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The very last Heritage Aviation 1/24 Spitfire IX Conversion


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Posted (edited)

A few months ago, I went on eBay and purchased this: "HERITAGE AVIATION 1:24TH SPITFIRE IX CONVERSION OOP LAST ONE..I'VE NOW RETIRED".  In other words, Heritage Aviation's final 1/24 Spitfire IX conversion.  I contacted the seller (Mr. Heritage Aviation himself) who advised me that he had sold some of his moulds and disposed of the others and was going to enjoy his other hobbies.  So, what this meant was that if i messed this up, then there was no 'Plan B'!

 

As a break from 1/48 BritJets, converting Airfix's venerable 1/24 Spitfire Mk.1A, later upgraded (I use that word advisedly) to a Mk.Vb feels like a big and potentially expensive project and it sure isn't a Shake and Bake, but having seen some of the superb 1/24 conversions on this forum, one may as well go big or go home.

 

The Challenge

 

Grafting Heritage Aviation's nose and extra bits is a pretty challenging task in its own right but there are two other factors:

  1. Airfix's model is very good but it getting-on a wee bit
  2. Quite apart from the little task of replacing the oil cooler under the port wing with a second radiator, the differences between the 'A' wing in the standard kit and even the kit's conversion parts to a 'B' wing, are significent when one considers the 'C' wing used by the Mk.IX.   As an aside, the differences between the 'C' and 'E' wings are minor in comparison.

 

Therefore, this is certainly no shake and bake but it does promise to be a fascinating project, requiring a great deal of research.

 

First impressions

 

Heritage Aviations components are all resin and appear well produced.  I have added a picture below and the parts include:

  • A complete new nose with side cowlings and lower panel as one moulding;
  • A replacement top cowling;
  • A new spinner and four propellor blades;
  • Replacement tailplanes with horn-balanced elevators;
  • A broad-chord rudder
  • A pair of underwing radiators.

51297991198_853c3a82b9_z.jpg

 

The Airfix model is probably very familiar to many on this forum and it's hard to believe that the original moulds are fifty years old.  Mine is the 2005 re-release with parts to convert it into a Mk.Vb and, to be brutally honest, the conversion was not Airfix's finest hour.  It does provide a very nice later windshield and blown canopy, but some of the additional parts are not great.  Perhaps the very worst parts are the cannons: it's probably unfair to compare them alongside the Eduard resin alternatives, but see for yourself below.  As an aside, the machine guns that came with the original version are really quite sweet and when enhanced with Czech Master barrels, look superb.

 

51297042797_b51c64c79e_z.jpg

 

I have been working on the wings first to convert them to 'C' wing standard and shall provide an update soon.

 

I hope this will be of interest.

 

Kind regards,

 

Neil

Edited by neilfergylee
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Definitely following along,  I love these big blank canvas conversions and the later mark Spit from a Mk1 is heady stuff

 

I see you have some nice goodies to go with it too 😉

 

Peter

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7 hours ago, airscale said:

Definitely following along,  I love these big blank canvas conversions and the later mark Spit from a Mk1 is heady stuff

 

I see you have some nice goodies to go with it too 😉

 

Peter

 

Peter,

 

Thanks for your kind comments: it's heady stuff indeed!  You are right: it is indeed a blank canvas and those goodies will, I hope, create an acceptable result.  Or a crushing failure!

 

Cheers,

 

Neil 

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2 minutes ago, HOUSTON said:

Neil,

Look forward to your huge build. 

You have gotten great looking accessories. 

Neat start to your conversion.

:popcorn:

:thumbsup:

 

Thank you!  Accessories: a great way of separating a middle-aged man from his future pension!

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Posted (edited)

Thought you'd like to just see this. Just for fun?!

Spitfire Mark IX Interactive 360° Cockpit Panorama https://www.haraldjoergens.com/panoramas/spitfire-td314/

 

When the link opens, click on the picture to start your viewing and when you hover over ,and pause on any part,  it will inform you what that part is.

 

 

Use fingers to swivel around the 360° View.

Enjoy.

:yahoo:

 

 

Edited by HOUSTON
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17 hours ago, neilfergylee said:

I have been working on the wings first to convert them to 'C' wing standard and shall provide an update soon.

Neat project Neil

Note, the C wing changed UC leg angles, they were raked forward compared to the A/b wing, and as this changed the sit in the wing, the UCV doors were curved.

This is regarding the Vc, but as the IX was based on the Vc, the UC parts are relevant

 if I can think of anything else, I'll add it in.     One suggestion, there are variations in the Spitfire IX, you may want to check on what kind of upper cowling you have in the conversion, and see what airframes it is applicable too.

 

In the 70's the one of the Airfix magazine annual had a Mk.I to mk.IX conversion,  which was open cowling with exposed engine, using the Packard Merlin from an Airfix Mustang, which had been previously converted to Cavalier Mustang....

 

cheers

T

 

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Interesting project  I kept seeing that on Ebay when I was searching for a Heritage Aviatiin FA2 conversion for my Sea Harrier. 

Will be great to see this develope.   Got a 32nd MKXIV conversion for ghe Revell Mk IX. 

Good luck with your project.

Chris

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On 09/07/2021 at 16:24, HOUSTON said:

Thought you'd like to just see this. Just for fun?!

Spitfire Mark IX Interactive 360° Cockpit Panorama https://www.haraldjoergens.com/panoramas/spitfire-td314/

 

When the link opens, click on the picture to start your viewing and when you hover over ,and pause on any part,  it will inform you what that part is.

 

 

Use fingers to swivel around the 360° View.

Enjoy.

:yahoo:

 

 

Thank you!  That is staggeringly helpful!

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On 09/07/2021 at 16:56, Troy Smith said:

Neat project Neil

Note, the C wing changed UC leg angles, they were raked forward compared to the A/b wing, and as this changed the sit in the wing, the UCV doors were curved.

This is regarding the Vc, but as the IX was based on the Vc, the UC parts are relevant

 if I can think of anything else, I'll add it in.     One suggestion, there are variations in the Spitfire IX, you may want to check on what kind of upper cowling you have in the conversion, and see what airframes it is applicable too.

 

In the 70's the one of the Airfix magazine annual had a Mk.I to mk.IX conversion,  which was open cowling with exposed engine, using the Packard Merlin from an Airfix Mustang, which had been previously converted to Cavalier Mustang....

 

cheers

T

 

 

Many thanks for that.  The undercarriage falls into a whole world of pain for me that, so far, I have looked-away from.   I have the offer of a Mustang engine (although it comes with strings) but I might 'bottle' that one but you are right to remind me about the upper cowling.

 

I must be mad!  Nonetheless, it's assistance like this that keeps me going.

 

Cheers,

 

Neil

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On 09/07/2021 at 19:00, Bonkin said:

Well this is going to be interesting... don't mind if I follow along?

 

Best of luck with it.

:yes:

 

On 09/07/2021 at 21:58, bigbadbadge said:

Interesting project  I kept seeing that on Ebay when I was searching for a Heritage Aviatiin FA2 conversion for my Sea Harrier. 

Will be great to see this develope.   Got a 32nd MKXIV conversion for ghe Revell Mk IX. 

Good luck with your project.

Chris

 

On 10/07/2021 at 02:03, k5054nz said:

I'm excited to follow along with this, it looks like a project with a lot of scope for extra bits and pieces.

 

Thank you all and welcome onboard!  @bigbadbadge is that the Grey Matter conversion?

 

Neil

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17 minutes ago, neilfergylee said:

 

 

 

Thank you all and welcome onboard!  @bigbadbadge is that the Grey Matter conversion?

 

Neil

 Thanks Neil,  not the Grey Matter one, but an AA Productions conversion,  looks very nice too and the UC legs are reinforced with brass rod or Tubes.   I must get on and do that one day soon!!!

Good luck with your conversion will definitely watch with much interest.

Chris

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Posted (edited)

The wings

 

Spitfire IXs had ‘C’ or ‘E’ wings.  These were essentially similar from a configuration perspective but, of greatest importance to the modeller, were significantly different to the earlier ‘A’ and ‘B’ wings.

 

Airfix’s model was built with the eight-Browning ‘A’ wing and the 2005 Mk.V re-pop provided a few additional components to make the two cannon and four Browning ‘B’ wing.  Frankly, it was a bit of a bodge but was probably good-enough for the purposes of making a passable Mk.V.  This aside, the ‘C’ wing is quite a progression from the ‘B’.

 

I was fortunate to obtain a scanned set of 1/48 plans taken from the excellent Modellers Datafile on Merlin Spitfires and these could blow-up to ½ 4 with no difficulty.  Using good old PowerPoint, I was able to create templates for cutting and scribing, while the image below shows how I had overlaid a ‘C’ wing over an equivalent ‘B’ wing.  This led to quite a few significant points:

1.       The upper wing panels for the ‘C’ differ considerably from the ‘B’.  The area to remove for the cannon it quite extensive.

2.       This came as a surprise: in the ‘C’ wing, the inner Browning gun is further outboard than the ‘A’ and ‘B’ versions.  The ammunition tanks for the cannon occupied the bay formerly used by the inner gun.

3.       Airfix used the position of the inner machine gun as the position for the cannon.  It appears that in the ‘C’ wing, the cannon is fractionally further outboard: only a small difference but significant when tying it into the undersurface scribing and internal panelling.

 

The undersurfaces are also significantly different.  The panels in the mid-wing area needed filling and rescribing, the cartridge ejection chutes need repositioning for the cannon and the repositioned inner machine gun.  None of this is especially difficult but it does need filler, patience, and a lot of rubbing down!

 

The pictures below explain some of the work.

 

In this drawing, I have placed the 'C' wing drawing over the 'A'.  Note the very large panels covering the cannon and ammunition bay, and - most important but surprising - the repositioning of the inner browning gun further outboard. 

 

51299840119_a92280be3e_b.jpg

In this underside view, some of the Mk.IX panels have been highlighted in bluw.  This is a bit confusing because it includes both 'A' and 'C' wing panels.  However, it does show how most of the cartridge ejection slots need to be repositioned.

 

51299131356_18a32e6e9b_b.jpg

 

Here is the (slightly wet) unmodified port wing underside.

 

51298798000_3bd576bbab_b.jpg

 

By way of contrast, here is the modified starboard wing with a coat of primer to provide a consistent surface.  There are more details to add but it does contrast well with the unmodified version.

 

51298797840_54f08ea442_b.jpg

 

A comparison of the upper wing surfaces with the port wing inverted to provide a contrast to the modified starboard wing.  Note the repositionied inner Briwning gun.

 

51305918674_b21e3146a0_b.jpg

 

A quick 'how does it look?' view with the new nose tacked in place.

 

51300170091_a09c48cdf8_b.jpg

 

Finally, a trial fit of the cannon in the starboard wing.

 

51305917569_634d740ca1_b.jpg

 

Thats all for now: let's see what the coming week brings!

 

Kind regards,

 

Neil

Edited by neilfergylee
The inevitable typo.
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9 minutes ago, bigbadbadge said:

 Thanks Neil,  not the Grey Matter one, but an AA Productions conversion,  looks very nice too and the UC legs are reinforced with brass rod or Tubes.   I must get on and do that one day soon!!!

Good luck with your conversion will definitely watch with much interest.

Chris

 

Thank you!  Yes, I can feel a 1/32 VIV or even XII on the list!

 

Neil

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Will follow this build with interest. I did this conversion about 5 years ago, before I signed up with Britmodeler. I certainly could have used all the input, because even though I was aware of the different Spitfire wing types, I only went with minor changes. Did post it on a different site only to find out that the canon blister had to be moved more forward for the mark IX, but it looks like with all your research you have this well covered.
fuBfkjI.jpg

Did make the effort to retro-fit the blister in the end. Will not show the model , but here is the re positioned “fat” blister, although the thinner version was more common I believe. It is a great conversion and I hope you have fun with it. Will follow your build.👍

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1 hour ago, Rob K. said:

Will follow this build with interest. I did this conversion about 5 years ago, before I signed up with Britmodeler. I certainly could have used all the input, because even though I was aware of the different Spitfire wing types, I only went with minor changes. Did post it on a different site only to find out that the canon blister had to be moved more forward for the mark IX, but it looks like with all your research you have this well covered.
 

Did make the effort to retro-fit the blister in the end. Will not show the model , but here is the re positioned “fat” blister, although the thinner version was more common I believe. It is a great conversion and I hope you have fun with it. Will follow your build.👍

 

Hi Rob,

 

It's a huge subject and I have only really scratched the surface.  The subject of cannon blisters is on in its own right and you can be right even if you are wrong!  This is what I mean:

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/01/cannon-blisters.html

 

So, the fat blister is absolutely fine and if anybody challenges you, just look them in the eye and tell them it all repends on the armament fit!

 

I shall be returning to the ammunition bay later today: I see a lot of plastikard being consumed!

 

Cheers,

 

Neil 

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The wide blister was normally seen on the early Spitfire F.Mk.IX.  This had a number of other differences from what is normally seen in drawings, notably the cooler intake in the port wing root.  The position of the cannon blister was normal on all versions with the universal, or c, wing.  I do not know exactly when the wide blister was replaced by the narrow one, but suspect that it will have been rare on the LF.Mk.IX which is the version most commonly modelled, and indeed produced.  The c wing drawings above are for this later variant as can also be seen by the Aerovee tropical filter for the carburettor rather than the shorter earlier example.

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51 minutes ago, neilfergylee said:

 

Hi Rob,

 

It's a huge subject and I have only really scratched the surface.  The subject of cannon blisters is on in its own right and you can be right even if you are wrong!  This is what I mean:

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/01/cannon-blisters.html

 

So, the fat blister is absolutely fine and if anybody challenges you, just look them in the eye and tell them it all repends on the armament fit!

 

I shall be returning to the ammunition bay later today: I see a lot of plastikard being consumed!

 

Cheers,

 

Neil 

Hi Neil,
 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, the fat blisters are fine, but I think they require to be moved slightly forward on the mark IX compared to the Vb. (although there is probably an exception for that as well 😄)

Good luck with the build. Had to do a lot of filling and sanding around the nose, but all manageable. If you haven’t done already, it may be worthwhile to think about how to replace the cowling fasteners if you loose that detail. I think there are some acceptable aftermarket replacements for that from the car department of the hobby. Would love to do another one more accurately this time, but the Heritage sets are more difficult to come by.

 

Rgds

 

Rob

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5 hours ago, neilfergylee said:

I was fortunate to obtain a scanned set of 1/48 plans taken from the excellent Modellers Datafile on Merlin Spitfires and these could blow-up to ½ 4 with no difficulty.  Using good old PowerPoint, I was able to create templates for cutting and scribing, while the image below shows how I had overlaid a ‘C’ wing over an equivalent ‘B’ wing.

Maybe a bit late, but this can be dangerous,  I noted a couple of lines that looked shifted in the two plans overlaid,  by this I mean that from an actual engineering point if view, certain aspect of the wing structure didn't change,  position of spars, wheel well, aileron, the changes being in the bay sections. 

The old PSL book Classic Aircraft and how to model them, had 1/24th planes for the B and C wing....  I did convert a B to c wing back in 1981 in 1/48th, but taking measurement from this and halving them!   I'd not discovered photocopiers and their possibilities back them!

 

One other point,  rivets.   I think the Mk.IX had flush riveted fuselage, @gingerbob is good on these details.   

 

The wing did, the plans doe by Peter Cooke in Scale models in 1978,  which are among the best, had an observation on the wings, the leading edge 'D' box was flush riveted, but as was thicker guage metal, these were filled and rubbed down, and thus are almost invisible 1/1, while the rest of the wing was thinner gauge, and while flush rivets, they tend to dish the skin.  Since you have done a lot of work on the wing,  a lot will have gone. 

Peter Cooke converted the Airfix Mk.I into a Mk.XIX in the mid 70's, and then went to to scratch build in 1/24th if you have not run across his work.

 

5 hours ago, neilfergylee said:

The undercarriage falls into a whole world of pain for me that, so far, I have looked-away from.

For the leg position, and from what I remember of the kit, following the full size example in the discussion I linked, a small wedge on the mounting would move the leg forward. 

 

A suggestion, the 1/48 Eduard Spitfire Merlin 60 family are very highly regarded accuracy wise, you may  want to have a look at how they tackle the wheel well as a 3-d guide may make it a little easier. 

 

one final point, depending on what plane you intend to model, later Mk.IX swapped from 5 spoke wheel hubs (as in the kit) to 4 spoke hubs.  AFAIK Spitfires and Hurricane used the same wheel hubs, and the Airfix Hurricane has 4 spoke hubs.  

 

HTH

 

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Rob K.  The position of the raised blister was further forward on the C wing rather than the B, with no exceptions.  It was the kind of engineering change that went deep.

 

Troy:  The smooth-rivetted fuselage appeared first on the Mk.XII and then on the Mk.VII/VIII.  Early Spitfire Mk.IXs were built on the Mk.V production line and so will have had conventionally rivetted fuselages.  Presumably at some stage smooth riveting will have been introduced, but this is only a guess and it may not have happened because of the inevitable loss in production during the change-over.

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Might be worth giving Buchon models a shout. They are doing a 1/24 Spitfire IX conversion and have now said they are doing canopies and windscreens so the Airfix kit can be converted (they were originally designing it for the Trumpy VI) - it would be worth your time asking if you can buy a windscreen and canopy set as the ones that come with the Airfix V are horrible (and the wrong shape / rake angle too) 

 

Cheers,

  WV908

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On 12/07/2021 at 13:14, Graham Boak said:

The wide blister was normally seen on the early Spitfire F.Mk.IX.  This had a number of other differences from what is normally seen in drawings, notably the cooler intake in the port wing root.  The position of the cannon blister was normal on all versions with the universal, or c, wing.  I do not know exactly when the wide blister was replaced by the narrow one, but suspect that it will have been rare on the LF.Mk.IX which is the version most commonly modelled, and indeed produced.  The c wing drawings above are for this later variant as can also be seen by the Aerovee tropical filter for the carburettor rather than the shorter earlier example.

 

Yes, some of this is a bit tricky to nail-down.  What I need to do before too long is to decide on a particular airframe and stick with it and one factor will be to fine one that was well-photographed.

 

Cheers,

 

Neil  

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On 12/07/2021 at 13:24, Rob K. said:

Hi Neil,
 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, the fat blisters are fine, but I think they require to be moved slightly forward on the mark IX compared to the Vb. (although there is probably an exception for that as well 😄)

Good luck with the build. Had to do a lot of filling and sanding around the nose, but all manageable. If you haven’t done already, it may be worthwhile to think about how to replace the cowling fasteners if you loose that detail. I think there are some acceptable aftermarket replacements for that from the car department of the hobby. Would love to do another one more accurately this time, but the Heritage sets are more difficult to come by.

 

Rgds

 

Rob

 

Hi Rob,

 

Many thanks for your comments.  The nose does make me nervous and thank you for the suggestion regarding the fasteners: brilliant lateral thinking there!  I have just learned about Buchon, so they might provide a better alternative with the demise of Heritage.

 

Cheers,

 

Neil

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