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Aerotech Mew Gull


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Hello Everyone,


My name is Mark, and this is my first post at LSP, though I've been reading and enjoying everyone's work for some months now.  I thought I'd participate in this GB because I really wanted to get back into modeling, but at the moment I'm not so interested in warplanes.  I wanted to try my first all-resin plane for this build, so I looked around for a newbie-suitable kit.  Based on positive reviews, I chose the Aerotech (Marsh Models) Percival Mew Gull, #91 of 150.


It's a beautiful little kit, with petite engraved details, two sheets of P/E (one steel), vac-formed canopies (also my first), white metal parts, and a decal sheet that even includes cockpit placards.  Because I forgot to photograph everything before I started cutting and sanding, I'll point you to a preview over at Modeling Madness that does have some images: http://modelingmadness.com/scott/civil/aerotech/at3202preview.htm


I set to work almost as soon as I got the kit early last month.  However, there were a couple of problems with it.  First, the canopies were tremendously distorted, as if someone had pulled on them while they were still soft.  I didn't think I'd be able to work with them, so I emailed John Simons of Marsh Models and asked him if he had any spares.  I received a very quick and courteous reply, and replacements were soon on their way.


As luck would have it, a few days later I also discovered one of the two P/E sets was actually for the DH. 88, not the Mew Gull.  So I emailed John again, and also Bob from Victory Models (who sold me the kit), and both gentlemen were wonderful.  I received two P/E sets from John, which means I now have a spare in case of disaster.  I couldn't be happier with the service I received.


Now, on with the build!


I have some experience with plastic kits and resin details, but as I said before this would be my first all-resin kit, so I'm looking on this as a learning experience, and I hope that my experience may help other people who are new to building resin kits. 


One of the first things I had to learn to do was deal with warped parts, like the fuselage:




And the wings:





If this had been plastic, I would have dunked the parts into boiling water, straightened them, and then plunged them into cold water to set the new shape.  So I tried that with these parts, but was only partly successful.  I got a little of the warp out, but not enough, even after leaving the parts in boiling water for a minute.  It seemed I couldn't get them hot enough to soften. 


So I tried a heat-gun that claimed to heat items to 300 F.  I was a little nervous about this, because I knew plastic would just dissolve into goo at 300 F, and I really didn't want to risk ruining the most expensive kit I've ever bought.  But I figured I had to do something, so I crossed my fingers and applied the heat in a sweeping motion across the areas that figured had warped the most, like just behind the port-side cockpit. 


Never was I happier to find out resin can take the heat!  Here are the results of a little fettling, and heating, and cooling, and testing, and trying again (I'm not kidding, this took days of trial and error):




Whew!  I went from a banana-like fuselage to one that I think I can glue together successfully.  Similarly, the wing improved dramatically:



From before: wing_original.jpg



To after:  wing_adjusted.jpg



Much better! 




Thank you for reading.  Because this is my first post, it will have to be moderated, so I will probably make several posts before they show up. 

Edited by Mark_C
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Cool..I had to look up this AC as I've never heard of it. I, too wonder why I have such a fascination with warplanes -- but I find out that I don't. I just love airplanes or for you non-Yanks -- Aeroplanes!


This is beautiful aircraft and I'll be following along!

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Thank you all very much, I really appreciate your welcome!


Over the weekend I decided to work on painting and populating the interior, and was fortunate to find a wonderful resource: a 360-degree view of a restored Mew Gull, as used in the Cape Dash - exactly what I wanted to model!  Here's a link, to show how neat and spartan that little airplane really is: https://www.eyerevolution.co.uk/wp-content/virtual-tours/mew-gull/


This has proven a really valuable resource, as I can figure out where to put things and what color they should be.


I started by painting the cockpit Humbrol 78, Matt Interior Green, as per the instructions.  I then added in the metal footskids, but as you can see, they were too long, so had to be trimmed.  Normally, when working with etch, I find it pretty easy to cut it with a razor knife, but this steel stuff is a bear to cut, and it doesn't like to bend, either.  So I had to use tin snips to cut the very ends off (not worried about their appearance, since the Cape Dash fuel tank would hide the forward ends), and my Dremel with drum sander to get rid of the attachment nubbins. 


It actually took me a couple of hours to get them sorted, because first they looked terrible - far too shiny and looking exactly like someone had dropped a piece of chrome in a toy cockpit.  Not at all what I wanted, so I pulled them back out, then tried painting the skids instead.  That didn't look right either, so I tried metal tape, which looked even worse.  Eventually I used fine grit sandpaper to rub some of the shine off the kit parts, and that looked a lot better.  When I went to install them I used cyano glue, but that was a mistake - one of the skids set crooked, so out it had to come.  Then they weren't absolutely even, oy, vey, and I was getting very frustrated indeed.  So I yanked them both out, sanded them some more. scraped glue off the bottom, scraped glue off the resin, and attached the darn things with plastic canopy cement from Revell - and it worked!  Whew.  I'm calling this part of it done!





I then worked on the starboard side, adding in the beautifully delicate and detailed steel P/E chain.  It really is lovely, and quite authentic.  It also came in three(!) pieces, which proved an interesting challenge.  One piece is actually white metal, as you can see in the picture above.  That glued in with no difficulties.  The next piece was the flat disk with a black center and steel edges, which makes up the outer pulley sheaf, and the third is the little chain itself.  Aerotech doesn't give you standard instructions, just shows you where things go and leaves it up to you to figure out how you want to place them.  If I build another of these, I think I'll attach everything to the white metal pulley first, then attach it to the sidewall.  Otherwise it gets a bit fiddly to fit tools in and move the bits around.  But I think it turned out OK.




I also took the opportunity to attach the decals, as per instructions.  I think they really liven up the cockpit.



Next, I started on the port side and attached the white metal bits and bobs;






Next I tried some highlights and shadows in the cockpit, to make it pop visually a little more.  I also took the opportunity to check how the fuel tank would look.  I love how it's a nice, bright red.





Edited by Mark_C
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Thank you all again, very much.  It's lovely how nice everyone here has been.



Yesterday I worked a bit on the wings, mainly fixing a problem with the flaps.  As you can see, one side was fine, but the other would not allow the P/E flap to lie flat, and since I prefer not to have flaps down on my planes, I knew I had to fix this:







So I set to with some Dymo tape as stencil, and used an old engraver and small metal files to see if I could improve the fit in the problem areas:








When I offered the flap up to check the fit, I was glad to see everything looked good:






I'm just mentioning this because I wanted to let other newbies know that resin really isn't that hard to work with.  Just treat it as a material which might need sanding or scribing, like a sort of hard, brittle plastic.

Edited by Mark_C
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Just a quick update . . .


I was fooling about with the kit, wondering if I'd done enough in the cockpit so I could start to glue the fuselage.  So I dropped in the seat pieces to see if I would have enough space to later add the harness (I prefer to add fiddly and delicate bits after everything has been glued up and painted, as this minimizes damage for me).  There's not a lot of room to maneuver in there:






So I figure I will glue the seatbelts to the seat, and then drop it in, and add the shoulder straps after I glue in the seat back.  I think that will work, but I'm not 100% confident.




While I mull it over, I've started work on the harness.  I decided to go for the Radu Brinzan products, as they look so good:






The Sutton "A" seems like a logical choice for a 1930s aircraft.  Whenever I read reviews of the RB (or even HGW) belts, I tended to dismiss how long it took the reviewers to build them.  "How hard can it be?"  I thought.  Well . . .


This is what you start with:








And here's what one of the rings you glue into the little holes on the belts looks like:




That's a file beside it, for scale.  In practice, it was almost impossible to file off the little nubbins, so I used the toothpick to pin down the ring, and then cut very gently with a new razor blade.  If I can figure out a way to sand them off, I'll try it.


Anyway, the following took me nearly an hour to complete.  I used Elmer's School Glue in the little tube, and, because the holes were mostly filled in with paper waste, punched them through with a toothpick.  I then used it to spread a little glue on the paper, licked the other end of the toothpick to pick up the ring and place it, and toothpick body to press the ring in.  After I'd done five of them, I coated the paper with some light coats of Future floor wax, which I hope will glue down the rings a little more firmly, give the paper a shiny, "leather" look, and darken it a little too.


This is the result.  Bear in mind it's about 4x life size:



Edited by Mark_C
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