Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

limeypilot

An Airfix classic - Let the Battle begin....

Recommended Posts

I know I have a couple of long term builds on the go, but facing a major relocation and 2 to 3 months without any modeling, I don't want to get the other builds unnecessarily fragile for the trip, or masked for an extended period, so I'm going to start looking at another one I've always wanted to build. 

 

Although my main interest is WWI, I also have a long standing interest in the opening year of WWII and the Battle of Britain. To that end, I have built up a small stash of early WWII types, mainly new Airfix mouldings. However, there is one early type that is not yet represented by the new Airfix mouldings, and it needs to be included in my collection. That aircraft is the Fairey Battle, and the only readily available kit is the old Airfix offering, which, as we all know, is woefully lacking in accuracy!

 

 So, just how bad is it?

 

Let's take a look at it against the plans in Ian Huntley's book on the subject, which seem to be pretty accurate and match the dimensions....

 

Rear fuselage and tail

 

25178843747_7741158980_k.jpg

 

I lined up the underside of the fuselage with the plans, which gave the most accurate comparison. Not too bad - the rudder is totally wrong, and the top side of the rear fuselage is a little low, but both fairly easily corrected.

 

Forward fuselage

 

39152297285_5a9f69f4d8_k.jpg

 

Not good! The nose is about 4mm too short. I drew around the fuselage on the underside to see how that matched up.

 

25178842057_80e091f452_k.jpg

 

OK, so the line is a little below the actual kit fuselage, but it's close....and not close enough to where it should be! So I have quite a bit of work to do on the fuselage to get it even close.

 

How about the wings?

 

39152295985_f037b36eca_k.jpg

 

The wing roots look pretty good! That's a good start..

 

The chord, however, is another issue....

 

40051005481_59027d9534_k.jpg

 

Some work needed here to correct the chord of the outer wing panels. That, though, is a minor problem compared to what we find underneath......

 

25178845107_70e35b6722_k.jpg

 

The wheel wells, bomb bays, flare bays, and landing lights are all way too far outboard. I ran a pencil around the inside of the apertures in the lower wing part and this is what I found....

 

40051003321_1fc0139c69_k.jpg

 

Not pretty! I think the best way around this is going to be to fill them, recut the openings for the wheel wells, and rescribe the rest in the correct positions. The panel detail on the kit wings is pretty awful, especially underneath (the flare bays and access panel for the machine gun are not even represented) so I think I'll sand it all off and rescribe it anyway.

 

Finally, the tail surfaces

 

40051004871_4070693061_z.jpg

 

Not bad! Compared to the rest of the kit! Fairly easily corrected.

 

The prop needs the centre hub added. I have resin wheels, which are actually a little too thick, but far better than the kit offerings and easily thinned by cutting them in half vertically and reattaching the halves (minus what gets sawn out when cutting, so thinning them). I will also add a Falcon canopy, exhausts from the new mould Airfix Hurricane Mk1, and a Miniworld Vickers K gun. The undercarriage and wheel wells need some serious detail improvement, as does the cockpit.

 

I'm going to enjoy this one - my type of modelling! But, come on Airfix, how about a new, correct one?

 

let the Battle begin.......

 

Ian

 

Edited by limeypilot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ian

 

Looks like an interesting build you have going,  looks like the kit has no wing glove details on the fuselage so that would be an ideal area to me modify fuselage dimensions 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best of luck Ian :) 

 

The old mould has been a good seller for several decades and has surely paid for the investment many times over; I join you in the hope that Airfix will revisit this aircraft in the next few years, and provide us with a new-tooled one. There is a surviving aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon (if it is still there and not at Duxford now) but if I recall it was built from salvaged parts and is not necessarily representative of the service aircraft?

 

Anyway I will follow, if you don't mind :D

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting project! I'll be following along for sure.

 

19 minutes ago, Stew Dapple said:

There is a surviving aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon (if it is still there and not at Duxford now) but if I recall it was built from salvaged parts and is not necessarily representative of the service aircraft?

 

It's still at Hendon (saw it a few weeks ago). Yes, salvaged from several scrapped or part-destroyed airframes, plus newly fabricated parts. I'm not sure if the Brussels example is much different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Hendon Battle was re-restored a few years ago so now should be pretty close to what the originals looked like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I added a 'thanks' rather than a 'like' Ian as I too will be building one of these in the near future (for similar reasons to your own) and now have the luxury of watching the primary research being done for me to an exceptionally high standard.

 

No slacking now, d'ya hear.

:thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is real modelling rather than nailing stuff together and lashing paint over (like I do).  Mind if I pop in from time to time to see progress.  There's going to be loads of techniques coming out of this one...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Nice subject, nice project I'll follow along as well.

Seem to remember reading somewhere that the nose is best replaced with one from a Spitfire Mk1 for a more accurate shape but may be wrong on that, memory not what it used to be!

 

  Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully, the curse of your build will lead to a new release from Airfix. My Blenheim build worked :lol:

 

Looking forwards to seeing how you tackle this :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to be running close to the Airfix IL-2 for (in)accuracy. I still remember the "uh-oh" feeling I got when I first put the parts over a set of plans. Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this.

 

Regards,

Adrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian,

I have a strange affection for this plane. No idea why but I am so glad you're giving it a go.

I have two of the Classic Airframes kits in the stash and I'm sure I'll get some ideas , if not

inspiration from your build.

 

All the Best!

Don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will be following this one closely, I do like the Battle, always was a sucker for the underdog, and with no decent kit in 72nd will be good to see how you go about correcting it. Good you're going with a vac canopy, the one I remember from days of yore was about a foot thick!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I'm in here for that. Cheers

Edited by bbudde

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Ian,

what a good idea ! I will follow on

Stayin' in a corner, watchin' the game, havin' a Chimay !

Mine is 1/48 and she can be one of my distraction from my plans for 2018 !

There's a battle in Musée des armées in Brussels too !

if you want some pics, feel free to ask !

Sincerely.

CC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be tagging along - I love watching old kits get some TLC.   :)

 

I have the Special Hobby kit, which I am planning on building this year, and I'm curious how it might compare to the drawings. I don't have the book you mention, but I'll poke around on the net and see if I can find any others.

 

Cheers,

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For all it's inaccuracies, I love this old kit and look forward to seeing what you make of it.

 

Martian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are you planning to do about the front of the engine cowling? On the real aircraft, there's just a fairly large hole that you could see through to the reduction gear case if the prop hub wasn't in the way. There are no kits that get this right; you basically need to fabricate the front of the engine as you cannot mount the prop shaft to the front of the cowl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2018 at 12:59 AM, neil5208 said:

Hi Ian

 

Looks like an interesting build you have going,  looks like the kit has no wing glove details on the fuselage so that would be an ideal area to me modify fuselage dimensions 

Thanks Neil! Not quite sure what you mean by "wing glove", but I'm assuming the mean the fairings around the wing root. That is where I plan to cut and reduce the depth of the fuselage.

 

On 2/3/2018 at 1:12 AM, stevej60 said:

I'll tag along Ian,I'd like to re-visit this kit one day.

Welcome aboard Steve!

 

On 2/3/2018 at 2:19 AM, Stew Dapple said:

Best of luck Ian :) 

 

The old mould has been a good seller for several decades and has surely paid for the investment many times over; I join you in the hope that Airfix will revisit this aircraft in the next few years, and provide us with a new-tooled one. There is a surviving aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon (if it is still there and not at Duxford now) but if I recall it was built from salvaged parts and is not necessarily representative of the service aircraft?

 

Anyway I will follow, if you don't mind :D

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

Thanks Stew, welcome aboard! The Hendon machine is wrong around the rear cockpit, (they didn't include the small windows/access panels below the hinged canopy), and the cowling panels are new, also not accurate in shape. It's still a useful reference though.

 

On 2/3/2018 at 2:55 AM, amblypygid said:

Interesting project! I'll be following along for sure.

 

 

It's still at Hendon (saw it a few weeks ago). Yes, salvaged from several scrapped or part-destroyed airframes, plus newly fabricated parts. I'm not sure if the Brussels example is much different.

Good to have you along!

 

On 2/3/2018 at 3:24 AM, TheBaron said:

I added a 'thanks' rather than a 'like' Ian as I too will be building one of these in the near future (for similar reasons to your own) and now have the luxury of watching the primary research being done for me to an exceptionally high standard.

 

No slacking now, d'ya hear.

:thumbsup:

No pressure then....... Glad to have you along Tony!

 

On 2/3/2018 at 5:51 AM, Hamden said:

 

Nice subject, nice project I'll follow along as well.

Seem to remember reading somewhere that the nose is best replaced with one from a Spitfire Mk1 for a more accurate shape but may be wrong on that, memory not what it used to be!

 

  Roger

There is (or was) a replacement resin nose available, but I have decided to go it alone and extend it myself. Sucker for punishment, me!

 

On 2/3/2018 at 5:57 AM, woody37 said:

Hopefully, the curse of your build will lead to a new release from Airfix. My Blenheim build worked :lol:

 

Looking forwards to seeing how you tackle this :)

 

That would be nice... I'm also looking forward to seeing how I tackle it, there will be more than a few challenges I'm sure!

 

22 hours ago, corsaircorp said:

Hello Ian,

what a good idea ! I will follow on

Stayin' in a corner, watchin' the game, havin' a Chimay !

Mine is 1/48 and she can be one of my distraction from my plans for 2018 !

There's a battle in Musée des armées in Brussels too !

if you want some pics, feel free to ask !

Sincerely.

CC

Many thanks CC! I have a pretty good reference book in the Ian Huntley tome, but I will certainly keep your offer in mind!

 

14 hours ago, VMA131Marine said:

What are you planning to do about the front of the engine cowling? On the real aircraft, there's just a fairly large hole that you could see through to the reduction gear case if the prop hub wasn't in the way. There are no kits that get this right; you basically need to fabricate the front of the engine as you cannot mount the prop shaft to the front of the cowl.

There is a metal plate behind the cowl ring that hides the engine, hopefully that will be enough.

 

Well, this one certainly seems to have got a crowd together!

 

Welcome everyone, I hope I can get a reasonably decent Battle out of this old relic! I ordered a CMK resin Hurricane Mk1 cockpit set today in the hope that it will at least provide a usable instrument panel, seat, seatbelts, and possibly some extra sidewall details....we'll see!

 

 I decided to make a start on the wings today. The plan is to get the wheel wells sorted, then put the wing halves together and complete the rest of the alterations. My thoughts on the chord corrections are leaning towards trimming off the trailing edge to give a flat joining surface, then adding a new trailing edge from stock strip and sanding to shape It's worked previously when adjusting the shape of biplane wings so I'm hoping it will work here too.

 

 The first job today was to glue in the bomb bay doors. The fit (if you can call it that!) was terrible, but that won't be an issue. Once they were dry I got the sanding sticks out and sanded them flush, removing all the moulded "detail" on both upper and lower wing surfaces at the same time. The fairings for the retracted wheels were removed and I marked out the correct position for the wheel wells.

 

26197199218_e4d6c150a1_k.jpg

 

They need to move forward and inwards, as well as having the shape corrected, so out with the small sanding sticks and needle files. It took a while to get the shape right, mainly because I had to sand right up to the edge of the wing where it's solid plastic, but I got there in the end. The upper wing also needed some work to get it to match and not have a lip at the edge when the two halves are joined, and to remove the kit gear leg locating lug. Plastic strip  (.040" x .060") was added to close the unwanted part of the original moulded wheel well.

 

One done..

 

40070691781_765ebf07b5_k.jpg

 

That's much better!

 

26197200838_79354c137c_k.jpg

 

The other wing was matched to the first and a coat of Mr Dissolved Putty added to the corrections and the bomb bay doors. Once dry that was sanded back. Not sure what happened to the pic, my camera seems to enjoy randomly consuming photos.....

 

The last job for today was to add some .020" sheet to the outer sides of the wheel wells. That will be left to dry overnight and tomorrow I'll sand them to shape to match the curve of the upper wing halves.

 

25198599707_572ff4d5a1_k.jpg

 

There's not much in the wells at all, so tomorrow I should also be able to add the rest of the detail - provided I can think of a way to attach the landing gear after everything is painted and still have it strong enough. I have a couple of ideas lurking in that department.....

 

Night all!

 

Ian

Edited by limeypilot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, groovy! As I have one of these in the stash I think I'll lurk around in corner furiously scribbling notes to steal your techniques...ah, that is, I mean, to be inspired by your diligent efforts.

:ninja::pilot:

 

DennisTheBear

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a "man's build"!!!:rambo:

I think Airfix Staff didn't ike the Battle's line and decided it would have been more elegant if wings and rudder were a bit more tapered!

It'll be pure,genuine modelling fun!!!

All those rivets... made it a non slippery aircraft!!!

did you count them before erasing ???:rofl:

I'll watch you with interest!!!

Ciao

Massimo

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:popcorn: and :drink:at the ready!

 

Like others I too have one in the stash, so will be paying close attention and taking extensive notes!

 

Massimo, IIRC Fairey gave Airfix the drawings for a preceding design, which looked very similar, and upon which the Battle was loosely designed. It was only after the tooling had been completed that there error was spotted, but by then it was too late to replace/rework the moulds and the rest is history.

 

Christian, exiled to africa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a set of aviation news plans that I used,they show the wings with a wider chord,I wonder which set of plans is closer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks interesting, I'm in - arriving fashionably late as per...:popcorn:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DennisTheBear said:

Wow, groovy! As I have one of these in the stash I think I'll lurk around in corner furiously scribbling notes to steal your techniques...ah, that is, I mean, to be inspired by your diligent efforts.

:ninja::pilot:

 

DennisTheBear

Steal away Dennis!

 

5 hours ago, massimo said:

This is a "man's build"!!!:rambo:

I think Airfix Staff didn't ike the Battle's line and decided it would have been more elegant if wings and rudder were a bit more tapered!

It'll be pure,genuine modelling fun!!!

All those rivets... made it a non slippery aircraft!!!

did you count them before erasing ???:rofl:

I'll watch you with interest!!!

Ciao

Massimo

 

Welcome Massimo, great to have you along for the ride! I didn't count the rivets because it wasn't possible - the "rivet" moulding was basically a long, lumpy line!

 

2 hours ago, wyverns4 said:

:popcorn: and :drink:at the ready!

 

Like others I too have one in the stash, so will be paying close attention and taking extensive notes!

 

Massimo, IIRC Fairey gave Airfix the drawings for a preceding design, which looked very similar, and upon which the Battle was loosely designed. It was only after the tooling had been completed that there error was spotted, but by then it was too late to replace/rework the moulds and the rest is history.

 

Christian, exiled to africa

Welcome aboard Christian!

That sounds too much like "oops, we messed up, this excuse sounds plausible...." Are there any other records of this "similar" aircraft I wonder.......

 

1 hour ago, fatalbert said:

I have a set of aviation news plans that I used,they show the wings with a wider chord,I wonder which set of plans is closer.

I also have a set of plans from a 1971 edition of Scale Modeling International (thanks Steve!) which shows the chord identical to these plans. They are, however, wrong on the inner trailing edge and show it at 90° to the fuselage centre line. In plan form the trailing edge runs straight from the tip to the root, as shown above, with no kink.

 

1 hour ago, clive_t said:

This looks interesting, I'm in - arriving fashionably late as per...:popcorn:

No problem Clive, come on in!

 

Off to the bench for a while, I may be sometime........

 

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×