Mick Allen & Son Aircraft Resprays have been delighted to work on one of the most noteworthy restorations of recent times............


Kennet Aviation’s unique newly restored

Seafire Mk.XVII SX336/G-KASX

This particular restoration project has had a very long gestation period, beginning with the rediscovery of the wreck of SX336 and sister ship SX300 in the scrapyard of Joseph Brierley & Son in Warrington Lancashire in 1973, and hopefully ending in the next few weeks when this spectacular aircraft takes to the air again for the first time since 1954.

When delivered to Turweston the aircraft had already been etch and epoxy primed during the restoration

Safe inside after unloading

Masked ready for priming

To remove any possible surface contamination the first job to be tackled was to thoroughly de-grease the entire airframe, which afterwards was painstakingly rubbed down. With this completed etch primer was applied where necessary, followed by a further full coat of epoxy primer. Early on, well before painting, some discussion had taken place regarding what type of finishing coat to apply to the Seafire. When it was originally rolled out of Westland’s Yeovil factory in 1946 the aircraft would have had a matt paint finish, but this is notoriously difficult to keep clean, particularly of oil and exhaust stains. A glossy finish would be very desirable from the 'ease of maintenance' point of view and attractive to the eye, but unfortunately unauthentic. It was decided therefore that the best compromise would be a semi-gloss finish, relatively easy to keep clean whilst retaining the correct period appearance; P-51 Mustang “Ferocious Frankie” had this type of finish applied by Mick in 2002 and still looks good four years later, as any recent visitor to Duxford will testify.

The help of well-known Spitfire guru Steve Atkin was enlisted by Kennet to ensure that the aircraft would carry authentic markings, and he spent many hours preparing drawings and artwork to help Mick to apply roundels, serials and stencils in their correct positions.

Local graphics expert David Hedges turned the artwork into masks that Mick, with Steve’s guidance, used to ensure the authentic markings were applied in the appropriate places.

When, on the evening of the penultimate day, the aircraft was finally fully de-masked at Turweston for the first time, even those intimately involved in the process were stunned by the finished article. Note that the wing tips were generally kept in their folded position in and around the paint shop to facilitate handing, and that the undercarriage fairings and rudder were sprayed and shipped separately to avoid damage occurring in transit. 

Kennet’s team arrived at Turweston on the scheduled completion day, Friday 17th March, to make the final preparation for transport. There was some trepidation amongst Mick’s team as it would be the first time that the wings had been raised into the folded position since delivery to Turweston some weeks earlier, and any inconsistency in the application of the under wing markings would be immediately and painfully apparent.



However all was well and the painted aircraft with the wings folded loaded on to the transporter made a spectacular sight, and must have caused many a near accident during transit on the motorways between Turweston and North Weald!

The aircraft was rolled out by Westland on 30 April 1946 and signed over to the Fleet Air Arm on 3rd May, so will shortly celebrate its sixtieth birthday; it is hoped that it will have made its first post-restoration flight by then, and no doubt will go on to be a sensation when it appears on the Airshow circuit later in the year.

© All photos on this page taken by, and copyright of, Roger Syratt 2006