Republic XP-47J “Superbolt”: On a diet.

The “Jugs”, despite being the biggest and heaviest single seat fighters to see service in WW2 were renowned by their outstanding performances. So, what could happen if you lighten them a little bit?. That’s what the people of Republic had in mind with this prototype. They took a newly built airframe and reduced its armament to the American 6x.50 MG standard instead of the P-47’s eight and supped it up with various combinations of water-injected R2800 engines, props and turbosuperchargers. First flown in late 1943, the performances displayed by the unique prototype (43-46952) were superb achieving a max speed of just over 500mph…hence its “Superbolt” nickname. Regrettably, Republic’s almost contemporary XP-72 looked more promising and that plus the advent of jet propulsion meant the end… from both projects.

The Superbolt returning with elan  to its nest (Republic Farmingdale factory, maybe). It was a really hot -and really ugly- potato. That shortened and reconfigured engine cowling couldn’t hardly be less graceful.

Yakovlev UT-1: Resting Places (XII).

The ultra cute UT-1 was a decently aerobatic advanced single-seat trainer operated, mainly, by the Soviet AF’s VVS during the late 1930’s-early 1940’s period. Well-liked and sturdy, some of them even were hastily armed at the start of WW2, but that was only a temporary measure. The total of 1,241 produced were mainly employed as “military pilot makers”.

A suitably all-red painted example exhibited inside the incredible Vadim Zadorozhny’s Museum of Equipment, Arkhangelskoye (Moscow).

Boulton Paul P.103B: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

At first sight, apart of those contra-rotating props, this neat sketch looks like an Allied early interpretation of the German Fw 190A. In fact, this Bristol Centaurus-powered  “clone” was one of the two Boulton Paul’s proposals (the P.103A was a RR Griffon-engined version) to fulfill the Royal Navy N.7/43 fighter specification. That requirement was conceived to supply, at last, the Fleet Air Arm with an up-to-date all-British carrier fighter after years of barely satisfactory landplane conversions (Sea Hurricanes & Seafires) and American types. In the end, after a tortuous path, it was the Sea Fury the one which answered the “Senior Service” prayers…., but only after the war ended.

Ah, that cockpit canopy.

AW Albemarde Mk I: Second-best at best.

Late in the 1930’s the British Air Ministry grew concerned that, if there was a war, the possible supply shortage of aircraft light alloy materials could became a problem. One of the product of that concern was the RAF specification B.9/38 for a bomber built with alternative materials -the Albemarde was the answer. With its already dated steel tube, wood and fabric construction, the Albemarde proved to be both overweight and low on performance compared to up-to-date designs. Obviously, its bomber role was soon forgotten replaced early on by general recon duties. In the end it was as transports and gliders tugs where these unloving and unloved things earned their keep.

Gorgeous cutaway of this aircraft which its chief designer John Lloyd defined as “.. an aircraft that could be built by the tinker, tailor and candlestick maker outside the industry”.

Heinkel He 177 A-5 Greif: Cursed from the cradle.

“The He 177 was to be developed simultaneously as a four-engined heavy bomber and a dive-bomber. But I never thought anything of that! Only one of this attributes could be fulfilled, and because of that the entire development was drawn out uselessly for several years”.   Adolf Hitler.
In essence that was the main problem of the Grief, but aggravated by personal rivalries; over complex and trouble-prone coupled engines; sheer lack of raw materials; stubbornness facing the obvious solutions, etc, etc.
“Henschel Hs 293A-1’s-toting” Griefs ready for some action. Magnificent artwork of Roy Cross for an old Airfix model.

North American SNJ: Spit & Polish.

A natty US Navy ensign -love that collar pin- in the back seat of a shiny early specimen of the North American’s most famous trainer. He wears the usual US Navy headgear of the early 1940’s: a M-450 summer helmet with grey-green pressed leather ear cups and a gorgeous pair of Wilson Mk II pilot goggles.

With his attention to details, this “Brown Shoes” must have gone far in the service.