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Giorgio N

Kfir Canard 254 Sqn, 1/72

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I know, I should finish some other models first, but I've been attracted by this kit for a long time and in the end I gave up and decided to build it !

My second model for this group build will be a Kfir Canard of the 254 "The Midland" Squadron of the Heil Ha Avir.

Now some might wonder: what is a Kfir Canard ? And the answer is... a Kfir C1 with canards ! But doesn't a C1 with canard become a C2 ? Well, not really....

We all know that the Kfir is a J79 engined development of the Mirage V via the Israeli Nesher copy. The original Kfir (that we know as C1 but I understand was only known as Kfir) had no canard and looked a lot like the original French machine.

The IAI engineers then modified the aircraft to improve manouverability and to do this they added canard surfaces, wing dogteeth and small nose fences.creating what we know as Kfir C2.

Some of the early production original Kfirs were then modified with small canard surfaces only, and it's these ones that were called Kfir Canard. These aircrafts were used by a number of units but with more and more C2s coming off the production lines all the Canards were refurbished and leased to the US Navy to be used as aggressors.... and we all know these aircrafts very well as F-21 Lion.

As the Kfir Canard later became the F-21, this version can be built straight from the box using this kit:

IMG_0026_zps549292c7.jpg

Italeri issued the F-21 together with the Kfir C2. It's a tipical Italeri kit of its era as shown by the plastic parts:

IMG_0027_zpsfd9d8e05.jpg

IMG_0028_zpsd00a8d9b.jpg

The plastic is quite soft, panel lines are recessed but not great and everything is a bit "soft". Still, it should be fine for what will be mainly an OOB build.

The sprue shots also show one big difference between this Kfir and the later ones: the leading edge of the wing is straight with a midspan slot, as in the original Mirage III.

The decal sheet has markings for one USN VF-43 aircraft.

IMG_0029_zpscc3fc5d3.jpg

I will use very little of the decal sheet as my plan is to build an Israeli Aircraft from 254 "The Midland" Squadron. This unit was established in 1980 to operate the Kfir and later received not only the Canards but also a number of Mirages. The Squadron was composed mainly by reservists and disbanded in 1984. So a short lived unit, but I like the markings that this unit had on the Kfirs.

Decals will come from a mix of generic sheets, homemadedecals and something from the Italeri sheet. The main problem will be to get some stencils in hebrew, easy for those in black (laser printed), more difficult for those in red. I'll see what I can find between now and the day I'll have finished painting. The scheme will be the original 3-colour one, that used the older darker green as seen on the Phantoms and not the later lighter green seen on the F-16 that was used on the C2

Edited by Giorgio N

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Another Kfir! :thumbsup:

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As often happens, plans are made to be changed: while the original plan was to build this model as much as possible OOB, I decided that the cockpit is really bad. It also does not seem to fit well and a dry-fit test showed that a lot of work would have been needed. At this point I decided that something else was needed. I was looking through pictures of real F-21s and noticed that the area behind the seat was not too different from the one in the original Mirage III and at that point something came to my mind: I have some resin !

IMG_0035_zps50dffb95.jpg

These are the resin parts that were included in the original short run HiPlanes kits of the Mirage III. They are not Aires quality, but will be good for this build, especially the tub. I'm not sure about the panel, I might tart up the Italeri part as this would avoid me to rework the coaming.

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Ah, that wonderful moment when you mentally search around in the spares box and think "Ah! I have a cunning plan!"

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Watching.......

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While I was waiting for the the glue to set on the Attacker I'm building for the FAA GB, I made a start with this one.

First of all a picture to compare the original cockpit tub with the intended replacement:

d92a6beb-bf02-4f54-b9a6-a5c827927b32_zps

The HiPlanes part may not be Aires quality but it's nonetheless quite an improvement over the Italeri part...

The Italeri part includes both the tub and the front wheel well, so the first step was to cut away the tub. Once the wheel well was on its own, I decided to add some detailing. Most of it is not based on any picture of a real Kfir, but the goal was simply to make it look busy, a result that I think I've achieved as shown in the composite picture below:

IMG_0046_zpsb0d0c93d.jpg

At that point it was time to start doing something on the wings. The F-21 box has very little in terms of loads, as is usually the case for the aggressor aircrafts. The kit has a ventral pylon and tank and a the two outer wing pylons with ACMI pods. I'm not sure what load I want to add to this model, but I might decide to add the underwing tanks. As there's no pylon for these in the kit, I'll have to get the pylons (and the tanks..) from somewhere else and in the meantime I decided to drill a few holes in the right position:

IMG_0043_zpsc2b6545b.jpg

At this point I could glue the top of the wings to the bottom part. The fit was not good....IMG_0047_zpsedb37d08.jpg

The picture does not show well the fact that the leading edges are a bit too thick where they meet the rest of the wing. This will need filling and sanding to get sorted, not something I'm loking forward to. I should add that I removed material from the area where the extreme front of the wing parts meet, otherwise the top part at the root would have been too high.. modify in one place and get troubles in another one !

Not only the fit is bad in this kit, the detail is quite soft. Just look at the guns....

IMG_0049_zpsef570b45.jpg

I'm not sure that the muzzles are in the right place, I might have to do something....

No picture yet, but something is now being done to the new resin cockpit: as I realised that I have another couple of kits that could benefit from this, I decided to make a few resin copies of the HiPlanes part. In this wasy I'll be able to improve not only this kfir but also a couple of Mirage III in the stash

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The F-21 box has very little in terms of loads, as is usually the case for the aggressor aircrafts. The kit has a ventral pylon and tank and a the two outer wing pylons with ACMI pods.

Two ACMI pods? Shouldn't it be one ACMI pod and an Acqui Sidewinder?

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Two ACMI pods? Shouldn't it be one ACMI pod and an Acqui Sidewinder?

Yes, Italeri decided to offer the modeller 2 pods. In the sprue shots above one can be seen while the other was off the sprue (and broke the tip...).

Not the real load used by the aggressor squadrons, but the positive side is that in this way there's one more pod in the spares box while making an acquisition round from a Sidewinder is easy enough.

In the meantime I've removed the resin copy of the cockpit tub from the mould and looks good enough. I'll let it cure for another couple of hours and try to fit it in the fuselage

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And here it is ! I test fitted the new resin bit into the Italeri fuselage halves. Of course some thinning of the fuselage sides was needed but the result is not too bad.

IMG_0050_zps6b54d743.jpg

Fit is not too bad and it did not take much considering that not only it's a part made for a different kit, but it's also a part made for a kit of a different type... although a close relative.. :D

What can't be seen in the picture is that by keeping the original wheel well I now have to cut away resin at the bottom to make room for both the cockpit tub and the wheel well. But whatever will be cut will be made invisible by the ejection seat. Speaking of which, I seem to have lost the original Italeri part, I have a feeling that I'll have to do some more resin cloning.....

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If you think the fit of the upper and lower wings is bad, just wait until you fit the wing assembly to the fuselage. 'Approximate' would be a good word to describe how they line up.

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If you think the fit of the upper and lower wings is bad, just wait until you fit the wing assembly to the fuselage. 'Approximate' would be a good word to describe how they line up.

I'll keep this in mind, guess it will be a job best done when I'm very relaxed !

In the meantime I found one problem with my plan of using the resin part: the italeri clear parts are very thick and will not fit with the resin tub in place as it is. I have a couple of different vacform canopies for the Mirage III (the spare HiPlanes one and one from Pavla) but none will fit the Italeri kit... kit that I suspect does not have a very accurate windscreen. This means I'll have to trim some bits from the resin rear bulkhead to allow the canopy to fit. At the same time, this means there's no hope of using the HiPlanes instrument panel, as the sides will interfere with the windscreen. Another negative vote for Italeri from me !

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If the Italeri canopy is too thick to close have you thought about modelling it open? Mile O'Hare did that with his Kfir, modelled here. A look on the 'net shows that the canopies are often slightly opened as Mike modelled it. That way you would just have to work on the instrument panel; or use the kit's item.

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Thanks for that link Dave, that is a beutifully built model. Mine will never be that good....

I did a few test-fits and even leaving the canopy open I'd have had to shave some bit. As the canopy is very thick, I think it would not look great so I've shaved enough from the plastic to allow the canipy to be fit closed. I can still change my mind at any moment anyway.

As the original seat is not great and most importantly I seem to have lost it, I cloned the part from the HiPlanes kit.

IMG_0051_zpse84a6dc9.jpg

There a couple of bubbles and I still have to remove the excess resin, but the part is not bad. The whiteish resin does not result in good pictures unfortunately, it should looke better once painted.

And this should be the last picture for the moment... Tomorrow will be time to leave for some holiday and work on the Kfir will restart in 10 days or so.

Edited by Giorgio N

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I'm rather jealous of your resin cloning skills.

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nice work so far, looks like a bit of a beast to build.

Like your resin work, may have to have a go making my own bits one day.

will follow with interest.

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Thanks to all ! Have to say that the parts could have been better, I still get small bubbles in most of my resin. I'm looking into the use of a vacuum chamber but I haven't had the time to build one yet.

Speaking of cloning, another part in the kit that would do with replacing is the engine exhaust, Fortunately I have a hasegawa F-104S exhaust in the spare parts box, this should be similar to the one used in the Kfir. The plan is of course to try and make resin copies of the feathers assembly. To this I'll add an afterburner duct made from rolled corrugated paper, something I've done in a couple of Esci F-104 before. The italeri part has the turbine directly at the end of a 15 mm long exhaust can, not really realistic...

Now this was supposed to be an almost totally OOB build.... wonder what will happen the day I'll start a kit with the intention of adding details !

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You are doing better than me - my only concession to extra detail is the seat. The tailpipe is pretty rubbish, but I am going to live with it. I'll watch your idea about the corrugated paper though.

There's a great shot up the tailpipe of a Kfir (F-21) in the walkround at this link

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Thanks for the link Dave, it shows very well the structure. My plan is to build it in 3 parts: the final feather assembly (cloned from the 104S), the afterburner area (to be made with the corrugated tube) and the turbine last stage (where I might just use the kit part).

Cloning time again: here's a comparison between the kit part and the Hasegawa F-104S exhaust. This is present not only in the G/S box but also in the TF-104G box

IMG_0186_zps17a0463b.jpg

The Hasegawa part is more detailed but it's shorter. All in all I believe hasegawa is right here. As I'll have to rebuild all the exhaust structure anyway, the different length will not be much of a problem.

My moulds are made using silicon rubber, the best material to do this. Here's what the mould look like after the resin has been poured:

IMG_0187_zps1e538dce.jpg

And finally, the part removed from the mould sitting beside the original plastic part:

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There's some flash to be removed, nothing to worry about really. The copy is quite good, with only a couple of minuscule scars on one of the feathers.

I am actually positively surprised by how easy it is to clone a part like this, I can see me using more and more this in the future

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Work continues on the exhaust area. As mentioned before, I'm using a sheet of corrugated paper to lengthen the exhaust. This is a product made for architectural models and should be easily available. Here I have cut a piece of the right size:

IMG_0189_zps8f38b8ce.jpg

This paper has one side white and the other in silver. I find it easier to paint on the white side and in this case I painted the interior of the exhaust in a light metallic blue/green. This might sound unusual, but it's actually a common feature on J79 engines and the pictures in the walkaround posted above confirm this to be the case for the Kfir too.

IMG_0190_zps9f7e4e79.jpg

The paper is then rolled to form a tube over a pen of the right size and the outer side is taped using aluminum adhesive foil. I use this for 2 reasons: it's very sticky and being aluminium it can be glued using superglue better than paper. Here's the tube resting on the pen, where it will stay for a few hours to get the shape:

IMG_0191_zpse86c4965.jpg

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And while the exhaust tube was resting on the pen, I took some time to paint the ejection seat:

IMG_0192_zps330396df.jpg

The ejection handles are in thin metal wire, the rest is all cast with the seat

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Work on the exhaust is almost completed. To reproduce the last stage of the turbine, I used the original kit part from which I removed the nozzle feathers. An old Matchbox 1,000 Lbs bomb donated the boss. The part was painted with a mix of acrylic dark grey and vallejo's metallic medium. This is a very good way to reproduce metallic paints and changing the paint/medium ratio it's possible to have a more or less metallic effect

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The corrugated car tube was then attached to the turbine disc and a black wash was given to all the parts. This is what can be seen looking into the tube.

IMG_0196_zpsd467e07f.jpg

For some reason I can't resize the picture correctly... anyway, the background of the picture shows the cutting mat on whic the intervals are set at 10 mm

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Adding the nose of the bomb was a brilliant idea and makes the turbine much better than the kit part. The corrugated tube looks really smart too.

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