Brewster Buffalo Mk.1 – 1/32

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  • Last reply 9 hours, 20 minutes ago
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  • Colin Gomez said 1 week ago:

    Thanks, guys. Yes it is true, Tom. You can see a lot through the barrel shaped interior and floorless design. Lots of light can get in. I also like how things will just peak through from certain angles -it will make it fun to look at carefully.

    Research has been fun, so far. I am glad you concur with my reasoned guess work where pics fail.

    I am updating a bit on the seat because it has literally taken me all day to just rough out the seat redesign. I have only two photos of the actual RAF seat support system. If anyone has more, I would love to see more pics! Anyway, it has been an interesting process reasoning out the design while building it. Actually gluing together the tube structure from styrene rod has helped me to see how it probably worked. Assuming it was all tubes, the shapes I get look good compared to those in the one good photo and also conform to the not so good but additional view from below.

    The one “good” photo is the one I already uploaded but here seen in detail.

    It is clear that the seat back had two intersecting curves of vertical tubing. One thinner horizontal tube ends by bracing the seat support against the “turnover pylon” (the roll bar behind the pilot’s head). It was hard to see how everything lined up, but when I built it it was pretty clear. Here is another pic from a lower angle.

    It is a zoom of this one.

    I began by drilling dimples in the seat back to insert the first short rods/tubes.

    I then added the uppermost short vertical tubes they connect to (the ones connected to the horizontal brace).

    Finally, I figured out how to fit the main vertical supports to the seat back so that they would intersect with the upper part in the curved way seen in the pic. To do this, I had to replace the kit seat armor with styrene sheet. The kit part was two thick anyway and looked like it could stop a tank round. With a thinner plate cut to fit, the seat back rods lined up well.

    So now that everything is glued together it looks pretty good to me.

    here is one more pic of the real thing to show where normal tube support for the smaller seat ends.

    I still have to work on the seat connection points on the rear decking and will have to trim and refit the seat as I go. I will also have to add seat detail and cut off the ends of the horizontal bar so it will fit inside the canopy. What do you think? Does it look “right” to you?

  • John vd Biggelaar said 1 week ago:

    Very nice scratchbuilding, Colin.
    It does look absolutely right to me.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week ago:

    You are actually constructing an actual Buffalo seat in 1/32, my friend @coling!
    This is one of the most detailed and meticulous jobs I have ever witnessed!
    It definitely looks right. Amazing how super detailing seems so natural at some models, like your 1/32 Buffalo; trust me OOB build 1/32 ones will look like toys, compared to yours
    Looking forward to your progress!

  • Colin Gomez said 3 days, 15 hours ago:

    Thank you, John and Spiros. I really needed some feedback to feel I was on the right track. Fortunately, I also found a few more pics to confirm some of my guesses about the tubing and seat armor.

    These pics also led me to put a thinner bar in the horizontal position. I am using stretched sprue for now but will probably change it to brass rod later. Here are some pics on further cockpit work. I added some sheet styrene to the area behind the seats to cover the indents from the life raft tube pylons (rather than filling them with putty). You can still see these depressions in the original test fitted piece.

    Covering instead of filling these also gave me a chance to add some very thin styrene bits for structural elements behind the seat and at the base of the turnover pylon arms.

    See Finnish Brewster and previously posted pic of seat tubes for these elements.

    All in all, the additions have also helped me to keep checking the fit of the seat without gluing it in, since they hold the seat in nicely.

    I forgot to summarize the work done on the seat so far. I started by thinning out the sides by sanding them down to near scale thickness. I added the two squares in the top corners from styrene and used an old airbrush needle to poke out four rivet holes in each.

    I added a slot in the seat back for the middle strap of the Sutton Harness. It is clear from the main pic I have used for seat detail that the pilot has a full Sutton harness on the Spitfire seat pattern – hence the need to drill out the slot. As for the harness, I built it up with masking tape and have now painted it Tamiya Buff.

    The seat and a few structural bits for the engine and landing gear were painted today with Vallejo Matt Aluminum Metal Color.

    . Finally, a few pics of a simple technique I used to create metallic buckles and grommets on the Sutton harness. Once the Tamiya paint was sufficiently cured so that it didn’t flake off too much, I carefully scraped away the paint from the buckles, metal ends and grommets using a sharpened toothpick. I did this very carefully with my visor on and managed to avoid removing too much paint. Because the photo-etch is natural metal, it looks appropriately “gun metal” dark in low light but very reflective and and shiny when light strikes it directly. A few photos show this well.

    I don’t think better metallic fittings could be created through painting (nothing looks more like metal than real metal). It’s also a very easy technique. 🙂 Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope you like what you see. I will start weathering and assembling things tomorrow when the paint has fully cured. Comments welcome, but more work to come soon.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 3 days, 9 hours ago:

    Absolutely right on track, Colin.
    You did some excellent work again.
    That harness looks awesome.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 days, 8 hours ago:

    I agree with @johnb, my friend @coling: this is spectacular work!
    That technique to obtain the correct metallic shade at the buckles is amazing.
    Looking forward to your next steps!

  • Erik Gjørup said 3 days, 7 hours ago:

    I may have to migrate to 1/32nd to get some more details – I’ll need a bigger house. . .

    Colin, this is looking so nice, I like the ponderings and trials you did on the “pipework”

  • John Healy said 2 days, 12 hours ago:

    Great work, especially on that seat, Colin.

  • Colin Gomez said 20 hours, 22 minutes ago:

    Thanks, John, Spiros, Erik and John for your comments. I hope you try 1/32nd for your 109 build, Erik. The Bf-109 is quite a petite aircraft, I find, so it might fit in your cabinet space. As for the Buffalo, it is really small, in spite of the generous space in the cockpit. Not a space hog at all.

    I have done more work in putting the seat together and a few other things. I think it is worth sharing progress at this point because I am running up against some of the specific challenges of this short run kit that are slowing me down. The seat was the easiest. I did have to respray the metal coat and then do a semi-matt sealer layer, because I found the finish was too fragile to take the handling of adding the belts initially. So, here it is with the belts glued on.

    Before assembly, I dirtied up the belts a bit with CMK Dark Dust and Light Dust pigments and pastels. I managed to slip the center strap of the Sutton harness through the slot I made and then drape it a bit for realism and depth. I also went for a saggy overall look to the harness to simulate its weight and flexibility. It was funny when I put it together I realized that the arrangement was very much like my daughter’s car seat, including how the harness straps fit behind the plate at the back.

    No armor on my daughter’s car seat, of course, but there was a plate there! Helpful life experience.

    I removed the rear decking to allow me to fit the seat and rear deck after the fuselage was glued together.

    I correctly anticipated that gluing the fuselage halves together would be a struggle. I didn’t want to damage the seat or turnover pylon while clamping main components. I had to do the gluing/clamping in stages over two days because the bulkheads and flooring need to line up in their proper slots. Therefore, the fuselage needed clamping in select areas to dry solidly before moving on to other areas. Definitely not a Hasegawa fit.

    The next stage was even more frustrating. I tried to fit the engine into the cage structure that runs through the wheel bay. As I expected, the fit was not good. Since the engine needs to line up perfectly to keep the engine and prop straight, I had to figure out how to anchor it to the fuselage structure directly. It took a while to figure out. I elected to glue the engine to the cowling itself first. Then I created shims to fit that part to the fuselage firmly and directly.

    The shims also allowed me to stretch the bottom part of the fuselage to the proper shape so it would fit evenly and correctly all around. It was a challenge partly in that the thickness of the fuselage was greater on the starboard side (limited run kit moulding), so the shim had to be trimmed to respond to this. Anyway, in doing this, I completely abandoned trying to glue the cage bits to each other. In fact I had tried and had to cut them apart because the attempt warped everything terribly and fought me all the way. In the end, with my shim solution, the cage parts line up perfectly inside the wheel well, without needing glue at all! Phew.

    Another frustration was the color of the wheel well. The kit instructions say Zinc Chromate for larger components. I suspect that the rear wall may have been bare metal or the fuselage underside color on the RAF Buffalos. Not knowing was preventing me from assembling the thing! Anyway, I realized that I could, In fact repaint it fairly easily as needed after the fuselage was together but before mounting the engine. So, I got on with assembly.

    I had forgotten that one of the things that had bothered me and made me put the kit aside earlier was the wings.

    The crude fit of the two halves had caused a slight warp in the leading edge of the port wing around the wheel well. I had another look at this and worked out a solution to get the wings to match up and eliminate the warp/dip. See port wing with filler glued in and straight edge of starboard wing.

    I am waiting to sand down my styrene scrap “filler” glued to the port wing, but I am confident I can get this fixed now.

    So that’s it. I figure anyone doing this kit might appreciate knowing the challenges and my solutions, even though you might find a better way to do things. I still like the kit. Hopefully it will all come out OK in the end.

  • John vd Biggelaar said 18 hours, 23 minutes ago:

    It will definitely come out ok, Colin.
    The way that harness looks like is fantastic.
    And yes, your tips are very helpfull, not only for this specific build but also in general.
    Thanks for sharing that.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 9 hours, 20 minutes ago:

    Wow, what a progress, my friend @coling!
    You are truly a master modeler, your attention to detail is truly amazing!
    Isn’t nice that aviation technology finds its way to everyday life, like the case with the children’s seats?
    Excellent progress presentation, too.
    Looking forward to this spectacular Buffalo!

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