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Fly Navy ! Vought's Gutless marvel / Foiled Fisher F7-U3 VX-4


Hubert Boillot
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Good morning all,

 

I know I have another topic on the cooker right now (the Travel Air Mystery Ship), but as for the time being I have definitely stopped working on LSM's kit, and my correction work is more virtual modelling than anything else - but that will not last ;) -, my longing for actually fondling some plastic (or resin for that matter) was definitely too strong.

 

Time to start another one then !

 

Back in 1965 (or was it 1966 ?) my father was an officer in a tank regiment based in Kaiserslautern in Germany. We used to travel to my birthplace (Saumur, house of the Ecole de Cavalerie, and of a beautiful tanks museum - I remember playing inside a T-34 or a Sherman, but this is another story - for Christmas. On the way back home, at night, I saw a beautiful glistening ball on the banks of the Loire river: this was the dome housing the Chinon nuclear plant, a graphite-gas plant. I was hooked from then on with anything scientific and engineering.

For that specific Christmas, I got a wonderful present : a book on aviation. This one hooked me forever on aeronautics. It was full of incredible shapes, and among these science-fiction pictures, were two which I still remember vividly, and which have set my unconditional love for those two beautiful airframes : the B-58 Hustler, and the Chance-Vought F7-U3 Cutlass !

 

The Cutlass was certainly unique for its time. It was plagued by an incredible "lemon", its Westinghouse J-46 (interesting parallels to draw with the still-present attitude of the Pentagon purchasers to stick to some suppliers or projects, against all evidence), but it was not a bad flyer according to some of its pilots, incredibly rugged, and fairly agile.

 

When Paul Fisher released this one some time ago, I was totally elated. One of my favorites aiframes, in my only scale ! And the execution is typical Fisher : beautiful !

 

From the start, I wanted to make it in NMF. This short period of time when the Navy had its aircrafts unpainted makes for certainly interesting-looking aircrafts, especially as the Cutlass had panels made of aluminium, magnesium, Metalite - a glistening compound made of balsa wood sandwiched between aluminium foils -, silver-painted fiberglass, stainless steel, etc. Fisher, on its instructions, provides a very clear facsimile of which metal went where. This definitely calls for foiling. But when I got the kit, I was not sure I was ready to commit to foiling such an expensive kit.

 

But,

1) I have now done an experiment in foiling with my ST-M (another gem from the Fisher stables)

2) I badly wanted to do some resin-fondling

3) Scott's thread about "get those expensive kits out of the stash" was a trigger.

 

So, I hope I will entertain you, with this one : a 1/32 F7-U3 M, in NMF, under the colors of VX-4 when this unit was testing the Sparrow. The finish will use paint when the panels were painted, and foil when the panels were left natural metal.

 

Let's get started by following Fisher's instructions : assembling the wings, central wing-box and top and bottom main fuselage.

 

The wings are one piece mouldings, with strong tabs to insert in a central carry-though box, itself sandwiched between the upper and lower main fuselages. This makes for a very strong assembly, that will withstand the weight of the beast without any problems.

 

Sorry, I have not taken any pics of the wings-and-wingbox assembly. I added some shims of plastic to make sure the wings were firmly set in the box. Be careful to measure where these shims need to be added (above or below the wing tabs), to ensure the wings are level and set at the same height.

Fisher then advises that some fit issues will likely occur between the upper and lower fuse when mating them with the wings. This is true, but nothing plastic shims, CA filler and plastic filler, plus some sandpaper and elbow grease won't be able to overcome.

The big gaps are at the rounded end of the lower-to-upper rear fuselage joint. I inserted some thin plastic cards shims, plus filled the rest. Ditto for the wing roots: there are gaps above and below where they join the fuselage. Some two-part expoxy filler was used, complemented by ordinary car-body filler.

 

Now for some pics :

 

The assembled rear fuselage and wings :

 

DSC01246_zpsfdwfpr8i.jpg

 

DSC01247_zpspbgifxkl.jpg

 

It is a big bugger, in case you wonder. A comparsion with its younger cousin , the ST-M :

 

DSC01255_zpsqxhi7hzy.jpg

 

Now for the seams. The pics speak for themselves. The seams are still WIP, as they now need some fine-filling with Mister Surfacer, and more sanding and polishing to restore a smooth surface for the foiling process. The very fine panel lines will also be re-engraved

 

Lower rear fuselage joint :

 

DSC01248_zpslpxvguyh.jpg

 

Lower front fuselage joints, left and right :

 

DSC01249_zpsdljbopw5.jpg

 

DSC01250_zpsrlzq9bej.jpg

 

And upper wing to fuselage joints. I have removed two small exhausts from the fuselage, to make the sanding process easier. They will be reinstated later. Their mark can be seen as a lighter "shadow" on the fuselage side.

 

DSC01253_zpsn1snmm28.jpg

 

DSC01254_zpsww0ahgqa.jpg

 

Thanks for looking.

 

Hubert

Edited by MostlyRacers
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Ah....this is going to be a good 'un to watch...many thanks for the compliments and also for showing the process, warts and all...this is what is needed to take the mystery and fear out of resin modelling.

 

With that said, I myself have been too "chicken" to try foiling anything!

 

Can't wait to see more...Bon Chance!

 

Paul, busily digging out the bits for the Firefly

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Cool project, Hubert! This should look pretty spectacular in foil, and judging by your STM, you'll do a marvellous job.

 

Kev

 

 

I'm looking forward to watching this unfold! Thanks for sharing.

 

Cheers, Tom

 

 

love it!!!

 

what a great project - can't wait to see this :popcorn:

 

Peter

 

 

:popcorn:

 

Derek

 

 

Ah....this is going to be a good 'un to watch...many thanks for the compliments and also for showing the process, warts and all...this is what is needed to take the mystery and fear out of resin modelling.

 

With that said, I myself have been too "chicken" to try foiling anything!

 

Can't wait to see more...Bon Chance!

 

Paul, busily digging out the bits for the Firefly

 

Many thanks for your comments guys, and especially to Paul for the vote of confidence. I hope I will not disapoint you, but one thing for sure, if I do, it will be because of me, not your kit.

 

All the best for the forthcoming Firefly. I have a number of your kits in my stash (not all of them, but quite a few), but I am afraid the Firefly is one I will pass ... Now, if one day you want to add a Banshee to your Navy jets catalogue, count me in !

 

Hubert

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Looking forward to it!!!!

 

 

It couldn't be in better hands.  Hopefully you will be multi-tasking and working on the new W-W racer drawings while assembling this bird.  Looking forward to your always enlightening progress reports.

 

 

Thank you Brian and Ron :)

 

@Ron : the 3D  CAD work on the Mystery Ship is an "office hours" project, on my business laptop. The Cutlass will be a home/week-ends one, so don't worry, I will carry on working on both in "multitasking". No today though. Today is work-at-home, preparing the transfer of the accounting of one of my companies to my accoutant. That will free a lot of my time during week-ends, plus, even though I can do it, I was really getting bored of these acounting inputs :)

 

Hubert

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