Help requested!

Started by HoOmAn, January 27, 2010, 10:26:08 PM

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I need your help. But I am new to these boards so let me introduce myself first.

I am a 34-year-old engineer from good old Germany, working as a consultant for Airbus on the A380 program. However, to relax every so often I tend to ,,waste" my spare time on things like history, (war)ships and aircrafts. About seven years ago this hobby resulted in the founding of WesWorld as a place where "what if" navies and designs could be brought together and be developed in a "fixed" environment. Today WesWorld most likely is the longest running of this kind in the web and has long grown out of "ships only". Ground vehicles and aircrafts have been added which brings me back to why I am here.

In WesWorld exists a non-historical power called The South African Empire, or SAE, and I am in charge of it. It is made of large territories in South Africa, from the area of Lüderitz in the West to Daressalam in the East. Additionally Cameroon in central Africa and Grand Uruguay in South America are part of the Empire, the latter much larger than historical Uruguay and extending further south and west beyond the Rio de la Plata. In general the SAE can be assumed one of the major players in WesWorld, probably ranking fifth place in the world when it comes to industrial and military power. Her military forces can be assumed well trained and battle hardened from their war with Argentina and Brazil in the years 1935/36 and engineers and designers had a chance to learn a lot about what works and what does not. Which brings us into 1938 where we are in WesWorld today and to the task I face and need your help for: to modernize the Royal South African Airforce (RSAF), to lay out the path to follow for some years and decided which designs will be focused on.

I am asking for your help and advice what kind of aircraft design you would choose to answer some specific requirements that I will post and explain. Proposals can be historical or non-historical designs. You can choose from planes that made it into mass production or remained in the prototype phase, envisioned variants that never realized or fictional hybrids like the awesome FW190/P-51 or Typhoon/FW190 blends I have seen on this board some time ago. What is important to me is that there is at least a line drawing. Proposed designs of which photos exist or for which existing photos can be used to give an impression of the aircraft are most welcome. When I post what designs the RSAF currently has in service you will see what I mean. Planebuilder sims are not a must have. In fact, most of my earlier non-historical designs where never run through that program. Instead I modified historical stats carefully and with common sense.

Please note that albeit WesWorld has reached 1938 aircraft technology is a bit more ad-vanced. We have some kind of gentlemen agreement that planes can be up to 3 years ahead of the year we are in. That means the SAE could have a program running that results in a maiden flight in 1938 of what would be a 1941er design historically.  So that "+3 years" rule refers not to start of mass production. It is also meant to be a guideline only and in gen-eral I tend not to push the limits in the past. If you agree to help, I will provide a list of (inline and radial) aircraft engines already available or on the horizon to give you something to work with.

So what do you think? Are you interested in proceeding? Please let me know if all this sounds an interesting challenge for you. I will then go on with more details on engines, planes in service and specifications for fighters, bombers, reconnaissance planes etc..

If you are interested to get at least an idea what I am up for see where I have posted some RSAF designs and information, though this is nowhere complete or up to date.

Many thanks,



Here we go with some information on engines and armament.

For RSAF aircrafts various piston engines are available or projected. For all of these I have only specified type (inline, radial), number of cylinders and power output. Going into details like weight, size, bore, super/turbocharging etc. is beyond me. However, you can assume these engines to be comparable to historical engines of similar power and date (keep in mind "+3 years" rules, see my previous post). If the engines at hand do not fit your proposed de-signs feel free to introduce something new. Nothing is really written in stone.

Inline engines

There are two large manufacturers in the SAE for these: Stuart and LMF. Table 1 below pro-vides an overview. Note that for some like the LMF750/LMF760 series engines exist that turn clockwise and counter-clockwise which might help with multi-engine aircraft. The LMF1200 series can be compared to early RR Merlins, DB601 or DB605 variants in size and weight and is the engine family of choice for aircrafts now in service or about to enter service. With a power output of about 1400hp I expect this engine to have reached its final potential. For more a new engine design has to be used. The Stuart Nova/Star/Galaxy series and the LMF2000 are more like RR Griffons or DB603 variants. I should probably note here that I have never cared if that means V or inverted-V but now that I think of it the LMF1200 is an inverted-V engine (build into designs I used historical German planes for such as the He112, FW57, He118 or Ju89). However, that must not have any impact on future designs.

Table 1
Name   # Cyl   Power (PS)   Date of Use
Stuart Drudge   8   380   25.06.1927
LMF600 IV   12   450   23.08.1925
Stuart Mule   12   650   28.06.1927
LMF600 XVI   12   680   17.01.1929
LMF750/760 III   12   750   05.05.1931
Stuart Burro   12   750   28.09.1932
LMF750 IV   12   770   07.11.1931
Stuart Burro 2   12   860   
LMF1200 II   12   920   16.03.1932
LMF1200 IV   12   960   11.04.1933
LMF1200 IX   12   1050   10.03.1934
LMF1200 X   12   1180   11.03.1935
LMF1200 XI   12   1250   03.02.1934
LMF1200 XIII   12   1320   21.05.1935
LMF1200 XX   12   1280   24.07.1935
LMF1200 XXII   12   1280/1560   06.06.1937
LMF1200 XXV   12   1430   14.03.1938
Stuart Nova   12   1500   
Stuart Star   12   1660   
Stuart Galaxy   12   1840   
LMF 2000 II   12   1780   
Stuart Super Nova   12   2020   
Stuart Super Star   12   2210   
Stuart Super Galaxy   12   2340   
LMF 2400   24   2500   

Radial engines

Again there are two large manufacturers, BMG and Rayton. So far radials have been used mainly for aircraft used by the Coastal Command or Navy and reliability often was rated over power. However, with the latest 14 cyl. Rayton Hurrican (a la BMW801) a potential and powerful engine has been introduced to single-seat fighter designs, such as the Walter F-8 series that is a Ki-44 clone. Power output has reached a peak of 1500hp and is expected to increase further (projected version with about 1700hp will mean maximum potential used). Beyond that point I envision 18 cyl. Engines with 1800hp to 2500hp.

Table 2
Name   # Cyl   Power (PS)   Date of Use
Rayton Comet II   5   150   23.08.1929
BMG Lynx 19   7   200   14.04.1925
BMG Lynx 21b   7   225   05.07.1926
American Westland Wirld-wind   7   300   05.07.1926
BMG Super Lynx   7   340   05.07.1926
Rayton Double Comet   10   410   
BMG Hornet 3   9   570   27.08.1926
BMG Hornet 5   9   580   23.08.1927
BMG Hornet 5   9   590   05.03.1927
Rayton Gemini   9   650   14.06.1929
Rayton Pegasus III   9   800   25.09.1930
Rayton Centaurus VI   9   800   22.09.1932
Rayton Pegasus V   9   825   12.11.1931
Rayton Centaurus X   9   880   06.07.1931
Rayton Pegasus VIIa   9   880   27.02.1934
Rayton Pegasus VIIb   9   890   11.03.1933
Rayton Pegasus X   9   915   17.06.1933
Rayton Pegasus XI   9   945   
Rayton Pegasus XIII   9   985   
BMG Double Lynx   14   1040   
BMG Double Lynx 5   14   1180   15.09.1934
BMG Double Lynx 8   14   1330   
Rayton Hurrican I   14   1120   06.08.1934
Rayton Hurrican III   14   1250   18.07.1935
Rayton Hurrican V   14   1440   09.02.1936
Rayton Hurrican VIII   14   1520   23.09.1937
BMG Twin Hornet A   14   1550   
Rayton Hurrican X   14   1640   
Rayton Hurrican XII   14   1720   
BMG Twin Hornet C   18   1820   
Rayton Double Pegasus II   18   1840   
BMG Twin Hornet D   18   1880   
BMG Twin Hornet E   18   2060   
Rayton Double Pegasus III   18   2100   
BMG Twin Hornet F   18   2120   
Rayton Double Pegasus V   18   2240   
BMG Twin Hornet H   18   2300   
BMG Twin Hornet J   18   2440   
Rayton Double Pegasus IX   18   2520   

Jet or Rocket engines

These have not yet been introduced to WesWorld or the RSAF in particular. I know of some players that have set up R&D that will lead to jets but this is roleplaying "only" so it should not have any impact here.


You can expect the usual blend of light 7,62mm MG, heavy 15mm MG and 2cm cannons – the latter either firing through the engine or used in wing installation. There also had been experiments with a belly mounted 55mm gun on a FW57 clone (called DeBroek FD-2 Hornet) for purpose of ground attack. Firepower was impressive and most targets on ground during the ABS war (Argentina, Brazil vs. South Africa) could be destroyed but the weapon was prone to jamming when fired under g force and the program was finally brought to an end without mass production. A 30mm or 35mm cannon probably is an option for future designs too but has not yet been introduced. Rockets like the R4M will be introduced in a few years, most likely as an add-on to then existing designs.

In general SAE design should feature armor and self-sealing tanks. Survivability is top priority as long as performance does not suffer too much. In that case the whole design would be questioned.


It is time to start aircraft design and the most interesting category probably is "single-seat single-engine fighter aircraft". Let me first introduce you to what I currently have at hand before aiming for future designs.

Current situation

The RSAFs main fighter plane is the fictional JFM F-6 Swallow (JFM = Jong Airframe Manu-factoring) which is a Heinkel 112 clone. The original F-6 introduced 1931 was very much a copy of the He112 V1 with open cockpit and a 750hp engine. The first mass produced version was the much-improved F-6B with enclosed cockpit and streamlined cowling and fuse-lage, pretty much the historical He112 in her final appearance. The plane featured a 920hp engine and a speed of 560km/h. The F-6C resembled a twin-seat trainer while the F-6D was the next frontline fighter variant. It featured a supercharged engine of 1250hp with modifications to cowling, fuselage and intakes. The plane proofed capable of 612km/h and entered service in 1935 (up to this point drawings and photos of historical He112 could be used). Next was the F-6E, which meant to incorporate lessons learnt during the conflict in South America. Wing tips where modified, cowling/fuselage further streamlined and an even more powerful engine of 1320hp installed, the F-6 now achieving 632km/h in level flight. Over 1800 of this plane were build and they form the backbone of todays (1938) fighter squadrons. With the F-6F a new twin-seat trainer version based on the most successful E was also intro-duced. In mid-1937 experiments were started that added water injections to the LMF engine. Power could be pushed to 1560hp for 2-3 minutes in case of emergency. JFM designers modified the F-6 to carry the system and started test flights with this so called F-6G. A maximum speed of 707km/h could be achieved but the whole installation proofed very unreliable and the program was cancelled after modification of three test planes. This leaves the current F-6H prototype the last evolution of the original He112 design. She features a supercharger optimized for 5000m instead of 4000m as in earlier versions and the engine is now producing 1430hp. Her cockpit and canopy was improved for less drag and better field of vision. The variant also is the first to feature 20mm cannons instead of 15mm MGs. The F-6H started for maiden flight in March 1938 and test flights are ongoing. In summer 1938 she proofed capable of 656km/h during tests and was chosen the new standard fighter for the RSAF. Start of production is planned for mid to late 1939.

In general the later versions of the F-6 can be compared to historical and similar powered Spitfire variants. As I already stated, beginning with the F-6E I could no longer make use of historical He112 pictures as the discrepancies to what I described would have been too great. Hence it would be nice to have line drawings and "photoshoped" pictures of the later variants. Can you help with that?

During the ABS war a shortage of LMF1200 engines resulted in slowed production. The RSAF High Command thus send out an urgent request to supplement the F-6 with a fighter using a radial engine. One of the companies answering said request was Walter Aircraft En-gineering. On the company's own account Walter had participated with the WA-103 (a clone of the historical Ki-44) in a RSAF contest for fighter planes with radial engines in 1934. How-ever, the contest proofed fruitless as the RSAF could not decide on any of the introduced planes and ordered all contenders to rework their aircraft (other contenders fictional too, based on Bloch 152 or IAR 80). Now in mid war Walter could offer a redesigned version of the WA-103 with a 1250hp Rayton Hurrican instead of the original 1180hp BMG Double Lynx. The design was accepted by the RSAF as the F-8A Demon and ordered for mass pro-duction. However, during test flights some instability issues had to be addressed, resulting in more rework. Finally this lead to the F-6B (first flown in February 1936). She became the first mass produced variant, featuring a 1440hp version of the Hurricane engine. After 350 planes production shifted to the F-8C, once more with a more powerful engine of 1520hp and subsequently enlarged tail plane that could now achieve 622km/h in level flight. For Q3/1938 first flight of a twin-seat variant of the F-3C is expected (F-8D).

Up until the F-8C I relied on the design of the historical Ki-44, except for the twin-seat trainer version of course. No additional version of the plane is projected, though there are projected variants of the Rayton engine of 1640hp or even 1720hp that could be used. Given the planes background story and despite her good rate of climb, range and reliable engine there are some shortcomings like high wing load and reduced maneuverability that make the F-8C a good interceptor but a less-than-optimal (read: lousy) dogfighter. However, as interceptor her long legs are a waste. She is also slower than comparable fighters with inline engines, probably a drawback of all radial engine powered fighters? Do you see potential for devel-opment or would you replace the F-8 Demon with something more modern?

Way forward

With the current situation explained the question of how to proceed has to be answered. The F-6 concept is growing old and the F-8 always was some sort of stop gab solution. The RSAF High Command would thus be looking for a replacement for both, continuing with the strategy of using both radial and inline engines. Also required would be a long legged fighter for escort duties and long-range patrols as well as an interceptor than can help where needed on short notice. High altitude performance is requested most likely for all of these mission profiles. If a highly maneuverable dogfighter with good low altitude performance is required is open for debate.

How would you replace those fighters now in existence and cover the next 4-5 years? Would you replace them one by one or do you think there should also be some separation between high and low altitude fighters?

My own ideas up until now are like this:

Inline – most difficult because there were so few really successful designs historically and those are all too well known or taken by other players (i.e. Spitfire, P-51, FW190D, Tempest). Something completely new or kit-bashed would be nice instead.

Replace the F-6/He112 with a Yak-3 (with other wing, hers are ugly shaped)?
Probably make use of inline-powered Tempest?

Radial – with the exception of the famous FW190A and P-47 or late-war Bearcat, Corsair and Tempest or (Sea) Fury there are not very many impressive radial-powered fighters I can think of and again those are probably used by many other WesWorld players anyway. So again something new or rarely used is necessary.

Replace the F-8/Ki-44 with a Nakajima 84 clone?
Add FW190/P-51 clone for high altitude (IIRC there had been two versions posted, based on either P-51B or P-51D with BMW801 which would make start a family tree easy)?
What about the Curtiss YP-60E as some kind of P-47 clone?

Last but not least: Of course any new fighter has to have that look that makes me think "Wow!". That is why I am here after all. ;)

What do you think, Gentlemen? Which design would you propose for the RSAF?



QuoteWhat about the Curtiss YP-60E.......

I confess I haven't read all of your posts but this made me think about a XF14C with it's original H-2470.

QuoteSo again something new or rarely used is necessary.

Would definately be that. Maybe one of our artists could knock one up using the XP-54 as a guide? If you don't get any better offers, I may have a go.  <_<


That one looks like a monster!  :o

Going from the Ki-44 IIb to that huge plane with counter-rotating probs probably is a leap too large. Do you have any proposal for an intermediate step?


Your link is pleasant, thanks. But this level of details is not my kind of what-ifism, personnally, sorry (I prefer new shapes looking old but not too much).
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]