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Gábor Szabó
65 articles

The Black Magic

April 15, 2015 · in Aviation · · 28 · 2.7K

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 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 that 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 from it). My example is an inproved issue with new tail planes this time in resin not the orogonal awful white metal but still a difficult kit to build. On the good side I can say that nothing's wrong whith the kit's shape which 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 🙂 So If you want the definite Comet wait for the SBS release. Back to this kit:

The Heritage: the kit have two main problems: one is the material (resin, which casted in "room" environment as I wonder) with full of micro sized bubbles and casting deficiencies, warping for example (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 as I mentioned 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 😉

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

48 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. I can't find any words...and that black's simply beautiful!

  2. Thank You! I think this finish is the most beautiful about the three Macrobertson Comet entrants - despite its appearance :). The black/golden combo worked well on the JPS racing cars also 😉

  3. pic #30 is my absolutely favourite...that black finish...i should go back to there again and again and take a look at 🙂
    JPS cars...some faint memories from my childhood, but i remember...they looked nice indeed

  4. I achieved that by polishing up the painted surface with micro-mesh 🙂 quite time consuming to keep it short 😀

  5. Yet another fine example of "real" modeling. Beautifully done, sir. Stunning work.

  6. Thank You Craig!

  7. beautiful job

  8. Beautiful! Nice Gipsy engine!

  9. A lot of work and interesting airplane at a young age I did Airfix.
    now waiting for a new 1/72 SBS promises a lot.


  10. Wow, that's a great looking model of a good looking plane, fantastic work, Gabor.

  11. Boy, what a triumph of obstinacy over c r a p. That is some serious modeling!

    I agree that "Black Magic" is the best-looking of the Comets. You've really caught it, too.

    Any chance you can convince your friends at SBS that they could make some serious sales if they did this in 1/48 as well as 1/72?

  12. Gabor, whatever the story behind the build, with all its issues, you've presented a beautiful and unusual model.

  13. Love it. Excellent job!

  14. Superior work. One of your pictures before paint resembles a ME-262. Really a different looking airplane and a sweet construction job over all.

  15. Just stunning! Job well done!

  16. This is my favourite! She sure looks better than the RED Comet from the MacRobertson Race! You did a stunning job to capture the elegance of this aerodynamic beauty! Well done!

  17. Great work and fantastic finish Gabor.

  18. Thanks a lot! 🙂 The Airfix one is the red, only need the "Green Un" to complete the racers.

  19. said on April 17, 2015

    Stunning. Fabulous work.

  20. Gabor, I have to admit I kind of passed over this the other night, as the first picture did not grab my interest. But as I took another look tonight, I quickly realized what a stunning model I had missed. This is beautiful. Nice work.

  21. Thank You a lot! The plane was in Moson with me today and won the cathegory and the prestigious Master of Mosonmagyarovar title for me. I wasn't intend to participate on the competition but Martin Wal - our editor- noted that he will be there also and like to see the bird in life 🙂 so I entered into the contest 🙂

  22. Gabor,
    I am at a loss for enough adgetives to praise your work on this model. This is an absolutely gorgeous representative of a beautiful airplane.
    Exqisit workmanship

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