mark.au Posted September 4, 2022 Share Posted September 4, 2022 (edited) A couple years ago my lovely wife bought me a model biplane for Christmas because she wanted me to build one for her. The kit in question was the Revell 1/48 PT-17 Stearman and after pondering a few different yellow-based schemes we found this image and the choice was made. Some weeks later, in the late [Australian] summer of 2020 I was finished and she was very pleased with her biplane. I was too, it was not only my first biplane but my first attempt at rigging. I used stretched sprue individually attached and each individually snapped tight with smoke; an exercise fraught with potential disaster at every step. Nonetheless, it turned out quite nicely and looked quite striking in its Recall Colours. The Stearman was duly placed in the display cabinet and more or less forgotten. Until... Fast forward to just over a year ago and we are packing up to move from Sydney to our new home in Canberra. Packing is never fun, especially in a pandemic with Sydney in a hard lock down - oh, those days seem long ago now, don't they? - and I was looking for ways to reduce the burden. I really didn't want to pack many of my built models so I advertised and several were sold. Can you can guess where this is going? Let's say for the sake of brevity that Mrs.Mark.au was disappointed in my decision to sell "my biplane" and has on [somewhat frequent] occasion reminded me of that egregious error on my part. Any how, after completing my Academy Mk.XIVe the other day I pondered on what to take on next. I narrowed it down to three options; 1. A No. 411 Squadron RCAF Spitfire LF Mk.IX as a study in weathering; 2. A Burma based RAF Thunderbolt; 3. or Robert Hampton "Hammy" Gray, VC, DSC, RCNVR's Corsair. The first and last of these choices provide the opportunity to join the Canadian GB currently running until October which would subsequently lead very nicely into the P-38 GB which I am already committed to with an RAAF marking on worn Haze colouring, an interesting paint challenge in itself. I happened to mention these choices to Mrs.Mark.au and she asked to see them; upon review of the choices shown above she casually mentioned that none of them appeared to be a biplane. I then made a critical mistake, I asked her to take a look at the stash and suggest my next project. With laser-like precision she focused on this which at the time it was in the pile, quite high up, and quite inconspicuous, I thought. "I want the red one" she said, and that was that, there was no honourable way out, so a biplane it is. A rigged biplane. A 1/32 scale biplane, so how bad can it be? This evening I began work. I decided right away this was going to be a superficial effort; by that I mean I will complete it out of the box with the minimum effort in the cockpit or any other unseen components - no effort at all, actually - and instead focus on a really good paint job, weather it appropriately and learn how to rig like the pros. With that sophisticated plan in place, I set to. The mouldings seem reasonably ok, a little bit of flash and some minor clean up to do but nothing terrible. The plastic seems soft and the detail matches it, it's similar to feel and detail to ICM's 1/48 Spitfire, but I've seen worse. I began to remove some of the larger parts from the sprues and cleaned them up. After studying the instructions I decided that I could push the assembly quite some way before having to paint anything so I began splashing Tamiya Extra Thin abut the place. Soon I had this; Looks pretty rough, huh? Almost none of it can be seen once the engine is installed so it doesn't matter what most of it looks like. Next, I joined the fuselage; On the face of it, a ballsy move but bear in mind the plastic was is so soft that all the internals can still be added with the rear of the fuselage joined. I did it this way as there are no locating pins on the fuselage and I wanted to join it free from concern about aligning any of the internals at the same time. This way, I focused on a clean fuselage join first, got that set and clean before slipping in the internals. N Next, I added the seat and engine, glued on one side only so that I had room to manoeuvre when adding the fuselage upper piece (which is of fixed width and I want to be able to match the fuselage halves to meet it cleanly) and the engine radiator at the front (which is also of fixed width). Next I added the rest of the cockpit and dry fitted the fuselage topside. A dry fit of the radiator and one of the engine covers shows that I got a pretty good alignment and fit on the fuselage assembly. I've also checked the lower wing fit and that will work well too. My goal is to be able to paint the fuselage separately from the wings - it seems this will reduce the masking requirement as the wings aren't red, only the fuselage is. It'll look better when done too. This is all setting up now so next session I'll paint the cockpit interior with some vaguely wood-looking shades and I still have sufficient access to the instrument panel to make it look something like an, err, instrument panel. The engine won't be painted until after the fuselage because it'll be a lot easier to mask around the engine than to mask the engine. Or maybe not, I'll check that assumption later. As mentioned, I'm doing "the red one" belonging to Captain Duncan William Grinnell-Milne. From Wikipedia; Capt. Grinnell-Milne was an English First World War pilot credited with six confirmed aerial victories, a prisoner of war who escaped from German captivity, a flying ace, and an author. Initially serving with the 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, he was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps before joining the Royal Air Force. His was quite an interesting story - he named his aircraft "Schweinehund" because that was what his captors repeatedly called him while he was in their care. As a complete beginner of this kind of modelling I'm open to all advice, suggestion, critique, and even ridicule as long as it's funny Cheers. Edited September 22, 2022 by mark.au 24 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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