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Everything posted by RichieB

  1. Many thanks everyone. Most photos of that age are quite difficult to get in high enough quality to copy directly so I've just used a general pattern from more recent images and A LOT of artistic license!
  2. So ..... a little later than anticipated (!) we finally have some pre-shading. The journey to get here took a little (OK, a lot) longer than expected mainly due to my ineptitude. In completing the main assembly I found it difficult to get a good fit which resulted in lots (and lots) of filling, sanding, priming, checking, tutting, filling, sanding .... you get the picture. Mostly it took time to get a smooth finish. One of the fins got knocked as well which added significantly to the repair work. Finally the number of areas that needed re-doing reduced until it was time for re-riveting (if you hadn't already guessed there's a lot or re-everything to this build). Some lack of skill and over ambition on my part resulted in a selection of riveting errors which naturally provided another opportunity to practise my puttying and sanding skills again. Once the final primer update was complete it was time to add some colour! As before, I used lighter and darker shades of blue with some spot touches of brown to add enough variation that will hopefully show through the top layer coat of Air Superiority Blue. I used a mix of freehand and stencils to vary the patterns choosing lighter colours on exposed areas or particular panels, and darker tones in recesses or to add contrast. Mainly it was just artistic license to give some depth to the single tone colour scheme. It now looks very heavily weathered which I guess is sort of the point. Just hope I don't cover it up too much when I overspray!
  3. Has it really been that long! Having got to the point of painting individual parts it was time to start joining them together. I always knew this would destroy some of the paintwork but it was never the finished article so I figured that it all added to the mix & match feel of the undercoats. A number of dry fits told me that the final assemblies would not be straight forward and so it proved. On a big bird such as this one it was not going to be easy to hide imperfections in the rather large wing and fuselage joins. I had to mate the wings to the top fuselage first because of all the additional wiring in the wings. This join was helped with some additional tabs but even then there was a slight step to sand out and some gap filling to be done. I also had to re-scribe a number if the lines and sort out (as best i could) some very odd panel lines on the Revell kit. Having got both wings in place, I then had to fix the fuselage halves together. Now the kit is designed to have the wings added afterwards, that and the rather large amount of electronics filling the fuselage made this process somewhat problematic. The exhaust area needed some additional 'blending' to ensure the non-kit exhausts were a good fit. The fuselage halves didn't quite match in width which meant much fettling, filling and filing to get them to meet up in a clean manner. On the real jet the under wing join appears blended in so its probably quite a good thing that I had to do the same on this one! After the hours of endless joy of blending the fuselage joins together, the fit of the cockpit section was surprisingly straightforward. I'd left the intakes off as i knew I'd need to work on the joins and that proved a sensible choice. CA glue was used throughout this process to provide strength and for its gap filling properties. The upper surface join was made trickier by the main heat-exchanger vent that I had recreated earlier from scratch. Some extra plasticard was required to help generate the right profile where it rakes up to join the cockpit area. Finally, the tails were also fitted as I knew they would be a real PITA trying to add after final painting had occurred. There is very little visible join on the real ac so this area required much work to remove any steps. Even after this stage I added a thin strip of plasticard and sanded it right down to help remove any signs of a join. The fuselage join around the slime light was also pretty tricky to blend together because of the mis-matched fuselage widths. Probably my fault for introducing so much extra stuff and not constructing it in strict order, but wheres the fun in that! As you can see, the main parts are pretty much assembled now which just leaves a coat of primer on the worked areas, re-touch-ups, more primer etc etc. I'm pretty sure I will have put twice the amount of work I needed to on this model, if only I'd got it right the first time! You may have noticed that the fin is actually the main colour as I decided to have a go at this even though I knew I'd have to rework some of it. This was so I could add the green fin flashes before final assembly and paint areas like the fin tops which would have been a bit tricky after assembly. Whilst it looks like I've obliterated the undercoat work I added previously, it looks far plainer in the photos than for real. But before I can paint all the ac I need to finish and close off the cockpit and canopy area (once I've finished all the rework of course! ).
  4. Thanks for the great info Maru, now I've got the proper name for artistic licence, just hoping I don't manage to blend them all out with the final finish! Inspirational build Blackbetty, I do like a good candy stripe and yours is spot on. I'd have loved to have seen these for real Aircommando, grey is so .... well grey really.
  5. Thanks Neo, it’s a little bit trial and error but the thin paint works well.
  6. Well soon-ish! Still on my current build progress rate this is a giant leap. I've finally started to get some colour down on the main parts with a view to getting a patchy and subtle undertone of colour and shading to break up the monotone (although rather nice for an F-15) blue. I thought a lot about doing this before or after I'd glued the main assemblies together but in the end decided on before as my spray booth is not that big and they were easier to handle that way. I used the same technique by layering gradually lighter shades of blue/grey through a mix of mottling and stencils, mostly to try and figure out whether one was better than the other! Jury is still out on that one. I used MRP paints as they spray very thin and allow this sort of layering without any noticeable paint creep. Pylons I left a little darker as they are mostly hidden in shade under the wing and fuselage. The back end just got a coat of Alclad aluminium and a bit of grey shading, again to test the effect. Most of this will be redone once its properly masked off. A similar approach was taken on the top surface though again lighter shades have been used on the engine bays. I also added some brown shades but no idea whether this will actually show up as a tonal variation! I suspect I will have to re-apply this colouring post top coat. A big decision was whether to do the stripes now or later. As it was I decided to do them now as it was easier to mask and manipulate the parts in their unassembled state, this model is huge when you put it together! Next job is to assemble these pre-painted sections. Any joints will get further pre-shading treatment add to the variety I've tried to create already. In some ways you don't need to worry too much as you can always overspray or lightly sand any 'odd' areas out and the effect will get blended in with a top coat anyway. I think we're getting to the point where its time for main assembly and it starts to actually look like an F-15.
  7. Very quick update just to prove that progress is being made (slowly!). After some picture scouring for Aim-7 colour schemes it became readily apparent that the Eduard Aim-7Es I'd got to replace the somewhat bland Revell ones would not be appropriate even for an early F-15 as they started with the Aim-7F model. Further research indicated that where very similar except for the cable conduit which now ran the length of the missile on one side only. To remedy this I sanded off the front lobes from the E and added a suitably sized thin strip of plasti-card. Voila, an Aim-7F! As it happens this new configuration also works better for the missile launch brackets I'm having to add as this particular Revell kit doesn't have any. More soon!
  8. Happy New Year everyone! Hope you're enjoying the festive period and able to find some time to keep your projects moving, like me! Finally, I've managed to complete enough sub-assemblies to start pulling this thing together. The exhausts caused the biggest headache as they had to line up with the tubes that will hold the acrylic rods and the bulkhead which I'd previously drilled out and copiously glued in place as this structure will take a lot of the load when this is put in its in-flight pose. The trickiest bit was getting the exhaust rings to sit flush top & bottom as I had to putty them in place to be secure enough. Normally you would add these at the end but with the in-flight mode this was not practical. In addition, I added the intakes trying to make sure that the front ends on the intakes fitted snuggly with the fuselage bottom otherwise the intake front ends will be difficult to fit. Once the main structures were secure I added the wiring which has been split into 3 powered sections (electricians look away now!). The first set, between the intakes, is for the slime lights which require a high voltage hence the bulkier wires and connectors. The wiring between the exhaust tubes is that required for the remaining 9 LEDs. Luckily the F-15 is a big aircraft so lots of space to put them all. I've also been playing with the technique of black-basing using the tailplanes and drop tanks to practise. My plan is to use different lighter and darker shades of grey/blue to put down a varied mottle and the overspray with the primary Air Superiority Blue colour. The MRP paints I'm using for this work really well as they spray very thinly and you can keep going for a long time without the airbrush clogging up. I'm using a mix of airbrush mottling and stencils to see what effect they have. I'll probably end up using both just for variety. Its just nice to get some paint down on the main surfaces after what has seemed like ages!
  9. Hi Geedubelyer and thanks for watching, this version of the exhaust nozzles has the turkey feathers still in place. Good point though the original lip would have looked out of place (probably a scale 1.5 cm all round). However, I think I've left enough to give the impression of a small lip but we'll see! Thanks Maru, I hope your patience will be rewarded (eventually)!
  10. About time for an update... I've reassembled both intakes having cut them in half to making seam removing and painting easier and added the engine face at the rear. Have to say that bit worked out quite well and made the internal painting and a bit of light weathering (these were pretty new jets after all) pretty straightforward. Sorry the picture is not great, trying to find a depth of field where everything was in focus was the trickiest bit! In test fitting the resin exhausts I found the Revell kit back-end to be a tad wide creating a small but noticeable step. My somewhat crude solution was just to file the back end down a bit and rescribe any lost detail. I've also been spraying primer as I go to make sure there aren't too many surface flaws and yes, I found quite a few! The exhausts themselves are going to be sprayed a blend of Alclad metallics but first a bucketload of masking. The exhaust internals where weathered using panel line wash and sand coloured filters to capture the slightly tinged ceramic look of the PW engines. I then added some soot pigment trying to mimic the images I'd seen the Jake melampy and DACO books. The bands on the outer rings are two shades of Alclad Aluminium tinged with some Tamiya weathering pads. The rear exhaust has a clear hollow rod attached which will assist in creating the in-flight mode. This will need careful reinforcing as a lot of weight will get transmitted through this rod. (Very) Slowly coming together!
  11. Thanks for the info Bruce, this kit didn't come with a canopy so I bought a cheap 'Bicentennial edition' which did and that one is clear luckily. Of note, the bicentennial kit doesn't have any weapons or even the cradles for the sparrows!
  12. Many thanks for your comments chaps, Chek- great top tip, always looking for other source material. Maru5137 - thank you, it's slow but getting there. With added lighting you have to think 3 steps ahead as once you've glued it together its very difficult to add or correct.
  13. Just a very quick update to prove that (some) progress is being made! Gary at GT Resin kindly supplied me a replacement set for the exhausts as my originals had a flaw in them. New set looks great and is a leap above the detail provided by the Revell kit (far right). As this is an early bird, they still have the turkey feathers on. Each exhaust comes in three pieces and includes a separate flame holder (not shown), for ease of painting. After a bit of tidying up and spot of primer on them I'm just about ready to paint them up. This is the fun but slightly daunting part where you can bring a part to life .. or kill it stone dead! Not sure which method to use to weather them up as the images I've seen show quite a distinctive but complicated pattern. Much pondering to be done!
  14. Whilst contemplating the front fuselage I decided to have a go at the intakes. These are notoriously challenging to remove the join seam and the revell ones are no different. To assist, I decided to glue them together then cut them in half. This achieved two things, firstly it made the job of creating a demarcation line between the main paint scheme (which extends into the intake) easier and secondly it meant I could access each bit of the join better. It pays to take care when cutting as the two halves have to 'seamlessly' fit back together again eventually. The back end was also shortened a little as I needed to use the bulkhead they normally fit into, to fix the acrylic rods for the in-flight stand instead. The back and front ends needed lots of TLC to fill the seams and I reinforced the join from the outside at strategic points to avoid cracking during sanding. Once primed the multitude of filling and sanding efforts are nicely blended. Finally I used the GT Resin engine face instead of the stock Revell item as the detail is much better. Just need to paint and weather them up a bit now as they didn't stay clean for very long!
  15. You probably need a range from 0.25mm for fine lighting ie cockpit bulbs, 0.5 mm and 1 mm for instruments and nav lights. I have used 2mm for HUD and radar displays but not often. If need be you can always group fibre optics together but the smaller sizes are the easiest to bend, 1mm can be quite difficult to curve in tight spaces. In this case I slightly melt it. For stronger or larger light sources I'd use a suitably sized LED. Sometimes it just pays to experiment.
  16. Hi Neo, there are many places out there selling LEDs, some actually do whole wiring set-ups for a particular aircraft. I tend to design my own circuits just because it gives me some flex when I decide to change my mind or get it wrong! I've used different sellers but the one below is quite good as they supply very small but bright leds (pico) which are great for cockpits etc and larger LEDs with resistors already included (for engines etc), so you don't have to worry so much about balancing voltages from different coloured LEDs. They also do small flashing LEDs (for anti-cols) and I like their connectors. https://evandesigns.com/collections/hobby-leds I'm sure other suppliers can do the same. There is also quite a lot of good info on the web on how to create an LED circuit which is basically how I picked things up (I am no electrician!). For some applications, fibre optics are better but they still need an LED light source. Hope that helps.
  17. Thanks Neo, adding lighting certainly teaches you new skills! Top tip is to start with something you can fit lots of stuff into as space can become a premium depending on how you light and power it. Good luck!
  18. Hi folks, hope you're all keeping well. The wing tips required quite a lot of work to prep for lighting. Lots of thinning required to allow the electrics to fit and some careful carving of the lit areas that will be visible. You can also see the wingtip nav light in the prep stage as discussed previously. The good thing about EL panels are they are quite thin but you need to be quite conservative with how much you use as a 3v coin battery doesn't drive a large amount of it (typically <25cm for good brightness). I had to use two strips back to back so that the top and bottom illuminated but wasn't sure what it would look like side on or whether it would just short out! That arrangement made for quite a bulky wiring connection but luckily the Revell plastic is quite thick so can take a fair bit of hacking. Before assembly I sprayed the wing insides black as the thinness in some areas would easily let light bleed through and make it look like a ghost ship! Once trimmed to the right size, I added thin clear plasticard on top of the EL tape so that I could scribe in some of the distinctive panel lines you see on the wingtip slime lights. I scribed a single longer sheet of plasticard with the same lines so that even if they weren't quite perfect they would all line up when I cut each of the 4 sections (2 wings, top & bottom) out. I wasn't sure how to make sure the wingtip slime lights blended together (rather than look like 4 layers sandwiched together) so I used CA glue to help create the final shape and seal the EL tape (hoping it wouldn't short the ends again!). I'll need to lightly coat the lights with the right colour to stop them looking so green. On this photo you can also (just) see the fuel dump amendment I made by adding a squashed bit of copper tube and the modified ECM bullet which looked too small so I removed the original, added a longer bit of sprue and shaped accordingly. And of course the fingers crossed moment..... And breath. Next, it looks like I need to return to the forward fuselage area for some more rivet love.
  19. And so with the wings glued together it was time to fix the lighting. As with most of this kit, you start with a pretty blank canvas. Painting plastic to look like glass is quite a trick so if possible I revert to transparent plastic. First task is to cut the right shape from the plastic for which I used a sharp knife and some scraping tools. I next cut a chuck of plastic from an old toothbrush (as plastic sheet wasn't thick enough) and carefully cut it into a shape where one side fitted the gap where the light needed to go. The more accurate you can get this bit right the better. You can use paint to help define the edges but you run the risk of light bleed through. Once super glued in place you end up with this: Then I used a sharp pair of cutters to carefully trim the plastic to shape before sanding with ever increasingly fine sanding sticks until it is the right shape and a glossy finish. Finally, a light test! Next up is finishing off the wingtip formation lights which are somewhat trickier!
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