Tips on building a Supermarine Spitfire for a non-builder
Flush riveting is for outside surfaces and less wind drag. Donít
waste time or go to the trouble to dimple anywhere else.
In chapter one the manual show pics of the
top wing stub skins on ďtemporarily ďÖthat meant they didnít
have a photo handy at the time. Donít even mess with those top skins
until one of the final assemblies.
When you mount the landing gear cable
the inside of the fuse. The long end faces to the rear. In the most
The manual says to install the passenger
foot rest in the first chapter. Way before installing the landing gear
motors. Donít fall for that trick. Donít put those foot rest in
until AFTER the landing gear motors or you will have to drill them
Build the seat on the bench, and install
it as one assembly. Building it IN the plane DOESNíT work.
Plus, the front seat bulkhead position is not
clear in the manual. The bulkhead flange faces forward.
Before you mount that seat front bulkhead
to the fuse. Make the appropriate measurement for the joystick
installation. Use the actual joystick part, not the tape measure.
Install the windshield on the plane.
DONíT do this one on the bench and install. Make sure the feet on
the bottom of the windshield frame are up against the fuse BEFORE you
There are no instructions for installing
the gas struts on the landing gear. Good luck. Go to my web page and
look at the installation. (also look at #24)
Before you install the landing gear, get
the pin (The pin that holds the motor shaft to the arm) out of the gear motor sack. Fit that pin in the bellcrank
while its on the bench. Itís a bitch once its in the plane.
The pin should pull out freely by the emergency release spring)
If you choose to put anv lights on your
plane. Start planning to do the wiring before you get it all closed
you must drill your own valvestem hole in
There are doublers #223 and #270. two of
each. They double where the seat belt anchor goes. There are 4
locations and 4 doublers. This is not explained very well in manual.
My first thought was one inside and one outside on each side since I
didnít notice the rear seat belt anchor points. Keep in mind, at
this portion of the build, the anchor point is just some holes in the
fuse, and thereís holes everywhere. Its 4 doublers in 4 locations.
When trial fitting, its best to remove the
protective tape. Believe it or not, that tape is just thick enough to
mess up your measurements and the fit.
The gas cap bag has lots of extra parts
and covers. One is the gas cap as covered in the manual, the other is
for the cowling to access oil and or water, but thereís nothing in
the manual about that.
When you drill the stiffeners for the
wings, turtle deck, or whatever, make sure that you leave enough room
for your dimpling tool to fit.
Manual says to rivet in turtle deck in
chapter one. Donít do it. If you plan on running any kind of
electric items (lights) it needs to be done before you close up the
fuse. Plus if you rivet up the turtle deck before you install the
stab, you gonna really be pissed.
Chapter one says to install the rudder
cables. One of the last chapters says to hang 160lbs. On each of these
cables for one hour before installing. Supermarine says to not worry
about it and install them as is. You make the call.
There are half ribs between the leading
edge and the main spar that are not mentioned in the manual. There are
a few pictures of them here and there. Make sure you find these and
install them before you install the wing stiffeners.
Donít rivet the landing gear controls
inside the cockpit until you have the cables installed. You just cant
get to the bolts when its mounted.
The manual says to temporarily install the
top wing skins on the fuse. First off, I donít know for sure why you
even do that. Next time I wouldnít bother. The bottom breastplate
and main spar is what lines everything up to the bottom wingskins.
Then make everything else fit to these bottom skins. This is where I
got in trouble trying to make my leading edge line up using the top
Be prepared when you turn the fuse over it
will be top heavy. Have something ready to install on each end of the
main spar to hold it level. I used 1Ē square steel tubing.
You will have to split the flap motor
cases to turn the mounting hole 90 degrees.
Mount the gas shock bracket on the landing gear
BEFORE you install the gear.
Install the two anchor nuts on the wiper arm
(landing gear) on the bench before installing the landing gear.
Install the breakers on the bus and wires to
the breakers before installing wiring harness in the plane. Also
install all switches to harness before installing harness in plane.
My landing gear came with the struts
assembled, so I assumed they were assembled correct. Come to find out,
in the drawings book...not in the construction manual, there's a pic
of a maximum length of the landing gear leg fully extended. My landing
gear is too long and must be shortened. I didn't discover this until
another builder brought it to my attention. And I've already installed
my gear...completely. So now I'll have to go back and shorten them a
couple of inches.
It would have been pretty easy to put the
wing spar on the plane and make the aileron pushrod while it was all
out in the open. The manual never says when to build it. Nor does it
say the length it should be. Come to find out the length is on the
parts sheet, and it says to check that length on the plane before you
cut the rod.
Hindsight......If I had it
to do over again, I wouldnt rivit the sheet metal on the bottom of the
center section aft of the trailing edge of the wing. It would have
helped immensely in aligning up the flaps to the fuse.