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Another little update.

 

Next step is to mask the metal work on the back end with Parafilm "M", trimmed to fit with a sharp #11 blade.  Also (not shown), the light on the front of the vertical stabilizer is similarly masked with Parafilm:

 

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Above right, the two main canopies are masked with Parafilm "M", but cut to the outlines of the F4H-1, not the later outlines depicted in the HAS kit.  The windscreen is masked with Micro Mask, as it is easier to see the tiny canopy lines, to be able to trim the masking, after it dries:

 

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Above right, the intakes are painted Insignia White inside, and the small cut-to-shape pieces of Styrofoam (the kind coated with a plastic surface) are inserted into the front, to mask the demarcation line between the white insides, and what will be FS 16440 Light Gull Grey, eventually.  Not shown, the front part of the rear fuselage (the area in the back of the intakes) is painted flat black, to prevent that see-thru effect.

 

Next, an appropriately sized piece of sprue is stretched to give the shape for the nose boom (DB kit nose boom shown below for comparison):

 

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Above right, the intakes and nose boom have been glued into place.  The nose boom was drilled and a piece of wire installed to mate it to the nose and re-enforce the join.  Intakes are shown after some putty was applied, and sanded a bit.

 

Next, a view with the nose boom join sanded and a layer of Mr Surfacer 500 used to check for defects:

 

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Above right, most of the modifications are done, and the major assembly finally has a coat of Alclad II Grey Primer overall.  It's starting to come together now...

 

Ed

 

 

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Some great hard work going on here.  Love it.  I strongly desire an early Phantom and you've shown the way, but I doubt I could pull it off.  

 

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Ad-4N

 

I wasn't sure either.  I just gave it a shot.  I anticipate that the hardest part will be te painting...

 

Ed

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Another short update.

 

Below, the bottom, nose and upper wing control surfaces have been painted white, in this case with True North Enamels, as I wanted to try spray painting with them on this build.  After the white had dried, I masked off the upper wing control surfaces and the nose, and after much tedious masking of the white paint on the nose with 1mm Tamiya tape,I then sprayed some Model Master International Orange, FS 12197 on the unmasked parts:

 

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When that all dries, I'll re-mask the entire nose orange-and-white striped areas with Parafilm "M" and shoot the top color, Light Gull Grey.  I tried to use the 1mm Tamiya tape for the white, and leave 2mm stripes of the orange. It came out so-so, but I'll touch it up a bit with a brush, later on.

 

While waiting on the fuselage paint to dry (the True North white took about 2 days to dry, but that's possibly because the modeling room is only about 68f !) I got to work on the last needed modification.

 

The DB kit suggests cutting the slots off of the front edge of the stabilators, but after checking on the dimensions given on one of the Tailhook Topics pages, I determined that the stabilators were of the correct size, WITH the slot area left on, so I had no choice but to fill them with putty and sand them to shape.  I began by taping off most of the rear area on the top of the stabilators, to try and preserve some panels lines; that didn't work out too well, and I eventually had to rescribe the panel lines:

 

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After sanding to final shape and re-scribing the panel lines, then adding a coat of Alclad II Grey Primer, they look like so:

 

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Above right, the stabilators have been painted white, all over, top and bottom.  The outer parts, which will be left white on the tops and bottoms, are masked off with Parafilm "M".  The inner parts will be painted (in my case) Alclad II #106 White Aluminum, and then later, everything but the area marked "X" will be masked off, and that area will be painted a darker metallic color.

 

Well, as I said, "a short update".  Back after some paint dries...

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

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Okay,now I'm entering the "where the rubber meets the road" time on this build --  the markings.  since I'm so cheap, and custom decals are rather expensive in limited runs, I decided to take a shot at another method -- paint!

 

I was blessed to have the DB decal sheet to work from, even though it was a bit yellowed from age.  However, a couple of days exposed to direct sunlight (sealed inside a Zip-loc bag taped to the inside of a window facing south), it improved enough where it could be used.  However, after scanning into Photoshop, and stripping away the background color (white), ALL  the yellowing was removed.  Below is a jpeg of the scanned decal sheet, wherein the white is actually clear transparent.  Since that color is pretty hard to depict, it shows as white here...:

 

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While this may seem large to you, it is an actual 1/72 size picture, but in 320 dots per inch resolution, rather than the 72 DPI we are used to seeing here.  Also, when blowing up the original sheet scanned image, it had a lot of flaws, so I spent quite a while sort of re-mastering the decal images, particularly the smaller print, to make it more clear.  More on that later.  For now, I'm only concerned with the International Orange stripes. 

 

I was originally just going to print some decals, so I worked at rearranging them in various ways to get the most bang for the buck, cost-of-sheet-wise.  The next image is one of the various arrangements of this part of the needed markings.  Also, you'll notice that DB was kind enough to provide markings for two different F4H-1's, but I'm only concerned here with the first prototype:

 

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Again this one is also actual size, at 320 DPI.   I just cut off the top of one of these images for my use,

 

 Next I printed this image onto plain typing (computer) paper.  I had found a roll of Kamoi tape on-line, similar to Kubuki tape, although there may be a difference.  It is very thin, however. and rather paper-like.  I used it simply because it was wide enough.

 

I put a layer of this tape onto a glass surface, in this case, an old glass shelf from a mini-fridge that I had laying about.  Then I taped the paper decal print-out atop the Kamoi tape:

 

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Next, using a new #11 X-acto blade, I cut through both the paper and the tape, using a straight-edge where possible, and free-handing elsewhere.  Cutting on the glass both insures a clean cut, and also you can feel it when you have cut all the way through both the paper and tape layers:

 

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After carefully removing the paper layer, we are left with just the tape patterns:

 

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Above right, after carefully removing the unneeded surround, only the tape masks are left.  I might have gone the other way, and tried to leave the shapes behind and  to make a mask to shoot the paint through, but I couldn't imaging trying to lay out this these shapes, particularly where they overlap onto each other at the rear of the cockpit.

 

Normally what I would do is lay down some Parafilm "M" atop the model, then lay down the masking tape shapes, and then cut through the Parafilm along the edges of the tape, and then just remove the tape, pulling up the Parafilm cutouts as well.  However, with these tiny little shapes, and the needed repositioning of the tape several times  to get everything to look correct, I felt that the Parafilm "M" would lift up in unwanted places, because of having to lift and reposition the tape several times, to get it all lined up.

Remember, the chief advantage of Parafilm "M" (particularly over bare metal finishes) is a low level of tackiness.

 

Anyway, this time I chose to put the tape shapes onto the model, and then the Parafilm "M" atop the tape:

 

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Above, the arrow points to a gap in the tape, caused by my own clumsiness, but no matter.  At this time, the Parafilm "M" is applied only generally in the areas needed to cut out the masked area, on the theory that if I screwed it up, no need to waste the time needed to cover all the other parts of the model against paint over-spray. I would do that later, if this part was successful.

 

Next, after cutting along the tape, the masked off areas are removed, then the rest of of the model is covered with Parafilm, to prevent over-spray.  It now looks like this:

 

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Next, the cut-out areas are sprayed with Alclad II Aqua Gloss Clear, to help prevent any bleeding through of paint under the Parafilm, when painting the International Orange, in this case an old bottle of Model Master.

 

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Above right, the needed areas are sprayed orange.  Since the paint was an older, partially-used bottle, the paint had thickened a bit.  Figuring that a little thicker would also help any problems with bleeding under the masks, so I thinned it just a little, and used an airbrush with a .3mm tip, vs. the .2mm tip that I would normally use for small details and thinner paint.  As a result, you can see why it was necessary to pretty much mask the entire model against over-spray....

 

In any event, it's now time for 24 hours of paint booth drying time, after which I'll remove the masks and see whether this has all been successful or not.  If not, I see a lot of stripping and sanding (and perhaps ordering custom decals) in my future.

 

Pray for me in my hour of need....

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, TheRealMrEd said:

Pray for me in my hour of need....

Will do 👍 

 

I'm all for painting markings rather than using decals, but boy, you are surely taking this to another level :clap: 

 

Ciao

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Hi Ed,

Only just found this thread (why did you not tell me you were starting it?) so have not found time to read it all.

I have just remembered about the decals on the intake. I did not make them. They came from the spares box. They may even have come from the Fujimi kit used as a starting point.

Regarding the NACA inlets in the nose. My memory is not what it was these days and I tried several ways but I think that I ended up with making a cutout in a sheet of plastic and then embedding that in a hole in the nose using Milliput.

I am very interested in seeing how the masking works out.

You are a lot faster than I was. I think mine took well over a year with regular spells on the shelf of doom whilst I regained the will to live.

John

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On 1/8/2021 at 4:38 PM, Tailspin Turtle said:

For more information on the early Phantom IIs, you can buy my monograph from Steve Ginter (https://thanlont.blogspot.com/2018/11/birth-of-legend-mcdonnell-f4h-1-phantom.html)or for free, look at my blog posts: https://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2013/03/f4h-f-4-phantom-index.html

 

I just bought your F4H-1 book - many thanks, what a great source of information! 

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2 hours ago, John R said:

I have just remembered about the decals on the intake. I did not make them. They came from the spares box. They may even have come from the Fujimi kit used as a starting point.

 

The Italeri / Testors kits have the vents as decals. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

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11 hours ago, giemme said:

Will do 👍 

 

I'm all for painting markings rather than using decals, but boy, you are surely taking this to another level :clap: 

 

Ciao

 

 

Thanks giemme,  It was just an experiment to see whether I could do it without the decals.  This just happened to be tougher  because of tiny, fiddly ends, etc.

 

Ed

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8 hours ago, John R said:

Hi Ed,

Only just found this thread (why did you not tell me you were starting it?) so have not found time to read it all.

I have just remembered about the decals on the intake. I did not make them. They came from the spares box. They may even have come from the Fujimi kit used as a starting point.

Regarding the NACA inlets in the nose. My memory is not what it was these days and I tried several ways but I think that I ended up with making a cutout in a sheet of plastic and then embedding that in a hole in the nose using Milliput.

I am very interested in seeing how the masking works out.

You are a lot faster than I was. I think mine took well over a year with regular spells on the shelf of doom whilst I regained the will to live.

John

Hi John, I figured your was already done, so this one might not be of much interest to you.  My apologies.   As I sated earlier, this build is mostly an experiment about whether a reasonably skilled modeler could make one of these without having to spend a king's ransom.  Heck, I've always had the DB kit to fall back on if things went south, so I had nothing to lose...      However, I don't see anything wrong with posting a tough build that takes many moons to complete;  that's what firewater is for!

 

Ed

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6 hours ago, Hook said:

 

The Italeri / Testors kits have the vents as decals. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

Hi Hook,

 

Got any ideas about which exact kits might have them? My searches on-line don't show them on any of the few Italieri 1/72 decals I've been able to find.

 

Ed

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Now for a quick update!

 

After removing all the Parafilm "M" masking, everywhere but on the canopies and the metallic parts of the exhaust area, I realized I'd made two mistakes.  The first was that I had used a bottle of FLAT 36440 Light Gull Grey, vs the GLOSS 16440 variety.  This gave the Parafilm "M" a little more "tooth" to grab onto the model, and second, I only used one layer of the Parafilm "M" vs two layers that I usually apply.  These two things taken together, made the single layer of Parafilm "M" tear apart at the heavily-painted edges, rather than release cleanly, leaving jagged bits behind:

 

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I first tried using really sticky masking tape to lift off the buts of Parafilm, but that also lifted little bits of the grey paint.  But, after using my little hard plastic sprue homemade canopy scraper (shown below the model), I was able to scrap off the rest with little damage:

 

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After a little brush touch-up on the grey paint, she looks much better, with only a couple of spots (marked "X") needing a little love:

 

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I think I may be able to salve the old striping job after all!  Thanks giemme, for the prayers!

 

Ed

 

 

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23 hours ago, TheRealMrEd said:

 Thanks giemme, for the prayers!

 

Amen. 

 

So what's your assessment this far, Ed, of your "experiment to see whether I could do it without the decals"?

 

Gene K

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Hi Gene K,

 

I think I can clean it up pretty well.  Of course, I'm still going to have to print all the rest  of the decals decals on my trusty inkjet.  More on that later.

 

Ed

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On 1/28/2021 at 3:11 PM, TheRealMrEd said:

Hi Hook,

 

Got any ideas about which exact kits might have them? My searches on-line don't show them on any of the few Italieri 1/72 decals I've been able to find.

 

Ed

I believe all the Italeri toolings of the Phantom in 1/72 should have the bleed air vents above and below the intakes provided as decals.  Most boxings are labeled as either F-4E/F/G, RF-4C/E, or F-4S. At least the former two were reissued several times by Testors (usually with better decals), and I think all three have also been reboxed by Tamiya for their domestic line.

 

Note that the recent Italeri F-4C/D/J "Vietnam Aces" kit is the ESCI tooling and thus has the vents molded in.

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1 hour ago, CT7567 said:

I believe all the Italeri toolings of the Phantom in 1/72 should have the bleed air vents above and below the intakes provided as decals.  Most boxings are labeled as either F-4E/F/G, RF-4C/E, or F-4S. At least the former two were reissued several times by Testors (usually with better decals), and I think all three have also been reboxed by Tamiya for their domestic line.

 

Note that the recent Italeri F-4C/D/J "Vietnam Aces" kit is the ESCI tooling and thus has the vents molded in.

Thanks Hook, that explains it.  I was looking at the Vietnam Aces kit...  At the end of the day, I'll probably just got on my copy of DraftSight and draw them up.

 

Ed

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after some masking, shooting, re-masking, etc. and a little brush touch-up, the stripes came out okay:

 

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Next up, the bare metal leading edges on all surfaces.  Because of the difficulty masking the bare metal leading edges on Phantoms, I took a dive (as I did on my F-110A Spectre build), and used silver decals instead of paint.  This time I used Aeromaster decals, instead of the old Scalemaster silver stripes that I usually use.  I am glad to say that this decal material is thin enough to look like paint, yet tough enough to stand a little bit of prodding into position.  I use Micro Set for the initial positioning and Walther's Solvaset for the final meltdown.  Be aware, once the Solvaset goes on, you don't have much time to fiddle, or the decals will tear, so that's usually applied when you have everything close to perfect, but not quite!  The Aeromaster stuff looks like so:

 

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Above right, the decals have been added to the inlet and vertical stabilizer leading edges.  To put the decals on these surfaces, imagine placing a playing card on it's edge.  The first step is to align the center-line of the decal  strip along the thin edge of the playing card, with equal amount on each sides, using MicroSet.  When the decal is properly aligned and starting to droop down a bit on either side, the Solvaset is added very gently via a brush, and after a few moments, the decal will begin to sag down onto either side of the card.  Now is the time to go for final even alignment on both sides of the card, using a paint brush, or the tip of a #11 blade.  As the decal softens further, it will begin to tear if you mess with it.  If it is perfect, leave it to dry.  Otherwise, scrape if off and start over with a new strip of decal.  On the inlets, I usually use 3 pieces or decal.  Top, then bottom, the last, a piece in the middle to align with the other two pieces.  You CAN do it all in one piece, but as it softens, all the extra length just causes problems, as it becomes a VERY soft decal!

 

When I start on the wings and horizontal stabilizers (or stabilators, in this case), the drill is to align the decal along the leading edge, with half sticking out over the edge, using MicroSet.  As it softens, add the Solvaset with a brush and tease it to lay down on the bottom side.  It's easier than it sounds, and after a couple of tries, you'll be an old pro!

 

Back later,

 

Ed

 

 

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Thanks Hook!  If you like that one, how about now?:

 

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The decals were done using a combination of kit decals, a few from the spares box, and these:

 

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The above pic is a jpeg at life-size for 1/72, using 320 dpi. They have been re-mastered to clean up the images (in some cases, quite a lot).  They are free for anyone to use, for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes...  I think the silver decal leading edges turned out okay, how about you?

 

I printed mine on an ink-jet printer (after many tries), because I wanted the red degree marks for the stabilators to be red.  I could have just added them to the International Orange sheet earlier, but I wanted red.  Also, the decals depicting the holes (or in some cases, filled holes)  in the airbrakes, are dome in a dark grey, because I was afraid that black might be too harsh.  If you weren't as picky,  I'd recommend using a laser printer for the black (and possibly the other colors as well) should you be near one.

 

Well, time for a little touch-up here and there, and then a coat of Aqua Gloss all over to seal the decals.  I may then add a coat of semi-gloss whatever, to help kill some of the shine a bit.

 

Back eventually,

 

Ed

Ed

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How you managed to put those silver decals around the intakes edges is beyond me - respect! :worthy:

 

Ciao

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Rounding the final curve now!

 

Next up, as they intended, I had to use the AIM-7E Sparrow missiles from the Hasegawa 1/72 Aircraft Weapons Set #3.  The weapons kit only provided decal for the live missiles, so I had to scrounge in the spares box for some blue decal (not necessarily the right shade) to denote a dummy missile, dummy warhead, and a dummy rocket motor.   The missile body is white, with a Light Gull Grey nosecone.   I couldn't find any good pictures, so this is my best guess:

 

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After the missiles were glued in, the landing gear, doors and struts were all added:

 

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I'll add a little wash to the heel wells, and call her done.   For a wild and crazy kitbash, I thought it turned out pretty well.  I have another Hasegawa kit on hand, so I may eventually do another, and try to get all the little details correct.  Anyway, here she is as she stands now:

 

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I hope you enjoyed watching this build with me, and watched me learn something that I really didn't know how to do.  Like the little engine, I just "thought I could"!

 

A few more picture will be posted soon over at RFI, and a link will be posted HERE

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Ed

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