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McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II VMFA-321 "Hell's Angels"


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PS. I'm going to give the decals a try for the blue areas with the stars. I just remembered that the last time I built a Phantom, I used a Platz decal sheet which was also made by Cartograf. And the decals on that scheme covered more area than this model will need. If the quality of the decals are the same, I think it will be OK. Here is a link to that previous build.

Hopefully you've got the "real" Cartograph stuff, so hit it! And boy! what a build in your link! :clap: :clap:

Ciao

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Looking like a great build up to your usual very high standards Bill.

I purchased some MM RLM 21 white based on your recommendation in your F-8 build, and I noticed that you've used it here too. Did you use a primer coat or go straight with the enamel white?

Enjoy the party Bill.

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The colours that you see in this area on real aircraft vary all over the map. You may have noticed that I took a shortcut on the masking and also painted the fuel dump in Dark Aluminum. Most Phantoms were seen this way, but our boys with Hell's Angels (VMFA-321) painted the fuel dump and the parachute cover on Triple Nuts with the same blue as the vertical fin. We'll get to that later.

I'm afraid that's not true. All the F-4s I have seen have had painted lower tail fin and fuel dump. I have never seen those areas in natural metal.

The metal colours in the exhaust area did vary a lot though.

Jens

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On 7/5/2015 at 02:26, Jens said:

I'm afraid that's not true. All the F-4s I have seen have had painted lower tail fin and fuel dump. I have never seen those areas in natural metal.

The metal colours in the exhaust area did vary a lot though.

Jens

 

Thanks for the clarification. Another hazard of trying to interpret USN F-4 black and white photos on my part! :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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On 7/4/2015 at 15:50, Cookenbacher said:

I purchased some MM RLM 21 white based on your recommendation in your F-8 build, and I noticed that you've used it here too. Did you use a primer coat or go straight with the enamel white?

 

No, I don't usually use a primer. I'm lazy.

 

For me, Model Master paints have a habit of clogging the tip on my airbrush (especially the flat colours) so I've been using Mr. Color Leveling Thinner with them. I find that really helps, but it will prolong the drying time a bit since the Leveling Thinner is essentially a retarder.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Thanks Bill, I often use MM enamels as a 'primer' coat, but I wasn't sure how it would go with white. I haven't had any trouble using odorless mineral spirits (white spirit) as a thinner, but I may give Mr Leveling thinner a go.

Thanks again,

JD

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Hi mates,

 

All that masking for a tiny strip of blue around the lip of the intakes! And while I was at it, I painted the coaming and the canopy sill flat black. Remember, at some point I have to add the Verlinden PE piece on the canopy sill, but portions of the plastic will show through. I thought it would be easier to paint them separately. I suspect the Verlinden piece will be added at the very end.

 

100_6039

 

I also painted the splitters blue, and I will add them shortly. Just a little touch-up first. I used Gunze H322 Phtalo Cyanine Blue as it is a very close match to the blue in the decal sheet. Hasegawa recommends Gunze C110 Character Blue (which I think is a rattle can) but I don't have any. Several areas on the fuselage will need to be painted, as decals are not provided.

 

I've been thinking about the front of the fuselage where the radar will go. We've already seen the Verlinden PE that will be used as a base for the resin yoke, and I think I've got a good idea of the colours to be used there thanks to my friends here on BM. That PE part has some areas where the underlying plastic will be seen, and that's why I added the "plug" up front. As everyone probably knows, the radar unit pulls out of the fuselage for service. I think I will paint the front "plug" a dark grey to provide an illusion that you can see inside.

 

Now that the intake lip has been painted blue, I can add the RHAW antennae to the upper part of the intakes. I left these off until now so that it would be easier to mask the intake lip. But what a place for sinkholes!

 

100_6041

 

Nothing that a few molecules of putty can't fix. A somewhat delicate sanding job though.

 

Still thinking about whether I should do a panel line wash. It appears that this aircraft was painted fresh in this scheme as part of the retiring of the F-4 from this squadron. I believe the aircraft became a gate guard afterwards. The photos show a very clean bird.

 

For what it's worth, here is one of the photos that led me to believe the fuel dump was left natural metal. The more I look at this photo, I think it is natural metal on this bird. This is what looks like a nice bicentennial scheme on an F-4N from VF-151 off the USS Midway. The fuel dump certainly isn't red or white (the tail colours) and it's much darker than the Light Gull Gray. VF-151 often had a tail with black at the bottom, but this fuel dump doesn't look black either. It looks to me like it's the same as the natural metal at the rear of the aircraft.

 

F-4N 150452 NF201 VF-151 - 7

 

Interestingly enough, Hasegawa have you paint the fuel dump silver for the VF-151 scheme in kit Ka2. Weird. I think they all did this just to confuse me! :):):)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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I should have some photos soon - the stickers are just about finished, and she's looking quite, how shall we say, colourful! :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. I've found out that this aircraft is currently at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky and has been moved indoors after having been out on the tarmac for quite some time. Kentucky is part of the "Bible Belt" here in the US so I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that all markings having to do with the Devil or scantily clad women have been removed from the aircraft. Even the serial numbers (must have been a demonic code) have been removed. :(

 

Oddly enough, the "Spook" is still on the fuselage sides and the name "Phantom" appears on the placard. :devil:

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Stickers!

 

Yes, stickers indeed. The decal sheet that proudly announced "Realised By Cartograf" certainly didn't act like any Cartograf decals that I've ever used. Perhaps "Realised" meant that Cartograf designed the decal sheet. I think I could go for that, as there weren't many fit problems - the size and shape of the markings match the model precisely. The problem is that the decals are quite thick, and don't like to nestle down into the nooks and crannies. In other words, they acted like typical Hasegawa (or Tamiya) decalcomania. Ugh. Gallons of decal solvent if you've been there.

 

Somehow, though, I got them on:

 

100_6439

 

100_6438

 

I cut away portions of the decals that I knew had no chance of ever snuggling down - places like the air inlet on the base of the fin and the antenna fairing at the rear of the fin. These areas were painted after the decals were applied. I used Gunze H322 Phtalo Cyanine Blue as it's a pretty good match. I also substituted slime lights from a Monogram ProModeller (Scalemaster) sheet as I felt the colour was better (a yellow green instead of yellow).

 

There are no stencils provided with the kit, and that makes this Spook look absolutely naked. Phantoms are covered in stencils - but this plane at this moment in time didn't have any. I don't see any of the typical F-4 stencils in the photos of this specially painted aircraft. So I guess I'm off the hook and don't have to add any?

I'm also debating whether I should use a semi-gloss or flat top coat. I suspect it was somewhat shiny, but the photos don't show a real glossy surface. I'll probably go with semi-gloss tending towards flat.

 

Here is the aircraft recently at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky with all of its evil and naughty paintwork removed. Looks like some fading while it was sitting outside in the sun too. As I mentioned previously, it has since been moved indoors.

 

3904 at AMK

 

Cheers,

Bill

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On 7/14/2015 at 00:03, Cookenbacher said:

Wow, that must have taken forever Bill. The stickers look amazing.

 

Thanks! It took several sessions over several days, but mostly to allow for the setting solutions to do their work. There are not a lot of decals to put on, it's just a lot of time fettling with them for final position, etc. For example, the blue areas consist of just five decals (not counting the splitters which are painted). I started with the two around the cockpit, in order to make sure the cockpit outline aligned properly. I was concerned that the spine decal would be an issue, since it had to align with the two decals on the front and the base of the vertical tail on the aft end. I shouldn't have worried, the spine decal fit perfect!

 

On 7/14/2015 at 09:32, DannyB said:

Awesome work Bill.

This is going to turn out really special, as always! :goodjob:

 

Thanks! I think it will turn out OK. I'm always going to think it isn't finished without those stencils - I'm fighting the urge to find an aftermarket sheet and put them on anyway! :)

 

On 7/14/2015 at 12:24, giemme said:

So in the end you had the same trouble with stickers as I had :frantic:

Nontheless, she looks just gorgeous :clap:

 

Yeah, I hate thick stickers like T-Rex hates doing push-ups. :):):)

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. I'm not sure I'll have enough time to finish this before the deadline, but I'll do my best!

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Some "exhausting" work this evening:

 

First, the cool gubbins for inside the cans:

 

100_6442

 

Verlinden did a nice job with the detail on these PE parts. The true test, though, will be to see if they actually fit! The curve of the arc and the overall length of the piece need to be nigh on perfect. If the length is off, the ends of the PE will overlap (or show a gap) and if the curve isn't right, the edges of the PE won't line up with the edges of the plastic. No need to worry, Verlinden nailed it:

 

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I think it looks a lot better with the PE!

 

What colour should the inside of the exhausts be? I do not think that the Spook had the characteristic white interior that you see on many modern jets. I've looked into a few Phantoms at air shows back in the 80s and they had sooty black exhausts, IIRC. I'll probably make the inside a dark metallic colour.

 

I'm also spending some time on stuff like the gear doors, tyres, canopies, etc. Not much fun there. :(

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Some "exhausting" work this evening:

:rofl:

Very nice work Bill. The stickers do look rather good. Good to see this project is still on the go.

Kind regards,

Stix

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Hi mates,

 

Well - I told you that the lack of stencils was eating away at what's left of my semblance of modelling modicum. Even if the real aircraft didn't have any stencils at this particular stage of its life, a model of an F-4 Spooky Toom surely is not complete without stencils. Especially when I found this snippet in an old Microscale F-4S envelope:

 

100_6444

 

The "No Step" and "No Push" can be used, along with the occasional "Caution" and "Warning." I also found some of those odd beehive shaped "No Steps" - do you know the ones I mean? Where each letter is enclosed in a hexagon? I must use those because they are just so 1960s McAir.

 

So I went ahead and added some of the stencils. Not a lot, and surely not a full set of F-4 stencil-mania (which would be huge!). But it makes me feel better. :)

 

Let's see, what else have I done? I sprayed some Alclad Magnesium on the exhausts, and added them to the rear of the fuselage. I glued the resin yoke to the photoetch radar electronics faceplate, which was then detail painted (thanks for the photos!) and mounted up front. I added the True Detail resin tyres (which I had to inflate first, they were so "bulged" that they looked flat) and did some minor weathering on the landing gear. Some of the landing gear doors went on, but there are still some more to go. The red safety outline around the edges of the landing gear doors was added with a square-edged permanent marker. I've found that so much easier than trying to paint it on.

 

The RHAW antennae went into position on the top side of the intakes. The horizontal stabilators (is that the proper term - or is it tailplanes?) were finished up with some Testors RLM 21 White, Alclad Aluminum and Alclad Magnesium. Here is where we are then:

 

100_6445

 

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I have also started work on the radome - and I can unequivocally state that I do not like filling the seams inside a 1:72 radome! Whose idea was this to open it up to show the radar? Ugh. The center auxiliary fuel tank is assembled and waiting for some paint. The cabin windows have been dipped in Future and are awaiting some Kabuki tape and a sharp number 11 blade...we might be able to finish this right at the wire.

 

Cheers for now,

Bill

 

PS. Is it just me, or is there a white star missing underneath the instrument panel coaming?

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What colour should the inside of the exhausts be?

The Eduard PE definitely adds a lot!! As for colors: Interior of petals should be dirty (sooty) metallic; further up into the engine, a sooty, slight greenish tint as shown below. If doing then green, keep in mind that in 1:1,it's pretty dark in there, as opposed to 1/72 where there isn't much depth, so more light gets in -- keep it subtly dark. The picture below was obviously taken with a flash!

f-4e_munich_12_of_56.jpg

I'm also spending some time on stuff like the gear doors, tyres, canopies, etc.
Looks really good. Don't forget the main gear hydraulic actuators - looks like piston arms are still white vice silver.
Gene K
Edited by Gene K
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Dang, that's looking nice Bill. I look for any excuse to not add any stencils, but you go find one to add them anyway! I know those weird hex 'No Step' stencils you're talking about. F-15's have them too - I just realized the McAir connection.

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On 7/20/2015 at 10:18, Gene K said:

The Eduard PE definitely adds a lot!! As for colors: Interior of petals should be dirty (sooty) metallic; further up into the engine, a sooty, slight greenish tint as shown below. If doing then green, keep in mind that in 1:1,it's pretty dark in there, as opposed to 1/72 where there isn't much depth, so more light gets in -- keep it subtly dark. The picture below was obviously taken with a flash!

 

Looks really good. Don't forget the main gear hydraulic actuators - looks like piston arms are still white vice silver.

 

Thanks, Gene, that's a great picture! And I did forget to paint the actuators silver, thanks for the catch. I managed to get all the oleos, but forgot these. :)

 

On 7/20/2015 at 14:01, Cookenbacher said:

Dang, that's looking nice Bill. I look for any excuse to not add any stencils, but you go find one to add them anyway! I know those weird hex 'No Step' stencils you're talking about. F-15's have them too - I just realized the McAir connection.

 

The Phantom II will always be McAir in my book. Sorry Boeing. :fraidnot:

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Hi mates,

 

Definition of insanity: Whatever drove Verlinden to think that all of this is necessary in 1:72 scale:

 

100_6456

 

Not that this is a bad idea per se, but someone wasn't thinking this completely through. For example, only one piece has the notches for the canopy hinges - but there are two canopies. We needs another set of notches in the other piece. Also, the brass to be used for the inside of the canopy frames must be rolled to match the inside curvature of the plastic. It's difficult, but not impossible, to do since the brass is a bit thick and stiff. Once that is done, the sections with the canopy actuator hooks don't quite line up with the plastic. I think what I'll do is use the pieces that I think make sense for this model, and not go overboard and try to use all of this stuff. Especially when it doesn't fit so well - that doesn't add anything to the model.

 

So you probably noticed that the clear pieces have been painted. If you have a real eagle eye, you'll notice that I did not paint a canopy frame along the bottom of the windscreen. Why? Because there isn't one. Here's what I mean, amply illustrated by this nice photo of an F-4E:

 

F-4Ewindscreen

 

Note that the glass simply meets the fuselage, and there is no visible "frame" along the bottom edge. There is no frame moulded into the Hasegawa piece either, but that never stopped me in the past to paint one on anyway. And then I wondered why the windscreen looked "squashed"...

 

By not painting a frame along the bottom, we run into another problem. We'll be able to see the bottom edge of the windscreen piece when it's in place on the model. Here is what I mean:

 

100_6459

 

Here I've painted the bottom edge on part of one side of the windscreen. (The windscreen is upside down in the photo.) And I do mean the bottom edge, this is the edge where the glue is normally applied. This is a PITA to paint, by the way. When the windscreen is placed on the model, note the difference between where the bottom edge is painted flat black, and where it isn't.

 

100_6461

 

Makes a big difference, doesn't it? You may have also noticed that the PE frame for the HUD has been added, along with some of the PE for the canopy sill.

What else is moving forward - let's see, the radome decals have been added, and here is what Hasegawa provided:

 

100_6462

 

There is a total of two decals there, one for each half (port/starboard). And they did not want to lay down on the compound curves of the radome!! But some cuts here and slits there, coupled with litres of decal solvent and it will be OK. Ack! Except for one thing! Lookey here:

 

vmfa321mag41anniversary3

 

It appears that my radome needs two more stars! Since these two are on centreline of the aircraft, it would have been impossible to include them on the blue radome decals. Instead, Hasegawa provide many individual stars that you can choose from for situations like this (although they don't mention it in the instructions). I picked out two of the correct size and duly added them to the radome.

 

The windscreen and canopies are coming along, here is an in-progress shot:

 

100_6463

 

I've built and painted the centreline fuel tank, and I'm just finishing up the decal stripes for it. The decals won't work for the tips of the tank, so I've painted those. The nose gear doors were finished and added to the model, and the ejection seats are being painted. The dipoles for the radar dish have to be scratchbuilt, so I've started a background UNIX task in my brain to see if I can come up with a way to do that.

 

There is still an outside chance that I can finish this before the deadline. Maybe. We'll see. Remote possibility. Perhaps...

 

Cheers,

Bill

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You can do it, you know you can :fight::lol:

Great progress, by the way. Funny that when I did my F4-J, glueing those canopy PE bits was one of the first things I did - which I later regretted because all the small hooks were bent, some of the PEs got detached and had to be re-glued and on and on ...

Next time I'll probably do it your way ...

ciao

Edited by giemme
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