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Spifire VIII cowling


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Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back to bagged two-bob kits and not worry about minor details or even having any interior past a pilot figure glued to a shelf. The problem nowadays is that once I know something isn't quite right I can't unsee it.

 

In this case it's cowlings - not the bulged vs flat variety but the jointed and unjointed sort and not the . Now I have sourced a set of wide cannon fairings fom a Mk. IX kit, the question of how to deal with the seam along the top section cowling arose. Cleaning this up without losing a numbr of minscule rivet heads is not something that I am looking forward to. "Well how about one of the resin aftermarket parts" I hear you say?. Well despite the fact that they are ofen advertised as being suitable for Mk.VIII as well as a Mk.IX, "A hae ma doots".  

 

fjrF4RD.png?1

 

On earlier marks cowlings from CBAF machines had a lateral joint in the sheet metal, across the cowling just above the front of the cut out for the exhaust stubs as shown on the pic. Supermarine built machines did not have this, and neither, as far as I know did, Westland made Spitfires. CBAF seem to have carried over the same practice into Mk.IX production, but since Supermarine switched to Mk.VIII production leaving CBAF to build the Mk.IX, I am inclined to think the line should not be there on any Mk.VIII or on any of the late Merlin engined Spifires built by them

 

It's incredibly hard to be spot this line on in service photos or even on some photos of restored Spitifires - it often doesn't show as a visible line but sometimes as a very slight discontinuity in the curvature if the light is in the right direction. It's not visible in any of the pics I have of the preserved Mk.VIII in Oz, but that might be just because it is very hard to spot in the first place.  Can anyone confIrm this please?

 

There seems little benefit in buying a resin part if I have to fill in a line in very close proximity to a line of rivets when the main reason for buying it is to avoid this sort of filling and sanding in such very tight spaces. 

Edited by Aidrian
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2 hours ago, Aidrian said:

Can anyone confIrm this please?

good chap for Aussie Spitfire details are @Peter Roberts and @Magpie22, @gingerbob maybe able to add more.  That should get the ball rolling.

2 hours ago, Aidrian said:

Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back to bagged two-bob kits and not worry about minor details or even having any interior past a pilot figure glued to a shelf. The problem nowadays is that once I know something isn't quite right I can't unsee it.

please see my Hurricane postings for the last few years.   

I'm still a bit upset about what I now know about the 1/24th Airfix kit,  when I was 10 it was the most amazing kit ever. 

But maybe the reason even an old Beano or something else that was great as a child no longer does it,  plenty of folks do enjoy the nostalgia fest though.

  I'm still wondering how I built over 100 kits in 1975 and 76 without any tools that I can recall,(and that includes said Hurricane)   perhaps occasionally scissors or a kitchen knife,  I used to just twist the bits off the sprues and  stick them together..... though i did read the instructions carefully....

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I have to admit I'd rather defer to Magpie22 on this one. I know he has studied Aussie Spitfires (ref the Eduard Mk VIII and accompanying masterpiece book) and the quirks of each place of manufacture.

 

You certainly triggered some memories Troy and Aidrian. When I had enough pocket money, racing home with my latest Airfix kit, slamming it together (I think I took off the sprue nubs, but maybe not always!), slapping gloss enamel paint on while the glue dried, followed by decals on semi-dry paint!

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All the Eduard replacement cowlings for the VIII, IX and XIV have this line, but that doesn't mean that it should be there of course. Confusingly I have two sets of scale plans for the Spitfire IX and one shows the line and the other has no line at all so there is clearly some confusion about it. However all my pics of the IX show no evidence of this line/join so either it is too shallow to show up or it just isn't there. Also my pics showing the cowling removed show all of it taken off so I can't see what purpose an extra join/panel would achieve under the circumstances as it would only add an unnecessary and time consuming manufacturing process.

 

As I model in 72nd scale it's not something that is too visible either way but in 48th and above I can see why it is something that needs clarifying so hopefully a resident expert can confirm.

 

Regards

Colin.

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You are right that it is certainly hard to see and I have yet to see a clear image in a period photo. 

 

In Monforton's book he clearly shows the panel line for both the Mk IX and Mk XVI with the usual caveat that much of this work was based on measurement and photograph of "survivors". I see no reason why it does not indicate the reality. Yet when you look at the SAAF museum Mk VIII nicely stripped of paint, and assuming the top cowling is original, there is no join line to be seen. 

 

Hopefully, Peter Malone @Magpie22 comes by and has a better image (possibly the original) of  RAAF Mk.VIII A58-617 as crashed in a field. A great overhead shot with no visible join line. http://www.adf-gallery.com.au/gallery/SPITFIRE/Spitfire_A58_617_Photo_Air_Graphic_via_Andy_Murray . I also thought images of the weathered, surplus Mk VIII's stored at Oakey might show the join - yet to see it.  

 

Typically model makers over accentuate this join. The reality is that it was such a lovely flush join that you have every right to fill it and any rivets across the top of the cowling are over stated and can be removed. To fill the groove, I run some tape either side, fill with a CA/Talc mix using a toothpick, scrape excess off with a styrene card stock scraper and sand with a small sanding stick made for the job from a bit of appropriate grit wet/dry CA glued to a small piece of shaped wood.   I am always sticking various sanding papers to "sticks" to get the size and shape I want. The CA drys immediately and the sanding stick can be used wet.

 

I have the 1/48 Eduard Brassin drop in piece and never used it. I do not like their over exaggerated fasteners and I actually have my technique for joining the pesky cowling halves well sorted out.

 

Sanding Sticks

 

Another thing is the addition of the separate piece may not of cost more - was it related to press limitations or possible reject rates? A full panel top cowling may of seen many pieces scrapped and then someone came up with the bright idea to stop pressing the full piece and do it as a separate piece. Alternatively Eastleigh may of had skilled sheet metal workers use to manually shaping aircraft parts and Castle Bromwich may of said we do not have the skills and we can't afford the time beating metal to shape simply press that front end and we will rivet it. Who knows?

 

To @Troy Smith thanks for the nostalgia fix. I did exactly the same. I think I learnt good gluing skills but never applied much else. I think the first real modelling technique I learnt was the wonders of being able to remove flash by scraping with a hobby knife.

 

Ray

Edited by Ray_W
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Aidrian,

 

I believe that you are correct re Spitfire MK.VIII. I have been unable to see that panel line on any of my photos. Either its not there or, as suggested by Ray, it is well and truly covered by filler. These photos cover the A/C used by the RAAF, so it may be possible that some of the very early JF series did have the panel line.

 

The shot below shows Spits at the knacker's yard post war. They have been sitting there some time so paint is wearing off and panel lines can be seen. No visible panel line on the top cowling of A58-427,(LV652), in the foreground.

461f5fb1-63be-4247-8c11-beabe4acdf65.jpg

 

And a few more 'close up' shots:

 

5035c9d0-f9ea-488b-92e3-a8d777e0e6ba.jpg

 

1ce63ca1-68ea-4ebd-af84-83f4144a204c.jpg    50f96e25-cadf-428b-ad8f-9a6fcafaeb6d.jpg

The top A/C is A58-435, (JG622), the next is A58-601, (MV119), and the last of A58-617, (MV115), is for Ray! Of interest on A58-601 is the RAF serial in 1" high yellow letters, to ensure that panels for the various A/C did not get mixed up when the aircraft were re-assembled by the colonials.

 

04409f0e-fc3b-47c2-b2e0-ffa3e6dec60c.jpg

 

Peter M

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15 minutes ago, Magpie22 said:

did not get mixed up when the aircraft were re-assembled by the colonials.

 

That made me laugh, then we could of really seen some local Spitfire modifications to totally bamboozle modellers 77 years after the event. I can see it now, "Mmmm, what will I use to correctly portray fencing wire".

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two drawings(Mk VII & IX) show there is not a joint at the front but at the rear. At the front there is a stiffener at inner side. may be the riveting along this stiffener creates a slightly depression which gives a discontinuity of the outline?
a third drawing shows Mk XI top cowling and refer to Mk VII drawing.
I think as Mk VII, VIII, IX & XI had sames engines, the top cowling is identical except some cutout for access doors?

 

Mk VII (35138)spacer.png

 

Mk IX(36138), "7, except where otherwise shown this panel(top cowling) is identical with 35138"

spacer.png

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For my up and coming Eduard Spitfire VIII (72nd scale) as I've gone to the expense of buying the Eduard VIII cowling to replace the kit part I am inclined to leave it with the line and rivets in place given that they are very nicely done. However I suspect that based upon the photos and drawings in this thread and all the comments the join is actually not there at all or so well blended into the cowling that it becomes invisible.

 

My technique for applying washes is very much at the beginners/experimental stage so I probably won't be able to highlight it anyway, which under the circumstances is probably just as well as it will save me having to very carefully fill the offending detail.

 

Regards

Colin. 

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Posted (edited)

Magic - thanks all.

 

Most Mk.IXs did have a joint here though it is usually very hard to see - it's the sort of thing that is usually only visible one close inspection or after a bit of weathering, and might be better simulated by a slight change in paint colour than an engraved line.  It seems to be Castle Bromwich feature across most of the Spitfires that were built there and most Mk IXs were built at CBAF whereas the Mk.VIIIs were built by Supermarine, and I am now much more confident that the joint wasn't there on any MK.VIII machines when they left the factory.  

 

22 hours ago, BS_w said:

two drawings(Mk VII & IX) show there is not a joint at the front but at the rear

Umm  - that's VERY interesting ; if these are Supermarine drawing that could explain the lack of a joint at the front, but why one at the rear? Is it some legacy of planning for changing over from Mk.V production or was there perhaps a limit to the size of sheet alloy that could be pressed when the drawing was made?  I can't see a corresponding joint on the South African Mk.VIII which suggest it might not be feature that lasted long in production

 

(That set of photos of the SAAF machine is excellent - nothing like bare metal for showing what might be hidden under paint; thanks for the link. ) 

 

If Roy Sutherland has cast a joint line in his part, I'd be very confident in saying it was the product of actual research rather than his copying what someone else has done  - it is a really good option for the Mk.IX but not, it seems, for the Mk.VIII without a little bit more work.    

Edited by Aidrian
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There used to be a really good web site on the Spitfire, particularly regarding details about the IX and XVI but for some reason it now has 'Access Forbidden' which is a real pity and I've no idea why.

 

The site has/had the url of http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfire-mk-ix-xi-and-xvi-variants-much-varied.html if any one can shed any light?

 

Regards

Colin.

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21 hours ago, BS_w said:


I think as Mk VII, VIII, IX & XI had sames engines, the top cowling is identical except some cutout for access doors?

 

 

 

 

 

@BS_w, thanks for the Type 351, (F.VII), and 361, (F.IX and F.XVI), drawings. Very interesting.

 

I would like to make a couple of points.

1. Handy as the drawings are, they are of limited use without knowing what date they were drawn, and what ammendment they depict. The upper cowling did change over time.

2. Although the Type 359, (Mk.VIII), utilised the same engines as some Type 361,(Mk.IX), that does not mean the drawings for the Types 361 are necessarily applicable to the Type 359. In fact the top cowling for the Type 359 was a single piece pressing, strengthed with internal stiffeners. Supermarine had more time to design the cowlings for the Type 359 and avoid the ad hoc modifications made to the Type 349 cowlings to adapt them for the 60 series Merlin-engined A/C.

 

Peter M

 

 

 

LF.Mk.VIII, A58-319, a natural metal A/C shows no sign of the rear panel joint shown in the Type 351 and 361 drawings.

7e55d612-73e0-4394-bdba-f5d30bd26424.jpg

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IIRC the panel line is a trademark of Castle Bromwich-built Mk.Vs. Could it be a legacy of that particular design on Mk.V to Mk.XI converted airframes?

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On 3/4/2021 at 11:28 AM, fishplanebeer said:

The site has/had the url of http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spitfire-mk-ix-xi-and-xvi-variants-much-varied.html if any one can shed any light?

The site disappears once you don't pay the hosting charge. You can find caches here (example)

https://web.archive.org/web/20190729193610/http://spitfiresite.com/

 

I can see that panel line on high resolution photographs but not on low resolution photographs.

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