Since the announcement of BoN two suggestions have occasionaly popped up in various threads which I thought I'd formalize with this thread, namely the modification options to have the 'c' wing armament and small rudder on the Spitfire IX.
The C Wing
In the lead up to D-Day the majority of Spitfire IXs had the standard 'c' wing armament of 2x20mm Hispano MkII cannon (120rpg) and 4x.303 Browning machine guns (350rpg).
According to the book '2nd Tactical Air Force vol.4' by Shores & Thomas only 135 Wing (84 Group) was equipped with the 'e' wing armament we currently have in-game during D-Day, with the rest of 84 Group converting later on in June and July. The same book also states that 125 Wing (83 Group) converted to the 'e' wing in mid-June but the rest of the Group would not "for some time".
I do not know what the story was for Spitfires within the ADGB.
As an aside, it might pay to consider having the 'e' wing armament as an option for the upcoming Spitfire XIV as they were in service by the time they joined the 2nd TAF in Europe later in '44.
The 'c' wing armament was lighter than that of the 'e' wing but was spread out further along the wing. The following weights are from the book 'Spitfire: The History' by Morgan and Shacklady, with the weight of the guns including "accessories".
2x20mm Hispano MkII cannon = 297.5lb
20mm ammo (120rpg) = 150lb
2x.50cal machine gun = 162.5lb
.50cal ammo (250rpg) = 150lb
4x.303 machine gun = 112.5lb
.303 ammo (350rpg) = 93lb
Use of the 'c' wing in-game would require some changes to appearance of the wings. I won't claim to know the first thing about how to model an aircraft for this sim but I feel, for what that's worth, that it is do-able (or at least I hope so ) as the cannon and .50cal fairings and barrels are modeled separately from the wings so could be moved without buggering the modeling of the wings.
- The cannon barrel and it's fairing would move inboard and forward, taking the location of the .50cal on the 'e' wing.
- The cannon faring is of a slimmer shape than the 'cigar' shape we currently have on the 'e' in-game, which appeared later in the war. Note that the cannons on the 'e' wing of this time had the same slim shape fairing as that of the 'c'.
- The bulge on the upper wing that covers the feed motor for the 20mm would also need to move inboard.
- The spot vacated by the 20mm cannon barrel/fairing would be replaced by the stub used by the .50cal, except it would have a plug in it.
- Using the modeling (and its skin components) of the interior of the .50cal fairing stub to model the muzzle appatures of the .303s,
suitably scaled down in size of course.
- Animations of spent cases ejecting from the bottom of the wings adjusted accordingly.
- In regards to the skin template the mapping of the fairings and the panel lines can stay the same. Some layers/folders can be turned on and off to adjust the visibility of the correct ejection chutes, muzzle stains and the shading of the cannon bulge on the upper wing surface depending on whether one is skinning a 'c' or 'e' wing.
In the detail pics below, note the shape of the cannon fairing and the location of the bulge on the upper wing surface.
The Small Rudder
The larger, pointed rudder that we currently have doesn't appeare to have become common on the Mk.IX until later on in '44, with the small rudder hanging around till war's end.
I don't know of hard data explaining how the two different rudders compare to each other in performance, anecdotaly the larger rudder (which also has a larger trim tab) had more authority at low speeds (e.g. during take-off/landing) and better aerodynamic balance (I'm paraphrasing Jeffrey Quill in regards to that last part).
As you can see the two rudders differ in size. The top could be cut down and perhaps the chord could be squished forward without also squishing the tab actuator? I believe the mapping of the rudder on the skin could handle that but might need to have options for the slot in which the tab actuator sits.