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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 11:14 
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Location: Pretoria
There is something about a Spitfire.

I can still recall the physical sensation seeing a Spitfire for the first time, and probably every subsequent encounter. My dad can remember it too. He first saw a Spitfire during the Liberty Cavalcade being held in Cape Town in 1944. That Spitfire is JF 294, a Mk VIII that was specially flown from Cairo to South Africa for the Cavalcade, and the story is well told in Seven McLean's wonderful book "The Spitfire in South African Air Force Service". The self same Spitfire now graces the Military History Museum in Saxonwold, after having served briefly in the SAAF.

It is also the first Spitfire my son laid eyes on, probably around the same age as his grandfather did - 4!

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(This photo was posted in the web by HiltonT, and was published in Steven McLean's book mentioned above. He in turn credits the Dave Bekker collection.)

On passing into SAAF service, she was stripped to bare metal and eventually given undersized roundels and the number 5501. This is the way we know her to look. On page 132 of the McLean book there are three photo's of 5501 in the 40's and 50's in which it appears that the spinner was also natural metal. I have no idea when her spinner was painted red, but a possibility is when her prop was robbed to replace "Evelyn's" broken one. Maybe someone out there can recall?

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I bought a Hasegawa MkVIII some years ago, and whilst breaking the clear parts of my Mirage IIICZ, I decided to take a break by building a straight forward offering by a reliable kit manufacturer. Having done a painting of 5501's wing some years ago, I was rather keen to try and replicate the structures and shapes of the Spitfire that show up so well in its naked state.

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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 12:03 
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Look forward to this one. :smt023

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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 16:04 
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Location: Pretoria
The internet has changed model building. In the past I would have happily built this beautiful kit without even smelling a rat. Nowadays however one Googles the kit you are about to build ostensibly to see how cool it looks, and if there are any pitfalls the boffins have already invented a cure for. I was surprised at the can of worms. The most glorious of all the aircraft of all time was being deemed a misshapen mess, best left in its Hasegawa box! Can you imagine being the poor guy who got the drawing or photocopying of the Spitfire MkVIII and MkIX plans wrong? If my Eurocentric notion of the Japanese culture is vaguely correct, someone was in a spot of bother.

It's not that he got them totally wrong - the wing is as good as perfect, but the fuselage is hard to figure out. In essence it is too short, and the aft fuselage is a bit too thin.

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There are various internet ramblings dedicated to this very subject, but they are all a bit technical for my style of building. Since the wing with the longer "high altitude" wingtips is such a feature, I felt that it might be worth lengthening the fuselage so that the whole model still looks in balance. I wanted a simple fix, and stared at the plastic halves and the SAM Publication plan until a solution came to mind. Putting a plug into a tapered shape is going to leave a step, so my single stage fix had to be near the cockpit or right at the back. I favored the back as the empennage on the real aircraft detaches at the angled join, and the fuselage taper actually reverses at this point. The piece I inserted still leaves the fuselage slightly short, but it helps.

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This method makes squaring up up the fuselage halves a breeze, but of course one has to be meticulous in lining up the empennage when attaching it.

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At GRSM's MOY, I met up with Nick Scheltema again. You may recall his sage advice regarding the Mirage III seat and cockpit scale. He brought along a Hasegawa MkIX fuselage that he had corrected, and it is a thing of beauty - with a three part staggered correctection, including a deepened aft section. Different league. I should have taken a photo...

The tail section looks right detached from the fuselage - as it occasionally was.

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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 21:18 
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Joined: 20 Jan 2012, 21:47
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Location: wrong side of Table Mountain
As far as I know the spinner was painted red long before "Evelyn"'s days.

It is a fallacy that this Spitfire's prop was donated to Evelyn after its prang at Margate. In fact it was donated during the original rebuild project at Atlas after it was discovered that the blades Barnett obtained from Australia at the time were unsuitable.

The propeller fitted to Evelyn after the accident was a new build one from Hoffman in Germany - paid for by owner Larry Barnett


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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 08:51 
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flyingspringbok wrote:
It is a fallacy that this Spitfire's prop was donated to Evelyn after its prang at Margate. In fact it was donated during the original rebuild project at Atlas after it was discovered that the blades Barnett obtained from Australia at the time were unsuitable.


And I am guilty of perpetuating the nonsense. Thanks for the correction.


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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 10:42 
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Location: Pretoria
Having chopped and changed the fuselage, it is time to roar off into the cockpit. Most of us get way too carried away with this bit, especially in 1:48th scale, but boy is it fun. I have a beautifully moulded CMK resin cockpit that I wanted to use on a MkIX, but I have been finding resin cockpits too much effort to fit unless the kit really needs it. This kit doesn't. I just added a few bits here and there to get the general look that I wanted to achieve. Note that this Spitfire's armour was removed from the cockpit at a stage and there is still a parachute in the seat.

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In case you are wondering, I took these photo's of 5501 in 2007. I believe photography is no longer allowed in the halls, so check first if you intend to do some research for your own builds!

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The portion of the fuselage visible behind the cockpit appears to be unpainted, or maybe painted a silver of sorts.

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It certainly is an iconic cockpit. I have left the one harness hanging like that on purpose by the way!

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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 12:13 
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Joined: 31 Aug 2010, 15:01
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
Madmax wrote:

I bought a Hasegawa MkVIII some years ago, and whilst breaking the clear parts of my Mirage IIICZ, I decided to take a break by building a straight forward offering by a reliable kit manufacturer.


"Straight forward" he says as he hacks the rear end off the kit :shock: :wink:

You should've invested in the Eduard Mk.IX !! Anyway, this is going to be interesting to follow. Is the IP a decal ?


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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 19:36 
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Mistral wrote:

Is the IP a decal ?


Nope, just dry brush and gloss on the instruments. Same as you do.


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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2017, 20:35 
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At this stage I worked on some of the other components including the main gear legs. I checked various sources and figured that a late MkVIII would have a torque link at the back of the oleo leg.

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Wrong... Spitfires are as frustrating as Mirage III's. You have to go and look at the real thing if you can, and luckily I can. No torque link is the answer - splined oleo. Bet you guys knew the right answer.

Time to get the fuselage halves together. Where did the cockpit go? All that work for nothing, or is it... oh, and cut off the elevators, shape their leading edges and the horizontal stab trailing edge. More often than not, the elevators will be deflected downwards by gravity when standing on the ground. Strangely, at the cavalcade this was not the case - look at the first photo I posted for a small chuckle.

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The kit wings are not quite the same as the real thing. It would seem that Spitfire wings are a most confusing subject in general, and in particular. The MkVIII doesn't have the blisters above the wheel well, and it has a fuel tank in the leading edge. I removed the offending bulges and scribed a fuel tank where it should be.

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I then went a little crazy and riveted select lines to add to the look and feel of the wing. I used a slightly wonky riveting tool, but it did the job just fine. Maybe it is better with the odd wobble in a line of rivets.

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Some rivets on the fuselage, and I can concentrate on recreating polished metal next.

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By the way, the gun barrels in the kit are not great. I did some scratching here, but brass aftermarket would be my first choice in future. These things break off at all the worst times!

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PostPosted: 18 Feb 2017, 08:25 
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Joined: 31 Aug 2010, 15:01
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
Very good work so far. I love those long wings of the Mk.XVIII. Very elegant.


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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2017, 19:14 
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Joined: 18 May 2012, 07:12
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Madmax wrote:
Mistral wrote:

Is the IP a decal ?


Nope, just dry brush and gloss on the instruments. Same as you do.


Hi Madmax

There is a problem coating instruments with gloss. Most a/c instruments from WW2 till present day have an anti-reflective coating. The glass faces show on photos and when viewed from the side but not when viewed from the front. Most instrument faces are painted matt behind the glass to reduce glare.

Making the anti-reflective coating scale thickness will only then work in the UV spectrum. :lol:

Regards
Joker


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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 09:10 
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Joker wrote:
Making the anti-reflective coating scale thickness will only then work in the UV spectrum. :lol:
Joker


Joker, you are a funny guy!

I also noticed however that you know a lot of stuff. WWII instruments are but the tip of the iceberg. Intakes and external fuel tanks are clearly not new to you, and I'll bet you've dabbled in resin moulding too... :wink:


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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 09:46 
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Location: Pretoria
One of the major aims of this build was to get the natural metal (polished aluminium) finish to look convincing, and showing up some of the underlying structure.

I have used Alclad 2 in the past, but have not really got the "high shine" finishes to work yet. Hanging around in Jix, I discovered that Alclad produce a black primer/microfiller and a gloss black base, so I bought those, oh and a bottle of Aqua Gloss since the internet reviews say it is way better that "Future".

Clearly the secret to Alclad is a perfectly unscratched high gloss black base. Simple as that. I sanded and sanded and wet papered and then sprayed on the gloss black base (since I figured I didn't need any primer/microfiller that might hide my slightly wobbly rivet lines). It didn't cover very well and required a couple of coats to get it glossy. Must be doing something wrong. Then I waited and waited and waited (2 days for me is way too much), and it was still tacky. Curses. The darn stuff must have enamel in it. Not my kind of paint so I cleaned it off and broke off a canon barrel in the process. More curses.

Back to what I know. Tamiya's semi gloss black (X-18) is quite simply my favorite base coat, and it can be applied super thin to show fine detail - like this...

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Whilst I let that dry for an hour or two, I sanded back the spinner as much as I could so that it still fits on the base-plate (the spinner was made oversize to compensate for the fuselage's lack in the length department). I also drilled out the exhausts to look a bit more like exhausts. That being said, the Hasegawa moulding are generally superb, and you don't want to totally sand off the moulding seams here.


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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 10:28 
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Now most of you Alclad boffins (yes, you Theuns) are chuckling in your sleeves, because the base has to be high gloss to get the surface high gloss.

Here comes my party trick. In retrospect it may also be the cause of some of my later problems, but what the hell - here goes... Tamiya polish! In an attempt to keep the base super thin, and shiny, it met both requirements.

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And now that "Airframe Aluminium" is bedazzling.


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I now decided to put a protective coat over the Alclad since I don't seem to be able to even hover my hand over it without removing or staining some of it. Not having learned my lesson previously, I happily sprayed Aqua Gloss over the model. Hmm, not what I expected. The first coat tends to be semi-matt, and although the next sweep starts to show gloss, it pools easily or blows little droplets that cure as droplets! Eina. Sand it down to a smooth finish again, but of course what happens - some of the base shows through the microns thin Alclad. When you spray over that again it looks like this...

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Now I got desperate and pulled out my aging bottle of "Klear" (Future), and sealed the mess. Micromesh cloth to the fore, more polishing and another coat of Alclad. Phew! That worked. Heaven knows what chemical mess I have created however. Maybe the polish isn't such a good idea? Even though I washed with soap after polishing, it might prevent the Alclad from bonding properly? Maybe the high shine finishes are always fragile and I should wear gloves? Maybe maybe...

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Here is the "Klear" sealed finish with a very thin oil paint wash. Not too bad for a base, and I will be able to work over it with other "stuff". Chemistry - bah humbug.

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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 15:15 
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Joined: 31 Aug 2010, 15:01
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
Sean it looks good. But you could try bare metal foil :roll:

Honestly, it looks good. I've never considered high shine as scale accurate but that's open to debate.


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