|NOTES:||A Canadian ace from the area that flew the last Spitfire mark in service in the RAF|
His first victory happened on June 30 1944 when he downed a Me109. On this occasion S/L J. D. (Danny) Browne was leading 441 Sqn for the last time before being rested and he shot down a FW190. Pilots in his second section where Mott was flying were even more successful when they attacked 12 Me109s and shot down 3 and damaged a 4th. One of the victors was Guy Mott.
This Airfix kit was issued in 1996 and was one of their best kits they released in this scale until they started with their new launches a few years ago.
You can build a Spit 22 or a 24, there are two types of windshields, two types of cannons and rockets for the 80Sqn version. Details are very good, fine recessed lines. The decal sheet is very good with 3 versions available: F22 from 73 and 603 Sqn and a F24 from 80 Sqn that was the machine of their Sqn Leader.
I have received information about some minor errors in the shape of the radiators but nothing that I considered worth improving.
There is really nothing difficult or complicated with this kit. Everything fits very well.
This is one of the kits that I had assembled in Argentina in the late 90s and that suffered during the trip to Canada (I am in restoration mode these months…)
I had originally used Humbrol paints but the gloss varnish yellowed (more than yellowed…it browned!) like it always does to the point that the grey and green were quite indistinguishable. Add to the fact the partial disassembly thanks to the Custom’s Agents then I decided a few months ago to fix it.
Missing was the canopy hood, 3 out of the 4 sections of the flaps, one radiator and one landing gear leg plus the doors. For some reason the varnish on top of the main decals was just peeling off like old scotch tape and I had some fun taking it off using my pliers.
When a friend from the IPMS London, ON who had 3 of this kit in his stash and was using one of them as source for spares gave me the hood and the decal sheet along with the landing gear parts I decided to “restore” the plane. I removed the paint (and decals) with oven cleaner.
In order to make a more “relevant” version I decided to do Guy Mott’s plane. I found on line a very good and inspiring drawing of VN317 in flight that claims it was his plane. That’s how I learned about him and I started to research his story (a Canadian ace from our region flying this Spitfire mark in Hong Kong!). But thru the book by Listerman I found out that VM317 was destroyed en route to Hong Kong so it could have never sported the theater ID bands not it could not have been flown by Mott in the Far East. After some Internet research and enquiries to his relatives I was able to obtain the letters of several of the 80Sqn Spits Guy Mott had flown. Looking for those letters in Listerman’s book yielded two pictures. The best one was F (VN318) and I decided I could do that one by modifying the A.
I retouched the paint in the cockpit which was pretty straightforward because the wings came off very easy (In the 90s I was still applying glue over the paint…). I had been able to remove the instrument panel and seat and paint them better using pictures as reference for little colour details and Future for the face of the dials. Added an Airwaves photoeched set of seatbelts and then I pushed everything back into the fuselage walls. A bit of putty was required to improve my 90s building skills along the engine hood and other areas.
Wings were glued with some difficulty to the fuselage product of the fact that as the top portions were not “unglueable” from the bottom ones I was not able to dry fit them and get a better alignment/fit. Nevertheless with some patience, Tamiya liquid glue and Tamiya tape to keep the dihedral things worked quite well (but not perfectly as one wing root has a slight step but not the other). One of the wingtip lights was also missing so I took pieces of red and green plastic cutlery, cut them to size, glued them on their respective wingtips and sanded them out to shape. It worked great!
The 3 missing portions of the flaps were made with a very thin sheet of plastic from an old box from something. The missing radiator was copied using Blue tak as the material for the mould (using the original radiator as the template) and then I filled the shape engraved in the Blue tak with 2 part epoxy thus creating the walls of the radiator as a single piece. After sanding and adjusting the shape a bit I added the two screens with pieces of plastic painted black and slightly drybrushed with aluminum. Both the original and the copied radiators fit in place very well.
Guns were added and after a bit of twisting and juggling I was able to install the new landing gear legs. This was, in my opinion, in the 90s and now, the most challenging part of the assembly.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I gave the kit a coat of Vallejo light grey primer which works great to set the paint. Then I used ModelMaster Acryl 4759 for the undersides. At this point I realized I had not painted the leading edges of the wings in yellow. So I used tape to mask the front of the bottom side of the wings and gave the area a nice spray of yellow. Then I masked the yellow ID bands on the undersides and using more Tamiya tape strips marked the edge of the bands on the top of the wings. With these strips as a reference I masked the yellow on the top of the wings and then removed the reference strips (that’s what happens when you are not thoughtful about the process and steps to paint the kit!)
Grey for the top side was ModelMaster Acryl 4746. Once masked with worms of blue tak and paper I airbrushed the RAF Dark Green from the same brand. I masked the area around the landing gear wells and spray them with ModelMaster Aluminum. A heavy layer of Future was sprayed on the kit and after leaving it to cure for roughly 3 days I applied the decals.
Most of the decals were from the sheet that Rob has passed me. The only ones left from the original kit where the ones on the propeller blades. For the F (one of the planes identified on Mott’s Log Book) I chopped the A from the kit and re-assembled it accordingly.
Because the black and white fuselage ID bands of the kit have the serial number already printed I cut out the white portion and replaced it with a strip of white decal paper. Then the two black sections were added but they still showed the original serial number on white. I covered these letters and numbers with the decals from the version of the plane that did not have the ID bands. With other numbers I proceeded to create the portion of the serial number that would have only be seen on the white portion of the tail ID band. Rearranging letters and numbers I created the ones for under the wings.
The 80 Sqn Bell badge I found on line, scaled it down and printed it on white decal paper. After protecting the ink with decal solution I carefully cut it out and put them in place. I was quite satisfied with all the surgery of the decals to transform them as I needed.
I sprayed Vallejo Semi Gloss varnish that I had successfully used for the first time a few days earlier with much success. In this case (and there are a couple of theories around…not letting Future cure enough or a too heavy coat of Future that prevents the varnish from grabbing on properly) this varnish started to crack horribly after a few minutes as it started to dry. I sprayed even more varnish. Most of the cracks were hidden on a thick layer of it but some other even uglier and deeper cracks appeared.
Frustrated and with the varnish still fresh I put it under the tap and used water to remove it. It came off like white skin…(this plane has been peeled off twice!) but in the process the water also started to attack the Future and it started to come off as well! Oh my! Now the edge of the decals was starting to lift off. Panic!
A nightmare as you can imagine as I was about to ruin the replacement decals! Luckily I was able to stop the process by stopping the water coats and drying the plane with a soft fabric cloth and Q tips. Decals were safe but now the clear edges were white (Future attacked by water) and had developed a light step (as Future + decals are thicker than the original coat of paint)
I started to trim off the clear edges trying to minimize the white areas. Then I left the kit to sit overnight. Upon inspection the other white areas had disappeared (this means that most likely I had needlessly trimmed the decals the day before…)
A nicer and slightly finer coat of Future sealed the decals and paint and I tried to even out the slight step as much as I could. I was quite successfully I would say. Once the new coat of Future cured for another couple of days I decided not to risk it again with Vallejo’s and went back to my old friend ModelMaster Acryl Flat varnish. A single fine coat sealed the decals and gave the plane the look I was looking for. Phew!
With this process behind I added all the minor details starting from the center of the undersides and moving out. The pitot and antenna had to be scratchbuilt as had been lost many years ago.
The exhausts were glued in place. These were left with the original paint that I used in Argentina as I did a satisfactory job at the time (these are the propellers were the only 2 parts that retained the original paint from the 90s) \, Then I moved to the top of the plane where the gunsight, the windshield, propellers and hub were glued and finally the hood along with the access door were presented but not glued.
I forgot to add the whip antenna behind the cockpit but will do some day in the future…
A very good kit from Airfix. I’d say the predecessor of the good quality of their newer models recently launched that showed them the way and what they could achieve.
Aces of WWII website
Ciel de Gloire – Guy Mott
The Downhome – My mom remembers
The RCAF overseas – The 5th year
The Supermarine Spitfire F 24 by Phil Listemann
441 Tactical Squadron, Canadian National Defence Department
Shell and Bassell Retirees website
London Gazette, Oct 20 1944
With special thanks to Geoff and Georgia Gander
2 November 2020
for the review kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line
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