Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

23 July 2017


Still on a flow with planes, so the Zil has to wait a while.
Model making should be fun and the Zil is a bit boring, having to do all those wheel treads. So I did some reasonable quickies with planes for some quick results. And because I love doing planes.

I made this Spitfire, a recolour of an older Emil Zarkov model, a later model Griffon-engined Spitfire mk. XIX with a 5-bladed prop and shorter gear. I thought it would be fun to do it in the style of the Red Arrows. It looks quite well with that scheme. I based it on the most recent livery.

I also did a recolour of this Zio- plane, this time an aircraft from his native Italy. A while ago I read about how the U.S. Army, while moving up through Italy in 1944, captured this Macchi 202 Folgore (thunderbolt) and gave it a new paint job and tested it. They called it the Wacky Macchi. I liked this and knew I had a model of it, so I changed Fabrizio Prudenziati's Italian Macchi into the U.S. captured version.

Now, for the latest one I did, there is some more to tell.

Aesthetic aspects of models.

When looking at online aviation photography, I notice I always judge the photos solely on the aesthetic qualities of the depicted air plane. I just don’t get a kick out of seeing the umpteenth airliner but I do really am pleased with a good shot of a Spitfire (and especially its beautifully elliptic wing shape), a P-51 Mustang’s gracious lines or a jet from the Sukhoi 27 family.
One that really tops my bill and makes me happy just looking at it, is the De Havilland DH.88 Comet Race plane from 1934. Just five were built, mainly to race from London to Melbourne. 

De Havilland equipped them with two of the famous Gipsy Six engines under the wing in pods that also housed the retractable main landing gear. Just like a lot of the aircraft De Havilland made in those days, the DH.88 had sleek, gracious lines, a slim fuselage and very beautiful wings.

So, some time ago, I wanted to make a little study of the model focusing on the pure form of the plane, not the colours or anything that would distract the view from those basic lines. So I printed out a model I bought some time ago at Ecardmodels, made by “Lad’n’Dad” duo Jim and Keith Fainges. I took the uncoloured model but I even wanted the lines to be invisible, so I built it inside out, using light grey paper. I stopped when I reached the engine pods. I wanted it to be just the shape of the airframe without the engines. To me, this is the ultimate shape of a sleek, bird-like airplane. It very much resembles a Swift, the sickle- shaped wings, the small tail, the slender appearance.

This is just a playful study, do I didn’t care too much about fit or accuracy. However, I started toying with the idea to make a coloured variant with a little different take on how the story of the DH. 88 continued…

What if...
Frank Whittle was turned down by Gloster but found a host for his jet engine at De Havilland? Of course they would have used a sleek, slender and light design for a test aircraft. And why just one when you can have two?
To put it in other words: how would the DH.88 look with jets instead of two Gypsy Six below the wings? Answer: surprisingly good! Here's the prototype of the DH.99 Jet Comet.

I took the jet pods of a 1/50 Gloster Meteor by Gerard Methorst, resized them to about the 1/72 scale I was working in and fitted them on the wings. Not below the wings, like the Me-262 as I have seen done in plastic whifferies of this model, but just like the Meteor officially had, through the wings.
...Now what would have been the impact of this super fast looking little jet if it had been in service with the RAF during the battle of Britain?

Who knows? (-;

Hopefully soon some pics on how the wheels of the Zil are finally finished and I can move on to the suspension.

Worth noting is how different the approach to the wing root attachments is between Fabrizio Prudenziati's and Emil Zarkov's Spitfire models. In Pruzenziati's model, the fuselage needs to be curved outward to connect to the wing, which is slightly curved up to meet the fuselage. It gives a super smooth seam this way. In most planes, like Zarkov's Spit and the Lad'n'Dad's DH.88, you need a loose strip to create that slope between the straight body and the wings. Here the same kind of plane, but a different approach. Interesting to see how people solve puzzles like this. In the end, they both look great.

Zio's Spit. a Very smoothly curved transition between body and wing.

Zarkov's Spit. Using a separate strip for the transition perhaps does create a better and more correctly graded slope but it also creates two seams across the plane's body. Both have their pros and cons but it's nice to compare.

And on that note, it's goodbye from me and see you next time. Thanks for reading.
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