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About ThomasProbert

  • Birthday 02/16/1982

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  • Location
    Kent, SE England
  • Interests
    Vacforms and scratch-building, civil aircraft modelling.
    Eighth Air Force in WWII

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  1. Evening folks, A long overdue update on the Sunderland... The last few weeks have been spent adding some of the finer details to the model as I prepare it for paint. The last major job was to add the cockpit glazing which is always a nerve-wracking experience as I regularly ruin canopies with wayward glue-sodden fingers and a host of other mishaps. However, this time things proceeded smoothly - the canopy itself was an excellent fit and the whole process was remarkably trouble free! First job was to add the previously completed flightdeck details: Then the canopy itself was attached by holding it in place with tape and running Tamiya Extra Thin around the mating surfaces: This was allowed to set for 24 hours and then I carefully masked the areas in need of protecting before blending the clear piece in with Milliput Fine: When complete, the windows were marked out and cut from Tamiya tape before the whole cockpit area got a spray of RAF grey/green to ensure the frames are the correct colour when viewed from inside. I also attached the astrodome and DF loop which was a spare from an HK B-17: With that done, other smaller details were made and added such as the leading edge landing lights on the port wing (these will be fitted and painted after the main paint job is completed), the tip lights were made from clear sprue sanded to shape and the various other access panels were either sribed on or made from thin Evergreen strip: The early Sunderlands were festooned with various aerials for sub-hunting and these have been made from various pieces of sprue and Evergreen - I have fitted those on the top of rear fuselage as they shouldn't get damaged but the remainder will be done after painting: A beautiful set of 3D-printed wheels have also arrived to complete the hone-made beaching gear: So the airframe is now more or less ready for a mammoth session in the paint booth - you'll notice I've already sprayed her flanks in Medium Sea Grey in preparation for masking off the codes on her sides: Speaking of paint - my go-to brand is Xtracolor's enamel range and I'm stocked up and ready to go! I may be a while but I'll be sure to update you when she's in her new dress. All the best, Tom
  2. Howdy all, I've concentrating my recent efforts on the beaching gear for the big Sunderland - I was for a while considering a water diorama but then it occurred to me that I don't have a 5ft by 5ft display area so wheels it is. I love the challenges kits of this nature bring and the research that needs to be done as it always throws up so much information about a particular aircraft. It looks as if there were three distinct types of beaching gear, all with their subtle differences, and that does not include all of the different float, wheel and tyre combinations. The version I photographed at Solent Sky looks to be either very late or post-war, therefore not suitable for an earlier MkII of around 1941 vintage. It seems they were painted differently too - some left in natural metal and others in anti-rust red. Strength is a must on such a large model, and I did consider using a brass core but my soldering skills are not up to the job. Instead, I raised my stash of spare sprue and found some really chunky parts from the HK B-17 kit and used these as a starting point to form the core of the beaching gear. I used a perpendicular junction point as this provided a very strong 90-degree angle for the main strut and axle without having to worry about the joint failing at any time: Over a few sessions I then built up the external structure with plastic card, Evergreen and more sprue and detailed them according to references: The rear beaching gear is a more complex affair and is a sturdy box-like structure with a cradle for the rear of the hull to rest in: Here are the main components ready for a trip to the spray booth: I've decided to go for anti-rust red as it'll add a splash of colour. After the base-coat they have received a light wash and some rust streaks etc - the real things got terribly battered so I may add some more at a later stage: These then slot snugly on to the forward fuselage: And under the rear of the hull: You'll notice a distinct absence of wheels at this stage - a friend is kindly helping me out by designing and printing me a set that will be added in due course. Here's an early screen shot of how they'll look: And now here we are: sitting proudly on it's own three legs and waiting for the next stage of detailing. For some reason, my cat never looks impressed with my models - she must get that from the wife! Until next time, Tom
  3. Afternoon guys and gals, Progress has been slow on this recently as I got to the point where I knew I needed to start to cockpit interior or there was a real danger I would lose steam on this build. I HATE doing cockpits so struggled a bit with motivation to get this done - it's all had to be made from scratch so it's rather tedious. Before I go any further I'll say that don't use this build as a reference for your own Sunderland models as I've used a bit of poetic licence here and there, but hopefully you'll agree it looks the part. The seats and instrument panel (including the radio) were all made from plastic card (Airscale's excellent etched bezels were used too) along with some bits and bobs from the spares box and Millput for the seat cushions. Control columns were made from Evergreen and some paper clips cut and bent to the correct shape. I found some 1/32nd seatbelts which did the job - pictures of MkII pilots' seats were hard to come by but they'll do: Individual parts painted up: And positioned as they will be in the cockpit: When dry-fitted into the flightdeck, all fits as it should: I've also had the airbrush out and given the front turret area and cockpit and window surrounds a squirt of interior green so the glazing can be added when the time comes: I've still got to make the overhead panel that'll go under the roof of the cockpit glazing, but that can wait until another day. I think I'm going to do something more fun next and maybe have a crack at the beaching gear. Take care all, Tom
  4. Hi Clark, I think you may be getting your wires crossed as I decided not to attempt any wing mods - life is too short! I know others have, but I haven't seen one finished yet to decide if it's worth the hassle or not for when I tackle a J-model at some point. All the best, Tom
  5. Now that will be great to see. I don’t think the interior colours would have been any different to the USAAF versions to be honest - as far as I know they were delivered more or less off the shelf and then went to depots for mods. However, there’s no logical reason why the insides would be repainted (those on night ops were different) so I’d stick with the standard colours for the interior.
  6. Carl, I’m pretty sure interior green was never used on the B-24. Flight deck and nose were dark dull green and the bomb bays and rear fuselage remained natural metal - on natural metal B-24s. If you’re doing a camouflaged J-model, the interior of the bomb bay would most likely be neutral grey. However, the B-24 was manufactured at so many different plants and in such great numbers, there will be lots of variation and it’s difficult to apply a hard and fast rule to a particular model at a particular moment in time. Tom
  7. It's been a while since I updated this thread but work is continuing in the background on the big B-24D. Since last time, I've painted the engines and installed the nacelles onto the wings: Undersides: The tail assembly has also been completed and added - along with the rear turret. The unsightly join has been minimised with painting the mating surfaces black before joining and although not perfect, it's certainly better than simply sticking the parts together. I've also added the 2nd Air Division white circle on the tail which will be masked before the OD goes on: I now need to finish off the cockpit and nose interior before adding the final transparencies and she gets a splash of paint: Until next time, Tom
  8. Yes - it’s well worth a visit. Lots of interesting exhibits including the Supermarine SB.6 racer which is well worth a good drool over…
  9. Evening all, I've spent a bit more time at the bench this week, as well as seeing a 1:1 scale Sunderland in the flesh - well a Sandringham actually but close enough. We had a weekend down in Southampton and whilst there I sweet-talked the wife into letting me spend an afternoon at the Solent Sky Museum. If you're in the area it's well worth a visit - lots of great exhibits and history about Southampton during the war years but the star attraction for me was of course their rather beautiful Sandringham that used to fly for Ansett: They even let you dive inside - the interior is a little different to the one I'm building but it was great to have a nose around nevertheless. I imagine this example is a bit more comfortable than the Sunderland! The main reason for my visit was photograph and have a measure of the beaching gear which is a job I'm going to be tackling soon, and I managed to get plenty of useful reference shots: On to the model itself, I thought it time to have a closer look at the transparencies. It's important to get the fit of these correct just in case there was some additional structural work to be done before commencing on making their interiors. The turrets were carefully cut from the backing sheet and test fitted to the model. Here's the rear and mid-upper in situ - both fit really well: The only work needed here was build up the rear turret fairing a little more with card and Milliput. The cockpit glazing itself fits remarkably well - phew! For the nose turret, the MkII I'm building still had the early type fitted. This will be installed in the fully retracted position so I have made and added a platform for it to sit on as well as adding the details around the opening itself: The props have also been painted and lightly weathered: And look the part when installed on the engines: And that, boys and girls, brings you up to speed. Until next time, Tom
  10. Time for an update as it's been a while - life and work and everything else has been getting in the way and keeping me away from the bench. However for a change in pace and a break from working on the main airframe, I've began to work on the props. I once again have raided my stash of Beaufighter parts as the props are the same size and turn the same way. I've had to shorten the hubs a little to take the spinners which have come from the spares box (no idea what the were from) and made some new shafts from sprue to fit the modified engines: These will now need a squirt of paint and will be good to go. It's half term next week so I am hoping to get going again in earnest with this! All the best, Tom
  11. Evening all, This week I have finished off making the floats and have installed them onto the wings -temporarily. With the basic structure of the floats done, I removed the head from some nails and epoxied them into the open ends of the alloy struts. After some very careful measuring of plans, I worked out the location of each float and marked this onto the wing: Just drilling holes and inserting the nails would have meant the join would not have any rigidity, so instead I used some large diameter scrap sprue and inserted this into the wing to act as mounts. These were set into epoxy glue so that they are absolutely rigid and are bedded on to the upper wing surface. These sprue inserts were then filled and sanded flush, before a hole was drilled in each to take the nails and provide a really strong union between the struts and the wing: Here is a float in situ - not glued yet as there are additional struts to add but these will come later just before paint in case they inadvertently get a whack during the final stages of production: Here are a couple of shots of the overall airframe: I've made a tentative start on the transparencies for the cockpit as I want to get this right before I finish off the interior - this will be my next task to complete so hopefully another update in the not-too-distant future. All the best, Tom
  12. Afternoon all, Progress on this build has slowed somewhat after returning to teaching for the new academic year, so evenings have been taken up with marking books and planning lessons. It's such a shame when work gets in the way of one's hobby. However I've been working on the floats when time allows, so thought I'd share some pictures... The basic shapes were removed from their backing sheet with a sharp blade. I hold it at a 45-degree angle and score around the part numerous times before snapping it free. It then means there's only a very small 'lip' of plastic needing to be removed which cuts down on the sanding time significantly: To aid the gluing together of the parts I lined one half of each float with a thin plastic card tab: The floats are obviously going to be positioned on the outboard sections of the wing in quite a vulnerable position, so I made a trip to my local model shop and bought some alloy tube, helpfully in the shape of an aerofoil like the real thing. This will provide plenty of strength if they inadvertently get a whack! Before joining the floats together I worked out the position of the struts using the plans, before securing them in place using Araldite Epoxy glue: Here are the floats now together and the struts cut to the correct length. Everything about this model is massive - here's a pot of Tamiya paint as a useful size reference: I am now going to need to scribe and detail the floats before working out a plan to attach them to the wings and getting a nice and strong join. Stay tuned! Until next time, Tom
  13. You were a life-saver, Mark - thank you once again! Evening boys and girls, It's been a glorious sunny day here in my corner of Kent so I got the camera out and snapped some pictures of the recently installed engines. With each 'power-egg' complete it was just a case of adding them to wing-section of each nacelle. The Revell Beaufighter cowl flaps were an absolutely perfect fit for the kit's forward firewall, so it was just a case of applying some Araldite to the inside surfaces of the cowl flaps and sliding them into place. The relatively slow drying time of the epoxy glue meant I had ample time to ensure each engine was aligned correctly, both with the plans and each other. When installing them, I didn't realise that the engines canted outboard at such an angle, but references confirmed this was the case. It certainly looks a little strange that the thrust line is so off central, and I presume there is a valid reason for it, too! Anyway, on to the pictures... As you can see the fit is nice and snug, and engine no.1 looks the part now it's hung on the wing. The early MkII-style straight exhausts will be made and added later: Engines 3 and 4 - lots of care was taken to align the engines carefully during installation: When I was hacking about with the kit-supplied nacelles I removed and kept the very crude carburettor intakes in the hope I could make something useable from them - as you can see from the three finished intakes at the top of the picture they scrubbed up fine: These were than glued in position on the lower section of each nacelle: She's really starting to take shape now: Thanks for stopping by folks, and stay safe! Until next time, Tom
  14. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words, chaps! A little more progress to share on the Sunderland - I've been working on the engines of late which has not been the most fun (I hate engines and cockpits!) but I'm at a stage where they are ready for installation to the airframe. Sunderland IIs were powered by the Bristol Pegasus, of which aftermarket options were very expensive and to fit four to model would have cost me nearly £100! Therefore I did originally plan to modify the Revell 1/32nd Hercules engines from a Beaufighter, but being two row seven cylinder engines, that was going to be quite a challenge. With the Pegasus being a single row nine cylinder set up, a better starting point would have been a Wright Cyclone and thankfully a fellow forum member came to the rescue (thanks, Mark!) and sent me a set of his unused HK Models' B-17 engines. The reduction gear housing more closely resembles the Hercules set up, however, so I used the HK cylinders and the Revell Hercules reduction gear - not perfectly correct but close enough... The Pegasus is actually, at least at first glance, a quite simple engine to replicate (used for illustration purposes only): I won't have to worry about detailing the cylinder heads as these will all be hidden by the cowling, so it would just be a case of adding the single push-rods. First up I sprayed the inside of the cowlings black and then I needed to check the cylinders fitted inside the cowlings properly - in the picture below you can see they sit quite happily in the correct position and actually needed no glue to hold them there. The reduction gear housing is just sitting on the cylinders to get the 'sit' of the engine correct in regard to clearance for the propeller: I then painted the cylinders and reduction housing, and made the pushrods from Evergreen before adding and painting: A final test fit in the cowling - as you can see not much can actually be seen so the detail I've added is quite adequate: All four 'power eggs' are now complete, with the engines secured with Araldite Epoxy to ensure they don't fall into the nacelle: Next up will be installing these onto the wing... stay tuned. All the best, Tom
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