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The Great LSP Twins Group Build Starts Jan 24, 2024 - End July 3, 2024 ×

1:24 Airfix Spitfire Mk. IXc..or is it E?- June 5th 1944


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1 hour ago, Craigyboy said:

First things first, I fitted the inlet ignition system that I got waylaid from 

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

Absolutely stunning Craig, looking forward to the cockpit. Merry Christmas from just south of you……

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Lots been going on over Christmas...interspersed with numerous visits to the pub!

Firstly, I put the engine cradle together. Clever method from Airfix to allow you to use the engine itself as a jig to ensure you get it right.

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Leave it overnight then its a coat of silver followed by chipping fluid, followed by interior grey/green.

 

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I've been subtle with the amount of chipping as I'm always overdoing it. A couple of decals for engine plate and cradle followed by a wash of Ammo engine oil. I'll pick out a few details with a silver pencil when its all dry but really straightforward and a lovely fit.

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Main coolant pipes next. Painted brass then toned down with a dilute black to give a tarnished look (TBH I've no tarnished brass paint) then given a coat or two of varnish as they're going to be a tight fit later I think and I don't want the paint scraping off.

 

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While I was waiting for various bits drying,  I had a look at the cockpit. Not much I can do til the Airscale parts from Peter arrive but I did take a peek at the control stick. I hate moulded wiring so I jigged it up, cut out the plastic wiring and replaced it with black 0.6mm and painted it all up. Needs a wash but otherwise done.

 

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I also thought I'd better have something for the engine assembly to fasten onto so started the firewall/bulkhead. There'll be lots of holes to drill in it for various pipes to gauges that aren't included but that comes later.

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I put a couple of dents in the hydraulic reservoir as I've a shot or two of just the same on wartime aircraft(it's not me being hamfisted...I hope). Interior green again and some subtle chipping plus a bit of detail painting and a decal on said hydraulic thingy and it's ready for a coat of Alclad II Aqua Gloss ready for washes etc.

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I used Mig fresh engine oil again as both a pin wash but also trough the airbrush to give a light sheen of oil across the parts.

I also thought since it's going to be portrayed being serviced (sort of) it'd be nice to not put the filler cap on the hydraulic res but leave it dangling on its chain.

The weathering effect on the bottom of the reservoir is just drybrushing on a flat surface. Literally no paint on a wide coarse brush and keep stoking lightly and it gives a nice effect I think

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Then, that dreaded moment we all know during every build hit me....I thought "since it's going to be shown being serviced, it's really a shame all that nice battery and radio stuff in the back won't be visible maybe it's be a nice idea to....." Next thing I know, I came round and THIS had happened!!

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Now I've got to put control wires in and God knows what else. Seriously though, the panel is recessed on the inside as though it's made to be removable for maybe one of the future variants I'm sure are coming: PR etc??

 

Lastly for the moment, A sheen of that engine oil on the engine itself and a good couple of days for it all to dry before we start fitting coolant and oil and loads of other pipes. Can't wait LOL

 

Thanks for looking and Happy New Year to all.

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Ah January, the month of mists and mellow credit card bills.
But it's a new year and a new day and boy do I have a surprise at the end of this post!

More on the engine. Airfix do a pretty good job on the water coolant system and an OK job on the oil system. Where they fall down is on the intercooler coolant system which is self contained and necessary. 
This Mk IX from Airfix has a RR Merlin 66 engine which means it has a seperate header tank for the intercooler cooling system (the Packard built 266 had an integral one I believe).
They give you the header tank which goes on the firewall port side and it looks like this:

 

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It needs to finish up looking something like this:

 

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So, the two holes need drilling out and it needs to be painted interior green to start. Then, the rubber union halfway along isn't very well defined so I stuck in a bit of shrink tubing and shrunk it on. A bit of dry brushing and pencil chipping on the tank and the feed pipe can be painted a brassy colour (in a lot of photos much of the pipework is interior green. I don't think either is wrong its purely the modeler's choice)
Very thin strips of foil to simulate clips and a painting in rubber black if the other unions that I'm unable to replace and we're not a million miles away. I'll add oil and dirt when it's in situ.

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Now the headache begins. There's a pipe from the bottom and top of the header but no pipes into the supercharger which is where the coolant needs to go. Thank God I found these:

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So, not being a mechanic, these were invaluable. 

Airfix give you the delivery pipes from header tank to pump, pump to radiator and the intercooler to header tank YEEY. We just need to add a return pipe from the radiator to the bottom of the supercharger and then one from the top of the supercharger to the bottom of the intercooler.

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Easy, circuit complete.

 

OK onto the main coolant circuit. Again, the coolant pump is there and the wide bore coolant pipes that return the hot coolant to the radiator down either side of the bearer assembly. They just need a few rubber unions and clips adding to make them accurate.

If you remember, I said I thought they might be a tight fit? Well, the starboard one looking forward is fine but the port one won't go in. I had to cut the supporting strut shown below to get it in, then reglue it after. 

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After that glue them onto the supports after checking the connections to the coolant header tank are OK.

 

Lastly on the engine today, the oil system. There's an oil tank, there's supply and return valves... and that's about it so I painted, tarted up and fitted and dry fitted all together.

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So to the big surprise. Peter Castle the owner of Airscale who produce the best cockpit upgrade sets bar none, contacted me last week to update me on the dates the cockpit upgrade kit may be ready. He also offered me the test kit he'd had made up so I could get started on the cockpit which is an itch I'm dying to scratch. 

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As always with Peter, the quality is stunning but this time I think he's really surpassed himself. The kit itself is beautifully detailed as it is but this upgrade is going to send it through the roof, I think. There's upgrades for the seat bearer ribs, undercarriage raising/lowering gear the list goes on. Engine on ho;d now while I get started on this little beauty

 

As ever thanks for looking. I have done some work on the wings as well so I might get that uploaded while I'm watching a bit of telly tonight

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I'm taking a break from the engine to scratch that itch, namely getting the cockpit started. Control panel first, purely because I love peering over the top of two pairs of glasses just to see the fiddly bits and gluing myself to various bits of metal and plastic with CA.

So, as always with Airscale's upgrade IPs you sand the kit part surface smooth of protrusions to take the PE IP panel. Except that Airfix have made their IP assembly routine a little different than normal. The whole IP, dial surround, swiches and all are moulded onto the clear palastic part instead of the clear palstic having the dial faces and the surround being in normal plastic. No bother, the completed assembly, Airscale or Airfix, fits onto part D19

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Anyway we'll cross that bridge when it comes to fitting the thing. Airscale say to salvage anything you can from the kit IP before butchering it but the only bits salvageable to my eye are the oil pressire fitting and the flaps up/down switch, these stand quite proud of the IP so they're good candidates (they're labelled 10 and 20 on the previous diagram)
The way I normally do this is to go in from the back of the IP with a ball cutter and remove material VERY carefully until the raised surface feature just "pops" out of the front. This worked for the oil pressure indicator but the flap up/down selector wasn't quite proud enough of the surface to come away in one piece.

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However, Airfix give you two IPs! one for you to paint all the dials etc yourself, another if you prefer decals. So I had another go. This time I cut the part out leaving a border of 3mm or so all around the flap switch.

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Then I put it face up on a flat hard sanding board and sanded the back away leaving just the switch remaining. You have to put your finger on top of the part to sand so you'll probably lose a bit of your fingerprint but it's not too painful. problem is my phone can't see my fingerprint for the next few days now. As a guide the flap switch below is about 2mm top to bottom

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So now it's a matter of following the Airscale instructions. I paint the two backplates black to take the decals then paint the IP black then seal it with two coats of Alclad Aqua Gloss, same for the blind flying panel.
Next, add the main decal sheet to the backplate of both the blind flying panel and the main panel. This is always tricky as they tend to grab being large flat surface to large flat surface and you have to get it spot on for the line up to work. Tears are very possible (that's torn decals not tears of anguish although both are quite common in my den)


I'm not really a fan of the acetate sandwich method to get the glass cover effect for the instruments. I prefer to use clear gloss varnish. I find the slight meniscus you get while,of course, not authentic, does magnify the dials a little which helps viewing when you look as the finished model. Also, I like a metal IP front to metal IP backplate bond so I don't have to go cutting fiddly bits of acetate to allow for this. That said, I decided to do the acetate sandwich and it came out quite well. If you look you'll see I'm very slightly out on bottom left corner.

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Same applies for the blind instrument panel

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Add the blind flying panel which is easy thanks to two locator pegs on the back of the blind IP and two corresponding holes on the main IP.

 

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Next is adding the extra bits of PE that make the IP more 3D. They're very small and fiddly, the carpet goblins beckon. Undercarriage Up/down, magneto switch plate and oxygen regulator, all go on and have their corresponding decals applied. I'm missing the bit for the magneto switches so, with the slight offset that's my fault, I'll probably do it again when my kit comes but for now, a couple of bits of fine rod through the back represent the boost coil and starter switches and a couple of bits of very fine wire, the magneto flick switches. Just to make them stand our I've put a small spot of red paint on the point of each.

Lastly, I painted the edges of the oil pressure dial red and the flap switch silver and glued them on with UV glue. They pop better in real life than on a photo but I definitely think they're worth the effort to salvage them.

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I've popped it on the backplate with blu tac and we'll see about fitting it to the frame next but the panel is beautifully made and finished, if you give it a bit of time and care it can't fail to enhance your model IMHO 

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Hi all, Firstly a quick update on the Airscale Cockpit upgrade. Peter has just informed me that the first production batch are on their way to him so the first batch of kits should be out by Friday!!

 

Secondly, all the Merlin experts out there, I need a bit of help/info please

It's regarding the "wobble" fuel pump fitted in the cockpit to some Mk. IXs. My understanding is that, from the RR Merlin 66 and PB Merlin 266 onwards, the carb had an  booster pump built into the it so that the wobble pump was redundant.

The instructions for the Spitfire show the fitting of the wobble pump as below:

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So if you're building model A, D or E you should fit the wobble pump; B or C you shouldn't.

 

"A" is ML214 fitted with a Merlin 66 according to The Spitfire Database

"D" is A US spit with no S.No.

"E" is MJ897 again fitted with a Merlin 66

All should be wobble less

 

B+C are the same aircraft EN398 fitted with an earlier Merlin 63 which SHOULD have a wobble pump

 

I'm confused...help!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,
Firstly an update. My actual Airscale kit arrived

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So I decided to learn from my mistakes on the first one and re-did it with the new parts. At the same time, I decided to get rid of the moulded plastic fake brass wiring down the left of frame 8 and replace it with real brass wire. I think it looks better. (Before and After pic alert!)

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Next on with the cockpit since the IP was made for it. Following Airfix's instructions, I fastened the right side of the cockpit to the bottom section and having sprayed everything it was a coat of semi gloss then shading and dirtying up. I'll add more grime when it's together a little more but for now I just wanted to get a bit of mild grime on the walls.
Airfix aren't too good with the underfloor piping but on doing a couple of dry fits, very little of the brass piping is visible in such a small space. What did stand out was a line of 4 parallel brass pipes on the port side floor which I think will run to the air tanks behind the pilot so I've added those in brass wire. also two coiled brass pipes sitting on the top of the base of Frame 8.

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Airscales upgrade includes the compass housing in PE which the instructions say to clad around the kit part

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but I cut away the kit housing as it's plastic and very thick. Compass freed I added it to the metal housing for a more authentic look. (Real and model alert this time)

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Also the front of Frame 11 which holds the seat and the seat side rails are all included in beautifully detailed PE so on they all go

 

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Looking to the right sidewall it's all very accurately done but the piping for the windsceen de-icing system looked false so, again, off it came to be replaced on the finished cockpit with brass wire.

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Oh, on Airscale's decal sheet there's a decal number 22 which isn't on any of their diagrams...it goes here on the de-icing "box"

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Now for the "brass" piping on the undercarriage quadrant, followed by Airscale's PE cladding

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So now it was all a big case of painting, locating and tidying up for the right side wall.

Now to the floor. I've done the piping so the rudder bars and pedals can go on, Airscale upgrade treads add a nice touch to the pedals, don't forget to install the spade grip before fitting part D26 which covers the bottom of the column.
Now, onto the column. I wrote earlier that I'd replaced the lines for the cannon and gun firing with fine black wire but there's another problem. 
I don't think I've ever built a model Spitfire that had any means of the imaginary pilot operating the elevators. The reason being that they operate from a rod which is affixed to the bottom of the control column then passes underneath the seat and connects with a rocker arm which the bar simply pushes backwards and forwards as the column is pushed and pulled backwards and forwards. The wires to the elevator actuator run aft from this and the system is complete.

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Now, if I hadn't opened the flipping radio compartment door then all would have been fine. I could have run the rod under the seat to disappear and never be seen again. But because the radio door is open, You can see the wires for the rudder as well as the elevators so I have to add the wires too. Thankfully not right to the rear of the AC as that won't be visible....I'm definitely NOT opening the battery door too! But it does mean I had to fabricate the rocker arrangement at the bottom of frame 11. I just made it from plastic card and rod and added a bit of rivet work but it's barely seen and is there purely to take the elevator wires away.

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So, that's it for now. I'll leave you with some pics although nothings glued yet except Frame 8, the control column and the rudder system. The seat appears in some pics too but I'll cover that next time as well.

Left firewall and seat next oh and the Sutton harness and it's never ending debate on attachment points. I'm all ears on that one so if anyones got any good evidence I'm all ears. I haven't decided how to tackle it yet. 

Thanks for looking

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