**** DONE: 1/48 Tamiya Spitfire Mk.I DW-O 610 Sqdn BoB GB

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Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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As far as I've discovered so far, the composite seat was introduced with the second 'L' series serial batch, and was certainly in place by the 'R' serial blocks. I'm a bit wary about the flare rack on the MkV, as some former Spit pilots have told me it didn't have it, as they used the central, downward recognition light to flash the code of the day, rather than colour(s) of the day with flares. From what I've sort of pieced together, this was possibly due to some accidents, and possibly unexplained fatal losses, when the flare pistol fell out of it's 'holster' or 'bin', and jammed the controls. However, I worked (briefly) with one museum example of the MkVb, which had only been re-painted for display purposes, (plus some bodge-up of panels with glass fibre!) and this had the flare rack. Unfortunately, this particular Spit had been around so many places, and the origins of some parts were unknown, and other parts missing. The seat might have been original, or it could have been just 'available'.
As for the flare cartridges, the case itself was a mid-brown cardboard colour, basically the same as a 'bare' cardboard box, with a brass base and annulus, just like a shot-gun cartridge, only with a two inch bore. The colour of the filling (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, White) was indicated by the appropriate coloured band, roughly one third of the case length, around the centre. Cartridge length could vary, depending on manufacturer, but was normally around four inches long.
 

Crimea_River

Marshal
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Great info Terry and thanks for your patience. If I add the flares, I'd probably just show the brass bottoms as the rest would be hidden in the rack.

And I won't forget to replace the gear switch with a home made hand pump.
 

Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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Let me know if you want a cockpit drawing, which shows the selector and pump handle, from three quarters rear, starboard. It's on a MkIIa, but the same design.
 

Crimea_River

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If it's the same one you posted for Glenn, I have it, thanks.

Spent the entire evening trying to research more on the cockpit details. One source said the landing gear hand pump was replaced in early 1939 with the engine-driven pump. R6595 was built in May 1940. I think you told Glenn that all Mark 1's had the hand pump but this is at odds with some other sources. Now I'm confused.

Also missing from the Tamiya pit is the armour plating which, it appears, was at the very least retrofitted in the field by July 1940 so I think I'll need to add that.
 

Jayl

Senior Airman
351
36
May 29, 2009
Looks good Andy. I don't know how some of you guys can build excellent looking models so quickly.

I ran into the same thing with the pump. Seems like every pic I've seen of an MkI pit has something different about it than the one I was just looking at. :confused: I was told that it should have a hand pump so I figured I might as well build one and put it in there. :lol: I also found the same pic of the seat that you found but it seems like most of the others I've seen were missing it. I'm no expert though so I just went the easy route and decided the plane I'm doing probably didn't have it thus eliminating the need to scratchbuild one.
 

Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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The problem with many kits, in their lack of certain items, is that they're based on often just one, although sometimes more, museum or preserved, flying examples. The manufacturers go to great lengths to get things as close as possible to that particular example, and very often re-produce a miniature of it, at the expense of something, all in good faith, and mostly not realising their omissions.
Most airworthy Spits today, for example, do not have the armour plate behind the seat, for weight-saving and safety. Another common omission is the gaiters over the oleos on, for example, FW190 and Bf109 kits, as these are normally missing on museum examples.
As regards the hand pump, the early MkVs were 'converted' on the line, with the 'new' hydraulic lever, from Mk1s and MkIIs, and, I believe, some of the last of these, built as Mk1s/IIs, were then fitted with the new lever, but this was after the BoB. Also, Mk1s which survived beyond 1940, going mainly to OTUs, were mainly fitted with the new system during major re-furb.
 

Crimea_River

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Thanks Jason and Terry.

Jason, the pics of your build showed that you made a hand pump and trial fitted it. Did you end up not putting it in? As for the speed of my builds, this depends on many factors. In the past, I have spent a lot of time on scratch built details, which I enjoy if I can manage my expectations. I went a little overboard on a Mustang wheel well in an earlier post and spent a heck of a lot of time on my Me 262 wheel well. The 109 I just finished was, consciously, a more out of the box build and, coupled with the excellent fit and lack of any needed filling and sanding, was therefore finished rather quickly. Crappy weather outside, as was the case with most of our summer this year, is also a factor.

Regardless of the amount of detail I add, it's the authenticity of the subject that I strive for as much as possible. Hence my musings over the seat and hand pump. I just want to get it right and so look for all the info I can reasonably get my hands on. The guys on this forum are a wealth of info.

Terry, I guess I'll go with the hand pump and thanks for your help. If you have any details on the armour plate shapes and how these were mounted, that would be a bonus.
 

Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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I should have detail of the plates behind the seat back and head areas, may take a day or two to post though,as I'm behind with a lot of things due to that bl**dy bug! Is that OK?
 

Crimea_River

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Terry, don't feel obligated mate. I'll continue looking on the net as well and will post something if I find it. Look after yourself.

BTW, I found this great drawing of a later harness arrangement at another site.
 

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Jayl

Senior Airman
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May 29, 2009
I did end up putting the hand pump in. There also pics of the Eduard armor in my thread if you want to reference that. It looks like it's pretty accurate from the pics I've seen. It shouldn't be tough to make it out some thin sheet styrene. The parts are mostly hidden anyway after the seat's installed and the pit is closed up.

Also, i don't know if anyone has posted this site but it has some good detail pics of different parts. http://www.spitfirespares.com/SpitfireSpares.com/Pages/pilotequip.html

Here are some pics of a MkI with the hand pump and no flare rack on the seat. http://picasaweb.google.com/bryan.ribbans/SupermarineSpitfireMk1RAFMuseumHendonLondonEngland#
 
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Crimea_River

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Great info Jason, thanks so much. I have not seen that pic before with the hand pump so thanks.

However, the mystery continues. Here's an excerpt from AP 1565B for the Spitfire II dated July 1940 showing the engine-driven gear controller. Spitfrie II's started rolling off the lines in mid 1940 so did late I's get the engine driven unit? Hmmm.
 

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Vic Balshaw

Brigadier General
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Looks great Andy and I know the feeling, all the detail just hold one back, but then without the detail and the cussing that goes with it, would we get the satisfaction and all that fun................can't remember the last time I did a straight build.
 

Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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It was. There's a series of about four airborne, and two or three on the ground. Dates given vary between late June and late July, but I think it's more likely the latter.
Back to the hand pump; from what I've discovered, the pump was replaced with the engine- assisted hydraulic unit on the second production MkIIs, and the last of the MkIs completed but not then issued, the latter being done with the final fitting-out at MUs, and I believe these were in the 'X' serial range.
Being 'R' serial, the aircraft would almost certainly have the hand-pump. Just been reading two different books by pilots, where they have both commented on getting the MkII, and being thankful that the hand pump (of the MkI) had been replaced by the "simple, single lever".
I haven't been able to find any definitive info as to exactly when the MkI had an upgrade, or when the first engine assisted pump-equipped MkIs reached squadrons, in any reliable publication - (including Shacklady, and Price) so far.
 

Crimea_River

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Terry, I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks so much.

There's a chap over at 12OCH who posted in March of this year "According to Robertson's book on the Spitfire, an engine driven hydraulic pump was introduced near the end of the Mk. I production. By September 1939 the RAF Spitfires had a mix of hand pumps and engine driven pumps." [Italics mine]

Are you familiar with this Robertson book? The introduction at the end of the the MkI production run jives with what you're saying but the September 1939 date seems odd.

[EDIT - Looking at more stuff tonight, Wiki, referencing Price, says "Also in early 1939 the manual hand-pump for operating the undercarriage was replaced by a hydraulic system driven by a pump mounted in the engine bay." That would support the September 1939 mix]
 
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Airframes

Benevolens Magister
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Aug 24, 2008
Cheshire, UK
Yep, seen that info before, and Robertson is normally a reliable source. Bear in mind, Wiki is only as good as the person who enters the info, and where that info comes from originally.
I've had this problem a number of times over the years, trying to determine if a particular airframe had the hand-pump, the engine pump, or was retrofitted, and it's a potential minefield. All I've been able to find is that, the (engine) pump was available for the Merlin III in late 1939, and was tested, but not neccessarily retro-fitted to serving aircraft , and that it's probable that by the 'X' serial range, it was fitted !
However, having talked to a number of Spit pilots in the past, they all commented on the hand-pump, and the skinned knuckles and awkward hand-changing exercise on take-off (throttle to stick, stick to hand-pump etc). They then all mentioned the positive bonus of getting the new system on the MkII, or late MkI, and at least one chap mentioned getting a replacement Spitfire MkI which had undergone major repair after a crash-landing, which had all the new features, including VHF radio and IFF, in late September 1940.
It's one of those"'Do I, don't I?'"' situations, but I have watched possibly all available footage of Spits taking off (during the BoB) and, apart from the uneven retraction being slightly more pronounced with the hand pump, the slight waggling of wings, or porpoising, is also a give away, although lack of 'waggling' etc is not an indication of the new pump being fitted, as it could be a more experienced pilot.
One of these days, I will get a definitive answer !
 

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