My friend and regular collaborator Ed Diment (Lego Monster on flickr) has started work on building a minifig scale model of USS Intrepid, a WW-II US Navy aircraft carrier. He has asked me to design the aircraft for it. Ultimately we intend to build a few dozen aircraft spread over four different types: F4U Corsair and F6F Hellcat fighters, SB2C Helldiver dive-bomber and TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo bombers. As you can see from the title, this is a model of the Avenger.
The Avenger was designed by the Famous Grumman Corporation shortly before the outbreak of WW-II and was produced in large numbers, first by Grumman (TBF Avenger), later by the Eastern Aircraft Division of general Motors (TBM Avenger).
Wartime US Navy aircraft could be painted in a variety of colour schemes. From 1943 through to 1944 newly built aircraft destined for service in the Pacific theatre were painted in a three-colour camouflage scheme, with dark blue on top, white on the bottom and greyish blue in between. LEGO sand blue would undoubtedly be a better representation of the greyish blue, but because of the lack of hinges and the relative rareness of parts in that colour, I used regular blueish grey. Aircraft delivered from October 1944 were painted dark blue overall, but few older aircraft were repainted and tri-coloured aircraft served until the end of the war.
In order for aircraft carriers to be able to carry a large number of Aircraft, Grumman designed the so-called "sto-wing", in which the wings folded aft. On the real aircraft this was done with a single hinge-line mounted at at angle. Leroy Grumman himself allegedly figured out the geometry using two erasers and a paper-clip! With LEGO I was forced to use two separate hinges. The wing rotates along it's length-axis and then the whole arrangement rotates aft using plate hinges.
The Avenger was designed as a torpedo-bomber, with a large torpedo housed in an internal bomb bay. On the full-scale aircraft the bomb bay doors consist of two pieces -something that I couldn't manage on this scale.
As always pictures are links and more pictures are on flickr.
I hope to be building the other three in the coming two months.
Edited by Rufus, 02 July 2011 - 02:19 PM.