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Legendary Blackbird - Part 0: Genesis... (3D Printing)


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Recently I received many questions about the correctness of the fuselage section. This question was always on my mind and I did checks in the past several times but without any documentation. I went through all these checks and I did the following comparisons.

First of all I have compared the 1:72 and 1:48 Blackbird kits' fuselage sections. The bottom row shows the 3D printed fuselage sections:

3660.jpg

 

It is very interesting that  both Revell and Italeri kits in 1:72 scale have better cross section shape than 1:48 ones.

 

The second check was the comparison of available reference pictures with the kit and 3D printed sections.

3661.jpg

 

The A-12 and YF-12A sections are exactly same on upper surface and have differences only on lower surface as expected:

3659.jpg

 

SR-71A and A-12 sections have differences on upper surface curvature. SR-71A has less concave surface than A-12 which is most probably to have more space for the chine located cameras:

3663.jpg

 

I have also compared new Revell Blackbird kit's section with above ones. It was really big surprise to see that Revell fuselage circular section was undersized:

3662.jpg

 

Therefore my conclusion is, without doing significant surgery/modifications on 1:48 Revell kit (for Italeri it is even worser) it is not possible to do A-12 conversion. For 1:72 conversion less effort is needed. For a pain-free A-12/TA-12/M-21 build fully 3D printed kit is the solution:

3648.jpg

 

Serkan

 

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Just picked up (nearly put my back out) Paul Crickmore's new Lockheed Blackbird book from Osprey. 520+ pages, bigger than A4 and full of amazing information, much of it new and stories from past aircrew, ground crew, etc. If you are a Blackbird fan, put one on your Christmas list. A bargain at £60 and I'm not kidding. - Alan F

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Many thanks for your encouraging replies @billn53, @Fritag, @Alan P, @PeteH1969, @TheBaron, @Neffan , @Back in the Saddle, @Hoops, @Zorglub, @Courageous, @Iceman 29, @Gondor44 . I am doing my best to complete this huge project as soon as possible. But it seems that it won't be possible within next few years! At first glance I can list the following tasks to do;

  • A-12/TA-12/M-21 Ejection Seat (90% completed, the seat harness is missing)
  • YF-12A (95% completed)
  • Engine bay details (10%completed)
  • Engine details (20% completed)
  • SR-71A/B/C (modified chines, nose variants, new cockpit layouts, new ejection seat, long tail modification) (0%)
  • AG-330 Starter cart (90% completed)
  • Engine Dolly (70% completed)
  • D-21 Drone (90% completed)
  • Drone Dolly (0%)

My plan is first to complete the YF-12A rear cockpit details and missile bay doors. After then I will work on the early ejection seat harness (which will be very hard work).

 

YF-12A instrument panel model has been completed. It was really challenging task to find most appropriate reference pictures to create entire panel. Each YF-12A has some different panel layout than the other one. Also NASA did their own modifications both in forward and rear layouts. Here is the model I have created:

3664.jpg 

 

Next step is to finish cockpit tub layout.

 

Serkan

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Yesterday I finally finished the cockpit tub details. It was again a bit painful to select most proper side panel layouts. Here is the result:

3665.jpg

 

And both front and rear cockpits together:

3666.jpg

 

And finally placed in front fuselage:

3667.jpg

 

In overall I am very satisfied with the result although there are few points to be improved. Now I can start missile bays doors modelling.

 

Serkan

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On 10/12/2023 at 11:27, Serkan Sen said:

Recently I received many questions about the correctness of the fuselage section. This question was always on my mind and I did checks in the past several times but without any documentation. I went through all these checks and I did the following comparisons.

First of all I have compared the 1:72 and 1:48 Blackbird kits' fuselage sections. The bottom row shows the 3D printed fuselage sections:

3660.jpg

 

It is very interesting that  both Revell and Italeri kits in 1:72 scale have better cross section shape than 1:48 ones.

 

The second check was the comparison of available reference pictures with the kit and 3D printed sections.

3661.jpg

 

The A-12 and YF-12A sections are exactly same on upper surface and have differences only on lower surface as expected:

3659.jpg

 

SR-71A and A-12 sections have differences on upper surface curvature. SR-71A has less concave surface than A-12 which is most probably to have more space for the chine located cameras:

3663.jpg

 

I have also compared new Revell Blackbird kit's section with above ones. It was really big surprise to see that Revell fuselage circular section was undersized:

3662.jpg

 

Therefore my conclusion is, without doing significant surgery/modifications on 1:48 Revell kit (for Italeri it is even worser) it is not possible to do A-12 conversion. For 1:72 conversion less effort is needed. For a pain-free A-12/TA-12/M-21 build fully 3D printed kit is the solution:

3648.jpg

 

Serkan

 

Brilliant job Serkan! I was wondering about the differences in the cross section, and this pretty much answers my questions 😁

I need to go back and catch up on the rest of this thread - Being a bit of a newcomer to the forum, I realise I should have been ‘following’ this all along, which I now am

 

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On 12/12/2023 at 19:28, Serkan Sen said:

Many thanks for your encouraging replies @billn53, @Fritag, @Alan P, @PeteH1969, @TheBaron, @Neffan , @Back in the Saddle, @Hoops, @Zorglub, @Courageous, @Iceman 29, @Gondor44 . I am doing my best to complete this huge project as soon as possible. But it seems that it won't be possible within next few years! At first glance I can list the following tasks to do;

  • A-12/TA-12/M-21 Ejection Seat (90% completed, the seat harness is missing)
  • YF-12A (95% completed)
  • Engine bay details (10%completed)
  • Engine details (20% completed)
  • SR-71A/B/C (modified chines, nose variants, new cockpit layouts, new ejection seat, long tail modification) (0%)
  • AG-330 Starter cart (90% completed)
  • Engine Dolly (70% completed)
  • D-21 Drone (90% completed)
  • Drone Dolly (0%)

My plan is first to complete the YF-12A rear cockpit details and missile bay doors. After then I will work on the early ejection seat harness (which will be very hard work).

 

YF-12A instrument panel model has been completed. It was really challenging task to find most appropriate reference pictures to create entire panel. Each YF-12A has some different panel layout than the other one. Also NASA did their own modifications both in forward and rear layouts. Here is the model I have created:

3664.jpg 

 

Next step is to finish cockpit tub layout.

 

Serkan

It’s really interesting to see your progress on each of these projects Serkan - Well done👍👍👍

I’m wondering if my ‘Frankenstein Blackbird’ build #3 might be a YF12 now!🤪

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Hi Serkan,

 

Wow, such an impressive work regarding the graphic representation of the different cross sections on the many Sled kits, especially that of the new Revell 1/48 one.

If I were to modify the height on the Revell 1/48 kit, how many millimetres would I need to add, approx? It still seemed to me that the height on it was still low with respect of the pictures of the real thing I use to gaze at, and also, judging by the fact that I've been strugling with the old Testors/Italeri kit for more than ten years now. 

It was great to learn these facts, for which I'm terribly grateful to you.

Hey, perhaps you could make a resin correction for the height of the Revell 1/48 kit? ;)

Cheers,

 

Igna

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On 12/12/2023 at 8:28 PM, Serkan Sen said:

Many thanks for your encouraging replies @billn53, @Fritag, @Alan P, @PeteH1969, @TheBaron, @Neffan , @Back in the Saddle, @Hoops, @Zorglub, @Courageous, @Iceman 29, @Gondor44 . I am doing my best to complete this huge project as soon as possible. But it seems that it won't be possible within next few years! At first glance I can list the following tasks to do;

 

Serkan

 

Always exciting to see your updates and progress Serkan, I look forward to see more!

 

Hoops

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On 16/12/2023 at 22:19, Pajarito said:

Hi Serkan,

 

Wow, such an impressive work regarding the graphic representation of the different cross sections on the many Sled kits, especially that of the new Revell 1/48 one.

If I were to modify the height on the Revell 1/48 kit, how many millimetres would I need to add, approx? It still seemed to me that the height on it was still low with respect of the pictures of the real thing I use to gaze at, and also, judging by the fact that I've been strugling with the old Testors/Italeri kit for more than ten years now. 

It was great to learn these facts, for which I'm terribly grateful to you.

Hey, perhaps you could make a resin correction for the height of the Revell 1/48 kit? ;)

Cheers,

 

Igna

Hi Igna

 

It sounds like your in a similar situation to me - i have an Italeri Blackbird that I started fighting with about 20 years ago, and currently in the process of grafting the front end of a Revell SR71 onto the back end of an Italeri kit. These two are not a bad match in cross section, but the interesting bit will be grafting the back end of the Revell Blackbird onto a resin printed M21 front, supplied by @Serkan Sen. The cross sections are not very compatible, but I have a plan that I’m working on. I shall let you know if it works or not.

 

 

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On 12/19/2023 at 3:50 PM, The Podfather said:

currently in the process of grafting the front end of a Revell SR71 onto the back end of an Italeri kit. These two are not a bad match in cross section, but the interesting bit will be grafting the back end of the Revell Blackbird onto a resin printed M21 front, supplied by @Serkan Sen. The cross sections are not very compatible, but I have a plan that I’m working on. I shall let you know if it works or not.

 

Hi my father!

Quite interested in learning more about your grafting of the front end of the new Revell 1/48 Sled kit onto the back end of the old Italeri one. You see, the releasement of the former kit was the reason I went all the way down to rescue the Italeri SR-71 project from the abyss of oblivion. I saw there was a chance in that.

Talk about the old Italeri kit; I tried adding 3mm in height to the whole forward fuselage and adapting the new height to the whole nose. Then I even bought the Metallic Details resin piece, but still there was a problem with the shape at the base of the windshield, which still looked odd. The resulting modification didn't look quite enough in my eyes.

Then a couple of years ago I learnt about the Revell kit, (which nose, forward fuselage and windshield looked a lot better with regard to the Italeri offering - still, I'm not too convinced by the shape of the nose where the pitot tube and the sensors are), and saw there might be a good chance to save the old Sled kit.

And now, judging by the evidence shared by Ph.D. @Serkan Sen, doubt raised his ugly head once again.

Do you think it's doable to graft the forward fuselage of the Revell kit onto the Italeri Sled?

Cheers,

 

Igna

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17 hours ago, Pajarito said:

And now, judging by the evidence shared by Ph.D. @Serkan Sen, doubt raised his ugly head once again.

Do you think it's doable to graft the forward fuselage of the Revell kit onto the Italeri Sled?

I would strongly advise not to do that. It will be worthless effort in terms of time and money.  If you really want to do an intensive surgery then try to convert old Testors kit into Oxcart and build Revell kit as is despite of all known issues  (as I did).

2885.jpg

3037.jpg

3036.jpg

 

Serkan

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On 12/16/2023 at 11:19 PM, Pajarito said:

Hey, perhaps you could make a resin correction for the height of the Revell 1/48 kit? ;)

Cheers,

Infact I have another plan. I am currently working on full 3D model of SR-71 variants (in addition to A-12 family) and the basic model has been almost completed. I will post some images before Christmas.

Serkan

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2 hours ago, Serkan Sen said:

I would strongly advise not to do that. It will be worthless effort in terms of time and money.  If you really want to do an intensive surgery then try to convert old Testors kit into Oxcart and build Revell kit as is despite of all known issues  (as I did).

 

Hi Serkan,

Quite appreciate your advice, but it's just that I don't fancy the Oxcart. Had I liked it, my Italeri Sled kit would have already been sitting on the shelf with all of the other finished builds a decade ago.

I really want to build a decent SR-71A kit in 1/48th scale with the OBS nose.

Having learnt that the new Revell kit lacks the correct height has sapped my energies.

Think that the only chance I've got left now is wait for Mr Jeffrey Kubiak's offer to be released.

Incidentally; have you found the files to print me the outer wings for the 1/48 Italeri kit? I need need need need those.

Cheers,

 

Igna

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Good evening all,

 

More progress on CAD modelling over the last couple of evenings:

Although my plan for the next step was to finish the YF-12A missile bay doors and Lockheed C-2 ejection seat hardware, I suddenly decided to start modeling the SR-71. ( yes, you are right. Seat harness modelling is a boring task, therefore I am postponing it as much as possible).

First of all, I started with the ferry nose (training nose with dead weights?) and the basic sections of front fuselage:

3669.jpg

 

It was not an easy job to model especially the rear fuselage sections with longer tail cone, but the result looks quite good to me. Also the inboard elevon"s root section has been reshaped due to new elongated tail cone:

3668.jpg

 

The patterns of SR-71's inboard wing upper surface corrugated skin panels are significantly different than the A-12 panels. Also the panels at fuselage-wing junction are much wider:

3674.jpg

 

The difference is minor on lower surface:

3675.jpg

 

Also the main wheel hubs are different:

3676.jpg

 

Here is the summary of all current models:

3677.jpg

 

3673.jpg

 

Now I can start to model some of the forward fuselage details (hopefully before Silvester). But I need to do a survey on the nose cone variants (as far as I know there were three versions) in parallel.

 

Serkan

 

 

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On 21/12/2023 at 00:08, Pajarito said:

 

Hi my father!

Quite interested in learning more about your grafting of the front end of the new Revell 1/48 Sled kit onto the back end of the old Italeri one. You see, the releasement of the former kit was the reason I went all the way down to rescue the Italeri SR-71 project from the abyss of oblivion. I saw there was a chance in that.

Talk about the old Italeri kit; I tried adding 3mm in height to the whole forward fuselage and adapting the new height to the whole nose. Then I even bought the Metallic Details resin piece, but still there was a problem with the shape at the base of the windshield, which still looked odd. The resulting modification didn't look quite enough in my eyes.

Then a couple of years ago I learnt about the Revell kit, (which nose, forward fuselage and windshield looked a lot better with regard to the Italeri offering - still, I'm not too convinced by the shape of the nose where the pitot tube and the sensors are), and saw there might be a good chance to save the old Sled kit.

And now, judging by the evidence shared by Ph.D. @Serkan Sen, doubt raised his ugly head once again.

Do you think it's doable to graft the forward fuselage of the Revell kit onto the Italeri Sled?

Cheers,

 

Igna

Hi Igna

 

Apologies for late reply - have been busy with other things over Christmas.🤪
 

I think the graft is do-able, but I agree with Serkan in that it’s probably not worth the effort. The reason I’m having a go at it is because I’m doing an M21 conversion using the Revell kit, and so the front end of the Revell SR71 was available. It was worth replacing the Italeri forward fuselage on my build as it’s the wrong shape in plan, and was also twisted along its length.

 

if you’re looking for a really accurate SR71, you’re unlikely to get it by resurrecting your Italeri/Testors kit. I’m not entirely sure why I’m persevering with mine still, as it’s been fighting against me for many years, but did manage to get some primer on it a few days ago 🥳!

 

My only suggestion is to finish the Italeri kit as best you can, and perhaps treat it as a ‘practice piece’ until you can apply your talents to a more worthy build. This is the philosophy I’m taking with mine anyway, and I will just have to accept its many faults and just get it finished. The pursuit of perfection is the enemy of completion.

 

I suspect Serkan may well be able to supply a fully accurate 3D printed SR71 at some point soon, considering his progress above! It would be worth the wait!

 

I should be updating my build thread shortly, and will try to send you a link to it, as I feel like I’m hijacking Serkan’s build here!🥴

 

Happy New Year to all😁

 

 

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On 27/12/2023 at 20:11, Serkan Sen said:

Good evening all,

 

More progress on CAD modelling over the last couple of evenings:

Although my plan for the next step was to finish the YF-12A missile bay doors and Lockheed C-2 ejection seat hardware, I suddenly decided to start modeling the SR-71. ( yes, you are right. Seat harness modelling is a boring task, therefore I am postponing it as much as possible).

First of all, I started with the ferry nose (training nose with dead weights?) and the basic sections of front fuselage:

3669.jpg

 

It was not an easy job to model especially the rear fuselage sections with longer tail cone, but the result looks quite good to me. Also the inboard elevon"s root section has been reshaped due to new elongated tail cone:

3668.jpg

 

The patterns of SR-71's inboard wing upper surface corrugated skin panels are significantly different than the A-12 panels. Also the panels at fuselage-wing junction are much wider:

3674.jpg

 

The difference is minor on lower surface:

3675.jpg

 

Also the main wheel hubs are different:

3676.jpg

 

Here is the summary of all current models:

3677.jpg

 

3673.jpg

 

Now I can start to model some of the forward fuselage details (hopefully before Silvester). But I need to do a survey on the nose cone variants (as far as I know there were three versions) in parallel.

 

Serkan

 

 

Excellent work as always Serkan! Your efforts on researching and modelling all these types is great to see. The information on the panel layouts is particularly interesting, as it will be a big help when rescribing the back end of my Italeri build. The only problem is that now I know that the panel layout for my M21 conversion will by wrong😩. Never mind, I’m sure I’ll be able to live with it as it is😁

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3 hours ago, The Podfather said:

 

I should be updating my build thread shortly, and will try to send you a link to it, as I feel like I’m hijacking Serkan’s build here!🥴

No Chris, you are not hijacking at all. I am very happy to see your comments and posts here. By the way how are going your builds on?

I wish you all happy and healthy new year!

Serkan

 

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4 hours ago, Serkan Sen said:

No Chris, you are not hijacking at all. I am very happy to see your comments and posts here. By the way how are going your builds on?

I wish you all happy and healthy new year!

Serkan

 

Build is a bit slow at the moment, but that’s because I’m trying to get some of the difficult groundwork done on the Italeri /Revell hybrid SR71 (lots of boring sanding and filling😩) Once I’ve got that done, I can do some of the more creative bits. I’ve done some recent progress photos, and will put them up over the weekend 👍

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12 hours ago, The Podfather said:

I think the graft is do-able, but I agree with Serkan in that it’s probably not worth the effort. The reason I’m having a go at it is because I’m doing an M21 conversion using the Revell kit, and so the front end of the Revell SR71 was available. It was worth replacing the Italeri forward fuselage on my build as it’s the wrong shape in plan, and was also twisted along its length.

 

if you’re looking for a really accurate SR71, you’re unlikely to get it by resurrecting your Italeri/Testors kit. I’m not entirely sure why I’m persevering with mine still, as it’s been fighting against me for many years, but did manage to get some primer on it a few days ago 🥳!

 

My only suggestion is to finish the Italeri kit as best you can, and perhaps treat it as a ‘practice piece’ until you can apply your talents to a more worthy build. This is the philosophy I’m taking with mine anyway, and I will just have to accept its many faults and just get it finished. The pursuit of perfection is the enemy of completion.

 

I suspect Serkan may well be able to supply a fully accurate 3D printed SR71 at some point soon, considering his progress above! It would be worth the wait!

 

I should be updating my build thread shortly, and will try to send you a link to it, as I feel like I’m hijacking Serkan’s build here!🥴

 

Hi my father,

I'm afraid I'm WAY too far up in the process of bettering the Italeri kit, that I'm really itching to finish it. If only I knew how much I need to add in order to correct the height in the Revell fuselage, I'd go out of my way to fix it (as I did with the forward fuselage in the original kit once an Italian modeller pointed me in the right direction aeons ago).

Judging by Serkan's graphics posted above, it looks as though it were a matter of adding two to three milimetres, but dunno whether the height ought to be kept constant or if it decreases towards the back of the fuselage, as there's no reference of exactly where the transversal cut in the fuselage Serkan has taken into consideration for the comparison.

That Italeri Sled kit has had a lot of attention from me so as to finish it as is now, and precisely, the point of these new revelations helped me confirm the evident doubts I had with regard to how off the kit looks in certain areas. Any aspects I've caught on Serkan's posts, I tried to replicate 'em on my build; it's what I like about modelling forums. Like when I spotted the subtle detail on the tips on his 3D-print outer wings, for instance.

Even if I got Jeffrey or Serkan's kits, I'd still wish to finish this one all the same.

 

I'd really appreciate your sending me the link to your build.

Cheers,

 

Igna 

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Evening all,

Here is my last post of this year. I have added the seat harness, cable cutter, vent suit line and many other details to the ejection seat model. Not to use the same seat on twin seater versions I have modelled the harness in two different layouts:

3678.jpg

3679.jpg

3680.jpg

 

That's all for this year. I wish you happy and healthy new year!

Serkan 

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Glad to see that someone thinks about seat harnesses being different for each seat seeing that kit manufacturers usually provide two identicle seats.

 

Great work, enjoying every update in awe.

 

Gondor

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