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Fairey Swordfish MkII - Trumpeter 1/32

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I could use a little help please...


The kit comes with a transparent part for the instrument panel and four small decals which make up the instruments. My first instinct was to apply liquid mask to the clock faces on the front of the panel, paint the rest of the part, stick the decal to the rear and then remove the mask revealing the clocks. I remember my error with my last model though, decals won't stick face down. It would be really nice if Trumpeter had provided some reverse decals to accompany the transparent part in fact since the rear of the panel is flat a single reverse decal would have been perfect but unfortunately not.


I read somewhere that it is possible to glue the decals, backing included to the part but I couldn't find anywhere what type of glue would be best for the job. It seems a shame to have a transparent part with the glass effectively already in place and not make use of it but I keep going round in circles. One option I had was to scan the decals and print them on glossy paper and then attempt the glue on the back method with the paper since I'd still be keeping the original decals in tact and therefore my options open.


Any help, ideas, suggestions would be welcome.





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Mask the instrument dials on the clear panel, paint the front, remove masking.

Turn panel over, soak instrument decal as normal, place a spot of gloss varnish in position decal is to go on  back of panel, place decal face down in puddle of varnish, and position by viewing through from front. 

Repeat for remaining decals, allow to dry.

Paint back of panel white if necessary to show up dial markings, otherwise just varnish to seal them.

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  • 1 month later...

Another slow update, not entirely my fault this time though, well perhaps it was. Turns out my cockpit green lid had a crack in it and two years was a little too long for the paint inside to survive so I had to order more and what with COVID and Christmas effecting the post it'd have been quicker to cycle to Japan and fetch it myself. I have a bunch of other excuses too but I won't burden you with those.


I used Dave's method for the decals and it was 75% successful and likely would have been 100% if not for my subsequent manhandling. You see I encountered a small problem with the Trumpeter kit, below is the Tamiya instructions for installing the pilots control panel:



As you can see by utilising the magazine and the gun barrel they produce a rectangular joined piece which I imagine is fairly solid. Trumpeter in their somewhat questionable wisdom decided that whilst replacing the actual panel with a clear part they would also do away with the small tab which connects to the weapon magazine:




This means that the only point of contact for the control panel is the gun barrel and it's not exactly a snap fit as per the kit so far, in fact it's an extremely flimsy joint and I can imagine the control panel rattling around inside the fuselage in years to come. It seems Tamiya too had some discussions over this part since the rear of their control panel has a completely unused large circular protrusion on the rear. Anyway, Whilst playing about with methods to affix the panel more securely I managed to remove one of the decals, several times. In the end I gave up, re-applied the decal using Dave's method and then cut a styrene sheet to fit the rear and glued the sandwich in place.  Luckily no decal damage occurred but I still haven't figured out how to make the panel more secure.

The other oddity is the actual gun magazine, I'm guessing that it's the same in both kits but certainly in the Trumpeter one the magazine covers half the instruments. I don't have a visual reference of the actual weapon but I can't imagine it'd have looked like this it may in fact interfere with the operation of the joystick itself, could the magazine have been added purely to give the control panel more stability in the model perhaps. I think I am going to leave out the magazine altogether especially since it no longer helps secure the panel anyway.




I also added a small square of styrene at an angle to represent the compass mirror and applied the decal to it rather than the flat rear of the panel.

My next problem was the (fusebox??) instrument shown top right in the image above. Since it is attached to the transparent fuselage and so the rear will be visible I had to cut a piece of styrene to provide a back panel instead of the hollowed out original part. This then meant that the locating lugs no longer did so I removed them from the fuselage but that still left the issue of how to glue it to the transparent plastic without displaying a large blob of glue to spoil the effect. Fortunately there is a ledge which runs just below the part and I intend to attach it to that so that the glue is underneath rather than at the rear, I will leave it until I fit the cockpit though in case there is interference with the new position despite it only being slightly off the original.


Once my cockpit green arrived I painted up the inner fuselage on the opaque port side then painted in the red dope and instruments:




To get the dope effect I first painted using a mix of Humbrol 113 (Rust) and Vallejo 70.296 (Red). Before this had time to dry completely I then semi-dry brushed undiluted Vallejo Red and Humbrol 63 (Sand). I intentionally painted badly, which was pretty easy for me, in order to give the lumpy roughly painted appearance of the doped canvas. I added the Vallejo Black later to add a little more contrast, it's a bit like stage makeup but without it everything just looked like a flat red through the joined transparent starboard fuselage. Once the two are together and the area is darker the black looks much better and adds some depth. As you can see I painted the entire rear fuselage in the dope, I had no reference for this but examining the outside of the aircraft I simply doped the areas which were canvas covered. I needed the whole rear done due to my intention to use the starboard transparent fuselage.

In the top image above you can see my scratch marks where I tried to remove the semi circular pin-marks, they look worse in the photo than in real life but I had a real hard time with these as they were not the most accessible, I'm sure they must have been a better way than simply scraping the area flat with a scalpel but it eluded me.


I have no idea what the two cylindrical items are in the center of the fuselage, one in the observers pit and one in the gunners. They seem to have a round compass looking item added later in the build but I can find no reference to what they are exactly, perhaps a locating slot for sun umbrella's? :D It would be nice to know what they are if anybody who knows actually reads this. In the kit instructions they are parts E24.




My next problem is trying to figure out everything that needs to be done before the two halves are joined together. I have to say the Trumpeter instructions get a little erratic at this point. Instruction 3 for example has me attaching the pilots weapon and the control panel and assembling the tail in the same instruction while #4 then jumps back to assembling the fuselage. I found using the Tamiya instructions for reference really helped. One plus for Trumpeter though is that they have already provided most of the holes for the included PE so there is no drilling required in the actual fuselage.

Well, no drilling if you are following the instructions that is. In both kits there is no provision for the rear control surface cabling although both have detailed the exit ports. I drilled the required holes in both halves and threaded some of my valuable knicker elastic. I don't have any easy wire or whatever everyone else uses so I figured the elastic would do the same job, I have no idea how it will hold up to the test of time but I made sure to use only elastic from my wife's most expensive knickers to give it a better chance. She doesn't know yet but I'm dreading the next time we go out, I hope she doesn't wear a dress. :)





It took quite some time to get through the clear plastic with my cheap drill bits but persistence brought reward. I've secured the cables on the inside with a tiny, weeny bit of superglue, terrified the fumes would fog the part but my cocktail stick applicator seems to have worked well. I may yet have to remove the cables from the outside of the port side and re-drill the holes since I cannot yet think of a suitable way to mask the cables themselves whilst I paint the fuselage and the less I have to paint around the more likely I am to get a good finish. It doesn't matter on the clear side as I will just leave that area unpainted.

I just ran the cables to an inner bulkhead as they'll merge with the other cabling once the cockpit is inserted.


My next job is to mask up and insert the two small windows and then I finally have to face the part I have been avoiding for so long, the nose cowling and exhaust. I have no idea how I am going to paint those using brushes but I'm sure the actual doing won't match my worries in the end, I hope not anyway.


Thanks for reading all this, hopefully my errors/issues might help someone else in the future.






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Great update,  thanks for the heads up re the IP and gun . I will keep an eye out for this when I do mine.

Good luck with your wife once she figures out what's happened to her elastic 😄

Stay safe


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Thanks dogsbody, turns out I have that one too but my copy isn't as clear and the magazine is too flared out. I also found this one this morning:




It looks like the far right, lower instruments are removed when the gun is fitted. I am still struggling with how to mount my instrument panel it's such a fiddly piece so unlike the rest of the model. I took some photos for myself to see if they might help me think of something. Turns out there is quite a lot of play in the actual gun fitting pin and the magazine can be angled down a little more than I thought previously, so the gun and the magazine can be fitted fairly easily the IP is a different matter though. Once the two fuselage halves are joined it becomes almost impossible to access it too.




I am considering making a block and attaching it to the oil tank but positioning is very difficult, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this before in other builds I can't help think I'm missing something. If you look at the IP in my previous post, the point where it is supposed to attach to the gun barrel has a arched section, I'm considering removing that and making it square to give a better joint but the flexibility in positioning the gun to the fuselage itself is putting me off the idea a little. My best option so far is to build up the gun and magazine and then re-add the Tamiya connection between the magazine and the IP.


In the meantime I have been considering the engine cowling and the small, lighter band between the exhaust manifold and the engine cowling itself. In his book Geoff Coughlin says he just masked the area and painted it, an activity which didn't excite me I have to say, masking a 0.5 mm area around and uneven circle is beyond my skillset. I thought about putting the piece on a rotating table and hand painting it for a little while but then I considered what the band actually was. Since I couldn't imagine the conversation...


"Airman have you fixed that engine yet?"

"No sir but look at this lovely silver band I painted instead."


I figured the band was probably a gasket and if the original used a gasket then why couldn't I? So I made one out of 0.5mm styrene card. I'm quite pleased with the result, it does add 0.5mm to the cowling depth but I don't think this will interfere with the prop or look out of place, the exhausts don't quite reach the cylinders with it installed but it's very difficult to get an angle where you can actually see that.




Now I only have to worry about the actual painting of the cowl, I don't know how much longer I can put it off.

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In this photo, you can make out the lighter colour on the front edge of the collector ring.






This is because of the way the ring is made and how the hot exhaust gases heat the metal. This diagram explains it.








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9 hours ago, KelT said:

I am considering making a block and attaching it to the oil tank but positioning is very difficult, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this before in other builds I can't help think I'm missing something

Great update,  and work on the cowling,  the cockpit details look great too.  Re the IP, the block sounds good and will make a sturdy fit, you could disguise it with the wiring from the gauges etc coming out of the back of the IP, this will help secure too.


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Your guess about the two circular things in the rear cockpits was right: they are compasses, including ship-like mechanism for taking a bearing (prism, mounting that rotates around the compass itself).  They were not permanently fitted and could be moved around - if you look at photos of the Navy Wings’ Stringbags you can see the ounti g slots for these, but not the compasses themselves.

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Thanks Ex-FAAWAFU it is nice to guess correctly occasionally, since I cannot tell if LS247 had them fitted or not I shall add them to my model as it's a little more detail so why not.


@bigbadbadge The block is my favourite option as it will provide stability and if I can position the IP with bluetak and then run in some extra thin it would in theory be fairly simple apart from one aspect which has so far put me off the idea. To add to the positioning complexity the oil tank itself is not a right angle but rather slopes backwards away from the IP as can be seen in the second photo above. Rather than a block I have considered 1 or 2 thin strips top/bottom but the top one would have to have considerable depth. I do keep circling the idea but by comparison the ease of adding back in the Tamiya locating lug and/or a small piece of styrene tube between the magazine and the bottom of the IP has me leaning toward that option a little more just now.


@dogsbody Thank you for the information, I am not sure what you were trying to convey exactly but I'm assuming it's that my guess at a gasket is incorrect. I'd have to agree but adding one certainly helps re-produce that distinctive ring. In the collage below the image on the left is from the refurbished W5856 and the one Geoff Coughlin based his book upon, the rear ring is very prominent while the front one is non-existent, which seems very odd if it too was produced by the heating effect. This of course is a refurbished aircraft and, as was pointed out to me previously, therefore somewhat unreliable, perhaps they actually did paint it on, or something similar, for effect in an effectively new aircraft. 


The next three images are all taken from on-board HMS Tracker with 816 squadron, at the time LS247 was aboard. The fading at the front of the manifold doesn't worry me overly but the rear one, was giving me concern. I think I am still going to use my own gasket as it makes painting that perfect, equally wide ring, much easier, it may also allow me to produce the darker ring behind it which I assume is the join between the two parts. The ring is a little odd though as in images 1/2/4 you can see it has a darker band both in front and behind it which was what led me to the gasket conclusion. Image 2 however has the same darker ring running around it's almost perfect front ring. Again thank you for your information it is nice to understand the mechanics and effects that are going on, I am not seeking perfection with this but the manifold worries me more than any other part since it is such a distinctive and eye-catching feature of the aircraft, especially in contrast to the white fuselage.





The good news, for me at least, is I just realised I need to put the exhaust together before I can paint this so I have found another reason to put it off after all. 


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I'm not sure what you mean by " gasket " here.


Here are a few colour photos of modern flying restorations that show how the WW2 are collectors looked.








You can see the heat staining clearly.


On aircraft that flew at night, the rings were sometimes over-painted with a black paint to hide the heat glow. Some coastal aircraft that were camoed in white, the ring may have been painted white, to cover the dark ring on the front. Examples would be Wellingtons and Sunderlands.




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@dogsbody We seem to be in some kind of ping pong misunderstanding here and it's most likely my fault. I originally thought, using the references I was, that the ring might have been a gasket and I figured it'd be a good idea to make one myself not for accuracy but to make painting the ring easier. After your first response with the heat distribution diagram I could see that the actual aircraft had no gasket and I agreed with your information. I have neither the experience, knowledge or desire to argue with you and was grateful for the information you posted as it helped me understand the manifold mechanics better. I have, despite this new understanding, decided to use the gasket I made on the kit despite their being no such item on the actual aircraft, since it still functions in its original purpose, namely as an easier way to duplicate the ring with paint. I simply do not have the confidence to attempt to replicate such a defined and high contrast ring using masking tape and brush painting on a curved cylinder and so, even if my current "gasket" broke I'd likely still make another since it was far easier for me to do that than to consider the masking option.


I do, as always, appreciate your input and information, every little bit is informative and encouraging for me, I hope this clarifies the confusion.




Assembling the exhaust took far longer than I anticipated. I have very little experience in this hobby as this is only my third kit, the previous two being Airfix kits but even so, after the almost click and go aspect of much of this kit so far I was astonished to encounter the poor quality of the exhaust parts. I forgot to take pictures of the original fit as I became immediately engrossed in trying to correct it so the images below were after I'd removed a LOT of plastic in order to get the fin halves to align. I didn't do anything to correct the end fitting at the point when I took the images. The original fit was so poor that there was a 1mm gap between the two halves of each fin on both sides of the exhaust, that being between the two parts M8 and M3 and the main exhaust M1+M10. 

The whole assembly was a mess and although I have seen people dealing with much worse on BM it was a shock for me after a, thus far, well made kit. I checked the differences between the Tamiya instructions and the Trumpeter ones and for some reason Trumpeter decided to go with a different alignment system than Tamiya on this particular part, just like the IP. I'm beginning to suspect that the quality in the kit is down to Tamiya and every time Trumpeter walk their own path the result is very poor indeed. I did enjoy the challenge I kept telling myself it was a "kit" and if I'd wanted click and play I should have bought Lego but even so it was strange to go from perfect fit to absolutely nowhere close in the same kit.


I had to use Tamiya putty to correct the gaps, it was my first time using the stuff in battle and I at first found it to be very cloggy and difficult to use. I overcame the difficulties, eventually applying it with the edge of my scalpel instead of a toothpick but I have to say I still found it a little thick. I attempted to thin it using Tamiya X-20, Water and Future but none worked, only resulting in an unmanageable lump. The packet says to thin with "Tamiya Lacquer Thinners" but I don't want to buy that just for thinning putty is there another more domestic alternative for thinning the putty?





My completed exhaust, I also hollowed out the fins a little with my trusty blade.


Edited by KelT
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Good looking exhaust.


The next time you have the chance, buy yourself a jar of Mr. Surfacer 1000 or even the 1200 or one of each. It's a fluid that can be applied with a toothpick or some other small tool. After it dries it can be lightly sanded. 


I have used the 1000 on my 1/72 Hurricane build to fill some seams. I shook the bottle thoroughly and used a sewing needle with the eye cut back to a small vee, to apply it to the seams. I also used a round wooden toothpick for application.






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Thanks dogsbody I have added Mr. Surfacer 1000 to my next shopping list, I guess they putty will be good for bigger jobs. The needle applicator is a great idea too.



Today was a good day, I finally resolved my IP mounting issue. I will post how here in case it helps someone else with the same problem.


First I went with the attaching the IP to the gun magazine as it seemed the most simple. I attached the magazine to the gun angling it down as much as possible, I then drilled a small hole in the end of the magazine on the side facing the IP and inserted a length of styrene dowel 0.5mm thick. I filed out the area on the IP which comes into contact with the gun to remove the curve and give better contact then I glued the IP to the gun and glued the dowel to the IP where it rested against it. This actually made a very solid construction, it was easy to do and align the parts and it fitted well.


IMG-1437.jpg IMG-1449.jpg


The only issues I had with this method were that it becomes quite delicate to fit and remove the whole cockpit and it was going to be impossible to fit any wiring to the rear of the IP.

So as bigbadbadge suggested I decided to try the block method. I looked through my left over sprues and found a part from my Spitfire which served perfectly but a piece of sprue would have done just as well. First I had to glue the gun permanently to the fuselage and I found the little locating lug alone was not sufficiently strong so I had to run some Extra Thin down between the barrel and fuselage, easy to do from the inside and the glue doesn't show through the transparent part that way. I also rotated the gun to angle the magazine downwards as much as possible while still using the locating lug, there is actually quite a lot of play.




I attached the spitfire part to the rear of the IP, it had to be quite low (3/4 of the way down) in order to make good contact with the oil tank. The depth of the attached piece was eventually filed to 4.5mm at the top and 4mm at the bottom in order to position the IP in the correct place. It was easy to then fit some wires before attaching the IP to the oil tank. I still have to figure out how/where I am going to terminate the wires but as you can see below it works very well. The images are not the best but they hopefully show the positioning for the IP. Hope this helps someone, I'm glad to have it done.




It was actually easier than I thought it would be but using the first method certainly helped since it gave me a really good idea of where the IP needed to align.

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Thanks for that, I have that one too but I never even noticed the compass when I was looking through my images for reference since it appears to be mounted on the wrong side of the aircraft but the image is actually flipped horizontally.


It's a really good shot for showing/demonstrating the two cylinders though, especially when you flip it to it's original orientation, it seems to make it easier to look at. Thank you.

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13 hours ago, KelT said:

Thanks for that, I have that one too but I never even noticed the compass when I was looking through my images for reference since it appears to be mounted on the wrong side of the aircraft but the image is actually flipped horizontally.


It's a really good shot for showing/demonstrating the two cylinders though, especially when you flip it to it's original orientation, it seems to make it easier to look at. Thank you.

The image isn't reversed, it's showing the 2 compass positions on the Stbd side - there were 4 positions, one at each corner of the observers cockpit to enable the compass to be fitted in the appropriate position for the bearing being taken.



Restored Second World War Fairey Swordfish torpedo biplane in flight Stock Photo - Alamy



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@dave Right, that makes sense. I just checked the actual kit and there do seem to be some mounts on the outside of the fuselage for two compasses, hard to spot on the transparent half I am using:





Looking at the images posted by both Dave and Chris there is further evidence that the first image was not actually reversed since the compass mounts on port and starboard are in fact different with the port ones being encompassed by the fuselage while the starboard ones are external. Interesting. I wonder if that was simply so you didn't rip the crotch out of your trousers while climbing aboard.


It's a good job I have become accustomed to looking stupid over the years since I seem to be wrong so often in this thread, it's good to learn through my errors though. Thank you again both of you for adding to the thread and correcting my mistakes, I hope to keep making them since your corrections make for a great resource of information in a single place. It's wonderful to learn so much about this aircraft and the people involved with them just from building a plastic kit, details I would have missed by just reading a book. I do at times feel the weight of the information load despite my enjoyment in learning so I just ordered my next kit, something much, much simpler in terms of research and details, a Tamiya Virago. So now I have to keep going to get this one finished so I can have a more laid back relaxing time with glue and paint.


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I managed to get the cowl and exhaust manifold painted, quite possibly a simple achievement for many of you long term modellers out there but difficult and traumatic for me I can assure you. Painting those metallic paints and white is no easy matter for me.


For the manifold I used Vallejo: 70.996 Gold/70.864 Natural Steel/70.861 Glossy Black/70.950 Black/76.507 Model wash rust. (the gold, steel and wash formed my base adding small amounts of black as I build the layers)

For the cowl I used Vallejo: 70.951 white (it took me a long time to build up very thin layers)

I painted the inside of the cowl in Natural steel and glossy black 80/20, it probably wont be seen but it has a sleek reflective aspect I am hoping will catch the light on the small areas which are visible.

I dilute all my paints using the equivalent of Future but still find this Vallejo to be very soft and easily removed with the slightest rub. It's a beautifully easy paint to lay down but just as easy to knock off.


I'm not 100% happy with the results but I think I have to go with "satisfied" and move on. I forgot to paint my gasket with my original (lightest) mix before I began adding black so I had to make up another hence the match between the front of the manifold and the ring isn't exact.

It's also currently only dry fit as I still have to paint the camouflage on the cowl but I need to complete the fuselage first in order to line everything up.




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