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About TheRealMrEd

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    Obsessed Member
  • Birthday 04/06/1944

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  • Location
    Marietta, Georgia USA
  • Interests
    1/72 US military aircraft and small scale r/c aircraft.

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  1. Hello again! At this time it seems appropriate to discuss how to do this XB or YB-40 conversion, WITHOUT having a Paragon conversion kit handy, as those are scarce as hen's teeth these days. So, I thought I might offer a couple of possibilities. First, you might use jeweler's carving wax to make your own master. The dimensions are given earlier, and the wax is easy to scrape and smooth with simple tools. Note that the wax I use for this kind of master is the Purple colored one, which is harder than the green, etc. The waxes range in differing degrees of hardness, signified by their color: Another option, shown above right, is to use the lower gun tub, included in the Academy kit (as a left-over used on older varieties of B-17), to make the piece to round off the back end of the radio operator's hump. As you can see in the photo, its 4-5mm too narrow, but cutting it in half fore and aft, and inserting a sandwich of plastic card equaling about 5mm would do perfectly. You'd then have to only make a short piece rounded to fit the fuse curvature, with a hole in it for the turret, at least for the YB-40. Alas for me, onyl a couple of days ago, did I notice the next problem (which was mentioned in the linked ARC build above -- had I only known about it!!) -- the XB-40 and YB-40 had different top turret installations. While they were both the Bendix turret, on the XB, it was sort of faired in, while on the YB, it was more free-standing, to give additional field of fire: As you can see, the "X" above is different from the "Y" below. I was surprised to learn that most people had been building the "YB", not the XB-40! Doh! Anyway, I was absolutely determined to model the XB-40, so now to figure out how to do it. Again, my usual disclaimer -- this is not necessarily the BEST way to do it, but it's gonna the be the way I muddle through it, because you see, I really had no idea, so we're all gonna be surprised together, because I'm going to have to figure it out. And as usual, as with the example of the kindly-provided link to the ARC build above by theplasticsurgeon, all ideas and inputs are welcome. I may not end up using them all, but all are grist for the mill, as they say. In any event, we will now change direction, whilst I correct my previous mis-deeds: First order of business is to re-glue into place the original cut-outs for the dorsal turret. Due to the precision of the cut as described above, they fit really well, with only a bit of 10 thou card ( "X" 's) added to make up for the width of the saw cuts. Another small modification, shown by the arrows, is moving the side gunner gun mount from the center of the opening (top), to more like 1/3 of the way back from the front side (bottom). The photos of the XB seem to show this, and there is mention here and there of restricted fields of fire on the side guns being corrected on the YB's. My theory is that to help address the tail-heaviness issue, the guns were moved slightly forward, but then their field of fire was restricted to mostly straight out to the sides or to the rear. I don't know if it's accurate or true, but it makes a good story, and I'm stickin' to it! The good news is that for any one trying this after me, you can just skip most of the stuff above and just start here. The first step toward doing an XB style turret installation, is to add a piece of plastic card (around 40 thou), shaped carefully by hand, and glued to one side of the fuse. I decided to try and figure out this whole mounting process before mating the fuselage halves, because I can't tell you the amount of agony that I have endured over the years due to sanding crud inside the fuselage at the end of the build. I am going to try to do as much of the mods as I can before that final step occurs: Note that is the picture above left, a small shelf has been added to the other side of the fuselage, for the newly added piece to rest on at final assembly, in case there's a lot of sanding and other violence going on later. Above right, it looks like this when the fuse halves are held together. Next, the corners of the front part of the opening are squared off, where more 40 thou card pieces are added, glued slightly proud of the fuselage to allow for finish sanding. Also, the hole for the turret is marked in pencil: Next, above right, the hole for the turret is started and hogged out with a sharp #11 blade (I buy them by the box of 100!) Next, the hole is sanded close to finished size with a bit of 100 grit sandpaper wrapped around the blade-less handle of the same X-Acto knife: Above right, a quick test fit of the turret. Here, I'm using the Paragon bit because I have it, but the turret from any other 1/72 scale aircraft's Bendix MANNED turret -- not the remote-controlled one -- can be used. With the fuselage halves held together and the turret base in place, we have the following: Above right, although hard to see in this picture, the side profile begins to be sanded. I used a small sanding drum in a Dremel tool, as well as the sandpaper-around-the-knfe shown above as needed for all this rounding. Next, another piece of card is shaped and glued atop the previous piece. This is only to raise the height of the rear of the cut-out closer to the depth of the fuse top, to reduce sanding and filling later. This would be a little easier is the fuse halves were already joined, but oh well... Above right, the side profile of the cut-out is shown better. Some of the "hump" sides have been sanded down at the rear of the opening, and the depth of the the newly-added piece can be seen. With the fuse halves taken apart again, the added piece can be seen a little better, and the turret hole will be completed when dry: Well, while this piece of card addition is drying, I'll take a break for now. Just noticed that I'm over 30 pictures already, and it doesn't even look like an airplane yet. Oh well, looks like I'm in for another long haul. So much for a "quick and dirty" Shelf Queen fix-up! Ed
  2. Well Martin, Certainly one of the most colorful starfighters out there, Yours may be more colorful than Laven's F-104C, at least as far are BRIGHTNESS goes! Ed
  3. Thanks surgeon, Very interesting link and some useful info as well. Mike, seems like I'll be swapping out a few parts for this build... thanks for the heads up on the cowls, etc. Ed
  4. Well, back again for another round! As stated at the end of my last build, I decided to dig out a decades old Shelf Queen. This was started with the old Paragon? 1/72 resin XB-40 conversion set and the old Hasegawa B-17F kit for "Hell's Angels": I had started this kit years ago, and had gotten this far: As you can see in the photo, there were a few problems with this kit. First off, it had the wrong windows set-up in the nose compared to the XB-40, which was based on a very early B-17F-1-BO. Also, the windows didn't fit very well, and while I had been able in years before this to glue in clear windows with CA and then sand and then polish them, it didn't work out very well this time around, particularly where the gun holes were already in the clear parts; they also turned out pretty hazy, rather than clear. The next photo shows the nose gun conversion, which later became standard on the B-17G: In the picture above, right, I even re-located the waist gun on that side forward, as the few pictures around at that time indicated. The waist gun windows were masked over from the inside using Scotch tape, which I figured could be fished out after painting -- a good idea at the time, not as good after the tape sat for more than 20 years! At this point, I become frustrated with the windows problem, and she became an official Shelf Queen, but I looked at her every few years, but didn't come up with a solution. Fast forward to this week, and seeking a project that for once had no natural metal, I decided to drag the old girl out for yet another look, having gleaned a few more photos on-line over the passing years. And that's when I realized.....I'd screwed up, as the following picture shows: The waist gun on the right side of the first XB-40, 41-24341, had NOT been moved forward! All my work moving it was a wasted effort. To be sure the gun position HAD been moved forward on the "Y"B-40, but not on the "X"! After pondering whether I could cut open the fuse and redo the waist gun, I decided to take a look the the Academy B-17E kit I had in the stash, awaiting birth as a Midway B-17; since the B-17E and B-17F are said to mostly be the same externally, except for the nose glazing, it seemed worth a shot: The very first thing I checked was the fit of the clear windows -- how much filling would be required. The two small ones I took off the trees and fit to the model fit perfectly. Also, they were almost entirely correct for the XB-40! So far, so good. Next, I noticed that the Academy B-17E kit had provisions for you to cut out the right side waist gun position that you preferred: So, I cut out the rear-most or non-staggered position. Again, so far, so good. Next thing was to make the cutouts for the rear top turret part of the conversion: The conversion part turned out to be 38 or 39mm in length after I used debonder to remove the part from the Hasegawa kit. It turned out to be 20-21 mm in width, which fortuitously happened to correspond to existing kit lines of the Academy B-17E kit. So, as is my custom these days, I used Dymo tape and a scriber to scribe very fine, precise lines to guide a very fine-bladed razor saw for the cut-ous: This method provides a very precise cut-out, as can be seen below: At this point, there was a very slight difference in height between the Academy kit and the resin part: This is taken care of by two strips of 40 thou card glued from the inside with liquid glue, and aligned carefully with the outside of the fuse, to reduce later sanding and filling: Above right, the bomb bay door were glued in place. Since this was a bomber escort, it's carrying capacity was for ammo, not bombs, so there wouldn't be much to see if the bay was left open. Contrary to remarks of another builder on-line, I found the doors to fit very well. I re-enforced them with small strips of card on the inside of the ends, and set the whole shebang aside to dry. Well, looks like I'm off to a good start -- praying for smooth sailing... See you soon, Ed
  5. Thanks Dennis, appreciate that. John, I believe I'm going to take a break from BMF or NMF aircraft for I bit. I think I'll go back to a decades old shelf queen, an XB-40 bomber escort. Ed
  6. Thank you all for the kind comments! I'll confess, my first love in modeling has always been conversions, dating back to around 1971, when I converted an Airmodel vacuform F9f-2 or whatever straight wing Panther jet to an F9F-8 or so Cougar swept wing jet. Ah, the discovery of plastic card and Squadron Green Putty! I still like to keep the hand in, particularly after a run of more or less "normal" models. I'll have to see what I can come up with in future.... Ed
  7. Well, as promised over on the YRF-84F Build Thread here are the finished pics: Again, thanks to fellow modeler Bill Dye, who inspired this build. As usual, it's not perfect, but it's better than the one I had before... Ed
  8. Well, back again, with the final installment! The only small decals that I could find in the photos were alas also on the RF-84F kit decals, which were totally trashed -- cracked, pieces flaked off, etc. For the first time in years, the spares box has left me down. Oh well... To recall (or just to inform -- can't remember!), the paint/decal sequence was as follows: 1) Fill, sand and prime w Alclad II Gray primer/filler. repeat as needed until no defects could be observed. Then, 2) Black Gloss Alclad II base, then fix all those defects found, repeating above steps as needed. Then, 3) An all-over coat of Alclad II Polished Aluminum, and then fixing all the myriad of new defects found, and repeating steps 1 and 2 above as needed. Then, 4) Mask some panels with Parafilm "M" and spray second bare metal color, such as semi-flat Alumiinum, Stainless Steel, regular Aluminum, etc., Then 5) Masking other panels with the PM, shoot second, third, etc color as needed. When all the bare metal colors were done, then 6) Spray a thinned wash of thinned Alclad II Aluminum (5% Aluminum, 95% thinner) over the whole model, helping all the metal colors to tone better, killing extreme variances. Then 7) The required areas were masked with PM and for the anti-glare and turtle deck panels, Tamiya tape was laid atop the PM to establish the long, swooping lines correctly, then the PM was cut out (gently) with a new #11 X-Acto blade, running down the edge of the tape as a guide. As indicated earlier, some practice beforehand should be done. Anyway when the needed areas of PM were pulled away, the anti-glare color and the red color were sprayed. Then, After everything had dried, all the masking was removed, and the entire model was given a coat of Alclad II Aqua Gloss water-based paint. This was to let the model be handled easier after this coat had dried, as well as to give the decals a dead smooth surface to adhere to. Also, it added a little protection to the Alclad, in case some of the decal solvents used later got on the finish, as sometimes, particularly with the harsher ones, they eat the Alclad II. Of course, this layer was left to dry overnight. Then, 9) Decals were applied, using Micro Set, which is pretty mild. After being teased into final positions, the decals were allowed to dry about four hours, then Walther's SOLVASET was applied to all decals, and this stuff is tough! From this point, unless there was some tiny and very quick decal adjustment needed, I left the decals alone to dry over night. Once the SOLVASET has been applied, decals become extremely fragile! Then, 10) Another coat of Alclad II Aqua Gloss was applied over the decals (including the strips on the canopy), and allowed to dry. Then, 11) Avoiding the canopy (by either masking or careful aim of the airbrush), a coat of Alclad II Klear Kote Light Sheen was applied, to mostly kill the bright shine from the Aqua Gloss. On the show-type planes, such as George Laven's F-100C or F-104C, this last step would be skipped. Then, and lastly, 12) The anti-glare areas were touched up with a dead flat clear acrylic topcoat, applied by carefully hand-brushing. There, see how easy that was? A LAST AND FINAL WARNING TO ALL THOSE WHO COULD BE WISER THAN I --- AFTER THE BLACK BASE COAT, DO NOT TOUCH THE MODEL WITH BARE HANDS UNTIL AT LEAST THE FIRST COAT OF AQUA GLOSS HAS BEEN APPLIED, IF NOT THE LAST COAT!!! Anyway, after dispensing such sage advice -- which you will recall, I often ignore (to my peril), I'll just move along. After all the paint and decalling was done, I added all the small bits -- landing gear, speed brake, etc. and touched up the wing-tip lights with first a coat of white paint, and then a dollop of either clear red or blue as required. As a last step, I drilled holes into the four marked areas on the older-style F-84 4-hole speed-brake, and enlarged the holes slightly with a tiny square rat-tail file, as these holes were see-though on the real aircraft; this was then mounted the the bottom of the fuselage with the two little actuator struts from the Heller F-84E/G kit. Here's a shot showing the speed brake and the custom nose wheel described earlier: And a shot showing the extra large star and bar insignia on the wings, as well as the 90-degree to the fuselage application of the USAF, which was, on the production models, changed to the more common tangential orientation: That it for the teaser pics. I'll have the RFI link posted in a few minutes, for those interested: RFI Again, thanks to fellow modeler Bill Dye, where ever he is, for inspiring me to build this nice addition to my collection. Stay tuned for the next adventure... Ed
  9. Hi billn53, Yup, that's the drill! Simply practice a few times on a paint mule and it becomes quite natural. These days, I only use a ruler with the PM on the long straight lines, such as on wings. And you know, none of us are getting any younger --- give it a shot! Ed PS Nice work on the B-58 in progress...
  10. Hello, back again, In the next photo,, the anti-glare panels on the nose and turtle-deck are painted, I chose FS# 34092 (Dark Euro Green) instead of the more common FS# 34087 Olive Drab, because the 34092 was called out in the official T.O.'s for many other aircraft of the era, and because it is less commonly seen. As I could find no color photos of this aircraft, no way I can be certain. The intake and wing walk warning areas were painted FS 31136 Insignia Red, while the top of the vertical stabilizer was painted light gray. Since these caps were usually made of fiberglass, they could be grey, tan, yellowish brown, or whatever. Again, no color photo: With everything unmasked, it looks like this, so far: Next, since I didn't have the correct numbers and letter for the buzz numbers "FS-345", I printed some on my ink-jet printer. As before, the lack of color photos means I had to chose between Insignia Blue or black. I chose black, because all the other needed little decals in the spares box were mostly black. For those wishing to follow this same path, the full-size artwork is presented below: I usually print at least two each of every home printed decal, as they are sometimes printed to thin, and I have to put a second decal over the top of the first, usually only when printing on clear decal stock, as I did here. By the way, if anyone needs to print these and can't manipulate these two print a clear background, I have the Photo Shop .psd file available, for the prince of a message or e-mail... Next I began the decalling process, starting with what I thought to be the hardest two things, the red turbine warning stripe around the rear fuselage, and the two home made FS-345 decals. This is because if I have any trouble and have to remove then and possibly damage the paint, I have less work to recover, and fewer wasted spares decals. It now looks like this: Coming along nicely. Still needs what I call the 'secondary" decals -- the white re-enforcement decals on the canopy, and as many other smaller marking that I might see in the photos and locate in the spares box! While I am addressing those issues, there is another conversion requirement, the nose wheel. The regular Heller F-84E nose wheel was too small, and pictures show this aircraft as NOT having the ubiquitous fender on the nose wheel to reduce splash, so I decided a little conversion was in order. First, I took a very fine toothed razor saw, and sawed off the front wheel, tire, and fender from the RF-84F kit front gear assembly. I then found a correct 6-holed front wheel in the spares box (probably from a P-80 or T-33 kit). It was overly large and overly wide, but had the correct hub pattern: Then, I used a larger, wider blade saw to saw the spares box wheel in half, as shown above. I sanded the wheel halves thinner, just like working with a vacuform kit, and also sawed the material from between the front forks of the nose wheel. This left the material of the fork very thin, so I had to proceed very carefully: In the competed photo above right, you will note that the re-worked spares box tire is still a bit larger than the RF-84F kit wheel. I only sanded the circumference down enough so that the end of the nose gear fork would line up with the center of the wheel. This allowed the wheel to fit rather snugly into the fork, rather than having a bit of clearance side-to-side and fork-to-wheel, as there should be in real life. I glued the wheel/tire to the fork not only at the center of the hub, but along the areas where the tire contacted the fork, using CA glue, and re-enforcing this very weak area greatly. In any event, the end product looks closer to the real thing than what I had to begin with, so I'm happy about that! Well, we're rounding the final turn now. Won't be long before she's R.F.I. -- stay tuned... Ed
  11. Smithy, I feel your pain! There are only two distributors for Colourcoats in the US. Might be time to nudge a hobby shop in the area to step up, or perhaps to induce a friend to vacation a little further south just one time... It really is a load of BS that airlines don't want to fly sealed tins of enamel paint around. Ed
  12. Sorry Space Ranger -- You can lead a horse to drink, but you can't make him water.... Ed
  13. Just my 2 cents worth, but as a modeler on the OTHER side of the pond, I can't imagine why any modeler on THAT side of the pond wouldn't head straight for Sovereign Hobbies and Colourcoat enamels. Jamie has several shades of OD, including the slightly brownish one mentioned here, and the enamel paints work as good as the Hubrol of yesteryear, with very fine grain. Here is an example of the brownish OD and the Neutral Gray: Good luck in your efforts, Ed
  14. Now that the YF-105A is done, back to this one! When last we met, the model had finally had the nose probe added and was sprayed overall with Alclad II grey primer, looking for defects and ready for paint. Next, I added an overall coat of Alclad II black gloss paint, then a layer of Alclad II Polished Aluminum: After masking with Parafilm "M", a couple other shades of Alclad II were added, semi-flat aluminum and stainless steel, I think. Also, as is usual for me the nose probe came off, so that will mean more repairs! Right after which, I again broke a cardinal rule and left a thinner-impregnated thumb print right behind the canopy as seen above, so more sanding, masking, re-paint, etc. Finally I got all the main bare metal parts looking halfway decent, but way too shiny for this particular bird: In the lower picture above, I shot a coat of diluted Alclad II Aluminum (5% paint 95% thinner) over the entire model, to more or less bring the tone of all parts a little closer together, and kill a little of the excess shine of the Polished Aluminum. It is hard to see the difference in these two photos, but in real life, it make a huge difference. The trick here is a thin overall coat, and then a little extra here and there where needed most. Easy does it! With all that done, and a full day of drying time, I then covered most of the endangered areas with Parafilm "M" to protect from over-spray as well as to give an extra level of insurance that the Tamiya tape used to outline the anti-glare panels would not lift the underlying pant. Having the PM under the tape also helps prevent bleed through, or paint seeping under the edge of the tape. The canopy remains covered, but using a sharp #11 X-Acto blade, I gently trimmed the PM away from the areas needing paint, following along the tape edge: Next, the anti-glare areas will be painted and then more drying time. Back in a day or three with more updates... Ed
  15. Thanks Anthony, I had a grandmother who used to tell me "Can't never could do nothin'". While the grammar is imperfect the sentiment is not. The trick is to think "I don't know how to do that YET", instead of "I can't". Just like TGO inspired me to attempt this build, I would be very happy if this build one day inspired other modelers to extend their capabilities beyond their present state! Ed
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