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About TheRealMrEd

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    Established Member
  • Birthday 06/04/1944

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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 folks, I'm back again with a not-really WIP that is in reality the completion of another shelf queen. This time it's Muroc Model's excellent 1/72 scale F8A (or F8U-1) conversion of the Academy F-8E Crusade kit. Normally, I would have just posted an RFI, but I ran across a couple of items that might be interesting to discuss. So, please forgive the digression from normal forum useage. The Muroc Models kit consists of a nose replacement, new hump for the top of the wing, a vacuformed canopy, some very good decals (including new cockpit placard decals, unique to the F8A version), a correct early spoked front wheel, and a couple of other small pieces. A yes, and with very precise, detail instructions on ow to proceed. After the majority of the mods, it looks like this: You have to also remove the ECM bump from the vertical stabilizer, and since this type has a different set-up for the speed brake, you are advised to NOT display it in the open position. TAKE THE ADVICE! The early Crusaders were equipped with a drop-down rockets tray for 2.75" FFAR rockets (similar to the F-86D, etc.). This unit dropped down, and the speed brake was hinged on that -- a very weird set-up! Since the inside of the brake door area was different than on the later birds, and since the brake parts on the Academy kit were designed to be shown open and fit terribly when closed -- I just glued everything together and filled the bad spots and sanded it down. As a result, I forgot to add the Muroc-supplied launch bridle....grrr! Since the rocket tray was a terrible idea, they were disconnected and eliminated entirely on the later models. Go for it if you dare... Also, keep in mind that the early Crusaders only had the single rail missile mount on the sides, and no under-wing stores. Now, about the Academy kit, in addition to the bad "closed-fit" problems with the air brake, the Academy instructions call for you to add the landing gear actuating rods (parts C10 and C11)) during step 2. Don't do it! I did, and managed to break off and lose the parts on both side, and they are not easy to scratch-build items. Leave them off until you are ready to install the lower main gear door assembly, in step 8. The next item of interest is the ejection seat. The early Crusaders used the Vought ejection seat, for which there are no aftermarket items in 1/72 scale. Trying to come up with reasonable facsimiles of early ejection seats is sort of a thing with me, so here's my take on one. After some on-line researching, I eventually made my way to the same treasure trove that we all end up using, when doing U.S. Navy aircraft -- the vaults of Mr Tommy Thomason, over at TailHook Topics. In this case, the link is here: F8A Tailhook Topiic Since what I'm going to explain next is better done all in one place, rather than clicking back and forth, I shamelessly downloaded a drawing of the F8A cockpit from Tommy. (Sorry for taking the liberty Tommy, but since all your help on my P2V-3 Neptune build, I'm pretty sure that you're all about helping fellow modelers, so I'm happy to give you full credit for both your active and passive efforts on our behalf! (both here and on the Neptune). Normally, I would just cut these items by hand from plastic card with a sharp razor knife, then sand to fit and then glue the parts together. This time, I wanted to try something different. Since my wife and daughter had just bought a new device for cutting out fabric, paper, etc shapes, I decided to try that. The device is called a Cricut. Their website is here: CRICUT Tommy's very useful drawing was used at this time, primarily for the outlines of the seat flat parts. I loaded the photo into Photoshop and eliminated all lines except for the seat outlines. This re-worked drawing was then up-loaded (by my daughter) onto software on the Cricut website, where it was scaled down to about 28% of the original. The Cricut, which uses a variety of blades and pens to cut or draw based on material being used was tried using the acetate settings. I used 10 thou card. The machine used Tommy's modified drawing, and cut these little parts out of the card sheet: Some of the parts are shown on the left, while the card, on the right, still has some of the pieces in place. Since these parts were based on a jpeg drawing, when they were shrunk, the lines became a little unsteady. After assembling these seats (which turned out to be a little small), I converted the drawing to a vector graphics file, re-arranged for efficiency,and generated some "cleaner" parts, at 35% of the drawing; New drawing shown below: Anyone who wishes, feel free to download and use this file for any reason whatsoever. You should convert it from the jpg to a vector file or bitmap, to keep re-scaling accurate. Two seats are shown above, with one side attached to each seat back/bottom assembly, with liquid glue. After adding some small bit for the seat cushion, headrest,seat firing pulls, etc., we have this: With some paint and seat belts, etc. it ends up like this: These seats are not perfect, but to me at least, they look more appropriate than what is available elsewhere. I will certainly be exploring further use of the Cricut for modeling; the armor guys with all the flat panels, should just eat this machine right up! Anyway, rather than an RFI, I'll just post a few finished pics here: There you have it. Not a perfect model, but a nice addition to the display case. I have Muroc's F8C model conversion also, that I will get around to one day. It is very similar to the A conversion, lacking only the overall markings for the aircraft, as some are available in the aftermarket, or can be converted. Hope you have found this at least a little interesting. See you next time, Ed
  2. Thanks guys, I'm pretty happy with her. Terry, the link to the build is immediately beneath the two F-100 pics above, and I'll repeat it .HERE I sure wish someone had done his biography. Ed
  3. Thanks guys, for the kind comments! Col George E. Laven was a Texas boy, who by the start of the Aleutian Islands campaign found himself flying P-38E ( at least two, #76 and #80 each named "Itsy-Bitsy". He was credited with 4 kills in the Aleutians.. Next he is found flying a P-38L-5-LO in the Pacific, where he is credited with getting the last Pacific War kill of his unit. Oddly however, he is not listed as an Ace.... gotta be a story somewhere. I built the second of these P-38E's. No one has been able to explain the blue, but it came from a Life Magazine Cover Photo: Build Thread: Laven's P-38E #80 Next, he moves on to P-84B's (later F-84B's), and then into at least three F-84E's. This one is the most colorful: Next, he moved into F-100C's, his most colorful being shown here, getting ready for an air show: Lavens F-100C build thread:F-100C The, he apparently led the first flight of F-100's (not sure whether C's or D's into Northern Laos. I haven't been able to find any info on which a/c he flew for that mission, but I am hoping to turn something up. He also had the famous and colorful F-104C "Really George?" mentioned above. That one is be poked and prodded upon the workbench now. The next time he is encountered is when the Air Force was flying around the new F-110A Spectre (later renamed F-4B Phantom), Laven was one of the guys doing the publicity tour. He also favored strange and ugly cars, some of which he had custom made in Germany: Well, that's about all I know about Col Laven, except that I wish I could have met him. Ed
  4. Thanks guys, I assure you, it broadened my modeling horizons quite a bit! Ed
  5. Hello, back again. Today's effort is in keeping with this year's resolution to try and complete some shelf queens, which have been laying about for years (or sometimes, decades!), just to clean up the place a bit. It is basically the Tamiya 1/72 F-84G, modified to an F-84E version, and adorned with parts of a resin detail set and some colorful decals depicting one of Col George E Laven's colorful F-84E's (he had several). First off, was to get to an F-84E from the "G" kit. As the question of how to do this was raised by several in other forums, here's what it takes: `1) Fill in the large blow-in doors just ahead of the wings on both sides of the aircraft 2) Fill in the mid-air re-fueling door lines at the inner front of the top of the left wing 3) Replace the air brake below the fuselage with the earlier, 4-hole version 4) Check references about the canopy, while earlier F-84E's had the clear main canopy, they were all eventually replaced with the "G" model re-inforced canopy. Date of service being depicted is important here. I had intended to make this a build thread, but since I worked on it haphazardly, it didn't work out. However, here are a couple of reference photos: Several points worth mentioning about the build. Figure "A" above shows where the earlier 4-hole air brake will be installed. (The last photo on this post will show the correct brake installed on the finished model). Figure "B" shows the filled-in blow-in door Also, figure "C" shows where the cover over the machine guns should be. WARNING, the Tamiya 1/72 F-84G kit doesn't like to have this door closed. You will have to fight mightily to close it!!! Also shown installed is the Aires resin cockpit, and just ahead of that, the resin intake splitter. This part was used, as it gave me a great place to hide the lead nose weight. This would cause problems later however, as the resin part lacks the little "arms" to which the nose well doors attach, which led to glue and paint problems later on. If I were to build another Tamiya kit, I would use the kit splitter assembly instead. The next photo shows all of the filling, sanding and loss of panel lines involved in closing the gun bay door, but I was determined. (Next time, I won't be, but I'll be doing a war-fighter "G", not a pretty show plane. I didn't want to detract from the color scheme. Another downside of closing the bay door is that in the end, I ended up having to raise the windscreen slightly, to get everything to fit. That's when I decided to pose the canopy open, to help disguise this fact. Figure "D" shows the approximate position (if the wing were attached)where the fuel filler door lines must be filled. One reason I had put off the build so long was also the decals. I used AeroMaster 72-195, and they were great. Tough and thin, they required a couple of applications of setting solution to get them to lay down on some of the rather severe curves. Normally, I use Micro Set and Micro Sol, but on this model, I had to break out the Walther's Solvaset, carefully applied only to the decals, NOT on the Alclad II bare metal! Each wingtip fuel tank has eight different decals to get the checkerboard design done. I was afraid of doing this, but they worked well. I would recommend putting all 4 outer decals on each wing tank at the same time, so that you can move them around to line up while tey are wet. You kind of have to worry about how they overlap at the edges, but it works out okay. In any event, here are the final photos: I'm very glad to add the colorful model next to Laven's F-100C, which I did last year. See you next time, Ed
  6. Mr T, it certainly helps when building vac u form kits to have a bottomless box of spares! Thanks, John R. As a matter of fact, this very kit was in a bundle of 6 or 7 Maintrack kits I bought years ago on E-bay. The were several old classic British jets, and this one. I kept this one, and sold the others on-line, which more than offset the price of this one. They were/are expensive because Maintrack took a shot at a lot of stuff that no one else would touch. They are among the best vac u forms, in my opinion, along with two or three others. JWM, if you liked researching this one, go take a look at the XF-84H. It was the true "bad boy" among U.S. hybrid prop/jet types. Main problem was that every time they fire that one up, and the prop tips went supersonic, everyone within earshot without protection began puking their guts out! Undoubtedly the precursor to today's --not yet used much, but will be soon -- "non-lethal" crowd control weapons. You might also follow this up by further investigating U.S. Navy installations 3,000 below earth's surface in Pennsylvania, ELF submarine communications systems, and very unhappy whales. Just sayin'.... Ed
  7. Thanks, Terry! Thud4444, the biggest problem with vac u form kits is usually that one sands away too much or too little from some of the parts. This one was more complicated in that the rear exhaust nozzles had to be fitted, and the nose had to be cut off. I tried to show with this build that all these things can be corrected with plastic card. Trust me, I have at least a dozen (or more) started vac u form kits that are unfinished, some because they were too difficult for my skills at the time, and most have since been replaced by regular plastic kits. The important point is that by trying, I began to learn both TO DO and what NOT TO DO! The experience was worth all of it. From time to time, I still use some of the tricks developed on vac kits on regular plastic models -- for example, widening the fuse of the Trumpeter F-100 kits using plastic shims. Since some old vac kits can be had for a song these days, everyone should have a go... Ed
  8. Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Yeah, Chris. I especially remember all the great old British experimental and early jets that Maintrack did! Duckwizard, the surface was Alclad II Glossy Black primer, covered overall with Alclad II Polished Aluminum ALC-105, with small bits done with Alclad II Airframe Aluminum ALC-119, and the prop spinner was done with Alclad II ALC-126 HI-Shine Plus Aluminum. The wings were vary gently scuffed with 12,000 grit polishing cloth, in the direction of airflow, and the fuse was polished vertically with the same material. As I said, I'm trying to find a way to show use on BMF surfaces, in this case on a frequent flier, based in a desert (wind-borne sand scratches?), as opposed to me B-45A build of a couple of years ago, where I tried to depict some snow and ice (plus maybe some salt) on the BMF surfaces. B-45A RFI Here And, here's the shot I forgot to include earlier, the 2nd XF-88 #6526 (an Anigrand resin model), vs XF-88B #6525 (which was actually the FIRST XF-88, later modified into the "B" version: Thanks again, Ed
  9. Thanks guys, Both for the comments and for looking in. Ed
  10. Hi all, Here are the finsihed pics of my Maintrack 1/72 Vacuform XF-88B VooDoo build. It held (maybe still holds) the record for the fasted propeller engine aircraft, once hitting Mach 1.2 in a vertical dive with the jet engines turned off. As far as I know, the Maintrack version is the only way to be to an XF-88B in 1/72 scale, although you could modify an Anigrand XF-88 kit... Build thread Here: Build Thread Well -- fudge! Looks like the star and bar (above) slipped on me and I didn't catch it before the clear coat. As they say "you never see the one that gets you..."! I tried to do a very slight amount of weathering on the BMF. I still haven't found the best way to do this, but I keep experimenting. I just didn't want it to be too pristine, but it's a tough problem. Hope you find it interesting, Ed
  11. Hi all. After a little screaming, yelling and paint fumes, I've got it going my way. After the paint and some decals, it only needs a few added details: Except for some detail painting, the landing gear and prop are good to go, but a little work needs to be done on the gear doors. The main gear door in the fuselage remains closed except during retraction. The smaller door in the fuse is open when the gear are deployed, but since I would have had to box in the whole gear well, etc., I decided to skip that step, and left the little door closed. The nose gear door features part of the ductwork, so a false inside panel was cut from thin card, while the kit nose gear door was sanded and the front of the doors intake ducting was filed open: Note the new inner door skin (above) has not yet been cut to length. Next the nose door parts are glued together, plus new main gear leg doors are cut from thin card stock, as it's easier than sanding down the original vac u form parts that I had cut out of the lower wings earlier: Finally all the little detail parts are added, to finish her up! "A" is a little block, which seems to have a hole clear through it (will show up better in RFI pics). I don't know what this was, but unless it's a HUGE tie-down, I suspect it has to do with the fact that ballast was carried way back in the rear of the tail boom, and this may be something that allows adjustment to the ballast mass for adjusting the center of gravity of the aircraft. This is merely a S.W.A.G., and further enlightenment would be appreciated! "B" represents small pieces of plastic straw painted and installed into the exhaust cut-outs, to prevent a sort of see-thru view. "C" is a fuel dump. "D" is a larger piece of plastic straw, masquerading as the turbo exhaust tube. "E" barely seen here is a small strip of silver decal applied to the left side only of each propeller blade. This represents instrumentation mounted to the blades, probably to check vibration of the effect of the blade tips going supersonic. Not sure, but I added this as the cheapest way to show "something". Lastly the inside of the gear doors were painted red. I didn't know they were doing this THAT early, but a you-tube video clip I found showed it, so here it is. Well, she is done. While not perfect, she's a welcome collection to the "VooDoo" stable that I'm accumulating. It was easier than some vac u forms, but harder than others. It is this sort of kit that really taps into the "wisdom of the ages" bit, but you can acquire the wisdom today with a few clicks of the mouse. You just gotta take the plunge... Ed I'll have the RFI pics up shortly: RFI LINK
  12. Thanks again, everyone. But as I said, "It's gonna be a while...". And in accordance with the above mentioned "Law of Modeling", and in the interests of complete disclosure, here's what she looks like after a coat of black primer, a coat of Alclad olished Aluminum, and a careful inspection under the lights: EVERYTHING (except the canopy) gets sanded down, AGAIN, with 2000 grit wet-or-dry, as a thousand tiny flaws suddenly appeared under the natural metal coating! Here is where a normal, sane human would toss in the towel and paint it silver. Not I. In my dotage, I have found the 2nd IMMUTABLE LAW OF MODELING -- namely that it's not about skill at all -- it's about perseverance! Once again, I shall endeavor... Ed
  13. Thanks guys! Just laid on the first coat of natural metal -- it's gonna be a while! Ed
  14. Hi all, back again with a small update. First, a look at the kit's metal parts, not including the turboprop, which was shown earlier: These parts were very cleanly molded, and required little clean-up. The only thing not-stock above is, I have added the torsion links to all the gear legs with CA. ONE WORD OF WARNING! The nose gear struts are molded with only a hole on either side of the fork, to receive the nose wheel axle. Apparently, the intent was to have the modeler pry the fork legs apart, and insert the axles into the holes. DON"T DO IT!!! They are made of pot metal, and are very brittle. They will break in a heartbeat! That being said, mu solution was to saw, then file, a little slot into the bottom of each fork leg (like the slot on a bicylcle's rear fork), and then just slide and glue the wheel into position. I'll show this later on. Otherwise, a little primer and a little paint, and they're good to go. Laying the metal parts aside for the moment, the next step is too install the wing fences, which are not included in the kit. Not shown here, I began by taking a razor saw and sawing a slot in the top half of each wing, from the front edge of the wing back to the aileron. This position is clearly marked on the wing, so no problem there. Next a strip of 5 or 10 thou card cut oversize is glued into the slot with liquid glue, and allowed to dry thoroughly: Next, they are sanded to shape with a 180 grit sanding stick. Shown is the near one partially shaped, while the farthest one has not yet been worked on: Embedding them into the wing, vs. just gluing them onto the wing, makes the wing fences much easier to sand and shape, and I highly recommend it. Next up is fabricating a hood for the instrument panel. This is cut from the top of a family-sized store bought macaroni and cheese container. The bottom is too thick, but the top is just right, and soft enough to bend readily. After cutting it to rough shape, I formed it over a Popsicle stick that had the edges sanded to a rounded configuration -- after the stick was cut down to the correct width: Next the hood is shown from the side, after it was glued into place with 560 canopy cement: Also not that both wing fences have been sanded down closer to their final height, which is only 3 scale inches! I forgot to take a picture of the next step, simply modding an old 25-lb practice bomb from the spares box, to represent the oxygen system on the rear upper "package tray" behind the seat. Everything above the cockpit coaming was then painted interior black from MM. (I had used up my one and only bottle of MM Interior Black enamel paint, which has been discontinued, but I tried their acrylic flavor of this color, and am please to report that it seems to perform better than the enamel did!) I then glued the vac u formed canopy provided in the kit to the model with watch makers cement, smoothed with alcohol after it had dried. There was a funny bit at the front of the canopy, so I used some spot putty for that, and later a little Perfect Plastic Putty for a couple of final tiny spots that I didn't want t sand. The PPP was smoothed with a finger dipped in water. Lastly, the canopy was masked with Parafilm "M", and everything was primed again: The kit pitot has been added to the left wing by drilling a hole and filling with CA. The probe seems to be of a lead-like material, so is easy to bend into alignment if you get ham-handed and knock it out of whack as I did a couple of times... One other mention: the provided canopy on this kit doesn't have a large amount of excess plastic around it, so it was necessary to very carefully scribe around it with a needle several times, to separate the canopy from the rest of the sheet. This is a safer process than just cutting it out with a razor knife, in my opinion,. Also, as you can see from the photos, every time I LOOK at the model, another bit needs sanding. This is NOT the fault of the kit, but rather, I'm certain, is an obscure Law Of Modeling that it be thus... In any event, off to the paint booth. Later, friends! Ed
  15. Hi Fastcat! I remember those days very well! My favorites were the large Revell F-102 that deployed or retracted the landing gear when you opened or closed the canopy -- and -- the old "Atomic Bomber" kit. If I could have back all the kits that I tossed out the window into the bushes to see how they flew, I'd be a lot wealthier than I am now. Ed