On the bench 6 - icons

'80 Years ago' Part 6: "In the office or working from home?"

I've been trying to keep these two builds in line with historical events as the auspicious anniversary of the battle has some profound meaning. Due to the ongoing health issues and my wife's Rheumatoid Arthritis taking a turn for the worse, I haven't been able to keep up the pace.

In historical terms we've moved into the winter of 1940 with dark days and threatening skies. The enemy is the weather, flying conditions and a now distant chance of meeting the Luftwaffe in the skies as their strategies turn to nocturnal warfare.

Anyway enough nostalgic navel gazing and picking up from the previous post which laid out the plans to get stuck into not one but two large-scale projects at once, here's episode 6 which is a brief update on the trials and tribulations with new resin details for the Spitfire cockpit.

(A reminder: All of the images are taken with an iPhone 12 mini - its new and I'm still working out the optimal settings).

As I've said before in this series and in my 'on the bench' Francophile He162 article, I tend to recoil from the building process in a mess of sticky fingers and popped joint lines which refuse to disappear no matter how fastidiously I fill and sand. Painting is another matter though and I enjoy the application of paint much more.

I've not done any more work to the PCM Hurricane - for shame!

The story so far - Denys Gillam's Revell Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa (converted to Mk Ia)

I've chosen to recreate N3093 as it appeared around mid to late August 1940. It's a MkIa so some basic work will need to be carried out on the Revell MkIIa to fix the minor differences between the two marques.

With the arrival of some 'nearly right' colour from from the lovely people at Hobby City in Auckland I was able to put some paint on the Spits kits innards at the same time as the Hurricane. However, after seeing some lovely work online, I decided that investing in some of Roy Sutherland's Barracuda Studios resin details would not only do the kit and its subject just, but that the 'office' is arguably the heart of a small fighter aeroplane and needs to look the part. (neatly sidestepping the lack of a R-R Merlin III with which to rip of the cowling panels and spoil Reginald's eliptical aesthetic lines. . .)

The panel had a little more work done to the bezels and the kit decal used as the dials. O left it on its backing sheet and superglued it to the back of the styrene panel. Pushing a round file through from the back builds up a 'lip' of styrene and creates a nice instrument bezel. Unfortunately doing this is not entirely accurate and the decal dials didn't quite line up with the holes. . .

The images sort of explain what's been going on, and will be going in just as soon as I can rediscover the modelling mojo and summon up a bit of energy.

Oh yeah that seat. I know what you're thinking, it should be that weird red compressed paper thing. In reality many early seats were conventional pressed metal and painted green. It also made it easier to create a contrast between the green and dark brown leather seat.

The seat and the armour plate is from Roy Sutherland's Barracuda Studio resin product range. A must have compared to the clunky kit seat. I'm also using his wheels, ailerons and the radiator/oil cooler resin.

The Barracuda seat was painted with Windsor & Newton oils - Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre over the Games Workshop Chaos black rattle can primer. These were blended to give a worn leather highlight. I am quite chuffed with the effect. There's a HGW fabric harness to complete.

"Hey man it's a Baccaruda!" (no, it's pronounced barracuda...)

In the mean time I placed an order for a stack of resin with Barracuda who are based in California with the expectation that this would take an age to arrive due to the global madness, and put everything to one side for a while. Delivery was swift.

The beauty of barracuda resin is that it doesn't require washing or preparation before you apply paint or adhesive so it was a quick thing to apply my go-to Games Workshop Citadel Miniatures 'Chaos Black' (an apt name for my variable modelling skills). This stuff is lovely and foolproof (yup I know) and provided you give the can a good shake and spray from a respectable distance is guaranteed to provide a lovely base coat with a slight sheen. Ideal for details in the Spit cockpit which should be black.

Bashing on, I thinnned Tamiya XF-71 cockpit green with some isopropyl alcohol to a milk consistency and built up a variable coat to create a sense of a well-worn cockpit. I aimed to spray at an oblique angle to preserve some of the chaos black in the natural shadow areas.

The image below is a comparison with the kit parts. Nothing inherently wrong with these just lack detail and definition.

I then set about dry-brushing with Tamiya XF-21 Sky. Why you might ask and not a lightened version of 71? Well it was an experiment in using a colour similar in tonal value and warmth. Reasoning that adding white to 71 would just lighten it and cool the highlights rather than giving them a bit of depth. You gotta try these things, right?

There are still some details to be picked out the wiring and also an addition of some plumbing to the undercart quadrant. The throttle lever needs some actuation rods too.

In hindsight I think the chipping and general battering is a bit overdone. Yes these aeroplanes were flown mercilessly and spent less time on terra-firma than in the aether during those intense days of summer; but abused to the point of being decrepit? Maybe a bit too much with the Derwent prismacolour 80. . .

'Reasons to be cheerful part 3'

One area, no two bits I'm most happy with so far are the barracuda seat and armour and the cockpit door.

Lovely little bits of the resin pattern maker and caster's art, they have come up a treat and the decals on the door add that little bit of contrast to make it pop. This is one place where i think I got the scuffing and wear about right.

I still need to paint the handle either red or yellow. . .

Don't judge the rough edges, it's been a bit of a bizarre year. . .

What's next young fella-me-lad?

In the next post we'll look at installing the cockpits to both aircraft and building the main assemblies of each kit.

"We shall remember them"

Kia kaha. Be good, be kind stay safe, and go well wherever you may be.


Wellington - 4th December 2020.

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