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ZELL F-104 G

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Hi - Well, its got to be a ZELL

The Zero Length Launch Starfighter always intrigued me as a kid and now I have an excuse to try and build one by converting the 1/72 Italeri kit

(I am very tempted to actually try and test fly it but not sure what state it will end up in)

For those unaware this was a proposed rocket assisted take off idea that placed aircraft away from vulnerable airfields in the event of a surprise Warsaw Pact attack. You would not want to be beneath one of the falling ejected spent rocket canisters. I don't know if any cows were hit.

This You Tube should give you some idea of what it was all about

 

 

 

The kit- just need a test pilot

 

55121a52-76e2-45fc-af85-0d9b4c600f52.jpg

Edited by Pinback
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ZELL’s Im looking forward to this. I know I've seen F-84f’s, F-100’s and F-104’s on the zell trapeze launch rigs. So it would be good to see one of these built.

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Great - please make a step by step guide for folks like me :-) I have looked out for a conversion set quite often but to no avail so far. Will follow with interest :popcorn:

Rene

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On 11/10/2017 at 8:20 PM, Caerbannog said:

please make a step by step guide for folks like me

Will do Rene :)- it may a bit sporadic due to work commitments  but I hope it will help.

 

First I am looking to do the red/white/natural metal DA + 102 as flown by Lockheed test pilot Ed Brown in the You Tube video.

 

The main source of reference for the rocket and frame configuration is the ZELL F-104G walk around at the Aviation Images site http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/F104ZELL.html

 

I will be mounting the aircraft on a scratchbuilt launch frame. The whole set up stood over a trench to allow the exhaust to be guided away from the aircraft.

Luckily I can include the trench as I have managed to track down a deep picture frame in Woolworths which will act as the base.  (yep, for those who remember, we have Woolworths general stores out here in Oz but its known as Big W with Woolworths itself being a supermarket like Sainsburys).

 

The general set up will look something like this:

 

d2b6c2a9-4894-4d7a-86c3-ecdba78523d8.jpg

 

c8e9fb2a-d1f4-4c41-9beb-af459cfdf48d.jpg

 

I have started on some preliminary sketches (not to scale)  just to work out the various dimensions

cf93f74c-36f7-4a49-9a62-50b1a2721ea0.jpg

 

Now where's that protractor?.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pinback
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Just a quick update - not much progress due to other commitments but I expect to ramp this up in January

 

I have tracked down most of the bits I will need for the base, launch platform and boost rocket unit. The platform will be predominantly using Evergreen I-Beam and plastic card.

The Das clay will give some good weight to the base but it shrinks slightly as it dries so will have to take that into consideration.

 

a66a840d-d277-40f4-893b-141dc3143300.jpg

 

The markings are going to be mainly from the spares folder. I will probably have to create the serial. Luckily the serial numbers are solid black and should be straightforward- the fonts for the West German Air Force being easily found on the net.

 

d3053cee-ae30-4076-8086-56bfe6de30de.jpg

 

Some of the decals are a bit old - I have experimented on the sun bleaching technique to see if they can be made usable

I have had the decals on the left placed in a window to get some sunshine for about a week. The ones on the right were not to use as a comparison. A bit of a success there I think.

 

46b4d305-76e0-4b26-a98d-9cf07d22d896.jpg

 

Finally (!) - I have actually made a start on the kit

resized_28c1850b-7f04-4711-a1df-b15ca752

 

Yay!

 

 

Edited by Pinback
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IIRC, Das also becomes lighter when dry as loses its water content, hopefully will not be a problem.

This is a very interesting project, will look great when completed !

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41 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

Das also becomes lighter when dry as loses its water content

Thanks Giorgio - appreciated:)  I will definitely bear that in mind.

 

The assembly as a whole may end up a bit top heavy and unstable without some sort of heavy base. 

 

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Hi - Nothing like an impending deadline!

Things are finally progressing on all fronts having returned from the UK and getting over the jet lag.

Rocket and frame assembly:

As you can see from this image from Wikimedia the frame / rocket is not a simple construction. For instance the rear support fame is not perpendicular to the fuselage but I make it nearer 82 degrees . The frame is a collection of bars, I beams  and struts. It needs to be as strong and stiff as possible as the lug that can be seen on the rear top of the rocket booster (just above the nozzle) is one of three connection points to the launch ramp (the other two being the main undercarriage legs).

 

2012-08_Lockheed_F-104G_ZELL_anagoria.JP

 

A jig is essential. I have drilled the three location points into the fuselage of the Starfighter - these are mirrored in the wooden jig below. Both the aircraft and frame/rocket will built separately and then joined when completed - That's the plan anyway:think:

 

278c1adf-f9f5-4c17-92ea-206d26737276.jpg

 

Launch Ramp:

The width of the ramp is critical. As above, the aircraft was joined to the launch frame through a point on each undercarriage leg and a lug on the rear of the rocket booster. The wheels do not touch the frame but "hover" over stirrups joined to the sides of the I beams. Hopefully the mock up below with the JSDF Starfighter will give some idea. I used the kit undercarriage to ensure I had  a width that fitted.

 

c41a8189-0d11-45c1-b926-1d90de96976c.jpg

 

b16f07a8-8181-4499-91cd-1c56456c039d.jpg

 

e7483dfb-2565-4153-8c37-4d95bf47b060.jpg

 

The Base:

The deep picture frame has been masked and filled with the Das clay. A trench has been inserted. The clay will be sanded, filled then painted The clay will shrink as it dries so I will see what fixes will be needed then.

 

This is a mock up.  Eldon "Ed" Brown, the Lockheed test pilot will feature to give some idea of scale.

 

21a94ef9-d4f4-483a-9691-25b0ed088630.jpg

 

Three day weekend next week (yay!) so hopefully will have more progress to report then

 

 

Edited by Pinback
typo

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I've just found this thread Pinback and am glad that I have! :popcorn:

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Hi, Hope you are all well. Progress this week:

The decals I needed have now been created with the help of my good wife and printed off. I went portrait. The printer went landscape and won. Oh, well.

Bit of an overkill maybe with 3 sets of markings but you can never be too sure  - its likely that they will be applied close to the deadline and I don't want another fight with printer technology if I need more :)

The aircraft is essentially finished and in the paintshop.

 

7d2a0004-0eae-4fc7-800a-e1cb01740eb8.jpg

 

Most of the launch ramp is now finished. The parts have just been primed to show areas missed on the sanding/ filling etc. The rocket booster is done and just needs a paint. I was going to use wooden dowel for the body but ended up using Plastruct tube. The nozzle is a butchered up torpedo from an RN Lynx kit. The frame is getting there...slowly. (There's been a bit of jeffing with this bit- even with the jig)

 

b705154c-fd37-4164-9b80-8862aab0bd1a.jpg

 

The base just needs a paint.

 

9d421f60-967e-42bd-8b87-21e09da1cdd1.jpg

 

Next post should hopefully be the finished thing.

Edited by Pinback
typo

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Great sub assemblies!

Looking forward to the next photo set!

Edited by exdraken

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