The numbering shall continue until morale improves!

The massive task of numbering of parts and components continues. First a Bill of Materials (BOM) extract was made of the completed model and imported into a spreadsheet. There we could apply part numbers to all the components. This consists of:

  • 1182 Components (excluding fasteners) – so all physical bits and bobs that make up the Spitfire without counting nuts and bolts,
  • 729 Fasteners (the nuts and bolts)

The process of numbering the model itself is tedious. Each component’s Property Box needs to be opened and the Part Number inserted. Comments such as the material, say “Plywood 21mm” are typed into the description.

Screenshot of the numbering in progress

All the Components also have an Assembly Number which is hierarchical and shows where the Component fits in the bigger scheme of things. These were added to the model as a first step in order to be able to identify the various Components in the BOM.

The HFS Spitfire MkIX high level Assembly Numbers

In the meantime, we have also completed all the wood designs and drawings. This includes the cutting patterns for all the plywood components which we have sent to our local friendly CNC routing shop for a quote. They consist of the following 2240x1220mm sheets:

  • 21mm Plywood: 4 Sheets
  • 15mm Plywood: 1 Sheet
  • 12mm Plywood: 1 Sheet
  • 9mm Plywood: 2 Sheets
  • 6mm Plywood: 4 Sheets

There are a further 4 fabrication drawings for the balance of the wooden components.

Things are tapering down now for the festive season so we probably wont have an idea of prices for the wood routing before next year but let’s see. In the meantime, we number on regardless!

First (F)light

There is a measure of enlightenment bestowed upon pilots. Flying provides a different perspective on the world. It is a something difficult to describe. Fortunately, once in a while, the talents of wonderful writers such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Bach and other gifted individuals provide us with the words we seek.

Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum was one such individual. Sadly he passed away in July of this year at the age of 96. He left us a beautiful gift by recording some of his experiences in his marvellous book; First Light.

Here I quote from it. He describes having taken off in his Spitfire for the first time in May 1940, at the ripe old age of 19 years:

“Levelling off, we settle down and things begin to sort themselves out. Possibly I’m just beginning to get the feel of this beast. It’s about time we turned back to the vicinity of the airfield and almost before I realise it my thoughts have been transmitted to my hands and feet and we are turning, a slow and slow and easy turn, the long nose appearing to sweep round the horizon in front of me.

The Spit is beginning to feel like a friendly aeroplane. The cockpit is snug and has a homely feeling. There is a sensation of being part and parcel of the aircraft, as one. This is turning out to be a magnificent machine.

Elation! We sweep effortlessly about the sky, upwards between two towering masses of cumulus cloud and through a hole like the mouth of a cave beyond which lies a valley leading into clear sky. We climb up to the very top of the clouds which stretch away on all sides and I revel in the sheer beauty of the scene around me. Indeed, the very shape of the Spitfire wing is a thing of grace and form. I marvel at its ability to keep the machine in the air. Curved leading and trailing edges, not a straight line anywhere, it’s beautiful.

Looking out of the tiny cockpit as we flow about the cloud dappled sky I experience an exhilaration that I cannot recall ever having felt before.”

Geoffrey Wellum – First Light

Geoffrey Wellum’s book is a must read for anyone with an interest in beautiful prose, the Spitfire and flying.

Flight Lieutenant Brian Kingcome (left), commanding officer of No. 92 Squadron Royal Air Force and his wingman, Flying Officer Geoffrey Wellum, next to a Supermarine Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill, Kent, 1941 (From and IWM, Public Domain)