|05-07-2007, 05:06 PM||#1|
I am: Charlie G
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
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1/5 scale Spitfire MK1(11 yr. project)
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This was sent to me in an email, thought I would share with you folks.
Below are pictures of a scratch built 1/5th scale Supermarine
Spitfire MK 1 by an English model builder. It's hard to imagine such
infinite detail can be accomplished even with super human devotion and
dexterity. The pictures and accompanying text are by the model maker,
If anyone asked me why I set out to build a Spitfire in one-fifth
scale, and detailed to the last rivet an d fastener, I would probably be
hard-pushed for a practical or even sensible answer. Perhaps the closest I
can get is that since a small child I have been awe inspired by R. J.
Mitchell's elliptical winged masterpiece, and that to build a small
replica is the closest I will ever aspire to possession.
The job took me well over eleven years, during which there were times
I very nearly came to giving the project up for lost. The sheer amount of
work involved, countless hours, proved almost too much, were it not for a
serendipitous encounter at my flying club in Cambridge with Dr Michael
Fopp, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum in England.
Seeing the near complete fuselage, he urged me to go on and finish
the model, promising that he would put it on display. I was flabbergasted,
for when I started I had no inkling that my work would end up in a
position of honour in one of the world's premier aviation museums.
As I write, the case for the model is being prepared, having been
specially commissi oned by the museum with a case-maker in Sweden. I have
not yet seen it, but from what I hear, it is enormous!
In one respect the story has gone full circle, since it was at Hendon
where I started my research in earnest, sourcing Microfilm copies of many
original Supermarine drawings, without which such a detailed build would
not have been possible.
The model is skinned with litho plate over a balsa core and has been
left in bare metal at the suggestion of Michael Fopp, so that the
structure is seen to best advantage. The rivets are real and many are
pushed into drilled holes in the skin and underlying balsa, but many more
are actual mechanical fixings. I have no accurate count, but I suspect
that there are at least 19,000!
All interior detail is built from a combination of Supermarine
drawings and workshop manuals, plus countless photographs of my own, many
of them taken opportunistically when I was a volunteer at the Duxford
Aviation Society based at Duxford Airfield, home of the incomparable
Imperial War Museum collection in Cambridgeshire, England. Spitfires, in
various marks are, dare I say, a common feature there!
The degree of detail is probably obsessive: The needles of the dials
in the cockpit actually stand proud of the instrument faces, but you have
to look hard to see it!
Why the flat canopy? Well, the early Mk.Is had them, and I had no
means to blow a bubble hood, so it was convenient. Similarly the covers
over the wheels were another early feature and they saved me a challenging
task of repl icating the wheel castings.
The model has its mistakes, but I'll leave the experts to spot them,
as they most certainly will, plus others I don't even know about. I don't
pretend the little Spitfire is perfect, but I do hope it has capture d
something of the spirit and incomparable beauty of this magnificent
fighter - perhaps the closest to a union that art and technology have ever
come - a killing machine with lines that are almost sublime.
|05-09-2007, 08:40 AM||#4|
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kitchener, Ont
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Unbelievable detail....If I didn't know better looking at the pics of the cockpit I would think I was looking at the real thing. To have the patience to accomplish that kind of detail is incredible. My hat is off the builder of such an excellent example of cratsmanship.
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