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  1. Eventually, I've got around to finishing my South African Air Force Spitfire Mk 9 LF. I built this quite some time ago, but couldn't source the correct propeller decals, so it languished in it's polystyrene box until Peter Castle @airscale produced his prop logo decals! Thanks Peter!! This is the Tamiya Spitfire Mk XVIe kit (I'm sure everyone knows how superb the kit is, so I won't go into that), but there were a few modifications I had to make to it in order to get it to the spec that it was in during it's time at the SAAF Museum at AFB Swartkop in Pretoria. This particular aircraft, manufactured in 1945, was flown by by brother-in-law, Maj. James "Jimmy Jet" Feuilherade (Ret) as it's display pilot during his tenure there (1999-2000). It was unfortunately written off during a display accident (15th April 2000), not long after he resigned and emigrated to Australia to take up a position as a flight instructor for BAE Systems. I know he mourned the loss of HIS "British girlfriend" (as my sister used to call it). This build is in homage to Jimmy Jet! Kit - 1/32 Tamiya Spitfire Mk XVIe AM- Barracuda Studios seat, cockpit upgrade (sidewalls, door, throttles, etc), wheels. Alleycat decals (didn't have my Silhouette when I built it, wished I had. The decals were probably old, had quite a few "moments" with them!) Master Barrels And quite a bit of cockpit modification (see the info from James below - all those mods were carried out)) Below are some excerpts from emails James sent me regarding this particular airframe, which helped tremendously with the build. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't mind me sharing some of it... She was actually a rare low back MkIX, powered by a Rolls Royce built Merlin 70 engine. But I hasten to add, there was no difference at all in the MkIX and the MkXVI airframes. The only reason they had the two different Mk numbers was the fact that the American Packard built Merlins were all built using American Imperial size threads bolts and studs. This basically made the Packard Merlins and the RR Merlins incompatible in terms of spares interchangeability. So to avoid huge logistics spares mix ups, they came up with designating all Packard built engine Spitfires, MkXVI’s. The gunsight was removed but I recall she had the rotatable throttle lever, which was normally used with the later gyro sight, so by twisting the throttle handle you could adjust range on the gunsight. An early version of HOTAS I guess! As I recall the seat only had a padded black leather cover, covering the backrest only. I flew it wearing a Harvard parachute which is the same as the WW 2 parachutes. So you sat on the parachute which was held in the seat bucket. The seat was made from Bakelite so was a reddish brown colour. The flare cartridge rack was removed from the front of the seat. The harness was a modern version with medium blue straps as I recall, I think as used on many Spits flying in the UK today. I think it had an olive green lap strap padding aswell. There was a slight difference to the panel in that the U/C indicator lights were moved to the lower RHS of the panel I think due to the newer radios and comms panel that was fitted in the top RHS of the panel. I have a poster with a small insert of the panel, will have to have a look!? Next to the seat below the pilot door was an electrical panel with battery switch lights etc. Things like the morse key and drop tank selector lever were removed. The canopy had the golf club arrangement, good description actually! When closed the canopy was opened from outside by pressing a small button on the tip of the windscreen canopy arch. It is small and very obvious. The bubble top canopy had an operating mechanism on the RHS of the cockpit, set up of covered chains going to the rear and a small winding handle. Flaps are interesting. They are spring loaded up, and extend open against the spring pressure by compressed air. Most Spitfires will slowly bleed compressed air from their systems. Brakes and rad flaps operated also by comp air. So even if you left the flaps down, after a while the pressure would drop and the springs would then snap them closed. However, you always retracted them on the ground after landing as if left down the restrict airflow through the radiators. That is why you hardly ever see a Spitfire pictured with flaps down. Flap selection is either up or down, to 64 deg. So never used for take- off, more of an air brake in a way. Taking off from the carriers for Malta, someone had the ingenious idea of clamping wedges of wood in the flaps against the return spring to hold them open at about 15 deg so as to get some increase in lift for the short take off run. Once airborne, the flaps were selected down then up, dropping the wedges away. The flap hinges pushed up two small panels near the inboard trailing edge of the wing, when flaps down, as an indicator. But not needed, she pitched noticeably nose down when you lowered the flaps in flight. The flaps are always up. It was my party trick if I still had pressure on the ground, and people were nearby I would lower the flaps (little silver lever up on the instrument panel), they would blow down. Then I would select them up, the air pressure blew off through a small orifice at the flap lever, causing a loud hissing noise, startling most people and the springs would then snap the flaps up. The brake differential valve was on the cockpit floor so to speak (no floor as such in the Spitfire) and as you moved the rudder pedals it would direct more air to the one wheel for differential braking. This also caused hissing noises. Of course only heard on ground engine off. As I recall the rad flaps would drop open. One of the tests after start signaled by ground crew, was to close and open the rad flaps to see they were working. Also to select ram air and filter air they would check to see the flap at the front of the carb intake was opening (ram) and closing (filtered). This whole intake assembly is beautifully modelled with the Tamiya Spitfire. The model itself is very lightly weathered. It was always kept in pristine condition by the museum ground crew, and I know for a fact that James used to "baby" it. James wrote an article for Warbird Alley about flying the Spitfire, the link is here if anyone fancies a read. He also sent me an article he had written regarding the SAAF Spitfire - his text is reproduced below. During my posting to the South African Air Force Museum, I had the extreme good fortune to fly the SAAF Museum Spitfire MkIX. This was a low back bubble top variant, normally referred to as a MkXVI. However the MkXVI was fitted with the Packard built Merlin 66 engine, whereas the SAAF Museum aircraft was fitted with a Merlin 70, technically making it a rare low back MkIX. It also had the clipped wing tips, which gave it a superb roll rate at low altitude and was common on Spitfires towards the end of the Second World War, where the main fighter role had become ground attack. The trade off was, a slight loss of turning performance at high altitude, and a slightly higher landing speed. Arguably it also detracted from the beautiful elliptical shape of the wing,. In his book “Fight for the Sky” Douglas Bader described the clipped wingtips as giving the Spitfire “a more workmanlike appearance”. What can one say about flying the iconic Spitfire? So many clichés exist. Such as “It becomes a part of you”, or “You just think of turning, and it does it”. “It feels so right, it becomes an extension of your arms and legs” is another. Phrases you will almost always hear repeated, when veteran Spitfire pilots are interviewed. Having flown the SAAF Museum MkIX, I can say the clichés are indeed true. It is a viceless and easy aircraft to fly. It does exactly what you want it to, the controls are light and powerful. It is docile in the stall and it does “feel right”, like a willing and faithful partner. In combat, it must have been superb. You can hold a max rate turn on the clearly felt light buffet all day, with just a gentle two fingered rearwards pressure on the stick. The rudder is extremely powerful. I once tried to see if I could hold the rudder against the force of full right rudder trim application, which is used for take off. However such is the rudder power, as the speed built to above 100 Kts after take off, despite holding a straight out locked leg, the left rudder pedal merely started to come back and pushing me up the back of the seat, never mind the 5 point harness! Resulting in me having to rapidly wind the trim off. So, no holding that trim force! Your only option, to pitch nose up, throttle back and try to maintain speed at or below 100, to try sort it out. As mentioned with the clipped tips, the roll rate is impressive. As part of my routine, I flew a 2-300Ft AGL level straight roll. In the Spitfire, this is easy, a ghost of an upwards pitch, check, then stick over unloading slightly as you roll to the inverted position. The aircraft rapidly rolls through 360 deg’, the nose remains beautifully balanced rolling about a point on the horizon, with no yaw divergence. The ailerons at air display speeds, are light and powerful. The only tricky area as such with flying the Spitfire is the after landing roll. With no steering on the tail wheel and no slipstream over the rudder throttled back on landing, a bit of dancing on the rudder is required to keep straight, as any sign of a swing needs to be stopped as with that narrow track landing gear, a ground loop could rapidly develop. The unique hand operated compressed air activated brakes work very well. The landing flaps are also air operated, only have two settings, up or down to 64 deg. A marked nose down pitch occurs, when the flaps deploy, pitching the nose down nicely, on base leg turns. A tight base leg needs to be flown, as turning finals too far out will cause the entire airfield to disappear behind that shapely, but long nose, hence the famous Spitfire curved approaches. Of course a big part of the Spitfire mystique is the brilliant 27 litre two stage supercharged V12 Merlin engine, as fitted to the MkIX. The sound of the Merlin in flight is unique and instantly recognised by any aircraft enthusiast worth his/her salt. At low power settings the engine is remarkably quiet. However, as the throttle is opened and plus boost settings are indicated, a wonderful growling noise starts coming up from the rudder pedal area. War emergency boost was in the +15-18 Ft Pounds area as I recall. For take off and most air display routines, it was rare to need much more than 6-8 Pounds boost. Without ammunition, we were technically light. She did have the 0.5 Browning’s and 20mm Cannon still in the wings, left in for Cof G purposes. There are a lot of moving parts in the Merlin, but for all that it is a remarkably reliable engine. When I first heard a Merlin start up, I remember being surprised by the engine sound. The engine does not have the deep “burble” a lot of the big radial aero engines have, as fitted to the Dakota and Harvard with which I was familiar. Rather the Merlin, has a notable high performance, race car type, crackle. At idle, the propeller reduction gear also makes a slight mechanical clattering. On song, the engine note changes to a harsh bellow, amazingly loud during ground runs. In flight, at low power settings, the engine is remarkably quiet. However as you open the throttle and start to get up to plus boost settings, a wonderful deep growling sound starts coming up from behind the rudder pedals. No doubt a lot of modern aircraft fly as well, if not better, than the Spitfire. However, considering the age of it’s design and the massive historic significance it represents, it is certainly one of the world’s iconic aircraft. Long may the precious few still airborne, fly. James Feuilherade Hope you all enjoy! Iain
  2. Greetings Here's the next one on the table - the 1/32nd Fly Hurricane Mk IIC. My first British LSP build.... This is a build where the last thing I bought was the actual kit...all the AM was bought quite some time ago I couldn't get hold of the standard 2C kit (the one with the NF markings), so I was forced to pick up the Sea Hurricane version.... Luckily, it's basically the same kit, but with a resin insert for the lower fuselage and hook, so I won't have to do any cutting and modifying there, but..... being the Sea version, it doesn't come with the Night Fighter decals or the exhaust shields that are included in the standard kit. The glare shields are easy enough to SB from brass sheet stock, and as for the decals/markings, I've seen a sheet for FM-E Flight Commander Gerald Stapmea Stapleton, DFC & Bar 257 (Burma) Sqn, RAF Honiley, March, 1942. The serial number of the aircraft is unknown. So that'll be pretty easy to design and sort out the markings on my Silhouette machine. A/c finished in "Night" and has standard sized insignia. Got a couple of extras to throw at it.... I'll probably end up using the resin barrels from Fly, the Master ones I bought a looooong time ago has the flat recoil springs, not 100% sure they're correct. Now I don't have ANY reference material for Hurricanes, so what info I get is going to be scoured from the net. And not having that reference is perhaps a good thing....I hopefully won't find any super-detailing/correcting rabbit-holes to fall down into So hopefully a pretty much OOB build this time. (that being said, having seen other builds of this kit, I know there might be a few fights with the kit) Here we go!
  3. Afternoon all, I thought I'd have a bash as the relatively new Super Bug from Revell. Yes, I've heard all of the horror stories, but it can't be that bad, can it? Work has begun on the main undercarriage bays and engine intake ducting - all given a generous covering of insignia white and a light wash to bring out, what is in my opinion, some lovely and fine detailing: The various formers were added to the bays and the forward and rear bulkheads needed a firm clamping to ensure everything stayed true whilst the glue set: What has become apparent quite early on is the fact that you need to follow the instructions to the letter, as some test fits have shown tolerances are very tight and the slightest misalignment will end in problems... More updates as and when the mood takes. Tom
  4. Hello all, lurked for a little while and joined recently for inspiration and a push to keep my recently refound love for this hobby. It's been quite a few years since I've put paint to plastic so I'm hoping this isn't just another Hobby phase. We shall see... I attended the big model show in Telford and got 'the itch' bought a bunch of different paints to test and play with, as well as some btis and pieces that postage costs had made prohibitive to try... I've always pined over a whole bunch of 1/32nd Jets, in particular F-14s .. most Jets with twin tails seem to just do it for me.. But I've never had the cash or time to really get into it. Queue a nice bonus at work and decided to sploosh a bit on some kits, found a cheap seller in China on eBay and managed to get a nice little haul... However I don't trust myself and wanted to ease into it.. so picked up this thing quite cheap and have been quietly mulling away at it since Christmas. It's a pretty much OOB build, this is all just me getting used to the tools and paints and all the shiny new things that are available that were definitely NOT as easy to get hold of before. I don't think this will be anything like top notch show worthy and I'm not a rivet counter so accuracy on this kit isn't really that much of a thing for me, I just want to be happy with the end result. it's literally just dipping my toes in the water, seeing if I get the bite.. And giving me something to do that doesn't always involved using a computer or screen all the time (even if I am currently limited to my office desk). Anywho enough wafflin' have some photos! Getting down to business with the internals, attemping some basic stuff with weathering (never done that before, especially not with oils) Turned out okay Pit part-painted and test fitting, I used the kit provided decal for the dials, it wasn't super accurate in some places (mostly the dials on the right) but it gave me a chance to try microset and microsol for the first time.. WOW that stuff is magic. Pit now assembled, gloss coated, oil washed, and flat coated Micro Krystal clear added to some dials for depth, I'm aware it's too much now.. but hey ho.. Also realised I had bought the worlds most expensive PVA glue... lesson learned... Marrying up the wings after painting the wheel well and inner surfaces with the green called out in the instructions More parts setting up, also a view of the not-so-great paint on the inner fuselage, post oil-wash and such. FIrst time really having a proper go at deleting a seam and getting a nice finish, was pretty happy with the result. Definitely justifies how much I blew on sanders!! Fuselage setting up, yep, no pit.. I actually found it easier to get a nice bond without the pit fitted, got the plastic properly welded then slotted the pit in from underneath to give the fuselage the proper width to marry up with the wing roots, worked perfectly! A dry-fit of the main fuselage bottom engine cover and wings (glued and seams removed on all) Never done glazing masking before, so this was just after they were Krystal cleared in after cutting the masks and before filling the gaps First layer of paint on the glass frames to match the interior colour, after filling and smoothing out the gap in front of the main screen (seems to be the done thing, might not be the accurate colour though :S ) put FAR too much paint in the airbrush so used it as a way to check my seams.. all seems fine. Tried to rescribe a few lines with my dandy new Tamiya scribing tool... didn't go well... wibbly wobbly lol Realised I'd filled most of the rivet holes in the nose so had a bosh at trying to sand that back a bit and re-drill them (far too big and deep it would seem after later priming) Fuselage and wings now setting up Test fit of the bottom nose cowel.. thing after having sprayed the interior of it black (before realising it has a blanking piece inside that I missed DOH!). Also did a small amount of pre-painting to the inside of the radiators before fitting them. Radiators assembled and fitted required a little persuation on one of them for it to lay 'flat' but looks fine. Front cowel thing is now also attached And you'll have to forgive me, I missed a few steps between, but, this is now after being primed with Mr Surfacer 1500.. which is _amazing_ stuff. I've never used anything that gives such a silky smooth finish (after a super light pass with 600 grit). It did however, probably give me a little cancer as I grossly underestimated how much I would need, how long it would take and how much it would gas me out... Immediately ordered a Respirator and had a good root through for the power supply for my extractor (not been in use since we moved house a few years ago). And this is where I am still, I have since refilled, sanded and reprimed the way-overdone holes and used a Trumpeter rivet tool to re-do the rivets in the top covers but don't have a photo of that yet. I was waiting on the right colour paints, which after seeing someone elses Mosquito build, I picked up some of MRPs colours, but finding the right time to spray lacquer (the Mr Surfacer probably took a few years off my life) I just haven't had the time yet. Thanks if you got this far! (and sorry for the monolithic post) This is my first 'OP' here so if I've screwed up, missed something, or done a massive Faux Pa let me know. Cheers Mark
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