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TheRealMrEd

1/72 Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning

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Sorry gents, I tried twice to post the to the "Year You Were Born" Group Build, but the forum would not accept the post, so I'm going to post it here, and maybe it will get moved later --  we'll see.

 

In any event, since I was born in 1944, and the XP-58 Chain Lightning first flew that year, and I've had the Planet Models kit in the stash forever, I just thought I'd finally found a reason to build the darned thing.

 

First, the model:

 

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Above right, I began constructing the model in my usual non-standard manner ( Instructions?  Instructions?  Real men don't need no instructions!!).  After washing all the parts in a weak solution of Simple Green  (Dawn dish liquid would work as well),  the horizontal stabilizer/elevator part was glue with CA to one of the two rear fuselage booms, taking care to assure that they met at a 90-degree angle.  Next, the side cockpit panels were glued into each fuselage half, after checking position to be sure that the cockpit floor, etc. would fit later.  Note the slight warping of the lower (right side) fuselage half.  This influenced my decision to build the kit out-of-sequence.

 

Next, the left fuselage half (the non-warped side) was glued to the main fuse/wing part:

 

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Above right, the seat/floor piece was glued (CA) to the gunner's compartment bulkhead/seat back, and the rudder pedals were glued to the center console, as on a regular P-38.

 

The rear gunner's assembly was then glued into the left fuse half, and the cockpit floor was added also.  The cockpit floor/rear bulkhead part had little tabs on the rear edge. I cut off the tab on the right side only (arrow), so that the floor would "snap" into place before gluing it from behind and in front:

 

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Above right, all the interior parts were painted Model Master FS-34151 Interior Green, with bits of black, leather, off-white for the seat belts, and some aluminum as needed.  Everything was set aside to dry for a bit.

 

Back soon,

 

Ed

Edited by TheRealMrEd
test post first

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Interesting aircraft, I know almost zilch about it. I’ll be following your progress closely. 

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Hi Billn53, it was just another of the Army's failed bomber escort planes, none of which ever worked out, except for of course, when actually fighters got the range to accompany the bombers. 

 

Anyway, movin' on...

 

About this time is when I was having problems trying to get the Group Build thread to work, and I missed taking a couple of photos that I should have taken.  The first was after attaching the right fuselage half to the left half.  The resin fit perfectly, but because of the warp, I had to clamp it.  Somewhere along the way, the clamps slipped, and I ended up with a slight mismatch along the fuselage seam that then had to be filled here and there.  If I had been a little more lucky, no filler would have been required at all.

 

The second was attaching the booms to the rear of the aircraft.  I started out gluing the left boom (the one WITHOUT the horizontal surfaces glued to) to the wing assembly.  I got it a hair off, and this time, the new bottle of CA went off so fast that I didn't have time to get it all lined up.  At that point, I discovered that the only bottle of de-bonder I had on hand was for another brand of CA and would not work with this CA!  Who knew?  Again, the mismatch was very slight, and let me be clear, the errors were mine, not that the kit did not fit properly...

 

Last, the right boom/horizontal tail were glued into place, with no further mishaps:

 

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Anyway, here it is all stuck together, with filler on the nose an top.  The arrow point to the ONLY blemish on the entire kit, one tiny pinhole on the trailing edge of one wing... not too shabby!

 

Here's a shot of the slight boom misfit:

 

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Above right, the cockpit coaming, which also includes the instrument panel, was painted and dry-brushed, then installed into the cockpit.  The only major part that was wrong was the kit provided a control handle, instead of the proper squarish "steering wheel" type control, as on some P-38's.  I had a left-over B-17 rounded wheel, which is not correct, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.  On that point, there was apparently some air-brake system of note on this ship that Planet Models did not depict correctly, but since I've already decided that this is NOT the hill I'm going to die for, I'll leave that sticky wicket to those more incensed over it than myself.

 

One last shot of the cockpit before starting to close it up:

 

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The seat belts on the seat back really aren't green -- the green just reflected back due to the lighting.  They are actually off-white.

 

One thing, however, that deserves a shout-out to Planet Models for, is that in this resin kit, four -- that is 4!! -- copies of all the clear parts were provided on one vacuform sheet.  Some resin manufacturers provide two copies, and some make you pay for any extras, so in my opinion, this is OUTSTANDING!

 

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Above right, one set of these were carefully cut out of the vacuformed sheet. Usually, I do this by scribing a tiny line all around the edge of the respective part, then multiple passes with a sharp #11 blade, until it separates from the sheet.  This time, everything except the plastic bubble on the very tip of the rear end was cut out with high-quality sewing snippers, that are very sharp, while the bubble was actually sawn off with a very fine razor saw.  They are shown above after being trimmed, sanded smooth and dipped into Future, or whatever it is called now...

 

After some fiddling, I found that the front and rear main clear parts were a little higher than wanted, to make them fit precisely into their respective openings.  I finally determined to install them by letting the canopies rest atop the fuselage, aligned with the engraved lines on the fuselage body:

 

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The sides and/or front were left to fall where they may, while the parts were glued on with G - S watch cement, which is crystal clear, and can be soothed/removed after it is dry with 91% alcohol.  CA would have worked, but I have found that sometimes, even Future-dipped canopies WILL fog up, and I didn't want to take the chance, particularly since I don't have the correct de-bonder on hand.  Note that the little bubble on the rear end of the gunner's glazing is left off until later.  The whole thing looks something like a P-61.

 

As an aside, wouldn't you know that I only needed one set of the clear canopies!  However, the others will be usefull to help me cuts masks, when it's time to paint.

 

So,  next up is to ponder how to smooth out all the glazing joints.  Will return after due "reflection"!

 

Ed

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5 minutes ago, TheRealMrEd said:

 

... the parts were glued on with G - S watch cement, which is crystal clear, and can be soothed/removed after it is dry with 91% alcohol.   

I do use G-S cement, but did not know about that trick with the alcohol. Thanks!

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Bill,

 

Please be advised that I had zero luck when trying to use standard drug store 70% alcohol for this.  I had to track down the 91% stuff on-line.  I now see that my local CVS pharmacy carries the 91% also.

 

Also, of course, that should read "smoothed" not soothed, but I personally have not been smoothed, so I am not certain...

 

Ed

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Back for some more fun and games!

 

By now, the main canopies are glued into place:

 

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and the next issue was how to fair the canopy glazings into the body smoothly.  Here's what I decided to try, which I had not done before.  First I added Tamiya tape along the edge of the glass part, leaving exposed the canopy frames nearest the aircraft body.  Next, Bondo Glazing and Spot Putty was used to fill the indented spaces, then scraped  a little smooth with the edge of a #11 blade, used as a scraper -- just to remove excess from atop the tape, and feather edge the body part a bit, although not perfectly:

 

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Note above that the rear glazing has been sanded with a file nail sander, to where the putty is almost gone from the edge of the tape; all that's left is final smoothing of the taper of the putty onto the body of the aircraft.  Below, front and rear canopies almost faired in:

 

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Above right, the arrow points to one unforeseen event -- there was a small gap beneath the canopy here, and some of the putty squeezed up underneath the glazing.  Not too bad, as I will just mask the edge a little higher than the canopy line and cover up most of the excess.  Were it much worse, I'd have to take some 91% alcohol to dissolve the G - S cement, and start over.  I should have caught it first, and filled the gap with a little G - S cement!

 

Also notice the "Smuts" on the glazing.  Below, a little Goo Gone on a rag will soon clear that up.  By the way, don't substitute anything else for he Goo Gone -- none of the other brands I've tried does nearly as well:

 

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and then, a hand brushed coat of Future adds the shine right back:

 

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Above right, we repeat the process for the front windscreen, again using tape to protect the clear part, and smearing on some Perfect Plastic Putty to fill the front windshield gap.  This can be smoothed with a wet fingertip or napkin, and thus requires no sanding.  As has been said before, I do not consider the PPP good for major filling, but for this kind of needs, it is great!

 

When dry and the tape is removed, the front seam looks good.  The panel line will be cleaned out or re-scribed later:

 

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Above right, it's now time for masking the clear parts.  This is where the spare parts come in handy, as they are easier to handle than the whole, rather large, airplane.  I just put a layer of Tamiya tape over the top, press it down with a suitable burnisher (which could be a toothpick, fingernail, etc.).  Then I draw the panel lines with a pencil, following the edges,  Then the tape is removed and stuck to a small piece of glass, where a straight-edge and sharp #11 blade are used to cut out the masks.

 

Next, the masks are carefully applied to the model, trimming there if necessary, or adding a little more tape if need be.  Below, the front masks have been added:

 

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Above right, the gunner's glazings have been masked, then a hand-brushed coat of Mr Surfacer 500 is applied to all the seams and filled areas to check for any needed repairs.  After that dries it will be off to the paint shop, and all those happy goings on...

 

Later,

 

Ed

Edited by TheRealMrEd
typing error

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Thanks billn53.

 

Here's a brief little update.

 

First, I almost forgot to add the two dummy turrets and the little scoop atop of the fuselage.  Since the fake turrets are pretty well faired in, it would have been bad after the fact.  A little Mr Surfacer 500 took car of the fairing.  Then the whole model was given a thin coat of Alclad II flat black primer and filler:

 

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While waiting for that to dry, work began on the propellers.  First, the center of the rear of the prop spinners was found, by taking an a flat object 1/2 the diameter of the circle (in this case, 7m) and placing the back end of the spinner against it.  A line was drawn with a sharp pencil, then the spinner was rotated 90-degrees and another pencil lines was drawn, and where they intersect is the center.  A hole was drilled and a tiny wire was glued into the back of the spinner, to allow me to use my super-duper, high-speed racing propeller gauge, described below.

 

The blades  were then black primer-ed, then the tips were masked off, then  the tips only were sprayed a white primer, followed by yellow.  Then the tips were masked off, and the blade bodies painted flat black MM enamel.  The spinners were treated the same way, only the topcoat was Alclad II #105 Polished Aluminum.  Assembly was then begun.

 

For those who have not seen it before, my propeller assembly jig consists of a cardboard box (in this case my Doc O'Briens Weathering Powders' box, so I won't lose it!).  I printed out a paper circle, bisected by fourths and thirds  (one could do fifths, if need be!), then this was fastened top the box with clear packaging tape.  A hole has punched in the center, and a  little vertical fence was added to one mark, with two smaller pieces, one on each side.  The ones laid flat are to hold the propeller tip up to the height needed to assure that the entire blade swings in the same plane all around the spinner (ie. not "pushed in", nor "pushed out" in relation to a front viewer).  The vertical piece is just something to establish the prop pitch for each blade.  The set-up is shown below in action:

 

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Above right, the arrow points to the little vertical piece described above, and a completed propeller assembly is shown.

 

Next, both finished propellers:

 

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This time, the arrow points to one of the flat pieces of the jig that control height. Also shown are the  painted wheels, that have been given a black water-based wash to "pop" the details a bit.

 

I should mention here one small annoyance about this kit.  While the holes molded in the spinners were nice and clean, the prop blades, when nipped off their casting blocks, did not have little tubular arms to fit into these holes.  There fore I had to take the already-painted blades and sand the stub ends a little round to more-or-less fit the holes.  A little extra CA solved the problem, but the blades will now require tiny touch-up efforts to the flat black paint, that could have been prevented had the blades been designed with the proper length tubular forms to the stub end.  However -- not a fatal flaw.

 

Based on previous experience, the next gloss black coat of paint on the model is gonna take a while to dry, before the BMF can be started.  I will return when the fates allow...

 

Ed

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Prop jobs are looking great. Handy little jig there. How do you set the angle of the blades?

 

Stuart

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Thanks Stuart,

 

The angle of the blades is set by leaning them onto the vertical part sticking up in the jig, shown by the first arrow.  A slightly taller piece would result in a higher angle, a shorter piece in a shallower angle, depending upon how you place them.  I usually just place then leaning at about a 30-degree angle.  Here is another shot, which may explain a little better, from my P2V-3 Neptune build:

 

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which shows the pieces, in that case made from foam, that are glued to the packaging tape with white glue for easy removal.  In this case, the props both turned in the same direction, so nothing was needed on the other side of the taller piece.  Hope that makes sense.  If not, let me know and I'll take some extra pictures for you.  BTW the file shown in the pic is only to help hold the central hub down to get started.

 

Ed

 

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Hello again,

 

Well, after several rounds of the usual masking, painting, re-masking, re-painting... add nauseam,  I finally got the basic metallic colors on -- all various shades of Alclad II, topped off with some 95% thinner and 5% Alclad II Aluminum to blend in the various colors.  Next a coat of Aqua Gloss  water based clear was shot on where the decals would go.  After drying the major decals were add, save only the little "1656" on both sides of the nose, which will be added at the end.  Even though I am wearing white gloves since I started the painting, one can't be too careful!

 

After the decals were added, another coat of Aqua Gloss atop them, and when dry, a layer of Alclad II Klear Coat Light Sheen was added overall on the model.  With that finally dried, the model was masked with Parafilm "M", to allow painting of the Interior Green wheel wells:

 

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Above right, the masking has been removed and the wheel wells have their color.  Next, I began adding the landing gear legs and doors, etc.:

 

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Metal landing gear are provided in the kit, but you must drill your own mounting holes.  There are little squares molding into the well wells that tell you where they go, but not at what angles.  As you can see from photos of the real aircraft, the front gear angles forward, and the rear gear legs angle rear-ward, but no where does it tell you at what angle.  Using a pin vise and appropriately-size drill bit, I used the TLAR method to drill the holes, then everything else was slowly glued into place with thin CA.

 

It was right here that a really irritating problem reared it's ugly head!  Let me first give a disclaimer that I bought this kit from an individual off E-Bay eons ago, probably close to the time that Planet Models first released it, and so the error may have been an early run thing.  In any event, the kit ended up missing half of the main gear doors!

 

The instructions themselves, in the parts list, calls for two sprues of these items; there should have been four altogether.  Since I did not buy this kit through a regular dealer, and Planet Models provides no contact info on their web site, I could not ask for replacement parts. ( By the way, this kit is still listed on Planet's active kit list, so if you buy one of these, check out how many sprues of main gear doors you have, and govern your actions accordingly!)  Anyway, I went to cast some new ones from resin, and my existing supply of silicone mold rubber had gone T.U., so I scrapped that idea -- I'll wait for a bigger project to re-order.   Sure wish someone would offer molding rubber at maybe 8 oz size, at maybe 60% of the cost of a quart.  I am SO TIRED of wasting lots of molding rubber and resin, due to their very limited shelf life!

 

Eventually, I went to the spares box and found some old unknown bomber gear doors and I cut and sanded them down to size, omitting the detail on the inner face of the Planet doors:

 

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The Planet doors are on the left, spare box replacements on the right, above.  I eventually glued these into place, then made up the dual pitot tubes on the left wing from tubing and wire, painted the wing-tip lights, added added the little nose decals.  As I was gluing on the propeller assemblies, it became obvious that this was going to be a real tail-sitter, so I glued some clear sprue under the elevator to hold up the tail.  If you should try one of these kits, I would recommend that before joining the tail booms and body, that you drill out as much material as possible BEHIND the main gear, and perhaps even drill outsome of the nose molding of the fuselage halves and add some lead.  I think the metal landing gear will support it just fine.

 

Because of the odd fit of the clear parts of the canopy, the potential shortage of half the main gear doors, and the extreme tail-heaviness, I would only recommend this kit to someone of experience, or perhaps those harboring suicidal thoughts...

 

Anyway, she's now done.  I'll post a teaser pictures below, and eventually,  a link to the final pictures, hopefully in the Year You Were Born Group Build area, if possible;  in RFI in not.  BTW, the moderator is welcome to move this whole thread to that area if possible...

 

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RFI in Group Build HERE:

 

 

Ed

Edited by TheRealMrEd

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Off the wall prototype and kit (first WIP I’ve seen for a Planet Models kit) and a great thread to catch up on! It looks great in NMF too.

 

Thanks,

Adrian

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Thanks guys!

 

John W, thanks for reminding me that I forgot to post this following picture!!  would you believe that it is LARGER than a P-61?....

 

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Ed

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For short run mouldings, may I commend to you Oyumaru, known by a few different brand names around the traps. It's a thermoplastic block that is placed in hot water and when it's soft, you mould it around the part. 2 part (or more!) moulds are easy. It's reusable, so one lot goes a long way.

 

Here's a video.

 

 

You can use epoxy putty as here, or epoxy resin, or just about anything- I've seen it used with icing to make cake decorations.

 

It's all the same stuff, so buy the cheapest version that you can find. The stuff I have is pink, and works well enough to reproduce a missing 1/144 F-14 gear door.

 

HTH for next time!

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Ed, I have to apologise for not seeing this WIP earlier however your posting gremlins were a big part of that. This has come out beautifully and I’ll have to take some time later on to read the whole WIP. I have moved this thread into the GB section so that it happily lives where it should be. 

 

Cheers and very well modelled.. Dave 

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Thanks Rob, I'll try some of that!

 

Rabbit Leader, appreciate your moving the build thread back home...

 

Ed

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Cracking stuff. 

A really impressive build of a tough looking kit. Plenty of issues and challenges along the way but you knew that when you bought it so that just makes it more interesting 

Shame about the missing parts, always an unwanted distraction. 

Good final model as well. I didn't realise it was quite that much bigger than the P61!

Thanks for sharing 

Colin 

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