Vickers C Bomber

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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby smeg1959 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:48

Yes, David, Angus is moving to a cosy little abide delightfully entitled Wembley Stadium. :P
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby ajmm » Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:18

Forgive me. This is finished (at last!) but I had a grossly delayed flight before Christmas. I've noticed on some WHIF builds that people do elaborate backstories. I've often thought this is endearingly nerdy but probably much too much trouble and effort. But while waiting in the departure lounge, and with book and magazines exhausted... Well... forgive me. Perhaps we could all do with a bit of escapism to an alternate reality at a time like this.

The US planned to use atomic bombs to end the war against Japan. But the first one, dropped on 9 August 1945, failed to detonate and the second one only partially detonated. This would not have been a problem, of course, had it not been for the fact that reports of Manhattan Project secrets being systematically leaked to the Russians broke almost simultaneously. With their eye on 1946's mid-terms, several Congressmen and Senators whipped this up into a very public political frenzy. Called in front of House UnAmerican Activites Committee and the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Oppenheimer appeared near nervous collapse and disappeared the next day. Mired in controversy and an internal witchhunt, and faced with colossal cost overruns, progress on re-designing The Bomb ground to a crawl.

But by then, nobodies' minds were on the small and eccentric band of scientists in New Mexico. Russia had entered the war against Japan on 9 August, sweeping aside the brittle, half-starved Japanese forces stationed in Mongolia. Russian T-34s tore southwards with breathtaking rapidity. Spying an opportunity, Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong secretly sent Zhou Enlai to Moscow to propose a joint offensive against Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist Chinese. An alliance of convenience from the start, Russian forces pushed on southwards, now joined by growing numbers of Chinese communists (as well as Nationalist Chinese defectors). Powerless to prevent this, and frustrated with Chiang's truculence, the MacArthur pushed Truman to allow him to land forces in mainland China. Truman, under pressure from the Joint Chiefs, assented. Krueger's 6th Army and Del Valle's 1st Marines landed between Shanghai and Qingdao in September 1945. Meanwhile, an uneasy, fragile peace settled over Europe, with both sides eyeing each other warily over an increasingly firm border in Germany. Russia formally denies its involvement in China as 'volunteers'.

Forced back to the Yangtze, and with a growing fear in the US press about 'losing China', the US throws its full weight behind Chiang. 1st Marines are involved in bitter, house-to-house street fighting in Wuhan, but prevented Marshal Zhukov's tanks from breaking through. Japan, meanwhile, becomes a secondary concern. The US 6th fleet blockades the tattered remnants of Japanese forces in Honshu but focus shifts squarely to the deteriorating situation in China, and what the Wall Street Journal calls 'the rising threat of Russo-Chinese aggression'. Britain, eager to remain the indispensable US ally and fearing for the security of its Indian and newly-recovered Malayan possessions, assists. Slim's 14th Army, enlarged to encompass new Australian, South African and Kiwi Divisions, marches over the Himalayas before the snows set in. Joining up with the US 5th Marines and Chiang's Nationalist forces, Slim is pivotal in hold the central portion of the Chengdu-Chonquing line. Over the winter of 1945, offensive movement grinds to a halt and both sides dig in. The French and Dutch, fearing for their southeast Asian possessions, send divisions. Allied air power builds up on a smattering of muddy, steel-runwayed airfields south of the Yangtze. Squadrons of jet-powered Shooting Stars, Meteors and Vampires duel with Russian Yak and MiG interceptors, while CAC Kangaroos, Martin Baker MB.5s and the dependable F-47 Thunderbolt use rockets and napalm in close air support.

In a massive Spring 1946 offensive, Marshal Zhukov succeeds in capturing Chengdu, very nearly encircling the US 5th Marines under Chesty Puller. Chinese Nationalist Allied Forces (CNAF) are driven back across the Yangtze, but manage to hold a line in the hills immediately to the south of the mighty river. Successive offensives by Chinese Communist and Russian forces fail to break through the line, which is broadly held until summer 1947 (with some particularly notable stands made by French paratroopers and Foreign Legionnaires under General De Lattre at the Luzhou bridgehead). Truman relieves MacArthur after he blames his allies for failing to drive back the Russians.

With neither side able to gain advantage, the ground war is effectively at a standstill along the Yangtze from Spring 1946. US-British naval supremacy ensure Russia is denied access to the Western Pacific and Atlantic. Strategic bombing becomes increasingly important, with a growing chorus of brass on the allied side crying for the US and her allies to 'bomb Russia out of the war'. On the CNAF side, US bombing power dominates, with B-29 Superfortresses and B-32 Dominators flying daily sorties from Okinawa and the Philippines against the lifeblood of the Chinese Communist and Russian offensive: the railways and marshalling yards of northern and central China. The RAF fears irrelevance in this battle and is under pressure from Washington to do more. But with a steadily mounting loss rate to Russian jet interceptors (which long range F-82 Twin Mustangs and F-58 Chain Lightnings are powerless to prevent), the USAAF will not spare any B-29's to the RAF even on renewed lend-lease terms. Avro Lancasters and Lincolns, plus a small squadron of Vickers Windsors had begun flying sorties from airbases around Rangoon and Chittagong in late-1945. But being forced to base on the coast for supply reasons, limits the range and payload of these aircraft compared to the B-29. Their even greater loss rate to Russian interceptors, pushes the UK government to a radical position.

Bomber Command presses through a dramatic design programme in early-1946. With a decision taken at Cabinet level that jet technology would provide performance but not the range and payload, the Air Ministry looks to earlier propeller designs. Taking the Vickers 'C' Proposal for a 100-ton bomber, the Air Ministry pulls the UK's substantial but chaotic aircraft industry together in an extraordinary feat of industrial cooperation. With the exception of the wings, the new aircraft is effectively cobbled together from existing aircraft designs. It has an expanded and modified Avro Lincoln fuselage, with vast Vickers geodetic wings (which, unknown to anyone except the Wind Tunnel Technician at Weybridge, Barnes Wallis had been privately testing since 1941) with tailplanes from the Lancaster and Vickers-Armstrong barbette turrets from the Windsor. Powered by six Bristol Centaurus engines with a contra-rotating propeller gearing designed by Rolls Royce for the Martin Baker MB.5, the design outclasses contemporary US bombers - even the gargantuan XB-36, then rumored to be in testing - in speed, range and payload. Amid much domestic fanfare, and in keeping with the tradition of naming RAF bombers after Britain's cathedral cities, the nation's pride is christened the Vickers Winchester B.1, flying for the first time in mid-1946.

After an accelerated 'working up' in Lincolnshire, a squadron of ten Winchesters is sent to South East Asia in January 1947 (refuelling on specially-made desert airfields in Egypt and near Karachi). 27 Squadron is selected as the standard bearer for the new titan, a choice that raises eyebrows in Bomber Command given 27 Squadron's close air support pedigree. Crews are hand picked veterans of several tours in Europe and China. The immense wingspan of the Winchester and the enormous take-off roll this 100-ton leviathan requires, necessitates new airfields. RAF Butterworth near Kuala Lumpur is considered the most secure. Russian Tu-4 Bulls - retroengineered Boeing Superforts - had been raiding US bases in Okinawa and RAF bases in Burma. A decision is taken in Whitehall that - given the expense and publicity afforded to the Winchester project - it would be imprudent to base them in harm's way unnecessarily. The crews grumble but concede that nearby Singapore, booming after its recent liberation, offers more attraction than postings to one of the harried Lincoln or Lancaster squadrons near Rangoon (or worse still the remnants of the Windsor squadron holed up in steamy Chittagong).

The first Winchester sortie is made against the massive Russian rail marshaling yards at Xi-An in February 1947. A Meteor NF.11 Pathfinder flying from a frontline airbase would mark the target area with flares. Eight aircraft took off from Butterworth at 8pm. Climbing through the monsoon undercast, at 2 mile separation, the thundering, shaking Winchesters banked around to the north. But what happened over the next 18 hours is another story altogether...


Well that was fun. If you made it this far, I salute you. Though I do recommend writing stupidly elaborate backstories as a way to ease the tedium of a dreary, antiseptic departure lounge.

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Not a very challenging build and basically out of the box. I replaced the rather poor kit decals with some of my own (pilfering a Kitsworld Lancaster sheet for 'Thumper' and various spares sheets). I also pilfered a lot of stencils and markings from that same sheet.

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I also replaced the guns. I figured, I'm only going to build one of these things and the Anigrand ones are frankly rubbish. So I ordered some Ju-87 cannon and Japanese 20mm from Master. Beautiful though they are, I now live in fear of them pinging off into Narnia, n'er to be seen again.

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Good fun and a complete break from what I'm used to doing.

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At last I can see the back of this creature and can close this thread down! Only two years later. And more importantly it moves a sizable tenant of the Shelf of Shame off into...er... not sure where. Need to build a new shelf somewhere. No pictures with another aircraft or project as usual for size comparison for a while I'm afraid - I'm now separated from this creature for a few weeks.

Thanks for looking!

Angus

p.s. I can confirm that all six wheels do in fact touch the ground when placed on a level surface. The board I'm using is bowed!
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby Mig88 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 16:22

A great job as always Angus and I enjoyed the backstory.
That's quite a massive and ungainly beast but looks great the way you finished it. In those cases where I couldn't thin the guns on Anigrand kits, I too replaced them (most times that is).

Will we ever find out what happened on that mission...? ;)

Miguel

P.S. For those who, like me, enjoy alternate histories, I can suggest Mike Spick's "Luftwaffe Victorious". It's an alternate history but serves to understand and highlight the Luftwaffe's flaws in real history.
Pity there are no kits of the Dornier Do 19...
Room for more with one-four-four
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby pbhawkin » Sat Mar 28, 2020 21:24

Superb looking model of an impressive aircraft, well done.
I am particularly interested in two things, however. Firstly a picture of where you are going to store it! And second, the next part of your story :D
Regards
Peter
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby BigReg » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:49

Well Angus, I read the whole story and enjoyed the pictures too. An excellent build by the way. The pictures are quite disturbing in the they are rather like that drawing of an old lady that transforms into a young girl. We expect wings to be at the front and my mind couldn't make sense of it. It's obvious in the long shots but strange in close up.
Cheers,
David
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby ajmm » Sun Mar 29, 2020 18:26

Thanks so much guys!

Miguel - I’ve got to look up that book. Sounds very entertaining.

Peter - ummm. Now at the moment it is borrowing a spot on top of the bookshelf but that’s not going to last long. So good question! When I find somewhere I’ll let you know! :D No way it will fit in my Ikea Deltorf cabinets with everything else.

David - I know exacting what you mean. It’s very confusing! I’m building a Cornelius glider at the moment and the wings sweep forwards and I must have put them on the wrong way around dry fitting more times than not - subconscious just cannot stand for it!
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby F_IV » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:01

What a behemoth and what a history for it too. I also wonder what happens next.
The aircraft looks great though and the finish looks very authentic. I wonder if it could be hung vertically on a wall to show off its unique shape.
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Re: Vickers C Bomber

Postby smeg1959 » Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:28

What a stunning looking model! Absolutely gorgeous ... I want one!!! :mrgreen:

Good decision to go with the KitsWorld decals, too.
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), ČKD LT vz.38 Praga (Slovakian Army)
Shelf of Shame - F-100D-20-NA (Don Schmenk, USAF), Me262A-1a/U4 (Prototype), Ju87B-2 (Hungarian AF)
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