Author Topic: Apophenia's Offerings  (Read 436878 times)

Offline jcf

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2600 on: August 05, 2020, 12:27:56 PM »
 :smiley: :smiley:

The Ōtaka may fool a few otaku.  ;D :icon_fsm:
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2601 on: August 06, 2020, 07:48:47 AM »
The Ōtaka may fool a few otaku.

 ;D ;D

Of course, any self-respecting otaku already has at least one wall of his cramped, one-room, micro-apartment completely lined with stacks of unopened, still-cellophaned boxes of this one kit type:
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2602 on: August 06, 2020, 07:52:46 AM »
'Cang Ying' - The Manchukuo Ki-53-I Gai and Gaishàn

The Nakajima Ki-53-I Gai was another hybrid model based on early-model Ki-53s. Refurbishment work was undertaken by the Nakajima's Manchukuo subsidiary, Manshū. This Harbin-based programme standardized Ki-53-I and Ki-53-I Ko airframes, effectively bringing them to Ki-53-I Otsu standard. By 1943, the Ki-53-I Kai was hardly an up-to-date fighter but it was better than the older Nakajima Ki-27s then in service with the Feixíng Duì' (Manchukuo Imperial Air Force, known to the Japanese as the Dai Manshu Teikoku Kugun). A dozen Ki-53-I Kai conversions were completed at Harbin.

Top Manchukuo Nakajima Ki-53-I Gai of the 3rd Air Unit at Harbin, September 1943. Markings and scheme are standard Manchukuo Imperial Air Force pattern - overall pale grey or (as in this case) clear-coated aluminum finish with Manchukuo roundels above and below wings. This aircraft carries two 'bird' victory markings beneath its cockpit, suggesting that it is the mount of a Japanese exchange pilot (which may also explain the katakana letter 'ta' on the rudder).

In late 1944, follow-on Ki-53-I Gaishàn modifications were introduced. For the most part, this involved stripping Ki-53-I Gai's of non-essential equipment - including most armour, wing guns, and often radio transmitters. The object was to improve Ki-53-I Gai performance sufficient to allow the Manchukuo fighters to intercept high-flying American B-29 bombers. Ki-53-I Gaishàn armament was standarized with twin, cowl-mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns (replacing the original 7.7 mm Type 89 synchronized guns). Eight Ki-53-I Gaishàn upgrades were completed (these surviving aircraft being bolstered by six ex-IJAAF Ki-53-IIs).

Improving the Breed - The Nakajima Ki-53-II Ōtaka

As recounted in the last post, Nakajima engineers had hoped to install the firm's improved NK1F (Sakae 21) engine in the Ki-53-I. Atsushi Tajima pursued that option and finally received approval to proceed with his Ki-52-II development in the Autumn of 1942. The Nakajima NK1F produced 1,115 hp thanks to its 2-speed supercharger, resulting in worthwhile gains in performance. Tajima had also been tweaking the airframe. Many of the airframe changes were inspired by Mitsubishi's A6M3 Type 0 Model 32, including its clipped wingtips. The Ki-53-II also introduced a fully-retractable tailwheel [1] to refine the design aerodynamically.

The pre-series Ki-53-IIs were followed by full-production Ki-53-II Ko Ōtakas (differing mainly in some simplification and parts reduction). The Ki-53-II Ko was identifiable by its repositioned exhaust ports but, in theory, the 'Ko could also be fitted with outer wing bomb racks. In practice, such bomb racks were only fitted to Ki-53-II Otsus, a variant which eliminated the wing-mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns to save weight. Few of the 'Otsu models were built, with most operating in South-East Asia against British forces.

Bottom Nakajima Ki-53-II Ko of the 64th Sentai based at Mingaladon Airfield in Burma, March 1943. The tawny brown disruptive camouflage seems to have been done locally (likely using captured paint and applied over a fairly well-worn dark green scheme). Note that this aircraft has been fitted in the field with a (back-up?) telescopic gun sight.

____________________________________________________________

[1] Consideration was given to reintroducing full main wheel covers but this was overtaken by events. Reports from the field suggested even larger, low-pressure tires would be useful. Instead of cleaner main wheel wells, the Ki-53-II ended up with fatter main wheel tires which protruded even more.
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2603 on: August 08, 2020, 10:33:35 AM »
The Nakajima Ki-53-III Ōtaka was to combine features of the cannon-armed Ki-53-II Kai and the Mitsubishi A6M5 naval fighter. However, this modest improvement was overtaken by the more ambitious Ki-53-IV. This model was to be fitted with a much more powerful engine - the Nakajima NBD. The NBD - or Ha-52 as it was designated in the unified system - was part of a proposed family of twin-row engines using the cylinders from the 18-cylinder NBA Homare. The Ha-52 was the 14-cylinder member of this family [1] displacing 27.9 litres (1,703 cid). In displacement, the Ha-52 differed little from the earlier Sakae but the new engine was meant to generate over 1,550 hp for take-off.

A challenge for Atsushi Tajima's design team was the rather higher dry weight of the Ha-52 - 690 kgs versus 535 kgs for the Sakae. To restore the c/g it was decided to move the cockpit as far aft as possible. [2] This allowed for a fuselage fuel tanks and permitted the installation of larger-calibre gun cowls. For production Ki-53-IVs this meant twin 20 mm Ho-5 cannon synchronized to fire through the propeller arc along with another wing-mounted pair. [3] A sturdier main undercarriage was also adopted, complete with full wheel covers. With design complete, a Ki-53-II airframe was converted on the production line into a representative a Ha-52 powered Ki-53-IV.

The first flight of the Ki-53-IV conversion was delay until November 1944 when a flight-worthy Ha-52 engine was finally made available. This maiden flight was brief and disastrous. Despite its fan-cooling, the engine began overheating while taxiing and temperatures did not drop noticeably at airspeed. The test pilot elected to terminate the flight but, by then, the immature engine was beginning to smoke. On approach, the Ha-52 burst into flames, obscuring the pilot's vision. The Ki-53-IV landed heavily and broke its back.

Top The Ki-53-IV conversion as it appeared during its test flight. Despite its radical transformation, the first Ki-53-IV was not considered a Genkei (prototype), rather it was simply a new Kata (model) of Ōtaka. As a result, the sole Ki-53-IV was painted in a standard green-over-grey paint scheme (and lacked the orange undersides applied to genuine prototypes).

Nakajima Ki-53-V Otaka - Salvaging a Sow's Ear

The urgency for more fighters capable of intercepting American B-29 bombers blinded Rikugun Koku Honbu (Imperial Japanese Army Air Force) planners to the risks of new engine types. With Nakajima now focusing on Ki-84 Hayates, work on the series Ki-53-IV was contracted to the Tachikawa Hikoki K.K. Production of the Ki-53-IV was ordered before the inadequacies of the Ha-52 engine were apparent. Mechanical shortcomings might be overcome but the Ha-52 also proved only capable of produced about 1,350 hp. The fatally-flawed Ha-52 programme was cancelled, but this left Ki-53-IV airframes rolling down Tachikawa's Sunagawa production line with no powerplants waiting for them. One suggested alternative engine for the Ōtaka was Mitsubishi's latest model Kinsei, the Ha-112 (unified Ha-33). This seemed ideal - the engine produced 1,560 hp and weighed less than the Ha-52. Alas, the Rikugun Koku Honbu had already ear-marked available Ha-112s for Kawasaki.

With fighters desperately needed at the front, the decision was made to fit the engineless airframes with the one available radial - the old Sakae. The resulting Ki-53-V was something of a disappointment. Visibility from the aft-placed cockpit was inferior - particularly on the ground. Nor could the reduced-power Ki-53-V carry the planned heavier armament. However the new model had some advantages over the preceding Ōtakas. The fuselage fuel tank meant that external drop tanks were rarely needed. Ki-53-Vs could, instead, act as fighter-bombers with bombs slung from their belly rack. The first Ki-53-Vs were Ki-53-V Ko models armed with 20 mm cowl guns but lacked wing guns to save weight but that soon changed.

The Ki-53-V Otsu followed, based on less complete Ki-53-IV airframes. The 'Otsu returned to the Ki-53-II armament of four 12.7 mm Ho-103 Type 1 machine guns. The Ki-53-V Hei had podded 30 mm Ho-155 guns but remained a prototype (performance suffering due to both weight and excessive drag). The final production model was the Ki-53-V Tei with all-up weight reduced by eliminating some equipment (including bomb rack fittings). [4] This allowed the wing-mounted 20 mm Ho-5 cannons to be reinstated (the cowl guns remained 12.7 mm Ho-103s). Some Ki-53-V Otsu models were later upgraded to Ki-53-V Tei standards as the Ki-53-V Kai. Not surprisingly the Ki-53-V Tei and Ki-53-V Kai proved underpowered for their intended interceptor role. Many were stripped and disarmed for Shinten Seikutai ramming attacks on B-29s (albeit with limited success). Other Ki-53-Vs joined earlier-model Ōtaka in kamikaze attacks on Allied shipping.

Bottom Tachikawa-built Ki-53-V Ko being prepared for a Shinten Seikutai attack on B-29 bombers. This fighter came from the Akeno flying school (whose crest it still bears on its rudder). This aircraft has been stripped of its radio, gun sight, and cowl guns in preparation for its final mission. Note the replacement canopy hood. [5]

____________________________________________________________

[1] The third member of this family was the 22-cylinder, 2,500 hp Ha-51 which only reached the prototype stage.

[2] This movement was limited by the fuselage construction break inherited from the original Mitsubishi A6M design. The windscreen and canopy adopted were virtually identical to those of Nakajima's Ki-84 Hayate.

[3] Alternative armaments considered were four wing-mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns or a single 30mm Ho-155 Model 1 cannon slung beneath each wing.

[4] [5] Relatively few Ki-53-V Tei Ōtakas were completed before the Sunagawa assembly section of the Tachikawa plant was bombed out by US Navy aircraft on 17 Feb 1945.

[6] The original sliding hood may have been prone to sticking. The object of the Shinten Seikutai Tai was not suicide. Where possible, pilots were expected to bail out just prior to impact or, if lucky, directly afterwards.
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2604 on: August 13, 2020, 03:15:35 AM »
Kawasaki Ki-174 - the 'Special Attack' Sokei

This one isn't a whif so much as an 'it-might-have-looked-like-that'.

In 1944, the Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. completed a 'least mod' conversion of its Ki-48 Sokei medium bomber for the kamikaze role. This Ki-48-II KAI (aka Type Tai-Atari) was armed with 800 kg of explosives and manned by a crew of two or three. Never a terribly impressive performer, the Sokei would also have provided a fair-sized target on kamikaze missions. Nevertheless, the Ki-48-II KAI were assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army's 'special attack units' - the Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai or 'Tokkotai'. The limitations of the modified bombers was made apparent on operations.

In late January 1945, the British Pacific Fleet launched a series of attacks by carrier aircraft against Japanese-held oil refineries at Palembang. On 29 January, a Japanese counter-attack was arranged. Taking part were seven Ki-48s of an Imperial Japanese Army Tokkotai. None of these special attack Sokeis succeeded in reaching the British carriers. All were shot down by intercepting Fleet Air Arm fighters or Royal Navy anti-aircraft fire. Clearly, the Ki-48 required a higher performance to be of any use to the Tokkotai.

The Kawasaki Ki-174 was a dedicated kamikaze version of the Sokei. The Ki-174 was to be a single-seater but I'm not clear if these aircraft were to be new-builds or radical modifications of existing Ki-48 airframes. The latter seems more probable. My problem is that I have absolutely no idea what the nature of the planned modifications was to be. So, the whif part is just making up all that part ...

For my version of the Ki-174, I decided to completely remove the raised portion Ki-48's upper decking - complete with the rear radio-operator/gunner and navigator/gunner position as well as the cockpit. With the bombardier's position also removed, the cockpit could be repositioned lower in the fuselage. The pilot's view to the sides would be greatly compromised but this lowered cockpit would also be better-protected from the sides by the mass of the engines. Views directly forward would be excellent and a new, armoured nose cap further protects the cockpit from anti-aircraft fire.

The profiles were based on artwork from a Hasegawa Ki-48. For the lower profile, I've included a stand-off fuse mounted on a pole (which apparently was employed on some of the built kamikaze Ki-48-II KAIs). I left the pole off the upper profile (imagining a different requirement - like greater penetration of target ships before detonation).

The lower profile features the all-over light grey-green (#1 Hairyokushoku) scheme seen on many Ki-48s. The other profile has the upper portion of its Hairyokushoku scheme overpainted with a maritime scheme of blue-grey with light-blue patterning. I'm calling my imaginary camouflage pattern  Sayuri (Orange Lily). In hanakotoba, the Japanese meaning of flowers, the Sayuri represents hatred and revenge ... which seemed appropriate to the Ki-178's desperate role.
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2605 on: August 17, 2020, 07:39:22 AM »
Chung-tao F-84 Lièfeng (Gale)

When Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan in 1949, their future was anything but secure. The Generalissimo had a grand plan - Project National Glory - to reconquer Mainland China but no way to bring such a scheme to fruition. Worse, a previously sympathetic United States had written off the KMT as hopelessly corrupt. In Washington, preparations were underway to grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China.

That shift in US favour had been anticipated by KMT planners. While frontline equipment in the Civil War had been American-supplied, the Republic of China Air Force had also stockpiled captured Japanese aircraft in case the US cut off support. The best of these aircraft was the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Gale) fighter. In 1947, it was decided to relocate some Japanese aircraft safely away from Civil War action for operation as advanced fighter-trainers. Suitable Nakajima Ki-43 fighters were sent to Hainan while the Ki-84s went to Taiwan.

For ROCAF service, the Hayate was redubbed the Chung-tao F-84 Lièfeng. [2] Refurbishment of what were to be 'TF-84s' proceeded slowly on Taiwan. Ex-Japanese Army technicians did much of the work but parts and equipment were lacking. With some parts-robbing, two series of refurbished Nakajimas were ready for fairly reliable service by the Summer of 1948. By then, the situation on the Mainland was so dire, it was decided to equip the Lièfengs for combat use. As such, TF-84As became Lièfeng-A fighters and TF-84Bs Lièfeng-B fighter-bombers.

Despite plans to refit the Nakajimas with US equipment, most retained their Japanese fittings. An exception was in their cowl armament, where ammunition shortages dictating replacing Japanese 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns with similarly-sized American .50-calibre M2 weapons. The F-84A fighters retained the twin 20 mm Ho-5 wing guns, but only by stripping the cannons from F-84Bs. These Lièfeng-Bs then also received .50-cal wing guns. The F-84Bs were also fitted with wing racks for two Japanese 100 or 250 kg bombs. All Lièfengs were assigned to the ROCAF's new 10th (Reserve) Tactical Fighter Group based at Tainan.

Top Lièfeng-A - an F-84A of the 101st Fighter Squadron, 10 RTFS, at Tainan AB in late 1949. This fully-refurbished 'A' is in all-over lacquered metal finish with a flat-black anti-glare panel. Markings are ROC roundels in six positions, tail stripes, and fuselage-side 'buzz' number. Individual aircraft serial and details are recorded on the tail fin. On the cowling is the 'Roaring Tiger' emblem of 101 FS. [3]

Initial plans were that 10 RTFS Lièfengs would act in concert in the defence of the island of Taiwan. The F-84Bs would act as strike aircraft against ChiCom shipping and any surviving ground forces while the F-84As would fly top cover. The the Autumn of 1948, it was decided that F-51Ds flying from Chiayi AB would fulfil the escort role and all Lièfeng-As would now be fitted with bomb racks. These would be US racks for carrying American 250 lb bombs. The Lièfeng-Bs would retain their Japanese racks until supplies of IJAAF bombs were exhausted.

Bottom Lièfeng-B - an F-84B of the 102nd Fighter Squadron, 10 RTFS, at Tainan AB in late Summer 1948. This aircraft has received a less thorough refurbishment than F590, above. Upper surfaces remain olive green while the lower areas are bare metal. [4] As an interim, F614 has had its serial applied beneath the stablizers. Note that this F-84B has been fortunate enough to retain its wireless set (many Lièfeng-Bs having given up their R/Ts for fuller F-84A refurbishment).

On the cowl of this F-84B is the 102 FS 'tian shu' (sky rat) motif. This bat symbol does not indicate a nocturnal role. Instead this flying animal is symbol of good luck and longevity. [5]

_______________________

[1] Beginning in August 1948, much of the remaining ROCAF were relocated, operating from bases in Taiwan.

[2] 'Chung-tao' is the Chinese pronounciation of Nakajima. 'Lièfeng' translates roughly as gale-force wind.

[3] The tiger represents bravery. Also, the Chinese character for tiger - 'hu' - sounds the same as 'hù', which means 'protect'.

[4] Leaving metal skins bare was a rather dodgy practice when dealing with Japanese alloys. However, as time permitted, the F-84Bs were fully stripped and properly coated for protection against oxidization.

[5] The Chinese character for bat - fú - sounds and looks similar to fú (good fortune). Two bats symbolize 'double happiness' - so this 'sky rat' motif has been repeated on the starboard side of the cowling.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 01:50:32 AM by apophenia »
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline Frank3k

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2606 on: August 17, 2020, 08:48:05 AM »
The F-84/Ki-84 in natural metal and Nationalist Chinese markings look awesome!

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2607 on: August 17, 2020, 10:16:43 AM »
Are you sure there's an element of whiffery in this? ???
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2608 on: August 18, 2020, 01:52:24 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2609 on: August 18, 2020, 01:53:53 AM »
Thanks Frank and Greg!

Are you sure there's an element of whiffery in this? ???

Venerable Vombatus: Only just.  The ROCAF did hold stocks of Ki-43s and Ki-84s in case American aid was withheld/withdrawn. AFAIK, no serious rebuilds were done and these Japanese fighters weren't relocated from the Mainland.

Washington was preparing to recognize Peking/Beijing ... until Communist China intervened in Korea. (The PRC and its apologists like to play the victim on China's 1950-1972 isolation but, really, it was an 'own goal'.) The US turned its support back to Chiang's despotic regime only reluctantly.

BTW, I screwed up one of my footnotes which was to have commented on "Ex-Japanese Army technicians did much of the work ..."

The Nationalists treated Japanese POWs quite well (a gambit which made postwar Tokyo positively disposed towards Taipei). But, after the Emperor's announcement, Japanese troops were said to have "ceased resisting" rather than to have "surrendered". Honour was maintained but those Japanese soldiers lost the protections of the Geneva Convention. As a result, the Nationalists weren't forced to repatriate skilled Japanese as quickly as they did (the Soviets abused that distinction but so too did the US and British - who retained large numbers of Japanese troops for armed security and reconstruction work).
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline jcf

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2610 on: August 18, 2020, 10:02:15 AM »
Yeah, but nobody flew the 84 as well as Lt. Usagi.
art by Steve Gallacci.
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2611 on: August 19, 2020, 02:20:49 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2612 on: August 20, 2020, 03:48:37 AM »
Yeah, but nobody flew the 84 as well as Lt. Usagi.
art by Steve Gallacci.

Love the cowl markings  ;D  Squeezing those ears into a flying helmet must've been a trick though  :o
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2613 on: August 23, 2020, 02:49:52 AM »
This one is a teaser for a South China Sea scenario that I'm working on ...
________________________________

The S-70PHF Firehawk represents two, close-related types of Sikorsky helicopters delivered to the Philippines Navy (PN). The S-70PHFs are ex-USN SH-60B Seahawks which have been stripped and rebuilt to meet Philippine needs.

A total of ten S-70PHF Firehawks were delivered to the Philippines. Of these, four are fully-equipped by United Rotorcraft with wildfire-fighting belly tank kits. These external water tanks hold 3,785 litres (1,000 US Gallons) plus 114 lires (30 US Gal) of foam retardant. The water tank can be refilled at the hover using an integrated, retractable water pump-snorkel.

On this fire-fighting S-70PHF-1 variant, a distinctive feature is the four-leg landing gear. Whereas UH-60A-based Firehawk use the standard Black Hawk tailwheel, the S-70PHF Firehawk are S-60B based. In the case of the S-70PHF-1, the usual mid-fuselage 'tail' gear has been duplicated - allowing roll-over fitting (and unfitting) of the bulky Simplex belly tank ... or, at least, that's the story.

Top A Sikorsky S-70PHF-1 Firehawk showing its extended, 4-point landing gear but not fitted with the belly water tank. [1] Note that Firehawk 820 ('F1') is in hi-viz markings, complete with full-colour Philippines roundel and Philippine Navy badge. For undisclosed reasons, the Naval Air Group crest on the tail is a lo-viz decal.

The S-70PHF-2 variant is very similar to the S-70PHF-1. The S-70PHF-2 can be fitted with extended main landing gear legs and has water tank attachment lugs [2]. However, this variant has the standard single, SH-60B-style mid-fuselage rear landing gear leg. The S-70PHF-2 can perform similar missions to the S-70PHF-1 - mounting the Simplex belly tank; carrying up to 13 fully-equipped troops (or fire crew members); operating as a two-litter medevac aircraft; or flying back-up search-and-rescue missions.

In its 'short-legged' guise, the S-70PHF-2 relies on its cargo hook and portside bubble window to facilitate water bucket operations. When not carrying 'Bambi Buckets', the cargo hook is capable of supporting 4,080 kg (9,000 lbs) of slung cargo at speeds up to 120 knots.

Bottom A Sikorsky S-70PHF-2 Firehawk with original, short main gear. Firehawk 828 ('F9') is in lo-viz markings - including monochrome roundels and PN badges as well as paler grey script and serials. This aircraft has yet to have the NAG crest applied to its vertical tail. Pylons are permanently fitted to accommodate long-range fuel tanks as required.

So, Filipino Firehawk ... but there's more to the story. Stay tuned for the scenario  ;)

____________________________

[1] This aircraft has also had is nose-mounted searchlight temporarily removed.

[2] The extended undercarriage legs would be one of two kits taken from stores or 'borrowed' from an unserviceable S-70PHF-1. Once the latter was no longer AOG, the S-70PHF-1 would have its legs restored.
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2614 on: August 23, 2020, 03:19:32 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2615 on: August 31, 2020, 10:13:32 AM »
The aircraft chosen as an emergency replacement for RAF Coastal Command's Blackburn Botha was the de Havilland DH.91P - a maritime patrol derivative of the DH.91 Albatross airliner. [1] This MAP decision was based on two key factors - de Havilland was an aircraft maker without a priority combat type in production, and the DH.91P's mainly wooden construction reduced use of 'strategic' materials required. In RAF service, the DH.91P patrol aircraft would be named Hirta. [2]

The DH.91P Hirta Mk.I used the tailplane, wings, and powerplants from its airliner predecessor mated to an entirely new fuselage. This fuselage used the same moulded plywood construction as the Albatross but with the wings moved up to the mid-ming position patrol aircraft. The new wing position also dictated changes to the main undercarriage - the wings of which now turned 90 degrees to fit into the sides of the bomb bay (the upper portions of the wheels passing through the wing structure).

Like many new types, the DH.91P Hirta Mk.I suffered from a range of teething problems. The main issue was adequate cooling of its four air-cooled Gipsy King inverted V-12 engines. There was also concern over the overly complex undercarriage mechanism (although this landing gear presented surprisingly little difficulty in RAF service). An attempting a improved cooling was made in the Hirta Mk.IA modification which replaced the inverse cooling flow of the original Gipsy Twelve with direct air flow from large chin intakes. This helped somewhat with cooling but, in the meantime, MAP had decided to reduce the number of aero-engines in service. The Gipsy King was to be cut and DH was asked to find an alternative.

The more familiar DH.109 Hirta Mk.II was, of course, powered by twin radial engines. Fitting the former DH.91P airframe with modified nacelles from the DH.95 Flamingo airliner solved two problems. First the two 930 hp Bristol Perseus XVI radials had no cooling issues. Second, new main undercarriage members now retracted backwards into the nacelles - freeing inboard wing space for fuel and enlarging the bomb bays. But that is all  another story ...
_________________________

[1] The DH.91P Hirta was to augment the excellent aircraft but (being US-made) rather expensive Lockheed Hudson.

[2] Named after the largest island in the St Kilda archipelago, on the western edge of Scotland.
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Offline buzzbomb

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2616 on: August 31, 2020, 10:42:14 AM »
Ooohhh I do soooo like that.

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2617 on: September 01, 2020, 02:09:08 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2618 on: September 06, 2020, 10:06:17 AM »
Playing with Panzers (Part One)

I'm calling this one the 'Pz Kpfw III ausf I (v)' - the 'v' being for verstarkt (or uparmoured). [1] The idea sprang from noticing that the width of the Panzer III and Soviet T-34 were almost the same (2.90 m versus 3.00 m including fenders). [2] From that, the thought occurred that a T-34's heavy, sloping nose armour - or, at least, the top portion of it - could be grafted on to a Panzer III.

I'm not suggesting that such a mélange would make the Pz Kpfw III a match for the T-34. Rather, that this grafted Russian nose might have lengthened the Panzer IIIs primacy in the Western Desert (assuming availability by the Spring of 1942). The main gun would be the long 5 cm KwK 38 L/42, the hull machine gun would be the 7.92 mm KpfwMG 320(d) - the T-34's DT gun modified to fire standard German ammunition.

I'm imagining this as a limited emergency programme based on armour parts gleaned from destroyed T-34 in the field. That armour would then be incorporated into selected damaged Panzer IIIs undergoing major rebuilds. [3] The T-34 plating would be welded in place around the driver and radio-operator's compartment. Sloped side armour aft of that compartment would be riveted in place - providing some added ballistic protection from side shots but blowing clear when struck by blast from below (eg, from anti-tank mines).

I found this idea appealing ... but I'm not really sure if such a mod programming would have been worth the effort for the Germans. Fun concept to play with though  ;)

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[1] Apparently, the Allies actually reported a 'Pz Kpfw III ausf I' variant although, in reality, the Germans didn't seem to use the letter 'I' in their type designations.

[2] The 0.10 m (4 inch) difference disappears if the T-34 fenders are ignored and the overhang extends out for the full width of the Pz Kpfw III tracks.

[3] Obviously, Panzer IIIs with battle damage to their frontal armour would be priority candidates for this conversion.

"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2619 on: September 07, 2020, 01:42:28 AM »
Reminds me a bit of this proposal:


All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2620 on: September 07, 2020, 06:43:29 AM »
Thanks Greg. I always liked that sloped-armour 'Kruppvorschlag' concept. Apparently, the expected weight was too great for the PzKpfw IV running gear. That got me wondering about alternative suspensions for the Panzer IV ...

Playing with Panzers (Part Two)

I got on to the notion of a PzKpfw IV development which anticipates the Panther. My first stab used four paired wheels from the Panther with gaps between ... but that looked very peculiar on the Panzer IV. Instead, I went with this 'Pz Kpfw IV ausf N (VR)' - Verschachtelte Rollen meaning interleaved road wheels. Main gun is the 7,5 cm KwK 40 L/43.

The idea was a Famo-type suspension using single Panther roadwheels on each axle. Even still, I had to omit one Panther axle per side to shorten the track length. Does it work visually? I don't know. And it gives you all the disadvantages of the interleaved Famo suspension without the benefits of the Panther's wider tracks

Anyway, I pressed on with the Pz Kpfw IV ausf P (neuer Art). This later model features both Turm- und Seitenschürzen - the latter obscuring a new 33° sloped glacis plate. I figured that such bow armour alone was a lighter compromise solution compared with the full sloped hull of the 'Kruppvorschlag'.

My ausf P has the longer 7,5 cm KwK 40 L/48 gun. Of course, none of this would put the Pz Kpfw IV on par with the T-34. But I read somewhere that, on average, German tank crews could loose three rounds for every shot from the cramped, 2-man turret of the T-34/76. Maybe that and a little more protection evens the odds? Daumen drücken!
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2621 on: September 07, 2020, 06:56:31 AM »
That is nice work.
With the Famo suspension, the move to wider tracks would have been part of the design I would have thought, but that then leads to engine power and transmission capabilities.

Still, certainly worthy of putting on a build list of future projects as today's shiny object :smiley: :smiley:

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2622 on: September 09, 2020, 07:44:46 AM »
This one is a rip-off of one of Carlos' ideas - basically turning an Sd.Kfz.251 into a full-track APC. The idea here is that the Sd.Kfz. 6/Sd.Kfz. 251 track system could have created a full-track substitute for the RW 1-tonne Sd.Kfz.250 series while retaining maximum commonality with the parent '251 vehicles.

Built by Büssing-NAG, the Sd.Kfz.252/1 was a leichter Schützenpanzerwagen (or light armoured troop-carrier). Originally, the vehicle family was referred to as the Sonderkraftfahrzeug 252(K) - for Volleketten (or full track) - to distinquish it from the rival Hanomag-built Sd.Kfz.250(H) - for Halbketten (or half track). Power for the Sd.Kfz.252 came from a 100 ps Maybach HL42 TRKM engine. [1]

BTW: The image is based on an Sd.Kfz 251 sideview by Serge Andreyev.
__________________________

[1] This inline 6-cylinder being mounted back-to-front by comparison with the RW Sd.Kfz.250.
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"

Offline Frank3k

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2623 on: September 09, 2020, 10:42:25 AM »
I think once you stick the engine (any engine...) in the crew section, you'll end up with far fewer troops. Not much more room (if not less!) than my Gatoto Blindado. If you supersize it (1.5x bigger) it should have room.

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2624 on: September 10, 2020, 08:44:15 AM »
You may well be right Frank ... and I certainly haven't measured anything out. I plonked the HL42 TRKM in beside the driver (rather than on the centre line as per RW Sd.Kfz.250). Is there actually room to do that? Dunno.

For the RW Sd.Kfz.250, accommodation was for a crew of 2+4 (driver, commander, and a recce section of 4). But my 'box' is based on a shortened Sd.Kfz.251, which had a crew of 12 - driver, commander, and ten Panzergrenadiers). Based solely on that, I figured that I have room for 5 (and their gear) behind the driver/engine compartment (including the previously displaced vehicle commander). But that may have been over-optimistic  :(
"How many moles do you suppose they're keeping?;
Don't make a sound they're not dead, just sleeping"