Anyone who has been around me for some time may well be aware that there’s one model which has been on my hitlist for a little longer than forever, but which I’ve never had the guts to take on… One particular type of WW1 General Service Coupled Shed, the “Belfast Truss Hangar”, named after the curved iron trusses that support the roof, without the need for central pillars and thus allowing an entirely open hangar floor.
These things pop up everywhere, although a number of events during particularly the Battle of Britain also caused a lot of them to be written off. In order to do a reasonable rendition of a lot of airfields, however, the Belfast Truss shed is something which needs to be included and, for years, I’ve been too scared to do one, deeming it rather more complex than I can cope with. Well, now I have four.
Option 1 – GS Coupled Shed fd b has a folding door arrangement, as seen currently at IWM Duxford. This one was the subject of drawings that were sent to me by the guys at the now sadly closed Airfield Construction Group, based on their model of Duxford’s hangar, for which I owe them many thanks. I have modified their design, however, based on my own research. This seems to be an uncommon door arrangement and may only be in use at Duxford.
Option 2 – GS Coupled Shed SD B – is a rather more common sliding door arrangement, which can be found in numerous photographs from 1917/18 right through to the present day, containing anything from Sopwith Camels and Avro 504s through to Diamond DA-42s and bizjets. Because of the larger sliding doors, this variant has brick construction voids/supports for the doors to slide into at the outside corners of the openings.
Option 3 – GS Single Shed SD B – is almost literally half of Option 2. The second coupled shed is removed, only one side has offices/stores/etc and supports are put on both sides to maximise available opening door space.
And finally… We come to the reason that I finally took on the project to model these blinkin’ things. Thankfully “There Can Be Only One!“, as certain famous characters in a film would bellow, because there are quite a few polys on this one: Option 4 – GS Coupled Shed KY B – slides in (sorry, couldn’t resist) to occupy the southern area of Kenley Airfield, with the unique Watch Office located on the NE corner of the hangar, built when the airfield was modified at the onset of World War 2. I may do some more tweaks to this one before I release the updated library, particularly surrounding making the stairs a little more secure, but it’s been enough of a nightmare for me to not want to touch it again for quite a while!
The following screenshot, unfortunately, does show the low quality texturing that I’ve had to employ to keep these hangars to a single drawcall and with a file size that won’t completely overload FSX when called. It also shows all the metalwork that I tried for ages to come up with a better way of doing and gave up, just modelling it all instead. Only the ladder to the roof of the watch office (and the windows, doors, etc.) is textured, rather than modelled, as you’ll see.
You can also see the floating stairs that I haven’t decided how to address yet.
Finally for this post, there’s one other building that’s been added, to the Operational Buildings library this time – in the form of another Operations Block. This time it’s a 1161/24 Fighter Operations Block, again as seen at both Duxford and Kenley, as well as many other places, with a protective grass bank. There’ll also be a 1161/24 without the protective bank, which just needs compiling into the library, and a 5000/37 Protected Roof design, if I can find out some details about what appears to be a boiler room to one end of that building. Excuse the shiny grass in this screenshot, please – it’s just a Model Converter X thing and the grass in the material and therefore sim has zero reflectivity and zero bloom.
In the words of another famous film and TV character, “That’s all, folks!“