1/48th scale Wessex HAR.2, 22 (SAR) Sqn, RAF Valley, 1990.

Discussion in 'Start to Finish Builds' started by Airframes, May 28, 2012.

  1. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I'll be starting this one very soon, whilst the final bits of the Tornado build are drying, using the recently re-released Revell kit of the Navy HAS3 version of the Westland Wessex.
    The kit is based on their original Sikorsky S-58, and still includes some parts for this, with the main landing gear being some, the latter needing to be replaced with scratch-built items. A brief look at the actual machine will show that there is quite a difference around the nose, due to the Gnome engines, as opposed to the Gazelle gas-turbines of the HAS3.
    This will entail moulding a new nose intake, making the larger exhausts from brass tube, alterations to the engine compartment access panels, and a wealth of external detail changes and additions, as well as the aforementioned main undercarriage legs.
    Whilst there is some interior detail in the kit, this is basic, and not very accurate, especially around the areas of the forward bulkhead (which needs to be moved forward by around one inch [25mm]), the cockpit floor, and rear cockpit bulkhead. So, I estimate that more than 50% of the finished model will be scratch-built, including the main cabin interior and seats, and the cockpit.
    It's quite a large model for a helicopter, being over 12 inches (300mm) in fuselage length, and I've been looking forward to the re-release of this kit for some time, having flown in the (camouflaged) Wessex a number of times, and done some 'fast roping', abseiling and parachuting from them. And, of course, Karl has some experience of these beasts too, including having the (dubious) honour of crashing in one!
    The Wessex replaced the venerable Whirlwind (S-55 derivative, licence built by Westland), itself re-engined with the Gnome turbine, in Search and Rescue duties around the British coast, as well as similar duties (in a camouflage scheme), in Cyprus, and I used to watch the Valley-based examples practising winching only about a quarter of a mile off the beach at Anglesey in the early 1990s, when they used to clatter over our holiday cottage at only a few feet altitude.
    The Wessex SAR role was taken over, eventually, by the Sea King in the mid 1990s, and the aircraft retired, having served faithfully in the RAF for over 30 years, since 1961.
    The first step will be to carry out all the main external changes, although the nose and new intake filter can be tackled later, before moving on to the major scratch-building task for the interior, and I hope to commence work in the next few days, hands permitting.
    (SAR Wessex pic courtesy of Internet)
     

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  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Nice. She looks a little bit like Mi-4 with the cockpit at the top.
     
  3. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    at least its not green and lying on its side with a few bits missing !!!!!
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Wojtek, and yes, there are similarities - I guess there was some Sikorsky influence in the earlier Mils, as the other one (number escapes me) is similar to the Whirlwind (S-55) too.
    That Wessex lying on its side was just having a rest Karl, after carrying all those hairy Rs'd Paras!
     
  5. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    You are right Terry. I think exactly the same about a few early Mil's. :)
     
  6. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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    Tried, true and well tested machine and a kit that is wide open to a load of fun building. Good selection Terry.
     
  7. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    look forward to it Terry! :D
     
  8. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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  9. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks guys. I've made a start on marking out where cuts have to be made, holes drilled, and bulkheads moved, and currently planning the various construction (or destruction!) stages. I might make a start on the surgery over the weekend, whilst bits of the Tornado are drying or setting. Pics just as soon as there's something to show.
     
  10. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I know absolutely nothing about this craft other than Karl has some unfond memories of it. Looks to be a very interesting craft though and can't wait to see you work you magic Terry!:thumbleft:
     
  11. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Aaron. They were used extensively by the RAF, as general transport, troop insertion, cargo carrying and rescue duties. The Royal Navy employed a lot of them on similar duties, and as anti-submarine aircraft (as the kit version) with the engine cowling being similar to the original US Sikorsky, but with Gazelle turbine engines. Four heavily modified airframes were also used as VIP transport by the Queen's Flight, based at Benson, and often flown by Prince Charles.
    They were also purchased by the Royal Australian Navy, as the Mk31, as well as a number of other overseas customers. They had a long and faithful service history with the RAF, and I have to admit to having a soft spot for the Wessex. Unlike Karl, I haven't crashed in one, but I did fall off the rope about ten feet above the ground once! (made another soft spot - in the ground- on that flight!).
     
  12. woody

    woody Active Member

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    Looking forward to this build Terry.
     
  13. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great choice Terry, looking forward to this!
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Woody and Evan.
    As I've been asked a few times how to go about scratch-building and conversions, I thought I'd take this opportunity to show a little of what's involved, in the hope that it might help others.
    At first glance, it seems that not much work will be involved in this conversion, apart from moulding that rather tricky nose filter, tricky mainly due to the compound curves and overall shape. (This will be done later, most likely in more than one section, partly due to the shape, and partly due to possible lack of enough balsa block to carve the mould in one piece - block balsa can now only be had in long lengths, and is very expensive!).
    However, after studying scale plans (not particularly accurate overall) and countless photographs, I found that there is a considerable amount of work to do, both minor and major, on the outside of the fuselage alone, before tackling some rather involved interior scratch-building, and the modification of such areas as the main landing gear legs and exhausts.
    I can't overemphasise the need for good reference photos, drawings, in fact anything and everything, to help in tackling a project like this, and I'm fortunate to have some, and, with the benefit of the Internet, have been able to gather a wealth of small details, all of which will help considerably in the planning and execution of this build. And at this stage, it's the planning that is of paramount importance. Get the planning and sequence right, and life will be much easier as the build progresses (he said with fingers crossed!).
    So, the first thing to do, after hours of looking at the kit parts and thinking through the sequence, possible problem areas, and probable solutions, was to mark those exterior areas which will need to be removed, drilled, cut or whatever, before any other work is undertaken. With this done, attention can then be focused on the interior, again looking at areas which need to be cut, and those areas which will need to be totally fabricated.
    At this stage, I'm concentrating purely on the main fuselage - the nose area is assembled separately, and consequently will be treated as a separate sub-assembly, although at some stage, the two will be joined, with further modifications and adjustments carried out then.
    The photos below show the initial planning stages, and of course, much test-fitting will be carried out once work gets underway.
    PIC 1. The pencil-shaded areas show just some of the areas which need to be either removed, filled or drilled, on the external starboard fuselage half. These include eliminating some vents, lumps and bumps, removing a moulded 'grill' area around the original, twin exhaust location, and drilling a large hole for the new, single, large-diameter exhaust on each side, plus holes for fuel fillers and other vents.
    PIC 2. The inside of the port fuselage half has been marked in pencil, showing the locations for the scratch-built cabin roof, the forward cross member at the rear of the cockpit, the location of the cut-down cockpit floor, and the forward cabin bulkhead new location, moved forward from the original position directly below what was the cockpit rear bulkhead.
    Whilst carrying out this work, I noticed that the cabin windows on this side are not quite accurate for the HC2, being more in line with the HU5 version, but, without a lot of major work, which would certainly affect the exterior surface finish, there's not a lot I can do about this, so I'll just have to 'live' with it.
    PIC 3. A rough sketch showing how and where the various scratch-built components will fit. The extreme rear cabin roof area is 'bare', and the fuselage frames will be fabricated here, along with a half-round section, centralised, to represent the tail rotor shaft ducting.
    PIC 4. A scale drawing of the required parts has been made, and the parts will be made from plastic card. (Note: drawing not shown to scale in this pic.)
    PIC 5. The kit parts for the cabin floor, and front and rear cabin bulkheads. The bulkheads will have extra detail added, and the floor will be extended at the front. Note the holes for the seats provided in the kit - the kit seats will not be used, as the correct style and size will be scratch-built, replicating the tubular metal frames and nylon web and 'canvas' seats of the original.
    PICS 6 and 7. The cockpit floor and bulkhead marked out where material has to be removed. The pilot's and co-pilot's seats were suspended over an open area directly above the forward section of the cabin, and the seat pans could fold upwards, against the bulkhead, allowing access to the cockpit from the cabin below. Note also that the main rotor drive shaft passed through a rectangular-section 'tunnel' in the centre of the floor and bulkhead, at approximately 45 degrees, and this structure will also be scratch-built.
    So, that's it so far, and the next step will be to make the new parts in paper card first, to check that the plan is correct! If all goes to plan, then the work will be carried out 'live'.
    I hope this will be of some help to some, and I should be commencing work probably over the week end.
     

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  15. ScanmanDan

    ScanmanDan Member

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    Great start on an aircraft with such character. Looking forward to how you approach the changes.

    Dan
     
  16. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Dan - so am I !!
     
  17. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    I say old boy, looking forward to this one what! Carry on!
     
  18. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks awfully old chap. I hope to start on the destruction stages during this long Queen's Jubilee weekend - b*gg*r all else to do, apart from the Tornado of course!
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    #19 Airframes, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
    Couldn't resist it ! Whilst bits are setting on the Tornado, and as a change from working on fiddly seat harnesses and so on, I decided to make a start on some of the modifications to the fuselage halves. After studying photos, I realised that I couldn't really leave the port side cabin windows as they are, so I've altered them to the HC2 configuration after all.
    PIC. 1 Shows the rear cabin window extended aft, with the frame and upper hinges sanded off. (these windows also acted as emergency exits). New hinges will be added to the aft window once work is complete, and a recessed frame scribed around the area, representing the deeper exit hatch.
    PICS 2 and 3. Show the forward section of the aperture blanked off with plastic card, with a new fuselage frame section added internally. The joints have been sealed around the edges with PVA, and will be sanded when set, with any further gaps being filled with CA, which again will be sanded then primed. The moulded vent at the bottom right in the first pic has been sanded off.
    PIC 4. Holes have been drilled for the fuel filler and fuel drain on the mid section of the starboard fuselage, and the small vent (bottom right) removed.
    PIC 5. The moulded-on wiring above the cabin door has been sanded off, and the area awaits a little light sanding.
    PIC 6. The starboard side front section, with the moulded grille removed, and openings made for the forward fuel filler and the large, single exhaust pipe for the Gnome turbine engine. Access panel lines have also been scribed, and await light sanding.
    PIC 7. The port side grill has also been removed, and the hole cut for the exhaust. Note that the exhaust holes are deliberately semi-oval, to allow for the bend in the exhaust pipes. A moulded rib beneath the upper step has also been removed.
    I might get a little more preparation done in the next couple of days, so pics then.
     

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  20. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Great start Terry!
     
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