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The lighting in those HAS pics looks perfect. Nice to see the vehicles in their element! That is certainly an eye catching Spitfire!! Sally B would be an interesting one. Don't think I've ever seen a plastic kit done in those markings. I liked her in the pre-Memphis Belle movie scheme, when she was in 447th BG Rattlesden markings. Would this still be in 1/48?

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While other teenagers were out hanging around the park I used to sit there making models & reading magazines featuring Spencer Flack’s aircraft and later Mike Carlton’s fleet.  So G-HUNT and G-FIRE were big for me growing up.  I remember Sally B in her very early days at Duxford not long after coming over from France.  Back then she was nearer to an E model with no turrets & no green painted, so if the decals are out there (I think they are) it would be that era.  Although by the early 80s she was being rebuilt to a G model so I would need to have a look.  And Rattlesden is probably the nearest airfield to me.




Having said that triangle U was Glatton.  And yes, 1/48.  The kits are quite cheap for the quantity of plastic!

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Cracked the Spitfire box open today.  It’s a nice kit as you would expect.  And a nice thread on here of the dos and donts.  

so much for following the order of the instructions - 10 mins & some tape....



I don’t know how many Spits I have built but I haven’t done a 1/48 one before.  But everything is reassuringly familiar.


I started with the insides of the wheel wells and the tail




Lots of nice cockpit detail 




Following the thread advice I am ignoring the kit paint advice.  Inside the radiators & all of the wheel wells will be white.  The cockpit inside will be black not the usual light green.  Armour plate has been left off.  Well, I say black, I think dark grey with some quick fading black poster paint over it.  I don’t want a shiny black pit.  And test fitting it the inside does indeed fit inside!




Got to check out the gun sight and the gun barrels.  Other than that she is straight out of the box.  The fit of that fuel tank cover worries me a bit.  It would be nice to make it fit well rather than using filler


Anyway, as I said I remember her.  This is my pic from about 1980ish at a Mildenhall Airfete





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Hmmm, Sally B options


1982ish. RAF Polebrook with the G chin turret now fitted



Or 1984 RAF Rattlesden & olive drab



Both very nice.  Got a few jets to do and the Shackleton before I think about getting a B-17.  Got to love them though.  Would be nice to get to the 100th bomb group up at Thorpe Abbots again this year.  And Eye is always nice for a walk around.  Not to mention Horham & the Red Feather club.  Or the tower at Debach.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see them all open again!

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The inside of a spit is usually green but not G-FIRE.  No armour plate either & all black, so I have basically painted it dark grey and given it a black wash over




It all fits in to a tiny space anyway.



That is a test fit without the pedals & column in.  With no camo to do I am thinking about painting everything white as that should make the red pop.  And if I can get it right I might tape off a white stripe so the decals look bright.  Can’t wait to see her up on her wheels.  I had the usual thought of ‘I could stick a motor behind that prop’ but I have been doing my best to push that thought away.  If she sits with the canopy & door open & no pilot, so a running prop would look a bit weird.

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Got to love the detail in the Airfix spit cockpit.  Puts many jets to shame.  I am not sure what etch would add




The instrument panel decal is on too



andi have now pipit the tub together.  It pushes in to the fuselage from underneath.  The instructions say put it in before joining the halves, but it’s very tempting to glue together & prime the body before sliding the tub in.  Camera clear parts have been fitted & filled, now a blob of green on top to get the final finish



Coming together ok.  Making a nice change too.  Although an old ESCI F-104G joined the stash today.....

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Don't think I've ever seen Sally B in the 351st BG scheme before. I love visiting all the old Eighth Air Force bases. I usually manage to get away for a weekend once a year and head over to Norfolk and Suffolk. The museum at Thorpe Abbotts is my favourite, but they are all good. Visited Wendling, Attlebridge, Rackheath, Framlingham and Martlesham Heath last year.

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Think my list from last year was Rattlesden, Eye, Mendlesham, Parham, Framlingham, Debach and Horham!  Bumper year that is unlikely to be repeated.    Been past Wattisham & Rougham so far this year.  Must get Great Ashfield soon too.  And Tibenham would be good.  Mind you highlight for the year is I got a flight out of Duxford for my birthday!  Looking forward to that a lot.

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Happy Easter!  Not done much today other than go for a walk in the slightly chilly sunshine and eat.  But I did get the fuselage halves together & the tail horizontals attached.  The elevators and rudder are just on to check fit




Almost ready to white prime the body & wings

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I was last at Great Ashfield in 2016. I went to see the memorial in the churchyard and I was also aware there is a memorial stained glass window and altar inside. The church was locked but on a notice board by the door was a phone number to ring for access. 10 minutes after phoning, a lady arrived and opened up the church for me. About 15 minutes later, her husband turned up and he gave me a tour round all the parts of the airfield that aren't accessible from public roads and footpaths. According to his wife, he needed very little excuse to show people round the airfield! Not been to Debach since 1999, when tower was still derelict!

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I have always skipped past Great Ashfield as I assumed that there is not a lot to see.  Must try looking at the church.  Debach tower is looking pretty good now & various trolleys & outbuildings can be seen from the footpaths nearby.




And considering the tower was shot up by the leaving US boys at the end of the war the tower at Fram looks good too, complete with T2 



Rougham tower is supposed to be good to visit & hopefully the dinner on the business park nearby will open up again.  They are doing take out pizza at the moment but their dinner food was great.  You had to book to go for breakfast.

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I tried some Tamiya tape belts for the Spit.  They didn’t look good...




So tired again with painted masking tape.  Not perfect but better




And white primer on the body & wheel wells



The cunning plan, as Baldrick would say, is to prime in white and tape over the line for the stripes.  Then spray red and when the tape comes off the white will give a nice bright base for the stripe decals



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Bit of a trip out to Bury ST Ed’s today came back along the new access road across Rougham airfield / RAF Bury St Edmunds.  So a few shots of the tower, the T2 and some of the original buildings from the car windows






So back on to G-FIRE.  Radiators on the underside




New gun barrels made up.  Yes, the kit gives you 8 tyres to choose from, but only gives you 2 barrels when she sported 4.  Yes I know Airfix held their hands up to this one!



And balancing her up on her wheels.  All main bits glued up now & waiting to sand down the green & prime



Never wishing to keep things simple I started peeking in the box of my new Starfighter today.  I wanted to do a Luftwaffe version of the Kinetic kit and the this ESCI one came up.  The German markings look very early & not in the xx + xx number scheme used later.  So I fancy saving Kinetic for another day and going Dutch.  Plus I have this from an old Mildenhall show



And this is the kit




So something like this



Now the Dutch 306 Sqn arrived a recce pod.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I saw one in a box recently and found this in the Academy F-16 box



That might work.  Need to look at the cockpit & seat I think 

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Nice pics from Bury St. Edmunds. I was last there in 2014 and I know the area has changed quite a bit since then. 


Always thought the F-104 looked smart in the green/grey scheme whether Dutch or German.

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Few bits on the Spit.  I used the box art for reference and painted the back wheel centres red




Then check reference photos and found they should be aluminium like the fronts. Oh well repaint them soon.


The whole spit is now white.  Two reasons for this.  One - white is a good primer for red.  Grey primer would make it dull & mucky looking.  Yellow is a good primer too if you want a more orangey red.  Secondly untying white decals on red would look a bit dull and then paining the spinner would end up with colours that don’t match.  So I am masking up the locations for the stripes so they will be white decals over white paint.  Tape is on the wings, body stripes still to tape up.



So once the rest is taped up I need to seal up the radiator front & back plus the wheel wells then the red paint can go on.

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Got some painting done today.  First of all yellow stripes - well tape anyway




And on with the red paint




I repainted the wheel hubs aluminium on both sides & decided to spray the spinner rather than use the kit decals.  The prop blades are yellow as I have sprayed the tips.  Waiting for my new black paint to arrive to paint the blades.




And this is how she looks with the tape off





The kit decals will go over the white stripes after the paint has fully dried over night.  Wheels and doors are about ready to go on, then the canopy to do.  But I like having a bright red Spit!

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To my relief when I came to put the stripes on the white painted stripes were a good match.  I was concerned that the decals wouldn’t sit well on them, but all is good.  Stripes going on




And with exhaust and wheels fitted, just needing the canopy which is currently being painted



The prop needs a bit more doing, including the decals on each blade.  But she is nearly there 

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And with canopy





Still needs canopy and prop decals plus pitot & assorted ariels but the sky reflection looked too good to miss


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Got the Spitfire done in between snow showers yesterday.  Weird weather for this time of year



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So what do you follow a Spitfire with?  I thought I would go for something a bit pointy & fast. So ESCI Starfighter it is.  I did wonder about doing a WIP but I think I will just keep it on here.  I had looked at the box art & assumed I had D-8065 from RNLAF 306 Sqn. This would be a recce Starfighter.  Hen I opened the box and looked at the decals.  Not the same as the box art!  Not far off, but D-8062 of 312 Sqn in a strike role.  So might do the recce pod anyway but the squadron will be wrong.
Anyway, only two main sprues to work from



Bit of flash on this one



Now the bang seat.  The early ones were intended as point interceptors at altitude.  With that high T tail ejection upwards could go badly, so the put in downwards ejecting seats.  They then sold them in to Europe in a low level role. Ejecting downwards had a somewhat down side! So the Stanley seat was replaced by the Martin Baker Mk7 firing upwards.




So I got a resin MB Mk7 seat.  But the F-104 isn’t use a standard Mk7.  Oh no, the used a Mk GQ7 (A) seat.  The parachute container has been changed to a fibreglass shell.  So my new seat is not right.  The kit seat does at least try to look right & isn’t just a US F-104C Stanley seat



Interestingly they made the kit seat in 2 parts




So I wondered about a Frankenseat.  Cut the top off the resin seat & fit the parachute container section of the kit seat on top.  Add the handles & it would be good.  The kit bottom half isn’t bad, but not great either.  And the seat is about all you can really see in the cockpit.  These are the rest of the parts




And dry fitting it together



You are going to see that seat top most of all.  Instrument panels are all but decals as you would expect for ESCI.  I might add some bits of pipe & stuff based on the Aires resin set.  And tempted to cut the canopy to pose it open. Always a risky move!


She will be longer than an F-16, this is an A model from 311 Sqn.




I wasn’t going to rescribe her as the kit surface detail is very light and I am sure the surface of the F-104 was pretty smooth. Will be nice to build her & if I do a Kinetic Luftwaffe one they will be good to compare them

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Took the dremel to the seat tonight.  Took off the top of the resin seat & grafted on the it parachute container.  Think it looks ok




I have added the grab handles now too made from wire.  The cockpit and front wheel well has been put in one side of the fuselage plus some scratch details added.  I will see how it looks tomorrow & paint before adding the kit instrument decals




It’s coming together but finding some odd things.  There are 2 huge circular depressions on top of the tail.  They look like they have been included on purpose, but I can’t see any evidence of them on the real thing.  Might just have to fill them in, along with the depressions at the op of the nose cone.  Can’t see these on a G model either.



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The F-104 really was an aircraft that could kill you in several ways, with upwards ejecting seats having to contend with the tail, and downwards ones not exactly being great at low level (I've always thought the whole idea of a downwards firing ejector seat seemed a bit off!), and then we get onto the wing leading edge that was so sharp the ground crew needed to wear gloves. Still, they lasted a long time in service, and always looked great. I picked up a book a few years ago from a sadly now defunct discount bookshop, called "German Starfighters - The F-104 in Luftwaffe service", which I highly recommend.

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I will have to have a good for that.  The F-104 displays were something to be seen & the noise too.  Nice Dutch Starfighter footage on YouTube 



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This is the extra detail in the cockpit.  I have given it a quick spray over & about ready to put on the instrument decals on, then wash over the rest of the pit




These are the circles in the tail top.  Can’t find any pictures showing even slight imprints although the instructions hint at them.  Think they are getting filled in




And taped together.  Always looked like a dart!





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