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F-117A Nighthawk (channelling my inner scratch builder)

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It begins.  After a nearly 2 decade search for the right kit, and several attempts in 1/48 with the Tamiya kit, I believe I've finally found the plastic of my dreams.  The Trumpeter kit corrects the myriad flaws of the old Testors, and offers a better working scale for what I hope to accomplish in 1/32 than the Tamiya did a step smaller.  Life and work force me to be a very part time modeler, but I will post progress here - slow as it may be.


As mentioned, the basis for this build is the new-ish Night Hawk kit.  Having been to market for a little over a year, there are several nice aftermarket options now available.  While I haven't made a final decision on what I would like to include, the cockpit, seat and gear/wheels are about the only real areas of detail on this kit - so I figured they're as good a place as any to get started.


Que Quickboot Aces II replacement seat, and an Eduard Brassin wheel set.  Both are excellent quality, and offer a substantial improvement in detail to the kit parts.
















As several of you are aware, I'm working on several aspects of this kit to improve upon the plastic or photo etch options that currently just don't quite cut it.  One of these details are the engine intake grids.  My hope is to find a willing engineer with access to a micro machining unit that will be able to help create as close to an exact scale replica of the grids as possible.  Failing that....well, I'll cross that bridge if/when I get to it.  :)


In the mean time, I'll be collecting paints, glue, and all the other sundries I've since parted with over the years since my last attempt at this silly project.  Thanks once again to all the help I've received so far in looking for information to help me along.  I'll be sure to update as progress is made.



Edited by Uilleann
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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow - I know I need to pick up the pace when I haven't updated my thread here in so long it got buried five pages back! ;)


Well, some slight progress has been made - though as I'm at work now, I will have to be a tease for now, and promise some pictures when I get home later this evening. In short, I received the Eduard interior update for the kit, and while I'm still far from 100% sold on using all the flat PE for the instrument panels and switches (the are indeed painted up with extreme detail, but they're just so flat!) I have installed some of the other bits and pieces to bring a little more zing to the tub. Namely, a few panels here and there with some added rivet detail, a cover here, a brace there, and some very nice new rudder pedals. This was a huge upgrade from the kit part.


Anyway, pics tonight - promise!





P.S. Iain, I may well have some bits and pieces left over from this (very likely in addition to that film for the HUD glass and canopy windows I ordered from AFV Club). You interested in in any of it if so? It's yours, for nothing but a mailing address. :)

Edited by Uilleann
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OK - progress so far (slow as it is)


Kit pedals - big, clunky and solid.



My sloppy work in removing the innards.  Left the side framing for support.



With the new Eduard PE applied...much nicer.



And a little of the pit with a few plates added here and there.  (Kindly disregard the misplacement of the left hand flooring.  *#@!% C.A. set too quickly ans I couldn't re-position!)



More to follow...

Edited by Uilleann
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Ok - finally, with the wife off to cheese-head land for a conference, and the kiddo glued to the latest "look-at-us-teenyboppers-sing-80's-songs-really-poorly!" movie...I finally have a few spare minutes to throw at this project!  :piliot:


So as I mentioned earlier, I picked up several of Eduard's PE sets for this kit, and have added a little here and there as I go along.  I've decided not to use the full panel replacements from their 'interior' set, and instead just paint the kit pit's raised details - with an odd piece of PE here or there for visual interest.  It just looked better to me in the end...even though the printing detail on the frets from Eduard is astonishing in it's complexity.  It also allows me a chance to add some other bells and whistles as I go, though mum's the word on that till I can find a new source for my extra little fiddly bits I hope to add!  :coolio:


Here's where we stand so far:


Main cockpit tub more or less painted and done:



The main screens up front, (not much to look at yet...) but which will get later decal treatment, gauges, handles etc in time:



And some of the detail on the rear bulkhead - with a dash of PE:



I'm still trying to find a throttle, and would like to replace the top of the stick (ala EricG's build)...still lots to do and sort out.  While the kit is large, and generally accurate, it's glaring omissions and lack of detail in key areas is (ever so slightly) a pain to deal with.  Ah well - that's part of the fun of all this isn't it? 


Cheers for now - more to come as time allows...



Edited by Uilleann
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Some small progress this evening - and a serious skill check for yours truly here!  Last night, I had borrowed a freestanding lamp and 2X magnifying lens from work - one of the benefits of working with a low vision optometrist for one's day job.  :)  It made the painting of the main tub much easier both with the light and the magnification.  Sadly, it had to go back this morning however, and well...looking at the blown up pics of tonight's paint skill check, and all I can say is OOF!  My near sighted eyes ain't what they used to be!  LOL


At any rate, I got the upper side panels kicked out (more or less) and to a point where hopefully only minor tweaks and fixes may be needed before it all goes in to the fuselage.  I also reached a new milestone this evening:  never before have I cut strips of masking tape under 1mm thick.  But that's what the gaps between the panels called for, and while certainly far from a perfect level of work, I'm reasonably pleased with how everything turned out.  Certainly not clean enough to be a show winner - but I may be able to live with things as they are.


Prep begins with the base coat (medium blue and light gull grey roughly 2:1, to get the cool grey look of many F-117's):



All dressed up and ready for the make shift spray booth:



And my absolute hack job with the details tonight.  May attempt to touch things up later, depending on motivational level *shrug*:



Dry fit to the rest of the tub - starboard:



And the port side:



I suppose all in all it's coming out OK so far.  I have to remind myself as well, that these side panels will also be covered with an overhanging sill, and are likely to be even less visible than they are now when everything is installed and done.  It's the whole "But I know it's there" thing I guess.  Anyway, for those still with me - thanks for following along!  :)





Edited by Uilleann
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