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+++FINISHED+++ Tims 1/72 Academy SR71A Blackbird - Det 4, 9 SRW, RAF Mildenhall 1986

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OK - I go to Rio on the 29th so this is a bit of a gamble......I started looking at the kit whilst finishing the A10 and Harrier......then I cut some parts from the sprues....then primed.....you know how it is!!

The kit looks fairly shake and bake, simple colour (!!), with a bit of post shading can add some wear and tear....

Decals are from Wolfpak Recce birds, with a choice of the older white serials, 17964, or the later red serial, 17964 or 17980, which also had camels painted on after the Libyan raid in 1986. I lived in Lakenheath and remember the Habu well, going up to the end of the runway on school hols, early, to catch them launching and going vertical!

I was on leave as a 16 year old Junior Para during the week before and the night of the Libyan raid, and the 2 Habu's were flying daily, so we knew something was up.

The night 48TFW launched 24 F111F's, (6 returned as spares, 18 pressed on) and we could here the KC135 and KC10 launches from Mildenhall.....we thought WW3 had started - it was in fact the start of the attack phase of Operation El Dorado Canyon.

The Habu's had been gathering intelligence and target photos in the week before.

17980 taken on 25 April 86, post Op El Dorado Canyon


Later we heard about the strike in Libya and that 1 F111F of the 494TFS 'Karma 52' was lost, with both crew.


The Mildenhall SR71 story



This raid operation was a distraction from their day to day role in the 1980s....strategic recce for NATO against the Warsaw Pact. The SR71A was, in hindsight, one of the main symbols of the cold war in my eyes....as well as the U2/TR1.

The KIT!





So, I needed 2 crew - you remember the doomed Hobbycraft F5E - the Pilot was rescued, converted slightly and made to look like he was wearing a 'David Clark S1030' Full pressure suit.....along with a Harrier Pilot that looked like a Spitfire Pilot in my last Sea Harrier build. A bit of filler and sanding and he was now in the rear pit! Didn't try too hard as when the canopies are closed you can see very little inside.





Primed and painted the interior the standard US airforce colour.



I then pretty much put it together!



Be some work to do on seams, cleaning up the gear doors etc.....so I am on track....ish!

Edited by Tim Moff
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I built a Hasegawa version of these a few months ago as my "re-entry" into the hobby. Pretty simple, straight forward build. Perfect re-introduction. I love the bird's shape...sleek, purposeful, and sinister...all in one package. :wicked:

You're off to a nice start. :cheers:

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Nice one Tim. The SR-71 is such an icon of the era I'm surprised yours is the first one entered into our GB. Most welcome though and off to an appropriately high speed start.

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Move on last week, with a bit of seem filling as best I could, have to admit not too much time spent as this is a quick turnaround and as you can imagine work has been busy, rather the the quiet time I expected between the Euros and going to Rio.

Masking some parts be the canopies go on and its primed:


Canopies placed in Klear, masked and on:


Primer went on (forgot to take pics in the hurry!). I then put an initial coat of Mr Color Flat Black onto the bird. Once dried, I post shaded some panel lines and areas that faded with wear and heat with Mr Color Tyre Black.



I then sprayed a highly thinned coat of Mr Color Black over the top. Lost a bit after the Gloss coat went on.


Mean while I weathered the burner cans with some artist oils, Mr Color alumininium etc.


Another update later!

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SR71A 64 -17980 (some references number them as 61-17980 etc) was the last A model built and served with distinction, spending time at both RAF Mildenhall and in my home village, Lakenheath, at RAF Lakenheath whilst the runway was being resurfaced as below.

64 (61?)-17980 5 January 1982 - 27 April 1982; 7 March 1983 - 6 September 1983; 19 July 1985 - 29 October 1986; 27 July 1987 - 3 October 1988 (from RAF Lakenheath)

She was retired along with the fleet in 1989. However, due to a capability gap, 3 airframes, including 980 were reactivated in 1994, at Det 2 Beale AFB. Again due to funding the USAF retired the 3 airframes in 1998 . She then ended up with NASA, tail number 844, as one of two airframes at Dryden Flight Research Centre. 17980 carried out the last SR71A flight on 9 Oct 1999. She is now on display at the museum there.





As the NASA test bird:



The various black shades and tones and general weathering can be seen in these pics>

Best of all is my excuse for some of the silvering I could not get rid of (the Acaddemy Decals were not the best!)


Clearly mine were purely to replicate the real thing!!

Got started on the decals, the WofPak walkways were too short typically - expect they were designed for another manufacturer. So I went ahead and used the kit ones. A few breaks, but battled on and got some semblance of a result. A lot of silvering those, plenty of pins and Micro Set, still not the best. So some more weathering to try to cover! Can also see some of the different shades, airbrush blown thinne paint behind the cockpit so simulate fuel stains etc.




Not great, but hey-ho, done the best I could.




Burner cans, tails and dullcote on!



Bit of weathering in and out of the cans...



Some great ref pics here:


Finishing straight ahead, just need to remove the masking, post shade with some shaved pencil graphite, etc. Be ready for final pics later hopefully!

Edited by Tim Moff
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Calling it done:








Had fun, trip down memory lane on the research.

Thats me for a while, off to Rio and the next few GB's and STGB's are not covering my normal area, so will look on with interest, keep going on my USAFE project and prepare for F16 STBG in Jan and the F111 STGB in April next year, ooh theres and F15 STGB as well....have an E model in the stash and have sorta started an Academy C model in 1/48 but it looks a b*itc*!


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a mach 3 build in many regards tim, super work

look forwards to seeing you for the F-15 STGB next oct :)

Thanks - as long as I have not killed myself fusing the nose and main body of the Academy MSIP II - just playing with the fit/butting last make made me feel ill!

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I fought the decals in my Hasegawa kit as well. Numerous slits & applications of Micro-sol I was finally able to get them to lay down well enough, but certainly not perfect.

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Another cracker

How do people build so quick

Thanks - was a fairly basic kit, basic scheme and some stolen time before the Olympics!

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