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Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies

Bristol Beaufighter TF.X late production tail

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I'm going to build a Beaufighter TF.X soon, and am frankly sick of fiddly details (so that's the entire 1/72 scale helicopter, Fiesler Storch and Hellcat engine on pause) and wanted to hack and chop away at plastic.

 

The later TF.X Beaus were built with a new tailplane and elevators assembly which reduced the area of the tailplanes and increased the aerodynamic balance of the elevators ahead of the hinge line. This assembly was available from Bristol as a retrofit for older aircraft. The Beaufighters I have in mind had this later tail fitted in the time period I am aiming to build a little collection around, i.e. Black Friday - 9th February 1945, me being a local loon an' all.

 

I'm using the Tamiya kit as a basis. There are several conversions for the original flat / non-dihedral tailplane but I couldn't find any for the late tailplane, so I have decided to make my own. It's been a while since I've done any decent plastic work.

 

Aviaeology (http://stores.ebay.ca/Aviaeology) makes some very nice decals with very comprehensive literature to go with. I sourced mine from Ultracast who have the 1/48 scale sets in stock (still 6 left at last check :)).

 

The literature contains very thoroughly researched details of the tailplane mods and helpfully comes with 1/48 scaled plans of both the mid-production dihedral tail and the late production.

20170214_162951_zps3xaso2qz.jpg

 

It should be a simple case of copying the plans and trimming the tailplanes along the line of the leading edge of the elevator horn. I was going to separate these before the package arrived in fact. I'm glad I didn't...

20170214_163004_zpsqxkmp9hj.jpg

 

It seems that Tamiya has got confused when they tooled this. It's not as badly mishapen as their Spitfire kits, and I think I can guess where they went wrong, but even still, these are wrong - no two ways about it. It seems that they have used the broad chord of the late elevators then extended a balance horn ahead of the leading edge. The tips are also mishapen but I can address this with some sanding and new material.

20170214_164700_zpsjqpeikmz.jpg

 

So, glad I didn't do this before the plans arrived - I marked on where the trailing edge of the tailplane should be and separated the elevators. I did contemplate scratchbuilding new tailplanes but frankly the Tamiya kit parts do fit together well, and I wanted to keep the dihedral and kit parts' interface with the fuselage so have settled on modified kit tailplanes and scratch built elevators.

20170214_170500_zpsoehmng0j.jpg

 

There are some more issues to address at the root, but plasticard will save the day.

20170214_170504_zpsvfjbv8mk.jpg

 

So, 30 minutes in I have some wrecked Tamiya parts that are almost the right shape for a late production Beaufighter tailplane, and no elevators.

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I've normally wrecked the entire kit within 30 minutes.

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Hullo SH,

 

Interesting discovery here.  I am assuming this is Tamiya's 1/48 scale kit, and if so, would you know if Tamiya altered the horizontal tails/elevators for this kit?  It seems to me that if the tailplanes were unchanged in the TF X boxing compared to the Mk VI, then that would mean the tailplanes/elevators in the Mk VI are incorrect.  Would I be right?

 

Thanks, Jim

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Hi Jim, I don't have a Mk.VI boxing here to check but I think the supplied tailplanes and elevators are the same on both kits. My dad and I built a VI years ago when I lived at home but it's at his house now.

 

I suppose I could sort those ones out too, but I'll need another Beaufighter because i've already cut these ones up! I could correct the spring/balance tab linkages too.

 

 

Last update for tonight

 

20170214_213343_zpsxzqlmtny.jpg

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Oh goody, something to keep you occupied while I struggle with my Hellcat's paint masks. Go for it Paintman.

 

DB

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Are you still scuttering about with those?

 

Just get them stuck on. It doesn't matter if they're not completely straight. Look at this one - Yorktown's paintman couldn't be bothered to mask and paint all the Insignia Blue

4407581435_e515c16b7f_b.jpg

 

He's only painted Insignia Blue up to the demarkation line on the fuselage and on the wing he's painted the circle round the star then thought "sod this" and gone for a cup of coffee*

 

 

*may be trivialising a war time combat role slightly

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... and the Riggers couldn't be bothered fitting the tail! "Now tell me what you think is wrong with it this time Sir, did you try putting in a little elevator trim?", "Fred go get the Bodge tape and tywraps 'e's only gone and foxed it again!".

 

DB

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57 minutes ago, SovereignHobbies said:

He's sat there looking like he's disappointed with the floppy stick in his right hand

 

I'm sure we've all been there.

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Yesterday I received a package from Mike Starmer with some absolute gems inside, so I spent the evening studying those. Much more work to do!

 

We also arranged to sent our children to my mother this weekend, and booked flights to Heathrow to visit the National Archives in Kew to see some original paint samples.

 

At around 10pm I was sent to stick some Chicago Town microwave pizzas on as a snack, but got distracted en route and sanded back the tailplanes.

 

20170216_065739_zpskrrey5cs.jpg

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I'm mostly content with the tailplane shape now - the roots have needed a great deal of work as the Tamiya shape is a long way off the plans and photographs. It's now time to begin the elevators. I will be making these from scratch as it's easier than trying to use the kit offcuts.

 

20170603_165120_zps4kcjko3w.jpg

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Good work on the Beaufighter tailplanes. This is a subject that has needed some sunshine, especially regarding the control rods for the servo balance tabs. A lot of models (and museum aircraft) have the control rods on top of the tailplanes; the drawings that you are using show, and describe, the control rods as being fitted on the underside of the tailplane, which I believe to be the correct location. Thanks for the great posting; I appreciate it.

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The linkages were different for each configuration - and yes for a while the RAF Museum Beaufighter (with late tail) was incorrect (possibly just using parts they could source) featuring external pushrods mounted above the elevators which none had.

 

I might make the linkages for these in photo etched brass. Given that fashion today is to droop the elevators and these being balance tabs, they move in the opposite direction to the elevators themselves. Separate tabs and  2 versions of linkages would allow modellers to pose the elevators (and thus balance tabs) in neutral or with the elevators against their downstops (and thus balance tabs up).

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The upper surfaces were infilled with Milliput applied with copious use of clean water to blend it in between the ribs. Once cured, some minor surfacing was started. It needs a little more, but they are now rigid enough to work on the under surface.

 

20170626_061535_zpsmxaeysje.jpg

 

20170626_061512_zpsfinazmuw.jpg

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It's amazing how time flies when you barely get time to think...

 

I wish I was one of those people who didn't immediately notice when things were wrong and could be happy with anything.

 

Getting a surface quality I am satisfied with on the elevators especially is taking many iterations. To be fair, they're far better than some of the aftermarket stuff I've purchased and binned over the years but I don't want to sell anything I wouldn't be happy with myself...

 

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Contrasting paint colours, and low angle light is quite unflattering!

 

They're getting closer though...

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