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Found 4 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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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