With the cockpits painted, the fuselage was closed up and work began on filling and sanding the modifications. The wings were assembled after I sanded down the famous rivets and scribed some panel lines. Various sink marks were filled, and it looks like the overdone fabric effect on the ailerons will need to be dealt with.
It took some extra strip styrene in the gaps, too, but flattened ailerons looked much better than the corrugated iron ones. The bomb cell doors were glued in and needed much sanding and filling to look right.
Some more scrap styrene was deployed reshaping the rudder. You can see how small it was by the original grey plastic here. Serious thought was given to scratch building the tailplane, so much additional material was being used. It might actually have been quicker and neater in the long run.
I decided to paint a witness coat of Humbrol 29 acrylic, which would allow me to see if more filling and sanding was needed. The plane would be camouflaged in the standard RAF dark earth and dark green, so it seemed a good idea to use one as the primer and witness coat. You can see I’ve extended the ailerons out to the wing end plate, where they should be. The wings are the wrong shape and a bit short, the bomb cells and undercarriage wells are in the wrong places, but I wasn’t about to get involved with more surgery. My original idea had been to build from the box, warts and all, but I got a bit carried away!
After some reshaping, the Fulmar radiator was glued on.
New elevators being laminated from sheet, the tail cone has been extended and a fillet stuck in under the rudder.
The new radiator seems to fit nicely. The extended radiator cowling was a feature of the Belgian aircraft.
More work needed on the fin and rudder. Out of the whole build, this area gave me the most grief. When I come to build the other Battle as a Bomber Command plane, I will seriously consider scratch building the horizontal tailplane parts instead of hacking the kit parts about.
Finally, the tailplane comes together. The wings went on next, and things began to move quite fast.
A big problem with this kit has always been the shape of the nose. Not only was it too short, but the front end was all wrong. The shape should be more like an early Hurricane, rather than the slightly squared version seen on a Spitfire. There is also a characteristic open front through which can be seen a plate mounted to the Merlin engine. To simulate this, I carefully ground away a depression around the hole for the propeller. I also sanded the corners of the nose to make it a bit more pointy.
The kit prop is huge! It scales at 14ft diameter, a couple of feet larger than the Battle’s 12ft 6in diameter. The boss is also very basic.
After trimming down the blades, I added some Evergreen plastic rod to the centre to represent the boss, and small slices of rod to make the counterweights.
The canopy parts were masked, even though I was brush painting this model. It saves a lot of cleaning up round the frames.
The camouflage colours went on. I find the new range of Humbrol acrylics brush paint nicely. The green is from the Revell range of acrylics, and is a better match to the proper colour than poor old Humbrol 30.
Belgian planes were always painted with aluminium dope on their undersides. This is Humbrol Metalcote Aluminium. It needs a couple of coats to remove the worst brush marks.
With the undercarriage installed, final details like the front-facing machine gun and the landing lights were fitted. Paint touch-ups and a gloss coat of varnish for the transfers.
The early aircraft has a different exhaust cowling to the more familiar rearward ejector form we see on Spitfires and Hurricanes. I ended up modifying the kit parts with filler and carefully drilling holes. I think I got away with it.
The decades old transfers worked without a hitch. I was expecting all sorts of disasters. I used Micro Sol setting solution to give them a bit of help settling into the panel lines.
And there we are. A hacked about Battle. Not my best work, but I learned a few new techniques that will serve me well in future builds. The official portraits follow in the next post. Thanks for reading!