Three months into this phase of the project has seen significant progress on both the external and internal conservation of the tank. Externally, all original armour plate components have been repaired. Replica plating has been fitted to replace inaccurate or missing components, with some plates requiring considerable modification to fit this individual tank, and to correct minor errors in externally supplied fabrications.
The aft turret support bulkhead was fitted to the fuselage late last week, and is the first major peice of the turret support structure to be completed and installed. The installation of this bulkhead will give the structural integrity to allow the removal of damaged and modified floor structure, and the continuing installation of support structure further forward in the fuselage.
To assist with the manufacture of missing and damaged components and structure in the Hudson, the AWM purchased a copy of original Lockheed blueprints on Microfilm. Digitisation of the blueprints for ease of reference has commenced, and they are providing invaluable information for most areas in the airframe. The blueprints contain the original dimensions and material specifications of each individual item used to build the aircraft.
The support structure for the upper turret is beginning to take shape, with repaired and replicated components being pieced together before installation. This structure is approximately 1/3 of the way through the fabrication stage. When complete, the structure will be disassembled, painted, and then installed into the airframe.
One of the first steps in the conversion to re-fit the Boulton Paul upper turret was to remove any excess material from the fuselage. This meant cutting a hole in the upper rear fuselage, and removing the skin and additional structure which had been replaced post war.
The damaged rear fuselage section from Hudson A16-128, which crashed during training at Tocumwal, New South Wales, was aquired by the AWM several years ago. This fuselage section contains a large proportion of the structure missing from A16-105 to support the upper gun turret in the fuselage.
One of the first steps in the conversion of the Hudson from its post war airline and geo-survey role to its original military configuration, was the removal of all the post war modifications.
The first two photos below are taken inside the cabin of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's Hudson on Display in the RNZAF Museum in Christchurch, and they give an idea of what the inside of the cabin should look like .
The conservation of the Lockheed Hudson Bomber A16-105 has begun in the War Memorial's Treloar workshops, the main aim of the work being the refitting of the upper and lower gun positions, as well as internal fitout of equipment and furnishings and application of a paint scheme more representative of that worn by the aircraft during Second World War service.