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1/72 Spitfire Mk.XII -the early Griffon Spit

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August is ending and temperature here in northern Italy is again beareable- perhaps we really should forget about modelling and spend our free time planting new trees to devoure excess CO2...

What I did in the  last three weeks?

Well I hiked in my favourite mountain place in the Alps


Yeah that's me! At 51 I need two more paws to reach that places but that's a widely minor nuisance than the now-mandatory magnifier lenses for building model kits!

OK the topic is about Spitfire building, so....



I started building up the main gear wells by thinning the well border (were needed) for a better scale-appearance and gluing the spar part  to restore the correct wing dihedral (it was lost inserting the "plug" for the new oil cooler).

At the end of the Mk.XIV build I was not happy with  the look of the well ribs - after some reserch I discovered that I used the wrong kit part too


so this time I choose the (presumably) right one and modified it to better represent the  real thing etching a channel with a saw.





At this day (23-VIII), I finished building the chassis well and I will start detailing it, the general idea being to get it fully detailed before even gluing the topside of the wing-really I spent too many hours in detailing the  Mk.XIV well with the wings still assembled, that's because the work zone results almost unaccessible.


Next major step was joining the Griffon cowling to the fuselage!

Before that I managed to modify the cowling fasteners for a better look



The small holes were added using a very sharp compass needle...



...and the mandatory 15x monocular magnifier!!

The left-hand fuselage (the  one without  alignement pins) and cowling halves were checked for alignement against the profile view ( I used Tenma Mk.XVII for this) then glued together. This time I did not use interlocking keys (see Mk.XIV build) because I need using Eduard cowling frame (see picture below with frame in place)




The cunning plan is using that frame as a support for the tube holding the propeller shaft and gluing it before closing the fuselage.


The right hand fuselage was glued using the LH one as a jig



The fit is excellent. As was the case with the Mk.XIV, there is a wedge-shaped gap in the lower cowling panel (about 0.9mm at the wing leading edge, I'll document it later)



In  the next post I'll describe some more work on the propeller blades








Edited by steh2o
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11 hours ago, TempestV said:

Loving your work with this and I have plans to graft the 1/48 SH XII with the new Eduard Vc. I got my Eagles Call box last week and it looks pretty doable :)

Just a quick hijack here, Tempest V. Have a look at a post on here 'So what's actually wrong with Special Hobby's Spitfire XII?' to save yourself a lot of work. I think the method that Stefano is using here is the way to go in 1/48 now that Eduard have released the Mk V kits. I see using the Eduard Mk VIII fuselage (for the retractable tailwheel & pointy rudder), Eduard Mk V wings and Airfix Mk 22 nose and spinner. Not cheap but maybe less painful with overtrees. Very nice work by the way Stefano.


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I  opened now Britmodeller and found lot of messages! Thanks for looking and thank you for the positive comments!



I do not have a direct experience with SH 1/48 Spitfires; the 1/72nd Griffon Spits though have a rather badly  misshapen cowling profile. Airfix Mk.22 is very good in 1/72nd so I suppose it is valid even in 1/48th; otherwise, the new Airfix Mk.XIV in 1/48 would be my first choice for a donor: please consider that wathever choice you make, it requires some work both on the cylinder head blisters rear part and on the cowling fasteners.

As TempestV pointed out, there is now enough good Eduard elements for the rest of the airframe.

Please note that a Mk.VC wing is needed, but you also want a Mk.VII /F.Mk.IX ("short") carburettor intake: I'm now 100% sure that the production Mk.XII had this installed.

As tempest pointed out, a Mk.VIII or Mk.IX fuselage are required (Eduard provides raised rivets on the Mk.VC fuselage)



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Having done a number of XII myself, they are not up to your standard. It's truly amazing work.


Perhaps a bit premature, but what are you planning to use for squadron codes? I had a devil of a time trying to find a genering sheet with the correct size and ending with obtaining 2 sets of a different machine because I wanted to do EB-B.



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Hello Finn, 

I'll likely go for EB X or EB Z, codes are available for the first a/c  in the Printscale sheet on V1 aces but I plan to paint the Sky codes to match the spinner and fuselage band color. Thanks for the positive comments, I have seen your work and is top notch!

Edited by steh2o
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  • 2 months later...

It's two months I'm not posting progress on this Mk.XII!

The work is slowly progressing. The main hurdle I'm currently facing is the main landing gear (chassis?) even if now I think I've found a convincing solution for it, I feel more confident and I can share some of the work done .

Before starting the chassis saga, I would like to show some more work done on  the propeller/spinner assembly



As explained in the Mk.XIVe work in progress, Airfix prop blades are nice but lacking in chord about 0.2mm, which I compensated by gluing thin strips of 0,1mm card to the edges of each blade (I did 5five of them just to be sure)




Here the blades are a bit in better shape. I discovered that working with the blades still connected to the hub is way easier! I thinned down the blade thickness a bit to get a more realistic look.

The blade collar is not in the right position for a Mk.XII   propeller so I decided to remove it entirely  and create new ones using platic tubing






Here the blades are removed from the collar. I marked with black ink the front of the blade. Also I cut four brass pins that will stenghten the joint between blade, new collar, and new hub.




The new collar has been glued to each blade, and the first reshaping of the blade shape effected




Dissolved plastic provides a fillet between new collar and blade.




Here a comparison picture:

left is unmodified Airfix (Mk,22)

center is widened, thinned, new collar, first shape adjustment

right is the final shape, similar but specular to the Mk.VII/VIII/IX profile: notice how different the blade root is.

I smoothed a bit the profile of the  whole blade and sharpened the angular tip




Four blades, ready for paint


Next the spinner: this time I checked times and again the  shape of it (I don't want to repeat the Mk XIV experience), corrected it a bit, then etched and riveted the surface




Near the left-most blade root, on the baseplate I represented the slot discussed some posts above;




Added the hub cap too using a beading tool. This is ready for paint too!






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The carburettor intake ( I call it a "Mk.VII style", but possibly it originated with Mk.XII itself?) need some thinning down of the walls and, most of all, the ice guard.

After some thinking I did this



The rightmost element is a section of a photoetched  fret, it is thin enough (0,1mm) and has a useful T element that I will use for mounting to the intake (I know there are four small braces in reality....)


Here I shaped it and soldered it



All is left is gluing an acceptably thin mesh in front and mounting it to the intake part.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks Cookie!

Eduard's Spitfire has a nicely engineered main landing gear which relies on some approximation to allow you a quick and easy installation.

The main gear leg is attached to recesses in the the upper wing part using two locating pins extending from the leg itself and from the (very schematic) retracting arm. With everything assembled the two pins are not so evident. The bay lacks totally the landing gear locking mechanism.

In my precedent Mk.XIV build I choose to simply refine the gear legs and add detail (see photograph in the august 23rd post), hiding at best the Eduard artifacts but I was not very happy with the  result. Moreover, adding the smallest details in the  gear bay revealed itself very difficult.

So this time I tried a different approach to better simulate the Spitfire's landing gear mechanism.

Firstly I detailed a bit the wheel well walls with panel lines and rivets




Then transformed the gear leg from the original (left) kit part to a slightly more complex element (right)




Some comments: I removed the locating pins and reshaped the retracting arm to a more realistic look (thinned, I-section shaped, with locking ring added), then drilled a 1mm hole in the pintle axis position- it follows the real landing gear geometry except for the toe-out of the pintle which in my case is 0° (I cheated!).

Drilling that hole  needs some care because the leg is just 1,5mm in diameter there.

I added all of the detail which I can detect in photographs of Mk.Vc aircraft . The Mk.XII had the early gear leg with splined oleos (without torque links).

The legs will be mounted on a false pintle arm which I made by soldering sections of 1mm brass microtube held in a jig. The distance between the parallel pintle arms is the correct scale distance as calculated from Monforton's landing gear schemes.

In the photograph below you can see the false pintle assembly + legs

Front view:














The front longeron received two holes drilled in the correct position through the pintle flange so that I can slide the false pintle through the gear legs and obtain





At this point I declare that this method is utterly stupid, but I'm in to it and I can't step back now!

I have built the locking arms after posting a question in the WW2 aircraft forum section. It seems that the c wing as fitted to the Mk-V and probably to the Mk XII adopted the holed style of locking arms. I deduced this part's dimensions from Monforton's book.







The locking arms are 13 parts each, they still need to be cut to size. The wheel rims received the tyre infllating valve.


Finally I modified the top wing parts (left modified, right original Eduard)....




...and added the last details before painting.



How I'm gonna proceed now?

-paint  the gear legs and inner wheel bay elements

-assemble the gear legs to the lower wing surface using the brass pintle and a jig to align them at the right angle(s)

-adjust the false pintle so that it better represents the real one

-add the locking arms, pulleys and retracting mechanism + switches and wires

-glue the top of the wing and refine the wheel well, then paint it










Edited by steh2o
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Your Spit is looking fantastic, you are doing incredible things in 1/72! I'll follow your progress if I may.


How nice to have the Alps on your doorstep, I too am a mountain lover but here in Britain they're not quite as dramatic!



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Thanks Tony!

You really should spend some time in the Alps. The highest peak in the photograph above (right in the middle of it actually) is Gran Paradiso, 4061mt, It is surrounded by the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, which is a beautiful wildlife reserve just a few tens of km south of the "big ones", Monte Bianco, Cervino and Monte Rosa.

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@steh2o I've been to the Austrian Alps many times, but not much in Italy! I lived near to Vicenza (little town called Thiene) for a while when I was younger and have travelled around the north a lot over the years on business trips, but never quite made it to the real mountains - sometimes I could see them in the distance. I'd like to visit the Dolomites especially. Anyway, we are drifting away from your amazing Spitfire! 

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Don't worry I'm the first one to easily drift away from my Spitfire!😄

Example given:



I spent several hours on the spinner at left, same technique used for the Mk.XII's one (right) -guess the aircraft?- it had a big DB605-clone engine!



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Allright in an impetus I managed to adjust the angle of the retracting arms by slicing them away from the leg and gluing them again at a more correct angle (looking longitudinally at the leg, they should form an angle of 14°2' with the wheel axis, Monforton says... I'm not so sure it's 14°2, but it looks much better now).

Next time I build a Spitfire I'll try another way; this method is reminiscent of the recent Tamiya mk I (incredibly well engineered, in this sense) but requires too much work and requires the landing gear to be installed even before gluing the wing halves together. Next time I'll try something similar to the Eduard 1/48 method (stubs representing the pintle+retracting arm onto which the gear legs are installed). Anyway, now I can proceed with the work.

Probably I will install the radiator housings before gluing in place the landing gear because I fear to damage the legs if I do it the other way around.





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Hi Stefano,


I followed your excellent Mk.XIV, but I've only just found this. Another quite amazing build of a very important Spitfire. Exquisite work!


And now I can see how you achieve such great results;

On 8/23/2021 at 12:00 PM, steh2o said:

the mandatory 15x monocular magnifier

I use a No. 5 Optivisor, which I find very good for detailed work and combined with strong reading glasses is essential at my age (66), nowhere near as powerful as your magnifier. But it does have the advantage that I view the work in stereo.


Looking forward to seeing how your Mk XII progresses.


Best wishes,

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