Thursday, 14 March 2019

Canberra PR.9 XH134 1985 Scheme WIP #1

If you have been following my blog from the start, you might start to think to yourself "Hasn't he already built a model of XH134?". The answer to that is yes, I did build a 1/72nd scale model of XH134 back in 2013, along with XH131 and XH135. These were part of my "End Of An Era" project which consisted of the last three Canberra's in RAF service when they retired in 2006. 

Now this is a new two part project in which I am building two 1/48th scale models of Canberra PR.9 XH134 at two different stages of her service. This is going to be the first part of this project, building XH134  as she was in 1985 when she was assigned to No. 1 PRU at RAF Wyton. The second part of the project will be how she was in 2006 in her Retirement Scheme, just like in my "End Of An Era" model, but in 1/48th scale with a load of aftermarket extras. Another point of doing this aircraft twice, is to show how she varied in her set-up between the 21 year period. So for the first part of this project, I am building XH134 as she was during 1985 and in the dark green and dark sea grey over light aircraft grey.

The base kit is the Airfix 1/48th scale Canberra PR.9, of which one of the four scheme options is the 1985 version of XH134. Just like the second model that I will be building, this one is having some aftermarket extras included in the model. These items are the cast resin bomb bay from CMK, Eduards interior and exterior etched set, and Eduards etched landing flaps.

So let us get started on the construction of this bird. The first area that I tackled was the alterations that needed to be done to the cockpit area. This was where I discovered a bit of a mistake on Eduards behalf. In their instructions they say to take kit part 1F, cut the tip off and then cut the navigators floor in half. The front section then has to be glued partially under the front of the main cockpit body so that it measures 52mm from the bulkhead to the end of the floor. This is wrong, do not cut the floor in half as it measures 52 mm when still attached and the tip cut off.

I continued with the alterations on the cockpit parts for fitting the pre-printed etched panels and replacement parts. The kit comes with the cockpit set-up of the B.8 aircraft, so some modifications have to be done to convert it to the PR.9. The first alteration is to remove the navigation and bomb aiming equipment from the front section of the cockpit. This has to be done so that you can move the navigators position from alongside the pilot to in front of him. This then left another issue that there was no way to mount the navigators ejector seat. So I made up a bracket that fits to the floor for the seat to glued to once everything has been painted and ready to go into the fuselage.

Once I was happy with the seat bracket, I moved onto the plain etched pieces that have to be fitted prior to painting. The biggest part at this stage was the panel next to the pilots position, this needed to be folded up and glued in place. I am not sure if Eduard ever built this up properly, but the measurements and angles were not correct meaning that some filing was needed to get this to sit near enough right. The other two pieces were box behind the pilots position and an instrument box over the main control panel. I gave all of the etched parts a coat of Mr Metal Primer before a coat of normal primer and a couple of coats of black.

Whilst I was in the mood for working with the etched detail for the model, I decided to get the etched flap housings done on the wings. Canberra's have two sets of flaps on each wing, one either side of the engine exhausts. The inboard housing looked to be the more awkward one to assemble, but it turned out that these were the easier ones to build compared to the outer units. Both housing were basically a case of bend up the end plate, the fold and twist the ribs around and glue into position. The inner unit also had a brace that ran across the middle to a panel at one end. This held all of the ribs in their positions making them more secure once everything was glued down. The outer unit did not have this brace, therefore leaving nothing to support the ribs allowing them to keep moving. Another problem was with gluing them, the slightest knock and the rib would break loose. The next set of these that I make up will be soldered together instead of using superglue, it is a bit more secure to solder them instead of gluing.

Onto the modifications to the upper wing surfaces for fitting the flap housings. The kit wings have moulded rib detail on the upper wing sections, these have to be removed to allow the etched replacement parts to sit in place. The  inner flap housing was straight forward preparing the area for that one to locate. You just draw a straight line from the engine tunnel across to the wing end and remove the raised rib detail. You also need to remove part of the end brace to accommodate the end panel of the new housing. I test fitted the housing with the lower wing section in place making sure there was no issues. This revealed that more plastic had to be ground away from the upper section and a little on the lower one along the edges. Once happy with the inner housing, I moved onto the outer one.

With this one, I placed the etched outer housing onto the upper wing section and marked out where it sits. The process of removing the plastic ribs started as well as thinning the trailing edges of the upper wing. After some test fitting, some areas of the lower wing were ground away to allow the two halve to close up properly. Once I was happy with this wing, the etched parts were glued into the places and work started on the other wing following the same procedure as this wing. Once both wings had their flap housings in place on the upper wings, I glued the lower halves to the uppers and secured the housing along the lower joints with some superglue to add some extra strength to them.

The etched replacement flaps at the minute have not been assembled yet, I am leaving that until a little later. These are going to be soldered together instead of gluing them, due to them being a box construction. I will tin all of the areas where they will join up, fold each flap into shape and run the iron along the outside surface to heat the solder and create the joint. This will be stronger than using superglue and easier to clean up any excess solder away.

Well, that is all for now, I will go into detail on fitting the resin bomb bay and fitting the pre-printed etch to the cockpit panels and navigators seat in the next WIP post for this project.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Inspector Morse's Jaguar Mk.2

Inspector Morse's Mk.2 Jaguar must be one of the most iconic cars on British television and is the one which rekindled the car lovers interest in the Jaguar Mk.2. It was on my modelling bucket list to build a model of this very famous Jaguar from the TV programme. I admit, I do have a love of Jaguar's, Aston Martin's, Mercedes Benz's, Ford Mustang's Lamborghini's  and some of the Ferrari's, with several examples of these cars in my stash of kits. So, when the opportunity came up to build a couple of models for the Car and Motorcycle SIG "Best of British" display at last years IPMS Nationals, this was the first one on my list to build.

The kit is the lovely Jaguar Mk.2 which use to be produced by Tamiya. This is the road version of the Mk.2, not the racing one which was based on the Coombes Jaguars. The only problem that I initially had was that the kit comes with wire wheels. The Morse Jaguar had steel wheels with chrome hubcaps, which come with the Revell/Aoshima jaguar XK120 kit. A friend of mine happened to have a set of these wheels, tyres and hubcaps in his spares box and allowed me to have them (thank you Lee for them). All I had to do was convert them from the Revell fitment to the Tamiya fitment allowing them to be mounted onto the model. For this, I had to sacrifice four Tamiya wheels from my spares box, just to get the pins that slide into the rubber ring inside the disc brakes. After some filing down, these were glued to the back of the hubcaps which were then glued to the wheel rims once they were all painted. The rest of the models chassis construction was straight normal as in the instructions. The only other extra I added was the HT leads in the engine.

The bodyshell was built straight from the box, all that I had to do different was add the vinyl roof to the car just like the real version. Jaguar never fitted vinyl roofs to the Mk.2's, this was an aftermarket one which was fitted by one the past owners of the car.  There are some vinyl roof kits available for model cars, I actually have one sitting in one of my draws. But I decided to make my own using thin masking tape. 

After a couple of failed attempts, I managed to get the measurements right and got it to lay down in the correct location on the roof. Once all of the prep work was done on the body, is was primed and wet sanded ready for the body colour. To get the correct colour, I found out what it was on the real car and then looked for the paint code. This is when I discovered that there was three versions of this colour, two which are metallic that originated from the 1960's, but the colour I needed dated back from the 1950's. Luckily, I managed to find the code, popped along to my local paint factors and got an aerosol tin mixed up. I decanted a couple of small bottles of the colour to degas and the model was airbrushed using the paint from the degassed bottles. Zeropaints two-pack clear was used  and then polished after it had been left to harden. The vinyl roof was then brush painted using Vallejo black paint thinned slightly and done in a few coats to build up the colour and reduce any brush marks from the finish.

Final construction was carried out as to the instructions, but I did have an accident with the windscreen snapping it in half. Luck for me, I have another two of the Tamiya Mk.2's in my stash, so I took a screen from one of these to replace the broken one. The Morse jaguar is a 2.4 litre engined car, this kit has the 3.8 litre engine in it. There is no visual difference from what I can see, so you would not know unless you look at the side of the engine block. The only extra items that I had to add to the body were an aerial to the right hand wing, AA badge to the front grill and the round wing mirrors which came from a Fujimi Mini kit. The number plates were made up from the silver lettered old style UK number plate decal sheet from Motobitz.

It all, this is one of my favourite builds so far, I did not go to the extreme of extra detail like I did with the Heritage Racing Coombes Mk.2 that I did several years ago. But it is just how the car looks with those steel wheels and hubcaps, not something you usually see on stands at model shows. 

And a few more with the Coombes Mk.2 that I had built previously.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Hawker Hunter T.7 XL 577 229 OCU Project

There has been a project that I started planning a few years back which was to build several aircraft from my father old RAF unit, 229 OCU which he served his national service in during the late 1950's. He was based at RAF Chivenor in Devon where the unit was training pilots up to jet fighters certification. The aircraft in this unit was Gloster Meteors, De Havilland Vampires, Canadair Sabres (only for about a year) and Hawker Hunters. The aircraft were initially assigned as 229 OCU aircraft, but towards the end of the 50's, the aircraft then started to be assigned in shadow squadrons. these squadrons were 234 Squadron, 145 Squadron, 79 Squadron, 131 Squadron, 127 Squadron and 63 Squadron at various time until disbandment in 1974, then reformed with 65 (R) squadron from 1986 until 1992.

My initial plan was to build one Meteor T.7, one Vampire T.11, two Hunter T.7's and two Hunter F.6's. There are some aftermarket decal sheets which cover two T.7's and two F.6's. The Meteor and Vampire have no aftermarket decals available, so they will have to be created by myself once I have found out the marking for those aircraft. The number of the aircraft that I was going to build has now increased slightly, as two of the Hunter that I had purchased for this project, ( a F.6 and a FGA.9) have both turned out to have 79 Squadron decals in their boxes. So that is now two extra aircraft which will be in the 229 OCU collection. But I am also thinking about doing a Canadair Sabre and a Meteor F.8 to complete the 1950's line-up of aircraft. Now, the FGA9 Hunter was from the 1970's, so this got me thinking that maybe, I should do one or two more of the later aircraft, which happen to be Tornados. But this is just a thought for now.

Anyhow, back to the initial subject of this post, the Hunter T.7 XL577. The base kit is an old Matchbox Hawker Hunter F.6/T7 kit which was first produced back in the 1970's. I had actually built built one backin about 1979/80 as a T.7, so it was a bit of a nostalgia trip building this model for me. These are basic kits, no interior detail except for basic seats and a flat control panel. The fuselage has the option of building it as a single seater F.6 or the twin seater T.7. This was going to be the first of my T.7's for this large project, so she was built straight out of the box with just two of the drop tank fitted to her. 

After tidying up any joints issues and priming the model, she was given a couple of coats of  Xtracolor's High Speed Silver. The decal sheet comes with  decals to for six different aircraft, but you can only build one model from the sheet. Now as the yellow bands come as a decals, I decided to mask the model and paint these bands on instead, allowing me to do both  of the aircraft  I need from this sheet. Once she was dry and had a couple coats of gloss clear, I started with the decals for this aircraft. This is a model of aircraft XL 577 of 234 Squadron as she was around 1960, a couple of years after my father left the unit. Once the decals were finished, they were sealed with more clear before final detail painting was done and final assembly. 

Even with the age of this kit and the lack of detail, it still produces a nice model which will look great along side the other aircraft that are being built for this project. The photos below were taken late in the build, so there is none from the beginning of the construction, but I plan to rectify this when I build the second T.7.