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general melchett

Italeri /AMT XB-70A Valkyrie

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Hi there,Those of you that know me know that I am rather partial to big kits of rather large and strange shaped machines that most sane people tend to steer clear of :analintruder: .Following in that vein here is my latest build(s) in the shape of the hightly exotic North American XB-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 nuclear bomber. I originally acquired this kit at the recent Cosford airshow for £20 as a spares source for my half built AMT original started way back in the early 90's, after a lot of house moves a lot of the smaller parts went AWOL so it was shelved until I was able to acquire another one . However after a bit of a clear out I managed to find every part of the old kit except the starboard canard, (which is lost somewhere in the depths of the loft insulation)..So a new plan ....I would build them both one as the original all white prototype XB-70A-A1 as flown and the other as an operational B-70B in a scheme fitting the period , NMF with SAC markings ala B-58 Hustler, (late 60's-late 70's).

Having built two of these models previously I knew what I was in for and when I heard that Italeri were re releasing the old AMT kit I thought I really must get another one,so with memories of warped parts, HUGE gaps , tons of filler and re enforcing braces I handed over my money !!I was hoping that the plastic would be stronger than the AMT moulding but sadly it's the same bendy-floppy stuff which warps easily and all the associated gaps and flash are all there!!

Don't want to turn this into a review but I'll point out the short comings of this monster if anyone's interested as we go along .

References are the excellent Jay Miller book, John Campbells XB-70 photo chronicle, Jeanette Remaks ' Ride to Valhalla', and the Great Planes DVD....so no excuses !!!!

This one will take a while so bear with me , hope you like it... think it might look rather nice with the F-103 Thunderwarrior and F-108 Rapier... :wicked:

Andy

First up the new box art which I happen to think is one of the best of any kit I have seen for a long time , a beautiful painting showing the graceful lines of this bird to good effect,

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Work so far,

Cockpit detail which for the age of the kit is very good, (considering you can't see much of it once the fuselage is glued together !!! ). I was going to go mad here but it really would be wasted unless you opened up the roof hatches !! The seat cushions, seat belts and a few small wire bits and bobs are home made using the books for reference.

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As fitted to the fuselage...as you can see not a lot will be visible ....Oh well I know it's all in there !!

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Next up will be the undercarriage and 'six pack' engine exhausts.....

Stay tuned ...

Edited by general melchett

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Those of you that know me know that I am rather partial to big kits of rather large and strange shaped machines that most sane people tend to steer clear of

What Sir! You Sir? Nooooooo Sir, never!

:popcorn:

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Don't want to turn this into a review but I'll point out the short comings of this monster if anyone's interested as we go along .

That'd be appreciated by me. I've often thought about purchasing one of these monsters, only to be put off by the "horror" stories. :frantic:

Seen a few built up at different shows over the years and they've always looked impressive. B)

Watching with interest. :popcorn:

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Good stuff so far, I didn't realise the kit was out again. This has always been an aircraft that interested me. Indirectly it was hugely important and it supposedly had quite an effect on the futures of several other projects at the time. GE got the blame for the accident and the contracts for engines for the F-14/15 and 16 all went to P&W as a result. It took until the advent of the F/A-18 and the re-engined F-14 and 16 that GE were allowed back in. There's some interesting stuff on the crash site of the XB-70 and 104 on this site if you're interested;

http://area51specialprojects.com/xb70_crash.html

Edited by Gary C

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Come on Andy... let's have a build review on this one. Some Melchie prose & humour. Then once you're done with building the model, we'll find some nice soft grass to play lawn darts on ^_^

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Thanks fellas, Smiffy, the stories are all true !!, but to be honest most of the problems are to do with the sheer size of the thing and I think AMT are to be congratulated on doing the subject in the first place, ...imagine if this had been done as a limited edition short run resin jobbie !!! :analintruder:

Gary thanks for that, I'll have a look...GE got the blame for holding the photoshoot which led to the crash but no one can understand why poor old Joe Walker, (a highly experienced X-15 pilot and next in line for the XB-70's captains seat), got caught up in the wingtip wash of the Valkyrie and caused the fatal collision, he didn't make any course alterations and had held station for quite some time before the incident, although they were running late for the shoot!! both he and co-pilot of the XB-70 Carl Cross were killed and captain Al White was badly injured during the encapsulated ejection, never to fly the aircraft again!).

Mike... OH .......OK ,( at least I've got another one if this one goes tonto !!)...

Then once you're done with building the model, we'll find some nice soft grass to play lawn darts on

Tell you what I'll bring my M-50 and F-103 to the party too but only if you stand as the target marker... :whistle:

Andy

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:popcorn: Watching with interest General Sah! :popcorn:

I'm sorely tempted to get one of these re-issued Valk's, despite the sheer size of the finished kit and all the horror stories you hear about it, scratch that - tempted to get two of these beasties! I could be tempted to do one as one of the SST testbed versions North American pitched to the FAA back in the 60's.

This one will take a while so bear with me , hope you like it... think it might look rather nice with the F-103 Thunderwarrior and F-108 Rapier... :wicked:

Yes it would look nice alongside a Rapier, and by strange co-incidence I've just started work on my Anigrand Rapier, got something special planned for this beauty.

Looking good so far Andy.

:cheers:

Duncan

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Interesting idea Dunc, not too difficult a conversion either, markings would look impressive !!!!.

This thing is over 36 inches long and truely is massive, even next to the Bounder.This ones's going to be dressed up as one of SAC's finest ...20 shades of Alclad adorned with sash and BW unit badges...

Only other thing is choice of weapons ..... :hmmm:

Andy

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I'll be following this one with interest. I've had the AMT boxing in the stash for many years now - waiting on a bigger house before starting a build I think.

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I had an AMT one, bought second-hand, but I sold it for a small profit. Needs must when the devil bites your backside, and all that. I really want the re-issue though, so I'll be watching for all the tips you can provide, Melchy. Baaaaah!

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Morning campers,

:captain:

Bit of progress this AM, firstly the engine exhaust pack ,quite well detailed, no AB ring detail but outlet cone included that only needs a spot of drybrushing to bring to life,.The outer exhaust petals are well done if a little vague, I primed these with Alclad grey primer, tidied up then gave a shot of Tamiya black for inner section, (buried in the kit, you might want to dry brush the panel detail here at this point as it's impossible when fitted) and Alclad jet exhaust for the nozzles themselves.Finished off with promodeller dark dirt , a bit of dry brushing with Tamiya med sea grey and a light spray of Alclad jet violet for staining.

P1050064.jpg

Also managed to finish the very sturdy undercarriage, (The real one weighed over six tons each, the tyres and brakes weighed two tons alone !!!!). One word of warning here , the drag struts are very delicate and easily broken during handling so I gave all eight of them a little smear of superglue and accelerator to keep em in place!!.The main units were sanded and primed with Halfords grey plastic primer, ( marvellous stuff !!) and then given a few misty coats of Alclad duralumin mixed with a shot of dull aluminium ( get the impression I like the stuff :whistle: !!). this dulled it all down a bit for scale effect then the wheels were sprayed magnesium with some aluminium thrown in to give the embedded look these tyres have.Those of you unaware of why the tyres are silver it's due to the fact that ordinary black rubber would explode at the high temperatures generated in the wheel bays at high Mach numbers with these size tyres, so they were painted and impregnated with a special heat resistant paint then filled with nitrogen to counter the kinetic effects, (much like the SR-71).The small wheel in the middle is a sensing device for the anti skid braking system. It lowered onto the runway and gave a true speed reading which calculated the point at which the main wheels would lock and skid. These were made from a special black, heat resistant material and didn't need to be painted silver like the main wheels. :smartass:

Before weathering,

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and after....A bit more highlighting next to finish them off then semi matt varnish coat to seal in all the goodness !!

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Right onward and outward... next Those gaps !!! :analintruder: , :analintruder: , :analintruder:

Melchie...

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Why thank you young Smuts....I do try ...This is the best way to approach this kit....

mainImage.jpg

Very quietly, from behind armed with a large hammer, all the wet and dry you can find, the worlds supply of Milliput and the words ...'Don't Panic' in large, friendly letters emblazoned over your workbench !!!

Melchie....

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Andy,

Nice to see the usual Mad General Touch being applied to this beast. I'll be keeping an eye on this to make sure it doesnt totally flip you over the edge.......... Er hang on, I think that maybe too late :whistle:

ATB

Bexy

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Thanks Bex, I fear we are way past the flipping and edges stage, we are well into the flopping and pledges now... :jump_fire:

I think I should up the daily dose of Risperdal, Zyprexa and Clozaril from 5 mm to 2 ltrs...that should do it !!!!!

CChhaaaaaaaarge............... :hobbyhorse:

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Right, first ride on the wheel of terror is the large engine bay/intake area under the fuselage. This section has some of the worst fitting parts on the kit so extra care and vigilance is needed here ...so pay attention at the back !! :poke:

The intake tunnel parts do not sit well in their cut outs ...the reason is that the underside of the intake trunk is slightly convex and needs to be filed smooth so that it sits squarely in the bottom section,

Here is the offending section...the UNDERSIDE needs to be flattened or it won't sit correctly...

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This is how it sits before adjustment and a lot of people have struggled with this bit !!and spent hours rubbing down, smoothing, filling , etc !!

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Once smoothed and carved to fit it should sit a lot better... thus,

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The blanking plate inside the intake should be sprayed matt black and the surrounding area magnesium, while we're at it the rear end needs a lick of paint also ...I gave mine a shot of Alclad jet exhaust, with a touch of oil wash...

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At this point I always change the heat exchanger unit outlet vanes which are miles too thick in the kit part.Just carefully remove them (three all told) and replace with thin plasticard .I also carve out the 'ramp' at this point and replace it with a small piece of the same card so that it's now nice and smooth. This is then painted magnesium and given a coat of matt varnish.

The front undercarriage housing should then fit neatly over it ...remember to spray the nose gear bay before fitting !!!, :analintruder:

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And painted....

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Next comes the two intake tunnels that should now fit snuggly!!

Here comes another problem...the front end of the right ramp is a couple of mm short and bows out to one side alarmingly!. To remedy this I just fitted the left one, using superglue , accelerator and a cocktail stick holding the thing vertical to ensure the correct angle, then fit the other ramp ensuring that the two ends line up ( in other words you don't want to end up with a step) .Into the gap we drop a bit of Evergreen rod, which just so happens to fit, allow to dry, then cut to length and sand smooth. Don't worry about making it look beautiful at this point ....a lot more sanding and filling is to come !!!!!!

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Once this is done you have another problem, namely that the splitter plate is too long, it overshoots the ramp and should be in line.With a pilot pen we mark the line and cut the patient carefully not removing digits in the process !!

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Finally as we have cut the end square it all needs to be thinned to a sharp edge.I find the best way is to measure the edge with a ruler and draw a thin line done the middle and sand one side at a time until sharp, that way you avoid over doing it and ending up with a wavy line by George !!

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When all done it should look something like this ,

The good ship 'Valkyrie'....

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Last thing to do is fill the joints , my fave filler is Mr Hobby liquid putty ...delicious !!

Here endeth the lesson,....next the fuselage and the really SERIOUS gaps ... :analintruder:

Melchie...

Edited by general melchett

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Nice work G.M., always liked the Valkyrie, I always think it was something so futuristic, it didn't or shouldn't exist. Shame SAC didn't get a few wings worth, along with some F-108s. There was a very good article in the Orbis production "Take Off" about the crash called "Last ride of the Valkeyrie" .It featured a sequence of photos and a huge one of the formation:- a Phantom, Capt. Walsh's Starfighter, a T-38 and an F-5, all surronding the Valk herself. An interesting fact about the B-70: the J-93s were slated to be fed by a special fuel called Ethyl Borate, commonly known as zip fuel. Although she never flew with this, it would have increased power and made her the loudest aircraft to have ever flown.

Keep up the good work.

Joel

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This is Fantastic.

It almost makes me think I can build one. HA! Who am I kidding?!?!?!?!

This is a great work in progress.

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Thanks chaps, Joel, interesting , yep the borate fuel would have been an impressive boost to the machine, most of the speed at high Mach was generated by the intakes and VG wing tips which when lowered formed a box which captured the high speed pressurised air under the fuselage making it a 'wave bouncer', The J93's were also slated to be used in the F-108 ,

the loudest aircraft to have ever flown.
....it was !! all 180,000 lbs static thrust of it by a very wide margin, next is the Tupolev TU-160 Blackjack , but they both fade compared to the mighty Boeing 2707 SST which was to be powered by four General Electric GE-4 afterburning tubofans each rated at an earth shattering 53,000 lbs thrust !!....shame that never flew !!!

Av8 why couldn't you build one ??, it's time consuming sure but well worth it in the end , as long as you have a hanger to park it when done !! :whistle:

Melchie...

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A bit more,..... six pack in place and ramps filled ready for priming,

Sorry about pic quality , but it's a difficult begger to photograph as it's a lot bigger than my little photo booth !!!, :banghead:

Andy

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General,

The kit is too big. See my previous posts re running out of room/size of stash.

How I am going to rationalize the 1/24 Mosquito??

I am going to keep track of this build just in case I suddenly marry rich and she lets me have a man cave lol.

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General,

Like to way you work, so methodical and informative. It will be interesting to see how you overcome most to of the filling (I have never built one, so going on other peoples builds).

Robert

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Thank you kindly, Av8 , yes I must admit these models are pretty much out of the question if you are limited for space, I'm very fortunate in having a large room set aside for my hobbies, so this isn't a big problem at the moment , that and an understanding wife !! :whistle::whip:

Hope you meet your loaded wife and get your 'man cave'!!! ( I hear Katie 'beach balls' Price is available for the summer season....),

Robert, glad it's of use, the filling is the issue here as virtually every seam needs work as you'll see, but I've built far worse !!

The General.....

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