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3DStewart

54 Sqn Rotol Spitfire I, March 1940 (1:48)

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I've decided to try and make something of Airfix's not entirely excellent kit, done up with Ultracast parts and my own decals, to produce a slightly unusual pre Battle-of-Britain Spitfire.

Here's the start:

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-01.jpg

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I've decided to add a bit of cockpit detailing from plastic card and lead wire, which has no spring back so it's easy to position and cut.

Be careful of mistakes in the instructions. These would have you put the throttle quadrant on to the elevator trim control (there's a peg in the right place, forward of the trim control) and the undercarriage actuating levers too high.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-02.jpg

I'm also using an Ultracast early Spitfire seat, from which the free seat belt ends at the top have snapped off, so these will have to be super glued back on.

Being an early Spitfire I've omitted the seat armour, which required some new seat supports to be made from plastic rod. I suspect that the head armour shouldn't be fitted either, but as its moulded on the the bulkhead framing I decided to leave it on.

There's just a little bit more to complete here and then I can start painting.

Edited by Detail Police

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Cockpit and interior painting now complete:

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-03.jpg

The instrument panel is from the kit. I'm not sure if the hydraulics dial (ringed in brown) should be on an early Mk I with hand pumped U/C, but it was certainly on the later ones.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-04.jpg

I used the Ultracast early Spitfire seat. These were metal at the time I'm representing (March 1940), so it's grey-green like the rest of the cockpit. I've added the seat height adjustment lever and ratchet from plastic card and drilled out some lightening holes in the bulkhead. I didn't go all the way down with these as the lower ones won't be seen.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-05.jpg

Having done the cockpit work I've now realised that the kit canopy isn't designed to be shown open and sits way too high on the fuselage, so I'll either have to do some surgery to the parts, or find a vac-formed replacement.

Edited by 3DStewart

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I'm now working on improving some of the kit simplifications.

First, all control surfaces have had proper hinge lines scribed heavily using an Olfa P-Cutter. The photo below shows unmodified and modified tail planes for comparison.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-06.jpg

Next I've had to sort out the canopy that's not designed to be posed open. Without modification the canopy sits at a crazily high position. To remedy this I've had to cut heavily into the fueselage. The canopy now sits quite well, although it's still a touch high, but there's a limit to what can be done.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-07.jpg

Although the kit isn't falling together, I'm enjoying the build.

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GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-07.jpg

Now that's good work! :clap2:

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Construction of the main parts is now complete and I'm going to start painting next. It's been a struggle at times getting everything to fit and blend in nicely, but I'm there now.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-08.jpg

The blend of the wing into the fuselage needed significant reconstruction on the port side.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-09.jpg

Filler needed in many places, including reconstruction of a cowling bulge. None of this is unique to my build. I understand that the Airfix kit has long been recognised as needing a bit of TLC to get it together.

The thin boss for the propeller to sit on is to provide the small clearance always seen between spinner and cowling. You don't want one scraping on the other at 3,000 RPM!

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-10.jpg

Edited by 3DStewart

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Body complete, on with painting and decalling . . .

Here we have the basic colour scheme. The dark earth is airbrushed on, but the dark green is brush painted. All surfaces have been glossed ready for decals.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-11.jpg

And the undersurfaces are early war two toned, airbrushed on with lots of masking.

I would be interested in knowing why this ground recognition system was abandoned. I suspect that it may have been due to it wrecking concealment from below but still not stopping friendly AA fire. Or did radar and IFF mean it was no longer necessary to ground spot friendly aircraft?

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-12.jpg

Both white and black are toned down slightly. The white by adding a little pale grey, the black by using Revell's Tar Black, actually a very dark grey. Wheel wells are silver, with Blutack masking. The tailwheel has still to be painted.

Edited by 3DStewart

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GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-15.jpg

Decaling complete. I used some of the kit's stencils and my own decals. Control surfaces hinge lines and other opening panels have been inked in with thinned dark grey oil paint.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-16.jpg

Next will be weathering and the addition of the propeller, wheels etc.

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Most impressed with your expertise-have you been into Spitfires for a long time?

I am ashamed by my own lack of knowlege on the subject.

Am also a satisfied customer of yours & like your prices & service.

Your article in SAMI April was excellent and I only noticed last night that 2 other reviews in the same mag the authors had to apologise extensively

due to the botched paint jobs!

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Most impressed with your expertise-have you been into Spitfires for a long time?

I am ashamed by my own lack of knowlege on the subject.

Am also a satisfied customer of yours & like your prices & service.

Your article in SAMI April was excellent and I only noticed last night that 2 other reviews in the same mag the authors had to apologise extensively

due to the botched paint jobs!

I've been involved with modelling Spitfires about two years now, although this the the first 1:48 one I've done.

Thanks for your kind words. I enjoyed writing the SAMI article and I'm pleased with the way the old Airfix kit came out. I actually prefer the look of the old Mk I to the new one, but I suspect I'm in the minority there. Raised panel lines can be made to look just as effective as engraved ones, perhaps more so, but they do require different techniques.

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I would agree with your comments about the niceness of the old kit and I doubt the raised detail could be replicated as finely if engraved.

I am no expert as I prefer cheap kits!

Whats the clear part on the underside of the centresection on the 1/72 BT-K kit, a light?

Should I paint it clear red? Or leave it off as it seems a bit big!

Also what colour would you recomend for the seat belts, leather or kahaki?

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What's the clear part on the underside of the centresection on the 1/72 BT-K kit, a light?

Should I paint it clear red? Or leave it off as it seems a bit big!

Also what colour would you recomend for the seat belts, leather or kahaki?

It's a hinged landing light that rotates down by 90 degrees when needed. Think of it as being a bit like an old circular car headlight. I would paint the back and sides of it silver to simulate the reflector, and definitely include it.

The seat belts where made from a woven fabric. I've always assumed they would be similar to an infantryman's webbing and painted them khaki or beige brown.

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All cockpit detailing completed. The sliding canopy section took some effort to fit properly, but I'm happy with the result.

GB-48th-Spitfire-MkI-Rotol-17.jpg

Final small parts to be fitted and final weathering to finish off, and it will be completed. . .

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Beautiful work !

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