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airscale

1/18 Fairey Firefly VX376

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hello again folks :)

 

Having finished my 1/18 Spitfire XIV, I am hooked on the scale as it allows me to go nuts on detailing and get a scale effect through skinning with metal, so after a bit of deliberation I have settled on my next victim...

 

...you don't see many of these, in fact none in large scale (yet) and I like UK prop aircraft so I settled on the Fairey Firefly - they don't come in natural metal finishes which I like as it shows off the metalwork, so the nearest I could find is this bird a TT5 VX376 seen on 29th Feb 1956 - Pilot: S/Lt Mike Thorne, Observer: Lt Jones, Duty: Townsville to Cairns & target towing for the 1st Frigate Squadron...

 

WIP6_zpsqztriinj.jpg

 

..it is near enough NMF for me, this one, sister ship VX388 is in Steve Long's care in Oz and shows the sort of anodised looking finish - it is probably paint, but either way I still think I can work with it, and if worst come to worst I will just paint it :) . I may well do VX388 as you can't have better references than a real, and more importantly unrestored example..

 

WIP7_zpstut0qmw3.jpg

 

..the first step in any project like this is good plans. I intend to scratchbuild it using traditional methods so a good outline & section plan is a must. I found some fantastic 3 views with sections by Jumpei Temma whom I trust as I used his work on my 1/24 F7F Tigercat...

 

plan_zpsz5trrxor.jpg

 

..I had these scaled to 1/18 - here seen with my laptop - as you can see she is a big girl - 64cm span and about a third bigger than my Spit... I have two more sheets not shown that detail the undersurfaces & the fuselage & sections...

 

WIP11_zpsxeeeimm3.jpg

 

..the next step is getting repetitive strain injury by right click & saving every image on the internet I can find - some are real quality shots like this of VX388 - I can reproduce everything you see here, but cut some corners as will be seen..

 

WIP10_zps219gpjzn.jpg

 

..once references have been started I can start to work up a Photo-Etch sheet for the model - I did thsi for my Spit and F7F and it means many, many parts that would be difficult or time consuming to make can be 'drawn' in at about 5 - 10 minutes an item - some are obviously more complicated, but simple things like hatches, brackets, instruments, radiators all sorts of stuff can be made.

 

It just takes a bit of basic PC skills with a drawing program like CorelDraw (subscription @£22 a month, drop in & drop out whenever you need it) - I learned all I know with this and Rhino 3D modelling from Youtube videos - it really is straightforward.. making a PE fret has a couple of rules I may well do a quick tutorial on, but basically you just draw things in layers - things you want full thickness & things you want part etched - anywhere you can see through is just dissolved away. You also need to tag things to a frame so they don't just float away on theor own..

 

..so here is a bulkhead where I have started to trace it's outline and add detail to.. anything in blue is half etched - that is to say it disolves away half the thickness of the sheet, anything in yellow is full thickness - the metal is left untouched.. you can see I set the shapes to be transparent so I can see what is going on in the original pic - it is just like tracing...

 

WIP1_zps49k4ogjd.jpg

 

..while this kick-off post doesn't have any actual building yet, I have spent about a week so far drawing up structures & components that will be used later on..

 

..for example the instrument panel - there are two as one is a backplate the detailed one fits onto, as they are copies of each other they always fit perfectly :)

 

WIP5_zpsrxuga5mv.jpg

 

..lots of assorted parts including throttle & prop controls, compass mount and loads of internal / external hatches & brackets..

 

WIP2_zpsxatghmen.jpg

 

..the Observers station - bulkheads & surrounding structure..

 

WIP3_zpsva3etodg.jpg

 

..the pilot's bulkhead is actually three layers of structure to get the best level of base detail before all the framework is added...

 

WIP4_zps5fqiiuze.jpg

 

..another cheat for complicated or uniform parts when scratchbuilding or converting is 3D modelling - this is a wheel from my Spitfire done on Rhino -again a 3 month trial is available with the software which is enough to learn the basics, and get a few parts done - I will likely repurpose this for the Firefly as it has four cut-outs in the middle not 3 and has block tread not diamonds, but wheels & the prop spinner are pretty straightforward parts to design using a 'revolve' surface tool..

 

WIP8_zps8rdybyya.jpg

 

so that's it for day one - I think it's about a 2 year build and it is an aircraft I think will really have presence when completed. I am always looking for close up internal reference pics, or drawings so please, if you find anything drop it in here or PM me :)

 

I look forward to your company on the way, and while it is not as beautiful as a low back Griffon Spitfire, I hope it is engaging enough to keep us entertained :)

 

TTFN

Peter

Edited by airscale

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