The Black Magic
April 15, 2015 in Aviation
I’m a big fan of the Golden Age and also the Macrobertson race – that drived me into this build. This is my 1:48 Comet racer built from the horrible Heritage kit (I mean it!).
After I overcome the Airfix 1:72 Comet (another long story) I realized that in a small scale this relatively small aircraft it does not show its real beauty. I searched over the net and I found Aerotech’s wonder resin kit for almost 250 gbp(!) in 1:32 and Heritage Aviations’ 1:48 kit for 35gbp so the choce was obvious for me. I read in some tread the kit is not an easy one (and in reality it is an incarnation of a kit from the early 80’s – the masters are changed several times – not necessarily benefited). My example an inproved issue with new tail planes this time in resin not the awful white metal but still a difficult kit. I say that not only wrong the kit’s shape is currently the best among the comet kits (including Aerotec!) but be aware as I know the guys from SBS model and after they saw my fight with the Comets they are releasing this plane in 1:72- I was fortunate enough to see and palpate the prototype and beleive me it will be AWESOME! They used CAD, 3D printing and all the modern goodies to producing it but O.K. that’s another story 🙂
The Heritage: the kits two main problem is the material (resin, which casted in “room” environment as I wonder) full of micro size bubbles and casting deficiencies (there are white metal parts also for the landing gear, interior and small bits which are useless except for the prob blades) Beside this the parts are huge for resin parts so they warped/skewed a lot (for example I had to cut the fuselage apart for three pieces to straighten it. The engine nacelles is too small (very visible) so I had to completely remade these areas – that’s why opted for making the starboard engine bay open. the engine itself is scrathbuilt also just like the landing gears and the interior. For the big parts I used two-part epoxy as this material fills the huge gaps somehow also. The canopy totally missing the Comet’s characteristic curved and angled shape (i-e. the “V” shape on the front) so I made a new form and vacuumformed a new one. All in all this was a “long hard fight” 🙂 just to make it together acceptable (for my taste at least).
The painting and decaling is another story as I said the resin is full of micro bubbles those making tousands of tiny holes on the surface when You polishing it. I used a lot of filler (car paint micro-filler from can for example) and putty (Milliput also, lots of Milliput) and surfacer and primer again… I went to the point that every new experiment only worsened the situation so that was time to paint it. The black paint is tricky: if You paint something flat black that’s could be very forgiving while gloss black is quite the opposite so I had to make several attemps to achieve a really smooth and gloss finish (now I respect car modeller fellows a lot).
The decals were nice in colour but react bad to softeners and very fragile but thick. The problem is that if You trim the decals they fall apart, if not You can see the thich carrier film. If I made it again I would paint the big letters and the fuselage sides. To tell the truth I had to order a new decal set that’s make this project a more expensive one 🙂 fortunately the guys at Heritage runs a good customer service. The best part were in this build the interior and the engine – the parts that made by myself – they fitted well because I did the mistakes into them 😀
The landing gear legs are made from hypodermic needles and wires detailed with lead foil and thin plasticards. I had to made them from metal because the kit is heavy ‘cos of the lot of resin. I made a small vignette for the plane with D.H., Amy Johnson and Jim mollison but I didn’t take pics with it – nevertheless I hope You like it.
Later maybe I will write a little about the real plane itself but this article becoming toooo long 😉
48 additional images. Click to enlarge