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DominikS

Spitfire armor plates in cockpit - shape and dimensions

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Hi Fellow Modellers and Spitfire Experts

I have a very unusual question. I need information about the shape and dimensions of armour plates behind pilot seat. Neither Tamiya's nor Airfix's Spitfires Mk.I in 1/72 scale don't have those parts and I want to make them from the scratch. I'll be grateful for any kind of help.

Cheers

Dominik

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The early Mk1 production Spitfires didn't have rear armour protection for the pilot, that came in with the later production Mk1's, not sure when the change happened exactly though. Did you have a particular aircraft in mind?

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I want to build some Spitfires from the Battle of Britain. At that time, AFAIK, all Spitfires had armour protection.

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Ah, OK. I think it was added in February 1940 under Mod 140. Can't help with the size I'm afraid, I'm at work at the moment, other than it was the same width as the seat.

Don't know if this helps;

http://i13.servimg.com/u/f13/14/33/56/79/01310.jpg

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Doug, thanks for the photo. I know the shape. Now dimensions to scale down to 72nd.

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This might help, though it includes the under-seat armour, which was a post-1940 addition. The head armour was added in February 1940, but, due to the Hurricanes in France getting priority, the Spitfires didn't get it behind the seat until after Dunkirk, with those airfields nearest the Channel first.

30035SHT26GPilotsSeat_zpsb9f2dd91.jpg

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Okay, that's different. The panel behind the seat has typically been portrayed as squared off at the bottom of the panel, but the diagram posted by Edgar shows something different - ?

Any reason why one of the bottom corners is missing from the panel?

PR

Edited by Peter Roberts

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Okay, that's different. The panel behind the seat has typically been portrayed as squared off at the bottom of the panel, but the diagram posted by Edgar shows something different - ?

Any reason why one of the bottom corners is missing from the panel?

PR

Hi Peter

The electrical system main fuse box tray (and other bits and bobs) is located half way down the port side wall below the cockpit entry door. The lower corner of the armour plate is cut away to remain clear of the fuse box tray when the pilots seat is lowered to its lower positions.

Joe

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The Bowden cable, for firing the (initially downward, then upward from 1941) recognition device, also goes through that area.

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Edgar, Joe, thanks for the replies and clarification.

Need to study the pilots notes more carefully!

PR

Edited by Peter Roberts

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Genuine Mk.I Pilot's Notes are in the hen's teeth section; I got this from the National Archives, though the Mk.II is very similar. Items 1 are the pull-handles for the release cables to the parachute flare tubes; when they were deleted, the recognition device, with its cable replaced them.

MkIcockpitleft_zpsd53605d9.jpgMkIcockpitright_zps464e0250.jpg

Edited by Edgar

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Note "9" which is the push-me-pull-you control for the early VP airscrew, which became obsolete as the BoB began..

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Thank you Edgar.

I have often wondered about the changes in cockpit fitout, such as the one you have raised, across the different Marks. Probably not such a great issue in 1/72 or 1/48 scale but more of an issue in 1/32 or 1/24 scale perhaps.

I understand the oxygen bottle was also in a different position initially? Beneath the seat?

PR

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No, behind it, opposite the compressed-air bottles, just below the "glass," and set horizontally. There was no oxygen hose, since the pipework went round to the upper left of the instrument panel (no. 25,) then back behind the panel, appearing through the right "leg" of the bulkhead, and climbing up to just under the gunsight spare bulbs, finishing in a bayonet fitting beside the remote contactor. The pilot's hose was attached to his mask, and plugged into the bayonet fitting, often with a clip on the cockpit wall to keep clear his vision of the panel. This caused several casualties, due to pilots baling out in a hurry, and forgetting to disconnect the hose; at best, this kept him attached, at worst, it broke his neck. This is why later Marks had a wall-mounted hose, which plugged into the mask, and just pulled free.

As you'll see, I've added the starboard half (in early days the Pilot's Notes had only two photos.)

Note that the IFF wasn't fitted (until December according to the company,) the (metal) seat has no depression (just undulations) in the base, and the rudder pedals have only one crossbar.

Edited by Edgar

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Hi All

Thank you for all Information about the plate. Coincidentally I learnt something new about the shape and other things.

Edgar, you should definitely write a book about the Spitfire. It would sell in thousands, methinks.

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I agree Dominik, that is an excellent suggestion, but I suspect Edgar is a busy man visiting Kew and posting reples on forums! :)

Thank you for the info Edgar and the photos (both).

The view in the Port Side of Cockpit photo shows something on the seat - a wear pad of sorts? Leather fitting?

PR

Edited by Peter Roberts

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Normally a piece of "basil" leather used to prevent chafing of the ripcord; the early seat also had no recess in the base, since there was no dinghy, therefore no inflation bottle to cause discomfort for the pilot.

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Useful pictures, but the one for the starboard side raises a question for me. When did the manual undercarriage lever disappear?

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Possibly later than is generally thought; the RAF didn't issue an amendment, to the Mk.I A.P., until April 1940.

Did find this illustration, which includes the reservoir; can't say how accurate it is, but I doubt we'll find anything better in the near future:-

PICT0091_zps26e09edf.jpg

Edited by Edgar

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Thanks Edgar. A friend of mine is building a model of an aircraft finished in September 1940, so presumably it used the later system.

Edited by davidelvy

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By Sept '40 definitely a hydraulic pump, not the hand pump. Don't know when the switch happened- I want to say spring '39, but not sure why.

bob

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