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Lootenant Aloominum

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  1. Nearly all my parachute jumps were from Cessna 206s, of which I know of no kit at the time of this writing. My only family connection with the Otter is that my late father flew in one as a passenger at least once. Anyway, I reckon the Otter is a more impressive looking airplane than the Cessna 206… When the weather becomes warmer and sunnier, I plan to update this page with photos of this model ‘in action.’ Otter kit The pilot seats rest on spindly frames. The frames’ attachments to the seats are more substantial than to the floor, so glue the frames to the seats, then glue each seat-frame assembly to the floor. Some real Otters have a Y-shape control columns, a control yoke being attached to the end of each arm, one for each pilot. Others have one arm and yoke, for single pilot operation. The kit has the one arm column and I opted for just one pilot (see later). I had to remove the control column; the yoke left no room for the pilot’s legs. In addition, I had to modify the seat pan and the pilot figure slightly so he fitted. The harness on the empty seat is paint. The cabin floor and flight deck assembly fits into the fuselage halves perfectly, which is a refreshing change from many more modern kits. Fitting the jump master and a parachutist inside the cabin makes it clear that, although the Otter is large for a single engine airplane, you cannot stand up inside it. The windows fitted after a small amount of filing of some edges. They are rather thick, which helps hide the lack of interior detail. A final test press fit convinced me that no glue was necessary except for the flight deck door windows and, later, the windscreen. Those doors also did not need glue. Incidentally, a minor inaccuracy is that the corners of the side windows are too square. Real ones had a substantial radius. A small radome on top of fuselage is not shown in the instructions, but it is included in the kit (part B20). The following details are not included in the kit: Ladder rungs protruding forward on the main wheel struts Aerial (cable stay) atop the flight deck Wing tip lights Red light on top of the fuselage with which most but not all Otters were equipped Leading edge light Boarding steps Stencilling decals. I raided my spares box to find approximations for all those parts except the leading edge light, for which I used paint, the boarding steps, which I omitted, and the ladder rungs on the wheel struts, which I also omitted. The latter are too difficult and they look weird anyway. This photo shows it before satin varnish (the gloss is undercoat for decals) but after I painted over the large U.S. ARMY lettering, yellow and white, to improve its colour saturation. The cargo doors are in place temporarily. The fuselage is not attached to the sprue in the photo, incidentally. The cardboard divider in the middle of the box, which is twice the size it needs to be, is stapled there presumably to prevent the contents moving around too much. The tail wheel does not look like the real thing and its strut is too long. After I took this photo I fixed it partially by widening the hole in the fuselage so its strut went in farther, making it effectively shorter. The wing root to fuselage join is not substantial, so the basic kit relies on the struts to support the wings. I read that the wings of this kit tend to droop. Indeed, it seems to me that the struts are a tad too short to obtain the correct dihedral. I used a straightened jumbo paperclip to maintain the dihedral. Each wing half consists of upper and lower surfaces, only one (each side) having the rectangular plug that fits into the socket in the fuselage. It was a simple matter of filing a groove to accommodate the paperclip wire. To prevent the wire from rotating, which would result in anhedral, I put an S-bend in one side, but that was after I took the photo. The apparently spinning propeller (see the main photo) is a home-made disc of transparent plastic. Decals The decals (transfers) are rather translucent by modern standards. I found some World War 2 1/48th scale P-51 stars and bars, slightly under-sized, that I used as backing for the kit supplied stars and bars. The white (and red) is clearly brighter as a result. An alternative strategy would be to use modern U.S. star and bar decals of greater color density, even if not the same size as those in the kit: Different Otters clearly used several sizes. The yellow and white U.S. ARMY lettering is similarly dull when applied to dark olive and I went over those with paint except for the tail decals, which are too small to mess with. Yellow stencilling decals were left over from a 1/48th scale P-51 and the tiny ones on the tail area are flecks of yellow paint. Parachutists and pilot This model, being of a fixed gear airplane, lends itself to posing both in-flight with parachutists jumping, and sitting on the ground with the parachutists climbing aboard. I can alternate the scene just by changing the parachutist figures. (More to come when the weather improves.) I used the Hasegawa 1/48th scale U.S. pilots and ground crew ‘Set B’ and the US Navy pilots and deck crew ‘Set A.’ Some navy deck crewmen wear helmets and goggles resembling those used for parachuting, and two of them donated their heads to other bodies, which necessitated sawing and gluing. I made the bulky 1960s parachutes, front reserves and back mains, from clay. Links DHC-3 archive Otter in US Army parachute training: STAFF FILM REPORT 66-12A – LMVIETHD187 on YouTube starting at 25 minutes 31 seconds US Army U-1A Otter (DHC-3) on YouTube
  2. That video has some awesome graphics. Yes, I cultivated that moss in a corner of my otherwise spotless back yard just for that photo shoot. Here is Flankerman's build on this forum in 2014: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234969434-bartini-vva-14-172-scale-kit-from-modelsvit/
  3. This aircraft, which is sometimes categorized as a Caspian sea monster, is indeed a monster. The only larger models I own in 1/72nd scale are an Avro Vulcan and a Lockheed AC-130. It depicts the VVA-14, which first flew in 1972, in its early incarnation before the fuselage was lengthened and another pair of engines added, among other modifications. It is not literally a space ship, of course, it just looks like one. It is a surface effect craft that could also fly at altitude when required. The parts have no pins and sockets, so lining things up is more tricky than with a conventional western-made kit. Because of that, I found that I often left the model for a day to let the glue dry. Handling it, it was too easy to knock things out of whack when they are held in place just by a small glued area. The tailplanes and ventral fins are examples. In contrast, the wings, tailplanes, and outrigger wheel pods (on the hull sides beneath the wings) are ‘plugged in’ Airfix style and are therefore more robust. Parts fit varies from good to OK, with some exceptions described later. The ejector seats are highly detailed. I omitted everything from the back cockpit because you cannot see any of it through the side windows. The kit does not include crew, but I put a jet pilot (Airfix I think) in the front cockpit. Black and white film of the crew boarding the real thing shows them in light colored flight suits. I used flight test orange. Construction of the side sponsons (whatever they are called) is tricky in that their two halves meet only at their ends for a short bit of gluing. What is more, one half has to bow outward (under compression) which puts the glued contact areas under sheer. I found it best to glue one end and tape it up, then the other end. Then the upper halves of the sponson bases go on. These go the other way up to my first instinct. The clear instruction diagrams are a great help with that. The lower halves of those long plates that form the undersides of the sponsons are almost symmetrical, but they differ slightly, so take care to get each on the correct side. Tip: Do not glue the engine assembly to the body until after painting and decaling (applying the transfers). Painting and decaling the engines is tricky otherwise, only partly because of the fins in the way. On the other hand, the whole thing is such a weird shape that I found the engine block — glued to the body — was an indispensable handle with which to hold the model when painting it… I used some filler on the gear doors, which I built closed. The outrigger doors are very fiddly and I used much filler. However, I expect that if you build it wheels-down, all would be OK. Also I used filler on the join of the nose cone (crew compartments) to the main body and various other places. Canopy paint masks are included with the kit. The canopy, which consists of three transparent parts, needed some filling and filing to obtain anything approximating to a smooth contour with the fuselage. The wings seem to me to have too much dihedral when compared to photos of the real thing. Bending them down a bit before the glue set solved that, then fill in the resulting gap… Some photos of the real thing show it with the ventral fins, some without. I lost one when it broke off unnoticed by me. It must be in my room still, but I know I will never see it again. I brush-painted it in acrylics. To highlight panel lines, I used pencil on the matt grey and Flory Models ‘dark dirt’ on the gloss white. I then coated the whole thing in satin varnish.
  4. I certainly attempted to do that, but the URL does not look the same as that for the photo on my web site, so I assumed it made a copy. Maybe I got that wrong, in which case, my apologies for not understanding the complexities of URLs well enough. Here are the rest of the photos and text. (Duplicating text is so minor I don't object to that.) The finished model has a 9.5 inch (24 cm) span and is 7.5 inches (19 cm) nose-to-tail. This was before the 1940 summer combat over southern England that became known as the battle of Britain. At this stage, the undersides of RAF day fighters were painted black, white, and silver. The unusually small size and extreme wing-tip positioning of the under-wing roundels imparts additional character to these particular aircraft. On May 16th, 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Paris, France, to meet with his French counterpart Paul Reynaud. Four Spitfires escorted Churchill’s De Havilland Flamingo on that occasion. The preceding photo shows two of the Spitfires and their pilots on the left. GR-U foreground and GR-S, the subject of my model, behind The edge of the transparent disc propeller casts unrealistic shadows, as do the hanging lines, naturally. Build Less than two centimetres separate the instrument panel from the seat harness. All this detail was hidden by the pilot when I decided late in construction to build it wheels-up with a pilot in the cockpit. Having said that, as you might discern, I had some trouble getting things aligned, so that fault at least was hidden. Like the Airfix Mk V in the same scale, I could not get the cockpit tub to fit without sawing off an angle from the bottom. Along with the cut off bits were the rudder pedals. The sawing operation caused the assembly to disassemble. I was unable to re-attach the horizontal strut at the top in the rear part of the cockpit. In addition, the reflector sight (visible in an earlier photo) hit the floor and is in kit parts heaven, as is the light that should go on top of the fuselage behind the mast. Paint masks come with the kit. The canopy paint masks are an exact fit and well worth the effort of positioning correctly. To be able to see the demarcations — to be able to peel them off the rectangular backing paper — I spread thin black paint over it, then wiped it off. Box e-painting by Piotr Forkasiewicz The box art depicts another of the seven decal options included in the kit, which also comes with several different canopy styles, both open and closed.
  5. I am happy to comply with the rules where they make sense, but duplicating content unnecessarily seems to me a waste of World Wide Web space. Why should folks not look it up on my web site? I could understand the objection if I were selling something or making money from it somehow, but I am not. Here is another photo anyway: Hanging lines are edited out of the photo. I brush-painted it with acrylic paints from the Hataka RAF D-Day and Battle of Britain set in their ‘Blue line’ range, which is optimized for brush rather than spray. These paints seem to me to match the real colors more closely than others I have used.
  6. Originally I intended to build this kit sitting on the ground, much as the real thing was photographed on the apron at Le Bourget airport, France, in May 1940. However, I felt that the main wheel struts’ attachments to the airframe were too dodgy. (Actually I did not understand how they were supposed to attach.) So I built it in flight mode with a home made transparent disc replacing the kit’s propeller blades and a pilot in the cockpit. The pilot came from elsewhere; the kit not being supplied with one. To see more photos and description, click the link in my signature and then click Escort to Le Bourget (indented under World War 2 plastic models part 1). That should comply with forum rule limiting links to personal web sites while avoiding duplicating content on different servers.
  7. To create the bulged canopy I used an F-15 canopy from the Falcon Clear-Vax Canopies 1/48th scale (note that larger scale) set 52, USAF jets, combined with the kit canopy’s front bit, rear bit, and flattish top. To see more photos and description, click the link in my signature and then click Gunslinger helo (indented under Plastic models contemporary with Vietnam ). (That hopefully complies with forum rules limiting links to personal web sites while avoiding duplicating content on different servers.)
  8. While I encountered more difficulty with this model than I had anticipated (so what’s new?) and, as with all large models, it took longer than a smaller airplane would, I feel that the result is impressive. There are better made examples of this kit on this forum (I see one beautiful example with motorized propellers) but I feel that my relatively 'quick and dirty' approach to model making has some merit too. To see more photos and description, click the link in my signature and then click Gunship: Spectre of death (indented under Vietnam war plastic models). (That hopefully complies with forum rules limiting links to personal web sites while avoiding duplicating content on different servers.)
  9. Thanks guys. Interesting that the backdrop is perceived as a map. It is a plywood board spattered with paint from when I used to do paintings (pictures) in the late 1970s and early 80s. The 'roads' are where the edges of the art paper lay when I did the backdrop washes. Etienne du Plessis’ slide collection on Flickr is new to me. That is a fantastic resource. We have been so short of info about exact colors, in some areas anyway, that collection should go a long way to improving our feel for what the reality looked like. I assume he has restored the colors somehow. (I notice he has 3,222 photos in his Flickr albums, so I won't be short of something to look through today!)
  10. Here is my second Airfix 1/48th scale kit of the Spitfire Vb. I finished this one in colorful desert camouflage using transfers by LifeLike Decals, obtained from Hannants. It has the dust filter under the nose, supplied with the kit (must have made it prone to yawing around, I speculate) and the canopy open. (The kit also comes with several open and closed canopies.) Like all my models, I built it in a hurry, so it is not of the standard of some on this forum. However, I feel it represents a good result without too much effort. More photos and build notes on the following page of my web site: (Link deleted to comply with forum rules.)
  11. Thanks guys. A particular problem I have with small kits such as this one is that the photos, being larger than actual size when displayed on an average monitor, show up every flaw. Things that the naked eye does not notice (well, that I don't notice or I can ignore) show up in the photos. I get around the problem to some extent by binning the worst offending photos and by using a smaller size (typically 1333 wide) than I do for general photos. (There is nothing scientific about that figure, it is just what seems right to me.) I like to post at least one photo showing the model as a model, rather than trying to make it look like the real thing, if you see what I mean. The pic of it sitting on the table next to my tea mug is the example here. Another method I used is to take a selfie of holding the model.
  12. I vaguely assumed that the dinosaurs all lived together until they died out 65 million years ago, so I reflexively imagine a Tyrannosaurus Rex jumping out of the giant fern bushes at them. However, I heard on a BBC Radio 4 science program that, by the time of T Rex, the brontosaurus had been extinct for so long it was already a fossil (collectively). T Rex is closer in time to the iPhone than to the brontosaurus!
  13. I hardly dare to post this when I see some of the exquisitely crafted models on this forum, but this might encourage those who lack patience, as I do, but want an good result with minimum effort. More photos and build notes on this page of my web site: Vietnam Super Sabre
  14. Yes, I read that real ones are very expensive. You can find out what those tubes are for over in the aircraft division: Scratch built standard Rogallo hang gliders
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