I’m fortunate to be a member of the NorthWest Scale Modelers Club (NWSM) based out of Seattle’s Museum of Flight located on historic Boeing Field. The group maintains a themed display of mostly scale aircraft models that sits at the entrance to the Wings Café, which offers diners a view of the airports active runway. The current display “Aircraft of Canada,” includes the subject of this article as well as many other models of aircraft relating to our neighbors to the North. Previous displays have focused on “Reconnaissance Aircraft” and “Planes of the Suez Canal Crisis.”
In 1946 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIVe, TZ138 was sent to Fort Nelson British Columbia for cold weather trials. The aircraft remained in RCAF service until 1949 when it was acquired by former Damnbuster pilot Ken Brown and Flight Lieutenant J. H. MacArthur for the grand sum of $1,250 dollars. Re-registered CF-GMZ (#80) and stripped of its armament it competed in the Tinnerman Trophy Race in Cleveland Ohio that same year placing third with an average speed of 370.110 mph. After passing through many hands TZ138 was returned to Canada and is currently under restoration in Vancouver.
This kit (#72010) has a few issues that can be dealt with pretty easily using shims, internal supports, and a little patience.
The upper nose cowl is comprised of halves resulting in a seem that has to be dealt with. In addition, despite my best efforts, the assembled cowl was too narrow for the fuselage. This was corrected by adding a support to the underside of the cowl that increased it’s width by ~0.75mm.
Test fitting of the upper cowl revealed that it sat too low producing a nasty ridge that would be a lot of work to fix. I opted to raise the height of the upper cowl by inserting a clear piece of acetate between the cowl and the fuselage. Tamiya thin cement was used to glue the acetate in place after which the excess was trimmed with a sharp blade.
Lastly, the dorsal spine fuselage piece just doesn’t fit very well–period. It was glued in place with Tamiya thin cement and when dry, the gaps between it and the fuselage were filled with a mixture of CA glue (Bob Smith) and talcum powder. CA/Talc is a great filler as it can be scribed much like plastic making the restoration of panel lines and other surface details easy.
With the fuselage and wings assembled, the cockpit and floorboard areas were shot with Mission Models R.A.F. Interior Green. Parts of a resin Aires cockpit set were used to replace the rather minimal kit cockpit.
As I’ve admitted before, I have a canopy fetish: I can’t deny it. That being the case, I always put a little extra effort into the clear parts that cover the pilot’s office.
As per my usual MO, the canopy was buffed with a Microfiber swab and Novus 2 Plastic Polish. After a final buffing with a dry Kimwipe to remove static charge, the canopy was dipped in Future or “Pledge Floor Wax with Future Shine”, as it’s now called.
The canopy framing was masked using strips of Aizu 0.4 and 0.7mm tape while the panels were covered with liquid mask.
With the canopy mounted on a painting board, it was sprayed with Mission R.A.F. Interior Green. By doing so the internal canopy framing will appear to be the correct interior green when viewed through the finished canopy.
To ensure that the green wouldn’t affect the color or hue of the blue that was to be painted over it, Mission White Primer was shot over the R.A.F. Green. When dry the canopy was shot with a custom mix of Mission Blue formulated to match the blue fuselage stripes on the decal sheet
Prior to shooting Mission Chrome, the model was shot with Mission Models Gloss Black Base using multiple overlapping dry coats as previously described here. When dry, the Black Base was carefully wet buffed with 8,000 followed by 12,000 Micromesh Sheets and Pads.
The primed and buffed parts were then shot with Mission Chrome straight from the bottle with a few drops of Mission Polymix per 2ml paint cup. The Chrome was applied at ~15psi as multiple overlapping dry coats using an H&S Infinity fitted with a 0.2mm tip as previously described here.
After allowing the Chrome to dry for 12hrs, the ruder and elevators were masked off and shot with Mission Models Silver to represent doped fabric.
The many round access covers on Number 80 appeared to have had an alodine-like yellow tint. To replicate this, circles of the same diameter as the access panels were cut from small square pieces of Tamiya tape using a photo-etch stencil. These holed squares were then placed over the access covers and the exposed areas covered with additional strips of Tamiya tape.
The alodine-like yellow was replicated by adding Mission Bronze and Mission Yellow directly to Mission Chrome (2-3 drops of each were added to a 5ml mixing tube that was then filled with Chrome). This was sprayed as a light dry coat at ~12psi with an Infinity fitted with a 0.2mm tip.
With the access covers done I set about masking off the lighter shaded panels on the leading edge of each wing. Prior to spraying, the access covers within these panels were masked with circles of the appropriate diameter while the nose was covered with a sheet of stretched Para-Film.
Mission Models White Aluminum was sprayed on the wing leading edge panels using an Infinity fitted with a 0.2mm tip. And with that step, painting of the airframe was completed…..whew!
The decal sheet, by Thunderbird Models, is simply awesome. The decals are crisply printed, opaque, and the color and hue is dead-on. There is very little carrier film and they responded beautifully to Micro-Set and –Sol. I’ll be using the unused roundels and RAF fin flash on another build for sure. After the decals were allowed to dry overnight, they were sealed with a light, carefully applied coat of Mission Gloss.
The propeller hub (Quick Boost Resins) was shot with Mission White Primer followed by the same custom mix of Mission blue used on the canopy. The propeller blades (Quick Boost Resins) were shot with Mission Models Black (with a few drops of white added) followed by Mission Gloss in preparation for decaling.
As with the fuselage decals, the arched propeller tip decals and manufacturers logo’s went on with no troubles. Once sealed with a light coat of Mission Gloss, the propeller and hub were done.
The final assemblies (propeller/hub, main gear, and tail wheel) were glued in place with thick CA (Bob Smith).
The canopy was unmasked and the panels were carefully buffed with a Kimwipe. The finished canopy was glued in place using Bob Smith Gold “odorless” CA. And with that, this chromed Spit-XVI was done.
This kit is simple and fun to build. It does have its challenges in the form of a bad fitting nose cowl and dorsal spine piece but with a little patience, both of these issues are easily dealt with. Best of all, the kit’s simplicity permitted a quick build time and allowed me to try out the new Mission Chrome on a NMF aircraft: awesome stuff. Both kit and paint are highly recommended!
Kit purchased by reviewer many, many years ago.
Text and images copyright © 2018 by John Miller/Model Paint Solutions.
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