Westland Wowhawk - Dadswell Bridge Museum of Victorian Flight. May 2016

Started by zenrat, May 23, 2016, 01:58:28 AM

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Westland Wowhawk

It is a little known fact that John Douglas Rennie, chief designer for Blackburn Aircraft, moonlighted at Westland Aircraft between 1935 and 1937.  He was employed specifically to oversee development of a successor to the Wapiti and the Wallace – a light day bomber for suppressing rebellious tribesmen in the colonies.
It has been suggested that Rennie intended that these revolting natives would take one look at what was approaching and run in horror.  However, the author feels that while this may have been his intention the appearance of the aircraft was improved by Westlands' insistence that he use as many existing components as possible and that the resulting aircraft be capable of high angle dive bombing.
Westland Wowhawk 3 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
Rennie's solution was to adapt the fuselage of the Lysander to low wing configuration with the main spar of the all metal wings passing beneath the cockpit floor.  The Lysander's cockpit layout was retained with the pilot and gunner/radio operator sitting in tandem separated by the framework which had originally located the Lysander's high wings (retained in the Wowhawk as to remove it would have meant major structural modifications to the fuselage thus going against Westlands' instruction re existing parts) .  Power was provided by the then new Bristol Taurus 14 cylinder two row radial.  Spatted and faired fixed undercarriage was used with the undercarriage leg fairings opening outwards to function as dive brakes.  Weapons load consisted of one 500lb bomb beneath the fuselage on a Murphy Bulldog bobbing rack with knee-action crutch and four 100lb bombs, two under each wing on Johnson-Bartlett Mk3 adjustable racks and one 0.303"Lewis or Vickers K machine gun in rear cockpit.  No fixed guns were fitted although there were proposals for underwing gun packs should it be desired to strafe the villages of unruly aboriginals.
Westland Wowhawk 2 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
Named after a small raptor native to the Lancre region of Somerset, production of the Wowhawk began in early 1937 but was cancelled (in favour of producing bomb racks for Tiger Moths) with the outbreak of War with Germany in March 1939.  By that time 249 had been built of which 223 had been shipped to India (six squadrons) and British North Australia (one squadron).  The 26 remaining in Greater Britain were requisitioned for the BEF and were sent to Poland in August 1939 with the BEF where they didn't fare too well against BF 109s and 110s of the Luftwaffe.
The aircraft pictured is the restored example from the Dadswell Bridge Aircraft Museum in the People's Democratic Republic of Victoria.  It is flown regularly thrilling the crowds with it's displays of pinpoint accurate dive bombing.
Modellers should note that the restorers incorrectly painted the undersurfaces Sky when they should in fact be Azure.
Westland Wowhawk 6 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr
The model:
Matchbox Westland Lysander fuselage with Academy P39 Airacobra wings and tail surfaces.  Airfix old mould Bristol Beaufighter engine and cowling.
Spats courtesy of JayBee (from the Fanera he built for the Civilit/Milit GB) on scratchbuilt legs.  500lb bomb is Italeri (IL-28) and 100lb bombs are probably Airfix (Swordfish new mould).  Bomb racks are scratchbuilt.
Westland Wowhawk 5 by Fred Maillardet, on Flickr

- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..


Very nice indeed. Not as easy to see its origin's as I would have thought.  :thumbsup:

My Ability to Imagine is only exceeded by my Imagined Abilities

Gondor's Modelling Rule Number Three: Everything will fit perfectly untill you apply glue...

I know it's in a book I have around here somewhere....


Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Old Wombat

I never knew Lancre was in Somerset! :o

Learn summat new every day! Thanks for the geography lesson! :thumbsup:


Oh, & the funky little dive-bomber. It looks very good, actually. :ph34r:
Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est



Thanks blokes.

I think a lot of the Discworld is in Somerset.  Whilst at the Glastonbury Festival I have certainly seen some strange sights that can surely only be due to the presence of a strong magical field.  Ahem.  ;D


- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..

comrade harps


Captain Canada

Nice one. Love the spats with the dive brakes. Love the colours as well. Looks great sat beside the Fulmar !

CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

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


Super job Fred. Just as Gondor said, it's not at all obvious that it started as a Lysander. Only after reading your notes did I realise it after looking at the fin.

And I LOVE the dive brakes, cracking idea.  :thumbsup: :bow:
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



What If? & Secret Project SIG member.
On the go: Beaumaris/Battle/Bronco/Barracuda/Corsair GA.1/Flatning/Hellcat IV/Hunter PR11/Hurricane IIb/Ice Cream Tank/JP T4/Jumo MiG-15/P1103 (early)/P1154-ish/Phantom FG1/I-153/Sea Hawk T7/Spitfire XII/Spitfire Tr18/Twin Otter/FrankenCOIN/Frankenfighter


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


"Sticks and stones may break some bones but a 3.57's gonna blow your damn head off!!"


Quote from: kitbasher on May 23, 2016, 09:39:31 AM
looks very PZL.23 Karaś
That was what I thought the base kit was when I first looked at it. Figured it was the Heller kit doctored up a bit.

Came out great. Looks the part.
It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.

   - George Burns


The wing planform reminded me of Hurricane at first but would have of course been much larger and thicker. Subtle :thumbsup: