Airfix 1/48th Spitfire Mk. 22/24 - Raleigh Lamb - Hampton, VA
This is the Airfix 1/48th Spitfire Mk. 22/24, I also used Cooper Details cockpit, and exterior update sets that I purchased many years ago, a Falcon clear-vax canopy from their 'Spitfire Special" kit, and Aeromaster Decals, "the Last of the Legend" part 1.
I started off with the Cooper Details cockpit, which is very extensive, with many cast resin, and photo etched parts, a vast improvement over the kit parts. I'm not saying the kit items are that bad, but the detail set is just that good! The kit fuselage sidewalls had to be thinned quite a bit to accept this set. After the cockpit was painted with British interior green, weathered, and put together, the fuselage halves were glued, and the cockpit installed from beneath through the wing opening.
The engine rocker cover fairings were sanded slightly at their top leading edge to produce a more accurate outline. The wings were assembled, and I would suggest thinning the top of part # 24 for a better wing to fuselage fit.
Once all was dry, the wings were mated to the fuselage, which produced a very nice join, with very little filling or cleanup. The stabilizers, and elevators were installed, which also produced a very close fit. I used my razor saw to give the appearance of the separate surfaces where they meet at the stabilizer's outboard edge. The Cooper Details exterior update set gives you a new spinner, prop blades, rudder, and radiator blocks, among a few other things.
The kit radiator housings/fairings are trapezoidal when viewed from the front, but the sides should be 90 degrees to the wings. They were scribed down the corners, until thin, and repositioned correctly per the update instructions, thus allowing the new resin radiator faces to fit correctly.
The spinner, and prop blades were removed from their pour stubs, and cleaned up. I later realized that I had gotten over zealous with my sanding, and removed the back plate from the spinner. This was easily repaired by super gluing a thin piece of scrap plastic to the back of the spinner, then cutting, and sanding to shape, the plate line was then re scribed.
Things were then moved to the "paint booth", where Model Master enamels were used. I used flat black for a panel line pre shade, and then dark green, ocean gray, and medium sea gray was applied as previous coats cured. I masked the wing leading edges for the yellow ID panels, and the white and black ID stripes. When all touch ups were completed, and the paint cured for about two days, I applied the Future gloss coat, and let that cure for about two days.
Almost the entire paint job was done with my new Badger Renegade Velocity, which allowed me to get some pretty tight demarcation lines on the camo (I still need a lot of practice with it though), my old war horse Paasche VL handled the heavy gloss and flat coats.
Application of decals commenced, and the kit decals had to be used for the National Roundels, as the Aeromaster roundels are way oversized (thank you for the heads up there from Roy Sutherland)! Kit decals were also used for all stenciling. I was a little worried about the flatness, and stiffness of the kit decals, but application of Micro Sol, and Micro Set tamed them quite well. When all dried, the excess glue/solutions were wiped away with a damp cloth, and another coat of future applied.
Once this cured, a pin wash with artist oils was applied to highlight the panel lines a little, and for some oil/hydraulic streaking on the undersides. When this dried, a Testors lacquer flat coat was applied, and the fiddly bits installed.
This is where I ran into the only major problem I had with the kit. I don't know if it was me doing something wrong, or if the landing gear struts just won't fit into their slots after gluing the wings together (which is the way the instructions show it done). I fought with them almost 45 minutes, before cutting the aft stub down to allow them to fit into their holes. Next time, I'll likely glue them in place before putting the wing halves together.
New exhausts come with the update, which are more defined than the kit parts. These were drilled out, painted black, dry brushed with Model Master burnt iron metalizer, flat coated, dark gray, and red clay pastels applied, then they were installed. The canopy and windscreen were installed, and touched up, and all was set aside to dry for a bit.
I thoroughly enjoyed this build, this kit is very, very close in quality to the most recent Tamigawa offerings, and I recommend it to all but the most recent beginning modelers. Questions, comments, and critiques welcome. Thank you for viewing.