Stirling Glider Tug

rtfoe

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#1
Hi,
I have always been intrigued by the airborne and the chariots that transported them to their targets. One particular movie scene was the attack and taking of Pegasus bridge in The Longest Day. Although the transport tugs were clearly Halifaxes I converted Airfix's Sterling into a glider tug as they feature more in images of gliders tugged on D-Day or Market Garden.

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The above pictures show the difference of the tugs from the bombers. Features to omit were the front and dorsal turrets. The old Airfix kit cockpits of the time were basically very bare so I added some basic ribbing to the frame and walkways to the rear fuslage...don't know why I did the latter as very little can be viewed from the open rear door.

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Cut off the dorsal turret and covered with card supported with shims. Masking tape seatbelts enhanced the appearance or the seats and picked out the instrument panel with tiny blobs of paint just enough to make it look busy. Also added a chart for the navigators table. The front turret area was to be worked on next.
More to come next.

Cheers,
Richard
 

Steve Jones

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#2
Richard

I too am a big fan of the Pegasus Bridge and Merville Battery operations. Looking forward to seeing how this project develops. Good luck

Steve
 

rtfoe

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#4
Thanks Steve and Richard,

The two operations by the British Airborne were astonishing feats...one objective taken in 15 mins and the other with less than a third of it's strength.

Cheers,
Richard
 

rtfoe

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#5
This was quite the fun part where I had to make my own home made vacuum form pump from a Ferrero chocolate box and vacuum cleaner.

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Firstly on joining the fuselage I had to alighn the halves and fill gaps at the front turret and back of the cockpit. This was done with pla card and trimmed.

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Then I carved balsa wood into the shape of the plexiglass nose cone for the removed turret filling and burring until it had the right shape. The next two pictures show my home made vacuum pump. After a few sheets of trying I got one passable cast. There were tiny bubbles but I could live with it. Picture on left below shows a botched vac form.

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More to come in next thread on improving the rear turret.

Cheers,
Richard
 

rtfoe

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#6
Hi,

My next modification was the tail turret. The Airfix kit part was very rudimentary and fit wasn't good. Since the clear part wasn't very clear I did some simple interior work.

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I cleaned up the clear part and added farrings to hold the brownings...I then painted the internal framings.

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Then I tested the fit and sanded where ever needed to flush it against the aircraft body. I clamped the assemblyto keep the clear part flush with the rear housing until the glue cured. I then masked and puttyied.

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After that I carefully masked the glazing and sprayed the whole assembly Nato black.

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That's it...next will be the tug cable mechanism.

Cheers,
Richard
 
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#10
Hi Richard
Going well, nice work on the deleted turret. Always wondered why they took off the front turret? At least that could have shot at a target....all the rear turret gunners could shoot would be the glider behind LOL
Tim
 

rtfoe

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#11
Thanks Fernando, Guy, Paul and Tim for looking in and commenting.

The base kit was very basic with lots of gaps and detail missing. now with the extra insulation not only the tail gunner is happy but the tail turret is looking like one. Good point on the deleted turrets, I guess being an interdiction operation at night these stations weren't often used. The tail turret was maintained against night fighters approaching low from behind or give protection to the glider.

Cheers,
Richard
 

Steve Jones

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#12
Richard

Terrific work on the upgrades. I really enjoyed reading about your progress. Thanks for sharing:thumb2:

Steve
 

John Race

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#13
Richard.
That vacuum forming pump ! That's some dedication,and what a result. Most impressed. :thumb2:
Build looks to becoming on well, I shall sit with the crew.
John .
 
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#14
Richard,
That looks jolly good to me. Always liked the Stirling since building the Airfix one as a youngster. Keep up the good work.:thumb2:
Andy
 

Gern

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#15
This is looking really good.

I remember making an awful job of this kit as a young boy, but I loved the aircraft itself. I've read reviews that say Airfix are still churning out this kit from the original moulds - which means I ain't gonna buy one! Sheeessshhh! I had enough with the old Defiant I did recently.

Someone else has released a Stirling (and I have vague memories of seeing a glider tug version too) in 1/72; I think it's Italeri. Has anyone built one and is it any good?
 

rtfoe

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#16
Thanks Steve, John R, Andy C, and Dave for your kind replies.

Glad to share this old kit build. It's my second attempt for this kit. The first one was a bomber version that was stolen when displayed at a LHS. Had no choice but to make a vacuum pump to get the glasing...didn't know where to get any after market material for it. The crew are huddled at the briefing room John. I still build Airfix kits for nostalgia. I feel the Italeri kit engraving too deep but must be an easier kit to build with less clean up of the parts. I re-did the old Defiant and will share the progress shots on it later.

Cheers,
Richard
 

rtfoe

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#17
Hi, more progress on the Stirling, this time the tug mechanism situated under the tail...

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Basically it was made up of three pla sheets cut to the shape of a 'D' and sandwiched attached to short swivel arms in cut outs at the base of the tail planes. The center portion of this 'D" where the cable release housing is connected further up the fuslage via a rod. All this was from guess work off pictures on glider tugs.

Cheers,
Richard
 

Richard48

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#18
Some really great work so far.Ive always liked the look of the sterling.I remember getting an airfix one for Christmas when i was 11 or 12.Black plastic and glue everywhere.My.brother made the bomb tractor if i remember.Keep it up as its very interesting.
Richard
 

rtfoe

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#19
Thanks Richard.
Yes , this Airfix kit shows its age but was the only game in town until Italeri decided to jump in. All the glider tug parts are available in that kit...just came out 7 years too late for me.:smiling4:

Cheers,
Richard
 

rtfoe

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#20
Next, the engine nacelle slats needed thinning down...then the radial engines were painted black and dry brushed with silver picking out the raised vanes on the pistons.

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The inside of the nacelles were painted interior green and radilas fitted. The propellers look horrid with large amounts of flash but they were in the right proportions...major clean up ahead.

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More to come later.

Cheers,
Richard
 
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