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Hi folks,

I started this last November and did most of the initial construction and painting in a week or so - not bad. But it's taken at least two or three times that long to actually finish it, and strictly speaking it isn't entirely finished - I haven't done the bomb seeker heads yet. But it's a nice day and I thought I'd take some pictures to share:

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(click for bigger)

My first finished modern jet (although I've started one before) so I learned a lot: All the final assembly stuff is surprisingly tricky - I was slotting one of the bomb bay doors into place and using a little force because it had previously clicked into its spot when test fitting. Suddenly there was a loud and unhappy noise as the front of the bomb bay parted from the inside of the closed, painted fuselage :oops: Ouch. I added some more glue and took some more off the door before trying again :)

Other than that the kit was pretty good to build. The main seam is hidden inside a step about 1/8" in from the edges of the fuselage, which is great because it gives you a good sharp edge, but does make for a lot of filling if you actually want to fill it - took about four hours of superglue and sanding. I opted not to fill the panel lines so that there'd be no risk of rounding off the sharp edges.

I also found the black finish quite tricky - an easy colour to spray, but how to capture that blotchy streaky look of the real thing without making it look like bad model paintwork? I didn't want to go the false shading approach because while it looks really cool I don't think it looks that realistic. I ended up settling for an overall application of MIG neutral wash, mostly removed again in streaks, plus some panels touched in in grey following photographs. I also added a couple of (hydraulic fluid?) stains since I've seen those in several pictures.

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I was worried it was all very over done, but it seems really subtle, maybe too subtle, in the photos.

The cockpit uses the Eduard Zoom set, mainly for the conspicuous HUD frame and the seatbelts. As seems to be the norm I had to carefully repaint the instrument panels because Eduard's dark grey was a dark blue. It's all a bit invisible now owing to the cramped interior:

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But you can just about see it if you look carefully. I really like Eduard's layered instrument panel here. Oh, and I added some rough and ready canopy latches, but the receptacles in the frame are painted tape and look pretty poor. I didn't feel up to drilling the holes today, but maybe I can go back and do that when I'm feeling braver since the tape will just lift off.

I enjoyed painting the titanium exhausts, I think they could do with some more weathering - stains and soot in the slots, and patchy black paint wearing off the thermal tiles:

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Other jobs to do in future:

* Add the canopy padding and make some mirrors.

* Fix the mis-masked canopy frame - tsk.

* Better canopy latches.

* Detail inserts for the rear wall.

* Repaint the front-most pitot tube, which is now mostly made of superglue and has got a bit glossy.

* Various minor touch-ups - there are some white specks in the paint, and the left "Escape" decal by the canopy hinge has silvered.

I really need to make a simple base as well, the better to protect all the breakable bits on the front :)

Thanks for looking, comments and criticism most welcome. I've got some more jets in the stash and I like what I've ended up with (thought it could be better) but they do seem like pretty hard work compared to tanks and things. At least this time I remembered to work on the dangly bits (doors, bombs, gear) as I went along so they wouldn't come as a shock at the last minute.

Cheers,

Will

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Thanks for the kind words folks!

I now find myself rather coveting the big Trumpeter kit, but I was already surprised how big a beast it is in 1/48 - 1/32 would be huge!

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Really nice job on this one! Always thought it would be actually really hard to do a good job on an F117 due to the flat black, although at least very little masking should be needed!

Cracking final result though.

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Thanks again! Masking around the exhausts was a bit of a sod because the tail stubs get in the way, and I suppose I didn't enjoy the stealth jags around the bomb bay, but yeah, everything else is black :) You also don't have any curves to fit things around so applying the decals isn't exactly hard.

Tamiya give you masks to cut out for the glazing parts too, although you need to make your own for the inside it's not difficult since you can leave out the serrations.

Will

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That's a beautiful piece of work

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Cracking Nighthawk, you've got the 'all black' look looking great, well done.

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She's looking great. I've never shown interest in owning a nighthawk until this. Cracking job...

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8491315042_b1a0dd2bd5_c.jpg

That's a great looking build. I especially love this photo - the shadow really sets it off. What background or photo setup do you use.

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Thanks for the kind comments!

My photo setup is really simple - I stick an A2 pad of cartridge paper on our dining table, opened double, and prop up one side with a box or something to create a cyclorama. I pop the model on that and take the pictures using natural light (but not direct sun) since the table is under a skylight. The camera is on a tripod. Easy peasy :)

(If you look at the picture you picked out you can see the seam between the two halves of the pad - oops.)

The sunlight is really nice because it has a very high "colour rendering index" - essentially its spectrum doesn't have gaps like fluorescent lights do, so you see colours more accurately. It's also very cheap, and you don't need it to be bright either - a cloudy day will give better results. These shadows are a bit more defined than I usually like because it was a sunny day.

The downside is that conditions change between exposures so you need to white balance and level each shot individually, which takes a bit longer.

Will

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Thanks for the kind words folks!

I now find myself rather coveting the big Trumpeter kit, but I was already surprised how big a beast it is in 1/48 - 1/32 would be huge!

Hi Will,

This is an outstandng build with excellent detail. I recently completed the Trumpeter kit in 1/32nd scale. It is not huge, it is like the legend John Holmes, massive. The completed model is 54 cm length x 41 cm wingspan. It is a superb kit to build as the quality of the parts and the joins are excellent. I have attached the link to my completed build which shows a comparason of the Nighthawk to the F18 I built recently. This will give you an indication of the size of the 1/32 scale monster.

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234929046-132-trumpeter-f117a-nighthawk-updated/

Regards,

Monty.

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That's as massive as Sir Ian McKellen's reputation - splendid stuff.

Looking at your bomb bay reminded me I haven't glued the actuators to the doors on mine yet... Dearie me.

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Thanks again folks, that's very kind of you. Apart from a couple of panels there's actually only one black on there (rubber black) plus one wash, but I did vary the sheen a bit.

Beautiful job, Will. Well done!

Thanks in turn for displaying all your wonderful creations on your website, it's really inspirational. I have a long way to go but I'm enjoying the steps. Please pass on my thanks to Ricardo Rodríguez as well, I found his "guide to the basics" on your site to be very helpful. I'm trying really hard to find and deal with all my seams and pin marks :)

Unfortunately I took the F-117 to a club meeting and broke the front-most air data probe getting it back into the car in a dark car-park. It's currently in the naughty corner thinking about what it's done. I think if I can hold it in place (masking tape sling?) then I should be able to re-attach it with a dot of extra-thin followed by superglue. The wretched thing is I'd made a base to try and protect the probes, but I hadn't fixed the plane to it yet

:oops:

W

Edited by Will Vale

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Yes, yes, yes! That is one quality build. You have to love them stealth critters, I know i do!!!

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I have not seen many modellers getting such a good result with such a difficult colour.

Very well done!

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