Super Detailed FT Spitfire - Project

by JamesWhomsley | January 31, 2014 | (21 Ratings) Posted in Projects

The Supermarine Spitfire is an iconic aircraft. I've been meaning to build the FT Spitfire for a while now, but I wanted to make it extra special - to do the Flite Test design the justice it deserves. I'm into foam board as a material to build aircraft, but I want to make the planes look fairly realistic up close, so thats is what I tried to do here. 

The Build:

So the first step was to build the wings, but you've all seen this before. I continued with the fuselarge and powerpod.

This canopy is off my old Parkzone Spitfire Mk II which was never really a success. I thought it would an ideal adition to this aircraft.

I found I needed to move some bulkheads arround to accommodate the canopy. 

And here is the fun bit: making the bits and peices to go inside the cockpit, the seat, instrument pannel and oxygen canisters (made of pencils) is very satisfying. All of these bits are just foam board shapes (apart from a few odd square things in the rear to hold extra details).

Now time for some seat belts - We don't want our brave pilot flying out when we go inverted or pull some negative G maneuvers. I used some fabric that I found lying arround, then cut it to size and passed it through a plastic square with holes on glued to the back. This is how the real thing looked too (with a little artistic licence).

Shiny new electronics:

A really high quality peice of kit.

The servo instilation was very easy. Just the Flitetest recomended Hextronic Servo's from Hobbyking.

 The fuselarge is joined to the wings including the adition of some curvy peices of card, called wing fillers, to reprisent the curves on the real aircraft. This means the wing is non removable.

And another angle.

Front 'turtle deck' in place. I decided to fit just a simple one peice section different to the plans because I thought it was more acurate to the shape of the real nose. However, later on, I did convert it to be more like the FT design due to the spinner's fiting. 

Some more detailing - the radio wire mast.

...And the little thing on the tail for attaching the wire later. 

The rear turtledeck was attatched. Looking sleak.

And now for the cockpit sides. I just used the same card that I used for the turtledecks.

I had to do a bit of patchworking to get it to fit just right.

I cut out some paper shapes to add to the ailerons in order to make them look like they are made from canvas covered wood. The paper gives some 3d definition.  

I made a tail wheel from some balsa, wire, and a small foam tire wheel.

There are even some balsa sticks to reprisent trimming rods in the canvas control surfaces. I also added exaust stacks.

I had to add paper over the tape that holds the turtle decks on so as paint on top of it will not all come off.

I painted it in Battle of Britain green and brown Camo. I just used normal rattle cans and masking tape. I then added a gloss varnish for a simple shinny finish. 

I also painted the early Spitfire and Hurricane black and white underside in the hope it would both look interesting and unique, whilst it would help with orientation. I have always loved this early spitfire look.

I did some detailing with the paints, such as exaust smoke stains.

I painted up the cockpit.

The Maiden Flight

The first test flight went well. No damage on landing. Unfortunatly there are no in flight images as no one was with me on the first flight. However, I did manage to get some from the second flight a few days ago, even though it was extremly cold, the oposite of the last flight. 

http://instagram.com/james_whom/

The characteristics are perfect. It feels like I'm flying a real spitfire (or at least how I imagine it would be like anyway). I found the NTM motor to be slightly underpowered, so I have now swapped it for a larger Turnegy one.

Here are the maiden flight photos:

Quite a nice location for it.

Here are photos of the Spitfire in flight.

Modifications

Since the first flight, I have further detailed the Spitfire with simple decals printed off the printer. You can see here the motor is too far forward, sticking out of the plane, so I will need to fix that sometime soon for the asthetics.

Here is to many more successful flights with my new warbird! 

 

I would like to thank FliteTest, and David Windestål in particular for desgning this aircraft. Thank you for coming up with such an fantastic model of an equally fantastic full size warbird. It is amazing what you can do with a bit of foam board and some paint.

Check out my Youtube Channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPCw5ycqW0fme1BdvNqOxbw


COMMENTS

dav on February 23, 2015
Very nicely done
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Flyingninja on February 5, 2015
So great! I Love the detail.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
Cheers bro!
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meljr on February 6, 2015
Looks great
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Desert Wings on February 5, 2015
Very good job. I love the wing fillets. and cockpit details. Both accomplished with very little weight penalty.
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Thurnes on February 6, 2015
Very nice work!

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scottie on February 7, 2015
Nice James.your bird is looking very nice ;-)
Cheers
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JamesWhomsley on February 7, 2015
Thanks Scottie!
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makinger on February 6, 2015
Great job! You briefly mention a power setup switch. What was the motor you found under powered and what did you go with instead?
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JamesWhomsley on February 7, 2015
I found the 'standard issue' FT recommended NTM prop drive motor to be too underpowered, so I replaced it with a turnigy D2836/8 1100KV. You can cruise at 1/4 throttle.
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makinger on February 9, 2015
Awesome! I see further down that the prop is a 10x6. How about speed controller and battery? Was going with a 25A ESC and 1800mAh S3. You about the same? The spinner looks mean :)
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JamesWhomsley on February 9, 2015
Yeah I am running a 25A with a 3S 2200. It might be a bit small for the motor, but if it burns out I will replace it with a 40A or something. I highly recommend getting a spinner! I think it's 2.5" :)
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JamesWhomsley on February 9, 2015
Oh yeah and I may have to replace the prop with a 7x6 soon as the motor mount keeps braking on landing when the prop strikes the ground :(
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dharkless on February 9, 2015
You might try adding landing skids made from flag wire. They are detailed in my article "One Sheet No Waste Twin Tail Boom #3 Build". With the low wing you might be able to get enough height to clear the prop. You will lose a lot of power with the smaller prop unless you go up significantly in kv rating. The 7X6 will push half as much air as the 10X6. You probably need 2000kv or higher. I have used a 2826-6 2200 on an 80" flying wing, also on a 60" trainer. It is very zippy. The motor is rated at 342 watts with thrust of 960 g. Prop recommendation is 7X3. I have used a 7X3.8 on my 60" trainer with good results.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
I don't think I will be adding any kind of landing gear but thanks for the suggestion! I may experiment with various prop sizes and also try reinforcing the powerpod. The firewall is pretty weak at the moment. I will see how the power varies and let you know. :)
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Jaxx on February 7, 2015
Nice job. What size is that prop?
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JamesWhomsley on February 8, 2015
10x6 :)
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Jaxx on February 8, 2015
Thanks!
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JamesWhomsley on February 9, 2015
No worries man :)
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GBDIVER on February 9, 2015
Great job! I really liked you ideas for added detail. Looking forward to seeing more of your builds.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
Thank you! That means a lot. You will be pleased to hear that I have quite a few that I'm working on, including a swappable DeHaviland Vampire and a 200% Scout. :)
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dharkless on February 9, 2015
Very nicely done. I especially like the gloss finish over the paint. I am sure that helps with waterproofing as well as appearance. The aileron detail is nice as well.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
Thank you! Yes it does help with the waterproofing. I need to put another coat on to protect the decals :)
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808aerosquadron on February 9, 2015
Beautiful work. I especially like the pre-war FFI black and white underside, which you rarely see. Really well done.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
Thanks! Yeah I thought it looked quite original on an FT Spitfire. It really helps with orientation.
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Yogenh on February 5, 2015
I like what you have done. You did a great job on it.
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
Thanks, means a lot :)

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spastickitten on February 5, 2015
Cool! I might use some these techniques myself, thanks!
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JamesWhomsley on February 10, 2015
No problem!

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ray574 on February 11, 2015
You've done an excellent job, looks quite scale.
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JamesWhomsley on February 13, 2015
Thanks! That is what I was aiming for! :)
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Alalaheyoo on March 5, 2015
BRAVO!!!
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Gryf on June 23, 2015
I really like it! The canopy is pretty much an essential addition, in my opinion. I flew my FT Spitfire without a canopy rather than trying to fake one. Yours looks great! And as for firewalls, I eventually went to 1/4" ply after cracking a few of the thinner ones. It looks a little chunky, but I know I'm never going to break one! Cheers, Gryf
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Damig on July 21, 2015
P.S. and Yes, the tea is very tasty too.....
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Damig on July 21, 2015
Hello James, Very nicely done!! And I thank you for showing that with a little skill, imagination and patience these park flyers are really a work of art!! Thanks for great ideas and techniques! I have found Iced Tea in plastic container that looks just like....... A Spitfire Canopy!!
Cheers,
=damig=
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bastelandi on October 25, 2015
Hello James, a very good job! I want to build such detailed version for my own. What is the basic for your model? Did you use a speed build kit from FT or cut out from a printed plan?
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Rex227c on July 29, 2016
I am looking for some plans because I want to do this to my spitfire.I recently bought retracts and I would like for it to have alot more realism since this might be in a airshow I would like all the mods I can get.Please help me .Thank you

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