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I'm feeling confident about finishing the Comet 4B now so here is the venerable Bristol Fighter F.2B to fill the gap for '1956' - confirmed on the Airfix Tribute Forum and Scalemates agrees.

 

I've actually got two 'boxings' of this kit - one from 1962 in the well known 'Red Stripe' bag and one from 1987 in the  'no explosions / blueprint background' with different transfers for 5 Squadron. The box is / was still sealed and you can see that at one time in its career, it was on sale in Selfridges (no less) for £1.75.

 

100_2353

 

The older kit looks good with no flash but the transfers...! Those roundels look like eyes squinting sideways!

Instructions are the traditional 'locate and cement' kind that actually educate you in all the aircraft terminology.

100_2360100_2359

 

Date inside the fuselage says 1957 - that makes the kit older than I am. Needs to be handled appropriately.

100_2358

 

I've decided to 'squirrel away' the early kit and build the later one - I'm not an antique dealer, honest!

 

Here it is and it is from the period when the kits made in France - the plastic is more silver as opposed to silver-grey. Still a lack of flash though and the decals are good.

100_2356

 

I think I built the 'Dogfight Double' version of this first time round (last century) and this time I fancy trying some rigging (gulp) and a 'wood effect' on the prop - there have been bags of tips on BM.

Edited by Ventora3300

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I vaguely recall building the dogfight double of this when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. It was paired with a little red tridecker, I think. I have memories of painting the Bristol in a thick gloopy brown gloss. It’ll be nice to see this come together.

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That’s a big effort just to fill a gap there Mike, however I’m sure you’ll tame it good and proper. I’m a bit confused why the 1957 dates are embossed inside the fuselage for a kit that was produced a year earlier? 

 

Anyway, I’ll mark it as 1956 entry, but I’m just on my phone at the moment and it’s easier to do the updates on a desktop. 

 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the kit and the rigging. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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7 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

I vaguely recall building the dogfight double of this when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. It was paired with a little red tridecker, I think. I have memories of painting the Bristol in a thick gloopy brown gloss. It’ll be nice to see this come together.

Thanks. I have a little trepidation in that one of the other well-known BM community, who always appears to look like Robert Shaw when he pops in, (quote 'Takka, takka, takka' from a film you may be familiar with), promised to send me some razor blades to use on myself if I attempted to build this kit at this stage in my career. The first thing I notice is that they didn't even give the pilot and observer legs so I think cockpit detail is not to be a consideration! I'm enjoying all your builds here immensely so don't stop until they bring down the shutters. Cheers. Mike.

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10 minutes ago, Rabbit Leader said:

That’s a big effort just to fill a gap there Mike, however I’m sure you’ll tame it good and proper. I’m a bit confused why the 1957 dates are embossed inside the fuselage for a kit that was produced a year earlier? 

 

Anyway, I’ll mark it as 1956 entry, but I’m just on my phone at the moment and it’s easier to do the updates on a desktop. 

 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the kit and the rigging. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

Thanks, Dave. There have been a few surprises in mold dates and catalogue entries from Airfix being at odds but that seems to be an expected possibility. Never mind that, I am still working out how to get someone to build a Ferguson Tractor from 1949 to really round off this GB! I'll do my best on the Bristol but for what was one of the more chunky biplanes of WW1, it is tiny in the hands. Makes you appreciate what others have done with the Sopwith Pup. All the best. Mike.

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Made a start on the F.2B by putting the fuselage, stabilisers, lower wing and undercarriage legs together. I actually had to consult the earlier kit 'written instructions' to work out which legs went through which holes to where as the more modern pictures weren't clear to me. Also, the original Instructions tell you not to glue the axle in place - the wheels on the end hold it in and let the whole assembly spin - very important feature for me! It was all very squidgy while the cement was drying and needed nudging to make sure it all ended up square.

 

100_2386

 

100_2390

 

100_2387

 

The seam in the fuselage will need sanding and filling to flatten down - sorry to say that I am noticing this now on every 'vintage' Airfix kit that I am building. It's possibly just the case that I am getting the seam out of alignment - I thought at one point that one fuselage half is not exactly the same size as the other half but maybe it is the locating pegs pulling them out of line. As a 10-year old, you weren't bothered but the step top and bottom bugs me now and needs to be eradicated at this stage in the game.

 

Lots of pin ejector marks on top and bottom wings to be sanded out.

 

I was looking at the bumpy top of the engine cowling and about to sand smooth but when compared with the earlier kit pieces, there has been an attempt to show some sort of detail there, although on the later kit it is looking less sharp. Same with the exhaust stubs and radiator front.

 

Also spotted that one of the wing struts is a short shot on the sprue so I'll need to make one up - at this point, I nearly made the decision to go with a build of the earlier 'red stripe' kit!

 

Never mind rivets, this kit has massive canvas stitching detail!

Edited by Ventora3300
Learning during the build

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Taking shape nicely Mike. Good to see that you’re going to make the effort to clean her up a fair bit. You mention the difference in crisp detail between your bagged kit and this 1980’s product - I wonder how many pieces of styrene have gone through those moulds in-between your two kits -must be in the thousands?? 

 

Looking good so far. 

Cheers.. Dave 

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I see what you mean about the stitching!!!! 😨

 

I've often wondered just how many kits have been produced of some of airfix's more "commerical" kits?

 

I haven't really looked into the history of many other kits but that typhoon I'm doing was first tooled in 1959 (i think) and was only replaced in like 2009 or something.

50 years from the same mould??!!  Or maybe there's more than one set of moulds?

 

The current (well most recent) boxing of the 1/48 mosquito still contains ALL the original 1978 sprues (along with new parts) so there must have been a fair number of them produced.....well at least 5 as I have 4 and @MarkSH has the other one 🤣

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Yes, it's an interesting thought - I always assumed there was just one mold (two facing steel plates with the shapes machined out) which were slotted into an extrusion machine and an operator pushed in a nozzle, injected the liquid plastic, opened up, extracted the sprues, cleaned off, closed up, pushed in the nozzle...and so on. I wonder how many one operator could churn out in a day? Do they now work even faster/longer overseas?

 

As well as how accurate and detailed the machined mold is in the first place, I would imagine that quality is based on how you go about the process - plastic material correct, hot enough to flow, pressure not too much to escape the plates (flash), cool enough to set and retain shape when extracted (no warping), plates cleaned and coated with release agent sufficiently ready for the next injection, mold plates clamped together at the right pressure to make seals and avoid damage etc. etc. 

 

We've all heard of a 'Monday Car' so the same operator, or his holiday replacement, may have been capable of varying levels of quality depending on day of the week or how many brownie points he got the day before from SWMBO. Some times I pick up an old kit and say 'wow, that looks good' and others make you feel you are wasting your time with 'vintage'

 

I imagine these original molds would have been made by modelling / casting and hand machining without the benefit of computer aided drawing/programming/machining so it is a bit of an achievement that some of the early kits can look so good (to my nostalgic eyes anyway).

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23 hours ago, Lawzer said:

I've often wondered just how many kits have been produced of some of airfix's more "commerical" kits?

 

Ian, some quotes from the '50 Years of Airfix' book by Arthur Ward published in 1999:

 

Engineers among you will probably recognise the names of the injection moulding machines that spewed out kit after kit for Airfix from the 1950's to the 1970's. Plant came from such famous firms as Coventry's Alfred Herbert Ltd., Leatherhead's RH Windsor Ltd. and from London's Peco Products. The hopper capacity of these machines varied from 90 to 200 lbs of raw plastic and 'actual injection time' on Windsor's 'Autoplas' 1044 machine was only 2 seconds.

 

...the vast cost involved in tooling a new kit. On average, a mould tool costs roughly £1,000 per component part to produce. If you have a 100-part kit, the cost is £100,000.

 

The injection moulding machines currently used by Airfix operate at locking pressures of between 15 and 600 tons and are capable of injecting 20g to 2kg of plastic. Between Jan and Dec 1997, Airfix packaged 377,755 kits.

 

Modern injection machines are a bit like the motor car. They've got more sophisticated and you've got computer settings on them but the basic functions are the same. Each kit takes only about 30 seconds to mould.

 

However, the current kit turnover of approx 2,000,000 pieces per annum is a far cry from Airfix's heyday when the firm sold as many as 20,000,000 kits per year.

 

There are other interesting details on how moulds are made. Cheers. Mike

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>> Airfix's heyday when the firm sold as many as 20,000,000 kits per year.

 

Holy cow!

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Way back when I was in my late teens I worked for a temp agency doing whatever came up. One of the jobs was a night shift in a local plastics factory operating these machines. I really didn't have to do much. The shift supervisor made sure the correct moulds were in place and ran the tests, all I had to do was close the glass door, wait for it to do its thing, open the door, remove the parts, put them in the box, close the door, repeat.....all night.....

It's a very quick and efficient process, but incredibly boring for the operator. 

 

Ian

 

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For the rigging, decided to go for the 'drill and string' method so handdrilling small holes in the top and bottom wings and the fuselage - broken a drill bit already and fitting to my Black & Decker didn't work. Patience required.

 

100_2415

 

I'm a bit concerned that the heat of my fingers while drilling will warp the wings if I go at it for too long so painting on the sprues as an alternative - yellow on the wheel discs and struts and prop - this will be the base for the wood effect (I hope). I made up a replacement strut (to replace the short shot one) from an undercarriage leg from a 'spare' Mitsubishi Dinah.

 

I've also painted in the front section of the fuselage in Aluminium and undercarriage and radiator front in black. Exhausts, machine gun and support are in Gunmetal. Pilot and Observer (what there is of them) are crying out to be painted.

100_2419

 

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Don't worry, you won't warp the wings by holding them while drilling. They won't get anywhere near warm enough to do that.

 

Ian

 

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8 hours ago, limeypilot said:

Don't worry, you won't warp the wings by holding them while drilling. They won't get anywhere near warm enough to do that.

 

Unless you're really Johnny Storm in disguise. That may cause some warping...

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15 hours ago, limeypilot said:

Don't worry, you won't warp the wings by holding them while drilling. They won't get anywhere near warm enough to do that.

 

Ian

 

 

7 hours ago, Rob G said:

 

Unless you're really Johnny Storm in disguise. That may cause some warping...

You are right - the wings are pretty thick and sold pieces of plastic but I was putting a fair bit of force behind the drill to get it through. The stabilisers are a bit more delicate. Only stabbed myself once so far! I just hope they fill in again OK.

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If you need to put a lot of force on the drill, get some new bits, they're blunt! I tape the wing to the bench and just rest the drill on it with my finger on the top to keep it straight. It needs virtually no pressure. 

 

Ian

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4 minutes ago, limeypilot said:

If you need to put a lot of force on the drill, get some new bits, they're blunt! I tape the wing to the bench and just rest the drill on it with my finger on the top to keep it straight. It needs virtually no pressure. 

 

Ian

You are right - and I was trying to do this with just the wings held in hand. I did actually buy another pack of 0.8mm drill bits yesterday (0.5mm look too delicate to me) so speed will pick up a bit now. Many thanks. Mike.

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Looking good Mike, and the drilling will be worth the effort once you have it rigged.

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On 17/08/2018 at 13:53, limeypilot said:

If you need to put a lot of force on the drill, get some new bits, they're blunt! I tape the wing to the bench and just rest the drill on it with my finger on the top to keep it straight. It needs virtually no pressure. 

 

Ian

You are right - and I was trying to do this with just the wings held in hand. I did actually buy another pack of 0.8mm drill bits yesterday (0.5mm look too delicate to me) so speed will pick up a bit now. Many thanks. Mike.

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Pushing on with the main colours now, Buff for the undersurfaces and Khaki for the upper surfaces - I'm going for the Western Front scheme from the 'red stripe' packaging.

 

I had a mad moment when I thought the bumps on the engine cowling were in fact the rocker covers poking through and painted them black - I'll revert back to aluminium as the reference photos I've seen show the engine fully enclosed - must have been a different aircraft.

 

The prop and struts are now ready for the 'wood effect' so fingers crossed for that. Maybe it would be simpler to scratch build from some iced lolly sticks...?

 

100_2441100_2440

 

Edited by Ventora3300

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Looking good - Bi-planes and wood effects are things that scare me.  I'm interested - but they are way beyond my skill set at the moment - cheering from the back - Steve

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Bi-planes, Wood effect and Rigging are things that scare me!! 

I've yet to build a bi-plane although seem to have somewhere between 10-15 gathering dust in the stash. Not sure when I'll muster up the courage to have a go, but perhaps a GB similar to this may give me the incentive and push to have a crack. The Brisfit is looking good Mike, I'm taking notes. 

 

Cheers.. Dave. 

 

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11 hours ago, Rabbit Leader said:

Bi-planes, Wood effect and Rigging are things that scare me!! 

I've yet to build a bi-plane although seem to have somewhere between 10-15 gathering dust in the stash. Not sure when I'll muster up the courage to have a go, but perhaps a GB similar to this may give me the incentive and push to have a crack. The Brisfit is looking good Mike, I'm taking notes. 

 

Cheers.. Dave. 

 

I'm working up to this...

Zeppelin Stakken RVI

 

From my reading up on 'The Battle of Britain 1917-1918' These things were in the air over the UK in WW1 - imagine Biggles in his Camel going up after this! 

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12 minutes ago, Ventora3300 said:

I'm working up to this...

Zeppelin Stakken RVI

 

From my reading up on 'The Battle of Britain 1917-1918' These things were in the air over the UK in WW1 - imagine Biggles in his Camel going up after this! 

OMG!!!

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