**** DONE: GB-57 1/48 Spitfire MK.XVIe Low-back - WW2 Foreign Service

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Thanks all. Spent time today adding a few details to the cockpit sidewalls to make a passable representation of what should be there, within reason. I didn't do my usual over the top detailing this time around as I want to get on with getting the major components together, which might prove to be plenty of work anyway.

The port sidewall. Added are: crowbar on hatch (the kit had half a one moulded in - looked very odd), radio controller box, and various details painted in.


Starboard sidewall. Added are: oxygen hose from guitar string, IFF and self destruct box, and various details painted in.


The instrument panel was not provided with any decals so I used a spare one from an Eduard Mk. IXe kit which works fine. I applied a good dose of Solvaset to make it conform to the raised faces and most gauges fit in the correct places, with a couple not quite located consistently with the moulded part but you have to look pretty hard to find them. I'll apply a flat coat on here and then highlight the instrument faces with a dab of PVA glue.


And with that done, I started to bring the fuselage halves together. This is not for the faint of heart as alignment had to be done without the benefit of locating tabs or pins and the major warps added to the fun and games. The rear of the fuselage was finally clamped securely after a half hour of fettling with things. The interior side of the seams that were accessible got a good dose of CA gel on them and a strip of styrene sheet stuck on to make everything rigid. This will sit overhight before attempting to do anythng with the forward joints.


And that's all for today. Thanks again for your interest.
Thanks everyone. With the back end of the fuselage set, I moved on to the forward section today. This started with bringing together the seam at the fuel tank by applying enough clamping force, running some Tamiya Extra Thin cement into the seam and, after making sure the surfaces were lined up nicely, applying a dab of CA on the inside of the seam and zapping it with accelerator to look it all together. I then glued in the firewall (sorry, no pics of this step) after paring down the edges to prevent any cahnce of interference with the upper cowl. Borrowing a trick from my earlier builds, I then marked the center of the upper cowl at the forward edge (you can just see the pencil mark in the below pics) and glued the back edge of the cowl to the fuel tank end and firewall. The mark was used to make sure that the fuselage seams and the front of the cowl were in alignment and this was checked with a steel ruler. This was very important in that there are no alignment tabs and evrything is quite warped. Once I had the back of the cowl set, I repeated the CA/Accelerator trick to lock it into place and proceeded forward, gluing and locking in the side cowls. until everything was secure. I've now set this assembly aside to cure.



I'm not sure I like the "pucker" where the upper and side cowls meet. I think there was such a feature on the real aircraft but I don't know if it was that pronounced. I'll check my references and see if a fix is required and worth the trouble.

I then moved on to the lower cowl, again having to deal with a serious warp. Below, I've brought togther the seam at the carb intake and fused this with a reinforcing strip CA glued on the inside. This will be allowed to fully cure before tackling the front portion.


Back in the pit, I began scratch building a parachute whose purpose will be to hide most of the lousy seat. The chute pack is made of built-up plastic card and the harnesses are wine bottle foil. Here it is glued in place with harnesses being added:


And now with the harnesses on and a splash of paint, all Tamiya colours:


Depending on my mood, I may yet add some buckles. The back of the seat is looking a bit rough though so I'll need to scrub off the built-up CA and repaint it.

The next steps will include investigating how the shoulder harnesses were arranged on this low-back version. Did they go through the slot in the head armour or over a bar and behind the seat? Back Sunday, hopefully.
Nice work Andy.
One small point - the circular quick-release box should be on the end of the broad lap strap (white arrow), with the ripcord "D" ring behind it.

Thanks everyone. Terry, I was confident that you'd chime in if I went astray, thank you. I was going by a reference that showed everything buckled up so wasn't sure where the quick release went. I put it on the lower straps as it made intuitive sense to me that it would keep the leg loops together for ease but I will move it and add the D-ring.

Just catching up friends, I've done no more work on her since the last post but will update when there's something to show.
You're welcome Andy.
The "leg straps" as you have them are actually a loop of webbing, which is pulled up between the legs. The side straps are then looped through this, one each side, and then locked into the quick release box, forming the classic "V" shape of the crotch strap arrangement.
Yeah I'm on the same page with you but failed to describe it correctly. In any event, the stuff below the lip of the seat bucket won't be seen so all I've done was to remove the incorrect quick release and moved it to the broad side strap. I'll post some progress pics tomorrow.

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