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1/18 Fairey Firefly VX376

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Hi folks :)



Delighted you made the right choice, have the Panther Models 1/32 kit so will be following closely, hope Paul Fisher does too!!!



I have been speaking to Paul about it and hope to help the process along where I can :) A Firefly in 1/32 would be a most welcome addition methinks



Check your emails Peter

VX.388 will be along shortly.



Hi Steve - abolutely knockout - what you sent me (233 close up pics of VX388, just a few airframes up from this one) are utterly out of this world - a million thanks :)


Wow. Get the Popcorn!


But whatever became of the F7F?





Hi David - the F7F is in the holding pattern for now, I learned a lot making it and it needs about 6 months work to finish it so I need to feel the time is right to go back




Thanks to your magnifcentness and seeminly straightforward creativity I got my mojo back to have another go at scratchbuilding a HP 0/400.





Hi Cees - that sounds as if I have achieved a goal then - I love it if my threads help people learn new things, try them or even go back to something they started like your 0/400 :)



Dear Peter


A Firefly?!?


I was hoping for something with more compound curvature (perhaps a bare metal Westland Wyvern or similar) as a challenge for your metal plating technique!


Well, you can certainly recompense us, by fitting the Firefly with a fully detailed engine! (>> Showtime for three years instead of two).




Thanks in advance!





Hi Joerg - well a Firefly is pretty curvy so I think will be quite challenging. I did consider a Wyvern as HpH do a 1/18 kit but the kit is of the later tall tail version & the one in Southampton (I think) I would get reference pics from is an early TF1 so a very different airframe so I dropped the idea


as for the engine - while I like the idea - that is another 6 months on the build, so I am learning to control my urges as far as opening everything up goes, and won't be doing that. This one has both the pilots & observers position full of clutter so will be months and months of detail anyway :)


speaking of which - I am still making PE - its nearly finished now & I have made virtually every component that can be seen inside and most of the panels & hatches outside - this is the interior fret before full layout where everything is attatched to each other...




I hope to get these made up next week along with the second fret with all the airframe parts & actually the plan is hopefully some of this can be repurposed for the Fisher kit, though I know Paul plans a number of variants & this is basically everything in a TT Mk5


..also next week I want to get started on the fuselage, so hope to see things start to take shape then :)




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evening ladies :)


so, some plastic has been cut and finally this build gets started...


I have been thinking about how to build out the fuselage and knew I would use a keel & formers - because it is so big, I can't really vacform over the shape (even in sections), so the fuselage I make is the one that will be skinned


I toyed with what to use and settled for 2mm acrylic - in the UK it is called Perspex. The advantage I thought was it is pretty flat, pretty strong and in what might be genius or folly it is clear so I could just put it over the plan and scribe the outline...


like so.....here the sheet is taped over the plan...




..its hard to photograph on my bench, but I ended up with the main outline and former positions marked up..




..it works quite well so far...




..then in a very dusty session with a dremel cutting disc I cut out the outline - some sense of size can be seen from the pot of Tamiya...




..I cut out the areas for the pilot and observers position so this forms the boundaries of those areas. I intend to add thick card formers and fill in between with balsa block. Balsa is really easy to shape and if coated with wood hardener (sold in DIY shops to treat rotten timber) it goes pretty hard at the end of the process. That way once I have shaped the whole thing I should be able to remove these whole sections so I can slot in the detailed cockpits as 'pods' like I did on my Spitfire and skin over the sides of them.


I am kind of making this up as I go in case you hadn't noticed...





..for the formers themselves, I transferred them into coreldraw so I could scale them just undersize and remove 2mm from the middle of each to allow for the keel...




..these are then printed true size and will be cut from 1.5mm plastic card..




..lastly, after weeks of work, the PE has gone off to PPD for etching - its about £50 - £60 for a bespoke A4 sized job but considering I have virtually every component visible in the cockpit it saves months of work, and is way more accurate..you should try it..


first all the internal parts - bulkheads, switchgear, the IP, radiators etc




and a second sheet with all the external panels, hatches, parts of the U/C doors, seatbelt fittings, winch brackets and the curved things are internal fuselage formers - I think I can bend these into a Z shape and they should save a lot of difficult fabrication...




..so thats it - I feel like I am underway now and actually making up the fuselage shouldn't take too long :)




Edited by airscale

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I do think there is some acrylic/perspex specific glues out there. I had a couple of custom-made covers made for models and that is what they used. Problem will be when you try gluing styrene to acrylic!

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Great approach. Thanks for documenting.  My Bearcat cockpit is a pod. Though I used hi density foam to fill in the bearcat fuselage, I'd probably stick with balsa (109 style) in the long run. Foam does have some advantages though. 

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Very interesting I have been looking a a similar approach to my 1/20 scratch Spitfire having two halves make slightly undersized formers and go from there this is beautiful stuff Peter a joy to see unfold.



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evening folks :)


I just had either a major brain fart that means I am slightly potty, or a stroke of genius :)


..before we get to that, I spent today making all the fuselage formers... used the printouts to score and break out the shapes, removed the 2mm strip from the centre and then balanced each one with each other by clamping together in a vice and shaping as one...




..soon had them all done...




..now about that idea...


I have two challenges - 1) the perspex keel is actually quite flexible along its length and I was a bit worried that even balsa packing & glue won't make it 100% rigid and true as it is when it lies on my bench. For this reason I would have to make up one side with formers & balsa and then flip it over to do the other side once it had stabilised.. 2) if I do want to put this in the Telford comp one day it needs to be predominately plastic - the rules do say something about that so a plastic keel with balsa, skinned with metal is not really compliant...


..then the brain fart...


what about this...






..Lego :)... it will make it super rigid, it is plastic, and all I need to do is contour the surface with P40 automotive filler :)


..for now I think it is bloody clever, but am going to sleep on it before I commit..


just thought I would mention it hehe



Play with that Acrylic a little bit before getting to far on this. It doesn't usually like most glues or cements, you may find it very difficult to use.



Good thinking Ron - I did some tests with Gorilla CA and it worked out fine so thankfully got over that one :)




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