Dan Dare, 1950
Stairway scare, Dan Dare, who's there!
I wanted more versatility to the armament of my He 111 H-3, and despite my great respect for Ares, i made my own, universal bomber base, which can be customized for various gun setups, with revised fire angles (fire arcs).
I was thinking mainly about Battle of Britain period, since the camouflage on the Ares He 111 H-3 with the bottom blue paint pulled up high on the sides is a sign of an early war camo. So i put my nose in documents, searching about BoB Heinkels 111 P-2/H1-4, and found out that there is really a few different variants.
Let's first make the base and then talk about the weapons.
Making an universal, customizable bomber base
I went to a hardware store (OBI) and saw they sell 4mm and 2mm thick acrylic sheets. The bomber peg tip is just 6 mm long so the solution came quite naturally - a plexi sandwich with a foil slip in between. The slip will have the fire arcs printed on (many printer studios do printing on a thin foil).
Creating the base - step by step:
1. Draw the base outlines on a 4mm thick acrylic sheet (rectangle 8.1cm x 11 cm) with a thin, alcohol based marker.
Note: Do not remove the protective foil from the acrylic sheet. Take it off only when the base is completely done and ready to use.
2. Fix the acrylic sheet flat on a working surface, so the drawn rectangle overlaps the edge of the surface.
3. Take a saw with small, subtle teeth (like hacksaw), and cut the rectangle out. Do it slowly and patiently, making sure the saw goes straight. You will probably need to eventually flip the acrylic sheet as you want to cut other sides of the rectangle, so it is quite wise to draw the rectangle on the both sides of the sheet.
After you have cut the base out, scrap the little splinters on the fringes by your nail or a knife - hold the blade in the right angle so it doesn't bite in, and move it gently in one direction along the fringe.
4. Cut the base the same way out of the 2mm sheet.
So now you have two identical rectangles, one 4mm thick and one 2mm thick.
5. Find the center spot on each base piece. Put the 2mm piece on top of the 4mm piece, fix them by a scotch tape or such (making sure they sit precisely on each other), and and drill a hole through. Use a center punch or other sharp tool to make a tiny dent so the drill bit bites in nicely, then use a small drill bit (1mm) to pre-drill the hole, and then 4mm drill bit to make the final hole.
The peg-tips are a little slanted towards the end (so they get nicely stuck in the hole and don't wiggle), with 4mm diameter just in the middle, so a 4mm hole should work.
6. The sandwich cannot hold together being just connected by the central peg, because the both parts would be spinning around it. You need to fix the two parts together with another peg. You will have to find solution at your own hardware shop, i found a small plastic mushroom peg, that is used for hiding unwanted holes. Drill a hole for it in the same manner as above..
7. You can adjust the holes by a small file. Again do it slowly and keep checking the actual size out with the peg. Unlike on the picture below, the protective foil should be on all the time, and the two bases should be tied up by a scotch tape on several spots.
If you overdo, and find out the hole is too big, nothing is lost, a little blister of a gel super glue will sort it out (apply it separately on both pieces and let it dry for a few hours first).
8. Have your foil slips printed (see below) and make holes into them at the spots for the central and fixing peg.
The fixing peg shall be somewhere where it doesn't cover the fire arcs. So i made another one.
There you go, and now it is time to play with different gun setups and arcs of fire.
He 111 gun setups during the Battle of Britain
1. A basic one that represents the very beginning of BoB - 5 gun positions:
- one MG in the nose (A1-Stand)
- one dorsal MG (B-Stand)
- one ventral MG (C1-Stand) firing backwards
- two lateral MGs
2. Then the Germans found out Britain have also fighter planes with working guns, and so they built up (hence 7 gun positions):
- one extra MG in the nose (A2-Stand)
- one extra MG in the ventral gondola (C2-Stand) firing forward
3. The automatic MG in the tail was apparently added just to a few planes during BoB, being used more heavily later in Eastern front
4. For marine operations the MG at C2 Stand was replaced with a 20mm cannon.
This would be about it for 1940 Heinkels.
Fire arcs of particular weapons:
1. A1-Stand (center of the nose)
The MG was usually fitted in the nose in a special "ball mount" called Ikaria GD-A 1114 that allowed a much wider arc of fire than a standard joint fitting. The whole thing could be rotated around (you can see the round handle on the picture below) with the actual gun-mount set a bit off of the center, so the gunner could make an extra room when he wanted to move the gun to the sides.
2. A2-Stand (in the nose, above A1)
A standard fitting allowed something like +/- 38° fire arc. I think the A2 stand was operated by the dorsal (B-Stand) gunner, but that is just my guess. If anyone know this better please let me know.
3. B-Stand (dorsal position)
This was a tricky one to find out about. The BoB era Heinkels were using a plexi glass canopy to protect the B-Stand loophole. When the canopy was there, the gun can move just like +/- 40° to the sides. However the shooter could slide the canopy all the way back. The gun was joint-mounted on a ramp, and the ramp was further mounted on a gear that was all around the B-Stand loophole.
The whole thing could move around with only the slid back canopy standing in its way. I'd say the fire arc could have been +/-120° or such. The gear was spinning around and so was the gunner. The gun itself could move yet a bit independently on the whole thing, so that the shooter could aim quickly. I think Ares overdid the angle a bit, however it is good to realize that the game works with fire angles even for fixed weapons (those on fighters or the tail gun on He111). Those angles represent the whole aircraft being moved during maneuvering. That's why the fire arcs can actually be a little wider than what one would say. However this is fairly a big airplane, and so we can add just a few extra degrees..
4. C1-Stand (ventral gondola, firing backwards)
Again, the Ikaria ball mount allowed a much wider fire arc - i dare say wider than what Ares brings on their base. Also, it could apparently comfortably shoot to the same level, and even a few degrees above that.
5. C2-Stand (ventral gondola, firing forward)
This was a standard fit, allowing arc of fire about +/- 45°
The C1 and C2-Stands were operated by the same crew member.
6. Two lateral guns
Another tricky one. There was 6 types of mounting these. I believe 2 different mounts were used during Battle of Britain, allowing fire arc between +/- 40 and +/-80 degrees.
Also some of these guns were belt fed, allowing a wider fire angle, as they could be moved closer to the window. The magazines on the other type were poking to the sides too much.
Unlike the original, my fire arcs don't start right on the fuselage (shooting upwards special rule).
Here is an example of the basic setup for the early Battle of Britain:
A basic set of the foil slips for my base:
Get these these slides ready for print in the File section
This picture shows the real thing, just a bit outdated as i later widened the B-Stand fire arc.
And now, it is time to take off with that beautiful bird.
A bomber console with a management card right on it
To fly your own, customized He111 you will need a management card that follows the changes.
I made a set of bomber consoles that have the management card right on it.
They look like this
The track at the top can be used for various purposes - track your fire/climb/smoke/turn ... just move one counter on the track instead of piling them aside. The field with the arrow on it is where you put your actual speed counter and the field on the management section on the right side of the motor is to keep track of number of damaged motors.
Get these these consoles ready for print in the File section
- Last edited Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:27 am (Total Number of Edits: 30)
- Posted Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:02 am
Interesting and very nice work!
Very professional, Jan.
Fantastic article Jan! Very helpful.