Detailing the Cockpit
I like to add a certain level of detail to my models, including the cockpit, wheel wells, and airframe. Here’s how I detailed the kit beyond the changes needed to convert the Mk XIV into a PR XIX.
- I started with the cockpit, deciding to make use of some of the kit parts, including the instrument panel bulkhead, the seat bulkhead and mount, the pilot’s head armour, the landing gear selector, and the rudder pedals and stick assembly. The seat bulkhead and armour pieces were thinned down.
- The KMC set provided the lower side panels, instrument panel, and the front bulkhead. The bare seat came from Hawkeye designs, one of Roy Sutherland’s sets; it’s a higher-backed seat that looks good in this late-model Spitfire. I thinned down the resin instrument panel and mounted it on the kit’s bulkhead piece.
The completed instrument panel. After painting the panel ‘scale black,’ I picked out the raised instrument details in white, added a few additional markings, added some touches of colour to match my references, and added drops of gloss clear acrylic paint to the instruments to replicate the dials. The compass is from the KMC set. The white rectangle is a piece of bare plastic, providing me with a good place to glue in the camera control box later. Obviously, there were no gun sights in PR Spitfires!
This shot shows the camera controls mounted in the cockpit, much later in construction.
- The rather plain seat included in the kit got a backing pad from plastic sheet, in black. The seat belts are paper strips with photoetched buckles; they replicate the quick-release type of harness. I thinned down some clear sprue and polished it, added fine solder wire for the hoses on each end, and painted on the mounting brackets. It mounts just above the point where the shoulder belts emerge from the armour plate. Since there is a pressure bulkhead at the rear of the cockpit (it’s the front piece of my camera assembly shown earlier), the shoulder harness ends in a diamond-shaped plate and wire that fits into a small hole in the bulkhead.
The completed seat assembly with armoured plate and fuselage frame no. 11. You can just see one end of the cockpit air dryer. This is a clear plastic container mounted on the PR XIX’s only, it holds desiccant to dry the cockpit air.
- On the cockpit sides, I used the lower sidewall pieces from the KMC set and plastic strip for the structural members. I remembered to add fuel control boxes for wing tanks, one on each side of the cockpit just below the windscreen. These boxes contained quantity and boost pressure gages for the leading-edge wing fuel tanks. They were mounted on the PR XIX, not the Mk XIV depicted by the kit.
Completed cockpit sidewalls. The oxygen hose on the right side is scratchbuilt, as is the throttle quadrant on the left side. The two identical fuel control boxes can be seen on each side of the cockpit, near the front. I painted the interior British Gray-green, put a light wash of dark gray into all the nooks and crannies, and drybrushed the edges of most everything with silver. I kept a light touch here, going for a worn but fairly clean appearance