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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 1:48 am 
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Why is he so confused ?
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First, some background on the Met Flight Gladiators. If you follow Met Flights (aka THUM Temperature and Humidity) through history, fighters were the preferred aircraft, at least locally. They could climb high and fast, get their readings, and get back down. Over an aerodrome, they might make 3 flights a day.

Since we wanted Coastal Command Met aircraft, I looked around and came up with 401 Met Flight which became 1401, and ultimately merged into 521 Sqn. Then I went looking for an aircraft. I had done some of this research before but not kept track of it very well. One thing I did find was that the Mushroom Gladiator books seem fixated on a mysterious circular thing to the left front of the windscreen.

Here's an interesting photo. All sorts of flying clothing hanging around but more importantly, the Met instruments sitting on the tail plane. The circular device is the barometer which will sit between the pilot's feet; the longer device is the psychrometer (and hence called the psy-thingy) for wet & dry bulb temps; and somewhere in all that is the recording board to be strapped to the pilot's knee.

Image

Here's a staged shot of the psy-thingy being handed to a pilot by a ground crewman -- it's only good for detail of the device….

Image

…. because in reality it was strapped to the starboard outer rear interplane strut as shown here. The pilot had a 3-cell torch to help him read it at various intervals ! Some accounts suggest that some Gladiators may have had a spotlight attached to the right rear cabane strut, focused on the psy...thingy.

Image


OK, that's the THUM Gladiator in a nutshell, so here's my target aircraft. N2309/'B' of 1401 Met Flight in 1942. This aircraft became part of 521 Sqn when the various Met Flights were merged in. It crashed and was SOC in Nov '43.

Image

There are 3 things to notice on N2309/'B'. First, there is no sign of the supposed circular device Mushroom claims were on THUM Gladiators - nor will you see it in any of the other pictures above. Second, it has a non-standard antenna on the fuselage rear deck, and third, it has a linear antenna under the fuselage. You can see variations of these two antennas on a couple other Gladiator pix, so N2309 wasn't unique but I don't know the exact function of either.

Now, I want to do some more poking around because I want to double check the color scheme -- it could be DE/DG/Sky.


OK, with the history out of the way, here's my selected victim. I have the Airfix, FROG, Matchbox, Heller, and Pavla kits. After a quick study, I put aside the CBK's, because they are Mk.I's (OK, just a prop) but more because they just aren't as nice as the other two.

Both look nice, the Heller has delicate raised panel lines, the Pavla recessed. In the end, I went with Heller because as nice as every Pavla kit looks in the box, it turns into a street brawl to get it together right. Plus, I've never built a Heller kit and thought it would be OK for a CFK in our display.

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Note the Heller has parts for both the Mk.I and Mk.II and wheels or skis.

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Simple instructions, from the good old days of named parts and modelers who could read and understand instructions, there's text translation of the French on the reverse. Also has a rigging diagram, but I'm not sure it makes sense yet -- I'll probably roll my own.

Image


Well, there, it's out and ready to start -- that's enough progress for today.

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THUMbs Up!
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PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 8:23 am 
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Great choice John, as regards camoflage colours I think you are right with the Day Fighter scheme, I have a couple of shots of Met Gladiators (including the staged one above) with Met Spits and Hurricanes in shot and they all appear to be in the same colours, one of them is captioned regaring the Spitfire and it mentions DE/DG camoflage.

Regards

Tom

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We'll call him Dinghy Watts...... - Paul Bradley

2016 A:B = 29:11
2015 A:B = 38:14
2014 A:B = 25:9
2013 A:B = 20:17
2012 A:B = I didn't keep score
2011 A:B = 39:11
2010 A:B = 51:10


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THUMbs Up!
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PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 10:51 am 
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Looks like his avatar
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The Heller Gladiator kit is one of those that just looks so nice that you want to build it regardless of your interest in the subject. Interesting information about the Met flight too.

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(2018 A:B 4:0 )(2017 A:B 7:3) (2016 A:B 18:6) (2015 A:B:C 20:0:9) (2014 A:B 15:5) (2013 A:B 30:6) (2012 A:B:C=33:18:1) (2011 A:B:C=46:11:6) (2010 A:B=33:19) (2009 A:B:C=26:10:1) (2008 A:B=11:9)
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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 11:25 am 
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Have built Airfix, Frog and Matchbox Gladiators in the past but never this one, I think I like it and it may be one to add to the stash wishlist.
Just a thought, as CC aircraft would they not have been painted Extra dark Sea grey - Dark slate Grey - Sky to match general CC and FAA fighter colours?

David.

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 2:27 pm 
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Why is he so confused ?
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You bring up a good point, David, which is why I'm going to go back digging. In many cases these Met birds were ex-front line aircraft that came in their original colors and as somewhat of a hack, were never repainted.

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THUMbs Up!
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PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 4:15 pm 
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Hi John,
This could turn out to be one of those things we never really find out as although the roundel in the close up shot is a little tatty the aeroplane itself does look quite tidy which together can lend weight to either opinion so unless an AM drawing turns up for these things it may never be really sorted out.
I could quite fancy building one of these to go with a Woodvale THUM Spitfire 19.

A quick heads up - according to (British) period books in my collection the struts near the centre section are the Interplane Struts and those near the wing tip are (were then?) properly called Outerplane Struts.

David.

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 6:39 pm 
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Why is he so confused ?
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Hi David,

Good point on the colors.

I guess "cabane" is an Americanism. Now that I re-read my notes, I can see both are called either "struts" or "interplane" struts, sometimes distinquished by "inner" or "outer". I haven't seen "outerplane", but I can now see why I may have disregarded some information in my searches because I did not associate "interplane" with what I call "cabane" ....

2 countries separated by a common language, and in this case, also 70 years of usage :grin:

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 19th, 2012, 7:19 pm 
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John,
Been digging further and another book I have (1944) calls the centre section struts 'centre section struts' and the wing struts regardless of where they are rooted are 'interplane struts' in the sense that they both span the gap in between the two wings so in that case an aircraft would have centre section struts and (even sometimes both inner and outer) interplane struts. I don't know what to say, I'm gobsmacked.

David.

History is funny stuff to deal with!

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 20th, 2012, 1:32 am 
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Why is he so confused ?
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Hah ! I think I'll go with "long" and "short". :)

I'm on another, non-modeling, project right now, but in a couple days I'm going to run my sources in an effort to follow N2309 to see what the camo might be, and also think about whether it is possible that it was in a shadow-shading scheme. The dates for CC scheme change suggest it could be XDSG/DSG/Sky but then as the Gladiators were on strictly local (over the 'drome) use it may not have been critical ....

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 20th, 2012, 2:02 am 
I think that the whip aerial is for the VHF set used to pass the met readings to the ground while the under fuselage one looks to be for the beam approach system as the met pilots flew in all sorts of weather.

Dai


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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 20th, 2012, 8:01 am 
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jRatz wrote:
Hah ! I think I'll go with "long" and "short". :)

I'm on another, non-modeling, project right now, but in a couple days I'm going to run my sources in an effort to follow N2309 to see what the camo might be, and also think about whether it is possible that it was in a shadow-shading scheme. The dates for CC scheme change suggest it could be XDSG/DSG/Sky but then as the Gladiators were on strictly local (over the 'drome) use it may not have been critical ....


John,
Proving this one could be a(nother) problem and to further muddy the waters it has occured to me that if this aircraft came from storage at an MU it may have been overhauled and repainted in then current fighter colours Dark green and Ocean Grey or Extra Dark Sea grey with Sea Grey Medium undersides so that gives us three possible colour schemes.

David.

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 20th, 2012, 8:09 pm 
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Why is he so confused ?
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And I think we have a winner !!! But it doesn't lie on a straight path ...

While leafing through all my Galdiator stuff, I cam across a color profile page from RAFFR June 1965 showing Met Glad N5902 in DG/OG/MSG, except the caption info on unit, time frame, etc didn't match up, so it was suspect.

Continuing on, I found a color profile of N2309/B, my subject, in the Mushroom Gladiator book -- DG/OG/MSG -- Yea ! Except, continuing on, I found in the Warpaint both a picture (same I've posted here) and a color profile - Yea ! Well, not really, the Warpaint & Mushroom color profiles do not agree in fin flash or camo demarcation. Looking back the Mushroom profile doesn't match the picture, so we throw the Mushroom CP out, leaving us with the Warpaint CP and a picture that more or less matches (the Warpaint CP does not have the two antennas).

All of which leads to a mini-rant about fantasy color profiles. I trust nothing any more without a confirming photo.

I have more but have to leave .... I'll be back

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THUMbs Up!
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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 20th, 2012, 9:29 pm 
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Why is he so confused ?
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I'm back, quick errand ...

Anyway, I tried to track my aircraft through various books.
-- It was built in 1938, part of the first batch of Gladiator II and Interim Sea Gladiators, and apparently went first to ...
-- 605 Sqn but seems to have just passed through to ...
-- 615 Sqn, where it no doubt served in France, and on return was sent to ...
-- 18 Sqn in May '40, where it was part of a mixed bag of aircraft until sent on to ...
-- 1410 Met Flight and later to ...
-- 521 Met Sqn where it served until it crashed in Nov 43.

So if I wanted to, I could probably come up with at least 3 camo schemes for this one aircraft, probably 4 ...

But again, a mini-rant on all this, because any number of books have various unit data, dates, etc wrong. For example, N5902 I found in RAFFR, is in markings that suggest the color profile was from its service with 24 Sqn ....

But then what do I know, I wasn't there ....

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THUMbs Up!
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PostPosted: July 22nd, 2012, 9:57 am 
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Sounds like the chase I ran when sorting out the colour scheme for my Hudson ASR.III
Image


David.

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 Post subject: Re: THUMbs Up!
PostPosted: July 30th, 2012, 2:27 am 
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Well, here we are, and let me say what a pleasant little kit this is. It goes together nicely without any drama.

When I quickly looked at the rigging instructions, I wasn't sure what they were trying to say, particularly since there didn't seem to be enough pre-drilled holes (which BTW are way to big anyway). On closer look, I could see that the ends of the struts were notched for the rigging thread and indeed you could run two strings per side and rig on the fly so to speak. It's OK for the flying and landing wires, but to continue it to the incidence wires puts them outboard of, rather than between, the struts.

Image


With that out of the way, I started assembling. The cockpit floor, bulkhead, and shelf all fit neatly. As there isn't a lot to see, I just added tape seatbelts. I was going to take a picture, but next thing I knew, it was all buttoned up and I just moved on. I have filled all the rigging holes, then redrilled them smaller.

Image


I've done a bit more since the photo, and should be heading for the paint booth soon …As I said up front, this is a very nice little kit, highly recommended …

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