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strawberry mivi

Project Aphrodie 42-3338 "F"

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Hello all.

I'm back again.

I've been tempted back into the group build (Following my Tondalayo experiences) to add another.

I noticed few models had been completed and knowing the deadline is now the end of December, I could get rid of the Academy B-17F I had in my stash.

I tend to only buy (and build) models that fit my personal criteria of Seen It From Bedroom Window/Falklands Task Force/RAF Cheddington.

I had a choice of subjects for this B17, another NLS bird or perhaps an 36BS RCM version, but looking through my books I noticed a photo of an early 36BS aircraft that was withdrawn as 'war-weary' from bombing duties but used for Project Aphrodite.

B17F #42-3438 was one of the first 8AF aircraft to be fitted with Radio Counter Measures and was assigned to the 803rd squadron from the 96th BG. It was fitted with 6 MANDREL units.

The 803rd first flew operationally on 5th/6th June 1944 when 4 B17s flew repeated patterns off the West coast of Brittany transmitting radio signals designed to distrupt enemy radar. I've not found anything to confirm it but it is possible that this aircraft was one of the 4. Together with their colleagues from RAF 100 Group they are creditied with saving many lives by blinding the Germans to the magnitude of the forces landing on the Normandy beaches.

Unfortunately for me personally, the 803rd were based at RAF Oulton from 3/6/44 to 14/8/44, only moving to RAF Cheddington on 16/8/44 as the 36BS.

AND

the unit began converting to B24's in July, the first all B24 sortie taking place on 28/7/44.

So, the chances of 'my plane' flying from 'my airfield' are slim.

Project Aphrodite was an attempt to fill B17s and B24s with as much explosive as possible (20,000lbs) and then fly them via remote control to crash into heavily fortified targets. The project was a failure.

The casualty rate was high and if an aircraft made it as far as the target it usually missed.

more to follow...

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Aphrodite missions used 9 tons (20,000lbs) of Torpex high explosives, packed into the fuselage in the bomb bay, the radio room and the area between cockpit and bomb bay. The bomb bay was reinforced to take the extra load and the doors welded shut.

To allow the extra weight all combat equipment was removed; turrets, guns, ammo, ammo boxes, Norden bombsight, bomb racks, seats, deicer boots, gun mounts, oxygen tanks and fittings, navigation equipment. Even the copilots seat was replaced with a nav's chair.

Added were servos to operate the steering column and throttles, a TV camera to see the controls, a TV camera in the nose to see with a compass in view for direction, ariels on the tail, smoke producing equipment to produce a trail for aiming and an enlarged bail-out door in the nose with associated wind deflector.

The upper surfaces were painted white to improve visibility to the controlling aircraft. (All controllers - 'Mothers' were B24s)

The project was devised by MG James Doolittle and the first mission was on 4/9/44.

#3438 flew towards the U-boat pens at Heligoland 30/10/44, crewed by 1Lt W.C Gaither and 1Lt W.N Dunnock.

Both crewmen left the aircraft whilst flying over England and landed safely.

Unfortunately the aircraft either crashed into the sea or failed to reach its target. (references don't distinguish between which of the 2 missions to that target that day suffered which fate, or what the distinction between the outcomes is)

I'm hoping this will be a straight-forward build, especially as most of the details are either hidden or not required.

I learnt on my earlier model just which parts can be seen so don't expect much in the way of accuracy inside.

I'm looking forward to bodging some white paint over the olive drab, time for a large hairy stick.

Photos to follow when I've made something worth photographing.

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Awesome!

I remember watching a special about "Project Aphrodite" and found it pretty cool with the systems employed to make it work. By todays standard VERY simple - video camera inside to read the actual gauges, one in the nose for direction, and fly it like an RC... back then didn't seem so simply, ultra modern if you will... but a failure none the less.

Can't wait to see more! Very intreguing!

Cheers,

Mark.

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Cool subject, I have been wanting to do a similar project but building the BP4Y that killed Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and Lt. Wilford J. Willy. If memory serves me right the aircraft was called Zootsuit Black. I'd have to look up the actual name.

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Hi.

There's lots of details on 't-internet but very little in the way of photo's.

I'm going to have to look for the TV program on YouTube.

Any idea what it was called?

edit - found something :)

I've guessed a layout for the cockpit.

herm005-1.jpg

Not much AMS visible, but then not much will be visible once built.

(notice the area behind the small chair? - I believe this was filled with Torpex as well!)

Edited by strawberry mivi

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Found some of the info, relating to the AN/ARW18 Transmitting set in the control aircraft and the AN/ARW-1 series receiver in the drone.

The drone was flown by the ARW-1 controlling the standard autopilot, but as this wasn't connected to the throttles the servo-motor seen in the link above was installed for power control.

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WOW.

Thanks for that - amazing.

My cockpit is installed so it's too late for me to simulate the stuff in the photos,

but..

A photo of my plane, just before it flew off into the wild blue yonder and disappeared into the North Sea.

How cool is that!

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Looking really good! I was always fascinated by unique projects like this... can't wait to see this one!

Cheers,

Mark.

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Been spending some time filling the gaps.

Lots of gaps and mis-alignments.

Wings are on, all glazing is in apart from the turrets and astrodome which have been left off and the holes blanked over.

Now got to choose a colour for faded Olive, which will mostly be overpainted with bodged yellow.

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All filling and filing done.

Glazing in the right places so I added paint.

An undercoat first, then an attempt at preshading panel lines.

A 0.2mm needled airbrush, cheap from eBay was aquired to compare with my Badger 150 (3 nozzles)

The lines wern't as thin as I'd hoped and the painting was hopeless.

It's not as easy as it looks. (Tamiya Xf-69 Nato Black)

MobilePics002-3.jpg

MobilePics001-5.jpg

Then the top coats.

I chose Humbrol 64 underneath and it looked good. The shading shows through as planned.

MobilePics003-6.jpg

The upper surfaces need a coat of Olive Drab, but it needs to be very faded. These machines were 'war weary'.

For this I researched my options.

Hu 155 seems a favourite but I didn't have any.

Next best is to lighten the Olive (Hu 66) with something Tan.

I have Hu 94 so used that.

Trials showed about a 2:1 mix.

On it went but the result was too dark.

I'm aiming for a greeny/brown, similar to the Memphis Belle box art.

I had to try again, this time 1:1.

MobilePics004-4.jpg

This is much better - so good in fact that the colour changes with the light source, even the camera shows a different shade to how it looks normally - perfect.

Unfortunately the two coats of paint have obscured the pre-shading.

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The upper surfaces now need yellow paint applying - broom stylie, but first I'm going to mask off the areas for the decals, since the marking would not have been painted over for a one way mission.

The whole aircraft will then need coats of Future before the decals go on to avoid silvering, followed by a matt varnish for scale.

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I'm attaching the engine cowlings but I had to dismantle the assembly slightly to correct what I think is a fault.

The instructions tell to attach the engines themselves to the firewalls/bulkheads, then to place the cowlings over the top.

Doing this leaves a large gap between the front of the engine and the front of the cowl.

I've pushed the engine into the coal, as far forward as possible.

The difference is shown in the photo.

dscf2781.jpg

Looking at the decal pictures the front of the cowls are in the right place so I'm not sure what to think.

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On the Academy Fort's built before i did the same as you..ie mounted the engines inside the cowls rather than to the firewalls.

Looking forward to seeing the finished model

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So much for the 'quickie' tag.

The Fort is Fin.

I've been neglecting the thing but now its done.

(well just a new ariel to make and glue)

Not a masterpiece but hey...

Photos will follow for the Gallery.

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