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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 30




Last week I told you about the unexpected but very pleasant arrival of the latest Wingnut Wings release, the RNAS version of the Sopwith Pup. I had decided to do this build virtually by the 'book' - the 'book' being literally just that, a 24 page glossy A4 manual which contains numerous reference photographs, CAD building instructions and 5 options to choose from. This kit just oozes quality from the superb plastic moulding which are beautifully detailed to the A4 page of decals which have been produced by Cartograph of Italy.



Not having built a WWI aircraft before, I had got used to the size of 1/32 WWII prop jobs and it came as a surprise to discover just how small these WWI fighters were. I compared the 1/32 size of the Pup fuselage to the 1/72 fuselage of a Fairey Gannet - the Gannet's fuselage was larger!



After washing all the sprues with warm water and household detergent to remove any residual mould release agent, I followed the instruction manual and started with the cockpit module. There was not a trace of 'flash' on any of the parts and therefore cleaning them up took very little time. I assembled the module parts into their different colour sections and during the course of one evening, I painted all the parts using my Iwata TR1 airbrush and the relevant Tamiya colours diluted with Tamiya Acrylic thinners.



I was a trifle concerned about the vulnerability of the rear cabane struts moulded in situ with the fusleage cockpit framework. Having built the Trumpeter Swordfish, I know (believe me!) how vulnerable they can be. However, the cockpit assembly came together very quickly building from the 'floor' upwards and as these parts were fully painted, I used superglue sparingly to fix each into it's location. It is important to realise, even at this very early stage, that the cockpit assembly does vary from marque to marque. I had chosen the RNAS version, N6453, which had been built by Beardmore in Scotland and which served on HMS Furious and HMS Repulse. This was a type 9901(a) having a Lewis gun which fired through an opening in the top wing. The 9901 versions had a Vickers gun firing through the propeller arc from the cockpit. The Lewis gun version had round ammunition magazines stored in the cockpit framework and therefore (be aware!) no Vickers gun magazine (a large piece) positioned just forward of the instrument panel.







The pilot's seat has very nice detail on the seat cushion which I enhanced by coating the Tamiya XF52 'leather' colour with Tamiya Clear Red (X27). The instrument panel was treated in a similar manner and the instrument decals were attached. I used a tad of Micro Sol to help the decals settle into their dial surrounds and the result was very pleasing. Although no wire cross bracing for the fusleage/cockpit framework is supplied in the kit, the manual shows photographs of bracing from a full sized replica. Out came my 0.2 nickel wire from Albion Alloys and this was quickly superglued into position to add a touch of more detail. While I had the wire out, I also ran two rudder control wires from the pedals towards the rear fuselage. The finishing touch of this module is the fitting of the very broad seat belts from the PE fret which I had painted in the relevant colours prior to their release from the fret. They were carefully folded and placed onto the pilot's seat using Gator glue as an adhesive.





I was intending to build this 'by the book', but decided to break the Wingnuts schedule (oh dear! oh dear!) and build the Le Rhone 9s 80hp engine next. I love building engines, especially when there is at least more than one shade of aluminium to play around with. The engine build started with the cylinders and crankcase. Like the previous assembly, virtually no clean up was necessary. I used some Tamiya Extra Thin cement to glue the two halves of the cylinders and crankcase together and this was then set to one side while I prepared the push rods which are attached to the front crankcase housing and the copper intake tubes. I used Alclad paints with 'Magnesium' for the cylinders,'Steel' for the crancases and cylinder heads, 'White Aluminium' for the push rods and 'Copper' for the intake tubes. Like the cockpit module, I was very pleased with the result.





While the Alclad 'White Aluminium' was in the airbrush, I managed to remember some forward planning and sprayed the engine cowling, the forward cockpit deck, the two engine cover side panels and underside engine fairing, making sure I chose the correct one for my option. This was good for me as I nearly always do a terrific clean up job of the airbrush only to discover that I had missed some parts that required the same colour!



My attention then turned to the wood finish on the cockpit fusleage rear top and the 'ply' propeller. Not having done anything like this before, this was given much thought over numerous cups of tea. I obtained a box of Lifecolor 'Weathered Wood' acrylics which is a set of six acrylic wood colours specifically for diorama floors, decks and railway sleepers. I found a 1/32 sized drop tank from my just finished Hasegawa Mustang kit, and set to work to try and replicate a scale sized 'plywood' pattern on a curved surface similar to a cockpit surround. Using the Wingnut Tamiya colour call out for 'light wood' (XF59) as the wooden cockpit surround base colour, I chose three colours from the Weathered Wood range, UA714, 715 and 716 diluting them with a little water. Then, using a picture of some grained wood as a guide, I tried to replicate some of the patterns using a very fine brush. When the wood weathering paints had dried, I coated my experiment with Tamiya Clear Orange. It looked OK. I think the trick is to provide an 'impression' of grain which must be roughly to scale and not overdone in 'weight' and size.





More next week.



Peter Buckingham