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  1. Work has stalled on the Starfighter as I'm not feeling the inspiration. However, with the world on lockdown, I have a bit of time on my hands, so thoughts went to a project that would normally consume a fair amount of time; Belcher Bits F-5A conversion. This predates the Kitty Hawk kit by a good few years, and it must be said it is basic, but appears to be basically accurate in shape and symmetry. One ommission from the conversion however, is the mainwheels which are different from the F-5E that the kit is intended to use as a base. After getting the conversion, I visited the Aircraft Collection near Gardermoen (Oslo Airport) to take measurements and lots of closeups. I created some wheels in CAD and had a set 3D printed, but I always thought something didn't look right, and looking at the mountain of work ahead of me, the project was sidelined. To do justice to the conversion and the Freedom Fighter, it would need more than a set of correct wheels.... The exhaust nozzles in the Hasegawa kit were OK back in the late 70s when that kit was released, but are far too simplified. The cockpit also needing a fair amount of work and although the conversion includes tip tanks, I wasn't confident in getting them fitted symmetrically and securely. So, to keep my CAD skills warm while on furlough, I thought it was time to do the work I had been putting off for a while, and a batch of parts should arrive from the general direction of Bristol in a day or two - thank you Tim! Taking advantage of the nice weather today I spent a few hours on the patio grinding resin and creating more swarf and dust than I have ever done before - a job I hadn't been looking forward to, partially because I knew it would be an almighty mess. Do not do this indoors! The cockpit...that was a start on a previous group build, so it is being recycled for this one. It is the Black Box F-5E cockpit, so the upper instrument panel and shroud will need modification. The F-5A didn't have a HUD, just a simple gunsight. It didn't have a radar either, so some Airscale etched bezels will come in handy here. The conversion does include and instrument panel, but it is not as detailed as the Black Box cockpit. The Freedom Fighter was the first US jet fighter that the Royal Norwegian Air Force purchased with own funds. Previous US fighters - including the F-104G - were supplied as part of the Military Assistance Programme. The F-5 entered service in 1966 and served with 332, 334, 336, 338, 717 and 718 Squadrons. No decision on the unit yet, but I am partial to the large yellow lighting bolt on the fin of 338 Sqn and pre-1972 squadron codes.
  2. This GB is a great opportunity to restart project Thunderbird! Stopped last year while waiting on seats. Now KittyHawk has launched two new F-5’s which has given me all the parts I need to finish her up without as much scratch building so the process should move along well. I had alot of parts prepped but nothing glued together yet, sans the wings which i worked on yesterday (too antsy lol). Here’s the link to the original WIP for reference T-38A Talon I've got 3 Hasegawa kits, 2 KittyHawk kits, the Belcher Bits F-5A conversion, The Daco book, and A Pictorial History of the T-38 Talon, cockpit shots from Peter Fleischman, plus my own walkaround shots from the T-38A at the Praire Aviation Museum. I learned how to scribe during the Fall so I plan to rescribe the whole plane to be accurate.
  3. This beautiful T-38A Thunderbird took a long time and she took a short time. I began a year ago and made good progress through learning to vacuum form a canopy. Then with the pending release of the KittyHawk F-5's I decided to wait it out and gather up some cockpit and clear parts to really make her look sharp. So a year long build timeline with about 4 months of that being actual bench time. The final model is a combination of the Hasegawa F-5E, Belcher Bits F-5A conversion, KittyHawk F-5E/F and some Bondo spot putty! The cockpit and pilot are painted with Vallejo acrylics and the helmet is handpainted. Interior details are scratch built in combination with the Hasegawa side panels and KH seats. The paint is MCW lacquer 60/40 with MrColor Leveling Thinner, 2 coats of MCW clear thinned as well, and wet-sanded to 12000 grit. She's all show AND go with BMF Chrome on the pitot, wingtips, and exhausts. Those exhaust can corrugated metal liners are birthday tiaras for a kids party lol. The decals are a combination of CamPro from the F-4 Thunderbird set and the KH kit. She is adorned with Archer rivets, doors, and hinges to show off her classic airframe! I scribed all the other elements of the fuselage and airfoil surfaces to match the Daco Book as much as possible. Lastly a big thanks goes out to the Aviation Museum of Kentucky who graciously let me take pictures all around their AT-38B Thunderbird including some great shots of the cockpit.
  4. So, here it is; my first entry into this GB. I didn't realize I had so many choices in my stash. It figures that I choose the hardest one there. The base kit: Contents: The replacement fuselage: Man, has resin come a long way since this came out. The rest of the conversion bits: Carl
  5. So I picked up the Belcher Bits resin conversion for the Hasegawa F-5E to F-5A. It's got a pretty hefty fuselage in it. I've washed the parts and can't seem to get rid of the oily, glossy looking finish, on one side. I've tried to show this in the attached picture. The shine on the right side isn't the light, it's the resin. I used dawn dh sopa in warm water to wash them. I also tried sanding on one section of it to see if it was the surface finish. When I do that it gets dull but within an hour it is back to an oily look. has anyone run up against something similar and have a solution? Thanks in advance for the help!
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