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  1. Thanks
    MarioS got a reaction from chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Absolutely amazing Chuck Thank U
      LOOK forward to next model !!
  2. Thanks
    MarioS got a reaction from chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E/N: "Kicked Up A Notch"   
    Wow! Your model is absolutely stunning Chuck, and your photography is just as good
  3. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E/N: "Kicked Up A Notch"   
    October 3/19
    After “only” 9 months, which is a record for me, I have finally finished this model.  For step by step details on how I did it, I have a fairly long build thread here:
    This kit is a real challenge if you want to make it as accurate as possible, with a random mix of highly detailed parts and parts that don’t fit at all.  There are inaccuracies all over the place which I tried to fix, with some panel lines deleted, others added, and every single panel line and rivet was rescribed and re-punched.  After market kits used were mostly made for the Hasegawa kit as follows:
    - Black Box Resin Cockpit Set (32010) for Hasegawa
    - Eduard PE Exterior Set (32426) for Kitty Hawk
    - ProfiModeler Brass Pitot Tube (32266) for Hasegawa
    - ProfiModeler Resin Wheel Set (320273) for Hasegawa
    - Hasegawa Kit Boarding Ladder and AOA Vane (both missing in KH kit)
    - Zactomodels AIM-9L/M Resin Missile
    - Archer Resin Decal Rivets, which were used extensively on the rear engine area
    - Airscale Instrument Brass Bezels and Decals
    The BB cockpit fit surprisingly well with a few modifications, while the ProfiModeler wheels required spacers to fit the kit landing gear and the pitot tube had to be ground down at the rear to fit flush.
    My goal was to create one of the gloss black Adversaries of the VFC-13 Fighting Saints that were fashioned after the “Mig-28” in the movie “Top Gun”, but nobody makes bright red decals for this subject in 1/32, so I was forced to go with a mixed bag of the following which created a bit of a “what-if” for squadrons:
    - Kit Decals.  Not many, because they are thick and often show white film underneath.
    - ProfiModeler (32286).  Red Star on tail and “01” on nose.
    - Two Bobs Bad Boys Sundowners (32-040), hence the VFC-111 squadron instead of VFC-13
    - Maketar Paint Masks (USAF Stars and Bars, Vol II, 32-066)
    One big shortcoming of this kit is the engine intakes, which really don’t exist at all beyond the front openings.  Although resin intakes are apparently now available, I made seamless intakes out of ordinary PVC water pipe which turned out fairly well.
    Now several pics of just about every angle possible.  With the super clean and shiny paint job which is typical of these jets, I didn’t see the need to dirty up and weather the landing gear wells, mostly because they will rarely be seen again anyway.





























  4. Thanks
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    I have posted pics of the finished model in the Ready For Inspection Forum here:
    1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E/N: "Kicked Up a Notch"
    Thank you everyone for your continued interest in this build.   I really appreciate your comments and feedback over the past 9 months.



  5. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    September 24/19
    This build is on the home stretch near completion!  Whenever I get to this stage, I’m torn between leaving the build I’ve worked so long on (8 mths. and counting) and just getting it over with.  Based upon experience, I now take my time with the ending, because that’s when mistakes are made that can deteriorate the overall project.  The final details can make or break any model, so here’s some details that I’ve been working on in the background.
    The canopy and the overall canopy mechanism are by far the most complicated I have ever seen or worked on, but it’s also one of the most interesting due to its myriad of linked parts.  Here it is from the outside, which shows the characteristic sealant used on the glass to frame boundary, much like the F-4 Phantom.  To replicate this look, I used thin strips of vinyl tape on the inside.

    While the kit does supply the brass frame at the front that has the rear view mirrors attached to it, there is nothing to attach it to, other than the clear plastic which is a very risky proposition that will leave glue marks.  I added a thin strip of styrene to the front which replicates the real deal, then glued the brass to it.

    The side rails are from the Black Box (BB) resin cockpit set, which are more detailed than the kit parts.  However, I did use the kit vent instead on the right, since the BB vent was too small and poorly cast.  This is attached on the real deal to the forward vent housing with a rubberized vent collar that is usually red, which I created with red decal film and thin strips of self-adhesive aluminum.

    The landing gear is nicely detailed and while I have traditionally added hydraulic lines and other detail to gear, I have now decided the following on all current and future models:  If you can see it without flipping the model over, detail it.  If you can’t, don’t bother!  With the landing gear doors on the outside of the gear, you can hardly see it at all, again much like the F-4, so I’m not going to waste my time.  My focus from now on is on what you can readily see, like the cockpit, and not some wiring in a gear bay I will never see again.
    The wheels and tires are ProfiModeler resin which look much better than the kit wheels, but I found that the spindle hole for the axle was much wider than the kit parts, since these wheels are really made for the Hasegawa kit instead.  Thankfully I found some clear tubing that filled the hole perfectly as an axle spacer.  With the kit axle slightly shortened, it fits perfectly within this spacer.

    The center line fuel tank was finished off as well, with a modified rear fin and two fuel filler caps.

    The launch rails were painted, with a navigation light at the rear.  Thanks to Paulo’s (tchwrma) dual build of this kit, he has pointed out that the launch rail light is green and not blue like the rest of the navigation lights.  I checked a number of F-5’s and sure enough, he’s right.

    The arresting hook appears to always be striped black and white, including my subject.

    ProfiModeler also makes a nice brass pitot tube which is hollowed out at the front.

    Now some improvements that I’m really happy with.  Recall that the starboard side of the fuselage has a number of errors, especially that oval panel at the bottom that should be at the top.

    That oval panel houses the AOA vane, which is completely missing from this kit.  After moving the oval panel to the top and the square access door to the bottom, I used an AOA vane from the Hasegawa kit.  Note that it should be placed slightly aft of center.

    Also missing from this kit is a boarding ladder, which is also in the Hasegawa kit.  While this ladder was a real pain to create due to multiple seam lines and pin marks, it is fairly accurate and fits the KH model perfectly with the sloped cockpit sill.  Note that it is beat up and worn, as they usually are.  The top of the ladder has curved rubberized tubes which are often black, but they can also be yellow, so I painted this one accordingly.

    Based upon a suggestion earlier, I added some fabric seat belts to the top of the seat, which attach to the main belts along the seat back.  They are often flipped over the top of the seat as shown and were made of HGW P-51D seatbelts that I painted.  Normally the top of the seat is grey like the rest of the cockpit, but I did find a good photo of it painted black with the red Soviet star, which I sourced from Mig kill emblems on an F-4 decal sheet.

    And last the part of this model that is the most unique, due to all the raised rivet detail I installed earlier, which goes from this:

    To this.  While it pained me to do so, I knocked down the shine of the metal a bit to replicate the real deal better, since these titanium parts are usually quite dull.  In the pics above of my subject, however, they are shinier than most, so I suspect ground crew polished them now and then to match the glossy finish on the rest of the jet.


    My next update will likely be the finished model, which won’t be for a week or two as I finish this project and go out of town for a few days.  Stay tuned.
  6. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    June 18/19
    Finally, I’m really painting.  A first coat of paint reveals flaws and with gloss black, they are amplified at least 3 times over a flat finish.  I always start painting on the bottom, just in case I have airbrush or paint issues, but in this case, Tamiya Gloss Black lacquer (TS-14) sprayed beautifully.  This paint was decanted from the rattle can then thinned with about 40% of Tamiya lacquer thinner.

    I expected a few flaws underneath, because this is where the kit parts do not fit very well, but I did not expect to still see so many seam lines and other flaws.

    The rear, however, came out looking great.  With that shiny coat of X-22 over the Archer rivets, it almost looks like metal already with the smooth reflection.

    Back to the drawing board…..

    And another coat of paint.  Much better now.

    A close up to show that those seams lines are now filled and other flaws repaired.

    There are so many surfaces that from this angle, it almost looks wrinkled.

    In the background, I’ve been busy cleaning up, assembling and painting other parts that will be attached later for ease of handling.

    The landing gear, doors and hardware are ready for final assembly.

    And here’s my first shot at painting the exhausts, which have gone from this:

    To this, using Alclad Stainless Steel.  For the inside, I used Alclad Steel, followed by a dusting of rust to replicate reference pics.


    Although I’m getting near the end of this build, I still have a lot to do.  Missiles, the main fuel tank and dozens of tiny bits still need to be attended to.  I’m a bit nervous about decaling, because I normally shoot a good sealing coat of X-22 over the decals to seal them in and reduce decal film edges.  On this nice gloss black finish, X-22 might make the finish look too artificial.  I guess time will tell!
  7. Thanks
    MarioS got a reaction from chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Congratulations Chuck your work never ceases to amaze me, and quite enjoyable to watch 
  8. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Thanks everyone!  Since there seems be some interest in a tutorial on applying Archer Rivets, here’s what I do.  First the basics as mentioned above, which are my opinion alone and not necessarily those of others, including Archer.
    Archer Decal Rivet properties:
    1)  The wider the decal film, the stronger the chain of rivets, but the higher the chance that it will show under paint, no matter how much decal softener you use.   Checking other builds using this product, you will see what I mean.
    2)  The narrower the decal film, the more fragile the chain of rivets, which often break apart, but it will not show as easily under paint.
    3)  Rivets applied to curved surfaces should be done in short chains, for ease of handling.
    4)  Even single rivets can be applied successfully, so if you bump off one or two, repairs are easy.
    5)  Like most decals, these rivets come off the backing better with very warm water.
    6)  If you don’t like what you’ve done, the rivets can easily be removed with a finger nail and you can start over.
    7)  Archer rivets come in many different sizes and spacing, so I like to have a variety of them on hand.
    8)  The raised rivets are not always perfectly round, but after paint, you’ll never notice the small imperfections.
    9)  As long as you keep the decal segment wet, you can move it around for a very long time.  Even after using Microsol decal softener, you’ve got more time to play with it than a regular decal.
    10)  These rivets are quite expensive at ~ $22/sheet!
    1) The surface should be super smooth and clean of any debris and oil from your skin.
    2)  Cut a long and thin strip of rivets off the sheet, then into shorter chains to be applied individually.  If you’ve got a flat surface free of detail or curves, you can apply segments of an inch or more.  Curves and detail require shorter segments.
    3)  Soak the segment in very warm water like any decal, for at least 5 seconds, then place it next to where you want to apply it for another 30 seconds or more.
    4)  Using a soft paintbrush, push one edge of the decal film off the backing, let it attach to the surface of the plastic, then push the rest of the decal off the backing.  For longer segments, you can push one end off the backing by sliding it in one direction, then grab the backing and pull it off, leaving the entire segment behind on the plastic.  If it breaks, don’t worry about it.  You’ve got lots of time to get everything back together.
    5)  Using Microset (or plain water), re-wet the segment so that it floats, then move it into place.  Using a paper tissue, pull the water away from the edge of the segment without touching it.
    6)  When you’re happy with the decal placement, using another soft brush dedicated to decal softener, apply some Microsol in very small dabs to tack it down.  If the decal  moves, you’ve still got at least 30-40 seconds to move it around without fear of destroying it.
    7)  For the next decal segment, apply it as above, but somewhere else!  If you try to apply the next segment next to the one drying with Microsol, you will likely move it and create a mess.
    8)  When the first segment has dried a bit (~ 5 minutes), liberally apply more Microsol to it over the entire decal.  Unlike regular decals, you can’t wreck it by applying too much softener.
    9)  In a bit of an assembly-line process, apply new decal segments while applying more Microsol to others, keeping new ones away from old ones.
    10)  If you knock a single rivet or two off, don’t worry.  Just cut off a replacement and apply it in the gap.  The strength of the rivet to plastic bond is mostly under the rivet and not beside it.
    11)  When you are done and everything looks pretty good, add yet another coat of Microsol to everything, all over again.  You want to nuke the decal film into oblivion as much as possible.
    12)  When everything is clean and dry, I like to apply a good coat or two of Tamiya X-22 acrylic clear gloss to seal the rivets to the plastic, but also to smooth out the fine lines of the remaining decal film.  I like to use about 2/3’s X-22 and 1/3 Tamiya lacquer thinner, which sprays very fine.  Future/Pledge works just as well, but is softer than X-22 and harder to sand later if you have any imperfections.
    13)  Paint as usual.
    I use Archer Rivets on just about every one of my builds lately, because there are almost always raised rivets somewhere that are not represented on the kit plastic.  Other than the extensive rivet detail on my A-10C above, here's another application of subtle detail on my F-15C Eagle build.  Note the Archer rivets on the front of the titanium panels and also reinforcements on the tail booms, according to reference pics I have of the real deal.

    After paint....

    For those interested in buying Archer Rivets, they can be found here, along with a host of other modeling products:
    Archer Fine Transfers
  9. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Quick follow up because I just sprayed X-22 on everything to smooth things out.



    I'll let this dry for a few days, sand out the tiny flaws, then give it another coat to create a nice smooth finish for bare metal painting.
  10. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    May 29/19
    After 1 month, I'm finally back with an update.  It may not look like much, but this next step took me about 20 hours of picky, detailed work!
    The engine on the F-5 has a zillion fine rivets, both on the rear nozzles and the titanium panels just forward.  This is what it looks like on a Swiss real deal....

    There are two types of rear nozzles supplied with the kit.  One set has fine recessed rivets and comes in two halves, creating a big seam, while the kit also supplies some one piece resin replacements, which I used.  As you can see, they are cast kind of rough, the raised rivets are huge and there's an unfortunate casting block right where you don't want it, on the lip of the nozzle on the right.

    They also seem to have been cast crooked, but I found that the shallow lip goes on the outside, while the thicker lip goes on the inside.  Of course the instructions say nothing about it!  Here I have sanded off the monster rivets on the left.

    The rear of the nozzles should have two thin circles of metal, separated by a gap.  To improve this look, I sanded the outside thinner, while carefully sanding the gap within.  It's not perfect, but from a few inches away, it looks not bad.

    The titanium panels just forward of the nozzles have recessed rivets, which look OK, but I can make them better.

    As mentioned above, I have used Archer resin raised rivets many times before, so I've learned a few things about this great product as follows:
    1)  The wider the decal film, the stronger the chain of rivets, but the higher the chance that it will show under paint, no matter how much decal softener you use.
    2)  The narrower the decal film, the more fragile the chain of rivets, which often break apart, but it will not show as easily under paint.
    3)  Rivets applied to curved surfaces should be done in short chains, for ease of handling.
    4)  Even single rivets can be applied successfully, so if you bump off one or two, repairs are easy.
    With the above in mind, I found some Archer rivets that were about the same spacing as the kit rivets, but just slightly larger, so they would still adhere without filling the recessed ones.  I found that chains of only 5 worked best, because they were easy to apply, but also compensated for the slight differences in rivet spacing.  These are found in #AR 88015, with thin strips of rivets cut as shown.

    After many, many hours of work, they look pretty good.  Not perfect by any means, partly because the kit spacing isn't perfect either, but when these areas are painted the same color, the small imperfections should almost disappear.  Engine nozzles and V-shaped antennae on the sides are only dry fitted with masking fluid "glue".



    And don't forget the bottom, because it is covered with raised rivets as well in roughly this pattern from references.

    I see that I've missed a 3 rivet pattern on the top and bottom of the antennae at the front, so consider that fixed.  Next step is to spray these rivets and panels with clear acrylic X-22, to seal them, toughen them and help hide the decal film.  After paint, all you should see is raised rivets and no film.
    On to the fiddly stuff, like landing gear, gear well doors, etc.  Not my favorite part of any build, but very important nonetheless.
  11. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    June 8/19
    A good modeling day, as you will soon see.  As I hit the backstretch of this build, there’s lots of picky small parts to deal with, so it’s time to get them out of the way.  In almost all of the pics I have of my subject, the landing gear doors and air brakes are in the closed position, so it’s very tempting to leave them that way, creating less work.  Other references, however, show these doors open when on the ground, other than the front gear door which is almost always closed.  I decided to let the kit parts tell me what to do, which turned out to be fairly easy.  Despite all the shortcoming of this kit, the landing gear, gear wells and gear doors are excellent with a lot of interesting fine detail, so I’m leaving them open.
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of pin marks to deal with, which are fairly easy to fix most of the time, but when they are in a tight recessed area and raised, they can be a real paint to fix.  Case in point, the air brakes.  How the heck do you get rid of that!?  Even the outside of the brake on the right has sink marks that need to be smoothed out.

    Using a Dremel tool with dental burr, I ground the raised pin mark down, then filled the recesses with putty and tried to sand them down the best I could in such a small space.  This is never smooth, so I used an old trick I’ve been using for years, by filling the recess with Future/Pledge as a micro-filler that you don’t need to sand later, to smooth things out.  The outside of the brake was sanded down to remove the sink marks, then the rivets were re-punched.

    After painting, it looks much better.  The top pin mark is not as sharp due to all the commotion in that small area, but you will likely not see it on the finished model.

    Now a bit of a screw-up.  Reviewing some tips given in the SIG on LSP, I was certain that my subject didn’t have chaff/flare dispensers, so I removed the panel detail on the belly earlier.  Gear door B21 has more of this same detail to accommodate the dispenser fairing B37 on the left in the pic below, so I removed it as well.  As luck would have it, my subject DOES have this chaff/flare dispenser, so I should have left everything alone!  Not a big deal I guess, but getting detailed pics of F-5’s from underneath is hard, especially for my particular jet.  In any case, we have 3 deep pin marks on the inside part of the door on the right to remove.

    After.  Much better after filling and paint.

    The main landing gear doors are quite nice, with not much clean-up required.  Note that I glued the arms to the landing gear now, to create a stronger bond with less chance of glue marks later.

    I used the Black Box cockpit canopy rails rather than the kit parts, because they are much more detailed and they have the hinges that connect to the recesses in the cockpit sill.  They were painted on the outside first, to ensure sufficient paint on the top of each rail which can be seen through the canopy glass from above.  The rear canopy assembly that was assembled earlier is only dry fitted to make sure clearances were OK.

    The front canopy frame which is brass photo-etch has nothing solid to attach to, so I glued on a thin styrene strip to the canopy, then glued the frame to the inside of the strip with CA glue, trimming the bottom of the PE to accommodate the canopy rails.  Both gluing operations are very risky to avoid ruining the clear plastic, so be careful!  Note:  The mirrors, which are not even on the kit instructions, should be folded twice in a recessed position as shown.  Many builds of this kit have them hanging down in a straight line with no bends.

    There is a large vent on the port side of the canopy that bends inward, which is too small on the Black Box part, so I used the kit version instead.  Much better- and that join is real and covered by a junction cover I will add later.  Note that I'm using Eduard pre-cut paint masks (JX-221) which fit perfectly.  The remainder of the canopy glass will covered later.

    All this work was done over the last few days, but today I attended the Western Canadian Regional Model Contest, where I entered my 1/32 Spitfire and F-15C Eagle Aggressor.  Over 500 models were entered in all sorts of categories, but about 35% or more were aircraft.  For some reason that I don’t understand, the Eagle came in second, with a Silver in its Advanced Jet Category, but I learned a long ago that model contests are fickle and outcomes are not always predictable.  My Spitfire fared much better among more competition in the Advanced Prop Category, winning Gold and a special award for best Canadian aircraft.  Pretty cool and my thanks to the organizers and volunteers who put on this bi-annual event.  It’s very rewarding to be recognized by your peers, who understand the challenges of our hobby.

  12. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Thanks Paulo,
    One problem with following my work is that summer is here and that's when my modeling mojo is lukewarm to nonexistent, so it could still be months before this jet is finished.  Still, I usually do peck away at this and that, so it might be sooner than that.  We'll see.
    As shown above and one more time after a second good coat of X-22, the Archer decal rivets are the ticket to achieve a fairly realistic raised rivet look.  After paint and Alclad, this area should look terrific and maybe a focal point of the model.  These rivets are just about bullet proof now, so handling is no longer a significant risk to knocking a few of them off.  Again, the engine nozzles are only dry fit...



  13. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    April 17/19
    A quick public service announcement.  Like most of you guys, I use a lot of microbrushes of every description and go through maybe a hundred per model.  Purchased from my local hobby shop, they can cost $0.20/each or more.  I've bought them in bulk from the usual modeling internet sites for about half of that, but that was when I was looking for "Modeling or Hobby Microbrushes".  I discovered by accident a few years ago that if I looked for "Makeup or Dental Microbrushes", I found the very same thing- and more selection- for only $0.02/each!
    Here's my latest order from ebay (or Amazon).  4 X 400 = 1,600 microbrushes for $31.50, delivered free to my door from China.  At this price, I don't have to worry about keeping any of them clean.

  14. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Yes I do!   I have a 1997 BMW 540 and 2002 M Roadster which are ancient now, but still in perfect shape.  My 22 year old 540 has only 170K km on it and the MZ only 45K, because it's really my wife's car and she only drives it on nice days in the summer.  While Z3's are not rare, this particular one is, because it has the 315 HP S54 engine that was used in the M3's during that time period.  Of the roughly 300,000 Z-3s made, only 1,565 were made with this engine, so I'm hoping it will become valuable one day due to how rare it is.
    When the cars were new, I used to frequent BMW forums to get tips on repairs and modifications, which is where my screen name came from and I've stuck with it ever since.  Here they are on a couple of road trips through pour nearby mountains.


  15. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    April 8/19
    I’ve been a bit distracted lately, but I did get a chance to work on the wings.  Like much of the kit parts, they are a bit lumpy, the surface is slightly rough and the rivet detail is shallow and bit wide.  Without adding a dark wash, it’s hard to photograph, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    After giving the wings the same “Chuck” treatment I’ve given the rest of the model, the detail is much better and smoother.  This will be critical later for a smooth gloss black finish.  Also, rivet patterns were added according to references, top and bottom.


    The bottom of the wings are a lot more complicated.

    Here are the key things you should do if you follow my lead. 
    1 The outer join does not exist, so it should be filled and sanded smooth, then a nose-like panel line scribed across it as shown.
    2 The other join on the LEX is OK and should stay, but be re-scribed.
    3 The gear bay walls should be glued securely to the top of the wing, because that’s all that’s holding on to the very weak landing gear legs.
    4 If you aren’t using the inner pylons, do not open the holes as shown in the instructions in Step #19, while the outer pylon holes- which are already open- should be filled if you’re not using them.  Rather than just fill them with CA glue, I used styrene rod to create pylon anchor points or plugs with more detail, as found on the real deal.

    And this is all that’s holding the gear legs in place:  Two tiny slots.  Yikes!  While fairly accurate, they are fairly weak.  All the more reason to put them on at the very end of the build, like I usually do anyway.


    The wing to fuselage join isn’t horrible, but it’s not plug and play either.  While a chore to fix, this is more common in modeling than it’s not, so no big deal.  Again, a lot of those crooked ghost panel lines should disappear after a coat of paint (fingers crossed).

  16. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Thanks Guys!
    I have been asked how I use CA glue as a filler in the other forum, especially when panel lines and rivet detail is enhanced or restored.  Although I’ve written tutorials on this subject before, I can’t find them, so here’s a new updated one that I will share here as well.
    Using CA Glue as a Filler
    I have been using Cyanoacrylate (CA) glue as a filler for many years and more recently, about 90% of the time over traditional modeling putties. I use CA glue on every single join of my models, to make sure there are no gaps to be found later.   While putty still has its place, CA glue has the following advantages over putty:
    1)  Drying time is quick to immediate, especially if you use an accelerator.
    2)  Since it dries harder, it sands finer- but sanding must be done within an hour or two of drying.  Left to cure overnight, it will become much harder than the plastic, making sanding difficult.
    3)  As a glue, it strengthens joins while it fills them.
    4)  Panel lines can be created or re-scribed over CA glue with a smooth finish, which you can't do with putty.  Again, this should be done within a short time after drying.
    5)  CA glue doesn’t shrink as it dries, so what you see is what you get after drying.
    6)  Tell tale flaws can be detected with strong lighting, allowing immediate repair.
    CA Glue Properties.  The first point I stole from the internet, which explains it better than I could.
    1)  CA glue can only bond with a surface when there is moisture present. This means if the CA glue is placed on a perfectly dry surface, it will not stick to the surface or form a bond.  In contrast, when any amount of moisture is present, the molecules in the glue will react with the moisture to form tight chains in between the two surfaces in contact. This reaction generates heat and occurs instantly, which differs from traditional glue bonding that occurs by evaporation of the base fluid. 
    2)  Due to the above, thinner glues dry much faster than thicker glues, because more of the surface area to volume of glue is exposed to moisture.  For the same reason, glue in moist air dries quicker than dry air.
    3)  Over time, thin CA glues get thicker, which is why I only buy thin glues and have a variety of new and older glues on hand resulting in a variety of viscosities.
    4)  Thin and thick CA glues can be mixed, to create a custom viscosity that you might need for a particular application.
    5)  CA glues don’t shrink very much, if at all, so only use what you need.
    CA Glue Tools of the Trade.  Although mostly obvious, this is what you need:
    1)  The right brand and viscosity of CA glue.  I’ve found that not all CA glue works the same and some are better than others.  I’m using Mercury M5 glue right now, because I know how it works and what to expect.  To get the right viscosity, just mix some thin and thicker glues together until you get what you need.  For most applications, I use thin glue only with no mixing.
    2)  CA glue accelerator.  You often want the glue to dry immediately, so the application of an accelerator will do that, but again, some are better than others.  I used to use an accelerator that worked very quickly, but it also made the glue shrink and shrivel leaving bubble marks and it attacked paint.  The one I use now is much milder to use and does not harm paint if it is removed quickly.
    3)  CA glue remover, or “Debonder”.  Sometimes the glue doesn’t go where you want it and needs to be removed without sanding.  Great Planes Debonder is the very best there is and it won’t harm the plastic like some other debonders.
    4)  Applicator Microbrush.  Depending on the application and viscosity of the glue, I use either a very small microbrush (usually white), or the tip of the microbrush with the brush removed.  Bought in bulk, these brushes cost only pennies apiece and I use and throw away dozens of them on every model.
    5)  Glue container, that is plastic and relatively deep.  Quite by accident I discovered that the cap to a small spray bottle can hold CA glue in a liquid form up to 24 hours.  Glue left on an open flat surface will dry quickly because it is exposed to air moisture, but for some reason glue in this type of container dries very slowly and the glue remains in a liquid form for several hours of glue application.
    6)  Sandpaper, both #400 and #1000 Tamiya equivalent grits.  I say “Tamiya equivalent” grit, because one brand of #400 sandpaper will often be quite different than another brand of #400 sandpaper, which might be too coarse.
    Other than the glue accelerator (I’ll find the brand name later), here’s a pic of what I currently use:

    The Filling Procedure
    To fill a seam or join like I’ve done above, the first thing to do is to use Tamiya Extra Thin Cement (TETC) to join the parts together, then ooze a good layer of this cement into the join to swell the plastic and close the gap.  The goal here is to get good adhesion and natural filling without the use of CA glue.  This doesn’t have to be neat along the join at all, but avoid getting any cement in fine detail.  Let this dry for a minimum of 24 hours, or 48 hours if you used a lot of glue.  You want it dry and as hard a possible for sanding.
    When the TETC has dried properly, sand the join smooth using #400 sandpaper until it is flush, then remove the sanding dust with whatever works the best for you.  I use compressed air, a clean microbrush and sometimes solvent on a rag to get all the dust out of the join.
    Dipping a microbrush into the CA glue container (not the bottle) and holding the surface horizontal so that the glue won’t drip, apply a thin bead of glue along the seam.  The goal is to totally fill the seam, plus about 10%, to get the top of the glue slightly higher than the surface of the plastic.  Let this dry for a few minutes, then apply glue accelerator with another microbrush along the seam next to the glue itself, but not directly on it.  Tip the parts allowing the accelerator to contact the CA glue and wait about a minute.  The glue will begin to harden on the surface.  When this has happened, apply more accelerator to the glue itself, which should harden completely within seconds.  Wipe off all accelerator with a dry rag.
           Note:  Thick CA glues take longer for the accelerator to dry them and they may be dry on the surface, but not internally.  Let thick glues dry much longer before sanding.
    Again using #400 sandpaper, sand down the seam so that it’s flush.  Ideally, you have CA glue within the seam and not on the plastic on either side.  Using a strong light, check the seam for shiny spots.  These spots are low areas or bubbles where the glue has not been sanded yet.  Depending on the application, either sand down further or using a microbrush tip (without brush), apply a tiny drop of glue to these areas, add accelerator, then sand again.
    When you are happy that the seam has been filled properly, use #1000 grit sandpaper and smooth the entire seam and surrounding areas to create a super smooth surface.  This takes a lot of time and a lot of sandpaper to get it right.
    You can now apply or restore panel lines with a scriber and do the same thing for rivets with a needle in a pin vice.  Do it within an hour of applying the CA glue, so that it’s not too hard.  The glue is slightly harder than the plastic, so take care to dig a little bit more within the glue than the plastic to ensure a uniform panel line or rivet.  If you screw up- and you will- apply another drop or two of CA glue and do it all over again.  I have scribed and refilled the same panel line multiple times before I got it right and after some paint, you can’t see any flaws.
  17. Thanks
    MarioS got a reaction from chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Love you work Chuck looking very good no, sorry!... I mean It looks Great    That cockpit in that last pic is amazing (real looking)
  18. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    At the front on either side of the gear well are gun vent doors that are molded open.  They should be closed and another molding flaw fixed.

    To close the gun vents, I trimmed the back of the vent doors, deepened the hinge with a scriber, then bent them flat.  They also need to be shortened about 10% and the corners rounded before you install them.

    Two more areas fixed and the panel lines are now straight.

    There is a lot of trimming and dry fitting to get any of these pieces to fit together.  Almost every join was modified in order to do so.  Kind of a pain, but kind of fun too.

    With the styrene spacer used at the front of the windscreen, the join is now fairly flush and the top center piece fits perfectly.

    Before I fit and glue the gun doors closed, I need to install the guns and modify the parts so that I can install the gun barrels at the end of the build.  Here I have cut the gun breaches back to fit my modifications and used minimal gun parts.  The key is to just get an anchor point to slip the gun barrel into later.

    The openings at the front of the gun compartment were widened slightly and the base of each gun barrel was narrowed, so they now just slip in from the front with minimal effort.

    The gun door fit?  Not so good.  This kit is made for doors to always be opened with no parts made for closed doors.  As a result, the fasteners are molded open and the closed fit is crappy.  Time for some more “fun” I guess….

    Later boys and thanks for your input.

  19. Like
    MarioS reacted to Marcel111 in F-16A & F-16C Aggressor Double Build - The Double is Done!   
    Thx guys, the encouragement is very motivating!
    Thx Jaws, the flightline look is exactly what I am going for
    Well, she is done! Here are some preliminary pics, taken under poor lighting conditions. I plan on taking some better shots and Chuck has very kindly also offered to edit them a little more professionally, once I have those shots I will post them in the Ready for Inspection section. But here goes for now:





    And the double is officially complete:

    Thanks for looking!
  20. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Then installed Parts C9 & C14 and glued the gear well together.

    Next, I cut off the rectangular tabs on the sides of the gear leg and cut a groove in it’s place that would fit a small drill bit, being careful to keep the angle of the groove the same as the tab, which is about 15-20 degrees.

    I then cut one short drill bit for the bottom and a longer one for the upper pin with a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel.

    Then after opening the bottom hole slightly, I slipped the bottom pin in place.  This pin is necessarily shorter than the top pin, because it gets in the way of the bottom fuselage parts, which have a triangular tab at this very location.  By cutting off the tab slightly, everything will fit later.

    Thankfully with the gun doors closed, the top pin can be any length, so I left it a bit longer for strength.

    Now the front gear leg can be glued to the pins at the end of the build, just like I plan for the main landing gear, so I can set the gear leg aside until I do the other two.  Mission 2 accomplished.

    Next up is final installation of the cockpit and IP.  Fingers crossed that this all goes well.
  21. Thanks
    MarioS got a reaction from chuck540z3 in 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!   
    Chuck nice to see you back at LSP
    I also have jumped in for this Great Ride looking forward to this great 2019 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch... Build 
  22. Like
    MarioS got a reaction from Marcel111 in F-16A & F-16C Aggressor Double Build - The Double is Done!   
    Wow! Marcie that looks great well done
  23. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in Tamiya Spitfire Mk IX Kicked Up A Notch: Last Post   
    Thanks Martin!
    While that was one of my next steps, I would think that tighter to the front prop area would be better than loose.  Time will tell, but I'm not worried -yet!
    Yeah Carl, I've looked at many, many builds of this kit and now with focus on that lower cowling frame join.  From my crude survey, about 90% of the builds out there where I can see some detail of this area, the fit is poor.  This is especially true of the port side where the framing actually hits the big coolant pipe right before it connects to the glycol tank.  My tank is on straight and the coolant pipe is snug to the tank fitting, so I dismiss this as user error.  Having said that, Wolf's build looks like the fit is pretty good, but as we all know, Mr. Buddee isn't human anyway. 
    Now a brief update, now that I have changed my mind to go with the larger lower intake.  Thanks Chek for the nudge.
    In order to dress up the intake/air filter assembly, I have a few bits from the kit parts (b-1) and the Eduard PE kit (2 X #35 and #61).  Part 61 is supposed to be a control line that opens and closes the intake, but it's flat and not to scale, so I tossed it and made my own assembly out of wire and some spare PE. The Eduard instructions shows where Part 35 goes on the port side, but there's no mention that an identical part should be installed on the starboard side as well.  Checking reference pics of this assembly, I note that there are a lot of raised rivets. as did Wolf in his build.  This is where more Archer resin decal rivets come in handy, which I have used extensively on my last 3 builds of an F-15C, P-38L and especially my A-10C, which is FULL of them!  Application of these decals can be tricky, but with lots of practice, I now find it second nature and quite easy to do.  The key is to get Microsol on the decals soon after application to suck them down so that they won't move.  No worries about them wrinkling up too much if you soak them with Microsol, because you actually need to.
    Now a quick walk-around of this intake before I spray it with gloss black lacquer.



    The face plate, Part b-11, has large screws that fasten it to the intake in a 6 X 4 pattern, so I used larger Archer rivets and placed them according to pics.

    That will be my last update for at least a week or more, because it's now time to do my friggin' taxes, taking me away from this model.     
  24. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in Tamiya Spitfire Mk IX Kicked Up A Notch: Last Post   
    Thanks Lucio for those kind words.  I try!
    Generally speaking, the washes that are available are water or solvent based.  Using enamel and lacquer paints exclusively, I have historically been using Flory ProModeler wash and a few years ago The Detailer, which are both water based and won't attack the paint.  I prefer solvent based washes, because they are thinner and get into tiny detail that the water based ones can't quite find or stay into, but even after a good coat or two of Future/Pledge on my models, I have had some disasters applying solvent based washes, so I avoided them.  ProModeler washes are OK, but they are a bit "gritty" and The Detailer can work well too, but it dries to a much different wash pattern than what was applied as the wash dries and shrinks, so you need to repeatedly re-wet the surface and move the wash around again and again to get the look you're after.  It helps if you add a drop of dish washing detergent to break up the surface tension, but the final version still looks different that what you applied.   Not a big deal, but a bit of a pain.
    That was all before I discovered using Tamiya X-22 gloss clear coat instead of Future.  This acrylic paint is easier to spray than Future and dries to a very hard coat in only an hour.  With 2 good coats of this stuff on my model parts, I now have no fears of solvent based paints attacking the paint, which leads to some of the Mig washes, like the one I used above.  Although solvent based, this wash is much thicker than others and allows me to build it up where I want it and remove it where I don't.  What I see is what I get the first time, because there is no water evaporating, changing the composition and distribution of the wash and for an engine compartment, there is no better color or composition than Mig's "Engine Oil".  It dries fairly quickly too- maybe 30 minutes before you can touch it without leaving finger prints.
  25. Like
    MarioS reacted to chuck540z3 in Tamiya Spitfire Mk IX Kicked Up A Notch: Last Post   
    Thanks Guys!
    I've been asked many times how I take my pics and although I'm no photographer, here's a cut/paste of a quick tutorial I did years ago, with some editing to bring it up to date. 
    Model Photography for Dummies (like me)
    The first thing you need is a decent camera, but owning a fancy DSLR with all the bells and whistles isn't necessary. Besides having a good lens and decent resolution of at least 8 MP, the camera needs to have an aperture priority setting, so that you can fix the aperture to a high number, giving a small aperture. The camera also needs to be able to focus on objects from a minimum of 2 feet or less. Zoom lenses help if you need to be further away, but maximum aperture settings often deteriorate as you zoom in. Most point and shoot cameras have a macro setting which is often displayed as a flower for close-ups, but just make sure you can adjust the aperture at the same time if you leave it on this setting.
    If you can afford it, buy a Macro ("Micro" in Nikon-speak) lens, because nothing takes close-up pics better than a lens made for doing just that.  If you don't have a Macro lens, try using a zoom from a few feet away and then crop the image on a computer (see below), assuming the resolution of your camera is high enough to begin with.
    Aperture Priority
    A maximum aperture of “f-22†or higher is recommended for most model photography. With high aperture settings, you can achieve good depth of field, which is critical for close-up or “macro†photography. If you are taking a close-up of your model from, say, 1 foot away at f-3.5, the object you focused on will be in focus, but the other parts of the model just in front or behind the focus point will be blurry. With a higher aperture number of f-22, almost everything a few inches in front and a few inches behind will also be in focus.
    Tripod and Self-timer
    The next thing your camera needs is a self timer and the ability to fix it to a tripod. With high aperture settings, the shutter speeds will decrease dramatically, so you can't hand hold the camera without getting some blurring from shake. Anything longer than about 1/100 of a second will likely have some blur, but you can sometimes hand hold 1/60 of a second if you're very steady. For maximum apertures of f-22 or more and the lighting I routinely use, my shutter speeds are often 1-3 seconds or more, so a tripod is a must along with a self timer, so that you are not touching the camera when the shutter is released.
    Generally speaking, you can't have enough light when taking pics, so try to have 2-3 light sources coming from various angles to fill in shadows. Having one light source stronger than the other is OK, which creates a natural looking shadow, but if the light is too strong from one direction, it will overpower what the camera measures for light. If you can find them, there are some excellent coiled gas bulbs or LED's available that give off strong natural and balanced light of 3200 to 5000K, which is a “color temperature†close to natural light. They are not expensive- about $8 each- and I use at least 2-3 of them in goose-neck lamps over my model and one held in my hand, so that I can direct the light at shadows that I want to tone down as the self timer on my camera takes the pic. For example, check out “Alzo Digital†here for the lamps I use:
    White Balance
    Colors will shift according to your light source. Fluorescent lighting is greenish in color, incandescent lighting is reddish and natural sunlight is neutral, which is why many modelers take their pics outdoors. You can hand hold many outdoor pics due to the strong light and resultant fast shutter speeds, even at high apertures, but strong sunlight can also produce too harsh shadows, so a cloudy day is better than a sunny day to take pics. If you're taking pics under artificial light, you need to compensate for the color shift of your light source and many cameras have a white balance compensation setting, other than “autoâ€. More sophisticated cameras allow you take a measurement of the colors your light source is sending to your model, by taking a picture of a white card (sometimes grey) as a base line for what is supposed to be pure white, which is saved as a setting in the camera. The pics you take are then color shifted accordingly to provide a neutral look, rather than one that is red looking because you used an incandescent light bulb, etc.  You can also change the white balance using computer software, as described below.
    This is the sensitivity of your digital light sensor, with low numbers of 100 to 400 being the most commonly used. ISO settings in this range will give your pics the most resolution, but sometimes you need a higher ISO setting to get the pics you want under poor light if you're not using a tripod. High ISO settings, however, tend to be grainy, with the higher the number the grainier the pic. My camera goes to a smoking high setting of 50,000 (and higher), but the pics will look fairly grainy. If you have good light and a tripod, you don't need to worry about using a high ISO, so you should leave it at a relatively low number.
    If you own flash umbrellas and light tents, you know a heck of a lot more about photography than I ever will, but for most people who use the built-in flash on their camera, my advice is to leave the flash down and never use it. Flashes tend to totally overpower the front light of the photograph, making them look artificial and washed out. With adjustable external flashes you can bounce the light off the ceiling, etc. to create a more natural look, which might work great for some. I like to use my own external lighting so that I can see what the pic should look like before I take it, rather than what it might look like with a flash.  Having said that, some good cameras with "TTL" (Through The Lens) metering/flash can turn out pretty good.
    Light metering
    Many cameras give you options for how the light is measured on your light sensor, from tiny “spot metering†to versions that measure a wider spectrum in your viewfinder. I generally use the spot metering option, because I can control where the lighting is measured. This isn't all that important due to “bracketingâ€, which I also use.
    Most of the time your pics will be properly exposed automatically, but sometimes you might want a little bit darker or lighter pic as a comparison to choose from. I sometimes shoot 1 “stop†under and 1 stop over what the camera measures as correct, so that I have 3 pics for every shot. My camera does this automatically if I set it this way, but you can always do it manually if your camera doesn't have this capability. I sometimes find that the slightly overexposed pic is the best and sometimes it's the under exposed one, so I eventually toss the other two that don't look as good.
    HDR (High Dynamic Range) Setting
    My "Go-To" method of shooting model pics these days is to use the "HDR" setting on my Nikon cameras.  I'm not sure what other camera manufacturers call this setting, but I'm sure it's not unique to Nikon.  Essentially, the camera takes two pics, one that exposes the lighter areas properly and then another that exposes the darker areas properly, then stitches the two into one pic.  As a result, using a tripod is a must, so that the two pics are exactly the same for what is framed.  This is usually much better than just taking bracketing pics like above, because each shot is an average of both light and dark areas, which doesn't always work very well.   Using the HDR setting is the single best trick that I have learned for taking pics of models, which is why they are often very balanced for exposure.
    For more info, a link to Nikon's HDR Photography is here:
    Ideally, you don't want to see anything in the background, because it can distract from the model. Having all sorts of modeling crap in the background for an in-progress shot can add some nice realism to your photography, but for a finished model, I want to see nothing but the model and maybe the diorama the model is placed on. To accomplish this I use a very easy and cheap background, which is a large roll of white poster paper that is placed on the flat surface like a desk or table and draped up and taped to the wall behind, so that you can't see any folds. Since your photograph is focused on the model, the background will be slightly out of focus, achieving a nice nothingness to the background, which is called "Bokeh".  I have also experimented with using a black background, which can be very effective to show contrasting details, but for most of my pics these days, I prefer the white or near white background for a completed model.  For In-Progress shots, I use a very small photo-booth with a dark blue background.
    File Format
    My photography-geek friends always tell me to shoot my pics in “RAW†format, so that you can play with all the information the camera has recorded on a computer without the compression (and loss of data) by converting the pic to a “jpgâ€. If I am taking vacation shots, I record my pics in RAW for this reason, but when I'm taking 24-36 MP pics that are at least 6,000- 7,000 pixels wide, I don't worry about it because jpg format is easier for me to deal with (and store) and most of my pics are shrunk to no wider than 1,600 pixels when I save them on my ImageShack account for posting here. However, if you are planning to submit your build to a magazine for publication, taking the final pics in RAW is probably a good idea, because the magazines like all the resolution- and information- they can get.
    Computer Editing
    All pics can be improved and enhanced with photo editing software. Contrast, brightness, shadow compensation, histogram manipulation, color shifting and sharpening are some of the more common things tweaked after you take the pic. This all takes practice and there are many software packages out there, but I quite like the standard and easy to use “Windows Live Photo Gallery†that comes free with Windows 7 and you can download from Microsoft if you have Windows 10. I'm sure there are free Apple versions that are even better, or you can step up and buy the Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom software if you want to get really serious, although I never have found the need- yet.  One day I probably will, when I have more time to play with pics over modeling.
    What do I use?
    Although I have a Nikon D810 with 36 MP of resolution, I always use my Nikon D610 with 24 MP.  It has a full frame sensor, so I get all the resolution I need and it makes a terrific travel camera because it isn't as heavy as the D810.  For a lens, I have a Nikon Micro 60mm, although if I was buying this lens today I would have gone for the 105mm version instead, so that I didn't have to get as close as I do now, which is often only 6-8" away.  The 60mm lens has a maximum aperture setting (smallest hole in the diaphragm) of F36, so it's has fantastic depth of field.
    Taking good pics of your model is easy if you follow a few of the steps above.  If you have a fantastic model and crappy pics of it that you took with your phone, nobody will care, because the details are lost.  With a little extra effort, you can record your masterpiece properly.
    Now a few of my favorite pics (and models!) that I took using much of the above:






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