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This is a good excuse to haul out my 1/48 resin Mew Gull, by Heritage Aviation Models. I bought it several years ago at Telford, but never got around to starting it. I saw G-AEXF flying at Duxford in 2007 (good grief, is it really that long ago?) and read Alex Henshaw's account of his record-breaking London-Cape Town flight shortly thereafter. A really fascinating read, not least for his account of the numerous technical and logistical problems that had to be overcome.

An initial look at the parts shows that some clean up will be required - there's a big seam line along the fuselage sides, and a few small bubbles, which is expected. I'd like to try adding a bit more detail in the cockpit, so we'll see how that goes!

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Will follow this if you don't mind.

Can I ask if that edition of the book has the line drawings included of the engine and cockpit?

 

Malc. (not far from you!).

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Beautiful little plane, not so convinced about the resin, but I"m sure it's lovely really. Now, for my education, is a Mew Gull also a Gull? I've come across the 'simple' Gull in reading about Beryl Markham and other inter-war aviators in East Africa. Never mind snowflakes and nanny state, those people really lived on the edge one way or another. I'm sure it's was harsh and grubby but the lines of the aircraft are so very elegant and sleek.

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1 hour ago, Malc2 said:

Will follow this if you don't mind.

Can I ask if that edition of the book has the line drawings included of the engine and cockpit?

 

Malc. (not far from you!).

There are a few drawings at the back, not particularly extensive but it all helps.

Cheers,

David

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24 minutes ago, Mjwomack said:

Beautiful little plane, not so convinced about the resin, but I"m sure it's lovely really. Now, for my education, is a Mew Gull also a Gull? I've come across the 'simple' Gull in reading about Beryl Markham and other inter-war aviators in East Africa. Never mind snowflakes and nanny state, those people really lived on the edge one way or another. I'm sure it's was harsh and grubby but the lines of the aircraft are so very elegant and sleek.

There was a Gull, Vega Gull, and Mew Gull. I'm no expert, but good ol' Wikipedia has some info. The Gull was built as a touring aircraft, developed into the Vega Gull which among other things had an extra seat, and the Mew Gull was a single-seat derivative designed explicitly as a a racing plane.

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Well, that was bracing! I thought I'd clean up the wing section, which has a pretty hefty casting block, visible in the picture above. I thought it might need a bit of fettling after removing the block - but to describe the fit to the fuselage section as approximate would be overly generous. It's taken me a good couple of hours fairly aggressive grinding away, mostly with a big dental burr, to get anything like a decent fit. I've also made a start on opening out the cockpit - the instructions point out that, in order to get a strong fuselage, there's a big block of resin that needs removing under the cockpit coaming - I'll need to have another go at this, though. You can see there's a big bubble in the coaming to fill, and that ragged seam along the side of the fuselage to sort out - that's for another day!

An initial look at the seat and instrument panel shows them to be rather crude, to be honest, and they'll need replacing, even though the cockpit is tiny and potentially things won't be that visible. I've got a PE seat that I think might do, and I think I should be able to scratch build an instrument panel. So much for s straightforward build! 🙂

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What a lovely looking plane!! :wub:

 

This is a manufacturer I know, I've used one of their conversion kits before, Cavalier III Turbo Mustang conversion, plus I have their Ju-388L conversion as well.

 

The resin is not to bad but as you have found out there is quite a bit of work required to sort it all out. All that resin dust makes it look like my bench! :D

 

Good luck with the build, there's a bit of work required but it'll result in a lovely wee model.

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On 3/28/2021 at 4:02 PM, djktrumpet said:

There are a few drawings at the back, not particularly extensive but it all helps.

Cheers,

David

 

Thanks David, I wanted to make sure this edition had the drawings, as I want to get a copy.

 

M.

 

PS, pack the hole in the coaming with some of that resin dust then add a drop of superglue, takes seconds and is instantly ready to sand, no waiting for filler to dry! No shrinkage either.

Edited by Malc2
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Good slogging through!

 

On 3/28/2021 at 11:47 AM, djktrumpet said:

You can see there's a big bubble in the coaming to fill, and that ragged seam along the side of the fuselage to sort out - that's for another day!

...

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Bubble? That's nearly a hummingbird's nest! 

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On 3/30/2021 at 2:54 PM, Malc2 said:

Thanks David, I wanted to make sure this edition had the drawings, as I want to get a copy.

 

M.

 

PS, pack the hole in the coaming with some of that resin dust then add a drop of superglue, takes seconds and is instantly ready to sand, no waiting for filler to dry! No shrinkage either.

HTH.

Good tip on the filling. But wait - you mean that resin dust that I carefully swept up and put in the bin? ...

🙄

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You're far too tidy!

Use baking powder instead, or flour, or any other white powder you happen to have to hand.........

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The seat provided in the kit is a bit basic. I've found a photo-etch seat in the spares box left over from a 1/72 Blenheim build, and I've made some seat cushions from plastic card, which I think will look a bit better once painted up.

Interesting that the 1/72 Blenheim seat is actually a bit bigger than that provided in this 1/48 kit! The Mew Gull really is a tiny aeroplane; it's quite astonishing that Alex Henshaw flew to Cape Town and back in such a cramped cockpit.

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Posted (edited)

I'm seriously unimpressed with the vacform canopies in this kit. They're rather thick, and not particularly clear - although two are provided, one is much less clear than the other. They also have quite poorly-defined side edges and the points at which you need to cut fore and aft are hardly defined at all. Finally, when I got them cut out as best I could, I found that they were never going to fit well, as they're much too wide at the back and overhang the cockpit edges on both sides. I'm going to have to find a way of making a replacement canopy - I'll let you know how I get on!

 

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Edited by djktrumpet
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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I've taken my first hesitant steps into the arcane world of home vac-forming. I made a master from Milliput, filled into the cockpit aperture oversize, and sanded to shape, polished, and then mounted on a bit of wood.

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After a bit of internet research I built a vac-forming box from scrap timber, and gaffer-taped the sheet acetate material to a frame cut from MDF.

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I heated the plastic with a hot air gun (paint stripper type) and after a few attempts have a got a canopy which, although not perfect, will serve, and is a whole lot better than what came in the box.

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Right, now I can get on with putting the thing together!

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Slow but steady progress over the last few days. I've made a new instrument panel and cockpit floor; I'm not the world's best scratch builder, but I think they're better than the kit parts, and should look OK when painted up. Not that they'll be that visible anyway, as it's so small!

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Now reasonably confident that everything will fit in the cockpit, I've started gluing the bits together, using epoxy and reinforcing the joints with fuse wire pins.

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It's starting to look like a Mew Gull, but still a lot of filling, sanding and making good to do!

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Cockpit floor, seat and instrument panel painted up - I'm quite pleased with my scratch-built panel - it will be old hat to many people here, but it's the first time I've tried anything quite like this. I drew up some blanks based on the shape of the original resin part, punched out holes in the top layer, based on some photos of the Mew Gull I found online, and the instrument faces are from a set of generic instrument decals by Mike Grant Decals, punched out and set in place, then finished off with a drop of gloss varnish.

Also main airframe now assembled and first run of filling done. I'll give it a coat of primer to see better where more work needs to be done.

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Looks smashing! Some se-erious upgrading happening here.

 

Regards,

Adrian

 

PS. ...and welcome to the wacky world of vacforming!

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One good thing about the resin parts in the Heritage kit is the nice thin trailing edges. Unfortunately this means that they're quite delicate and in my kit there are quite a few chipped and crumbled areas, which I've previously found awkward to repair on very thin sections. However, I have recently come across this stuff:

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which is a UV-curing liquid resin, with a fairly fine needle applicator and a built-in UV light, so you can apply it in small amounts and set it hard in a few seconds. The resin is viscous enough that you can rebuild thin edges, and it seems to sand quite nicely when cured. I expect it would work as an adhesive too, although I haven't tested in it that way yet.

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I've been experimenting with UV resins for some time.

 

The one I have been using is a product by Solarez https://www.solarez.com/

 

They have thick hard, thin hard, and flexible types among a wide variety of other products. The thin hard can also be mixed with acrylic powder to make a paste which works well for gap filling and filleting. But then again, slow cure CA is also suitable. 

 

Very interesting thing these UV resin's.  The beauty industry uses them on finger nails for nail art and that sort of thing. Also popular with fishermen who make their own lures, surfboard makers, and a myriad of other uses. 

 

There are different resins which have different sensitivities to different wavelengths of UV light.  You don't even need a UV light if you have a nice bright sunny day handy.

 

They do work very well for what you describe. I have been trying these resins for seam filling and sealing of porous surfaces like sanded Bondo or wood. For these they also work well but then so does CA glue.

 

However, I have never been able to use them successfully to glue two pieces of something together. I can get the outer surface of the resin to cure but never been able to get the resin on the inside portion of the join to cure. Perhaps I've just been impatient and haven't applied the magic light long enough.

 

cheers, Graham

 

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8 minutes ago, GrahamCC said:

never been able to get the resin on the inside portion of the join to cure

Just don’t put it where the sun doesn’t shine... :)

 

I’ve acquired a similar product in the hope of doing wingtip nav lights and such, but I’ve found it a bit hit and miss, to be honest.

 

Regards,

Adrian

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I've got the wheels on, and after a lot of filling, sanding and priming, I feel like I'm on the home straight. White primer coat only at the moment - I'll get the cockpit bits installed next.

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gee she's looking nice!

 

You've done some great work on her, the vacforming is super nice, well done!  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've added some more bits in the cockpit - throttle levers, and an additional gauge on the starboard side, which I'm not sure what it is but is visible in photos of G-AEXF. These are probably a bit overscale, but do reinforce how cramped the cockpit is! The cover for the coaming, which is leather on the real aircraft, is made from wine bottle foil.

Canopy going on next...

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23 hours ago, djktrumpet said:

've added some more bits in the cockpit

Several posts ago you said you weren't the world's best scratchbuilder, which given as you'd just vac-formed a canopy I took with a pinch of salt! And now you're just laying on more details and scratch building!!

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Coming on nicely!

If I may, as its still in primer, could I persuade you to fettle the rear deck so it makes a straight line to the bottom of the fin?

The kit moulding that forms the base of the fin is a bit lardy!

Now I have pointed it out its going to bug you if you don't fix it.......... 😉

 

Malc.

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