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ICM 1/32 Gloster Gladiator (Belgian Air Force) and Gloster Sea Gladiator (Hal Far Fighter Flight, Malta)


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Hello gents :)

 

I was fortunate enough to receive the ICM Gloster Sea Gladiator as a Christmas gift from my folks and my Dad has enquired after its progress a few times since; as I rashly promised that it was next in the build queue it's past due time I got started on it.

 

I also have the original issue Gladiator kit by the same company, which I had been planning to build as one of the Aéronautique Militaire Belge (Belgian Air Force) Gladiators of the 1/I/2 Aé (Comet) Squadron based at Schaffen in May 1940.

 

The Gladiator will be built as G-22, flown by First Sgt Denys Rolin, who had what might euphemistically be described as an 'interesting' day in this aircraft on 11th May 1940 when he was part of a flight of 6 Gladiators tasked with escorting 9 Fairey Battles of 5/III/3 Aé on a mission to bomb the bridges over the Albert Canal. The Gladiators became embroiled with Bf109s of JG1 and although Rolin claimed a 109 as a probable he was in turn shot down and bailed out. The article linked to above says that he bailed out and was captured, but another article states that he was in fact 'roughed up' by Belgian troops when he landed, locked in a cellar and later captured by the advancing German forces.

 

I am planning to build the Sea Gladiator as N5519 'R' of the Hal Far Fighter Flight using the kit decals, having been inspired in my childhood by the story of the three plucky biplanes holding off the might of the Axis powers, which is how I saw it at the time and if, later on, it transpired that it was true only for a comparatively short time in the opening chapter of the Siege of Malta still it left me with a certain fondness for the symbol of Faith, Hope and Charity and for the Gladiator as an aircraft.

 

N5519 'R' was the only Gladiator destroyed in aerial combat when it was shot down by a Fiat CR.42 flown by Sergente Manlio Tarantino of 23o Gruppo, Regia Aeronautica, on 21st July 1940. The Gladiator's pilot, Flying Officer Peter Hartley escaped alive but was badly burned.

 

Here are the kits:

 

DSCN1739.jpg

 

They're good sturdy boxes, with a more flimsy outer cover. Here are the parts; the different sprues for the Sea Gladiator are in the middle:

 

DSCN1741.jpg

 

Here's some of the bits and bobs that have accumulated:

 

DSCN1743.jpg

 

I've ordered another set of the LF decals for the Belgian Gladiator so I can make the G-22 serial and numbers. I've got another Eduard mask set on the way too. The kit's painting guide for the Sea Gladiator fits well with the information in Britmodeller's Tony O'Toole's excellent book on the Malta Battle 'No Place for Beginners'. 

 

Oh and I got some resin exhausts from Quickboost and a Top-Notch camouflage masking set for the Sea Gladiator:

 

DSCN1745.jpg

 

I think that will do for now... :D 

 

Cheers, 

 

Stew

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Looking forward to these builds, got the Sea Gladiator in the stash with some extra goodies from AIMS and can't wait to start it but must get other builds done first so will watch with interest.  Good luck with your builds. 

Chris

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Hello Stew !

Great idea and multibuild of a magnificent biplane !!

What can possibly go wrong ??

I'll have a look in my files about Rolin, but if my memory did'nt fail too much, I think that the second story is the right one...

May I take a seat at the bar ??

CC

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Looking forward to this one Stew. 

 

I dont have either of these kits in the stash but it’s certainly on the to build list at some point. 

 

Looking forward to some progress!

 

James

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I definitely have thoughts of adding the Sea Gladiator to my stash, so interested to see how good these kits are.

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7 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Looking forward to these builds, got the Sea Gladiator in the stash with some extra goodies from AIMS and can't wait to start it but must get other builds done first so will watch with interest.  Good luck with your builds. 

Chris

 

Thanks Chris :) Which of the AIMS extra's did you go for?

 

7 hours ago, corsaircorp said:

...What can possibly go wrong ??

I'll have a look in my files about Rolin, but if my memory did'nt fail too much, I think that the second story is the right one...

May I take a seat at the bar ??

CC

 

Delighted to have you along CC :) As for what can go wrong? Let's see, shall we? :D 

 

6 hours ago, franky boy said:

Looking forward to this one Stew. 

 

I dont have either of these kits in the stash but it’s certainly on the to build list at some point. 

 

Looking forward to some progress!

 

James

 

Thanks James :) 

 

6 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

I definitely have thoughts of adding the Sea Gladiator to my stash, so interested to see how good these kits are.

 

Thanks Crisp, it looks a lovely kit, the moulding and detailing is really nice, hopefully I can make a decent fist of it :) 

 

3 hours ago, stevej60 said:

Great to see this thread Stew I'm on a 1/32 journey right now be very interesting to see this aircraft modelled.

 

Thanks Steve, hopefully it will be a fun ride :D 

 

Cheers, 

 

Stew

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I've got my paints sorted – for the Belgian Gladiator the scheme is comparatively simple, khaki uppersurfaces and aluminium-doped undersides. The khaki colour was advised some years ago here on Britmodeller to be a 1:1 mix of Dark Green and Dark Earth, which seems feasible and coincidentally after last year's BoB Group Build I had half a tin of each left, so I homebrewed a full tin of 'Belgian Khaki' using both. The Aluminium is ACLW25 RAL Weissaluminium, a modern(ish) Luftwaffe colour, but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't double for Aluminium dope. 

 

DSCN1762.jpg

 

The Sea Gladiator, on the other hand, wears just about every colour that could be applied to a Fleet Air Arm aircraft in 1940. The uppersurfaces carry the usual Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey disruptive pattern camouflage, with the fuselage sides, vertical tail and upper wing underside in Sky Grey. The lower wing topside has the 'shadow-shaded' camouflage pattern of Dark Sea Grey and Slate Grey, with its undersides (and the underside of the fuselage) painted in the quick-recognition symmetrically-divided Night/White scheme.

 

DSCN1763.jpg

 

As the guns are amongst the first parts to be fitted to the interior I thought I'd get the necessary modifications to these out of the way. There's nothing wrong with the kit parts which are quite nicely detailed representations of the Vickers/BSA licence-built Browning .303, but the Belgian Gladiators were armed with 7.7mm Brownings built under licence by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN) which did not have the distinctive flash-suppressors fitted to the British guns.

 

I got some Radu Brinzan brass .303' barrels without the flash-suppressors which will serve as FN Brownings. As I was replacing the Gladiator's gun barrels, I felt I should do the same for the Sea Gladiator, so I got some Master brass barrels for it.

 

DSCN1747.jpg

 

As you can see it does make a noticable difference to the appearance of the gun:

 

DSCN1755.jpg

 

... and here's the Sea Gladiator's guns made up. You can see from the stress marks on the plastic mounts for the wing guns that I had to drill pretty deep to ensure the correct barrel length:

 

DSCN1760.jpg

 

I've made up the FNs too, they've been sprayed black and are curing at the moment.

 

Cheers, 

 

Stew

 

 

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Nice work on the guns and great description for the paints. 

28 minutes ago, Stew Dapple said:

Thanks Chris :) Which of the AIMS extra's did you go for?

I got the engine and cowling set, the PE detail set and the upper Ailerons.   I have to say the AIMS bits are very nice indeed.

Chris

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Not my scale, but definitely an interesting couple of subjects. I'm in!

 

Ian

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I look forward to this one progressing as I have one of those in the stash, I've been waiting for years for a 1/32 scale Gladiator.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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21 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Nice work on the guns and great description for the paints. 

I got the engine and cowling set, the PE detail set and the upper Ailerons.   I have to say the AIMS bits are very nice indeed.

Chris

 

Thanks Chris - I imagine the engine might be more detailed, but do you know why AIMS do the upper ailerons? I can't see an obvious problem with the kit ones that would need a replacement

 

21 hours ago, Brandy said:

Not my scale, but definitely an interesting couple of subjects. I'm in!

 

Ian

 

Nice to have you along mate :) 

 

21 hours ago, spitfire said:

I look forward to this one progressing as I have one of those in the stash, I've been waiting for years for a 1/32 scale Gladiator.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

Thanks Dennis; I had no idea but it turned out I have too! :D 

 

I've built up some of the interior sub-assemblies:

 

DSCN1771.jpg

 

There's an ejector-pin mark right in the seatback :( It might be hidden by the harness, but I thought best to fill it and find out is was, rather than not fill it and find that it wasn't.

 

DSCN1769.jpg

 

 

So for the interior colour: ICM suggest Interior Grey-green throughout, I'll be going with Aluminium for everything below the 'shelf' and Interior Grey-green for everything above it, as per the walkaround photos here. There's some great pictures there, many thanks to Graham, Julien and Mark :cheers:

 

I'm going to have to make some other assumptions regarding the Belgian Gladiator; amongst these are: that it had the early reddish 'Bakelite' instrument panel (because I want to do one in that colour); and that the same style of seat harness was used as on RAF Gladiators (because that's all I have).

 

Better get on with it... :D 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

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2 hours ago, Stew Dapple said:

Thanks Chris - I imagine the engine might be more detailed, but do you know why AIMS do the upper ailerons? I can't see an obvious problem with the kit ones that would need a replacement

No worries Stewart, the engine is absolutely lovely and comes with separate cylinders and ancillaries and a replacement cowling and exhausts.   I have just had a look at it and I have the etched detail set and etched rigging set too.  The upper Ailerons provided by AIMS correct an issue with the ICM kit ones but I do not know the specific issue as mine is still sealed as I have not taken it out for inspection yet.

Chris

 

Edit

Copied from the AIMS Gladiator thread

 

Upper Aileron correction  (ICM have given upper ailerons same design as lower aileron - upper aileron centre hinge is small like inner hinge - not large like lower centre hinge - makes a massive difference as as things stand you are unable to locate in the correct position the aileron bracing wires just off-set from strut.

Hope this helps

Chris

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This is a great idea stew, looking forward to what you do with such a big detailed kit.

 

great scheme choices!

 

Rob

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Thanks Chris, Rob :) 

 

The interior parts have received their Aluminium coat:

 

DSCN1774.jpg

 

Hmm. Doesn't actually photograph that well :lol:

 

... and the interior green applied to the upper cockpit sides:

 

DSCN1775.jpg

 

DSCN1776.jpg

 

While I was about it, I sprayed the fuselage gun-troughs in Aluminium and Sky Grey respectively, to save myself some tricky masking or repainting of the gun barrels later on...

 

DSCN1777.jpg

 

Now on to the detail painting of the interior parts and getting various bits fitted inside...

 

Cheers, 

 

Stew

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Ooh,

I'm looking forward to this build.

I'm tagging in if that's all right.

I learned so much from your Me110 build and hope to do the same with this one as I have the Sea Gladiator in the pile and want to do it as "Charity" as well.

 

Cheers,

Alistair

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Thanks Alistair, good to have you along :) 

 

Thanks CC, the little differences between the two aircraft make for a more interesting build :) 

 

The 'cheek' guns have been fitted:

 

DSCN1780.jpg

 

... and the port side 'cage' structure (which brings us to the end of stage 1 of the instructions):

 

DSCN1784.jpg

 

The starboard cockpit side didn't require much in the way of detail painting, just (what I assume is) the r/t set:

 

DSCN1785.jpg

 

I'm still working on the cockpit floor and seat:

 

DSCN1787.jpg

 

I fitted one set of the Kits World 3D-printed harness set. It's... acceptable. Not up to the standards of the HGW harness sets, but it was the work of minutes as opposed to the hour or so an HGW set would take me; I shall be building both with closed canopies so it's a compromise I can get along with. The compass housings have been painted a nondescript dark grey, the Sea Gladiator kit comes with a transfer for the compass face, but the original issue of the Mk.I doesn't. I've got a set of Airscale RAF instruments so I can use one from that. I made some toe-straps for the rudder pedals with thin strips of foil from a whisky bottle cork sealer. Sadly the whisky was long gone :D 

 

Finally, I sprayed the base coat on the instrument panels; ICM provide different parts for the Mk.I and Mk.II:

 

DSCN1789.jpg

 

A bit flat and lifeless at the moment, but with the supplied transfers for the dials and a wash they could be beauties :) 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

 

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I spent most of my modelling time yesterday messing about with instruments, or rather facsimiles of instruments. The Sea Gladiator's transfer for the compass face (nubered '3' in the picture below) was adequate, but I ended up using two of the Airscale versions, as they looked nicer and it's probably going to end up being one of the most visible instruments in the cockpit once it is assembled:

 

DSCN1791.jpg

 

... and here they are installed (along with the second set of the Kits World seat straps - the shoulder straps for these still have to be attached, but they pass through the bulkhead behind the seat so I'll be doing that a little later):

 

DSCN1797.jpg

 

Although the ICM instrument decals are numbered on the sheet as group entities 1 and 2, the dials are in fact separate transfers for each dial:

 

DSCN1793.jpg

 

On the one hand, this is a bit of a faff, but on the other it means you don't have to worry about carrier film as basically there doesn't appear to be any at all :) 

 

The placement of the dials was therefore a little time-consuming, and gave me the opportunity to fit one of the fuel level dials at a 90-degree angle to what it should be, but was pretty stress-free:

 

DSCN1792.jpg

 

Once that was done the instrument panels were stuck on a 'paint-kebab':

 

DSCN1795.jpg

 

Given a coat of matt varnish:

 

DSCN1800.jpg

 

... the detail painting done:

 

DSCN1802.jpg

 

DSCN1803.jpg

 

... and the instrument dials 'glazed' with Micro Kristal Klear':

 

DSCN1805.jpg

 

DSCN1807.jpg

 

Which brings them about halfway-up to the standard of the Yahu or Eduard pre-painted instrument panels :D Still, they will do for me and should be adequate given what will actually be visible when the fuselage is closed up :) 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

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Although I don’t build biplanes any more, I still like to watch other people’s builds so I’ll sit quietly at the back of you don’t mind.

Hope you and your little friend are both well.

 

John

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16 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Looking good Stew, I didn't realise the gauges were separate decals.  Starting to come together now.

Great work 

Chris

 

Thanks Chris; the gauges are laid out on the transfer sheet as if they were a one-piece decal, all in the right position and distances from each other, but there's no linking carrier film so you just put them on one at a time - that said, fortunately there aren't that many of them :D 

 

7 hours ago, Biggles87 said:

Although I don’t build biplanes any more, I still like to watch other people’s builds so I’ll sit quietly at the back of you don’t mind.

Hope you and your little friend are both well.

 

John

 

Welcome along John, and thanks, we're both well - it was Jack's 11th birthday at the end of January but he's in fine form, people still think he's a puppy and look like they think I'm winding them up when I tell them his actual age :) 

 

Yesterday I built up the cockpit 'shelf':

 

DSCN1811.jpg

 

Most of those parts are interior grey-green but my camera doesn't seem to register some colours very well... here are the bits all fitted together with the throttle lever (and whatever the lever next to it is) knobs painted black and fitted in the retarded position as befits an aircraft on the ground... or at least I think so: I know that on French aircraft you pulled the throttle back to increase the power rather than advancing it as with British aircraft. I don't know whether the throttle units fitted by Gloster to the Gladiators exported to Belgium had standard British throttles or some sort of adaptation to a more continental style. It could be that for the Belgian Gladiator the throttle lever should be fully advanced but I've made my best guess and in any case it will hardly be noticeable when the fuselage is all closed up  :D 

 

DSCN1814.jpg

 

Finally I installed the shelving units to the interior:

 

DSCN1816.jpg

 

I've reached a stage where I have to PAY ATTENTION and make sure I fit the right bits to the right kits now, up to and including the possibility of glueing the wrong fuselage halves together :D 

 

As a curious aside; you must have heard one of those conversations where person A says "I built [such and such a kit] and it was a complete dog, it fought me every step of the way" and person B says "How strange, mine went together like a dream" - well the interior parts for the Sea Gladiator have just clicked into place and you move on without really thinking about it, but the interior parts for the Mk.I have all needed finagling and shuffling about and holding in place until the glue set - despite the fact that they are effectively exactly the same kit. Hopefully this doesn't become a trend :lol: 

 

Cheers,

 

Stew

 

 

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Great to see the cockpit coming together Stew.  That is odd about one kit behaving impeccably and the other playing up a bit???

I think the effort will be worthwhile though as they are going to look very impressive when built and in your display. 

Great job 

Chris

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Thanks Chris,

 

I don't think the kit is to blame, I think it might be end-user error as it may be in a lot of cases; if there is even fractional play in part A and you don't fit it quite right then parts B & C which attach to it don't quite fit properly and part D gives you real grief. As they are not just essentially but actually the same kit (apart from the extra sprues for the Sea Gladiator) logic suggests that I may well be to blame for any issues I have with one over the other :D 

 

Anyway, I got round to fitting most of the interiors:

 

DSCN1818.jpg

 

DSCN1820.jpg

 

I'm hoping they should look quite acceptable when the fuselage is closed up, but first I need to sort out the remaining shoulder straps for the seat harness and fit the instrument panels.

 

Cheers, 

 

Stew

 

 

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