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Bedders

Spitfire I and 21 - and now an XVIII

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Morning All,

Since returning to the hobby a couple of years ago I now find it hard not to have a Spitifre of some kind on the go. Following on from my Seafire 47 which I enjoyed immensely, I've decided to do another Spitfire variant which hitherto has eluded me due to lack of talent and time - the Mark 21. It's an interesting variant, being the last with the original style fuselage and the first with the new wing, and so it was something of an interim model of which only 120 were built. It was also a tricky model to get to fly straight, with all sorts of longitudinal stability problems which took time to iron out. But, as test pilot Jeffrey Quill writes, they got it right in the end, and the high-performance Mark 21 had a relatively long career, starting in the final weeks of World War 2 and continuing in the Auxiliary squadrons, with a 1950s swansong doing anti-aircraft co-operation work outsourced to the private sector.

I think the 21 is pretty, and as a boy remember seeing LA226 displayed in the atrium of Vickers' HQ at Millbank, central London, in the 1970s. With a number of production 21s having contra-rotating propellers and even bigger rudders than normal, there's also a good deal of variation available to choose from for a subject.

For the base kit I'm using the Airfix Spitfire 22 (because I like it), with the spine and tail of the Airfix XIX. My XIX fuselage was spare as I built a Mark XI by combining the XIX wing with the IX fuselage, modified appropriately. I had planned to use the Freightdog XI conversion set on the XIX fuselage but in the end decided against it, because whilst the Freightdog set is very nice and accurate, the XIX fuselage that it should be bolted onto is not, and the combination looked all wrong to me. So I've still got the Freightdog set and the XIX fuselage minus its nose.

The other awkwardness is that the XIX tail is now in two pieces, with a horizontal separation just above the elevators, which I made to accommodate the Freightdog XI fin. What this amounts to is that the fuselage halves below are made up of four pieces each, all stitched back together and with a first application of filler:

image_zpscuc1exor.jpg

I'm also going to push ahead with my Spitfire I, which is a refugee from the Battle of Britain Group build. Unfortunately my plans to make R6915 as it currently appears in the the Imperial war Museum (in a late-war paint scheme) render the model ineligible for the Group Build. No problem: I'll push on with it here. Here's the original:

image_zpsnd9lxxwy.jpg

R6915 is a real Battle of Britain veteran, with a number of victories to its name. Later on it went to the OTUs and received some modifications: over-wing strengthening ribs, fishtail exhausts, and later-style canopy all added. I'll try to model all these if poss.

So here is how far I've got:

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I've added the wing strengthening ribs and also the vents for the gun heating at the wingtips. After doing the latter, I went over to IWM Lambeth to have a look at the original, and found I'd been too clever: the vents had been removed from the wing undersides, so my plasticard representations will also have to come off. The ejector slots for the empty .303 cases were also doped over on R6915, so I'll have to fill and sand these too.

Justin

Edited by Bedders

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Cool idea Justin. I've wanted to do the Mk 21 myself ever since I saw them on the cover of the Ballentines Books "Spitfire" by John Vader. Such an elegant look. I'll be following along and wish you all the best in getting her done.

Don

Edited by Don

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Afternoon all,

I've made a bit of progress with the 21, inspired by Cpl Punishment's excellent 1/48 WIP on Britmodeller. I've got the XIX spine and tail grafted onto the 22 fuselage, with the rescribing mostly done. I rubbed down the ribs in the XIX elevators, as the 21s had metal covered ones. I used a bit of aluminium paint to help identify blemishes in the surface and the scribing, and then gave it a coat of Alclad grey primer. This has now been given a good rub down, and I'm reasonably satisfied with how it looks - or rather how it feels (cos while it looks a bit messy it is quite smooth and almost ready for paint).

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Next I'll need to tackle the rear section of the canopy (which I'm dreading), ensuring it's flush with the fuselage. I'm using a piece of acetate sheet cut and rolled to shape. Any tips on how to get this stuck on firmly but without clouding, gratefully received...

Justin

Edited by Bedders

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Fantastic work on the 21 Justin. An impressively smooth conversion.

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Hi All,

Can't believe it's been three months since I did an update on this, but I've made a bit of progress on the Mark 21, such that it now has its main colour scheme applied. Paint is Xtracolour enamel, airbrushed and thinned with cellulose thinner which speeds up drying times significantly from a couple of days to a couple of hours (I picked up this life-saving tip on Britmodeller and boy am I grateful). Anyway the paint went on OK: I did the sky band and yellow leading edges first, then the Medium Sea Grey unders, then the Ocean Grey and finally the Dark Green. The leading edges need a touch-up as the masks didn't adhere too well. The camo masks were hand-cut from Tamiya tape, which left rather hard edges (I couldn't lay my hands on enough blu-tack to do the sausages method so went with the tape instead). Anyway I've blended the edges in slightly by hand-painting a thin line of 50/50 OG/DG along the demarcation lines, and I'm reasonably happy with the result.

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In the meantime I've been making headway with my Mark XVIII, which is also starting to look like a model aeroplane finally.

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This is something of a Franken-Spit, with mostly Airfix roots. The fuselage is Airfix 22, the fin/tailplanes Airfix XIX, the wings Airfix IX, the rudder Special Hobby reshaped a touch and the radiators Fujimi, also tinkered with. The paint you can see is a couple of thin coats of Humbrol 78 brushed on as I don't have access to the airbrush for a good deal of my time, and I was getting impatient. The wing roots were finessed a bit because the IX wings are broader in chord than the 22 wing-root fillets. I think both are slightly off, and I've tried to get it as close to the correct measurement of 3.54 cm in 1/72. I think this will be finished in the "desert" scheme of 208 Squadron in Egypt in 1948-9. But with the slow pace of my work, and Christmas cooking duties looming, there's a way to go yet I fear...

Justin

Edited by Bedders

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Cool, wish I'd though of that before buying the Special Hobby 21. I was thinking I could graft the Airfix 22 wing on to the S-H 21 kit: the latter's wing looks way off to me, especially parked on a shelf next to a 22/24.

It didn't occur to me that I might be able to just blend a spine on to the superb Airfix 22 instead....

Will

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Will,

I bought the SH 21 a while back and at least used the broad-chord rudder for the Mark 18. And I like the decal options too. Another potential way of skinning the 21 cat is to put the Airfix 22 wings onto the XIX fuselage, but I decided against this as the XIX fuselage is too short in the area around the cockpit. I've been playing around with one of these kits to see how it might be corrected, with a view to making a XIV:

IMG_1186_zpswpcyju3c.jpg

But this project might not get too far. I have a feeling that the forthcoming Eduard Mark IX kits will cause a revolution in 1/72 Spitfire-building, and the best way to do a well-proportioned XIV might be to put an Airfix 22 nose and XIX tail onto an Eduard IX.

Justin

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Funny that this one has just re-surfaced,I was doing a little on my own 22 to 47 conversion last night.

I've long hankered after an XVIII too,I thought(at first)XIX fuse. onto a CMR resin e wing that came in

a load of Spit parts I had given to me,but yes,a 22 fuse would be better with the XIX's tail feathers and

a tweaked rudder.

The CMR e wing will need standard tips adding too.

I did the Airfix IX/XIX combo to produce an XI and an XIV,the wings fit the fuselages well with a bit

of finessing fore and aft of the requisite removed fuselage sections.

One thing I did find though was to use the IX kit's undercart legs with it's wing and vice-versa with the

XIX wing.

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Dunno whether you know or not Justin,but when R6915 was with 609 Sqn during the Battle,she was flown by John Dundas......

Apart from the over-wing stiffeners,she's alledgedly a very good original example of a Mk.1

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This has taken forever, but I've finally made some progress on the 21: most of the decals are on with just the stencils to do. The decals are mostly from the airfix kit, with codes and serials chopped around from an old Special Hobby kit and the crests on the cowling from Freightdog. We're getting there. Meanwhile the Mk I from this thread has become a Mk II over on the Edgar Spitfire Group Build, and I hope to finish the XVIII there too.

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Justin

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It was all going so well: all the decals were on and the 21 was almost done. Just a coat of gloss to protect the decals, a panel line wash, then some final bits & bobs. It would be finished this weekend.

That was the plan. But I ballsed it up. Not having used the airbrush for ages I went way overboard with the gloss coat (Humbrol Clear), and it all went downhill from there. Next morning the finish was all horrible and lumpy, so I thought I'd put another coat on, diluted a touch, in an attempt to smooth it out. So I did that, but I think I sprayed it whilst the air temperature was still too low, and the whole thing started to turn frosty white. Oh dear: my nice 21 was basically ruined: it was now a matter of tryng to save the model, at the expense of the decals and possibly the paint job too (Xtracolour enamels). So I took the plunge:

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Warm water with a dollop of washing up liquid. Slowly, inexorably, the decals have come off and the whole paint job is lifting too, right down to the primer. I'll use a cocktail stick to shift the tricky bits. I might be able to save the thing: the conversion was a lot of work and it wasn't half bad. If I can save it, I might be in the market for ideas for a different colour scheme. Not sure I'll want to replicate what was there before!

Justin

Edited by Bedders

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Hope you do save it Justin after all the work you've put in.

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What a bummer Justin, I feel your pain having experienced similar woes on my recently demised Corsairs. I didn't have your patience to remove the offending paint, so good on you. I understand the desire to switch up the scheme so you don't feel you're doing double work. What about one of the silver schemes like this one? I've got a number of Mk 21 decals now, give a shout (or PM) if you're interested and I'll let you know what I've got.

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She was looking great too, but well done on the save and I'm looking forward to seeing her painted up again :)

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Pity, but it's a good learning experience. Maybe it'll come out even better - I had similar problems spraying an Airkit 21 that I was salvaging but stripped and resprayed it.

The CMR e wing will need standard tips adding too.

Both the CMR "Canadians" and "International" boxings of their IXe will give you no less than THREE wings - normal span e, clipped e and clipped e with the post war bulge. Either should give you the ideal wing.

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That F.21 was looking brilliant; that is a great shame about the clear coat. I do hope you persevere as it was such a nice conversion job, and such a beautiful aeroplane also.

Regards,

Jason

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Both the CMR "Canadians" and "International" boxings of their IXe will give you no less than THREE wings - normal span e, clipped e and clipped e with the post war bulge. Either should give you the ideal wing.

The CMR e wing I have came in a box of Spit bits donated by one of the BM Massiv hence the clipped tips Lee.

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It's taken a while to get the mojo back on this 21 and put it back onto the right road: the wings have been off and a bit of remedial work was done, but now it's primed and ready for paint again:

 

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What helped was doing this, which is now, finally, almost finished: a Sword Mk XIV:

 

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As I contemplated the differences between the 21 and XIV I started thinking about propellers, and it seems that the Airfix propeller for the 22 is indeed too small, as some have already mentioned: it should be a scale 11' 0", but is instead more like a scale 10' 5" which would be right for the XIV/XVIII/XIX series.

 

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As for the Airfix XIX prop, that is too small too:

 

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The dotted line on the outside is for 11' 10", which according to some sources is the size of the Mark 24 propeller. I'm still not convinced of this, as it's quite a bit bigger than the 21/22 prop and with no documented increase in undercarriage length for the 24, it seems this would risk pecking the ground quite easily.

 

I've found the Sword XIV kit hard work but ultimately quite rewarding, and it's a pretty good representation of the Mark. That said I did take the tail off and add about 1.5 mm of length at the transport joint, and made the rudder hinge line vertical rather than forward-leaning. On the basis of this experience I'm not going to progress my Airfix XVIII conversion and will probably adapt the Sword XIV low-back.

 

Justin

Edited by Bedders

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Where's the 'super-like' button? Wonderful stuff Justin, this thread pretty much inspired my entire 2017 modelling output. I really like the Sword XIV kit even though it was a pain in places (like all Sword Spitfires) and I think the prop is the right size (but would love confirmation on that). Could you give a little more detail on the length you added to it?

 

Looking forward to the scheme on the Mk 21, a treat for us viewers who get to see two schemes for it, although it was a bit of a hardship for you.

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I don't know how I missed this thread but I'm glad I've found it. The 21 looked great and, no doubt, will look great again, and the XIV looks most splendid.

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Thanks very much guys. Cookie, the length issue with the Sword kit is only a minor frustration. People who worry about such things (e.g. me) know that the Airfix XIX is about 1.5 mm too short. My post #7 above shows the problem there, which is to be found in the cockpit area (the Airfix version seems to be for short pilots), but which has the impact of shortening the nose. In my attempt at a XIV in #7 I've cut off the nose, extended it forwards and was rescribing around the cockpit. That, once mated to an Airfix IX wing with revised cannon bulges and scribed fuel tanks, ended up looking like this:

 

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So it was getting there. But then I realised that on this, and on the XVIII, the underside of the Airfix ailerons have too narrow a chord and need filling and rescribing. Life suddenly seemed too short to bother with it. Here you can see the difference with the Sword kit which is correct:

 

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Whilst I was doing all this to Airfix kits the Sword kit arrived on the scene, and like many of us I had to have one immediately. When I checked it against the plans I use and against the Airfix XIX kit, I was surprised to find that the length, once the rudder was removed, was also slightly short, and the rudder is slightly oversized to make it close to the correct length. Against the plans the Sword nose and cockpit area are all correct, but the shortness comes at the rear transport joint which is a tad too far forward, and the rudder hinge line canted forward from the vertical. So the simple remedy was to take the tail off, add a shim, and reattach to ensure that the rudder line is properly vertical. So now the proportions are right.

 

Here you can see the issue on my spare low-back fuselage - the rudder hinge should follow the vertical lines drawn on the paper. Not disastrous, but enough to merit a correction.

 

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Other than that the Sword kit is very nice, but ain't it a lot of work...?

 

On the colour scheme for the 21, I've been tempted to do this one in the interests of speed and getting if off my to-do list.

 

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But given that both my 22 and 24 are in silver, I think I've got to do a camo one. I'll need to buy another Freightdog decal set though...

 

Justin

 

 

Edited by Bedders

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28 minutes ago, Bedders said:

But given that both my 22 and 24 are in silver, I think I've got to do a camo one.

May I suggest a 91 Squadron plane? They were the only squadron to use them in Combat.

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