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Splash the Zeros! - Completed


dnl42

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A scene from The Final Countdown has a pair of F-14s intercepting a pair of "Zeros" the day before the Dec 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. If this makes no sense to you, check out the awesome USS NIMITZ flight operations scenes from the movie that are available on Youtube.

 

The kits for this are Revell's 1/144 F-14 boxing that includes the movie markings (VF-84 Jolly Rogers, BuNo 160384, AJ-203) and a Platz 1/144 T-6 that will be modified, as in the movie, to stand in for a "Zero."

splash-start0.jpg

 

This build will incorporate some favorite aircraft, ANYTHING from Grumman, and the NAA T-6

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  • dnl42 changed the title to Splash the Zeros!

Hi,

 

The bit where the 14's splash the "Zero's" has always puzzled me as I recall they radio the Nimitz and describe them as "Trophy Class" whatever that means, or is my memory going? Liked the film though, and good luck with the build.

 

Pete

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@Col., to use an actual A6M kit would be, um, historically inaccurate. A pox upon that!

@Jasonb13, @Tim R-T-C, @Hewy, and @janneman36. I hope I do this justice!

@TonyOD, the flight operations scenes are the star of the movie and available on Youtube. Make sure to see Starring the Jolly Rogers, a.k.a., The Final Countdown Behind the scenes.

@PeterB the trophy comment is made when the Zeros are first spotted. He's describing aircraft in "mint condition." Once the yacht is attacked and one of the F-14s is fired upon, cherry aircraft no longer matters.

 

I've captured some excellent screenshots from the various Youtube vids. Some issues. AJ-202 and AJ-203 are shown in scenes of interest. AJ-202 is shown firing the M61 and AJ-200 is shown launching the AIM-9. The kit's "Final Countdown" markings are for AJ-203. According to F-14 Pilot's Unreleased Notes on Filming "The Final Countdown", there were two "AJ-202" aircraft, two "AJ-203" aircraft, and one other. Markings for AJ-200 160386 are also provided. Not yet sure what I'll do...

 

Also, I found some good production shots in Florida Memory.

 

I've started on the T-6. Looks like the cowling, wing tips, wing root, rudder, and canopy are the key mods.

 

Hopefully Postimage gets is stuff together soon so I can post some more pix.

 

 

 

 

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The starting pix

 

The Platz T-6

splash-start1.jpg

 

Here's the Revell F-14

splash-start2.jpg

 

And the markings

splash-start3.jpg

 

The two Zeros. You can see the cowling (upper and "exhausts"), canopy, and rudder mods.

dm6816.jpg

dm6817.jpg

 

A production shot of one of the Zeros, ready for its close-up

dm6804.jpg

 

The wing root mods.

1-Swg-U42-XSpw-4-56.jpg

Any clues on what's going on with the top of the fins?

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7 hours ago, Col. said:

Both kits look to be good quality. Have you sourced crew figures for this project?

That's something I've been thinking about. I build 1/144 with black canopies, but the Zero canopies are open in the scenes. 

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35 minutes ago, Col. said:

The only figures I've used in the past were white-metal Aeroclub ones but sure there must be some other options.

N scale is 1:148..1:160. With the thickness of the clear plastic, they would be around the right size, particularly towards 1:160. A little thick paint could probably get an acceptable representation of a helmet. :shrug:

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I found some 3-views that were very similarly sized--which means they were different scales. I thought it would be interesting to compare the A6M (red) and T-6 Blue.

T-6-A6M.jpg

The side view is aligned to the propeller. The top view to the engine crankshaft. The font view to the wing roots. Again, different scales as the A6M has a 36ft wingspan while the T-6 is 42ft.

 

I assume the "conversion" was strictly non-structural. New wing-tips, with no changes to the ailerons. Fairings over the wing leading edges at the root. New canopy with original cockpit. Relocation of the port-side carb air-inlet to the bottom. Reshaping the rudder bottom. Additions MG props. These specific replicas kept the 2-blade prop, for which I need some manner of prop-blur.

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The fuselage has lost the carb inlet and grown a tail. The wing sprouted some rounded tips. I'm surprised the pitot has managed to hang on so long. :whistle: Those rib effects are about the size of a 2x4 and need more knocking down...

splash-tips-tail.jpg

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@Col. and @Hewy thanks!

 

Brengun's Rufe vac canopy and Japanese pilots should soon be on their way to this side of the pond; I also ordered their F-14 vac canopy.  F-14 pilots are coming from Shapeways.

 

The last of the wing mods are the root fairings. I cut a notch into the wing, set in a bit of Evergreen square rod, and then faired it in. This left depressions on the upper leading edge behind the square rod that was filled in with CA. Square, round, and crossing files (4- & 6-cut) were used for rough and fine shaping.

splash-roots.jpg

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A dry-fit of fuselage to wings shows the pilot seat is a bit too forward! :doh: 

splash-cockpit-fitcheck0.jpg

 

The entire cockpit is a single part, so I'll have to cut the seat off and move it back. This will best wait for the pilot from Brengun...

splash-cockpit-fitcheck1.jpg

 

 

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@Col., I had a similar thought.

 

Here's a shot of the Monogram 1/48 "Miller SNJ" cockpit from 2 years ago. Hm, I should first just move the whole cockpit aft. I'll also need to file away that rear closed bit on the fuselage...

splash-monogram-cockpit.jpg

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I improved the cockpit alignment by shifting the whole assembly rearward. I'll wait until I have that canopy in-hand before I put in some manner of IPs and center-cockpit frame.

splash-cockpit-fitcheck2.jpg

 

Time to move on to the F-14!

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I don't know if this of any help, but the 'Zeros' in the film were the ones used in the 1970 film 'Tora, Tora, Tora' and any articles about the conversion of the T6s used on that film. 

I saw the film in Sheffield before I moved up to Leeds. After it finished I came out the cinema went straight round to Beatties and bought the Hasegawa kit and went through the Hannants catalogue when I got home and ordered the Microscale decals. 

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