Seafire Mk.III (2 decals versions) RAF fighter
1/72 aircraft scale plastic model kit
Manufacturer: Sword (Czech)
Condition: New in Box
The Supermarine Seafire was a naval version of the Supermarine Spitfireadapted for operation from aircraft carriers. The name Seafire was arrived at by abbreviating the longer name Sea Spitfire.The Admiralty first showed an interest in the idea of a carrier-borne Spitfire in May 1938 when, during a meeting with Richard Fairey (of Fairey Aviation), Fairey proposed that his company could design and build such an aircraft. The idea met with a negative response and the matter was dropped. As a result theFleet Air Arm (FAA), at that point still part of the Royal Air Force, was forced into having to order Blackburn Rocs and Gloster Sea Gladiators both of which proved to be woefully inadequate.The matter of a seaborne Spitfire was raised again in November 1939 when the Air Ministry allowed a Commander Ermen to fly a Spitfire I. After his first flight in R6718 Ermen learned that Joseph Smith, Chief Designer at Supermarine had been instructed to fit an "A-frame" arrestor hook on a Spitfire and that this had flown on 16 October; a drawing of this aircraft had been shown to the FAA on 27 October.After further discussions Supermarine submitted a drawing of a Spitfire with folding wings and an arrestor hook. In this case the wings were designed with a fold just outboard of the undercarriage bays; the outer wings would swivel and fold backwards, parallel with the fuselage. On 29 February 1940 the Admiralty asked the Air Ministry to sanction the production of 50 folding wing Spitfires, with the first deliveries to start in July. For various reasons Winston Churchill, who was First Lord of the Admiralty cancelled the order, writing to Lord Beaverbrook:In late 1941 and early 1942, the Admiralty assessed the Spitfire for possible conversion. In late 1941 48 Spitfire Mk Vb were converted by Air Training Service Ltd. at Hamble to become "hooked Spitfires". This was the Seafire Mk Ib and would be the first of several Seafire variants to reach the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. This version of the Seafire was mainly used to allow the Royal Navy to gain experience in operating the Spitfire on aircraft carriers. The main structural change was made to the lower rear fuselage which incorporated an A-frame style arrestor hook and strengthened lower longerons. It was soon discovered that the fuselage, especially around hatches, was too weak for carrier operations. In an attempt to alleviate this condition, reinforcing strips were riveted around hatch openings and along the main fuselage longerons. A further 118 Seafire Mk Ib's incorporating the fuselage reinforcements were modified from Spitfire Vbs by Cunliffe-Owen at Eastleigh and Air Training Service. These aircraft were equipped with Naval HF radio equipment and IFF equipment as well as a Type 72 homing beacon. In these and all subsequent Seafires the instruments were re-calibrated to read kn and nmi rather than mph and mi. The fixed armament was the same as that of the Spitfire Vb; two 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk II cannon with 60 rpg fed from a "drum" magazine and four .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns with 350 rpg. Provision was also made to carry a 30 gal (136 l) "slipper" fuel tank under the fuselage.
One front line unit, 801 Squadron operated this version on board HMS Furious from October 1942 through to September 1944.
The second semi-naval variant of the Seafire and the first to be built as such, was the Seafire F Mk IIc which was based on the Spitfire Vc. The Vc had several refinements over the Spitfire Vb. Apart from the modifications included in the main batch of Seafire Ibs this version incorporated catapult spools, and a single slinging lug on either side of the fuselage, just behind the engine bulkhead. Three subtypes were produced, the F Mk IIc and FR Mk IIc (fighter reconnaissance), powered by a Merlin 46, and the L Mk IIc powered by a low altitude Merlin 32 specifically manufactured for naval use. This version of the Merlin used a "cropped" supercharger impellor to provide greater power at low altitudes than the standard engines; delivering 1,585 hp (1,182 kW) at 2,750 ft (838 m). Both engine models drove a four bladed 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m) diameter Rotol propeller. Because this version used the "C" wing the Hispano cannon were fed from a 120-round belt magazine, otherwise the armament was the same as that of the Ib; the FR also carried two F24 cameras. After trials of Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear (RATOG) apparatus (small rocket engines which could be attached to the fuselage or wings of aircraft to help shorten the take-off run) in February 1943, this equipment became a standard fitting available for all Seafires.The Seafire F Mk XVII was a modified Mk XV; the most important change was the reinforced main undercarriage which used longer oleos and a lower rebound ratio. This went some way towards taming the deck behaviour of the Mk XV, reduced the propensity of the propeller tips "pecking" the deck during an arrested landing and the softer oleos stopped the aircraft from occasionally bouncing over the arrestor wires and into the crash barrier. Most production XVIIs had the cut down rear fuselage and teardrop canopy (the windscreen was modified to a rounded section, with narrow quarter windows, rather than the flat windscreen used on Spitfires) and an extra 33 gallon fuel tank fitted in the rear fuselage. The wings were reinforced, with a stronger mainspar necessitated by the new undercarriage, and they were able to carry heavier underwing loads than previous Seafire variants.
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- Stock: Out Of Stock
- Model: SWORD72084
- DATE ADDED: 07/03/2015