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1:32 scale - Port Victoria P.V.7 'Grain Kitten'

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Hi all,
The last few models I've built, including the Macchi M.5 I'm currently working on, have all proved to be a challenge in one way or another.
So while I'm waiting for decals to arrive, I thought I'd start on what will effectively be an 'out of the box' (OOB) build, mainly due to there being no information available on this one-off prototype.


The aircraft is the very small Port Victoria P.V.7 'Grain Kitten', a resin kit from 'Planet Models'.

In an attempt to break the stalemate on the Western Front, the German Imperial Navy commenced air raids on England, first against military then later civilian targets.
The first attack came on the night of 19th January 1915 when the German Zeppelin L3 attacked and bombed Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast, resulting in the death of two civilians.
That same night another Zeppelin attacked Kings Lynn and two more people died.
Public outrage provoked the government to introduce measures to counter the Zeppelin air raids, however anti-aircraft guns proved ineffective, as the airships flew too high and were able to shut down their engines and glide, making detection from the ground extremely difficult.
The Admiralty put forward the idea that aircraft, launched from decks on ships or from floating and towed pontoons, could intercept and destroy the airships over the sea, preventing the wreckage falling over land and causing more damage and casualties.
This prompted designs for lightweight fighters that were capable of being ‘sea’ launched.
The Port Victoria P.V.7 ‘Grain Kitten’ was a prototype fighter designed and built by the Port Victoria Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain.
The aircraft was a very small and light weight tractor biplane, intended to fulfil the Admiralty requirements and was designed by W.H. Sayers.
The wings were of the ‘sesquiplane’ configuration, the lower wing being much smaller than the upper wing.
The wings featured the same high-lift section as used in previous Port Victoria aircraft and were fitted with ailerons only on the upper wing.
It was intended to use a 45 hp (34 kW) geared ABC Gnat two-cylinder air-cooled engine and the armament was a single Lewis gun mounted above the upper wing.
The P.V.7 first flew on 22 June 1917, powered by a 35 hp (26 kW) ABC Gnat engine, as the intended engine was not available.
The official trials took place on the 6th of October 1917 but the P.V.7 proved to be tail heavy in the air and difficult to handle on the ground and the sesquiplane layout and high lift wings were c onsidered not to be suitable for such a small aircraft.
In addition, the Gnat engine proved to be extremely unreliable, with test flights being forced to remain within gliding distance of an airfield, in case of engine failure.
The P.V.7 was rebuilt with new wings of conventional aerofoil section, a modified tail and a new undercarriage to eliminate some of the problems found in testing.
However, the low power and unreliability of the Gnat engine prevented the P.V.7 being suitable for its intended use and the P.V.7 was never flown again after it was rebuilt.

In June 1917 the German military stopped using Zeppelins for bombing raids over Britain. 
Although a tremendous psychological weapon, they had actually caused little damage to the war effort.
Of  115 Zeppelins built, 77 had either been shot down or otherwise totally disabled.
Instead, air raids continued but using aircraft, such as the Gotha.


Crew: One
Length: 14 ft 11 in (4.55 m)
Upper wingspan: 18 ft 0 in (5.49 m)
Lower wingspan: 12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Height: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Wing area: 85 sq ft (7.9 m2)
Empty weight: 284 lb (129 kg)
Gross weight: 491 lb (223 kg)
Engine:  ABC ‘Gnat’ air cooled two-cylinder horizontally-opposed piston engine, 35 hp (26 kW)
Maximum speed: 85 mph (137 km/h, 74 kn) at 6,500 ft (2,000 m)
Service ceiling: 11,900 ft (3,600 m)
Time to altitude: 22 min to 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
A  single .303 inch Lewis machine gun, located above upper wing.







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Hi all,
Well, when I said a basic 'out of the box (OOB)' build, what I really meant was -------------------------


The upper wing ailerons are moulded as part of the wing.
The kit has no resin or photo-etch control horns.
So I've removed the two ailerons and sanded the leading edges to a more rounded profile.
I created a slit indent on both sides of the ailerons, then drilled through a 0.3 mm diameter hole.
Into the holes and indent I fitted photo-etch control horns from the 1:48th scale PART set.
Three holes of 0.3 mm diameter were drilled through the wing (x1) and ailerons (x2) for the control wires.


Now onto the tail plane/elevators and the fin/rudder,





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Hi all,
The elevators are supplied as separate parts,but are intended to be just glued directly to the tail plane.
The parts have been moulded very thin so that would be way to weak a joint.
Also, again, the kit has no resin or photo-etch control horns.
So I've modified the elevators in a similar way as I did for the ailerons.
The exception being the holes for the control horns are 0.5 mm diameter and the holes and rods for attaching the elevators to the tail plane are 0.3 mm diameter.


Now onto the fin/rudder,





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47 minutes ago, Shawn M said:

wow, what a tiny lil plane. 



Hi all,
In fact there were two aircraft built by Port Victoria for the Admiralty design.
The P.V.7 'Grain Kitten', but also the P.V.8 'Eastchurch Kitten'.
The P.V.8 was partially built at the RNAS Experimental Flight at Eastchurch and was design by the Chief Technical Officer, G.H. Millar.
Later it was moved to the Isle of Grain to be completed.
It was similar to the P.V.7 in size and performance and like the P.V.7 carried a single Lewis machine gun above the upper wing.
The engine was intended to be the 45 hp (34kW) ABC Gnat engine, however like the 'P.V.7 it was first fitted with the less powerful 35 hp (26 kW) ABD Gnat engine.
It first flew in September 1917 but found to be unstable in flight so was modified with a revised tail plane and elevators.
It proved to be superior to the P.V.7 but also suffered similar engine reliability problems.
Like the P.V.7 it was considered to be unsuitable for its intended roll.
However it was packed ready to be shipped to the USA for evaluation in March 1918, although whether it was actually sent is uncertain.  



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I've have a collection of unmade WW1 aviation figures (150+) from the various makers, so I should find something to suit.

Hopefully the figure will emphasise the size of the aircraft,



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Nice project, I just googled the Isle of Grain, hadn't heard of it before, to discover both it and Canvey Island, which I had heard of, aren't islands, I feel cheated!


It really is tiny, hope you put it on a base with a pilot chap.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,
The lower wings are intended to just 'butt' joint against the fuselage sides.
Not good, so I've added 0.8 mm diameter rod into the lower wing halves.
The longer rod passes through the fuselage and into the lower wing on the opposite side.






Also the cockpit has been completed as far as possible as there is no information available.
The seat has been replaced with a 'Barracuda' wicker seat and cushion.
'HGW Models' seat belts fitted and instrument decal from 'Airscale' used.
Rudder control lines from 0.2 mm Nickel-Silver tube and 0.4 mm Aluminium tube.
Switch wire added from 'PlusModel' 0.2 mm diameter wire.














I'll be moving back onto the Macchi M.5 build now, so this build will be on hold for now,


Edited by sandbagger

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Hi all,
If you think the cockpit is small and somewhat cramped, here's a shot of the replica Port Victoria P.V.8 'Eastchurch Kitten'.
This is being ground run at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, near York in the UK.
This is similar in size and concept to the P.V.7 'Grain Kitten'.





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