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MOC: Grumman Avenger torpedo-bomber


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#1 Ralph_S

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 03:33 PM

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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).
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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.  
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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.
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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.  
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As always pictures are links and more pictures are on flickr.  

I hope to be building the other three in the coming two months.

Cheers,
Ralph

Edited by Rufus, 02 July 2011 - 02:19 PM.
Indexed

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#2 Prime Brick

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:02 PM

That is ten times better than anything I could ever do  :thumbup:
I really like the color scheme
"War, War never changes"

#3 Ralph_S

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 09:15 AM

View PostPrime Brick, on Mar 14 2010, 06:02 PM, said:

That is ten times better than anything I could ever do  :thumbup:
I really like the color scheme

Thank you. This one wasn't particularly easy, but it would have been really hard hadn't I built rather a lot of aircraft in the past.

Cheers,
Ralph
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#4 lightningtiger

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 10:12 AM

What can I say 'Ralph_S' but AWESOME !!
The colours - spot on !
The folding wings - spot on !
Overall I think this is one of your finest MOC's to date !
An aircraft carrier in the works with another AFOL, but with quite a few aircraft to line the decks with - so COOL !
Don't forget to make a Halsey minifig won't you ! :grin:
Can't wait to see more and keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#5 L-space

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:24 AM

Great work Ralph.

Perfect rendition of the aircraft. the colorscheme works well and again amazing what you did with the fold-up wings.  :thumbup:
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#6 Legostein

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 12:31 PM

Hello!

A great addidition to your collection! Again the details are fantastic. The concealed landing gear is among my favourites, as well as the wedge shaped back wings which are also attached in an angled way. Not many people would have made the effort to do so, but that's what I like about your models.  :classic:

Cheers,

~ Christopher
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#7 Ralph_S

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 05:51 PM

Thanks everyone.

Intrepid will actually be bigger than Malle Hawkings Nimitz class carrier. A Nimitz is larger than an Essex class carrier such as Intrepid, but Malle's carrier's scale is somewhat compressed. Ed is building Intrepid to a scale of 1/40, which will make her 22 ft long. Before you think we are boasting, he is no stranger to building large ships, as he built HMS Hood two years ago.

I'm no stranger to building aircraft, of course, although building a few dozen is going to be challenging. I've kept the construction relatively simple and have used few really rare parts (Ed and I have plenty of trans clear macaroni bricks and jumper plates).

The folding wings make things a bit more complicated, obviously, but were a bit of a necessity. Most pictures of US Navy WW-II carriers show a large number of planes with their wings folded. However, we also want to have the option of displaying aircraft with the wings spread, ready for take-off. Rather than making two versions of every aircraft (one with wings spread and one with wings folded) I decided to incorporate wing folding in all of them. They probably won't all have retractable undercarriages, though. On the Avenger it was relatively easy because they simply fold flat into the wings, but on the F4U and F6F the wheels also rotate whilst being retracted and the aircraft are quite a bit smaller.

You can count on there being some Navy 'brass' on the bridge.

Cheers,
Ralph
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#8 Rick

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 07:02 PM

You may have posted this in "Other Themes", but nonetheless:  :wink:

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#9 MacK

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:26 AM

This certainly is one lovely plane Ralph, The dark blue looks really nice as do it's folding wings, but can a minifig fit in the cockpit?

View PostRalph_S, on Mar 15 2010, 09:51 AM, said:

Thanks everyone.

Intrepid will actually be bigger than Malle Hawkings Nimitz class carrier. A Nimitz is larger than an Essex class carrier such as Intrepid, but Malle's carrier's scale is somewhat compressed. Ed is building Intrepid to a scale of 1/40, which will make her 22 ft long. Before you think we are boasting, he is no stranger to building large ships, as he built HMS Hood two years ago.


Cheers,
Ralph

Does he still have the H.M.S. Hood?

#10 Fires-storm

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 01:52 AM

Wow, a truly beautiful MOC here. I love how well you captured it, and the colors used. The bomb bay and landing gear were a brilliant touch, so amazing work and keep bricking :thumbup:
If you cannot win the battle, win the war.

#11 sok117

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 05:40 AM

View PostPrime Brick, on Mar 14 2010, 01:02 PM, said:

That is ten times better than anything I could ever do  :thumbup:
I really like the color scheme

Yeah well, Its 20 times better then anything I could ever do.  :tongue:
~Sok117

#12 Ralph_S

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 10:59 AM

View PostRick, on Mar 15 2010, 08:02 PM, said:

You may have posted this in "Other Themes", but nonetheless:  :wink:
If you have this in your town something funny is going on, but I appreciate the bloggery.

View PostMacK, on Mar 16 2010, 02:26 AM, said:

This certainly is one lovely plane Ralph, The dark blue looks really nice as do it's folding wings, but can a minifig fit in the cockpit?

Does he still have the H.M.S. Hood?
Thanks. I can fit a minifig in the cockpit, but only if the side-windows are open. I probably could have found a way to get it to work with the windows closed as well, but not without using a few exceedingly rare parts and since we intend to build several of these that would be a bad idea. Most of the aircraft will sit stationary on the deck of the carrier anyway and pilots would normally keep the windows open until after take-off to make it easier for them to escape the aircraft in case of a ditching. I'm afraid Hood had to go. there are only so many 20ft ships you can have in your house :laugh:

View PostFires-storm, on Mar 16 2010, 02:52 AM, said:

Wow, a truly beautiful MOC here. I love how well you captured it, and the colors used. The bomb bay and landing gear were a brilliant touch, so amazing work and keep bricking :thumbup:
The colour scheme is really the only realistic scheme I could make for aircraft serving in the Pacific. Early in the war they were greyish blue on top and light grey at the bottom. the only LEGo colour that comes close to the blue is sand blue. There are not enough parts in that colour and it's expensive. The later overall dark blue wasn't practical either, because there are very few hinges or inverted slopes in that colour. Lucky me that the compromise looks the most attractive.


View Postsok117, on Mar 16 2010, 06:40 AM, said:

Yeah well, Its 20 times better then anything I could ever do.  :tongue:

:blush:

Cheers,
Ralph
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#13 ImLost

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 03:43 PM

Wow, what a beauty! When I was a child, I was a WWll fanatic and this model really brings back memories. Love the turret and torpedo. The only things I feel are missing are emblems on the wings. But then again, adding them may involve drastic restructuring of the wings. That small nitpick aside, great work!

But I'm wondering, when is your deadline for building the few dozen aircraft required for Ed's ship? On that note, when does he plan to finish it? If I have to tackle a collaborative project of that scale, I would feel a little.. overwhelmed (to put it lightly  :tongue: ).

Edited by ImLost, 21 March 2010 - 03:45 PM.


#14 Ralph_S

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 06:27 PM

View PostImLost, on Mar 21 2010, 04:43 PM, said:

Wow, what a beauty! When I was a child, I was a WWll fanatic and this model really brings back memories. Love the turret and torpedo. The only things I feel are missing are emblems on the wings. But then again, adding them may involve drastic restructuring of the wings. That small nitpick aside, great work!

But I'm wondering, when is your deadline for building the few dozen aircraft required for Ed's ship? On that note, when does he plan to finish it? If I have to tackle a collaborative project of that scale, I would feel a little.. overwhelmed (to put it lightly  :tongue: ).

Thanks. I am glad you like it. We haven't decided yet whether we will have stickers on all of them. Brick-built stars-and-bars don't look right to me. They would normally only carry them on one wing, by the way.

We hope to finish by October so that the carrier and the air wing can go on display at an event in Swindon in the UK. It is an ambitious project. My intention is to finish the designs for the various planes in the next two months or so (I've started work on the F4U Corsair). After that either I or a friend of mine will put the designs in LDRAW and make instructions for them. Then there'll be a frantic scramble to but the parts we still need (we've already bought a lot, but there are bound to be some bits that we haven't thought about yet) and we'll probably get together for a few days, perhaps with a few more people, to start series production.

Cheers,
Ralph
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