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geedubelyer

Airfix 72nd scale dH-88 Comet. New release, ancient molding

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Hello folks,

A while ago Airfix released a newly boxed version of the dH-88 Comet but it was "The Green 'Un".

For me, the iconic Comet is Grosvenor House so when they recently released that version I bought one.

I'd read a number of reports detailling the ancient molding of this one (late '50s for the original I think) but decided to take the plunge anyway.

The model is offered in the new red box style of current Airfix releases but the plastic is showing it's age.

There are very fine raised lines on the surface which will prove a challenge to sand around. The fit of some components looks to be a bit vague at best and the cockpit detail is none existent, two amorphous pips on top of a flat deck suggesting the crew.

So, where to begin?

Inspired by several 1/72nd scale builds here on Britmodeller I decided to attempt a little additional work. As many know, the Comet has a big glass house looking canopy so that seemed a sensible place to begin.

I carved away the flat decking on both fuselage halves and added a semblance of an interior. I did n't go all out on this as

A/, it's all black and

B/, I planned to add a crew (from the old 1/72nd scale Tiger Moth) to fill out the space.

tn_Comet009_zps323be48a.jpg

tn_Comet012_zps753d39e8.jpg

With these modifications complete it was necessary to take a long hard look at the kit canopy.

The clear plastic is very thick. My copy has two air bubbles trapped within the plastic and the shape is not accurate.

To allow a better view inside the modified opening and in an attempt to improve the shape I smash molded a replacement from clear packaging material.

A resin master was carved from waste resin pour stub and mounted on stilts so that the plastic sheet would clear the template.

tn_Comet014_zpsc39f925a.jpg

The canopy shape of the full sized bird is quite complex so it took a number of tries to get anything resembling the real deal. Equally, it took even more attempts to arrive at a part that fitted the opening adequately. I used scissors to cut each canopy but it was trial and error to get a good enough fit and there was plenty of waste.

Finally I ended up with a passable (for me at least) result which is much clearer than the kit part.

tn_Comet016_zps5a32f825.jpg

I've joined the two fuselage halves together now but one task on the horizon is re-shaping the spine of the fuselage aft of the glass house. The kit depicts this as almost triangular yet the real Grosvenor House is more rounded.

tn_Comet007_zps60b3e731.jpg

I have replicated the rounded edge to the canopy so I'll have to fill in the gap. Initial thoughts are two-pack modelling putty like GW "green stuff".

Thinking ahead, if anyone has any ideas about re-creating the thin lines of the canopy framing I'd very much like to hear them. The framing is made up of at least two different thicknesses some of which is inside the canopy glazing. In this scale it is very thin :blink: Plus, it needs to be red on the outside and black on the inside..... :undecided:

Anyhoo, I've made a start and the canopy framing can be done later. Once the glue has set I think I'll have a look at the profile of the nose. From staring at reference photos it looks as though I might be able to tweek the shape a little to improve the look.

Thanks for stopping by. More when I can.

Cheers.

Julien has posted up a walk-around of the Comet by Mark Mills in the Walkaround section.

See it here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234954337-de-havilland-dh88-comet/

Edited by geedubelyer

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great start

That canopy looks bl---- sorry, pretty good

Without going overboard can't you build up the spine area with milliput?

That is a job Milliput was born for

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why don't you crash mold another canopy and cut strips of that to create your frame?

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Good start to an old favorite One way of hiding the rear canopy to fuselage shape would be to set the canopy in the open position.

If I recall correctly the whole lot hinges on the rh side.

Roger

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You are going to have fun, but it is worth it, as it is a beautiful plane.

I do canopy framing by using clear decal and painting first the interior colour and then the outside one. Once cut into strips, it really looks the part.

Just a suggestion!

JR

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Thinking ahead, if anyone has any ideas about re-creating the thin lines of the canopy framing I'd very much like to hear them. The framing is made up of at least two different thicknesses some of which is inside the canopy glazing. In this scale it is very thin :blink: Plus, it needs to be red on the outside and black on the inside..... :undecided:

You could use black solar trim to do the frames. This is self adhesive and can be cut in to very thin strips. It can easily be painted afterwards free hand in red. These are 1/72 Blenheim cockpits done in this way:

canopies-1_zpsf25e99a6.jpg

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Finally I ended up with a passable (for me at least) result which is much clearer than the kit part.

tn_Comet016_zps5a32f825.jpg

That canopy looks bl---- sorry, pretty good

I'm with Bill on this. Passable - No; Bl**dy good - Yes :)

I suspect I shall enjoy following this :)

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How's the thin upper fuselage doing?

Opened canopy sounds like a good idea to me too

b

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Hi folks, thanks for the generous input and food for thought, much appreciated.

great start

That canopy looks bl---- sorry, pretty good

Without going overboard can't you build up the spine area with milliput?

That is a job Milliput was born for

Thanks Bill, glad you like it. I've read a bit about Milliput and tried it yonks ago but I think I may have used the wrong tube. If I recall, are there green and white versions? I do have some two pack modelling clay/putty by Games Workshop so I've used that for now (see below). Next time I see some I might have to buy a pack of Milliput and give it a go.

why don't you crash mold another canopy and cut strips of that to create your frame?

Hi Hendie, thanks for the idea. I gave it a go tonight but it seems to be beyond my current skill set. I could n't manage to get a uniform pull on something this tiny unfortunately. Those that came out half ok were too flimsy to hold and cut straight. I do appreciate you taking the time to suggest it though, cheers.

Good start to an old favorite One way of hiding the rear canopy to fuselage shape would be to set the canopy in the open position.

If I recall correctly the whole lot hinges on the rh side.

Roger

Hello Roger, good idea. I have done that in the past with other builds and can confirm that it hides a multitude of sins. However, with the crew on board I was hoping to have the canopy in the closed position. As a bonus, the closed canopy helps show off those beautiful deHavilland lines to their best advantage.

http://www.whirlybirdmodels.com/ do canopy and interior sets that fit pretty well, as for the canopy strips I've seen these DH88's done with decal film sprayed with body colour and cut into thin strips.

Thanks for the heads-up azureglo. I could n't get your link to work on this occasion. It lead me to loads of Wessex.

I am considering decal strips but I'm unsure of how to paint both sides and still have the decal adhere to the canopy.

You are going to have fun, but it is worth it, as it is a beautiful plane.

I do canopy framing by using clear decal and painting first the interior colour and then the outside one. Once cut into strips, it really looks the part.

Just a suggestion!

JR

Thanks JR. Perhaps you can help with the quandry detailled above? Firstly, how do you paint both sides of the decal paper and secondly, how do you then get it to stick?

Hi Woody, those Blenheim canopies are the dogs doodahs mate. You may bo onto a winner there. Where would I look to pick some of that solar film up please?

Hi Steve, good to see you and thanks for the kind words.

How's the thin upper fuselage doing?

Opened canopy sounds like a good idea to me too

b

Ah, good question Bill.

Permit me to bring you up to speed. With work being a bit on the busy side I have n't had alot of time at the bench but I did begin some gentle re-shaping.

Comparing the model with pics of the full sized bird shows a slight discrepancy with the shape of the forward fuselage.

Some fortuitous overspray, planned of course (ahem) shows the existing crease line.

tn_Comet018_zps0f6212b4.jpg

The real deal has a downward sweep to the crease at the nose.

A little sanding helps to get closer to the actual shape. Unfortunately I think the whole Airfix fuselage is too triangular in cross section for total accuracy and I don't feel enthusiastic enough to redo the full fuselage (that's something for a possible future project in a larger scale).

I did slather on a thick layer of green stuff over the rear spine though. As I'm away with work for a few days I'll leave it until later in the week before attempting to sand it back to the correct shape.

tn_Comet022_zps0a68af4f.jpg

Whilst turning the airframe over in my hands I think I may have spotted another little job to attend to.

The shape of the rudder may be slightly off.

I'd be interested in what you guys think.

The image below shows the kit part. I've added a red line in roughly the position I feel is correct. Opinions anyone?

tn_Comet019_zps3fb09f47.jpg

Hopefully back at the weekend with more.

Cheers for now.

Edited by geedubelyer

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Geedubelyer, what JR probably means is to buy (or scavenge from unused sectors on a comercial sheet) clear decal film

I buy mine from several sources, it's always the same make from these dealers. Hannants sell it and I get mine these days from Crafty Computer Papers

I buy both kinds clear and white so I can print most things using the medium

If you have some of the Clear version you can paint on it instead of printing on it

Paint the interior colour on a part of the sheet, let it dry well then paint the exterior colour over the innner one

Then cuts strips of the right size to make canopy frames

Airfix made this mould about forty million years ago, some of their research department back then seem to have designed their models on the back of a cigarette carton. Hence odd shapes and changeable rudder shapes

But without them we'd not have any Comet racers to work with

I love whipping old models into shape

I'm sure you will get this one the way you want it pretty quickly

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Paint the interior colour on a part of the sheet, let it dry well then paint the exterior colour over the innner one

I did a variation of this for the central vertical bar on my JP5 windscreen and it worked ok.

If you do use strips of decal I suggest you cut them to width before painting them that way you guarantee that the edge of the strip is coloured. Don't think it's essential but if you are laying a couple of colours onto the clear sheet it may make a difference.

If you haven't glued the canopy on yet you could do the internal glazing using painted clear decal strips and then apply them on the inside of the canopy? Paint the clear decal strip first with whatever colour appears from the outside looking in - and then secondly with whatever colour you see from the inside looking out. This is what i did on the JP.

I found that perhaps the best thing about using strips of decal was that you could fiddle about getting the placement right and if you got it wrong - no harm done, remove it and start again. Finally fix it all in place with Klear.

Whatever method you choose you'll make it work........

Edited by Fritag

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I do love the Comet Racer....My dad has recently scanned some photos of when we see it in 1992, at Woburn.

15160204122_faef85dd65_z.jpgG-ACSS by stage1uk, on Flickr

Following this thread with interest! :)

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Hi, re your question:

you do not paint both sides of the decal paper...

It is blank decal you are using, so it is see through.

Therefore while it is still dry on the backing paper you first paint a patch in the interior colour (in your case black), and when that is dry, you paint a second coat of the exterior colour (red, green, etc...). That way, when the frame decal is in place, you see the black through the canopy and the outside is the colour of your airframe.

When that is well dry, you cut strips to the required width and use then as normal decals on your canopy. When it is in place you just trim the length to your requirement, or you cut the right length beforehand, as you choose.

It has always worked like a charm for me.

I hope I am a bit clearer this time.

Have a lot of fun!

JR

Edited by jean

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I do love the Comet Racer....My dad has recently scanned some photos of when we see it in 1992, at Woburn.

15160204122_faef85dd65_z.jpgG-ACSS by stage1uk, on Flickr

Following this thread with interest! :)

That has to be one of the most beautiful aircraft shapes ever to grace the skies

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I built one of these when they first came out a looooong time ago.

Out of interest I looked in my copy of Arthur Wards book on the Airfix history to see when that might have been - it shows up in the list for 1957!

Chris

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Ditto Chris :)

I remember the excitement that came with getting the 'transfer' stripes looking near enough

happy days

Steve, I concur mate, very littlle chance of finding a more delightful shape flying to this day

b

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Looking at the Wonderland Models website just now, it appeared to suggest that there is a new issue of the DH88, as the red Grosvenor House G-ACSS, which has been reworked using the new CAD process.

Is there any truth to that or is it an oversight/error/misprint?

They also show the very old green DH88 kit, G-ASCR, as being re-worked here.

The allegedly new kit is listed as A01013B whereas the green one is listed as A10103A, suggesting to me that they are variants of the same very old kit. I'd love to be wrong though!

Cheers,

John B

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Hi guys. I'd hoped to do a little more to the Comet but my shifts have changed so this is just a whistle stop to say thanks for the kind comments.

I agree with the views regarding the beauty of the Comet. Mr. deHavilland and his team have a few gorgeous aircraft in their portfolio I think.

Looking at the Wonderland Models website just now, it appeared to suggest that there is a new issue of the DH88, as the red Grosvenor House G-ACSS, which has been reworked using the new CAD process.

Is there any truth to that or is it an oversight/error/misprint?

Cheers,

John B

Hi John, this is the new Airfix boxing so unfortunately we will have to wait a little longer for a new tool, accurate kit.

Thanks again for the support and encouragement. Although I'm not fondling any plastic at the moment I am thinking of the areas that could do with a little improvement so I'll be back with more when I can.

Cheers.

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Ooooh!! This looks good!! It's made me return to the boards, so it has to be interesting!!! :popcorn:

Airfix made this mould about forty million years ago, some of their research department back then seem to have designed their models on the back of a cigarette carton. Hence odd shapes and changeable rudder shapes

But without them we'd not have any Comet racers to work with

I bet those nice people at Frog would disagree, their version of the DH88 builds up quite nicely if I remember. And I have a 1/72 one somewhere that came out of a cereal packet in the 70's... moulded in red plastic and with the most amazing overscale canopy framing ever!!

Chris

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Ooooh!! This looks good!! It's made me return to the boards, so it has to be interesting!!! :popcorn:

I bet those nice people at Frog would disagree, their version of the DH88 builds up quite nicely if I remember. And I have a 1/72 one somewhere that came out of a cereal packet in the 70's... moulded in red plastic and with the most amazing overscale canopy framing ever!!

Chris

Ah well I hope you will forgive the oversight, blimey I wish I still had the choice of buying Frog instead of Airfix

But my local Woolworth never sold Frog stuff, I was a mid-teenager before I discovered the delights of Frog Rovex

I never got to see Frog's variety of dH 88, shame 'cos their outlines were usually accurate, viz. their Wessex still as shape accurate as you can get

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It's made me return to the boards, so it has to be interesting!!! :popcorn:

Chris

Hi Chris, in that case, welcome back ^_^ Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you like the journey so far.

I've had a little time to play with plastic over the last few days so here's a quick update.

I opted to remove the rudder from the fuselage to aid with shaping the aerofoil section. Unfortunately this process removed the very fine raised surface detail. After some advice over in the interwar section I attempted to reinstate the rib detail by using lengths of thin stretched sprue glued to the surface.

tn_Comet026_zpsf5806319.jpg

This is now sanded back but the jury is out on how successful the experiment was. I suspect I'll end up removing the ribbed surface detail completely as comparisons with reference photos at a scale distance make it very hard to see them.

While the glue was drying on the rudder I turned my attention back to the fuselage. If you remember, I'd blobbed some two pack modelling clay onto the spine aft of the cockpit to get a more accurate shape. This has been sanded back now but it has highlighted a similar issue with the forward fuselage.

The top of the nose is also mildly triangular shown by the red line in the image below.

tn_Comet030_zpsaa376fca.jpg

Again, reference photos suggest the cross section is more rounded. I am attempting to remedy the situation using another dollop or two of green stuff.

tn_Comet031_zps5f180462.jpg

Red=bad, blue=better. ;)

The green stuff was slathered on then smoothed to an approximate shape using a carving tool and wet finger combo

tn_Comet029_zps6ba18739.jpg

Once dry this will be sanded to shape properly. It takes a few days to harden sufficiently so I'm now approaching the wings and horizontal tailplanes.

The first thing I noticed was how soft the recessed detail has become over time.

tn_Comet025_zps3963758c.jpg

Rather than fill and re-scribe I chose to cut away the ailerons all together and re-shape the opening with plastic extrusion.

tn_Comet027_zpsb93734a6.jpg

Waiting for the glue to dry will give me plenty of time to decide whether or not to make an attempt at adding the ribbing on these elements. In photos, the fabric on the ailerons and inner wing sections does appear more noticable than on the rudder. :hmmm:

Hmmm, decisions, decisions........

Edited by geedubelyer

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Lots of great work being done here Geedubelyer. The finished result will be well worth your efforts to accurise a model of what I'm sure many think is one of the most graceful aircraft ever built.

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This is coming together nicely - looking forward to seeing more of the same

Roger

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