so whilst quietly dying from flu, I've started to have a dig into how to address my Tarpon/Avenger problem.
The first thing is it wasn't called a Tarpon for very long! FAA standardised on the Avenger name after taking deliveries of the MkI. Mine is a MkIII.
I can paint it deep US navy blue as late deliveries were shipped in that colour. The problem I still have is the US avionics. Looks like the FAA MkIII avenger has the UK config which is the navigators seat, but that said, the alterations were done on land after they were delivered. So bingo . I can have US livery on an FAA Avenger. The question is...... do I want to as it looks like a bit of a dogs breakfast.
If anyone is interested:
Initial deliveries of the Mk.III were from TBM-3 production. Most of the JZ635-720 batch were TBM-3E, and it is this batch that saw limited WW2 service. I would not expect a one-to-one relationship with the BuAer serials, however sensible it may seem. The KE batch were TBM-3Es, and went to the UK.
80 TBM-3 / TBM-3E serialled JZ635 to JZ720. US BuAer No.s indicate that the first 16 aircraft were TBM-3s and the final 64 were TBM-3E. (If there had been a one-to-one relationship with the BuAer serials, this would suggest a switch to TBM-3E from JZ651. However, AB picture of JZ654 (see below) shows TBM-3 characteristics – indented lower cowl flaps, stinger gun position extant, MK5 zero length rocket launchers but no underwing rack for an AN/ASP-4 radar pod
Some Mk.III`s were delivered to the UK and were used post war, mostly on trials duties but most went S India and then some on to Australia and would have replaced the Mk.II`s serving aboard the BPF Fleet Carriers if the war had not ended when the bombs were dropped. Suddenly there was no use for all of these Mk.III`s so many were dumped at sea but those units remaining in theatre for any length of time re equipped with Mk.III`s and at least a couple of squadrons went to sea with them. Service records for aircraft of this batch end in 1946, when they were returned or more likely dumped.
50 TBM-3E serialled KE430 to KE479 (only 38 delivered to FAA and none allocated to front line squadrons). Most of those delivered, were used by second line squadrons until the late 40’s. Many of them were reconditioned ex US Navy aircraft and the SBG finish shows definite overpainting of the US Stars and also the previous US Navy sqn/carrier markings on the fin/rudder and upper wings too,....it is something to look out for on the few available photos including the well-known KE461.
Some reconditioned TBM-3s in VL serial range delivered to FAA but none allocated to squadrons (see Tarpon (Avenger) II above). Except for VL994 to 999, which reported to Sydney aboard HMS Reaper 9.45. The last three appear to have been Mk.IIIs. Three others, described as "elderly", were handed over to the FAA at Norfolk "possibly as GI".
Delivered in Sea Blue Gloss with an ant-glare Non-spectacular Sea Blue panel in front of the cockpit. Interior colours as per MKII. With the introduction of Sea Blue Gloss paintwork, the wheel wells were seen to be painted matt black on factory fresh machines. This was done so that any cracks caused through metal fatigue would be more easily noticed during mechanical or pre-flight checks.
These are all the FACTORY APPLIED finishes. Carrier based aircraft were regularly checked for corrosion and touched up, or resprayed with FAA designated paint when returned to land bases in the UK. If the a/c were subsequently re-painted by the FAA, they would use standard colours (FAA formally adopted SBG for US supplied aircraft from August 1944). So you will need the serial to see how the a/c was finished. AB picture of JZ654 with delivery number in Canada and crown picture p82 in Profile 214 and in book ‘The Secret Years - Flight Testing at Boscombe Down 1939-1945’ of JZ635 at A&AEE of TBM-3s in TSS. Photo seen by others of JZ681 (TBM-3E) in SBG so perhaps JZ series TBM-3s delivered in TSS and TBM-3Es in SBG?
Fixtures and fittings
you should really leave this for 24 hours to go off, but what the hell - it’s the interior and 95% wont be seen
that lot will have to be left until tomorrow night before I pick them up again then I’ve got to make a decision on which build. Looks like I can assemble as the wheel bays were often painted black as it made seeing corrosion more easy in the case of the FAA. The septics painted them the colour of the undersurfaces...... but that’s the septics for you? Due care and attention? fcuk it. Pile in or shoot first and ask questions later.
onto the wing armament later this afternoon as I’m knackered again then it’s back on the fuselage.
there is a danger I may finish this one..... that will be two with the dauntless!