Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


TODAY, MY GMAX rendering of the Westland Lysander continues. As noted yesterday, the more documentation, the more to model.

Modeling the Powerplant. The image in Cutaways, plus Internet research, prompted modeling details of the Lysander’s Bristol Mercury 870-hp air-cooled nine-cylinder radial.

The GMax Bristol Mercury radial.

One of Microsoft’s default aircraft, the Curtiss Jenny, features animated valve gear for its OX-5. I borrowed its coding for the Mercury’s exposed rocker arms. Indeed, they’re barely visible within the Lizzie’s cowling, but don’t forget the Gargoyle Strategy.

More Documentation. Haynes Publishing U.K. offers Owners’ Workshop Manuals for many cars and aircraft, one of which is Edward Wake-Walker’s Westland Lysander Manual 1936-44 (all marks): An insight into owning, flying and maintaining the RAF’s famous World War 2 ‘cloak-and dagger’ spy plane. This fine book gave me another 158 pages of inspiration for potential modeling.

Also, New Zealand’s Flight Manuals Online offers historical documents, in this case U.K. Air Ministry Lysander manuals from 1939 and 1943. Another 133 pages of text and photos on the aircraft and 43 pages on pilot’s notes.

Talk about being tempted with more modeling information. I learned more about Lizzie as well.

The Lysander’s GMax rendering of its propulsion hardware.

For example, the engine’s oil supply (shown in blue) has twin intercoolers located low on either side of the pilot’s high-mounted seating. Air is drawn in from the aircraft’s nose, passes through ducting to the intercoolers, and exits through fuselage vents.

There are twin cockpits separated by the fuel tank. On Lizzies fitted for supporting ground troops, the aft gunner had a swiveling seat and a Lewis machine gun. Forward-firing Browning machine guns were mounted in the wheel spats. Special Operations Executive aircraft dispensed with armament for weight savings. On some of the SOE missions, several people crammed into the rear cockpit.

An interior in progress.

A good story gleaned from the Haynes manual: On a harrowing mission, an SOE pilot was returning to England with an operative. The Lizzie’s compass had been destroyed by ground fire and, in approaching a fog-shrouded channel, they got hopelessly lost. Eventually landing out of fuel, in friendly or enemy territory?, the pilot went searching for help. He came back and said, “I can’t understand a word they are saying, but it appears we’re in Scotland….”

Color-coded Components. To help with fitments, clearances, and the like, GMax elements can be modeled in different colors. The Lizzie’s SOE livery came later.

A multi-hued Lizzie.

Lateral Thinking Helps. My GMax Lizzie has three articulated openings: the aft hatch, the pilot’s roof panel and his side windows. However, Microsoft Flight Simulator’s Software Development Kit provides coding for only two, typically front and rear doors.

Above, image from Aeroplane, December 2001. Below, the GMax rendering.

Lateral thinking helps (like using rocker-arm coding for articulating a passenger’s headscarf). The SDK offers tailhook articulation for carrier-based aircraft. So when my Lizzie’s pilot wants to open his overhead panel, he just hits keyboard “T.” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

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