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[Another] Matchbox Swordfish


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Inspired by Steve's recent build of the Matchbox Siskin here:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234999027-matchbox-siskin/

I decided to get to grips with another Matchbox veteran, the Fairey Swordfish. I'm going to keep to the 824 Squadron/Taranto version, though as the model's quite old I'm a little concerned at the quality of the decals supplied; they look somewhat parchment-like.

Anyway...the clarity of form on the engine is good and sharp for such a vintage mould:

IMG_20160313_152927_zpswvat8px1.jpg

I'd followed the Swordfish walkaround on this forum for some of the engine detailing:

r%2010.jpg

IMG_20160313_153013_zps8w2kvrnz.jpg

Fuselage mated and aircrew installed:

IMG_20160313_153227_zpsqgffcrj0.jpg

And then a test mating of the upper and lower wing elements:

IMG_20160316_174322_zpsa1nunbkg.jpg

At which point I discovered that the aged plastic had become hard and brittle enough to make drilling holes for the rigging so tricky that I managed to snap the micro-drill bit. [cue choice oaths...] Then a spot of inspiration...recalling the teenage exuberance of making bullet holes in Airfix dogfight doubles with a heated needle filched from the parental sewing kit back in the 70s, I left the snapped drill bit in the vice and simply heated it over a candle to make the holes with the heated bit:

IMG_20160316_202913_zpsrzoevpq0.jpg

Surely an act of medieval barbarity to the precise and methodological modellers amongst us but surprisingly effective; all wings readied for rigging in 10 mins of heating and piercing. I reckon only a bit of minor sanding or filing will be required to make good.

More as it develops..hopefully over the weekend,

Tony

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Wow that's so tiny. I love it. ๐Ÿ˜€

I'm currently building my first swordfish, Tamiya 1/48. I'm a new member but have been getting tips from you guys for months now. How on earth did I not know about the "Walk around" section? Thank you for pointing it out, very useful.

Can't wait to see more progress on your fish.

Edited by The Spadgent
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Great kit! My oldest surviving build, a gift from my infant daughter (with mums help?) she's now 27! haven't got round to rigging it . . . . . .. . . . . .. yet??

It'll be good to see this one go together

. . . Kes

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One thing to remember about the Matchbox Swordfish, it's a MkIII. This means that the Observer's cockpit needs to be opened-up for a MkI or MkII.

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Wow that's so tiny. I love it.

I'm currently building my first swordfish, Tamiya 1/48. I'm a new member but have been getting tips from you guys for months now. How on earth did I not know about the "Walk around" section? Thank you for pointing it out, very useful.

Can't wait to see more progress on your fish.

Good luck with the Tamiya job. Hope to do a bigger scale Stringbag one day.

One thing to remember about the Matchbox Swordfish, it's a MkIII. This means that the Observer's cockpit needs to be opened-up for a MkI or MkII.

Cheers Beard, well reminded. On the 'to do' roster now. Have to give some thought to appropriate level of scratching detail in that area.
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Wasn't the auxiliary fuel tank fitted for the Taranto raid? The aux tank I think fitted into the Observers cockpit with the Observer moved into the TAGs position and the TAG left at home..

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Wasn't the auxiliary fuel tank fitted for the Taranto raid? The aux tank I think fitted into the Observers cockpit with the Observer moved into the TAGs position and the TAG left at home..

I think you're right, especially about the auxiliary fuel tank (which I think the Airfix kit provides).

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Aux tank definitely fitted for Taranto - they all flew without TAGs, to give room for the tank. It took them a couple of hours just to get there (& presumably the same back), and you can be sure they'd have wanted every ounce of fuel; there is no worse feeling than looking for a carrier in the dark with one eye fixed on your fuel gauge. I know this from personal experience, and that was in peacetime!

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The Matchbox Swordfish is a nice enjoyable kit to build, I did my own in the black scheme as I felt it suited the kit better.

Best of luck with yours and nice to see Matchbox still being built.

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I think you're right, especially about the auxiliary fuel tank (which I think the Airfix kit provides).

Aux tank definitely fitted for Taranto - they all flew without TAGs, to give room for the tank. It took them a couple of hours just to get there (& presumably the same back), and you can be sure they'd have wanted every ounce of fuel; there is no worse feeling than looking for a carrier in the dark with one eye fixed on your fuel gauge. I know this from personal experience, and that was in peacetime!

As in this tank configuration?

29122578-F4AB-4412-8A0C-EBDC36E22E55_zps

Can you guys confirm for me whether or not 824 Sqn machines used a similar dark lower fuselage/underside scheme for the raid as those shown here, or the lighter undersides shown in the colour scheme from the Matchbox instructions?

Thanks for the invaluable advice so far.

Tony

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A certain burst of madness this evening after ordering some materials to scratch build, something that I've never attempted before. Having opened out the crew area to receive an additional fuel tank for this Taranto build, I looked up some Swordfish details and began my first attempt at scribing in some detail onto the (quite basic) fuselage:

IMG_20160317_200356_zpsymxd5vob.jpg

Using the above used 'hot drill bit' technique to mark in fastening points etc. Whilst doing this I noticed an access panel on the Matchbox mould which seemed to be out of place (below the cockpit) so filled this and rescribed another one further back along the fuselage. Is there such a thing as over-detailing at 1/72 scale?

Whilst this fit was upon me I also shaved the rear of the torpedo with a view to scratching up prop and rudders when my plasticard order arrives:

IMG_20160317_193307_zpsojpsrgyc.jpg

Edited by TheBaron
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I'll watch this closely - I've got one to build myself!

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Coming along nicely. No you can never have enough detail, even in 1/72...though personally my aspirations exceed ability, but hey it's fun.

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Cheers Smudge.

Quite a surprise too as that is my head just sticking up above the 'A' frame ladder....................Smudge

I'll try and work that into the diorama!
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[still] waiting for plasticard and sanding sticks to arrive so continuing to obsess over detailing the Stringbag. Having consulted a number of sources I've decided that at this scale items like elevator/rudder cabling, ballast inspection panel etc all need attention. In absence of any PE I might experiment with metal foil for those (slightly) raised areas like the triangular housing that the rear Vickers gun could recess into. The Matchbox model also leaves out the lower fuselage windows for the pilot so I've drilled cut and filed these:

IMG_20160319_101025_zpsajctex9p.jpg

As the rear cockpit will need some scratch building I've had to resort to a (sensitive engineering types look away now...) brute force elegant method of moulding blu-tack in order to generate interior profiles for bulkheads and cockpit surrounds:

IMG_20160319_105515_zpsa1xwxy7q.jpg

IMG_20160319_110458_zpsiuoonswv.jpg

Hopefully next week will see supplies delivered so that I can get on with further buidling as I'm itching to move forward on this now...

Tony

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So I was digging around online earlier as I needed to find some closeups of the 18" torp carried by the Swordfish, when I came across this little gem of an RAF wartime information film:

Screen%20Shot%202016-03-20%20at%205.11.5

Practically everything you need to know about said item including loads of closeups of exterior and interior mechanisms, which will be dead handy for later in the build. Now I know why torpedoes have two sets of propellers....

https://archive.org/details/75624AircraftTorpedo

Anyway, a little more work in and around domestic duties today, along the painstaking lines of scratching up some exterior detail on the elevator and rudder rigging points. I used some stretched sprue cut diagonally to different lengths for the shrouds where the cables enter the fuselage mid-section. As well as this I used the same technique with different cross sections to build up some detailing around the ballast inspection hatch and catapult tube:

IMG_20160320_170116_zpsnaxzuuqz.jpg

Texture-wise I know the surfaces look as rough as can be in their current state and some of the added detail need reducing with a file to keep in scale as much as possible, so that further down the road some patient sanding is called for. For now though I'm focussing on building up the structure to the required level.

I see John is hard at work on his superb 1/48 Tamiya build over at:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234999461-my-first-wip-148th-scale-tamiya-fairey-swordfish-mk2/

It's nice to have two different scales under way at the same time!

One last thing. If anyone is building a Sunderland or Catalina, I found this this excellent two-reel wartime Ministry of Information film about Coastal Command:

Screen%20Shot%202016-03-20%20at%205.14.0

There's a ton of interiors of all areas of a Sunderland ('T for Tommy'!), turrets, crew areas (not quite as much of the Cat interior) as well as some nice exteriors showing wartime weathering of paint. The moving footage gives a greater sense of spatiality than stills I feel, as well as being able to see the various items of eqpt. (turrets etc.) actually in motion. Some Beauforts and Hudsons from Iceland also put in an appearance later on. You can find it here:

https://archive.org/details/81522CoastalCommandAmericanVersion

Tony

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Honestly you're going bonkers on that detail.๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ‘Œ love it.๐Ÿค“

That footage is awesome too, great find. ๐Ÿ˜€

Edited by The Spadgent
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It's been a busy week between work, family, and repairing the winter ravages to the garden, so this is the first chance to catch up on what's been a bit done here and there in spare moments...

To list the tasks carried out on the build since the weekend:

1.Redid the shrouds on the fuselage (where the elevator and rudder cables enter the fuselage). My original scratching was too crude and out of scale so redid these with finer stretched sprue. They're on the point of being such fine detail that they are almost impossible to work down to any smaller a size without the aid of electron miscroscopy...

2.Noticed that on some phtogoraphs (of both wartime and restored) airframes that there are what are referred to as 'lugged sleeves' on the oleo legs and interplane struts. I've attempted to mimic the raised relief of these elements with fine-grade electrical foil cut from out of a computer VGA cable (kitchen foil felt too big).

shroud_zps71gd5m5b.jpg

3.Began work on rear assembly of the 18" torpedo. Having cut off the solid moulding on the original I marked out and began using plasticard to make the rudder housing. (Don't expect individual propeller blades at this scale with my limited skills/patience..) You can see how clunky the original looks alongside the newer version:

torp_zps490tizwr.jpg

4. I decided that things weren't complicated enough so late last night decided to have TAG standing up in the finished build. This meant cutting up the sitting original, adding some Revell Plasto to rough out a new upright body form, and sculpting this with a scalpel and pin when dry, before adding the left raised arm from an old 00 scale Airfix astronaut figure, which although having a bulky spacesuit to contend with, actually matched the FAA flying suit quite well after a bit of 'nip and tuck' with the scalpel. Master! The creature lives!

monster_zpsxnnslqct.jpg

The end result looks passable at this scale. I had to add the raised arm as if he's standing in the original pose with both hands by his side, it looked like he was relieving himself into the rear cockpit รก la urinal...Here he is proudly pointing to his new torpedo:

pilot_topr_zpsplefp2cl.jpg

5. Most recent task was to pay some attention to the cockpit edges. One either side are two mountings (which I've seen used to mount both a compass on various stations for operations, as well as a flag on LS326). These are more pronounced on the port side so the fuselage was scalloped out using a hot sewing machine needled to produce the required embayment and some angled sprue added for the collar. The starboard side only needed angled sprue as there are no embayments on that side, I've no idea why. In the photo here you can see I'm adding a compass on the rear port mounting:

fusel_zps7zlp9dvc.jpg

Once that's done I hope to add the remaining parts to the rear of the torp tomorrow, by which time hopefully a contour gauge will have arrrived to let me make a proper job of building of the cockpit interior - including the additional fuel tank.

Thanks for looking!

Tony

Edited by TheBaron
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A family christening and overindulgence on the buffet put a stop to any work over the weekend so grabbed some catch-up time this morning.

First problem was building the auxiliary fuel tank that was added to the rear cockpit to increase endurance on the Taranto mission. There seem to be very few contemporaneous photos around of said tank but from those I was able to find it seemed that the tank was flat at one end, with a curved end fitting into the for'ard part of the rear cockpit. In order to fabricate the curved end I heated a piece of plasticard gently over a candle until it began to 'wilt', and quickly draped it over a plastic bead (scavenged from an old flounder rig for shore fishing..). I guess a ball bearing or similar would also work.

mould_zpsfx95izhk.jpg

This was then cut down and mated with a closed cylinder I built from card and tubing, a little filler and sanding, some masking tape straps and it was ready to be installed:

cock_zpsm97kvxjc.jpg

The rear cockpit is only going to be detailed enough in those regions to be visible once the fuselage is closed, so I've really only built in some structure around the two seating areas and seat/flooring for the TAG. One thing that became apparent was due to the crude mounting for the rear Lewis/Vickers gun in the Matchbox model, the rear area where it can be recessed into the fuselage is incorrectly scaled. After carving back the fuselage a little with a scalpel I started to build a better mounting for the gun.You can see the kit original alongside my effort rendered from fuse wire and CA.

gun1_zpsguniqxlj.jpg

I also drilled and added a more secure means of attaching the gun to fit onto the upright arm of the mounting.

gun2_zpszal77h4r.jpg.

I'll close up the fuselage tomorrow and fill/sand, prior to turning my attention to the dreaded wings/rigging part of the build.

Tony

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I'd given some thought to the rigging process for the wings and somewhat optimistically have decided to try a 'lacing' process i.e., leaving the tops and bottoms off the wings in order to thread fine (spinning) fishing line through in one or two runs through all the holes on each side. Last night I temporarily taped the upper and lower wings together and mated them to the fuselage so as to be able to glue the struts (to the upper wings only at this stage) in at the right angles:

wings_zpsiacmgz1a.jpg

That seemed to hold pretty nicely so I disassembled the wings this morning and filled the unsightly gaps around the struts, Once painted in their final colours I'll rig the wings before finally gluing the upper and lower part of each wing together and joining the whole structure to the fuselage. I also built in the locking mechanisms (from stretched sprue) on the underside of the tailplane. These are I believe used to lock the main wings back when in the folded position:rear_zpszr7tfvay.jpg

The cradle for the torpedo on the Matchbox model was an ugly lump of a thing so I wanted to try and build something a little more elegant. Looking at photos of both actual Stringbags as well as the 1/48 Tamiya version I decided that to make a direct copy at 1/72 would make too weak a structure and probably be the first thing thing to get knocked off. I therefore compromised a bit by building something smaller than the cradle that came with the kit but not technically accurate in all details. Melting some sprue over a candle I draped it over the torp to get the correct radius:

c1_zpsfvlfgvof.jpg

Followed by some filing, and cannibalizing the underwing rails from the rockets to make some of the structure. In order to get the angles correct so that it would all match the underside of the fuselage I built a crude jig using a ruler:

cradle_zpscaisxhiv.jpg

I used CA to glue it all up so hopefully that will be strong enough in the final mating. I guess a more accurate version could be made from fine metal tube and a bit of soldering but my skills aren't up to that challenge.

After a lunchtime of filling, filing, and sanding with some 2500 grit it was outside into the afternoon sun with the Halfords grey:

finally_zpss66xcmzm.jpg

Finally it looks more like an aircraft!

The next stage is obviously the paint job. I got an airbrush and compressor on Tuesday. I haven't used one in 35 years-back then I used to customize mates' Honda 50 fuel tanks when I was in the sixth form. It's going to be an absolutely :banghead: few days whilst I get my confidence up.

More then....

Tony

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