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I've long wanted an F-111B for my US Navy collection, and pretty much the only way to get one is a conversion of either the F-111C or F-111G (FB-111A) kit. As I work in the only scale that matters, it's a Hasegawa kit that will do the honours. Luckily, Britmodeller scheduled a Group Build for the F-111, and this provided the KUTA needed for me to start work on this project. Unfortunately, life intervened (again!) and I will not be able to finish the build in time. Therefore, I will continue it here. But first, you simply must read what was accomplished during the F-111 Group Build. Why? Because I'm not going to repeat it all here, and I think a lot of the research information is especially interesting. There are a huge number of detail differences between the different F-111B prototypes and pre-production ships. So here is Part 1 of my build. Go ahead and read it, taking your time to learn as much as you can about this oft-maligned bird. I'll wait until you've finished. Back so soon? My, you're quite the speed reader. Well then, let's carry on! F-111B 151972, the subject of my build, had what is known as a "translating cowl" intake. Rather than have suck-in doors that are either manually operated or powered, the front portion of the cowling slid forward to open up a "slot" that provided the same benefit. This photo shows the intake cowling closed: And this shows the cowling after translating forward: The eagle-eyed among you will notice some detail differences in those last two shots with respect to the vents under the wing glove. More on that later! The Hasegawa F-111C kit that I'm using for this conversion has a slightly different intake configuration that what was used on 151972, so I've made some changes to it. Of course, you know all about that because you read Part 1 over in the Group Build section. One additional change needs to be made now, and it concerns the area above the translating cowl. The kit intake has a gap in this area, which is shown well in this photo (I'm not sure which aircraft this is from - EF-111A perhaps?): On 151972, there was no gap here, as can be seen two photos ago. In my collection of F-111B photos, specifically those of 151972, the translating cowl is almost always open when on the ground. So that's the way we'll model her. I added some card stock to create a "lip" under the rear edge of the translating cowl, and also to fill in the gap. The shock cones will be added later, as I think it will be easier to paint them prior to assembly. The intake ramps were made from card stock, since those on 151972 were a different shape than those on the F-111C, and didn't have the kink when viewed from the front. Anyway, here is what I came up with - I think it will work. Hopefully, I've got the angle of the landing gear correct as well. Both the main gear and the nose strut angle forward. Next up I think I'll add the vertical fin, as it just doesn't quite look like an F-111 without one. (Sorry, I can't call it an Aardvark etc. - I never fancied those unofficial nicknames. If the B had gone into production, I wonder what the Navy might have called it. Surely with Grumman's involvement it would have been some kind of cat...) Cheers, Bill
"Danger Zone" Upgrade Sets 1:48 Eduard Brassin To complement their Limited Edition kit of the F-14A (Danger Zone, Kit Number 1192), Eduard have added some superb additions to further improve the detail of this kit. There are four sets in total, all of which are available separately so that you can choose which area interests you, and how far you wish to stretch your budget. Big Sin F-14A Weapons Set (SIN64814) This includes all the missiles that you could need for your Tomcat, in quantities that it actually used, rather than theoretical maximums. The figure sized box is a top-opener, and has a small picture of the contents in the top left corner, and the horned Big Sin logo in the opposite corner. Inside is a festival of resin missiles all bagged by type, and with a bubble-wrap cocoon protecting it all. An additional bag has some card stiffeners to protect the Photo-Etch (PE) and decals from bending. AIM-9M/L Sidewinder Four of these almost ubiquitous short-range missiles are included, with the main body and aft fins moulded as a single piece. When cut from the casting block a PE exhaust part finished the tail, while a PE jig is folded up to act as support for the separate forward steering vanes that plug into slots in the nose area. Once set, the jig can be removed and discarded. A clear seeker head is included from clear resin, or you can plug in the protective cover if you are modelling your aircraft on the flight line with all the Remove Before Flight (RBF) tags dangling. Speaking of which, you get a set of eight, four of which have white stencilling, the rest having black. To differentiate between the M and L variants, a small PE part is added for the M, and a fastener is removed in the same place for the L. The decals include all the stencils and banding for both the M and L variants too, with Gunze painting call-outs throughout. AIM-7M Sparrow Four Sparrows are included, with the tail fins moulded into the main body, separate forward steering vanes, and a PE exhaust aperture. A small PE part is added behind the steering vanes, preferably after main painting, as it is pre-painted for ease. Decals include all relevant stencils and banding for your missiles, and Gunze colour call-outs are used throughout. AIM-54A Phoenix Although the F-14 could theoretically carry 6 Phoenix missiles, this configuration wasn't used in practice, so the four that are included in the pack should be sufficient. The main body and forward fins are moulded as one, with a separate tail and aft fins attached, which has a deep exhaust aperture within. In order to obtain the best fit, it might be as well to use a drill-bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the missile to hollow out the contact face, to avoid any odd angles creeping into your build. There is no PE included with this set, but a comparatively large decal sheet is needed due to the quantity of stencils and bands that the missile wore. You will need to pay careful attention to the alignment of the bands too, as they are split into short sections by the missile's fins, so each band is made from four parts. Colour call-outs are of course using Gunze paint codes. "Danger Zone" F-14A Upgrade Set (48817) This set comes on two large 14cm x 7cm brass frets and takes up where the set included within the box leaves off, detailing much of the rest of the airframe as necessary. This includes parts for the radar assembly, nose gear bay, refuelling probe, and most significantly, the 20mm Vulcan cannon bays, which receive a set of detail skins to update the bland interior. The bays each get a surround into which the fasteners lock on the real thing, all of which should enhance realism significantly. A strip of 20mm shells and a skin for the large drum finish off that area. Further skins are added to the aft air-brakes between the tails, as well as some scab-plates and slime lights. The crew steps are each replaced by a single part that is folded up into a three-dimensional part, and their bays are each given a skin. The crew ladder is replaced by a pair of PE sides, to which you must add three lengths of 0.7mm rod to make the steps. This is then attached to the upper section, which is also upgraded with more detail and a PE top step. The nose landing gear is updated with small parts, plus a PE plate on the retraction jack, while the retraction jacks of the main gear are given detailed PE sides. The gear bay doors are updated with PE skins and hinges, but the nose gear covers are replaced completely with new PE parts, which also include new hinges. The arrestor hook housing is skinned with riveted PE, and the remaining parts are used to give the pylons more detailed mating surfaces, which includes the semi-conformal ones on the belly. F-14A Seatbelts in Fabric (49069) Eduard's collaboration with Martin from HGW continues to bring his innovative fabric seatbelts to the main stream, and this set is exactly that. The PE seatbelts included with the kit look nice, but they don't quite drape in the same easy manner than flexible fabric does. This intricate set aims to remedy this with a small sheet of pre-printed, laser-cut seatbelt material, and a small fret of plated PE that is full of buckles and fixings. The belts are crumpled up, removed from the backing and then threaded and glued through the PE parts to form a full set of belts, which includes the leg restraints that pull the pilot's legs close to the seat to prevent injury in the event of an ejection. These are all then fixed to a painted seat, giving a superb realistic look to them. They are small and need patience to assemble them, but they are most definitely worth the effort. F-14 Remove Before Flight Tags in Fabric (49693) Comprising three small sheets of the HGW printed "Super Fabric" and a small fret of plated PE, this set will permit you to deck out your F-14 with those handsome RBF tags that flutter in the wind on airbases. There are three types of attachment, either a ring and hook, clamp and hook, or just a loop of wire. You supply the wire, in case you were wondering. You simply peel the pre-printed tag from the backing paper, scrunch it up between your fingers and then straighten it out, which can be a bit tricky, as small parts sometimes stick to each other, and the material is incredible thin. Then you thread one of your three attachment types through the hole at the top, and attach it in the places marked X on the opposite side of the instruction sheet. You'll need to check your references to see which type goes where, but the result will be stunning, and they actually do flutter in the micro-breezes in the room. If you remove too many, you can straighten them up and stick them back on the backing paper until needed again, as I just found out. Review sample courtesy of