Saturday was all about painting the cabin after many weeks of preparation. The front and left hand side walls have at last received their top coat of paint. The mottling is paint that is still wet.
The next few weeks will see the remaining cabin walls painted and the roof. Chillers and A/C covers are also ready for painting. The seals around the A/C units will be changed and receive with anti-corrosion treatment we will repaint the roof switch enclosure.
Here is the roof switch enclosure showing the work needed on its internals.
The corrosion on the inside of the roof switch cover is evident and has been removed for off-site treatment.
We are now close to applying the first top coat of paint to the T86 after a thorough restoration to eliminate corrosion, replace corroded nuts and bolts etc. All external components are stripped down before a repainting. This image shows the roof safety switch dismantled for cleaning and the removal of lose paint before being primed ready for a top coat.
Pete J did the awkward job on Saturday, priming the first wheel arch. Hopefully the rest of the chassis will end up looking just as professional as you see here.
The front of the T86 cabin and a side wall are now ready for a top coat. The accompany image shows that the wall joints and rivet heads have received their first brushed top coat to ensure good paint penetration on joints and rivets, and also to cover the light coloured primer before a rollered top coat is applied.
Work away from Cosford involves the on-going refurbishment of many external components including the pedestal motor and gearbox cover. The attached image shows the cover, the pitting caused by corrosion has been treated and filled and the sections where the securing catches are located have been rebuilt.
The LCP System Simulator was run up and remains serviceable.
The easiest thing to have done for both the LCP and T86 would have been simply to repaint them. They would have looked good for a short while but a quick splash of paint would only have hidden the corrosion which on the T86 would have continued to eat away at the pedestal roof, the chassis and numerous ferrous components. As the cabin is now fifty plus years old we are ensuring it can survive another fifty years by carrying out a full restoration by eliminating any corrosion found and ensuring the T86 cabin is water tight by replacing all seals etc.
Replacing Wasted Rivets
Our T86 (Ser. No. 501) is an ex Swedish radar and was converted to an RAF T86 before being operational on Yellow Section at RAF Bawdsey. A feature of the Swedish radars was the fitting of wooden rails along the external top edges of the cabin walls, the rails being fastened with coach screws and copious amounts of sealant. Over the years the wood had rotted providing a trap for rain water, not too bad on the alloy sections of the cabin roof but severe corrosion and wasted rivets was the condition of the steel pedestal roof under the wooden rails. Pete M had the task of drilling out and replacing the wasted rivets on the pedestal roof, which is all of them. The images below show work in progress on replacing the rivets and the new rivets fitted.
Here the original rivets where the alloy roof of the cabin overlaps the alloy cabin walls shows no corrosion or rivet wastage.
Ian did sterling work in applying the first top coat to the insides of the chiller compartments. The first top coat applied anywhere on the T86 cabin. Here you can see the rather impressive end result illustrating that the all the preparation work was well worth it.
Cabin Front Wall
It was decided that there is only one way to prepare the front of the cabin wall for a repaint and was to remove the access ladder, as shown here.
Trying to work round the ladder and its fitting was going to be a lot more trouble than removing it as it was a straight forward task.
One challenge faced in refurbishing the T86 cabin is removing any original nuts and bolts that are zinc plated rather than stainless steel. The external fittings on the cabin are a mixture of both types. Stainless nuts and bolts are replacing the zinc plated originals wherever possible.
Work continues on preparing the T86 cabin for a repaint with a focus on the detail. An example is the restoration of the overlap of the pedestal roof which is steel to the alloy cabin sides. This image shows a top corner of the T86 cabin where work on restoration has started.
The bracket for running lights has been removed and the surface cleaned, also shown is the glass tape that covers the riveted seams on the cabin. The overlap section of the pedestal roof shows the work to be done – corrosion treatment, filling and replacement of wasted rivets
Priming of two chiller compartments was completed and are now ready for a top coat in the photograph below.
The remaining chiller, vent and air conditioning covers on the cabin have now been removed from 2nd Line for refurbishment, the accompany two images show the before and after condition of one of the covers.
Some information: The top edge of the T86 cabin walls had wooden rubbing strips fitted which had completely rotted, unfortunately copious amount of sealant as well as bolts were used to secure these rubbing strips and removing the sealant is a time consuming task. Our T86 is an ex Swedish radar and has some detail differences to the UK radars namely the rubbing strips, running lights on the top corners of the cabin and joints covered by glass tape.
Away from 2nd Line work has started on refurbishing the replacement cover for the pedestal gearbox and motor. Key to this task was the removal of the securing latches so that anti corrosion treatment and the building up of wasted metal can be carried out. Removing the catches was a challenge due to them being stainless steel and held in place with stainless nuts that are locked in position with recessed slotted spring pins, see accompanying images.
Due to corrosion and age the spring pins they had to be drilled out but only after purchasing high quality cobalt tipped drills; forget the cheap HSS drills off eBay!
I see that 25 Squadron is flying once more.
25 Squadron reformed with the Bloodhound MK I on 1st November 1962 and remained a Bloodhound squadron for over 26 years. As the Bloodhound era came to an end with the end of the cold war, 25 Squadron reverted back to a flying squadron with the Tornado F3 on 2nd July 1989 at RAF Leeming. 25 Squadron disbanded on 4th April 2008.
At RAF Northcoats before the squadron moved to Germany.
See more about 25 Squadron’s Bloodhound history on our sister web site here http://www.bloodhoundmkii.org.uk/25S.htm