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Having just finished a long, not always pleasant build of a large, NMF bomber (B-58 Hustler), one might think I'd be looking for something completely different for my next project. Well, call me crazy but I just can't resist this:

 

48319545197_43d84b214f_b.jpg

 

 

To be honest, I did manage to get in a couple of simple "relief valve" jobs as I was finishing up the Hustler project:

 

This one is for a group build project my local IPMS chapter is doing for the Nats next month (more pics in the Diorama RFI forum):

 48268499371_2baa8a5ed8_c.jpg 

 

and this kit-bash is in memory of one of our club members who recently passed away:

 

  48459556452_694c52653a_c.jpg 

 

Anyway, back to the Northrop flying wing. First thing to say is, this is a really, really big airplane! In 1/72 scale, it takes up almost all of my work area:

 

48319545202_441a4b9069_b.jpg 

 

My goal is to finish in time for our local club's annual show & contest, just five weeks from now. Did I say, "call me crazy?"

 

BTW, I have to give a nod to Jeff "Inch High Guy" Groves, who has built what must be the best model of the YB-35 I've ever seen. Here it is completed:

 

48319457896_f469e2531f_b.jpg 

 

He has a three-part build log on his website, you can view it here:

 

https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/1-72-scale-amt-ertl-x-yb-35-build-part-i/

 

I'll be unashamedly copying from Jeff as I do my build. I don't plan to do everything he did. Instead, I'll be focusing on the following:

 

  - Opening up and deepening the engine cooling inlets on the wing leading edge

  - Adding the warm air exhaust flaps between the engines at the rear of the wing

  - Opening up the wingtip leading edge slots

  - Adding guns to the YB-35's six turrets

 

For markings, I'll do a hypothetical 1950's "in service" NMF scheme, probably with red Arctic markings to add some color (I'm sure Ridge Runner will approve)

 

Enough talkie talk. Here's what I've done so far.

 

Totally ignoring the instruction sheet (which starts off with the cockpit), I tackled the job of opening up the big leading edge cooling inlets.

 

Before:

48319425721_555b3738dd_c.jpg 

 

After:

48319425736_de398d5b5c_c.jpg 

 

I then deepened the inlets with styrene strip:

48323119012_41216a0d78_c.jpg 

 

The deeper inlets meant that I had to hack away at the kit's wing pieces to make room:

48319425686_02d4fb91d8_c.jpg 

 

Here's the wing and leading edge inlets, taped together for a fit check:

48322999661_59e1686658_c.jpg 

 

Speaking of fit, this kit is notorious for the lack thereof. Here's an example:

48319425596_76cf7cbdb0_c.jpg 

 

So, I'm collecting sprue for my new favorite gap-filling technique (stretched sprue plus sprue-gloop)

48319545187_f838ec81a3_c.jpg 

 

Once I'm happy with the cooling inlets, I'll open up the wingtip leading edge slots. One thing I love about this hobby is how much I learn about the aircraft I'm modeling. The YB-35 wingtip slots are a good example. I was puzzled when looking at period photos that sometimes the slots were there, other times they were not. See for yourself:

 

Slots present:

48323016926_efd838f0f0_c.jpg 

 

Slots not present:

48319872701_70c5b20bbd_c.jpg 

 

 

What's going on here???

 

I was able to track down a YB-35 flight manual online, and learned that the slots had doors top and bottom. In normal flight, the doors were closed. At high lift coefficients the doors opened hydraulically to prevent wingtip stall. The doors were spring loaded to the open position, so the slots were open when cold & dark on the ground (as in the first picture above).

 

First thing I'll need to do is cut away the closed door panel just behind the leading edge section outlined in pencil here:

48319544922_cc5ce8dc3b_c.jpg

 

But, I'm getting ahead of myself....

 

Stay tuned for more.

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Hi there

 

Will you be glueing the 3 top pieces together first like they are laid out in one of your pictures? Or will you glue the top and bottom centre sections together and then add the wing tips?

 

The first solution worked best for me on my Testors B2.

 

Regards 

Toby

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Excellent question, Toby, which I’ve been debating for a couple of days. My first inclination was to do exactly as you did.  However, I am doubtful that I’ll be able to do the wingtip slot mod without the outer wing sections already glued together. I asked Jeff what he did on his build, and he said he had glued the upper & lower portions before assembling the three wing sections. 

Since that worked for him, I’ll probably do the same. 

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This should be fun. I recently bought the YB-49 (jet powered version of the Flying Wing) to go along with the ModelCollect B-2 that I already had in the stash. Plan to put them together in a display dedicated to Jack Northrop, the designer and avid proponent of tail-less aircraft.

 

I shall follow along to glean further insight into the Italeri kit. I doubt that there's a lot of difference between the two kit other than the obvious powerplant difference.

 

Kev

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I'm going to watch this with interest. I have a partially built Combat Models in the stash in need ofideas and TLC to finish.

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Kev, LorenSharp, & SD - if you haven’t already, check out Jeff’s build log (link in my first post). Lots of good info there!

- Bill

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Count me in. I have a couple of each and are in line to start some future time. With that being said, I'll grab a seat and watch eith interest.

 

Ron VanDerwarker

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22 hours ago, billn53 said:

Kev, LorenSharp, & SD - if you haven’t already, check out Jeff’s build log (link in my first post). Lots of good info there!

- Bill

First thing I did. Thank you for the link

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I'm very happy to see that there is interest in this build. I'll try my best not to disappoint!

 

Finishing up the wing's air cooling inlets...

 

This tool came in very handy for sanding the inlets. I bought the Flex-I-File years ago and think I've used it exactly one time since then.

 

48340661747_029caf1c44_c.jpg 

 

After sanding to my satisfaction, I added the multitude of support struts to the inlets. Surprisingly, I've found only one photo showing details of the inlets and their supports. And, it's of the XB-35, an earlier version of the YB-35 I'm building:

 

48326619041_999ea59fcc_b.jpg 

 

After adding the supports, I gave the inlets a shot of flat black, followed by some Xtreme Metal aluminum, just to see how everything looks:

 

48340660872_e90830b884_b.jpg 

 

Good enough for me!

 

I then began work opening up the wingtip leading edge slots. Jeff gave only a brief description of what he did, so I spent quite a while pondering the problem and reverse-engineering Jeff's method from the photos in his build log. Here's how I did it.

 

First, using a scriber and Dymo tape, I cut off the leading edge panel on the underside of both wings. These pieces I saved for later use:

 

48340519031_304d76738b_c.jpg 

 

Similarly, I opened the wingtip slot doors on the topside of the wings:

 

48340661032_9863d40ebc_c.jpg 

 

I added 0.1-in quarter round to the front bottom edge of the top wing piece, and 0.06-in quarter round to the front of the lower wing where I had cut away the leading edge panel:

 

48340518551_b80041fc07_c.jpg 

 

The idea is to take the two leading edge pieces cut from the lower wing, swap left-for-right, flip them over, and attach them to the 0.06-in quarter round on the lower wings, like so:

 

48340518656_2613e21aea_c.jpg 

 

Viewed from above, you can see the panel pieces almost, but not quite, reach the rear edge of the upper wing door opening:

 

48340661407_2d6acc040f_c.jpg 

 

Adding styrene strip to the rear edge of the panel pieces sorts that out:

 

48340518526_b1abf6a1ba_c.jpg 

 

48340518706_9229a0df62_c.jpg 

 

To keep the panel piece from dropping into the wing, I added tabs to the rear edge of the slot door:

 

48340661187_b115197c0c_c.jpg 

 

Last thing to do is to fill-in the backside of the upper wing leading edge forward of the slot door. I used Apoxie Scupt, and a wet finger was all I needed to make a concave curve for the inside of the slot:

 

48340518546_8168a77f1a_c.jpg 

 

Easy enough! But, it took me nearly three-hours to do the first wing slot. The second I did in about 30-minutes.

 

Then, disaster struck!!! (Hopefully, a minor one)

 

As I was finishing the second wingtip slot, I reached for my bottle of Bondene (an excellent plastic adhesive, by the way),,,

 

48340518876_9c5ca715ac_z.jpg 

 

… and clumsy me knocked it over. Arrggghhhhh !!!!!

 

A goodly amount spilt onto one of my wings, crazing the surface:

 

48340661892_2ccdf9969a_b.jpg 

 

This can probably be sanded & polished out, but it's not something I had planned for. If worse comes to worst, at least it's on the underside of the wing, not the top!

 

One last thing before I sign off. In Jeff's build log (and repeated in his e-mail to me), he makes a big point of reinforcing the plastic to keep it from flexing. From my experience thus far, this will be vitally important. The kit plastic is very soft (which for plastic surgery is a good thing), and combined with the sheer size of this kit is trouble on the way. Take a look at how much the wing surface behind the wingtip slot flexes with only slight finger pressure:

 

48340518566_47ab48c8a0_c.jpg 

 

So, next up for me is adding wood and styrene supports to stiffen everything, then I'll see what I can do with the cockpit/interior. There's lots of detail in the latter that will never be seen... I'll try to restrain myself, there's only five weeks (minus one day) before the show!

 

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2 hours ago, billn53 said:

This can probably be sanded & polished out,

Having done just that with Plastruct i can tell you it does sand, polish, & buff out. Your mat on the other hand may not survive ? Mine melted and when i did the same thing with Tamiya extra thin it dissolved the ink on the new mat. 

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle
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14 minutes ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Having done just that with Plastruct i can tell you it does sand, polish, & buff out. Your mat on the other hand may not survive ? Mine melted and when i did the same thing with Tamiya extra thin it dissolved the ink on the new mat. 

Not the first solvent spill on my mat, large portions are ink free LOL.  But many other items got a splashing of Bondene and ended up either glued to the mat or seriously melted, like Dorothy’s witch. Nothing lost that can’t be replaced, fortunately. 

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THis is a part of mine that I have pondered how to construct for ages. Thank you billin53! Now it makes sense.

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2 minutes ago, LorenSharp said:

THis is a part of mine that I have pondered how to construct for ages. Thank you billin53! Now it makes sense.

That’s why I do my WIPs in so much detail, so others can learn what I have learned and can avoid my mistakes and blind ends. 

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This is a fascinating insight into the the YB-35. And it's a pretty cool modelling project too! I hope your spill cleans up.

 

Regards,

Adrian

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Hi Bill, glad to see you have found a nice simple kit to put together. :whistle: I have the original AMT jet and prop wings in the stash, I think I got them from the BX at Spangdahlem in the 90s.  It would be nice to see how to build these beautiful planes properly so I will be watching and learning from a dark corner of the UK. :popcorn:

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1 hour ago, Retired Bob said:

Hi Bill, glad to see you have found a nice simple kit to put together.

Compared to the B-58, it IS a simple kit.  When I was doing my Hustler, it was like building six airplanes at once: the fuselage & wings; four engines; and weapon pod. All of which had to be assembled, seams filled, and sanded/polished o the point of near perfection needed for a metallic finish. The flying wing should be a snap in comparison. (Did I say, “call me crazy?”)

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Hey Bill

 

Let me suggest you build yourself one of these for your glue bottle:

spacer.png

spacer.png

 

Three rectangles of 80 thou plasticard, four lengths of 60 thou square rod, four lengths of 1/8th inch aluminium pipe and (not visible) a slab of lead from a 50 thou thick ingot - though you could use any lead that you can get to fit in the space available. The lead (for stability) is sandwiched between the two lower plates of 80 thou card with the edges closed with the 60 thou square rod. I left the corners of the sandwich open so I could fit the aluminium pipes right through from the base to the top. The length of the aluminium will depend on where you want the upper plate of 80 thou card to be to hold the bottle in place. I've also glued a small circle of foam on top of the sandwich for the bottle to stand on.

 

Haven't had a single glue spill since I built this handy little stand 🙂

 

Great work on the wing vents - think I'll have to do the same for my XB-49 and check the B-2 Spirit too. Great advice about the internal supports for the wings - I noticed when I dry-fitted mine that the surface could be easily misaligned with very little pressure.

 

Kev

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25 minutes ago, billn53 said:

 (Did I say, “call me crazy?”)

I believe you did, more than once.  When I said build something simple, I meant something that fits and you do not have to rebuild the wings (at least no fuselage, engines or weapons pod) and as for adding spars of wood? I know if I did that, it would warp and take the wing with it (British weather?) what's wrong with I-beam and epoxy glue.  Perhaps you should have considered the AMT XB-70 Valkyrie, a small and easy kit. :wicked: 

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