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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 13





If any of you have read any of my previous witterings on Graham’s website, you will remember the lesson I learned of not accepting as granted the information and decals which are supplied with kits. Manufacturers make mistakes and the Trumpeter Swordfish is no exception. The markings shown on the box art of W5984 ‘H’ are wrong. The particular type of fuselage roundels and fin markings displayed on the box and on the decal sheet, were not introduced until the year following the ‘Channel Dash’ in which this aircraft took part. I purchased the Xtradecal decal sheet for my model and even this had an omission which I mentioned in last week’s article!




However, the Trumpeter Fairey Swordfish was coming along nicely. The basic fuselage with the cockpit tub painted and snugly fitted was set aside minus the bottom rear fuselage part that has the tailplane struts which I thought looked very vulnerable. I then turned my attention to the engine construction. I have always liked this part of the build, cleaning up all the parts and getting them ready for the separate painting schedules. I am a particular fan of the Alclad range of aluminium and chrome finishes with ‘magnesium’ and ‘white aluminium’ among my favourites.



However, Alclad Grey Primer/Micro Filler which comes in a small can is magical. It sprays beautifully and clearly shows up any joint/seam defects. Once any imperfections have been rectified, I use wet and dry micro mesh with soapy (shampoo/shower gel) water which provides a near perfect surface ready for spraying. The engine went together really well with the cylinders being sprayed with Tamiya Semi Gloss Black and a variety of Alclad ‘shades’ for the remainder of the parts. The finished engine was a bit of fiddle to fit comfortably into the engine cowling and I had to shave off a couple of small projections inside the cowl to make a perfect fit. The engine was not glued into it’s position yet as I wanted to finish the fuselage and get the completed airframe sections ready for the ‘big’ spray - so much more to do before we get to that situation though.



During one of my ‘brown study’ moments while pondering the next moves, I considered that the undercarriage would need some strengthening. This is quite a hefty model and the separate parts of the undercarriage that the wheels are actually fitted to are just butt jointed to the triangularly constructed undercarriage legs. In my view, this was a weak point and I decided to drill the parts and fit short lengths of brass rod to afford a better connection. Once everything was lined up the joint was glued with superglue gel.




Be careful when fitting the tailplane and don’t assume because it fits nicely onto blocks and into slots that it will automatically be square to the fuselage. There is nothing worse than a tilted tailplane, so just make sure it is square before gluing. I had to do some minor adjustments before mine was corrected. While working in this area, I also drilled out the holes for the tailplane and rudder control wires that exit both fuselage sides - six holes in all. Further to this, I also sanded down the thickness of the control horns on the rudder and tailplane as they were far too overscale and then drilled them with a pin vice to eventually accept the control wires.



To complete the fuselage, I decided to fit the upper and lower wing centre sections that form part of the fuselage. What I would suggest here, if you decide to build the aircraft with folded wings, is that you don’t fit the elongated (and therefore vulnerable) wing ribs that form the wing spars that hold the folded wings. I did, and two of the spars had to be replaced much later in the build due to breakage! However, the fuselage was set aside for the time being while I began to assemble the four separate wings. The eight parts of bottom and top surfaces slotted together really well, again using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement trying to get that nice ‘ooze’ to appear as the glue was applied about an inch at a time. Once dry the seams were sanded , and using wooden lolly sticks slotted into the wing spar holes to facilitate handling, the airframe was now becoming ready for the commencement of the ‘big’ spray.



Wrong! I wanted this Swordfish to be a bit special, and unfortunately, no ‘after market’ supplier has yet come up with a wing slat kit for this model although is rumoured to be on the way. Trumpeter tooling shows the location of the slats on the top wings so I decide to do my first bit of scratch building surgery!




Using Dymo Tape as markers and a Tamiya scriber I purchased from Graham, I carefully, no, very carefully, gently scribed the plastic until it was cut free. It says something for the Tamiya Extra Thin type of cement that the complete aerofoil shape of the slats remained complete during this operation. I then made six small plasticard arms to replicate the originals that held the slats in place. Once done the completed wings looked very good in my view and was very satisfying to do.




Before I started to fit the wing sets together with the plastic wing strut sets, I was not very happy with the large handle that releases the wings and allows them to be folded. Trumpeter have moulded this as a ‘solid’ whereas in reality it is slotted and fits either side of a strut. I very carefully drilled small holes in the handle and then using needle files, smoothed everything to a satisfactory replica of the original.




More next week.


Peter Buckingham.

Part 14