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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. Wow, it's been a lot of work tidying up the estate of my late brother-in-law. In addition to cleaning out the house and preparing it for sale we've had numerous visits to the solicitors to get the financial side settled. Lawyers, bloody lawyers! What was it Shakespeare said? I'm still quite neglectful of my modelling duties, but I have managed to finish up the cockpit coaming (adding the HUD and some "box" that is pretty obvious in the photos - not sure what it was, but I thought it needed to be there). I've also blended in the camera on top of the tail to make it look a bit more like the real thing. Not much to report really. I have, however, spent a lot of time "eradicating" Photobucket links from my threads here on Britmodeller. I've kept bookmarks for my WIP and RFI threads, and I've converted several of those over to Flickr links. Gawd, I hope they don't follow suit and try to do the same as Photobucket - then I'd have to do this all over again. What I will have difficulty switching over to Flickr are those posts of mine which aren't part of my WIPs and RFIs. I don't know what or where they are! Once I kill the Photobucket account, any links in those posts will break. Arghh. I hate computers. Cheers, Bill
  3. This is a really good idea, I'll have to remember this the next time I'm trying to rig something. Uh, except that rubber mallet part. Cheers, Bill
  4. An enviable book collection to be sure. I'm at a loss to know how you manage your time - husband, father, historian, philosopher, modeller, worker bee...what is the secret? Single malt is to die for, but it hardly improves my time management skill. Cheers, Bill
  5. Hi mates, I wanted to edit my post in this Group Build gallery to remove Photobucket images and replace with images from my Flickr account: Unfortunately, the topic is locked and I can't edit my post. Is there a way to enable editing, or perhaps unlock the topic so I can fix the photos? Otherwise there will be even more of those Photobucket nasty-grams appearing in the thread, and I think we'd all rather see the photos. I suspect others may have also encountered this issue. Cheers, Bill
  6. Sorry for the lapse in my reporting, but I've not made any progress. We've been much too busy cleaning out my brother-in-law's house, and believe me - 50 years' worth of clutter & junk is a royal pain to sort through and dispose of (or donate as the case may be). The fact that his house is right on the bay and requires you to walk down 46 steps to get there means that you must walk up 46 steps to egress. (Or was it 43 steps? I can't remember.) There is a reason why I never bought one of those stair-stepper machines. @stever219 - you're right that the camera attachment plates "wrap around" the upper half of the pod on top of the tail. I made my best guess as to the thickness of that material and determined that it would only amount to several molecules in 1:72. I decided to skip that part entirely, lazy boy that I am! Thanks to @Tailspin Turtle for the nice description of the accident damage that 151972 suffered. I haven't decided yet whether to try and duplicate the different gray tones on the aft fuselage, lazy boy that I am! But it was quite noticeable on the real thing... @Martian Hale - I managed to get out of the local model shop without increasing my stash! Unless you can call getting a new airbrush increasing one's stash. I figured it was probably time for a new one, especially when one considers how crummy my paint jobs are. Anyway, I bought a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity CR Plus Two in One set. And promptly forgot to pick up the white paint that I needed. What a dolt! I had to go back - and then I increased my stash by picking up the Airfix Tucano kit. I figured it will look nice with all that CMK resin added to it. Cheers, Bill PS. I promise to spend some more time on the model. Haven't I said that before?
  7. Airfix 1/72 Lightning F.2A

    Very nice work, Andy! That's a superb rendition, and I really like the tonal variations on the belly tank and in the dark green. It's not easy to create a realistic monotone finish on a model, but you've done it. Thanks for sharing - now I have to get my copy of this kit out of the stash and have a go at it. Cheers, Bill
  8. RD.57D-C 1/48 CA B.57 kit bash

    We Yanks do like our coffee hot! Cheers, Bill
  9. Thanks, mates, I am indeed feeling much better. The sinuses aren't completely back to normal, but at least I don't have to breathe through my mouth anymore. Jeeesh. Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, the camera on the tail. Here are some photos that give you an idea of how it was shaped, and how it was attached. It appears to me that the bottom of the housing was curved to match the top of the pod on top of the tail, and that the sides of the camera housing wrapped part way around the pod. I decided to make this out of leftover resin pour blocks. I always save most of these, as I find the resin is often easier to deal with than sheet styrene. I found a piece that was almost a perfect match for the width of the IR pod on top of the tail, and cut it into the basic shape and size. It was fairly easy to sand it to the final shape, including the concave curvature on the bottom, which was a happy serendipity of the curvature in the pour block itself and my rat tail file. Here's what I whipped up: This is tiny little fella, and he wasn't so easy to hold onto while sanding! I think I sanded off a few fingerprints in the process, and if I ever wish to change professions that might come in handy. I superglued the guy onto the top of the tail to prepare for final shaping (easier to hold onto this way!). It's pretty close already, but I think the front slope needs adjustment, and the back edge needs to feather into the IR pod more cleanly. But I think it will work out. I'm getting dangerously close to painting this bird - I usually start with the underside white on US Navy aircraft in the proper Light Gull Gray scheme. In this case, though, I think I'll paint the intake ramps LGG first to allow for them to be masked off easier. Then the white and finally the topside LGG. As you can see from the colour photo of 151972 sitting on the tarmac above, the intake ramps are overall LGG - none of the underside white wraps around onto them. I just realised that I'm running low on FS17875 White - could a trip to my local hobby shop be in store? Will I be able to control the primal urge to acquire yet more kits, photoetch, and decals...gawd, I hope not! Cheers, Bill
  10. Blackburn Roc Floatplane Target Tug

    I built the 1:72 Special Hobby Skua, and it went together well. It's essentially the same as the Roc, so I expect the Roc kit would be OK as well. The whole trick is positioning the interior/cockpit parts, of which Special Hobby give you no indication of any kind where they should go. Think of these parts as the keystone - once you figure it out, it assembles quite well. There are some typical SH gaffes, like forgetting all about the prominent air outlets on top of each side of the cowl, but that's par for the course. Cheers, Bill
  11. Sounds like my modelling! Wifey won't know I've worked on the model, I'll let her believe that it took me the entire time to finish off her list. Unless she reads BM, then I'm in for a shellacking. Cheers, Bill
  12. As you may recall from earlier posts, the F-111B prototypes had a bewildering number of detail differences. As I morph the F-111C kit into one of the F-111B prototypes, I have to be careful to capture the unique features of the aircraft I'm modelling, specifically 151972. One area where she differed from production F-111 models, and from some of the other USN prototypes, were the intake vents. The production birds had the easily distinguishable trapezoidal vents on the top of the fuselage near the wing pivot points. (For those of you who are mathematically-minded, they're right trapezoids, not be confused with acute or obtuse.) These were not present on 151972, as it had a different pattern on top, as well as three vents immediately under the wing glove. To refresh everyone's memory, here are the upper fuselage vents on 151971: Sorry for the small photo, but it's all I've found so far. I'm sure there is a nice big high-resolution photo waiting somewhere on the net for me to purloin reference. The three vents under the wing glove originally looked something like this photo of 151970: I'll be modelling 151972 as she appeared during Phoenix missile testing at Hughes Aircraft, when the front two vents were covered as follows: No choice here but to get out the styrene card stock and the scalpel. I decided to copy those nice fold up photoetch pieces that you see everywhere, and made each vent cover from one piece of card stock, scoring the fold lines for the sides. Unfortunately, the scalpel didn't cut a nice v-shaped groove in the plastic so I had to fold the cover with the score line on the outside. This meant a small application of filler to hide the score line and provide a square edge. I think this will work out OK, and since it's underneath the wing glove nobody will see it anyway! The trapezoidal vents have been filled, but I'm not quite happy with how they blend in with the fuselage. Having a look at a grazing angle of incidence shows me that the shape will still be discernible. Another round of filler methinks. I needed to fill two tiny sinkholes near the vents, too - I think these were right above the tab that the wings slide onto. You can also see that I've also added the vertical tail - she looks a lot more like an F-111 now! Speaking of the tail, during missile testing at Hughes, 151972 had a camera (I think that's what is was) on top as seen in this photo: Some more work lies ahead - I'm thinking I may sculpt the camera out of some resin pour blocks. That's probably easier than using card stock. We'll see. Cheers, Bill PS. It felt good to be back at the bench after all this medical nonsense. Wifey left me as a bachelor over the past weekend as she went on a girls trip to Rhode Island to have a fancy at the Vanderbuilt mansions. Unfortunately, she left me a honey-do list a mile long - but I figured out a way to work on the F-111. Finish the to-do list first and fast. Wifey will be so proud.
  13. Yes indeed, welcome back. You've been absent for almost as long as I have, but you don't have age or innumerable medical conditions to blame. Parenting doesn't count you see, so let's commence with some serious modelling. I'm actually at my bench for the first time in at least a month - it feels good! Although not as good as having young Master Winston ride that robot - has he tried? I'm sure with your skills you'd be an excellent saddler. Cheers, Bill
  14. Exquisite - there's nothing more satisfying than watching a master at his craft. With the bottle of vino, of course. Cheers, Bill
  15. Hey, remember me? I'm still here, but completely occupied at the moment. My wife's older brother passed away recently, leaving no will. My wife is next-of-kin and has been appointed administrator of the estate by the court. That means that she and I are are now in the process of settling the estate, selling the assets, etc. First, though, is to review every piece of paper in his house looking for financial records and so on. Her brother did not keep very good records (filing cabinet, who needs a stinking file cabinet - I've got a closet!) We're finding bank statements and the like just about everywhere. What a huge mess - and then we have to try and figure out the status of his investments. I'm afraid we're going to miss something, but I suppose all we can do is go through everything we find and hope for the best. I don't have much time for modelling right now, as I need to help wifey. On the good news side, the sinus surgery seems to have gone well, and I'm starting to actually breathe through my nose again. Ah, it's the little things that give the most pleasure! I hope to get back on the F-111B project soon. Can't let the airbrush get rusty. Cheers, Bill
  16. Good stuff, Tommy. I hadn't even thought of that aspect of the difference between USN and USAF models. Do you know the size of the USAF F-111A main wheels? EDIT: I just found an article by Jim Rotramel where it's stated the size of the F-111A main wheels are 47 x 18 inches. The resin wheels in the Pete's Hangar conversion set scale out to 46 x 17 inches, so reasonably close. The Hasegawa kit wheels are pretty much bang on to 47 x 18, so I'll most likely use them on 151972. Cheers, Bill
  17. All right then, time to get started! My project for this group build is the Grumman/General Dynamics F-111B. I suspect that everyone knows the story of this aircraft and its development, but if not I'll direct you to the mother-lode of F-111B information later on in this post. My initial idea is to model one of the Phoenix missile test aircraft, and BuNo 151972 seems a good candidate. This, of course, will be a conversion and my base kit will be the Hasegawa 1:72 RAAF F-111C/G. This is a great kit, and contains all necessary parts to build either the C or G model. The G is essentially the same as the FB-111 as you know. Let's see what we get (and it's so much that it's difficult to close the box without squeezing the contents). First, the specific kit I'm using: Inside we find a lot of styrene! This next photo may look like two copies of the same sprue, but they are different - one is sprue C and the other sprue D. The difference is primarily with respect to the intakes as the F-111C and G had variations in this area (Triple Plow I vs. Triple Plow II). Since 151972 did not have either of these intakes, I will be modifying the Triple Plow I. And the rest: And finally two of these babies: I've acquired several bits of aftermarket goodies to help with this conversion, starting with the set from Pete's Hangar which unfortunately is no longer available. My understanding is that this set has a few problems, but they don't look to be insurmountable. Apparently, the shape of the nose, and its demarcation with the fuselage, is not quite right, but that's why they call it modelling. Some additional decal sheets that may be of help - the sheet from Pete's Hangar is also pictured here, but the other two sheets are from Microscale and are quite old. 72-132 includes the markings for 151972, and 72-452 includes stenciling for the early models of the F-111. Also shown here is the sheet from the kit, not sure if any of this will be used. The Phoenix testing logo is different between the Microscale and Pete's sheets, and based on photographs it looks like Microscale is better (for instance, Pete's omits the fire that the Phoenix bird is emerging from, the USMC globe and USN anchor). I hope those old Microscale sheets are still good! Some additional aftermarket that may be used. Obviously, not all of the photoetch for the F-111D/F is appropriate, but some of it may be useful. We'll see. The masks are fine, but what's this with the ejection seats for a B-57 Canberra? The F-111 had a ejection capsule! Well, yes it did, after a fashion. However, the first three F-111B prototypes, including 151972, did not have the capsule, and were instead fitted with Douglas Escapac ejection seats. According to the Ejection Site, they were model 1C. The resin seats from Pavla are models 1C-6, and have the right basic shape. But I suspect they will need some alteration or enhancement before the end of the day. Finally, the old Revell kit from 1966 will also be used, as it contains a lot of parts that will help, like the knife edge boat tail, aft fuselage bullet fairings (speed bumps as they were called), etc. I picked this up at a model show, and although it's been started (the B/C/FB long wing tips have been glued to the wings) that won't be a problem as I won't be using them. This is one of the few kits produced which claimed to be a B model. Like a lot of kits from the 60s, this one came out while the aircraft was still being developed, and contains several issues. But I think it will come in handy nonetheless. The loose parts, rolling around in the box: And the ones still clinging to the runners: Also in the box were these four pylons, which I suspect are from an F/A-18. But they have a shape resemblance (kind of) to the pylons used by 151972 for the Phoenix missiles. I will be checking if they are close to being the right size, and might work for the model. Again, we'll see. Perhaps they can be modified, maybe not. But it was nice of the chap who sold this to me to include them! The Phoenix missiles will probably be sourced from a Hasegawa F-14A kit, but will need some mods to represent the missiles used in the F-111B test program. Now, about that mother-lode. If you're going to build an F-111B, you simply have to have this monograph: Tommy is the F-111B subject matter expert, and he contributes regularly to Britmodeller. I expect he will show up here to keep me on the straight and moral path. If you follow this link, you'll go to Tommy's blog where he has posted several links to articles that concern the F-111B. There are also instructions for how to obtain the amendments and errata for the F-111B monograph. All of this material taken together remains the prime reference for this much-maligned bird. Cheers, Bill
  18. 1:72 Grumman/General Dynamics F-111B "Beta Tomcat"

    Sorry, that was a reference to a series of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Tarzan guy). Did you see the film "John Carter" a few years ago? That was based on the first book in the series called "A Princess of Mars." The books are all typical pulp fiction sci-fi novels written back in the early 20th century primarily for teenage boys, and take place in this fantastic hypothetical Martian culture. Mars is dying (and drying) and the canals are empty - take one part wild west, another part Ivanhoe, and toss it all onto another planet and you get the idea. Fun stuff. My interest in Homer stems from my armchair archaeology interests. It's fun to try and connect what's in the earth with the ancient writings. And Homer, of course, is an industry all by himself. So this is the book by Caroline Alexander? I've seen some reviews, perhaps it's time to download it for my Kindle. Cheers, Bill
  19. Looks great! I took my FS595 swatch book and compared to the colour my wife chose for the living room, and it really is close to FS36375 Light Ghost Gray. Too bad she didn't pick FS36440 Light Gull Gray, then I would have a scheme to match my nickname, especially since the baseboards and the mouldings around the doors and windows are white. Light Gull Gray and White - what more could your parlor want? Oh yeah, stars and bars. And maybe a BuNo and modex... It's fascinating that the wives are picking aviation related colours for the home. Maybe it's all those air shows that we've dragged them to over the years. Cheers, Bill
  20. 42 x 13 inches works out to 14.8 x 4.5 mm in 1:72 scale. Cheers, Bill
  21. 1:72 Grumman/General Dynamics F-111B "Beta Tomcat"

    Is this the Royal Order of Barsoom, bestowed by Dejah Thoris? That will do the trick! Cheers, Bill
  22. Blackburn Roc Floatplane Target Tug

    Ah - fill, sand, and polish - my least favourite parts of building a model. Yet somehow I have a huge number of Special Hobby kits in my stash. Go figure. Cheers, Bill
  23. I had that same step at the bottom of the intake/fuselage join line when I built mine: If I remember correctly, this was only on the port side - the other side was fine. I used a combination of sanding the fuselage down and adding some filler to the intake to smooth and blend the two together. It's not difficult to fix. Can't wait for more progress! I really like these resin kits. Cheers, Bill
  24. I just measured the resin main wheels that came with the 1:72 conversion kit from Pete's Hangar (now out of production) - they measure 16.1 mm x 6.1 mm. If I've done the math correctly that works out to 46 x 17 inches. These are quite a bit larger than the 42 x 13 inch wheels on the B, and are almost as large as the wheels included with the Hasegawa F-111C/G kit that I'm using. Is this the approximate size of the USAF wheels used on the A model? I hope so, that way I can get away with using them as they are, since 151972 was occasionally shod with F-111A shoes. Cheers, Bill