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Navy Bird

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Everything posted by Navy Bird

  1. I've long wanted an F-111B for my US Navy collection, and pretty much the only way to get one is a conversion of either the F-111C or F-111G (FB-111A) kit. As I work in the only scale that matters, it's a Hasegawa kit that will do the honours. Luckily, Britmodeller scheduled a Group Build for the F-111, and this provided the KUTA needed for me to start work on this project. Unfortunately, life intervened (again!) and I will not be able to finish the build in time. Therefore, I will continue it here. But first, you simply must read what was accomplished during the F-111 Group Build. Why? Because I'm not going to repeat it all here, and I think a lot of the research information is especially interesting. There are a huge number of detail differences between the different F-111B prototypes and pre-production ships. So here is Part 1 of my build. Go ahead and read it, taking your time to learn as much as you can about this oft-maligned bird. I'll wait until you've finished. Back so soon? My, you're quite the speed reader. Well then, let's carry on! F-111B 151972, the subject of my build, had what is known as a "translating cowl" intake. Rather than have suck-in doors that are either manually operated or powered, the front portion of the cowling slid forward to open up a "slot" that provided the same benefit. This photo shows the intake cowling closed: And this shows the cowling after translating forward: The eagle-eyed among you will notice some detail differences in those last two shots with respect to the vents under the wing glove. More on that later! The Hasegawa F-111C kit that I'm using for this conversion has a slightly different intake configuration that what was used on 151972, so I've made some changes to it. Of course, you know all about that because you read Part 1 over in the Group Build section. One additional change needs to be made now, and it concerns the area above the translating cowl. The kit intake has a gap in this area, which is shown well in this photo (I'm not sure which aircraft this is from - EF-111A perhaps?): On 151972, there was no gap here, as can be seen two photos ago. In my collection of F-111B photos, specifically those of 151972, the translating cowl is almost always open when on the ground. So that's the way we'll model her. I added some card stock to create a "lip" under the rear edge of the translating cowl, and also to fill in the gap. The shock cones will be added later, as I think it will be easier to paint them prior to assembly. The intake ramps were made from card stock, since those on 151972 were a different shape than those on the F-111C, and didn't have the kink when viewed from the front. Anyway, here is what I came up with - I think it will work. Hopefully, I've got the angle of the landing gear correct as well. Both the main gear and the nose strut angle forward. Next up I think I'll add the vertical fin, as it just doesn't quite look like an F-111 without one. (Sorry, I can't call it an Aardvark etc. - I never fancied those unofficial nicknames. If the B had gone into production, I wonder what the Navy might have called it. Surely with Grumman's involvement it would have been some kind of cat...) Cheers, Bill
  2. A pair of Airfix Hawks in 1/72

    I used an etched MDC from Eduard on the inside of my Harrier FRS.1 kit, and it was fairly easy to get it to conform to the compound curves required. It retained the curvature nicely and I attached it to the inside of the canopy with Future. It's still there - hasn't fallen off yet. I like your work on the homebrew MDC. With that and the vortex generators earlier, you've given me more reasons to invest in an etching set. My wife thanks you in advance for the caustic chemicals in the house! Cheers, Bill
  3. Whew! I wasn't kidding when I said there was a lot of masking involved with the wings. Here are the wings, slats, and flaps after all the painting was finished. Lots of little things to mask around and/or protect when painting something nearby. I used a lot of Kabuki tape! As far as I can tell from my photos, this is pretty close to the way 151972 was painted. Here is a shot that shows the spoilers painted white on top of the wing - not all F-111Bs were painted this way: The actuators for the wing flaps look to me like they're red, but there are areas that look natural metal, as in this photo: This photo is 152714, which has a lot of differences from 151972, but it looks like the tops of the actuator rails (or whatever they're called) are a silver color - maybe the paint has been worn away with deployment of the flaps? Looks like I have some detail painting ahead... In the meantime, the wings and tailplanes are getting a coat of floor polish in preparation for a plethora of stencils. I've also been working on the exhaust - the nozzles look somewhat dark in the photos, so I've used a combination of Alclad Magnesium and Steel. This might be too dark, though, I have to think about it. The real aircraft, during its time at Hughes during the Phoenix missile testing also had several additional antennae used for telemetry, and I'll be adding these with photoetch. Oh, and I have a resin IR pod for under the nose. This was part of the conversion set from Pete's Hangar. I think I've only used three parts from the conversion - the radome, the arresting hook fairing, and this IR pod. Cheers, Bill
  4. That's because I have a high bench - I usually stand up when I'm working on a model. I have a tall chair, but don't use it that often. Wifey thinks that's what I've already done inside the house. I do admit there's an occasional model here and there... Thanks Steve! She looks so nice in Navy colours. Which got me to thinking (dangerous I know) - if the B had gone into production, it would have looked really cool in Sundowners livery. Or Pukin' Dogs. Or Jolly Rogers. Or Felix! Heck, pretty much any of the colourful F-14 schemes would have been great! Work is progressing on the wings - there is a lot more masking than I expected, what with all the red areas exposed from the control surfaces being deployed. I'll have an update shortly! Cheers, Bill
  5. RD.57D-C 1/48 CA B.57 kit bash

    Beautiful! You're making me want to build another Canberra, John! Cheers, Bill
  6. Meanwhile back at the stickers... I noticed that the "2" on the Pete's Hangar decal sheet for the tail number did not match the real aircraft. The overall size of the numbers was a wee bit too small as well. I think this makes a complete sweep for me with this project - I have not used any of the decals provided by the conversion set. Luckily, I downloaded a US Navy stencil font a few months ago, figuring that it would come in handy someday. Well, now is someday! I scaled the size of the tail number as best as I could from photos, and printed them out on the Bare Metal Foil clear decal sheet. Here is a comparison with the decal sheet from the conversion set: You'll notice that I also included the "Hands Off" stencils that were present on the ventral strakes. Try as I did, I could not find any stencils like this in my Magic Box of Misfit Stickers. The rest of the stickers went on without any drama. Once they were dry, a clear finish was applied to the fuselage, and I was finally able to remove the masking tape from the canopy. For placement of the other stencils, I followed the photos I have plus a stencil placement guide from an F-111A stencil sheet from Microscale (I did not use all of these stencils, however). Red stripes were sourced from a variety of decal sheets - the intake warning stripes are made from several pieces. The seals around the canopy sections were made from decal stripes, in this case they are dark grey. That was the closest that I had to try and match the photos. Anyway, I think it will work. The red area where the horizontal tailplanes mount was made from leftover squadron markings in the Tamiya F4D Skyray kit. A little bit of a trim here and there and they assumed a nice airfoil shape. You remember, no doubt, that I decided to take the lazy way out and use decals for the unique vents both on top of the fuselage and on the side right under the wing glove. You can get away with this is 1:72, but I probably wouldn't try it in any larger scales. The sharp-eyed amongst you may notice that it looks like the national insignia on the fuselage sides are a bit "out-of-square." This is by design, as I understand that the documentation states that it be tilted three degrees nose down. Interestingly, the Hasegawa kit has a panel line in this area that is also nose down relative to others nearby. I aligned the decal to that - I didn't actually check to see if it was three degrees, but it is noticeable visually and that's what is important. Now it's off to the wings, horizontal tailplanes, missiles, pylons, gear doors - you know, the other 80% of the job. Cheers, Bill
  7. Get well soon Mr. Martian! I know from personal experience that 1) walking on air is actually not possible, despite numerous pop songs attesting it, and 2) modelling cures your body as well as your soul. So get to it! The bench awaits... Cheers, Bill
  8. There's not much to it, really. I cut out a section from an old engineering circle template that was the diameter I wanted, taped it on the tail and painted it. Here is the piece: I cleaned the paint off afterward with Mr. Color Thinner. I think it's important to keep the airbrush perpendicular to the surface you're painting so no paint goes underneath the template. As usual, I thinned the paint about 50/50 and sprayed several light, misting coats. That helps prevent a ridge from forming around the edges of the circle. Thanks! The F-111 was the "gee whiz" aircraft in the US back in the 60s when I was growing up. The swing wings were just so cool, and when they're swept back the plane had such a radical planform, like a lawn dart. I still think it's one of the most awesome looking aircraft ever built. If you'd like to learn more about the F-111B in particular, I highly recommend both Tommy @Tailspin Turtle Thomason's book and his website. Check it out here. Stickers are going on! Cheers, Bill
  9. An exploding water heater and a subsequent diversion - but we made some progress! First, you may recall somewhere in this WIP where it was mentioned that one of the port engine access panels, and the ventral strake below it, seemed to be in a fresh coat of paint. I'm guessing that this was a result of an off-runway excursion that 151972 made in 1966. But I don't know that for sure, so it's speculation on my part. You can see it in this photo - it's the panel that says "NAVY" on it. I masked off the panel and strake, and painted with Gunze H325 FS26440 which is just a tad lighter than H315 FS16440 that I used for the Light Gull Gray. As you can see here, there is a noticeable difference but it is slight. The rest of this depiction may have to come from weathering. You can also see that I put a very thin stripe of Alclad Aluminum along the leading edge of the vertical tail to represent the typical Corogard finish used at the time. It will be a similar stripe on the horizontal tailplanes, but a much bigger one on the wings. While I was at it, I also painted the forward portion of the wing gloves with Gunze H311 FS36622. Next I decided to have a go at printing the decal artwork. At 1:72 scale, the Phoenix logo is right around 5/8 of an inch, or 0.625. I scaled my artwork accordingly, duplicated the design across the page to give me a row of logos to play with, loaded the paper in my Canon MG4120 inkjet, and printed with "normal" setting. Here are some of them compared with the samples from Microscale and Pete's Hangar: Not too bad for a first attempt. The black could be blacker, and I remember this issue from way back in my graphic arts days. For offset printing, if you wanted a deep black you either used spot (soild) ink for it or you used what we called "four colour process." In the latter case, black is made from 70% Cyan, 35% Magenta, 40% yellow, and 100% black. I may experiment with this, but you have to be careful to make sure that you don't over-saturate the media you're printing on. In any event, my inkjet printer doesn't print white so I have to paint a white background on the fin, like so: You can see that I started some of the decal work before I realised that I need to put the white circle on! At the very end of the pointed speed bumps it says "Beware of Blast" in case you're wondering. The decals are being sourced from several sheets, primarily from USN F-4 Phantom and F-14 Tomcats in the old colourful scheme. However, there are some (mostly stencils) that are coming from RA-5 Vigilante and even an F-102 Delta Dagger. The red stripes on the translating intake cowl, as well as the turbine warning stripe are being pieced together from a lot of places - I hope the reds are all a reasonable match! I'm also using decals to represent the vents on top of the fuselage and the aft vent of the three that are on the fuselage side (the first two of these have those covers over them). The project is advancing! Cheers, Bill
  10. Thanks for the quick response! A photo would be much appreciated. Cheers, Bill
  11. Thanks, mates! I have some questions for @Tailspin Turtle - it looks to me like there is the typical Corogard application along the leading edge of the wings. However, I don't see it on the leading edges of the vertical tail and horizontal tailplanes. Is that the correct interpretation? Also, some photos kinda sorta look like the most forward portion of the glove vane (where it joins the fuselage just aft of the canopy) has a (dielectric?) coating on it like you see on a radome or sensor pods. My imagination or is something there? Cheers, Bill
  12. Thanks - all I have is the Bare Metal Foil "Expert's Choice" clear decal film for ink jet printers. I don't know how thick it is, but I guess I'm going to find out! They claim it uses a special coating that prevents the liquid inks from bleeding. I assume that means around the edges. Cheers, Bill (yearning for the old days when I didn't fill seams or bother with painting the model - just slap some glue on and stick it together) PS. Oh, here is the colour for the flames and USN logos that I came up with to try and match the photo. I think it's pretty close and it seems to print OK, at least on paper!
  13. The rope is definitely part of the actual artwork (if you look close enough there is even a coiled rope on the globe as well) but it's very thin. What I did in my artwork is use a line that has a minimum thickness so that it shows up in 1:72 scale. When this design is printed out at .625" diameter the rope is just barely visible, which is similar to the real thing. It wouldn't make much difference if I left it off entirely. The orange colour is a placeholder while I experiment with getting that gold color to print so that it looks like the photo. With my luck, though, I'll get the colours where I want on test prints, but when I switch to decal film it will all look different! Which brings up a question - when printing on decal film, do I select transparency as the media choice in the printer setup (instead of paper)? I do anything for a buck. Almost. Cheers, Bill
  14. The next dilemma... I'm modelling 151972 in her Phoenix missile testing garb from her days at Hughes. The tail featured a nice round Phoenix testing logo. I have two decal sheets, one from Microscale and one from Pete's Hangar, that include these markings. However, the Microscale sheet is quite old and starting to yellow. I did a test with one of the decals on that sheet that won't be used on the model, and it disintegrated after a quick dip in water - old decals do that sometimes. Plus, I took a close look at the Phoenix logo (shown here with significant magnification) and more problems surfaced. First, some significant registration issues, most noticeable with the white ring between the black and blue. Plus, the printing is not very sharp. So, I then took a close look at the same logo from the Pete's Hangar sheet. Aye ca-rumba. I have a very high resolution photo of this logo that I unfortunately cannot post in a public forum. Comparing it to these decals I can say that Pete has it all wrong. The missile is pointing the wrong way, the fire (out of which the Phoenix bird arises) is missing, the USN anchor and glove designs have been replaced by black diamonds, and the outer ring is dark blue instead of the correct black. And to top it all off, it looks like it was printed with process inks instead of solid inks (hence the stripes). What to do? Well, I guess I have a go at making my own decals. I'll paint a white circle on the tail so that the clear areas of the design will be white. I fired up my trusty CorelDraw X8, and created vector artwork using the high resolution photo as a template. I didn't do any kind of an automatic bitmap to vector conversion, I just drew right on top of the photo. I used the colours sampled from the photo as well. Once the artwork was finished, I created a JPG file so I could post it here - and here it is: Trust me, this is very similar to the logo on the real plane, the only difference is that I couldn't match the font exactly, but this is real close. One worry I have is that parts of the artwork are too complex, and will get lost when printing this at 1:72 scale. But I'll give it a shot. What do you guys recommend as a sealer for homemade decals? I don't care so much for Microscale Liquid Decal Film, and I've heard that Future (Klear) can be used. I've never done this before, so I can use all the advice I can get! Cheers, Bill
  15. Yes sir, I always spray these demarcation lines free-hand. I'm too lazy to do that sausage role thing. Here is the original demarcation line: And here is the actual aircraft: And my revised demarcation line: I'm happier with the revision. It wasn't until I posted the pictures previously that I noticed that I had overdone the waviness. You may also note that I've since added the smaller black areas at the bottom aft edge of the radome. Thank you, from one Navy geek to another! I never thought of that, I always assumed it was a pinch hazard thing. What you say certainly makes sense. Thanks, Keith - I'm glad to hear that your heart is softening towards the 111B. I don't think it got a fair shake in the aviation press, and even within the USN where there seemed to be a bit of a political situation going on. And I think I've said this before (and no one ever agrees with me!) but I think the B model was the best looking 'Vark. There, I've said it again! Give me a moment to step aside before everyone starts throwing things! Cheers, Bill
  16. Revell (Matchbox) Hawker Fury Mk.I 1/72

    Mind if I tag along? Looking quite tidy so far! And what's not to like about a Fury! Cheers, Bill
  17. Thanks, mates. After reviewing my last post, I decided to "tone down" the undulating demarcation line between the Light Gull Gray and White. Comparing to photos of the real aeroplane, it seems I got a little carried away with the curves. Much better now. Next, some detail painting on the aft end. Here is a photo of 151972 showing what I needed to duplicate (my best guess is that these areas near the fuel dump are natural metal): A little masking (OK, a lot of masking and a royal pain it was) and I have this: Looks like I forgot to drill out the fuel dump - it's amazing how many things like this I would have missed if I wasn't taking all these photos. Here is another pain that's coming my way - note the area of the fuselage that has been exposed by the horizontal tailplanes moving off of neutral: Someone has painted that area red - specifically "keep your fingers and other appendages out of here" red. No doubt the corresponding area on the tailplanes is also red. Rather than mask and paint this area on the fuselage, I'm going to try to cut an airfoil shape out of red decal striping and see if I can make that work. Maybe, maybe not... Speaking of missing appendages, the USN tried to paint most, if not all, of the pinch hazards with high visibility red paint. The USAF did not do this to the same degree as the USN. I wonder if the USN had a significantly lower rate of missing appendages? In other words, did the red paint accomplish its objective? I don't think I've ever seen this addressed anywhere. Just curious... Cheers, Bill
  18. Now she's starting to look the part. Much more detail painting to go - the white rudder, and I also have to add some small black patches that extend aft of the radome - hinges maybe? You can see one of them quite plainly in this shot, just below the sensor on the side of the nose and right above the IR pod under the nose (this black area is on both sides of the radome): There are also some metal areas at the rear fuselage between the engine nozzles, but the photo I have that shows this cannot be posted on a public forum. The tyres are just about ready to go on as well. I think I'll finish off the fuselage (stickers, etc.) before I move on to finishing the wings, as I don't like to keep the tape on the canopy for a long time. An old habit from the days prior to Kabuki tape... Cheers, Bill
  19. Revell Handley Page Victor 1/72

    Superb! Cheers, Bill
  20. Fantastic work, Libor! Plus an unusual subject I think, at least for me. That makes the model more alluring - and, of course, your workmanship is beautiful. I love your subtle weathering techniques. Cheers, Bill
  21. Sheet styrene is a wonderful thing. It maketh aerofoils in time of need. That's the general idea anyway. It was pretty easy to roll the styrene around a cocktail stick to get the leading edge, and then progressively glue it on and cut to the proper length. Add a little bit of my magic red glazing putty and Bob's your uncle. Actually, he was my brother-in-law who just passed on July 4. We're almost done with his estate - should close on the sale of his house in the next week or so. I'm so glad that Mrs. Navy Bird won't have to be dealing with that big mess anymore. Whew! Cheers, Bill
  22. Finally, some Light Gull Gray! One of the two best colours ever for an aircraft - the other being Extra Dark Sea Grey of course. Once this dries I'll shoot white on the underside. I plan on having the wings forward, with the slats and flaps down, as Hasegawa moulded it (although I prefer the look of the F-111 with the wings swept back). Having the slats down creates a bit of a problem, as 151972 did not have the rotating glove slats which are common to the production F-111s. On those birds, the slats were longer towards the wing glove, and when the glove slats opened there was room for the wing slats to deploy. Without the glove slats, the wing slats have to be shortened and the recessed area in the wing needs to be modified. Perhaps this photo show the situation better than my description: Notice how the inboard portion of the recess in the wing extends into the fuselage. This would only be the case when the aircraft had the glove slats, which open up like so: So it looks like a little modification to the wings is in order, along with a razor saw session for the slats. Who knows, I may actually end up finishing this model after all! Cheers, Bill
  23. I've managed to get some primer on the beastie, thereby revealing all of the flaws I made, so off I go a-fixin'. Painting requires you to look at the model from many different aspects, and I've come to the realisation that I haven't quite captured the proper F-111B look. The issue is the area where the resin nose has been grafted onto the fuselage - I spent a lot of time making this look right from the side view, but it seems that the radome is a bit too portly in cross section. Remember, the Navy nose in real life was unique pretty much from the front of the ejection capsule forward. The resin conversion nose attaches considerably farther forward than that, so it has to match what is essentially an Air Force fuselage cross-section at that point. I suspect the Navy cross-section was much slimmer. Consequently, from some angles the nose doesn't look quite right. I think I'm too far along to correct this without basically starting over. Perhaps the flat black radome and anti-glare panel forward of the windscreen will hide it. I hope so. Cheers, Bill
  24. A pair of Airfix Hawks in 1/72

    I couldn't find anyone who makes anything like this (but I certainly could have missed it) - do you know of a source? Or do we have to etch our own? Cheers, Bill
  25. Navy Birdman's Summer of '17 keeps rolling along - today it was a nest of white-faced hornets in an old tree stump. I managed to bump into the stump while we were taking down an old shed, and boy were those guys upset! I, being allergic, ran for my life (or was it my Epi pen?). I called the exterminator and he came right over - there literally was a dark cloud of buzzing things flying around when he sprayed the stump. He said there were several thousand hornets in that nest - yikes! Luckily, I didn't get stung or I'd be back in the hospital again! Maybe I should stay indoors and build models for the rest of the year... Cheers, Bill PS. He was going to spray in his street clothes, but then he got a good look at the nest and donned his Def-con suit. Good thing.
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