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Back in the Saddle

Airfix 1/48 Folland Gnat T.1

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So it all began when I bought this kit on eBay and discovered the seller was @The Spadgent, a modeller whose impressive builds I had noticed numerous times whilst lurking on BM. This prompted me to finally sign up and get properly involved - I’ve not had much time for this hobby since becoming a dad, but life is now a bit quieter and I’m ready to get back into modelling.

I have an Airfix Vulcan and Revell Victor both nearing completion in the KUTA XII group build, so I’m keen to start a new kit - what could be better than the Gnat? Hopefully a much more straightforward build, due to the new tooling - the Vulcan and Victor have both been “challenging”, to put it mildly!

 

Here's the box art, along with a message from Johnny!

 

gnat-box.jpg

 

Everything I've read about this kit suggests it will be a simple build. It seems to go together well and airbrushing just a single colour will be a welcome change too!

This is the scheme I will use - it has a bit more impact with the "Royal Air Force" titles on the nose, rather than just a lightning stripe on the forward fuselage (as shown on the box art above):

 

gnat-scheme.jpg

 

The sprues look crisply moulded and the parts should detach cleanly. I will build it without pilots, with the nose panel and canopy open and the drop tanks attached. Here are the parts:

 

gnat-sprues.jpg

 

I have a day off work and the rain is hammering down outside, so I think I'll make a start...!

 

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This is a lovely little kit for mojo restoration or just easing back into the hobby.  There are a couple of areas that need some care, notably the fuselage centre section side walls and the wings.  On the former make sure you clean up all of the mould seam lines and the latter need a bit of fettling to get a neat joint above the intakes .  Other than that it just about falls together.

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I managed to get some work done. Not as much as planned, due to an unexpected trip to the supermarket...

 

The main sections of the cockpit tub have gone together without any hassle:

 

tub.jpg

 

I have left the instrument panels off for now, as they both need a coat of paint before I apply the decals - I might get the airbrush going tomorrow and give everything a coat of grey. I think an application of wash and some dry brushing will bring the details out nicely.

 

The seats were more complex than I expected. Six pieces of plastic each so far, with one more to go:

 

seats.jpg

 

There is a prominent ejector mark on the top of each seat, which can be seen on the right hand seat as that is not completed in this photo. Fortunately (or good planning by Airfix!) this will be hidden by the box section at the top. The ejection handles are very well moulded, just not visible in this photo.

 

A little bit of filler will be needed, then these too will be ready for painting.

Edited by Back in the Saddle

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Ha!  Brilliant. What are the odds eh? 
well pretty good as it happens. 🥳

 I’ll tag along if that’s ok. Almost like a build from an alternate universe.

 

Glad you’re happy with the kit. 

 

Johnny. 
 

ps. Great start by the way. 😍

Edited by The Spadgent

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1 hour ago, Back in the Saddle said:

I managed to get some work done. Not as much as planned, due to an unexpected trip to the supermarket...

I was always against on line grocery shopping until I realised that it was invented especially so that modellers do not have to go to the supermarket and have their labours interrupted.

 

Martian 👽

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Online shopping sounds like a great solution!

I managed to do a bit more work on the seats this weekend, but I'm waiting for some more paint to arrive before I can finish them off. I also sprayed aluminium onto the wheel bays, main wheel hubs and compressor and turbine faces, so they are now ready for a dirty wash.

 

The instructions show aluminium on the intake ducting too, but every reference picture I have seen shows white intakes. I suspect the internal trunking may have been a natural aluminium finish, as it would not have been easily accessible, with the more visible bit at the front of the intakes painted white - does that sound plausible?

 

I finished off the day by assembling the wings and drop tanks, even remembering to drill the attachment holes in wings for the tanks - that sort of thing has caught me out in the past! I couldn't see any instructions for how to assemble the drop tanks, but it wasn't too difficult to work out...

 

wings.jpg

 

As mentioned above, everything fits together very nicely - it's a bit less challenging than the other models on my bench at the moment!

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Work on the cockpit tub has continued, with a coat of light grey earlier in the week and some detailing over the past couple of evenings. I broke one of the instruments panel decals, but managed to salvage it - it seems to look OK. I also had my first experience using micro set and micro sol - what a difference they make to the job! I was very impressed how well the decals conformed to the moulded lines on the panel. There is still a bit of work to be done, but here's the current state of play:

 

cockpit.jpg

 

The seats are also nearing completion. I'm not sure yet if I will get the black stripes on the ejection seat handles - I will try later with some magnification! How do guys detail things in 1/72...? This scale is quite small enough for me!

 

seats.jpg

 

The level of detail and quality of the moulds is incredible. The internal ducting has an integral splitter plate, which neatly slots into place - shown below both in situ and separately:

 

splitter.jpg

 

I think this kit will build into a very respectable little Gnat🙂

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Good idea doing this in 1/48.   If it was 1/72 it would get lost in the carpet......

Great start - cockpit looks very convincing.

Q

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That's coming along nicely. One word of advice though; I see that @The Spadgent is following this thread. He is very superstitious and gets very upset every time anyone mentions Macbeth.

 

Something like this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h--HR7PWfp0

 

He has to do some sort of ritual to cleanse himself of bad luck which ends with him having to pinch hi nose very hard, so I try and avoid mentioning Macbeth as much as possible.

 

Helpful of Mars 👽

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I saw this and thought of you!!

 

I haven't watched it yet (it's in my watch later list) but as the thumbnail is s Gnat there may be some great inspirational film to keep you going!!

 

Jeff

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Great work on the office. Looks like this kit is in safe hands. 🤩 oh and thanks @Martian Hale 🤪 “Hot potato orchestra stalls puck will make amends” tweak 👃 ouch. Berry Chribmas do.  Bou both. 🤣

 

John.

Edited by The Spadgent

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1 hour ago, The Spadgent said:

Great work on the office. Looks like this kit is in safe hands. 🤩 oh and thanks @Martian Hale 🤪 “Hot potato orchestra stalls puck will make amends” tweak 👃 ouch. Berry Chribmas do bou both. 🤣

 

John.

Sor

 

1 hour ago, The Spadgent said:

Great work on the office. Looks like this kit is in safe hands. 🤩 oh and thanks @Martian Hale 🤪 “Hot potato orchestra stalls puck will make amends” tweak 👃 ouch. Berry Chribmas do bou both. 🤣

 

John.

Sorry Johnny but as the OP is a new member, I thought I ought to help him out by putting him in the picture about the Macbeth thing.

 

Helpful of Mars 👽

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Nice Gnat. The instrument panels look amazing.

 

For black stripes on ejector handles your local craft shop will sell black fibre tip pens with 0.1 mm tips for around three quid. I find them great for all sorts of touch up and detail jobs.

 

Regards,

Adrian

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On 26/12/2019 at 10:58, AdrianMF said:

For black stripes on ejector handles your local craft shop will sell black fibre tip pens with 0.1 mm tips for around three quid. I find them great for all sorts of touch up and detail jobs.

Thanks Adrian, perfect solution! I tried painting them again last night but the lines are nowhere near as fine as I would like - fibre tip pen sounds like the way ahead👍

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So I tried the fibre tip pen suggestion but was not really happy with the result, so resorted to paint again... First challenge was to make a brush small enough for the job! I cut some bristles from and old brush and glued them to a cocktail stick:

 

brush.jpg

 

This brush was then used to apply the black stripes to the ejection handles. In the flesh it looks OK, however macro photography does not do it any favours!

 

tub-2.jpg

 

I am having some fit issues with the cockpit tub, but they are resolved if I remove the front seat. I guess something, somewhere is slightly out of alignment - the fit tolerances on this kit are tight to say the least... I think I should be able to coax it into place later.

 

I also did some more airbrushing today, although it was colder than I would have liked. The white intakes and wheel hubs had another coat (along with some bits for the HP Victor I am building):

 

white.jpg

 

I also sprayed some more aluminium:

 

alum.jpg

 

The Humbrol paints I am using are not performing too well. One has become very 'gummy', so I threw the tin away and used a new one - with far better results. Possibly a duff tin; I've heard Humbrol had a few dodgy batches in the past and this one was a few years old. The other tin needed quite a bit of thinner - much more than usual as it was very gloopy - but once thinned it performed OK. It have may be the temperature, but as I keep my paint indoors I'm not convinced - it might just be old paint! I think one more coat of each colour should suffice and then I can glue the intakes together and fit the tub, getting the fuselage buttoned up.

Edited by Back in the Saddle

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Oooh nice work. That office looks splendid. Making your own brushes too. Impressive. 🤩

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Whilst I'm waiting for the weather to warm up a bit, so I can finally finish airbrushing the Vulcan, I thought I would turn my attention back to this little gem. The intakes have now been attached to the fuselage halves and the next stage is gluing in the undercarriage bays - that's my next project for this afternoon!

 

intakes-2.jpg

 

Once the bays are in place, the ducting to the fan can be glued in. These have been sprayed white, as I believe that was the correct colour for the Red Arrows. The sections on the left of the picture are the splitter plates and on the right of the ducting is where the engine fan is located - it all becomes clearer after construction! The coin is just in the photo to give an idea of scale:

 

trunking.jpg

 

One tip I've read on BM concerned the jet pipe, with the advice to leave it as late as possible before fitting - it certainly makes masking easier and tidier. I glued the turbine to the fuselage, but did not glue the jet pipe to the turbine - it's just pushed together to ensure the alignment is correct:

 

attachment.jpg

 

Once the glue was set the jet pipe was removed, leaving the turbine in situ:

 

exhaust.jpg

 

The jet pipe became damaged as I removed it from the sprue, so a layer of milliput was applied to fill the gap. It also needs sanding internally before getting painted - it is very uneven at the moment.

 

I'm going to airbrush the Vulcan now but will hopefully return to this model again later today...

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Just a short update this time, with apologies for the image quality - it's not the best...

 

The undercarriage bays were painted, with some dry brushing on the hydraulic lines and a dirty wash to bring out the recessed details:

 

bays.jpg

 

They were then firmly glued into position against the intakes:

 

bays-2.jpg

 

There are some ejection marks on the side of the fuselage, but these are not visible once the cockpit tub is in place (they are hidden by the seats), so I left them unfilled... The same could not be said for the nose equipment bay:

 

equip-1.jpg

 

A very prominent mark, which I covered with plasticard:

 

equip-2.jpg

 

Since taking the photos, I have noticed the second mark, near the rear bulkhead...🙄 I will get that filled and then start to get it painted.

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The insert for the equipment bay is now painted, using various images found on t'net for reference:

 

equip-bay.jpg

 

I have returned to the fuselage assembly again, gluing the intake ducting into place. This is before it was glued:

 

trunk-1.jpg

 

And again, once in place, showing the integral splitter plate:

 

trunk-2.jpg

 

Like the real aircraft, everything fits together quite snugly. The view from above, before gluing the bits in:

 

topdown-1.jpg

 

And afterwards, showing the equipment bay and ducting in place:

 

topdown-2.jpg

 

Just enough room for the cockpit tub!

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Love this kit!  Looking good!

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This is a lovely kit and Airfix did a great job. As an aerobatic teams fan, I have built one and thoroughly enjoyed it....so much so that I now have NINE more to build, for a full " Red Arrows" team and plan on doing a ground-based diorama with ground crew etc. Needless to say I did not get all nine at the same time, as it would have provoked 'domestic opposition', but sneaked them in one at a time!  The 'ROYAL AIR FORCE' nose lettering was only used during the 1978-79 seasons, so mine will have the lightning flash nose marking which was used more extensively between 1968-77.   Looking forward to seeing this to the end.

 

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Fuselage is now glued together:

 

fuselage.jpg

 

I'm now working on the hatch for the avionics bay and also the wings, which should be attached soon. I'm thoroughly enjoying this build, which goes together beautifully. I'm also scratch-building a few items along the way, which will hopefully add to the finished model. 

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Looks gret so far 👍,don't  tell me the strawberry jam is being used as a masking medium,🤗

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