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Found 8 results

  1. Having just finished my O-2A Cessna Skyhawk, I'm now ready to start on the last planned entry for my Wisconsin Air National Guard collection: the A-10A Thunderbolt II (a.k.a. "Warthog"). In October 1981 the Wisconsin ANG's 128th Tactical Air Support Wing was redesignated the 128th Tactical Fighter Wing and began trading in their Cessna OA-37B Dragonflies for the A-10A. During the A-10 era, the unit received two Outstanding Unit Awards, three Air Force Flight Safety Awards, and in 1991 an "Outstanding" in its Unit Effectiveness Inspection. Deployments with the A-10 included Operation Coronet Cove to Panama, and "Checkered Flag" missions to NATO bases in West Germany and England. With the end of the Cold War, the early 1990s marked several changes. In March 1992, the wing became the 128th Fighter Wing and shortly thereafter began transitioning from the A-10A to the F-16C/D block 30 Fighting Falcon, which they fly to this day. For this build I will using the well-reviewed 1/72 Revell kit, which I found on eBay for a reasonable price: Inside of the end-opening box are two gray sprues and one clear sprue: The clear parts, unfortunately, were not separately bagged, and there are a couple of obvious scratches on the front windscreen which I will have to polish out: There is also water damage on the decal sheet, so I've ordered aftermarket decals for the numerous stencils. As usual, I will print custom decals for the Wisconsin ANG markings. Besides the 235 board number and "WI" on the fin, "Bucky Badger" (on the engine pod) is the only other Wisconsin-specific marking: I also have amassed a goodly collection of aftermarket items, not all of which I expect to use: Let's get started! My first task is to make the Aires resin cockpit fit in the fuselage. Although the Aires cockpit is designed specifically for this kit, every Aires cockpit I've used has required significant thinning and rework of the fuselage to achieve a good fit. I marked off the areas that would need to be thinned, and attacked them with my rotary tool and a set of set of small scrapers: The rear deck behind the ejection seat also had to be modified: After much trial-and-error, the cockpit eventually fit nicely in place: Aires provides a nice replacement for the forward "dash", which requires cutting away the kit's representation: Here's the replacement piece test-fitted in place. I did end up with a gap at the front, but that's no big problem and I'll tackle that at the appropriate time: That's enough progress for now. Next step will be to paint, detail, and assemble the cockpit pieces.
  2. After a couple of relatively short, mojo-restoring builds I'm finally ready to begin my next big project. Being a big fan of the F-4 Phantom II, I've had in my stash for a while Zoukei Mura's 1/48 F-4J. not to mention, a bunch of aftermarket items that might, or might not, be used: My last Phantom build was Academy's excellent 1/72 F-4J, which I clothed in the markings for VF-114, the "Aardvarks" For me, the Aardvarks' bright orange scheme is one of the most attractive Navy high-visibility markings, and I couldn't resist doing it Bigger and Badder in 1/48 scale. My starting point in this build was to decide on what to do for the Phantom's ejection seats. The ones provided by ZM are quite detailed and serviceable, all they lack are harnesses for the crew: Looking through my aftermarket options, I compared Phantom seats made by Legend Productions, AeroBonus, and Aires. It was immediately apparent that the Legend seats (center) are much too tall: I ultimately selected the AeroBonus seats, mainly because they come complete with crew figures. Most of my effort thus far has been with painting the bang seats and figures: I'll attach arms and heads when the cockpit is more complete and I've adjusted the seats' height, if needed. Speaking of the cockpit, here's what the tub looks like with parts dry-fitted together: Plenty of room for the seats to fit: The bottom of the cockpit tub makes up the nose gear bay. ZM has included plenty of detail in the gear bays (though I cannot vouch for accuracy): I thought the best way to approach the nose gear bay would be to do my detailing before gluing the parts together. Here they are with a white base coat and gray wash: The nose gear bay after assembly: In the cockpit, I sprayed a base coat of dark gull gray, followed by some post-shading with a darker gray to add depth and shadows: With that, Step 2 of the kit instructions is complete. Finally, being Halloween, I thought I'd amuse you with my lame attempt to paint the pilot and RIO's faces: I first painted a warm flesh color and dry-brushed with a lighter shade: Pretty ugly. So, I applied a thin wash of the lighter shade to hide the ugly brushmarks: Better, but some detailing is needed: Just look at those lips! And, where are the eyes? Let's see what I can do about that: Well, it is Halloween, after all In truth, the camera brings out the worst of the details. The faces look much better with the naked eye. That's all for now!
  3. Having recently built three supersonic hotrods of the Wisconsin Air National Guard I am finishing off my Wisconsin theme with a civilian bird, definitely subsonic: I am aware that Moa has posted a WIP for this kit, which he modified to represent Amelia Earheart's Model 10E. I'll be following his pathfinding in my build, although I'm sure mine won't compare with his excellent work. Here's what's in the box: two main sprues, some resin bits (cockpit details and engines), some clear plastic for the passenger windows, and a vacuform windscreen (mine is yellow with age). For the Wisconsin Central markings I will be using decals made by Pointerdog7. who thoughtfully included this short history of the Wisconsin Central Electra: I've not had much luck finding reference photos, and am looking for more. Here is one of the better ones: The Special Hobby kit does not include seating for the passenger compartment, so I'll have to do some scratchbuilding. I found this drawing, which should be a help. It even shows the toilet location! Also, I haven't yet decided whether to go with the kit's resin engines, or to use the much more detailed Small Stuff kit. If I use the aftermarket engines, I'll probably need to enlarge the nacelle cowlings to fit them in. So, that's my plan and I'm sticking to it (until I come up with a better one!)
  4. I recently built a couple of supersonic "hotrods" flown by the Wisconsin Air National Guard. They were a Meng F-102 Delta Dagger, with markings circa 1972 after winning the William Tell competition, and a Hasegawa F-16C done up in markings commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wisconsin ANG, in 1998: A quarter-century separates those two aircraft, and I realized that it will soon be another 25-years since the F-16 carried those anniversary markings. Then, I learned that in 2023 the Wisconsin ANG will transition to the F-35A Lightning II. I decided to round-out my little collection by adding a F-35 in hypothetical markings of the "Badger Air Militia" I will be building Academy's F-35A with a smattering of aftermarket: For decals, I will use kit items supplemented with decals from Furball Aero-Design's "F-35 Anthology" sheet: To make this uniquely a Wisconsin ANG bird, I decided to add tail markings as currently flown on the 115th Fighter Wing's F-16s: I actually printed up some decals with the above markings, but then I discovered this sheet from Wolfpack Decals: The above are better than what I could achieve, so I'll go with those and keep my homemade items as backup. Let's take a peek inside the box: Two main sprues in gray plastic: A white sprue with the weapons bay, landing gear bays, and air intakes, plus a black sprue for the cockpit, nozzle, and other items. The canopy is molded in a single piece in very clear plastic. There are also two identical sprues with a variety of weapons: The kit's decal sheet looks nice, but I've had mixed results with decals from recent Academy releases, so I'm glad I have other options available. The instruction manual appears to be excellent: Before starting work, I gave my bench a good cleanup. I've completed four builds recently with only minor housekeeping in between, so the work area was in great need of tidying-up. I skipped right over Steps 1 and 2, and began with the cockpit. I built up the kit ejection seat and prepped the cockpit tub for some Eduard PE. I gave both a base coat of dark gull gray using Hataka Orange-line lacquers. This is the first time I've used these paints, and they behaved very well in the airbrush. It should be an interesting build!
  5. This is my latest project: I will be modeling it as G-ACRU, which participated in the British Graham Land Expedition to Antarctica in 1934-37. When the British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) was planned in 1933 Graham Land was believed to be the largest of a group of islands lying to the North-West of the Antarctic mainland and separated from it by three channels, the main one of which was the Stefansson Strait. In addition to surveying the West coast of Graham Land and extending knowledge of the whole region it was the intention to explore the passage through the Stefansson Strait to the Weddell Sea which might be used by future expeditions as an alternative to the eastern approach to the Antarctic continent which had proved so disastrous for Shackleton. It was also planned to carry out extensive research in a number of scientific fields which included: geology, glaciology, zoology, meteorology, ornithology and the biological sciences. The expedition team comprised 16 men led by John Rymill, an Australian. The budget for the three-year expedition was limited to the remarkably low sum of £20,000, which had to include the cost of their ship and an airplane. The aircraft - a De Havilland Fox Moth capable of operating with skis or floats - was used extensively for reconnaissance, aerial surveying and depot laying. Plane trips were limited by the safe range of the aircraft which was some 280 miles or three and a half hours flying time. Often weather conditions precluded flights for many days and other limitations included low cloud and unsuitable landing surfaces. However, the aircraft proved invaluable for route finding, surveying and depot laying and was used with skis and floats as conditions allowed. A major discovery of BGLE was that the channels (reported after the pioneering flights of Wilkins and Ellsworth) between the Bellinghausen and Weddell Seas did not, in fact, exist. Thus, Graham Land was a peninsula and not an archipelago. Much of the coastline of Graham Land was mapped. Considerable work involving the various scientific disciplines was conducted including studies of seals and birds. Fossil plants were discovered and important geological facts revealed. All these topics were extensively reported in the literature. BGLE proved to be of great significance with many achievements to its credit. It bridged the gap between the heroic age of Antarctic discovery and the present era with its well-funded and comprehensively staffed permanent bases. Using new approaches to travel and diet it avoided many of the problems faced by earlier explorers. Despite the severity of the environment and the three year duration of the expedition, the party returned to Britain without injury or experience of deprivation. The expedition is well-documented in photographs and many images of G-ACRU exist. Here are a few examples: Parts count for the Avi Models kit is low, and many of the parts on the sprue are not used in this version. The kit also includes a set of resin pieces for the skis and floats (G-ACRU used both during the duration of the expedition, as needed). I plan to equip mine with skis. The first problem I encountered is with the wings, which attach to the sprue on the leading edge and were not protected from movement in the box. As a result, the wings broke away from the sprue in a number of places, taking "bites" out of the leading edge. I filled the damaged areas with sprue gloop in the hope that I can return the leading edge to a uniform profile. The inside walls of the cockpit have light engraving of the Fox Moth's interior framing, which shows up distinctly in the photo below but are, in actually, barely visible. I'll be using styrene strip to make the framing more effective: This is the kit's instrument panel and forward cockpit bulkhead. A few circles indicating instruments, and the pass-through opening in the center which allowed the pilot to communicate with his passengers. I'll definitely have to do some detailing work here: For reference, this is how the actual cockpit appears: Here is how the instrument panel and cockpit floor fit into the fuselage: Of course, everything in the cockpit will be nearly unviewable through Avi's thick canopy. My plan is to use the kit canopy as master for a thinner, vacuform replacement, and to install the canopy with its sliding section open. Passenger seating was in a compartment forward of the cockpit, and included a fold-up bench seat at the rear of the compartment and a "bucket seat" at the front. The kit's instruction seat is very vague about where the seats (especially, the bench seat) go in to the passenger compartment, I'm guessing the seats fit something like this: I'll refer to the following photos to ensure I get the passenger compartment done right: (Of course, I could assert the expedition aircraft's seats had been removed for cargo stowage, but that would be the lazy way out!) I'm also making a list of detail items that Avi failed to include in the kit, such as the missing airspeed venturi (starboard side, below the windscreen) and the aileron actuators beneath the lower wing. That's it for my intro post. No actual work done, yet, but my plans are beginning to gel... Tomorrow, I'll try vacuforming a replacement canopy. If I succeed, I'll then start detailing the cockpit area. - Bill
  6. When I was a college student, back in the early-1970s, I spent way too much time building models instead of studying and attending classes. One kit I remember with fondness is Hasegawa's A-4E/F, which I modified by dropping the leading edge slats and adding AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles (converted AIM-7 Sparrows from my spares box). Markings were for "The World Famous Blue Dolphins" (VA-203), that I found on a Microscale decal sheet. Tomthounaojam's recent RFI inspired me to dig into my stash and try to re-create the Skyhawk that I built over 40-years ago. You can view tomthounaojam's excellent RFI here: Unlike my original build, be doing this as an in-flight configuration, and attempt to replicate this photo: much as tc2324 did in his gorgeous "Sundown Launch" RFI: Let's get started! Hasegawa's A-4 Skyhawk kit dates back to 1969, and has been re-boxed numerous times. The one I remember building (same as in my stash today) was from 1972: The kit consists of three sprues, plus a clear canopy piece: Instructions are sparse, which was the norm at the time: I managed to find a MicroScale decal sheet for the VA-203 Blue Dolphins on eBay: I'll also be adding a couple of aftermarket items, namely, a QuickBoost ejection seat and Shrike missiles from a Hasegawa weapons set. Starting with the cockpit (what little there is), here's the QuickBoost seat and the kit's pilot figure: The pilot is surprisingly well-molded, considering the vintage of this kit! And after removing the seat's harnesses, the pilot actually fits quite well: The big question is: Will the seat & pilot actually fit in the kit's cockpit? The first problem area I encountered is some warping on the fuselage halves: It looks bad, but I should be able to coax the fuselage together with clamps and adhesive. Second problem is that the cockpit opening isn't wide enough for the kit's broad-shouldered pilot. I fixed this by thinning down the fuselage sides: Before: After: [Side story: I once worked with a fellow who had flown Skyhawks over Vietnam. This guy was well over 6-feet tall. One day, I asked him how he managed to fit in the Skyhawk's cramped cockpit. He admitted it took planning to ensure everything he needed (charts, etc.) would be reachable after he was strapped in. He also told me how happy he was when his squadron converted to A-7s. "The Corsair was a Cadillac in comparison", he said.] Back to my build. Will the seat & pilot fit under the canopy? I may need to slightly lower the height of the seat, but this looks promising: Which brings me to the third problem I've encountered: I'm going to have to replace the canopy (and, for once, it's not my fault). The canopy in my kit is missing parts of its left side, and there's a nasty gate mark on the opposite side: My hope is to use the kit canopy to mold a vacuform replacement. First step is to fill in the missing areas. I glued styrene strip along the inside of the canopy, which will serve as a backing for the filler I'll be adding later. Stay tuned!
  7. Having just finished a long, not always pleasant build of a large, NMF bomber (B-58 Hustler), one might think I'd be looking for something completely different for my next project. Well, call me crazy but I just can't resist this: To be honest, I did manage to get in a couple of simple "relief valve" jobs as I was finishing up the Hustler project: This one is for a group build project my local IPMS chapter is doing for the Nats next month (more pics in the Diorama RFI forum): and this kit-bash is in memory of one of our club members who recently passed away: Anyway, back to the Northrop flying wing. First thing to say is, this is a really, really big airplane! In 1/72 scale, it takes up almost all of my work area: My goal is to finish in time for our local club's annual show & contest, just five weeks from now. Did I say, "call me crazy?" BTW, I have to give a nod to Jeff "Inch High Guy" Groves, who has built what must be the best model of the YB-35 I've ever seen. Here it is completed: He has a three-part build log on his website, you can view it here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/1-72-scale-amt-ertl-x-yb-35-build-part-i/ I'll be unashamedly copying from Jeff as I do my build. I don't plan to do everything he did. Instead, I'll be focusing on the following: - Opening up and deepening the engine cooling inlets on the wing leading edge - Adding the warm air exhaust flaps between the engines at the rear of the wing - Opening up the wingtip leading edge slots - Adding guns to the YB-35's six turrets For markings, I'll do a hypothetical 1950's "in service" NMF scheme, probably with red Arctic markings to add some color (I'm sure Ridge Runner will approve) Enough talkie talk. Here's what I've done so far. Totally ignoring the instruction sheet (which starts off with the cockpit), I tackled the job of opening up the big leading edge cooling inlets. Before: After: I then deepened the inlets with styrene strip: The deeper inlets meant that I had to hack away at the kit's wing pieces to make room: Here's the wing and leading edge inlets, taped together for a fit check: Speaking of fit, this kit is notorious for the lack thereof. Here's an example: So, I'm collecting sprue for my new favorite gap-filling technique (stretched sprue plus sprue-gloop) Once I'm happy with the cooling inlets, I'll open up the wingtip leading edge slots. One thing I love about this hobby is how much I learn about the aircraft I'm modeling. The YB-35 wingtip slots are a good example. I was puzzled when looking at period photos that sometimes the slots were there, other times they were not. See for yourself: Slots present: Slots not present: What's going on here??? I was able to track down a YB-35 flight manual online, and learned that the slots had doors top and bottom. In normal flight, the doors were closed. At high lift coefficients the doors opened hydraulically to prevent wingtip stall. The doors were spring loaded to the open position, so the slots were open when cold & dark on the ground (as in the first picture above). First thing I'll need to do is cut away the closed door panel just behind the leading edge section outlined in pencil here: But, I'm getting ahead of myself.... Stay tuned for more.
  8. I just got my Mojo replenished with a quick-and-easy OOB build (Tamiya's 1/72 Ki-61 "Tony") and I'm roaring to start a new "big" project. Looking through my stash, I heard Italeri's B-58 Hustler singing to me. The B-58 was one of those designs (along with the Century series of fighters) that formed the core of my love for aircraft modeling. As a pre-teen in the early 1960s I remember building the Lindberg kit in 1/128 scale, and later their 1/64 scale version. Of course, my modeling skills then were limited to slapping everything together with tube glue, adding whatever decals came with the kit to unpainted plastic, and making "zoom" sounds as I flew the result around the living room. Fast-forward fifty-plus years... now I'm ready to do it all over again, but bigger & (hopefully) better! This is the kit I'm using: Plus a variety of aftermarket that I've accumulated for it: A couple of good on-line resources for the B-58 include: The B-58 Hustler Page - http://randolphbrewercom.fatcow.com/b58/index.php US Air Force Museum - https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196439/convair-b-58a-hustler/ Be sure to check out the 360-degree VR imagery of the cockpit interior: Pilot station - http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/cockpits/CW_tour/CW-13.html Navigator station - http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/cockpits/CW_tour/CW-14.html DSO station - http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/cockpits/CW_tour/CW-15.html There's also an excellent WIP here by Mark Inman, mostly covering his painting of the Hustler's multi-tone metallic finish. I'll be referring to this when the time comes: Mark built his kit in-flight, whereas mine will be on the ground. That means I have to contend with modeling the crew positions and landing gear. Let's get going! I am beginning with detailing the crew positions, starting with the Pilot Station. Here's what's provided in the kit - cockpit floor & rear bulkhead (the floor doubles as the top of the nose landing gear bay), an ejection seat/capsule, a couple of consoles either side of the pilot, and the pilot's control stick (not pictured): The instrument panel mounts to the top-interior of the fuselage: None of the above items are especially well-detailed. For example, this is the Hustler's actual instrument panel: and there are many other panels missing in the kit: U Fortunately, Airwaves has done a photoetch set for detailing the crew positions: and I will be using this to help flesh out my interiors. The Airwaves set would have you make multiple folds of the PE and attach the pieces together with butt-joins. I thought it would be easier to scratch-build the basic shape of the interior consoles, etc. and then add the Airwaves PE as a veneer of detail. Following this plan, I cut the Airwaves instrument panel into sections: and laminated the center section onto a styrene backing: I added a rectangular base that will mount to the pilot's floorboard: and checked to ensure everything will fit when the fuselage is buttoned up: Side-consoles were also built up using styrene. In this pic you can also see that I've added the right side section to the instrument panel: While checking reference photos, I realized that the combing over the pilot's panels is not symmetric on the actual aircraft -- notice in the photos below how the combing on the right side of the cockpit appears to be higher than on the left side: This is especially noticeable when viewing the VR imagery on the USAF Museum website. The asymmetry can also be seen in this view from above. The combing wraps higher and farther to the rear on the right side than on the left: Here is my attempt to model the above. Not perfect, but better than the stock kit's offering: That's about as far as I've gotten since I began a few days ago. There's still much to be done before the pilot's station is finished, and after that there are the Navigator and Defensive Systems Operator positions to work on. So, if you're thinking of following this build, be sure to bring an extra-jumbo size bag of popcorn. Before I sign-off, a foreshadowing of problems yet to be encountered: See that huge gap? It's gonna have to be filled, and remember that I'll be putting a natural metallic finish on this bird... any flaws stand out like a sore thumb. I've read that the joins for the engine pylons and center pod are also bad. I'm sure we'll come back to this issue later in my build.
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