Monday, April 5, 2010

Spitfire HF VII in 1/72. Part 3 of 6

A useful diagram showing the corrections for the wing scribing for the HF VII.

As promised, here is part 2 of the build article. On time and under budget.... If I had a budget.

As we last left our intrepid modeler, he had heroically fought his way through building and painting the cockpit, and had triumphed over evil by gluing the fuselage halves together, making the world a safer place to build models , or something.

With the fuselage seams filled and sanded out, work could now commence on converting the Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. IXc into a proper HF VII. I had mentioned in part 1 that the wings on the Hasegawa kit, while very nicely molded and detailed, contained a number of errors in the panel lines. I filled the rear spar line with medium viscosity super glue (CA) applied with a sharpened rectangular section toothpick. The CA was set with a drop of accelerator, followed 10 minutes later with a 4 grit sanding stick. I use CA exclusively for filling as it will hold a razor edge, and can be cleanly scribed, unlike most putties. It also does not shrink and can be applied very precisely. I do not even own any putty anymore.

The trick to using CA as a filler is to make sure you sand it within an hour or so of applying it. After that, it starts to harden to a point where it is harder than the surrounding plastic. It can still be sanded, but requires a lot more work. I only filled the upper rear spar scribe line. Call me lazy, but it crosses a lot of panel lines on the undersurfaces. Seemed too much like work. The uppersurfaces are also missing some panel lines, so these were added with a pointed steel scriber and a straight edge. See the photo above for details of this work.

The wing together in one piece now, awaiting sanding and touchup.

The ailerons on the Mk VII (and the Mk VIII, which the Mk VII shared many features) were shortened by removing the outer 8 inches of span. This was accomplished on the model by filling the panel lines as shown in the first photograph above. Hasegawa has kindly scribed both the long and short span ailerons. You are left to fill the appropriate panel lines. Sharp eyed viewers will note that I did not scribe the inner wing tanks as shown in the panel line diagram. It escaped my attention until it was too late in the paint process to fix it.

As accuracy cannot be considered when judging in an IPMS USA rules contest for the obvious reason that it is impossible to be equally expert on all aircraft, this oversight should not affect my little Spit in competition. Judging one model (say for example a... um.... Spitfire, a subject the judge may be very well versed on) on a accuracy point is patently unfair, as the Morko Morane or the Ki-61 or the La-5FN sitting next to it may contain many more accuracy errors said judge knows nothing about. Unless you are as intimately familiar with every single type of aircraft on the table, it just is patently unfair. It is also highly reliant on judges memories being 100% accurate, and they would also have to be up on every new discovery. So, wing tanks or not, my Spit VII must be judged on its merits as a model. Suck it, judges! :-) Now, I have been an IPMS judge at the national level for over 10 years, and I am just having some fun. The point , however, about not judging based on accuracy, is very serious.

With the mods to the wings done, I assembled the upper and lower wing parts. The wingtips were added a bit later, and great care was taken to assure that they were aligned properly when viewed from the front. The wing was set aside to dry overnight. All seams were filled and sanded out, and panel lines were restored across the leading edges. Don't forget to do this. Disappearing panel line WILL hurt you in IPMS judging.
Note the pressurization intake, fuel filler cap, and canopy rails visible in this photo.

I turned my attention once again to the fuselage. I added the cockpit pressurization intake to the starboard nose, under the exhausts. I also added the external canopy rails that were a hallmark of the HF VII. These rails were spring loaded and when shut, clamped around the outside of the sliding hood rails, holding the canopy on when pressurized. To jettison the canopy, the rails were released. They snapped open allowing the air stream to strip off the hood so a bail out could be achieved.

The fuel filler cap on top of the nose was drilled out and plugged with styrene rod that was recessed a bit. Wings and tail-planes on next, followed by a number of dreary hours sanding out the wingroots and tailplane roots. Care was taken when attaching the wings to get the proper amount of dihedral (6 degrees I believe) and to make sure the tailplanes align with the wings and are perpendicular to the fin. With this the basic airframe is done, as is this installment for tonight.

Now don't "Awwwwwww, c'mon, just a bit more" me! Off to bed with the lot of you. I'm beginning to think this story may wind up as four installments. Now I know how J.K. Rowling must have felt when writing the Harry Potter stories! As an aside, does J.K. in her name stand for just kidding? Just kidding. See you back here soon for the next installment.

Happy modelling. Roy

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