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Martin T4M-1 Torpedo Bomber, circa 1930


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Well now that the MF Seagull is done, I've decided to tackle another subject that has been percolating in my mind for some time, a Martin T4M-1 Torpedo Bomber from VT-2B (Torpedo Squadron 2) from the USS Lexington, circa 1930. It's quite a large airplane for a single engined biplane. A wingspan of 53 feet, overall length of 35 feet, and carrying a crew of 3 in 3 open cockpits, it was quite a large airplane for it's time. Powered by a 525 HP Pratt and Whitney Hornet, it was no speed demon, with a cruise speed of 100 knots and a max speed of 115 knots. It could however, land at a very docile 55 knots due to the large expanse of wing area. It had a reasonably large useful load of 3100 pounds, including pilot, ordinance and fuel, and an endurance of 10 hours.... which it needed it just to be able to make any distance at all due to it's turtle like cruise speed.

T4M00.jpg

Here's a shot of the subject. It's so ugly it's attractive, and as Lt Rich Dann calls it, it's the US version of the Swordfish.

T4M01a.jpg

Somewhere in this block of pine is a fuselage, and after 8 hours of carving and sanding it appeared.

T4M02a.jpg

See there it is. I've also got the rough wing cores sanded from 1/8 basswood. My plan is to make the wings fold-able, just like the real aircraft. Whether my metal working skills are as up to par as my plastic working skills remains to be seen, but I plan to make the hinges from square brass tube, tied into the wing spar stubs which will get buried in the basswood cores.

I think it'll be an attractive airplane, with it's Chrome Yellow wings, red tail, silver doped fuselage and gray lacquered metal panels. There's just something about the look of the pre 1940 US Naval aircraft that will never be matched again. I'll post more updates later as work progresses.

Cheers

Mike

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Thanks everyone for the comments. I appreciate the feedback.

....so this is going to be the land version right?

I haven't decided 100% yet Holmes. If I do 2-T-15 then yes it will be, but I'm trying to locate a photo I saw of an admiral's bird that was on floats. If I can find that, then I may do a float version as well. Seeing as my masters will still be intact I can make more than one of these. That is quite a ways fown the road yet, so I have lots of time to make up my mind.

I take it your working from the Paul Matt plans ?

Hi Pete

Wow what is even spookier is I am building the very subject you are painting. Are you going to sell prints? If so mark me down for one please, I'd love to display the painting. Yes you are correct, I am working from Matt's drawings. I also have the HAA Volume IV that has a little more info in it, and Lt. Richard Dann (US Navy) has been an invaluable resource for reference material also. Please keep me posted on your painting.

Cheers

Mike

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Hello Mike...

I thought that this link may be of help to you( you may have already seen it but was wqrth a try!)...

http://www.marylandaviotionmuseum.org/index.html

and http://aero-web.org/specs/martin/t4m-1htm

The first link is the Glen Miller museum and it has the sea verison and the land version andf the second has I think the same but can't remember now....

you may have to look see and see if it helps as there are a few pictures of land and sea version....I like the sea version...

:cheers: .......HOLMES.

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Egads, Mike, slow down! Take a breath every once in awhile.

Oh, and not to rub it in or anything, but I believe that aircraft is available in 1/72nd as a vac... :thumbsup:

I'm looking forward to seeing another Skyking masterpiece!!

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Mike

Your projects simply blow me away.

I am reminded that my modelling skills are very much limited to small time stuff and plastic part assembly!!

Love the pic at the start...One block of wood :cheers:

I will look forward to reading your progress.

:cheers:

MikeJ

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Hi everyone

First of all much thanks for the comments so far. The only worry I have sometimes when posting stuff like this is that if I screw it up royally and can't finish it the whole world will know about it :) It's a good check and balance that forces me to make sure I check and double check measurements, cuts, etc, before I actually commit to doing anything. Your feedback also keeps me motivated, so it helps keep me focused and always thinking one or two steps ahead of where I actually am in construction.

Nice 2 x 4 :lol:
Thanks Ron :lol: That's actually what it is too, a scrap of leftover 2x4 from some bathroom remodeling.
I thought that this link may be of help to you

Thank you Holmes, that was a great site. I've never seen it before and it provided some helpful info.

I am reminded that my modeling skills are very much limited to small time stuff and plastic part assembly!!

Thanks Mike, but don't underestimate your abilities. I still think a scratchbuilt Rorodyne is someplace in your future.

Oh, and not to rub it in or anything, but I believe that aircraft is available in 1/72nd as a vac... B)

I know Matt... I know. I saw that in a kit directory someplace. Of course if Murphy's Law takes hold, within days of me finishing this, Accurate Miniatures or Classic Airframes will announce a 48th scale injection kit of it... :lol:

The last few nights have been spent refining the fuselage master. I've got the cockpits roughed out

, and the porthole windows are marked for location. I've also began the interior structure components to stuff inside the fuselage. Thanks to Rich Dann for finding me a great fuselage shot, courtesy of Jon Carr Farrley. It's in the picture below. I used it, along with a drawing I made of the fuselage, to lay out all the stringers and braces. I used .060 Evergreen channel, .040 plastic rod, and .040 x .040 plastic strip for all the pieces, and pinned them to my drawing, much like building an old stick and tissue balsa kit. I am about ready to pull my fuselage halves, as soon as I do I can make the top and bottom pieces to tie it all together and start stuffing the interior. Due to the large round windows on either side, there's quite a bit of places to peak inside, so I want to put in as much as possible.

T4M05a.jpg

Thanks again for looking. Till next time...

Cheers

Mike

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Thanks Mike, but don't underestimate your abilities. I still think a scratchbuilt Rorodyne is someplace in your future.

Cheers

Mike

Mike, thanks for the faith :crying:

Perhaps it might. A 1:48 build would be marvelous!

:nanner:

Mike

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Looking great, Mike.

And I refreshed my own memory. Yes, it may be available in vac in 1/72nd, but Ardpol also does one in resin in the One True Scale.

:rofl:

:P

Edited by mbittner
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Thanks Matt. Oneseventytooth may be the one true scale, but then I've always had a heretical streak to me anyways. ;)

And I can't even vac a descent canopy to finish the "Alley Cat"...

Barney perhaps it's the plastic you are using. Are you trying to use clear styrene? I've found that clear polyvinal works slick. I've tried Squadron's Thermal Form in the clear but it's always "fogged" over on me from the heat. I found this stuff from a local plastic supplier that works really well. I'll see if I can find out what it is called exactly and let you know.

Over the past few days I have the fuselage halves formed and the interior structure is roughed in. I am going to pack as much stuff in it as I can, as those big round windows on the sides make it easy to look inside. There's also a window on the bottom, directly behind the engine that had a cover over it untiul in flight, but I think I will have it open also. It'll have a nice effect to be able to peek through the front cockpit opening and see through the floor to the base. I added a false floor between the structure and the fuselage halves to hide the joint of the two halves, rather than trying to fill it from the inside.

Oh and Holmes, you have me seriously considering a float plane. I found a photo of 9-T-10 from Torpedo Squadron 9 that has some promise. It also had wheels on it because I've found a photo of the same airplane fitted with landing gear, so I can go either way. The floats are a pretty simple shape too, nothing like the Edo's I made for the TBD-1a.

T4M06a.jpg

In order to get a good fit of the "cage", I taped the side pieces in place to the inside of the fuselage halves, then taped the halves together. Using a pair of inside calipers I measured the length of each cross piece and cut them to length, then pulled it all apart and glued them to one side first, let it dry overnight, then glued the other side in place till the cage was complete. It lends quite a bit of strength to the flimsy fuselage sides. I wanted to keep them as close to scale thickness as possible, so I vac'ed them out of .030 instead of my usual .040 plastic. They look real good but boy do they flex. The fuselage cage will serve double duty for looks as well as strength.

Till next time,

Cheers

Mike

Edited by Skyking
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I have pretty much all of the structural members in place on the "cage" as I call the interior module. I've installed the floors and step for the rear gunner/observer, as well as all the bracing around the cockpits and inner bracing for the bulkheads. I made the fuel tank, which sits underneath the pilot from a block of solid plastic, and simulated the bands with .005 strip. The one picture I have doesn't give a clear view of how much floor there is for the front cockpit, but an ejimicated guess tells me there's not much, if any, due to the aiming window below and behind the engine. I think I'll hang the seat and rudder pedals from bars, with a couple of floor boards for the front seat and call it close enough. There appears to be a piece of plywood for the floor for the center cockpit over the tank, I have some .5mm plywood I'll use for that. There also appears to be either a large box, or a desk immediately behind the fuel tank for the observer, but I don't see any evidence of a seat for it. The top wraps around in an "L" shape down the right side, so my hunch is it is a desk for observer to perform his navigation duties at. This is both maddening and fun at the same time. I enjoy making all the bits and pieces for the interior, but because there is so little documentation on the subject there is going to be a lot of speculation in this build, more so than I am usually comfortable with.

T4M07a.jpg

T4M09a.jpg

T4M09b.jpg

Thganks for looking.

Cheers

Mike

Edited by Skyking
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Hello

What a nice job and a wonderful idea.

I have recently bought one 1/72 resin kit from Ardpol and I will for sure use your pictures and comments later.

Sincerely

Patrick

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That is looking great, Mr. King!

I very much like the idea of building up the interior frame seperately, and will likely try and employ it in the future: I can see it saving certain sorts of 'match-up' grief.

Again, Sir, excellent and inspirational work!

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It's getting a little more cramped inside the cage now, as I've got the seat braces, control mounts, control pulleys, brackets and foot boards installed. I also have the front observation window tub roughed in and the opening cut in the bottom of the fuselage. The Navigator's desk is done, the seats, control columns and rudder bars are also fabricated. The picture I am working from is a bit fuzzy on some parts, but working from it, and one of the center cockpit, I think I have it roughly right. I want to get as much fabrication done as possible before I begin painting. The good thing is that US Navy aircraft of this era were all painted with Silver lacquer on the inside metal areas, and fabric was all silver doped, so it'll be relatively easy to paint. The Instrument board, rudder bars and some of the column were painted black, but that's about it for interior color. As soon as all my parts are made I'll begin painting and assembling the cage, installing all control cables and bracing rigging prior to putting it inside the fuselage halves and gluing them together. I have to admit I am enjoying this part of construction, and I dread painting it, as that's when I have the greatest chance of messing up.

T4M10a.jpg

The ruler gives a sense of scale to the cage. It's a 6 inch/150mm scale.

T4M11a.jpg

Little bit more closer. Control columns are .020 plastic, with PE wheel spokes and a rim of .030 solder. I vac-formed the seats from a Monogram Devastator seat master, and the mounts are .020 wire with bits of insulation left on for the adjustment tubes. These will be epoxied to the wire formers at the top of the cage. It's as close as I could replicate to the mounting of the real seats from the picture I have.

Thanks for looking,

Cheers

Mike

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