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Giorgio N

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Everything posted by Giorgio N

  1. On F110 powered Tomcats generally both exhaust will move to the open position after shutdown, Pictures do show aircraft with one open and one closed but the majority show both open
  2. Tim, yes the beavertail is the extreme fuselage bit between the exhausts. The part to remove is the larger lump on the left, that represents part of the ECM system. The shorter on the right is a fuel dump duct, so basically a length of tube. There's a good view of the rear end and other details of your aircraft in this video: Regarding the gun gas vents, I may be able to help, give me a few days and I'll let you know for sure
  3. Tamiya paints are different in composition from the ones from brands like Vallejo, Lifecolor etc. They do not dry as fast and this avoids the various clogging problems that can occur when using the "other family" of acrylics. They are also more durable and generally stick better to the surfaces. As you mention their problem is the lack of colours matched to standards used for real aircraft but this can be sorted by moving to a brand that makes very similar paints: Gunze. The Gunze (or Mr.Hobby, same stuff) Acqueous paints work like Tamiya's but their catalogue is much wider. Actually I rate these paints as even better than Tamiya's, the pigments seem to be finer and it's easy to achieve with them a very smooth surface. The problem with them can be availability, from what I understand they are not easy to find everywhere. IMHO they can be a great solution in between enamels and "water thinned acrylics" like Lifecolor. I share your love for the Metal Color range, they are a great product. For some reasons they also seem to stick to bare plastic pretty well, something that does not happen with the other Vallejo paints. Said that, I also use them over a black primer and never on bare plastic
  4. The kit is mostly fine: 160913 was a block 105 aircraft, meaning that predated the introduction of the ECM bulges under the glove vanes and on the beavertail. IIRC the Academy kit includes them but they should be easy to remove. A bit more problematic is the fact that by the time this aircraft wore the NSAWC scheme, the gun gas grilles had been replaced with the 3 small NACA intakes originally used on the F-14B and D, as you can see in this picture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ian_e_abbott/21116711380 Regarding the colour scheme, the Fightertown decal sheet describes quite a complex scheme.... Tan 30400, Brown 30140 and Green 34095 on top and side surfaces. Lower fuselage in FS 36495 but lower surfaces of wings and tailplanes in FS 36375. Interior of intake ramps in white, including the part that is visible from the undersides. Said that, I can see how there can be discussion on the tan actually used... pictures show a colour that IMHO is less yellow than 30400 but at the same time it is sure darker than the FS 33531 that IIRC is proposed by Hi Decals (I have that sheet too, I'll check it later).
  5. I feel that Ray answered all questions brilliantly and, as a long time user of acrylics, I pretty much share his same experience. A few random thoughts I can add.... Lifecolors are maybe the most robust among water thinned acrylics, Vallejo's probably the least robuts with others in the middle. Does this matter ? Sure an acrylic coat requires a bit more care when handling but that's it. Adhesion can be a problem, and again Lifecolor's seem to be the best in this respect. In any case a well primed surface should be no problem. There are acrylic primers as well but I found that generally all acrylics stick well to primers like Tamiya and Mr. Surfacer. Better in any case use good masking tape, anything with too strong a glue may lift some paint. Colour range is not an issue, considering the various companies that today make these paints you can find pretty much every colour used by every air force in the last 100 years.. if not a perfect match, something close enough not to notice the difference. With choices from Lifecolor, Xtraclylics, Vallejo, Hataka and I sure have forgotten a few, you'll have plenty of options. What can be a problem is that some manufacturers are not too consistent with their supposed matches... care is needed with Vallejo and also some lifecolors. Still, this is also a problem with certain enamel ranges so the best thing to do is check asking here, someone will have tried a paint that works well. Another problem will of course be local availability, if this is how you prefer to buy your paints. In my corner of the world both Vallejo and Lifecolors can be found easily in many places, some not even proper hobby shops, things may differ where you live. Of course everything can be found through online dealers, but the problems with paint shipping options and the consequences of Brexit may have some impact. Cleaning is incredibly easy and can be done using common cheap products. Personally I first spray some Vallejo airbrush cleaner, followed by simple window cleaner. I then strip my airbrush (H&S Ultra with a 0.2 tip) and use denatured alcohol to properly clean all parts. If denatured alcohol is not available, ammonia or anything with ammonia (like the abovementioned window cleaner) work pretty well. If using alcohol though, let the airbrush dry completely before painting ! Alcohol dissolves all paint traces but if used for mixing will turn everything into a blob. The same alcohol can be used to completely strip these paints from a model, so better be careful. The worst part for a novice will be finding a thinning ratio that will not clog the airbrush... personally I just use Vallejo thinner and add one or two drops of Liquitex retarder... In some cases the drops of retarder are enough to thin the paint. Do not use too much retarder though or the paint may never dry. Some paints, like the Vallejo Model Air series, are already prethinned for airbrush use. In any case I still tend to add a drop of retarder, helps with avoiding clogging. Speaking of which, one thing I do that seem to help is spraying a few drops of retarder before the paint, so to build a film on the tip. I still keep a small brush ready anyway, that I dip into Vallejo's airbush cleaner to remove any build-up of paint on the tip whenever I notice a decreasing paint flow. Not mentioned but worth considering is the advantage that the fast drying timeof acrylics gives to the modeller. I've been able to make pretty complex camo schemes in a single day, letting one hour pass between coats, something hard to do with the good old enamels. Would I go back to enamels ? No, not unless I'm forced by something outside my control. I have experimented with the Mr.Color laquers and I like these a lot for a number of reasons, but acrylics will likely remain my paint of choice for most models. I've had problems myself of course, some models for some reason looked cursed, but overall I'm a very happy user.
  6. Martin I guess that your choice is the result of a comparison of those paints with pictures, in any case I'm surprised about the use of a paint meant to represent Dark Slate Grey. This is a greyish green, that IMHO looks pretty different from the colour used on the SAAF/Gabonese aircraft. This is a olive green while Dark Slate Grey has no olive tone
  7. The bolt-on probe was not used while the aircraft operated from the carriers, so if you want to depict your model at that time do not use it. However the same GR.3s used the probes during the flight from Britain to Ascension, that was the first leg of the journey to the Falklands. XZ988 flew on May 5th to Ascension and from there reached Hermes aboard MV Atlantic Conveyor, arriving on May 18th. XV744 did not take part in the war, so was not on Hermes. She may have carried the probe at some time during her life as a GR.3 or may not.
  8. Thanks a lot for comparing these kits Armando!
  9. The problem is that a uniformly painted model is not a miniature replica of the real thing itself, as doing this will result in a much "flattened" version of what the real thing appears to our eyes. Now most examples of colour modulation I find on the web and I've seen in real life tend to be taken to the extreme (guess it's the excesses of the so called Spanish School..." but the concept per-se has some merits and is not too different from the principles behind some other common techniques. Think for example of the work aircraft modellers often do on cockpits: a lightened base colour followed by a wash on the areas in shadow and then a drybrushing to highlight details and make them more visible... it is in the end a way to increase the 3-d effect in an area that is hit by very little light and that without some kind of "artistic" work would look featureless. I guess it's a matter of understanding when too much is too much, as with pre and particularly post-shading. It should also be said that when these effects are applied in what is IMHO a more realistic and subtle way, they often do not show much in pictures so much that I wonder if some of the tutorials I see online exagerate things on purpose.
  10. Of course not but we are comparing aircraft here, particularly as types like the Hawk T.1 were mentioned that never flew off a carrier. An F/A-18E/F can be afterall seen as an option for a land based air force and the type has been selected by a number of these. Clearly if we look at naval aviation the cost of carriers must be considered and is much higher than whatever difference may exist in the aircraft costs. Of course it may also be interesting to look at the effectiveness of a proper carrier compared to that of the many through.deck cruisers/SCS or whatever we may call them but then most countries can't afford proper large carriers. This is the reason why in the end the Harrier concept was only embraced by navies and no land based air force outside the RAF selected the type: the Sea Harrier may have been expensive to buy and operate but at least allowed the smaller navies to have something to put on their smaller ships while for the air forces it was something that brought the debatable advantage of VTOL operation at a very high cost compared to the overall capabilities of the aircraft.
  11. Last Saturday and Sunday the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic teams celebrated their 60th anniversary with an airshow at their base in Rivolto. Unfortunately I could not attend (and I realised after watching the various news that I missed something... oh well, hope I'm still around for the 70th...). What was great to see were the tails of the aircraft decorated with the markings of the various temporary teams that performed the same role before the birth of the Frecce Tricolori. Have a look here at the design of some of them https://theaviationist.com/2021/05/24/frecce-tricolori-special-tails/ As soon as more pictures appear I'll post them whenever possible. In the meantime I hope that someone will produce decals for these schemes, they may be a one-off but some are IMHO pretty nice
  12. Yes, all the classics have been done to death but let's change the question a bit: how many GOOD kits exist on the market of such classics ? The reality is that looking at the many kits available, these are less than we may think. To name one real classic, there is only one good Spitfire IX kit on the market in 1/72 scale, all others are either old stuff or half-hearted attempts. Other variants of what is, at least in Britain, the most famous WW2 fighter are treated even worse.... for example there is no really good and modern kit of a Spitfire Mk.I in the same scale. It makes sense that manufacturers would see this as a gap and try to fill it, afterall something as famous as a Spitfire in one of its most famous variants is guaranteed to sell, hence the recent 1/48 Eduard kits and the just announced 1/32 offering from the new Kotare brand
  13. Pre-shading, as post-shading and all similar techiques, is mainly a way to fool the eye to see the model as a bit more "3-dimensional" than it is something that can be needed when trying to reproduce an object of a certain size and subject to a certain light that creates certain effects with a model that is many times smaller and subject to completely different light. In addition the same technique can be used to highlight certain aspects of the condition of an aircraft, for example the fact that dirt tend to ,accumulate into panel lines and around other features and the differential fading of different parts of the aircraft paint due to age and weather effects. Once we understandthat these are "artistic" techniques aimed at achieving a certain effect the choice of preshading instead of other techniques is then just up to the modeller's preference, some like it and some don't. Personally I never use preshading and I prefer to postshade, but when done properly both can achieve the same effect. Of course it's possible to use both techniques combined. If we want to look at the matter from the perspective of the real aircraft, clearly preshading rarely occurs while post-shading in a sense is what happens on the real aircraft: the thing leaves the factory with a certain paint and then a number of external factors change the paint resulting in a number of effects. Not that preshading never happens in real life, there are a number of cases when the look of a paint scheme is affected by what is below the final coat but it is much less common than the effect of weather, dirt or touch-ups on an aircraft surface. So, are there "physical" reason for preshading ? Rarely. Are there reasons to use the technique ? Yes, to achieve certain effects. Is it the only technique available ? Not at all, there are others.
  14. I had totally forgotten about this GB... I can make no promise at the moment, but if it's acceptable I have a Hasegawa "Bicentennial" kit in 1/72 that I started a while ago only to have to stop working on it for a number of reasons. Really I only painted the cockpit parts and maybe I glued the wings together without slats and flaps, I would say it's way below the 25% usually given as limit for group builds here but I'll leave it to the hosts to decide. Plan would be to build the VF-14 Bicentennial bird from the box Should this not be accetable, I'll grab something else from the stash, if there's something I have no lack of are Tomcat kits in all scales apart from 1/144
  15. IIRC the Hb kit is more undersized in one dimension than the other, can't remember which one.. that in a sense is even worse than being undersized but at least in a constant scale for both length and span.
  16. Yes the Revell kit on Kingkit website is the Matchbox mould. IIRC it's decently accurate in outline but pretty poor in internal detail, The cockpit however at least has a proper "tub" that can be used as a basis to add detail if the modeller is so inclined. The kit includes parts for folded wings, although lacks any internal detail in the area and the instructions wrongly show the wing fences as part of the folded wings... they were not, they were part of the fixed wing section. Contrary to what Matchbox aircraft kits are generally known for, surface detail does not consist of heavy trenches but fine raised lines.the It's a kit that until the arrival of the HB ones was considered by many as the best starting point for a model of the Panther.
  17. Have you seen any document stating that Italian Air Force paints were less durable or were in general not particularly durable ? I ask because there's no reference in what has been found on the Regia Aeronautica that the air force or units ever complained about durability of paints in general and phototgraphic evidence shows how even after the war Italian WW2 aircraft were no more and no less weathered than British ones of the same age. Same for relics recovered in the many years since the end of the war and I have personally seen artifacts from the era that, while clearly showing the signs of age, did not show any particular adhesion problem. Of course the use of paints designed for use on aluminum alloys over a different material may have led to very different results, but this would be a problem with any kind of aircraft paint. The Regia Aeronautica also specified paints for use on steel and other materials of course (as did the RAF and all other air forces) but these were generally used for internal structures rather than camouflage
  18. Pretty much all variants of the Panther were used in Korea, although the most used were the F9F-2 and F9F-5. T With Hobbyboss doing the F9F-2, -3, and 2P. hasegawa the F9F-2 and Revell reboxing the Matchbox F9F-5, you have all versions covered. Different story regarding the decal options in the various boxes... I'm pretty sure the Revell kit does not include decals for a Korean War aircraft, Hobbyboss may have one in the standard F9F-2 box (I'd have to check but IIRC the USN option is one that was in Korea( while Hasegawa have issued a number of different boxes. The ones that i'm pretty sure were in Korea are the two options in Hobbyboss's F9F-2P box (this was a recce variant of the 2). Quality-wise the Hobbyboss kits are the best of the bunch, with Revell/Matchbox's offering typical of the company while the Hase kit is much older. HB's kit is not perfect in shape (maybe the best in this respect is Matchbox's) but is a modern, well moulded and detailed kit
  19. Now if I understand right you're cutting a Mk.XIV fuselage to shorten the cowling, am I correct ? My comments will be based on this approach, if I'm wrong let me know and I'll amend accordingly. The cowling must be removed at the firewall, and this seems to be what you've done. The firewall however is not straight but is stepped where the upper cowling panel meets the end of the cowling itself, with the lower part of the firewall line slightly ahed of the upper part.. or at least, this is what happens with the Mk.V, IX and XII (and other variants...) On the Mk,XIV, the panel line on a model is in the same position as in the other variants on the lower side, the upper side is angled forward. In doubt, cut straight following the lower firewall line. Then you can make the step by sanding the upper fuselage portion (use any Mk.IX or others to see what I mean). If you've not cut in the right place, no panic ! If you've cut ahead of the firewall, just remove some plastic until you reach the firewall. If you've cut behind the firewall, then add the missing length with plasticard sheets roughly cut to shape, glued in place as if were bulkheads and then sanded to the correct shape. According to Ventura's Seafire XV and XVII, that look accurate in this respect, the engine cowling should be 26.9 mm long, with the excess length removed from the side where you cut it from the rest of the fuselage. The XIV cowling is longer because of the presence of the second compressor stage and relative bits, that are all located behind the engine. The distance between spinner plate and exhausts stays the same so no need to touch the front of the cowling. If my explanation is not clear, I'll send some drawings and I cn post a picture using a Fujimi Spitfire XIV fuselage as basis, with a few lines on top courtesy of a marker
  20. Finally sorted the exhausts ! t was not easy, as I had to glue them in place aligning everything by eye... The plan was to align the first with great care, constantly checking pictures of the real thing. The second would have then been aligned following the first. This was not always easy for one reason I have not mentioned before.... RA-5C production started in 1962 and in a few years all aircraft had been delivered to the US Navy. In 1969 however the Navy ordered a further batch and the production lines reopened to produce additional 36 aircraft. These all carried serial numbers in the 1566xx series and had a number of differences compared to the original RA-5C design. In particular the visible ones were the presence of extended wing leading edges blended with the intakes and the use of a different variant of the J79 engine, with a longer exhaust. The trumpeter kit represents one of these aircraft. The use of different engine variants meant that I had to search for pictures of aircraft in the same serial range while many of the good pictures around are of earlier aircraft. In the end I hope to have aligned the exhausts in place properly. Notice how I decided to add silicone sealant to fix the exhausts in place after having glued them and the supports with plastic cement. I really don't want anything to move ! Of course I also painted the rear end of the fuselage in grey before gluing the exhausts in place. I will have to mask them anyway while spraying the white and other colours in the same area. With the exhausts in place, I can now close the fuselage with the addition of the lower rear panel ! And no, I don't know why the pictures end up rotated by 90°... must be something wrong in the settings. The masking on the front fuselage was needed to mask the cockpit while spraying the areas under the intakes in grey. Speaking of intakes (that are now glued in place), these didn't fit very well and I had to use plenty of filler and sandpaper. Also notice the extension on the wing leading edges, that as I explained before identify this as one of the aircraft manufactured in 1969-70
  21. There is always a problem when looking at the result of exercises: that these are most of the times constrained in one or more ways, Exercises are devised to train and learn as for this reason tend to force one or both opponents to deal with a certain scenario. How open is this scenario will depend on the scope of the exercise. So finding that aircraft X has beaten aircraft Y may be useful or not. Said that, I am well aware of the good results obtained by the Hawk when used in conjunction with the Tornado in a number of occasions. However, even allowing for the combination to be equally effective in a real war (and this is debatable), the use of the Hawk or any similar aircraft as "low" component of a high-low mix may not make much sense in terms of value. The RAF Hawks had a secondary air defence mission but they were aircraft in service with a different primary mission. As such they were already part of the force anyway and air defence would have been a mission in case of a serious threat to Britain. The RAF would have never deployed Hawks as part of an expeditionary force to complement the ADVs or if the mission was to achieve air superiority. The use of trainers for secondary missions is not uncommon, in Italy for example the MB.339s have a secondary ground attack mission in case of war and instructors train for this mission... however the majority of the time is spent in their primary mission and nobody would dream of sending them to say Afghanistan. Different story would be to specifically purchase something like the Hawk with air defence as primary mission. In this case the force would have to absorb all the extra costs of the additional fighters and while some costs would undoubtedly be lower than the ones of a Typhoon, others would be the same. With the limitation that the lower spec types may not be able to perform all the missions of the main types, so impacting the potential numbers of the main battle force. Just throwing some figures around, would we prefer to have a force of 100 Typhoons and 100 Hawks or a force of 130 Typhoons ? Personally I'd go for the latter in terms of capabilities but I can undersand how in certan situations the extra 70 Hawks may have their value. The Sea Harrier is a very different story: regardless of the results of the many exercixes that BAe published to promote the aircraft, the reality is that Harriers in general are quite expensive aircraft so they can not be considered in the same cathegory of the Hawk 200, Gnat or the many other light fighter projects of the past. A Sea Harrier used to cost more than a fully equipped top level F-16 so would have never been considered as the cheap component of an air force. Even when it comes to operating costs the Harrier was never cheap: today's USMC AV8B+ cost 30% more than a Super Hornet per flying hour, a difference that can only be justified if the Harrier unique capabilities are absolutely necessary
  22. The problem with "quantity" is that this parameter can not be simply changed by deciding to do so. Quantity, particularly in the terms attributed to Stalin, is function of the production system behind an air force/army/navy ! You can only achieve quantity if the economic system of a country has the fiancial, natural, human and industrial resources to achieve this. The Soviet Union in WW2 could build and man thousands of aircraft and tanks. Britain on the other hand could build thousands of aircraft but by the end of the war struggled to find enough men to keep army divisions at the desired strength. Of course there's the option to focus the industrial system on producing more items of lower cost (where cost must be seen in the wider meaning), but is this really the solution ? Should, say, the RAF field 250 cheaper and less capable aircraft instead of the current fleet ? Debatable, and something I rate negatively since the whole concept of a "cheap and simple" fighter has never really led to anything capable of competing in seriously contested airspace. And of course, there's the small problem that no matter the cost of a fighter, certain components of the infrastructure required to field an aircraft does not change, so 3 times the number of aircraft means that certain costs are multiplied by 3 regardless of the type. Quantity should also be defined according to the requirements: what are the air force /army/navy requirements ? Is the air force expected to be able to bomb Bejing with conventional bombs ? You would need certain numbers for that. Is the same air force only expected to take part in multinational missions ? You can live with much smaller numbers. If a country then hopes to be able to compete with another with much larger economic resources, well then no matter how many aircraft you try to build, you'll bleed your economy white without achieving anything.
  23. There is plenty of photographic evidence showing repainted sky bands on DFS finished RAF aircraft in Italy. And at the same time there is plenty of photographic evidence showing RAF aircraft retaining the sky band over the DFS finish, sometime even showing aircraft within the same unit with and without band. Interestingly, there are pictures of Luftwaffe and ANR aircraft in the same theatre and same years wearing the white band and others showing the band repainted or even not present from the start. Identification must have been a bit tricky in those 2 last years of the war ! In general pictures seem to show that initially RAF aircraft tended to have the band removed, while at the end of the war practically no Axix aircraft retained the band while RAF aircraft did, To add to the confusion, RAF aircraft in Southern France generally seem to have retained the band and at a certain point the boundaries of ETO and MTO became very blurred
  24. I'm quite puzzled by the article and really this looks more like a piece of propaganda from someone trying to get more funding than a proper analysis... It is impossible to compare air warfare in the middle of WW2 with today! For a starter the US in 1943 was a country fully mobilised for war, today the US is a country with an economy only partly devoted to the needs of the war machine. The US in 1935 could have not sustained such losses either... With the way wars are fought today, it's not even sure that any major future war will give the contenders time to fully mobilise and turn their economy to the war effort before anything. I believe, the only "recent" war that saw this was maybe the Iran-Iraq war of the '80s but then these two countries were mostly dependant on external suppliers for major military equipment. Not to mention that the wars are fought today, there would be no need to send massed formations of B-52s anywhere... it happened in Vietnam and it was already clear back then that it was not a viable option anymore. Today the kind of damage that the B-17s inflicted on the German infrastructures can be achieved much more effectively with cruise missiles and air assets like the old Buffs only enter airspace if certain defences have been destroyed. WW2 ended over 70 years ago, airwar has evolved quite a bit since then. With all the above in mind, why should the US prepare today to be ready to accept WW2 style losses tomorrow ? Who is going to pay for thousands of bombers, their crews and all the related infrastructure when these thousands bombers would not be used in certain way anyway ?
  25. I can't remember what name was given internally to the Italian participation but the whole show was just called Enduring Freedom... afterall it was the US that were in charge, we just followed them,,, The Italian contribution to EF was mainly from the Navy AV-8B+s, that flew from the carrier Cavour. These missions were very long and required multiple in flight refuelling to reach the targets. Later the air force contributed to what had become known as ISAF with a detachment of Tornado, replaced by AMX a few years later. I'll look for info on the loads of all the types, although I believe it was mostly LGBs
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