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AZ Models Gloster Gauntlet - 3 Sqn RAAF


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In parallel with the 3 Sqn Airfix Gladiator, a 3 Sqn Gloster Gauntlet was also made. They are both for a club display of RAAF fighter aircraft. The one chosen was K7793 Sweet FA from the DK Decals 3 Sqn sheet - #72071.

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A few construction notes

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The AZ Models Gauntlet has been the subject of various builds on Britmodeller. It is an order of magnitude more difficult than the Gladiator, which, like most modern Airfix kit is accurate and easy to build. One particularly inspiring Gauntlet build was done by @Procopius and I incorporated much of his wisdom in this build.

Unfortunately, like many, he discovered that the struts are a real problem. Maybe he will take heart from this and go back to his.

This Gauntlet was in a desert scheme of Middle Stone and Dark Earth. I used Model master enamels and the Sky Blue undersides were Xtracolour X626 – the nearest match from my blue paint collection.

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Looking at the upper wing placement it was obvious that something was wrong with the struts. I used drawings from the excellent Mushroom book (front and side views) scaled to the model size to make an acetate sheet template and cut two blocks of thick plywood from it.

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Comparing this to the kit struts (left) one can see that they are undersize. I made new ones from plastic strut material (centre). The Airfix Gladiator ones are to the right for comparison to show that I was in the right ball-park.

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The wings were taped to the plane using the blocks as jigs and the outer, then inner, interplane struts fitted. I had to slightly shorten the cabane struts to fit them.

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The rigging was done with stretched and flattened steel wire secured with PVA glue. Most rigging seems to be an oily steel grey sort of colour although many museum biplanes have black or shiny silver finish! Because the paint came off with handling, I elected to paint the rigging afterwards – not a good idea. I need to find some sort of chemical darkening agent for next time. The actual wire is the core of plastic tie tags for freezer bags.

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The only additions to the kit beyond what Procopius did was to add light 20lb bombs under the wings - the Gauntlet was mainly used for dive-bombing by 3 Sqn and to add a resin cast tropical filter under the cowling. These all seem to have been left unpainted.

 

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Magnificent! You have succeeded where I've failed. I still have mine boxed up on my workbench -- let me know if you see strut material for sale anywhere.

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That looks super Ed, it is good to know some of the pitfalls of these kits, I've a couple. :) Is the wire you use unplated, if so, some cold bluing past might work quite well for what you want? Where did you get the strut material? It looks really smart, far better than the kit struts.

Steve.

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Thanks guys - yes, it's a less than excellent kit but it's far better than the Tamiya or Eduard Gauntlet kits!

2 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Where did you get the strut material?

It used to be made by Aeroclub and it has been unobtainable for many years. Sometimes it comes up on auction sites. I am thinking about blueing as a reasonable way of colouring the wire. I am not sure what sort of wire is in plastic bag tags!

 

Edit - I looked at patents for the twist-tie starting in 1899. They don't seem to mention the wire material. if you need something to put you to sleep at night, try this - https://patents.justia.com/patent/10538372

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That is a lovely model and thanks for the tips about the struts. I have the Aeroclub kit as well and wonder what its struts are like - if memory serves me , they give  template and the modeller has to cut them from strut material. 

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7 hours ago, Horatio Gruntfuttock said:

template and the modeller has to cut them from strut material. 

The ones I have came in a plastic bag with no instructions etc. I basically measure the interplane distance with an adapted pair of compasses and cut the strut to size.

 

Edit - Ahhh - you mean you have the Aeroclub Gauntlet? If you get a length of strut material you can use the method I used and compare it to the template. John Adams (Aeroclub) usually knows what he is doing.  The plans are from an electronic version of the Mushroom book

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