1:72 BAC P.84 "Jet Provost" T.51; aircraft "204" of the Irish Air Corps (An tAerchór) Light Strike Squadron; Casement Aerodrome/Baldonnel, 1968 (Whif/Airfix kit)(PID:46915707505) Source
posted by alias Dizzyfugu on Sunday 12th of May 2019 12:10:18 PM
+++ DISCLAIMER +++ Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based on historical facts. BEWARE! Some background: The Air Corps is the air component of the Defence Forces of Ireland. With the establishment of the Defence Forces in 1924, the Air Service became the new Army's Air Corps and remained part of the Army until the 1990s. After the 2nd World War, the Irish Air Corps started to modernize its modest fleet: the Hurricanes were replaced by Supermarine Seafires and a few two-seat Spitfire trainers. Avro Anson light transports were operated as communications aircraft between 1946 and their retirement in 1962. The Percival Provost was introduced in the mid 1950s as the Air Corps initial training aircraft. The de Havilland Dove became the Corps' transport aircraft. The jet age arrived on 30 June 1956 when the Corps took delivery of de Havilland Vampire T.55 trainers. The jet fleet was augmented in November 1963, when the Air Corps took delivery of twelve BAC Jet Provost trainers. Furthermore, the first helicopters, SA.316B Alouette IIIs, arrived, of which seven remained in service until 2007. Even though the Jet Provosts were ab initio jet aircraft trainers, it was clear that the aircraft were also intended for light ground attack and COIN duties – the rising tensions in Northern Ireland fueled the desire for an armed air arm. This was reflected by the procured Jet Provost variant: the T.51. This was an armed export version of the RAF's T.3 trainers. It could be outfitted with a pair of 0.303" machine guns in compartments under the air intakes, and underwing hardpoints allowed a wide range of ordnance to be carried, including bombs, drop tanks, machine gun and missile pods as well as unguided missiles. appropriate aiming equipment in the cockpit ensured the proper deployment of the weapons. The Jet Provosts became the founding equipment of the Irish Air Corps's Light Strike Squadron, even though they were more frequently used for advanced and armed training sorties. However, unlike the Vampire, which were operated purely in an educational role and thus were left in bare metal finish with high visibility markings, the Irish Jet Provosts received a tactical paint scheme. In 1975 several Fouga Magister CM-170 jet aircraft were purchased secondhand from France. They were used for training, partly replaced and augmented the Jet Provost fleet in the light attack role and were allocated to the Silver Swallows display team. They were withdrawn from service in 1998 and not replaced, leaving the Irish Air Corps without any jet combat aircraft. In 1977 ten SIAI-Marchetti SF.260WE Warriors were delivered for light training and ground attack roles, and thsi type gradually replaced the Jet Provosts, which were retired together with the Fouga Magister. General characteristics: Crew: Two Length: 34 ft 0 in (10.36 m) Wingspan: 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m) Height: 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m) Wing area: 213.7 sqft (19.80 m²) Empty weight: 4,888 lb (2,222 kg) Loaded weight: 6,989 lb (3,170 kg) Max. takeoff weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg) Powerplant: 1× Armstrong Siddeley Viper (ASV.8) Mk-102 turbojet, rated at 1,750 lbf (7.78 kN Performance: Maximum speed: 440 mph (382 knots, 708 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m) Range: 603 mi (524 NM, 970 km) Service ceiling: 36,750 ft (11,200 m) Rate of climb: 4,000 ft/min (20.3 m/s) Wing loading: 32.7 lb/ft² (160 kg/m²) Armament: 2× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns with 600 RPG Underwing hardpoints for a total ordnance load of 2.160 lb (980 kg), incl. 6× 60 lb (27 kg) or 12× 25 lb (11 kg) rockets or 28x 68 mm SNEB rockets in four pods, or 4× 540 lb (245 kg) bombs The kit and its assembly: This fictional Jet Provost is, after a long search for a proper aircraft model, finally the result of the attempt to build an Irish what-if aircraft. Inspiration struck when I recently read a book about the Jet Provost’s and Strikemaster’s development and service (which also spawned the BAC Bushmaster single seater) – I thought that an armed Jet Provost would have been a highly probable aircraft for the Irish Air Corps, and from the start I wanted to add a tactical touch to the model, not just a pure trainer. The armed export variants appeared the most suitable option, and thankfully Airfix recently released a new T.3 kit, which is virtually identical to its armed T.51 brethren. The kit itself is excellent. The molds are crisp, you get recessed panel lines and minute detail where it’s needed – but it is still a very simple kit. Other selling points are two very good pilot figures and seats, two optional canopies (for closed or open display) as well as a superb overall fit of everything. A really pleasant affair! The kit was built OOB, with just a few minor mods: under the air intakes, machine gun ports were added as well as casing ejector fairings. I also added a pair of underwing pylons (for a pair of 250 lb training bombs) and a pair of R80 SURA missile packs (from a Matchbox Strikemaster). Some antennae were also added, as well as gunsights on the cockpit dashboard. Painting and markings: Even though I wanted the Provost to be a trainer, I did not want a flashy livery - instead I adopted a tactical camouflage that would be suited to the greenish environment of Eire. The only "official" Irish camouflage is a uniform dark green, though, and I wanted something more flashy. Another factor was a tin of "RAF Lichen Green" (Xtracolor) that I found in my collection - a tone whioch I wanted to incorporate. I eventually settled upon a three-tone scheme, somewhat inspired by the SEA scheme that Strikemasters from New Zealand and Singapore carried. I recycled the pattern, but changed the colors so that the green hues became more prominent: - FS 30219 (Tan) became Lichen Green (Xtracolor X024) - FS 34102 (Medium Green) was replaced with FS 34079 (Modelmaster 1710)* - FS 34079 (Forest Green) became RAL 8027 Lederbraun (Revell 84) - FS 36622 underneath was replaced with Fs 36375 (Humbrol 127), a tone that comes close to RAL 7040 "Fenstergrau", another color that has been in use on Irish Air Corps vehicles *This was used to simulate the dark green tone "Akzo Nobel 042002" that some real Irish aircraft carried allover; FS 34079 is virtually identical The cockpit interior was painted in Revell 9 (Anthrazit), the landing gear wells was painted in RAF Light Aircraft Grey (Humbrol 166). The roundels and some other markings came from a Max Decals sheet (#7220) for Irish aircraft and tanks, the tactical code was created with single white digit decals in various sizes from a Begemot sheet for modern Russian aircraft and the fin flash (without it the tail looked somewhat bleak) was improvised with decal and paint. The stencils were taken from the OOB sheet. Only light post-shading was done, and the engraved panel lines were emphasized through a thinned black ink wash. As a final step the model received a coat of matt acrylic varnish (Italeri). After a long search for a project, finally an Irish whif aircraft in the collection! While I was painting the model the three-tone camouflage appeared a little odd, but with the decals everything fell into place, and the result even looks quite natural? It’s certainly an eye-catcher, since the many colored markings, stencils and the ordnance break up the murky military look – even though this Jet Provost still looks purposeful with its training ordnance. And: the Airfix kit turned out to be a highly pleasant build, it’s been a long time that I experienced so few problems during a kit’s assembly.
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- Published 07.01.22
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