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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 14





The Trumpeter Swordfish was coming along nicely, but I suppose it was the easier bits of the kit that I had completed up to now. I hadn't tackled a proper bi-plane before and I suppose I had a nagging doubt in my mind about the problems I had heard modellers talking about doing the rigging of the flying wires. However, I was bucked up with the knowledge that Trumpeter had produced a PE set of rigging wires that fit into pre drilled slots in the wings. So nothing can wrong then can it?


Oh yes it can!


But before I get onto the actual rigging, it is at this stage that much grey cell matter (or what little I have) was utilised thinking about the order of things to be done. After much pondering, I decided my plan of action was going to be:

  •  Remove the PE rigging wires from the metal 'sprue' frame and clean them up with a fine file to remove unwanted bits.
  • Spray the wires in a paint finish (as yet to be decided).
  • Spray the fuselage, wings and tailplane as separate units to the finished state with all colours of the chosen camouflage.
  • Assemble the wings with plastic interplane struts into two complete units.
  • Fit the rigging wires


I wanted to sort out the finish of the rigging wires before progressing any further. I experimented with various colours on the PE frame and eventually decided on a 50/50 mix of Alclad Gloss Black and Alclad Magnesium which, when sprayed, to my eyes seemed to be the right colour. I sprayed the mix with my Iwata TR1 and these were then set aside until all the airframe spraying had been completed.




As I was doing '2P' from the Xtradecal sheet, the colours are clearly shown as Sky Grey for the bottom half of the fuselage and the underneath of all wings. Dark Slate Grey and Extra Dark Sea Grey for the upper fuselage and top surface of the upper wing. Light Slate Grey and Dark Sea Grey for the upper surface of the lower wing! Phew!



I already had a stock of White Ensign Models enamel Sky Grey, but ordered the Xtracolor enamels as listed on the decal sheet from Graham. While this order was coming through, I commenced work on the fuselage and wings by doing some not too heavy pre-shading along the control surface joints and other well used areas of the airframe using Tamiya Nato Black which is a very dark grey. I then use very thinned paint (approximately 80/20 thinners/paint) and spray coats until the desired density is reached, varying the amounts in different areas. As always, with enamels, it is advisable to leave them for at least 24 hours to harden off before attempting any handling of the parts. If I am then going to apply Tamiya masking tape, as in this case, I leave it for 48 hours just to be on the safe side.




I have mentioned before that I have trouble with colours, and I was rather concerned when I sprayed the top surface of the bottom wing. There is (in my view - no pun intended!) only a subtle difference between the two colours on this section. When I removed the masking tape (at night and under artificial light) having sprayed the second camouflage colour, I thought I had sprayed the same colour twice as I could not see a difference! However, in daylight it was discernable.


All the camouflage colours were now on and it was beginning to look like a proper Swordfish, especially with the torpedo sprayed in Alclad aluminium with a black 'nose'. Before I began to handle the wings for the much feared rigging, I sprayed them with a couple of coats Klear to protect the paintwork from fingerprints. I couldn't put it off any longer - the rigging had to be attacked.


Patience is the key word, tweezers is the tool and super glue gel was the adhesive of choice which allows a bit of 'wriggle room'. I think the trick is to ensure that the wings are well and truly secured by the plastic interplane struts first of all and that there is no hint of movement. I had heard stories of modellers experiencing the wires pinging around the room! The majority of the wires went on reasonably well, but one piece, a long cross piece ( part PE7) was way over length by about 2-3mm which was worrying. This was easily rectified by snipping bits off bit by bit until the required length was reached and then bent 90 degrees to fit it into it's slot in the wing. It makes you wonder if anyone at Trumpeter has ever built the thing! By the way, don't be alarmed when you look at the completed wing sets. They haven't moved 'off line' - the bottom wing is unswept!


Anyway, a couple of days later and both wings had been rigged satisfactorily and put to one side. However, what I had thought was going to be the easiest part of the rigging, the tailplane, proved to be the most awkward.



More next week.


Peter Buckingham

Part 15