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  • Birthday 05/22/1960

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    Abu Dhabi, UAE
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    Post WWII USAF JETS and others, all 1/72eme...

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  1. Hello! Continuing my USAF jets saga, here is a USAF classic F-16C Bk30 in an Aggressor scheme. I found this scheme very attractive so I decided to have one in my collection. I chose the Revell kit, which is far from the definitive F-16C at that scale but it has the merit to be theclosest to the real thing... and cheap (the debate on the best F-16 at that scale is still opened!). As I selected for an Alaskan Bandit, I bough the "Solo Turk", no matter about the kit decals, and I was not disappointed by the content of the box. However, I put some AIRES resin add-ons, such as the cockpit, exhaust, wheel wells and the "big mouth" intake, far better than the orignal one. The surgery to adapt the resin piece to the airframe was not straightforward. To avoid more surgery inside the intake, I put a cover. Detailing the wheel wells was another challenge as there is a mistake in the AIRES kit. Thanks God the literature about the aircraft is legion. I drops the flaps, put slightly up the leading edges and riveted slightly the wings and some parts of the fuselage as well. I smoked the canopy slightly but strangely the effect doesn't sho on the pix. Painting the model was not so easy with the wraparound camouflage on a tortuous aircraft like the F-16. I selected the Tamiya "NATO Black", HU-147 for the FS 36628 grey, all slightly lightened. The FS 36622"Off White" is home made. The Two BoB decal sheet 72100 is absolutely superb, the only caveats are to find the little tiny white stencils in the sheet and instructions sometimes vague. I didn't put much weathering on the kit, as the photos of the real aircraft show a pretty neat bird (I am not a fan of flooding the model with accent panel lines to show each and every rivets at that scale but this is personal). I put a typical Aggressor mission configuration with a jamming pod in the centerline (aftermarket). the missile's fins are all re-made in aluminium can sheet. Here are the photos: The real bird: Mine: ...and the Bandit in its tarmac: I hope you enjoyed the model, critics most welcome! I plan to build a "B" version of the Viper, anybody can tell me which kit is the best at that scale????
  2. Hi Taylor! Thank you for words. Unfortunately I lost all photos of this build after the motherboard of my Mac crashed w/out notice... However, this kit is not too complicated to build the main challenge, as I said, is gluing these long wings to the fuselage and this is what I have done: 1/ drill two holes in the wing root of each half fuselage, aft and forward. Obviously these holes should be perfectly symmetric (I forgot the diameter); 2/ when the fuselage is completed, I have inserted a 12 cm copper tube in each hole, acting as a spar. I can't remember their diameter but they should match the wing thickness. These spars should protrude by 5 cm, basically from the wing root to the wing pod; 3/ the trickiest part is to carefully glue the wings at the same time you put on them on the spars. From memory, I didn't put a lot of putty, the wings fit nicely to the fuselage; Here is a photo taken from a modeler's topic illustrating how it should be. I made longer spars than these ones to ensure that the result will be solid: This technique is used for large kits when the model doesn't offer "false spar" to glue the wings to the fuselage, like Airfix kits in the good old days... For the rest of the modifications or additions (they are many), as usual a good set of photos is mandatory as the SH kit is more given as an ER-2 (NASA U-2) rather than an operational U-2R. Thanks God, the iconography is plenty, I recommend you to select a specific s/n because of the variation of sensor from one aircraft to another one. That's it! Don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions.
  3. Thanks a lot! I spent some times improving the SH kit, unfortunately they didn't provide any option for the canopy to go for an "S" which offers more options for weathering: I used a lot of photos to capture the numerous bumps and humps spreader all along the airframe, a good walk around is necessary. To my opinion, if you want to go for a 90's era or post 2000 U-2, SH is OK, however decals choice from aftermarket is zero.
  4. Hello Everybody! Here is number three and the last "Blackbird" of my USAF collection: The famous U-2. For this special bird, I chose the Special Hobby kit SH77070, sold as an U-2S or ER-2, enabling to build a Senior Span, Senior Ruby and Senior Spur/ASARS II configuration at the same time. The kit is quite good, shape and dimensions are overall OK. The problem is to attach the long wings to the fuselage, the best option is to add solid spars before gluing them. Also, the radome needs to be carefully positioned to the top of the fuselage, as it is vague in the instructions sheet. What I did to improve the kit: - Cockpit re-done; - Flaps down and airbrakes inner details added; - Extra works for the typical undercarriage, as quite basic in the kit. I finally scratch built the wheel wells, the rear u/c and the outriggers; - Air intakes, they need to be deeper. one as an additional air scoop inside, not given in the kit; - To have an accurate "R", I added some extra bumps after reviewing some photos. the antenna farm may differ from one aircraft o another; The kit is done as a "S" but the vacform canopy is for a "R", the "S" has a frameless front one. Painting the model was a challenge to me as I am not familiar with large aircraft. I used several shades of grey-black, but I kept the overall aspect quite clean, as the aircraft was in the 90'S during the Allied Force period. the lettering of the decals provided seemed too thin to me but I was lazy doing new ones...may be one day! Here are the photos: and the diorama: the pickup come from F4 Models, difficult to assemble, the crew ladder is homemade: As a conclusion, Special hobby provides a very good basis for a decent U-2R, but not an "S". Thank you for watching!
  5. Hello Fellow Modelers! Here is the second aircraft of my Blackbirds series: The Academy F-117A. When I started this project long time ago, finding an accurate kit of this strange beast was challenging, as all models available on the market were wrong to extra wrong! Finally, I chose the Academy kit, which has the advantage to have an opened bomb bay. However, I did a lot of modifications on the kit and spent some money in PE parts. The big challenges were to raise all the panels lines to have a correct faceted aspect, using thin Evergreen strip styrene and to cut the fake air intakes grils and to replace them by very fine mesh. I decided to represent the vertical stabilizers in the rest position but their complex geometry and inner profile doesn't t help. Flaps down was easier. Basically the kit has wrong undercarriage and wheels, poor cockpit, the wheel wells are not deep enough, poor representation of the sensors and the shape of the intakes is questionable to my opinion. For this, nothing to do but for the rest, I took wheels from an F-15C kit (they are similar) cockpit was entirely redone, a resin ACEII seat and a complete reshaping of the false wheel wells and bomb bay. A lot of work for a disappointing result; Painting and markings: "Normal" challenge with the black tint, I used the same technique as for my SR-71, several layers of brownish, blueish etc blacks. To remember the "good old days when I served in the FAF (I was on duty the night it happened in CAOC Vicenza), my model represents the famous "Vega 31" which was shot down by the Serbian Air Defense. Decals come from the excellent "Two Bobs" sheet. The photos: and the little dio: the Dodge RAM pick up comes from F4 Model, not easy to build, the transparent parts are too thick and the kit is basic for the price... As a conclusion, very disappointing, I will definitively build another Nighthawk, may be the new Hasegawa kit (THE model of this strange aircraft at that scale???).
  6. When I started this project, I found an interesting article comparing all SRs a that scale and the Revell kit was not at the top of the list (being undersized with poor details), that's why I chose the Italeri one, which is way far to be perfect: the panel lines are all wrong and need to be engraved, the nosewheel and main undercarriage wells are too shallow ( I changed them) and (as the Revell kit) the aft fuselage cross section is too shallow etc... You have now a lot of aftermarket kits to enrich whatever SRs, but what the point of pouring so much money on wrong kits??? (unless you are stupid like me doing heavy surgery with questionable results!)
  7. Yes I forgot that one put on the market recently. I bought from them a USAF Coleman tractor in 3D printing (first time I try this) and it was very difficult to separate the main pieces from all the sprues attached to them. The main problem is that those sprues are sometimes inside the piece and, even thin, it is not easy to remove them without risking to damage the part. I can't imagine the hassle to do the same with delicate parts of an access ladder at the 72eme scale!
  8. Thank you for your kind words! I did the access platform based on photos and it is not so complicated, just time consuming... Definitively the SR-71 deserves a better kit, as well as it ancestor the A-12!
  9. Hello Everybody! I start a series of three blackbirds with the SR-71 Italeri kit. I always wanted to build this wonder but the choice was pretty poor on the market: Hasegawa, Academy and Revell made some but they are all wrong in shape and details so the less-worst is, my opinion the Italeri kit. However, if you want to have an "accurate" rendition of this iconic aircraft, a lot of work needs to be done. The Italeri kit comes with a D-21 drone, and I was surprised by the size of the bird! To simplify on the work to be done, I completely reshape the nose fuselage section which is too close to a A-12 "double seater" (!), way too thin and too flat. This is a big surgery and you need a good drawing to capture the right nose shape, add the navigation device "hump" in the rear of the navigator position etc... The other challenge is to add some "fat" to the fuselage section, not easy. For the rest, the kit needs to be engraved carefully, I used some PE for the auxiliary intakes doors etc.. The cockpit needs some extra work also but you will not see that much once finished... The landing gears required some detailing, I have separated the middle wheel from the main undercarriage (it is molded in a single piece) and detailed the three wheel wells which are pretty empty. Painting the kit is another challenge, as black is not necessarily black so I used various shades of blueish, brownish blacks sprayed randomly to some panels. For the marking, I selected a/c 1967 in the late 70 style based at Kadena in 1978. The decal sheet is from Rocketeer Decals "Ichi Ban". Highly recommended! Unfortunately I have only one photo of the aircraft. A slight weathering was also made. So the Photos: The real stuff: mine: ...and a little dio: the Ford tractor comes from the Hasegawa kit but needs to be enhanced. The SR-71 AG-330 starting group is from the British supplier 'AIM-ground equipment' but unfortunately the wheels are in white metal and are useless. Two groups were made, one type equipped with Chevy engines and the other one with Buick engines. The ladder is scratch built. As a conclusion, a disappointing kit and I am not satisfied with the result... When a definitive kit of this beauty at the 72eme scale will be on the market ???
  10. Hello Ian! thank you for your answer, I went to the Saigon/HoChiMin museum as well, all aircraft are in appalling conditions, with fake colors and markings but one can understand that they didn't want to put some money to restore them...sad...
  11. Hello Fellow Modelers! Here is my last build for my Vietnam Air War saga: the A-37B Dragonfly. Obviously I chose the very nice Academy kit, which is OK from a proportion and dimensions perspective. I was surprised as it not an easy build, as this bird is quite small at that scale. I put some aftermarket PE and to add a final touch, I opened the gun bay. Conversely to Hasegawa, a good choice of ordnance is provided, thanks Academy! Camouflage and markings reflects a Dragonfly based at Bien Hoa, with a typical SEA pattern with some weathering. Internet gave me a nice B&W photo of a/c #335 with a red nose, but unfortunately I was unable to find any depiction of the squadron patch painted on the right side. This is my only omission on this kit, from a marking PoV. Here are the Pix: The real Dragonfly: Mine: And the little Dio: the idea comes from this blurry photo of the Bien Hoa ramp: As a conclusion, not an easy kit because of its size, but it can be built OOB and the result will be convincing. Hope you will enjoy mine!
  12. Thank you all! just a little correction to this build, the reference picture I took for "Blood Sweat and Tears" is this one: It seems that during his operational life, BST, like many others, had several variations in its paint scheme. However "Skyraider.org" provides a lot of other photos of this great airplane!
  13. Good Morning Everybody! Here is my second and last USAF Skyraider build, the very nice Hasegawa kit, enhanced with some resin extras. The only challenge was changing the seat, which is a "bang seat" and needs to be completely scratch built. For the rest, no hassles. As I wanted to show an aircraft ready for some Sandy Ops, I put a full ordnance, some from the surplus box and others scratch built. The wing tank comes from the aftermarket, it is an A-4 Skyhawk one used by A-1H/J. As a marking, I chose the famous "Blood Sweat and Tears" because I had a couple of photos of it and also because this beast has been overspread with black paint on the belly. Enough talks, the photos: The real Sky: My BS&T: ...and a little diorama: As I had a A-1J extra fuselage coming from a A-1E "Fat Face" build, I decided to represent it as a wreck, used for spare parts and dumped in a corner of the airfield. After consulting the A-1 serial number, i found a good candidate and I did some easy surgery on the front end, scratch built the inner fuselage (unfortunately hidden in the dio) and finally a good strong layer of weathering "SEA style" to finish. That's it for the USAF Skyraider, hope you will enjoy the topic! Critics most welcomed...
  14. Superb Hornet, but the kit deserves a darker background for the photos to highlight the outstanding work of the digital cam! Top Class!
  15. Hello everybody! A little deviation from my USAF jets series: two Skyraiders, all in Vietnam war style. The first one is the A-1E Skyraider, RVHP conversion kit. Of course, not a cheap built as you need to buy the superb A-1H/J from Hasegawa to recover most of the parts except the fuselage and canopy. But this is unfortunately the only option to get a decent "fat face" as the Revel kit is completely wrong. RVHP gives a fuselage, a very nice vacform canopy, some parts to create the "tub", a little decal sheet and that's it. So a good documentation is needed if you want a nice result from this investment and to master all the differences between a "E/ fat face" from its cousin, the H/J...and their are many! The surgery of the fuselage to the Hasegawa wings was done without any hassles, the fit is quite OK. What I did, to make it short: The full cockpit has been scratch built. The trickiest part was to make the unique ejection seats which are quite complicated to scratch built (However these seats were not present in all fat faces, a photo check is necessary). Thanks God, the rest of the "tub" has not that much amount of equipment, as in the real aircraft the seats and extra boxes were removed to save weight. Opening the nice canopy needs extra extra caution because you have only one. The engine: I selected a resin one (forgot the brand) and added wires; the typical front doors were removed; the undercarriage: Again the A-1E has some unique feature in this area such as an asymmetric front U/C doors with one including a landing light but not the other. Also, the wheel wells are different in shape from the H/J and the doors were removed; On the fuselage all the plates (cowling, antiglare) were made from aluminium can, much thinner. All the armament com from the surplus box, of cours not provided by RVHP. Camouflage: typical SEA, tired with some weathering. I chose an aircraft sporting a little shamrock on the left side seen in page 155 of the excellent "A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam, the last Spad war" which provides a good collection of pictures "in action". All decals are coming from the surplus box. So the pix: The real Spad: Mine: ...and the little dio: That's it for the Fat Face, hope you will enjoy it!
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