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F-117A • Nighthawk

F`s are my favs

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Guys, i'm back! This time not with something in 1/48 or smaller. That thing...




It's the Trumpeter kit, my second 1/32 scale model, and it's quite huge :) It's so ever slightly bigger than the F-15 in lenght and even in wingspan, which impressed me a bit. Alright, let's do it. I plan a rather slow and longer build. Some may know very well the quality and what's in the box, but i'm gonna make a thorough review these days whatsoever. Here is just a quick glimpse:










And of course, i'll take advantage of the AFV Club's tinted canopy, cause i think it's absolutely necessary for a good looking F-117. I cannot tint such a huge canopy by myself and not leave any trace of dust, etc. In 1/48 or less - it's ok because the little imperfections are almost invisible, but this one is one, enormous and two, with perfectly flat straight sides. 


I'll also use the GTR Wheel set that i didn't use in my F-15E. The kit tires are from very hard rubber and quite small in size. I have the original dimensions of the plane's tires and did the quick measurements. The GTR tyres are perfect. Only the front tyre is a bit smaller in diameter so i might still use the kit's rubber tyre for the nose wheel. And on the other hand, i know that the F-117 had just about the same avionics as the F-18 and just about the same landing gear as the F-15, so that's the perfect moment to use the gorgeous GTR tyres and wheels.


And finally, the extra PE screen for the FLIR and DLIR. This is obligatory as well, because the provisions for these sensors are huge. I did a little mistake though by getting the 4x6 screen mesh in believing that the holes are rombs. Yeah, they are rectangulars... i couldn't notice that on the photos and this is my firt time using such a PE screen. Nevertheless, i think i can place the screen at an angle so they can look as rombs.






I plan to start from the landing gear :) and make everything moveable again, for "2 models in 1" - in a parked and in-flight mode. The canopy, the gear, all the control surfaces and the bomb bays will close/open. As for the airframe - i have no idea yeat, but i think it will be one of the early Nighthawks, something Desert Storm-related in a full stealth mode with all the lights and antennas retracted and without the two RCS enhancers on the sides. Quite weathered as well. I'm only looking for a pilot figure and if i cannot find any, i plan to get the F-16 resin figure+seat set by Aires. But i'll wait on that one yet.


:popcorn: Nighthawk! :yahoo:

Edited by F`s are my favs
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The nose gear is first. The metal replacement is a one-piece pylon/strut/actuator (the MLGs have only a metal pylon), so to make it retractable - i'm using only the main metal pylon and the second (smaller) part of the diagonal strut. The other "things" are replaced by the original plastic parts...




The metal parts - cut, the seamlines are sanded and everything is polished. Shiny shiny...






So these are the main parts. Check out the pins/holes for the hinges. I also decided to use the standard kit wheel and tire for the nose gear because they are slightly larger in diameter than the GTR nose wheel and tyre, and thus almost spot on with the exact diameter of 22 inches by 6.6 inches of the real plane's NLG tire.






Then i painted it. Mr. Surfacer + white acrylic. This is in an extended mode:






And how it looks retracted,...






... with its imaginary position inside the bay:




Now, let's get some wires all around! :) Actually i don't know... i'm kinda in a mood for making the rotation of the vertical stabilizers.



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Hi Troy! The AFV Club canopy is a game changer! I highly recommend it, indeed i think it is absolutely necessary for a decent looking model. And it fits perfectly, it's just times better than the original transparent canopy. It's definitely worth it. The only trick is that it is nothing more than the original transparent canopy but only coated from the inside with a golden-purple-orangy tone which does not shift color accordindg to the angle, so you dont want to mask or stick anything from the inner side, just in case. How did i get it? Well, long story short - i made a synergy of my trip to LDN for the new years vacation with a visit to the Hannants store (+the RAF museum :yahoo:). So i got it from Hannants, i think they have it in stock in their warehouse. Meanwhile, i saw it (recently) in a couple of ebay offers, and on the Sprue Brothers site. 

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A little change in plan was needed... I'm sarting from the beginning of the issue... so, I was modifying the NLG bay door's hinges to make it fit in the fuselage while I noticed something - the entire lower fuselage is quite .... "fragile". :) Well, don't get me wrong, the kit is absolutely perfect, gorgeous, but the 2 halves of the fuselage are a little bit on the thin side. Actually they are too thin (to my taste) and especially the lower fuselage (which is almost a giant flat piece) can bend like a "paper sheet". This led to two issues: (i) the fit of the NLG door is impeccable - it fits with almost no seamline and even the slightest bent will cause missalignments, bents, dents, scratches, etc.,; and (ii) the entire side walls of the bomb bays are kind of curved inwards due to the storage of the kit... I suppose that there was a slight pressure from the bottom (the inner cardboard tray) and because of the thin plastic it was too easy to follow the slight curve of the cardboard. 


So, because of (i), even the slightest bend (tension) further in the build will compromize the perfect fit of the NLG door... it just pops out of the fuselage surface just like that. It's not possible to glue the entire NLG bay (which would solve the issue) because there are still plenty of things to do like hinges and magnets, but to make them - the door needs to fit justly. With that in mind I can find only one feasable solution - which is to start from the bomb bay. It is gigantic and it's located right in the middle of that flat (bent) surface of the lower fuselage. The solid construction of the bay will thus reinforce the fuselage and hopefully this will cancel the issue(ii) and will provide an "unbendable" nose section for keeping on with the NLG door. 


Here i tried to capture how bent are the side walls of the momb bays, viewed towards the back and vice-versa. It's not that much but they should be perfeclty straight. 






This is the fit of the NLG door. This is just the door as it is (with mods in the hinges of course) and without any improvements of the fit:




And this is what happens if you just hold the lower fuselage near the nose and leave it to gravity :) It's the same if you hold it at the wing. I don't know... I'm sure that this will not be a problem once the two halves of the fuselage are glued... This is also my 2nd model in this scale and i can only make a comparison with the Tamiya's F-15E where I ain't see such thing whatsoever.




It's just not possible to keep editing the NLG bay and door.

And the momb bay it is.:) 


Da Parts, just testfitted:








Everything fits so beautfully. The 2 side walls are now glued firmly to the fuselage and drying, which will hopefully be enough to get rid of issue (ii) and then i'm continuing with the motion of the cradles, the bomb bay doors, etc.


PS: Now that's a different thing: the bomb bay side walls are installed and check out the straight edges of the bomb bay's long sides. 









Edited by F`s are my favs
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It's not done yet, but the retraction of the trapezes finally is. :) I took a short video:




....extended - with and without the launch rails:










And retracted in the bay, again with and without the launchers - they are just temporarily testfitted:













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