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A very British experiment, Marshall MA4.

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Will someone tell me where the weekend has gone, a BBQ on Saturday and a Fathers day meal today and here we are, Sunday evening an an update is due.


Well, guess what I found, yep, the other half of my wheel so a quick repair job ensued;


 From the jaws of failure the phoenix rose up;


 The centre hub was was made from an old Frog AIM7 missile body and the 5 spokes made from 0.2 mm copper wire, not the easiest of tasks to set myself but managed it in the end. The next one up for the same treatment is the repaired wheel.


In my bouncy way of building kits I now moved on to the wing to fit the cover over the Hydraulic header tank, a few seconds it was on and after a little filler was added and smoothed

over the wing was flipped. Attention then turned to the instruments which sit on the underside of the wing centre box, these being to monitor the turbine oil temperature, temperature of the  jet pipe,fuel and oil pressure. This was nothing more than a block of plastic and four decals to represent the bank of gauges;



Staying with lift and control surfaces I moved to the vertical stabiliser, after looking at my reference material it could be seen that there is a gap in the tail where the all moving horizontal surfaces are connected so I tentatively started hacking away at my home made tail. This turned out to be much more fiddly than I realised, having no one single tool small enough to to the job in one go, so it was a case of many tools doing a nibble at a time.

The holes were also drilled to accommodate the horizontal control surfaces.



Next item grabbing my attention, and probably the most intricate is the framework that holds the emergency parachute under the tail of the plane;


Looking at the two left pictures you can see concerns, especially at this scale. It looks like a typically British Heath Robinson affair but no doubt worked like a dream.


To do this I felt there was only one material to use and that was Albion brass rod. Four pieces of Blue Tack were stuck to the metal block and after cutting each piece to size pushed them into the tack and moved them around until I was satisfied with the look and position. Then solder was applied at the junction of the four pieces, this will give a strong joint and allow me to manipulate the size and shape of the units when coming to final fit;


 That is each side done, now for the base section which was a simple affair just using some masking tape to hold it in position;


 The canister holding the chute was next, simply cutting a length of tube to length, applying a dab of CA and then sanding to shape gave the desired result.



These rather delicate items will be the last items fixed to the fuselage before spraying, they are just begging to be knocked off at every turn and flick of the model.

Fingers crossed( and everything else) that it all fits when the time comes.


Another little job done, and one that was a bit of a nightmare was the seat belts. NOTE to SELF; next time fit to seat before fitting to cockpit......dummy:banghead:


I now have a nice little collection of sub assemblies so in the next update we should see her starting to look like an MA4 and not a jigsaw puzzle.


One item I would like to source is some aerofoil strut, I believe John Aero is the man, I have sent him a PM but had no reply, does he still use this site?


Until then, happy finger glueing.

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@John Aero does still visit this forum but I understand that he has retired from business now. Quite understandable from his point of view but a massive loss to those of us who relied on his excellent products.


Martian 👽

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8 hours ago, Martian Hale said:

I understand that he has retired from business now.

Thank you Martian Hale, that was my fear. Back to the drawing board then. From what I understand he certainly made an impact on the hobby, long may his retirement last.

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13 minutes ago, Head in the clouds. said:

From what I understand he certainly made an impact on the hobby, long may his retirement last.

Never was a truer word spoken. 

John deserves a long and happy retirement and he certainly deserves it. This hobby would have been so much the poorer without his input, knowledge and advice. 

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Same thickness as the Auster?

I may have a couple of short pieces around, although not much any more

It would be wonderful if some entrepreneur could take on production of some of John's range



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Only just picked up on this fascinating thread. I have fond memories of the old Airfix Auster. Some superb modelling going on here.


I'll be following this one for sure.



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2 hours ago, perdu said:

Same thickness as the Auster?

I may have a couple of short pieces around, although not much any more

It would be wonderful if some entrepreneur could take on production of some of John's range

Welcome back Bill, hope the drive was pleasant, visit anywhere nice?

Thank you kindly Bill, I have worked out that scale size is 2.3mm and 1.2mm in chord and I have no idea about the thickness.

I whole heartedly agree, it would be nice for someone to step up to the plate, he made some wonderful items that are sorely missed by all.


2 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

Some superb modelling going on here.

Thank you very much Terry1954 and welcome, I do like planes that are a bit left of centre and this one also has a story to tell so making it all the more interesting. and who does not love an Auster.







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I am back at the bench and thoroughly enjoying this build with much measuring, hacking and sawing being undertaken.


My delivery of Albion brass rod of various diameters has fallen on the door mat with a thump so my first job was to construct the exhaust port for the Budworth turbine.. With no pictures of this area I have used a little poetic license, all in all it does not look too far from probability.

In my haste to get this last internal item in place I failed to take any pictures, sorry folk. Simply, I cut some 5mm tube at an angle and glued some plastic card over the internal end, this will be painted in burnt metal so no detail was added. Once glued I think I have got away with it;


 True to my back and forth approach to jobs this image is out of sync with what follows, another apology...:sorry:

If anyone is thinking they have heard of Budworth turbines before it may have been something to do with this wonderful machine;


Normal carts are fast, this must be something else!


Anyway, back to things with wings.


Now the internals are finished I can at last close up the cabin and place the wing in place, this needed minimal fettling and sat where I hoped it would. Once glued the 2 protuberances at the wing root were sanded flush, the brass tube mentioned above just being visible in the bottom of the remaining open space.




 One more gap to seal, this was to be done with thin plastic card due to the curved shape of the airframe, it bending to conform nicely to the airframe profile. A little filler to blend everything in and I am a happy bunny.




The image is a tad blurred...no I am not saying sorry again:wicked:


Now I have the main lifting surfaces fixed it would be rude not to do the aft control surfaces so attention switched to the tail feathers. Having done the hard work this should be a simple fix, and so it turned out, everything slotted in as I had planned which was a great relief, if any one of these items was out more than a gnats whisker it would stick out like a sore thumb;





She is now looking like the MA4 and a little less like the donor Auster Antartic, which is good as that is the plan after all, I was worried to be honest that I would get all the proportions wrong so getting this far is wonderful. If anyone thinks otherwise please shout up and point out any errors, I am a pupil after all.


Now I have given my apple to teacher I will move on to the wing support struts. These are very different from the original kit items, they are straight and uniform is shape for their whole length, the MA4's had a wide fillet at the base and a narrow section near the wing fixing point.

Perdu kindly offered to root out his remaining strut shaped plastic rod but upon re assessing the struts it(strut shaped rod) would have to be 8mm wide, which I think the rod will not be that big, but thank you for offering your dwindling supply Perdu, much appreciated.

This leaves one option, start from scratch.


Using .5 mm card the shape was drawn onto the card;




Then cut out;



The edges were then chamfered although my camera set up could not show it.




When cutting out the second strut the smallest of over cuts weakened the small end enough that it just pinged off when picked up, this was a worry when choosing such thin card to make such a thin and long item. Another was made;



Another worry is that there is no rigidity to this item and a couple of times it folded while I was chamfering the edges and they may not be completely flat when fitted.


I need a back up plan. Brass strip is the answer, same thickness but more rigid, but how to cut it. After an internet search I went for this;


A Piercing Saw, with up to 52 teeth per inch and used by watchmakers and jewellers I am hoping this will be my salvation....if needed.


That is all for now, I am hoping to get a couple more updates before I go on holiday so thanks for looking in.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Folks.


Well, after the euphoria of my new toy falling on the door mat it was not to last long all I wanted to do was cut some brass but it was not to be.  I ordered a bag of mixed blades for the piercing saw but the blades, every one, was unsuitable, the pitch of the teeth was to great, ideal for Bandsaw Steve and his Avro 504 build but not for me so a small hiatus ensued while I awaited another delivery of finer pitch blades, 52tpi to be precise.


They came, I conquered. These blades cut through the brass like butter, however, the blade is so thin I broke several so I did the only thing I could....ordered some others which I hope will be more durable and less tpi at 32.

The difference in the first delivery and second delivery can clearly be seen here;



As I said though the thinner blade worked a treat so once the outline had been marked on the brass strip I put my elbow to work and started cutting;



Cutting outside the line this left some meat for me to file to the exact size I required. Once filed to size I then had to file the aerofoil shape to the struts and while they were both made from brass they were not strong, I had to be conscious of only filing away from where I was holding the strut. This is what I ended up with after an afternoon of cutting and filing, I think you will agree the brass is better than the plastic card effort.

Here they be;




A few minor adjustments needed but I am happy with them.


Before the struts go on though there is work to do elsewhere,, namely the glazing in the doors  and the undercarriage. So lets look at the undercarriage.




Now I don't know about you but I think this is going to be a fiddly affair,  I really don't think I can replicate the u/c  fixing points on the fuselage so will have to compromise but I am going to have a go at the square shaped spring affair attached to the bottom of the u/c oleo. Does anyone know their official name?

As seen earlier I made the main oleo but upon fitting them I noticed that they where not of equal length and made the airframe list so off came the offending item;



And after the remedial work with a rule this time;



Two short lengths of brass rod were cut to length and glued to the oleo leg, 2 more to do and that springy thingy.



My first attempt was to make them from plastic, this is they;



Oh my, I wish my eyes were 20 years younger and my fingers much thinner!


For some reason I just did not like the look of them, don't know why, so I put myself through more pain and made them from brass...then lost the plastic ones. Brass it is then!


How on earth I am going to attach these is bit of a mystery at the moment, I will need to give it much thought, I can see much fun and head banging ahead.

The reason is that it is the 2 pointy ends that are attached so there will not be much surface area for the glue to do it's bonding,

Whatever I dream up they will probably be some of the last items I fit before painting.


After looking at my reference photo's I am also going to revisit the chute attachment framework, in particular the straight section the chute tube sits on, I need to move them outward a little but that is for tomorrow.

Tomorrow should be a good day as I am off work, first since Christmas.


More soon and thanks for tuning in.

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Nice brassworks


Edited to add

The oddly shaped structure on the leg ends must be designed to keep the wheel caster as fixed as possible

Looks like a king pin setup like many fifties cars used

The kingpins on my Midget use flat wishbones for the bottom and a single upper arm to locate them


Looks as if Marshall's were a tad worried about grass field bouncing about with the 'jetty thing' weighing her down

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10 hours ago, perdu said:

Looks like a king pin setup like many fifties cars used

Oh the halcyon days of motoring and more importantly when one lifted the bonnet you could see the engine and all other gubbins one wished to work on. All you see now is the inside of the starship  Enterprise......no good and no fun.

Your description sounds on the money Bill, I do know the u/c was strengthened, as you say with all that extra weight probably very wise.

10 hours ago, perdu said:

Nice brassworks

Thank you very muchly, the biggest problem I find in this scale is holding your workpiece, if you can do that it makes the process of fettling much easier, my fat fingers do not always cut it.


9 hours ago, Azgaron said:

Very nice work! :)

Thank you Azgaron, she is coming together now.

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Superb progress here, what a neat and tidy aeroplane this is!


Love the brass and scratch work.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello and welcome back.

I have not posted for nearly a month, no loss of mojo just my annual holiday and my good ladies 60th to organise and keep quiet, thankfully we all managed to keep tight lipped and the surprise was complete when she walked into the venue.


My job done it was time to sit back at my bench and progress this very enjoyable build which started with me removing the undercarriage legs because I was not happy with the look and it was annoying me. Basically, the first fix was but joined into the kit moulded recess for the u/c which just looked wrong so it was removed, recess filled and a hole drilled to accept the new smaller rod placed into the top of the u/c leg thereby allowing the u/c to stand off the fuselage, not by much but enough to satisfy my whim.

Again, no pics as I just went charging in.


Now that itch was well and truly scratched I could progress the rest of the undercarriage which did not fill me with glee, remember these little soldiers;




I now had to fix the four minor  u/c  leg struts and somehow fix these rather small items. In the end it was all rather straight forward, everything went together with no drama with a dollop of CA.

Is modelling supposed to be this straight forward?

Here it is;



Now I was in full flight and full of confidence so I moved on to those lovely brass struts for the wing. Again, not much to report, I put a chamfer on the fuselage contact point, glued in place with CA , supported and glued the contact point with the wing.

See here;



That is it for now, next up is making a mould for the windscreen so I can vac-form the transparency which is most definitely going to be a trial and error affair, after which I will give her a coat of primer to see how it all looks before fitting the more delicate items like the stall parachute assembly, aileron mass balance weights and other minor oddities.


Thanks for looking in, I am off to slow cook on the sofa.

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  • 2 months later...


After our long natter at Southwell I've been trying to find time to do a catch up on your build.

Unfortunately having to get up at 0400 means not much of an evening for on line viewing.

Luckily it's 0500 tomorrow so I have a little longer tonight for a gander.

It's come a long way from that little yellow plastic collection of parts hasn't it?


As you said, you enjoy soldering and you've done a great job here.

I would say, those little jobbies on the landing gear. Normal aircraft have torque links.

Those, I think, would be torsion links. Holding everything straight and level as the gear moves.


Speaking of moving, I can't remember if you said you'd done any more on the build?


Regards, Pete

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Just catching up on this one I missed earlier. That strut and U/C work looks very neat indeed. Coming along very nicely and looking forward to seeing more.



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On 10/16/2018 at 7:37 PM, Pete in Lincs said:

Speaking of moving, I can't remember if you said you'd done any more on the build?

Thanks for the info Pete, I am now much wiser and at least know what the heck I am making.


As for progress, I have not given up on her, I am making the master to do the canopy after some failed attempts previous, vac forming virgin, that's me! I shall return triumphant though.


22 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

Coming along very nicely and looking forward to seeing more.


Thanks for the kind comments Terry, there will indeed be more as soon as I master yet another dark art of modelling....vac forming.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is this I hear you say, it must be Christmas....old HitC has done an update.

Yes, after a busy period of work and social aspects things are calming down a little and I feel I can commit to moving this dormant build forward so if memory serves correct one of my last comments was regarding a coat of primer but not before making a vac canopy.


My initial attempt ended up a little flat in it's appearance and it just did not look right so I spent some considerable time altering the Lilliput mold in the hope that this would be the one as I was running low on PET-G and it ain't cheap, especially when much of it is thrown away. I also took the opportunity to alter my vac form suction unit by making the drop window larger and fitting a narrow band of foam to create a seal to allow more suction to be directed where it is needed.


Here is the Lilliput mold, it looks rough but is not as bad as the pic would have you believe.



And here is my home made vac form unit with the foam perimeter visible, the chair is optional !



Just before forming, the other cast is for a Heritage Harrier canopy that I buggered up, that also took some considerable time to fettle but I thought I would get two for the price of one.



And as if by magic.....it worked, not perfect but acceptable for such a small build. A little trimming at the wing root junction and......


It fits rather well, a few minor tweaks and I am really happy. The side door glazing was simple by comparison and was simply a cut from some packaging. That I believe is the potential nightmare job put to bed.


This aircraft has an Avtur filling point on the Starboard side of the canopy front screen which can be made now but not fitted as I would not be able to mask the glazing before painting.

Here is the little blighter, just in front of the door

Marshall MA4 outside Hangar 1965

Simple to make but a little fiddly, a flat piece of PE fret, a little section of brass tube bent at 90 degrees and a slightly larger piece of tube slipped over one leg of previous piece and all glued in place and we have this;



That is it for now, I am working away now for a while so not sure when the next update will be. Bye for now.

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Really does look the part, have a wow for the avturator.


I do love yellow Airfix plastic, takes me back about sixty-five years I reckon



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5 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

Wonderful work there. I really must have a go at making my own vac form machine. Your looks very good for the job.



Thanks Terry, it is a bit Victorian; solid but functional however for only doing canopies it is a little large and so generates much waste, probably better suited to 1/48 or 1/32 kits.


24 minutes ago, perdu said:

have a wow for the avturator.

Thank you Bill, I will take that wow kind sir. I have to agree, there is something about these old kits although I can only muster 40 years of nostalgia.

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