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Navy Bird

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Everything posted by Navy Bird

  1. 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
  2. Sorry for the lack of progress mates. I've been suffering from the worst sinus infection I've ever had (literally have to breathe through my mouth most of the time). I haven't been getting much sleep - plus I've been trying to prepare for Noreastcon (IPMS Northeast United States Regional Convention) this weekend. Someone volunteered me to do a presentation on the joys of photoetch, which is quite a chore since I never use the stuff. But I can probably purloin enough stuff from the web to make it look respectable. Since I haven't been responding to the sinus treatments, I'll be having a CT scan of my head tomorrow. They suspect I have polyps in my sinuses or something. I had a dream about it the other night - "Well, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is we've found nothing of consequence in your head. The bad news is we've found nothing of consequence in your head." That would explain a lot! Anyway, I feel rather lousy, and haven't had much time for modelling. The only progress on the 111B has been the construction of the front landing gear, and I hope I have the nose gear strut leaning forward at the right angle. Even if it's off a bit, I'll just add the red stripe on the nose gear doors to match. Cheers, Bill the Stuffed (Up) PS. My oncologist is having me do a PET scan, and if all looks well I can stop the chemo. Woo hoo! Those lymph nodes better be the right size on that scan...
  3. Sweet little kitbash! Excellent job, John. Cheers, Bill
  4. Hi mates, For my latest project I wanted to do justice to the amazing English Electric Canberra, one of the most versatile and long-lived military aircraft ever built. I chose XH134, a Canberra PR.9 chosen to wear the retirement scheme that truly marked the "End of an Era." Ashley Keates, who designed the stunning scheme, even stopped by the WIP thread for a visit. I decided to use the much-maligned "new tool" Airfix PR.9 kit and correct the major deficiencies along the way. I thought at first that I might do a bit of a kitbash with the Xtrakit model, but eventually I decided to save that kit for another day. Here is my usual executive summary: Project: English Electric Canberra PR.9 "End of an Era" Kit: Airfix (kit number A05039) Scale: 1:72 (you know me by now!) Decals: Model Alliance 729032 representing XH134, 39 PRU, RAF Marham 2006; Model Alliance 72146 PR.9 Canberras Part II, and Model Alliance 729018 Canberra Stencil Set (thanks John!), even a few stickers from the kit! Photoetch: Eduard SS352 primarily for the cockpit consoles and controls, ejection seat details, mirror Resin: Pavla cockpit C72087; Pavla wheel bays and gear doors U72-113; CMK 7181 PR.9 Landing Flaps 72118; CMK Q72121 PR.9 Wheels; SBS 72005 Canberra Correct Rudder Scratchbuilt: not much, just the navigator's desk and the pilot's reading pleasure Paint: Gunze H339 Engine Grey, H336 Hemp, H332 Light Aircraft Grey, H311 FS36622, H417 RLM76, H11 Flat White, H12 Flat Black, H77 Tyre Black, H335 Medium Sea Grey, H309 FS34079, H28 Metal Black, H95 Smoke Grey, H90 Clear Red, H94 Clear Green, H17 Cocoa Brown, H37 Wood Brown; Alclad 101 Aluminum, 111 Magnesium, 314 Klear Kote Flat Weathering: Post shading, some panel line work with pencil. Improvements/Corrections Fixed the fillet radius at the bottom of the vertical fin leading edge Filled and re-scribed most of the fuselage panel lines All that aftermarket stuff Shortened the landing gear struts to achieve a more proper "set" of the aircraft Removed the incorrect tailplane roots and extended the inner edge of the tailplanes to meet the fuselage correctly Added all of the crash strips to the lower fuselage Added the bomb bay rain channels Added a copy of Zoo magazine to the cockpit, as seen at Fairford 2006 Opened up both intake exhaust vents and added mesh guards 26 g of ballast to prevent tail setting Filled incorrect strengthening plate engraved lines; added separate strengthening plates from 0.005" styrene sheet Added forward fuel tank hold-down straps and brackets Added the SEM/CAN/232 RWR wingtip modifications Made new wing leading edge landing lights from clear plastic, sanded and polished to shape Added vent to forward edge of windscreen on port side Added small satellite antennae on fuselage spine Added wingtip formation lights Added aerial wire Added air conditioning exhaust vents on the underside of the inner wing Fixed a bunch of other stuff I can't remember! Build thread: Link Pictures! To give you a better idea of what's inside the cockpit/navigator's area, here is an in-process picture (note that the periscope eye guard hasn't been opened up yet): And a better shot of the navigator's fold-up desk: How long would you stay in there? Hard to see, but the pilot has left his reading material on the seat: All told, a fun build and a great time was had by everyone. Special thanks to @canberra kid and @71chally for their expertise and guidance as I navigated the Canberra landscape. I know I learned a lot! Cheers, Bill
  5. Thanks for that, Tommy. That should have been quite obvious to me! I've been playing around with the intakes, and now I wish I had taken the time to make them more "seamless." If I model the intake with the translating cowl forward, as it seems to have been when on the ground, a seam is going to be nicely visible through the gap. So, I either fix the seam or close the cowl. Guess I'll fix the seam. Cheers, Bill
  6. Following the diagrams at Tommy's website, I built a rudimentary mechanism for the aft main gear door. For variety, I used square styrene for the door actuator bellcrank, T-channel styrene for the brackets on the door that the bellcranks attach to, and round styrene rod for the door leading edge idler. Now, this is one of the things that is so great about modelling. I was not familiar with the term bellcrank before, at least not in connection with an aircraft landing gear door. I looked it up in an engineering dictionary, and now I've learned something new. At my age! Here is what I came up with: In addition to the mechanism, you'll notice that I've filled some nasty sink marks on the bottom of the landing gear cross-beam, and since 972 did not have the rotating glove slats, that area is also being filled in. When the aft main gear door is added, she looks like this: Fortunately, my lousy scratch building will be hidden underneath the door, and behind the main tyres. In real life, the door leading edge idlers were an interesting curved affair that went from leading edge of the door to an attachment point deep in the main gear bay on the sides near the rear bulkhead (I believe). They were curved in order to navigate within and around the complex nature of the landing gear components. I've only built the part that is visible underneath the fuselage. When I attached the main landing gear assembly to the rear of the bay, it seemed to me that it wasn't right for the F-111B. The cross-beam (which connects the two axles) when viewed from the side was essentially parallel to the bottom of the fuselage. I believe this was a change that was put in place after the prototypes - on 972, the cross-beam should look angled up at the front when viewed from the side. So, I shimmed a little bit until I was satisfied with it. If I can remember, I'll take a photo of it to show you what I mean. Cheers, Bill
  7. Hi Rob, I'll approach this from the other side - as you may know, I've been fighting a blood cancer (lymphoma) since 2002. I had a nice 12 year remission after the first go, but it came back (as they said it would) in early 2015. Back on the chemo, which I will finish up in July of this year. One of the lovely elixirs that they pump into my veins is made from the same stuff that mustard gas is made from. Nasty stuff. Strange how things that kill people can also save people. I know that throughout my "journey" I never wanted people to feel sorry for me. Everyone's different, of course, but I always wanted it out in the open, I wanted people to talk about it, heck, I even joke about it. I suppose this is my coping mechanism. When I was first diagnosed (stage IV at that), the wife and kids were crying, it was a bloody awful thing. And it put real fear in me - and I didn't like that one bit, so I did (and do) everything I can to make sure the fear doesn't come back. Keep positive, look forward, and do what needs to be done. Your friend may not feel this way, but I'm willing to bet she doesn't like the fear either. Do what you can to keep it away from her. For what it's worth... Cheers, Bill
  8. Nicely done! Cheers, Bill
  9. I love this picture of 151970 (the first prototype) because it shows many of the F-111B unique features. You can see the knife edge boat tail, the pointed "speed bumps," early open arresting hook design, translating cowl intake, IR pod on top of the vertical fin, boundary layer control (BLC) vents below the wing glove, and the early design of the aft main landing gear door which is the subject of today's post. On all of the other F-111 builds that are part of this Group Build, the aft main door is hinged at the fuselage, and hangs down in a perpendicular fashion from the underside of the aircraft when the gear was down. The F-111B prototypes used a different mechanism that resulted in the aft main gear door positioned parallel to the underside when the gear was down, as can be seen in the above photo. The door was a different shape as well, completely covering the aft portion of the bay, unlike the production versions which left a slot open. The aft main gear door supplied with the kit has two strakes moulded in: These are not present in the F-111B underside photos that I have, so I quickly sanded them off. If you compare the shape of the kit door with that in the photo, you'll see that we need to add some material to the door. I started with a strip of styrene card, and I'll build it up from here. You can also see in the above photo how the gear bay opening matches the shape of the door. This required adding two small triangular pieces of styrene to the rear corners of the bay: The door now covers the aft portion of the gear bay completely. Now, about the mechanism that deployed and retracted the aft door. Rather than try to explain it here, I will refer you to the man who wrote the book, @Tailspin Turtle, and his blog where the mechanism is covered in detail: http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2011/09/f-111b-aft-main-landing-gear-door.html http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2009/10/grumman-f-111b.html (scroll down near the bottom) I'll have to scratch build something that resembles this mechanism, at least the portion that is visible outside of the gear bay. Fun stuff, huh? I love this part of modelling - searching out the information needed to build an accurate model, and learning the history of the aircraft along the way. Having someone like Tommy, who has done the primary research, participate here is fantastic. Thank you! 151972 had fixed glove slats, unlike the production F-111 airframes that featured rotating glove slats. The rotating gloves allowed the inboard portion of the wing slat to be longer, helping provide more low-speed lift. This kit has rotating gloves, so the wing slats are too long and need to be reduced at the inboard end. But that is the subject for another post! Cheers, Bill
  10. I always thought it odd that Hasegawa provided a slot in the inboard section of the wing to allow fully swept wings, but didn't include alternate parts for the side of the fuselage that the wing recedes into. And I don't think any aftermarket sets have appeared for this, at least none that I'm aware of. It's not a big modification on the part of the modeller, but still strange. I know the F-111 looks great with the slats and flaps down, but it just looks so sleek with the wings back. Cheers, Bill
  11. Canopy mask is available from Eduard (CX205) - I used it on my build. Very inexpensive considering the amount of time (and contributions to the curse jar) it saves. Cheers, Bill
  12. I think I agree with Peter. In the first photo (top left) of TZ138 in the collage, I don't think the left hand side of the outer circle of the roundel would be visible if it were recessed as much as shown on the Thai example. Cheers, Bill
  13. Thanks. I taped the glove vane and its lower door in the closed position and slid in the wing. The glove covers 4-5 mm of the slat recess on the wing. I don't think it's a big problem, though. I just have to shorten the inboard end of the wing slat by that much. I probably don't even have to worry about modifying the wing recess at all, since it will be covered up by the glove and the wing slat. Next up is building that weird linkage that the aft main gear door used on the F-111B. Couldn't be a simple hinge like all other F-111s - had to be this crazy parallelogram thingy. Cheers, Bill
  14. Thanks - that's what I figured, but the verification is good. Of course, this brings up the next issue - with the glove slats closed, there is interference with the inboard portion of the leading edge slats. Which is correct, the wing slats were only deployed with wings forward when the glove was open. That was one of the reasons for the glove slats - to allow longer wing slats. On these early F-111B models, the wing slat was a bit shorter on the inboard end. Oh well, what's a little more modification to the kit? Cheers, Bill
  15. Thanks, Rich. It's been a long day of sanding and comparing to my reference drawings. I always approach this kind of job with fine grade sandpaper, as I don't want to remove too much too fast. Resin is typically softer than styrene (especially Hasegawa's grey plastic) and it's really easy to go too far without realising it. So slow and patient was the order of the day. I'm happy with the final profile of the nose: You can compare to what I started with (and the photos of 151972) and see it's pretty close. Certainly not perfect, but it will do. Besides, I'm tired of sanding it! I had some resin copies of the nose made before I started, and it's interesting to compare and see how much material has been removed. How much? A lot! Maybe this was the intent of Pete's Hangar - provide enough material to allow the modeller to sculpt a nose he/she likes. But I doubt it. Pete's resin nose was too big because of the decision they made about the cut line. At that fuselage station, the USAF fuselages are simply larger in diameter than the F-111B - and with a different cross section at that. I removed a lot of styrene, especially on the bottom where it's now "wafer thin." You can see the small resin step on the nose through the thin styrene. I also spent some time working on the cross sections all along the nose. The conversion nose as supplied is too flat on top, and is somewhat rectangular in cross section. The corners have been rounded off considerably from where we started. I'm really anxious to get some paint or primer on her to see how she looks. The join line between the nose and fuselage won't be the paint demarcation line (which is in a different spot and angled slightly) so I think I'll add some filler to make sure the joint is invisible. The front fuselage was joined to the rear, and the base for the intakes added. I didn't bother trying to make seamless intakes, as you really can't see much in there. Plus, I'll be moving the translating cowl forward a bit. I've built this kit before (as an FB-111A) and this kit had the same oddity - the fit between the main gear bay and the forward fuselage is atrocious. It certainly looks like the two should mate, since the shape of each is the same, but there ends up being a huge gap. Luckily, the intake components hide it all. The early F-111B prototypes, including 151972, did not have rotating glove vanes. I think I'll put these pieces in the closed position now, making sure that I can still add the wing later. I think the landing gear is next. Ta for now. Cheers, Bill PS. Thanks, Cookie! Your reply came in whilst yours truly was typing. Er, keyboarding.
  16. I have a question for you F-111 experts. I'm building 151972, one of the F-111B prototypes. I'm using the Hasegawa 1:72 kit. Now, 151972 was not equipped with the deployable glove vanes, so I'll be gluing them shut on this model. Have any of you ever done that with the Hasegawa kit, and if you did will the wings still be able to be added later? Or do the wings need to be installed prior to gluing the glove vanes closed? It looks like I can add the wings later, but I figured I should ask. Thanks! Cheers, Bill
  17. Subtle, but noticeable, difference in the profile of the underside of the nose - don't you think? Before: After: In the first picture, the underside slopes down as it moves forward from the nose gear and then starts curving up to reach the tip of the nose. This results in a more convex appearance near the join line. In the second picture, the underside stays level with the bottom of the fuselage, and then starts to curve up to the tip of the nose, so it looks flatter at the join line. I think it's all done except for the finishing. It's getting close, but the bottom of the radome still has too much curvature in it compared to the photo of the real thing. I've been sanding with 400 grade paper because I don't want to remove the resin too fast and go too far. Better to take my time and hopefully not mess it up. Famous last words. Cheers, Bill
  18. Looking pretty sweet, John! I forget - did you tell us what scheme she'll be in? Cheers, Bill
  19. Looking really good! I like the camera mount and the rivets on the cockpit floor. Don't forget a copy of Zoo magazine for the pilot - in 1:48 scale, maybe you'll be able to tell what's on the cover. Cheers, Bill
  20. I can vouch for Mark - he was a big help when I was building my 1:72 Special Hobby Buffalo Mk.I, answering all of my silly questions with the authority of a subject matter expert: The Special Hobby kit is quite nice, although I encountered an interesting gap on top of the forward fuselage (probably due to my error). The resin cockpit and engine parts are very nicely detailed indeed. Hasegawa also did a 1:72 USMC F2A-3, as part of a combo kit (#01974). This kit used some resin components to achieve the longer nose. https://www.scalemates.com/kits/187266-hasegawa-01974-f2a-2-3-buffalo-us-navy-marine-combo Cheers, Bill
  21. After some time alternating between sanding and looking at reference photos, we have the initial blend of the resin nose to the fuselage. I was spending most of my time trying to make sure that the all-important slope of the nose when viewed from the side looks right, and that the slope has a slight kink right in front of the windscreen at station 180. This photo is not precisely a side view, but it shows the profile of the nose nicely. Here's where I am at the moment: I'm happy with the top side of nose, but there is more work to do on the bottom. You can easily see that the curve on the underside of the resin nose is exaggerated, and should be smoother and flatter. This is a direct result of the way the resin conversion set was designed - I think they wanted to make it easier for the modeller to make the cut, so they made the join line vertical. (If you follow the instructions from Pete's Hangar, your cut line would be 6 mm in front of the cockpit, and that would be right on a panel line. I'm sure that was their intent. However, using Tommy's excellent documentation, the cut line is actually 8.5 mm forward of the cockpit - this ensures the overall length is correct.) About three quarters of the way down this page: http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2009/10/grumman-f-111b.html You'll see a drawing titled "F-111A vs. F-111B Forward Fuselage" - note how the actual join line follows the front edge of the escape capsule until it reaches the bottom of it, and then goes straight down. This means that the entire bottom of the forward fuselage from the front of the nose gear well was unique on the F-111B. The conversion set has you use a portion of the F-111A lower front fuselage (from the front of the nose gear well to my cut line), and this creates the issue. I want to continue to work on this area until it looks more like it should. Neglecting the profile of the bottom of the nose is one reason why so many F-111B conversions that I've seen on the web or in books have a nose that looks a bit too large, and not quite as sleek as the real thing. More work to do! Pass the sanding sticks, gas mask, and some single malt. Cheers, Bill
  22. Serendipity - the nose is slightly oversize where it meets the fuselage, and this has allowed me to sand the resin to a really nice fit, matching the fuselage contours. I like it when a plan comes together. For some reason, the nose is a bit flattened on top, and I don't see this in any photos or in the available cross sectional drawings. Luckily, this can be sanded out. More photos soon... Cheers, Bill
  23. Not all F-111B prototype or pre-production aircraft had the probe installed. For those that did, it was a hose and drogue system. This photo is from Tailhook Topics: Photo credit: Ray Geminski The probe swiveled and then rotated down for stowage. You can read all about it here: http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2012/01/f-111b-inflight-refueling-probe.html Cheers, Bill
  24. The moment of truth has arrived! The proboscis-ectomy on the F-111. Using Tommy's drawings as my guide, I measured (more than thrice!) where the cut line should be based on the length of the resin nose from Pete's Hangar. This was to ensure that the overall length of the forward fuselage would be correct. I also measured the width and height of the resin nose using digital calipers. After marking the cut line, I then measured the corresponding width and height on the fuselage. The measurements agree within 0.5 mm across the width and height cross section, but it looks like the resin nose does not follow the curvature of the cross section exactly. I used 3M vinyl tape to mark the cut line: I used my CMK razor saw to make the cut, and slowly worked my way around the circumference using the tape as a guide. When completed, I cleaned up the edge with a wide sanding stick and #11 blade. The resin nose has a small step at its aft end, and this drops right in nicely. I had to tape the nose in place for the next shot, as there was nothing else to hold it in place. You can see that the fit is not exact, but it's actually not that bad. As Tommy has pointed out in his book and on his website, the actual F-111B nose joined the fuselage at a different place, and as a consequence of Pete's Hangar (and Revell) doing the conversion in this way, the contour of the fuselage (especially on the bottom forward of the nose gear) is not quite right. There will be a bit of work shaping and sanding to get the contours of the nose and fuselage correct. But I think the raw materials are OK. I printed out Tommy's drawing of the forward F-111B fuselage on heavier paper, and cut out the fuselage outlines to create a sort of template. Since the paper is still a bit flimsy, it's not very precise, but it gives me some assurance that the nose is in the right place. I should have printed that out on stainless steel - it would be a much better template! My next step is to tape everything together and see if I need any weight up front. I suspect not, but since there is some space between the resin nose and the cockpit, now's the time to pack it with lead if need be. Cheers, Bill