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Aurora Mark

Eduard 1/48 Spitfire MkIXc

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While I'm researching the 1/48 Aurora, I needed to have a bit of a fun build. Where the Aurora is (aside from the vac shell) scratch built, I wanted something that was completely opposite. In so, I also wanted to pay tribute to one of my most favoured pilots, George Beurling. This will be the first of two builds I hope to do (the later one being his mount at Malta), so here it goes!

The Subject & The History

One of the most interesting pilots of any Air Force on any side was the sharp eyed Canadian, George "Buzz" Beurling. Most noted for his achievements in Malta, he was a pilot who, by all accounts, was someone who felt that his duty as a fighter pilot was simply to down as many of the enemy as possible, before it was his turn. Never one to shy away from answering questions exactly how he felt, Beurling was known to have some fairly memorable interviews on live radio (which I think to this day, the CBC is happy to forget about). He was not the story book ace that his superiors in the RCAF would have hoped for, as he really did march to the beat of his own drum. Intelligent, calculating, and very much a believer in flying the aircraft by instinct and intuition, he was, as many horrible cliches state, a loner. He studied, studied and studied the art of a fighter pilot, and truly believed that the methods being used to employ fighter aircraft caused the attacker to be hand-cuffed by regulations. Regardless, by those closest to him, such as Bob Middlemiss, he was an incredible man, fantastic pilot, and someone you were happy to have on your wing.

Despite his achievements, due to his nature and his attitude, he can be called the "forgotten Ace" much more than the "misunderstood Ace." For some time, it was seen almost 'un-Canadian' to call Beurling a Canadian pilot, as doing so would also bring to light his achievements. It was easier for many in the higher ranks of the RCAF, especially after his homeland tour helping to drum up continued support for the war effort, to ignor him, and associate him as an RAF pilot (as he flew with the RAF at Malta). It did not help any matters when even after the war, he was vocal in identifying himself as a mercenary, willing to fight other fights that he believed just, and getting paid to do so.

His eyesight and deflection shot were as legendary as his ability to cause the higher brass in the RCAF to look away and deflect any comments of praise about him. But no matter how you take Beurling, what cannot be denied, is that he was able to do things with his Spitfires, almost force them to go past their own capabilities, in order to win the battles, and press home successful attack after successful attack.

The aircraft I plan on building will be his Spitfire XIc, MH883, in the markings of "VZ-B" of 412 Squadron, RCAF, of the 126th Wing, at Biggin Hill, in January of 1944. This aircraft was his final mount before returning home and being honourably discharged.

The Kit & Extras

As the title says, I will be building the Eduard 1/48 Spitfire MxIXc (late) Profipack Edition (Kit No. 8281):

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The Markings will be done using the fantastic set from Montex Mask, Super Mask set K48181, Spitfire MkIXc inteded for the Hasegawa Spit:

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The set come with paint masks for Beurling, as well as decals representing 30 kills, and full paint masks for Chef Denys Boudard of 340 Squadron FAF, France, June 1944:

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I will also be using dry transfer stencils from HobbyDecal to get the finer stencils and markings on the model as well:

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As for the AM Extras, like I mentioned above, I'm going to have my fun with this one:

The Landing Gear will be made using sets 648119, smooth tire 5-spoke wheels, and 648124, the brass cast landing gear legs and resin gear covers:

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I have to say I was REALLY impressed with the brass legs, and the fine detail of the resin castings:

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The fuselage is going to have a few things added to it as well. Here I will be using Brassin sets 648120 for the radio compartment, and 648099 for the exhaust stacks:

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As well, there will be sets 648112 for everything forward of the firewall, and 640100 for the cockpit:

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I have to say that I was INCREDIBLY impressed with the quality of the resin casting by Eduard. I was grinning like an absolute idiot at this point, and these poor, blurry photos will show what I mean:

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I had heard a lot about the fabric seat belts, and thought I would give them a try. When I picked up the Eduard belts, I was on the fence as to whether to get these, or the fantastic set that so many praised from HGW. But, it was Eduard, and I also picked up an improved prop from D.O.C.:

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To my surprise, the belts were in fact much the same as made by HGW:

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The prop was also impressive. D.O.C. (Department of Corrections) is a relatively new company from Poland. My cousin had nothing but great things to say about some of their other products, and having noted a couple of reviews and builds that sighted the Eduard prop as close, but just not there, I thought I'd give them a try and get their Spit prop for this kit. I'll say that the props are pretty impressive, and the only reason I didn't take a picture, is that my camera cannot pick up the detail of the props. The shape is correct, but they also have the leading edge strip on the blades pretty spot on as well! The spinner also comes with a fantastic amount of detail, including as they say, all the rivets (which are much crisper than appear in the picture):

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Lastly, the wings. I picked up the set from Eduard for their flaps, as well as the wing armament. But, this also came with a bit of disappointment. The Wing Armament set offers the various options surrounding the 20mm Hispano cannon. Fantastic! Except for one thing... it's only for one side, and it completely ignores the .303's in the outer wing... Aires has a fantastic set that I used for a Spit way back when, so this one came to the rescue for the missing guns and gun ports:

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And lastly, Master Casters, with their .303's, along with 20mm Hispano cannons. I'll be showing one of the 20mm's exposed up front, so to get the right spring and barrel, the ones from the Hurricane set will be used. I had that set, but didn't have the kit yet, so rather than having some barrels feeling left out on the work bench, they've been adopted for this project.

Alright! Time to start crackin!

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Rightwinger, thank you very much good Sir! I really appreciate the compliments so early on. I hope not to disappoint!

Work started with me drooling over this kit... The fine details really are something else, as are the rivets, and how fine they are, while other surface details are appropriately larger and more defined. The first tree I looked at had the fuselage halves and the wings. Here are some close ups, that really, do not do the plastic justice:

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The actual work started with cutting the forward bit of engine cowl away, and opening up the radio access hatch. It is very evident that Eduard had these AM sets in mind when designing this kit right from the get-go. While looking where exactly to scribe on the outside, I flipped over and saw they had an engraved line to denote the cut line on the inside!

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The same was done for the access hatch to the radio compartment! So, an easy start for sure! After cutting the fuselage halves off the trees, I studied the plans once more. There is a small "L" support bracket that needs to be shaved off the inside of the fuselage. THAT IS IT! I had my doubts at first, as I was remembering how many cockpit sets needed a ton of shaving and sanding in order to fit in properly.

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I drilled out holes to help cut away the radio hatch. I was thinking while doing this, perhaps it would have been better to mold the fuselage half without the hatch in place, and thus allowing the edges to be molded nice and thin (as they had done around the small port side door in the cockpit), and if the builder chose not to add the radio compartment, offer the hatch as a "plug" piece that could be inserted from the rear. Just a thought, but by no means a problem.

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I'll say right now that the plastic is absolutely perfect to work with. Firm, and yet soft enough to be able to sand and work with very easily. Sanding the back edge of the radio hatch area, all I needed was a bit with 600 grit. No need for anything more coarse at all.

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The Brassin resin pieces for the fuselage frame inserts were something that initially I was afraid of handling... they are THIN!!! You can see through the cut out area, the yellow line on my cutting mat!

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After the resin was cut from the casting block, it was cleaned up. Here's another shot to show just how thin it is. The small slits in the frame are for the photo-etch pieces. But it was after seeing this piece, that I started to see that there wouldn't be any need to thin the inside of the fuselage to fit the pieces:

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Once the resin pieces were cut from the casting blocks, everything went under warm water with 600 and then 800 grit wet sandpaper to clean up the pieces, and the cuts I had made. Right after is when I washed off all the residue with some detergent and a toothbrush. The pieces were then left to air dry:

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This is a dry fit of the starboard side fuselage insert. No trimming, no cutting, just a simple dry fit:

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From here the pieces were then put into place, and a bit of thin CA was applied to the edges using tweezers. Once dry, I ran the pieces over a piece of 1500 grit sandpaper on a mirror, just to ensure that everything between the fuselage halves would be flush:

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And here's a dry fit of the fuselage halves:

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With these pieces now in place, the next step will be painting the interior of the fuselage, and beginning the construction of the cockpit, which, in itself, is a whole new model altogether. Thanks for following along.

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Thank you! So, we hit a bit of a snag, in workign with the cockpit set, I found that the main piece on the bottom of tub has "shrunk"... at first I thought maybe it was just an error in molding, but after going online, I've found that a number of folks have had the same problem. So, an e-mail has been sent off to Eduard, and hopefully there's some resolution. I'll post pictures of the problem later on tonight.

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Great news! After contacting Eduard, within 12 hours, I had a response. I have to say, the customer support was fantastic!

Before sending me a new cockpit floor piece, they also want me to try to dry-fit all the other pieces. If there are any others that are damaged, or shrunk, they will send out all those pieces as a replacement order at no cost!

Once I've received those pieces, work will continue on. Given the build sequence I want to follow, I wont be jumping ahead anywhere on this build until I get those pieces. So, progress will hold off for now (aside from possibly assembling the radio frame structure.

Thanks for looking.

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I would like to start this update off with a HUGE thank you to Av8fan, who had put me onto a great read, and a fantastic gentleman, Mr. Edgar Brooks, to help ensure that MH883 gets built up just as she would have been. So, to you Sir, thank you so very much for this. I truly do appreciate you taking the time to help me with this project in such a way!

Following Eduards previous e-mail, I had gone through and cleaned up all the parts as best as I could to dry fit all the components, to see if any other parts were defective. Great news! Nope! It is just the floor piece that is a bit short. Here are a couple of pictures:

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Where I was initially disappointed, I have to say that I am ecstatic at both the customer service from Eduard, and the quality of all the parts in this set. It was actually an absolute pleasure to dry fit all the parts. The cockpit assembles almost like a snap-together in some places. The two cockpit walls fit into the fuselage halves just as well as the radio compartment fuselage halves!

Well, hopefully an update soon. Again, thank you to Av8fan!

Mark.

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Eduard's been pretty great with customer service. I've purchased some Big Ed sets in the past from retailers with missing items and they've promptly replaced.

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Just a bit of an update. A while ago, the part arrived from Eduard. They were FANTASTIC in helping to get this taken care of. Me being away though, not much has progressed. But I thought it would be appropriate to say that their customer service is absolutely great!

More to come soon hopefully.

Cheers,

Mark.

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I like to watch another man you gets excited about his aftermarket and is not afraid to use it!! Well done and onward!

Regards,

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I'm looking forward to watching this thread as I have a Malta 1/32 Spit partially started on the bench. My dad, who is almost 97 years old, met Buzz when he was touring back in Canada after Malta. Dad was stationed in Moncton during the war as an aero-mechanic and signed Beurling out on a Harvard so he could "take it for a flip". My dad said, "There was something about his eyes. He had the eyes of a.....killer."

Keep up the good work!

BD

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Mark,

For some reason I missed your build thread on the Spit. Looking forward to your continued build. I'm currently building Eduards' The Longest Day Spitfire IXc, Just a great kit. Incredibly well detailed, with excellent part fit. I opted to use their cockpit as I found it quite nicely detailed with just a few extra details added. BTW,the multi layered PE IP looks fantastic.

Do you plan on starting your scratch build 1/48 scale Aurora on your return, or will you finish up the Spitfire 1st?

Joel

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