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Two Blue No 2


Enzo Matrix
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My second build for this GB is probably the most famous Malta Spitfire, Vc BR301. Delivered on 9 May 1942 as part of Operation BOWERY, it was flown from USS Wasp. These aircraft were delivered in standard desert scheme but were repainted on board Wasp before being flown to Malta. The paint used was probably USN Deck Blue 20B. It was sprayed lightly over the camouflage, allowing the disruptive pattern to show through. This has lead to some pretty wild interpretations of the colours over the years.

After delivery to Malta, BR301 was coded UF-S with 249 Sqn again at Takali. The aircraft was flown by many aces, including Sgt George "Screwball" Buerling and Plt Off John McElroy, both of the RCAF. The aircraft itself was an ace. McElroy gained 2.5 kills in this aircraft between 7 and 13 July while on 27 July 1942 Buerling scored no less than four kills in this aircraft.

Not only did this aircraft can a non-standard colour scheme, but it had a non-standard armament fit as well. The cannons were in the outboard positions in the bays and the two outboard machine guns were removed.

BR301 was damaged beyond repair on 27 July and was struck off charge, having flown no more than 54 hours.

And here's what I will be using. Building from the stash! :yahoo:

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This model will use the Special Hobby 1/48 Spitfire Vc, coincidentally from the Malta Defenders boxing.

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As with my concurrent build of AB264, I will be using Eduard PE and an Ultracast seat in the cockpit. However I won't use any resin exhaust as they won't fit this kit without a bit of surgery. Decals will be taken from the Victory Productions Spitfire Aces of the Empire sheet, although I'll be using the profile in the Osprey book.

The Special Hobby kit won't fall together like the Tamiya one. I have heard the kit described as "challenging" due to its fit issues and some minor flash. I wouldn't go so far as to say that myself but having built one of these before I know that it needs care in fitting and trimming with a modicum of filler at the wing roots. Nothing that the average modeller can't handle though.

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A brace of Malta blues! You do like living dangerously, don't you! :D Can't wait to see progress.

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A brace of Malta blues! You do like living dangerously, don't you! :D Can't wait to see progress.

I know the rules ban any hissy fits over the colours, but I'm hoping to cause some controversy. :wicked: I might even make a 1/72 scale model of this aircraft in the discredited and outrageous blue disruptive scheme, just for a laugh. :lol:

Progress will be slow initially 'cos I'm going away for Easter.

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I know the rules ban any hissy fits over the colours, but I'm hoping to cause some controversy. :wicked: I might even make a 1/72 scale model of this aircraft in the discredited and outrageous blue disruptive scheme, just for a laugh. :lol:

Progress will be slow initially 'cos I'm going away for Easter.

Well if nobody else misbehaves we can always have a ruckus over our interpretations. Is sledging allowed in model building? It could take off!

Have a great break.

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looking forward to both your builds Enzo... and we know you know your stuff so if you tell us it is accurate who are we to disagree ;-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

The wing assembled. Unlike the Tamiya kit that I am building in parallel, this needs a fair bit of work to remove joint lines and restore the panel lines. Once I get the primer on, we'll see how good a job I have made of it. :D

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The cockpit parts installed in the starboard fuselage half. Ready to be closed up. I predict that it won't just fall together. ;)

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The fuselage is closed up. Sort of... :wicked:

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I was right. It didn't just fall together. The instrument panel is too wide for the fuselage leaving a gap on the scuttle.

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This is incredibly annoying! Not because it happened. It's annoying because I knew about the problem beforehand! I have built the SH Seafire III which has the same fuselage parts. I have even warned other people about the problem. Yet I got all glue happy and totally forgot about fixing it. :wall: It's not difficult to fix. You just need to file a groove in the cockpit sides to accept the panel. Ah well... next time maybe. :D

Okay, this one is new to me. The starboard wingtip is far deeper than it needs to be.

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The port one is fine.

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The Seafire III has different wing parts which don't have this problem.

So... the fuselage and wing will go together tonight. I predict that I will need to do some judicious filing of the wing root fillets to get it all to fit. Then it's out with the Milliput!

If anyone is considering building this kit, please don't let the fit problems put you off. This is an excellent kit. It just needs a bit of care.

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In my other build thread, I commented on the futility of painting the joint lines on the Tamiya Spitfire. Well, with the Special Hobby Spitfire, it's not futile. It's a necessity!

The fit is tricky. But a bit of Milliput and some careful sanding solves all the problems.

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Here is the Vc sat next to my other build, a Vb.

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Hopefully during the week I can get the model primed and ready for painting the uppersurfaces next weekend.

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I'm looking at this and wondering what sort of a horlicks I could make of my one! Mind you, looks like a bit of a masterclass underway so thank you for that!

As it is, once the Airfix Vb is complete I shall leave you in peace with the Spits and go back to my Hurricanes.

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Nice work Enzo! It's a bugger this kit isn't it? It evidently is the kit - the IP slightly too wide and the ailerons - very frustrating! I will swear blind here and now that the IP was sanded and the fuselage fitted snugly when I dry-fitted it. Glued it and it popped :angry:

However I was quite surprised by the engineering of the cockpit with the lower insides being separate... thought that was going to be a whole pile of trouble. I am not sure it contributed to the small amount of wing fillet misalignment and filling I had though

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I will swear blind here and now that the IP was sanded and the fuselage fitted snugly when I dry-fitted it. Glued it and it popped :angry:

I believe you! Exactly the same thing happened to me with the Seafire III I built a while back. I remembered this time round and used CA for the main assembly.

However I was quite surprised by the engineering of the cockpit with the lower insides being separate... thought that was going to be a whole pile of trouble. I am not sure it contributed to the small amount of wing fillet misalignment and filling I had though

It certainly did contribute with my build. The cockpit sides are supposed to fit snugly inside the moulded ridges on the wing underside. I managed to get the port one aligned so that it sat directly on top of the ridge, theeby preventing the wing from fitting anywhere near correctly. I had to carve the ridge off and sand down the bottom of the cockpit side to give me enough clearance.

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The model primed with Alclad2 grey primer.

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And the first coat of Middlestone applied, using Xtracrylix XA1009.

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The problems associated with the instrument panel not fitting correctly have come back to plague me. The windscreen doesn't fit quite right! So it will need a bit of attention, as will the gun bay cover on the port wing.

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  • 2 weeks later...
She'll be worth all the jiggling about - definitely!

I have sprayed the camouflage and then oversprayed the blue. It now looks rather shabby, with the camouflage showing through the blue overspray. Hopefully I can post photos in the next couple of days. I'm thinking that the decals will go on over the long Jubilee weekend. Despite all the little niggles, this one has been fun. Or then again, maybe because of them... :D

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I'm pretty sure that the camo is supposed to bleed through, y'know. I know that you're Mr. Perfection, and the finish you get is fantastic, but 70 years ago this lot was painted on the hoof!

Both kites are looking rather lovely, however. As they would have it on 'TOWIE' I'm well jell... :analintruder:

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I'm pretty sure that the camo is supposed to bleed through, y'know.

nodnodnod The shabby look was exactly what I was going for. To be honest, I'm rather pleased with this one.

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Next step. I have sprayed the desert camouflage using Xtracrylix XA1009 Middlestone and XA1002 Dark Earth. I will admit that I haven't exactly followed the usual camouflage outlines...

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... because most of it will be oversprayed. The blue is Lifecolor UA624 Deck Blue 20B. It is intended for the decks of USN carriers but I believe it is the paint which was used in real life. I have lightly oversprayed some parts - especially the spine - allowing the underlying desert camoudlage to show through.

The problem here is that my photographic skills aren't up to showing the model as it really is. The desert cam does bleed through - more than the photos show. The whole thing looks rather shabby and disreputable, which is exactly the look I was seeking.

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Spot the deliberate mistake... okay, maybe not quite so deliberate. :wall: BR301 had cannons fitted in the outer positions in the bays. In order to reduce weight - that Vokes filter had quite an adverse effect on performance - the inner positions didn't have the usual stubs. I need to carve and sand the inner locations off.

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This is looking very impressive! - it must be hard getting the balance of that 'shabby' just right. :blink:

Cheers

Cliff

Edited by CliffB
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One thing I neglected to mention earlier was that I put a couple of very thin layers of blue down first. Then I gave the whole model a very thin spray with hairspray. Yes, I'm attempting the hairspray technique. Scary eh? :door:

Well... the worst part is actually buying the hairspray. I mean, wot on earth do I need hairspray for?!?!?! :lol: I was convinced that I was getting odd looks when I was choosing the l'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin (normal strength). A whole new experience for me... :D

Anyroads... after the hairspray there were another couple of thin coats of blue. The problem with the hairspray technique is that the paint surface becomes very fragile, as you can probably see on the spine towards the tail.

After everything had dried for a couple of days, I set to work with a wooden toothpick and a fragment of magic eraser to make the wingroots look suitably distressed. I also used a wash of Games Workshop Chainmail paint around the cowling panels.

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The fuselage undersurface was given a few streaks of Lifecolor Tensocrom TSC207 Oil, TSC211 Burnt Brown and Tamiya X-19 Smoke to represent the oil stains characteristic of the Spitfire.

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After that came a few light coats of Klear.

Next step - decals. I'm actually catching up with pictures. I applied the decals this afternoon, so I know how they turned out. Can you see me grinning? :D I'm really enjoying this build.

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The problem here is that my photographic skills aren't up to showing the model as it really is. The desert cam does bleed through - more than the photos show. The whole thing looks rather shabby and disreputable, which is exactly the look I was seeking.

Coming along nicely.

I wonder if it is a property of blue grey that is creating problems for the digital camera. I too noticed on my build, that particular shade seems to just absorb all the light in photos, making it difficult to see details as they are actually seen.

regards,

Jack

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