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I bought this kit a good decade or so ago now, off of e-bay, atnd it wasn't cheap then! I've been planning on making a start on it since purchase, so thought now was as good a time as any. In fact what I think prompted me to start was the Hunter GB. I've started a 1/72nd T8 on there, and knew full well that given my track record of actually finishing anything - particularly on GB's, that I would have no chance on finishing this beastie in that time!

Now, before you ask, yes I do have Fisher's cracking conversion set, and yes, I will build that one day, but sometimes modelling is as much about the journey as anything else. I have thoroughly enjoyed building vac-forms in the past and will savour this one . It will be a long build, as most of my models tend to be nowadays. When I get bored with it, I'll put it to one side and finish off one of the others I started last year, or the year before (this list is growing I'm afraid!!). But for the meantime lets get cracking and see how far I get...

I'm building that GB 1/72nd T8C as a FRADU jet in the 1980's in Dayglo and LACG. I happen to think that this would look rather fetching on a mammoth model like this would look rather nice in 1/32nd....although another possible candidate may be an Admiral's barge, I'd like to use the airfield arrestor hook you see..though If I decide on a T7 it will most likely be something with a Raspberry Ripple flavour, though 92 Sqns Blue Diamond's XL571 is a candidate......we shall see.

Box is well tatty!!

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Echelon provided four solid sheets of quality moulded vac formed sheets...

One with the fuselage...

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Two for the wings....

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One for the rest.....

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A clear (well it WAS clear when it was issued - it's a bit yellow now!) canopy and spine. This can be used on its own, or in conjunction with the vac-formed part...I will need to replace that though.

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Undercarriage and seats etc., in good old 1980's white metal!!

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Decals....well bearing in mind these are approaching 30 years old I think they are bearing up rather well! Designed by Richard Ward by all accounts, he of Modeldecal fame, so we know that they are accurate. Just hope I can use them. You may notice that the single seater decal sheet is there too. Frank Brown (Mr Echelon) donated the sheet when I purchased one of his last Lightnings 20 odd years ago! He had to find a box to put it in! Top bloke!

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I have actually made a tentative start today. I'll post a couple of photo's later. BUT before I do, I'd like to say that i know the amount of research that Frank Brown and Edgar Brookes put into this kit. I never got around to building a Spitfire for Edgar's GB, so I'd like to dedicate this to his memory. I know we differed on certain things at times, but he gave an awful lot to this hobby. I'm grateful for that.

Edited by Bill Clark
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Okay a tentative start...

Vac-form kit's really aren't that scary! Honestly! Basically once you've removed the parts from the backing sheet, you stick the parts together!

A bit like a plastic kit.......oh wait!

Echelon kit's (Two Hunter's and a Lightning basically) were amongst the best, along with the likes of Dynavector and Aeroclub.

I started with one of the wings. I separated the piece from the backing sheet along the raised plinth. Simply score with a sharp blade and snap it off. There's plenty of a plastic "buffer" to avoid any grief!

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A limitation of this medium is that panel lines can be a little vague. They are here on this kit, and from what I can tell , are in the correct place!

I decided to re-define them. I used a Jeweller's Tungsten Scriber that I purchased in London's Hatton Garden a long tome ago. Its sharp and removes just the right amount of plastic.

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I've gone in a bit closer and here I've removed the plastic backing up to the wings, and the aux air intake on the wing top . Note that I haven't removed all of the required edging plastic. I'll do that with a file and wetn'dry paper. I've removed the gear bay doors. Not too sure about the shape of that though!

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Edited by Bill Clark
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Oh this will be worth watching. :popcorn:

Duncan B

Hope so Duncan...it should certainly be a long build, you may need a goodly supply of popcorn!

I shall enjoy watching this. I have the Echelon Lightning. As vac-form kits go these are a class of their own.

They certainly were. Always a shame that they never issued a Lightning two-seater.
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Bill

Looking forward to this. I have 2 Lightnings and am suffering from the same yellowing of the canopies. How are you planning it's replacement on the Hunter?

John

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Worth contacting Fisher Pattern and Mold? They might supply you a resin canopy set on it's own?

Thanks for that suggestion. I actually sent Paul Fisher an e- mail a few years ago asking him if he could sell me one, but there was no reply! That's probably one of the reasons I stalled the build. I have a few options though......I may just send him another e-mail, though someone on here offered to make a vac- form replacement for me. I shan't mention any names, but I will be sending him an e- mail soon! Alternatively I may try to crash mould one of my own....
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Bill

Looking forward to this. I have 2 Lightnings and am suffering from the same yellowing of the canopies. How are you planning it's replacement on the Hunter?

John

I think someone issued a replacement canopy for the Trumpeter Lightning, though I do believe that is somewhat wider, inaccurately so.

I haven't checked my Lightning kit in the stash, though I would think a replacement crash formed canopy may be the only alternative...

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Regarding yellowed canopies. I made a plaster cast of the Lightning canopy. I then gave it a coat of gloss lacquer and spent many frustrating weeks forcing it through lots of sheets of acetate. I got here in the end after about 30-40 atempts. Going through it again with a DH88 nose light dome, except in this case I have to make the mold. I hate vacform acetate...by the way.

Regarding (again) Paul Fisher. Try him again. I contacted him for a Sea Fury canopy to replace the Vac form MDC Typhoon version. He responded quickly and I only paid postage.

Andrew

Edited by Red five
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:popcorn::popcorn: looking forward to seeing this one progress Bill.

I lusted after one of these years ago, I think it was at the IPMS Nationals at Peterbrough but I'd run out of money and still had a hotel bill to pay..

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Regarding yellowed canopies. I made a plaster cast of the Lightning canopy. I then gave it a coat of gloss lacquer and spent many frustrating weeks forcing it through lots of sheets of acetate. I got here in the end after about 30-40 atempts. Going through it again with a DH88 nose light dome, except in this case I have to make the mold. I hate vacform acetate...by the way.

Regarding (again) Paul Fisher. Try him again. I contacted him for a Sea Fury canopy to replace the Vac form MDC Typhoon version. He responded quickly and I only paid postage.

Andrew

Thanks for that Andrew. I have crash moulded canopies in the past, but nothing as big as this! I expect I would use up quite a few sheets of acetate too!! I will try Paul Fisher again,, I have the whole conversion set, so know how well moulded it is. It's an awful lot better than any attempt I may make!
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Thank you all for the encouragement...it will come in handy! I promise you that!

Construction started with the wings, the right starboard wing as been cut out and re-scribed , `I'm not too happy with the scribing to be honest, The plastic is quite "flaky", but given its age thats hardly surprising! Its proving difficult to get a dead nice straight defined line. I'll have a think about that. I've been toying wit the idea of "plating' the wing in 5thou plastic card, and cut out individual panels and butt-join them. That would also help with the rivets and may, just may, provide a puckered textured stressed skin effect. It may be a step too far!! In which case I'll revert to a good coat or three of Halford's primer, and re-scribe into that.

Anyway, progress thus far. Vacform plastic, by its nature is flimsy. To build some rigidity into it. i added strengthening "spars" as used to be recommended in Dynavector kit's, though Taro suggesting supergluing these in, to stop possible melting through of the plastic. I never had any problems, so have used Tamiya thin to glue them in...

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The wheel wells aren't that well detailed as provided, so I decided to replace the well roof with plastic card. The ribs and plumbing will follow, I need to find some rivets along the main strip. I've been practising with "Rosie the Riveter"" but may revert to Mr Archer's decals!

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And finally for today....many, many years ago my old and departed friend Peter Ogden gave me an unfinished Hunter FGA9. He couldn't be bothered masking it for painting , so asked if I would finish it off, I had already started my FGA9 build so agreed, but decided to convert Peter's FGA9 into a FRADU GA11.

It has seen better days..but as it was handily placed I decided I could use that as a template for scribing, adding ducts etc., and as I still have most off the parts (the niose cone is somewhere safe- I just need to remember where!) I thought it would be nice to re-build it, but back date it an Extra Dark Sea Grey and White jet, instead of the later Dark Sea Grey scheme shown here. It will also let me make good a few mistakes in the original kit (ailerons/airbrakes etc)

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Edited by Bill Clark
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I'm just scribing/riveting a Matchbox Seafire/Spitfire. You should see all the patching I've done with Mr Surfacer to hide where my scriber got jammed on a bit of Milliput or super glue.

Andrew.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Bill

Will watch with interest as have just got me a Revell 32nd scale Hunter and wouldn't mind doing a GA11 myself. Keep up the good work my friend, I am sure this will be a stunner.
All the best
Chris


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Reading your intro again Bill I must admit that your description of how you take a long time to build and set them aside for a year or more until the interest returns sounds just like the way I model nowadays too. I have a list of 'in build' kits that I update every few months or when something actually gets completed but there are about 16 kits on that list and some of them have been on it for two years. I dabble with each one from time to time, maybe just a quick fill and sand then put them back into their storage boxes before moving on to the next thing. It sounds really chaotic and lazy but they do eventually get finished.

Lovely scribing work on the Hunter wings.

Duncan B

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