Well I have pulled out all the stops to get at least one of the F14 Tomcat air-wings finished, which did mean early mornings before work to finish. I wanted to have two F14’s on the catapults with the engine on full power, so I installed small LED’s to simulate this. The space was so small I had to file down the LED’s to get them in. Soldering the electrical connections also became a bit of a problem as the melting point of plastic as we know is far lower than that of the solder, but I managed to solder the connections to steel rods which became the main undercarriage legs. Once these were in and secured, it was time to join the fuselage halves together. I used Tamiya clear orange and filled the jet outlets with it. When dry I fitted the jet nozzles and once powered up gave a good impression of engines on full power! (As those of you who were at the last American completion saw as that was one of the entrees)
The decals were applied first then a coat of satin varnish was applied to protect it before the etch was fitted which for these two aircraft necessitated dropping the flaps and inclining the rear horizontal stabilizers to take off position. Once these were fitted and brush painted to match another final coat of varnish was applied and job done.
A tight fit but where there’s a will
There’s a way!!
Ready to go!
Maverick and Goose!
For the finished diorama (whenever that will be) I plan to have at least two aircraft in the air. For this I used two Tamiya F14’s as these have the correct ‘in-flight’ wing configuration and it would be easier putting a cockpit in than remodelling the Trumpeter one (as I found out with the first batch). I cut away the rear jet nozzles and supplemented Trumpeter ones together with the rear horizontal stabilisers.
Tamiya F14’s having canopies, rear jet pipes & horizontal stabilisers removed
Tamiya F14’s in front with Trumpeter ones behind
All that was done for the ‘pilots office’ was to remove the moulded Tamiya canopy and use the same method as the ones on the catapults which was square plastic rod for the head rests and for the pilots head and flight helmet I used two small ‘balls’ from an old water purifying cartridge painted to suit. The canopy was a Trumpeter one. To mount these aircraft I will use clear plastic rod positioned up the jet pipe which will be attached to the inside of the display case.
The Completed Air wing
The main group of aircraft will be parked up with wings in parked positions. I used the same process decaling as with the other aircraft by applying the decals before the etch brass for ease of application. The decals themselves are a mix of Starfighter and Trumpeter.
As mentioned on my last write-up the Trumpeter aircraft are a mix of old and new. I used the old kits nose wheel and the new kits main landing gear as they were more accurate, but they sat the aircraft too high so the main gear had to be shortened slightly to give the correct sit of the aircraft. Also in the new kit it comes with long range tanks which are too short and too thick and with the corrected undercarriage, it sits on the tanks! So needless to say I left those off.
To add a little variety I opened some of the canopies for which I fitted the full etch for the cockpits. The only thing now left off these will be the odd pilot climbing in when on the carrier. Well only 12 more F14’s of VF41 to go!
Completed air-wing with the next ‘production run’
Four with canopies open
Trumpeter 1/350 scale E-2C Hawkeye by Richard Stewart
Well after Telford it was a struggle getting me back into gear regarding these little aircraft, which seem to have taken an age to complete. To be truthful the only reason they are not done yet is the old enemy time and not enough of it.
The aircraft are quite well moulded with nice (albeit heavy) panel lines. These kits still have the two-colour plastic, grey for fuselage and wings and black for undercarriage propellers etc. The problem I’m having with the black plastic is paint does not like to adhere to it very well. It is a shame that they do not just mould it in just grey plastic and leave us modellers to colour it as we please.
I wanted one aircraft to have the access door open. I drilled a correct diameter hole at the top and bottom of the door and just cut and thinned the middle out. It was then I needed to detail the interior with a desk or two and some radio equipment &yes they are in there!
An E3 getting the full treatment
Using silver foil to mask and protect the canopy
|Front windscreen complete; note the extra framing was done by painting spare decal sheet with gull grey and cutting into strips. Also the tail planes I removed at a later date as they were forever getting knocked off!|
Once this was done and all the aircraft fuselages glued together and cockpit area was painted black, it was then a case of fixing the front screen. This comes as a whole clear section, and a fair bit of time was spent ‘blending in’ the clear plastic with the grey using Mr Surfacer 500.
To ensure a nice clear canopy window aperture I used sliver foil and a new scalpel blade and cut freehand around the windscreen. Once this was done the aircraft were hand painted with Model Master Gull grey, as you can imagine at 1/350 scale this did not take long!
Next on the production run was the masking up of the de-icing boots which although Star fighter decals does supply them I found it far easier just to mask up and use a permanent marker pen.
With this stage of the build it was time to apply the decals as the size of the plane limits the accessibility when it‘s all together. After a coat of future they went on fine with the only chore having to cut around all the decals on the sheet.
After I had applied all the decals which included some very nice walkways along the wing and fuselage, I noticed on actual photos of the aircraft that the Starfighter reference sheet is incorrect to the placement of the red warning arrows around the engine. The instructions indicate to position them near the intakes and propellers (a logical assumption) but the photos have them on the front gear doors. It just goes to show you never have enough reference information.
Once they were on and dried fully I applied my home made mix of matt base coat and acrylic furniture varnish to seal them in and to avoid them wearing away from constant handling.
|Brass Etch wheels with decal centres and a view after scraping away the red bleed through!|
I’m using the set from WEM on this one and it’s a very nice detailed piece of work. I have painted the wheels and before I removed them from the etch, I used my Waldron punch tool to punch out some white decal sheet and made some hub discs. With a few drops of decal softener these contoured nicely to the hub detail. My only issue with this set was I painted the fret in white primer. To colour the flaps and warning lines on the undercarriage doors I used a red engineer’s permanent marker. This was fine until the next day when some of the red had leached across some of my nice sharp demarcation lines!!
What I should have done is sealed the primer before application of the red, once bittern! It meant I had to scrape away some of the red ‘bleed through’ until all was back to normal.
Tails and Things
As I mentioned earlier after fitting the tail planes I had to remove them again as they kept on being knocked off. It was time to start building these up. I found the amount of sprue on the small tail planes was excessive. I suppose if it were less they would fall off in transit from China and I would then be moaning about that!
|Wings and tail-planes under construction with my F14s taking a back seat.||Cleaning up the undercarriage area prior to fitment of struts|
Soon after I glued on the radar domes I realised that the underside of these were white and so it was off with them to repaint. Also around the outer edge is a black line, which I’m in the process of doing at the moment and it does look like I’m a recovering alcoholic! So any ideas of what to do to obtain a ‘pin sharp’ line will be much appreciated.
|Almost ready but it’s the little things that make the difference!||Rear view with flaps extended which as the wings will be folded is there normal position in that attitude|
Conclusion thus far
I thought that this week would have been the week I finished these aircraft but unfortunately the ‘time god’ (AKA wife!) has beaten me again. (Not literally)
This is the point I’m at with gear/flaps down doors open, arrester hook fitted. The potential is there and hopefully I should have them done for the New Year.