Vulcan's Hammer: V-force Aircraft & Weapons Projects Since 1945

phil gollin

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After my post someone pointed this out to me - any ideas/comments ?


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vulcans-Hammer-V-force-Aircraft-Projects/dp/1902109171/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289860167&sr=1-1

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overscan (PaulMM)

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I was aware of it already but not at liberty to share. Its Chris's latest project, to be published by Hikoki in 2011.


It examines two main areas: The alternatives to the V-bombers and the weaponry the V-force, its heirs and successors, would have used.

Adrian has been busy and has some cracking images as usual and as you might expect I've been burrowing in the archives. Some interesting stuff has turned up such as the fighter version of the EECo P.10 and some very interesting Avro Weapons Research Department space projects. An in-depth look at Skybolt from a British perspective explodes the myth that the Victor couldn't carry Skybolt and also examines why TSR.2 couldn't. Woven between the weapons projects are a look at the key technologies involved including inertial navigation and laminar flow control. As you know I'm not one for raking over old material, so the chaps can look forward to some new info and lots and lots of new projects.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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From Chris

Vulcan’s Hammer

Introduction – Postwar economic, political and military climate. Difficulties in locating targets in the Soviet Union.

Chapter 1 – The Alternative V-Force - Expendable bombers such as Blue Moon and US equivalents. The minimum expendable bomber.

Chapter 2 – The Sons of Vulcan – Bristol RA.4 and RA.6 target marker, OR330: Avro 730, Vickers SP.4 and English Electric P.10 reconnaissance versions. Conversion to bomber aircraft and the problems of weapons delivery at Mach = 2.5. Much new info on the SP.4 and P.10 variants including a fighter. Avro 730 bomber configurations and the Red Drover radar. Decoys and countermeasures for the OR.330 aircraft. Alternatives to the OR.330 including Avro’s supersonic strategic and tactical reconnaissance UAVs.

Chapter 3 – Gravity Bombs – brief look at Britain’s free-fall weapons. Glide bombs and weapons to arm VTOL aircraft. VTOL / STOVL types such as Avro’s 727/730, the Vulcan jump-jet and Wallis’ fluid deterrent.

Chapter 4 – The Steam Engine – Red Cat and Blue Steel. Development of the powered bomb for the V-Force. How Blue Steel evolved and how Avro had planned to improve it, only to be scuppered by an increasingly exasperated Ministries and Air Staff. How the ORs came full circle to turn Blue Steel into Red Cat at the end of the day. The perceptive observations of Mr Chilver.

Chapter 5 – The Long-Range Job – OR.1149 and OR1159 – weapons from Avro, Vickers , HP and EECo and how the requirement for OR.1149 was beyond the state of the art. The switch to OR.1159 and how HMG discovered that Blue Steel Mk.2 wasn’t the same as Avro’s Blue Steel Mk.2.

Chapter 6 – Pofflers – Skybolt as the saviour of the V-Force, how Skybolt was snapped-up by the Air Staff and ministries. How Victor was intended to carry Skybolt from the start, but prevented by economics. Sandys’ (correct) cepticism and the shock on cancellation. The Pofflers including Vulcan Phase 6, HP.114, Vickers VC10, Belfast and HP.117. Why TSR.2 wouldn’t have carried Skybolt. Examines laminar flow control technology research carried out by HP including the HP.113, HP.117, HP.119 and HP.130.

Chapter 7 - Insurance - OR.1182 and seditious talk. The Gap-Filler flap to maintain credibility in the interim period between Blue Steel obsolescence and Polaris deployment. The numerous gap-filler weapons that were proposed and came to naught, including Air-launched Blue Water, Pershing and Polaris. Avro weapons such as more Blue Steel variants such as the Z.122 for TSR.2 and the W.130 and W.140 missiles for Spey Mirage and V-bombers. British ALBMs such and Hatchet and X-12B. All for naught as a Blue Steel modified for low altitude launch became the default option – Red Cat for want of a better description.

Chapter 8 – Exotica – Was Sandys the real villain of the piece? Avro’s ballistic missiles, hypersonic test vehicles, ASATs, Thor-boosted Blue Steels, zip-fuel trials vehicles, the Toblerone missile and the Z.59 with nuclear ramjet propulsion. Avro’s work on satellite launchers including the maglev launched Z.133.

Chapter 9 – Post Polaris – Small weapons for the 80s and 90s including the Vulcan “Red Barrel” ADV with Sea Dart or Phoenix AAMs, the Shrike ARM and Paveway LGBs. Cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk and the RAE’s studies for British Cruise missiles. Potential carriers such as the FLA and how to put a redundant Nimrod AEW to work. A look at the contenders for SR(A).1244 including the ASMP and yet another Grand Slam.

Appendices include Avro Weapons Research Division projects and Project E weapons
 

Antonio

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Oh my God, what a book!, Thanks Chris!!. I'm ready to order my copy.
 

DamienB

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Looks like a must-order, even with a really dodgy TSR2 illustration on the front cover... and different prices on the back and the inside flap ;D
 

JFC Fuller

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Looks like an outstanding book, I am hoping for some indication about how much work was actually carried out on the covered weapons.
 

CJGibson

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British and projects? Not too far, we were skint.

Chris
 

Spark

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How about the V1000 tanker, radio airwarfare platform and logistics support variants for the original V-force. Avro started on the original stand off bomb in 1950?.


I am looking forward to reading another very good book.


overscan said:
From Chris

Vulcan’s Hammer

Introduction – Postwar economic, political and military climate. Difficulties in locating targets in the Soviet Union.

Chapter 1 – The Alternative V-Force - Expendable bombers such as Blue Moon and US equivalents. The minimum expendable bomber.

Chapter 2 – The Sons of Vulcan – Bristol RA.4 and RA.6 target marker, OR330: Avro 730, Vickers SP.4 and English Electric P.10 reconnaissance versions. Conversion to bomber aircraft and the problems of weapons delivery at Mach = 2.5. Much new info on the SP.4 and P.10 variants including a fighter. Avro 730 bomber configurations and the Red Drover radar. Decoys and countermeasures for the OR.330 aircraft. Alternatives to the OR.330 including Avro’s supersonic strategic and tactical reconnaissance UAVs.

Chapter 3 – Gravity Bombs – brief look at Britain’s free-fall weapons. Glide bombs and weapons to arm VTOL aircraft. VTOL / STOVL types such as Avro’s 727/730, the Vulcan jump-jet and Wallis’ fluid deterrent.

Chapter 4 – The Steam Engine – Red Cat and Blue Steel. Development of the powered bomb for the V-Force. How Blue Steel evolved and how Avro had planned to improve it, only to be scuppered by an increasingly exasperated Ministries and Air Staff. How the ORs came full circle to turn Blue Steel into Red Cat at the end of the day. The perceptive observations of Mr Chilver.

Chapter 5 – The Long-Range Job – OR.1149 and OR1159 – weapons from Avro, Vickers , HP and EECo and how the requirement for OR.1149 was beyond the state of the art. The switch to OR.1159 and how HMG discovered that Blue Steel Mk.2 wasn’t the same as Avro’s Blue Steel Mk.2.

Chapter 6 – Pofflers – Skybolt as the saviour of the V-Force, how Skybolt was snapped-up by the Air Staff and ministries. How Victor was intended to carry Skybolt from the start, but prevented by economics. Sandys’ (correct) cepticism and the shock on cancellation. The Pofflers including Vulcan Phase 6, HP.114, Vickers VC10, Belfast and HP.117. Why TSR.2 wouldn’t have carried Skybolt. Examines laminar flow control technology research carried out by HP including the HP.113, HP.117, HP.119 and HP.130.

Chapter 7 - Insurance - OR.1182 and seditious talk. The Gap-Filler flap to maintain credibility in the interim period between Blue Steel obsolescence and Polaris deployment. The numerous gap-filler weapons that were proposed and came to naught, including Air-launched Blue Water, Pershing and Polaris. Avro weapons such as more Blue Steel variants such as the Z.122 for TSR.2 and the W.130 and W.140 missiles for Spey Mirage and V-bombers. British ALBMs such and Hatchet and X-12B. All for naught as a Blue Steel modified for low altitude launch became the default option – Red Cat for want of a better description.

Chapter 8 – Exotica – Was Sandys the real villain of the piece? Avro’s ballistic missiles, hypersonic test vehicles, ASATs, Thor-boosted Blue Steels, zip-fuel trials vehicles, the Toblerone missile and the Z.59 with nuclear ramjet propulsion. Avro’s work on satellite launchers including the maglev launched Z.133.

Chapter 9 – Post Polaris – Small weapons for the 80s and 90s including the Vulcan “Red Barrel” ADV with Sea Dart or Phoenix AAMs, the Shrike ARM and Paveway LGBs. Cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk and the RAE’s studies for British Cruise missiles. Potential carriers such as the FLA and how to put a redundant Nimrod AEW to work. A look at the contenders for SR(A).1244 including the ASMP and yet another Grand Slam.

Appendices include Avro Weapons Research Division projects and Project E weapons
 

CJGibson

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"How about the V1000 tanker, radio airwarfare platform and logistics support variants for the original V-force."

No. Only its part in Blue Boar development.

Chris
 

Spark

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Avro started work on a stand off bomb in 1950, stopped 1955.
Hansard 1960 April? records that the Britannic(Belfast could be used as a Skybolt carrier.
The need for V1000 V - support aircraft was dropped a few months, weeks before the cancellation.

Blue Boar development is new to me.


Kelly Bushings said:
"How about the V1000 tanker, radio airwarfare platform and logistics support variants for the original V-force."

No. Only its part in Blue Boar development.

Chris
 

JFC Fuller

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Spark,

What is your source for such a multiplicity of V.1000 variants? Were they Vickers proposals or RAF requirements? In all the Bomber Command history I have read to date there seems to be no space for such dedicated aircraft as a support forces either time wise or in terms of airframe requirements. The excess of Valiants seems to have been more that sufficient. Am I missing something?
 

bri21

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Got my copy last week. Unputdownable.

“Economics has never played a great role in the written history of the V-Force or the story of postwar British aviation; however it is impossible to ignore the economic and political factors that affected this story. The policy-makers and the decisions made by them have been vilified by many in the field of aviation history, despite the reasoning behind many of the decisions having rarely been examined nor have the economic conditions influencing these decisions been discussed.

The economic problems that began in 2008 ushered in what the media referred to as ‘a new Age of Austerity’ in the United Kingdom. The use of the adjective ‘new’ informed the public that a similar situation had arisen before: in the decade following the Second World War. It was in this era that the V-Force had its origins.

Vulcan’s Hammer examines Avro’s Weapons Research Division efforts to meet changing threats, from within and without, over the decade of Blue Steel development and their attempts to interest unsympathetic ministries in improved equipment

Vulcan’s Hammer is not about V-Force operations, squadron histories, development trials , or operations. Look elsewhere for details of individual aircraft and their histories. Vulcan’s Hammer is about how British deterrent policies changed, how this influenced weapons development and how Britain’s engineers and scientists strove to fill the Air Staff’s requirements. Vulcan’s Hammer examines how Britain’s engineers and scientists met the economic, geographical, political and technological challenges they faced from 1945 until 1963. They attempted this by using some of the most interesting technologies that came out of the mid- Twentieth Century, details of which languish in archives around the country.”

A fascinating book. Well-written in Chris’ usual engaging style, with a wealth of drawings, photographs and graphics.

As an engineer who worked in the 1950’s on the earliest of the free-fall weapons, Blue Danube, Violet Club and Red Beard , Chris’ account of these was especially interesting. The difficulties of bomb release at supersonic speeds and the ingenious schemes devised is an area never before written of to my knowledge.

It is a brave attempt to present a specialised area of aviation history in a framework that acknowledges that the ingenuity and skill of the best engineers, scientists and technology that Britain had to offer existed not in isolation, in laboratories, workshops and in the air, but in an economic and political reality where tough decisions could not be avoided, then as now.

Too often aviation histories are shallow; focussed on aircraft and missiles - the delivery systems, while glossing over the reasons why those delivery systems were needed - to deliver weapons of enormous power that are themselves still mostly shrouded in secrecy, to targets that were themselves hardly known to the Western world, and which today are still kept largely secret; and all in an economic and political environment that is all too easily airbrushed away with little attempt at understanding.

This excellent book by Chris Gibson will undoubtably be a useful reference source for years to come, and deserves to be widely read. Get a copy. You won't regret it.
 

CJGibson

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"Amazon has informed me that they are having trouble getting stock"

Victims of the royal wedding, I'm afraid. UK been more or less shut down since Easter.

Hopefully be available this week.

My own copy is languishing at home awaiting my return, so some of you might even see it before me.

Glad Bri21 likes it, must've got one of the air-freight preview copies.

Chris
 

CJGibson

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Afternoon all,

Crecy Publishing tell me that copies of Vulcan's Hammer have been sent to the wholesalers, so will be available soon.

Chris
 

Thorvic

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Received mine today direct from Crecy, fist impressions are its very good and the Whiffers are going to have a field day ;D
 

uk 75

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Chris

Just bought the book at Keith Manning's Aviation meet from Aviation Bookshop
at full retail as I was so keen to get my paws on a copy.

It is a worthy companion to your volume on Pofflers and the TSR 2 book by Damien.
It really covers the whole story of the RAF airborne deterrent. I am interested to note that
you do not mention the Hypersonics Missiles etc Secret Projects book in your bibliography, as
this is a well known work already in many collections. I have so far only leafed through the book
on the bus back to Oxford but I will be giving it the full treatment.

All the best UK 75 (Ralph)
 

CJGibson

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Thanks Ralph,

Looks like paying top whack steals a march on the pack.

Luckily, not being an academic, my livelihood doesn't depend on the number of citations I get in publications. I must've missed it out when compliling the list.

When I had my "Oh bugger!" moment (the actual words were more Gordon Ramsay than Unlucky Alf) in Kew on finding the conversation that features on page 104, I decided to go back to the original files as much as possible.

Chris
 

PMN1

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Got my copy today...wooohooo...

ASAT, Sea Dart and Phoenix carrying Vulcans...
 
O

Overkiller

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My copy arrived today. I have only had a brief chance to scan through the pages so far, but there certainly seems to be much of interest within...

Cheers

Duncan
 

PMN1

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VTOL Vulcans with lift engines in the bomb bay and deflected thrust Olympus able to carry a single wing mounted Skybolt for 3,000 miles.....what were they smoking!!!!
 

JFC Fuller

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Got my copy today, all in all a good book that fills in a lot of the gaps from BSP4. I still get left with questions as I read through it, notably about the HP laminar flow projects and also the ASAT interceptor studied as part of the ASAT studies mentioned. However, overall this is another excellent contribution that further broadens the available knowledge about UK guided weapons development.
 

phil gollin

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.

Very good book - I had a quick skim and am now going through properly. An excellent book, with a wide range of fascinating illustrations. I could have wished that some could have been larger BUT only if the amount of text had stayed the same (pictures may be pretty, but you read books for their information).

One obvious point is that whilst Skybolt is covered extensively (for obvious reasons) as are Blue Steel and its problems there seems little that was done in the UK to build something equivalent to "Hound Dog". There is mention of Hound Dog's relative fast development but just two mentions (?) stating that it was unsuitable for the V-Bombers (wouldn't fit - PRESUMABLY due to overall height ????).

Another must for peoples' bookshelves.

.
 

alertken

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Bought on SLL's above input. Disregard Vulcan-the-aeroplane, but take it as Roman God of Fire - the book covers the range after 1947 Blue Danube+V-Craft, before SSBN. Regard this as BSP-next after the Hypersonics: if you like that, then add this.
 

bri21

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Msl W1D p73

Unsure about the rationale for the large W1D missile found in the last para of page 73.

All of the stuff about it's relationship to the US Shrimp device of Castle Bravo may be correct. However, there may be other factors also.

The RAF were in fact considering fusion weapons with larger yields than one megaton as early as June 1954. Well before the appearance of missile W1D. William Penney's notes in TNA DEFE 7/2208 E10 para 19 refers to the possibility of a weapon of 5 to 10 megatons weighing 9,000 - 12,000 lbs. Much lighter than Shrimp BTW.

DEFE 7/2208 E21A Contains Penney's confidential annex to a paper before the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Page 8 para 3 states:

[size=10pt]"We are directing our thoughts to 5 MT weapons with a production rate of 10 [weapons] per annum. It is possible to produce a 20 MT weapon."

It appears possible (to me) that this was the origin of a large missile to deliver those larger weapons. It would be very odd if the RAE and Avro had not put some plans in place.

As it turned out later, military thinking moved away from large yield weapons and refocussed on lower yields mated to better terminal accuracy.

But this is just an opinion.
 

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Received my copy yesterday .After a midnight read, one conclusion.
An excellent book and a welcome addition to BSP Hypersonics..
Very well done.
 

Firebee

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I too just got a copy of this one. Not yet read it, but after a brief browse it looks to be a very interesting read. The layout is very clean as well. As mentioned, recommended as a companion to BSP:Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles. Thank you for your efforts.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Vulcan's Hammer by Chris Gibson - a review

Chris Gibson should need little introduction to Projects enthusiasts, as the author of British Secret Projects: Hypersonics, Ramjets & Missiles (BSP4). This was an excellent book overall, with only a few minor quibbles on my part. I was not keen on all of Adrian Mann's computer generated artwork, and I felt the book read at times more like a collection of interesting things Chris had discovered and less like a coherent narrative.

I recently received a review copy of Chris's new book "Vulcan's Hammer" in the post (thanks, Crecy & Chris) and have spent the last few days reading it. Chris has delivered in spades on both of my previous criticisms - this book catapults Chris from a good writer to one of my very favourite aviation authors.

Vulcan's Hammer is about Britain's nuclear deterrent, the aircraft to carry it, the aircraft projects to replace them, and the weapons intended to arm them. What could have been an addendum to BSP4 is forged into an excellent and coherent book, with the author keeping a firm grip on the realities of politics and economics within which military and technological developments take place, unlike some other aviation writers. The weaving together of the whole weapons system, both aircraft and weapons, is very illuminating.

So, to specifics. The book is beautifully designed by Russell Strong - good work! The cover is strong and attractive, the layout is modern but readable, the reproduction of photos and drawings excellent and the paper high quality. I like the use of primary source quotes as subheadings.

Vulcan's Hammer is 192 pages long, well illustrated but with plenty of interesting text to keep you occupied as well (I'm looking at you, Mr Gordon). The pages are a bit smaller than the British Secret Projects series but the book is still reasonably sized and priced.

Many of the line drawings have been redrawn by Chris himself and are clear and accurate with scales, useful for modellers. Adrian Mann's computer generated artwork has improved significantly since BSP4, and instead of a minor weakness is now a positive advantage - some of his art is just beautiful.

I won't go into specifics of what projects are included - its not just a "stamp collection" of interesting projects, its a good read. Anyone interested in projects, missiles or Cold War aviation should proceed at once to a bookstore and purchase it.
 

geeshockbloke

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I got mine when I got home the other day. I was most struck by the quality of the paper and photo reproduction. I saw quite a bit of it last summer while Chris was working on it offshore, but seeing it produced so well is a surprise having seen the scribbles.

Also, he had a couple of videos that Adrian Man did of the Avro VTOL delta landing and the HP.117 doing a fly-by and took great delight in showing the boys how his drawings could be turned into videos.

Mark
 

aemann

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Now there's a thought I've been toying with for a while - a BSP4 / Vulcan's Hammer promo video... actually. once you've got the model, the rest is easy. Well, easy being a very relative term of course! Stand by for more news on that.

And thanks for the positive comments on the images - it's always a joy to work with Chris - he knows his subject inside out, which makes my life much easier, and he knows precisely what he wants, which is also immensely helpful. And yes, the images have improved... always new things to learn about the software and what it can do, and how to integrate three or four different programmes and get them all to talk to each other. One small note - all the backgrounds - clouds, skies and ground - are all rendered - no photographic elements were used in any of the images.

Apparently my copy is in the post - can't wait to see it! Happy days!

Now - on to the next Project Tech Profile!

Adrian
 

DamienB

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Adrian - I enjoyed your artwork, and some of them really are absolutely superb, but your TSR2 needs a bit of work around the nose - compare the main equipment bay access panel on your model with photos of the real jet for instance, and the size and shape of the radome.

My copy of Vulcan's Hammer arrived last week and I've been dipping in and out of it whenever I have a spare moment. A fantastic book full of some absolutely manic stuff (Vulcan with Sea Dart is my personal favourite) and I have to echo overscan's comments on the design - it really is a beautifully done piece of work and makes reading the book a real pleasure.

The only niggle I had (and it's a minor one) was the use of the term Poffler in relation to the TSR2 - I know it's a term Chris found in the VC10 archives but it never appears in any TSR2 documentation so its use there is stretching things I fear and could give the wrong impression.
 

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Excellent, lovely book...with a few little typo niggles. Also on page 159 Chris mentions that the most famous user of Zip fuel was the XB-70 Valkyrie - I was under the impression that it was originally designed for this but in the end the requirement was dropped so didn't actually use it. Perhaps "proposed" user might be a little clearer.

I would like to ask if there is anything that has come to light after printing that needs amending as Damien Burke has done with his TSR2 book.

Keep'em coming please!
Barry
PS I did for a moment wonder what a B-5B was on page 110...
 

CJGibson

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Aw thanks lads, if you're ever up in Geordieland, give me a shout.

Typos - always a challenge, always another, such as B-5B and the disappearing 8! XB-70 - fair cop. Caravelle caption on P.119 which you guys wouldn't catch as it's an airliner. Terry would, but he won't sully is book-case with military stuff.

Pofflers - Poffler appears to be a generic term applied by the ministry to any aircraft that was to be used on standing patrols with weapons. See caption on P123.

Must go, off to the flicks see Senna.

Thanks again

Chris
 

Caravellarella

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CJGibson said:
Aw thanks lads, if you're ever up in Geordieland, give me a shout.

Typos - always a challenge, always another, such as B-5B and the disappearing 8! XB-70 - fair cop. Caravelle caption on P.119 which you guys wouldn't catch as it's an airliner.
Terry would, but he won't sully is book-case with military stuff.

Pofflers - Poffler appears to be a generic term applied by the ministry to any aircraft that was to be used on standing patrols with weapons. See caption on P123.

Must go, off to the flicks see Senna.

Thanks again


Chris

Did you mean me Chris? I don't sully my bookcase with VC-10 stuff; the only military stuff I have is either French, Mitsubishi T-2/F-1 or GD F-111B related......

Most of it is probably literary or commercial fiction having worked in publishing for many years......

Terry (Caravellarella)
 

aemann

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DamienB said:
Adrian - I enjoyed your artwork, and some of them really are absolutely superb, but your TSR2 needs a bit of work around the nose - compare the main equipment bay access panel on your model with photos of the real jet for instance, and the size and shape of the radome.

You know, I wouldn't have believed you if you'd told me how tricky it is to get the TSR2 shape *just* right - but it is! Hat's off to anyone who gets it bang on. It's one of the models I keep going back to and tweaking as I get better and more accurate drawings. I used to spend a lot of time at Cosford, examining it in detail and taking as many photos as I could, so I've got plenty of 1st hand reference to use.

As you know, I do a lot of pics for Chris of aircraft from the pre-CAD era - I'm continually amazed how they designed and fabricated these complex shapes. Rest assured I'll be reworking it to get it right, though I don't think I'll be going as far as the wires inside the nav lights... all those extra polys just add to the render time!
 

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My Vulcan's Hammer is on order via work (it counts as research!) so I imagine I'll get it in one/two months. Same with Damien's TSR.2 book. But I look forward to a few sunny days with them - I have seen Damien's book and it raised the bar IMHO, while Chris's stuff always fascinates in showing how central the obscure turns out to have been.

Senna film is ace, Chris. Enjoy it. (A lot better than watching the rainy one on TV!)

Now - on to the next Project Tech Profile!
;D Glad to hear it Adrian!
 

Skybolt

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Great book. BTW, I specially apprecihated the Skybolt section. By far the best piece of work on the Skybolt evolution from contract assignment to configuration freeze. It's rather funny that that research would have ended up in a book on British weapons, but anyway...
 

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