Update 8/14/09: ChangeUp, Pt.2 - Digging Into The GOLD MINE
Posted by Matty on August 19, 2009, 8:14:32, in reply to "Matty's TUPOLEV SB-3, In Progress"
Message modified by board administrator May 29, 2011, 17:11:52
--Originally Posted 8/14/09-- |
Stepping back from the inspiration to redirect this build - and probably also my Hudson - to portray Chinese examples as inspired by these new photos, let us take a deep breath - refocus on the opportunity at hand - and not overlook the wealth of details these pics contain:
Click on Image to Enlarge Again, the camo/markings illustrated at top appear typical of most Chinese SBs - and especially the SB2-M103s - seen in most photos, as at bottom. However the middle plane shows major differences in appearance: the upper camo is much lighter - if not completely absent in places, especially aft and on the tail - and some undersurfaces appear very shiny, particularly the landing gear doors and again, the aft fuselage, beginning at the wing root. Not all undersides, though; note some areas - particularly under the wing, and under the nose - appear distinctly non-glossy. In addition, the middle plane does not appear to have any ID number on its tail while, also in contrast to the other two, it does have on its waist a large sunburst roundel (which the website translation calls the "Sunny Day" ).
Whether the middle pic is evidence of a second camo/marking scheme for some SB-2-M103s, or simply showing an incomplete paint job - or even a pieced-together aircraft; recovered from variously-painted wrecks - it strikes me as being the more interesting appearance, by far. Thus, it was with mounting interest that I also discovered the following:
Note this is indeed a lighter topside camo - and, provocatively, also a rather shiny-looking wing underside - like the middle picture, above; though this is an earlier SB-2 version. Regardless, the idea of doing this (apparently) sponge-painted, emerald green mottling, over a bare metal finish, I find quite appealing - though probably not quite accurate, even for the earlier SB-2s (see below).
What does seem clear is that the earlier SBs did receive a wider variety in paint/markings:
Click on Image to Enlarge Note all these - even the yellow/red (formation lead?) aircraft, at top, are clearly depicted with sky-blue undersides - the mottled scheme (third from the top) being no exception. At bottom-left, it is again depicted (from overhead) - this time to demonstrate the difference between the SB-2(bis) and the SB-3 (bottom-right). Note the latter shows correctly-shaped engines for the 2-M103, though not the dorsal turret. Whether this indicates an error in the drawing or, once again, a great variation among which-, when- and how planes actually got these turrets, may be up for debate. However for my build it will make no difference - not after all the work I put into my turret ; it is definitely going on (whether accurate or not)!
What concerns me more in the above, SB-3 drawing is the straight-chopped termination of its engine nacelles, atop the wing. This is indeed accurate for the earlier SBs, as seen in the following:
Click on Image to Enlarge Clearly apparent at left, is the chopped back end of a nacelle - as well as the reason for it: to let the exhaust stacks exit freely over the wing (where their jets should have increased lift). This pic had a caption specifically identifying the planes as SB-2s; translated "SB-2 bombing on the way from cannoneer position photography picture". Similarly, the pic of a crashed plane at right (top) shows the chopped termination of the earlier engines, captioned "Because the Japanese forces raid SB-2 which destroys" ( I love these translations - they're like quotes from Yoda! )
Seriously though, my kit seems equally clear that the later-model, SB-3 nacelles terminated smoothly (as rounded blisters); with exhaust stacks now routed up through the wing top; to protrude alongside. That the latter is accurate seems borne out by the very first of the new pics presented earlier:
Here greatly enlarged, note firstly that on the back of the (starboard) wing, two light-colored exhaust streaks extend backward from well outside the engine nacelle. Each can in fact be traced forward to its origin at a (fuzzy-resolution) exhaust stub - #s"1", in the inset - which is exactly as depicted in my kit. Between the two, however, the terminus of the nacelle - #"2", in the inset - does appear chopped off - or, at the very least, squared off. Thus, it appears both my kit and the above drawing are somewhat in error; the very end of the nacelle is indeed chopped straight - but not nearly to the extent (stack-to-stack width) indicated by the drawing. Clearly, the nacelle must have tapered significantly before terminating - though not quite all the way to a complete, smoothly-curving "blister", as depicted in my kit.
Which is, accordingly somewhat of a shame, as I had already put in a fair amount of work - filling the kit's lousy seams - to make it so:
Click on Image to Enlarge Shown here are operations to fill three sets of just awful seams: engine nacelles, at top; (dry-fitted) landing gear doors, at middle; and wing air inlets, at bottom. The nacelles required yet more fill around their wing joints - again, protected by aluminum tape - than provided by the initial glue-up; it was the same for their ends, atop of the wings (not shown). The landing gear doors fit lousy as you can see, but were much improved simply by sanding along their hinge-lines, enabling them to settle in much closer to flush.
The wing leading-edge vents were another interesting mating of thick plastic with delicate PE (gratings; see inset), for which I resorted to my method of "fishing" them into place; using plastic rod "handles" sunk temporarily into the assemblies and chopped off afterwards. Attached with copious CA putty, the entire outer surface of each was completely ground/shaped in place; too late I realized I could have removed much of the crude, thickness of plastic by mounting them much higher - protruding higher above the surface - to be largely ground/shaved away. But I hope in the end - perhaps also with a bit of clever painting - they won't look too bad.
From here it will be on to finishing the bomb bay, as well as the nose position - details of both of which are shown in the following:
Click on Image to Enlarge Here serving as a backdrop for both Russians (top) and Chinese crews (bottom), earlier-model SBs present their noses - details of which remain applicable to the later 2-M103s, particularly the unique chin stub hard point, which anchored a post-like yoke (inside; not visible), supporting the twin guns. Note also a bomb door cross-section is clearly visible in each pic; at top (and as seen earlier), its inside face appearing flat (or nearly so) while, curiously, at bottom appearing to be concave, per more conventional designs. This probably indicates an earlier model/fit for the plane at bottom, whose engines also appear slightly boxier and less streamlined than at top.
That the engines on this plane had evolved considerably - from a bulky, initial design through increasingly streamlined configurations, over time - appears to be confirmed by the following pic:
Bearing what look like a pair of farm tractors built into its wings, this SB appears to be the earliest version yet seen (by me, anyway) - though its caption translated simply as "The SB-2 formation launches an attack". In any case, the original design intent - to mate a relatively small fuselage and thin wings with the largest feasible powerplants, just as in the DeHavilland Mosquito - is clearly apparent.
All in all, a pretty cool airplane - amazing that you hardly even (if ever) heard of it before - and one which, now aided by these considerable references, I'm looking forward to finishing off as well as possible.