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cathasatail

"Digital Dambuster"- RAF F-35A

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Good afternoon everyone!

 

While I'm waiting for a spot of sunshine to photograph the recently completed Airfix Victor B2, I thought I would open up this thread in preparation for starting the build.

 

Now, I should probably begin by saying that I do have a soft spot for the F-35: it looks sleek, sharp, crisp and its capabilities (from what I gather) are exceptional despite its initial problems during testing. You might be asking, "Hang on, why on earth are you modelling an RAF F-35A when the current focus is on the F-35B and the perfectly acceptable Kitty Hawk F-35B kit is already available?"

After being made aware (thanks to BM's very own Mike, for making me aware of this) of the UK's possible future intentions to purchase the F-35A in order to compliment the Fleet Air Arm F-35B's, I decided that due to the rarity of the KH kit in physical model shops and online in the UK for a decent price, and having seen a review of the newly released Meng F-35A kit, I settled on the F-35A.

 

DSC_0001.jpg

 

The kit looks jolly good with a good fit of the fuselage halves straight off the bat! The RAM strips look a tad too prominent for the scale but I'll see what I could do (if anything) to correct this, furthermore I'm slightly sceptical about the colours of the kit decals (the painting guide shows F35's in a suspiciously dark shade of grey.....).

 

DSC_0002.jpg

 

Regardless, I needed some decals to do an RAF F35 so I bought these from the fine folks at Hannants:

DSC_0007.jpg

 

DSC_0008.jpg

 

Here are a few snaps of the kit contents:

 

DSC_0005.jpg

 

DSC_0006.jpg

 

DSC_0003.jpg

 

DSC_0004.jpg

 

So that's it for now. With Uni starting next week I hope you will forgive me if progress is sluggish (even more so than usual B)).

 

Kind regards,

Sam

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When I recently saw the F-35A's when they came over to here at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, UK, I got a few photos and yes, they are a fairly uniformly dark grey.... though it seems that dependant on squadron/fighter wing, then the shade may vary?  Along with the prominence of the RAM patterns..... these in from Hill AFB were a very plain dark grey all over...the RAM patterning was faint to say the least!  I hope these work...... some photos that I took on a sunny day at the viewing area by the flight line.........

 

P1200963b

 

P1200964

 

P1200966

 

 

I hope these photos at least give an 'idea'.....  doing Google searches show different wings/squadrons, have highlighted RAM patterns, others are like these, and plain all over!!  Also it seems that the paint coverage is a special metallic type that has a different appearance under under different lighting... all part of the 'stealth' aspects of the aircraft!

I'm currently building a Hasegawa 1/72 version of the F-35A, and though it's gone together very well, I must admit, that the paint callouts are a bit too contrasty, and the decal RAM patterns are too 'bright' having started applying them over a very heavy gloss varnish! I think I'll continue, and then give a thinned light spray of a slightly different shade of dark grey to try and level the transfers, and give an impression of varying colours..... I'd already read about this 'modern' paint type and though another thin coat over may give an interesting effect..... I think that with these very bright transfers supplied, it will need toning down anyway..... and then maybe another gloss coat, before a final matt coat :)  That may - hopefully - give an impression of the deeply varying colour without using any out-of-scale metallics in the mix, though I did think about it.... but I don't want it looking 'silly' glittery!! :D  

Just a deep, dark grey is probably best for a simple overall paint-job, or maybe various very layers over gloss varnish for a more interesting (?) effect..?

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2 hours ago, yarvelling said:

When I recently saw the F-35A's when they came over to here at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, UK, I got a few photos and yes, they are a fairly uniformly dark grey.... though it seems that dependant on squadron/fighter wing, then the shade may vary?  Along with the prominence of the RAM patterns..... these in from Hill AFB were a very plain dark grey all over...the RAM patterning was faint to say the least!  I hope these work...... some photos that I took on a sunny day at the viewing area by the flight line.........

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope these photos at least give an 'idea'.....  doing Google searches show different wings/squadrons, have highlighted RAM patterns, others are like these, and plain all over!!  Also it seems that the paint coverage is a special metallic type that has a different appearance under under different lighting... all part of the 'stealth' aspects of the aircraft!

I'm currently building a Hasegawa 1/72 version of the F-35A, and though it's gone together very well, I must admit, that the paint callouts are a bit too contrasty, and the decal RAM patterns are too 'bright' having started applying them over a very heavy gloss varnish! I think I'll continue, and then give a thinned light spray of a slightly different shade of dark grey to try and level the transfers, and give an impression of varying colours..... I'd already read about this 'modern' paint type and though another thin coat over may give an interesting effect..... I think that with these very bright transfers supplied, it will need toning down anyway..... and then maybe another gloss coat, before a final matt coat :)  That may - hopefully - give an impression of the deeply varying colour without using any out-of-scale metallics in the mix, though I did think about it.... but I don't want it looking 'silly' glittery!! :D  

Just a deep, dark grey is probably best for a simple overall paint-job, or maybe various very layers over gloss varnish for a more interesting (?) effect..?

 

Gosh, I say, those photos are fabulous! :D

As you say, using metallic paint would just look a bit odd. I was thinking about going for a relatively low contrast between the RAM and the main grey coat, although if it looked slightly amiss I could always tone it down with a thinned coat of the main grey colour. Over the weekend I will have a crack at mixing a reasonably decent grey (I recently built a 1:72 F-22 and I kept the paints I mixed for that so I can lighten/darken those accordingly).

 

I noticed on your photos that the canopy (when looked from the side) looks to be relatively clear, and yet when viewed from an oblique angle (as in them first image) the canopy has a slight orange/purple tint. Again, I'll have a play around with a few ideas and a plastic canopy in the spares box to see what I can do. (Here's one of the ideas that i'll try)

 

I haven't heard anything official (or unofficial) but I would guess that the RAF would want an F-35 or two to pop over to the UK next year for the RAF's centenary. At Cosford this year one of the RAF staff in the commentary box said something about the airshow having a few "very special" things ready for next year. My hope would be for some kind of RAF F-35B display but we'll see how that plays out ;)

 

Kind regards,

Sam

 

Edited by Greg B
Removal of pointlessly repeated photographs

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Hi!  Thanks :)  I was very lucky to get those photos...... I knew the F-35 was there (I work in the BX on Lakenheath), but rarely get a chance to go and see what's happening on the flight-line.  Well that day I'd been out locally, bird-watching, and had seen the F-35's around in the sky, so stopped by the viewing area on my way home, and caught these coming home to roost :)  

 And yes... the RAF are now using F-35's apparently ;)
As for the canopy, it is lightly tinted... a sort of coppery/grey colour..... I tried using Tamiya Smoke on some spare transparent parts of the Hasegawa kit, but although it looks to be the right colour, it is too dark.... maybe a couple of airbrushed thinned coats on 48th scale would look ok?  When it comes to canopies, I'm reluctant to do anything 'experimental' like that, unless there's a duplicate provided ;)

That Meng kit does look very appealing though; I had a good look at one at my LMS, but couldn't quite bite the £40-odd for it... ;)  Still tempted though.... it's a particularly interesting subject... rather ugly - bit like a JU-87 Stuka - but still beautiful...!! :D  I look forward to seeing your build progressing :)

Edited by yarvelling
Swearing removed

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1 hour ago, yarvelling said:

Hi!  Thanks :)  I was very lucky to get those photos...... I knew the F-35 was there (I work in the BX on Lakenheath), but rarely get a chance to go and see what's happening on the flight-line.  Well that day I'd been out locally, bird-watching, and had seen the F-35's around in the sky, so stopped by the viewing area on my way home, and caught these coming home to roost :)  

 And yes... the RAF are now using F-35's apparently ;)
As for the canopy, it is lightly tinted... a sort of coppery/grey colour..... I tried using Tamiya Smoke on some spare transparent parts of the Hasegawa kit, but although it looks to be the right colour, it is too dark.... maybe a couple of airbrushed thinned coats on 48th scale would look ok?  When it comes to canopies, I'm reluctant to do anything 'experimental' like that, unless there's a duplicate provided ;)

That Meng kit does look very appealing though; I had a good look at one at my LMS, but couldn't quite bite the £40-odd for it... ;)  Still tempted though.... it's a particularly interesting subject... bit like a JU-87 Stuka -but still beautiful...!! :D  I look forward to seeing your build progressing :)

 

Mine cost exactly £40, compared to an equivalent Kitty Hawk F-35A for exactly £50 which I also noticed at the time. The irony is that the KH kit came with RAF roundels, and I spent the £10 difference buying the RAF decal sheet! :P

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I'm going to enjoy this but honestly, if any aircraft around now deserves the appellation SLUF more than this I'd be very surprised

 

Yarvelling nice pictures and I remember that view from the only time I ever visited Lakenheath with some friends in Air Britain

 

They knew all the places to get decent pictures from after we'd visited the F15 squadron

 

👍

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1 hour ago, perdu said:

 if any aircraft around now deserves the appellation SLUF more than this I'd be very surprised

👍

Looks as though the refuse collector has backed over someones wheelie-bin

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Right, afternoon all!

It's been an awfully long time, but by gosh it feels like it's gone quickly! With uni work leaving me with no free time, I'm so relieved to finally have a few weeks off.

Expect more posts over the Christmas period :)

 

Kind regards,

Sam

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On 16/09/2017 at 10:26, perdu said:

I'm going to enjoy this but honestly, if any aircraft around now deserves the appellation SLUF more than this I'd be very surprised

 

Yarvelling nice pictures and I remember that view from the only time I ever visited Lakenheath with some friends in Air Britain

 

They knew all the places to get decent pictures from after we'd visited the F15 squadron

 

👍

It's certainly no Hunter in the looks department is it! 😂

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It's been a busy few days- in a brief period between revision, I have managed to make some progress:

 

DSC_0002_2.jpg

 

DSC_0003.jpg

 

DSC_0006.jpg

 

DSC_0007.jpg

(Apologies about the lighting of the photos)

 

Have a merry Christmas everyone! :D

 

Best wishes,

Sam

 

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My, my, my how time has passed!

I can only apologise for the inordinately long period of time that has elapsed; uni work has taken priority (although I'm enjoying that quite a bit!).

 

So what's been going on F-35-wise?

Firstly, I've got some new filler; Vallejo "Plastic Putty" which is perfect for panel gaps and the usual stuff, so that was utilised here and there to make some the gaps a bit tighter. I also obtained some RAM panel masking sheets (from DNModels)- they were exceptionally good quality and were used to create the distinctive RAM patchwork that one often sees on the Lightning II.

The decals I mentioned earlier in the thread from (Caracal Models) slipped onto the gloss-coated surface with ease and again, were very easy to use.

 

I should note now that regarding the RAM colour, I have opted for a slightly "unrealistic" (depending on which photo one chooses- judge for yourself) RAM colour, it suits my eye and isn't super distinct from the base grey colour, which is something that I actively tried to steer clear of. And about the tinted canopy, I think I might opt for a clear canopy, but we'll see as it reaches the end stage of the build.

 

Time for some images I think:

 

DSC_0002.jpg

 

 

DSC_0003.jpg

 

 

DSC_0004.jpg

 

 

DSC_0005.jpg

*Yes I know that the RAF don't use refueling-booms (probes and drogues instead) but let's pretend that they kept the receptacle on this aircraft (consider it an optional extra! :P  )

 

 

DSC_0006.jpg

 

 

DSC_0007.jpg

-This was good fun: trying to paint the EOTS sensory suite and then trying to keep the sensor glass masked for the entire fuselage painting process (Note: I'll be scraping the paint to a sharp edge on the glass later)

 

 

What now? Here's a quick to-do list of what's up next:

-Slightly weather wheels

-Apply a slight matt coat to the wheels

-Add AMRAAMs to weapons bay

-Add GBU 53's (I'll modify and paint them like SPEAR 3 missiles as their dimensions are quite similar)

-Pylon ordnance

 

*There's a bit of a choice here:

 

Inner pylons:  - Storm shadow (I have 2 of these, fully painted and decalled already- I understand that these will not be used on the RAF F-35 but we're deep in the realms of "What-if" here anyway, so why not?

                         - 540lb practice bombs (I also have 2 of these, but these will require a fair bit of sanding and prep work)

 

Middle pylons:  - AMRAAMs (certainly an option as I have spares)

                          - 540lb practice bombs (If storm shadow was fitted then I could put the previously mentioned bombs on these pylons instead)

 

Outer pylons:   -AIM-9X or ASRAAMs (I'll have to scratch these from the mountains of other non-AIM9x missiles (I can't remember the variants) that I have- I'll see if I have any of them already, first)

 

Any thoughts on what loadout I should equip this one with?

 

Best wishes,

Sam

 

 

 

 

 

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