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I "love" kit 1:48 Gloster Gladiator Mk1 72(Fighter) Squadron based at RAF Church Fenton in 1938


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Some background

I’m off to the Flying Legends air display at former RAF Church Fenton in sunny (here’s hoping) Yorkshire next weekend and this is responsible for spurring me back to the modelling bench after a short spring/summer break. My Daughter lives in Church Fenton about 1/2 mile from the end of the NE-SW runway and although we have bought tickets for the airfield on the Saturday, I’m staying with her and looking forward to seeing a few more flybys over her garden on Sunday, before heading off for a short break on the NE coast.

I last went to an air display at Church Fenton when I was studying at Leeds University back in the late 70s through to early 80s. Despite this past familiarity I know little about the airfields history, so this time around I decided to Google whack the subject and learned that RAF Church Fenton first opened on April 1st 1937 as part of the UKs re-armament push in response to the threat of Nazi Germany's rearmament. 72 (Fighter) Squadron were posted to Church Fenton in midsummer 1937. The Squadron had reformed at RAF Tangmere on 22 February 1937 from 'B' flight of No. 1 Squadron who were then equipped with the Gloster Gladiator Mk1. Gladiator was the last bi-plane fighter to serve with the RAF and the squadron continued to fly the Gladiator from 1937 through to 1940 and didn’t in fact have them replaced by the Spitfire Mk1 monoplane fighter until around the time of Dunkirk evacuation, when the squadron moved on to RAF Acklington to take part in the Battle of Britain as part of 13 Group.

It’s sobering to think that 72 Squadron Gladiator Mk1s came quite close to flying up against Bf-109Es during the summer of 1940. Whilst highly manoeuvrable, the Gladiator was almost 100 mph slower (top speed 257 mph) than the new monoplane fighters and somewhat lightly armed with 2x 0.303 Browning machine gun pods under the wings and 2x fuselage mounted synchronised Vickers machine guns firing through the propellor arc.  So they would surely have been duly hacked out of the sky.

With this in mind I searched for a Gloster Gladiator Mk1 kit in my favoured 1:48 scale to replicate a 72 Squadron Gladiator from Church Fenton. ICM have an excellent kit in 1/32 scale and I’ve seen several excellent builds of this on Britmodeller, but it’s a tad too big for my display space. I learned that Roden and latterly Merit produced 1/48 scale Gladiator Mk1 kits and a bit of further research indicated that the recent I 💓 Kits re-boxing of the Merit kit would be the easier build. As a bonus it also comes with 72 Squadron decals, so I paid my £25 and ordered one last week.

 

First impressions

Thus far I’ve removed all but the smallest parts from their sprues and cleaned the parts up.

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I’d never heard of I 💓 Kits, so for my part this was a bit of a punt. However, when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the moulding, which uses a hard light grey styrene. However, the complexity and level of detail provided by the kit is relatively low. Perhaps £25 might be a bit steep in retrospect, but then I was brought up in an age when similarly basic Airfix kits cost 2/6d at Woolworths.

The sprue gates are a bit clunky and required a substantial clean up of their locating lugs on the parts, but there was minimal flash or burring on the parts to deal with and a few dry fit tests indicated the accuracy of fit is good overall. The basic shape looks about right, but a number of compromises have been made. The cowling is a one piece moulding (so no seams to deal with) but this results in too linear a barrel like profile. There is an aftermarket resin replacement engine and cowl available on the Hannants site, but I don't think this kit warrants the extra expense or effort, so I'll build it out the box. The cowl also has a very thick trailing edge, but judicious thinning of the inner edge with a scalpel blade should fix this. I did consider thinning the rear outer edge because this could create a more accurate curved barrel like profile for the cowl, but it would also likely ruin some of the external surface detailing, which should pop nicely with a silver finish..

There’s some internal fuselage detailing included, but with no opened canopy option and a rather thick transparency at that, it’s not likely much internal detail will be viewable when fully assembled. A quick review of the Gladiator walkaround by @Julien here on Britmodeller shows that a lot of detail is missing from the cockpit internals, such as some tubular steel framing above the control panel, a bulkhead incorporating a roll cage behind the seat and some side framing on the windscreen. I might add some seat belts, scratch build some parts and modify the canopy masking to replicate the missing details, even though I bet they will never be seen.

The wings, tailplane and tail fin are all single part solid mouldings. So cutting out and positioning the control surfaces looks to be nigh on impossible. However, I might yet have a go at easing the hinge points with a scalpel, setting the rudder slightly displaced to one side and have the elevators upwardly deflected to create some additional interest. We shall see.

The comments I saw about the wing and strut assembly being quite straightforward has proved to be correct. Even when assembled as a dry fit only, the wings, interplane and cabane struts align very well and it all holds together nicely.

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It looks like this should be a relatively straight forward build, although I’m not looking forward to replicating  all that wire rigging, because I’ve never attempted a bi-plane before. Everything could fall down when I get to this. Does anyone have some guidance for this? Wish me luck!

 

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Just a quick point,

Dont know what detail you are doing in the cockpit but be aware that the RAF gladiators had a different  instrument panel to the export versions, so watch your references! The RAF  aircraft had the standard six dial flying panel as used on most RAF aircraft of that time., the preserved Swedish aircraft  has the export panel.

 

Selwyn

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Be good to see how this builds up, the rigging isn't as hard as you think, just drill your holes before you assemble the wings, have you decided what you are using for rigging yet, invisible thread or and elastic thread such as Prym Knitting in Elastic or another type? 

Good luck with your build.  There is a cracking build thread running at the mo of the ICM Sea Gladiator N5520 on here.

Got a couple of the lovely Airfix 72nd Gladiators I am going to convert to the same as part of a 3 model build of the same airframe at 3 different times in its career.

A lovely aircraft

Chris

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Many thanks all. Some useful info as ever. I'll do my research 😉 What might be a somewhat simplistic question came to me in bed last night. The kit has what looks to be a rather large early 2 way radio set mounted behind the seat, but I haven't seen any evidence of an aerial on any contemporary references so far. Flying examples presumably have modern radio sets and the Old Warden example does have a small aerial behind the canopy, but was there a mast and aerial wire on the 1938 RAF aircraft? Presumably air to ground telephony was a new thang in the late 1930s, so did Gladiators only get the radio sets late on and just before they were taken out of front line service?

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14 hours ago, NellyV said:

I’d never heard of I 💓 Kits

Part of the Trumpeter and Hobby Boss group, the parent company is Zhongshan Yatai Electric Appliances Co., Ltd.  …

 

51 minutes ago, NellyV said:

The kit has what looks to be a rather large early 2 way radio set mounted behind the seat, but I haven't seen any evidence of an aerial on any contemporary references so far. Flying examples presumably have modern radio sets and the Old Warden example does have a small aerial behind the canopy, but was there a mast and aerial wire on the 1938 RAF aircraft? Presumably air to ground telephony was a new thang in the late 1930s, so did Gladiators only get the radio sets late on and just before they were taken out of front line service?

A good question, which maybe better asked in the WW2 section,  

the cutaway  in the pdf from Flight shows a radio. 

https://www.flightjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/HabbaniyaSurprise.pdf

 

I suspect there always was provision for a radio set,  even if not initially fitted.

 

HTH

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4 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Gladiators I am going to convert to the same as part of a 3 model build of the same airframe at 3 different times in its career.

 

Love this idea. Was thinking along similar lines. Will be interested in your builds and story when it happens.

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On 08/07/2023 at 11:26, NellyV said:

Many thanks all. Some useful info as ever. I'll do my research 😉 What might be a somewhat simplistic question came to me in bed last night. The kit has what looks to be a rather large early 2 way radio set mounted behind the seat, but I haven't seen any evidence of an aerial on any contemporary references so far. Flying examples presumably have modern radio sets and the Old Warden example does have a small aerial behind the canopy, but was there a mast and aerial wire on the 1938 RAF aircraft? Presumably air to ground telephony was a new thang in the late 1930s, so did Gladiators only get the radio sets late on and just before they were taken out of front line service?

I've just noticed that the box artwork has what looks like a radio aerial running from the top of the fin to somewhere on the upper wing, with a line down into the fuselage just behind the cockpit canopy. Need to find some contemporary photos to confirm this.

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Progress is being stymied somewhat by an infected right elbow bursa which seems reluctant to respond to antibiotics and to add insult to injury, I also have a pulled muscle in my now rather stiff neck! Getting old is no fun, is it? (Genuine sympathy accepted😆)

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I've put the rather basic cockpit floor pan together but left the seat off for now and started on the under cart. The Old Warden airframe in the walk around appears to have a bare metal, or a silver painted floor pan, as does the lower cockpit side walls and the upper side walls are grey green. The compass mount looks to be silver, the compass body is grey and its dial is black. So I'll go with this scheme. The control panel provided looks to be the standard RAF 6 dial layout and there is a decal provided. TBH, I don't think much of all this will be visible through the rather thick canopy transparency, but the contrast between the black, silver and green should be detectable. I'll also have a go at some seat belts.

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As has been noted by others already, the inside faces of the wheels lack the tyre/hub boundary transition, so I've made an attempted to fix this by cutting out some Tamiya tape masks and built up the inner tyre edge against these with Mr Surfacer 1000. Removal of the tape masks left some somewhat ragged edges, but I bisected a wooden cocktail stick and used one flat end to run around the inner surface of the hubs a few times to smooth the tyre edges out. Seems to have worked OK, but some primer should show the truth of it.

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I've also opened up the missing cowl notches, which are required to allow the fuselage side mounted Vickers guns to fire out between the engine cylinders in synchrony with the propeller arc to miss the blades. Can't help thinking that RAF fitters would have to keep a close eye on the Vickers gun alignment, because the tolerances look very tight and you wouldn't want to blast through your own cylinder blocks! Double the jeopardy, with accurate synchronisation and alignment needed?

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On 08/07/2023 at 12:23, Troy Smith said:

Part of the Trumpeter and Hobby Boss group, the parent company is Zhongshan Yatai Electric Appliances Co., Ltd.  …

 

A good question, which maybe better asked in the WW2 section,  

the cutaway  in the pdf from Flight shows a radio. 

https://www.flightjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/HabbaniyaSurprise.pdf

 

I suspect there always was provision for a radio set,  even if not initially fitted.

 

HTH

I'm gonna scan back through my Air International collection to see if there's an article on the Gladiator. May even be  a cutaway there too.

1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

The Wingleader book on the Gladiator has what you want.

Great! I'll see if I can find it.

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On 08/07/2023 at 11:26, NellyV said:

Many thanks all. Some useful info as ever. I'll do my research 😉 What might be a somewhat simplistic question came to me in bed last night. The kit has what looks to be a rather large early 2 way radio set mounted behind the seat, but I haven't seen any evidence of an aerial on any contemporary references so far. Flying examples presumably have modern radio sets and the Old Warden example does have a small aerial behind the canopy, but was there a mast and aerial wire on the 1938 RAF aircraft? Presumably air to ground telephony was a new thang in the late 1930s, so did Gladiators only get the radio sets late on and just before they were taken out of front line service?

Found several profiles on-line now from other kits that have a Y shaped arrangement for the radio aerial wire, with the base of the Y attached to a short mast at the tip of the tailfin, the middle break in the Y positioned just behind the rear edge of the sliding canopy section and the two arms of the Y heading up to mid span and mid chord attachments on the top wing surface. These other profiles for the 72 Squadron aircraft are also missing the metal spinner on the front of the two bladed wooden prop. I'll have to look at the arrangement of the hub bolts if I'm to replicate that look.

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Nice. I do wish I could have the elevators (and rudder) deflected slightly like that, but sadly the solid mouldings and complex hinge lines are going to prevent this.

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4 hours ago, NellyV said:

but sadly the solid mouldings and complex hinge lines are going to prevent this.

heavy duty sewing needle in a pin vice,  just keep scribing the main lines, work on both sides, when cut through, do the shorter lines, you should be able to flex them off then. 

Not difficult, just take to slowly.  If in doubt try on an old kit or mule to get the hang of the technique.

 

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Progress update.

It's a good job I test fitted the engine parts and cowling along with the prop. Out of the box, the forward projecting exhaust manifolds are too long and set the engine too far back in the cowling. This means that the prop fouls the exhaust collector ring on the front of the cowling. I had to take off 2mm from the exhaust manifolds and also pare back the alignment lugs inside the cowling to get the face of the reduction gear cover clear of the exhaust collector ring so the prop could rotate freely! I used a 2mm strip of masking tape as a guide for making even length cuts. The engine finish is plain black, but I've attempted to add some interest to it and the 'radio set' with a drybrush of gun metal, hence some shiny bits in the pics. The small square inlet (carburettor inlet?) part attaches to the cowling only and has no connection moulded to the engine. It looks like it should connect up to a vertical feature on the lower back face of the engine. It might be visible after assembly, so I'll scratch build something to bridge the gap. 

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Merit made some strange choices with the fuselage internal details.

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They provide the internal tube work for full length fuselage framing that's completely out of sight when the fuselage is assembled and the canopy is in place, but have omitted the bulkhead and vertical post that forms part of a roll cage behind the seat together with the trough for the seatbelt mounting cables. Being so high up, these are much more visible and less affected by the distorting effect of the transparency plastic. Therefore I've scratch built these using plastic card. Some clean up still to do here.

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A test fit shows these are visible through the rear canopy and they will add some extra detail and interest. The control panel stick and seat are nothing but a blur through the canopy mid section, so the lack of throttle quadrant and other smaller details isn't really an issue worth addressing. I am however debating whether to attempt a scratch built Bar and Stroud Mk II reflector gunsight and its cockpit mount framework, which should also be fairly visible because it will also be up close to the windscreen transparency. These had apparently replaced the bead and reticule gunsight on some Gladiators by 1938.

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Off Up-North tomorrow ready for Flying Legends on Saturday but the weather is looking rather iffy for flying on the 15th. A stiff breeze with high probability of thunder storms.🤔 Eldest daughter's been sending me phone video clips from her garden of practice display flights under blue skies with the occasional puffy white cloud. Typical! They may be the only displays I'll get to see because the weather forecast for Sunday also looks pretty lousy with drizzle. Still better than a 40 plus Celsius heat dome, eh? Let's hope the jet stream continues to keep that well away from the UK.

Anyways, time for a quick update on the Gladdie before we depart.

I've closed up the fuselage and attached the fixed undercart. The lower wing and main wheels are only a push fit for now. I took the plunge and cut through the tailfin and tail planes so as to pose the rudder and elevators deflected slightly to the left and up respectively. The reason I was sceptical about the likely success of doing this is that unlike those on say the Hurricane, the break lines and hinges aren't arranged in a straightforward linear fashion. However, after being reasonably successful with the rudder, I decided to follow through with the elevators and I have to say they don't look that bad. The tail planes need a little more fettling to fill and clean up the hinges before I attach them to the fuselage, because the hinges stayed mostly attached to the elevators after the cutting . I'll also drill some small holes in the tailfin to pass the elastic rigging tail plane bracing wires through and add some stretched sprue rudder control rods before finally attaching them.

However, all this will have to wait now until I get back from Up-North.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've just got back from a week up north that included two days watching the Flying legends air display at the ex RAF Church Fenton airfield last weekend. Got some great air to ground and air to air pics and videos. Unfortunately, the Gladiator didn't fly, but I got a few shots of it during a walk down the static line-up on the Saturday. The weather on Saturday was shocking, with thunderstorms and torrential downpours, but as luck would have it an afternoon weather window allowed most of the display to go ahead and the flying was awesome. The weather was much better on the Sunday and because I was staying with family in the village, I got some of my best air to air shots from here that afternoon. Display pilots can't fly directly at or over the crowd at the airfield, but this doesn't seem to apply to spectators in the surrounding environs! Village access was supposedly limited to residents only on both days, although I did meet one bloke from Rochdale on Sunday who'd successfully blagged his way past the traffic marshals.🤔 Here's a video montage of the Flying Bulls B-28 Mitchell and P-38 Lightning display that I uploaded  to Youtube today.  All captured with an ageing iPhone 11 Pro, so expect some pixellation on a larger display. For me, the Lightning was the standout warbird on display over the two days, because I'd never seen an airworthy one up close or in the air before.  Fast and sleek - the Flying Bulls example is polished to perfection and you can really see the sun glinting off the prop blades during some of the passes. Unsurprisingly I've now got a yen to build a 1/48 P38 down the line. I'll upload further videos of other aircraft caught on video to my Youtube channel once I've edited them.

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Made some further progress today. Scratch built a reflector gunsight out of stretched sprue and a section of clear plastic sprue.

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Should look OK when seen through the canopy.

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After further cogitation, I decided my first attempt was a bit overscale, so I had a trawl through my spare parts box and found some left over Eduard 1/48 Spitfire parts and I used one of the unused rectangular sight combiners to fashion a smaller cut down oval screen. It probably could have benefitted from further polishing, but I think it will still be OK when viewed through the canopy.

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I masked off the canopy with strips of Tamiya tape, rather than using a sharp blade to cut out larger sections of tape in situ, because the edges of the cockpit framing proved too shallow to follow easily with a blade. Once masked, I attached the canopy to the fuselage by carefully running some Tamiya extra thin between the canopy edge and the fuselage using capillary action and sealed the gaps between the non sliding canopy parts and the fuselage with a little Mr Surfacer 1000 applied with a fine brush. The last photo shows me that the windscreen side panels may need slight adjustment of the masking to get a constant width for the curved framework.

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Tail plane halves, rudder control cables made from stretched sprue and lower main plane have now been attached.

Tomorrow I'll spray the canopy framing first with cockpit green and then apply a coat of primer to the complete assembly to see if any further clean up is needed before applying some silver paint.

 

I'm still considering how best to add the additional rigging cables. I'm planning on using two gauges of elastic thread for the different thicknesses required, but I don't have any prior experience of rigging bi-planes. The tail plane rigging should be relatively straight forward and I'll add the intrastrut rigging wires to the Interplane and Cabane struts before attaching these to the lower wing and fuselage, but the main wing cross rigging will require the upper wing to be in place and it looks like this will make these much more challenging.

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After priming the main body all over with Tamiya rattle can primer, I sprayed the areas representing doped fabric sections on the model with Tamiya Acrylic XF-16 Matt Aluminium rather than apply Alclad 2 ALC-105 Polished Aluminium lacquer all over. I realise the entire airframe would no doubt have been painted with the same silver paint, but my plan was to use Alcad for the metal sections to try and get some tonal variation between these two different surface finishes.

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I've added the tailfin aerial post and boarding step up details missing from the kit using plastic card and stretched sprue. I’d forgotten how speckled Tamiya acrylic metal paint can look when sprayed and was initially disappointed in the resulting finish (see above). I was considering just re-spraying the model all over with Alclad to improve the finish, when the idea came to me to try burnishing the acrylic paint first by polishing using a piece of paper towel. This produced a less grainy and acceptable silver finish, so I continued with masking off the edges of the metal surface areas with Tamiya tape for application of the Alclad. Although the airbrushed Alclad laid down on the Tamiya primer with no problems and also over areas I’d over sprayed with acrylic previously, I’d forgotten that lacquer solvent has a tendency to dissolve acrylic paint easily and I had a mishap with the flow rate through the airbrush on the forward starboard fuselage which resulted in some flooding of this area and solubilisation of the acrylic paint, which created a bit of a mess. I made this worse by panicking and trying to remove the excess lacquer with some paper towel! I had to leave the paint to solidify overnight, then sand and polish back the underlying surface the following day before touching up with the airbrush. Silver finishes are of course well known for being very unforgiving of any surface imperfection and despite my best clean up efforts, the finish on the forward starboard side is therefore unfortunately not as good as the other areas on the model. 😒 Then, when I removed the carefully applied masking tape I discovered that the Alclad and Tamiya finishes were impossible to discriminate between by eye! Note to future self: Do a test spray on a mule to check your assumptions about differing paint finishes before spraying the model!🙄

With hindsight, it would have been a lot simpler if I’d just used the Alclad lacquer. On the plus side, the canopy masking worked reasonably well with the first cockpit green coat for the frame being visible internally through the transparency and only a little clean up of external frame edges needed using the sharp end of a wooden cocktail stick.

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I'm using an RAF roundel red mix based on Tamiya X-7 Acrylic Red that I made up for my Gnat trainer build to paint 72 Sqns red section tail fin, leading sections of the tail plane and external wheel hubs. Whilst this is a reasonable match to the roundel centre spots on the decal sheet, I’ve since realised that the decal wing and fuselage red flashes provided in the kit have a marked orange hue. The fuselage roundels also have a white border, which I don’t think were present on the original aircraft's roundels. I’m going to think about how best to fix these issues, but I might try to overspray the orange areas of the decals with a light coat of my red mix before I remove them from the sheet and then apply the decals. If this fails, I'll have to mask off the flashes individually and spray them directly on to the model. I’ll also take a look in the spares box to see if I have any similar sized A type roundels without a white border left over from my Eduard Spitfire build that I can replace the kit decals with.

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So far I’ve recreated the rigging wires on the Cabane and Interplane struts using elastic thread glued in place with small drops of extra thin cyano and subsequently reinforced with Mr Surfacer 1000 applied with a fine brush. The upper wing is just a push fit in the above thumbnail, so final assembly looks as if it will be fairly straightforward. I’ve also checked that when painted with acrylic paint, the thread remains elastic and doesn’t sag, but there is I suppose the risk that the paint could potentially slough away if the elastic thread is flexed too much. Therefore I will only paint the rigging when all the assembly is completed and any further  movement is minimised.

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The Flying Legends 2023 brochure has some nice B&W photos of the 72 Squadron aircraft both prior to delivery when at Gloster's and in squadron service when at Church Fenton. These show that the props lacked a conical nose spinner as fitted to the examples still flying today. Therefore I’ve removed the front of the spinner from the kit propeller using a razor saw and added ten circumferential bolt heads plus the central hexagonal shaft seen in these and other reference images using small sections of stretched sprue. These need some further finessing before priming.

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I’ve also drilled out both the ends of exhaust stacks and the underwing gun barrels. I’m not going to drill out the ends of the moulded in fuselage mounted barrels, because I don’t have a long enough drill bit to attempt this and hopefully they aren’t going to be as noticeable as the wing guns?🤔

This kit is proving to be a little lacking in some required detail and there are a few accuracy issues to deal with, but a little bit of fettling will hopefully make a half decent model in the end.

 

 

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Still some tidying up to do but getting close to decaling. Engine and cowling in photos is just a push fit for now. Happy with the exhaust collector ring so far. I airbrushed Tamiya Bronze Acrylic to recreate this and I dry brushed a little Matt Aluminium on to the cowl leading edge to try and mimic the graduated colour change seen on the current flying examples. I'll maybe try and add some further subtle colour gradation here, with alternating burnt and silver pigments.

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I'm not too sure what colour the fuselage mounted radiator (oil cooler?) was, but those on the surviving aircraft appear to be dark grey, so I painted it with EDSG. The red sections of the tailplane will need a further coat, as they look quite patchy, with some bleed through of the underlying silver.

The prop is primed and ready for painting. Now the 72 Sqn aircraft look as if their props had a black hub, but alternating silver and black surfaces to the front and rear of each blade, with a thin strip carried over on to the opposite leading edge of each blade. Should be fairly easy to replicate and should look kind of neat.

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I previously identified some issues with the kit decals and said I'd see what I had in the spares box to replace those with the erroneous white outer ring. When I compared the kit decals with the spares left over from my Eduard Spitfire Mk1 build, I spotted further issues. The kit roundels always looked a bit weird to my eye, but it was only when I compared them with the Eduard Type A roundels that I spotted the issue. The type A roundel's three colour circles should be in a 1:3:5 ratio, making the width of each colour band exactly the same and the kit ones are out by quite some margin, because they have too wide a middle white band and the outer blue band is too thin. The centres are also not the correct shade of red.

Therefore, today I've ordered the Xtradecal X48031 RAF Type A roundel sheet from Hannants. It only has 2x 40" Roundels on it, but I figure I can put these on the lower wing and put the 2x 42" roundels on the upper wing and get away with the slight size difference. I'll also have to colour match both the red and blue for the wing and fuselage flashes, so I'll probably mask these and airbrush them on. I should also look at the fonts used in the serial number decals. I wouldn't be surprised to find these are suspect as well.🙄

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I've been doing some tidying up work and refining my rigging wire technique while I wait for the replacement decals to arrive from Hannant's. A partial re-spray of the starboard fuselage side has fixed some, if not all of the uneven mess caused by my clumsy airbrush technique and I've applied a third and final thinned brush coat to the red areas of the tail planes and fin. Still some patchiness here, but I'm hoping a carefully applied final clear coat will sort this out. The "power egg" is still awaiting it's prop, but the exhaust stacks have been attached and I've bridged the gap between the engine and what I assume is the rectangular carburettor(?) intake grill attached to the lower cowl lip with a connecting duct made from a piece of shaped sprue. A bit of a guess on my part, but something must connect this chin intake to the engine.

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The intrastrut rigging on the cabane and interplane struts was relatively straight forward. I started the remaining rigging with the simpler bracing wires on the tail section. I drilled two small holes in the tailfin and passed lengths of elastic thread through these. I did consider using thin wire to create rigging turnbuckles that I could then cyano elastic thread to, but decided the wire looked over scale. I figured that once the elastic thread was fully attached to the tail planes, I could seal all the holes and mimic attachment turnbuckles with small dabs of Mr. Surfacer, but first I had to get one end of each elastic thread attached to a common anchor point on one of the tail planes. For this, I drilled a small hole in the upper surface, put a drop of thin cyano in this with the end of a cocktail stick and placed the two ends of the threads in this with fine forceps. After about 10 mins I checked that the cyano had cured and they were well attached. So far, so good. Now for the difficult bit! Cutting the threads to size and attaching their other ends under tension to the opposite tail plane proved to be a real faff. I couldn't easily hold the threads in place steadily, or long enough for the cyano to grab hold. After a few unsuccessful tries, I finally managed to do it and left for Tuesday night singing practice. When I got back I thought I'd better stress test them, because I didn't want them coming adrift later. Sure enough, when I applied some tension, they pinged off right away from the second attachment point! Argh! I left it there for the night and went to bed feeling a bit frustrated. However, when solving any problem, I always seem to have an Epithany just before nodding off and I remembered I had some Cyano accelerant in the garage which might help. So next morning, I followed the same procedure, but this time I used a fine brush to apply a small drop of accelerant to the cyano whilst holding the thread in place. Bingo! I only had to hold it there for a few seconds for the cyano to grab hold. This technique should help enormously when attempting the cross wing rigging. Silvering the elastic thread requires patience and care. I tried acrylic silver and enamel silver paint applied with a fine brush. The acrylic doesn't seem to like the hydrophobicity of the elastic thread and so it doesn't cover evenly. Even the enamel requires three applications to get a reasonable coverage. At least the thread doesn't appear to sag when painted and still retains it's elasticity. This bodes well for the remaining rigging.

Wow, these iPhone shots really do show up any small defects. Perhaps some fettling still to do here!

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