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melvyn hiscock

Masking Mr Duke and 302 invasion stripes (Sq., not number of)

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Since my brief foray into the ‘work in progress’, or should that be ‘work - failed’, a few years back I have been slowly learning what I am doing, brought an airbrush, made some mistakes and then finally attempted the 1 48 Eduard Spitfire MkIX (late) or about three years late in my case.  Mind you, I did have a big guitar book to finish, oh AND five different cancers which *may* be a better excuse than ‘the dog ate my homework!

 

However immunotherapy is good and most of the time I can function, even at a limited level, and I noticed that on the first marking selection, that of MK712. It would appear that the stripes beneath the wing are smaller than standard, no completely covering the radiator and not extending onto the aileron. Using my best Gosport Grammar Skool mathematic, (often little more than ‘how many fingers am I holding up’? Before they formed a fist/mouth interface situation) I worked out the ones under the wings are pretty well 16 in rather than 18, and the fuselage ones are 17 inch. Is this correct? I appreciate there may be something but I have searched and come up with nothing.

 

Meanwhile my search continues for markings for Neville Duke’s Mark VIII. There has been discussion about this on here before. I intend that my wonderful wife (Gawd bless her little socks) surprises me this coming festivities with a Tamiya 1/32 Mark VIII and this shall be the one he left behind to finds its own way into a lake. As I may have (undoubtedly did name drop) in the past I was lucky enough to know this lovely man a little but and had some nice chats. He told me leaving JG241 was necessary but as he saw it curve down into the lake he was sad, as it had been his favourite.

 

Some time back in one such discussion as this, someone suggested using masks and I remember a suggestion that bespoke masks can be custom laser cut by someone here in the Uk.

 

so, any thoughts on either of the above?

 

Many thanks

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Hell’s teeth Melvyn, who’s got it in for you?  Good for you trying to carry on with this madness hobby whilst dealing with your illnesses.

 

As far as invasion stripes go you’re dealing with a can of worms hiding in a bag of nails: the subject’s been dealt with a number of times on any number of forums and possibly the best advice you’ll get is “try to find a good photo or several of your chosen subject”.  You probably know as well as the rest of us that the stripes were applied “at the rush” in the few hours of darkness before the invasion went onto the beaches and that the airmen and women tasked with the job used any and every type of brush to get paint on aircraft.  There are plenty of images of aircraft with stripes of varying widths, degrees of straightness and taper: some Typhoon units’ stripes were particularly ragged.  

 

Some ground crew(s)  might also have been averse to painting stripes on ailerons due to concern about affecting the balance of those surfaces although this should have been allayed after the introduction of the Night/White underside scheme in 1939 - ‘40, or have been instructed not to paint them.  Likewise not painting the stripes across the radiator fairings might just have been forgotten in the heat of the moment.

 

The only aircraft that I know of with perfectly applied stripes was Tempest V JN751, Wing Commander Roland Beamont’s mount, which was “done” by Hawker’s paint shop at Langley. 

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Officially prescribed width for the invasion stripes was 18". It is known that some Spitfire units used narrower stripes, for example those belonging to 10 Group ADGB. 302 Sqn. however was not one of them.

I have seen a picture of MH712, the aircraft proposed by Eduard in their 1/48 kit and the fuselage stripes are well visible. There are IMHO standard 18" stripes, not narrower. I made a calculation by checking the extent of the stripes in the picture and taking measurements on the Eduard 1/72 kit. The result was approximately 18" too.

The picture does not show the lower surfaces, so it's impossible to tell if the aircraft actually carried narrower stripes or the standard 18". Personally I would probably go for the standard size, unless Eduard knows for sure that the aircraft carried narrower stripes on the wings

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Thanks both, I appreciate the differences. I had a nice chat with Richard Grace at this year’s La Ferte Alias this about how rough and nasty the stripes on ML407 looked. I thought they were great. As an pilot and aircraft restorer, as well as having read stuff going back over 50 years from Airfix magazine in its heyday, I remember that early spits had the ailerons in silver dope due to the change in balance, so aware of all that. After all, in the days between  the order and the invasion, no one was going to come along and check. 

 

The thing is, that if you use the references in the Eduard drawing of MH 712 the wing stripes they have drawn scale out to pretty well 16 inches, like I said I the original post. Eduard’s other D Day choices shoe different placement, the fuselage stripes on Closterman’s show the stripes alighting with the rear edge of the sky band. MH712 has the stripes starting from, as near as dammit, halfway across the sky band. As you say Steve, hurried and non standard. Jerry Billing’ Spitfire shows the stripes starting at the leading edge of the sky band.

 

The well-known photo of MH712 with the markings like in the kit clearly show the d day stripes starting at the half way point of the sky band, as said above, and stopping in the forward edge of the radio hatch. 

 

Now if you assume Eduard got the salient fuselage points right, then if the d day stripes start half way across the sky band, the bottom part of which lines up with the fuselage/tail join, using that and going forwards 9 inches (3/16 in in 1/48) to start the d day stripes so 5 times 18 inches, so 90 inches or 1.875 inches in 1/48, or 99 inches from the fus/tail join forwards and, sorry Georgio, it just doesn’t fit. The end, in this case is right behind the radio mast, which you do see on some Spitfires, but the photos of MH712 clearly show this is not the case. Interestingly, and now looking at the other drawings, both Clostermans, that has the rear edge in the rear edge of the d day stripes at the rear side of the sky band and the stripes end part way across the radio hatch and Billings Spitfire, where the start at the front edge of the tail stripe, it is the relevant amount forwards of the radio hatch but not as far as the rear edge of the radio mast. It appears that Billings had full 18 inch stripes on the wings but also had 17in on the fuse, as did Clostermans. 

 

We we all know that B of B spits simply could not fit the codes in the size they were specified, it looks like this happened here. 

 

I shall all do some more measuring

 

any thoughts on laser masks?

Edited by melvyn hiscock
I pad has a ‘mind’ of it’s own

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Georgio, I did basic measurements in the Eduard, but had to go to my scrap Airfix XII to check so if could be wrong. I shall check the Eduard as soon as I find my digital scale as holding up a 12 in ruler is not the way to do it! I still need 99 inches from tail join to perpendicular to the forward face of the radio. I may even try to take phots now the chemo is wearing off (just had 27 hours of hiccups and acid indigestion. It is, however, much easier than last time.)

 

For anyone one reading this: NEVER MISS A CANCER CHECK

 

There will be a new book, it is started and the working title is The Cancer Survivors Guide to Surviving Cancer Survivors.

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Regarding the position of the stripes along the fuselage, this did vary a lot across the various units, with some leaving the whole sky band visible, others covering the sky band and everything in between. In general however the width seems to have remained quite constant, with a number of known exceptions.

I'm not familiar with the 1/48 Airfix Mk,XII so I don't know if this suffers from any inaccuracy in terms of fuselage length or wing placement, I can't remember having read anything on the matter so I assume that it's fine. In any case it's better to measure on the Eduard kit directly. I'll repeat my measurement, assuming that the Eduard 1/72 kit is proportioned as the 1/48 one (and i can see no reason why it shouldn't). IIRC my measurement was around 32 mm for all 5 bands, that scaling up gives approx 18" per band. Measurement was taken with a digital caliper. I based the measurement on the picture, not the Eduard instructions

I also measured the stripes on the wings and my measurement agrees with yours, but the problem here is that I do not know if the Eduard instructions are accurate or not in this respect.

I have an Xtradecals sheet dedicated to a number of D-Day machines, I'll see if there's any from this same unit and check their instructions if so.

In the meantime, best wishes for your treatment !

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Thanks Georgio. That sort of random encouragement is great coming from strangers. I know I am borrowed Tim and we are discussing DDay stripes!

 

somwhere in a box upstairs I have a Harry van de Meer’s book in Belgian Spits and the scale drawings are great, but which box and where upstairs, and it not easy for me to get in the roof space and not get sidelined by all the other fun stuff I have in store. Plus today is the tired day after the steroids wear off, so I need to find my digital calliper (bought from Lidl, my fave shop for toys, even got an Airfix Spit Ia and ME 109 started kits with my wine last week!

 

a reliable measurement from the rear fuse join to the radio hatch would solve this. It has reminded me that Rich Grace invited us up and it is about time I git back in touch with Steve Vizard!

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Melvyn,

it may be strange to discuss stripes and plastic models, but aren't these in the end part of our lives as modellers ? So worth thinking of, even when they may sound the weirdest thing to think off..

 

I forgot to add my thought on masks...

Yes it is possible to have masks cut by specialised services, although most don't use lasers. In any case the result can be very good. Is it worth doing it for D-Day stripes ? Not sure...

To put my view in perspective, I own a small computer controlled cutter that can produce exactly the kind of masks you're thinking of. I use this to cut masks for camo schemes and certain markings but I never bothered using it for things like D-Day stripes. This because I prefer a quicker, simpler and cheaper method: electric insulation tape !

The nice thing of this product is that can be stretched quite a lot so it's possible to have it follow the curves even on a 1/72 Spitfire fuselage (I'm mainly a 1/72 builder). So to add the stripes I simply cut to the right width 5 lengths of tape and apply them on the fuselage, stretching the tape to properly follow the fuselage shape. Then I add another couple of bands before the first stripe and after the last, and remove the ones where I have to paint on.

In order to get the stripes at the right width, I use a caliper: I open the jaws at the correct width of the individual stripe, and lock them, then I attach a length of tape on the bottom. At that point the jaws as guides for a cutter with a new blade and I easily get stripes that are all identical and all of the correct width.

 

Said that, If you feel that using masks would be a better option, let me know... I never cut masks for the stripes on the Spitfire but since I have a few in the stash myself it's something I may attempt.... once the design is done, it's easy to scale them to 1/48 or 1/72 depending on the model

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Georgio, 

 

Many thanks for this but it is not for the stripes. That was just a preamble really. 

 

I have wanted to do Neville Duke’s JG241 and whilst I can get it in 1/72 I want to do it in 1/32 on the Tamiya kit. It has been covered on here before, and I can get 1/32 serials easily enough, but the codes are a problem. Montex do a mask for another 145 sq machine with the same codes in the desert scheme, but these have a bar at the top of the ‘J’ and the 1/72 kit does not. Not a problem in a solid colour code, as you can scalpel them off, but these were outlined. There are no published photos that I know of that have JG242 in Italy so seeing the codes is tricky, bar or no bar? and I do know the guy that bought Neville’s photos, but he sold them on and I’m not sure if there were any of it in the box either, as I think the BBMF would have chosen a Spit that Neville flew more than a couple of times, when they painted up Mk356

 

i was very luck to get to meet Neville on quite a few occasions and be in first name terms, and I was asked to speak at his memorial service on ‘Neville the private pilot’ after Sir Michael Gaydon covered his RAF career and Peter Twiss covered his test flying. Daunting company. Neville was a true gentleman, not at all arrogant and exactly how you’d like your heroes to be.

 

 

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Last night after more head scratching I cut a piece of plastic card and marked it with five 3/8in spaces and one 3/16th, so five 18 inch stripes for the invasion stripes and 9 in for half the width of the sky band, the starting point of the stripes on MH712. I placed tape at the datum at the rear, the rearmost point of the sky band, starting at the fuselage/tail join, and another piece running down from the forward edge of the radio hatch on both the scrap Airfix XII and the Eduard IX. According to the biggish quality photo of MH712 with the stripes as it is represented on the model this should be a scale 99 inches or 2.0625 (2 1/16th) in 1/48.  The piece of plastic card cut exactly to this, and much easier to handle than a ruler, over ran by about 0.1 in, or pretty well a scale 5in, so I am now sure the fuselage stripes were 17 inch. Post chemo tiredness got me last night and today but I shall double check the wing stripes today with the same method, when the caffeine/chemo balance is restored!

 

there were pics, but I need to resurrect my photobucket account

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17 minutes ago, melvyn hiscock said:

...

there were pics, but I need to resurrect my photobucket account

Your project sounds very interesting and are a joy to follow.

 

Speaking of photobucket, this has fallen in disfavour following their change to non-free admission. There are a number of alternatives, I use the http://village.photos service, which is free and easy to use.

 

Hope your treatment succeeds (from one who is in the same predicament, cancer).

 

/Finn

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Of course, to add insult to injury (not real injuries but I’m hurt, HURT I tell you)

 

the airbrush has decided to shoot paint out of the cup all over me and everything within range.

 

oh how I love modelling.......

Edited by melvyn hiscock

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I finally found my digital calliper and it confirms that, on the Airfix and Eduard Spitfires at least, the distance between datums is about 1/10th inch, or five scale inches, too narrow to use 18in stripes on this aircraft.

 

Meanwhile , stripped the airbrush right down and deep cleaned it, which it needed. Put it back together, put in some thinners only and it still blew back. Tried different nozzles. Still rubbish. I think this is a case of buy cheap, get garbage. Invested in new one. Ouch.

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MH712 did not have stripes under the wings. That is the imagination of the people that draw profiles.

 

f7d7d190-0554-4eee-8fc8-3db013066673.jpg

 

At that time none of 302's Spitfires had stripes under the wings.

 

ef2fb63f-4e24-4bbc-aef3-f04ac545b03a.jpg

Edited by 303sqn

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The key phrase it ‘at that time’. It most definitely would have had stripes on DDay and, as with many other squadrons, they were progressively removed. I could make it with full stripes and with no photo reference still know that I am most likely right. 

 

It it is a shame that whilst these photos are useful, one taken even a week before could have shown the underwing stripes too. 

 

Out of interest, is there a date on these photos?

Edited by melvyn hiscock

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It photographs were taken autumn 1944, probably September. The serial number is found in small letters on the fin. It was probably applied because the stripes applied for D-Day obscured the serial number on the fuselage. The rudder was replaced at some time with a 'pointy' one. Was the artwork there on D-Day?

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Not sure, as with all things, photo proof is needed. 

 

However i I am sure now the fuselage stripes were ‘adapted’ to fit (and 17 inches is pretty well exactly 9mm in 1/48)

 

and i I am just going to have to trust Eduard on the wing stripes

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