FN5 turrets for Wellington

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Timothy Huff
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby Timothy Huff » October 31st, 2019, 3:35 pm

Many thanks Stewart. My photo's are not the best. For reasons I do not understand when I photograph them in the workshop, they tend to come out unduly yellow without a flash. Just as we were packing-up, Alex (or Alec?) Whiticker <sp?> the RCME photographer found us, and took a load of pictures with a proper camera and tripod, so I'm hoping he's got some shots rather better than what I've managed to date.

The highlight of the day for me was a Polish father and son, the lad being about six, who just beamed at being allowed to operate the elevation and looking through the gunsight. When the lad read the Polish language cautions on the doors, and (I think) the father then explained that these were Polish-crewed, he was completely made-up. It was a real privilege to see this education and enthusiasm from one generation to another, and it is just what I had in mind making them. (My father, an RAF fighter-pilot right at the end of the war, used to take me, at a similar age as this Polish lad, to the Polish Airman's memorial in Northolt http://bbm.org.uk/of-interest/places-of-interest/the-polish-war-memorial/ as we drove to my gran's. He had strong views on how poorly the Polish ex-servicemen were treated, and likewise all Bomber-command aircrew at the end of the war, and to a degree, since. Hence my choice of a Polish Wellington, of which choice, I think, he would have approved.

The Wellington was also his favourite aircraft, as like most putative aircrew, as he awaited a posting overseas for training, he was put to work on Bomber-Command squadrons to help with the daily efforts to ready aircraft for the next raid. As he was something of an amateur engineer and chemist, he really liked the geodetic design of the Wellington. His chemistry was put to nefarious use, when in the Summer of 1940 my then teenage father was contriving home-made bombs in case Jerry invaded. He and my uncle let off a particularly large one on top of the family Anderson, which set off the local sirens, earning them both a class one bollocking and invitations to join-up without delay! His mains operated high voltage wasp-trap still makes my Aunt chuckle 80 years later!
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Timothy Huff
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby Timothy Huff » November 20th, 2019, 6:35 pm

Progress on the turrets has slowed recently, as the workshop is disagreeably cold. However, I conspired with a Airfix type kit master-modelling mate, to do the "weathering and dirtying". We sat down first and examined the internal turret structures and pipe-work, and determined which area would be liable to get a misting of hydraulic fluid, and then subtracted from these areas those which would have been possible to clean well from inside. The remaining areas were then given a heavy slathering with Alclad's "Dirt and Grime" (A lot goes a short way!). Testing on painted super-ceded parts showed that water-based pigments would not migrate over the surfaces of printed nylon at all well. We then experimented, and found that applying the well diluted pigments to wet methylated spirits with a drop of washing-up liquid proved just the job, and more importantly, the meths didn't attack Alclad enamel, or metal effect paints, or indeed the "dirt and grime".

Although my mate had brought a profusion of pastels, powders, and oil-paints, we decided to 'quit whilst we were ahead'. The weathering has visually tied the differently coloured parts of the turret together rather nicely, but it's difficult to photograph)

The main effort at the moment is getting the MDF shapes cut out to make the 1st of two plugs required to eventually vacuum-form the cuplola windows. Pics to follow as that gets under-weigh.

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Steve Perry
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby Steve Perry » November 21st, 2019, 8:37 pm

I took some photos of the inside of the Wellington turret in the conservation hanger at Cosford, I will upload them when I have time to resize them, basically everything inside is mat black.

stuart knowles 1611
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby stuart knowles 1611 » November 21st, 2019, 11:00 pm

This turret is simply a work of art and, sadly, I feel that it has no place on a flying model. It would be such a waste.
It reminds me of the Spitfire and Mustang models on display in Hendon / Cosford and built by David Glen and it deserves an equally auspicious home. Fair pay to you Mr Huff, I think that you are breaking new ground in the modeller's art.

Incidentally, I noticed that the Mustang had moved from its former display space in the entrance hall at Cosford. I hope that it only a temporary move. Anyone know?

Timothy Huff
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby Timothy Huff » November 22nd, 2019, 1:29 am

Steve Perry wrote:I took some photos of the inside of the Wellington turret in the conservation hanger at Cosford, I will upload them when I have time to resize them, basically everything inside is mat black.


You're quite correct that matt-black is by far the predominant scheme, however at least two others existed. As far as I've been able to determine the schemes were:

Initially bare-metal, until towards the end of 1940 as there was a huge demand for turrets and the two main manufacturers struggled to keep pace with demand. Often painting was left to the Squadrons to do. From late '40 to roughly the end of '41 a grey-green scheme was used for a short time, which became an all-black scheme at the end of '41. Often one can come across turrets in different schemes on the same aircraft, which is either a consequence of them being swapped out, or, simply that they used the paint from the previous scheme at Frazer Nash until the paint was exhausted, only then moving to the new colour. (supposition on my part) Additionally there are what appear to be grey painted schemes, so this may be from local paints being used to moderate the reflective qualities of the bare metal turrets, or simply the vagaries of wartime colour film.

I decided to use a mixed scheme of mostly green-grey and some bare metal. The reason is to aid "depth of field" when photographing from within it. The brighter the turret interior, the more likely the turret interior and outside world both, will simultaneously be in focus - which requires a decent depth of field. An all black scheme might therefore have proven difficult.

Regarding the Cosford Wellington, although the turrets are correct in colour for the era of the marque of Wellington - a T10 - iirc, the existance of the turrets is not. The T10 is a very late war or post-war Wellington built as a flying class-room for navigators under training. Neither turrets were fitted, and instead the positions they'd have occupied were faired over. in 1969 or so the decision was taken to remove the fairings to make it resemble a standard wartime Wellington by adding turrets from another aircraft, but the interior remains to the T10 configuration. There are also differences to the construction of the inner-wings to the more numerous Mk III and MK Ic Wellingtons.

Consequently it's a bit of a "sheep in wolves' clothing", so to speak, and one needs to be a little careful in using it as a guide in some respects, although, you're perfectly correct that matt black was far and away the most numerous scheme.
Last edited by Timothy Huff on November 22nd, 2019, 2:08 am, edited 3 times in total.

Timothy Huff
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Joined: January 23rd, 2018, 4:12 pm
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Re: FN5 turrets for Wellington

Postby Timothy Huff » November 22nd, 2019, 1:38 am

Many thanks for your kind words. I think if it had been scratch-built, rather than 3dprinted, I'd probably have readily agreed with you, but really all the hard work was on the CAD side, and so in theory I could build a further pair turrets in 8 months or so, whereas these two, in effect prototypes, took nearly 4 years to design and build. Indeed I'm seriously considering re-working the design to simplify assembly, to correct 1 or 2 dimensional errors, and to make them printable in any scale between 1:3 and 1:10, so that if anyone wanted to build and fit them, I could make the parts to the required scale. Once that process has been done, I may well design other turrets to a similar design method, if there's a demand for them; commencing with the FN5a, FN50 and FN20/120 turrets (Lancaster front, mid-upper and rear turrets respectively), followed by some of the Boulton Paul turrets. They are, deeply satisfying, to make. I'm aiming to make the revised design to be buildable in a matter or perhaps 4 months for a pair of turrets.

stuart knowles 1611 wrote:This turret is simply a work of art and, sadly, I feel that it has no place on a flying model. It would be such a waste.
It reminds me of the Spitfire and Mustang models on display in Hendon / Cosford and built by David Glen and it deserves an equally auspicious home. Fair pay to you Mr Huff, I think that you are breaking new ground in the modeller's art.

Incidentally, I noticed that the Mustang had moved from its former display space in the entrance hall at Cosford. I hope that it only a temporary move. Anyone know?


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