Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus: Whale-Spotting in the Southern Ocean – Part 2

At the end of my previous post in this build log, I’d got together most of the modifications necessary to make my model of the whaling Walrus “Boojum”, which flew in the Southern Ocean during the 1946-7 whaling season.

The next task was to make preparations for all the rigging wires that need to be added to this biplane. First up was rigging the struts above and below the engine nacelle, the assembly of which is complicated by the fact that the Revell instructions show a part going into place the wrong way around. Here’s a comparison of the original Matchbox instructions for this kit with the instruction sheet provided by Revell:

Matchbox & Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus assembly instructions compared
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Part 14 is reversed, and dry fitting shows that Revell got it wrong. I also needed to drill a hole in the front of the nacelle—another part of the kit in which an opening is modelled as a blank flat surface.

Then I started running monofilament nylon between the struts in a cross-wise bracing pattern. A look at close-up photographs of displayed aircraft suggests that the bracing wires for the lower struts were attached to the struts themselves, rather than running between the fuselage and the nacelle, so I hooked by monofilament through little blobs of cyanoacrylate glue on the locating lugs of the struts. The upper rigging attached to the centre section of the upper wing, so I drilled holes and pulled my monofilament through. There’s not much room for manoeuvre in the cramped space between the nacelle and the underside of the centre section, so I pulled the monofilament through before cementing the underside part to the upper struts. Here’s the whole assembly just after that stage:

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus nacelle rigging
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(The bits of tape on the lower struts are holding them in very slight compression, so that their lugs align precisely with the locating slots in the fuselage. That way I can make a final assembly without any of my rigging going slack.)

The next step was to tighten all the monofilament and glue it down with cyanoacrylate in what will eventually be the hidden interior of the wing.

Meanwhile, I had a lot of holes to drill for the rigging wires that run between the upper and lower wings, and from the lower wings to the floats, as well as a couple of aerial wire supports in the upper wings.

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus wings drilled
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Then a coat of flat aluminium to the undersides, and trainer yellow to the upper surfaces, ready for decals.

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus yellow paint
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The upper part of the centre section is visible at top between the two pairs of wings. I’ve sanded off the rather unconvincing moulded version of the lifting sling provided in the kit—I’ll add that with stretched sprue at the same time as I add all the other ropes to the fuselage.

JBOT’s decals required a bit of attention, however, before applying. They provide a rather muddy green set of registration letters for the fuselage sides, but no large green letters for the upper wing. And the ornate script reading Ex S.S. Balaena on either side of the aircraft’s nose looks a lot like Ex F.F. Balarna instead. It’s probably too small for anyone to notice, but unfortunately I’ve noticed it. So I printed my own decals using a scanned image of the JBOT decals as my base, but brightening the green lettering, adding a set of green upper wing letters copied from the black underwing lettering, and co-opting the text from this image of G-AHFN, which is a much better match for the lettering that appears in photos of the real aircraft. I also did my own version of BOOJUM for the nose, since the JBOT decal sheet version looked a little ragged. Here’s my effort:

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus adapted JBOT decals
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And the markings in place on the wings:

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus wing decals
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The engine nacelle went on without difficult. By ignoring the error in Revell’s instructions, I ended up with the upper centre section correctly aligned with the fuselage, and the engine nacelle correctly (but disconcertingly) angled very slightly off -axis.

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus fuselage decals port
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Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus fuselage decals starboard
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Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus fuselage nacelle alignment
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You can see my little magnetic stand is doing its job, too.

And the markings on the nose turned out well:

Revell 1/72 Supermarine Walrus nose decals
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You can also see my little fairing in front of the observer’s window, which I fashioned from a bit of half-round styrene rod that last saw action as a stand-in for the service tunnels on the S-IC stage of my Revell Saturn V. The little silver rectangle represents the wing-folding instruction panel, which Revell for some reason moulds on the port side of the kit and not the starboard. You can also see the little red-and-white United Whalers flag beneath the cockpit side window. Unusually, the starboard flag is the mirror image of the port flag. (For its painted flags, United Whalers used a convention of “hoist towards the front” rather than “hoist towards the left”, as explained here.)

Next time, I’ll put the wings on and complete the rigging and detailing.

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