Building a Spitfire, any advice?
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Thread: Building a Spitfire, any advice?

  1. #1

    Building a Spitfire, any advice?

    I'm currently having a go at an early F Mk IX Spitfire (small intake), and would like some advice and pointers. This is what I've got to show for it after a few hours:




    Any advice on where to go next? The two bits I'm not looking forward to are the canopy and wing fillet - how do you think I should go about building these?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2019-08-02.jpg   2019-08-03.jpg  

  2. #2
    Get really good drawings for details like the canopy and fillets, plus really clear photos. You can never have too much information with such an iconic bird.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  3. #3
    Hello Lythronax,
    Yours looks like a pretty good start.
    Not sure if any advice from me will be helpful since the version I built was for CFS1 and is very low polygon count, but here goes anyway:

    I believe Hairyspin is correct. The Spitfire in any version has very subtle curves and even plastic model kits often miss a few details. Get a lot of pictures. I looked at at least several hundred photographs, perhaps thousands.
    The AeroDetail Number 27 book is excellent as is Spitfire - Flying Legend by John Dibbs and Warbird Tech 35 Merlin Spitfires. There are probably at least another dozen books I used that I can't remember offhand.

    The areas that I can remember that caused problems were:
    0. Pick a specific aircraft to model, note what equipment it had and beware of post-war changes.
    I was also building an early version with a round tip rudder and without the Aboukir filter.
    1. Make sure you get the overall dimensions correct. I found that references didn't all agree as to the length of the aircraft. Perhaps this had something to do with the different Rudders that could be fitted.
    2. The relative fit of the pieces on the underside of the wing is very tight. If one item is mis-located, it throws everything off. This is especially noticeable at the trailing edge of the Wing Fillet where the Flap segments split at the gull shape.
    3. Note that the Elevator Balance is larger on the Mk.IX than on earlier versions.
    4. I can see that you have already addressed the engine thrust line changes from earlier versions.

    I forget where I found a station diagram for the Mk.IX Spitfire but it or a good dimensional drawing is a way to make sure the proportions are correct.

    Good Luck!
    - Ivan.

  4. #4
    The best I've seen for your purpose is the Monforton book Spitfire Mk.IX and XVI Engineered, but it's pricey! Excellent photos and drawings in one volume and the many subtle variations within the IX and XVI versions well documented. That would help you visualise how the aircraft was built, which in turn would prompt ideas on how to go about, say, forming the wing fillets. I stared for hours at photos of the Tempest Mk.II to work out how one section or another would be formed before building it and when I finally saw the aircraft in the RAF Museum I already knew it so well that it was like visiting an old friend. I still discovered other details though!

    edit: there are some dimensions which didn't change from the Mk.I through to the Mk.24, my favourite being the distance from firewall to rudder hinge line (20ft 5in.) Makes building the large & small rudder versions just a little easier.
    Last edited by hairyspin; August 10th, 2019 at 12:51.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    4. I can see that you have already addressed the engine thrust line changes from earlier versions.
    Gentlemen,
    I did a bit more checking because I noticed that the upper cowl line varied a bit between early and late Mk.IX and also seemed to vary again with the Mk.XVI.

    It turns out that what I interpreted to be a thrust line change was really extra space needed by the larger supercharger on the two stage Merlin and differences in Glycol tanks for either the intercooler or aftercooler on the Packard manufactured Merlins.

    Thanks Hairyspin,
    I will need to go looking for the Monforton Spitfire book. There are a bunch of things I am quite curious about.

    - Ivan.

  6. #6
    I came across this image of the Castle Bromwich final assembly area in The Spitfire Story (Alfred Price) which shows new Mk.XVI aircraft with teardrop canopies and the wing fillet showing clearly. I think the curved cross-section appears a constant curve needing good alignment to fit to the fuselage and wing. The trick would be the underside profile of wing and fuse to maintain the thin trailing edge!

    70 years on and it's still a beautiful aircraft on the ground or in the air.

    https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/new...mwich-10105947 (first image)
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  7. #7
    I'm not sure whether it'll be destined for CFS3 (ideal) or FSX, but I want it to be the most detailed and accurate model that I can create which can still feasibly be used efficiently by either sim. I have a whole stash of extremely good modern cross section drawings (by Jumpei Temma) and some factory drawings which I can use. However I'm fairly new so I will inevitably run into some problems and headaches, so it's good to have a wealth of experienced modellers on the forum to help out!

    I'd also like to create the Spitfire F V, F VI (quick modification of the V in essence), F VII/VIII, F XII and the F XXI-24, but obviously these are much further down the line.

  8. #8
    Hello Hairspin, Lythronax,

    The photograph of MH434 is interesting because it is one of those that is still flying with The Old Flying Machine Company formerly of Ray and Mark Hanna. It is nice to see a more historical photograph of it.

    Here is a site that is quite informative as to the variations to be found in different manufactured series of Mk.IX and Mk.XVI:
    After looking through these reference pages, I am quite sure that I must have gotten something wrong with my model though the detail is so coarse that mistakes may not be obvious.

    http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/spit...ch-varied.html

    - Ivan.

  9. #9
    The Monforton book includes a great deal on these fiddly details, often with both clear photos and line drawings to scale.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan View Post
    The photograph of MH434 is interesting because it is one of those that is still flying with The Old Flying Machine Company formerly of Ray and Mark Hanna. It is nice to see a more historical photograph of it.
    This is a photo of MH434 from 1943 during its spell of service with No. 222 Squadron:



    As it was one of the earlier LF Mk IXs (the same with all MH series Mk IXs, which were either F or LF), it has the early temperate intake. Also a distinguishing feature of most MH series IXs is the single cannon aperture per leading edge (due to the use of VB leading edge skins) as opposed to other C and E winged Spits which have two.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 9-mh434-06-001-1-jpgoriginal.jpeg  

  11. #11
    Also notice the original fishtail exhaust stubs: most flying Spitfires (including MH434) these days have the round section stubs, whether they're authentic or not.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

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