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My first 1/72 F-14 Tomcat (Hobbyboss F-14A Model)

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Well, it’s time I started to write up where I’ve got to with my first Tomcat build having spent the last few weeks pre lockdown, and the most of the time since lockdown, gathering information, drooling over others’ work and finally (I wish I had one)... set about and went and bought some. Intial (re) inspiration was an Airfix world mag article (Nov 2019) describing building the Finemolds F-14A as a Sundowners bird (was always my favourite) and it reminded me of when I’d made my last F-14A in “about” 1986 when I’d used some xtradecals to present the Hasegawa kit as a low viz sundowner. It suffered the problem that, as several have since, with the overall gull grey being a bit dark making the markings more low-viz than expected... but I made it nonetheless. However, that was lost n moves ago, and it wasn’t that brilliant. The Finemolds kit article looked interesting, so I found one on line and looked at a few additions to go with it. I then started conversing with a mate who also expressed an interest in the big Grumman feline and between us we started to investigate various other offerings (the new Academy one had just become available – or not), and Tony Oliver’s legion of Tomcat articles of seemingly all models proved so useful in admiring what could be done. Yup, it’s all inspirational stuff indeed.

So, before I really start – thanks to all on here that have provided gen on the type and the kits, especially Tony Oliver for his monumental works and detailed threads on here, and to my mate Brian who, whilst living about 200miles away, has been a source of ideas and inspiration too... especially in these unusual times we find ourselves in at the moment. So, what better way to keep the motivation going than to have  a good read on here, compare notes and ideas with a good mate or two and then crack on with a kit or two. It’s a great distraction from everything else that’s going on around us.

So... a few books were acquired – the Detail and Scale two-volumes on Kindle (for inspiration), the Daco book (needs no introduction – does it) and the SAM MDF F14 book. A few older books were dug out of the loft from the 80s... and armed with these and the internet... I hoped I’d have enough references. No, probably not.

In the end I ordered a GWH A model (and just order a D last week), a Hobbyboss A and D and a Ka A model. Despite the huge amount of detail offered my the FM and GHW kits, I thought that a simpler model might be best to start with so I opted for a Hobbyboss A model, and my chosen scheme would be of VF111 BuNo 161621 painted up with Miss Molly nose art. Yes, I know it’s a “bit bling” and I’ll probably produce something more tame with later models, but given that the HB kit lacks the pilots steps and doors, I thought that it offered a good clotheshorse to hang the simple scheme on... and give me something with a bit of a wow factor once finished (I hope).

I still have questions, but I’ll either look into them as I go, or hide my ignorance somewhere. e.g. I’m sure that somewhere there’s a description of the differences in intake paint demarcation (grey-white) ... but I’ll guess for this one as the intakes will be fitted with blanks.

I also plan for this to be my first model painted in acrylics, having previously stuck (doggedly) with enamels that, whilst I was comfortable with these, I often found myself swearing at them (and my poor attempts) when trying to get a good finish.  My Phantom FG1 had been persevered with and got there in the end, but blimey it took a while. So, I thought I’d have a go at these new-fangled paints; which ones ... well, more of that to come. And again, it was useful to read a number of articles on here, as well as seeing Tony O experiment with a few different suppliers’ paints. The chosen bird is simply overall light gull grey... so how hard could it be?

Having found a few “oddities” with the HB kit – more to come, one very noticeable point was that the fin was a little smaller than the decals that I’d acquired that were sized for the Hasegawa kit. Why are all the fins different sizes.... is it really that hard? Anyway, the Furball tail markings will be a bit wide, so I might opt to use the kit transfers for the fin... although they’re just the red bits (with the right ray shading) but on a grey fin (clear decal). So, I’ll paint my fins white first. Should work... I hope.


49977622058_f9b62e8f18_h.jpgIMG_20200508_080127304 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr


There were a few items to improve upon ... so I bought a few aftermarket items that are spread out here, and more were to follow. Masters probes; Aires exhaust and seats (not shown here); Quickboost nose gear doors, ECM/TCS chin pod (as it wasn’t in the kit although I noticed there’s one in the D kit after I rdered) and ventral fins (latter two not shown here); Eduard internal, external PE and mask set; Armory weighted wheels, and; Flighpath access ladders and intake screens. I won’t be using the access ladder on this kit, but I can save it for later. I may use the intake screens (or the ones in the eduard PE set to make up for the lack of details inside the intakes... but we’ll see how it goes. Finally, the colourful Furball decal set... lovely.

I’ll not express too much of an opinion on the Eduard sets just yet, but in the build so far, I’ve used fewer bits that I thought I would simply because some of them seem a little pointless... but more to come.

I started off just be  looking at the kit parts, starting with the forward fuselage halves, but comparing what Hobbyboss gives us in comparison to Finemolds (my GWH one was still in the post). Quite striking really... the Finemolds one really is rather fine... but showed what I could do to the HB one to perhaps add a little detail before starting.

Forward fuselage

Tony O had highlighted the reinforced RIO side step, so that was sanded off and re-engraved (not as cleanly as I’d’ve liked, but I managed it to a degree. The next item that caught my eye was the Vulcan cannon nozzle; it looked a little crude, and just a hole. I looked at this wondering if it could be improved and settled upon a representation made from two pieces of plastic rod (that I really struggled to photograph); one for the cannon and one for the shroud inside the port.

49978141841_701dbd1b2a_h.jpgIMG_20200508_112500605 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49977622043_4bc5dc8e34_h.jpgIMG_20200508_113359012 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr


By tidying the coaming outside and cleaning up after, it looks reasonable... but we’ll wait for some paint and look again. Note that the hole in the face is a quarter arc rather than a single circular hole; it doesn’t really show up in the photos... it might look better with some paint.

49978403752_bb39bfd22f_h.jpgIMG_20200509_134333465_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I drilled out the smart probe hole to fit a new one (shown test fitted before going back in the bag for the time being) and drilled out the shell case ejector chutes too.

49977622123_a1e989a5a3_h.jpgIMG_20200509_143147827 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

In comparing the kit parts with photographs (and primarily the FM kit) it was clear that a little additional detail on the outside, especially the forward fuselage may be appropriate. I set about adding fastener “holes” with a needle in a pin vice (my standard tool for such) and with careful attention to photos, I added marks where I thought they would be worth doing. Once applied, I gave the whole a brush on Tamiya thin to settle any edges. Once it’s got some primer on, I’ll take another look.

49977622258_2f0d4b4f60_h.jpgIMG_20200510_125441821 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Main body

One point that Tony O notes is that the external fuel tanks are mounted too far forward; I couldn’t find where in his thread he’d mentioned by how much, but with some measuring (once realising that the fuel tanks’ tips should align with the engine intake lips, I estimated that they needed to move about 4mm aft, and about 1mm outboard. I made up a small plasticard template and marked where the existing holes would fall, drilling these out, then added a further pair of holes, 4mm aft and 1mm “out”. By placing this carefully over the half holes on the inside of the trunking, I was able to mark (and drill) the new holes. For the other side, I just flipped the template over. I think they’re ok... I guess we’ll see.

49978142181_472bb24369_h.jpgIMG_20200511_140934226_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The ventral fins lack any detail, no NACA intake nor panel lines (why oh why?) So I opted for the Quickboost ones (that still needed the panel line engraving on the opposite side to the NACA duct). I removed the existing fins and files smooth, replacing lost panel lines carefully. I drilled two 0.4mm holes in each fin (you’ll note that they’re different spacings – so that once I get one aligned, I wont mix them up. Each has a 0.4mm wire piece added, and a corresponding hole drilled in the body underside. Once one hole is in, I can “scribe” the spot for the other hole with the shorter wire piece in the other hole, and drill to fit.

49978404092_ffee4963d0_h.jpgIMG_20200515_150249904_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr


Then some paints arrived. I plan to give the Mission Models paints a try as they’ve had some good reviews and the system seemed quite well explained on websites, others’ threads and with all the videos on YouTube... I felt comfortable enough in trying these as my migration from enamels. I ordered some suitable colours, the thinners and polyurethane additive.

49977622438_62e3d7c801_h.jpgIMG_20200516_124341524_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I tested my clumsiness and ineptitude at airbrushing on some spare phantom wingtips, testing the black primer and a mix of the greys once that was dry. It seemed that no matter how I tried to abuse it, the paint flattened quite nicely. That’s good.

49977622573_19bff49e6d_h.jpgIMG_20200517_191212407_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49977622568_85350ce521_h.jpgIMG_20200518_181430920 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Nose gear bay

I decided to try to improve the detail inside the nose gear bay; normally a plethora of pipework, hoses, pistons and boxes, the kit offering was a little basic. The Eduard bits added some items, but it was still a relatively empty box. I know that normally, nobody will see this... but I thought I ought to try something... just to lift it a little.

The most obvious omission was that big pressure vessel (Air tank? Hydraulic reservoir?) that I fashioned from some sprue turned in a minidrill, cut with a scalpel... still in need of finishing in this photo.

49977622623_4e98b9632c_h.jpgIMG_20200520_185337578 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A bit crude and rough, but size wise it’s probably about right (compared to the FM kit item) and bulks out the bay a little. The brake units were made from bits of plasticard and various wire pieces added along the sidewalls and in the roof of the bay. My first attempt used the wrong size wires, so I replaced these and started again. It’s still a bit crude, but a little weathering will help blend all the bits together.

49978142601_c8dfad79c8_h.jpgIMG_20200522_161626403_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978142731_a40c380d12_h.jpgIMG_20200522_161638963_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

At this stage, I popped the cockpit tub and bay into the fuselage halves just to see how it sat. It seemed ok. Oh, and the additional piston was fashioned from sprue like the reservoir/tank... with a bit of wire added for the sleeve. I guess this is linked to the undercarriage doors (?) Oh, and I removed those... I’ll either use the quickboost ones, or the Eduard ones if my sanity wants to be tested on their assembly.

None of this is perfect... but I think it’s better than an empty bay.

Main gear bays

Having done the nose gear, I thought I ought to do the mains too. The Eduard bits replace the upper roof of the bays, but lose the wire harness mouldings in the process (is it really worth it then?) The inside of the bay is open to the kit inside; the bay is not blanked off. I added plasticard inner walls and then held the two parts together and marked the plasticard with a pen where it lined up with the kit’s ribs. I then added microstrip pieces to continue the ribs on the vertical faces.

49978404742_d2b74f3b30_h.jpgIMG_20200523_095243050_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978404882_ddf5f5290a_h.jpgIMG_20200523_135147145 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978143011_b2cf9b1264_h.jpgIMG_20200523_141014829 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

As the rear bays were a bit basic, I added some additional ribs to these too, again with microstrip

49977623068_34da103d59_h.jpgIMG_20200523_163256076 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Then with a series of small holes drilled into the sidewalls, I added lengths of 5A fusewire to represent the pipework and harnesses, along the inner sidewalls and across the bay roof. Looks untidy (and needed tidying up so as not to foul the wings when test fitted but again hopefully something a little better that the plain bays provided in the kit. Well, I hope so.

49977663788_3a102f6236_h.jpgIMG_20200523_164408070 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr


Yup... I put these together and needed to fill that seam. Took a couple of attempts, but got there in the end. I was going to add the PE access covers... but there’s no point. These just go over the markings made on the kit and, as far as I can tell, the access covers on this kit are a work of fiction. The GWH and FM kits seem fine in terms of number of covers and positions, but these are just wrong. I will live with them and just try not to draw attention to them too much. Yes, I could fill them and rescribe the right ones if I had the patience and skill... but nah; I’ll have other F-14 kits with better wings that can show them off. For now, I’ll pretend I didn’t mention it.

49978143226_4954b6fd6c_h.jpgIMG_20200526_180801587_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Glove Vanes

OK, they’re not the easiest part of the kit... and cutting the recessed slots from the leading edge was a bit of a faff, and in the process of opening the forward edge of each, I managed to break the locating pin; thus a new one was made from a small piece of wire, for each side. Getting the “hole” square required a bit of back filling and re-cutting ... again, a fiddly bit.

Ok, it works... but a transfer for the holes would probably be easier.

49977621863_fac175d399_h.jpgIMG_20200531_151718570_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

First Paint

I applied a light dusting of Halfords primer to the intakes, and then white (and then light gull grey) using the MM paints. Black primer went on the insides of the upper and lower main fuselage halves (especially in the wing areas to hide any light areas once the kit it complete) followed by some white to cover the gear bays.

Engine disc was black primed and then treated with Alclad II Stainless Steel (for shine), after which a dark enamel wash was applied, and the spinner painted a light grey.

The opportunity was taken to prime and “grey” some other buts including cockpit parts. Now, for the cockpit grey, I used some MM Dark Ghost which seemed about right in colour. Maybe a little light, but maybe that’s right “for scale”. Unfortunately, the bottle I had turned out to be full of little lumps and took ages to re-shake and mix with thinners to get a little that was lump free. The foil seal had also not been stuck properly when I came to remove it. I got in touch with the shop as I’d intended to buy some more colours anyway, and they sent me a replacement foc with my next delivery. I’m pleased to say that the new one is fine... as are all the others I’ve tried so far.

49978190966_0309d8db26_h.jpgIMG_20200601_201516590_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978451942_6c6254f888_h.jpgIMG_20200602_180855099 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Cockpit details

OK.. so every kit begins with the cockpit... (?) so time to start with this then. I fabricated the part that sits behind the RIO seat from plasticard and microstrip – oh for a resin one of these (hint hint)... fiddly, but it’ll do for now. I based it on the GWH and FM kits and will work out how to fit it later.

49978143036_03d3d458c1_h.jpgIMG_20200525_163154284_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I’m using the Aires GRU-7A seats rather than the kit parts, but will add Eduard bits as I go; I assumed they’d fit – and per below... most did (with some fettling). Given that the seats in the kit sit a little low, I wanted to test the Aires seats in the tubs before committing to them. A quick test. I think they’re slightly high, so I removed some of the inner tub frame to let them sit lower. They’re tight, but they do go in. I had similar issues with my Airfix Phantom seats after I’d fettled and added scratch details to those. Actually, the RN Phantom has MB Mk7s, and it’s interesting comparing the two seats... the similarities are evident.

49978142711_0365259470_h.jpgIMG_20200522_162128135_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Some colour went on the seats first, and it seems that I finally found a use for Humbrol 30 as it suited the seat base and back, with a mix of Humbrol 30 and 29 (dark green and dark earth) to make the colour for the cushions (chute). Some of the resin details were picked out in the appropriate colours (silver, red, yellow, white, etc) and these were set asides overnight to dry.

49978405252_7ea0d3ca5d_h.jpgIMG_20200604_151759042 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The Eduard etch “bits” were applied using Bob Smith Industries Odourless CA glue, patience and a donation to the swear box. I didn’t use all of the bits, but most went on. Reference to the Daco book was very useful during this part of the build.

49977683648_8c8cd8a9d0_h.jpgIMG_20200604_195646651_HDR by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The cockpit tub got its Eduard PE added in stages... The first bits had gone in before paint – the rudder pedals. Yes, these were fun and probably invisible, but I put them in anyway. Then, I started with the bigger bits covering the sidewalls and instruments panels one at a time. Take your time... there’s no rush. Some colour was added where it would enhance the moldings, such as around the throttle box, and a thin dark wash at the rear of the forward cockpit.

The coamings got some paint too. I initially applied a light covering, using Humbrol dark earth, but then noticed in photos of BuNo 161621 in the Detail & Scale book that the coamings were dark green/olive drab and thus not faded at the time. I’m not sure how long the aircraft carried the nose art for, but I thought I ought to depict it per photos, so I applied a mix of Dark Earth, Dark Green, Black and French Blue and added darker and lighter shades of this to depict variation in the texture. The black was re-done with some matt black (may be tyre black). Later, I added a light dusting of satin/matt varnish to unify the appearance, which helped. These still need some wear added to the surfaces (worn metal) and the reflector dish for the head-up projector.

49978403537_bc521004a5_h.jpgIMG_20200606_151403238 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978405387_b6807af44c_h.jpgIMG_20200606_151424641 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

49978143336_6bfbd5f70f_h.jpgIMG_20200606_151520644 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

At this point, the central coaming and IP are just balanced in place.

The sticks got some paint .. again, making as much use as possible of the Daco book. They do look oversize... but not much I can do about that now.

49977621883_5dbecda24f_h.jpgIMG_20200606_152324272 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Finally, I added some of the little etch bits. The throttle top, gear lever (down selected) and hook lever (up selected). Yes, they’re a fettle (and they’ll probably break off) but they’re there for now. I added the canopy pull lever for the rear cockpit (to the instrument panel) but haven’t photographed it yet. The front one will have to go in once the upper coaming is in place; that will be fun.

Again, all parts secured with BSI odourless CA and then a little Klear added to provide a clear potting to the little bits. Seems to be holding, for now.

Again – with apologies for the poor photos throughout – and this last one is just awful.. but the bits are there – just.

49978403362_4e0d92c3d9_h.jpgIMG_20200606_160341518 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Anyway... that’s all for now. Now that I’ve started with the build properly, it feels as though I’m getting somewhere; it’ll be nice to join the major components together and crack on with detailing the other parts and the project progresses.

Thanks for reading.





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  • Jon020 changed the title to My first 1/72 F-14 Tomcat (Hobbyboss F-14A Model)
8 hours ago, Tony Oliver said:

Fantastic stuff so far Jonathan! 

All those scratched and added details make my hboss builds look plain and boring in comparison...

Nonsense Tony, yours have inspired, and their finish is always superb. Plenty of opportunities for me to balls it up yet 😉 but thanks 

...and thanks for your help and advice too.


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Following this one closely. The extra details are awesome and that cockpit is absolutely wonderful!

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Thanks all... I did a test assembly of the cockpit tub this afternoon and noticed the gaps either side of the central cover, and these were visible when popped into the fuselage halves.

Cockpit assembly

I added two small plasticard pieces into the gaps and painted them the same colour as the canvas covers... should be better.

Side covers added


So, not much progress this evening... but that's because the day job takes precedence.

Anyway.... one question for you Tomcat gurus. I am looking to add some me nose weight. I use liquid gravity for this so I'll box a section in forward of the tub... and add it to the two halves. Can anyone explain how much I need (grammes if you're not familiar with ounces) 😉... but the last thing I want is a tail sitter with the wings swept back.



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14 minutes ago, Jon020 said:

add some me nose weight. I use liquid gravity for this so I'll box a section in forward of the tub... and add it to the two halves. Can anyone explain how much I need (grammes if you're not familiar with ounces) 😉... but the last thing I want is a tail sitter with the wings swept back.


I half fill the nose cone with Liquid gravity on all my F-14 builds mate. Not had a tail sitter yet. Perhaps use that as a measurement/weight reference if you’re set on using a boxed section? Although the more forward it is the less you need so if you’re bringing it rearwards will have to increase by a guesstimate 😂


I’ve not had a nosecone break off with the weight if that’s what you’re worried about. Even when a gust of wind blew my GWH D halfway across the shed and cracked its canopy off the corner of the tool chest during a lull in painting 😂

Place nosecone in some blu tac like a vase. 
Half fill with with LG. Then cover with pva/white glue/kristal kleer. Leave over night and then attach to fuselage section. Ta da! 


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43 minutes ago, Tony Oliver said:

I half fill the nose cone with Liquid gravity on all my F-14 builds mate. Not had a tail sitter yet. Perhaps use that as a measurement/weight reference if you’re set on using a boxed section? Although the more forward it is the less you need so if you’re bringing it rearwards will have to increase by a guesstimate 😂


I’ve not had a nosecone break off with the weight if that’s what you’re worried about. Even when a gust of wind blew my GWH D halfway across the shed and cracked its canopy off the corner of the tool chest during a lull in painting 😂

Place nosecone in some blu tac like a vase. 
Half fill with with LG. Then cover with pva/white glue/kristal kleer. Leave over night and then attach to fuselage section. Ta da! 


Thanks Tony. I tend to use a thin CA glue to set the gravity stuff. Yes I was concerned about the nose coming off, but sounds like it shouldn't be a problem. I think I was imagining filling it .... as I did with my airfix phantom... that was never going to be a tail sitter... but the nose isn't separate so worried less. Thanks for that,... sounds like a plan I can work yo. 👍

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Thanks all for your comments - and now for a plea for assistance or suggestions. I'll cover the mistake I made in boxing in the side AOA vane to allow a later fit (and making the hole too big in the process) and the refilling and re-cutting it afterwards to a tight fit ... and the shaping of the nose cone with the cut-off nose probe and hole drilled to take the Masters probe in that in a more positive post... but for now... exhausts!

OK, so i decided to improve upon the kit offerings and purchased a set of Aires exhausts that were stated to be for the Hobbyboss kit. Good. But perhaps they're not. Two issues emerged... firstly, the forward section of the exhaust shroud (part of the kit) has a slightly too large OD... so that when the Aires exhaust "petals section" is offered up, it looks too small. I managed to sand away the larger OD of the plastic housing, but it should be almost a straight sided profile and now it's rather rotund looking and not really looking like  PW part, looking more like the GE part. 😞

.... so there's no going back now.

49992397236_cf8348ccbf_h.jpg2020-06-10_07-05-58 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Then there's the fit of the rear petals section to the exhaust tube. When I last used one of these products (for my F4K), there was a lip that needed to be left on the rear section to insert into a cut-away recess inside the tube... just like the other end where the fan sits in. However, there was no visible lip here, and I'm left with a butt joint. So... I've had little luck in getting resin to stick to itself before, and now there's no easy means to centralise the tube over the petals section. 

Yea... not impressed - means I probably ballsed up somewhere.

However, I did re-check the dimensions of the attachment bits of resin to see if these should have been left ... and no, they're the wrong diameter to fit to the tube. The other one is easier to see inside as it's an "open" exhaust.... but unfortunately, it didn't help.


49992642752_7853444ea4_h.jpg2020-06-10_07-05-30 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I compared the dimensions of the Aires exhaust with the FM and GWH kits and they seemed similar ... it's just the HB ones are a little fat (about 0.7mm too fat). 


So.... fitting the resin part to the other resin part with a butt joint..... how? 

As mentioned, my previous glues just soaked into the resin leaving nothing left. I can't pot it with lots of glue on the outside as this may prevent it from sitting inside the kit piece ID.


Any suggestions? Short of waking away for a bit that is


Thanks ... in hope



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OK... I'm jumping the gun a little here .... but what about if I padded out the ID of the plastic piece with bent plastic card glued inside... and sanded so that the ID then tightly matched the OD of the resin tube, then at least, the tube could be "fitted" into the outer plastic part and secured square, and then, there's a larger base for the resin exhaust nozzle "petals piece" to sit on. Still need to work out how to glue it on... but?

49992460086_febe919044_h.jpg2020-06-10_07-33-25 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

... happy for thoughts , and suggestions based on experience



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Hi Mate, 


what I have done in the past is glue the two ‘outside’ areas together with superglue (as in your first pic in post #11)


The cowls and nozzle are tacked to the airframe with white glue for painting so that the camo matches on the side shrouds. 

Then pop them off and paint  the metal areas. 

The tubing I paint separately then add to the cowls at the end. I use pva/white glue to place them and back fill and help ‘centre’ them to the nozzle. Once set the cowl with tube in it is permanently attached to airframe at the end of the build. (I use foam wrapped skewers up the back ends to hold them to minimise handling)


Hope any of this is some help. 

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1 hour ago, Tony Oliver said:

Hi Mate, 


what I have done in the past is glue the two ‘outside’ areas together with superglue (as in your first pic in post #11)


The cowls and nozzle are tacked to the airframe with white glue for painting so that the camo matches on the side shrouds. 

Then pop them off and paint  the metal areas. 

The tubing I paint separately then add to the cowls at the end. I use pva/white glue to place them and back fill and help ‘centre’ them to the nozzle. Once set the cowl with tube in it is permanently attached to airframe at the end of the build. (I use foam wrapped skewers up the back ends to hold them to minimise handling)


Hope any of this is some help. 

Hi Tony,

Thanks for that... I'd hoped you'd have an answer 😉 I'd scoured your thread looking for suggestions but either missed it, or just couldn't find it. The white/PVA is a good idea; my white glue is a bit plyable afterwards (Glue n glaze) so I could always pop to the local B&Q to pick some up.

I've started to work on packing out the inners of the cowls for a snugger fit and between that and yours, a solution seems reachable. Gluing the nozzle to the cowl was not something I'd considered.


On other matters, the nose section has been profiled, with the kit probe fitted, cut off and shaped... and drilled out to accept the masters part

49992807251_ebdb04eaca_b.jpg2020-06-10_09-32-26 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I then removed the probe and put it safely away. I shaped a small piece of plastic to fit in the bottom of the nose, so that when I poured the liquid gravity in it didn't fill the hole I'd just made,

49993051237_858a4a8a46_b.jpg2020-06-10_09-30-58 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I then filled the nose to about the half way (or so) level and set this with Rocket Max super glue. Once dry, I then shaped another piece of plaasticard to cover over the liquid gravity. I know it shouldn't work loose at any point, but f it did - it'd a bit of a nuisance rattling around in there, so putting another card piece is should stop that... just in case.

49992804351_947e2411b8_b.jpg2020-06-10_09-31-30 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And yes... standing it in a blob of blutak whilst it all sets.

With the hole cut for the other probe, I realised that if I inserted this at the end, and it dropped through, that would be that. And it'd be more than 50p in the swear jar. So, I added a box (in layers) on the inside, with the hole continued through to the right depth, and blanked at the end, so the master probe will now sit in it with no danger of dropping through at the critical point late in the build. You'll see that I also angle-boxed in the shell casing chutes, to make the "open" holes underneath now look a little more "directed". Hopefully worthwhile, whilst I was at it.

49992801646_5a31c6f7cd_b.jpg2020-06-10_09-30-35 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Anyway, I'll spend a few evenings working out/planning an exact approach for the exhausts and report back.. thanks again Tony.










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OK, so not much to show today, but gave the issue a little more thought between meetings and calls today and came up with a plan based on Tony's suggestion above (thanks Tony). I initially cut away the open nozzle leaving a bit of the spur on it to see if I was supposed to do that to let it fit in the tube, or the cowl. In short - no. It needs to be a butt fit. I'd had no luck with butt fits of resin exhausts previously, but this time, I'm attaching resin to plastic, so it might fair better. Incidentally, as a test, I've taken four pieces of resin cut off bits, sanded them flush and glued them with my favoured CA glue Zap a Gap green. One is just drying with the two pieces together; the other with them held under pressure. We'll see what happens. Maybe I need to change my glue.

So, having removed the open exhaust nozzle, I sat it on the untouched cowl for dimensions comparison

49995735951_856597bcfb_b.jpgAftermarket mis sized by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

yea, well!

I took some measurements too - given that the fan sits inside a nicely cut out recesses in the bottom of the tube, it's a shame that the same could not have been done at the exhaust nozzles end... as I found that the Speys for the Phantom did ... oh well. So some measurements show what I feared, that nothing was provisioned to assist assembly. Lovely designed and cast parts, but not the best of engineering 😞

49996271822_02f2663bb2_b.jpgMeasurements by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Anyway... I eventually had the cowl sanded down to the right size. You'll note I've added a small piece of plasticard inside the tab slots so that I don't sand away to nothing. It's not all the way through, but the plastic gets thin. Better to reinforce first rather than try to pad and repair later.

49995219688_d30597ba9d_b.jpgLeft cowl awaiting trimming by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I scraped around the outside of the rear of the tailplane fairing piece a little, to give some definition, and etched a single join across the top of the cowl. All other lines seem very small and fine - so thought it best not to bother.

49995220808_f0cab76471_b.jpgTrimmed and scribed by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr


Tony's plan was to later fit the exhaust tube using PVA glue and move around to get central, which sounds a god idea, but I wondered if I could manage a little addition to provide for a sounder central locator so that I could check the exhaust nozzle locations when setting. I measured the inside diameter of the cowl and the outside diameter of the exhaust tube. There was 0.5mm difference. Amongst a set of plasiticard sheets I bought eons ago, there's quite a thin sheet that has had several small pieces and shapes cut from it over the years, sometimes with it being thinned further before use, but this as a thickness of 0.25mm. That's handy.

I cut a thin strip from the sheet and then cut this into lengths of about 7mm (a guess, I didn't measure them) and then I glued 8 of these radially around the inside of the cowl at roughly 45deg positions. Once dry, I retried the exhaust tube and it was a nice snug (but not tight) fit. Thus, I can mount the tube centrally and pot it with PVA per Tony's suggestion later on.

49995222493_2ab13c4d23_b.jpgInternal padding to centralise tube by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

So... that's all for now. Doesn't look much but the cowl sanding took quite a while (diamond file, 400 paper, 1500 & 3600 micromesh), but it got there in the end. Another of those gotchas to watch out for with the HB kits perhaps.

Thanks for sticking with me - hopefully further progress to follow when time permits


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That is magnificent.  The pit is a work of art and could be easily displayed on it's own....!!


Really looking forward to seeing this develop.



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Just realised if you had waited I could have sent you some modded Hasegawa cowls and fairings I mastered to fit hboss kits and aires nozzles. Separate parts to facilitate painting and all the panel line details. 

As featured on my vf 2, 21, & 103 A jets. 

Perhaps for the next one hey 👌🏽

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1 hour ago, Tony Oliver said:

Just realised if you had waited I could have sent you some modded Hasegawa cowls and fairings I mastered to fit hboss kits and aires nozzles. Separate parts to facilitate painting and all the panel line details. 

As featured on my vf 2, 21, & 103 A jets. 

Perhaps for the next one hey 👌🏽

Cheers Tony. Yup, next one perhaps 😉

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Two steps forward; one step back.


Right. Some progress, followed by a discovery of a significant issue (of my making) that I then managed to overcome.


So, first of all, I superglued the exhaust nozzles to the cowls ... Zap a gap green. Yes they held well. Whether the additional strips added inside helped or not I don't know; they would have given a slightly larger mating surface, but either way all's good. Once the initial glue had dried, I applied some further glue to the inside of the joint to "pot" the inners... seemed to work ok. A test fit on the dry fit fuselage halves before anything else was done 

Exhaust test fit.

Once this was dry, I inserted the exhaust tube as a dry fit to see how it sat inside those centering strips... it looked ok. Taken back out afterwards so that painting can be addressed once I get to it.

Reheat ring tube centrally fitted. Loose fit

Then, I set about gluing the two fuselage halves together. Some fettling etc was necessary but yes that was sorted.

Fuselage assembly begins. Glue drying.

Now... all along, I'd been checking and rechecking the assembly of this part, and i had convinced myself that there was a bit of an interference somewhere (due to my gear detailing) but I couldn't find it... So I pressed on. Hmmm, my gut feel was right.

When I'd spent quite some time tidying all the joints on gloves and rear section, I decided to put the three nose section pieces together (with rubber band) and check the fit. Nah. Problem

Ah. Bu@@er


There's a mahusive step between the two sections 😞

so.... Clearly there was an interference inside the two halves that's pushed the upper half higher inside. I dug out my HB F-14D bits and did a cross check


The problem, and solution

the upper photo shows the two pieces pushed together... the lower shows a gap at the rear of the intake cover that illustrates the problem.

Ok... Did think about taking it all apart (low chance of success) or starting all over with the D model bits 😞

But, I have it some thought and decided that l changing the upper piece mounting mechanism might work... I just needed something robust to "lift" the nose section.

i opted for the pin method... which is visible in the lower of the two photos above, using 1mm wire. This involved drilling two holes (one in each nose half piece (in the mounting flange) and then in equivalent place on the upper fuselage. The panel lines of the spine fairing are useful to use as guides.

This photo shows the pins in place and the holes in the forward sections. On test fit, this slightly splayed the nose section (which I could fill later...) but, after walking away for a while to cut the grass and water the garden, I came back and padded the bits out with some thin plastic strip pieces sanded to a gentle gradient, wider at the rear.


The pinned fix

On assembly, the parts all pull together and form a good tight fit. Thankfully. Shown here backlit to show the worst of the fit... which isn't bad to be honest; a little sanding will bring this to a conformal join.

Test. That'll do

So... disaster averted. Phew.

After this, a beer was called for.

Breakfast porter. What an odd idea, but hints of coffee and chocolate, yes it hit the spot.

So... carry on. I'll finish the rear section sanding and filling and add the last two PE bits in the nose section before putting that all together.

Back soon.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I apologise for not keeping this thread going, but progress has slowed a little due to other matters calling on my time, but there has been progress all the same... not least that its all looking Tomcat like now... and thanks to Tony O for the chats and advise along the way too.

To cut a long story short, for those that aren’t bothered with details... I’m at this stage:

50075709016_855480784a_h.jpgChin IR sensor and antenna fitted. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

For those that like the journey, read on.

So, let’s start with a simple recap on where I was (above) and move on... with some cockpit fettling and tidying, which involved gluing the cockpit tub to the nose gear bay and posing it for some photos (note that the seats and coamings are not glued in at this stage, they’d just get in the way!

50009947647_8ea0d5ff6b_h.jpgCockpit port view by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

One detail that I thought worth adding was the wander light in the rear cockpit; I’d wondered why there was a blank space in the panels... so I wound some 0.2mm wire around a piece of 0.4mm wire to create the coiled lead, and then glued a small piece of rod to the end (I drilled a small hole in the end to glue the wound wire in)... and painted a flat black. Simple. Small.... but simple. Probably best seen in this photo with the coamings off and seats back out

50010497286_4c3463d1bd_h.jpgTub, sans seats and covers. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The tub and nose gear bay went in to the forward fuselage halves and al; was glued up. Quite important stage that... but no photos until I joined it all up together and begun some filler work and rescribing... which eventually did the trick

50054901281_b6edbb70b0_h.jpgBringing the body together by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50054904586_ba49e488d9_h.jpgRescribing by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50055155362_70d6b236de_h.jpgCleaning up before scribing again by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

... and it too several attempts too.

I then moved onto the rear fuselage and added the rear AN/ALR-67 fairing that’s not in the kit. I made this from about three pieces of plasticard (one thick, two thin) and cut, filed, sanded it to shape before fixing it in place with Tamiya thin. Some light scribing and fasterning marks were scribed (pinned) in and hopefully it’ll do. It’s odd that HB left these out of the kit having added the forward blisters... but hey ho. The fuel dump port was also drilled out.

50058318087_eac842003b_b.jpgAN/ALR-67 rear antenna fairing. Scratch built by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I decided to ditch the quickboost ventral fins having noticed that the GWH kits have two sets , one each with the towing arms up and one down. As this is going to be an on-ground aircraft I thought I could use the arms-down ones... despite the fact that they’re probably never used... but it adds some interest. The panel lining was also a bit finer and complete compared to the QB offering, I opted to drill and pin these as I’d intended for the QB ones... here just shown test fitted

50055167272_be24ce7637_h.jpgReplacing quickboost with spare GWH fins by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The intakes then had a bit of fillering – oh blimey did they need it – here shown with the deluxe filler slathered all over.. although later I took my old bottle of Tamiya thin and chucked in a load of cut up sprues and let it soak... and then used this “hot filler” to smooth out the corners.. which it did quite well. Some sanding, refillering, sanding etc later and they’re probably ok... but will still be fitted with the Eduard blanks when all is done. Some primer will eventually go on here to see whether it’s all good enough. I bought a new bottle of tamiya thin a couple of weeks before lockdown, which was fortunate

50054348338_de9fcc48a2_h.jpgIntakes... filler added before clean up by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I attached an amount of PE to the undercarriage and undertook a test fit to see how it sat. The instructions have the nose gear being added before the fuselage is joined together – result is that it’s a bit of a faff to get the gear in and out... but by trimming the length of the central mount it gets better; adding all the wiring inside the bay doesn’t help.

50054350988_50df613e1f_h.jpgGear fit test. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Then it was on to other bits – adding PE to the gear doors – necessary but boring, and then building up the wing spur pylons ... sparrow fit. These are, ummm, a bit simplistic, but with some tidying and smoothing and then scribing, they look ok I added the reinforcing plate to the outside face (plasticard) – didn’t bother with the inner face – who will notice. Sidewinder rails were also tidied and then had their PE added... and then added to the main pylons. They looked ok. It was important to test fit the pylons when gluing the two main items to ensure that the drop of the “sparrow” bit was vertical.

The photo also shows the nose gear doors – yes they’re PE. Putting these together was fun (not really) but all soldered for strength.

Only one bit of PE missing from the main gear.. that of the small brake cables.. that I missed off and added later – and became the fiddliest (if that’s a word) PE fitted yet.

Rear canopy plate had PE added; exhausts added as they were kept in the same small box

50054355013_6510e7e21f_h.jpgDetails including PE, resin and replacements by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And here's the pylons in close up

50054937741_5fcc8c4baa_h.jpgWing root pylons .... Aim-9 and AIM-7 config by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And here’s just one of those test fits with pylons and exhausts. Not really clear but there, is the PE around the cockpit – side ledges and rear ledge... with a bit of after fitting filing/sanding these came out ok. I glued them on before the cockpit was assembled ... adding some black primer over the top – but it rubbed off since (I probably forgot to de-grease them) so they’ll get another going over later.

50054362268_15e0728469_h.jpgtest fit of fins pylons and exhausts by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I now ought to confess that I nicked an idea from Tony Oliver in the shape of some stands made to hold the model whilst in work; fashioned from plasticard with slots at the top to slot into the forward and aft belly sparrow fin slots to hold the model off the deck, They work well and are stable enough to support the model permanently. The rear ones have side stabilisers that touch the rear phoenix missile carriers for additional lateral support, although I’ll probably take those off at the painting stage to give a cleaner sit.

50055217347_db263c2717_h.jpgTest on stand. Fins (4) fitted. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Here the phoenix trays can be seen and I added a plasticard open door at the front of the rear pair, along with plasticard umbilical trunking that runs between the two pairs. All of the caarriers have had panel lines and fastening (bolt heads) added with pin scribing, to add a little detail to their plain sides. The Eduard PE is hopefully obvious.

I will admit that I’m not overly happy with the phoenix carriers ... the front pair have the bulged fairing but it’s too small. I did consider removing the fronts and adding the fronts from a spare pair from the GWH kit (for some reason there are two sprues in the GWH kit)... but i’ll keep those for another kit that might need them, and press on with this one.

50058326767_7a0aec9808_h.jpgUnderside view by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The stands in an underside view, and the lower face of the rear AN/ALR-67 antenna. Here also... all four fins have been added, ventral and main. Note also the Eduard chaff/flare dispensers. This whole area on the beaver tail needed a lot of sanding and filling to get smooth and without a step ... but perseverance pays off.

50055197692_ff109ecd6e_h.jpgTemporary stands... useful when painting. Fins fitted by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

So... moving on. I did a test fit of the windscreen and then painted the central section in Humbrol clear green (what I had to hand) on the inside face... to keep the outer smooth. Before fitting this, a replacement arrester hook lever was added to the right side of the instrument panel and the two small switch indicator panels added to either side of the top coaming. I also added the canopy jettison handle on the right hand side. All bits around the coaming needing some paint were then painted with some matt back. The windscreen moulding is squared off at the bottom corners, so I filed these away to leave just the thick frame... which whilst still thick, was better than being left as it was.

50075616111_b846372bb2_h.jpgFront cockpit panel finished. w/s tinted by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Having fitted the windscreen (and sanded the edges a little to blend it in – it was quite a good ft though) I set about masking up the cockpit. Yes, I’ve made life difficult for myself by having to repaint/prime the sills, so I wanted to mask off leaving the sills exposed. I’d fit the control sticks later next time too – as they’re taller than the sills. I masked off the windscreen first – a cut shape to just sit on the front of the sills, made from two pieces of plasticard. The first later has another slot cut to allow the instrument panel to sit in as it’s proud of the windscreen... and the slot for the control stick too. The rear section (again with a control stick slot) made from two pieces. These were a bit thick so I used them as a template to make another two from thinner plasticard.

50075950397_217c072243_h.jpgCockpit masking template by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The whole lot was then stuck to the parts using maskol. A thin bead was added around the windscreen and the front piece attached. The two rear pieces were added and maskol’d in place... with plenty around the edges so that for the paint “none shall pass!” with apologies to Monty Python. The control sticks demanded two little box sections that were made and secured in the same way. Nowt’s getting in there now.

50075128783_456fc3bebc_h.jpgThinner plasticard. Masked by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The nose doesn’t look right with nothing underneath (although I understand the prototype B didn’t have one) and the kit only offers one of the early non-IR parts in the kit. I did think about robbing the D kit that I have (as its one of these and the double one), but only after I’d ordered a quickboost one. The aircraft I plan to do has this sensor rather than the original, and the QB one looked quite nice. On removing from the resin carrier, it’s presented with a butt fit, so I opted for the dill and pin option to give some strength, drilling a 1mm oversize hole in the sensor, located to align with one of the holes in the fuselage underside. Once the glue dried, this could then be slotted straight in and secured.

The sensor comes with a clear glazed piece for the IR sensor a clear red piece for the underside (although that’s part of the resin piece clearly (but I need to check photos)) and a blade antenna. There are three blade antennas supplied and I now know why. The first one ... well... I know there’s a reason why I’ll never lose it a third time... because I didn’t find it after I lost it the second time. The first time I lost it was just after removing it from the resin carrier – I moved the other bits to one side and looked back at my cutting mat.. where’d it go? Two or three minutes later – there it is right in front of me on the mat (!) it needs a cut at an angle so that it sits vertical on the antenna... and whilst this was easy enough, it did finally accelerate off the tweezers at just faster than the speed of light either to be consumed by the carpet monster or, as some will have us believe, into the future (hence the speed) so that it’ll never be found until in 5 days time, there it will be in plain sight. Anyway, No. 2 was removed from the resin carrier and applied with some superglue and a little more patience.

50075955557_9ab1632f9e_h.jpgQuickboost IR Sensor antenna Pinned by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And here it is all fitted – and now looking quite Tomcat shaped.

50075709016_855480784a_h.jpgChin IR sensor and antenna fitted. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And in close up. I might remove the blade antenna – and reattach later; am I really approaching this sensibly thinking it’ll stay in place – probably not.

50075717236_d3150dd1c3_h.jpgIR sensor with blade antenna by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Lastly... I took a look at the arrester hook attachment and cleaned that up. The fairing isn’t as open as the kit portrays, so I added a piece of plasticard into the housing with the two holed pre-drilled to represent the holes that allow the tie downs to pass through... which presumably anchor the hook to the aircraft keel structure inside.

50075711251_16d437c4fb_h.jpgTail hook anchor details by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And I tidied the hook, making the cable channel a little more pronounced at the hook end and adding the U frame piece that helps transfer loads into the aircraft... and what I presume is a hydraulic drain (0.2mm wire) under the main hinge point.

50075972837_89e950cf56_h.jpgTail hook tidied, U frame brace added, HYD drain added. by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

So... there we go. It’s looking Tomcat light and approaching the stage for some paint, at last....  thanks for reading.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi all, probably time for an update. Some progress has been made but it’s been a bit disjointed as other work/life priorities have been the focus of attention. As with many projects, I guess, there comes a stage when you think you’re ready for paint... and then all those other little bits are found... the bits you’d put off, or just forgotten; or is that just me. So... to begin with, here’s some of those bits I needed to do but had forgotten about.

Canopy. Yes, I needed to sort out the extreme mould line on the canopy ... and in fact it seemed more than that with what seems two halves that didn’t quite join up; one being higher than the other... which was a nuisance. Anyway. I set about with various grades of paper starting with 400, then 1000, then 1500 and 3600 micromesh. A number of times taking more material off each time. Not had one this bad before and not had to go to this extreme either... looked a mess for a while:

50152058282_77f57c7e91_h.jpgRidge sanding by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I then set about using some Tamiya polishing creams that my good friend Brian ordered for me when I couldn’t find them as a three-set, and these worked a treat; after quite some effort, this was the result.

50152061007_d94769e3cc_h.jpgSanded, smoothed, polished by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

I then added the Eduard etch side pieces; there’s a further etch that sits on the horizontal face of the canopy frame too, but I couldn’t seem to get these to fit properly, so worried that I’d cock it all up, I decided to leave these off and just used the larger pieces, secured with odourless (Bob Smith Industries) superglue.

50151276428_aa30209cf8_h.jpgAdding Photoetch by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Once both PE bits were added (and re-glued as one popped back off), I added the masking tapes and maskol to cover the whole thing (inside and out)

50151292193_14e3abbba7_h.jpgRe glueing PE to masked canopy by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Exhausts. It was time to dig out the Airies PE and get that ready to fit to the exhaust tube. Check the instructions (vague but ok) and cut out and tried to place inside the tube. Yea, that’s not going to fit.

50151279823_cae0dd2e8b_h.jpgAires PE doesn't fit Aires resin :-( by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

After a little pondering, I opted to go for the Eduard PE bit(s) instead. These are, to be fair, a bit of a fragile faff to put together and soldering was out of the question, so I used Delux Rocket Hot CA glue that bonded quite quickly.

50152068537_5c53bada3e_h.jpgConstructing Eduard reheat ring by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The Edurard PE, when you fit it the right way around, presents a plain ring to the exhaust tube (why?) – seen on right, so I retrimmed the Aires ring and glued that to the Eduard PE – seen on left... to be more representative.

50151285308_88eec74083_h.jpgEduard and trimmed Aires combined by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

These can then be mounted onto the rear fan spinner and sit like this

50151288283_747d2e78c8_h.jpgCombined reheat ring bits will sit like this by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

And inside the tube, look like this. In comparing this with photos in the Daco book for the P&W engine, I thought it looked ok.

50151289883_067891e052_h.jpgIn tube test fit by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

IR sensor antenna. Right, remember that tiny antenna that sits under the IR sensor. Yup, it broke off (it was never going to last). So, I drilled a 0.8mm hole in the sensor and then took a bit of 0.4mm wire and filed the end sides so that it presented a flat (ish) profile. 0.8mm as this is about the fore-aft dimension of the blade antenna. Once the model is completed, I’ll cut this so that I’m left with the flattened bit and about 5mm of .8mm dia wire, and place it in the hole. I did similar for the VHF antenna mast on my Harvard (a 1.0mm piece of wire) so it should work here too.

50151931386_7e863ad231_h.jpgReplacement aerial for IR sensor pod. Shaped 0.8mm wire by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The “A frame” piece that sits behind the RIO’s seat is not in the kit. I’d scratch built a unti to use, but wasn’t overly happy with it and Tony O passed me one of his resin units to try. I added a couple  small pieces of wire to represent some of the harnesses and some plascticard bits to enhance the fine part further.

50151388553_d64033797a_h.jpgResin +details rear cockpit frame -rear by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The front face here... the wire pieces will hopefully disappear down into the cockpit tub enough to fool the eye. My scratch-built item is behind. Looks like I got the size right at least.

50151391518_3cd7006986_h.jpgResin +details rear cockpit frame - front. And scratch built initial attempt by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Wheels. Ok, So i got to have a bit of a play here. I’d planned to use these fine Armoury wheels that looked very nice (and yes they are). The mains’ front face is beautiful (mid rims); the rear face does lack a little detail on the brake units (but who’s going to look at those?) but the nose wheels lacked a certain fidelity in the wheel rim and tyre interface. They were my first choice anyway. I had to drill out the wheels to fit to the axles (1.3 and 1.6mm holes). Next time, I’d shear off the main axles and add a wire axle through the middle – to allow a smaller hole in the wheel. We live an learn.

50151941346_6f9034f989_h.jpgArmoury resin wheels dry fit to gear legs by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

On looking at wheels on offer, I liked the True Details nose wheels so used these instead (or as well as. They’re much more refined when looking at photos of the real wheels

50151946086_c7469b7443_h.jpgNose gear test fit True Details nose wheels by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

A nose wheel comparison. I’m going to paint all four of these, so that I can defer commitment to the final ones until after they’re finished

50151401668_4f1f55ffaa_h.jpgNose wheels comparison. Pale armoury; darker true details by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr



Yes, I then got around to some paint (accepting that I’d probably forgotten something along the way). As has probably been mentioned, this is my first foray into Acrylics (always an old school enamels chap beforehand) and after much deliberating and checking various threads (and seeing what was available) I decided to try the Mission Models paints... as they seemed to get good reviews. I did a test a while back and quite enjoyed the results, so ... here goes.

The main components were given a couple of coats of MM black primer. I goes on rather well (even with my cack-handed approach) and gives a lovely smooth shine (at least, where I got it down properly). My plan was to use this, then build up various undercolours before applying the Light gull grey top coat.

50151950721_7f058d53fa_h.jpgPaint it black by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50151414578_9b856aab10_h.jpgBlack cat from front by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50151958771_06cb49c932_h.jpgBlack cat. Primer by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50152201207_807c4ff0fd_h.jpgA little white primer in gear bays and intakes by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

There we go – things I forgot. Intake blanks. The intakes are quite a disappointment in this kit, and I was unable to get rid of the seam inside so I decided to use the Eduard PE blanks. These needed reshaping as they’re a bit too big to sit inside the intakes as presented (what dimensions did they measure?) and again... I gave up trying to solder the handles to the plate and resorted to Rocket Hot again... you can see the solder on the rear one where I tried.

50151407123_203f516d61_h.jpgEduard intake covers by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Phew – back to paint. I primed a number of bits that needed a mix of acrylic or Alclad in Halfords primer (my previously default option), including the two sets of larger nose gear doors after I broke one of the Eduard PE hinges off one of the small doors (it had dropped on the floor and I trod on it – it happens) so I opted for resin ones. Again, I’m doing both sets to see what look best at the end. Note that the Eduard PE lacks the antenna bump... so I probably won’t use it.

The exhausts had had a few Alclad shades, along with the fans, tubes and reheat rings

50152204477_a48d23465a_h.jpgGear and intake covers primed; engine bits Alclad by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Engine exhaust bits – yes, i’ll mask all of this when I add itot the fuselage to do the side fairings. A mix of colours including stainless steel, engine exhaust, burnt metal, and... I’m going to need to look again to see what I used. I masked the rear of the main ring when I added the darker shades to tone them back and it will need some weathering and blending, but it’ll do for now.

50152206277_a6f7a66f28_h.jpgExhaust initial colours by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Gear legs and wheels – all got a coat of white. Enamel to begin with ... but I went over this a few days later with some MM white and got a much stronger finish.

50151423208_70810d0bd8_h.jpgLegs n wheels in white by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Fuselage underpainting. OK... image heavy point to follow – some stages of where I set about (remember it’s my first time doing this and using this paint) to build up some tonal variations, recognising that most of this will be lost once the Light Gull Grey (LGG) goes down at the end... but I enjoyed it. Main colours are either Intermediate blue, Radome Tan (or a mix of both with a touch of black or white) and some later additions with bright blue and a brown.

50160225416_f9286fafeb_h.jpgPre shading stage 1 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50160476162_f4d2f52098_h.jpgPre-shading (marbelling) stage 2 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50162870668_1ebbe8b9f3_h.jpgMarble pre shade stage 3 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Then I decided to repaint the gear bays (when the white paint tuned up – I’d forgotten to order it)

50173021746_b3e37edbb5_h.jpgGear bays masked by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50173277272_cdde04a490_h.jpgGear bays white by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

Note my fabricated model holder - from several bits of padding that my new airbrush compressor came packaged in - useful to hold the model whilst painting.


Some more colours – the last re-colour (marble?) layers

50173025706_49fb8dca37_h.jpgFurther masking and final pre colouring 1 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50173281477_16186086c4_h.jpgFurther masking and final pre colouring 2 by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

It should be noted that all colouring is based on looking at the selection of photos of this aircraft (most of which seem to be of the starboard side apart from the nose art shot with  the artist on the port side, so the colouring is a little interpretation of looking at the starboard side and replicating across. Most of this will the down under the LGG. And some LGG misted over can be seen now applied to panels on the intake trunking, greatly lightening the colours.

I had a go at the port wing whilst I had paint to use... again a first coating over the panels to give further definition.

50173284312_52c2211bb7_h.jpgpre colouring and first LGG layer on wing by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The gear bays had been masked – I made a plasticard cover for the nose gear and blue tacked it in ... and taped the main gear bays

50173031346_41dfb26c28_h.jpgGear bays masked; intakes LGG'd by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

50173033051_440241a9db_h.jpgIntakes painted and further toning by Jonathan Hughes, on Flickr

The intakes were a bit of a pita.... I had to repaint these and rub them down quite a few times; but I found that I could brush the paint on neat with a flat No. 6 brush and it dried really nicely (which I did a bit) and went over with the airbrush to tidy it all together... so that’s the final colour in there. I will probably use a pencil to add panel lines in there, just to give a little detail as they’re a little vague.

So... that’s it. I did find I’d missed some PE off one of the main gear doors (so I fixed that) and that’s now primed awaiting paint. I will apply an overall panel based LGG thin mix randomly and slowly build up. The outer tail faces need to be white (as the kit transfers are only red and clear) but at least they’ll fit the thin chord HB kit fins.

So... progress... and I’m quite enjoying the paint. Plenty of opportunities to balls it up yet, but fingers crossed. At least it’s fun!



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Right, as we had to wait in for a plumber this afternoon, I thought I'd lay down a little of the light gull grey. I did this essential panel by panel to retain some of the panel line shading, and some of the under colour variations remain. Not much, but it was always going to be subtle, and let's face it, this whole project is a bit of an experiment for me. I've both the 36440 and 16440 light gull greys. I laid them down on an old coach body to compare them and found 36440 to be a Matt finish; 16440 is a satin finish. The Matt covers easier (as you'd expect) so I started with this one; my top coat layers will be with the 16440 to give a little sheen.

The tails still look untidy.... yes, o need to mask those off and add some white to the outer faces. But it's getting there.

Subtle tonal variations... in work

Just an hour or two's work...

Laying down a light gull grey coat

As said, most colour variation has gone, but there's still a hint of a blue tinge to the upper surfaces and a brown tinge to the rear of the engine nacelles which is what I wanted.

Fingers crossed it'll carry on ok.




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