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chuck540z3 last won the day on April 15

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About chuck540z3

  • Birthday 08/18/1954

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    Calgary, Alberta

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  1. Wow, that is beautiful Iain! When I looked at the first pic I thought it looked way too clean, until I read about it's history. With that history, you nailed it perfectly. Very cool. Cheers, Chuck
  2. Looks great Marcel! A few comments: You continue to make the best looking missiles and pods I've ever seen. Nobody makes them better. The canopy of this kit is the weakest link, because it's so thick and one piece. Yours looks terrific, especially with those canopy hooks. Great to see a well painted cockpit with a few decals, rather than pre-painted gauges that seem to be so popular these days. I'll leave it at that Cheers, Chuck
  3. Just beautiful John! Perfectly executed assembly, painting, fine details and weathering- it has it all, just like all your other builds. Bravo! Cheers, Chuck
  4. No Dave, it wasn’t. My guess is that it’s a tired old F-15A that has probably been put out to pasture. Cheers, Chuck
  5. Thanks Maru and yes, that’s a civilian airliner in the background. I really didn’t notice it until I downloaded that pic, but the military and civilian aircraft stay quite far apart all the time for obvious reasons. As for the other 75 pics, I’m now out of town for 2 weeks, so I might post a few more when I return. Cheers, Chuck
  6. November 9/22 No modeling update, but I did a little more “research” of my subject at the Aviation Nation Air Show at Nellis AFB this past weekend, hoping to see the Ghost scheme once again on the tarmac so that I could take more reference pics. Well, 84-220 wasn’t on the ground, but 86-299 was, although it was roped off and made it hard to take pics, especially directly into the sun. However, the reason 84-220 wasn’t on the ground was because it was flying!, when they do a sort of mock war games with several other fighter jets and ground attack aircraft. This jet is obviously a “bad guy”, but man is it pretty. Note that the digital camo-scheme is slightly different from jet to jet. Oh-oh, an F-22 closing in for a kill! Although I couldn’t get close-up reference pics, I sure got some good shots of the underside to help me with the camo-pattern of the bottom. Just beautiful, and a real boost of inspiration to build this particular model. Like most air show photography nuts, I took about 2,000 pictures which were mostly duplicates, when taking action shots at 12 frames per second- and deleted about 1,650 of them, leaving 350 that I’ll keep. I have posted a few of them in the Aviation Forum here if you’re interested. Nellis AFB Aviation Nation Air Show '22 Cheers, Chuck
  7. I was fortunate enough to attend the Nellis AFB Air show near Vegas for the 10th time this past weekend, which was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, especially since I love fighter jets. Since just about every American fighter jet model lives there, you’re sure to get the sweet smell of burned kerosene and loud noise all day long. One small disappointment is that there were almost no WWII Warbirds like there usually is, other than a P-51D Mustang. As a result, 90% of my pics are of jets and hardly any props. I took about 2,000 pics, deleted most of them as usual and wound up with about 325 which were good enough to keep. Here are a few of them. One of the reasons I attended this show was to see if I could get some reference pics for my next build, of a Block 32 F-16 Aggressor in the new “Ghost” scheme. Not only was this jet there, but there were two of them, one on the tarmac (86-299)… And my subject (84-220) in the air! This should be a great reference for painting the bottom. It even had an F-22 chasing its tail during a mock war game sequence The Navy usually sends an F-18 Super Hornet, but this year there were 3 of them, with 2 F-18G Growlers And an F-18F CAG bird There were several F-35A’s that flew, including this demo jet flown by Major Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, of Hill AFB, Utah. Not her jet, but I include this pic because there is no mistaking that Nellis is a working AFB, with about a dozen F-16’s parked in the background. Back to Kristin, who put on a terrific show Pretty good water vapor on a tight turn, considering the dry desert air Shortly after the F-35A demo, came the always super popular “Heritage Flight” of the F-35A, F-22 and P-51D Mustang The F-22 demo pilot was Major Joshua “CABO” Gunderson of Langley AFB, Virginia. It turned out that this was his last airshow as the F-22 pilot, so he was looking maybe a little sad as he taxied down the runway. As always, the F-22 demo was awesome. Since it was his last demo, Major Gunderson was soaked with lots of water from water bottles and a few fire extinguishers as he left the cockpit. After about 5 minutes of fun, the F-22 team posed for an official AF pic, which I took as well There were lots of other acts of course, including this jet powered fire truck called “Shock Wave”. Sadly, the other Shock Wave truck crashed and killed the driver only last July, so this act can be quite dangerous. Although a bit gimmicky, I thought the fire truck was absolutely awesome, especially when it drove next to the spectators and let the Rolls Royce jet engines fly. T-33’s are usually there, which are so beautiful in the air. As always, the last act at Nellis was the Thunderbirds, where they are based. Here’s a few random shots, although I’ve got about 75 more! For you photography buffs that might want to know, I used a Nikon Z-7 II camera and a Z 100-400 4.5/5.6 VR lens, which is a bit short for airshows and not as good as a 500mm+ prime lens. However, I have trouble finding the aircraft in my viewfinder at 200mm as it is, so this lens works for me and with 46 MP, most of these pics were cropped a bit, but still showed decent resolution. Unfortunately, the airstrip is almost North/South and you stand on the West side, facing East and the bright sun for most of the day. To compensate for this high contrast situation, I usually boost the exposure by about 1.7 stops so that the aircraft stand out from the sky a bit more. For focus, I used Dynamic Area Autofocus and AF-C, which with this camera combination, seemed to grab the jets out of the sky fairly easily. Shutter speeds were a bit high at 1/1,600- 2,000/sec for obvious reasons, but with the bright sky, this kept the aperture close to f5 while ISO was usually less than 200 and sometimes as low as 64. Hope that helps- and I'm still learning! Cheers, Chuck
  8. Very cute Pete, but that cute little girl can't be more than 7 weeks old, not months. After 35 years with Labs and Goldys, I like my chances of being correct. Cheers, Chuck
  9. Thank you Niels for that clarification. I also make sure that the landing gear fits early in my models, because after painting, you're kind of stuck with what you created, good or bad. I read in other F-16 build threads that the Aires gear bay is either really good or sometimes difficult to install, but the exact reasons are rarely mentioned. Very good point about alignment. You made me re-check mine and I'm happy to say that it looks good so far. Whew! Cheers, Chuck
  10. Awesome Mustang! I love everything about it, especially the overall paint job. Cheers, Chuck
  11. Thanks Neils, but my main question is how did you install the landing gear into the Aeries resin block? Did you have to cut a few things like I did? Cheers, Chuck
  12. Thank you everyone. I hope you are as patient as I will be slow! Hi Niels and thank you for stopping by. Your "Venom Viper" is one of the best F-16's out there and is very inspirational. Just awesome! Question: How did you get the metal landing gear to fit the Aires main gear bay and did you do it near the end of the build? I'm always curious as to how others solved this problem, since maybe I missed something. Cheers, Chuck
  13. The snow has arrived, so I’m back with another build, but things are going to be quite different this time. I finally retired this year which would normally mean more time for modeling, but it’s probably going to be the opposite scenario for at least a year or more. Our house of 20 years needs some major renovations, so we will be moving out by next spring and I have to deal with all the hassles that come with that, before and after that time. Combined with our travel plans, modeling will be hit and mostly miss, so I expect this build to take a long time. I’m a bit reluctant to even start this thread as a result, but I need something to get my modeling mojo back in gear, so here goes! I have been to the “Aviation Nation” air show at Nellis AFB near Las Vegas about 9 times over the years and I will be going back this year next week. This air show is one of the better ones in all of North America and if you like fighter jets like I do, it’s a perfect way to get your “kerosene fix” with lots of noise. You don’t have to worry about which fighter jets will perform, because most of them live there year-round. You are guaranteed to see the F-22, F-35A, F-15C, F-15E, F-16 (home of the Thunderbirds) and F-18 E/F, because the Navy shows up every year with a Super Hornet, which will be a Growler this year. Since “Red Flag” is held at Nellis every year, you will also see the Aggressor aircraft, which used to include F-15C/D’s of the 65th Aggressor Squadron which inspired my F-15C build below. Unfortunately, that squadron was disbanded in 2014 due to budget constraints, leaving just F-16’s with various squadrons and camouflage schemes. The 65th Aggressor Squadron was reactivated in June this year with F-35A’s, however, so I’m hoping to see and photograph a few of these jets this year instead. Maybe a future build? 65th Aggressor Squadron Reactivated with F-35A's The last time I was at Nellis was 2019 before the pandemic, and one of the F-16 Aggressors had this really cool digital scheme which is supposed to sort of replicate the Russian SU-57 “Felon”. Here’s a few pics I took of 84-220, but I’ve also found that this paint scheme can be found on 86-299 as well, so there’s at least two of them: Note that although this is a new paint job, there are still dark maintenance touch-ups at the base of the tail. This camo-pattern would normally be very hard to replicate, but once I discovered that Aeromasks makes a masking and decal set for this very jet in 1/32 scale, I was hooked. I’m also very fortunate to have accumulated a nice collection of aftermarket kits for this build, starting with the now rare Tamiya Thunderbirds kit, which is just the ticket for this small mouth Block 32 Viper, which is my subject. I’m very unlikely to use all the pods, but it’s nice to have the following choices: · Tamiya F-16C Thunderbirds Block 32 Kit (60316) · Aires F-16C Cockpit Set (2066) · Aires F-16C Wheel Bays (2067) · ResKit F-16 (F100-PW) Exhaust Nozzle (RSU32-0018) · ResKit F-16 Block 25-32 Wheel Set (RS32-0024) · AeroMasks Camo Masks and Decals- Ghost Scheme (AM32-F1643T) · Two Bobs F-16C Fighting Fulcrums Decals (32-001) · Two Bobs Blue Fox Bandits Decals (32-0510 · Two Bobs Blizzard Bad Guy Decals (32-063) · Cross Delta F-16C Stiffener Plates (CD32001) · Aires AN/ALQ-188 Electronic Attack Training Pod (2047) · Wolfpack AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Targeting Pod (WP32016) · Wolfpack AN/AAQ-28 Litening Targeting Pod (WP32014) · Kopecky Scale Models LAU-129 Missile Rails (32016) A closer look at the stash... I have a lot of photos I’ve taken over the years of Nellis F-16 Aggressors for reference and I have Jake Melampy’s “The Modern Viper Guide, The F-16 C/D Exposed”, which will be invaluable for all the fine details and variations of this jet. I also have these great links, which give me further information and a few cool videos for inspiration: F16 "Spooky" Paint Scheme F16 Ghost Paint Scheme Second F16 Gets Sukhoi SU-57 Paint Scheme Video: F-16 Gets New Look Ghost Paint Scheme Video: F-16 Aggressor Ghost Paint First Flight There are many builds of this kit and the Block 50 version that you can find on-line and many are spectacular, so I am unlikely to build something that really stands out from the crowd. What I can do, however, is document in detail how I assembled and painted this model in a step-by-step fashion, with all the challenges and problem solving of aftermarket parts that rarely have good instructions, which is what I really enjoy doing. With that in mind, let’s start with the Aires landing gear bays. I have read on-line that the Aires gear bays are anything from a “drop-in” fit to very difficult and not worth the effort. Aires is well known for great detail, but the larger resin parts are often a bit too small due to resin shrinkage. I am happy to report that the gear bays fit, but they are far from “drop-in” and they require modification in order to be of any use for the kit metal landing gear. Here's a pic of what you get out of the box, along with a small page of terrible instructions. Other than letting you know which resin blocks to cut off, the instructions are next to useless. Here is a pic of what the parts should look like with the resin blocks cut off, although I didn’t use the cross brace on the lower left, because I found the kit part (C 27) to be better with a few modifications. One thing I always do with resin parts before I try to install them, is see what the kit parts look like instead, to give me an idea of fit and orientation. Here is kit part B 24, along with side parts P 18 and F 16, dry fit into the lower fuselage. Here I note the position of the side sills which is slightly recessed from the top edge, which must also be cut off since the resin gear bay has them already. I’m not a big fan of the white plastic of this Thunderbirds kit, which makes it hard to see detail and even harder to photograph without much in the way of contrast. Another angle The sills were carefully cut off and sanded smooth. The top view, which shows that B 24 fits over 4 screwed anchors that the resin doesn’t have, but it gives you and idea of where the gear bay should be, since it forms the bottom part of the rear intake. Here are the kit parts and the metal landing gear, which I have flipped over so that you can see the pins on the top of the struts that go into holes of part F 16, with a screw that secures the middle. Easy to do with nothing in the way at the front. With everything installed on the resin part, however, including the central spine, there is no way to get the metal gear to fit as is, other than maybe bending the metal struts which could break and likely remain crooked. A very bad design, especially without instructions. What the heck was Aires thinking?! The fix was to cut off the pins at the top of the struts, and also the resin side braces, in order to install the gear in a rotating fashion as shown in subsequent pics. I’m happy to report that even without the pins or a screw in the middle, the gear is quite solid, even without glue. The little side braces will be restored once the gear is installed permanently. Dry fit into lower fuselage, showing that the notch of the landing gear must be slightly exposed if I want to install the gear at the end of the build, which I obviously do. If you follow the kit instructions, the landing gear must be painted and installed early, which is always a pain. With that problem mostly solved, here are the main kit parts for the nose gear, showing that the gear must also be installed early if you follow kit instructions. The front of the gear has a small tab that fits under a cross brace, creating a forward tilt that is fairly strong. Since the floor of the resin replacement must be flush to the intake, the detail on the kit parts must be removed. With lots and lots of sanding on the top and tweaking the resin and kit parts underneath, you can get a pretty good fit. While the nose gear can now be installed at the end of the build, it won’t tilt forward like it should, because of a cross bar that’s in the way of the front tab. Again, what was Aires thinking? The fix here is to cut a notch in the cross bar and add a small styrene block for reinforcement. The triangular cross bars are also in the way, so I cut a two notches in the bottom of the gear leg where they won’t show later when glued into place. All better now and with some CA glue, this gear assembly should be quite strong when installed at the end of the build. With all the precise locations where the main landing gear bay should be installed, I decided to install it permanently into the lower fuselage with CA glue from behind. That way I can clean up any glue marks or even move it if required, and painting it won’t be impeded. As a matter of fact, it will be even easier to paint, because I’ll have something unpainted to hold onto. Installation of the main gear is as before, by inserting the top of one strut, then rotating the central portion of the gear into the slot behind the main spine. The front of the spine was cut back slightly to allow better access and the top of the metal insert was filed down a bit to allow clearance for a subsequent cross brace. Mostly there, with the gear now straight, but tilting forward a bit as the central portion rests against the back end of the fuselage. By pushing the gear down and rearward, it clicks into the recess at the back, which hides some of it.. It’s now strong enough to leave as is without glue, but I’ll likely use a drop or two to be sure when I install the landing gear at the end of the build. Meanwhile, if you sand down the top of the resin spine, you can use the kit part C 27 that covers it, rather than the resin replacement that’s a bit thinner, but I found to be a bit too short. Part C 27 fits fairly well and those gaps will close when I use glue. The other gear bay placement consideration from the top, is how well the front lip will fit the back of the air intake. It’s hard to see in this pic, but the resin sits fairly flush and after painting it white, the join should be almost invisible when viewed from the front. The top of the intake, part B 31, doesn’t fit the resin as well on the sides, but with a little bit of interior sanding I should be able to get it close, although I don’t plan on making this join seamless as I will on the front intake parts. To see this detail you’ll need a flashlight and a magnifying glass, so it just isn’t worth the hassle. The front fan face, P 24, will be glued to the rear after painting. The engine compartment comprised of parts C 15, 20 and 21, slide over the middle intake, while part C 34 that holds the kit gear bay parts in place, is no longer needed- and it doesn’t fit the thick resin part anyway. e 28 So there you have it! The Aires landing gear kit does fit the Tamiya kit fairly well, but it requires a number of important tweaks in order to do so, that I hope I’ve explained fairly clearly above. If you have any questions, please fire away. Next step will be to make the front intake parts seamless, paint them, then glue them to the lower fuselage. After that I’ll clean up and paint the landing gear and associated parts, then paint and detail the gear bays. When I will get all that done is a mystery since I will be gone most of November, but this start of a new project has got me excited and back in the modeling saddle once again! Cheers, Chuck
  14. Sweet builds ROM! These are really well done in every modeling way. Cheers, Chuck
  15. Fantastic Starfighter Tristan! Although everything about this model is gorgeous, I really take note of some of the details, like how realistic the engine weathering looks and the slightly chipped paint on the cockpit sill. Beautiful. Cheers, Chuck
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