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Stew Dapple

1/72 Airfix Defiant Nightfighters in Stereo - Pic Heavy

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I tried to be patient, and to hold my peace, telling myself that if I just waited until July I could build a few of the new Airfix Boulton Paul Defiant kits for the BoB GB... but the kits looks so nice, and there are so many possible options that I would like to build, that my cunning lower animal brain hatched a plan: build a couple of nightfighters, and maybe in July when the BoB GB starts, a couple of day fighters if I do run out of other things to build (which given the contents of my stash being specifically tailored to the first 18 months or so of the war is not likely to happen unless by choice).

So I find myself here:

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Looking at these:

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... which is a bit of an embarrassment of riches. I think I will be building the sharkmouthed N3328 from the kit decals, and N3313 of 264 Squadron from the Print Scale set.

I recently moved into a new flat in a tenement, and being on the ground floor means all the other tenants have to trek past my front door in the communal hallway to get to their flats. This is a new experience for me but logic dictated that it is probably not best to have the sort of smells emanating from my flat that the uninitiated might erroneously associate with a crack factory or methamphetamine lab, so as an experiment I invested in a set of Hataka RAF acrylic paints (though I will only be using the interior grey-green for these builds).

For sprue shots I refer you to Mark's pictures here, which are better than anything I might attempt.

Construction starts with the fitting of various internal parts, I will be using the crew figures who are unique to this kit and look rather good...

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The floors, seats and bulkheads etc are just clicked into place to keep the mating surfaces free of paint, which was then sprayed:

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The Hataka paint went on nicely and covered well, didn't smell too chemically either...

The detail parts were painted and the painted pilots fitted:

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Then posed for a picture with the gunners:

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The instrument panel was decalled and fitted into the fuselage - note that it sits a bit aft of the coaming, so you need to paint the back of the panel as well:

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I think I got a bit out of sequence with the instructions and built the wings next (I was waiting for the decal setting solution to dry on the IP, that's my excuse and I defy anyone to prove otherwise):

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Then joined the fuselage halves:

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The wings and fuselage halves both fitted very well, I needed a smear of filler along the upper cowling to disguise the join and sanded the leading edges of the wings just for tidiness' sake. As Mark (FZ6) noted in his build, the trailing edges of the wings are rather thick; how much of a problem this is for you depends on your tolerances but to me it is not excessive enough to be worth remedial action (I have fairly sloppy standards though).

I then fitted the aft turret fairing - both raised, although you have to option to build it lowered if you prefer; I am so used to seeing it raised that it looks a bit weird if it isn't, so as you see it was an informed decision on my part and not just some whim that occurred on the spur of the moment:

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Then I sort of slipped out of sequence again and masked and fitted the pilot's canopy and the forward turret fairings. I chose to do one closed up and one open; it seems it was fairly common practice for pilots to leave the hood open and anyway, because I can, okay?

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A word on the canopies - again, as noted by Mark (FZ6) the framing is not terribly well defined, it is as if it has been moulded at an angle and I think it might be something to do with Airfix moulding the turret 'glass' as one-piece (which is an excellent thing)... if you are particularly averse to masking I would recommend you wait until Peewit, Montex or Eduard make a masking set for this kit - you can bet that these are being worked on even now (and you can also bet that the Eduard one will cost almost as much as the kit, so I leave it up to you to decide whether you really do hate masking that much, although the Peewit and Montex sets are generally much cheaper).

Still got those turrets to do :(

Finally, I assembled the various parts for the radiator and the oil cooler, I plan to Blu-tack these on so I can spray them when I do the camo then remove them to paint the grilles before permanently gluing them back on:

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... and that's where I am now. Hopefully will get some more done at the weekend, so far it has gone very well.

Cheers,

Stew

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I want one now! I've had a couple of Airfix kits of late with ill defined framing. I don't know if this is commonplace or just anomalies

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Stew,

I'm not a real fan of figures being added to models however on this occasion I am very happy to "Eat my Hat !!"

Being wonderfully painted, these little men look just superb and will set off what looks like a very nice kit.

I cannot wait to get my Dogfight double kit through the post in a few weeks or so.

It's also nice to see true images of the Printscale decals. My initial thoughts on seeing computer images was that their red was too bright, however from your photo - they don't look that bad at all.

Looking forward to the excellent progress.

Cheers .. Dave

Edited by Rabbit Leader

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Yes, my immediate reaction was that the figure work is very good and adds a lot of interest to a black model in particular.

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Nice one Stew,two at a time eh! soon have you up to four.Great start figures look superb if I could do them as good as that I,d add them too.Looking

forward to the rest of this WIP,good luck!

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Hmmm, I might have to get a couple more than the two I have at the moment as I too am struggling to decide on which schemes to do from the decal sheet I have.

Martin

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Looking good. Especially the pilots which look 1/48, and I'm not kidding. Look forward to the sharkmouth nightfighter, which is the scheme I will do mine in. That said, too many to choose from.

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Hi Stew, just received a pair of these myself off the postie + the Xtradecal sheet. These are looking very good.

I always wanted a Defiant, but I don't remember seeing the old kit around when I was a kid...it was as elusive as the Westland Whirlwind. I think my Dad built one from a spare turret from somewhere, and a Hurricane if I remember rightly...it looked pretty similar when hanging from my bedroom ceiling :)

I already had an MPM Defiant in the stash. I may scratch build it into a target tug, as I think the WIP builds of that kit seem to show problems with the turret on that kit. I have the sharkmouth scheme decals in the MPM kit, so they may well go on one of the Airfix kits.

I bet you'll have these finished by Monday, if the BF110 builds are anything to go by :)

Rob.

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Outstanding work so far!

It's interesting how the availability of a really nice kit can change one's attitude toward a real-life aircraft! I've never been a great fan of the Defiant, but I will own a couple of these kits when they get across the pond.

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What's the 'patience' thing you refer to. Doesn't sound like any good can come from that, especially if it keeps you away from a build.

Those figures are priceless Stew - text book I would say. Thinking it would be nice to be able to mail you my unpainted ones, and get something like this back - well, we all have our fantasies.

Cheers,

Mike

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I want one now! I've had a couple of Airfix kits of late with ill defined framing. I don't know if this is commonplace or just anomalies

Hi Darby, yes, unfortunately the clear parts seem to be the real Achilles Heel for Airfix at present, I do hope that they are taking steps to improve this... in this case it is more annoying than anything, as I expect the end result will look fine but it makes masking awkward before you can get there.

Dave, WiP, Steve, thanks very much, I think well detailed and moulded figures can add a sense of scale to a kit and I will use them if they are well done and don't compromise the fit of the other parts - that said you don't often get well detailed and well moulded figures in a kit, and with most manufacturers you don't get any at all so there isn't much incentive to use them... the 'recent' Airfix figures have been okay but a bit soggy-looking and generic, apart from them the last time I used some was I think the Zvezda Ju88 - probably the best crew figures I have ever seen in a kit - these Defiant crew are a close-ish second though. :D

Hmmm, I might have to get a couple more than the two I have at the moment as I too am struggling to decide on which schemes to do from the decal sheet I have.

Martin

I feel your pain Martin, especially if like me, you are unable to see an aftermarket decal sheet for an aircraft you like without buying it...

Looking good. Especially the pilots which look 1/48, and I'm not kidding. Look forward to the sharkmouth nightfighter, which is the scheme I will do mine in. That said, too many to choose from.

Thanks very much Tom :D - yep, sharkmouth FTW B) but as you say, there are a lot of 'irregular' national markings which are interesting as well, it's as if to make up for the overall black scheme they were allowed to make up their own fuselage roundels

Hi Stew, just received a pair of these myself off the postie + the Xtradecal sheet. These are looking very good.

I always wanted a Defiant, but I don't remember seeing the old kit around when I was a kid...it was as elusive as the Westland Whirlwind. I think my Dad built one from a spare turret from somewhere, and a Hurricane if I remember rightly...it looked pretty similar when hanging from my bedroom ceiling :)

I already had an MPM Defiant in the stash. I may scratch build it into a target tug, as I think the WIP builds of that kit seem to show problems with the turret on that kit. I have the sharkmouth scheme decals in the MPM kit, so they may well go on one of the Airfix kits.

I bet you'll have these finished by Monday, if the BF110 builds are anything to go by :)

Rob.

Cheers Rob; I think your prediction is a little optimistic, I hope to have the two finished this month to keep up the momentum of last year's building but that is just a rough plan as otherwise I might suffer from 'performance anxiety' :fraidnot: - I did build the original when I was a boy and didn't notice anything wrong with it :) - have to say this really is a vast improvement :D

MDriskill, thank you :) - it's an interesting aircraft and the kit has been a very pleasant build so far, the decal options are good and I presume it will not be inordinately expensive even having travelled the Atlantic - definitely get yourself a couple :D

Mike, thank you mate, the 'patience' thing proved to be elusive when I looked for it, my guess is it is one of those urban myths... as for the figures, it is odd, you would think a detailed figure would be harder to paint but when you can see the goggle-rims and the webbing etc it is actually much easier to paint them than if you have to make a guess at where they would be... :S

Thanks for your attention gents :)

Cheers,

Stew

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Excellent work on both Stew and, as the others have mentioned; the figures look excellent - your figure painting skills are top notch! I'm going to have to get me one of these, but probably not until the BoB GB - got a few tanks I'm going to build for the Achtung Panzer GB in the meantime.

Kind regards,

Stix

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Thanks for showing us these....looks like a straight forward build... And plenty of 'black' options for the 'black' theme I have going on one of my shelves..and a shark mouth too!

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Looking good, and great progress too! The NF is a definite must for my stash, but I will wait until one of those value boxings springs up. Maybe.

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I've been wondering recently about your (virtual) whereabouts Stew. Glad to have 'found' you!

Mike W beat me to making a joke about mailing all my pilot figures to you for proper painting.

I'm definitely looking forward to following along with this one.

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Looking forward to mine arriving in the mail from the UK soon. Got it cheaper than it would have retailer in NZ too lol

I see Airfix put pictures of the FAA Museum on their Facebook page a few days back, hinting about measurements etc. Would be interesting if they choose the Rock and could possibly use the same turret from the Defiant. In saying that I hope they make a Barracuda or a Skua.

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Go Stew!

You see - your painting skills are top notch.

Anticipating greatness ( no pressure )

cheers,

Mike

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Thanks Rotorhead, I hope you don't have to wait too long :)

Thank you Stix, I'm sure you enjoy the Defiant once you get round to it; have fun with the tracky things in the meantime :D

Neil, yes it's been very straightforward so far, no 'interesting' construction features as seen on some of the recent Airfix releases :) and the kits marking options are both good, what's not to like?

Model glue, thank you mate :) I'm not sure though if they will do another boxing like they did with the Hurricane, I think the series 2 kit will be the standard (so if you didn't want to wait you could probably justify filling your boots now) :D

Hey Cookie, glad you could make it :D Yeah I had a little fallow period after I moved house, didn't want to sully my pristine new modelling table I suppose, but the prospect of building a couple of these overcame my reticence in short order :D

Hi Tempestwulf, thanks very much :D - funnily enough when I built the Special Hobby Roc I messed the turret up badly and got away with using the one from the MPM Defiant. I wouldn't have thought the Roc was the sort of thing that Airfix would kit, but then I wouldn't have expected a Shackleton so that shows what a reliable propheseer I would make :)

Mike, thank you, I have been anticipating greatness all my life :D

Thanks to you all,

Cheers,

Stew

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Wow yours are flying together. I need to try acrylics as it sure speeds things up. The pilot figures have painted up well as I thought they would.

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Looking forward to mine arriving in the mail from the UK soon. Got it cheaper than it would have retailer in NZ too lol

I see Airfix put pictures of the FAA Museum on their Facebook page a few days back, hinting about measurements etc. Would be interesting if they choose the Rock and could possibly use the same turret from the Defiant. In saying that I hope they make a Barracuda or a Skua.

...or a 1/48 Scimitar, following on the Vixen - Javelin - Gnat line... which would make a lot of people very happy indeed. Definitely including me!

Edit: sorry, how rude of me. I too built the earlier Airfix Defiant as a kid, and this looks light years ahead - and those figures are superb; lovely job.

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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You have a magnificent ability to paint fantastic figures. You had better tell us how you do it 'çause I'm dying to know how it is done. Brilliant.

Stephen

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Thanks Mark, yes, it only took me part of an evening to paint the crew thanks to the shorter drying-time of acrylics, but for a long time now I have been using acrylic paint for detail stuff as it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference especially for stuff that goes in the cockpit and therefore doesn't have to have a particularly durable paint job - it remains to be seen how well the acrylics will fare as the outer topcoat, but I'll prime it first and it ought to work okay.

Ex-FAAWAFU - thanks mate, and no problem, all threads tend to wander a little here and there :D

Stephen, thank you :D , erm... well I primed the figures with an overall coat of flesh colour, and then sort of just painted the rest... I did use 2.5 magnification reading glasses, and a very fine brush, but really... well I just painted the figures and that's how they came out, I don't really have any special methods :shrug:

So to catch up then; yesterday I fitted the stabilisers and rudder, the fit is excellent and there was no trauma involved:

DSCN2286.jpg

Airfix advise in the instructions that the rudder ranged a maximum 25 degrees each side of the centre line, if you wanted to offset yours for visual interest...

Then I got on to the undercarriage - if you are building the kit, the following might be of use, or not, as you see fit:

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This is the completed undercarriage, except for the wheels, fitted. The fit is very good and in fact only the gear doors in the picture above are glued to the wing underside - I intend to remove the gear legs and retraction mechanism (which are just clicked into place at present) and paint them separately in a slightly different shade of black which will of course end up being totally unnoticeable to anyone except me. Incidentally the inner gear doors fit perfectly well the wrong way round - angled forward instead of back as they should be - of course only an idiot would just glue them on without looking at the instructions and then have to pull them off and re-fix them later :blush:

If you do the day fighter scheme the gear doors and wheel bay can be painted sky at the same time as the rest of the underside - the gear legs and retraction mechanism are black for both versions and they could then be painted separately and installed later:

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Incidentally the instructions show to fit parts C12 and C13 to the gear legs after the gear legs are fitted to the wing - I cannot see any good reason for doing this and you might save yourself some grief by attaching these parts to the gear legs prior to fixing the main gear legs to the wing - C12 and C13 are the little bits that look like mud-scrapers or bicycle brake blocks here:

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However in spite of all the verbiage above the landing gear is nicely detailed, goes together well and feels pretty sturdy once done - the things I have mentioned above are largely to make painting easier or avoid some other hassle later on, and need not be followed if you would rather follow the instructions, in the long run it will make no difference.

So the models were left on their backs with their legs in the air :o and I started on the turrets - the gun barrels are quite thin, not quite scale thickness but pretty delicate so required a bit of care and attention to get them off the sprues undamaged... this done I mounted them to the central spindle; there is a bit of 'play' available so try to check the alignment of the barrels from more than one angle once you have glued them, to make sure they are all pointing the same way:

DSCN2295.jpg

...and that's where I am at the moment, nearly time to start masking the turret glass :unsure: but I hope to have the turrets done by the end of the day...

Cheers,

Stew

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Stew slow down mate you might get a nose bleed. Let the rest of us catch up lol

You say the gear legs and retraction system are both black? Is this right, I only ask as it seems out of place on a sky under surface. Just me going 'whaaaa?' Feel free to strike me down like a limbless knight.

Edited by Tempestwulf

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The "mud scrapers" you mention were actually curved brushes. I'm guessing they were needed becasue of the tight clearance between the tyre and the top of the u/c leg.

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