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  1. Hi guys I started this Rafale project about 3 years ago now, seemingly an eternal shelf ornament, hopefully a quick final push WIP thread will get it over the line! Initially the project started as an 'in flight' B but I decided I'd rather do a wheels down C or even EQ with the latest Caracal decals. This was before Revell released the newish C so it is actually a B and M cross. The end goal is this very early C, Or the latest EQ of Qatar, (click linked images to see authors) I'll have to decide soon, call me boring but I'm slightly leaning to the early French jet, I like the crisp grey camo! I removed the cockpits and spine from the original 'Rafale B' project and then added a little detail to the C cockpits. I plan to close the canopy for that distinctive Rafale shape but due to the large canopy much is still readily visible inside so I made a little more effort in the more visible places. As either the C or the EQ will be a brand new jet, I tried to keep everything real neat and tidy without any excessive dry brushing etc..I find it hard to make cockpits 'crisp' so I left it pretty plain. The cockpit is various shades of grey, the MFDs were done with film negative which gives a good 'shut down' glass appearance. The central column has a holographic blue(?) type screen, see this picture (prime portal walk around): http://data4.primeportal.net/hangar/sergey_zhabin/rafale_c_113-ge/images/rafale_c_113-ge_084_of_171.jpg I glued some holographic film over some clear plastic then sprayed Tamiya clear blue over the top, it changes with the angle you look at it, I'm not 100% convinced but should be ok enough under the canopy. My references for the very front of the coaming weren't great but I used an image that showed most of the details of this area. The HUD and projector needs to be added on top of the central column which should hide the little plastic wrinkle there fortunatley, too enthusiastic with glue I think! The hard part will be getting this into an already built up fuselage, if it came out I should be able to get it back in hopefully. Overall it is looking like this atm. I've dropped the flaps and ailerons, spine still to be glued after I get the cockpit in. The Prime Portal walkaround linked above is excellent and really covers nearly every square inch of the jet so I've gone over the model and corrected all sorts of panel lines, deleted some, refined some and added a few very fine rivets in places. I'm not saying its 100% accurate but more so than oob for sure. IIRC the fit wasn't terrible but not great either (tbh I mostly forget now what were the trouble places), most joins needed some Zap a Gap or surfacer attention. I've also done lots of little tweaks to various antennae shapes, wing tip pylons etc...to make them look more correct. probably why I put it down so many times, lots of little things to make a true project rafale as I think this kit is based on a very early Rafale M version. Some things I couldn't change such as the mesh vents as I'd already passed that part of construction but I have some plans for those. Previously I'd removed the SPIRALE chaff and flare dispensers at the very rear so they had to be rebuilt with plasticard, this time I added the locking pins and canted them slightly. The end plate got some attention too. Some more Saw-tooth RAM at the rear and a few other bits, still adding some details on the underside. I plan to have a minimal load of one inert MICA IR and a central tank so the wing tip pylons had a little work, excuse the sanding dust still there! The nose of the Rafale is very sharp so I replicated this with a blended in needle tip, The intakes have been filled as much as possible but they really aren't great, at any front angle you can just see all the internals (which the camera is hiding) and it is too late to really do anything now so I will make covers. The hardest part has been replicating the very deceptive canopy tint. As it has special stealth coatings it changes appearance vastly in differing light conditions and angles, from a clear golden smoke tint to a strong reddish metallic and anything in between, check the difference in the two pics C/EQ linked above. I tried to suggest this tint in 3 stages. 1- A normal interior tint mixture of Tamiya smoke + clear orange + clear yellow, maybe 0.8-0.15-0.05, thinned with MLT to get no orange peel. I then let that dry for a day or so. 2- A 'special' tint mixture of Tamiya clear red + a tiny amount of Aclad copper pigment, heavily thinned with MLT (0.1 paint-0.9 thinner maybe), 1-2 passes max. Leave to dry for several days. 3- A good old heavy dip in Pledge floor care (Klear) to give it an almost constant 'wet' look, a new Rafale canopy seems extremely glossy. Honestly, I attempted steps 1+2 six times before I got a clear canopy due to tiny flecks of dust or whatever finding their way onto the surface during the tinting, easily one of the most frustrating things I've done in the hobby. Eventually I got lucky, thankfully the specs on the front canopy are on the white sponge below. The canopy looks like this most of the time, but when some strong direct light is applied or bright sunlight you get a slight reddish copper appearance. Tbh it looks better in the flesh as the close photo is making it look a little grainy but I'm real happy with it in person, right or wrong it looks cool imho! The real canopy tint seems to be the reverse, more red-copper in overcast grey cloud and more clear in direct sunlight but whatever I'm just going for a general appearance. I have some questions for our French friends or anyone with the knowledge on Rafale. 1- Is the rudder always set at the neutral position when parked/shut down? 2- For the EQ differences, I have the enlarged UHF antenna on the spine and 'glass eye' DDM-NG sensor on the tail. Are there any other external differences? I think that's it for now, any help I'd be very appreciative. Thanks for looking, David.
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