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Short Seamew

Click here to download zip file (160 KB)

I am pleased to be able to offer my first plan for download - this Peanut scale Short Seamew. I thought my drawings for this had been lost several years ago, but found them up in the loft while I was doing a bit of clearing out. I have scanned them and cleaned up the images as well as I can, plus I have added some notes, including wood sizes etc. The zip file contains three sheets of plans, each fitting comfortably on a sheet of A4 or U.S. Legal paper, plus two sheets of drawings taken from the Contrail 1:72 vac-form plastic kit of the Seamew, which give colour scheme information.

Each of the model plan sheets has a 4 inch scale drawn on to help you resize everything after printing, if necessary. Nothing to stop you scaling it up or down of course!

I have found that the easiest way to print the files out is to read them into a graphics package such as Paint Shop Pro, then print from there.

The model outlines are all to scale - even that huge barn door of a tailplane. The only intentional deviations from scale are extra dihedral, and a slightly lengthened undercarriage (which you do not need unless you want to do take-offs)

My example still flies very reliably (left) even with a horrendously warped tailplane. You might want to try diagonal cross pieces in this to reduce the risk of warping. The model features hinged elevators and rudder (using wire hinges from plastic bag ties), but you could save a bit of weight by making them one-piece. My rudder has quite a bit of offset though to get it round in an average size sports hall, so if you build a one-piece fin, be prepared to glue it on at an angle.

I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the stringer slots in the fuselage formers, so be prepared for a bit of adjustment as you assemble the fuselage. Construction is conventional half-shell - lay down the top and bottom keels, a set of half formers, one side of the cockpit surround, plus wing mount and fore and aft side keels. Then remove, add the other half formers, side keels etc before adding the stringers one at a time, alternating sides to avoid introducing distortion. The wings are simply glued to the mounting plates on the sides of the fuselage (after covering), and if you just tack these on using a minimum of glue, they come off cleanly in the event of a bad crash, without incurring any structural damage. They can then be simply and quickly glued back on.

The 4-bladed prop on mine was made by combining a pair of 4" Kaysun plastic props, which came out rather heavy, but meant I didn?t need any noseweight. The wheels were stolen from an old plastic kit - if you make balsa ones, you will save more weight.

The cockpit canopies are the same shape front and back, so just stretch mould, or vac-form, a couple complete with windshield - keep the best one for the front, and cut the windscreen off the other so you can use it for the observer?s position.

Feel free to get in touch if you want anything on the plan explaining, or need any advice. If any of you build a Seamew from these plans, I would love to hear how you got on - be sure to send me a picture of the finished model!

A little about the real aircraft

The Seamew was Short's design for a lightweight, simple ASW (anti-submarine warfare) aircraft to specification M.123, issued in 1951. power was provided by a single Armstrong Siddeley Mamba turboprop. Three prototypes were ordered in 1952, and the first one flew in August 1953. Performance was not exactly sparkling, as the design was geared to allow the aircraft to loiter on long reconnaissance patrols - the prototype also exhibited handling difficulties, which were addressed with aerodynamic refinements before the commencement of carrier trials.

An order for 41 aircraft was placed in 1955. Deliveries of production aircraft, with the distinctive nose radomes, began in 1956. Shortly after, the RAF Coastal Command aircraft were cancelled, leaving just 24 AS.1's for the Royal Navy. Trials continued at RNAS Lossiemouth until 1957, when the whole program was cancelled in the defence cuts of that year.

The above information was summarised from the book "Aircraft of the Royal Navy" by Paul Ellis, published by Jane's in 1982 - ISBN 0 7106 0135 2. The photos were from the same source. I would recommend this as an excellent reference for enthusiasts of British naval aviation, should you come across a copy.

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