Douglas Decimator

Started by sequoiaranger, October 02, 2009, 10:32:43 AM

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Wow! Back in the "business" again! I took an "enforced" (not by SWMBO, but myself) leave of model-building absence from the completion of my "Blordiator" Sept 4th to October 1. I hadn't realized until now just how "addicted" I had become! The Blordiator was *THE* most complex whif I had ever attempted, so now I will "oppose" that with...the largely OOB Decimator.

**SHORT** version of backstory: Douglas wants back into the naval attack plane business (after losing to Grumman for the follow-on to the TBD Devastator), so jumps ahead and designs a combined dive-and-torpedo bomber--TB3D "Decimator" (precursor to Skyraider).

Virtually a two-place Skyraider (one behind the other, Dauntless-style, and with the Dauntless canopy) but a heavy-hauler, the Decimator is ready in time for the Marianas campaign. Bert Earnest, who (along with George Gay) is the only active surviving pilot of Torpedo 8 (he flew an Avenger from Midway island) is now Air Group Commander aboard the NEW Hornet, with a reconstituted Torpedo 8, now equipped with Decimators. A custom THREE-place Decimator is rigged for the Commander using.....a Devastator canopy, and the plane is decorated **JUST** like Bert's "8-T-1" he used at Midway, only this time he has THREE torpedoes (modern ones that will likely run true and explode properly!) and a whole lot more speed. Torpedo 8 **WILL BE AVENGED**!

Here are the humble beginnings of the project:

The old Airfix Devastator, from which I will extricate the three-place cockpit, is there (yeah, too cheap to buy a new one!). A nice Squadron vac-form canopy will be put over it once it is transferred onto the Fujimi Skyraider. A twin-.50-cal defense will replace the old twin-.30 of the Devastator.

Though I have the Airfix, Fujimi, and Monogram Skyraiders, the best one for my purposes is the Fujimi one. I may cut out the side-fuselage dive brakes of the Airfix and put them in the Decimator, but for the most part my Decimator will merely be a "stock" Skyraider and modifications will consist of a drop-in Devastator cockpit and the three torpedoes from the Martin Mauler kit (shown). One other "add" will be an in-wing 5" rocket launcher that was actually tested on some Skyraiders, but just looks WAY COOL as a large tube sticking out of each wing.

Here is another view of the dry-fitted Decimator:

Decoration will include "Midway" camo of light blue-gray topsides, light grey undersides, cocades without the red center on sides and wing tops, but WITH the red center underneath (researched and true--the changeover was not completed at the time of Midway [contemporary photo]. The underwing cocades with the red centers was too high--when wings folded--to easily paint). As much as I would like to utilize the folding-wing feature of the Airfix Skyraider to show off the red-centered underwing cocade, the wings of the Fujimi and Aifix kits do NOT match up, so I may scotch that notion (no offense intended to the Scottish!). The pic below was taken of a Douglas TBD Devastator as Torpedo 8 readied for their Midway sortie.

I will have some inscription, and a "Hornet" motif somewhere (still a W-I-P)
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!

Captain Canada

Sounds like a great idea to me ! Too bad I'm at work and can't see any pictures....I'll have to check it out when I get home. I also love the idea of Torpedoe 8 being avenged....nice one !

CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?


This was SUPPOSED to be a minimally-modified Skyraider with a "drop-in" Devastator cockpit. I found my previous measurements off just enough to require some semi-major modifications upon which I had not anticipated. In the pic below, I cut off the top of the Devastator donor fuselage and marked the Skyraider for the same treatment. Now that both of them are sawn, I can see that the Devastator's fuselage is constant-width for the whole cockpit, but the Skyraider's is much larger in the front and tapers rapidly to much smaller in the rear. I knew it would taper a little, but thought that the width of the plastic used for the fuselage would enable a match if I sanded and/or added a little. NOPE.

I may have to use a large spacer for the rear fuselage, and for the front....? I guess blend in the curves with putty. The Devastator canopy is a "fixed" dimension that I can't alter, so other dimensions will have to suffer. But since the rear of the canopy will be open for the gunner, I can maybe fudge a little there and put some taper in. But the bottom line is that there will be LOTS of PSR work to get the Devastator cockpit/canopy to match up with the Skyraider. But I am determined!

Then, further measuring led me to believe I could use the Airfix folding-wing mechanism anyway, however I now see that the wing-folding is a glue-it-either-up-or-down proposition without some complicated engineering work, so I am back to the fixed-wing concept.

Undaunted, (or as Douglas Aircraft would say, Dauntless) I am proceeding.
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Jeffry Fontaine

Craig, looking good!  Are you going to keep the 20mm battery or lighten with a load of .50 Brownings?  Have you considered using the TBF/TBM gun turret or a similar manned turret containing a pair of .50 Brownings?
Unaffiliated Independent Subversive
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg


>Craig, looking good!  Are you going to keep the 20mm battery or lighten with a load of .50 Brownings?  Have you considered using the TBF/TBM gun turret or a similar manned turret containing a pair of .50 Brownings?<

Thanks, Tophe, CC, and Jeff.

I am going to have wing armament as one .50 cal MG (each inner wing) and in each outer wing the 5" rocket tube I mentioned. Though the Decimator/Skyraider is a heavy-hauler, I don't want to get ridiculous! (WHO ME??). I had also considered a rear-defense turret like the TBF, or even like the ill-fated Douglas SB2D, but wanted the TBD *LOOK*, just upgrading to a hand-held pair of .50's as a compromise. I had considered drop tanks, too, but again, with THREE torpedoes and THREE crew members that is a lot of weight, so I think I will keep it simple. Presumably the Decimator could carry TWO torpedoes and drop tanks for a long-range strike, but in my scenario, the "Revenge of Torpedo 8" will only be a short-range strike where maximum ordnance can be brought to the party.

PS--I am also concocting a story in my head about the Decimators meeting up with my Jinpu-Kai's desperate to save their doomed carrier. The story of the "Death Ride of the Shinano" is also a WIP.
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!

Eddie M.

Looking very good! I'm glued to the screen waiting for more. =)
Look behind you!


John 'Panzer' Hinton

Ian the Kiwi Herder

(Pulls-up comfy chair.....) OK, you've got my attention !

"When the Carpet Monster tells you it's full....'s time to tidy the workbench"

Confuscious (maybe)


I also eagerly await progress. Hope the PSR work goes well.

QuoteDeath Ride of the Shinano

Oh now you're gonna have to elaborate on that!  ;D


As far as the "rocket" armament goes, here is a photo of the setup from the excellent Squadron Signal "In Action" series of the Skyraider:

I had a bit of trouble finding out WHERE the tubes were, since they seemed to be right near the wing-folding break (what side were they on?), but later found out that they are inside of the break where the inboard 20mm would be. It also appears there is some sort of "vent" on the underside of the wing, looking like a shell ejection port, to allow the rocket blast to go somewhere. So now I am thinking that the hole in the wing where the outboard 20mm gun would go on the model will represent the .50 cal MG, and I will insert, shown in the pic below, these bits in the wing leading edge for the rocket tubes. The bits were in my "bagged parts" bin and of unknown origin. I think I initially got them for muzzle brakes for tanks (?? Yes, I have done tanks!), but they "fill the bill" here, as the curved part will mesh fairly well with the wing leading edge, and they have the "correct" diameter for a 5" tube. And being a Ranger carrying a six-shooter for most of my career, the "six-shooter" rocket set-up kinda appeals to me!

I have "solved" the tapered-fuselage dilemma, methinks, by cutting out a bit of the top of the Skyraider cowling/scoop area to narrow it. The Fujimi kit has separate pieces for the cowl flaps that will disguise the fact that the formerly round cowling is now egg-shaped. That will do for the front, though I still have some PSR to do to blend it all in. I think I can live with the rest of the taper by squeezing the canopy to conform with the sides of the cockpit. That might lessen the angle at which the top of the rear canopy descends, but also I will have the rear gunner's position open, eliminating the "need" for the rear canopy to conform.

I am also re-investigating the wing-fold possibilities. I found that the Airfix Skyraider wing (that has the fold) does not conform in size to the Fujimi wing (wing is bigger) but...has the same SHAPE further on out in the span. So I could make a slightly longer wingspan AND keep the wing-fold looking realistic. If I can K*I*S*S* it, I'll do it, if nothing else than to show off the red-centered roundel underneath.

* "Keep It Simple, Stupid"

For my "fans"---although the overall time to completion of the Decimator should be minimal and move quickly, this first part of getting the cockpit properly done up will be the most time-consuming. I have several "away" obligations this month, so working time on the Decimator will be sporadic. I'm not anticipating quick progress until mid-November. So it better be a REALLY comfy chair, Ian (though I love the imagery!) and maybe some low-tack glue, Eddie M, so you can "pull away" from the screen easily!
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


 I am discovering the Siga "Martin Mauler" is cruder than I thought. It does have thick plastic with lots of flash, but seemed OK. The torpedo halves did not line up, so I will have to PSR them for the final shape. Also, the plastic seems to resist normal styrene cement's dissolving properties. The Mauler torpedoes have a distinct ogive to their nose [far right in first picture], something WW II torpedoes definitely did NOT have (now I'm not even sure that Siga got them right, anyway). Luckily the plastic there is VERY thick, so I was able to blunt them down AND was able to make (keep) the little projection that has a hole in it like real torpedoes [middle torpedo in pic]. There is still a hint of ogive there, but it is minimal. The "ideal" round-nose shape of a WW II torpedo is the concoction on the left (or the 1/48 model one in the following pic), but there is no way to do that with the Mauler torpedoes without a heckuva lotta PSR work. I'd rather invent my own whif torpedo instead!

My research indicates that the torpedoes were two-toned. There are a lot of versions out there that feature red, or black, or ?? such tips, but from my best research, this scheme is proper (gray nose, natural metal rear, but, according to actual Midway torpedo-handlers, smeared brown with cosmoline). research from photos also concludes that the demarcation line between colors is slightly forward of this fine rendition:

I also cut out the "bathtub" Mauler central torpedo mount and shaped it to fit the Skyraider's ventral fuselage.

Progressing slowly.  :rolleyes:
My mind is like a compost heap: both "fertile" and "rotten"!


Interesting project and based on the name I gather that it is a precision attack aircraft? ;)

Doc Yo

...either that, or it only hits one target out of ten... ;D...Neat idea, Ranger-anything with rocket guns is
ok in my book.


Nice work so far, Craig - she's turning into quite the monster, and the work is looking pretty intricate.  You're doing a great job though!
Putty-fu, Scratch-jutsu and Bash-chi, the sacred martial arts of the What-If. Mastering them, is Ancient Chinese Secret.

Just your friendly neighbourhood Mad Scientist and Ship-whiffer.

Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.