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Updates from the workbench with news on the latest aircraft being sculpted.
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Sera Staples. sculptor.
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This was an interesting project and I learnt a lot. Now I have to get on with production and casting as we have lots of orders to fulfill before I can get cracking on the new Sherman M4A3E2 'First in Bastogne'. but more on that later.
January 28th 2018
Ok! - heres a heads up on what's going on. The Spitfire Mk VB trop is finished and I am photographing it tomorrow. This is after a lot of detective work regarding the camouflage and markings. The defence of Malta was a desparate period and aircraft kept in the air at all costs to protect the island so schemes did vary - a lot. However aircraft fresh from England we can be pretty sure about. Back on November 10th 2017 I posted a profile of the Beurling Spitfire Mk VB based on research information and widely reproduced profiles. At the time I was a little suspicious of the scheme but decided to revisit it when I was producing the sample. A good thing I did as my profile drawing was wrong. Let me explain, the Spitfire VB trpoical scheme is Dark Earth and Mid Stone over Azure Blue. What many people assume is that looking at a classic Spitfire Mk I (see illustration below) the darker colour (the green) should be the darker colour on the tropical Spitfire. This is incorrect (see second illustration). In fact basing the scheme on a Spitfire Mk I the Dark Earth should remain and the Green replaced by the Mid Stone (see final illustration). I have changed the spinner and code colours as well.
Here you can see what I mean with this factory fresh Spitfire Mk VB in Dark Earth and Mid Stone. Indeed the more I look the more I see this scheme on period Spitfire Mk VB photos and the incorrect scheme on other models.
So there is a lesson to us all
- 'measure twice cut once'. I should be posting photos of the now completed Spitfire Mk VB tomorrow.
January 19th 2018
Sculpting the new Spitfire Mk VB is going well. The majority of the work is going into the wing as the fuselage will be modified from the existing Mk I. Chasing down all the fuselage differences has been fun but the wing is all new. The photos below show the finished wing with cannon and radiators. Also in the shot is part of the raw casting from the silicone mould so you can see how much filing has taken place.
The cannon masters in the wing were turned up by hand in my trusty 'Dremel'. That was fun and they came out really well. The greenish grey parts are Milliput details added to recreate the various blisters for the 20mm cannon.
Whilst thumbing through an old volume of 'Aircraft of the Fighting Powers' I found this advert for Folland which mentions Gerorge Beurling shooting down the 1000th enemy aircraft in the defence of Malta. I thought you might like to see it as it ties in nicely with our next aircraft release - the 1/48 scale Gladiator.
January 12th 2018
The tail end of last years orders are now away and I am fully committed to the Spitfire Mk VB. This should be fairly quick to get into production as I can utilise many parts from our Mk I and Mk IXC. I will of course be sculpting a new wing, various detailed parts and two new figures. The figures will be George Beurling (pilot) and an officer. You can see the completed Milliput masters below and mid way through mouldmaking.
While the silicone is curing (12 hours per side) I have cast a new blank wing for the VB. This is cast from a large silicone mould held together in a vice with clamps while the molten pewter is poured. This is quite a good reliable mould, some moulds leak molten pewter (280 degrees C) which can be a little alarming.
Once the pewter has cooled the casting is removed from the mould. I usually take two or three castings and choose the best for the master. You can see the casting in situ here, the 'head' of metal in the mould provides pressure to force the molten pewter into the mould.
I have just poured the second half of the figure and parts moulds. These will be cast on Monday but in the meantime I shall be working on the wing - time to bring out the big files. Have a good weekend everyone.
January 1st 2018
Happy New Year to one and all! I have a lot planned for this year and have spent a lot of the Christmas break on my PC designing new projects for 3D printing. Our regular customers will have already had a heads up on the Gladiator we plan to release this year. Progress is good with all the files loaded on the 3D printer I hope to have the printing finished in the next 10 days. Here is a render of the 3D computer model to whet your appetite.
Of course being 1/48 scale I have been able to go to town on the Bristol Mercury engine so here is a rendered image of that too. The finished engine has a diameter of about 1 inch (25 mm) so should look very impressive.
I have been working on several other projects as well and here is a teaser image of one of them. This is a screen shot of a project I have completed the 3D modelling for and now have to 3D print.
You can find another teaser image on my tank blog. I have been very busy and hope to release some real classics this year as well as start a whole new project for which I may need a little help but more on that later.