Author Topic: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder  (Read 6033 times)

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« on: May 14, 2015, 01:05:21 am »
Finally, the third and last one of the recent whif trio, and actually the one that was started first - but waiting for donation parts from South Korea delayed work so much that I was able to start and finish the 'Bourrasque' and the Flitzer conversion first. Anyway, here it finally is, inspired by a set of profiles from fellow modeler and artist Franclab at FlickR.Com from Canada...

Westland Whirlwind "What if" 3 by François, on Flickr

Much stuff to chose from - and this eventually became of one of the profiles, with a slight, personal twist: "The Pelican", or, with its full title, the Westland Whirlwind PR.III, aircraft MB 950/'[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Some background:
The Westland Whirlwind (Whirly or Whirlibomber in RAF slang) was a British twin-engined heavy fighter developed by Westland Aircraft. It was the Royal Air Force's first single-seat, twin-engined, cannon-armed fighter, and a contemporary of the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane. It was one of the fastest aircraft in service when it flew in the late 1930s, and was much more heavily armed than any other.

However, protracted development problems with its Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines delayed the entire project and only a relatively small number were ever built. During the Second World War only two RAF squadrons were equipped with the Whirlwind, and despite successful use as a fighter-bomber it was withdrawn from service in 1943.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


After retirement in December 1943, the surviving Whirlwinds were sent to 18 Maintenance Unit at Dumfries, Scotland, where they were to be scrapped - but this was halted in early 1944 when the remaining airframes were modified for a completely new role: as radar-equipped pathfinders with the new, American H2X radar.

The H2X radar ("Mickey set", AN/APS-15) was an American development of the British H2S radar, the first ground mapping radar to be used in combat. It was used by the USAAF during World War II as a navigation system for daylight overcast and nighttime operations. It used a shorter 3 cm wavelength (10 GHz frequency) than the H2S, giving a sharper picture (H2S subsequently adopted 3 cm in the Mark III version entering operational service on November 18, 1943, for “Battle of Berlin”) and not known to have ever been spotted by the German Naxos radar detector, due to that receiving device's specific purpose being to spot the original British H2S equipment's lower frequency, 3 GHz emissions. 

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The hemispherical radome for the H2X's rotating dish antenna replaced the much bigger ball turret of the H2S, which was  e. g. installed under Avro Lancaster bombers. The first H2X-equipped aircraft, B-17s, arrived in England in early February 1944, and were first used in combat later that month, and the first use of the "Mickey" was against Ploesti on April 5, 1944.

Availability of the new radar systems was scarse, so the idea of special aircraft guiding groups of bombers was born. Furthermore, due to the absence of radar maps as guidance, respective reconnaissance and radar mapping missions had to be conducted.
Consequently six PR Mk.XVI de Havilland Mosquito aircraft in the 482nd Bomb Group were equipped with H2X equipment in April 1944. The idea was to produce photographs of the radar screen during flights over Germany allowing easy interpretation of these radar images in later bombing runs. Three aircraft were subsequently lost in training, and the project was discontinued, but the idea was kept up.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Twenty Westland Whirlwind airframes as well as further twelve PR Mk.XVI de Havilland Mosquito aircraft were fitted with H2X. The Whirlwinds saw major modification: first of all, the complete nose section was redesigned. The cannon armament was replaced by a more spacious, deeper compartment that carried the H2X in the nose section behind an opaque perspex cover, as well as the technical equipment for the radar and a work station for a radar operator right in front of the cockpit.

The Whirlwind's original Peregrine engines were replaced by bigger, more powerful Merlin 76, which were optimized for high altitude operation. The engines also featured cabin pressure blowers that supported a pressurized crew compartment . Wet hardpoints under the wings were added, so that drop tanks extended the range. Theoretically, two 1.000 lb (454 kg) bombs could be carried, but the Whirlwind PR.3, how the aircraft was officially designated, normally flew unarmed.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The new  machines were allocated to RAF No. 627 Squadron. This squadron had been formed on 12 November 1943 at RAF Oakington from part of 139 Squadron, and it was originally equipped with the de Havilland Mosquito. It flew operations as part of No. 8 Group's light bomber force. Beyond normal bombing missions it also carried out Pathfinder duties and was involved in attacks on Berlin in early 1944. In April 1944 it was transferred to No. 5 Group as a specialised target marking squadron, although it also carried out amend reconnaissance and normal bombing duties.

Beginning in May 1944 the Whirlwinds were, together with some radar-equipped Mosquitos, integrated into American Bomber Groups and joined by American aircraft, e .g. modified P-38Ls. Nicknamed "Pelican" by the crews, the retrofitted Whirlwinds flew bomber guidance and radar mapping night missions until February 1945. The sets tended to overload the aircraft's electrical system and occasionally exploded, and Mickey aircraft had the highest loss, abort and mission failure rates, so that service was severely curtailed after February 19, 1945, but the machines were kept in service and flew photo and weather reconnaissance missions until the end of the hostilities
.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr



General characteristics:
Crew: One pilot
Length: 35 ft 4 1/2 in (10.80 m)
Wingspan: 45 ft 0 in (13.72 m)
Height: 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
Wing area: 250 ft² (23.2 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 23017-08
Empty weight: 8.800 lb (3.,995 kg)
Loaded weight: 11.467 lb (5.206 kg)
Max. take-off weight: 12.665 lb (5,750 kg)

Powerplant:
2× Rolls-Royce Merlin 76 liquid-cooled V-12 and fitted with a two-speed, two-stage supercharger and a Bendix Stromberg anti-g carburettor, rated at 1.233 hp (919 kW) at 35,000 ft (10,668 m) and driving de Havilland constant speed propellers with a diameter of 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)

Performance:
Maximum speed: 415 mph (361 kn, 668 km/h)) at 28,000 ft (8,500 m)
Stall speed: 95 mph (83 knots, 153 km/h) (flaps down)
Range: 900 mi  (782 nmi, 1.400 km))
Service ceiling: 37.000 ft (11.000 m)

Armament:
Basically none. Two underwing hardpoints, normally occupied with a pair of 62 imp. gal (450l) slipper tanks. Alternatively a pair of bombs of up to 1.000 lb (454 kg) caliber could be carried, or racks with target indicator bombs, inclusing various candles and No. 1 Mk 1 TI Bombs, No. 7 Mk 1 Multi-flash Bombs or No. 8 Mk 1 Spotfire Bomb



The kit and its assembly:
As mentione dabove, this is another (kind of) tribute build, inspired by one of many Westland Whirlwind profiles created by fellow user Franclab at flickr.com.
Among the many great and creative ideas was a Pathfinder Whirlwind with a glass nose (reminiscent of the D.H, Mosquito bombers and also similar to the P-38L pathfinders with an optical bomb sight), finished in classic PRU Blue livery with USAAF insignia.

I liked this two seater idea, so I decided to make a contemporary hardware aircraft, loosely based on Franclab's creative input.

The kit is the venerable Airfix kit, and it saw some modifications. After my earlier Whirlwind FB.2 with implanted Mosquito engine nacelles resulted in a slightly overpowered ('Popeye style') bird, I tried something different this time: just an engine swap.

A teaser for Franclab: yet another Whirlwind... ;) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

A teaser for Franclab: yet another Whirlwind... ;) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


In this case I implanted resin Merlins from Pavla, which are replacements for the Tamiya kit and depict high altitude 72/73 versions. What sound simple was just as tedious as changing the complete nacelles: the Merllins are bigger than the Peregrines, in any dimension, so mounting them and blending them with the nacelles took some serious sculpting and putty work.

Another issue were the propellers: the Mosquito spinner is considerably larger than the Whilrwind's (including the propeller itself!), and in order to mount the OOB propellers I added a spacer, carved from spare wheels from the scrap box, so that a fluid, overall line was kept. Lots of work!

A teaser for Franclab: yet another Whirlwind... ;) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The new nose was taken wholesale from the Dragon P-38L Pathfinder kit, the one with the solid H2X nose. The alternative 'Droop Snoop' version with the glass nose is also available, but I found the radar-equipped version more interesting, and it is more voluminous so that the second crew member (a bomb aimer from an Airfix B-17) could rather sit than lay prone in the Whirlwind's nose.

As a drawback, the deeper new front had to be blended with the slender rest of the aircraft. I bridged this section with the half of a vintage Matchbox EA-6B drop tank, resulting in a kangaroo-like shape which could be justified through a ventral camera compartment, since the nose is occupied with the H2X equipment. Looks odd, as intended, but interesting, and the nose arrangement could also work for a night fighter - even though I have no idea where potential guns should be mounted?

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Cockpit and landing gear were taken OOB, I just added the bulbous slipper tanks which were scratched from a Hawker Sea Fury's (PM Models) drop tanks, and also a lot of putty to blend them under the wings.


Painting and markings:
Simple and classic, with USAAF Mosquitos (ex RAF photo reconnaissance aircraft) as benchmark. All over PRU Blue sounds a bit boring, but the typical red tail for the pathfinder aircraft makes a massive contrast, and I decided to take the blue livery further: towards late 1944 the Invasion Stripes were about to disappear on Allied aircraft, painted over and in many cases the fuselage bands (or just the ventral section) were visible.

That's what I wanted to recreate: an almost all blue aircraft, but with the stripes dimly shining through. This was achieved in the same fashion as it would have been done in real life: the stripes were roughly painted with acrylics on wings and fuselage. Then the normal PRU Blue (Modelmaster) was added all around, and as final step the same PRU Blue was thinned and washed with a big, soft brush over the stripes, controlling the pigments' thickness and adding some slight streaks from front to back.

While not perfect, I am happy with the result - you can tell that there is "something" on and below the wings, as well as on the spine, but it is not clear at all.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Some dry-brushing with shades of blue-gray (e .g. revell 57 and Humbrol 230 and 147) completed the basic paint work.

The tail was painted in Humbrol 60 and shaded with 174 - the tone turns out to be orangic, a perfect match, as far as I can tell.

The radome was first primed with Humbrol 168 (Hemp) and then dry-brushed with 71 an 166 (Beige and RAF Light Aircraft Grey).

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) - WiP by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The markings were a bit tricky, and I used a real life, ex-RAF PR Spitfire in US service as benchmark: it received Stars and Bars, but retained its former RAF aircraft code, as well as its former RAF squadron code - but the latter were placed on the fin. I copied this concept, and since the high stabilizer blocks good view, the individual aircraft code letter (on Mosquitos it was frequently placed on the fin) was moved on a black contrast circle onto the flanks, while the RAF No. 627 Squadron. code "AZ" was painted in yellow digits above the three last digits of the RAF aircraft number. Totally odd, but plausible, and in the end more colorful than expected!

A small nose art completed the job, before the exhausts received some soot stains and the kit a coat with matt acrylic varnish.

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr



1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

1:72 Westland Whirlwind PR.III,  aircraft MB 950, '[AZ-]Y' of 653rd Bomb Squadron (Light), USAAF 25th BG, 8th AF; Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, early 1945 (Whif/Airfix kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr



A pretty aircraft/conversion - it looks a bit odd on the ground, due to the longer nose and engines, but the overall lines look very good, especially on the flight pics.

So, with best regards to Canada, thanks a lot for the inspiration. ^^

Offline Librarian

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 01:24:31 am »
Now I do like that, very clever :thumbsup:. Weeeell, it's a Whirlwind and that's me biased for a start. PRU blue really sets it off and the power eggs are superb.

Offline su27rules

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 01:45:05 am »
 :thumbsup: :cheers:

Offline zenrat

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2015, 02:40:21 am »
Brilliant.  I was so distracted by the nose that I didn't notice the engines.

Weapons for a night fighter version?  How about a pair of Hurricane tank buster cannons under the outer wings.
Fred

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..

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 02:59:30 am »
Love it! :wub:

But, like the Librarian, I'm a big-time Whirlwind fan.

For the nightfighter, would it be possible to fit ammo cans between the pilot & RO & pod 4 x 20mm cannon in a similar arrangement to that used on the B-26 & A-20? :-\
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Offline Captain Canada

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 04:58:30 am »
What a beauty. Another near perfect whif.....a very whiffable aeroplane, up-engine, re-roled, one of WWIIs coolest colour schemes, that nose, and your build and photography skills ?

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

 :wub: :cheers: :bow:
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Offline sandiego89

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2015, 06:08:15 am »
Superb. You made it ugly in a perfect WHIF way with that nose. Realy like the nose and paint.  The tarmac photo is nice to include as well. 

 :thumbsup:
Dave "Sandiego89"
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 06:49:46 am »
I'm another Whirlwind fan and that is just gorgeous. Like Zenrat I was so distracted by the nose that I didn't notice the engine swap at first. The hangar photo is my fav, it looks so real  :bow:

Just needs some personal nose art of Jimmy "Schnozzles" Durante  ;D
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 07:38:18 am »
Thanks a lot, everyone! My pleasure  :cheers:

Actually, I found just swapping the nose for a P-38 H2X installation to be "not enough", and I am certain that, with the Peregrines, the thing would have looked REALLY goofy. The Mossie Merlins were a lucky coincidence (and I was also curious if they could be installed at all?), and the whole arrangement goes together well. Beefed up, but subtly, and together with the blue livery and red tail this Whirlwind mod works well?  :lol:

Offline The Rat

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2015, 02:08:09 pm »
Another winner!
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Offline TomZ

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2015, 12:06:57 am »
Great!
Love the paintjob.

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2015, 02:21:43 am »
Again, thanks a lot!  :lol:

Offline Glenn Gilbertson

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2015, 09:34:52 am »
A clever backstory and a beautiful bit of modelling! :thumbsup:

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2015, 06:37:45 am »
Your marvelous model seems to explain the Lockheed DF-38A/B/C mystery (that I discovered today during searches, during a nap):

I thought DF was "double fighter" (radar+eye), but the name DizzyFuning has been heard by witnesses... ;)
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Offline comrade harps

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Re: The 'Pelican': Westland Whirlwind PR.III Pathfinder
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2015, 06:47:37 am »
Beautiful! :wub:
Whatever.