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1:24 Airfix Spitfire Mk. IXc..or is it E? BBMF MK356


Craigyboy
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Right then, let's get stuck into this little beastie (anything's little after 6 months on the Lancaster

First up.. an admission of defeat. I'm not going to be able to build it as a true representation of MK356 of BBMF simply because she's an E- wing and the MKIXc is, well,a C wing. There's no difference in shape at all, the big difference is that on the E wing the outer gun bays were moved inboard of the cannon to give a more stable firing platform. While the empty outboard bays were left alone, there's no one doing the new gun bay covers for the in board gun bays so, I'll build it as a C wing but mark it up MK356 in J Plagis colours.

 

So with that admission of failure out of the way, I mentioned earlier I took some parts off of the sprues. The fits aren't great but the detail is really good. An example here:

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All that has to be carved away to get a good fit.

The magneto heads are nice but the shafts and the crappy palstic spark plug connectors are awful. They'll all be coming off and metal bar used for the fitting and silver 0.6 mm braided lead for the spark plug leads fitting into miniature spark plugs from Hiroboy.

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By far the biggest problem though is with the cylinder blocks. When you fit them flush to the crankcase ( as of course they should be) then the parts that make up the top spark plug assembly should fit neatly into the V groove created by the cylinder blocks as the instructions show:

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The problem is that the V is too wide leaving either a gap either side or a huge gap at one side or the other

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The only cures, unless I've got a dodgy kit or my skills have deserted me, is to narrow the angle formed by the cylinder blocks and fill the resultant gap at the bottom or fill the gap at the top which I did with thin card and liquid putty.

That done, the rest of the engine is a doddle to put together. Be careful how far you build it so you can not only get in and paint it evenly but get in to dot the hundreds of silver bolt heads. So, for me, I built the crankcase, added the cylinders and upper spark plug assembly and the front part of the supercharger but I didn't glue on the reduction gear as in step 150, I just dry fitted it then stopped. Separately, I built the intercooler and the supercharger front part then sprayed all these separately. Colour wise you can go with black or grey, Merlins came in both flavours.

That done, I picked out all the bolt heads in silver then, I fixed the intercooler to the main engine block and the reduction gear onto the front of the engine, NOT forgetting the prop shaft before you glue it into place (I didn't honest!)

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As you can see, I also add chipping at this stage. The "ROLLS ROYCE" logos are far too shallow to fill nicely in red or white but many weren't anyway. I've rubbed and faded the edges then dry brushed in silver to give a bit of pop.

Looking a bit deeper at references it's clear Airfix haven't added any of the detail of control rods and pipework at the rear of the engine where it sits next to the firewall or a lot of the pipework for the supercharger and intercooler assembly.

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That will have to be added if I think the detail level of the base engine merits it after a good weather. Otherwise I'll build covers on, which I hate to do but if the detail isn't good enough I won't show it.

 

Finally a good two coats of Aqua gloss to get it ready for weathering when it's all joined together.

 

That's it on the engine for now. I'm all over sections at the minute so had a look at the wings as well. The fit doesn't look bad but there are ejector pin marks all along where open flaps will sit

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Also there are three to fill if you intend having open gun bays:

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Lastly, when you take the lower wings off of the sprues for heaven's sake mark where the tabs to remove are before you do it. There are two little nubbins, one on each wing that look for all the world like tabs you've just snipped. It was only a serendipitous yell of "want a cuppa?" from the wife that refocused my attention and saved a disaster. I knew I married her for some reason or other.

 

Thanks for looking. More engine next and awaiting the Airscale IP with bated breath

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Craig, these are made for the older Airfix kit but might fit with a bit of work. 

https://www.buchonscalemodels.com/products/1-24-spitfire-e-wing-conversion

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Meanwhile, it's great to see someone tackle the new kit. I'm a bit undecided on getting one. I've built 8 of the Tamiya Spitfires in 1/32 and have 3 more to go so it doesn't fit in scale wise. I could do it all opened up as a sort of centrepiece but that would be about it. Decisions, decisions.

Carl

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Great to see you start this. I received my spit and poster a few weeks ago snd will sneak it in between my airfix 1/24 hellcat and the 1/24 typhoon builds. I just watched Nigel’s YouTube channel build on the engine but his went together smoothly.. thanks for the heads up! Great job so far 

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It's on with the engine. I wanted a relatively beat up engine so there's nothing else for it than to go prismacolor silver pencil and a tiny brush and silver paint. I found a 3D rendering of a 1938 Merlin engine by a guy called George Schevchenko which was really useful for ideas on levels of chipping so many thanks to him:

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Trying not to overdo it, I'm quite happy with the results. No oil or grease added yet so it's a bit stark.

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Waiting for all this to dry before starting on the magnetos and spark plugs I started on the internal spars. Airfix haven't drilled each hole right through so I spent a pleasant 30 minutes on that

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Tomorrow I can hopefully get the ignition system sorted. Thanks for looking

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I have to chime in with Phil, good to see you tackle the huge Spit. I will follow your progress, as I was thinking about buying one, not having built a Spitfire in my whole life and having only 1/48 ones in stash from Eduard.
Your detailing on the engine looks great and I can't wait to see your worn bird, fitting to that greasy engine.

Cheers Rob

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Been following with great interest and some mighty nice work. I'm still tossing about whether or not to buy the kit when my normal vendors have them as I am going to be all over the Kotare Spitfire and still have a few more Tamiya 32nd scale Spits in the stash. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Peterpools said:

Been following with great interest and some mighty nice work. I'm still tossing about whether or not to buy the kit when my normal vendors have them as I am going to be all over the Kotare Spitfire and still have a few more Tamiya 32nd scale Spits in the stash. 

 

 

Lovely surface detail and not too many bloopers up to now. Not sure some of the bits on the engine are truly from a merlin 61 but I'm no expert. Lots of the hydraulic and coolant pipes have to be added yourself though. Most of the fittings are there, just no instructions as to what goes where and no pipes

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Onto the ignition system. I really hate the ignition lines on plastic engines. The spark plugs are non existent and the lines are usually square rather than round and, if intended to be braided as the merlin's are, never are.

The Airfix merlin fits all these failings as you can see. The magneto heads are quite nice but the rest?.....urgh.

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First thing to do with the port magneto (they're different port and starboard as we'll see)is chop the plastic at the bend. then mark the positions of the ignition leads and smooth the who;e thing off so you get a straight rod.

Paint up your magneto (some are silver with a black top, some the other way around. 

The actual magneto assembly looks like this, you can see the braided flexible line.

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I used 1.8mm silver braided line. If you cut a 1mm thick strip of tinfoil and wrap it round the ends of the braid, it approximates the fittings you see here and saves a fortune on the bought 1/24 jubilee clips which are so small you can barely see them anyway.

I prefer to glue the ros to the crankcase seperately then join the two together with the braid.

The spark plug assembly on both sides use 60 degree angled fittings so that's what went on from this set from Hiroboy.

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They're resin painted in chrome and given two coats of gloss varnish to seal as the paint comes off VERY easily otherwise. Then just pop en into the spark plug openings.

Then using reference photos I cut varying lengths of silver braided cord 0.8mm in diameter for the ignition cables. The same 1mm strip of silver foil was used where the cable meets the silver rod. none is needed at the union of the sparkplug and cable. Glue em all together and it looks something like this. A bit fiddly but a big improvement on the kit offering.

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Now to the starboard magneto. I think every later merlin I've ever built has the two magnetos identical, if mirrored, but in actuality they're not. 

According to the kit, the port magneto fits and looks like this:

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And the starboard one like this:

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It implies that the port magneto handles the port bank of plugs and the starboard one the right......WRONG!!!!

The port magneto handles all 12 of the lower spark plugs while the starboard magneto solely controls the top 12.

I see why they do it. Its a bit of an optical illusion and easier to mould but that bar and cable attached to the head of the sartboard magneto actually passes behind it, across the engine and runs into the back of the port magneto as you can just about see on an actual merlin 61

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The line running off of the top of the magneto head runs to the top of the engine, the one from the starboard plug bank runs behind it and continues on

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Once you've got that the process is the same as for the port side

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That's it for today, bit fiddly but not too bad in 1/24. Not an option in 1/72 though I don't think

 

Thanks for looking

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15 minutes ago, BlrwestSiR said:

Great work on the wiring. The braided wire really stands out, especially compared to the kit version. 

Carl

Got a comment it shouldn't be braided. All my refs are braided. Looking for a definitive ww2 photo. Hate being wrong LOL

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Great work, Craig. It’s probably just me, but, looking at your pics, I cannot help but think that the compressor and exchanger are out of alignment with the engine block (skewed to the left when viewed from above)

Keep it coming :popcorn:

Hubert

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6 hours ago, HubertB said:

Great work, Craig. It’s probably just me, but, looking at your pics, I cannot help but think that the compressor and exchanger are out of alignment with the engine block (skewed to the left when viewed from above)

Keep it coming :popcorn:

Hubert

Hi Hubert. You're absolutely right the intercooler sits off slightly, a consequence of the poor fit of the top manifold mentioned at the start. It's the manifold that sits to the right of where it should be in actuality. I'm going to have to live with it I'm afraid. Very annoying🤬

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Craig

Nice work on detailing the Merlin and adding to what Airfix has done. Nor sure about the braided ignition wires. The included photos shows a reinforced textured tube but no braided. Maybe (most likely too late, if the braided ignition wire had wire inside it wouldn't be as flat and closer replicate the photo. As it, your detailing looks awesome.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Peterpools said:

Craig

Nice work on detailing the Merlin and adding to what Airfix has done. Nor sure about the braided ignition wires. The included photos shows a reinforced textured tube but no braided. Maybe (most likely too late, if the braided ignition wire had wire inside it wouldn't be as flat and closer replicate the photo. As it, your detailing looks awesome.

 

 

If I had hair I'd never be braiding it again!🤣

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So leaving the great braided line debate at arms length it's on with the top ignition wires. 

Pretty straightforward this time and the fixing of the wires should be less fiddly. I say should because I haven't fixed them yet for reasons which will become apparent in a minute.

The magneto lead was fitted as per my reference photo but I've used a piece of 1.2mm aluminium rod instead of the kit part for the connector rod. reason being it has to have a kink put in it to connect to the line properly and aluminium is much easier to bend than plastic rod.

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Now the next thing should've been to fit the wires right? WRONG! You know how you don't notice something til someone mentions it then you can't stop looking at it to the point of obsession? Well Hubert mentioned that he thought the intercooler was skewed off the centre line of the engine and he was right. It's all down to that poor fit right at the start but I said I'd have to live with it. Well. I looked, and I looked and I decided I couldn't live with it. Thanks for bringing me to my senses Hubert🙏

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So I've abandoned fitting the ignition wires, jigged the bloody thing up and got the intercooler almost ( I daren't take it any further without risking a loud crack) and it looks better now.

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Just to finish. Anyone who knows me will know I hate kit pipework. Just for reasons like this

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The pipes are molded together. I'd normally cut it off and replace it with real brass wire but there are hose connectors and other things on the line and I'm fresh out of ANYZ hose connectors so I carefully freed the piping off and it looks a bit better. I might still be ordering from ANYZ tonight though.

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Thanks for looking

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First things first, I fitted the inlet ignition system that I got waylaid from last time. Very straightforward thankfully.

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That's about as far as we can go with the engine as supplied by Airfix. It needs staining and weathering but all the other gubbins need to go on before that.

The biggest glaring omission is any kind of fuel system at all for the engine. The twin choke S.U. carbs are there but that's about if really.

 

The fuel system consists of an inlet pipe for fuel from the tanks to the fuel pump (which looks like this and doesn't exist on the Airfix Merlin).

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The fuel pump feeds the fuel to the carbs through a de-aerator designed to stop problems during negative g flight.

So, I need to fashion a fuel pump and the pipework to feed the fuel to the carbs

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Thr ridged fuel pie is easy, just wind some fine wire round a thicker core and paint it red and we're there. The fuel pump I just fashioned an approximation to give me somewhere to fix the pipes. It's made from various diameters of plastic rod then painted black, then its just a matter of drilling, bending wire and gluing.

I'm no expert but I'm guessing the long pipe from the fuel pump runs to the de aerator then the shorter curved one to the carb inlet, if anyone can enlighten me then please shout up. Either way, this is how it looks on a real Merlin:

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And my approximation, bearing in mind a lot of the parts around the bottom of the carb aren't really there on the model engine

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Where the metal winding parts just re apply a bit of paint (I used MRP marking red)

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Thanks for looking and Happy Christmas to all if that's your thing.

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