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Jim Kiker

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About Jim Kiker

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    North Carolina, USA

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  1. Hi James, Sharp eyes you have there. I had a different picture of the vectral rings from a different filming model, then at the last changed to the one I posted. Wouldn't you know it- the piston assemblies are a bit different between the two movie models. In the other picture the pistons are in three sections. Who would have thought? :-) Good catch! Cheers, Jim
  2. Good evening all, At this stage the model is complete accept for the vectral rings and their maneuvering surfaces. The plan all along was to complete the T-bar structural pieces with a flat section at the very ends. I then bent that flat piece to match the curvature of the vectral ring, yielding four contact points for each ring. One thing I did not do well is work the stiff brass into a really snug fit on the outside of the rings; that came back to haunt me later. In any case, it became time to mount the rings and build the little “piston” sub-assemblies that sit on the rings at the end of each of the booms. I chose epoxy to provide some joint strength and to fill in gaps between the brass bits and the plastic rings. I mixed the epoxy and applied it to the underside of the struts’ ends, slid the rings in between the struts, and gently raised them into a vertical attitude and slid them into the bent strut ends. Here is the ring assembly in place. After the fact, I found that the epoxy did not “stick” so well to the rings; my assumption is that they were too smooth. But given that the rings were vacuformed and about .015” thick, there was not enough material there to do any significant sanding to rough up the mounting points. So it was Gorilla super glue to the rescue, and I’m hoping the finished pieces will be able to stand an occasional glancing blow. As shown in the picture above, the final task back here is to build “piston” sub-assemblies over the end of each strut. As you can see it consists of 10 pieces. The two vertical sides are cut from .015” sheet. The top cross bar is 3.32” rod and is glued into place first to give the sides something to hold on to. The sides are then glued in place. The main piece of the piston is 3/32” plastic tube and is added next. 1/16” rod makes the lower cross piece of the piston and is added next, and then the lower piece of the piston itself made with .060” (nearly 1/16”) half round stock is added to complete the insides of the assembly. On the outer sides of the assembly I have a strip of .030” x .030” stock to hide gaps at the bottom ends of the side pieces and lend a little support to the assembly. Finally I created a shape from .010” plastic sheet to somewhat match the look of the units found on the movie props. Here is a picture of a movie prop ( the one which was given to producer Alan Ladd) showing these rear piston assemblies for comparison. Given the half-studio scale I’m working in, I did have to simplify the assembly somewhat. Believe me, if I ever do something like this again, I will learn how to cast and reproduce bits like this in resin rather than building them up from individual, tiny pieces! So, I have now completed three of these piston sub-assemblies which means I only have five more to go. Then it is the last of the painting and a little pastels/weathering to indicate hard use. And then she will be done! Cheers, Jim
  3. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Hi Jun and Steve, Thanks Jun for the two pictures you posted showing the side oblique windows. Steve, thank you for the close-up shot; it's great to have a close-up of the window to get the shape right; much obliged! I'll take the opportunity to ask again about the under-wing camera pod; is it based on the small tank, the large tank, or perhaps both? I have seen a picture or two of Sea Furies other than WJ236 carrying a camera pod which looks like the smaller tank, but I'd like to get this detail as correct as possible. TIA, Jim
  4. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Hi all, Another reconnaissance-related question here. Does anyone have pictures showing the side oblique windows/camera installation? I have read that a side oblique camera could be mounted in the fuselage one either side just behind the wing trailing edge, but I have not found an image showing the window/camera in use. Thanks, Jim
  5. Airfix Sea Fury

    Hi Martian, Much appreciated; thanks! Cheers, Jim
  6. Gentlemen, Thank you very much for the words of encouragement, they are much appreciated! We are on the home stretch now, I have painted the insides of the vectral ring assemblies. They will be mounted at the ends of the struts and those little assemblies on each mounting will be added a piece at a time. Meantime, here are a few shots of the current state, something of a dress rehearsal before the final curtain rises. First, an overall shot showing the nose as finished and the top of almost the entire ship. I also wanted to checkout how the lighting looks, so here is a picture of the cockpit area taken in low light. And finally, here is a shot of the engines lit up; if you look carefully you can make out the dim lighting in the cockpit as well. Sorry chaps; the cockpit lights, especially the instrument panels, are quite dim and do not show up hardly at all here. In any case, there will be more to show when I have gotten the vectral rings mounted. That's all for now! Cheers, Jim
  7. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Re: WJ236 for Navy, Referring to the photo of WJ236 I posted earlier, I have been pawing over the kit sprues and looking at various builds and descriptions. I had thought that the underwing tanks were both the smaller 45 gallon type, including the camera pod. Airfix views the camera pod conversion to be from a large tank, which means that visually there is asymmetric loading of tanks- a small fuel tank under the left wing and a large camera pod/tank under the left. Have I figured this out correctly, or is the camera pod in the picture made out of a small tank? Thanks in advance for any light you can shed! Cheers, Jim
  8. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Navy, Thank you very much for the reply. I would agree to a lightened version of Sky, I think it would have to be lightened to give the result in the photo. A close Sky match would, I think, not show much contrast at all. I appreciate the information and look forward to more if you should run across it! Thanks, Jim
  9. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Hey Navy, Actually I have read that comment; perhaps I failed to write a precise question. It is clear from the photos that the underwing codes are not black, so that it a fact even though the comment uses words like "suggests..." The wording in the comment sounds to me like the author is not yet sure what color was used. Was it white? Was it pale grey? Was it a much-lightened shade of Sky? I am hoping that someone knows and has some documentation on what that color was. Unfortunately, I do not think Airfix know based on how their comment was worded. I am quite aware of how difficult it can be to pin down a detail like this, and if one does not know the answer it makes good corporate sense to be very careful in dealing with it in one's instructions. Thanks for the post! Cheers, Jim
  10. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    Hey Navy, Thanks for the information and the picture; I'm glad to know I'm not so foolish after all and I look forward to carrying on with my build. Cheers, Jim
  11. Ask all your Sea Fury questions here

    About the camera pod for WJ236 from the new Airfix kit... I am going to ask a foolish question. Here is a picture of WJ236 that got me going for a Sea Fury in the first place. I look at this picture as one not overly familiar with the Sea Fury, and I look at the parts in the kit for the underwing tanks and the bombs, and I get the idea that the larger 90 gallon tanks in the kit are/appear to be too large. I also think I remember reading somewhere that the bigger tanks were not used on operations much, mainly used for ferry flights. And so the foolish question: is it certain that this picture shows the big tanks, or the small ones? And either way, how do we know? Please do enlighten me, and thanks in advance for the help! Cheers, Jim P.S. I have also read recently that the bombs in this picture are actually canisters for dropping leaflets, based I presume on the raised line on the right-hand bomb that looks a bit like the raised lip where the top and bottom half of the device mate up. Same question- how do we know it's a canister and not a bomb? Bonus points for this one! :-) P.P.S. Ok, last one- what color are the underwing codes, and what is the answer based on? I have asked this one before but no one seems to know...
  12. Spitfire PR Mk.IV Trop (BS491) questions

    Hi Warhawk, Regarding your first question, much of the cockpit would remain the same. Exceptions include a small panel on each side of the cockpit with two instruments; these are a fuel gauge and tank pressure, I believe, for the wing tanks that take up the leading edge of the wings back to the main spar. This is often referred to as the Bowser wing. As I am sure you know, there is no gun sight but it is replaced by the main camera control panel. Armor plate behind the seat and that upper piece behind the pilot's head and shoulders is problematic; some recce Spits retained that armor and some did not. Absent a picture of the cockpit of the specific aircraft you are doing, I would leave both in place. HTH, Jim
  13. Hi Tony, I am coming late to the party but I do have a question. At the beginning you mentioned that the cowling doors are a bit small. I am not entirely sure what pieces you are referencing; I presume the cylinder shaped halves between the front cowl ring to just in front of the exhausts. Is that correct? If so, could one add shims to the top and bottom edges of the fuselage pieces to bring the doors out flush? If not, would you educate me? I do not have the kit parts to look at just yet. Thanks in advance, Jim
  14. Good evening all, At this point the Y-wing’s nose section had been painted in the base pale gray color. Painting the yellow-gold “swooshes” and the canopy are next. Using my scale plans, I laid out the lines for the swooshes. I made several copies of these in case they were needed. My buddy Boz then laid out some 2” Tamiya tape on a cutting board. The swoosh shape was cut out, received some tacky glue, and was then pressed down onto the tape. The shape was cut into the tape by hand. Then we turned another swoosh upside down to get a mirror image and cut a new piece of tape, then repeated the process twice more. The result is a three-piece set of tapes for each swoosh, and enough repeats to do the top and bottom of the nose. All these pieces were cut a bit “long” to give some wiggle room; once the pieces were in place, the rest of the front end was taped off. With these fairly simple shapes, the swoosh masks could be cut by hand, albeit a professionally trained one (not mine!), but could have been passed to one of the professional masking makers out on the internet. I used a dark yellow shade of paint and laid on the swooshes. Shortly after paint application I carefully peeled off the masking to let the painted edges settle a bit; this helps keep me from having noticeable ridges of paint along the masked lines. Once the swooshes cured, I masked off around the canopy and covered the rest of the nose and painted the canopies, using a mixed shade similar to RAF Medium Sea Gray. Here is a look at the top of the nose with all this painting done. Now it is time to do some weathering. First up was to put an acrylic gloss clear coat over the solvent-based paints to seal the whole nose. Thanks to my deeply scribed panel lines and the dark-ish undercoat, the lines were visible but not as uniform as I prefer, so I mixed a wash of medium gray-blue using oil paint and naphtha (lighter fluid) and added that to all the panel lines in a pin wash. They actually look darker than I normally prefer (due to the depth of the scribing), but they fit into the Star Wars universe pretty well so that was good enough. Next I did some paint chipping. I used the pale gray base coat on the swooshes and a darker gray to do chips in the pale gray base color, all done by dry brushing. The torpedo blast tubes got a very thin coat of dark gray paint followed by some pastels. I later sprayed some clear gloss to seal that and added another layer of pastels in and sealed it again. I’m not entirely satisfied with them, but I do not want to get them overdone. Here is the lower nose after the first couple of weathering passes. And here is the top of the nose. I added pastels here and there around the nose to create smudging and some sort of dirty stains, trying to give the impression of dirt and gunk being blown back when the vehicle passes through atmosphere. The trick is to not be symmetrical; sort of a logical but abstract effect. Applying the pastels with a small, stiff brush I use for dry brushing gives very subtle effects even when I use straight black pastel. I added more small paint chipping on the left side of the nose. The canopies open up to the right, so the left side gets a lot of foot traffic resulting in more chipping and accumulation of dirt. Since the swooshes were fairly dark, I took some white pastel and brushed it over parts of the yellow to lighten it up a bit and blend them into the overall paint. Here is the bottom again... Finally, I applied some chipping along the bottom edges of the canopy, and used colored pencils to add wear to the canopies’ edges. I masked off the dividing point between the front windscreen and the two canopy sections and drew on the panel lines with a sharpened, soft leaded pencil. The canopies and the rest of the nose then got a clear flat acrylic finishing coat. Besides sealing everything in, that also flattened the metallic sheen of the pencil lines, turning them into normal-looking joint lines. Note that the finish is just a touch off of dead flat; once I got that done I really liked the look versus “dead flat” so I quit while I was ahead! And now the moment of truth was at hand. I peeled away the masking of the cockpit windows. To my relief and happiness, there was no hint of overspray having gotten into the cockpit during painting. There are a few spots on the outside of the canopy that need a bit of clean up where the masks did not stay quite snug on the surface, but that is not a big issue. Sierra Hotel! I'm getting towards the end of the journey now. The rear vectrals are assembled and will soon be mounted to the booms. There are lots of detail pieces to be made and added, but it's all straight forward. Onward! Cheers, Jim
  15. Hi all, It's time and past for another update to my Y-wing. I finished work on the nose section and glued the canopy in place. You may recall that I made a shallow raised lip around the cockpit. I chose to mix up some two part epoxy, spread it along the inside edge of the entire canopy, then gently set it into place and taped down the front and rear ends of the canopy. Almost no squeeze out occurred, and I think and hope I got a continuous seal all the way around the canopy. I used the tape lines I laid on the canopy earlier to add masking for the front, rear, and side windows as you can see below; this is the last time we will be able to see the crew very well. With all that done, I used clear cling-wrap and tape to mask off the rear of the model prior to painting; it saved a ton of time and masking tape and has served well through all the base color painting. First up was to paint the canopy with it's interior color and also put some primer on the nose. I chose a medium blue gray paint (same as one of the shades in the interior) to do both jobs at once. This revealed a number of small spots along the edges of the nose that needed more filling and sanding. This gets us to this point: Next, it was finally time for some base paint which I applied to the entire nose. As you can see, it's starting to look like the front end of a Y-wing! Next time we will continue with masking and spraying the Yellow "swooshes" and the canopy will get its main color coat. Stay tuned! Cheers, Jim
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