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Comet G-ACSS Grosvenor House - Airfix - 1/72


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It's a red aeroplane in 1/72 scale, what else was I going to choose? :D

Ah, lovely new old stock.

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Decals in their protective film:

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The wings are a solid lump, and the pilots are just heads. Scratch building galore I expect!

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Reckon they'll still honour that £6.99?

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3 hours ago, Long said:

@steelpillow do you know of any accurate scale drawings of the Comet?

Not that I have checked for myself. I spent some time working on a 3-view and getting cross because none of the ones I tried to trace actually match the photographs. Your best bet is to get hold of an apparently accurate drawing and then sanity-check it against the photographs. I have a beautiful overhead shot of G-ACSS taken by renowned air photographer Gordon Bain, and overlaying "accurate" drawings on it is always educational. Or just get it onscreen, scale to 1:72 and hold the kit against it. I can PM you a copy, strictly for research purposes, if you like?

I can tell you that this kit is reasonably salvageable, apart from the canopy. Main pain is thinning down the trailing edge. Fuselage width is inconsistent and you may want to pad it out in places with plastic card. No need to fair the nose lamp in precisely, they tended to bulge a little. Nacelles not quite right, can't remember the details; they should just protrude beyond the trailing edge, no more than 1/16" (1.5 mm). Spinners too small and props too far back for the Ratier installation used in the race. Add a small disc, ca 1mm (40 thou) or a bit less, to the back and it will render the Ratier adapter cowling nicely. Canopy a bit thick and misshapen, but the best you'll get with this kit unless you are into plug-pressing your own canopy. Whirlybird did a resin interior with vacformed canopy, but the canopy is too short and the resin nothing special - not recommended.

If you get aftermarket decals, beware the ones that do the reg in silver; white is the correct colour.

Really looking forward to this build. Keep us posted!

Edited by steelpillow
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I'm quite impressed by the plastic in this boxing, not too soft, not hard and brittle, about right.

Not much flash, but very large and obvious ejector pin marks on the bottom of the wings.

The first thing I did was open up the cockpit. I've left the back wall bit there for the time being, since I may end up bringing it further forward, or moving it further back, depending on my study of photos.

The engine cowling halves slot into the wings, and the wings slot into the fuselage halves. The slots for the wings are not in the same place on each side though!

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It feels quite like a PM models kit, but with nicer plastic!

 

1 hour ago, steelpillow said:

none of the ones I tried to trace actually match the photographs.

I see what you mean:

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This is the Harry Robinson drawing on top of a photo of SALAZAR from the BAE website. Clearly it's pretty close, but, even allowing for perspective/lens distortion, there's something not quite right about the engines.

Do we know if all the DH88's were the same, or might there have been differences between them?

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1 hour ago, Long said:

Do we know if all the DH88's were the same, or might there have been differences between them?

The original trio as flown in the race were pretty much identical. Not sure if all three nose lamps were, as these had to be bought off-the-shelf at the last minute and proved hard to track down. After the race, all kinds of details changed as time went by; here, there and even everywhere. My book gives some guidance, but is not infallible.

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1 hour ago, steelpillow said:

My book gives some guidance, but is not infallible.

Maybe so (you sell yourself short here in my opinion) but I think it is the most accurate one so far for modellers.

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3 hours ago, Long said:

Do we know if all the DH88's were the same, or might there have been differences between them?

You would need to define 'differences'. I once had a chat with one of the Fighter Collection engineers and he told me that Spitfire panels were distinctly different dependent upon the factory in which they were manufactured. Even knowing the source of the panel and working with an accredited replacement, or from a donor, it would require adjustment to get a correct fit. How were the Comets manufactured, did they use the DH mould system, or were they built from the ground up? If the latter there's room for differences. 

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27 minutes ago, Paul Brown said:

You would need to define 'differences'. I once had a chat with one of the Fighter Collection engineers and he told me that Spitfire panels were distinctly different dependent upon the factory in which they were manufactured. Even knowing the source of the panel and working with an accredited replacement, or from a donor, it would require adjustment to get a correct fit. How were the Comets manufactured, did they use the DH mould system, or were they built from the ground up? If the latter there's room for differences. 

The race machines were hand-built as a batch of three, laid up on under-frames; no mould system. Sometimes something went awry and had to be reworked on one, two or all three machines. So under the skin they all ended up a little different here and there, but aerodynamically and functionally they were identical.

FWIW different factories sometimes turned out different marks of Spit. For example Castle Bromwich was so busy with the Mk IX it never got round to the Mk VIII and most of those were built by Westland. Production problems were resolved on the spot and different manufacturers might find different solutions more convenient, or implement a given modification in slightly different ways.

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Worth noting that the engine cowlings tend to be profiled on-the-spot to fit each individual engine+spinner combination. So an original Comet as flown in 1934 with Gipsy Six R and Ratier pneumatically-actuated props would have been somewhat different from today's G-ACSS with Gipsy Queen II and De Havilland hydraulically-actuated props. Also the air intakes varied; the large rectangular one for cooling and the small round one for the caburettors. After the race the cooling ones were widened a bit, with a small lip on the nacelle outer side, and the carburettor intake extended forwards with a short rim. For the later Six II the cooling intakes on G-ADEF were made even wider because the Six II operated at a lower temperature than the racing R and so needed to be kept that bit cooler. I have no idea how the Queen II affects them, but the cooling intakes certainly look on the wide side.

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I finally had the time/energy to do something with the plastic!

The correct shaped rudder was cut out. The moulded angle of the top bit is far too steep, so I had to ignore that. I meant to photograph it as I'm not sure I can explain what I mean, but I forgot.

I seem to have cut the cockpit opening to just the right size. After checking that, I added some bits:

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I should really get some strips of plasticard as cutting them from sheets is a pain.

I also made a seat:

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The question I was asking myself was would I be able to make another one, apparently the answer is yes :)

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Tried to make the inside look like a bare plywood skin over a frame:

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After much thought I've stuck the fuselage halves together without installing the seats. The back of the cockpit needed filing(see the two photos above for before and after) and couldn't do that with the seat installed, or without the fuselage stuck together.

Hopefully I can still get the seats in there when I'm done.

 

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