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Vacform Lightning - I have no idea what I'm doing


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This is probably @Martians fault. The vacform tutorial build got me thinking about challenging myself to do something other than an injection moulded kit. I stick to 1:48 and almost always the end-of-the-cold-war through to modern era aircraft that I've seen at shows since my childhood. So there really isn't tons of choice in vacform, as soon as I saw the Lightning I knew it was the right one for me.

 

I don't normal go for the un-boxing type shots, but a lot of you might be as new as me to this form of modelling.

 

the box

 

IMG_20201214_223714

 

 Unfortunately no longer with the etch or the redtops that have been redacted from the front 

The fuselage

 

IMG_20201214_223822

 

Wings

IMG_20201214_224029

 

Spine stiffener, belly stiffener and an over wing tank

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Another tank

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White metal parts for the undercarriage, cockpit, exhausts and nose.

IMG_20201214_223919

injection moulded parts

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canopy

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Decals

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and sticks attached to the bottom of the box

IMG_20201214_224037

 

 

First job, as it says in the instructions is to read the instructions. I might have done this in excess of 30 times before I was brave enough to do anything. But eventually the time came.

I bought a new cutting mat

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Outlined the fuselage halves with a fine pen and with my new #11, cut the fuselage out of the backing.

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Sanding and more sanding until they fit together and also the nose and the exhausts fit snugly at opposite ends.

 

IMG_20210307_233557

 

IMG_20210307_234647

 

 

I have no idea how that ended up working so well.

 

Until next time.

Edited by chrislowe
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2 minutes ago, chrislowe said:

have no idea how that ended up working so well

We've all been there once. Especially when moving out of our modelling comfort zone.

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I built the F1 before Airfix released their injection moulded one. It'll either be in the Coltishall or City of Norwich museum now - was a part of the RAF Coltishall history collection before we closed and things got dispersed. From recollection it went pretty well, but I'd cut my teeth on a few Dynavector kits by then.

Edited by JagRigger
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Good work so far

just take your time and test fit, test fit, test fit, before you glue. It builds into a nice kit. Airfix my have the nice recessed panel lines but lacks the correct width, its just too skinny. And there's no angles in the leading edge of the wings.

 

Darren

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On 3/10/2021 at 12:31 AM, chrislowe said:

I have no idea how that ended up working so well.

I have. Time, patience, care and general modelling skill. Very nicely done so far.

 

That’s a very nice looking kit; I haven’t seen one out of the box before. Those injection parts should help enormously when it comes to building the wings.

Jon

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Wow, Blast from the past !!

 

You are over the worse bit, the wings are designed to need very little thinning of the edges they 'drop' into the injection parts.

 

Keep at it nothing to fear in vac forms they're only plastic !!  

 

Must dig out a finished one to keep you going

Edited by Paulaero
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EBAY II 017

 

Keep at it mate, this was the very first built one to test fit the parts. Been rebuilt about three times. As some have said I think it captures  better the look of a lightning.....

 

Sorry the image is a bit blurred the model is packed away in the loft and hasn't seen the light of day for ten years  but retirement is looming  🙂

 

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  • 4 months later...
On 3/10/2021 at 12:35 AM, Sturmovik said:

We've all been there once. Especially when moving out of our modelling comfort zone.

Fingers crossed I've managed to keep that energy going...

 

On 3/10/2021 at 12:36 AM, AdrianMF said:

Looks good so far! (without meaning to jinx it)

 

 

Thanks Adrian. Fingers crossed!

 

On 3/10/2021 at 1:42 AM, billn53 said:

This is going to be great :popcorn:

Thanks! Hopefully I won't disappoint.

 

On 3/11/2021 at 9:40 AM, MADMUSKY said:

Good work so far

just take your time and test fit, test fit, test fit, before you glue. It builds into a nice kit. Airfix my have the nice recessed panel lines but lacks the correct width, its just too skinny. And there's no angles in the leading edge of the wings.

 

Darren

Thanks Darren. It certainly looks very well engineered. 

 

On 3/11/2021 at 10:19 AM, Jonners said:

I have. Time, patience, care and general modelling skill. Very nicely done so far.

You're too kind

 

On 3/11/2021 at 2:09 PM, Paulaero said:

EBAY II 017

 

Keep at it mate, this was the very first built one to test fit the parts. Been rebuilt about three times. As some have said I think it captures  better the look of a lightning.....

 

Sorry the image is a bit blurred the model is packed away in the loft and hasn't seen the light of day for ten years  but retirement is looming  🙂

 

That looks fantastic Paul, thanks for digging that our of the loft! I'm on the lookout for some appropriate missiles. Definitely inspirational.

 

It's been some considerable time since my last post, work, life and other kits have been taking my attention, but I haven't been idle.

 

The last post was a test fit of the two halves, so next came the bulkheads.

 

IMG_20210311_000139

 

 

More test fitting

 

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The wheel well

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And the intake

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I wanted to see if I could get a better shape in the front wheel bay. It started quite elliptical so I used a micro chisel to improve the shape.

 

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Just enough here to play with, but no extra

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Intake parts painted with MIG metallics and a Flory wash applied.

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Probably won't see much of this when the whole thing is assembled but I'm happy enough with that result.

 

Back to the wheel bay. Still some tidying to do but hopefully you can see what I'm going for.

 

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Engines with a wash

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Offered up to the bulkhead so I can test fit the white metal exhausts

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Now the instructions say that you can crack on with the wings before you need them so I made the jig pieces and started gluing the leading and trailing edges to the vacform skin.

 

 

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And test fit the composite spar

 

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Still not able to glue the two halves together, I started on the cockpit. A touch of black in the right places with a light cost of grey to start.

 

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Followed by a wash and picking out the knobs, levers and buttons. I don't have any pictures of the IP in progress, but hopefully you can see from this pic that I cut out dials from spare decal sheets to make the most of the nicely derailed white metal piece.

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With the cockpit done, the intake glued and the wheel bay ready it's almost glue time

 

IMG_20210416_103824

 

IMG_20210416_103934

 

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I don't have any pictures of the gluing stage, but here's a picture of the two halves glued and the tail in place.

 

IMG_20210428_182612

 

Having already checked that I could fit it later, I made the ejection seat. 

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Here it is with the coaming fitted too

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Next up I spent some time on the many vents and ducts on both sides. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the walk around section. The variety of photos really helped with this bit.

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Wings and canopy on and a cost of primer before lots of filling, sanding, priming, filling, sanding, priming etc.

 

IMG_20210601_235237

 

And that brings us up to date. Next up is some preshading, masking and the camo scheme.

 

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Looking very nice indeed. The vac/resin combo seems to be working well. 


Camouflage - something about “Lightning” says “shiny” to me - I built the Airfix F1A in 196x in glorious silver plastic so I’m afraid that’s ruined me for life!


Looking forward to some greens and greys…

 

Regards,

Adrian

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Looking good o far,especially for a first attempt at vacs.  I'll just add, as others have said,test fit, sand, test fit. Wash rinse, repeat. Don't get in a rush,When you get done you'll have something that will rival an injection kit.

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9 minutes ago, Deano353 said:

I'm curious to try a vac form kit myself as I'm seeing them on here was this easy enough to come by? 

Aero club is no longer in operation, but you should be able to find a decent kit at a local hobby show, yard sale or Ebay. Heres one site I found doing a quick search online.

https://www.kingkit.co.uk/products/vacform-model-kits/

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Fantastic build! It has been a while that I haven´t build a vacformed kit mysef. The finished model should look great. Knowing Aeroclub's reputation for producing accurate models, I wonder how this kit compares with the Airfix injection molded version of the Lightning. 

 

Cheers, Ivan

Edited by IvanP
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Its wonderful to see your Aeroclub Lightning build steps here Chris, thanks for sharing, you're providing me heaps of inspiration.

 

Where and how did you locate the spine and belly fairing inner stiffeners ?

I've not come across this concept in my injection moulded kit experience, and have been head scratching over this.

With their shape, do they essentially form an inner second skin once attached and the fuse halves joined ?

 

Keep up the good work - you're lighting a path that this mortal has feared to tread until now. Mine are calling "build me", like little gremlins - the force is strengthening ! 

Have you selected a final camo scheme yet ? 

All power to your progress,

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Never having attempted a vacform kit, I've been following this at a distance - watching the work has been highly educational & inspirational - I might even give one a go sometime. Fine work!

Q

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Nice work on the Lightning. John has always been very careful about how he engineers stuff and it shows here. I am glad you are getting on well with a vacform and proving that they are not as scary as people think (Although there are exceptions, see worse kit ever thread in Chat)

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Nice to see one of these actually being built. I've had an F6 in the stash for years and years but never had the courage to make a start. The Airfix injection kits came out, then the Sword trainers all in injection. Made all of those so I could never see the point of the vac kits. Cant see me ever getting round to it, but good to see someone has 😁

Ian 

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