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  1. Hmm I appear to have been somewhat remiss in documenting my latest project, which is a follow up - or rather a prequel to my recent Hurricane IIc project. In October 1942, my Dad was posted to 81 Squadron which at that time was in Gibraltar, awaiting the launch of Operation Torch to invade North West Africa. At this time 81 Squadron were flying Spitfire Vc which were adapted to the Tropical configuration by adding a Volkes filter at some point. So my source kit is the HobbyBoss Spitfire Vb Trop and to convert to the Vc I'm using the resin C wing conversion from Grey Matter Figures. Obligatory sprue shot Some of the aftermarket - the wings and some other bits turned up later The most glaring problem with the kit is the tailplanes which are metal on one side and fabric covered on the other! This is easily fixed by the QuckBoost update. I've also sourced fabric seat belts from HGW and metal cannon barrels from Masterworks, plus some Eduard PE for the exterior. Now comes the major admission - I appear to have all the photos taken int he early part of the project. I'd been keeping a photo record of the cockpit progress, but all the pics seem to have vanished, so all I have left are those I've taken very recently which you will see is some distance into the build!!! For this build I am going to do another diorama with my father in like I did with the Hurricane, but this time it will be set in Algeria in winter 1942, so no shorts and bush hats! The first thing I need to decide is what will my father be doing? For the Hurricane it was easy - open up the sides and have him fiddling around with the main junction box behind the cockpit. The HobbyBoss kit comes with an openable radio hatch and a crude representation of the radio set, however my dad wasn't a radio tech but an electrician. While building the cockpit I realised that the 3 lights that are on the port sidewall are only represented by small blobs in this kit... bingo, Dad is obviously replacing these lamps!! That means he'll be standing on the port wing leaning over the side if the cockpit. Although this kit comes with an engine and removable cowelings, the engine isn't a very good representation of a Merlin 45, so I'm going to leave it closed. The main work is going to be replacing the kit wings with the resin wings. So to begin - a lot of work was put into the cockpit, the Baraccuda resin set is very nice and although intended for a Mk IX, it'll pass for a Vc. I also used an Eduard Zoom set for the instrument panel. So here are some photos taken this evening to show the cockpit. There is a bit of dust from sanding the wing joints which I'll need to flush out with some air and the control stick is missing as it fell out during assembly so I left it out for now! The cloth seatbelts were superb and took staining very well and I would recommend them to anyone who has the patience to assemble them properly!! and here is the radio hatch - I did superdetail the radio but you can't see it in the small opening. I did add some placards from the airscale set to try to make it a bit more interesting and there will be a PE door from the Eduard set to fit later. So what of the wings? Well let me tell you they are beautifully cast but a total bugger to fit! For a start they come with the tips missing so you can add your own LF, high altitude or normal ones. Problem here is that the HobbyBoss kit, unlike the Tamiya kits come with the wing tips moulded on! So you need to cut the wing tips off. Then you find that the wing chord and width of the resin wings are just a little bit smaller than the wings that come in the kit! Fortunately, I have a Tamiya Spitfire VIII in the stash, bought when I thought my dad was with 81 Sqn in Burma. I'm still planning on building an 81 Sqn Burma Spitfire VIII but will build that with the high latitude wings as they first used when being posted there in late 43 early 44. So I can use the normal wing tips from the VIII to match up with the resin wings as their chord is slightly thinner. However they are still about 4 mm too wide when joining up. I solved this with some careful trimming and sanding as you can see above. Now when it came to attaching them to the fuselage, you need to cut up the kit lower wing section to provide the under-fuselage joint. I managed to mess this up a bit and had to insert extra triangles where I'd been too eager to cut and got the shape wrong. The upper surface fit is quite good but again the resin wing is about 6 mm narrower than the original kit part. The wing thickness is also thinner but this isn't so prominent. Here are the wings fitted and the cannon bulges added (these come as separate blisters that need gluing to the right places. Notice also the pencil marks to show where the cannons and machine gun ports need to go on the leading edge) Here is the underside where you can see the triangular in-fills I had to add where I'd made mistakes The trickiest part here was getting the dihedral right and I think I might have overdone this just a little - judge for yourselves here: So thats the progress so far. Its been about a month and a bit elapsed time but I haven't been rushing... Oh I almost forgot, I'm also building another of the iconair accumulator trolley kits to go with the diorama, but this time I'm doing it in RAF blue (ish) and adding a small motor on top as was seen on many airfields like here: (Copyright IWM Archive, used here for reference only) and here it is so far I used a piece from the Tamiya 1:35 US Maintenance kit which has a compressor with a small engine on top. I cut of f the engine and stuck it on top of the accumulator trolley. I doubt if it is 100% accurate but its a decent representation of the sort of thing they would have had. Oh and there will NOT be another PE toolbox in this diorama - I had enough with the one in the Hurricane dio
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