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Why do I not learn? Another weird and "wonderful" Spitfire(ish). Finished at last!


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The imp of the perverse has struck again, it seems.  Having finally made some space on my desk I felt ready to build something else.  I've been thinking about various oddities, one-offs and other slightly left-field aircraft.  In real life I love a Spitfire, but somehow they don't float my model building boat as much as some other aircraft.  I also prefer 1/48 to 1/72, and better quality kits to those which require a certain amount of imagination on the part of the builder.   With these facts in mind, why the hell did I decide to build this?:

 

For some reason, I decided to have a crack at this,  Brengun's "Messerspit", in 1/72, no less, which I am assured is the gentleman's scale...  My "hilarious" experiences with the dog-rough Italeri Spitfire Vb in said scale should have been enough to make me see sense, but apparently not.

 

Initial impressions are that this kit would, as a small boy in 1988, have struck me as being a bit basic.  32 years later it strikes me as being slightly more agricultural than most old tractors I've driven (and there have been a few.  Stop laughing at the back!).  On the plus side, the box art's very nice.

 

This machine started life as a Spitfire VB (EN830) that got lost whilst harrying the Germans in Northern France.  The full story can be read at https://aviationhumor.net/messerspit-the-case-of-captured-and-re-engined-spitfire-en830/ but the upshot is that it was captured, re-engined with a DB606A1 and flown around by German pilots who really liked it.  The Gestapo murdered the pilot, P/O Bernard Sheidhauer of the Free French Air Force in the aftermath of the Great Escape.

 

I think that this will be my first wheels-up model, as the undercarriage is so weak and spindly-looking.  It'll be a good excuse for me to try mounting it to a base via an acrylic rod.  It will be strictly OOB, and I'm not going to waste the rather nice PE that came with it; I'll save this for a nice model (hmmmm, maybe the Malta Spit build that I'm planning?) and cut my losses.

 

So far I can see that:

  • The canopy is that bad that Matchbox models of the 1980s had better
  • There's more flash on this kit than I've seen since my return to model building
  • Detail is lacking, and what is present is laughably clumsy
  • The geometry of the kit is pretty poor
  • The moulding is terrible, with pins everywhere
  • This looks like a re-boxing (with the necessary Messerschmitt parts added, of course) of an ancient kit.

 

Other than that, it's all good!

 

Here is an initial picture to show the start of the build. 

 

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Wish me luck!

 

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Good luck 

This should be interesting,  shame about the quality issue you mentioned.   Will watch with interest.  I am doing the AZ model TR.9  and have had to do a lot of work filling on that to get it all together right although some could be my fault too. 

Good start.

Chris

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A quick sitrep; The fuselage is closed and the wings have eventually (with much hacking, sanding, cementing, filling and cursing) graciously deigned to fit.  Unfortunately I couldn't fit a ball bearing in the forward fuselage to act as an attractor for a magnetic stand, so it's back to the drawing board in that respect.  I've had to butcher the undercarriage to get the wheels up - thinned the wheels so that they fit in the bays, resized the fairings so that they fit the strut rebates, got rid of the struts entirely etc etc.  I also had to drill and pin the horizontal stabilisers to the fin as there were no locating tabs, just a flattened area where they were supposed to locate....

 

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After saying that I wasn't going to use the PE it turns out that the fairing that partially covers the exhausts (on the port side only) is PE, so I've painted that ready to fit tomorrow.  The pitot tube and the radio aerial are also PE, but I'm going to see if I can find / make / modify something out of actual styrene.  I've also drilled out the inlet on the oil cooler, as for some reason there wasn't one.  I'll make something up to represent the matrix.

 

So far she's a bit of a dog but I'm really enjoying making her sit up and beg.  Hopefully you won't be able to tell that the port side of the fuselage under the horizontal stabiliser is much fatter than the same area on the other side...

 

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I'm off work for the week, so I'm looking forward to getting this one nailed in a reasonable timespan.

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A small update; I've moved the Messerspit on a little over the past couple of days. 

 

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Here you can see that I've got the undercarriage in.  This took a bit of butchery and remodelling, as it was never going to fit.  The fairings were much too wide for the slots and the struts were too long.  Additionally the wheels were too fat to fit in the wells with the fairings closed, so they had to be thinned down and cemented in place before the fairings could be fitted.  I threw the struts away as they would have prevented the fairings from fitting at all.  I also thinned down both the leading and trailing edges of the radiator; as you can see here it's very thick, so some scalpel work on the inside was needed.  In addition to this the mating surface of the radiator was not the same shape as the underside of the wing, so some judicious cementing was needed to hold it all down.  I've subsequently cleaned up the wing underside near the join.

 

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Here you can see the thinned radiator and the rebuilt oil cooler.  I used putty to represent the matrix of the cooler.  CA glue and sodium bicarbonate was used to fill gaps (such as the one seen here between the underside of the cowling and the leading edge of the wing section.  There were others - the leading and trailing edges of the wing roots in particular, but obviously they're not visible in this picture.  There's obviously some filling to do on the undercarriage fairings, but I'm waiting until some AK filler arrives to do those.  I have got some Humbrol filler but I don't find it that spectacular for bigger, more visible jobs.

 

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To finish off the main part of the build I've chucked a bit of white enamel around her as an undercoat.  The whole underside will be RLM04, so I chose white to make that colour pop a bit.  The nose and elevators will also be 04, whilst the wing uppers a curious stripy-ish splinter scheme and the fuselage sides RLM75 with a sparse 74 mottle.

 

She's coming on now, and despite my initial impressions of the kit being quite dire I've been able to fettle her into some sort of presentable shape for the most part.  The only thing I haven't been able to do much with is correct the slight lack of dihedral, although since attaching the wings I think I've worked out a method that would have worked.  Anyway, it's not crazily flat, just a bit less pronounced than it should have been.

 

Cheers,

 

JRK

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On 10/26/2020 at 10:01 PM, jackroadkill said:

Unfortunately I couldn't fit a ball bearing in the forward fuselage to act as an attractor for a magnetic stand, so it's back to the drawing board in that respect. 

I've used an 8mm nut (fnaar) on the bottom wing just behind the seat combined with a generic fridge/whiteboard magnet. 
Fits just right, and enough sticking power. Thinner, stronger magnets would of course be better :)


 

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2 minutes ago, alt-92 said:

I've used an 8mm nut (fnaar) on the bottom wing just behind the seat combined with a generic fridge/whiteboard magnet. 
Fits just right, and enough sticking power. Thinner, stronger magnets would of course be better :)


 

Thanks for the tip - I'll use that in future.  I think for the meantime this will be mounted via epoxy with an acrylic dowel drilled into the fuselage under the wing centre section.

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1 hour ago, Marklo said:

Nice build. Tempted to do one of these myself. Apparently pink is the best undercoat for yellow btw.

 

Now you've said it, that does ring a bell.  I'll mix some pink up for the underside and see what we get.

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I might add I hate painting yellow, but sometimes you just have to go there.

 

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I think my next one will be my Gloster Whittle when I ( eventually) get to it :) 

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Thanks Marklo, cracking pictures.  The FW190 is one I've seen a colourised photo of and am interested in having a crack at one day in the future.

 

I'm not a big fan of painting in yellow either, it just never seems to come together that well for me.  Maybe a pink undercoat is the secret?  Unfortunately for me, I like making Luftwaffe models, so yellow is an occupational hazard, especially where YNB's are concerned.  There's a lot of yellow on this model, as well as an FW190A-3 that's on the bench, too, so I'll let you know how I get on.

 

Thanks again for the tips - they're very much appreciated.

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I’ve found that a medium brown is a great primer for yellow.  To be fair, it was my wife’s suggestion - she’s an artist - something to do with colour wheels, compatible colours or some such.  It works though.

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14 minutes ago, mark.au said:

I’ve found that a medium brown is a great primer for yellow.  To be fair, it was my wife’s suggestion - she’s an artist - something to do with colour wheels, compatible colours or some such.  It works though.

Hi Mark,

 

Thanks for the tip - I guess that medium brown and pink both contain a reasonable amount of red, so both could work well.

 

Having thought about this I'm tempted to do an ABC comparison by painting three things white, pink and medium brown before overcoating them in RLM04 to see what they look like - you never know, the results could be surprising.

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@Marklo and @mark.au, I've done some testing:

 

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L-R: no undercoat, thinned white Humbrol 34 undercoat, thinned Humbrol 34 / 60 (mixed to a dull pink) undercoat, thinned Humbrol 62 undercoat.  The yellow used was Colourcoats ACLW25, with three representatively thinned coats applied to the undercoat.

 

Not sure which I like best yet.

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3 hours ago, mark.au said:

Interesting.

 

Brush painted? Looks like all three need another couple of coats.

Yes, done with a brush as I don't have an airbrush.  More coats will be needed before a definitive answer reveals itself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A small update.  Things are going slowly with this one as I have other things in the pipeline at the moment.  One of the biggest problems with this kit has proved to be that the cockpit aperture seems very large, and certainly is very large compared to the canopy.  This, combined with the terrible shaping of the canopy, means that once the canopy is placed in position there are large gaps under the hoop-shaped rear frame of the windscreen.  Add to this the fact that the rear canopy element is far too short to reach the front edge of the rear fuselage and we have some difficulties.


Still, it was never going to be anything other than an opportunity to practise bodging, so I used a sliver of 1mm plasticard to bring the rear fuselage  close enough to get the rear canopy element to fit, cut the canopy into three parts (rear, hood and windscreen) and replaced the hood with one from another kit.  You'll see why in the photograph below; it's more arrow-shaped than domed and would be about ten scale-inches thick, so it had to go.  Severing the parts also means that each should now fit somewhat better to the fuselage, and that I can have the canopy open.  There may be a small amount of filling needed under the rear element as the back corners are rounded (why?  I don't have the foggiest....), so that will be done with Kristal Klear in the hope that I might eventually have a canopy that vaguely resembles the one used on the real thing.

 

The airscrew was never going to fit, so I hacked off the mounting thing that was on it and replaced the whole lot with a rod made from sprue.  A little judicious drilling later and it will sit nicely now.

 

As you can see she is now painted, with only final touching up needed before the clear coat goes on prior to decals being applied.

 

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You have fought well to get to this stage and it goes look good in paint. I also would love to know what undercoat you went with as I am also a brush painter and have a couple of large models to paint overall yellow. 

 

Chris 

 

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3 hours ago, Broadway said:

The yellow is looking good, what did you undercoat with after finishing the trial?

 

2 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

You have fought well to get to this stage and it goes look good in paint. I also would love to know what undercoat you went with as I am also a brush painter and have a couple of large models to paint overall yellow. 

 

Chris 

 

Thanks chaps.  In the end it was just a plain white enamel undercoat, slightly thinned, and a few coats of thinned Colourcoats ACLW21 (their RLM 04).  I think it turned out okay.

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On 21/11/2020 at 13:12, jackroadkill said:

Severing the parts also means that each should now fit somewhat better to the fuselage, and that I can have the canopy open.

 

I may have blundered here; an open canopy is all very well, but this model will be wheels-up.  Never mind, I thought, the pilot might be enjoying a spot of fresh air.  Then I remembered; there is no pilot.  How the bloody hell is this thing supposed to be flying without a pilot?

 

I had to nick a pilot from one of my Lidl Emils as I hadn't got a 1/72 Luftwaffe pilot in the Pile of Desolation.  So, great, back on track, right?  No, he doesn't fit.  Nurse, please pass me the scalpel, it's time to operate....

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  • 4 weeks later...

A small update; decals are done, but not before I sodded two of them up.  I'm in the process of rescuing them with paint, so not all bad.  The decals were of a different scale size than suggested by the instructions, such as they were, on the box, so a bit of interpretation was required.

 

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The "Y" on the starboard wing dissolved so it's in line for some TLC.  Otherwise, not too shabby.  It's coming along now.  With a bit of luck I'll have it finished in the next few days.

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On 14/12/2020 at 23:02, bigbadbadge said:

I hope the pilot has recovered from tge surgery okay.   Getting there now, shame that decal disintegrated will come good after touch up I'm sure.

Great work 

Chris

 

Cheers Chris.  The pilot's got a bit of rehab to undergo as both his legs were amputated below the knee, but other than that he's fine.  The decal is another story and will need extensive plastic surgery before it's fit for purpose.

Edited by jackroadkill
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Okay, this one is done, at last.  I'm not wildly chuffed with it but am also not disappointed, either.

 

Here's a taste of it:

 

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RFI here: 

 

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  • jackroadkill changed the title to Why do I not learn? Another weird and "wonderful" Spitfire(ish). Finished at last!

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