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Williams Bros. Seversky Racer 1/32


Matt_L

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Hello,

I got the Williams Bros. kit of the Seversky P-35/ Racer a while back, a great second-hand bargain, after building the same company's Caudron racer. It's been on the waiting-list for a while now, In part because I felt it's going to need a lot of work, and research, to get a reasonable finish. This is my first WIP post, hopefully it will act as a spur!

Compared to the Caudron it's pretty crude, and the decals are well off register, but a great basic canvas to try out some scratchbuilding and new skills on. There's a well-researched history of the plane, and in particular of the S2 Racer version, owned and raced by Frank Fuller in the Bendix and Thomspon Trophy races in the late 1930s.The actual instructions are a combo of one exploded diagram and written step-by-steps. Dry fitting, testing and research seem to be needed here!

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Also, typically for me, even with just two versions as options, it's been hell deciding which one to build - racer or USAAC? Silver or bright green? I had an old Academy/Hobbycraft P-35A in the 'old kits' box, so did this rough to help me decide:

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It's going to be the racer! It had a lower canopy than the standard P-35, different IP, intakes, and no dihedral, which could be interesting given the way the kit is broken down...

So far, I've started on the engine, the IP and some interior structural detail, using various shots of preserved Severskys and archive pics. The cockpit is hugely busy compared to the Caudron one I scratched, so this will be a stretch!

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Help! that's the real one btw... ;)

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It's a start, using the kit decals placed behind a drilled-out plasticard sheet, glazed with Klear (camera flash highlights every tiny blemish!)

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The basic engine moulding is very good and I've added various rods and wiring.

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Hope this build takes your interest, and look forward to any and all hints and tips from the great modellers here - always learning!

More soon,

Matt

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Great start mate. Personally I'd go for the racer, I like unusual schemes on airplanes

Yours aye

Iain

Thanks Iain, one racer coming up (slowly...)!

Matt

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Hello, - quick addition of the engine as it stands:

DSCF1912458x500_zps83b77a6b.jpg

Went a bit cross-eyed painting on a tiny P&W logo - camera struggled to focus too!

Cheers,

Matt

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Right, some progress to share on the interior. I've started to skin the inside of the fuselage with pasticard to give a sense of the structure, a lot of this will be hidden behind control panels etc:

(the mess is a quick black wash to see how proud the structure is for later weathering - promise it looks neater in real life!)

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The P-25/S2 cockpit is roomy and the canopy in the kit is clear and large, so lots will be visible. The kit itself lacks all but the basic elements of the cockpit, and online pics show it to be very complex (apparantly the P-35 was very expensive to build). That in mind, I've started to map out the key components ready to scratch or source from spares and adapt:

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I think I'll be building this in layers, getting the main elements in first to get the spacing right. Well, I've started now...! :unsure:

Oh - if anyone knows of a resin cockpit set for this thing tell me now!

Take care,

Matt

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

I've a bit more interior work to share, but the camera is out of action, so afraid I can't bring it right up to date. I've started work on various control panels and the throttle, all plasticard, wire and spare parts, although Airscale's Cockpit Details etched set is looking very tempting too.

I've skinned both sides of the interior with plenty of dry runs and test fitting to get as close match as I can between both walls. A first attempt didn't take account of the need to extend the skinning low enough down to cover the wing root gaps, but this version does the job.

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I've also started the task of scribing panel lines; can't say it's my favourite job, and the plastic is quite 'skiddy', but I know it will pay dividends.

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I'm considering using HGW raised rivet decals on the whole thing too, although a test on a spare kit was a bit disappointing as once overcoated, nothing shows! I may have either a) presed them down too firmly with a tissue, or b ) it's because the model was brush-painted a long time back, and perhaps a smoother surface is needed to get the effect?

Answers on an electronic postcard please!

Hope to have more pics to share soon,

Take care,

Matt

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That looks great so far Matt. Will be watching this one take shape.

Many thanks Col. Could take a while, but I hope to keep it interesting! it's as much a research project as a build, so perhaps i'll share some of what i've learnt about the history too.

Matt

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello,

Been a bit slow progress on this as I've got sidetracked by a Mirage F1 that was gathering dust in my (extensive) unfinished kit collection...

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Anyway, back on track, I've decided to remove the cowling from each fuselage half. This allows the cowling flap edges to be thinned, and should make installing the engine easier. I'll back the gap with plasticard before I re-attach things. Also more scribing done, on the cowling this time.

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Just realised I forgot to resize the images, apols if that causes probs!

Take care,

Matt

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Nice work refining the cowl. Cool Mirage F1 also - you got a thread for that one anywhere?

Thanks Col. Amazing how much of a mess scraping plastic makes! No WIP for the Mirage I'm afraid as it's one I started way back, before I started posting on forums. Attempting to portray a well-used one about to go for overhaul - Going well enough to justify sharing the final product later on though!

b78000b4-eeb2-4b43-86b7-edc488919afe_zps

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Hello,

Some work on the interior today, quite a lot done, starting to build up to the 'busyness' of the prototype's cockpit, all from spares, modified kit parts and scratch-building:

Rudder pedals, refined kit parts, with rod added.

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New IP and console mocked up on new bulkhead

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Switches and control panels on sidewall - the order of build notes are vital, so much equipment that overlaps other equipment!

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A new support frame for the seat (from the u/c legs of an old Kamov helicopter that was never going to get finished). The kit instructions have you attach the seat direct to the rear bulkhead but pics show a P-40 style framework.

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Also, removing the rather vague cockpit sill and canopy runners, to be replaced with 'L' section Evergreen stock:

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Next, filling and fairing in the new sills, new throttle quadrant, more switch panels, various levers and U/C controls...last Williams Bros. racer I built was a Caudron 450 which had about three controls and a seat to scratchbuild, so this is a (enjoyable) challenge in comparison!

Take care

Matt

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Evening,

Some small but steady progress tonight - more sidewall detail including a selector switch (old Eduard etch for a Fulmar, plus plasticard switch), and one of the many control levers that seem to be mounted all over the cockpit (this is the red one in the pic of a real 'pit earlier in the thread).

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Also, throttle quadrant and levers, from Evergreen stock, shaped, with spare Eduard etch for the gates, stretched sprue and white glue controls.

The tubing will receive a bundle of wiring later, and throttle control rods will go fwd towards the engine.

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Camera shake and poor focussing thrown in for free! So, little bits of time in the evenings are helping keep some momentum going, and it's nice to do a bit of whittling after a work day.

I've decided there's a deadline for this one - February 15th.

Take care,

Matt

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Propellers this time - the kit ones have huge sink marks, and copious flash, but easy enough to fix with plastic putty and a coating of CA glue after sanding, which is itself sanded before totally setting. I find this stops filler showing through as a matt area after painting, and gets a super smooth finish.

From this...

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...to this

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I realise this is a rather slow build, so to provide in-flight entertainment for those of you kind enough to look in, this is what I'm aiming to replicate - the winner of the 1939 Bendix trophy, Frank Fuller and his personal Seversky SEV-S2 racer.

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Frank Fuller owned the Fuller Paint Company and used his wealth to indulge in air racing, winning the Bendix twice in this machine. It was originally natural metal and raced as number 23, before being painted green with yellow flashes, good PR for a paint company, and renumbered 77. The plane also appeared in the movie 'Test Pilot' as the Drake Bullet, 'flown' by Clark Gable, Seversky was a keen publicist and seems to have used racing and Hollywood exposure to try to drum up sales for the P-35 and various other related versions of the basic design. I've found quite a lot of info on the Seversky racers online and more about Seversky himself who had a colourful career, selling planes to Japan despite US Govt disapproval. This seems to have led to his removal from his own company, which became Republic and went on to huge success under this very patriotic new name.

Nice when your hobby gets educational!

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Hello,

Things have moved on enough to get some paint onto the cockpit, and do a test of the seat's placement in relation to the controls. There's one more major set of controls for this side, plenty of wiring, and then onto the other wall, which has a lot less gadgetry, so should be quicker. Having a good look online, I think Eduard's placard set for the P-47 is worth getting in: not the right plane, obviously, but in the right family and it's got some nice Pratt and Whitney logos included...

For some reason the dark wash I used over the Humbrol aluminium has bled away from the detail and created blotches. This might be down to the fairly coarse pigment in the Humbrol acrylic? I'll smooth it out with sanding sticks, and go back to Xtracrlyics!

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I've also started boxing in and correcting the wheel wells. The S2, like the P-35, didn't have fully retractable u/c, only about 40% of the wheel went into the well, the rest being streamlined by the u/c fairings. Out of the box, the wheel wells are simply large holes, but in reality there are two separate sections. I've started blocking in the non-gap(?) with plasticard sections, a bit more shaping needed yet, and stared replicating the riveted and corrugated roof. The smaller opening in the middle will get covered with a fabric fairing, that accepts the u/c struts, as in the walkaround image:

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Not shown, but I've also cut out the tailwheel doors that are moulded shut in the kit, and the forward bulkhead, console and rudder pedals are pretty much ready to insert. Shouldn't be too long before I have a closed-up fuselage and something looking a bit more like an aircraft.

Take care

Matt

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just found this, looks tasty, looking forward to the rest of the saga

Thanks for the kind words spaddad, saga's the right word, hopefully progress will pick up now I'm coming to the end of having to scratch everything!

Matt

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Hello,

It's taken time, but by the end of Monday I think I'll be ready to close up the fuselage. Happy with the cockpit repaint, and most elements are in place. I'm having to test fit everything, the inside of the kit fuselage is rough and uneven, so lots of filing and smoothing to accept the new bulkheads.

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Just ordered some P-47 placards to adapt, and AML's early WWII US seatbelts, should be here Monday, so I'm trying to get everything ready for then. I'm enjoying scratchbuilding and using up spare bits, but I'm happy to leave some things to the aftermarket!

More soon,

Matt

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Excellent work Matt. A wonderful air of realism in the cockpit and agree with you about using certain parts of aftermarket to supplement the scratchbuilding. While creating your own detail is highly rewarding some stuff is better from the aftermarket experts to get the best finish possible.

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Excellent work Matt. A wonderful air of realism in the cockpit and agree with you about using certain parts of aftermarket to supplement the scratchbuilding. While creating your own detail is highly rewarding some stuff is better from the aftermarket experts to get the best finish possible.

Thanks Col! I know my limits.

I've asked my very skilled brother, a professional model maker, if he can run off better versions of various tiny logos for me - kit ones are misprinted badly:

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Aiming for this, but 6mm wide. Ambitious?

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A few more from last night:

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Calling this half done.

Matt

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Last bit for the weekend, test fit of the engine in its cowling. Had to scrape away lots of the inside cowling to get a fit, Williams Bros certainly didn't skimp on the amount of plastic they used! Zooming in to the image, I am quite pleased with the hand-painted P&W logo - probably a fluke, good job it's single engined...

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Also, the oil cooler plus mesh from an old coffee plunger, hard to see here but looks perfect as a cooling matrix...

Enjoy the week ahead,

Matt

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