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Readers’ Gallery: Mike Grant’s Gavia 1/48 Bristol Scout C.

Forum member Mike Grant (Migrant) sent this wonderful Readers’ Gallery submission, which includes some great insight into his technique for translucent fabric on wings.

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This was the first Gavia kit I’d built and I must say I was impressed- very fine mouldings, sharp trailing edges on the wings and nice decals. Gavia are actually part of the Eduard stable and the quality is similar, without the photo-etch and paint masks.

The build was a platform for experimentation- I wanted to simulate the translucency of the fabric covering from both above and below, a technique I later used on an Airco DH2. On the top surfaces I tried to suggest a shadow either side of the ribs, and to do this I created decals designed to fit exactly over the wing/tailplane surfaces, and printed on my ALPS printer (although an inkjet printer would work just as well).

Once applied using copious amounts of setting solution I sprayed several light coats of clear-doped linen acrylic over the decalled areas until I achieved the subtlety I was aiming for.

The underside of the upper wing was even simpler. I applied copies of the upper surface decals (just the red ring, actually) and again sprayed the linen colour in several passes until the roundel was only just visible. I also darkened the ribs slightly. In certain lighting the trompe l’oeil effect is quite convincing. Strictly speaking I suspect that the white portion of the roundel should show up as a darker area below the wing (because the light’s not passing through it) but in this case I think perception looks better than reality. I should also have probably included a suggestion of aileron cables etc that would have been faintly visible through the translucent fabric, something I incorporated into the later DH2 model.

The model was rigged using fishing line coloured with a black marker before being glued into pre-drilled holes. It’s the first time I’ve used this method for rigging, and it offers several advantages over my usual stretched sprue method, not the least being the additional rigidity it gives to the completed model. Some of the shorter cables were reproduced using stretched sprue. Laminations on the prop were made with strips of painted decal film, and the windscreen is cut from acetate.

Gavia’s Scout is a simple kit and would make an ideal first biplane – single bay, simple rigging and a simple paint scheme.

You can visit Mike and see all he has to offer by going to his website!