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I’ve decided after building two Airfix kits in succession (Spitfire and P-40) that I would branch out and build my first Special Hobby kit.

It’s the 1/72 scale Folland Gnat F Mk.I “British Single Seaters” No. SH 72322:-

Flickr-01_SH_Gnat_F1_British_box_front

 

These are the options in the kit:-

Flickr-02_SH_Gnat_F1_British_box_back

 

 

I’m not sure that any other than the grey/green camouflaged versions actually flew.

Perhaps there are some experts out there in Britmodellerland who could confirm or disprove that.

In any case, I’ve decided to go with the kit option of XN326 with the pointy radar nose. It’s not quite as pretty as the round-nosed one (XM740), but it’s a bit more interesting and it will provide a nice contrast with my Red Arrows Gnat T.1. That aircraft I made about 35 years ago from the old-tool Airfix kit. I have another identical kit to build as that option in a few days when I've finished this one 🤣.

 

So, I’ll build this one:-

Flickr-03_SH_Gnat_F1_British_colour_scheme

 

 

The box open-ended box ☹️ contents.

Sprue A:-

Flickr-04_SH_Gnat_F1_British_Sprue-A

 

 

 

Sprue B:-

Flickr-05_SH_Gnat_F1_British_Sprue-B

 

 

 

The transparencies:-

Flickr-06__SH_Gnat_F1_British_Sprue_WS_&_Canopy

 

 

This spine transparency isn’t used in my option:-

Flickr-07_SH_Gnat_F1_British_Sprue_Spine_Transparencies

 

 

Neither are these resin parts:-

Flickr-08_SH_Gnat_F1_British_Sprue_Resin

 

 

 

Hopefully I’ll make a start in the next day or so and will keep you posted.

 

 

Before I go, I’d like to buy some MRP paints for this. Hannants don’t stock them. I can only find a couple of places that sell them online but they are unknown to me.

Would any of you Britmodellers have any recommendations for a trustworthy supplier of MRP paints online?

 

Thanks in anticipation and happy modelling,

 

Keith.

 

 

Edited by KeithR
Title change. Was Folland Gnat F1.
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12 hours ago, Sidders said:

To purchase MRP paints, look no further than HM Hobbies.

 

Hi Mark,

 

That's just what I wanted to know. I'd spotted them and was about to give them a try.

 

Thanks and best regards,

 

Keith.

 

 

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I’ve made a start on the Gnat with the cockpit:-

BM02-01_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210123_131840

 

 

I’ve found that you have to be careful with part 03 to glue it carefully in the pocket in the cockpit side wall. The lower and back edges must be aligned with the pocket edges. See arrows:-

BM02-02_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210121_105735

 

 

The reason is that the rear bulkhead is sandwiched tightly between part 03 and the nose undercarriage bay part 31 which can’t be adjusted too much.

I glued part 31 into the fuselage half with the cockpit interior and the other fuselage half both in place but not glued.

After it dried I then glued the cockpit interior to one half of the fuselage and held it in place with the other fuselage half taped but unglued.

This ensured that it all fitted when I came to glue the two fuselage halves together.

BM02-03_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210123_131848

 

 

The jet pipes were glued in.

I didn’t learn anything from my experience with the P-40 and used too much Tamiya Extra-Thin cement and too much pressure.

It all went a bit banana shaped and I had to do quite a bit of sanding to get it all to fit:-

BM02-04_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210125_104518

 

 

As with the Airfix 1/72nd P-40, alignment of the fuselage halves wasn’t great so I had to remove most of the locating pins.

The fuselage halves glued together:-

BM02-05_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210126_134514

 

 

 

Despite fettling the jet pipes I still ended up with a nasty gap requiring filling near the back end:-

BM02-06_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210126_134536

 

 

 

The instrument panel ended up looking like it should be a bit further forward. We’ll see what it looks like when I put the canopy on:-

BM02-07_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210126_134601

 

 

 

 

I had to remove the locating pins on the wing-mounted air data probe.

I don’t think the probe itself looks all that great. I might make one out of brass tubing.

The difficulty is that the real probe is parallel to about half way then tapers down towards the front.

I’ll do a bit of experimenting.

BM02-08_My_SH_Gnat_F1-20210126_134656

 

 

 

I ordered some MRP paints from HM Hobbies and they came the next day. Excellent service.

Thanks for the recommendation Mark @Sidders.

 

Well that’s it for now. Happy modelling.

 

Keith.

 

 

 

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No problems, Keith.
 

If you haven’t used them before, MRP paints are a joy to spray. Just keep the air pressure low and make sure you use in a well ventilated room, ideally with a decent spray booth.

 

Gnat coming along nicely BTW.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

It’s finished! Only a few WiP pics I’m afraid.

 

Empennage on and being aligned using Lego. Marvellous stuff.

 

BM03-01_Gnat_F1_WiP-01_Jig_Fl

 

 

 

 

I filled the joints using super-fine white Milliput and touched up with Mr Surfacer.

I then primed using Alclad black primer with microfiller. It came out a bit bobbly rather like orange peel. I think I’ll stick with Tamiya XF-1 for priming in the future.

The undersurface on the real thing was High Speed Silver I believe.

I used Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminium) for the first time and not withstanding the primer problem was quite pleased with the result.

I might try adding a touch of grey to the Alclad for my next HSS RAF aircraft. What do you think?

 

However….. I discovered that my joints were not as good as I thought. Alclad is very unforgiving of flaws in the surface preparation!

BM03-02_Gnat_F1_WiP-02_USide_Fl

 

 

 

 

 

Not to worry. Ever onward! I’m not going to strip it and respray. Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom!

Here’s the top surface done in the same black primer with the Alclad Aluminium overspray showing.

The canopy is masked with a combination of Tamiya tape and Bare Metal Foil.

BM03-03_Gnat_F1_WiP-03_Top_Primed_Fl

 

 

 

 

 

The finished article. Hurrah! Comments and criticism welcome.

BM03-04_Gnat_F1_Done-01_Fl

 

 

 

 

You can see that I replaced the kit pitot with some Albion Alloy tubing. Looks better imo although the profile is more tapered on the real aircraft.

I used Eduard steel belts in the cockpit and scratched a tiny ejector handle which is only just visible.

 

For masking the upper camouflage I tried using tape lifted at the edge with sewing thread to get a very tight feathered edge.

It didn’t work and ended up softer than I achieved with my P-40 using Blu Tack and took ages to mask.

Blu Tack from now on then.

 

I didn’t weather this one since I figured it was a demonstrator and was probably kept fairly clean.

I put the decals straight onto the Alclad and MRP camo paints without any problems. No silvering thankfully.

 

The kit decals were very glossy and rather thick so I sprayed several coats of Varnish over the whole model.

The edges of the decals are still rather obvious if they catch the light however.

I used Tamiya X-35 Semi-gloss clear to give a bit of a sheen as I have it in my head that the original would have been a bit glossy.

I’m happy to be corrected on that if anyone knows better.

 

Overall I’m quite happy with the result even though it didn’t go quite as smoothly as my last couple of aircraft.

 

There are more  photos of the finished model here in Ready For Inspection.

 

Happy modelling,

 

Keith.

Edited by KeithR
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  • KeithR changed the title to Folland Gnat F1. Finished!

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