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Help with diorama idea

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  • Member since
    November, 2013
Help with diorama idea
Posted by bstarr3 on Monday, July 17, 2017 2:44 PM

I'd like to make a carrier deck diorama out of Eduards Hellcat profipack. I have the old discontinued verlinden Navy deck crew figure set. Trying to decide between buying the Eduard carrier deck versus trying to scratch one up. As far as the action of the diorama, I was originally planning to pose a pilot figure in the cockpit, with an armorer on the wing reloading the machine gun, and another crew man refueling. It was meant to portray the quick rearm and refuel in the middle of a mission. However, after looking at some of the cool aftermarket parts available, I was thinking of getting a super detailed engine with removable cowlings, and portraying some engine work being done as well. I've seen photos of cowlings off and engines being worked on on the flight deck, but never with pilot in the cockpit. From an accuracy standpoint, would there ever be mechanics working on the engine while the pilot was still on board, waiting to take back off? I wouldn't mind doing an overall maintenance diorama, but kind of liked the idea of working some action in there, implying that the plane is ready to go back out at a moment's notice. There aren't a whole lot of hellcat dioramas that I can find on the web, so I'm not sure. Thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, July 17, 2017 3:32 PM

There's a good picture of an F6F being maintained up on the deck of CV-9. But definitely not while in action.

I suppose anything is possible, but the more usual situation would be the crew chief or another mechanic in the cockpit.

 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Monday, July 17, 2017 5:00 PM

yeah, I believe I've seen that photo. That was how I figured it wouldn't be completely out of bounds to show engine maintenance being done on the flight deck instead of down in the hangar. I think I might keep it simple with the original refuel/rearm idea. I can always do a detailed engine for a future build. I'd like to try a version of Shep Paine's P-61 diorama sometime.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, July 17, 2017 10:21 PM

Pilot has a ton of things to do beyond just sitting in the cockpit.

Sleep for one.

Write after-action reports.

Bone up on navigation iads and the like.

Get up to date briefings.

Or, being a brown-shoe, taking a hollywood shower.  Or cadging a steak dinner.

 

Straight-deck carrier decks were binary, either fair or foul.  If a fair deck, they were set up to either launch or to recover a/c.  The needs of the ship outweight the Wing, the Wing outweighs the Group, and the Group the Squadron.  A "down " bird will not be allowed to foul a deck if there is a pressing need to have a fair deck for launch or recovery.  So, it will be wheeled somewhere out of the way and chained down (edges of the flight deck have significant moment arms, bakes are not enough).

Now, to add "urgency" to the scene, you could have the pilot off to the side, with an LSO and a Cat officer (yellow jersey) nearby.  Yellow jersey with a clipboard would be really good. 

You could pose the armorers off to one side, draped in MG belts, keeping an eye on the chief powerplant mechanic, who will be quickly giving a thumbs up or down on the bird. If an armed bird is needed, one will be armed, but it will be one that flies right now, not half an hour from now.

Just 2¢

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, July 17, 2017 11:36 PM

CapnMac82

Pilot has a ton of things to do beyond just sitting in the cockpit.

Sleep for one.

Write after-action reports.

Bone up on navigation iads and the like.

Get up to date briefings.

Or, being a brown-shoe, taking a hollywood shower.  Or cadging a steak dinner.

 

Straight-deck carrier decks were binary, either fair or foul.  If a fair deck, they were set up to either launch or to recover a/c.  The needs of the ship outweight the Wing, the Wing outweighs the Group, and the Group the Squadron.  A "down " bird will not be allowed to foul a deck if there is a pressing need to have a fair deck for launch or recovery.  So, it will be wheeled somewhere out of the way and chained down (edges of the flight deck have significant moment arms, bakes are not enough).

Or thrown over the side, depending on the prognosis.

Pilots don't know the insides of how their airplanes work. They know how they respond to controls. But if the Aircraft Mechanics have put a new magneto into an aircraft and it needs to be tested, a mechanic in the cockpit is a requirement.

Also to Cap's point, can't have stuff lying around the deck while sailing. 

I don't know the details of arming an aircraft for a second launch. I've mostly come across accounts of those early in the War for CAP Wildcats, which were few in number, didn't have any range and were managed to be back on the deck while the strike group was off for the day. 

But aircraft don't come in hot, stand with the engine running and get re-equipped and sent off. 

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 1:54 AM

wow! That is more than I ever expected to know about carrier operations. Thanks for the knowledgeable replies. So I think I'm leaving the pilot out of the picture and focus on the maintenance crew. I clearly had an inaccurate picture of what it meant for a plane to return to ship for refuel and rearm and go back out in a battle like Midway or Philippine Sea.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:18 PM

bstarr3
in a battle l

Shoot, I was just referring to normal carrier ops.

Battle is a very different dynamic.

 

On a straight deck, to set up a strike, you work backwards.  The slow birds are borught up first, and staged on the deck about as far aft as they need to launch (carrier catapaults were much later).  Aircraft already on deck were shuffled to the forward elevator to make room for the strike.  So, the strike is made up in order of cruising airspeed.  (The faster a/c can catch up.)  You stack the flight deck up from the t/o line back to the ramp.

The PC (plane captains, naval aviation term for a "crew chief") get the enigines warmed up on "their" birds, the pilots than man up, and the planes are flown off, one by one.

As the strike flies off, if more aircraft are scheduled up, the are brought up aft to queue into the take off stack.

When the pacakaage is flown off, if no CAP is to be on alert, the remaining a/c are then shuttled forward to make a landing space aft.  If you have an Alert-nn on deck, you have to split the deck a bit, where you park on one side to fly off, and leave some sort of landing space aft.

Alert-nn is your fast-response package.  This is 2 to 4 a/c armed and ready in nn minutes.  So, an Alert 5 package typically has pilots in the cockpit, but not engine turning.  Wings sometimes folded, sometimes not (you need about 8-10 minutes to turn into the wind and get up to 30+kts).  Alert 15 would be armed, but canopy open unoccupied.  Alert 30 might not be armed or fueled (as that can be done in 30 minutes)

Angle deck carriers avoid much of this by being able to fly off, and recover a/c at the same time, all while having most of the wing on deck and not cluttering the hamger.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:01 PM

Wow, again! Thanks for so much detail and information. When in this process is an a/c armed? Would gun bays be closed and loaded sitting in the hangar, or do they wait until on flight deck? I know I've seen photos of bombs and rockets being armed right before takeoff, is, engine already spun up. I've also seen gun bays being loaded while wings are folded and of wings being folded out at what seems like a late stage before takeoff. Thanks so much for the info. Are you a Navy veteran?

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Monday, July 24, 2017 9:39 PM

bstarr3
Are you a Navy veteran?

Only 24 years, and a blackshoe, too (an inside joke).  My first set of 'wings" were SWO (Surface Warefare Officer) and it was incredibly critical to know the antics of brownshoe-commanded birdfarms lest they run over their escorts.  (The second set of "wings" were in information Dominance")

Straight deck carriers did not have enough area to ferry a/c from one elevator to another.  So, armaments ere brought up by specialized elevators to the flight deck.  Most a/c were armed on deck.  Bombs were easier to load (typically) with wings folded (barring the outboard wing stations on a Dauntless, for instance.  5" rockets needed the wings open, so that was done in groups of four or six

If I remember my reading rightly, it took longer to fuel a Corsair than to arm one--you could get 4-5 Aviation Gunner's Mates to pass the belts and set them in the boxes.  (Remember, too, each gun pretty much just got the one belt each.)

After the fire on the Forrestal, the brownshoes became very strict about armed birds on deck that were not on Alert nn status.  Modern jets not being tail-draggers, are also parked TOW (Tail Over Water) to save deck space, too.

There's a spiffy catwalk detail that's really only possible at large scales--near where the birds are armed, there will be a chute that passes from the edge of the flight deck and angling over the catwalk, for dumping ordinance over the side in case of need.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:21 AM

Thanls. Very cool. I've learned a lot more about how carriers worked than I could have expected. Finally, I have my $64000 question : would there be any reason for a bird to have engine panels and gun bays open at the same time, with different crewmen tending to their respective duties? I basically want to build and show off am details in gun bays and engine, and put it all together in a diorama. If it's just not feasible, then I'll change up the idea and save either the gun bays or the engine for a different project. Thanks again for all your insight

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:12 AM

You get to a certain point where it's all about what you want to show.

my own peeve is jets displayed with their air brakes open.

But do what you want.

  • Member since
    November, 2013
Posted by bstarr3 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:41 AM

GMorrison

You get to a certain point where it's all about what you want to show.

my own peeve is jets displayed with their air brakes open.

But do what you want.

 

 

That's a good point.  It's tough sometimes in this hobby to find a line between realism/authenticity and artistic license.  I try at least to get the broad strokes accurate - eg knowing what colors different deck crew wore or when the pilot would be in the cockpit or not.  Unless you're creating a diorama of a specific photograph, it's up to your instincts/desires.

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