Hobbycraft 1/32 Spad XIII International
A multi-part Online build
Model, Text and Photos by: Ken Zelnick
Before closing the fuselage, make sure to install the compass and throttle quadrant on the port (left) side of the fuselage.
The seat assembly fit nicely in place because I had shortened the seat back and control stick earlier, and the fuselage halves went together with no problems. Before installing the instrument deck, I attached harness belts to the bottom of the rear portion so they could be brought up from the back and drape over the seat back. After installing the deck, I tacked the belts to the seat with a drop of CA. The top portion of the fuselage deck forward of the cockpit is molded as a separate piece, and attached nicely as well. No putty was necessary so far. In sanding down the seams I managed to remove some stringer detail aft of the cockpit. I decided to replace the stringer that runs down the center, right where the seam is. To do this, I used a #11 X-acto blade held vertically and scraped it sideways down the seam, guided by a steel straightedge. This left a groove into which I glued some stretched sprue, again using CA. I filled in on each side of the sprue with some Squadron white putty, then sanded the whole affair. This took a few attempts to get a nice smooth effect, but it turned out quite well. I now turned my attention to the wingtips.
The Wings, and the Rest of the Fuselage
The wings gave me the most trouble up to this point. The wings supplied with the kit are of the later square-tipped variety, while the decal schemes are for earlier planes that had rounded tips. If the wings had been a little longer, it would have been fairly simple to just round them off. As it is, I had to add to the span. Here I had two options: cut off the tapered tips of the wings and replace them with plastic (or other material) of the same thickness, or build up some new tips from thinner plastic sheet. Since I didn't have any plastic thick enough to make new wing tips, I went with the second option. I started by cutting the inside edge of some oversized plastic card in the approximate shape of the existing wing tip and gluing it to the underside of the wing. This plastic card extended beyond the wing tip far enough for me to file, sand, and otherwise shape it correctly. Once this was set, I repeated the process, adding layers on top of the lower ones until the desired thickness was attained. I then alternately filed, sanded, and filled until the desired shape and airfoil was obtained. Once shaped, I primed it with gray enamel to approximate the color of the plastic used in the kit.
I loosened the ailerons by cutting the inner slot with a razor saw, then repeatedly scoring the both top and bottom of the wing along the hinge joint with the tip of a #11 X-acto blade, running it backwards (dull side down) along the wing. This thinned the plastic to the point that I could reposition the ailerons without removing them completely from the wing. After repositioning, I reinforced the hinge joint with some CA.
The lower wing is molded as a unit with the fuel tank portion of the fuselage. This fits well in place, but I noticed a step between the fuel tank and the rest of the fuselage bottom, so I added a thin shim of sheet styrene around the joint location to bring this more into alignment. 0.005 or 0.010 plastic card should be sufficient. I used a scrap piece, so I'm not sure of the thickness I used. There is another piece of fuselage to be attached forward of the lower wing, as well. The front portion of the fuselage is thus made up of three pieces, and they did not form a completely flat surface to mate to the engine cowl. However, a light application of some sandpaper brought them into alignment. Before attaching the cowl, I painted the radiator screen with a mixture of Testors Modelmaster Gunmetal and Testors Gray, and the louvers with Testors Steel. I painted the prop with Testors Modelmaster Wood, highlighted with Tamiya Acrylic Brown to simulate wood grain. The prop boss consists of a disk with holes in it, so I added bolts made of short pieces of stretched sprue, then painted the boss and bolts with Testors Steel. For the sticklers out there, sanding the sprue to a hexagonal shape before stretching will result in a hex shape after stretching. My fingers weren't steady enough for this option, so my bolts are all rounded off, just like those on my other home projects. Sure there are ready-made nuts and bolts, but what's the fun in that? After attaching the prop to the cowl, the assembly was ready for gluing to the front of the fuselage. The teardrop valve covers glued onto the indicated areas with no problems.
I used the same technique on the elevator joint that I used on the ailerons, scoring the joint top and bottom with the point of an X-acto knife, repositioning, then reinforcing with CA. There was a small gap between the forward edge of the elevator and the aft edge of the stringer deck, which was easily filled with Squadron White putty. I added the vertical stabilizer / rudder without repositioning, since the rudder pedals were centered in the cockpit. At this point, the fuselage/lower wing assembly was ready for some paint.
On to Part 3
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