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Roden 1/72 SE5a, Captain J I T "Taffy" Jones, 74 Squadron


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I'm going to build the SE5a of one of my heroes, a man who did everything in life that I could have ever wished to do: James Ira "Taffy" Jones flew fighters with 74 Squadron, claimed thirty-seven enemy aircraft (1 balloon, 28 (and 1 shared) aircraft destroyed, and 6 (and 1 shared) down out of control), wrote three books, and returned to service for World War II to train pilots.

16-victory RAF ace Peter Malam Brothers recalled: "at Uxbridge there was this splendid First World War pilot, Ira Taffy Jones, who stuttered terribly. One day he stood up and said 'There is going to be a b-b-bloody wa-wa-war and you ch-chaps are going to be in it. I'll give you one piece of advice - wh-wh-when you fir-first get into combat you will be fu-fu-[redacted] fr-frightened. Ne-never forget the ch-chap in the other cock-cockpit is tw-twice as fu-[redacted] fr-frightened as you are.' I reckon he saved my life with that piece of advice. In my first combat over France, I suddenly thought, My God, the chap in that other cockpit must be having hysterics, and shot him down. But I give all credit to Taffy."

The irascible Jones was an indifferent pilot who never quite mastered the art of setting the plane down (the aircraft I'm modelling was in fact written off by him in a rough landing), an excellent deflection shooter, a teetotaller during the war (but not after), and he nursed a fierce antipathy to all Germans, famously gunning a balloon observer down as he dangled in his 'chute: "My habit of attacking Huns dangling from their parachutes led to many arguments in the mess. Some officers, of the Eton and Sandhurst type, thought it was 'unsportsmanlike' to do it. Never having been to a public school, I was unhampered by such considerations of form. I just pointed out that there was a bloody war on, and that I intended to avenge my pals."

During the interwar period, Jones met Hermann Goering while serving as personal pilot to Sir Sefton Brancker: "Sir Sefton said "'I wonder if you two ever met in an air fight, Taffy.' 'He wouldn't be here now, sir, if we had met,' I retorted. Brancker laughed, but Goering did not."

Taffy also idolized his squadronmate Edward "Mick" Mannock and disliked and distrusted the Canadian VC winner Billy Bishop; The first biographer (perhaps hagiographer) of Mannock, Jones played a key part in the postwar score calculations that left Mannock officially the top-scoring RFC ace of WWI.

Perhaps most famously, during the Battle of Britain, Jones pursued a Ju88 in an unarmed Hawker Henley, firing a Very pistol at it.

As you can see, Taffy Jones was quite a character, a man who lead a life straight out of a Boy's Own serial, and I've always felt an immense fondness for him. When I learned that Pheon did a 1/72 decal sheet that included markings for his plane, I knew I had to have it.

And so here we are:

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I'm going to try rigging this with Uschi ultrafine rigging thread. I tested it last night on "one I'd done earlier", and it seemed to work okay for me:

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I'm using the Roden kit, of course, and if you've ever built one of their World War I kits in 1/72 before you've perhaps winced and nodded. If you haven't, well Roden kits are seemingly designed to ace in-box reviews, with beautiful surface detail and incredible parts and variant options. They are also tooled in Hell with the CAD done by the Devil himself, and they suffer from poor fit, fragile parts, and decals that explode into a million fragments on contact with water. Their instructions leave a little to be desired as well. Behold Part 34A on the instruction drawing, then cast your eyes upon the actual part 34A. Hardly recognize them as the same piece, would you?

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I'm an idiot, so I expect this build will be a challenge.

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Great to see a great read on Taffy and a Se5 build. I have read he hade a problem with his eyes which explained whey he was so bad at landing!

There is a memorial to him in St Clears and the house he was born in still stands.

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Great to see a great read on Taffy and a Se5 build. I have read he hade a problem with his eyes which explained whey he was so bad at landing!

I've also read, in this rather heated old thread from The Aerodrome, that he suffered from what Harry Secombe called "duck's disease"...exceptionally short legs!

There is a memorial to him in St Clears and the house he was born in still stands.

Is there really? What splendid news, is there a photograph of the memorial anywhere?

In any case, work has begun:

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Per this rather useful walkaround, the SE5a cockpit was wood up top and fabric below. I'm pretty lazy, so I might not paint the fabric below, and nobody but me and you will know, and I won't tell, and you won't either if you care about your families. In any event, I'm going to try to add a wood grain effect with some oil paints thinned with mineral spirits once my coat of Future dries.

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The oil wood grain turned out fairly pleasantly, I thought:

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The Roden Curse claimed its first victim: some of the surface detail on the starboard side of the nose. Some of the glue seeped out as I was assembled part of the fuselage -- which is in six parts: engine cover, engine front, engine area floor, firewall, and right and left sides -- and of course my thumb was right there.

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I used some Mr. Surfacer 1000 to patch things up a bit:

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The lower wings and fuselage are now together, and this may give you a proper sense of how small the kit is:

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Now I'm waiting for the future on the fuselage floor to dry and I'll use oils on it for a wood grain effect, add the rudder pedals (TOTALLY unnecessary on this kit) and the control column and close up the cockpit.

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My internet has been patchy today; I'm choosing to blame the searing end of summer heat, as nothing in Illinois can seem to actually cope with the climactic conditions experienced on a distressingly regular basis in Illinois, the inhabitants of Illinois included. However, that means I'm actually getting some "work" done on the model, as it's clearly -- clearly! -- too hot to go out and hack my way through the tropical rainforest that exists where once I had a more-or-less neatly groomed lawn.

I got the SE5a together and primed, after a bit of sanding and filling. It's still not perfect, but it works for my standards.

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Why did I use white primer, you ask? Did I have some masterplan? No, I had a can of Tamiya Fine white primer handy, and figured I'd used it even though I find it doesn't work as well as their grey. I'm stupid that way. I then went a little crazy, and realized that since I was using white primer anyway, I could go ahead and mask the rib tapes on the wings as well.

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Uh...I'm not really sure what to do next. Maybe go over the rip tape, once unmasked, with Tamiya smoke? Cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.

I'm using Misterkit's PC10 from their line of WWI colours; this is my first time trying their paint, and it airbrushed nicely when thinned with IPA.

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First off, here is an amazing build of a Roden SE5a that puts mine to shame. I saw it a year ago and it blew my mind then: http://forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com/index.php?topic=689.0

Secondly, I painted the clear-doped linen on the undersides:

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My order of operations is all wrong here. I forgot that the S.E.5a had a small overlap of the uppersurface PC10 on the underside of the wings, running around it like a rim. Had I remembered, I could have sprayed and masked that first. Now I'm going to have to go back and do it later.

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...but what is the deal with the rib tapes?

Erm, well, they're symptomatic of my perennial failure to think things through. You see, I dimly recalled reading the SE5a build thread that I posted above, but the mind...it plays tricks on us, Stew. The mind is a ffff...ancy lad, in fact. If I were to do it all over again (and I will, as I have another S.E.5a in the stash and want to build yet others as well), I would follow the advice in the other build thread: use a black fine tip pen to preshade the linen ribs, and then...well, his way of doing the top ones sounds fiendishly complex, I'd think of something a little more lazy-person friendly.

However, we live in this wretched world I've already made for myself, so here we are:

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Misterkit paints are so far okay, but I discovered that as true acrylics (they can be thinned with tap water), they have weak adhesion. I had some paint lift when I removed the masking, and then, after I masked and resprayed those spots, removing the new masking lifted some paint AGAIN. Gentle reader, the things I whispered to the model at that moment are best forgotten.

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Additionally, as the model is so small -- that's my defence -- I managed to bump some of the wet paint, and so I'll need to respray those parts too.

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So now what? I need to think. In theory, I could simply go over the underbelly tape lines with a black pen and then spray more CDL over them. I could even redo the topsides, too. Then I'd be out nothing more than time and a lot of surprisingly expensive 1mm Japanese tape. For the undersurfaces, this may indeed be my best bet. For the topsides, I'm not sure. Tamiya Smoke as mooted earlier? I have the inestimable advantage of living six hours in your past, so by the time I wake up, the Britmodeller hivemind may have rousted itself, and hopefully all of you have some suggestions for me.

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Ah, I think I see, I couldn't access the site you linked to above, it required a login... but I'm guessing the idea was to highlight the topside ribs and to shade the underside to represent the shadow of the ribs seen through the clear doped linen?

That being the case, I think your idea of black pen/more CDL on the underside/smoke on the topside is better than anything I could come up with, but hopefully someone with more expertise than I have - and that means some expertise, in other words - will advise you more effectively :shrug:

Cheers,

Stew

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What about a THIN covering of Tamiya smoke and then go over with CDL so you get a small difference between the ribs and the surface it may work it may not or thinking about it. pre shade then CDL only problem may be you will have darker ribs rather than lighter which is slightly the wrong way round. tricky

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You owe it to yourself to do it PC, otherwise it will forever burn in shame in your mind... :fraidnot::weep:that will be you

So press on chap, there's a good fellow :winkgrin: having a second one in your stash was clearly kismet or perhaps serendipity :coolio: do not fight your destiny my boy...

Cheers,

Stew

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Okay, so here's my problem.

Over on the WW1aircraftmodels.com, user PrzemoL, building the same kit, managed to make his wings look like this:

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Mine ended up looking like this:

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Not quite in the same league. The process of trying to sand down the painted undersurfaces lead to some hilarious misadventures, and now here we are, back to square one.

His technique was "preshading with black permanent pen along the ribs, airbrushed CDL [clear doped linen], airbrushed shading along the ribs with a mix of clear and brown (about 10:1)."

I tried that, but the Misterkit CDL seems perhaps less opaque, or my pen more aggressive. I considered priming white with Tamiya fsp, Preshading with a light brown, maybe masking when preshading, then spraying CDL over it. Mask the ribs. Then spray smoke or future/a drop or two of brown over them. Looking at photos, I think the solution might be to paint the CDL, then mask the ribs, then spray smoke or future/paint over it. But I lack the 0.4mm masking tape I'd really need to do that properly.

But perhaps I'm being overambitious. Maybe I should just forget about preshading?

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What you want to do, Sir, is strip that off (ammonia should do it readily, as the MisterKit is acrylic).

Spray the wing white.

Mark in your ribs with an ordinary No. 2 pencil.

Paint your clear linen cover over in light coats.

Here a sample of the result:

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Cheap and cheerful....

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Two further things, Sir.

A bit of thin plastic card, half millimeter, say, makes a great straight edge for doing ribs, since it can easily be pressed to the curve of the surface.

The accelerator for quick cure of CA glue kills the tack of masking tape in a very short space of time. It will not attack acrylics of the Model Master/Pollyscale type (which I believe is the category of the MisterKit stuff, too). Use paper tape (I have seen pin-stripe rolls sold down to 1/64" width), and when it is time to remove it, run a knife point along the edge, lightly, and then wet it thoroughly with the 'kicker'. It will come off like so much wet newspaper after a minute or so. This is your best chance for getting tape off acrylic paint with minimum damage.

Edited by Old Man
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