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Col Geo Lavin's Colorful F-84E Thunderjet 1/72

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Hello, back again.


Today's effort is in keeping with this year's resolution to try and complete some shelf queens, which have been laying about for years (or sometimes, decades!), just to clean up the place a bit.


It is basically the Tamiya 1/72 F-84G, modified to an F-84E version, and adorned with parts of a resin detail set and some colorful decals depicting one of Col George E Laven's colorful F-84E's (he had several).


First off, was to get to an F-84E from the "G" kit. As the question of how to do this was raised by several in other forums, here's what it takes:


`1) Fill in the large blow-in doors just ahead of the wings on both sides of the aircraft


2) Fill in the mid-air re-fueling door lines at the inner front of the top of the left wing


3) Replace the air brake below the fuselage with the earlier, 4-hole version


4) Check references about the canopy, while earlier F-84E's had the clear main canopy, they were all eventually replaced with the "G" model re-inforced canopy. Date of service being depicted is important here.


I had intended to make this a build thread, but since I worked on it haphazardly, it didn't work out. However, here are a couple of reference photos:




Several points worth mentioning about the build. Figure "A" above shows where the earlier 4-hole air brake will be installed.  (The last photo on this post will show the correct brake installed on the finished model).  Figure "B" shows the filled-in blow-in door  Also, figure "C" shows where the cover over the machine guns should be. WARNING, the Tamiya 1/72 F-84G kit doesn't like to have this door closed. You will have to fight mightily to close it!!! 


Also shown installed is the Aires resin cockpit, and just ahead of that, the resin intake splitter. This part was used, as it gave me a great place to hide the lead nose weight. This would cause problems later however, as the resin part lacks the little "arms" to which the nose well doors attach, which led to glue and paint problems later on. If I were to build another Tamiya kit, I would use the kit splitter assembly instead.




The next photo shows all of the filling, sanding and loss of panel lines involved in closing the gun bay door, but I was determined. (Next time, I won't be, but I'll be doing a war-fighter "G", not a pretty show plane. I didn't want to detract from the color scheme.  Another downside of closing the bay door is that in the end, I ended up having to raise the windscreen slightly, to get everything to fit. That's when I decided to pose the canopy open, to help disguise this fact.


Figure "D" shows the approximate position (if the wing were attached)where  the fuel filler door lines must be filled.


One reason I had put off the build so long was also the decals. I used AeroMaster 72-195, and they were great. Tough and thin, they required a couple of applications of setting solution to get them to lay down on some of the rather severe curves. Normally, I use Micro Set and Micro Sol, but on this model, I had to break out the Walther's Solvaset, carefully applied only to the decals, NOT on the Alclad II bare metal!  Each wingtip  fuel tank has eight different decals to get the checkerboard design done. I was afraid of doing this, but they worked well. I would recommend putting all 4 outer decals on each wing tank at the same time, so that you can move them around to line up while tey are wet. You kind of have to worry about how they overlap at the edges, but it works out okay.


In any event, here are the final photos:
















I'm very glad to add the colorful model next to Laven's F-100C, which I did last year.


See you next time,







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Beautiful model!  The Tamiya kit is quite nice, need to get around to building mine... gotta finish the HobbyBoss one first.


(I almost hesitate to point out that you could've saved yourself much work by starting with the Academy F-84E/G kit, I built mine as am E model.)

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Oh yes, that is a 'Wow' alright.


May I ask, who was Col George Laven and how did he manage to have such colourful personal aircraft?


I think I have an old Microscale sheet with a Starfighter of his.

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Thanks guys, for the kind comments!


Col George E. Laven was a Texas boy, who by the start of the Aleutian Islands campaign found himself flying P-38E ( at least two, #76 and #80 each named "Itsy-Bitsy". He was credited with 4 kills in the Aleutians.. Next he is found flying a P-38L-5-LO in the Pacific, where he is credited with getting the last Pacific War kill of his unit. Oddly however, he is not listed as an Ace.... gotta be a story somewhere.


I built the second of these P-38E's.




No one has been able to explain the blue, but it came from a Life Magazine Cover Photo:





Build Thread:  Laven's P-38E #80


Next, he moves on to P-84B's (later F-84B's), and then into at least three F-84E's.


This one is the most colorful:




Next, he moved into F-100C's, his most colorful being shown here, getting ready for an air show:






Lavens F-100C build thread:F-100C


The, he apparently led the first flight of F-100's (not sure whether C's or D's into Northern Laos. I haven't been able to find any info on which a/c he flew for that mission, but I am hoping to turn something up.


He also had the famous and colorful F-104C "Really George?" mentioned above. That one is be poked and prodded upon the workbench now.


The next time he is encountered is when the Air Force was flying around the new F-110A Spectre (later renamed F-4B Phantom), Laven was one of the guys doing the publicity tour.


He also favored strange and ugly cars, some of which he had custom made in Germany:




Well, that's about all I know about Col Laven, except that I wish I could have met him.






Edited by TheRealMrEd
added material,, typo
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Hi Ed,


I am so impressed by your F-84E, especially the decals. You have applied them so skilfully they look flawless to me. I have to say also that I admire your resolution of finishing some of your shelf queens, I am trying to do likewise, but sometimes cant resist starting a new build, especially when I see a subject like this one!

3 hours ago, TheRealMrEd said:

I'm very glad to add the colorful model next to Laven's F-100C, which I did last year.

I'd be very interested in seeing your rendition of Laven's F-100C. Is there a link to that?





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Thanks guys, I'm pretty happy with her.


Terry, the link to the build is immediately beneath the two F-100 pics above, and I'll repeat it .HERE


I sure wish someone had done his biography.



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