Spitfire in my workshop. David Glen BSc (Hons) MSc: Model Maker, Journalist David Glen

Some expert help


Thursday, 20th July, 2017

By way of a break from work on the litho plate skin of the model, I took time off during the spring-summer period to consider how I might replicate the Spitfire’s Rotol airscrew.  My strategy was as before: to produce a wooden pattern from which to resin cast four identical blades. Yet the more I scrutinised the subtle geometry of the airscrew, the greater grew my doubts over my ability to copy it faithfully. I was not even certain that I fully understood the drawings!



As my thoughts turned to seeking help, I recalled an encounter some years previously with Colin Essex, a skilled carpenter and aviation enthusiast who has made a cottage industry out of carving beautiful airscrew replicas. Somewhere I had kept Colin’s card, and I set about hunting it out.



Three weeks later I met up with Colin once again at his stall at Shuttleworth’s early summer airshow, and I was there to collect my beautiful Rotol pattern and the set of drawings that I had sent him. Carved in straight grain walnut, it scales out at around a foot long and is a thing of great intrinsic beauty, well worth Colin’s modest fee, both in time saved and in the satisfaction of getting it right.



I have ordered the materials to do the casting, but set the job aside as something for the winter.



Anyone interested in seeing more of Colin’s varied work and aviation interests can access his website via my links page.


Back to Spitfire MkIX Diary

Colin Essex at his stand at Shuttleworth with the 1:5 scale Rotol propeller blade pattern that he made for me.
The drawing shows the pronounced twist in the angle of attack along the length of the blade – a challenge to get right unless you know exactly what you are doing.
It seemed a shame to cover up the beautiful straight grained walnut...
..but several spray coats of primer were needed prior to making the mould.
Spitfire in my Workshop Book Cover

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Spitfire in my Workshop

A detailed and step-by-step account of the construction of a museum model masterpiece.