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Time for my second build. Can you tell I'm finally on summer vacation? :woot.gif:

This one will be the huge 1/24 scale Airfix kit of the Spitfire Mk Vb. I have built two big Airfix Spitfires before. The first one was about 43 years ago, when I started modelling as a teen. That one was eventually blown up with firecrackers, because I could not move any of my models back from CFB Baden, West Germany, to Canada.

The second one was about 7 years ago; I gave it away to an Air Cadet squadron in my town. Both of those were the old Mk 1 kit.

This one is the Vb. Here is the box:


I thought the scheme on the box was kind of ugly. Something about the markings and paint colours turned me off. I had a look at the other possible schemes, and found this graphic on the side of the box:

The two green/grey schemes intrigued me, especially since the bottom right had a camouflage pattern I had never seen on a Spit before.


Imagine my surprise on reading the descriptions. Turns out the unusual camouflage version was from an RCAF Squadron: number 401 (Ram) Squadron. This unit has recently been returned to active service as a CF-18 unit in Cold Lake Alberta. I thought it would be interesting to make this version.


More on progress soon.


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Interesting camo probably worth checking the serial Could have some history. From the pics i make it to be R3836 Is this correct? Good lick with your build.

Martin H

That is the correct number, Martin. When I get a chance, I'll check that history angle.

As Judge Smails (Ted Knight) said in Caddyshack, "Well...we're waiting!" :thumbsup:/> :woot.gif:/>

Enjoy the build, mon chum and good luck with it.


Merci, Mike! Is it OK if I take a couple hours away from the bench tomorrow to have a cold one with Neo? He's in town visiting. Your ears will surely be burning, because we will be talking about YOU, bud!

ALF :thumbsup:

You are all about the big classic kits. Where are you going to keep all these behemoths? Or will they get blown up too?

True Nick. Nope, this one will not get blown up. I have finally received authorisation from SWMBO to display some kits in my office area. One of the benefits of kids starting to move out and emptying the nest.

The big question I am mulling over is how much do I want to showcase the great detail this kit has, but having loose panels to deal with. Always a tough one. I hate to hide it, but I also like the look of aircraft buttoned up like they could be flyable.

Still some time to figure that out. Here is the engine block. It suffers from "old kit" disease, but these lines and unevenness will not be evident, especially in black.


Various bits built up prior to paint. The seat has surprising detail for this vintage of kit.


Instrument panel is nicely detailed as well.


Some Tamiya cockpit green, followed by semi-gloss black. Don't panic - I changed the seat colour later.



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I made sure to paint the cockpit green everywhere somebody could conceivable see into the fuselage. I also chopped off the round extra plastic bits from the engine compartment area.


Here's how it looks after the extra parts are chopped off.



The instrument dials are a clear part. With a bit of dry brushing over the front of the clear part, and application of some black on the back of the clear part, it is fairly easy to get a "good enough, but not great" instrument panel effect with not too much effort. Just my style.


Yuck! Terrible pic, but it shows the black on the back of each instrument dial.


The engine in semi-gloss black, with some XF-56 metallic grey parts and some dry-brushing with that colour. I will leave off the exhaust stacks until the very end.


It even has Rolls Royce logos on the cylinder heads. Nice touch. This is why it would be a shame not to show the engine off when finished. Still not decided on what to do about that.



Starting to install the bulkheads and other bits. There is a lot of detail in this big kit, and it's easy to paint in this scale.


More progress soon. Thanks for stopping by.


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Nice start ALF! Looking forward to watching this one.



Nice to have you following along, Don.

I redid the seat in a red-brown colour.


Painting the pilot is WAY too much work, and I don't want to have one inside anyway. I decided to make some seatbelts, because I will not invest in AM stuff for this build. I took some medical-style tape, and cut it into strips. I then made some metal fittings by trimming the ends, and coloured them silver with a Sharpie silver pen. Cheap way to make seat belts.



Cockpit mostly installed.



Next step will be engine compartment.


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My ears were burning. I thought it was because I had the top down on the Mustang on a hot and sunny day. I guess it was you and Neo. Hopefully you guys had a great day and that Canada Day was well celebrated. Mostly heard, and occasionally saw, Bagotville CF-18's over the capital last Wednesday during the NALS meeting. Had the demo Hornet and the Snowbirds fly right over the backyard after taking off from Gatineau and heading over Parliament Hill on 01 July. And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming...cricket...cricket...

The cockpit turned out very nice. Looks like you missed your 'meeting' while taking some of those photos or was there an earth tremor? You going to paint the bottom of the compass black, by any chance? I really like your idea for the seat belts. I'll steal that and file it away for future reference.

Keep it up buddy. I'll continue to check in.

Best to all.


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Looks like you missed your 'meeting' while taking some of those photos or was there an earth tremor? You going to paint the bottom of the compass black, by any chance? I really like your idea for the seat belts. I'll steal that and file it away for future reference.

Keep it up buddy. I'll continue to check in.

Best to all.


Nope. No tremor, just poor lighting and an impatient photographer! :bandhead2: Should have used the flash, obviously.

Of course, I'm going to paint the compass bottom black... does it look like I forgot? :woot.gif::rolleyes:

You're quite welcome to steal my idea for seat belts, given that I never would have had this tape to begin with if it hadn't been for your tip about camouflage masking. Tit for tat, my friend!

Now for more progress. I believe I mentioned I am deciding what to do about all the inherent detail in this kit. Still not decided, so therefore I am keeping my options open. I worked on the engine bracket, which has always been problematic for me on this kit. This time around, I decided to study the drawing that Airfix helpfully provides, showing the placement from the side at least.


Unfortunately, it does not show how it sits laterally, so I just had to go by feel. In the past, I've never gotten this part right. After careful study, I chopped off just a bit of the front part as shown in the instructions, and enlarged the hole in the firewall so the rear part would lock in place. I then carefully inserted the horse-collar thingy (technical term alert), and ended up with something that looks like this:



After allowing it to dry (wow, am I ever patient with this build!), I did some dry-fitting with the engine to see how it sat.

Sorry for the tremors again; here is a blurry shot where you can just make out how the little doohickey (technical term again, hope I'm not losing anyone with this...) sticks out beyond the fuselage beams.


Here's a clearer view of it.


Now, the problem is that the cowling will not fit over top of it. The oil cooler (or whatever the doohickey is) causes the panel to sit away from its locating pins. This won't do!


Stay tuned next post (same bat-channel, as they say in the campy TV series) to see how I solved this little conundrum.


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Suspenseful? Yes! :deadhorse1:

I made a decision on the level of detail I will be showing on this kit. I will NOT be allowing the right-hand (starboard) cowling panel to come off, and I chopped off the doohickey to ensure a clean fit of the panel.

I then glued the engine in place.




I glued the other engine bracket in place as well. Looking more like a Spit!


One thing I really like about this kit is that it has separate rubber tires (or should I say tyres, in honour of our British brethren who designed and built this aircraft)? This allows me to paint the hub of the tailwheel separately from the tyre, which makes for a clean joint. I have no choice but to assemble this part now, given how it fits into the aft fuselage, and it's about time to seal up the fuselage. I will mask this part over so it doesn't get messy while painting the rest of the exterior.


After gluing the fuselage halves together, I ensured the bulkheads were all inside their slots, and I also straightened out the rudder control rods after I took this picture.


Here it is all buttoned up!


BTW, the kit comes with instructions to install some little hinges for the rudder (and ailerons later) to allow it to move. I failed miserably in my attempt to make it work, and the little tabs got in my way. Nobody is going to be moving the control surfaces on this aircraft, I decreed. After all, I am the King of my own model. :sunrevolves:

Off came the little hinges, decreed the King...


Thanks for stopping by! Next steps include the detail inside the wings.


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Nice work ALF :thumbsup: ! I am taking many notes. I think you made the right choice on closing up that one side of the engine cowl. How the heck does Airfix expect that cowl panel to close with that doohickey...:P...in the way? Love the seatbelts too (filing that away for the future).

Anyways, great stuff Sir!


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Thanks for the support Mike. When I become King, doohickeys will be banished.

I have made slow but steady progress. With multiple other responsibilities these days, I am doing bits and pieces, which is having the unintended effect of forcing me to do things relatively correctly. A change for me! :woot.gif:

The next step is to figure out how the wings work. The Vb has a few particularities. This kit gives 4 options, with different wings and armament. Interesting. I found myself looking carefully at all the instructions. The 401 RCAF Squadron version is "D" for this kit.

First, the upper wing surfaces. They come with doors for the 4 Browning machine guns per wing. The "D" version will have two machine guns and one cannon per wing. I have also decided not to display the doors open, because I don't like having little doors lying around to get lost. Here is the wing, showing the holes for the access doors, and the humped part that goes on the cannon-wing versions.


Here are the destructions. They show how and where to cut the wing upper surface to accommodate the bulged covers for the cannon. I looked at this with some trepidation; how to make sure I cut the right places? Note also how they show where to cut the wingtips off. More on that later.


I flipped the upper wings over, and breathed a sigh of relief. The kit comes with pre-scored areas to cut if you are installing the bulged cannon cover.

In this picture, you can see one upper wing uncut, and the panel that I chopped out of the other upper wing, along with the bulged cover that will go on one of the wings.


Not perfect, but a pretty good fit for the cover. Took some step-by-step gluing to avoid it being too high or low in some spots. A small amount of filler will be required.


The other wing.


Here is why the bulge is necessary. The ammo can for the cannon is huge and semi-circular. Looks like the only way it will show on the finished model is through the underside panel, if left open. I will not be doing so. That's when the dry-fitting started.



The bulged ammo can doesn't allow my wing to close up! You, annoying little invisible part, are OUT of here!



Note that I also had to trim the size of the access panel that goes where the cannon is. Easy to do.

More in the next post.


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Now to tackle the wingtips. I know it looks strange to see a Spit with chopped or pointy wingtips. The chop was done to improve low-altitude performance, apparently. There were two types of wingtips when chopped, according to a reliable web site source I read. One type has the navigation light (like this version I'm doing), while the other one was done locally and has no navigation light. The kit provides both types of chopped wingtip caps. Nicely done, Airfix!

Have a good look at the drawing. Notice how the wingtip cut is not a straight line. It goes along a raised panel line aft of the wing spar, and jogs slightly outboard (where the nav light will go) at the front of the wing.



This is the wingtip assembly. The black part number (circular background) is a clear nav light.


I scored repeatedly (now Mike, get your mind out of the gutter! :woot.gif:/> ) along the panel lines. The raised portion of the upper wing skin gets chopped off, giving you a nice guide to score along. I did not glue the wings together prior to this; I did it with them disassembled.




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Here's how the wingtip is going to fit. The gap at the back is where the aileron goes.



Using the upper wing surface as a guide (and the locating pins), I scored the lower wings.





A little trimming is required to remove the residue here.


Thanks for stopping by! More soon.


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Boy its almost like Airfix took the standard 1/24 Mk.I and molded a bunch of Mk. V parts and threw them in the box without test fitting them head of time. Lots of cutting but she's looking good ALF :thumbsup: .


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Boy its almost like Airfix took the standard 1/24 Mk.I and molded a bunch of Mk. V parts and threw them in the box without test fitting them head of time. Lots of cutting but she's looking good ALF :thumbsup:/> .


Just might be the case, Don. The parts that are Mk Vb specific are moulded on additional sprues with high part numbers. As I mentioned at the start, I've built the Mk I twice; I concur with your assessment.


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Nice progress, ALF. :thumbsup: And my mind is never...okay, sometimes...alright, quite often...oh forget it! The wingtip surgery is like converting the Hasegawa North American F-86F-40 Sabre to a Canadair Sabre 6. Fortunately, that's a straight cut with no little jog in it. BTW, even though you say you have time, why start to follow instructions now?! I like your idea to close the gun panels. I prefer the look of a clean wing too. Were the cannon ammo cans part of the cannon or did you have to glue them on? A little bit of sanding and some filler and a bit more sanding and those wingtips will look great in no time.

Looking forward to more chum.


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I got a bunch more done on this. I also learned MANY things not to do! Here are the sordid details.

First of all, I installed the horizontal stabilizers and elevator surfaces. I glued them in a fixed position, drooping as I think they usually did in these aircraft with no airflow and nobody holding the controls.


The instructions said to drill four holes to install the little wing fences you see here. After looking at the instructions, I decided to just shave off all of the stubs from the fences, and glue them in the right places on the upper wings. I also glued all the gun access panels in place. While it would be ideal to show all of the interior wing detail, I don't like my models that way.


A lesson I learned from my 1/32 Revell build. With the cockpit bottom being open like it is in the Spit, don't forget to paint the green on the bottom panel (top of the lower wing). You can also see the black radio box.


Here is the front of the wing. Dry fitting. I had glued the little round thingies (technical term again) onto the front of the cannon barrels, and located the barrels so that the round thingies were at the front of the wing's leading edge. Spoiler alert: THIS IS NOT WHERE THESE ROUND THINGIES ARE SUPPOSED TO GO! :bandhead2:/>

I realized a few days later that the little round thingies should be INSIDE the wing, because the cannon exterior barrels have long slim portions that are supposed to reach well into the wing.

Notice also how the wing refuses to close up with this cannon arrangement the way it is.


NOTE: this is out of sequence; I figured this all out after I glued the wing together. Don't make the same mistake as I did! Look carefully at this drawing. You can see that the round thingies are supposed to be aft of the wing leading edge.


Now look at the length of the cannon barrels, and their narrow parts. Obviously, these are intended to stick well into the wing.


So, my suggestion is to either:

1. Do what I did, and just glue the cannon exterior parts in place after the whole wing is together, or

2. Glue the cannon exterior parts to the main part of the cannons (interior) with their round thingies, and locate the cannon so that it sticks out from the wing with the narrow portion of the cannon barrel at the wing leading edge. This will allow you to get the fore/aft location of the cannons perfect.

You can see here where I have erroneously installed the cannons with the round thingies outside the wings. What I ended up doing was chopping off the round thingies, removing the cannons after I had glued the wing together (took some prying with an exacto knife inside the wheel wells), then gluing the cannons in place at the fronts of the wings.


First lesson!


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Now, for the next lesson. I tried to minimize the gap between the upper wings and the wing roots. I've done this successfully before by gluing the upper wing segments into place at the wing roots first, then attaching the wing bottoms afterward. In theory, great. This time, though, it gave me an unexpected problem.

First attaching the lower wing to the fuselage. I had to trim some of the bottoms off of the cockpit and engine bulkheads slightly to get a perfect fit.


The assembly order from the instructions is supposed to be upper wings to lower wing, then the whole assembly to the fuselage. I did lower wing to fuselage, then attached the upper wings starting from the wing root and gluing progressively outboard after.


To further minimize the gaps, I used the clamps to prop up the wing and exaggerate the dihedral while it dried. This allowed the gaps to close significantly as they dried.


Great idea, right? Well... not so great. Turns out that by doing it this way, the lower and upper wing halves did not mate nicely. The lower wings were too far inboard, and the upper wings did not locate nicely into the locator pin holes! :bandhead2:/>

I had to slide my knife blade into the partly-closed wing, and chop off the offending locator pins to get it to close up.

As I installed the ailerons, I had to do some trimming of the upper wing to get them to fit properly. One other thing about clipping these "b" wings, is that the ailerons must be glued into place and the locator pins (outboard ones) must be chopped off.


Then it was time to install the wingtips. They come with handy locator slots, but one side had less space than the other.



Also, the angle was not quite right with the slots being used, even after trimming out some space for them between the upper and lower wings.

What I ended up doing was chopping off the locating parts, and just gluing the wing caps in place at the right angle and position. Some trimming of the jog in the wing leading edge (at the forward main spar) was also needed to make it fit correctly.


Here's how they look.


Ready for the next mistake? Read on!



Edited by ALF18
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Proudly, I looked at how nicely the bottom of the aircraft fit together.


Then, I checked the instructions, and realized I had forgotten to install the furshluginer landing gear before gluing the wing together! :bandhead2:

The instructions, of course, told me to put them in place first. Who reads those things, anyway? :woot.gif:


Out came the knife. I had to chop off the lateral locator pins, and use CA glue to put the struts into place. These will be more fragile than normal, but hopefully I won't manage to snap them off during the remainder of the build.


Impossible to put these puppies in place without chopping off the lateral bits. Airfix made these really strong!


Installed. Note that I also installed the radiators underwing on both sides.


Now for some gap filling, and time for primer.


Thanks for stopping by!


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