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  1. Messerschmitt Bf 109 in the West, 1937-1940 Michael Payne 1998 The subject model is the Airfix 1/48th Bf 109 Emil. It came as the Airfix Club edition, with the captured and Japanese markings. My son made it very plain that building with either of these would be a bad waste of a 109. I spent time on Britmodeller talking through scheme options and asking about a load of details. I settled on a September 1939 E-3 scheme in the very dark RLM70/71 colours. It’s an unusual finish compared to most modelled 109s, and rather attractive. This ordains the production E-3 windscreen/canopy (howls of you can’t say that from 109 aficionados), and no stores. Despite being notionally unavailable, I managed to source an Eduard Brassin DB601 engine and the Eduard Airfix PE set. Both were excellent, and made this a decently challenging build. I set out to build a fully detailed cockpit with canopy open; as detailed as possible DB601 with, hopefully, an engine cowling good for being on or off; and slats, flaps etc deployed. I could have gone further and taken the fuselage MG17 panel off and bought another Eduard set, but I had to draw the line somewhere. The aftermarket items I bought were: Techmod TM48080B Decals (various E-3s) Eagle EAG48050 Decals (Major Hahn Emils) Eduard PE 49525 E-4 Eduard Brassin 648059 DB601A/N ABRA 48112 Bf 109 Guns (for the wing MG FF) Aires 4083 Resin MG17 (for the fuselage guns) Falcon FNCV5648 Luftwaffe Canopies Montex MXSM48337 Canopy Masks Before I started assembly proper, I had to work out how to build the forward fuselage with the Eduard DB601 which was meant for the Eduard kit, not my Airfix one. The photo shows the upper block of the part moulded DB601 from Airfix. I cut away the crankcase and mounting, and I figured out what to keep of the front fuselage. The Eduard DB601 is a lovely model, but very delicate. It built up with no problems (at this stage just the main parts, not the details) and I then did some trial fits in the fuselage. The photo shows one, but also highlights a problem. Of course a real aeroplane is not built like a kit, so I needed to work out how to give the appearance of a cantilevered engine from the mountings, leaving the front of the fuselage fully open and removing the crankshaft boss. This allowed the DB601 to come forward to the correct location. With the Eduard DB601 comes a one piece resin engine cowling. Problem! The Eduard engine cowling is 1.9mm longer than the Airfix cowling. Airfix cowling on left, Eduard on right. It is reported that the Airfix model is short; but more importantly the Eduard piece is simply beautiful and had to be used. I therefore had to plan to extend the lower fuselage nose panels by 1.9mm and get the whole lot to be a smooth seamless fairing back from the Emil spinner. This would need a fair amount of widening as well as lengthening. The Eduard cowling is also slimmer than the Airfix one, meaning, I suspect, the Eduard -109 model has a slimmer (and longer) fuselage. I finished off my front fuselage prep by cutting out the moulded exhaust stubs from the fuselage. That was tricky to say the least, because the fuselage halves were starting to become very frail. An out of sequence photo, showing the scratch built extended nose, and removed exhaust manifolds With the ideas set for how to sort out the front end, I started the build proper. Turning to the cockpit first, the photos show a pretty straightforward use of the Eduard PE to make a nice cockpit. One area of work was to substantially thin the cockpit side walls to give a sharper edge at the canopy level, and to get the PE parts to fit snugly. At this point I must shout out Eduard PE. I have used it dozens of times and always the product is first rate. The amount of design time they commit must be huge, but so worth it. Joining the fuselage halves was no drama at all and the wing fit was the best I’ve had in a long while. The PE inserts into the wheel bays also fitted far better than I imagined. Very quickly I had a fairly complete looking model, with nothing particularly difficult so far (emphasis on the so far). I always use Tamiya Fine Surface L grey primer. Even though this is acrylic (and all my paints are enamels) it gives a nice base and sprays very well from the can. I sacrificed the later angular canopy that came with the Airfix kit for the spraying phase. My model has the curvier early windshield/canopy used for E-3 production, that I will work on later. At this stage I was planning to use the Airfix glazing, but later I switched to vacform. I substantially thinned the fuselage wall thickness where it meets the engine cowling and made various vent cut-outs. The Bf 109 has a monocoque fuselage which includes a centreline seam on the upper and lower fuselage. Normally there is hours work to remove traces of such a seam, but creating a seam of constant width/depth is also pretty fiddly. I chose to paint the whole exterior before the re-attacking the engine/cowling fitting. I used airbrushed Sovereign Hobbies paint. There was some Marmiting on the wing to achieve scuffs. I lightened both dark greens a little and shaded each area somewhat differently to break up the uniformity. Spraying a hard edge splinter pattern is a joy for a change. I do panel line black shading under the final top coat, plus I spray darker tones over the panel lines where necessary. After painting, the surfaces were rubbed with 3600 grit through to 12000 grit to achieve a highly smooth hard shine. All the control surfaces were added deflected/deployed although the ailerons kept falling off so they will be fixed last! I think the finish looks good and two tone dark green is very appealing. Some books make the point that in black and white photos the two greens are not evident at all, and contemporary reporting describes the 109s as being overall black. I can see why they thought that. The photos included here tend to lighten and increase the contrast between the greens. In actuality they are really very dark. With the super smooth bodywork, the decals glued themselves down fearsomely. I think there are some real lessons about prep and finish here. This gets me onto a pet subject. There are loads of articles exchanging ideas on how to achieve a super matt finish, because, of course, aircraft paint-jobs are usually matt, right? If you want to model a 109 10 minutes after it emerged fresh from the Augsberg paint shop I will agree. For an aluminium substrate item (like most of the 109 structure) the paint should not disguise the fact there is an almost glass like body under the paint and the paint should not impose any texture at all on top of it. This is why I sand my models working through 3600 grit to 12000 grit to achieve a mirror finish. So is a real 109 matt or semi-matt or semi-gloss? Try painting a supersmooth structure with matt paint then fly it at 250 mph for 50 hours. Guess what, the natural abrasion buffs it up. Don’t look at museum exhibits that have been painted matt and cossetted thereafter. Look at the Finnish Air Force Museum Hurricane I that is regarded as one of the most original aircraft anywhere. The metal substructure areas are all somewhere between shiny and dull (don’t get me going on satin: satin is for kitchens). Different parts of the aircraft have worn differently. If a fitter rubbed an oily rag anywhere, that surface will never be truly matt again either. I’m not evangelical about this. By my reasoning the rear fuselage of, say, a Lancaster, would realistically be fairly matt. I will come back to the paint finish for the subject matter 109 later. I added the turbo inlet grill from the PE set, then I returned to the main effort at the front. Building/painting the DB601 was very easy, but before it was installed I had to calculate the position of a dummy bulkhead behind the engine that held some scratch built MG17 supports. Getting the longitudinal location correct of the staggered guns was very tricky because they had to locate perfectly relative to the gun ports in the engine cowling. Getting the height correct of the MG17 supports was even harder! Dummy MG17s fitted as part of positioning engine and the gun supports. At some point the plunge was taken and the engine fixed in position on a bed of Araldite. Remember, there was no crass prop shaft boss to line up the engine with. I had already built and painted the propeller with spinner, so repeated trial fits of the spinner and the MG17s paid off and when set it was more or less spot on. The exhaust manifold cut-out in the fuselage lined up very well with the block, which was the extra constraint to meet. The Eduard motor had very delicate resin exhaust stubs that I could slide into the channels I had cut in the fuselage. The manifolds mated with the exhaust stud markings on the block, and they were suitably recessed in their housings when compared to photos. I admit to being sneakily pleased with how this all came together. There were many ways it could have been a disaster. The DB601 came with resin engine mounts. They were mightily delicate and cutting out the flash blanks was a serious challenge. The guns came next, with scratch built scalloped sleeves to mate with the cowling gun ports. I used brass strips bent into collars to simulate how the barrels are fixed to the supports. The guns are where some dimensional problems are evident. For the guns to line up with the ports they have to be higher set above the engine than for real. Oh well, between Airfix, Eduard and me we have a problem, but it’s not the end of the world. I have worked very hard to fit the Eduard cowling so that the model can be displayed flight ready, or with the cowling sat to one side. I tried my best, but the fitted cowling is not that good. The Eduard cowling is preciously delicate resin and the rivet detail meant that there was almost no scope for working the cowling to make it fit. I did what I could with the base fuselage instead. With the cowling also being slimmer than the Airfix fuselage there is a further fitting problem to fix. I fitted a small brass flange to the fuselage to “spread” the cowling. It kind of works, but then the cowling tends to pop up. Maybe the observant will spot I photograph the model in all sorts of locations but rarely in the work area. I circle around the house at night hoping someone might say something encouraging about the 109 progress; I think the dog lifted an eyebrow once but I’m not completely sure. As I alluded to earlier, the decals went on a treat. The Techmod decals are super thin and clingy. The eagled eyed (pun?) might spot there were two sets of decals in my purchase list. Two manufacturers have made sets for the same aircraft. The Techmod decals are brilliant except that the JG3 crest on the cowling is oversize. I gambled that the Eagle set might have a more accurate crest, and thankfully it did. The crest was the only item I used from Eagle. In terms of useability I judge both manufacturers products are very good. Returning to the surface finish. After decal application I airbrushed a well thinned Humbrol 35 gloss varnish over the whole model. Okay, I still live in the 1970’s! Then I used 6000 grit paper to flatten it off. I was aiming for different levels of semi-gloss on different panels and areas of the plane. I used satin varnish on the fabric covered control surfaces. I hasten to add not because I wanted a satin finish, just a suitably flat surface fabric effect. I’m sure I have offended many with my comments on matt finish. Don’t get me wrong; matt has its place. Any sort of worn armoured vehicle will be a candidate for a strong dose of matt. The main undercarriage came with its own host of problems. It is widely said that the Airfix undercarriage legs are too stalky, and I agree. I drilled down the entire leg with a 1mm drill and inserted a 0.95mm stainless steel pin (actually a safety pin arm). This both stiffened the leg, and became the oleo ram. I cut approx. 1mm out of the leg to shorten it at the midpoint, and I made sure the ram length was about 1.2mm less than the kits ram. Why Airfix modelled a fully extended ram for a weight on wheels model seems a disappointingly stupid error. A leg 2.2mm shorter looks about right, but some work was needed on the undercarriage door to match the change. Every 109 modeller in history must have cursed the original designer for such a delicate and geometrically fiddly design, oh, just like the pilots did. For reasons that escape me now, I thought I would finish the model using the Airfix canopies. It would have spoiled the model, so I did a quick rethink and bought Falcon vacform. For the “early 109E”, Falcon claim their canopies work with both the Airfix and Eduard models. I’m a big fan of Falcon, but that duality claim worried me. How can a canopy fit two completely different models, especially when one has a narrower fuselage? It turned out I could make the centre opening section and the fixed rear section work ok. I’m still disappointed with the windscreen, particularly with the framing detail for the lower triangular windows. The frames are way thicker than for real. Overall though I am pleased with the model. The 109 is a neat little fighter. Aside from the magnificent DB601, the 109 was a strangely un-German affair. It was small and had a few dodgy engineering features. How the German’s persisted in upgunning it and making other huge improvements is the real marvel. I don’t have many 1/48th models in my collection, but setting the 109 alongside my P-40 goes to show that not all single seat WW2 fighters are the same size! The Airfix 109 Emil has received a fair amount of criticism as being a newish mould, but still not up to scratch. That maybe true, but with a bit of work it is possible to make a pleasing model. I enjoyed making mine.
  2. Hi, I have posted here before about my 109Emil build from the Airfix 1/48 kit. It is coming on well, and giving me some good challenges of adding the Eduard -601 to the Airfix plastic. Its well known about the longitudinal offset of the fuselage mounted MG17s. I would like the best possible info on what that offset is. Its obvious the offset is the distance of one complete 7.92mm round plus the magazine wall thickness (x2) and any internal slop in the magazine. I reckon that might be as low as 75mm or as high as 88mm. Fixing the guns (I bought Aires resin) to the fuselage in a way that allows the Eduard engine cowling to be put on/taken off is a mighty problem, and every 0.1mm makes a difference. Any accurate info out there please?
  3. Thanks all for the encouraging comments. It’s nice when my efforts inspire others to re-attack a deferred project. Seahawk asked about the tender ladder. Apart from the snifters, all the parts I added to the Dapol plastic items were scratch built. I cant recall if the ladder was made of brass or nickel steel rod, but it was simply hand bent rod around a paint brush handle. Achieving two near identical curves was tricky, so I had a few attempts. I have not ventured into soldering for this type of construction; instead I used superglue to fix the ladder rungs. Phil
  4. Hi This was the first chopper I have built since the Airfix SH-3A in 1972, but I hit my stride and attacked the special intricacies of a model where there is as much inside as outside. The model was the Revell Sea King Mk41 complete with Sea Skuas. Being a Brit I like to build in home colours, so after a little research I aimed for a HAR3 version. The HAR3 has the substantially extended cabin (inside not outside!) and that matched the German Navy dimensions. Unfortunately that’s where the similarity ended. This meant almost everything in the cabin was scratch built. A good portion of the cockpit was too. My aftermarket items were Xtradecal X72303 decals Sea King Collection Airwaves PE AEC72220 for Revell kit Eduard PE BIG72139 interior/exterior for Airfix HAR3 kit Eduard Canopy Mask CX082 for Revell kit I was obviously drawn to grey not yellow. The three aircraft modified for the Falklands look a lovely mix of purposeful beauty. Anyway, the Sea King is a magnificent machine and fills the archetypal role of “a proper helicopter”. I did sweat for months building the cabin. The utility seats were pretty straightforward to make and the Eduard belts work well with them. I skipped on the cabin roof, representing it only with a plasticard sheet and no soundproofing. I took the view that to show the roof means holding the model in an off ground pose and stuffing the camera in the door. Ok, I’m a lightweight! Beginnings of cabin, and first attempt at Observer seats, before doing them properly The two observers seats were a real challenge but I was pleased with the finished item. I only wish they were more visible when installed. Both types of crew seats were modelled on real items on sale on Ebay! Proper Observer seats made from brass, and Utility seats The lower crew seat frames were made from plastic, then a brass hoop added to hold the cushion. The cushions were actually reused and modified from the Revell seats. There are loads of other structures, avionics and fittings in the cabin that were nice to model. Cockpit and forward cabin, using kit bulkheads but otherwise scratch built A bespoke mash of Eduard and Airwaves PE was used in the cockpit. In another article I have criticised Airwaves PE. For this kit it was also not good. As an example the port side downwash strake is at least 100% oversize. Why do they do this? With careful mixing of the PE I achieved what I wanted. Just about the only shortcoming that was unfixable was the fit of the Revell single piece cockpit glazing. Actually it’s not that bad but there were small ridges in places. One further problem I had was dust accumulating on the inside during the final finishing. It was impossible to remove this in places, so my photos have a surreptitious strategic intent to obscure that. The Falklands mods of ESM and a couple more antennas were easy to add. Cockpit soon to acquire canopy I used Sovereign Hobbies EDSG and various surface finishes around the airframe. No issues with the main spray job, except the grills getting clogged The decals were a joy and they gave just the right amount of visibility to the numerous stencils. The Eduard grills were a bit of a nightmare because airbrushing tended to fill holes. I went a bit crazy on the rotor hub and fitted brass cyclic arms and a birds nest of eze-line to represent the astonishing mass of hydraulics up there. The hub needed a little persuading to deliver the correct and equal amount of blade droop. There are not many areas where I wish to have done better. I am annoyed at the fuselage tie-down rings. I stuck the PE rings on before painting and they are lost in the paint now. I should have cut out the engine access panels and then fixed them back to show the panel lines better. Hummphh. When finished I found that it photographed well, and the finished pics might be the best set I have ever taken. Most final photos were by Canon EOS at 10 second exposure, and using my iPhone as a light source (good tip there). Due to the forever time to build the interior and then a fiddly exterior it took 11 months to build, with work proceeding most days. Still, I like the end result and it might be my best all round achievement (so far). Phil
  5. Hi I do a fair amount of modelling of planes, tanks and ships, but my foray into 00 gauge loco building is unusual. I had the Dapol generation of the 2-10-0 9F in my stash for so long that the reason it was there has escaped me. When the random kit selector picked the loco I had some trepidation because I had no idea whether the kit would be buildable into something satisfying. I did some research and found that the scale and lines of the kit were considered excellent but of course the 1961 vintage meant the detail was coarse and in places dire. I was such a novice at loco building that I did not realise the full range of aftermarket detailing that was available. I therefore made my challenge worse than it might have been by self building some details I could have bought. Soon after starting the build I realised that my sons Hornby Britannia Class 4-6-2 was the passenger loco variant of the 9F. That helped a lot to guide me on many details. All moulded pipework from the boiler and smokebox were removed and the cab gutted. The same for the tender. Aftermarket items I bought were Fox Transfers various Evening Star and BR decals Silver Tay Evening Star nameplate etc Wizard CWSBD handwheels Wizard MT175 loco brakes Wizard MT186 brake rigging Peter’s Spares PS20 snifter valves I also bought various running loco parts including Hornby wheel-set Hornby main con rod (and screws) Hornby pony truck Hornby front wheels The Dapol era kit came in a plastic bag and the main “chassis” was already snapped in two. Airfix during their tenure of the dies put the kit in a box which looks far more attractive, The plastic was very brittle, but was not an insurmountable problem. Part build and trial fit before removing moulded boiler pipework. The wheels are from Dapol, but were discarded later Having built the basic kit I set to work adding the running gear. This was scratch made from steel rod and aluminium sheet, with some parts from plastic card. I actually achieved a moving Walschaerts slider, but that became solid when fixed to the pistons. I tried hard to incorporate all detail and I was pleased with how it looked. Walschaerts slider in construction After trying to use the purchased Hornby con rod, I gave up and reverted to the Dapol version. After a bit of work I made it realistic and it actually drove the ten wheels (after a fashion!). The Hornby con rod obviously works on a running loco but it looks nothing like the prototype, so with more foresight I could have saved a few pounds. Running Gear Finished (but not a good photo..) The fun really started when I attacked the steam and water pipes. I bought four different gauges of copper wire and added various brass wires/rods. It was very time consuming bending the pipes to fit. Creating a 3d pipe to fit between two fixed ends is very very hard. Every little tweak seems to make it fit worse! For the insulated pipes I wrapped thin strips of plumbers ptfe tape and painted them grey. The brake fittings were a must because they are so visible, but finding a way to fix them to the chassis was awkward. The handrail was one area where I discovered after the fact that I could have bought stanchions; my solution was steel wire sticking out of the body, with an araldite blob to represent the eye. Copper work and mixture of brass and plastic sprayed with Alclad valves etc. Glazed forward looking window fitted. I used Wizard gauges and handwheels in the cab, with various steel pins for levers. The toughest job of all were the cab forward windows. I wanted to fit glazing and have a reasonable wood effect frame. I bent very fine plastic rod into the shape of the window to create the frame, but needed many many attempts to get it right. Side to side they ended up not very similar in shape, but each one looks okay on its own. I used Railmatch BR loco green paint which sprayed well. I found it hard to determine the painting, finishing, decaling sequence. There were so many copper pipes criss-crossing the boiler and fire-box that I ended up with so many spraying sessions I lost count. There were various shades of Alclad brass, copper and steel used where necessary. The Fox decals were super fine, but the most delicate I have used. I admit to having to buy a second set (not cheap) to recover from a mess up. I was pleased with the high gloss paint finish, and the cheat lines. I’m sure many will point out that the 2-10-0’s had an astonishingly filthy real-life finish. Keeping the goods trains spic and span was not on daily orders. Others might say that the real Evening Star is wearing a different green to that I chose. My decisions were entirely deliberate and I was creating an idealistic Evening Star that would have been a lovely sight in loco green. I chose not to give her any weathering except on the buffers and in the cab. Tender part way through build and finishing. The ladder and handrails from steel wire were satisfying to build. It was only later in the build did I recall the issue of track on 00 gauge. It would have been hardly any trouble to spread the wheels and build the running gear further outboard. However, the photos look reasonable and I think we have become used to seeing 00 gauge stock on its narrow track. I managed to forget to photograph the cab, and the loco is now in the hard to reach Hornby display case. This was an enjoyable build because there were new subjects for me to research and new challenges in the pipework. Some models are more photogenic than others, but I was lucky with this one. The building shots were taken with an iPhone XR. The finished shots with a Canon EOS on 10 second exposure, using the iPhone as a wandering light source. I’m not sure there are many people who will follow me on this particular project, but I would commend the “real” copperwork as a way to add to sparkle to home built or modified locos. Oh well, back to the jets now. My subsequent build was an EE Lightning. Phil
  6. Thank you for all your encouraging words. It took me about seven months, which is a fair proportion of the time left before I lose all my marbles. I really do need to speed up to neatly glide to an empty stash one day. I doubt that has ever been done though! I am building the Airfix 1/48 Bf-109E now. My recent models before the Swordfish were: 1/72 P-38M Lightning (I wrote about that on this site); 00 Gauge Evening Star (the 1960s Airfix kit); Airfix 1/48 EE Lightning F2A; Revell Sea King HAR3 (kit was the German Sea King version). Thinking about it, the Swordfish was the first biplane I have made since about 1971! I had not computed how much extra strife there is in a biplane build. I'm actually quite proud of the Evening Star. I stripped away all moulded pipework and replaced it with various gauge copper wire. Boy does it gleam, without having the agony of spraying Alclad! Is there a category on this web-site that would be a home for a description of it? Phil
  7. Some of you helped me prep for building the Airfix 1/48 Emil back in January. Since then I managed to get hold of the Eduard PE set for the Airfix which seems very scarce now. I found one in Poland! I also bought the Brassin DB601, which is a lovely beast. I have joined the main parts of the 601 together, but there are still about 35 to go! Anyway, I do have a question, which is suitably stupid (well basic anyway). I want to be sure which airframe panels wrap around the longitudinal centreline, and which are split on the centreline. I know the Emil has a single piece main engine cowling. Can I check that the under nose panel (the most forward one) is one piece please. Also, the Airfix kit has a rectangular hole in this panel. Is it simply a hole? The Eduard set has no extra parts for this. Are there any other fuselage panels that are split on the centreline? I have some photos of a clipped together trial fit, after hacking out the Airfix upper block representation. The test will be if the exhaust manifold lines up, and the manifold seats onto the block! Remember, the Brassin 601 is built for the Eduard kit not Airfix. Here is the forward underside panel I was asking about. Thank you in advance.
  8. My recent project has been a peculiar self inflicted challenge, which very much raises questions of “why start from there”. I would venture this whole business raises questions of “why” because her indoors says it every week. I had two Airfix Swordfish models in the stash. I decided my challenge was to build the original 1958 kit into the best standard I could that compared favourably with the 2012 version. Having the later kit (still unbuilt) was invaluable on my bizarre mission. Why? Well, why not; but what tipped me over the edge was the ridiculously good fuselage dimensional accuracy and gross features of the old kit. Seeing built up photos of the original model convinced me there was something very authentic emanating from the work of the 1958 die-maker. Sure, the wing section is bonkers, the trailing edges are dire, and crude doesn’t come close to describing the interplane area. There are only two dozen pieces in the kit, but I take my hat off to Bert (or George) who worked those dies just four years after rationing ended in the UK. I had some cheats, but not many. I bought from Airfix the arrestor hook, the landing lights and the exhaust manifold of the 2012 kit. I also bought a beautiful Pegasus motor. My total purchase of aftermarket is listed later. So, the journey was this. I went for the Airwaves photo-etch which I deduce is meant for the old kit. I know we all take a principled stand of no criticism, but hey, I’m going for it. Hannants/Xtradecal are brilliant, Airwaves is not. Three times I have sucked it up and bought their PE (Sea King, EE Lightning, Swordfish). The parts are simplified (ok) but largely the wrong size and shape (not ok). How is it “simplified” to have to modify a PE part that is badly wrong? It’s worse than searching the floor for a tiny PE part that is accurate. The PE set gave me a couple of useful parts for the cockpit, the l.e. slats, and the oil cooler (after some modifying to make it a Mk1). Overall the PE foray did not deliver much. Instead I whittled away with the fuselage to create all panel lines and fasteners, and deepened the ventral fuselage for a hook housing. I filled the waste bin with dust from filing the wings/tails to give 10% thickness, near sharp trailing edges and I recreated the ribbed effect. All struts/cabanes were scratch made from plastic, brass or steel, as were the undercarriage struts. Having copied the principles of the 2012 kit on these parts, it assembled into a pretty damn good look. As I said, having a decent fuselage was the cornerstone. Fuselage still looking a bit basic, but panel lines appearing I needed the rear of the Townend Ring (having bought the manifold from Airfix). I drilled out the original single piece engine/ring with a 19mm drill (okay, I know no one else is ever going to do that between now and the asteroid impact, but the tip is there if you want it). I achieved a really nice ring that exceeded my imagination and it fitted the manifold very well. I fashioned the rather complex torpedo crutch from brass. I made compass mounts and a single compass from brass. I built a gun mounting from spring steel and brass, but alas I could only get motion in the fore-aft swing of the ring mount. The control lines for the empennage were made from 0.1mm brass. Fiddly, yes, but not the nightmare that I expected. Is there any steel micro-rod made in this size? If so that would be better. Beautiful Radial Engines and Wheels Pegasus, plus part of Townend rear ring Rear of motor. I made the inlet manifolds from brass rod My list of aftermarket is: Airwaves PE set AC72-178 Radial Engines & Wheels REW72002 Pegasus (the most amazing thing; view it under x10 and see every single cooling fin. I really do not know how they made it. Sweet, as the younger ones say.) Miniworld A72 29 Vickers K machine gun. Beautiful! Miniworld A72 31a Browning 30 cal machine gun (used only the barrel to emulate the real forward facing gun barrel) SBS Model 72 050 Wire Bracing set, which is for the 2012 kit Quickboost QB 72 363 Swordfish Mk1 exhaust Eduard CX316 1/72 Windscreen Mask (however this was not used because I opted to use the screen from Airwaves which required acetate glazing) Flightpath 1/72 RAF/RN Torpedo and Handling Trolley (18” torpedo). This is a lovely model in its own right, and I admit to not making it yet! Xtradecal X72-147 stencil decals. Lovely decals. I do wish stencil makers would back off the darkness and crispness of stencils. I once worked in an aircraft paint shop and even fresh stencils have a dodgy Friday afternoon look. I chose an iconic (or old fashioned word “common”) scheme from 820 Squadron in 1941. The demarking decals were the Airfix originals from the 2010ish FAA set of Swordfish, Wildcat, Seafire from whence the 1958 kit came. These were good quality and usable. I managed to forget to varnish one side roundel and 2Q code and then I stuck masking tape on it. Disaster! I ripped the roundel in two and wrecked the top half of 2Q. The 2Q code was black with a white highlight and irreplaceable. I wasn’t going to be beaten and I rebuilt the decal out of white and black decal sheet. I actually did far better than I feared, and I think you cannot spot the repair without magnification. The paint was all Sovereign Hobbies. I bought some particularly fine brown electrical cable to give me the cockpit edge soft landing for the pilots shoulder. For a moment let’s think about three young men taking off from Ark Royal in a sickening mid Atlantic gale, at night, heading for a presumed Bismarck 100nm away, and then finding their way back to relative safety on the flat-top. With a compass and morse comms, but no stars because the weather was invariably foul. Oh, and a couple of thousand people were trying to kill them too. I read about assembling the lower surface of the upper wing (and oppo on the lower wing) to allow the box structure to gain strength. It worked well. The beefy faired V strut was made from scratch You can say there is one less unbuilt nasty old Airfix original Swordfish in the world. Whilst that might have been in my mind at one stage, I now think what a brilliant guy George (or Bert) was. I write this believing that no one is ever going to do this again; job done! My particular struggles were with the windscreen. The original glazing piece was unusable. The 2012 windscreen did not fit the fuselage coaming at all. The Airwaves windscreen frame is completely the wrong aspect ratio and is not tall enough, but it did fit the fuselage (as it was intended). Despite heroic efforts with the wing section it still looks rather blunt, but that is not easy to spot. The top and bottom parts of each upper and lower plane do not fit together well and I wish I had done more fettling on this before the big cement-fest occurred. I camouflaged the join with weathering effects. It was impossible to cut out the wing tip hand-holds, so a noticeable shortcoming there. The wire bracing stage was fun (not!) but I had pre-drilled wing surface holes and taking it carefully really paid off. I cleverly forgot all about the lower wing landing lights (not present at all in the 1958 kit) until the build was almost finished. I managed to cut the wing without destroying the struts and wires, but I would have had better seated lights if I had cut the wings before assembly. I tweaked all the control surfaces a few degrees and set the ailerons 5deg down to replicate the pseudo flap setting. I used a brass wheel from my 00 gauge loco modelling for the flap setting control. I wasn't too fancy on the cockpit detailing, and it really was a waste of time to work on the front cockpit. The weathering on the fuselage sides was mainly finger prints! The top of the 2Q just shows the repair. For reference material I purchased the: Aeroguide Classic 4, but this is not worth having because it is simply poor b&w photos of preserved aircraft that have unoriginal features; Swordfish MkII and MkIII in Detail, Wings and Wheels Publications R068, which is also photos of museum aircraft but presented extremely well. The best book by far, and up there with any aircraft reference book I have ever bought is Swordfish From the Cockpit No10 Payne & Donald. It has 200 high quality pages of mainly photos (guessing 300+) with captions and really well edited personal recollections. It does not try to be a technical description, but the sheer quantity of photos and informed captions gives the most impressive insight into the beloved beast. This all came at the give away price of £7.45 and free p&p from WorldofBooks. It was worth multiples of that. Even if you are not intending to build a model, this book would add well to any aircraft library. Overall this has been one of the most satisfying kits I have made, simply because of the amount of challenge I took on. I hope my random scheme of picking stash kits does not deliver the 2012 Swordfish any time soon though. Kitchentable PS we are having a new kitchen in February and I will have an almighty battle retaining evening rights to the new kinked peninsular arrangement. Wish me luck.
  9. Thank you for the flurry of help. It is Crimea's rendering of the Eduard DB601 that answers my first detail question. Assuming it is accurate (!), it shows each exhaust manifold stub is separate and there are gaps between each manifold. Immediately above the exhaust stubs there is a opening flap that seems to give access to the injectors. Mike G's photos have the flap open in one and closed in the other. The way Airfix presented the motor is a simple representation of the upper part of the block sat on a solid plinth, hence all the detail around the injectors and exhaust stubs is missing. With your help I believe I am adequately clear on it now. Buying the Eduard Brassin motor will be a decision to make! I appreciate being made clear on the basic point that Emil's had one piece upper cowlings. That solves that problem! Was this teased off forward over the mg barrels, or were the barrels detached before the upper cowling? Many thanks again Phil
  10. Hi Reaching back a couple of weeks I gained your group advice on modelling an early Emil. Thank you again. The decals have now arrived, plus some reference books, and I am homing in my list of other items to buy. I'm not yet swayed on buying resin control surfaces because the Airfix parts look as good, but I will revisit that decision at the right time. Where I want some help is at the business end. Is there a 1/48th DB601 that is recommended and available? Associated with the motor, I am not sure of some details. Specifically, with the top cowling removed, is the exhaust manifold visible, and does each cylinder have its own manifold? All photos I can find are from ground level and they do not look down enough. Common sense tells me there must have been air gaps around each manifold part, but I cant visualise what it looks like. Also, are there any clear photos of the top cowling open and propped? I want to model it like that but I cant work out at what points the hinge line was fixed to the airframe. Thanks in advance for any help proffered/ Phil
  11. Thanks for the further encouragement, I am tempted by building White 13 because it is more classic BoB -109E. I presume not enough is known about the aircraft to say whether it was built as an E-3 or E-4, albeit it clearly has the early canopy associated with the E-3? I might be sorted on the canopy, but I am still unsighted on the guns. I read that E-3s were delivered with MG-FF wing cannon and E-4s with MG-FF/M. Is there any visual difference either between the barrels or the fairings for the two types of FF? One final question, where is the airfield in the shots of White 13? Phil
  12. Thanks again. I have decided to build an early E-3 and use the decals from Techmod for a JG3 aircraft in September 1939. I can use the E-3 windscreen without worrying whether it had been modified to an E-4 type windscreen. I appreciate the info about the incorrect opening portion of the canopy in the Airfix kit, so I had best get a vacform for that. I looked at the instructions for the out of production Eduard PE set, (thanks Troy). That set would have been fantastic and I would love to find one. As a substitute I see Hannants are selling 3-D Printed cockpit sets on decal paper from Quinta. I am intrigued and may give that a go. Phil
  13. Thank you to everyone. With a subject like a 109 there is almost too much going on. Hannants has about 800 items in 1/48. There seems to be no Eduard (or other) PE set for the Airfix model though, which is annoying. Is there any experience of using a set meant for another manufacturer, On the windscreen/canopy point, I would like to read something that is near definitive on the subject. Any ideas for the article that does the best job at doing that? The Airfix kit actually has three different windscreens included, Phil
  14. Hello My next project is the 1/48th Airfix Bf-109. I have the Club Members version (captured and Japanese markings), but I want to build it as a Battle of Britain E-3. Can I seek opinions as to: i/ markings for a nice typical E-3 BoB with available decals and a consensus on the paint scheme ii/ any recommended -109 books that cover the history of the Emil as well as modelling the Emil iii/ any after-market items that come recommended. I have bought the gun barrels already from Aber. I have read this thread: lots of interest but I couldn't find anything that addressed my rather simple questions. Phil
  15. Hi I had the idea to start a new thread on a build of a Dragon P-38 I have just completed. This is my second post in 10 years on Britmodeller. I have been building over that time, just keeping things private. I find that every model I build teaches me something and, thankfully, I am getting just a bit better every time. My challenge for the 1/72 P-38M was to approach some of the finish I have seen on 1/32 and 1/48 kits. I am actually pleased with the end result, but I am fully aware of where it could be better. Firstly, the model as bought. It is two extremes. The guy who captured the lines of the P-38 did a marvellous job and the model is a beautiful dainty representation of a plane that does have a special fragile look to it. The other guy in Dragon who designed the sprues should be shot. The runners are thick, and tend to distort the pieces even to the extent some parts were broken already. The canopy has a runner that joins the glazing, not just the frame! Utterly appalling. It is as though this chap has never made a model himself. The end result is a really poor fit of parts around the fuselage pod and engine nacelles. Still, a month of fabricating, filling, sanding sorted that out, and that dainty beauty emerged. Lots of work when joining the major parts Making a P-38M variant has its own problems. I cannot find any after-market items for the M (apart from gun-barrels), so I had to use the Dragon unique radar operator’s canopy (hmmm) and the red ill-registered stencil decals. The decal creator should be shot too: how hard is to look at the 1945 photos and create lettering of the right size? Everything is about 25% oversize. I chose to make the model as close to the photos as possible, except I went for gentle wear and tear on panel lines. The source photos show the plane factory fresh. After-market items I did use are: 1/ P-38J Photo-etch details (cockpit mainly) for the Academy kit. Eduard SS255. 2/ Extra USAAF seat-belts. Eduard 73035. 3/ Stars/bars. Fantasy Printshop FP713. 4/ P-38 general stencils, but only could use prop and fuel filler ones. Foxbat FD72-030 5/ P-38 Weighted wheels. Kora D-7279. But really disappointed that they were hardly weighted at all, and the detail on the Dragon originals was as good. 6/ P-38J vac-form pilot canopy for Academy kit. Falcon USAAF Set 46. This fitted remarkably well to the Dragon kit. 7/ P-38M brass gun-barrels. Air Master 72-096. 8/ P-38 pilots canopy mask (for Academy kit) CX087. This matched the Falcon vac-form very well, luckily. My build “special features/issues” were 1/ The Dragon cockpit bathtub has impossibly thick side-walls and the photo-etch for the Academy kit was a million miles from being right for this. I did a lot of work on the cockpit and incorporated most of the photo-etch in the end. Cockpit bath-tub after jemmying in the Eduard Academy photo-etch 2/ Fitted one wind-down window mostly down, into a realistic slot in the fuselage skin. Glazing finished, with port window wound part down (inside gap between fuselage inner and outer skins) 3/ Cut u/c legs and replaced plastic rams with metal. Used metal rods in nose u/c stay, and in all u/c bay door stays. 4/ Cut-out the pilots coaming entirely and built up the fuselage around the windscreen with plastic card (it comes as integral with the Dragon canopy). This allows the instrument panel to be seen, and a lot of the cockpit detail. Many P-38s were fitted with a canvas bag that could be pulled forward as a make-shift coaming to reduce instrument glint. My model does not have that bag now. Kit coaming cut away; fuselage curve under windscreen made from plastic card (but some damage still to fix) 5/ Scratch built gun-sight, sight-stay onto windscreen frame and windscreen armour plate 6/ Removable panel fasteners drilled into skin (but no attempts to do rivets) 6/ Marmite! I love it! My paint sequence was: Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (L), Humbrol 85 Satin Black, selected Humbrol 191 “bright metal” areas, Marmite, Humbrol 85 Satin Black again, Humbrol Clear Gloss Varnish (the large bottle type). Obviously I was airbrushing for most of these stages. Then, a first for me: I polished the entire model with 8000 grit, then 12000 grit and finally buffing rag until it gleamed. It was not so much the shine, but the fact the sanding removed every surface imperfection and the result was a very good representation of aluminium painted black, and light panel line wear and tear. For me this was the major lesson learnt on this model and was very rewarding. I would estimate an hour a day for two weeks of polishing. Elsewhere I used various Alclad metal lacquers. Purple gun-barrels did not last long (Alclad Gunmetal) 7/ Getting the model to sit level and with a good tilt back was really hard. There are basically no locating devices in the wheel wheels, so having both main legs locate the same involved a lot of fixing/re-fixing. Again, it feels like the person who designed the parts and the fit has never made a model. 8/ Dragon did well to point out the counter rotating engines, and they show how the left/right blades need to be set at incidence. The good news ends there because the entire sprue for each engine is identical, hence you can readily build two identical propellors! If you are not too fussy about what constitutes a leading/trailing edge then spinners can be fettled to hold a blade “backwards”. The blade shapes are pretty diabolical whatever changes are made. Whilst I ended up with light wear and tear on most of the model, I could have done a bit more to accentuate some of the regularly removed panels. Conversely, I probably overdid the wear and tear on the canopy frames. Other regrets. I could have risked the Quickboost engines/nacelles for the Academy kit, but that might have been a disaster. I should have tried the Quickboost props to overcome the mess Dragon create. Whilst the AN/APS-6 radar will add to the nose weight, that would be small compared to the full ammo load. I should have extended the nose oleo (when I inserted the metal ram) to get that special nose high look for a de-ammo’d P-38. Making the Dragon P-38M model presents some interesting challenges. This variant barely entered service and even that was post VJ day, so it presents a damp squib in terms of significance. All-weather fighters headed off in a very different direction after WWII. Finding some interesting photos to model isn’t really an option and finding appropriate colour (and size) red letters and red stencils is impossible. I think the builder has to make some specific choices as to what to accept as inaccuracies, but despite that, if you try hard to get the wing/fuselage/engine fit correct, it has a really neat look to it. Maybe view it as practice for a second P-38, but don’t go to Dragon for that. I’m actually making models from my son’s stash, using a complicated random selection scheme. When the P-38M’s turn came up I was itching to do a heavy mod and build an RAF example. It would have been rather daft to convert the most different variant possible to the early variant bought but rejected by the RAF. My son put a stop to my madness by buying me the P-38 Late Variant book by David Doyle, and saying he would be very disappointed if I didn’t take the hint. I took the atmospheric shots with a Canon EOS using a 38mm lens. Generally I use very long exposure, such as 8 seconds. The build shots were by iPhone XR, which takes annoyingly good photos whatever you try to do.
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