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Airfix 1:24th Spitfire MkIa restoration and new-build MkVb


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6 minutes ago, Biggles87 said:

Haha, I was posting an ‘ edit ‘ to my last post about George Unwin and ‘ Flash ‘ when your reply pinged on my iPad.

Incidentally I worked at Bournemouth Airport in the 70s with a keen golfer and the president of his golf club was George Unwin!

 

John

Great minds think alike as they say John! 😎👍

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10 hours ago, silverkite211 said:

Would you believe that I still have my original issue Airfix Spitfire, complete with incorrect colors (Sky Blue for the underside and Zinc Chromate Green for the wheel wells) Even after all this time the only thing it is missing is the pitot tube. I keep it around, though not out on display, to remind me how far I've come as a modeler. I'll be interested to see how your revamping of yours comes out.

Like you I've got models made back in the day (30-40yrs ago) that will stay as is, while a select few will get the revamp.

Looking at the build instructions that I've still got from the Spit I built in the early 80's, it's interesting to see just how far off many of the interior and engine colours listed were!

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I still have the original instruction booklets for the Spitfire and the '109. I keep coming across them when looking for other things, but if I went to look for them now I bet I wouldn't be able to find them. I also still have most of the books which were written to go with the ' Superkit ' series and still use them for reference, especially the Spitfire and Mustang volumes.

 

John

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27 minutes ago, Biggles87 said:

I still have the original instruction booklets for the Spitfire and the '109. I keep coming across them when looking for other things, but if I went to look for them now I bet I wouldn't be able to find them. I also still have most of the books which were written to go with the ' Superkit ' series and still use them for reference, especially the Spitfire and Mustang volumes.

 

John

I have three copies of the Spitfire book in the Classic series, long story, postage delays and the thought it was lost in post and got to replacements,  then the original turned up !!! I have paid for the first one and the second one and when asked if they wanted the third one to be returned they said donate it to a charity, which I still need to do.

 

Chris

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On 4/29/2021 at 7:23 AM, Biggles87 said:

perhaps you could rotate his his right hand 90degs so that he is holding the top of the spade grip

 

Not that I would dispute what my esteemed fellow Britmodeller John said about how pilots held the spade grip (it was circular after all!), but I did come across this photo in the excellent Wingleader book on the Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 whilst looking for photos of the canopy and windscreen for my build;

 

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Photo Copyright Mark Postlethwaite 2020. From Wingleader Photo Archive Number 1 - Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1. Used with permission.

 

So possibly you don't have to chop his hand off Rob after all, merely bend his fingers a bit? And thanks for posting the wonderful photos of the pilots.

 

On 4/30/2021 at 6:36 AM, Biggles87 said:

The man sitting on the wing root with the dog in the first photo is Brian Lane who commanded 19 Squadron during the Battle of Britain. He survived the battle but was lost over the North Sea in December 1942 at the age of 25.

 

I didn't know that John, very sad. So many losses.

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Haha, each to his own. Thinking about it, you would need to hold it as above when operating the brake lever but for normal flying I was told to hold it across the top, during my extensive Spitfire flying time ( about 10-12 minutes) 
 

John

 

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The 1/24th Spitfire rebuild continues to move forward; some minor tidying up of a few spots of stubborn paint on the fuselage (seems to be where it's mixed with poly cement) but otherwise pleased with how clean it's come off. The mounting frame for the engine cowling needs some major TLC though 😊

Also found the build instructions for not only this 33 year old model, but also for the very first 24th scale Spitfire I built back in the early 80's (she is long gone though). Interesting the subtle (and not so subtle) changes in layout and printing, and the variations in build detail as the simplified with electric motor and full engine detail with electric motor being omitted in the later set of instructions.

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5 hours ago, Johnson said:

So possibly you don't have to chop his hand off Rob after all, merely bend his fingers a bit?

Goes to show there are many ways to take your lady in your hands in order to get the best out of her! 😄👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Merlin's are pretty much complete - magnetos, coolant header tank, prop and spinners are all dry fit to allow for ease of painting.

Next stage is onto the cockpit components!

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On 30/04/2021 at 08:01, Biggles87 said:

Haha, I was posting an ‘ edit ‘ to my last post about George Unwin and ‘ Flash ‘ when your reply pinged on my iPad.

Incidentally I worked at Bournemouth Airport in the 70s with a keen golfer and the president of his golf club was George Unwin!

 

John

I have it on good authority that he was called George "Grumpy" Unwin after one of the little men in Snow White lol

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29 minutes ago, Col Walter E Kurtz said:

I have it on good authority that he was called George "Grumpy" Unwin after one of the little men in Snow White lol

He was certainly a character: at one point during the Battle he was up on a charge for some misdemeanor, and the hearing was interrupted several times resulting in Unwin taking to the skies each time. From what I remember his success combined with these interruptions throughout the day ended up in the charge being dropped. I'll try and find the book it's in 😎

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Rob Henderson said:

He was certainly a character: at one point during the Battle he was up on a charge for some misdemeanor, and the hearing was interrupted several times resulting in Unwin taking to the skies each time. From what I remember his success combined with these interruptions throughout the day ended up in the charge being dropped. I'll try and find the book it's in 😎

Brilliant! I hope you do find the book. He sounds like the kind of person you need in a crisis.. unconventional, no apologies to anyone and an ability to take air fighting to the enemy! Classic stuff! 😂

 

"His service-wide nickname was "Grumpy"; supposedly after he complained about the noise squadron comrade Douglas Bader made repairing one of his leg prostheses late at night in late 1939. It kept Unwin awake and he let everyone know about it. Another story relates that it was due to his reaction at being left out of the squadron's operations during the Battle of Dunkirk on 26 May 1940, due to a shortage of aircraft"  from Wikipedia 

 

it was Douglas Bader making squeaking noises oiling his legs lol when they shared a bungalow😂

Edited by Col Walter E Kurtz
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2 hours ago, Col Walter E Kurtz said:

I have it on good authority that he was called George "Grumpy" Unwin after one of the little men in Snow White lol

From "The Last of the Few" by Max Hastings:

"We had brought twelve aircraft with us, and two extra pilots had come down by road the previous night. The section leaders alone looked quite happy, for they knew they were definitely starters. For fairness we drew names out of a hat and face after face lit up as its owner's name was called. In my flight the unlucky one was Flight Sergeant Unwin, and he stood looking at me with a hurt expression on his face, for all the world like a dog that had been told he can't come for a walk. I went over to try and console him, but he just shook his head sadly and said 'Well I'm damned, sir!'.
I couldn't help it - I burst out laughing, while the other pilots shot humorous remarks at him. 'Go on, Grumpy, you'll live to fight another day! Don't get too drunk while we're away!' And that was why, from that time on, one flight sergeant was called Grumpy."
Flight Lieutenant Brian Lane, 19 Squadron.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all 😎

 

Progress not as rapid as hoped in the last week due to other commitments, however the fettling of parts of the two new-builds plus the clean up and repair of the stripped MkIa resumed at the last weekend and gained pace nicely - I reckon there's still a couple of weeks to go before I start thinking of firing the airbrush up on these three though!

 

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Comments and suggestions always welcome!

Cheers!

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25 minutes ago, bigbadbadge said:

Wow what a neat work space you have there. Great job on stripping the old built one.

Chris

Thanks Chris! There were a few bits that wouldn't budge for love nor money, so they've remained together - shouldn't hinder the refurb though.

 

As for the tidy workspace - I have to confess that it took me a whole weekend to tidy up and rearrange my workshop so I could continue with these three Spitfires in comfort!!

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Nice production line you have going there.

Just by coincidence, while looking for something this morning I came across my instruction booklet which must be getting on for 50 years old as the kit was bought within a couple of years of the first release.

 

John

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all 😎

 

Progress with the 33yr old 1/24th Airfix Spitfire MkIa strip and rebuild, plus the MkIa and MkVb new builds:

 

It's taken a couple of weeks of doing an hour or so here and there, but I can finally put a line under a significant stage of the project with all the subassembly parts for the three aircraft cleaned, fettled plus assembled tailplanes and rudders to join the previously assembled Merlins. Some of the parts from the refurb MkIa need some minor repairs where minor details, location pins or corner edges has broken off or worn, but I'll tackle those as part of the process at their specific painting/building stages.

The next port of call will be cleaning up and fettling the fuselage halves and the upper/lower wing sections while starting to get some colour on the Merlins.

 

The stripped MkIa is going to need some extra care in order to clean up the old glue residue on both fuselage and wings, as well as cleaning and repairing the engine bay framework on the fuselage. The MkVb wings require some panel cutting and modding to allow for the installation of the 20mm cannons, while all three aircraft I think will benefit from the addition of a wing spar/inner strengthener to reduce the chance of wing droop occurring in years to come.

 

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As always, comments and suggestions welcome! 😊👍

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Hi all 😎

 

I've been working on the cleaning up and repair of the starboard fuselage half of the old MkIa I originally built back in the 1980's. The photos show the damage to the engine bay framework for mounting the cowling, glue residue and damage and ejector pin marks that had been left untouched, and the results of the clean-up and repair work.

 

I've cleaned off the remains of the old polystyrene cement along with any split lines still present, and repaired and cleaned up the engine bay frame and lower bay cowling. Some holes still need re-drilling in the framework, but I'll do this for the entire frame in one session. The location slot for the tail plane has also been cleaned up, as has the glue residue damage around the canopy fixing points (especially around the windscreen), tailwheel location, upper radio mast and fuselage light mounting.

 

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Comparing the engine bays of the three kits...

 

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All the above photos show before clean-up and repair...

And all the following show afterwards...

 

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As always, comments and suggestions welcome! 😊👍

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Great progress there Rob. Very dedicated work indeed - which I will be following along with much interest :yes:.

 

I love these old 1/24 scale Airfix kits. I have a load of them patiently waiting for when I have the time to return to the hobby, including a couple of Hurricanes, two Spitfire IVs, a Bf109, Harrier and the new Typhoon. Think I'm going to need a big display case.

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There's a certain fascination with the pics of the stripped fuselage with a bits of paint around the rivets. I'm sure they will look great when put back together with some primer. That's quite a task you've set yourself but I'm sure it will be worth it!

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14 hours ago, Biggles87 said:

Good to see you back with these.

You’ve certainly got your work cut out with the restoration but it looks like you’re winning.

Stay safe.

 

John

Thanks John! Keeping to my original plan of little and often is certainly helping to keep the momentum going. The fuselage is almost finished as far as the repair and clean-up goes, and the fettling of the two new kits should be quite quick and straightforward in comparison.

 

The wings on the other hand I think will be a bit more time consuming, as I also need to create spars to prevent droop as time goes on.

 

It's going to be a great feeling getting to the point where I can start the painting process!

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