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Airfix 1/72 Phantom FGR.2 - XV415/B of 23 Squadron, Falklands, 1986


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Hello everyone

 

I'm just getting started on my next build. To continue with a theme after the Airfix Blenheim and Beaufighter, Tamiya Mosquito and Airfix Mitchell (x 2 ), it's another R.A.F. twin, but a little more modern. I'm doing the new 1/72 Airfix Phantom FGR.2, and to keep the local connection, it shall of course be XV415, which has been the gate guardian at R.A.F. Boulmer up here in Northumberland since around 1993.

 

I've been collecting images of it for a few years, and have photos of it in everything from the original dark green/dark grey/light aircraft grey livery with 228 OCU in 1972 to the three-tone grey livery with red tail it wears now. I've opted for the three greys livery, but when it was with 23 Sqn in the Falklands in 1986, coded B.

 

Here's the obligatory box photo:

 

Airfix-Phantom-03

 

And some extra bits and bobs:

 

Airfix-Phantom-04

 

New intakes (with the upper and lower vents) and exhausts from Aerocraft, gun pod and seats from Air Graphics, etch from Eduard, fin top RWR and ILS aerials from Quickboost. I'll need some AIM-9L sidewinders, and maybe some replacement Sparrows (well, Skyflashes - does anyone make them in 1/72...?).

 

I hate to start with a moan, but a quick look at the sprues and it's a case of 'Warp Factor 9, Mr. Sulu' for a couple of them:

 

Airfix-Phantom-05

 

It's not a problem for the sprue with the smaller parts, but the lower one is Sprue C which has the lower wing/lower fuselage section (part C14), and it's not good. At all. :doh:

 

I've done a 'quick and dirty' test fit, and the front part is somewhat awry:

 

Airfix-Phantom-09

 

Airfix-Phantom-10

 

Airfix-Phantom-12

 

I'd be tempted just to glue it and clamp it til it's set, but I'm worried it will pull other parts off-skew too, as it's actually bent and twisted. E-mail to Airfix Spares Dept on its way...

 

The later fin with the RWR on top has a small issue too, with the ILS aerials being short-shot:

 

Airfix-Phantom-07

 

Luckily I think I can use the older fin and the Quickboost RWR and ILS bits - the ILS aerials on the kit part look a bit clunky anyway.

 

So, onwards and upwards, and we'll see how this one goes...

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, wombat said:

Eeeeesh, more Airfix quality control issues. Not great.

 

A couple of other parts have the 'Airfix Twist' going on. The outer wing panels on Sprue C are doing a passable impression of Boeing 787 wings. And the central spar, Part D20, is all over the place:

 

Airfix-Phantom-13

 

Here's how much the lower wing/fuselage is affected...

 

Wing panels level, rear end a couple of mm out, and I think you can see the front end out too:

 

Airfix-Phantom-14

 

But with the rear end of the fuselage lying flat, the wings are a good 4mm off-level, the bits behind the intakes off by a couple of mm, but the front end of the fuselage is pretty much level:

 

Airfix-Phantom-15

 

It's all over the shop really. I'm not even go to think about fixing that...who knows what else it may pull out of true :shrug:

 

At least I can get on with the cockpit...:huh:

 

Simon

 

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Didn’t the raf phantom fleet have to get reinforcement structure bolted on because pilots were exceeding G limits, or fatigue life issues? Perhaps Airfix have gone for ultra realism...?

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On 10/2/2021 at 8:28 PM, wombat said:

Didn’t the raf phantom fleet have to get reinforcement structure bolted on because pilots were exceeding G limits, or fatigue life issues? Perhaps Airfix have gone for ultra realism...?

If an aircraft was twisted like that in real life it would be scraped. This is a plastic kit and can be coaxed into proper alignment if desired. The strengthening rib/web is an option in the kit.

 

Gondor

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Another quick update. The Airfix Spares Dept have come up trumps, and the replacement parts arrived this morning.

 

Lower wing. Behold its remarkable lack of bendy distortedness :worthy:

 

Airfix-Phantom-22

 

And a much straighter Part D20:

 

Airfix-Phantom-24

 

Meanwhile, I've been cracking on with the cockpit and seats. Here's the cockpit tub with all the lovely Eduard etch in place:

 

Airfix-Phantom-20

 

 

Airfix-Phantom-18

 

I think some extra detailing in the area between the pilot and navigator may be a good idea.

 

For the two ejector seats, I've used Quickboost seats with the Eduard etch for the kit seats added. I'd bought a pair of Air Graphics AC-150 MB Mk. 7A seats, but I think they must be for the early R.A.F. Phantoms? Ejector seats not my specialist subject, unfortunately, but the QB ones look more like the ones in the later R.A.F. Phantoms I've seen photos of...:shrug::hmmm:

 

Air-Graphics-AC150

(the slightly rough texture is due to my painting them, then thinking they might not be right, stripping them, then re-priming them even though the paint didn't all come off...it could do with another dip in the paint remover again :blush:)

 

These are the Quickboost seats, with etch bits added:

 

Airfix-Phantom-25

 

Airfix-Phantom-21

 

They look busy enough, I think. I might do a test fit with the closed canopy on to make sure the two pull handles actually fit inside.

 

I'm busy with the intakes at the moment, using the Aerograph intake ramps to replace the kit's ones.

 

More soon


Simon

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/7/2021 at 4:12 PM, Simon said:

Another quick update. The Airfix Spares Dept have come up trumps, and the replacement parts arrived this morning.

 

Lower wing. Behold its remarkable lack of bendy distortedness :worthy:

 

Airfix-Phantom-22

 

And a much straighter Part D20:

 

Airfix-Phantom-24

 

Meanwhile, I've been cracking on with the cockpit and seats. Here's the cockpit tub with all the lovely Eduard etch in place:

 

Airfix-Phantom-20

 

 

Airfix-Phantom-18

 

I think some extra detailing in the area between the pilot and navigator may be a good idea.

 

For the two ejector seats, I've used Quickboost seats with the Eduard etch for the kit seats added. I'd bought a pair of Air Graphics AC-150 MB Mk. 7A seats, but I think they must be for the early R.A.F. Phantoms? Ejector seats not my specialist subject, unfortunately, but the QB ones look more like the ones in the later R.A.F. Phantoms I've seen photos of...:shrug::hmmm:

 

Air-Graphics-AC150

(the slightly rough texture is due to my painting them, then thinking they might not be right, stripping them, then re-priming them even though the paint didn't all come off...it could do with another dip in the paint remover again :blush:)

 

These are the Quickboost seats, with etch bits added:

 

Airfix-Phantom-25

 

Airfix-Phantom-21

 

They look busy enough, I think. I might do a test fit with the closed canopy on to make sure the two pull handles actually fit inside.

 

I'm busy with the intakes at the moment, using the Aerograph intake ramps to replace the kit's ones.

 

More soon


Simon

 

 

 

 

 

Looking great, I intend to add the etch to my FGR.2 this weekend only this time using PVA or epoxy to glue the parts in place and use my magnigying lap so that I can get the parts as neatly in place as you have. This wasn't the case with my FG.1 last weekend.

 

I think you mean Airocraft rather than Aerograph, I'm using them too :like:

 

Gondor

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Yes, it is of course Aerocraft...:doh: At least the link's right.

 

@Gondor44 I started to use Formula 560 Canopy Glue for my etch bits a while ago - the drying time gives you a bit of leeway if you get the bits slightly out of place, unlike Super Glue. It's also easier to remove bits if they do end up a bit skew-whiff. And it doesn't stick your fingers together...:whistle:

 

Simon

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16 hours ago, Simon said:

Yes, it is of course Aerocraft...:doh: At least the link's right.

 

@Gondor44 I started to use Formula 560 Canopy Glue for my etch bits a while ago - the drying time gives you a bit of leeway if you get the bits slightly out of place, unlike Super Glue. It's also easier to remove bits if they do end up a bit skew-whiff. And it doesn't stick your fingers together...:whistle:

 

Simon

 

Ordered some Formula 560 and a few bit's :like:

 

Gondor

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Back with a quick update.

 

I had the Deveils' own job trying to get the Aerocraft intake ramps to fit, or rather get everything else to fit around them. The instructions state that "a few areas on the kit parts benefit from a little scraping and sanding to assist in obtaining a good overall fit" and they ain't wrong. Lots of test fitting with the fusleag halves, intakes, lower fuselage and intake ramps and trunking, lots of fettling, a fair amount of cussing and it's just about there.

 

I think the best way could be to fit the ramps to the fuselage sides after cutting them from the casting blocks, then get everything else to fit around them. Not the way I did, it, but they're in. The big problem I had/have is getting the intake outers to fit round the ramps, and blend into the fuselage. An ongoing issue, it has to be said...

 

Anyway, the intakes are in:

 

Airfix-Phantom-26

 

Airfix-Phantom-28

 

I also found it was a good idea to fit the engine fans, (but not glued), so the intakes went in the right position relative to each other while the glue dried.

 

After that was done, the fuselage halves were glued together, and the engine rear interior bit added, with the Eduard bits inserted and the lower fusleage held in place while everything set:

 

Airfix-Phantom-32

 

I've removed the lip around the ends, as the resin exhausts fit flush.

 

Next up was the spine, again which needed a fair bit of test fitting and and a severe talking to in order to get it in place:

 

Airfix-Phantom-31

 

That's going to be left for a while, and prayers to the almighty and all-seeing Gods of Modelling perfomed in the hope it all stays lined up...:worthy:

 

So, while that sorts itself out, on to things under wings. As has been mentioned elsewhere, for some reason Airfix moulded the prominent seams on the drop tanks on both sides, and they should be just on the port side. So, and easy job to remove the ones on the starboard side, but first make sure you get the right half, or you may remove the wrong one...ahem. :whistle:

 

So, if you do that, you'll probably need to remove all four, which is a bit of a chore, then replace the two port ones. Like I did :doh::

 

Airfix-Phantom-34

 

The tank pylons are also missing the outer sway braces, so I've added some from plastic card:

 

Airfix-Phantom-37

 

So, that done, I've had a look at the inner pylons, which need some chaff and flare dispensers adding to the rear for my Phantom. I've made these out of plastic card, and they should look okay when they're in place. Shorter ones are chaff to go on the inner face, longer ones are flares to go on the outer face:

 

Airfix-Phantom-35

 

And finally for today, for some reason the outer wing panels are missing the prominent front formation lights on the wingtips. I've had a go at replicating them using a short length of 1mm plastic rod, round off at the front. Fortunately you get some spare outer wing panels in the kit to experiment on. Anyway, here's my attempt:

 

Airfix-Phantom-33

 

Needs some blending in, and under a coat of primer they should look okay, I think.

 

More soon...

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

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So, another update. And be warned - those of a nervous disposition should look away now...:unsure:

 

First up, I had a look at the fin and rudder. The kit's fin part with the RWR on the top was loose in the bag when i got the kit, and the pitot and the other tube slightly amaged. No problem, thinks I, i can use the older fin and the RWR from Quickboost. However, when i looked at the two fins, I noticed the panelling was different:

 

Airfix-Phantom-44

 

This is the Quickboost part, a bit of an improvement on the kit part:

 

Airfix-Phantom-45

 

I'd already removed the two blade aerials, and will use the Quickboost items instead.

 

On to the rudder, and it's a bit short shot:

 

Airfix-Phantom-46

 

An easy enough fix, though:

 

Airfix-Phantom-47

 

Airfix-Phantom-48

 

Meanwhile, I got the inside of the two lower engine vents in and painted:

 

Airfix-Phantom-43

 

And so, on to the two engine intakes, which as I'd mentioned earlier, were proving a right faff-on. I got everything in position, everything glued, clamped together, and still had some very nasty gaps and steps between the intakes and ramps, and also steps between the intakes and fuselage:

 

Airfix-Phantom-38

 

Airfix-Phantom-39

 

Not a problem, thinks I, I'll just fill 'em in and sand 'em. No, it didn't work - I ended up starting to lose the detail on the resin intake ramps, which was the whole point of using them in the first place:

 

Airfix-Phantom-41

 

The port intake ramp also seemed to tilt inwards at the top, and the starboard one outwards, meaning everything looked very odd when viewed from the front. I got to the stage where everything I did to fix and fettle was making everything worse, no matter what I tried. So, what to so...? :hmmm:

 

So, I took a deep breath and wondered what might work - and came up with this: :blink:

 

Airfix-Phantom-42

 

Everything came apart relatively easily (thanks to using Formula 560 glue for the resin bits) and no broken parts thanks to sparingly used Revell Contacta, which means the joins should clean up okay. I've got a spare set of resin intake ramps, and the option of using the kit parts with upper and lower grilles from the Eduard undercarriage etch set. I'll see what they look like, and I can start all over...:doh:

 

Happy days...at least I know what might go wrong now. :whistle:

 

Simon

 

 

 

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Well, having taken a deep breath and gone several steps backwards, I'm back with another update.

 

Here are the two kit intake ramps with the etched grilles from the Eduard 72686 undercarriage set:

 

Airfix-Phantom-50

 

and in place and test-fitted with the port intake front:

 

Airfix-Phantom-51

 

Airfix-Phantom-52

 

I'm really happy with them - I wish I'd known about them before I started trying to fit the resin intake ramps.

 

Here they are painted up in Barley Grey and white:

 

Airfix-Phantom-53

 

Of course they're missing the distinctive patterns of bleed holes, so I've tried to replicate them with a darker grey. Masking them up was fun :wacko:

 

Airfix-Phantom-54

 

and painted with Dark Gull Grey as per the cockpit interior:

 

Airfix-Phantom-55

 

They need a slight touch-up but I'm happy with them, I think. They should have rounded corners, but my eyesight just ain't up to masking that shape that small! :blink:

 

I've glued re-glued the fuselage halves back together, so some actual progress (or re-progress).

 

More soon...

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again

 

Back with another quick progress report, and this time with a bit less doom and gloom...:)

 

First up, I noticed that the rudder seemed a little on the short side. Maybe short-shot? Anyway, a strip of plastic card along the top edge has sorted that:

 

Airfix-Phantom-56

 

Oh, and the fin seemed to be missing the hinges on the trailing edge - I can't remember if I cut them off by mistake or not, but I've replaced them with short strips of plastic card...d'oh! :doh:

 

So, back to the fuselage, and everything's buttoned up and seems to fit a bit better. I still have some slight gaps, but I reckon they are down to me over-sanding the intakes trying to wrestle with the resin intake ramps to get everything to fit:

 

Airfix-Phantom-61

 

Airfix-Phantom-60

 

It still looks a bit of messy there, but much, much better with the wings added and under a coat of primer and some careful filling:

 

Airfix-Phantom-63

 

I've added the three grey camouflage colours, all using Xtracrylix paints, airbrushed on. Light Aircraft Grey for the undersides (with a little overlap from the top colours on the wing and intake leading edges):

 

Airfix-Phantom-66

 

And Medium Sea Grey and Barley Grey for the uppers:

 

Airfix-Phantom-65

 

It looks loads better with some paint on, thankfully. I did a bit of pre-shading for the undersides, which didn't quite work as I'd hoped, so I didn't do any for the uppers and there'll be some work to do to make the greys look a bit more weather-beaten. I'm going to try a new method (for me), so it will be a bit of an experiment...

 

I've also painted the two wing tanks. Airfix have on the instructions to do the tops of them Barley Grey, with Light Aircraft Grey on the undersides, which I did. However, the two greys are so similar they just looked the same colour all over. I've seen a few photos which seemed to show much more contrast on the tanks' colours, and did wonder what was wrong, but I then saw this thread:

 

and noticed that the tanks should be Medium Sea Grey on the topsides, which looks a lot better contrast-wise:

 

Airfix-Phantom-67

 

So, main paintwork done, and I think I'll have a go at the metal areas around the rear fuselage and the horizontal tails, which should be fun...

 

Oh, and the rear end of the fuselage need a formation light and one of these, which for some reason Airfix have omitted:

 

 

More soon...

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another quick update...

 

First up, I've painted the wingtip lights. Here's the starboard one:

 

Airfix-Phantom-71

 

and I've painted and weathered the natural metal rear fuselage sections:

 

Airfix-Phantom-68

 

Airfix-Phantom-69

 

They're done with a base coat of Revell's Steel Aqua acrylic, then weathered using some grey watercolour pens and then silver and black watercolour pencils, with a quick spray of smoke black paint. I've also added the 'smiley face' handhold on the rear of the brake chute housing:

 

Airfix-Phantom-70

 

There's a formation light to go just above, hence the hole.

 

And then, deep breath, and on to the decalling. Stencils, more stencils, and then for a change some more stencils. I've done all the ones of the bottom of the fuselage and wings - 79 of them I think so far :wacko:

 

Airfix-Phantom-72

 

Airfix-Phantom-73

 

Some of them are just ridiculously small (like the small white crosses pictured above which are less than 1mm) and I think Airfix could have combined some of them on a single carrier film, TBH. I've only lost one, which I think is pretty good going! I've never had to use a magnifying glass when applying decals before...🔍

 

So, I'll get them sealed with a coat of varnish, I think, then on to the upper surface stencils next, and maybe a lie down in a dark room for a while after that...

 

More soon...

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very nice work you have done there Simon, the rear stain work looks really good. I got a very cheap Airfix FG.1 kit so thanks helping me decide what bits to buy for it. Have you tried the seats yet in the cockpit ?

 

Regards

Robert

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again

 

Back with another update, and another moan about Airfix quality control...:doh:

 

First up, all the decals are now on. Took several days of application!

 

Airfix-Phantom-77

 

Note that XV415 had the dual language rescue stencils in English and German. The decals went down really well, and I used Daco decal setting solotion which really does the trick. I only lost about three stencils, which isn't too bad...!

 

I've started doing some of the weathering and general grubbifying - here's the undersides:

 

Airfix-Phantom-75

 

Airfix-Phantom-74

 

And the Eduard bits added to the nosewheel bay:

 

Airfix-Phantom-76

 

I've also added some chaff and flare dispensers to the rears of the Sidewinder pylons:

 

Airfix-Phantom-80

 

Airfix-Phantom-79

 

I'd already done the stencils before I remembered to add them though...:whistle:

 

And so, I thought I'd check the fit of the canopy - I'm going to use the 'closed' version. And...it's not good.

 

Starboard side - okay-ish, needs some fine tuning to fit:

 

Airfix-Phantom-82

 

Port side - not okay-ish, with a large gap at the rear end:

 

Airfix-Phantom-81

 

I laid the canopy on a flat surface, and it seems to be warped. Here's a photo showing that when the two rear edges and the front right [edit - front left] sit flat on the mat, and the front right sits off the surface:

 

Airfix-Phantom-83

 

And when the two front sides lie flat, the rear left hand sits up:

 

Airfix-Phantom-84

 

I checked the clear sprue, and it does seem a bit out of square so the canopy does seem to be twisted. :shrug:

 

So, off to the Airfix Spares Department once again we go...:whistle:

 

More soon

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Simon
don't know my right from left...d'oh
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5 hours ago, Simon said:

Hello again

 

Back with another update, and another moan about Airfix quality control...:doh:

 

First up, all the decals are now on. Took several days of application!

 

Airfix-Phantom-77

 

Note that XV415 had the dual language rescue stencils in English and German. The decals went down really well, and I used Daco decal setting solotion which really does the trick. I only lost about three stencils, which isn't too bad...!

 

I've started doing some of the weathering and general grubbifying - here's the undersides:

 

Airfix-Phantom-75

 

Airfix-Phantom-74

 

And the Eduard bits added to the nosewheel bay:

 

Airfix-Phantom-76

 

I've also added some chaff and flare dispensers to the rears of the Sidewinder pylons:

 

Airfix-Phantom-80

 

Airfix-Phantom-79

 

I'd already done the stencils before I remembered to add them though...:whistle:

 

And so, I thought I'd check the fit of the canopy - I'm going to use the 'closed' version. And...it's not good.

 

Starboard side - okay-ish, needs some fine tuning to fit:

 

Airfix-Phantom-82

 

Port side - not okay-ish, with a large gap at the rear end:

 

Airfix-Phantom-81

 

I laid the canopy on a flat surface, and it seems to be warped. Here's a photo showing that when the two rear edges and the front right sit flat on the mat, and the front right sits off the surface:

 

Airfix-Phantom-83

 

And when the two front sides lie flat, the rear left hand sits up:

 

Airfix-Phantom-84

 

I checked the clear sprue, and it does seem a bit out of square so the canopy does seem to be twisted. :shrug:

 

So, off to the Airfix Spares Department once again we go...:whistle:

 

More soon

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you tired the hot water treatment? Not boiling, but hot, let the part sit and heat up and then press it down on a flat surface.

Might help..?:shrug:

Edited by Thom216
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