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Great Balls of Fire! (1:72 Top Gun Trio)

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Today (May 13th) is official Top Gun day!  Don't believe me?  Take a look here:  http://www.topgunday.com/

As I browsed the hobby shop looking for a new model, it occurred to me that now would be an excellent time to build an F-14, something I've wanted to do for a while.  Nearby I spotted Airfix's A-4 Skyhawk and realised that with some extra decals (currently en-route), and decided to put together a trio of aircraft.  The thought for now is to pose them "in flight", lined up to represent the conclusion of this scene:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC976fuQm4E



Not much progress yet, but I wanted to prove that I started it on Top Gun day.




The Skyhawks will need a bit of cosmetic work to turn them into "E" models, but they were the only type I could find in the shop, and close enough.  I've built that kit once before and very much enjoyed it.




F-14 Contents



A-4 Contents.


This should be fun!

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Not this time, the hobby shop didn't have one.  Maybe next year I'll plan ahead and do an F-5 and T-38 in those schemes.

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OK, some progress (more to come once my camera battery re-charges!).


Firstly, we'll need pilots for this build.  Here are the two from the Skyhawks.  A fair bit of flash needed removing, and the visor on the helmet sanded off to match the ones worn in the movie.  On the left this work has been done, the one on the right is how they came out of the box.




The F-14 didn't come with any pilots, but thankfully I had two modern jet pilots left over from building the Airfix Vampire T.11, who have been re-christened as Maverick and Goose.  They'll need repainting but are otherwise serviceable.




They're going to need something to sit on.  The F-14 has some of the most complex seats I've ever built and they'll be quite visible under that canopy.




I also went ahead and put the skyhawk cockpit tubs together, they're pretty simple.




A bit of careful painting later the seats are done...and the camera is dead.  I'll have some pics of the finished pilots and built-up cockpits shortly.




Back soon!

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And with the camera recharged I was able to get a bit further.


Academy give you pretty good decals for the instrument panels, in my opinion.




Here are the cockpit tubs.  The Airfix skyhawks look a lot better with the decals applied.




And here are the aviators themselves!  Painting those helmet designs really tested the steadiness of my hands, as did giving Goose and Viper their mustaches.




The cockpits went together nicely. I had no issues whatsoever with getting the Airfix pilots into the academy seats, other than a little bit of a tight fit around the instrument panels.




Here are some close-ups






The Tomcat is ready to have the two halves of the nose put together, but the Skyhawks will need a bit more work before closing up since that will also enclose the engine intake and the exhaust nozzle.  I'm trying to keep these progressing at the same rate, so the F-14 is going to wait a bit for the Skyhawks to catch up.



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It looks to me like they're "E" models in the movie.  So far, I've spotted that the nose needs a bit of a different shape, and the refueling probe needs a bend in it.  I'm not going to modify them down to the last detail, as long as they look about right I'll be happy (this build is just a bit of fun, not a serious attempt at perfect mimicry).

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Just got my hands on 1/48 decals for Mav and Ice from Ebay!!!! I feel the need, the need for speed!

Edited by Simon382
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Hi Beggsy,


that is a tough job you have chosen, although I like the idea!

Transforming a B into an E will require you lengthening the nose quite a bit for starter. Plus the splitter plates have made their apparition in the E... Those are the two main differences, but again, many people do not know and buls..t baffles brains. How do you think I have survived all these years?

Whatever you decide to do, it will be great from the look of what you have already done.

Have fun!



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I hadn't spotted the splitter plates.  Thanks!


I've got a few ideas up my sleeve for the noses, which will be revealed as soon as I decide which to go with.

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OK, Skyhawk modifications.


The nose will indeed need a bit of work.



Exactly this much work, in fact.




That's a piece of plasticard, one option is to glue it on once the fuselage halves are together and then use it as a guide for some putty, but I may have a better option......


The intakes are going well.  I sanded them down on the side that attached to the fuselages, glued them to some plasticard and then cut the splitter plate to shape and sanded off the excess on the remaining sides.




With a small plasticard shim on the fuselage, I think they look quite good.




They'll sit just a little closer than in this photo once glued, this one was slightly loose when I took the photo.  This one is a test, I've already cut it off to make a better-shaped plate.


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I got the A-4s about as far as I could before tackling the nose re-model.




Interior bits all built and ready to go 




You can just about see the fan in there!




Almost ready to be closed up


With the airplanes being modeled in-flight, I found I could now put together most of the airframe (the horizontal stabilisers are dry fitted in the below pictures, the rest is glued).  It seemed a shame to cover up a lot of nice detail, but I've built this kit before with speedbrakes deployed, gear down, slats extended.  I also built some lowered flaps for that one.






I had to take a bit of artistic license for the pylon position so that it would clear the slots I made for the stands.  The pylon will be carrying the ACMI (I think) probe (the pointy orange thingy!).




I haven't done any filling or sanding yet, that will happen once I give them their nose jobs.  I don't want to attach the intakes until I paint the area behind the splitter plates.  Looks like I'll be back to the F-14 for a bit, then!

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Just a thought re. the reworking of the nose, could you cut the nose and build in a plug section rather than having to reshape the whole forward nose with putty? 


Will be be watching your progress with these, love what you've done so far, the pilots helmets look brilliant. I'd love for Airfix to release an E/F version just so I could build a full fleet of Aggressors!


Great work,



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9 hours ago, eng said:

I'd love for Airfix to release an E/F version just so I could build a full fleet of Aggressors!


You and me both!

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