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Newark Air Museum - Yellow Sun tail cone project

Yellow Sun tail cone project

In autumn 2019, Philip Wardell, a volunteer at the Newark Air Museum (NAM) started work on the challenging task of constructing a replica tail cone for a Yellow Sun nuclear weapon casing. Yellow Sun tail cone project.

The Yellow Sun was the first British operational high-yield strategic nuclear weapon. This particular casing has been on long term loan at Newark from the RAF Museum Reserve Collection at RAF Stafford since April 2012 and has been displayed on a Yellow Sun weapon trolley that was already part of the NAM collection.

The first sign of work on the project, was when a set of concentric wooden formers were first cut in the museum's on-site workshop in October 2019. Since then, the replica tail cone has grown steadily in size and detail; often attracting lots of ribald comments from other museum volunteers.

A trial fitting of the replica tail cone to the weapon casing took place in mid-November, using the original fixing points on the casing to secure the tail cone in place. Once this fixing concept and sizing were proven work proceeded over the winter on riveting the metal coverings and tail fins in place.

The final fixing and repainting session for the tail cone took place just before the museum closed for the Covid-19 lockdown, and it now awaits inspection by visitors when the museum is allowed to reopen.

Phil's original aim was to have the project completed in time for the Cold War Call Up event that was scheduled to take place in mid-May. Whilst this event was sadly cancelled, Phil completed the project ahead of schedule. It is understood that he may be undertaking a similar construction project next winter, to build a replica tail cone for the V-1 Flying Bomb (Doodlebug) remains that are displayed in Hangar 1 at the museum's site in north eastern Nottinghamshire.

Yellow Sun tail cone project Yellow Sun tail cone project

Photo Credits - Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions




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