KMP Spitfire modifications
The Rudder was stripped and fabric covered, trim tabs cut in.The Split elevators were joined in the middle by a wooden dowel and a heavy duty control arm was used as the horn, actuated by a carbon fiber rod running down the middle of the fuselage.The rudder is pull-pull.A recessed Klett styled tail wheel, now Dubro, was added for better scale appearance.
Cowl modifications were necessitated from a combination of having a poor fit and my desire to fabricate a scale exhaust.After reading the threads and reconciling that I would have to add considerable weight to the nose, I used copper tubing and molded the exhaust stacks onto the copper tube creating a very convincing scale exhaust.I used the plastic exhaust supplied with the kit, even though it wasn’t the correct style for the MkXIV.I laid copper pipe inside the exhaust so it exited at the rear, then poured in high temp JB weld to encapsulate it.The engine is Satio’s .125.
Working from 3 view drawings from Squadron Publications, I learned that my Spitfire had Mk IX panel lines and the cowl was completely wrong. I fashioned the cowl so it could be removed in four pieces. The left and right panel did not match at all, not even close.I salvaged the top panel and re-configured it so it approximated what a Mk XIV was supposed to look like.It needed to be stiffened with a piece of square balsa stock.I fabricated the top and bottom to come together with a tongue and groove design, held together by the left and right cowl panel.
Since I was hacking up what I thought was a beautiful kit, I decided to go all the way and cut the canopy and take on the challenge of making the cockpit access door. I had planned to use BBI 1/6 scale British pilot anyway and what better way to show him off.A cockpit was scratch built using pictures.Since the aircraft wasn’t true-to-scale anyway,I made it look right. The charge jack and switch were moved inside to conceal it.
One wingtip was deformed, after several attempt of negotiating for new ones through two different people at KMP, both kind and considerate, my request always seemed to fall through the cracks. I fabricated new ones.As it turns out, the profile was off anyway; fixing it gave me an additional 3” to the wingspan.
Wheel wells were re-configured to accept Robart retracts, functional struts. A short while later, I learned that the spacing on the mains was wrong.A discovery made my placing the cannon blisters in a precise location.
The under-wing radiators were not very convincing.One has to wonder if you were going to take the time to make a fiberglass mold you would at least take the time to accurately scribe the panel lines and correctly mold the parts. After repairing the cracks from cutting out and handling these very brittle parts, I decided to line them with fiberglass for some extra strength. I cut out the front, recessed a 1/6 aluminum screen, opened the rear and hinged the back of the radiator so it works with the flap servo.It would be attached with screws in strategic locations.
Aileron hinging wasn’t very scale looking, since I’ve gone as far as I had and only this remained, I decided to use a technique I picked up from Dave Platt; Piano wire and hinge points made from G-10 epoxy-glass material.
The plywood wing bolt plate was unsightly enough to delete it, opting instead for several layers of fiberglass cloth.It was feathered in with a mixture of epoxy and micro-balloons and effectively deleted the center seam between the two wing half’s.
Considering the price of the kit and the amount of work I needed to do it for some semblance of pride, it’s not worth the money.Sorry KMP, you “screwed-the-pooch” on this one. I also noticed the spinner is thewrong shape; I guess they figured I wouldn't notice, soif the plane flies well I will make a new spinnerfabricate astatic five blade prop.