Hobbycraft 1/32 Spad XIII International
A multi-part Online build
Part 3 - Final
Model, Text and Photos by: Ken Zelnick
I used a selection of Delta Ceramcoat acrylic finishes thinned with Future floor finish for the five-color camo scheme of Baracca's mount. Using Territorial Beige, Straw, Light Foliage Green, Dark Jungle Green, Brown Oxide (by Plaid, not Ceramcoat), Black, and White, I mixed and remixed until I got colors I thought should be close. It should be noted that these colors darken considerably when they dry, so I had to paint a test patch and let it dry before deciding if the color was satisfactory. I used the paint scheme provided on the back of the box, and started with the lightest colors. These acrylics dry to a matte finish even when thinned with Future, so after they dried, I applied several coats of Future to achieve the desired amount of gloss.
I used the decals supplied with the kit, and as I wasn't sure if they were opaque enough to hide the camo scheme underneath, I put down white circles where the roundels were to go. As it turned out, the decals are strong and very opaque, so I don't think the white was necessary. After applying the decals, I went over the whole model again with another coat of Future to seal them in.
I was now ready to put on the top wing. I first made sure I had added all the bits and pieces that go under the top wing, such as the exhaust pipes, machine guns and windscreen. The kit comes with two different windscreens, so I selected the one that most closely matched the photos I had. I also used the kit-supplied machine guns, painted with Testors Model Master Gunmetal. I mixed several Testors colors together for the exhaust pipes. The exact mixture escapes me, but I know it included Steel, Rust, and Gunmetal.
I installed the cabane and inner set of interplane struts first, and let them set. The interplane struts are quite thin and fragile, and I managed to invoke Murphy's Law of Selective Gravitation (A dropped tool will land where it can do the most damage) by dropping something on one of them and breaking it. It took some careful gluing to return it to serviceable condition, and even then was quite flimsy. I decided to install the rigging around the interplane struts and the forward-to-aft rigging inside the inside interplane H's, as these would be very difficult to reach after adding the top wing. I then attached the top wing to the cabane struts, and at that point found that they were not attached at quite the right angle, as the wing didn't line up with the interplane struts. A little bit of pressure to the wing moved the assembly into the proper position, and I was able to complete attachment of the inner interplane struts. I checked alignment all around, and let the assembly dry.
The outer interplane struts are, as noted in the instructions, too long, and must be trimmed to length. I cut a little from each end, check for fit, and repeated until the proper length was achieved. I then applied glue to the locating holes and popped them into place. The aileron activating rods need to be trimmed to length so they mate up with the crank on the lower wing. The kit does not supply the pivot rods for the cranks, so I scratched them from some stretched sprue. I painted all these pieces with Testors Steel.
Once all this was dry, I flipped it over and installed the undercarriage. There were no surprises here, and it aligned well with a minimum of fiddling.
A rigging diagram is included with the kit, eliminating a lot of guesswork on my part. I used beading wire for the rigging, which I measured at 0.009 inch, for a scale diameter of approximately ¼ inch. To tone down the shine of the wire, I stroked it a few times with sandpaper, but after installing some pieces, I decided it needed to be dulled down some more. About this time I got lazy, and decided to leave it as is. I measured the rigging lengths with a pair of dividers, cut the wire a little long, then trimmed to fit. I attached it with white glue. While not really functional, I did notice that the rigging stiffened up the top wing quite a bit.
This is a fun kit! It goes together well, and will support as much super-detailing as you wish to include, or can be built straight out of the box and still look like a SPAD. The only real deficiency I noted was that the wings should be of the earlier rounded tips instead of the later square ones, but where I live, nobody would know. Have fun!
SPAD Fighters in Action By John F. Connors Squadron/Signal Publications
Windsock Datafile #32 By J. M. Bruce Albatros Publications
Memorial Flight Association Web Site
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