Wyandotte Airacuda Special

toys made by Marx, Wyandotte, Steelcraft etc....

Moderators: MichaelB, angelreader

Wyandotte Airacuda Special

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:07 am

I have a project from an admitted straight-lace toy collector. Virtually everything he has is in original condition. He apparently has one weakness with the Wyandotte Airacuda. The history of the maligned Bell YFM-1 Airacuda is fairly well known. The Army wanted a domestic bomber destroyer and Bell's design was a unique answer to the challenge. A rather forward design concept for the 1930's, The 'Cuda was a darling with the press and a handful for the pilot and crew. It garnered much speculation and mysteries in its rather short lifespan. What it did accomplish was confirm that Bell Aircraft was a bonafide designer and builder of military aircraft. It also grabbed the imagination of John Q. Public and his kids. Two toy companies, Hubley and Wyandotte jumped in with toy airplanes to sell. The Hubley is arguable the nicer version made with cast metal. The Wyandotte's pressed steel version was probably cheaper to produce thus becoming a long-term survivor in high population.

Charles Lindbergh affected toy manufacturing. He sued many toy companies building airplanes with direct reference to him without paying royalties. This caused toy companies to skew their designs and not be directly scale in appearance. For Wyandotte, they decided to have two fins and add a hump on the dorsal or top side of the Airacuda's fuselage. Buyers thought little of this at the time but as years passed speculation arose as to what that hump was for? Technically, as a toy, the extra shape gave the fuselage more strength, classic steel stamping 101. The Lindbergh issue certainly could have been a possibility. But, for my money, that hump was a possible design improvement that Bell may have been developing. The two cannons in the outboard engine pods were essentially hand-loaded affairs using aero-armourers. The recoil would certainly slow the airplane when fired. So, to not waste any shells, what could been done to better sight the cannon firing? The reflector sight was still a secret in England. So a more dramatic solution was to add a pair of machine guns loaded with incendiary shells. Great, but the belly already had a dedicated bombay that would double as a long-range tank location. Wing guns would be difficult to have for convergence of all the shells. So why not as a gun pack above?

This is what the collector wanted to do. The hump will no longer be mistaken as the pilot's cabin, that will be down in front. That hump will now pack heat. This Airacuda would have a one-two punch. Just think, if better engines had been available and the cannons had automatic feed, the Airacuda could have been a real threat, especially as a night-fighter. One wonders....

The pictures below show some of the progress in his conversion.

Regards, Tom
Attachments
sandmanoverhaul
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:23 pm
Location: Midwest United States

Re: Wyandotte Airacuda Special

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:18 pm

Here is a quick project update on the Wyandotte Airacuda project for a Canadian client. It has mostly been finished in early 1940 national defence camo and has an additional dorsal gun-pack installed. What is left will be creating control cabin windows and clear-coating. It has been re-named by the new owner as the Airacuda with Attitude.

Regards, Tom
Attachments
sandmanoverhaul
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:23 pm
Location: Midwest United States

Re: Wyandotte Airacuda Special

Postby sandmanoverhaul » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:57 am

As a follow-up final of this custom Wyandotte Airacuda, these are the last pictures taken before being shipped north. The airplane features a 3-tone paint job, period markings, modified Hubley 'Cuda props,
cannons in the engine pods, dorsal gunpack and windows,windshields as requested. The pre-war sand and spinach paint is deceptive and somewhat stealthy for the mid-1930's.

Regards, Tom
SANDMAN OVERHAUL
Attachments
Here is the rebuilt Airacuda being towed out the hangar. Note the modified Barclay fuel truck and Tootsietoy airport tug
Even the bottom received "dark sky" paintwork
Here we are topside to see the various custom details
sandmanoverhaul
 
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:23 pm
Location: Midwest United States

Re: Wyandotte Airacuda Special

Postby hovermd » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:51 pm

Beautiful work!
Mark Driver
Toy Helicopter & Rotorcraft Collector
markmdrive@aol.com
User avatar
hovermd
 
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:19 pm
Location: Florida


Return to Pressed Steel

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests