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Anders_Isaksson

Spitfire Vb Rotol propeller blades

11 posts in this topic

I'm currently assembling and painting the propeller (I believe it's the Rotol type) for my Tamiya Spitfire Vb Trop build and was wondering how to depict worn propeller blades.

This is how the blades look (work in progress...):

spitfirevbtrop063.jpg

Am I correct that the blades are made of wood on this particular type of propeller? I seem to remember having read this somewhere but can't find the information now, and a search on this forum didn't give me any further clues on this matter.

Thanks in advance for any help. :)

Cheers,

Anders

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Think you're right Anders, they were made from wood. Not 100% sure though, someone more informed will probably give you a definitive answer.

Edited by Doug Rogers

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Rotol props were made of three types of wood, Jablo, Hydulignum, or Weybridge Wood. Although it's a bit simplistic, because each type varied a little, the basic construction for each blade was layers of wood, glued together, while being compressed to about half their original thickness, before being shaped. Some had the wood encased in a sheath of fine mesh, and all had their leading edges covered by a thin sheath of brass. The whole lot was then covered in a semi-matt black plastic, Rayoid, Rotaloid, or Schwartz. In time, the plastic weathered, becoming matt, in some areas, and the leading edge could become abraided, allowing the brass to show through. The props were never allowed to weather/wear to the point that the wood showed through; they went for repair long before that point was reached.

Edgar

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Doug, Edgar and greatgonzo, many thanks for the replies - very useful information indeed! :)

I will go for a weathered (faded) black then, with perhaps a hint of brass showing through in places along the leading edges.

But definately no chipping all the way down to the wood as per my original plan.

Great pic showing the brass sheet along the leading edge of the blade. Perhaps I can capture that look with some creative painting... will have to see what can be done.

Thanks again!

Cheers,

Anders

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By the way. Was the early Rotol used for Mk IIs not made out of metal?

Yes the Rotol blade used in relatively small numbers on the Mk I and then in much larger numbers on the Mk II was made of a magnesium alloy (Rotol blade RA640). At some point during Spitfire Mk II production Rotol switched to a wooden blade (RA675), but I don't how many of each type were made.

Although not used on the Spitfire, some later Rotol blades were made from aluminium alloy, but from about 1941 onwards most of their blades were wood based.

DP

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By the way. Was the early Rotol used for Mk IIs not made out of metal?

And if you're interested in modelling Rotol propellers for Spitfire Mk IIs have a look at the 3D-Kits.co.uk site, as it's a new supplier starting up that may have something to interest you.

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And if you're interested in modelling Rotol propellers for Spitfire Mk IIs have a look at the 3D-Kits.co.uk site, as it's a new supplier starting up that may have something to interest you.

Looks interesting. Guess it is time to snag yet more new Airfix Spitfire I kits. :)

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I never cease to be amazed by the depth of knowledge of people on this site. Just fascinating.

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Rotol props were made of three types of wood, Jablo, Hydulignum, or Weybridge Wood. Although it's a bit simplistic, because each type varied a little, the basic construction for each blade was layers of wood, glued together, while being compressed to about half their original thickness, before being shaped. Some had the wood encased in a sheath of fine mesh, and all had their leading edges covered by a thin sheath of brass. The whole lot was then covered in a semi-matt black plastic, Rayoid, Rotaloid, or Schwartz. In time, the plastic weathered, becoming matt, in some areas, and the leading edge could become abraided, allowing the brass to show through. The props were never allowed to weather/wear to the point that the wood showed through; they went for repair long before that point was reached.

Edgar

Edgar,

Great info as usual. Reading the above, is it reasonably safe to say that these props were, effectively. unpainted black plastic, with painted yellow tips? I knew the blades were coated in a plastic sheath, but I hadn't really considered the possibility that they were supplied in a black colour and might not require painting.

Edited by Steve in Ottawa

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