Kermit Weeks' Sunderland

The Short Sunderland, Dornier Do-24, Kawanishi H8K 'Emily' and many more.

Re: Kermit Weeks' Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:50 pm

MrWidgeon wrote:I have serious doubts about that ever happening.
First, just finding a full set of turrets would be a major undertaking let alone doing away with the civilian interior/exterior modifications and replacing all of the structure needed to reinstall said turrets IF they could be found.
If anything I think you might see a repaint to a military paint scheme who's accuracy might be questionable at best.
There's always hope, but in this case I fear it's more wishful thinking.


Actually, I think the turrets would be more easy to find than you think.

I have been a few places, where I have seen the actual turret shells from
Sunderlands here in New Zealand. I think the hardest part would be restoring
the flight deck to original or as near original as possible, and other parts
of the Mk 5 interior (beam gun positions come to mind)

A main issue would be drawings for the Mk V, as I understand it the original
drawings were burnt in a fire where they were being stored.

One of the biggest hurdles for Kermit Weeks would be finding someone
to do the job. Most who have worked on the actual military Sunderlands
(even post WWII) are well into their 70's and 80's and 90's now.

One thing I have learnt in this world though, is never say never (and have a big cheque book :D )


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Re: Kermit Weeks' Sunderland

Postby MrWidgeon » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:20 pm

As long as you can find quality photos or original parts in another airframe AND have a large enough pile of currency, ANYTHING can be reproduced by just about any skilled sheetmetal man.
It all boils down to this : Desire + Money + Skill = Miracles.
Most of the more rare warbirds flying today (minus the more common types like P-51s) were built up out of what most of society would consider bent & twisted scrap metal.
If someone wanted one bad enough and had the money a new, from the shadow up, Sunderland could be built from nothing more than a pile of sheet metal.
Kermit certainly has the financial resources to restore it if he so desires, but he also has a lot of other airplanes that need attention too, some in need of complete restorations.
I guess we'll see in the long run.

Re. the turret shells, they're just that - shells.
No fittings or races or other sub systems that make them turrets.
Most of the turrets on the current crop of warbirds are shells and aren't even superficially complete.
For instance, the upper turret ring on a B-17 (& most other American types) was about 4 feet across and made of solid bronze, today they're made of unobtainium.
The few that exist are mostly due to a couple of people that either found one or in one case the owner hiked up a mountain to a crash site and retrieved the shattered parts of one to use a pattern then had a new one made (at great expense), it provided a pattern for a few others that wanted one bad enough to spend the considerable amount required to cast, mill and finish it.
Fortunately today there are more collectors that are wanting accuracy in their restorations, so maybe such things will become the norm in the future, I hope so.

In water flying attitude is everything
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Re: Kermit Weeks' Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:25 am

Hi Bill

Re your comments on photos etc then the following would certainly apply.

If Kermit Weeks did want to spend the cash, and wanted to re-furbish his
Sunderland/Sandringham to military spec (or as close to), all he has to do
is visit little old New Zealand and look at our Mk V (which incidently is the
sister to his aircraft, she being as I posted earlier NZ4108). NZ4115 is
pretty much complete and the turrets have all the bearings etc, that
Weeks could photograph/measure to manufacture what he needed.

Bow turret

Rear turret

Guess we'll just have to adopt a wait and see stance :)


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Re: Kermit Weeks' Sunderland

Postby flyernzl » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:18 pm

One of the turrets ex-this aircraft is still in existence, in the RAAF Museum, Perth.
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