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1/72 Captured Luftwaffe Lioré et Olivier LéO 451T (Heller) - take two! +++ 15/3/21 - it's got me beat.


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Right then. This build was originally my pick for the MTOWW2 III GB but it turned out to be brutal from the start, mainly because I was doing stuff wrong. After several months on it I realised that I wasn't going to be able to get over the line for the end of the GB and in any case I wasn't happy with it for a lot of reasons, so I've scrapped it and started again. The kit is the venerable old Heller offering, which I think is the only game in town if you want to build this sleek and attractive aircraft. The original tale of woe is here if you're interested.

 

This is how far I got:

 

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And this is how it looks now:

 

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I've found that scale modelling is a never-ending learning process and at the the end of a given build there are always some things I would have done differently to end up with a better result. Numerous things, in this case. As this is a "double kitter" (I managed to trash the pilot's canopy from the original kit, then a vacform replacement, so ended up buying another kit just so I could use the canopy) there are some bits I can salvage from the original and others that I'll be using "new".

 

Normally I'd have thrown in the towel but I've invested far too much time and money in this one not to get a result, and anyway it's a really interesting subject, a French-built plane captured by the Italians, taken off their hands by the Germans and then recaptured by the Americans, so it will end up with Luftwaffe splinter camo and USAAF markings. The 451 was originally conceived and built as a bomber but the Luftwaffe converted theirs to fast transports.

 

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So, back to step one, I've marked up the wings and fuselage for some panel line scribing, as typically of Heller kits of this vintage all the panel lines are raised:

 

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Hopefully I'll make a better job of it than I did first time round. Wish me luck!

 

 

Edited by TonyOD
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  • TonyOD changed the title to 1/72 Captured Luftwaffe Lioré et Olivier LéO 451T (Heller) - take two!

One of the lessons from take one was that painting the interior then glueing transparencies to the paint is asking for trouble, especially when some of the areas are a square millimetre. I’ve taken a bit more time with it for take two, masked them all with tape on the inside and Maskol on the outside and done the window frames with black Sharpie before sticking them in place. Not that the interior will be very visible it should make for a neater result, the first one was a dog’s breakfast with windows popping left right and centre.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had a busy few days what with one thing or another, but have managed to make a bit of progress.

 

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The interior isn't particularly detailed but at least is a lot neater and tidier than take one, where I was bemoaning the fit of the fuselage halves. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the fit of the fuselage halves, it's perfect, just that everything was so schlonked up with glue, primer and paint that it never had a prayer of a good fit! I've gone for the same vert pomme suggested by the Heller instructions, there's a fair bit of debate out there about interior colours for the interiors of French bombers (bleu nuit is a popular choice), and in any case the canopy and nose cone I retained from take one have vert pomme internal framing - I ain't masking another set, that's for sure.

 

The underwings are an improvement on take one, where I used acrylic rattlecan yellow as a base with several layers of enamel yellow brush painted over the top, the two don't agree with each other. Here I've used brush-painted acrylic yellow - what seemed like about a hundred coats, I had to rescribe the panel lines along the way. The "preshading" effect I did with a very soft (8B) pencil on the base, smudged a bit with a cotton bud then overpainted like this:

 

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 The underwings with be further enlivened with a panel line wash and probably oil wash later on. It's very unusual for me to paint an underwing separately like this but the wing halves have to be joined with in the incredibly delicate landing gears in situ, masking and painting around them was a 'mare on take one so we'll see how this goes. In the process of painting the overwings I realised that I was in the process of painting the whole of take one (pic in the first post) the wrong colour - I had got the two RLM shades in the splinter camo the wrong way round!

 

Anyway, here we are with another lockdown, so I might be able to find some more kit time!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find myself having to self-isolate for eight days, a bit of time stuck in the house means that I might be able to accelerate progress on this and a couple of other builds.

 

The interior is done, as I said above it's not up to much in terms of detail, it captures the layout of the cockpit but not much else. Heller's furniture department in particular must have been having an off day with this one, the seats are nasty blocky things, unlike the real thing which had curved back. I added some scratch seatbelts made of foil. also the instructions indicated to stick the seats straight on the floor which looked daft, also the pilot wouldn't have been able to see where he was going, so I elevated them with some bits of sprue. I can't turn up any photographs of the interior for these transport versions which carried 17 passengers so the cabin layout might actually have been significantly different to that of the bomber variant (the bombers had a retractable turret in the belly which I imagine would have been taken out to make room for the passengers). I've just theft the rangefinder out as I guess they wouldn't have needed this.

 

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The fuselage is zipped up ready for scribing. The fit is very good, I should just get away with a bit of sanding on the joins. The dorsal aperture is being modified. the dirty great cannon was absent from this aircraft and the "cutaways" had been filled. this is all very familiar territory but it's coming together a lot more easily this time round.

 

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Nasty landing gear next!

 

Cheers

Edited by TonyOD
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As I’m stuck in the house I’m going to spend the whole weekend modelling in my pyjamas. Dorsal aperture modification done, and I’m halfway through scribing the fuselage. Who doesn’t love a bit of scribing on curves?

 

 

Edited by TonyOD
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Made some progress the last couple of days, in between tinkering with a Spit for the Heller GB.

 

- fuselage scribed and primed, white fuselage band painted and masked, underside of fuselage rattlecanned yellow in readiness for the preshading treatment I gave to the underwings once it's hardened up in a couple of days.

- overwings getting the splinter treatment, though I've found myself a bit confused about which RLM is which as they're so close together

 

I'm going with a very unusual build order here, everything I've ever done has had the wings and tail on before it's seen primer but here I'm painting the fuselage and wings separately and then joining them, simply to minimise the amount of handling the wings will get as they have to be built around those horrifically delicate landing gears. I'll have some work to do with filler and paint to hide the joins (the fit ain't perfect) but I think this is the safest way to do it.

 

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Edited by TonyOD
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Right, landing gears. In real life these were elegant, even graceful, but in 1/72 they're a bit of a 'mare... made up of lots of tiny fiddly bits with very little gluing surface to play with. They're especially tricky because the main part comes in two halves, the very visible seam down the front needs to be filled. This means the wheels and the parts of the landing gear need to be painted before assembly. I think my mistake first time round was to paint all the bits before gluing them together (paint to paint doesn't give a great bond, even with CA glue), leaving the end result very fragile. The landing gears have to be stuck in place before the wing halves are joined and it didn't take much handling before they started disintegrating. This time I've left as much as possible bare plastic, will reinforce with some addition liquid CA and then the various layers pf primer, paint and varnish should also help keep it all together. Fingers crossed. (I've seen a 3D-printed version somewhere - @RidgeRunner's search and rescue LeO I think? - and these are very appealing!)

 

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Incidentally the instructions call out dark grey for the undercarriage. This rather wonderful video  gives a very good look and it at 4:00, and this shows a much lighter colour, apparently confirmed by the side-on picture of this particular airframe.

 

 

 

Thanks for looking in!

 

 

 

 

Edited by TonyOD
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1 hour ago, TonyOD said:

(I've seen a 3D-printed version somewhere - @RidgeRunner's search and rescue LeO I think? - and these are very appealing!)

Hi Tony, These are from Renaissance Models  :

 

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/renaissance-rf72064-liore-and-olivier-leo-453-455-trains--1326019.

 

I can check but they were, I think, Around €10-12. They come with a nice resin wheel set too :)

 

Martin

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1 hour ago, TonyOD said:

Incidentally the instructions call out dark grey for the undercarriage.

I believe these to be metallic finish 

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8 hours ago, RidgeRunner said:

I believe these to be metallic finish

I was wondering that. The close up in the video clearly shows the bottom bits the wheel are mounted on to be shiny and metallic (I've done mine aluminium, perhaps should have gone with a shinier paint). Hard to tell for the rest but they could quite conceivably be metallic.

 

8 hours ago, RidgeRunner said:

Hi Tony, These are from Renaissance Models  :

 

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/renaissance-rf72064-liore-and-olivier-leo-453-455-trains--1326019.

 

I can check but they were, I think, Around €10-12. They come with a nice resin wheel set too :)

 

That's pretty decent value. However having taken the considerable trouble to build the little sods I'm going to persevere with them. 😁 Thanks though.

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Hi Tony, 

 

Having now compared the kit undercarriage train with the 3D offering and photos I now see that the kit parts build up in to an odd arrangement. I know it is a bit 11th hour for you but take a look yourself. Also the wheels look decidedly small (something that I think @JWM referred to in his build). 

 

Go on, you know you want to .... https://www.renaissance-models.com/ter/index.php/nouveautes2/produits/3019-leo455-train;)

 

Sorry about the googly but I've only just been poked enough to compare the two....

 

Martin

 

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Here is drawing of u/c

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The Heller made it not VERY bad, however not accurate for sure. I decided in my build not to correct it as "good enough, though not perfect"... Tyres for sure are too narrow and small, should have 14 mm diameter in 1/72.

Regards

J-W
 

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@JWM, @RidgeRunner you know what they say about "perfect" being the enemy of "good enough"... I'll take a look but again having invested so much of my time on God's earth in building these things (twice!) I'm inclined to stick with them! 😁

 

Meanwhile... after several days of layering yellow acrylic on the underside of the fuselage it's something close to the wings in shade and consistency. Like the wings I've had to hack butcher scribe the panel lines again, which wasn't easy through s o many coats of paint, but they should improve with a bit of wash at the end. The yellow top cost I used is brighter than the Humbrol rattlecan I used for the base but I think will mute down with a bit of an oil wash, Onward...

 

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One question about those (increasingly tempting for the sake of 12 euros but I have three kits inbound one of which is a B-17 dammit) landing gears if I may @RidgeRunner, how do the resin wheels affix to the oleos? Is some kind of axle supplied?

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3 hours ago, TonyOD said:

One question about those (increasingly tempting for the sake of 12 euros but I have three kits inbound one of which is a B-17 dammit) landing gears if I may @RidgeRunner, how do the resin wheels affix to the oleos? Is some kind of axle supplied?

Hi Tony, 

 

The end of each leg has a loop to take an axle, which isn’t supplied. I would use .5mm brass rod probably. The wheels can be drilled out accordingly. 
 

Martin

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Now here's a thing.

 

Having followed @RidgeRunner and @JWM's LeO builds with interest, I succumbed to temptation and ordered some fancy 3D-printed landing gears from Renaissance Models in France. They arrived today, and while I will need to free them from their printing scaffolrd they look to be exquisitely done, and will look like this, next to one of my assemblies from the kit original parts:

 

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.On the packaging the little label says that they are for the LeO 453/455, as it does on their website, now I take the trouble to look. Ah, thought I. That's interesting, because I'm building a 451. Surely the P&W-powered variants didn't have a whole different landing gear to the Gnome-Rhône powered variants like the one I'm building? I had already noticed a difference in the two from photographs, namely that the 3D-printed version lacks the horizontal bit leading back from the end of the axle, but putting the two side by side the big difference became apparent: the depth of the arch above the wheel.

 

So I took myself to YouTube to have a look at the video I posted above, Production of a bomber Liore et Olivier LeO 451. In the course of the video we get a good look at the landing gears no less than three times, and they look like this:

 

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It does indeed appear to be the case that LeO's were fitted with two different types of landing gear, one of which resembles the Renaissance 3D-printed version, and the other the kit original! But which (bearing in mind I've just forked out 18 euros for these things) is right?

 

So, over to Google...

 

G-R powered version, with shallow arch:

 

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P & W powered version with deep arch! Oh no!

 

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But... here's a G-R powered LeO with the deep arch!

 

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So which is right for my captured LeO?!

 

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Deep arch! Joy and relief in equal measure!

 

So, @RidgeRunner, I owe you one. The Renaissance once are not only sturdier and easier to work with (as well as having a far better pair of wheels), they accurately represent the undercarriage on my particular LeO! Huzzah!

 

 

 

Edited by TonyOD
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The kits original parts (and I'm referring to the landing gear legs) do look OK, especially when you consider how old this kit is.

 

We have to give some credit to Heller, for at least making some parts of a kit very well. For example, I still have the Heller F-86 and there are several parts that I plan to take from the kit and use them on Airfix's Sabre.

 

Looking forward to see this beautiful kit complete!!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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1 minute ago, Shalako said:

The kits original parts (and I'm referring to the landing gear legs) do look OK, especially when you consider how old this kit is.

 

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not criticising Heller at all. there's nothing wrong with the kit landing gears. They are very accurate, but only (as it turns out) for some LeO 451s, not all of them. I've never seen this point of the two different landing gears mentioned anywhere. Maybe it's all covered in that highly desirable (but very expensive) French book.

 

It's a lovely kit and builds beautifully with a bit of care and effort.

 

I do enjoy this aspect of the build though, getting to know the aircraft a bit.

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There is no misunderstanding Tony. I know that you like your build otherwise you wouldn't present it. And honestly, I think it is more enjoyable to build old kits than new ones because, you have the opportunity to at least appreciate the long way our hobby has gone over the years.

 

As I said, Heller did well with some of the kits it produced over the years and personally, I have quite a few for which I'm proud to have them in my collection.

 

For example, I was reading a review recently about Heller's Mirage III, and the kit has an accurate wing, and overall shape. For a scale modeller like me, these are the first details that I pay attention to when it comes to buying and/or building a kit.

 

👍

 

Cheers,

Bill

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@Shalako Cheers Bill, I was having this conversation elsewhere with @fightersweep (a fellow Heller aficionado) - the best way I can find to put it is these old kits have a lot of soul. I think that's why I'm such a fan of the brand. There are a few things I want to build (a late model Fishbed, a B-17, a Phantom, a Sparviero) where Heller have never done a kit and I'll have to go elsewhere, but I know the experience of building more modern kits will be very different! 

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4 hours ago, TonyOD said:

So, @RidgeRunner, I owe you one. The Renaissance once are not only sturdier and easier to work with (as well as having a far better pair of wheels), they accurately represent the undercarriage on my particular LeO! Huzzah!

I’m glad you got the 3D set, Tony. My take is that in many things Heller used the earliest, or even prototype, versions upon which to base their Kit designs. Your undercarriage train observations are an additional feature that I hadn’t realised. You will, I think, still need to add the small mudguards as I think your machine had those(?). The 453 didn’t. 
 

Yesterday I got the aluminium first coat on, and today gave it a rub down before getting the second on tomorrow. 😊 Soon, I hope, it will be decal time - probably on Tuesday after I clean up the paintwork. 
 

Martin

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2 hours ago, RidgeRunner said:

You will, I think, still need to add the small mudguards as I think your machine had those(?)


I’ll just use the kit ones. Assuming they’ll fit.

 

Just trimmed them down, went at them with some snippers and the first one felt like defusing a bomb where cutting the wrong wire would be catastrophic. The second wasn’t  so bad. Bit of tidying up to do. While not as prone to disintegration as the originals they’re still pretty delicate, one of the locating rods had snapped off in transit and required a running repair using a spare bit CA’d on as a splint.

 

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Edited by TonyOD
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  • TonyOD changed the title to 1/72 Captured Luftwaffe Lioré et Olivier LéO 451T (Heller) - take two! +++ 15/3/21 - it's got me beat.

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