I always hit the history books before I commence a build and for the Spitfire it meant getting a book written by the very man whose plane I’m building! Not every famous pilot writes a book about his experiences but when they do, I read them.
Full Circle by Johnson is a great survey of his flying career and the history of fighter planes in general. Good stuff from someone who lived modern history. Other books of interest to me always include big pictures and detailed photos of actual warbirds. The In Action books are always worth cruising the interwebs to find.
The latest must have books in my humble opinion are the VS series which often pit classic fighters against each other for entertaining comparisons. This is how my aviation library grows in relation to my model collection. Eventually I’ll have no room for either.
I also spend countless hours digging online to find images of the plane I’m about to build. Reference pictures are invaluable whether snagged from the web or obtained in person from a museum visit. Unfortunately there are no Spits in Idaho, at least that I’m aware of.
However you do your research, just do it. It makes the hobby enjoyable in so many ways. I also watch movies that feature the planes I’m building. The Battle Of Britain, Bader’s story and even Dunkirk are all valuable resources. Hurry up and come out – Dunkirk DVD!
First up is the Spitfire’s cockpit. Something new I’ve learned is that the seat was actually made from plastic and looked like Bakelite but was not. I would hate to have a cockpit fire and get my seat melted out from under me. Apparently that was not a problem for the RAF. There were some aluminum seats but most were plastic.
First challenge on the build was to fill the gaps on those boxes near the bottom of the cockpit. I used regular car Bondo for that fix.
After some assembly, I was ready for interior green. I believe this is the first time I’ve air brushed a kit model. Hard to believe.
After some detail painting, I added a Florry earth wash to add interest and give it that “lived in during wartime” look.
That plastic seat was hit with some artist chalk after being painted with Votainion rust mix of Tamiya paint I did for several of my starship models. See this build for that.
The photo etched brass dials on the instrument panel are totally awesome and so worth getting if you kit doesn’t have them.
Also added the PE seat belts. I still need to get them to lie down flatter, but they look pretty great to my old eyes. I spent hours under the magnifier hood for this cockpit.
So far I’ve had a blast building this Eduard kit. I may get around to adding some piping to the oxygen bottles but aside from that, I can’t see anything that needs improving. Most of this detail will probably be invisible once the fuselage halves go together. But I know it’s there.
Air Vice Marshal, James Edgar “Johnie” Johnson is the subject of my first Spitfire build.
Johnson is credited with 37 confirmed kills and that made him the highest scoring Western Ace who flew against the German Air Force. He’s perhaps the most decorated and famous British ace of WWII.
I love the picture of him on his Spitfire’s wing with his black Lab, Sally. Probably because we also have a black Lab dog.
Let’s get down to the livery. I’ll be building EN 398.
Lots of interior pics will help building the cockpit.
Including this unique control stick.
I won’t be using any after market parts on this build kit as the Eduard kit has plenty of detail included.
Looking forward to this first kit build for me in a long, long time.
Getting back to kits is something that I’ve been looking forward to for a year or so. I’ve been scratch building studio scale starship models for about five years now and I’m itching to get back to kits. I’ve been out of kit building for over twenty years and the hobby has moved forward in a big way. There are all kinds of new techniques, materials and kit manufacturers to explore now.
The first kit I’ve chosen to build is a 1/48 scale Eduard Spitfire Mk IXc. I’m building it for a good friend who’s crazy about Spits. We chose to model the steed of famous British fighter pilot – Johnie Johnson. When I build airplanes I usually try and model a particular pilot’s bird and not just use the kit decals. This involves reading about the pilot, collecting images of his or her airplane and generally getting to know both as well as I can before cutting sprues.
As I progress on the build I’ll make posts on my progress and then when I finish the kit, I’ll create a static page with links to all the posts. I hope you’ll come back regularly and follow my progress. Thanks for visiting!