What a beautiful Masterpiece from a
very talented man!!!
Below are pictures of a scratch built 1/5th scale Supermarine Spitfire
MK 1 by an English model builder. It's hard to imagine such infinite
detail can be accomplished even with super human devotion and
dexterity. The pictures and accompanying text are by the model
maker, David Glen.
anyone asked me why I set out to build a Spitfire in one-fifth scale,
and detailed to the last rivet and fastener, I would probably be
hard-pushed for a practical or even sensible answer. Perhaps the
closest I can get is that since a small child I have been awe inspired
by R. J. Mitchellís elliptical winged masterpiece, and that to build a
small replica is the closest I will ever aspire to possession.
The job took me well over eleven years, during which there were times
I very nearly came to giving the project up for lost. The sheer amount
of work involved, countless hours, proved almost too much, were it not
for a serendipitous encounter at my flying club in Cambridge with Dr
Michael Fopp, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum in
Seeing the near complete fuselage, he urged me to go on and finish the
model, promising that he would put it on display. I was flabbergasted,
for when I started I had no inkling that my work would end up in a
position of honor in one of the worldís premier aviation museums.
As I write, the case for the model is being prepared, having been
specially commissioned by the museum with a case-maker in Sweden . I
have not yet seen it, but from what I hear, it is enormous!
In one respect the story has gone full circle, since it was at Hendon
where I started my research in earnest, sourcing Microfilm copies of
many original Supermarine drawings, without which such a detailed
build would not have been possible.
The model is skinned with litho plate over a balsa core and has been
left in bare metal at the suggestion of Michael Fopp, so that the
structure is seen to best advantage. The rivets are real and many are
pushed into drilled holes in the skin and underlying balsa, but many
more are actual mechanical fixings. I have no accurate count, but I
suspect that there are at least 19,000!
interior detail is built from a combination of Supermarine drawings
and workshop manuals, plus countless photographs of my own, many of
them taken opportunistically when I was a volunteer at the Duxford
Aviation Society based at Duxford Airfield, home of the incomparable
Imperial War Museum collection in Cambridgeshire, England. Spitfires,
in various marks are, dare I say, a common feature there!
degree of detail is probably obsessive: The needles of the dials in
the cockpit actually stand proud of the instrument faces, but you have
to look hard to see it!
Why the flat canopy? Well, the early Mk.Is had them, and I had no
means to blow a bubble hood, so it was convenient. Similarly the
covers over the wheels were another early feature and they saved me a
challenging task of replicating the wheel castings.
model has its mistakes, but Iíll leave the experts to spot them, as
they most certainly will, plus others I donít even know about. I donít
pretend the little Spitfire is perfect, but I do hope it has captured
something of the spirit and incomparable beauty of this magnificent
fighter Ė perhaps the closest to a union that art and technology have
ever come Ė a killing machine with lines that are almost sublime.
with the model now in its magnificent new home, what comes next?
Well, Iím planning a book that will have a lot to say about its
genesis and perhaps just a little about me and those dear to me,
including a long suffering but understanding and supportive wife. And
then thereís the MustangÖ Yes, a 1/5th scale P-51D is already taking
shape in my workshop. How long will it take? Iíve no idea, but what I
am sure of is that at my age (58) I canít expect to be building many
Dec. 06, 2006