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Spitfire Vc to a Seafire II, III


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@Giorgio N

 

Thought it might be best to move further discussion on converting the new-tool Airfix VC into a Srafire II or III here, so as to not clutter @tonyot's  excellent WIP and steal his well-deserved thunder. I pulled my Valiant Wings Spitfire monograph from my library, (I had forgotten it included Seafires!)  and here are some observations based on the content:

 

It appears in the diagrams and photos, that the 20mm cannon was mounted in the inner bay, for the versions with either the wide or narrow bulge. The stub where the outer cannon would have been mounted was removed fairly early in production. There are excellent 1/48 scale drawings of the Seafire III in the monograph that clearly show the panel lines/access hatches for the folding wings, as well as the reinforcements around the radio hatch, rear catapault spools, and the longerons. By looking at photos and the drawings, it seems to me that the shape of the wheel bays is not different from the Vc, but that the outer wall of the wheel bay is attached to the outer wing so when the wing is folded, that part of the wheel bay goes with it. (Does that statement make sense? Hard to describe.)

 

I do have the Sword Seafire kits, and I know, from what I have read, that they have some issues, span being the  most egregious, so when I get my Airfix kits, I can compare them to see how they stack up.

 

BTW, I have used a technique for making the reinforcement straps on 1/72 Seafires that can also be used on 1/48 models. Using scale drawings, mark the outline of the desired reinforcement panels on decal stock. (I use appropriate size sections of decal from unused sheets.) Using a sharp hobby knife, cut out each panel and apply to the model. (I do this after the primer but before the colors have been applied.) Spray a coat of primer to seal the decal and then apply the camouflage colors. I use low-tack tape when masking the colors to prevent pulling up the decal reinforcements, but the primer seems to prevent this. On a 1/48 model, you could use Kabuki-type tape or vinyl auto pinstriping tape, as they are thicker than decal stock but still thin enough to look in scale. Shoot a coat of primer over the tape and you're good to go. Making the same structures out if plasticard that has been sanded to scale thinness would work in 1/48 scale, but it would be very hard to glue them to the model without some excess cement being squeezed out and being very difficult to clean up.

 

Thanks for taking the time to post your very detailed thoughts on the conversion, Giorgio; you know what will happen- as soon as one of us converts the new Airfix Vc, they will release a revised tooling! Non fallisce mai!

 

Buon Natale!

Mike

Edited by 72modeler
corrected spelling
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Aluminium plumber's tape is better than any kind of paper - sticks harder, less likely to peel off, can be burnished down really hard - and usefully thicker than decal film (it can be very hard to judge the post-application thickness of decal film until you have painted over it, and there are lots of different thicknesses out there)

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Mike, the shape of the wheel well opening is different and it is different exactly in the area part of the folding wing section. These picture show the shape well:

 

http://www.venturapublications.com/news/publish/Seafire-wing-fold.shtml

 

The one in the pictures is a Seafire XV but the shape was the same on the Mk.III, look at the drawing and pictures of this variant in this page:

 

https://www.armouredcarriers.com/seafire-variants

 

The Sword kit gets the shape correctly, you can compare it with any other Spitfire kit to see the difference. You can see in the pictures how the shape of the inner structure  at the outer end is also different, in the Spitfire it's rounded while on the folding wing Seafires it's flat.

 

Regarding the reinforcement plates, the decal technique can sure work and the aluminum tape is great. At the same time it's possible to use plasticard as well, sanding it after it's well glued in place. In my experience the hard part is making the reinforcement around the radio hatch, as making two small rounded-corner squares one inside the other is quite tricky for my skills. Today I have a computer controlled cutter so I'd use that one but even this sometime struggles in making these things perfect below a certain size

 

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Just to add that the new Airfix Vc has two stubs on the underside which I believe from a previous post are for the attachment of the slipper tank but in terms of a possible Seafire conversion they seem to be where the catapult spools would also be and look roughly the correct size/shape with just a minor tweak, so one less task needed.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Nice information gents you learn something new every on here  I'd no intention to clutter Tony's outstanding WIP,  it was a simple question as he is the go to man having build many spitfires and Irish seafires in the past.

 

regards

 

Eamonn

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7 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

the shape of the wheel well opening is different and it is different exactly in the area part of the folding wing section.

Giorgio- now I see what you meant after I saw the photos you posted from the Ventura Models website. It's subtle, to be sure, but it is different. I found a good Seafire reference website and there is a very good Seafire III photo with the wings folded that show the same subtle curve and notch in the outer wheel bay- it's not a constant radius curve like on the Vc, but flares out into a flatter curve. I think I get it now- thanks for taking the time to post the photos.  One nice aspect of our discussions- by the time I get my Vc kits, I will have amassed all the modeling references/details needed to build a decent replica. It does take a village to build a Seafire, it seems! :thanks:

Mike

 

https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/vickers-supermarine-seafire 

 

This just in! Found a nice set of walkaround photos of the beautifully restored Seafire III PP972 that confirms the shape of the outer wheel bay you described and posted photos of. Hope it will be useful for anyone contemplating  a conversion.

 

https://www.historicandclassicaircraftsales.com/seafire-3

Edited by 72modeler
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Morning All

 

As a surprise present My better half got me a High Planes 1/72 scale Seafire III and even for a ham fisted modeller like me I'm  seriously underwhelmed.  I've seen better looking Mach 2 kits 😉

 

The Irish decals for the wings have white squares on them!!! (why?) in fairness it does say for experienced modellers,  but you would expect even if its limited run they'd  get the decals right! It really isn't too difficult to get the correct  info 

 

 It's a very crude kit all round, as one of the Intelligent modellers suggested this was one of two kits to look for on a WIP,  I'm struggling to see how he could recommend it but being newish he may know more about it than me .

 

As my first WIP in January will be either this one or (my chosen subject for 10 points 😆) a Two seater Mk.9  perhaps I can make a request here for help observations & tips for this Seafire kit please 

 

regards

 

Eamonn

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I've built a few High Planes kits, and TBH you get used to the moulding style. It takes enormous effort, but the ones I know about are very accurate and go together okay once cleaned up. The trick and effort lies in knowing which bits are meant as kit, and which are artifacts of the very limited run tech used and need hacking away at. It doesn't help that they often go second hand for much more than they're worth, which raises expectations unreasonably.

 

The decals I've found a bit hit and miss, both in quality and accuracy.

 

Just bear in mind that when the kit came out there wasn't a lot of competition, certainly not from injection moulded kits.  None of which should stop you having a stab at it if you want to, since you already have it.

 

 

Paul.

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Many thanks for your reply Paul something to ponder on she paid a lot on evil bay for it and some of the resin parts are missing but I can't tell her that. 

 

I could grumble about the decs more but I've an 1/48 Irish sheet featuring the Italian flag rather Irish underwing stripes ! 

 

regards

 

Eamonn 

 

 

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Eamonn,

      That's something else you find if you've seen enough of their kits - the white metal and/or resin parts aren't always as advertised. Sometimes there is a cruder plastic effort for the same bits, but not always. I suppose it wasn't cost effective to change the wording on the packaging and instructions every time you decide for whatever reason to replace a white metal bit with resin, or vice versa. This applies for the 1/72nd kits I have. I only have the one 1/48th kit so don't know about them. Of course with a second hand kit the bits may just have gone AWOL. Happens a lot with Ventura Spitfires............

 

 

Paul.

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Have to agree Paul so many kits on e bay are listed as complete but aren't I know from bitter experience,  but i think I  can work around it using spares.  I'm not really sure it should be my first WIP.  I'm not exactly Telford material yet! I hope to change that with the guidance & assistance of BM modellers.  

 

It's a shame about the defects but it is the only Irish Seafire I believe in 1/72nd scale & it was a lovely surprise so I'm hoping to learn more about the Seafire on here there's already been fantastic information on this thread and I thank 72 modeler Giorgio & yourself for that.

 

Now someone told me Airfix released a 1/72 Seafire III  model as part of a club collection or is that just a rumour? 

 

Eamonn 

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I saw an example of the High Planes kit on fleabay several weeks ago, and although I did bid, I wasn't prepared to go high with it. I think, from what you've said Eamonn, that I made the right choice! I'll be bashing the Airfix Vc.....

 

Incidentally, if you can find an intact copy, Scale Aircraft Modelling for July 1981 did a feature on Irish Air Corps markings that included a decal sheet. How usable the decals would be after almost forty years is anyone's guess!

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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3 minutes ago, Team Aer Lingus said:

 

Now someone told me Airfix released a 1/72 Seafire III  model as part of a club collection or is that just a rumour? 

 

Eamonn 

 

That was a Mk.IIc, a much simpler adaptation of the Vc

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Hi Mark

 

That's the one she bought you'd a lucky escape 😉 but I'm glad she got it. 

 

I've a well thumbed copy of that Sam issue and a pristine decal sheet that when I'm brave enough I will use on the wings.  I remember the awe when the mag came out my mate rasher (yes that was his nickname and a superbly talented modeller)  he  got a copy & we all trooped to his house for a nose.  His dad tried to get more copies but Eason's sold the five they got very quickly leading to much wailing and bitching.  it was like the holy grail.  The air corps had so many aircraft we knew little or nothing about A.P. Kearns became a legend in our group of early teenage modellers.  Happy memories 

 

regards

 

Eamonn

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12 minutes ago, Team Aer Lingus said:

Hi Mark

 

That's the one she bought you'd a lucky escape 😉 but I'm glad she got it. 

 

I've a well thumbed copy of that Sam issue and a pristine decal sheet that when I'm brave enough I will use on the wings.

 

Eamonn

FWIW, I've used other decal sheets from that source, similar vintage, and although reluctant to release from the backing paper they did work eventually. I don't know if you've used it (it's suprising how many people don't) but Microscale Liquid Decal film is a good saver if you test a decal and find it has become fragile and prone to cracking or flaking. One coat usually is enough, but really old sheets like original Frog decals may need 2, brushed on unless you have a disposable airbrush, in which way madness lies........

 

Paul.

Edited by Paul Thompson
Forgot my own name. What next?
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4 hours ago, Team Aer Lingus said:

Hi Mark

 

That's the one she bought you'd a lucky escape 😉 but I'm glad she got it. 

 

I've a well thumbed copy of that Sam issue and a pristine decal sheet that when I'm brave enough I will use on the wings.  I remember the awe when the mag came out my mate rasher (yes that was his nickname and a superbly talented modeller)  he  got a copy & we all trooped to his house for a nose.  His dad tried to get more copies but Eason's sold the five they got very quickly leading to much wailing and bitching.  it was like the holy grail.  The air corps had so many aircraft we knew little or nothing about A.P. Kearns became a legend in our group of early teenage modellers.  Happy memories 

 

regards

 

Eamonn

 

Hi Eamonn,

 

I do hope your good lady didn't pay too much - I can't remember exactly how much I bid or what it finally went for, but I'm glad you're happy with it.

 

I'd like to get a second copy of that magazine to keep pristine if I use the decals from the one I've got, but they're pretty rare now! I think I mentioned over on @tonyot's build thread, I emailed Max Decals earlier this year about their Max7221 Irish Air Corps 1922-52 sheet, the reply being that they hope to reprint the sheet in 2021. Fingers crossed! But @Paul Thompson's method of salvaging old decals is worth trying at the very least.

 

4 hours ago, Paul Thompson said:

FWIW, I've used other decal sheets from that source, similar vintage, and although reluctant to release from the backing paper they did work eventually. I don't know if you've used it (it's suprising how many people don't) but Microscale Liquid Decal film is a good saver if you test a decal and find it has become fragile and prone to cracking or flaking. One coat usually is enough, but really old sheets like original Frog decals may need 2, brushed on unless you have a disposable airbrush, in which way madness lies........

 

Paul.

 

Thanks for this Paul,

 

I've got some Microscale Liquid Decal Film, but I've never had reason to try it out - it's probably past it's sell-by date! But a good way to save old decals, and it sounds like you've been successful with these decals in this way.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark

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22 minutes ago, 2996 Victor said:

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this Paul,

 

I've got some Microscale Liquid Decal Film, but I've never had reason to try it out - it's probably past it's sell-by date! But a good way to save old decals, and it sounds like you've been successful with these decals in this way.

 

Kind regards,

 

Mark

I'd love to claim responsibility but it isn't my technique. I've no idea of the shelf life, but I'm still using an 8 year old bottle. I'd advise practice with something non-essential first though. It dries very thin and doesn't blow up if you use other Micro products afterwards, but it is a thick liquid so needs care to get even, brush mark free coverage. I have to confess that cleaning the brush after is a bit hit and miss. I'm sure there's a reliable cleaner, but I haven't stumbled across it and never think to ask when not actually using it. Cellulose thinners or  just water can work, depending on how many seconds it's been on the brush (it cures very quickly and you can stick a second coat on if needed in 15 minutes). I'll shut up now 'cos I'm derailing the thread a bit.

 

Paul.

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3 hours ago, Paul Thompson said:

I'd love to claim responsibility but it isn't my technique. I've no idea of the shelf life, but I'm still using an 8 year old bottle. I'd advise practice with something non-essential first though. It dries very thin and doesn't blow up if you use other Micro products afterwards, but it is a thick liquid so needs care to get even, brush mark free coverage. I have to confess that cleaning the brush after is a bit hit and miss. I'm sure there's a reliable cleaner, but I haven't stumbled across it and never think to ask when not actually using it. Cellulose thinners or  just water can work, depending on how many seconds it's been on the brush (it cures very quickly and you can stick a second coat on if needed in 15 minutes). I'll shut up now 'cos I'm derailing the thread a bit.

 

Paul.

 

Thanks, Paul, I think you're being too modest :) 

Good to know it lasts.....I've got some cellulose thinners, just need to remember to not use a nylon bristle paintbrush!

I wonder if there's a market for disposable airbrushes......

Cheers,

Mark

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