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RichieB

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Everything posted by RichieB

  1. And so the application of hundreds and hundreds of rivet holes continues ..... Having acquired a copy of the Daco F-15A book (which is superb by the way), I have come to realise that this bird is absolutely covered in the dam things. An element of artistic license will have to be applied in order to preserve sanity as in reality most are hard to see unless the aircraft in question has been heavily maintained or badly needs a paint job. To that aim I've adopted a 2-stage process where obvious rivets (like those on the base of the fin) are made a touch more prominent using a hand rivet tool whilst those usually obscured by paint are applied more subtly using a Rosie riveter tool. I've tried to follow the general lines of the aircraft but almost inevitably a fair degree is just what seems to look right. I've filled in the middle panel line on the central part of the fin as I believe his is just a solid piece of composite material (Boron?) and similar got rid of some spurious panel lines near the leading edge. I've also drilled out the light at the top rear of each fin ready for a light source. The tailplanes are a bit simpler but followed the same process. I also thinned the training edges of both control surfaces as they are a bit thick on the Revell kit. The panel lines are a bit wide on the Revell kit but I don't intend to use a very dark wash so shouldn't be that noticeable. I'm also trying to give the surfaces a more polished finish before priming as the Revell kit is a little rough. These have all been a little bit of a practise for the main event, which is both fuselage pieces, as quite a bit of work is required to lift the detail level on these items!
  2. Before any major assembling is done I decided to address one of the weaknesses of the Revell kit which is the lack of surface detail, specifically rivet detail. Now there is a fine line between too little and too much but in the right proportions it does add to the sense of scale and realism. The trick is to find a good reference (or three) and stop before it looks like the plane is made from nothing but rivets. Jake Melampy's F-15 book is a great start but for real detail you cannot beat the Chuck's epic walk through of his F-15C aggressor listed below: Tamiya F-15 Kicked Up a Notch I also had a few older F-15 references as I wasn't sure if the F-15A/B were different in panel line detail to the F-15C/D. Funnily enough the Revell kit follows the panel line details found in an old Squadron/Signals publication so not sure who copied who as the detail is slightly different to others, perhaps more recent! One thing is sure, this aircraft had a lot of rivet detail but not all of it would show up clearly as the photo (by me) below shows: Anyway, in keeping with my 80% mantra I'll change the panel lines if it's obvious and add detail where its relevant, so I've started the process with the wings. Now considering that there was the no rivet detail at all when I started, this kit is going to require hundreds if not thousands of these dam things. I'm desperately trying not to count them when I add them. While I was at it I also removed the wingtip slime lights and anti-collision/navigation lights - more of that later. Mostly done by hand using spacers marked on Tamiya masking tape, or the 1mm Rosie Riveter tool. Some of it may be too subtle so I'll probably need to go over the weaker lines again - what joy! This had better be worth it. The underneath area of the wing is generally poorly referenced but also rarely viewed on the model. Not sure about those panel lines at towards the trailing edge of the wing, are they for real or over-exaggerated rivet lines? While I was at it I also thinned the trailing edges of the wings as the are quite thick. Now working on the fuselage which has a whole load of additions and changes to be made - what fun!
  3. Hi themongoose, EL tape was bought from an ebay company called elpanelandtape but there are others out there. Regards,
  4. And so to one of the first major steps of this project, assembling the cockpit section which also means constructing the cockpit lighting. As you can see from the picture below the front cockpit is the Aires F-15A resin version trimmed to fit, and the rear cockpit is the Revell one, somewhat adapted to F-15B standards. The placing of both was mainly through lots of dry-fitting and the use of plastic blocks to prop the cockpit up. Each of the main instruments in each cockpit was fed by an appropriately sized fibre optic and routed to one of 2 LEDs. I also added some additional lighting optics on the side instrument panels for a bit of artistic license. Each of the 4 sidewalls and the HUD was fed by a separate fibre optic and connected to a green LED to add some colour interest. The foil is to cut out stray lighting. Luckily this is all on 1/32 otherwise it would be a bit tight what with the EL tape lights in there as well. The hole to the right is for a vent which I cut out and replaced with a scratch built one to give it a bit more depth. Once all connections, both electrical and fibre optic, had been made I glued the two halves together. Key was to ensure the cockpits were level and of the correct height to allow the canopy to sit properly with the seats and pilots in. Quick test to make sure it all still works! The front cockpit dial detail is from Aires and has some great detail on the acetate sheet placed behind the PE. The Radar and RHWR were created in colour separately and printed onto acetate to give those displays more colour and detail. The Radar and RHWR displays in the rear cockpit were done similarly but the rear instruments are a mix-match of acetate dials from other kits and dials copied from cockpit jpegs and printed onto acetate. My preferred choice was to have been some decals for the cockpit dials but whilst they looked good, they did not let enough light through. I doubt any F-15 pilot would actually be able to fly of the gauges in the back but they do at least resemble a cockpit! And one in the dark for effect. Quite glad the cockpit section has come together at last as it finally begins to take shape, might have to blank some of that excess light out though. That said, lots of work to do yet on the fuselage if the cockpit section is anything to go by! That's all for now but thanks for looking and wishing you all a Happy and Constructive New Year!
  5. Another area that has been occupying my attention are the somewhat detail-anaemic pylons. The ones Revell supply are designed to have the Aim-9s stuck in place and have somewhat solid attachment points for the fuel tanks. In keeping with the rest of the kit there is also no rivet detail, in fact, no real detail at all as the photo below demonstrates. Clearly my 'that needs to be fixed right now' alarm was burning a vivid red so armed with some reference material I decided to have a go. The first fix was to remove the Aim-9 launchers from the main rails and replace them in toto. As my scratch building is not quite up to that standard yet, I nicked some nice ones from the Tamiya F-15C kit and also added small magnets so I can attach and remove the Aim-9s at will. The hardest part was to work out the magnetic polarity so I used the F-4E I had done previously to ensure they were all magnetised in the correct sense. I then add some bolt, hinge and latch detail using plastic rod, archer resin details and spare PE to lift the detail level. The rear of the pylon also received some small ball bearings to replace the somewhat vague plastic ones and of course some rivet detail was added. The underneath of the pylon where the fuel tank attachments was given a bit of a makeover by carving out the necessary spaces and backfilling with bits of plastic rod etc to make it look a bit more business like. I also added magnets to allow the fuel tanks to be removed as required. I ended up needing 3 to provide sufficient stability but tried to put them in places where the fuel tanks are naturally connected directly to the pylon. For those doing something similar, note that the early F-15s had different lugs and BRUs to the later models. The centreline pylon received similar attention but this photo also shows the lugs added made from plastic card and guitar string. The only snag with the kit so far is that incessant voice telling you that the Revell blandizer has been working overtime. This in turn leads to many, many evenings of fiddly bits and carpet huntings.It also tends to mean that it is difficult to look at any scrap material without wondering whether it could be used as a bit of plumbing or mechanical structure, let alone the steadily increasing collection of tools 'required' to manipulate them into the aforementioned work of detail art. It's a slippery slope!
  6. Well it's been a while! What with a new job at work, finishing my studies and life in general, things have been a little less productive in the modelling dept than I had anticipated. Still, progress has been made in some areas, the most interesting of which has been a little experiment with Electroluminescent (EL) Tape. It took a while to understand how to wire the stuff up in different sizes and whether it would work for what I had in mind, which is the F-15s slime lights. It's great because it is very thin and gives a very even glow unlike LEDs. This is what EL tape looks like: The tape at each end is to protect you from an electric shock as this uses an inverter to develop 100volts! You can choose different colours to cover the phosphor depending on use, this piece is 10mm wide. To make the slime light I had to cut away the kits plastic version, thin that space out a bit as the plastic is quite thick. I then filled the space with some clear plastic to give the EL tape something to shine through. I made the gap a little too wide but the overlap can be painted to avoid excess light escaping. I also added some Eduard formation light surrounds to frame the light better and add some nice detail. I'll add the slime light spacer bars later. Having placed the EL tape behind the slot, time to test! Some areas to black out but a nice realistic glow. I will give the clear cover a bit of a tint of yellow colour as it looks a bit too green when the EL tape is switched off, hopefully the EL tape will still shine through this covering. Now to work out how to do the wingtips!
  7. Lovin the lights! Looking forward to seeing it all come together.
  8. Absolutely flawless finish, top marks for pulling off a very difficult scheme.
  9. Hi Brian, have you tried heating the FO cables, you can get some quite good bends and they still project light. I also mushroom the ends to disperse the light at the IP end and then fill any gaps with gloss varnish to create a smooth surface. Currently experimenting with EL tape but you need a separate power source as it runs off an inverter. Great build by the way!
  10. Many thanks Maru, will try! I did indeed read your thread Steve and I think the Revell kit is a very good base which allows you to add as much detail as you want depending on your thirst for accuracy and the size of your wallet! Kind regards,
  11. OK, progress (a bit!) I've mostly been tinkering with the pylons and fuel tanks but decided to switch to the cockpits just so I can paint something. The front pit is the Aires early model which is very nice. I have yet to add the dial instrumentation as that bit comes when I add the lighting, The sidewalls from the Aires kit are also quite nice. The holes have been added for cockpit lighting. The rear tub is the modified Revell one with a resin replacement for the IP. Again instrument dials need adding. At some point I'm going to have to work out how to sandwich these two halves together so they fit the front fuselage. The jet jockeys also get some green. They look a bit shinier in the photos than I remember, must be newbies! Clearly their heads will be added at some point but I find it easier to paint them separately and I'm toying with the idea of adding squadron markings to them rather than have them plain white. However, not seen many pictures of early F-15 helmets painted this way so it will be a bit of artistic license if I do. And something to sit on. I've got some additional PE to apply when the pilots are added. Well, another small step closer. Just plucking up the courage (and will power) to rivet and add missing detail to the external aircraft surfaces which are missing from the Revell kit for the most part.
  12. Has it really been over a month? Small steps and all that! As the Revell kit doesn't have any aircrew I've 'borrowed' some from an F-4 kit as the flying kit is about that period. I've repositioned the arms to fit the cockpit better (hopefully) and added some seat-belts from the Aires seat PE though there are still some elements to that which I will add nearer the end to avoid knocking them off. I've also added some Archer rivet detail and the visor slide to the helmets. I've removed the oxy hoses as I usually add guitar string instead. It's more realistic, longer and can flex how you want it. You may recall I queried if this was correct for the canopy support ... Turns out it wasn't, so after some internet photo searches and a good study of Jake Melampy's F-15 book (highly recommended if you are doing any F-15) I found another use for the Archer rivets (which I really like). I also reshaped the plastic and added some detail that you probably won't see when it's in a closed cockpit. I think the Revell kit is a good starting block but it's a bit bland without some help. More, eventually!
  13. Many thanks for the heads up Bruce. The side walls have been moved in a bit and the IPs adjusted accordingly along with some thickening of the side walls. I've also used your resin rear cockpit IP which is much more suited to this version than the Revell offering. Throttles are also moved as per your recommend. In other news I have added the distinctive fairing on the airbrake that was only used on the very early versions (like this one). And primed the seats just to see if there were any glaring errors. Looks ok so far! You can see where I've added some blocks to the bottom of the seat to raise it to a more acceptable level in the cockpit when the canopy is down. All in all, I suspect the Aires Escapac seats are a bit undersized.
  14. Many thanks guys. Kei - I agree, one of the reasons I used the Aires cockpit is the better coaming shape and detail. Mongoose - Half the battle is knowing when to stop and photographing them in hi-res doesn't help! F's - Your F-15E paint job is my inspiration for the finish I'm trying for on this bird, but in air superiority blue.
  15. So despite my optimism, modelling time in 2019 has so far been somewhat short and sweet. However, progress (some) has been made and I finally managed to spray something, albeit with black primer! Most of the time has been taken up with tinkering with the cockpit details. I'm cut-and-shunting the aires cockpit front end to the revell rear end as they seem to be similar proportions. The aires front end is very nicely done, especially when you overlay the PE. The PE is not fixed yet as I need to drill out holes for the IP lighting. I have however drilled out a lot of the resin behind the IP to make this process a bit easier. The main cockpit is again very nice from Aires but I've had to get rid of a lot of resin to make the lighting easier to add. The Revell rear cockpit is based on an F-15E so not really relevant. I've therefore removed a few panels, moved and beefed up the throttles and added some rear wall detail. The rear IP is courtesy of partsrparts and a much better representation of an F-15B IP. I've had to modify the IP somewhat to allow it to fit the narrowed cockpit walls and the side panels I've also decided to add. I've also drilled out the instrument dials in preparation for some lighting effects. The need to trim down the IP edges comes from adding some side wall detail to fill in the gaps from moving the cockpit side consoles inwards due to the seats being too small for the space (or the space too big for the seats). Everyone still with me? Aires has kindly provided the front cockpit side wall detail, I just have to make it fit the Revell kit. You'll notice the hole for the avionics vent which I am also in the process of scratchbuilding. This one needs some more work apparently (dam this digital photography close up). Still not sure how I'm going to fit this all together seamlessly!
  16. In a brief pause in the festive preparations I've been tinkering with the Aires Escapac ejection seats. Having wedged them slightly wider at the bottom I raised the seat height by a few mm to get the head position right (will need to check this before fixing the canopy in place). I'm not too worried about the finish on the seat as the pilots will be obscuring most of that detail. The pull handle in the head box was removed as these are A-4/A-7 seats and is not required for the F-15. The next addition were the rails and cross-bar supports at the back of the seat. I chamfered the bottom ends to keep the tops parallel and most of this area will be hidden anyway. The main reason for not splitting the entire seat was to preserve the pole detail you can see at the top and rear of the seat. In addition, I've modified the rear cockpit section of the Revell kit to add some rear wall detail, remove spurious instrument detail, reposition the throttles and narrow the side walls by about 1 mm. I'll have to modify the rear instrument panel it doesn;t match the profile of the revised cockpit and it's too wide. With the seated pilot on board the fit now looks a lot more snug. Other items in the cockpit also need attention. The canopy frame below is quite plain and I'm not sure if it is the correct shape either. Any steers gratefully received! Hopefully I'll get some time between now and the new year to do some more tinkering but in the mean-time, have a great Xmas everyone and best wishes for a model-tastic New Year! (Maybe I'll even finish this one before 2020!)
  17. Whilst fiddling with the cockpit layout I thought I'd have a look at how much extra detail the Tamiya kit has compared to the Revell one. A quick brown wash reveals the Tamiya (on the right) is a smoother plastic and has some riveting detail (although nowhere near the Trumpeter levels) whereas the Revell has none. It also shows some differences on the panel lines so I will have to work out which is the correct one and whether to amend accordingly. The Tamiya is a 'C' model so there may be some differences that are not on the 'B' ie the airbrake detail at the rear. Overall, not too dissimilar and should respond well to some added riveting detail. The small gun vent in the Revell kit also appears to be in the wrong place. I have the GT Resin vent update set for the F-15 which looks like it should work for the Revell kit though it doesn't include the rather large vent behind the cockpit so I'll have to work out how to enhance this detail. Any more early-B detail references gratefully received!
  18. Also on the (ever increasing) build list so watching with interest!
  19. On the build list so watching with interest!
  20. Jens - you are absolutely right, just goes to show how soft the detail is! Pascal - Many thanks for the steer on your project, loads of useful tips, especially regarding the cockpit side panels. Did you ever finish this one? Regards,
  21. Many thanks for the steers chaps, much appreciated. I'm going to do this one in flight (again), it avoids the undercarriage issues but then you have to put aircrew in the jet and try to paint them realistically! Dan - following your build with interest, the width of the replacement seats is definitely an issue. Here are some seats for comparison of the problem. From left to right Aires Aces (with pouring block still attached), Aires Escapac and Revell Aces. Even without the launch rails the Aires seats look undersized (although I suspect the Revell one was made bigger to fit the cockpit). You will notice a slight modification to the Escapac seat which consists of a wedgey to widen the bottom of the seat. This performs 2 functions, it makes it look wider in relation to the cockpit side instrument panels and wide enough to fit the Tamiya's pilot I'm intending to sit on it. I must admit I wasn't brave enough to completely slice the seat in half and the mod will eventually be hidden by the pilot sitting on it.! This is the Revell tub with the kit ACEs seat in the front and a 'modified' Escapac seat in the back. As you can see the Revell seat is the wrong type for my version and a bit soft on detail but it fits. The Escapac seat is now better but I think I'm still going to have to narrow the cockpit sides to avoid the rather large gap. By the way the cockpit detail is ok but the throttles need moving on the rear cockpit which also has an F-15E IP. I am also working on incorporating an Aires F-15A front cockpit as the detail is better, particularly on the coaming, and as a bi-product also fits the Aires seat better. Kind regards,
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