Author Topic: Apophenia's Offerings  (Read 347949 times)

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2205 on: June 09, 2019, 06:59:56 AM »
Thanks folks. Yes, Hs 129A was the look I was going for ...
___________________________________

Production of the KhAI-14 began with the assembly of a small series of pre-production KhAI-14A airframes. These pre-producion aircraft were assembled from components from a range of sources. The main undercarriage units, wings, and basic steel-tube fuselage structures (albeit, now completely shpon-covered) were parts shipped to Kharkov from GAZ-81 at Tushino. The Gamma engines came from Zaporozhye but were comprised almost entirely of Czech-made parts imported back in 1939. The cockpit canopy and windscreen originated with Ilyushin. [1] The heavily armoured forward fuselage was, of course, completely new. So too was the much-enlarged vertical tail surfaces required for stability (their ugly, squared-off form having been adopted to simplify production).

As planned, the main fixed armament for the KhAI-14S was mounted in an under-belly tray. It was intended to install four ShKAS machine guns flanking a single 23 mm PTB-6 cannon. However, the recoil forces of the PTB-6 proved excessive and the rifle-calibre ShKAS were now being seen as inadequate for the ground-attack role. Fortunately, the belly tray was designed for flexibility of armament. The KhAI-14As were all delivered to VVS united armed with twin 20 mm ShVAK cannons and four 12.7 mm UBK machine guns.

Top A pre-production KhAI-14A newly delivered from the Kharkov assembly line in late May 1941. Note the early fair-lead for the radio antenna (later replaced with a raised antenna post).

Some redesign was undertaken prior to commencing full production. The biggest change was the armouring of the lower engine cowlings. The opportunity was also taken to provide extractor tubes to provide a modicum of exhaust thrust augmentation. Soviet VISh-84E constant-speed propellers replaced the pre-production model's Czech-made  three-bladed props. The profile of the fuselage tailcone was also revised to provide some rear-defence capability by incorporating a wobble-mounted 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun.

Standard offensive armament was a single 37 mm Sh-37 cannon and three 12.7 mm UBK machine guns. Unfortunately, the Sh-37 cannon proved unreliable in service. Most KhAI-14Bs were re-armed with the usual KhAI-14A fixed armament of two 20 mm ShVAK and four 12.7 mm UBK guns. However, after the beginning of German's Operation Barbarossa, a number of KhAI-14Bs were delivered with a single 20 mm ShVAK and three UBK guns. A few early-production KhAI-14Bs had field modification where their Sh-37 was replaced by a belly bomb rack capable of carrying a FAB-500 (but with a FAB-250 being the common load).

Bottom Production model KhAI-14B in service. Note revised exhaust outlets and tail-defence ShKAS gun. 'Red 19' has either lost its wheel-cover doors was either delivered without these doors in the frantic days of June 1941. Note the ad hoc RS-82 rocket projectile mounts under the outer wings.

The KhAI-14C (or Neman Ne-2C) was to have uprated Gamma engines, wooden-bladed VISh-84M propellers, and quicker-retracting main undercarriage legs. Standard hard points for bomb rack mountings were to incorporated into the wings inboard of the engine nacelles and rocket mounts outboard. Fixed armament was intended to be a single 37 mm OKB-16 cannon plus two 12.7 mm UBK (or four BS) machine guns. An alternative scheme involved the mounting of a single 45 mm 111P cannon with twin BS machine guns.

Construction of the KhAI-14C/Ne-2C was never begun. In late July 1941, GAZ-135 (as the KhAI was now designated) was evacuated to Novosibirsk where it was incorporated into Zavod 153. Alas, there was no hope of resuming KhAI-14/Ne-2 production in the east. All engine tooling had been damaged or destroyed by the Luftwaffe bombing of the Zaporozhye rail yards. KhAI supplier Zavod 454 was evacuated from Kiev to Kuibyshev but brought none of the KhAI-14 tooling with it. The KhAI-14/Ne-2 series had become extinct. Fortunately, by then, the superior Ilyushin Il-2 had overcome its teething problems and was being produced in increasingly large numbers.

___________________________

[1] The Ilyushin Il-2 cockpit enclosure differed from the original prototype TsKB-57 unit. The revised canopy (and the decision to adopted the Il-2 windscreen unchanged had necessitated some redesign of the KhAI-14's armoured nose profile.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2206 on: June 10, 2019, 01:23:57 AM »
The new armored windscreen/canopy and squared-off rudders make this one look ready for a fight!

I especially like how you rendered the camo on the bottom one. Most pleasing to the eye and then some!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2207 on: June 11, 2019, 04:06:25 AM »
Cheers Brian. And now, a much more conservative what-if based on Iosif Neman ...
----------------
From his NKVD prison draughting office at design bureau TsKB-29, Iosif Grigorevich Neman was tasked with continuing development of the products Neman had developed as chief designer at the Kharkov Aviation Institute. Production continued of the KhAI-5 reconnaissance monoplane - serving with the VVS as the R-10. However, plans to produce the KhAI-52 ground attack aircraft were faltering. The KhAI-52 was an evolution of the KhAI-51, in turn, an attack variant of the KhAI-5/R-10. However, during its development, the KhAI-52 had been overtaken by the superior qualities of Pavel Sukhoi's new BB-1 (Su-2) short-range bomber. The latter was to replace the R-10 on the production lines at Kharkov just as Sukhoi had replaced Neman as chief designer.

To compete with the Su-2 for production space, Neman had to emphasize a role other than short-range bomber. He chose to focus exclusively on ground attack, eliminating the light bomber aspect of his KhAI-52 design. The resulting KhAI-55 (Ne-4) eliminated the fuselage bomb bay of the KhAI-52 in favour of increased forward-firing armament. To improve manoeuvrability and speed, the KhAI-55 returned to the original, shorter-span wing of the KhAI-51 (KhAI-5bis) and R-10. And the KhAI-52's wing armament of six 7.62 mm machine guns was increased to eight ShKAS guns.

The KhAI-55/Ne-4 could be quickly distinguished from its predecessors by its revised crew accommodations. Both cockpit and observer's turret were positioned closer to the the centre of the fuselage. Made possible by the removal of the bomb bay, this placement was dictated by the use of extensive armour plating to protect the crew members. To maintain controllability, it was essential this armour's weight be kept close to the aircraft's centre of gravity.

Top One of the pre-production Neman Ne-4 ground attack aircraft issued for squadron service in the Winter of 1940-41.

Although the KhAI-55 was accepted for limited service as the Ne-4, it was obvious that there was considerable room for improvement. The KhAI-8 began as a clean-sheet design but was quickly revised to use the basic KhAI-55 airframe. The key differences were further cockpit armouring (with the pilot's canopy taken directly from the delayed Ilyushin Il-2). The flush retracting main undercarriage was replaced by a sturdier gear which retracted rearward into Ilyushin-like underwing pods. This allowed the retracted main wheels to protrude, reducing potential damage in the event of a wheels-up forced landing. More importantly, this undercarriage type also free up the entire wing centre section for fuel tanks.

It had been found with the Ne-4 that, under vigorous low-level manoeuvring, the horizontal tailplane could sometimes blank the rudder. As a simple expedient, the prototype KhAI-55 had its vertical tail moved forward. Testing at the LII-VVS showed that this change corrected the tail blanking problem while increasing rudder authority. Accordingly, this forward-mounted tailplane was also adopted for the KhAI-8.

The KhAI-8 was a promising design but Neman was unable to secure his preferred engine type - the M-88 twin-row radial (as used in the Sukhoi Su-2). In its place, Neman was forced to retain the KhAI-55's large-diameter Shvetsov M-63 engine. The KhAI-8 was accepted for service as the Ne-6 but this attack aircraft was doomed to be underpowered. Neman persisted with an M-88A powered design under the KhAI-82 designation. A further development was to be the KhAI-85 (Ne-8) powered by the forthcoming Shvetsov M-71F radial. Neither of these projects were ever completed. Small numbers of Ne-6s were issued for service use in the desperate days of late 1941 but flew were still flying by the end of the following year.

Bottom Kharkov KhAI-81 (Neman Ne-6A) ground attack aircraft. Note that his sub-type had a forward-firing armament of two 20 mm ShVAK cannons and four 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns. This aircraft is missing the usual Ne-6A underwing racks for RS-82 rocket projectiles.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2208 on: June 11, 2019, 06:37:39 AM »
You've totally nailed that 1930's version of art-deco design on that lovely white KhAI-55/Ne-4, apophenia!

What a treat to see an update and one so easy on the eyes too!

Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2209 on: June 12, 2019, 01:33:30 AM »
The real world KhAI-52 for comparison:



Mars Models are producing a kit in 1/48 in case you wished to adapt it to recreate these in plastic:




All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2210 on: June 14, 2019, 07:01:19 AM »
Cheers Greg ... great stuff. On RW Neman designs, the main undercarriage always looks underscale to me - I guess its just because those main wheels are so honking big.
____________________

More on Neman ...

When the development of his planned KhAI-85 (Ne-8) with a Shvetsov M-71F radial was cancelled, Iosif Neman switched his focus to an engine that was available. With production of the MiG-3 interceptor winding down, Mikulin's liquid-cooled AM-35 V-12 would soon be available. KhAI received a running AM-35A engine along with a complete MiG-3 cowling from GAZ-1 in Moscow. Suitable engine mounts were devised and this powerplant was quickly adapted to the in-production KhAI-8 (Ne-6) airframe.

The prototype conversion was re-designated KhAI-15 and flown to Tushino for tests by the LII-VVS. However, Neman had already received orders to replace the Ne-6 on the Kharkov production lines as soon as possible with the Mikulin-powered variant - which was to 'recycle' the KhAI-85 designation of Ne-8 for service use. Like the Ne-6, the Ne-8 was to be a dedicated ground attack aircraft (Shturmovik) which was relatively lightly armoured. The Ne-8s were to act as 'fill-ins' until sufficient numbers of fully-armoured Ilyushin Il-2s were available to frontal aviation units of the VVS.

Top Prototype Kharkov KhAI-15 (Neman Ne-8) ground attacker. Note that this aircraft has no wing guns fitted (and yet to be equipped with its radio transmitter).

Conversion of the Kharkov line to Ne-8s was rapid. Two closely-related variants were to proceed down those lines simultaneously. Aft of its firewall, the KhAI-151-1 (Neman Ne-8A) differed from the Ne-6 primarily in having a shortened tailcone (with an optional remote-controlled 'sting' gun) and radiators mounted under the wing centre section. As with the Ne-6, launch rails for RS-82 rocket projectiles were mounted under the outer wing panels. Fixed armament was as per the Ne-6 - two 20 mm ShVAK cannons and four 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns.

Every tenth airframe in this new series would be a KhAI-151-2 (Neman Ne-8P) with revised armament. The 'P' designation suffix was for 'Pushka' or 'Cannon' indicating an additional 20 mm ShVAK per wing. This variant had the outer-wing rocket rails deleted to reduce weight. Few of the 'Pushka' version were completed but, when available, the Ne-8Ps were employed as flight leaders on strafing runs.

Bottom Kharkov KhAI-151-2 (Neman Ne-8P) in temporary Winter camouflage. This aircraft has its turret gun in the ready position (with the turret fairing stowed). Note the tailcone 'stinger' gun (often removed to save weight).

When Kharkov fell to the Germans, Neman was working on a revised version - the Ne-8M (KhAI-154) which was to be powered by the new Mikulin AM-38 engines and armed with 37 mm cannons. Neman had yet to receive an official 'go-ahead' on his proposed Ne-8M (KhAI-154). An obvious objection would have been the increasing availability of the superior Il-2 which employed the same powerplant. With the fall of Kharkov, those became moot points.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2211 on: June 15, 2019, 02:15:51 AM »
The camo on the bottom one is pure eye-candy!

Your talent is off the charts, apophenia!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2212 on: June 16, 2019, 07:52:09 AM »
Cheers Brian. I have one more Yak-4 based posting to go ... but forgot to bring my thumb drive with me today  :-[  (I'll post 'em on Monday, PST).
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2213 on: June 18, 2019, 04:34:23 AM »
As promised, my final installment on Yak-4 derivatives ...

In 1940, Yakovlev produced a fighter variant of the Yak-2 recce-bomber. Designated BB-22IS (aka I-29), this  'least-mod' fighter derivative failed to impress during testing and was quickly abandoned. A more thorough re-design resulted in a heavy interceptor, internally designated BB-22TI (for Heavy Destroyer BB-22). This variant would have the crew compartments moved to the centre-of-gravity with a new nosecone containing a heavy cannon armament. Construction of a prototype was approved for evaluation.

The Yakovlev 'BB-22TI' was assigned an official designation of DIS-3 (for Dvukmotorny Istrebitel Soprovozhdeniya or Twin-Engine Escort Fighter). This fit better with VVS policy goals but, in fact, Alexandr Yakovlev had not intended for his design be an escort. Although ordered as the DIS-3 escort fighter, officialdom was quite aware that Yakovlev was building a heavy interceptor. [1] Based as it was on the BB-22 airframe, the prototype DIS-3 was completed quite quickly. It was flown without armour or armament but performance was not exceptional. The DIS-3 inherited the BB-22 series' instability.

There were also growing concerns about the DIS-3's intended armament installation. Could Soviet industry produce sufficient ShKAS cannons to satisfy general VVS needs let alone the 6-gun armament proposed for the DIS-3? In the end, the DIS-3 prototype never flew with its offensive armament. The entire programme was ultimately cancelled and the prototype was turned over to the Letno-Issledovatel'skii Institut - the VVS' Flight Research Institute - for purely experimental purposes.

Top LII-VVS Yakovlev DIS-3 fitted with four Western 'Gispano' 20 mm cannons for comparative testing with Soviet ShKAS guns, 1942.

A much more radical fighter development of the BB-22 design was the I-36 high-altitude interceptor. Devised in cooperation with the Moscow-based GAZ-1 factory, the Yakovlev I-36 combined a revised BB-22 airframe with the huge Mikulin AM-35 engine from the MiG-3 fighter. This combination was quite apropos. After building 81 BB-22s, GAZ-1 had switched to producing MiG-3 fighters. As such, the Moscow plant was ideally suited to building the I-36 airframe. However, the I-36 was no straightforward adaptation of the BB-22 to a single powerplant.

For its high-altitude role, the I-36 was to be fitted with twin turbosuperchargers - one mounted on each side of the rear fuselage. A large belly fairing contained a pair of engine coolant radiators flanking a large intercooler for the turbosuperchargers. In appearance, the I-36 resembled Yakovlev's I-26 frontal aviation fighter. But the I-36 was a much larger aircraft. It was ordered off the drawing board into limited production as a target defence interceptor for the PVO (Protivovozdushnoi Oborony) as the TVI-4 (Tyazhelyi Vysotny Istrebitel or Heavy High-Altitude Destroyer). [2]

As with the DIS-3, prototype construction was quickly completed but delivery of its turbosuperchargers and other specialized equipment was another matter. Once the German invasion was underway, doubts emerged about the wisdom of expending resources on defending targets which then might need to be immediately abandoned to the rapidly advancing enemy. When the TVI-4 prototype suffered a turbo fire on its fourth flight, a final nail was driven into the coffin of Yakovlev's high-altitude interceptor. GAZ-1 would continue with MiG-3 fighter production. The PVO would not return to a high-altitude fighter requirement until the middle of 1943. [3]

________________________

[1] Including 'escort' in the official designation may have been an attempt to dodge accusations of duplicating the heavy interceptor efforts of Vsevolod Tairov's design bureau.

[2] This designation was a strange one. The '4' in TVI-4 obviously related to 'Yak-4' but, under the Soviet system, fighter aircraft were usually given 'odd' number designations.

[3] This requirement would be satisfied by the I-220 (aka MiG-11) - a much smaller aircraft than Yakovlev's TVI-4 - but no production was undertaken. By the time that the MiG was under test, the threat of Luftwaffe bombers beyond the Urals had largely disappeared.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2214 on: June 18, 2019, 04:39:44 AM »
Those are both excellent and well worth the wait, apophenia!

I especially like your treatment of the turbo-supercharger. I imagine it's not easy to capture that look.

The bit in the back story about not being able to secure enough of the right parts was delightful and has a ring of truth to it.

Very well done!

Brian da Basher

Offline jcf

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2215 on: June 18, 2019, 07:47:16 AM »
Those are really long turbo feeds, as they're mounted exposed
to the air I have to wonder about the effect on thermal efficiency
and velocity, especially as altitude increased.
 ???

I realize the P-47 had long pipes, but, being mounted inside the
skin they would probably have lost less heat than if exposed to
the slipstream.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2216 on: June 20, 2019, 05:54:20 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.

Jon: Good point. I was mainly looking for a simple way of attaching the feeds to a welded steel-tube fuselage. Sounds like I also found a way of reducing turbo efficiency to around zero  :P
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2217 on: June 21, 2019, 03:46:40 AM »
As threatened, I'm reposting an image (sans backstory) from my aborted CleanBC thread for the Beasts of Burden GB. I may finish off other, related images and post them later ...
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2218 on: June 21, 2019, 03:52:18 AM »
Those are simply magnificent and that is one of the classiest liveries I've seen recently.

I especially like the details of the poor tech fixing the engine on the bottom example.

Pure eye-candy, apophenia!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2219 on: June 21, 2019, 04:00:51 AM »
Cheers Brian. I'm keen on the Pacific Coastal livery too. I've also got a few invented airline liveries in the works to follow ...
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