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1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Feb 12 "Econo-Intakes"

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Thanks Guys!


Looking at my close-up pics, I see some remaining flaws, which I have just fixed.  Next up, seamless intakes for $3.20 US.  I haven't actually made them yet, but I think I know how after a little experimentation.  Wish me luck!




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Chuck how many notches are you going to kick this up?


You say one in the thread title, but this is several thousand notches above OOB standard :)


Your finessing of a kit is really a one of a kind thing, as is your photography and explanations - these must be the go-to threads for anyone building this kit, in fact they are go-to threads for anyone building a model...


just brilliant...



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8 hours ago, Durangokid said:

I really like the way the cockpit turned out and great job with that hud.  Can I ask why you highlight the panel lines?  I'm thinking one of the reasons is to check your work?






Thanks Bryan!  The answer is yes, as I will show again below.


Peter, you make me blush, especially coming from the Master!


Feb 12/19



Thankyou Gentlemen!



With the front fuselage done, it’s now time to attack the rear fuselage.  Before I go any further, many of the modifications I’m making I found in the LSP Kitty Hawk F-5E SIG thread, so thank you to everyone who pointed these out before.  You guys tell me what’s wrong with this kit, and I’ll try to show how to fix them!



My jet doesn’t have the chaff and flare dispenser (B12), so the raised panel should be removed and the two small holes filled.








At the rear of the fuselage are 4 raised lumps.  Two should be there and two should be sanded down.






As mentioned earlier, I rescribe every panel line and re-punch every rivet to enhance detail, so I also always use a dark wash to see if I goofed up somewhere.  For all my criticisms of this kit, the bottom detail is excellent. 






I was also going to hide the landing gear bays with closed doors, but with this fine detail, I’m having second thoughts.  I may jazz this stuff up some more and leave it exposed.






The top of the fuselage, however, isn’t as well detailed and it has a few errors.






The engines have nicely formed intake fans and compressors, but there’s lots of crap in the way and ink marks for some reason, so I’m not sure why KH bothered.  There is a fix, however.






Eduard supplies flame tube screens to cover all the warts and some nice detail for the compressor face.  Some engines have this screening and some don’t and I found a pic of a jet that had one of each, so anything goes.






All painted up and ready for assembly.






With the exhaust extensions dry fit, most of the seam lines are covered.






And no ugly seam lines on the sides either.






Edited by chuck540z3

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Now the intakes present a much bigger problem, because they don’t exist at all and so far, there are no after-market ones available.  Phase Hanger Resin is making some, but after at least 10 attempts to contact them and get a real date for delivery, I gave up and for the first time, tried to make some of my own.  With small engine intakes and a fairly straight forward trajectory, I found some 5/8” OD/1/2” ID PVC pipe and gave it a whirl.  Let’s call these “Econo-Intakes”, because they are nowhere near as good as resin ones, but they are better than nothing- and waiting for some to show up one day (or not).



I started with a few tools to shape and bend the plastic pipe.  The pliers on the right give an intake opening similar to the kit plastic and the awl-like gizmo on the left (it’s really a wine stopper) should spread the pipe enough to get it around the engines.






After a lot of trial and error using a heat gun, I found that the pipe will become very flexible when heated and you can shape it.  The pipe also has a bit of shape memory, so by re-heating the pipe, you can get it to go back close to where it started before heating.  So here is Proto-type Econo-Intake #7, which worked out quite well.  In order to get the intake to fit over the gear well, you need to sand down both the bottom and top so that it will clear.  This was done using a sanding wheel on a Dremel tool, which made quick work of the plastic.  Other parts were heated and shaped accordingly, but you have to be careful to let the pipe cool before it touches the kit plastic.  While the outside of the pipe is quite rough, the inside remains very smooth.






The fronts are a bit rough right now and everything is still only dry fit.  After the top fuselage has been cemented to the bottom, I will sand and shape them super thin so that they are one smooth unit with no gaps.






When the front portion of the intake is installed, it will be tough to see this join anyway.  This front piece has lots of issues to deal with anyway, so I plan on making everything smooth as one unit and, well, seamless!






From the front you can see the intake fan, which is really hard to photograph.  I’m leaving these intakes white, so no need to paint them.






That’s it for now boys.  Next up will be clean-up of the “Econo-Intakes”.





Edited by chuck540z3

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Nice solution for the intakes!


The shot towards the fan almost puts me in there with a cleaning rag, as if I was an erk on the flight line.


Looking forward to seeing the end result but very much enjoying the journey on the way. :popcorn:

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Thank you Gentlemen!


10 hours ago, Marcel111 said:

Nice work on those tiny J-85's... must feel like 1/72 modelling ^_^


Very good work on the intakes. I did something similar back when I built the Revell EF-2000.







Thanks Marcel.  I never would have tried this on a larger jet, like my big Eagle, because you can actually see quite a bit inside those big intakes.  These tiny intakes mean that you can get away with minimal detail, because you can't really see much of it inside, even with a flashlight.  In any case, even crude intakes are better than nothing!


A bit of an update, but more of a warning.  I am currently detailing the upper fuselage before I glue the entire fuselage together and along with moving the fuel caps to the port side, I've been scratching my head on how to deal with those circular windows just in from of the engine vents on each side.  These windows indicate the level of some kind of fluid, but the kit instructions don't have clear windows for them.   A review of other builds of this kit indicate that nobody is using an alternative, so the circular depressions are left as is.  After looking hard at where all the clear parts go (GP Series), I think I have figured out that many parts are miss-labeled and therefore not missing.  So here is what I've found by looking at the GP sprue below:





1)  On the bottom of the forward fuselage, the instructions tell you to place two GP-9 circular lens into the openings in Step 22.  These lenses are too small, so you should use two GP-1 lenses instead.






2)  Now we have two small  GP-9 lenses for the sides, which fit perfectly in the holes in front of the engine vents in Step 17, which are not mentioned.






3)  The instructions tell you to use the GP-1 lenses for the navigation lights on the bottom of the wing in Step 19, but nothing for the top of the wing.  Since there are four GP-7 lenses, which are almost identical to the GP-1 lenses, these should be used instead for the bottom AND top of the wing.






4)  The remaining error is that the instructions ask you to use the circular GP-7 lenses in the vertical stabilizer in Step 21. This is wrong (and we used them already above), because they are rectangular shaped and should be GP-5 instead.






In Summary:


1)  Step 22.   Use GP-1 instead of GP-9 for the bottom lights on the forward fuselage


2)  Step 17.   Use GP-9 for the side lenses just forward of the engine vents. (Missing in instructions)


3)  Step 19.   Use four GP-7 lenses instead of two GP-1 lenses on the end of the wings, top and bottom.


4)  Step 21.   Use GP-5 instead of GP-7 lenses on the tail.


5)  Kitty Hawk instructions should be scrutinized thoroughly before gluing anything.



Hope this helps!



Edited by chuck540z3

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Good tips, cheers on that.

Im not an F-5 SME by any means, and generally I can live with smaller erroneous detail, but having built a lot of KHM demo models they seem to have a penchant for strange/odd engineering as well as instruction flubs Ala Dragon and their Me-110 instructions.   Nothing earth shattering as far as as a remedy for each would go, but as noted very nice to know about in advance 

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Thanks Brian.  Despite the misgivings of this kit for accuracy, ill fitting parts, mold flaws and poor (and wrong) instructions, I have to remind myself that we modelers should be happy that Kitty Hawk (KH) has created this kit (& F-5F) in the first place.  If you wanted a 1/32 F-5, the old Hasegawa kit used to be the only option and it is truly bad.  At least this kit gives us a fighting chance to create a really nice model of this iconic and very popular fighter.  On the positive side, this kit has:


1) Generally well defined and clean panel lines

2) Good to excellent rivet detail

3) Good overall shape

4) Lots of options to create a specific version with a variety of load-outs

5) Lots of decal options, although I have no idea yet how good the decals are

6) Good plastic that sands and re-scribes easily


Also, the front intake parts have a very specific ridge on the inside/back that indicate that something should have or will fit onto it one day, like maybe intake parts?  There is no reason for this ridge to be there, so this kit just might improve in the future once these shortcomings are fixed.  In the meantime, seamless intakes and likely a new resin cockpit will become available, even if KH doesn't change a thing, to make the kit better.




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