mk.XIII, the pair of British Hispano cannons remained largely unchanged. However, many Griffon-powered Boudiccas were armed with shorter-barrelled British Hispnao II cannons.
"Gentlemen, this is all very well in practice. But does it work in theory?"

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2029 on: February 20, 2019, 08:35:44 AM »
Boudicca is the perfect name for this wizard aircraft!

Both are outstanding artwork and pure eye-candy, but I think I favor the earlier Mk. I as I'm pretty old-school.

The Mk. XV looks like it could give the Tiffie a run for its money!

Great stuff and a feast for the eyes, apophenia!

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 08:37:41 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2030 on: February 21, 2019, 05:28:25 AM »
Cheers Brian. I favour the Mk.I too ...
_____________________________

Carl recently posted a lovely vintage shot of a postwar RCAF Lancaster 10P long-range photographic aircraft. But my personal favorites were always the long-nosed Lancaster 14 conversions.

The wartime Lancaster B.Mk.XIV was, of course, to have been the RCAF's 'Far Eastern Bomber'. [1] Designed for both diurnal and nocturnal raids over the Japanese Home Islands, the Lancaster B.Mk.XIV were have a heavier defensive armament that the RCAF's Lanc B.Mk.Xs in the European Theatre. But the war with Japan ended before a single Lancaster B.Mk.XIV had been completed. Indeed, no true Lancaster B.Mk.XIV ever was completed.

After the war, Victory Aircraft convinced the Canadian Government to accept hybrid Lancaster airframes adapted for specialist roles. Generally, these airframes combined Lancaster B.Mk.XIV components - forward fuselages and extended outer wings - with the powerplants, [2] centre- and rear-fuselages of near-complete Lancaster B.Mk.Xs. Lancaster Mk.14s hybrids were adapted for two major roles - Photographic (Lancaster 14P) and Arctic Reconnaissance (Lancaster 14AR).

Over time and allowing for attrition, the Lancaster 14Ps were all replaced by more plentiful Lancaster 10 airframes. Survivors in turn, were rebuilt to Lancaster 15AR standards to join their compatriots flying NORPAT Arctic sovereignty patrols until the last 15AR was struck-off in the Autumn of 1956.

___________________________

[1] Initially, the role was to be assigned to the Lincoln XV (originally dubbed Lancaster XV). Victory Aircraft designers then proposed that similar performance could be gleaned though a 'least-mod' Lancaster variant - their B.Mk.XIV design. As this concept evolved, the cockpit was moved forward and down - now sitting flush with the top line of the fuselage. This arrangement improved crew visibility but, more importantly, allowed for a second dorsal turret to be installed in the former navigator's position. Both dorsal turrets were Martin 250/CEs armed with 0.50-inch Browning guns (tail and belly turrets were to be sources from Convair).

[2] The Lancaster B.Mk.XIV was to have been powered by 1,750 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 68s in annular cowlings (Ó la the Lancaster VI). However, the Lancaster 14 hybrids received the same 1,620 Packard Merlin 224s as late-production Lancaster B.Mk.X bombers.
"Gentlemen, this is all very well in practice. But does it work in theory?"

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2031 on: February 21, 2019, 05:38:25 AM »
Now that's some serious photo voodoo, apophenia!

Just when I think I couldn't be more impressed you come up with this beauty!

The scheme pulls it all together for me. Yet more proof (as if any were needed) that few things spice up an aircraft like those maple leafs!

Your work is so convincing I'm sure you could tell people this photo was from an Aircraft in Action book and they'd never doubt it.

Brian da Basher

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2032 on: February 21, 2019, 06:34:38 AM »
Photoshop Expert Level: Unlocked!

Wow Mr. A. I never would have considered a Lancaster with an inline nose. This is so cool!
Work in progress ::

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Offline finsrin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2033 on: February 21, 2019, 10:03:48 AM »
Photoshop Expert Level: Unlocked!

Wow Mr. A. I never would have considered a Lancaster with an inline nose. This is so cool!

seconded

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2034 on: February 21, 2019, 04:04:27 PM »
other Sea Defiant variants were proceeding down the Wolverhampton production lines.

Ha!  Strange coincidence.  I was actually in Wolverhampton when I read this.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2035 on: February 23, 2019, 07:49:32 AM »
Thanks folks  :D

Ha!  Strange coincidence.  I was actually in Wolverhampton when I read this.

Heh heh. Anywhere near GE Aviation Systems (ex-Smiths Aerospace)? Apparently, they are still in the expanded 1937 BP factory building.

Now moving on to a series of Macchi projects. Some speculation/whiffery involved, although this first one is based on contemporary Aer.Macchi drawings...

Progetto n.24 - Origins of the Aer Macchi C.202 Fighter

Ing. Mario Castoldi began work on progetto n.24 for a nuovo caccia monoplano in 1935. This initial design concepts hinted at the future C.200 [i[Saetta[/i] fighter but had a range of detail differences. Most obvious was that progetto n.24 was defined as a "caccia C.200 con motore FIAT A80" - the Fiat A.80 being a big, twin-row, 18-cylinder radial engine. [1]

The progetto n.24's wing appears to be very close to what would ultimately be adopted for the final C.200 design phase, emerging as the prototype Macchi C.200. However, compared with that of the built prototype, the main landing gear in the initial design phase was much stouter - somewhat resembling the undercarriage of the much heavier Boulton Paul [i[Defiant[/i]. The tailwheel was to be neatly enclosed in a fairing beneath the rudder - rather like contemporary Savoia-Marchetti designs or the slightly later Fiat CR.42 biplane.

To facilitate pilot view as dictated by the Regia Aeronautica, the early-phase progetto n.24 featured the familiar Saetta 'hump' on its forward fuselage. However, unlike the built C.200, that 'hump' did not contain the fighter's fixed gun armament. Armament for the early design phase progetto n.24 was to be four 7.7 mm machine guns synchronized to fire through the propeller arc. Two of these guns sat along fuselage sides on the aircraft's centre line. Two more machine guns would be mounted in the wing roots. Perhaps the Ministero dell'Aeronautica had not yet specified the use of twin 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns? [2]

Other differences for the initial-phase progetto n.24 design were in the taper of the fuselage and the exact  configuration of the tailplane. Compared with the first production C.200s, the early progetto n.24 cockpit canopy was very low-slung and cramped-appearing. Despite this constricted appearance, the pilot was seated high in the fuselage as in the built C.200. The cramped sense of this canopy was intensified in the two-seat (Biposto) variant - the first Macchi C.201 model - a late-stage, initial design phase derivative.

The C.201 Biposto version employed a near-identical airframe with a second seat behind that of the pilot. This second seat normally faced forward but could rotate, facing aft, to man a single, flexible machine gun on a retractable mount. [3] To facilitate this, the rearmost canopy section formed a quarter hemisphere which could swing inside the canopy to open the gunner's position. [4] A puzzle remains about the intended role of this C.201 Biposto type. The low-set rear seat probably eliminates a 2-seat trainer role. Fast reconnaissance is a possibility ... although there are no signs of camera mounts or downward-looking observation windows. [5] Since the Biposto retained the single-seater's full forward-firing gun armament, the most probable intended role was as a heavy-fighter.

From Ur Macchi Progetto n.24 to Production C.202 Saetta

In October 1936, the competing Fiat G.50 and IMAM Ro.51 fighter designs were revealed in Milan at the 2░ Salone Internazionale dell'Aeronautica. Both rival designs were powered the smaller Fiat A.74 radial intended specifically for fighters. Clearly, Aeronautica Macchi's progetto n.24 with its bulky 18-cylinder A.80 radial was not going to be competitive in the upcoming Regia Aeronautica fighter contest. A major design revision was needed. First to go was the 751 kg Fiat A.80 powerplant. In its place went the 590 kg, 14-cylinder Fiat A.74 of much smaller diameter. [6]

Since the Fiat A.74 and A.80 were closely related engines, longer engine mounts to restore the centre of gravity should have done the job. However, Ing. Castoldi et al evidently took the opportunity for a major do-over. By the time that the prototype Macchi C.200 (M.M.336) was rolled out in late December 1937, its appearance had been quite altered. The familiar wing remained but now fitted with a more delicate-looking main undercarriage. The tailplane was completely revised - the fin becoming more gracile and the horizontal tail being move forward. The latter allowed the tailwheel to be made fully retractable (although that feature would disappear early in the production schedule). The main armament was moved up into the forward fuselage 'hump' and the rear fuselage shape was refined.

_______________________

[1] The Fiat A.80 was designed by Ing. Tranquillo Zerbi. In its A.80 RC.41 (as here) and RC.42 forms, this engine was to produce a maximum power of 1,000 hp (the later A.80 RC.20 hoping to produce 1,200 hp).

[2] Alternatively, Ing. Castoldi had concluded - likely correctly - that the four, rifle-calibre guns would be a more reliable armament producing a greater weight of fire.

[3] Drawings show this quarter hemisphere divided into three, framed sections. Its not clear to me whether this simply reflects contemporary limits in Italian acrylic-moulding technique or, alternatively, if these sections represent three separate segments which retract armadillo-style.

[4] Here, I've shown a hypothetical, short-barrelled 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT gun. However, it is quite possible that the Aer Macchi drawings were meant to show a 12.7 mm Breda as the flexible gun.

[5] AFAIK, no prior thought was given to photo-recce Saettas until the 1941 mod with a AC.81 camera fuselage-mounted for use over Malta. Later, 'Avia' cine-cameras were also mounted in nine C.200 airframes.

[6] The two engine types were very closely related. The A.74 was a 1935 evolution (by Ing. Zerbi and Prof. Fessia) of the licensed Pratt & Whitney R-1535 14-cylinder radial. The Fiat A.80 (from the same designers) was an 18-cylinder development using as many A.74 components as practical - pistons, valves, heads, etc. As a result, the two engine types shared the same 140 mm bore. The 1.195 m diameter Fiat A.74 diameter was said to "run like a sewing machine". Alas, the larger-diameter A.80 would develop a much less enviable reputation.
"Gentlemen, this is all very well in practice. But does it work in theory?"

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2036 on: February 23, 2019, 09:09:35 AM »
I really like your Macchis, apophenia!

They're both pure eye-candy but there's something about that cool rear canopy on the C.201 Biposto that's very appealing.

Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2037 on: February 24, 2019, 02:48:48 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2038 on: February 26, 2019, 05:05:14 AM »
I'm gonna do these Macchis in numerical sequence ...

Real World Macchi C.200 Saetta Variants and Derivatives

There were a range of RW Macchi C.200 Saetta variants and proposals. Most represented minor changes that are difficult to distinguish - such as the late Breda-built C.200 A.2 (XXI serie) and C.200 B.2 (solo bordo di attacco). Others were role-change upgrades like the C.200 b.a. (Bombe Alari A.S.)  fighter-bomber mod. [1]

Others were completed as prototype conversions - such as the MC.200/R (M.M.4593, I serie) with a boosted Fiat A.74 engine, and the 1942 C.200 Bis (M.M.8191, XXI serie) fitted with a larger-diameter Piaggio P.XIX RC.35 radial producing 1,180 hp at 3,500 metres. [2]

Then there were the Macchi C.200 proposals which remained unbuilt for various reasons. Some were simple, like proposed alternative engine sub-types to replace the standard Fiat A.74 RC.38 (more on that below). Most intriguing of the unbuilt proposals was the C.200 Idro floatplane of mid-1937. The floats are described as similar to those of the MC.72 racer ... but whether that simply means twin pontoons or describes the actual shape, I don't know. [3]

A fairly straightforward concept was a 1940 proposal was for a C.200 D.C. (Doppio Comando) - a dual-control trainer to familiarize fighter pilots with fast monoplane handling. The Regia Aeronautica rejected this proposal - probably because, by April 1940, the rival Fiat G.50B 2-seat trainer was already flying. I have no idea of exactly how Macchi's C.200 D.C. concept would have looked. So, I roughly modelled my C.200 D.C. layout after the unarmed G.50B.

The alternative Fiat A.74 sub-types considered were the 770 hp Fiat A.74 RC.42 and the A.74 RC.50. But, AFAIK, neither A.74 sub-type was ever actually installed in a C.200 airframe. Ultimately, the solution to the C.200's rather modest top speed performance was adding horsepower. Fiat had anticipated this and developed its 1,000 hp A.76 14-cylinder radial to replace the lower-powered A.74. The A.76 was intended for both the Macchi C.201 [4] and the Fiat G.52. [5] I don't have a lot of detail about the A.76 but tend to think of it as being an R-1830 Twin Wasp analogue whereas the A.74 had been an R-1535 Twin Wasp Junior development. Unfortunately for Macchi, the A.76 proved far from reliable and Fiat Motori had enough on its plate without taking on more grief.

But what if Fiat had the staff and time to work the bugs out of the A.76? The Macchi C.201 had been designed around the 1,000 hp A.74 R.C.40 - so, over the C.200's A.74 R.C.38, an extra 130 hp rated 200 metres higher. With an increase in weight of less than 140 lbs, this would produce a top speed which was 30 mph higher. Not quite in the same category as the later C.202 Folgore, but still a worthwhile improvement over the original C.200. The C.201 airframe was also somewhat refined - losing some of the Saetta's forward fuselage 'hump' and gaining a new, lower-profile sliding canopy for the cockpit. Armament remained the same at the C.200 - two synchronized 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT heavy machine guns with 370 rounds of ammunition available to each.

My what-if production C.201 is a II serie machine. These would be most readily distinguished from I serie aircraft by their C.202 Folgore-style tailwheels and fairings. Other II serie standard features such as propeller spinners and Africa Settentrionale dust filters were often retrofitted to I serie C.201s confusing identification. The III serie introduced C.202 wings (with extra inboard fuel tanks and a single 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT gun in each wing panel). With the IV serie, the C.201 received mounting points for wing bomb racks to allow an optional cacciabombardiere role.

___________________________

[1] With Bombe Alari meaning 'Bomb Wings' and 'A.S.' being for Africa Settentrionale (North Africa). Such fighter-bomber adaptations were known generically as cacciabombardiere ... as opposed to standard configuration Caccia Intercettori.

[2] Other than altitude rating, this engine would have been similar to the Piaggio P.XIX RC.40 radial of the Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete. But, I have no way of knowing whether the cowlings used would be similar in appearance. Anyone know?

[3] Reportedly, there is an Aer.Macchi profile drawing of the C.200 Idro dated 03 August 1937. Alas, I have not seen this drawing.

[4] The 1938 C.201 concept bore no relation at all to Macchi's 1935 project with the same designation - the C.201 two-seat Biposto version of the progetto n.24 design phase.

[5] Some sources list the planned G.52 powerplant as a Fiat A.75 but seems improbable. Both the G.52 and the Macchi C.201 were declared winners of the 1938 Caccia I (Intercettore) contest which was part of the Regia Aeronautica's much larger Programma R expansion plan. Other contenders had been the Reggiane Re.2000, Breda Ba.100, Nardi FN.530 light fighter, AVIS CO.2 gull-wing monoplane, and Caproni Ca.175 biplane.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2039 on: February 26, 2019, 07:23:38 AM »
I just love it when you get going with a great theme like this, apophenia!

Those are some very credible upgrades indeed! It sure seems ready for a fight!

Once again, your rendering of that famous Italian "sand & spinach" is outstanding!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2040 on: February 28, 2019, 05:53:42 AM »
Thanks Brian. I can't claim credit for the camo - my operational C.201 was modified from someone else's C.200 (alas, an anonymous online find) ...

Macchi C.202 Preliminare

As with the ur-Macchi C.200 and 2-seat C.201, Aer.Macchi produced a preliminary design designated C.202 as well. While the late 1935 C.200 was a stage in the design process leading to the production Saetta, the C.202 concept dating from February 1936 bore no relationship to the eventual production-model Macchi C.202. For the earlier C.202 concept, I have only a written description by Giovanni Massimello to go by.

This early C.202 was to be powered by the same Fiat A.80 engine as the preliminary C.200 and C.201 design. As described by Massimello, the early C.202 concept "was a preliminary design for a monoplane with a forward-placed cockpit, similar to that of the Breda Ba.65 but this line was not pursued." [1] What was Mario Castoldi thinking?!

Two possible scenarios present themselves. One is that this first C.202 incarnation was intended to produce a comparatively long-range fighter with a large fuel tank placed close to the centre-of-gravity. The second (albeit, less likely) scenario is that Castoldi was trying to satisfy Regia Aeronautica requirements for a superior pilot's view while still avoiding the overly humped forward fuselage which emerged with the built C.200 Saetta.

From Massimello's description, I've conjured up two possible early C.202 profiles. Although the dating for the first C.202 concept is slightly later, [2] the first sideview is based on the airframe illustrated above for the 1935 C.200 and C.201 concepts. The second sideview is based on the C.200 Saetta prototype as built later in 1937 ... although that seems rather less plausible. [3] Neither possibility presents much of a looker ;p

(Personally, I find the built Macchi C.202 to be one of the most attractive of WW2 fighter designs. So, I'm extremely grateful that the clunky, 'cab-forward' ur-C.202 never went anywhere!)

___________________________

[1] "Si trattava infatti del disegno preliminare di un monoplano col posto di pilotaggio moloto avanzato, simile al Ba.65, che non aveva avuto seguito." In Aer.Macchi C.203: un intruso tra i caccia della serie '200Ali Antiche (Torino), n║ 109, GAVS Torino, p. 29-30

http://www.avia-it.com/act/la_tecnica/la_tecnica_di_ieri/Tecnica_ieri_2016/Seg_art_apr_16/Aer_%20Macchi_C203_%20un_intruso_tra_i_caccia_della_serie_200.pdf

[2] Although the preliminary C.200/C.201 and C.202 are only separated by a few months, it's not clear whether Aeronautica Macchi or Ing. Castoldi considered this 'cab-forward' C.202 concept to be a part of the initial-phase progetto n.24 designs.

[3] Both of these sideviews are based upon an early-production C.200 profile done by the great Teodor Liviu Morosanu.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2041 on: February 28, 2019, 05:55:39 AM »
Macchi 'C.203' - What-If Macchi C.202 Derivatives

I don't know of any unbuilt developments of the Macchi C.202 other than the proposed Isotta-Fraschini L.121-powered C.204 (coming later). I have no doubt that there were unbuilt developments of the C.202 put forward, I just don't know what they were. There was, of course, the Macchi C.202bis concept. But that's different ... by the time that it was built, the C.202bis had been redesignated Macchi C.205V Veltro.

In his article, Aer.Macchi C.203: un intruso tra i caccia della serie '200 (Aer.Macchi C.203: an intruder amongst the '200 series fighters), author Giovanni Massimello unveils a little-known unbuilt project - the Macchi C.203. However, before the 'big reveal', Massimello acknowledges that some may have been speculating about this previously 'missing' C.203 designation.

"It was conceivable to expect an evolution of the C.202 to emerge. Perhaps with a new fuselage redesigned to house a 20 mm Mauser gun firing through the Daimler Benz 601A in imitation of the Messerschmitt Bf 109F series? There was a pressing insistence coming from Mussolini for a so-called "caccia-cannone". However, in contrast with the German fighter, such a cannon-fighter conversion was not readily achievable on the C.202 due to unsolvable centre of gravity issues. Accordingly, a redesign project would be needed along with new assembly lines. Difficult to accomplish in a short time, so nothing came of the push for a caccia-cannone."

As a what-if, a motore-cannone development of the Macchi C.202 seems like a comparatively simple proposition. If centre-of-gravity was the critical issue, the 'C.203' caccia-cannone could incorporate a new cannon bay which also served to extend the fuselage slightly rearward. For my 'C.203' cannon-fighter, I chose a domestic Scotti 20 mm auto-cannon rather than Massimello's German "20 mm Mauser gun". [1]

"Or, perhaps, we could imagine the '203 as the first attempt at a project to replace the DB 601A of the '202 with some more powerful powerplant?"

My first thought here was a Reggiane RE 103 'M-18' engine (as in the Reggiane Re 2004 project). But that inverted W-18 powerplant doesn't appear until 1943. So, instead, I settled on a developed version of the Isotta-Fraschini L.122. In the RW, the L.122 was an inverted development of Isotta-Fraschini's L.121 upright V-12 engine. For my whif upgraded L.122bis, I'm imagining the Ministero dell'Aeronautica assigning L.122 aspiration to Alfa Romeo - hence the Daimler Benz-style side-draught supercharger intake. [2] The tricky bit would be making the I-F L.122bis more powerful than the 1,175 hp DB 601A and licensed Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41-I!

________________________

[1] Alfredo Scotti of Brescia did design a 20 mm aircraft gun. Like Scotti's 7.7 mm machine guns which were also used by the Regia Aeronautica, the 20 mm guns were actually produced by Isotta-Fraschini.

[2] The alternative would have been to forego fuel injection and use a down-draught carburettor with an above-cowling intake akin to that of the US Allison V-12. The DB arrangement seemed more elegant and easily accomodated a dust filter into the intake.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2042 on: February 28, 2019, 07:09:53 AM »
I'm enjoying these Macchis enormously.

Those are some superb "sand & spinach" variations. Your talent knows no bounds, apophenia!

A veritable feast for the eyes!

Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2043 on: March 01, 2019, 02:47:55 AM »
I really like the inline Macchis.  Any chance of one of these (or even a radial engined variant) in service on the Carrier Aquila?
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2044 on: March 01, 2019, 06:19:31 AM »
I really like the inline Macchis.  Any chance of one of these (or even a radial engined variant) in service on the Carrier Aquila?

I like it! May have to circle around on that one. Meanwhile ...

Ricognizione Veloce - The Macchi C.203 Floatplane Project

The Macchi C.203 was an unbuilt project for a twin-engined seaplane dating to 1937. Ing. Castoldi designed with twin-float aircraft for a 1937 Ministero dell'Aeronautica competition for a idrovolante da ricognizione veloce (fast reconnaissance seaplane) to replace the dated CRDA Cant Z.501 flying boat. The C.203 was to be a relatively sleek, tandem-seater powered by two radial engines. In general appearance, the fuselage with its twin, endplate tails, resembles a contemporary French landplane reconnaissance type - the Bloch MB.170.

As in the Bloch design, the C.203's pilot was seated well forward with underside nose glazings for observation. The C.203 canopy glazing was a lengthy affair terminating in a semi-enclosed dorsal gun position. Fixed armament consisted of three machine guns - that dorsal gun, a ventral gun firing through a hatch, and a fixed gun in the upper nose. A crew of two or three would be carried. Wingspan would be 20.90 m, total length was to be 14.34 m. According to Giovanni Massimello, power was likely to be provided by twin Fiat A.74 radials. [1]

Massimello also notes that, while Castoldi is very experienced in seaplane design, the C.203 layout doesn't compare all that well with the winning Fiat-CMASA R.S.14 submission. [2] The later featured a well-glazed nose cap and side-by-side seating for its flight crew. Defensive armament consisted of a 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT gun in a 360░ traverse Lanciani Delta turret and twin 7.7 mm machine guns. Powered by two Fiat A.74, the R.S.14 airframe was slightly smaller but - with a crew of 4 to 5 - the CMASA design was likely heavier than the C.203 would have been. That said, the Regia Aeronautica probably received the superior of the two designs.

Illustrated here is my take on the C.203 floatplane as designed by Castoldi (bottom). [3] But I've also included a completely speculative sideview of what the C.203 might have looked like had the nose been revised to better suit the fast reconnaissance role (top). Just for fun, I've added to the mix an evolutionary path parallel to that of the experimental land-based Fiat-CMASA A.S.14 attack aircraft derived from R.S.14 floatplane. Then, I've re-engined this fictional 'C.203bis' with twin 1,025 hp Piaggio XIbis R.C.40 radials as a more powerful prototype for the equally-ficticious 'C.203B'.

________________________

[1] It is equally possible that Castoldi intended the powerplants to be the larger Fiat A.80 radial - which were first considered for the C.200.

[2] This critique could also applied to the late-arriving CRDA Cant Z.515. That design shared the C.203's twin tails but featured the R.S.14's glazed nose cap, side-by-side seating, and Isotta-Fraschini Lanciani turret.

[3] I've shown the prototype C.203 with 'smooth' cowlings (as opposed to the C.200's individual rocker covers) and a Piaggio P1001 propeller hub. However, the early-production C.200s featured Fiat/Hamilton-Standard 34D-1 constant-speed propellers (on the first 24 or 32 C.200 production airframes, sources varying).
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Online elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2045 on: March 01, 2019, 10:30:32 AM »
Having once interned, once upon a time, at AerMacchi (summer of 1972), I am really enjoying these variations.  'twill be interesting to see if Macchi developed a design using the Zeta engine much as the Re.2004 and Caproni-Vizzoli F.6Z did.

Historical tidbit: Up until the new plant was built in Venegono, all Macchi land planes were built at their Varese plant, which is now in the middle of town, and had to be broken down and trucked to Venegono for re-assembly and flight testing.  Their seaplanes were built at a facility right on Lago de Varese (literally "Lake of Varese"); this facility now builds Harley-Davidsons for which Macchi holds a license (not sure if it's just for Italy or all of Europe).

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2046 on: March 01, 2019, 05:05:37 PM »

Lovely floatplane !

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2047 on: March 02, 2019, 08:38:59 AM »

Lovely floatplane !

Floatplane is my favorite flavor, too!

Well done, apophenia!

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2048 on: March 03, 2019, 10:28:17 AM »
Going to extend this post-war with Merlin-powered versions of the MC.202/205V airframe or perhaps a hot-rodded one with a Griffon?

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2049 on: March 05, 2019, 05:46:15 AM »
Thanks folks! And Evan, historical tidbits are always most welcome  :smiley:

Going to extend this post-war with Merlin-powered versions of the MC.202/205V airframe or perhaps a hot-rodded one with a Griffon?

Wait for it  ;D  But first, a GTX-inspired diversion ...

Portaerei per Il Duce - Regia Marina Aircraft Carrier Development[/i]

In late 1935, the procurement staff of Italy's Regia Marina formalized their Requirement for an 'auxiliary aircraft carrier' and, in early 1936, issued a Request for Proposals. The Requirement made clear that naval staff were expecting a 'flat-top' conversion of an existing vessel. The flight deck and steam catapult would be strictly for carrier-based aircraft - there were to be no recovery cranes or stowage areas for seaplanes of any kind.

The first response came from Ansaldo shipyards of Genoa. This submission proposed a carrier modification of an Ansaldo-built ocean liner - the MS Augustus, built at the Genoa yard a decade earlier. As modified, this carrier conversion would feature a 171 metre-long flight deck, two aircraft elevators, and three below-decks aircraft hangars (one serving as a repair shop and parts stowage area). For this conversion proposal, the Regia Marina assigned the temporary re-naming - RM Falco. In its submission, Ansaldo noted that, if the Regia Marina were to desire a second aircraft carrier, a sister ship - the SS Roma - could also be made available for conversion.

The second RfP reponse came from the Cantiere Navale Triestino (CNT) of Monfalcone. An ocean liner built by that yard - MS Saturnia - had just completed trooping duties for the Abyssinian campaign. At the end of December 1935, the nine-year-old Saturnia had been returned to her builder's yard for re-engining. CNT proposed that she be rebuilt along the lines of Japan's updated Hosho aircraft carrier - complete with full-length flight deck and folding funnels. [1] A tentative technical assistance agreement had already been arranged with Asano Shipbuilding - the Japanese makers of the Hosho - and the Imperial Japanese Navy's Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. If a second vessel was required by the Regia Marina, a sister-ship - MS Vulcania - was available for conversion. [2]

Weighing the comparative advantages was fairly straightforward. The MS Augustus was a comparatively large ship with an overall length of 215.25 m and a beam of 25.2 m while MS Saturnia was only 181.58 m long with a beam of 24.31 m. Because the CNT conversion was to feature a full-length flight deck, that surface would actually be more than 11 metres longer that the flight deck proposed for the Ansaldo project. [3] On the deficit side, the CNT flight deck would be one metre narrower than that proposed by Ansaldo. Ansaldo appealed to national prestige with an all-Italian approach to design and construction. By contrast, the CNT plan was to source catapults and other specialized carrier gear from Japan.

The Regia Marina regarded CNT's scheme to import the catapult, transverse arresting gear, aircraft lifts, etc., from Japan very favourably - in part because it freed Italian naval architects to concentrate on the design of cruisers and other capital ships. The Ministero dell'Aeronautica assessment also favoured the CNT bid. A longer flight deck was valued and CNT's slightly narrower deck did not represent a problem for the planned shipboard aircraft - 'hooked' biplanes in the form of the Fiat C.R.32N fighter and IMAM Ro.43bis reconnaissance-bomber. Accordingly, the CNT proposal was given official approval in August 1936 and a conversion contract was issued in October 1936.

Under Regia Marina nomenclature rules, the MS Augustus hull would be re-named. CNT recommended an 'unsinkable island' name and RM Sicilia was tentatively accepted. However, the ship continued to be referred to as the Augustus as conversion work began. In 1938, reflecting changes in official naming policy, the conversion would be re-named again - this time as the RM Garibaldi.

CNT had allowed for six months to refurbish and re-engine MS Saturnia as a liner. She was scheduled to receive two, new Sulzer diesel engines which had already been delivered to the CNT yard at Monfalcone. These double-ended diesels would develop a total power of 41,000 bhp intended to give the liner a 22 knots top speed. However, inevitable weight gains in the carrier converted process reduced top speed to 20 knots (although this remained at least as fast as the proposed Ansaldo conversion). Beyond re-engining, the entire superstructure had to be removed along with the original funnels. A girder-work structure was erected to support the wooden flight deck. Two new folding funnels were mounted on the starboard side outboard of the flight deck. [4]  Two elevators pierced the flight deck at either end of a new below-decks hangar for the ship's aircraft. Beneath the aircraft levels, aviation fuel storage tanks and ammunition magazines were fitted. [5] This work progressed rather slower than expected and, as a result, the re-named RM Garibaldi was not finally delivered to the Regia Marina until March 1939.

On her maiden cruise, RM Garibaldi carried an aircraft complement of 12 C.R.32N fighters and 9 Ro.43bis reconnaissance-bombers. Both the Regia Marina and Ministero dell'Aeronautica regarding these docile biplanes as interim equipment for the new aircraft carrier. In 1939, two competitions were announced for replacement aircraft. These future fighters and recce-bombers were both to be higher-performance monoplanes. (No shipboard torpedo-bomber was planned since the Regia Aeronautica was very satisfied with its land-based Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79 bombers carrying 450mm Whitehead torpedoes.)

(To be continued ...)

_________________________________

[1] An obvious difference was that the Italian carrier retained a raised superstructure for its wheel house.

[2] Although assigned to military support, both CNT-built liners technically remained property of the Cosulich - SocietÓ Triestina di Navigazione line.

[3] Ansaldo's plans called for the flight deck to end 45 m short of the upper bow to facilitate gun emplacements.

[4] The twin folding-funnels became a recognition-book feature for the Garibaldi, readily distinguishing its profile from that of the Japanese Hosho with its triple folding-funnels. (A more subtle distinction was that the wheel house/control tower of the RM Garibaldi was set further aft than that of the Hosho.)

[5] Conversion work included installing defensive gun positions (including side-slung 'gondoli' for light anti-aircraft cannons) but the RM-provided weapons themselves would not be installed until final fitting-out and work-up in March 1939.
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