Dick Sarpolus' British Supermarine Spitfire
Those of us who enjoy making model airplanes from plans know about the building and flying fun we get from sheet-foam, profile airframes — low cost, easy builds, good performance, and not just another airplane like everyone else’s.
Sure, plan building takes more time and effort than assembling an ARF, but building an airframe isn’t for everyone. That’s precisely why you ought to try it. You can read the entire build process in the Winter 2012 issue of Park Pilot.
I think that most World War II warbird enthusiasts would agree that the British Supermarine Spitfire is one of the cleanest, most graceful and pleasing-to-the-eye fighter designs of the period. This same appealing design also made the “Spit” one of the most successful World War II fighters. I’ve admired the Spitfire for years, but never built one because of the work involved to get that elliptical wing shape modeled correctly.
These days, working with foamie electrics and designing fun-scale projects, I figured that the elliptical planform could be approximated by using a straight tapered wing core, curving the ends of the strip ailerons and sanding the wing tip areas to a reasonably good-looking shape.
There were plenty of Spitfire design variations built, but I’ve always preferred the bubble-canopy versions, Mk. XVI and later, with the clipped wingtips. That’s what this model replicates.
Dick’s Spitfire was sprayed with water-based craft paint. Scalelike panel lines were added with a black marker. Paint scheme and squadron markings are left up to the builder, often differing from one specific aircraft to another.
Every Spitfire is a thing of beauty. Dick prefers the later marks with the bubble canopy.
Dick Sarpolus took a break from flying for this photo of himself with his latest flat-foam creation.
My Spitfire carries a BP Hobbies 2212-13 brushless outrunner motor, a BP 18A ESC, GWS 9 x 5 propeller and a 3S 1800mAh LiPo battery. The Spitfire is easily launched with an underhand toss at full throttle, and will jump right out of your hand and into the sky.
My new Spitfire is far from being an accurate, super-detailed scale project. You might even call it “cartoon scale,” but no matter how you describe it, it won’t get you into the Top Gun Invitational or the U.S. Scale Masters. What it will do is provide you with plenty of low-cost flying fun, and prove beyond any doubt that this airplane stuff is all about fun.