Martin-Baker's Last Hurrah - the Marlinspike

Started by CammNut, January 23, 2018, 06:19:58 PM

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Frustrated that its impressive MB.5 failed to make it into production before the war ended, Martin-Baker elected to bow out of aircraft development in style. Anticipating the return of seaplane racing once the war was over, the company decided to develop a one-off floatplane version of the MB.5. And to make sure the resulting design would be in a class of its own, Martin-Baker decided to combine two MB.5s into a single aircraft with almost 4,100 hp of Rolls-Royce Griffon power. Even encumbered with draggy floats, the twin-fuselage "MB.10" was a performer, faster than a clean P-51 and almost as speedy as an F-82 Twin Mustang.

Post-war peace did not prove as peaceful as hoped, and the UK and its wartime allies found themselves waging an unending series of small wars as former colonies sought their independence. Combat experience in the island chains of South East Asia led British defense chiefs to draw up a requirement for a seaplane fighter able to operate independently of both land bases and aircraft carriers. Martin-Baker saw one last chance and proposed an armed version of its in-development racing seaplane. Fast and maneuverable, with a long combat radius, the two-seat aircraft was also heavily armed, carrying six 20 mm cannon plus an array of external weapons.

After a brief inter-service dispute over who should properly operate a floatplane fighter that did not need land bases or aircraft carriers, the MB.10 entered service with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm as the Marlinspike F.1. The original MB.5 was a favorite of famed test pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown, himself a naval aviator, so crews affectionately referred to the MB.10 as the "Twin Winkle", which inevitably degenerated to the "Twinkle".

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

After I posted my Operation Firedog RAF Twin Mustang here, someone remarked it would be great to build a twin-fuselage MB.5. I decided to get in there first, and - because I am a slow modeler and easily overtaken - I decided to go one better: the twin-fuselage, twin-float seaplane fighter.

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

I was helped in my endeavour by the arrival of AZ Model's injection-moulded 1/72 MB.5 (I have a CMR resin one, but didn't want to cut that up). So two AZ MB.5s were duly purchased, along with two cheap Eagles Talon Kawanishi N1K1 Rex vacforms to provide the floats.

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

I used the same float on my fictional Kyushu J7W1 seaplane fighter, and its appeal is that the main strut is located well back, so it could attach to the MB.5's fuselage behind the ventral inlet. This left the float looking worryingly unsupported at the front, but I wanted to avoid a profusion of draggy supports. So I came up with the idea of a pair of streamlined forward struts angling outward from the inboard wing to brace the floats.

(I subsequently dropped the essentially completed MB.10 on a wood floor and can personally verify that the forward struts do indeed keep the floats firmly attached.)

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

The markings are from a Trumpeter Hawker Sea Fury. The dark grey is Tamiya rattle-can, the sky is brush-painted Floquil. The floatplane-ramp base is from Coastal Kits. Sorry about the iffy images - it was hard to get good lighting today.

by TheWoracle, on Flickr

Oh, and the name. I was going to call it the Seahorse. My colleague Guy then came up with the Marlinspike, which I feel better fits such a powerful aircraft. My friend David first suggested the Sea Storm, then jokingly the Winkle. Now I can give them both the credit.


Interesting and very powerful looking.  So who will do a twin MB-6?  The MB-12!   :thumbsup:
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Old Wombat

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


That looks terrific, the colour scheme REALLY suits it.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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! :)



Very cool idea and rendition. The paint scheme suits it really well.  :thumbsup:

I'd only critisize that the floats are mounted much too far back, the real aircraft would be rather nose-heavy and propably not even survive taxiing on the water?
The widest float section should be placed under the engines and protrude markedly from the nose, so that the propellers are protected from spray, too.


Decals my @r$e!


Reality is an illusion caused by an alcohol deficiency


Thanks, and I would agree on the float location - I should have studied some other floatplanes first, but then we do live in whifland...

Looking at it now, I realise I should have humoured Tophe and mounted one of the fuselages backward - I think it could be make to work!


Another excellent whif.  Back to floaty things for you I see  ;)

Definitely needed that forward strut like we told you.

'Twinkle' - groan.



You know I enjoy a good groan - comes with the modeling


Right on!! Totally unexpected and thus.... very cool!
-Sprues McDuck-


Love the idea, the only thing I would say though, the floats needed to be bigger ---
If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike


Great! :wub: :thumbsup: :bow:
You are there reaching the very top of the World (before the jet came)... ;D
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


A long time ago, I created a similar landplane:
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


Quote from: CammNut on January 24, 2018, 07:07:23 AM

Looking at it now, I realise I should have humoured Tophe and mounted one of the fuselages backward - I think it could be make to work!

And also honoured the long traditions of the British procurement process.......going around and around in circles  ;)
Decals my @r$e!