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Found 3 results

  1. I had hoped to get this one in 'under the wire' for Armistice Day...but figured a little extra care was better than speed, since it was a project years in the making, anyway. This is Hobbycraft's all-too-hard-to-find 1/32 SPAD XIII fighter, done up as 'Smith IV,' the mount of US ace Capt. Arthur Raymond Brooks---the real original Kellner-built a/c now residing in near-pristine restored condition at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. I first saw her as a torn and tattered pre-restoration hulk at the Silver Hill storage facility back in the early '80s...very shortly before the museum's crack staff worked their magic, and restored her to her present glory. Kit detail is a combination of lots of scratchbuilding and some modified p-e bits from the Eduard set designed for Roden's earlier-model SPAD VII. Specific changes to turn it into Brooks' mount included modifying the lower wings to the earlier 'rounded' configuration, then adding Tom's Modelworks 'plywood' wing extensions in p-e. The kit's Vickers machine guns were scrapped in favor of scratch-built versions of the Marlin models used by something like two-thirds of US-operated SPADs. Finally, the kit's solid 'wing' axle and spreader-bar assembly for the landing gear was switched for the open 'skeleton frame' style seen on the NASM bird. Colors are 'home brew' mixes of Tamiya acrylics. Markings were drawn up in MS-Paint on the PC and the decals printed on my trusty HP inkjet. Notable are the 60-or-so small black patches scattered over the airframe---repaired battle-damage on the original a/c, most decorated by proud groundcrewmen with a tiny German cross. (A number of these are disconcertingly close to the cockpit---including one only inches behind the pilot's headrest...and three at the base of the tiny windscreen, forward.) The kit's prop was the wrong style (of the close to a dozen different models used, from various manufacturers); one from my 'spares' collection was close to the right shape, so I grafted on slightly longer tips and 'squared' them to match the original's Gremont-supplied unit. Rigging is various thicknesses of EZ-line, with hardware cobbled together from an assortment of different p-e sets, and lengths of polyimide tubing. For those interested, the WIP can be found here. A real labor of love, and great fun. Hope you enjoy the photos.
  2. A little while back I dragged out my last remaining Hobbycraft SPAD XIII in the stash to do this long-planned project---'Smith IV,' the Smithsonian NASM's beautifully-restored Kellner-built a/c, the original flown by long-lived ace Arthur Raymond Brooks of the American 22nd Aero Squadron 'Shooting Stars.' (Copyright Smithsonian Institution, photo by Mark Avino; used under terms of fair use for non-commercial, educational purposes; https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/spad-xiii-smith-iv) I first 'met' (and fell hopelessly in love with) Smith IV when she was still a battered and tattered hulk at the Smithsonian's Silver Hill storage facility back in the 1980s...and was tremendously excited when the docent leading our tour-group shared the news that this very a/c was slated for an imminent full restoration to near-original condition, in her original markings. [Needless to say, I have 'visited' this beauty in her spiffy new colors a number of times since.] I immediately resolved to build it...excitedly supposing it inevitable that someone, somewhere, would come out with a top-notch set of aftermarket markings for what is undoubtedly one of the best-known original SPAD XIIIs still in existence. [Cue the crickets chirping....] Failing that, I resorted to what dear Baldrick might have termed a 'cunning plan'...in my case, through the minor magic of computer graphics and 'print it at home' inkjet decal paper. Markings sorted (after a fashion), Hobbycraft's quite-nice 1/32 offering (which was an old favorite anyway) seemed the perfect basis for the project. The NASM's particular aircraft will require two relatively minor mods to the kit. First is the wings: Smith IV has 'mismatched' wings, probably due to replacements being fitted following operational damage (which was a pretty common occurrence). The aircraft's upper wing is the 'square' wingtip style adapted in later factory production to provide greater wing area and improved handling...and which, coincidentally, matches the Hobbycraft kit. Lower wings are the original rounded-tip style...to which plywood 'pocket' extensions were added as a field-modification, to give a profile similar to the late-production wings. Fortunately, Tom's Modelworks makes a small photo-etch set supplying the wingtip 'pockets' complete with scale templates showing the slight span extension necessary before fitting the retro-tips. Second mod concerns the armament: as Vickers machine guns were in painfully-short supply when the AEF squadrons took the field, an American-made Marlin design was substituted in many US-operated aircraft. Smith IV has these very distinctive-looking guns. No aftermarket help here---although I've heard Wingnut Wings supplied them in some of their kits---but there are plenty of photos around, and they're relatively easy to scratchbuild. Enough blather, let's see some photos. The kit: And some of the the 'stuff': Eduard's 1/32 p-e set (actually designed for Roden's SPAD VII, but some of the components and fittings are useful or can be modified for the XIII); and the Tom's 'wing pocket' set---which also includes some nifty screens to replace the solid engine-access panels, a common swap-out also seen on Smith IV: And my 'ace in the hole'---a second set of scratchbuilt cockpit components I turned out at the same time as last year's build of the same kit...as Charles d'Olive's 93rd Aero bird. [RFI here, for any who may be interested.] And last but certainly not least, a sampling of my home-brewed decals: So much for the long-winded tedious introduction. Next post will be the wing mods. Thanks for looking in.
  3. First aircraft posting on here for me. Picked up the Hobbycraft 1/32 kit very cheaply, it was the Desert fighter version so I bought an Xtradecal set so, at least, I could get an EDSG over sky aircraft. I also bought the Fisher prop as I was buying one of his excellent race car resin kits anyway, also got their FAA pilot figure as I was in for the postage cost from the US anyway. Pilot is currently a wip. The kit was fairly dissapointing and I would be heartbroken if I had paid RRP for it. Basically it is a lack of detail, there are not many parts in the kit. The canopy is moulded in one piece and the framing is engraved on the inside. I left it in one piece and just added masking tape belts to the seat as not much can be seen through it. I was puzzled by the wingtip lights being seperate parts but moulded in grey plastic? I made new parts from clear sprue. I am pleased with the end result though. I love the FAA aircraft and schemes so it is a welcome addition to my display cabinet. C&C is welcome, good or bad. Thanks, Steve.
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