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Rareplanes 1/72 Meteor Night Fighter


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This will be a demo build, or at least I hope so. Now I'm no expert on doing vacuforms, but every once and a while I do enjoy the challenge. Nor am I an expert on the Meteor, so this one will be done OOTB, in this case "out of the bag". The decals have yellowed slightly, so they are taped to an eastern facing window along with the canopy, which also yellowed a bit. Below are the photos of the results of one morning in the model room. The first four are what you get in the kit. I primered the parts on the sheet before cutting them out. You'll see why in the last photo. The next is the major fuselage parts cut out and the last is a side view of the cut out parts. The white outline you see at the base of each part is the thickness of the plastic sheet after the part was cut out. In the next phase of construction, this thickness needs to be sanded away leaving the kit part in the correct dimensions. That's why I primered the parts on the sheet. It makes seeing this thickness much easier when you sand. When the white is gone, you're done. But that's for another day. 

 

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Great progress @gamevenderand what's not to like about seeing a Rareplanes kit getting built.

 

If you want some more Meteor motivation,  there is a Meteor Single Type Group Build currently taking place here on BM, link below.

 

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/forum/775-gloster-meteor-stgb/

 

Best of luck

 

Cheers Pat 

 

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8 hours ago, gamevender said:

That's why I primered the parts on the sheet. It makes seeing this thickness much easier when you sand. When the white is gone, you're done.

 


I’ll file that tip away for when I get to the vacuform Dornier 23 sitting in my stash 😊

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Here's my technique for sanding. Tape a sheet of heavier grit sandpaper to a flat surface. Then affix some tape "handles" to the part. Try to keep the pressure even on the part as you sand. Stop often and check to see how far you have to go yet. Change your grip and move the part around so you're not sanding the part in the same way. If you find that some edges/places need more attention than others, change your grip to put pressure on that area. You can even put part of the piece off the paper and just sand the area needed. Smaller parts can be tricky to grip, but find the way that works for you. Some do it with wet sanding, this is with dry paper. Your choice. In either case, it's a messy process. 

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Don't know which mark of Meteor NF you are doing but the instructions you posted above are very wrong relating to the nose. The NF 11 and 13 Have the same length nose and the NF12 and 14  have the same length nose. the NF 14 did not have "a even Longer Nose" as stated, so  Check your dimensions, the nose of this  kit as  originally molded as a NF 14 may because of this have too long a nose.

 

Selwyn

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Here's progress on the wings. The upper wing part has a dihedral formed into it, but the lower one doesn't, so you have to cut into the wing just outboard of the engine to allow the outer part of the wing to swing up to meet the top part and form the dihedral. Before you glue them together however, you need to glue one of those nondescript circular parts you thought were mold alignment points but are actually pieces to blank off the inside of the nacelles to avoid the 'see thru' effect. When in place, just cement the top and bottom parts together, making sure the lower wing bends up to the correct dihedral. To finish the wing, you have to drill out the intakes and jet pipes and fill in where you slice the bottom wing. In this case, I used some 10 rod. I then neatened up the edges and sanded off the grey primer. I have found that while vacuforms may have some surface detail, they also have many surface imperfections and it's best to sand the whole surface to eliminate them.

Here's the blanking disc in place. 

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This shows where the wing "crease" needs to be cut.

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The assembled wing with the intake drilled out and the seams sanded. 

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And finally, the plastic rod filling the crease. 

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Edited by gamevender
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The elevators were formed in top and bottom pieces with the left and right joined in the middle of each. They were easier to handle for sanding as a larger piece, so I cut them out as just two pieces, sanded them, glued them together and then cut them in to two parts. 

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Next up was to get the fuselage together. I taped the two halves together so that the cockpit area was aligned correctly, then cut out the openings for the pilot's and REO's positions so that the two halves lined up.

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Then I put the really basic interior together and painted it and the interior black then glued it in place. Yet to come are the seats, which will be easier to get aligned as to height and position after the fuselage is together. I knew that some weight would be needed in the nose to avoid being a tail sitter, so some fishing weights were added. Just gluing the two halves together as is would leave very little surface area, mainly just the thickness of the plastic, for a glue joint, so strips of thin sheet plastic were added along one side making for more surface area for the glue. One tip, use thin plastic and don't make too much of a ledge. The reason is if the plastic is too stiff or the ledge too wide, it will push the other part up and make getting a level seam difficult. Note that the ones I put in the nose area are probably too wide, so I'll have to be careful when I glue it together. 

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Edited by gamevender
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On 11/26/2022 at 4:55 PM, gamevender said:

I primered the parts on the sheet before cutting them out.

Since I'll be attempting [my first] vacform in the NMCZ GB next year this tip is well and truly noted

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In this kit, they formed the left side of the tail as part of the left fuselage, but the right side of the tail was formed separately. My guess why is that in some vac kits I have worked on that have the tails formed with the fuselage sides, the fuselage parts didn't match up perfectly in length, which is not infrequent with vacuform kits. When assembled it made the tail halves out of alignment. By forming the right side separately, Rareplanes avoided that issue. Unfortunately, in this case it led to a poor fit at the bottom of the part that needed to be filled, but that's easier to fix than a wrongly placed tail. Here's shots of the tail before clean up and the fix. 

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Now with the major subassemblies done, planning for assembly can begin. The wings and elevators are attached with butt joints, which with this thin plastic are not very sturdy. So, spars were inserted to strengthen the joints. For the wings I used a length of brass tubing cut longer than I would need. You'll see why in a bit. Spars can be tricky and need to be done carefully to assure correct alignment. For example, let's do the wings. Look at the edge of the wing and locate where you can put the largest spar you can in without damaging it. Mark that on the top or bottom of the wing then hold the wing in the correct location and transfer that mark to the fuselage. Drill a hole in the wing for the spar in the center of the part at the location you marked then drill a hole in the fuselage in the same way. I transferred the fuselage mark across the bottom of the fuselage and up the other side to get it in a location that corresponded to the hole already drilled. Care is needed here to insure you don't stray or get crooked as you go. Double check with the Mark I eyeball by inserting the spar in the hole already drilled and holding the fuselage up and hold something where you've marked the other side so you can see if the locations match up. Again with vacuforms, wing root locations can vary a bit side to side, but it's important that the wings be aligned and you can fix any errant wing roots. Now drill the hole in the other wing for the spar. Insert the spar in one wing, pass it through the fuselage and insert it in the other wing. It will be way too long. Hold one wing tightly in place and measure the distance from the other side of the fuselage to the base of the other wing. That measurement is how much you have to cut off the spar to get the wings to fit against the fuselage. Cut long at first and as wood workers say, sneak up on the final length with files/grinding wheels to get a tight fit. I did the elevators in the same way with a length of brass wire. Here's a photo showing the layout on the fuselage, and the fix of the right tail part by the way, and the spars in the wing and tail pieces. You'll also notice that I put the belly tank part on. Probably should not have done that yet as it makes setting the fuselage down awkward, but I was eager to get the fuselage done. 

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Great progress!
 

I haven’t tried vacform since a huge VC-10 when I was a kid, which turned out rubbish. Far too much trouble for me, I’ll stick to the Xtrakit/Matchbox Meteor NFs I reckon!

 

Looking forward to seeing how this goes though.

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Progress so far. I got the basic airframe together and the joints got a first going over with putty/sanding. As I showed earlier, all the parts were individually sanded with 320 before assembly in removing that grey primer, but they still need additional smoothing. My method is to spray the whole model with an inexpensive flat black paint, usually a rattle can from a big box or discount store. Then let it set for a few days so the paint is really dry, otherwise it will clog up the sandpaper too fast. Then I wet sand all the black off with 400 grit wet/dry sand paper. Where's there's black, I haven't sanded, so I don't miss any spots. Also, any remaining black is where I need to pay more attention to filling gaps/seams. So, there will be a day or so pause in progress as I let this dry thoroughly. 

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I've started wet sanding off my black primer and I'm about half way done. It's pretty tedious, and a bit messy, so I'm taking my time. As you do it, rinse your part and the paper often to get the slurry away so you can see what you need to get at. The first photo is what the outer top wing panel looked like after the first few passes. Those scratches you see are NOT from this sanding, but the previous one with 320 paper. Those are the ones you need to get rid of. After more sanding, the second picture shows the results. The bit of black left on the leading edge is around the base of the gun mounting, so that will get more attention when I glue the guns in place.  More sanding to do and then inspection to find any areas that need more attention. 

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Not only is this a cool subject but a great primer (pun unintended) for vacform builds. I've done a few in my time with different techniques but I have one staring me in the face that would benefit from your way of doing things!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been awhile since the last post. I was to a point where I needed to sort out what to do about the yellowed vacuform canopy. I solved that problem by obtaining a Matchbox kit of the same aircraft and pirating its canopy and while I was at it, its landing gear as well. The first photo is of the complete airframe with the black what I call 'sanding primer' sanded off and the guns installed. The second is a closer view of those guns. They are made of telescoped styrene tubing sanded to shape. Next is a comparative view of the vacuform and Matchbox landing gear to show you why I'm using the injection molded parts. The vacuform ones are, quite frankly, ugly. Finally there is the Matchbox canopy. It doesn't mate perfectly with the airframe, so I'm going to have to re-contour the bit under the windscreen. I sanded the airframe flat in this area and then glued a bit of sheet plastic on it. When the glue has thoroughly set, I'll shape it to take the new canopy. When I get that in place, I can start to move on to some of the finishing steps.

 

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Here's why I wanted to replace the kit vacuform canopy. It's on the bottom. I cut it out and trimmed it to fit, but as you can see, it was pretty yellow and had a lot of irregularities in and on it. On the top is the Matchbox canopy and windscreen glued together into one piece for ease of fitting, cleaned up and given the J&J Kleer treatment. Now I just have to get it to blend in with the vacuform fuselage. 

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Progress has been slow. I have gotten the canopy in place and have had to build up a bit around it to get it faired in, so I've had to wait for putty/glue to dry before I can work further. As to now, the photos show the canopy mounted and some of the work in getting it to blend in. There's a little more to do, then I can move on to a real primer coat. The last photo shows the Matchbox kit landing gear with wire pins inserted so they can be mounted in place sturdily. 

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