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Clipped, Cropped and Clapped - a Specialist Spitfire


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Like many of us, I'm sure, I find it helpful to have more than one project on the go at a time so that while waiting for glue to set, paint to dry or enthusiasm to rekindle on one project, you can do some work on another. My Hurricane build is proceeding apace but having finished up a couple of long-term projects which will be appearing in the RFI section as soon as I can figure out how best to photograph them while disguising their manifest failings, I was in the mood to start something new. Scanning my mini-stash, my eyes fell upon this:

 

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I should make it clear that I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Airfix Modellers Club but Wonderland, one of my local model shops, seems to have acquired a truck-load of these at some point. I bought this particular example at the East Fortune Airshow last year. You can tell because the box is still damp.

 

So, first decision, which marking option to make? This:

 

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or this?

 

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That night fighter looks very good, and promises an easily applied paint scheme with a highly attractive lack of masking, but in the end, and as spoiled by the title of this topic, I've always had a real fondness for the clipped cropped and clapped LF Vb (clipped because the wings were clipped to improve roll rate, cropped because the supercharger was cropped to improve low level performance and clapped because the airframes recycled to produce this mark were, erm, not in the first flush of youth) so that's what it's going to be.

 

The mandatory sprues shot:

 

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I was going to say that this will be the first time I have strayed from the one true scale of 1/72 but actually I have a vague memory of working on a never-completed Esci 1/48 Tornado when I was but a stripling modeller. The hope is that 1/48 will prove more compatible with my generally failing faculties. Join me as I find out whether this is the case or if I should start contemplating 1/24 scale.

 

Craig.

 

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Me three! ASR Spit for me, please! Did  MY-T have the night stripe down the centerline of the underside like other ASR Spitfires, or was this just for the ASR Mk II's? ( I was thinking of the well-known AQ-C.)

Mike

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Now this is interesting (not just because I live the other side of Ipswich to Martlesham).

How did Spitfires work in their ASR role? Were they just for searching, or were they able to drop supplies (dingies, etc.) as well?

And what is the "night stripe" that @72modeler refers to?

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Off the top of my head, there were 50 or so Mk IIa's modified to become Mk IIc's- IIRC, they carried a rescue pack in  the flare chute in the lower fuselage that could be dropped as well as a rack with smoke marker floats under the port wing. They also had a black stripe (I forget the width- somebody help me here!) that ran from the spinner backplate to the tailwheel along the centerline  for recognition. Codes were in yellow. An oft-photographed one was AQ-C, P8181, I believe from No. 246 Squadron. See the links below for a description of the type and  a photo of P8181.  If memory serves, this  scheme was illustrated in the Ducimus Camouflage and Markings  monograph on North  European Spitfires. You can do an internet search for Spitfire Mk IIc ASR to find more photos. There were some builds of MY-T and AQ-C in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales you can look for.

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295408056792583644/

 

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/supermarine-spitfire-variants-the-initial-merlin-powered-line.html/3

 

https://acesflyinghigh.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/a-brief-history-of-the-royal-australian-air-force-world-war-two-1939-to-1945/

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm glad to see that my choice of the ASR version meets with general approval. That night fighter does look unusual though and so far, I'm finding this kit a pleasure to build. You know where this is going right?

 

49741043458_d70c60d21b_c.jpg

 

Yep, I bought another one. At less that a tenner, it would have been rude not to. I won't be tackling it as part of this build though, it will already be obvious that my rate of progress is slow enough as it is.

 

One reason for this is the site I'm using as a reference for the cockpit interior, http://spitfiresite.com/2010/07/anatomy-of-spitfire-cockpit.html. This has proved an excellent resource, and the close correlation between these pictures and the details moulded on the cockpit walls is a credit to the Airfix design team. Unfortunately, having such a superb resource to hand means that I'v spent most of the time since my last update spotting things in the cockpit which weren't quite right and doing my best to fix them.

 

First up the pilot's accommodation. Comparing pictures with the Airfix offering, the shape didn't look to bad at all but the seat was a reddish brown colour like nothing in my ever expanding paint collection. Not to worry, I added a little of this, a dash of that and came up with something that to my eye didn't look too bad at all. This was duly applied, job done.

 

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Re-admiring my work the next day, I couldn't help noticing that I'd failed to paint some parts of the seat completely, and that the coverage of the rest was not as consistent as I would have liked. A second coat was clearly required but of course I had none of my special mixture left and no idea of how I had made it. With a sigh, I whipped up another batch of Spitfire Seat brownie-red maroonish which in the right light (midnight in a coal mine) was not totally unlike the previous hue. This was applied:

 

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and the remaining paint stored

 

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thus ensuring that I will never need this particular colour again.

 

Next my attention turned to the rudder pedals. These again weren't bad but, possibly due to the limitations in the moulding process, the pedals were a solid block with no opening for the pilot to put their feet in. A Swann Morton No. 12 proved adept at opening up a couple of apertures

 

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and equally adept at slicing open my thumb after a incautious attempt to wipe some waste material from the blade. Here's a top pro-modeller tip for you: Tamiya masking tape can be used to staunch heavy bleeding whist you attempt to mop up the gore now liberally covering your workbench (the last thing I need is for the cats with whom I share my man-cave to develop a taste for human blood). You don't get this sort of stuff in Airfix Magazine, you know.

 

Finally, it began to look like I might be in a place to start glueing stuff together and make some progress. With every expectation of disaster, I applied the IP decal, accompanied by a plentiful supply of decal softener and it actually turned out pretty well

 

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All the bits were gathered

 

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and then mojo-killing disaster struck. While perusing this very site, I came across the magnificent Spitfire V and Spitfire I builds of @PlaStix and realised that my efforts to date had been nothing but the handless fumblings of a particularly clumsy child. What to do? Tuck the whole affair away at the back of a cupboard and take up freestyle Macramé? I decided to see if I could raise my game a little instead. I started off by opening up the lightening holes with my pin drill. Here's the before:

 

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and the after:

 

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I think that's right. To be frank, I have trouble telling the difference if I'm not wearing my Optivisor and thankfully the finished article is unlikely to be inspected by anyone so equipped. Hmm...

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  • 4 weeks later...

In the end, I decided to bash on with drilling out the holes. I don't know if it'll be noticeable, other than on the seat frame by the open entry hatch, but I'll know it's been done. Rather than procrastinate any further, I started assembling the cockpit

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with fairly satisfactory results.

 

Fired with enthusiasm, I tackled a job I had been dreading since deciding to make the ASR version of the kit, namely the clipping of the wings. I'd been wondering which tool to use for this. Scriber? Razor saw? Hacksaw? In the end, I went for the simplest option and used several light passes from a brand new number 11 blade.

 

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Not too bad. Driven mad by success, I also tackled cutting out the entry hatch on the fuselage side

 

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Again, no screw ups. This is getting scary.

 

Encouraged, I started work on the wings. The spar and the bottom of the wing didn't seem to have quite the same shape

 

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I took the executive decision that the spar was probably the more correct.

 

My reading of the previous builds of this kit had left me in no doubt that something would have to be done about the way the undercarriage legs attached and the popular opinion seemed to be that the best way to go about this was to glue the legs and attachment points together, drill a hole through the attachment points into the legs so that they could be braced with wire, then cut the legs off again and glue the attachment points into place. This I attempted, though I suspected that drilling the holes into the legs might push my skills to the extreme. It went quite well though, until I tried test fitting the attachment points and noticed that the wheel axles had a fairly startling degree of toe-out which I do not believe was a feature of the original aircraft. Could I have possibly glued the wrong leg to the wrong attachment point? Luckily, since I'm going to be cutting the legs off again anyway, I can fix things up later.

 

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Finally, I tried fitting the fuselage sides and tank cover together:

 

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Not looking too bad!

 

Thanks for reading,

Craig.

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On 4/24/2020 at 7:41 PM, jackroadkill said:

This is looking great.

 

I've got the club 1/48 Me109E kit (one that is in either RAF or Japanese colours) on my to do list.

Thanks. Are you going to do a WIP? I'd be interested in what the 109 is like. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the Spitfire.

 

Craig.

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12 minutes ago, Dandie Dinmont said:

Thanks. Are you going to do a WIP? I'd be interested in what the 109 is like. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the Spitfire.

 

Craig.

 

I'm a bit unsure; I'm very much still learning the basics, and do you guys really need to see a ham-fisted attempt at a 109?!  I've also decided to go for a different set of markings (6/JG52, October 1940) so that I can practise my battle-scarring.

 

The Spit's coming well, sir.

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5 minutes ago, jackroadkill said:

 

I'm a bit unsure; I'm very much still learning the basics, and do you guys really need to see a ham-fisted attempt at a 109?!  I've also decided to go for a different set of markings (6/JG52, October 1940) so that I can practise my battle-scarring.

I've just dipped my toe in the murky waters of weathering for the first time in my Hurricane build. So far, the jury is out on the results.

 

In my experience, doing a WIP on this site, no matter how nervous you are about your skills, is a great way of getting advice and encouragement from your fellow modellers. Go for it!

 

Craig.

 

Edited by Dandie Dinmont
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21 minutes ago, Dandie Dinmont said:

I've just dipped my toe in the murky waters of weathering for the first time in my Hurricane build. So far, the jury is out on the results.

 

In my experience, doing a WIP on this site, no matter how nervous you are about your skills, is a great way of getting advice and encouragement from your fellow modellers. Go for it!

 

Craig.

 

Oh....  I'd better get a move on, then!

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Hi Craig, looking very good so far fella, it is a nice kit.  I am doing one at the moment too, not from the club kit though.  I am currently weathering it, a very enjoyable build though .  

Keep up the good work

All the best

Chris

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I firmly believe that one of the great benefits of belonging to a community like Britmodeller is that you can profit from the experiences of those who have gone before you. So it is that I implore that portion of the BM hive mind which has built this kit or its other boxings to impart to me the secret of how to attach the oxygen tank(?) (part C1) behind the pilot's seat. I've been following the instructions, the cockpit is glued into one fuselage side but the fuselage isn't joined together yet. The pertinent part of the instructions is:

 

49950021482_d6f420dce3_c.jpg

 

Easy right? And yet after half an hour this evening of prodding, poking and gentle manipulation with my Pixnor tweezers (and when your Pixnor tweezers aren't up to the job, you know you're in trouble), I had to give up without getting the part anywhere near the correct location because I knew I was going to end up breaking something as I got more and more frustrated. Luckily, this was only trying to dry-fit the part. I shudder to think of the mess that would have been made if glue had been involved.

 

And so I ask you all, is there any easy way to do this? I'm really hoping the answer isn't "do it before you glue the cockpit in place".

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Craig.

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6 minutes ago, Dandie Dinmont said:

how to attach the oxygen tank(?) (part C1)

I think I never glued it on my Spit to be honest. It wouldn't be seen.

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I also have a couple of spits on the go  - a  Eduard  1/48  IX   and  a  ICM  1/48  I am doing as a  Special Edition Seafire  (uisng the kits  IX  model)

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On 5/29/2020 at 10:16 PM, Dandie Dinmont said:

is there any easy way to do this?

 

How about using a bit of blu-tak to attach the part to a cocktail stick and move it into position that way? 

 

Matt

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42 minutes ago, Mattlow said:

 

How about using a bit of blu-tak to attach the part to a cocktail stick and move it into position that way? 

 

Matt

Matt, you are a genius. But to be fair, I'm a genius too because that was the exact solution I came up with yesterday evening after much cogitation . This, combined with a big blob of glue from one of the numerous tubes of old fashioned polystyrene cement I have collected over the years was enough to see the tank fixed in more or less the right place. Pleased with this, I hurried to get the fuselage joined. 

 

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Not too bad (the tank cover is just dry fitted at the moment and will require a little fettling) and incidentally  confirming @Sturmovik's prophecy that the tank wouldn't be visible once things were closed up anyway. But alas! At my moment of triumph, disaster struck in the shape of a big gluey fingerprint on the port fuselage side.

 

49956473591_79c1044170_c.jpg

 

Rookie mistake!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Craig.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mr. Surfacer and gentle sanding were employed to cover up my elementary error:

 

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Next, I turned my attention to the tank cover in front of the cockpit. This was a good fit in parts but it was more difficult to achieve a satisfactory fit overall. I know that the armoured plate on the cover should be slightly proud of the fuselage, the difficulty was in avoiding giving the impression that Supermarine had recycled some armour plate from the side of a battleship for the purpose. Eventually, I got something I was reasonably happy with:

 

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Encouraged, I turned my attention to the wings. Perhaps it's because of the removal of the wingtips but there didn't seem to be a very positive fit between the tops and the bottoms of the wing. Having read somewhere that the join between the upper surface of the wing and the fuselage could be problematic, I took the bold decision to ignore the instructions at this point and glue the wing bottom to the fuselage before attaching the upper surfaces

 

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Beginning to look like a Spitfire! But what's this? There was a ridge all the way along the join between the wing upper surfaces and the fuselage which, no matter how many walk-arounds I consulted, I could not convince myself was a feature of the original aircraft. Perhaps I should have attached the upper wings first then fettled the lower wing? With a sigh, I got to work with the wet and dry but unfortunately, before much progress could be made, one of our cats dropped into the litter tray that is one of the less attractive features of the mancave, a 4000lb cookie of such pungent noxiousness that even my airbrushing respirator was useless against it and with a strangled whisper of "Abandon mancave!" I was forced to retreat downstairs. Such are the conditions under which I am forced to work (and come to think on it, this may explain a lot about the standard of work I achieve). I'll give it a couple of days then don the army surplus NBC suit I usually use for trips to the supermarket and see how things are looking.

 

Thanks for reading,

Craig.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Recently, I've been seduced by the prospect of actually finishing a build and a new distraction but progress has been made with this. Putty has been applied, then sanded away and the various encumbrances such as radiators and oil coolers have been attached.  In fact we are fast approaching the point where paint is going to get seriously involved, always a tense point in my builds. Anyway, here's how things are looking at the moment:

 

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More news as it happens,

 

Craig.

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  • 5 months later...

Hey! Remember this? It seemed to be going quite well until I was seduced away by the 80th Battle of Britain group build. The frantic breakneck pace of said group build (finish a model in a mere 4 months? Madness!) drained my mojo to such an extent that I could hardly drag myself up the stairs to the man-cave, let alone actually indulge in some plastic fiddling. But with the delightful prospect of three weeks off work stretching out before me, a faint glimmer of modelling interest was rekindled and to the bench I returned. To find that in my absence, one of the cats had experimented with a new stippling effect on the Spitfire. I leave to the reader's imagination the revelation of  which medium he had chosen to work in. I won't lie, the Spit very nearly took a short flight into the nearest bin but I had been pleased with the way things had been going until the Pussy Picasso did his dirty deed  and so the Spit was thoroughly decontaminated. One of the suspected perpetrators  of this foul deed was very pleased to see me

 

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and demonstrated this pleasure by planting himself in the middle of my cutting mat and refusing all enticements to move. By great good fortune, I eventually discovered that waving an open jar of Mr. Dissolved Putty under his nose would make him skedaddle for up to 5 minutes allowing some modelling to take place.

 

I thought I'd break myself in gently by fitting the cannon to the wings. This proved to be a bad choice as the fit was not good and much fettling was required. Eventually it was done though even now, I cannot quite dissuade myself from the notion that they are pointing in slightly different directions. Another problem was that the business ends of the cannon were quite solid, excusable perhaps  in 1/72 but not in 1/48 surely? At one time I might have let it slide but I am made of sterner stuff these days and besides, I had a new toy to play with. My modelling mojo may have been AWOL but my tool buying mojo was present and correct.

 

After years of buying drill sets at shows, 50% of who's content had proved incapable of drilling anything, I had finally splashed out on this

 

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What better test could there be than drilling out a couple of cannon barrels? Some quick calculations (20mm/48 = 0.417mm) gave the size I needed so the 0.4mm drill was slotted into the handle (I felt that the missing 0.016666mm would be noticed by only the sternest of critics) and off we went. And do you know what? It all went swimmingly! I was sore astounded. 

 

Following are a before and after photos though this is pushing my phone cam to its limits and the difference may not be obvious.

 

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This success is encouraging! We're at the stage now where the application of paint really cannot be put off for much longer so some time was spent applying the final touches to the cockpit (mostly remembering to affix the gunsight), and masking up the canopy. With all this time off, more updates surely cannot be far away?

 

Thanks for reading,

Craig.

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Excellent to see this again, I did love the 4000lb cookie comments, that really made me chuckle. 

The drill set looks very interesting indeed, I seem to suffering a similar problem with a drill set so may well take a look at a nice set.

Thanks for the info

Chris

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