Monday, October 24, 2011

Airfix Spitfire Mk IXc

Supermarine Spitfire IXc, MA585/KH-B, 403 Squadron, RCAF
ALG Headcorn, September 1943, P/O George “Buzz” Beurling, DFC

The Aircraft

A Spitfire IXc, MA585 was an early production configuration having the original small carburetor intake, original elevator and 5 spoke wheels. Completed in June 1943 and delivered to 403 Squadron that month. MA585 remained with 403 Squadron until April when it was transferred to 501 Squadron; it survived the war and was sold to a foreign country

Pilot Officer Beurling was the leading Canadian ace of the war with 31 kills. Most were achieved over Malta in 1941/42 until he was shot down and injured. Following recovery he was posted to gunnery training which he disliked and eventually he was assigned to 403 Squadron. He was a lone wolf who did not follow orders and after reassignment to 412 Squadron in 1944 he was withdrawn from combat, grounded and sent home.

George Beurling volunteered to fly with the Isreali Air Force after the war and unfortunately while en route died in a plane crash near Rome.

Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) Headcorn was an airfield near (38 miles) London used as a prototype for the temporary landing areas that supporting fighters and fighter-bombers would use after D-Day France.

The Model

This Airfix Spitfire IXc is their new tooling from 2009. It's considered very accurate in shape and outline, however the cockpit detail leaves much to be desired and the recessed panel lines are a bit heavy for some tastes. The kit provides alternate parts to make (in theory) either an early or late IXc, however the wing and elevators are configured as a late IXc with wing bulges over the wheel wells (not introduced until late 1945 when wider wheels were introduced) and large elevator horn balances.

To improve the cockpit, I replaced the seat and added a control column, both from 3D-Kits. The wheels came from my spares box and the decals are from an IPMS Canada sheet for RCAF aces containing markings for many aircraft in all three major scales.

To model an early Mk IXc, the elevator outline needs to be rescribed and the wheel well bulges removed, either 4 (kit) or 5 spoke wheels (check photos), plus use the short carburetor intake.

To model a late wartime Mk IXc, remove the wheel well bulges, 4 spoke wheels (kit) and use the long carburetor intake.

To model a post-war Mk IXc with the wheel well bulges use 3 spoke wheels and use the long carburetor intake; unless your photo shows otherwise you'll also need to replace the rudder with a broad chord (pointed) unit. Quickboost make one for this kit.

Paints were all Humbrol (116, 106, 165, 90 and 24) except for the prop blades which was Mr Color 71 Midnight Blue (a near match for RAF Night).

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Goals for 2011

Like many modelers I have a stash. It’s not gigantic (I know of one that counts in the thousands of kits!) nor is it small with about 300 kits. I’m pretty sure I won’t build all of those kits, but I’ll certainly add to the stash some kits I fully intend to build. Having just started my second career I suspect I have between 25 and 30 years of modeling left. At that rate I need to finish at least 10 per year, so my production goal is 1 per month.

In 2010 I easily exceeded that goal with 17 models completed if memory serves me. As I pass the 75% point of 2011 it’s time for me to assess my progress for the year. So far I’m doing well: 5 Spitfires, 3 Hurricanes, a BlackburnShark, and a USS MIDWAY (CVA-41). I’ve still got another 5 Spitfires in various stages of build and hope to finish at least 3 by year’s end.

My local club sponsors, sort of, a monthly theme. We’re not real strict and no competition or anything but of the roughly 20 modelers who show up, 5-8 bring a subject that is theme related. The others bring something unrelated or nothing at all but we always enjoy ourselves talking about the kit’s pluses and minuses.

At any rate, I personally try to align a Spitfire to each theme, but I’m not always successful. It’s tough to find a Spitfire subject that can fit into a “Hasegawa F-4 Phantom” category. This month though, the theme is “Canadian Bacon” – any subject related to Canada so I’ll bring a model of Spitfire Mk IXc, MA585/KH-B, 403 Squadron RCAF, Pilot Officer George Beurling. It’s the Airfix new-tool Mk IXc corrected a bit to reflect MA585; I’ll post a description of the build soon. He’s the highest scoring Canadian ace of the war and I wanted to model both his Mk IX and a blue-grey Mk V from Malta (that build is in-work).

The 2012 Theme list has been approved by the club and I can easily align a Spitfire to half of them if one is a Seafire. None of the themes require I purchase another kit, but I probably will anyway. I’ll certainly need some decals for one of the themes, maybe two. If 2012 is successful I should be able to make 12 or more models.

Thank you for reading.