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1/18 Scale Blue Box F4U-1A Corsair Modification


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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, LSP_Kevin said:

Just like Peter, you're becoming a real master at this metal skinning caper.


"Schucks" Kevin - Peter is the unrivalled master WRT aluminum skinning.  I am the student, still learning.  Like most of my modeling methods, including skinning, Peter's work stands up to the close-up shots.  Mine is better viewed at more of a distance.  I don't know how he does it....   


1 hour ago, daHeld said:

I cross my fingers that the paint finish will have no visible transition between the fore and aft parts of the fuselage.


As do I.  You have gone through this build thread in its entirety - so you will recall I experienced a serious paint lifting episode right at the aft end of the forward fuselage where the join is, both sides.  The paint repair, a messy one, is so fragile that the replaced paint flakes off if you breath on it, it seems.  Maybe the biggest disappointment of this 4-year build.  Any masking at all will strip it right off again, so the forward fuselage will see no masks or tape.  I am going to have to paint the mid/aft fuselage independent of the forward fuselage, prior to join, and hope the tri-color scheme matches up OK (I think I can do that without too much difficulty - the color transitions are very fuzzy and gradual), and get the white "17" number to match up, which crosses the join boundary.  On the LH side, the "7" is split at the join - that will be the big challenge.  On the RH side, the "7" is on the forward fuselage and the "1" is on the mid fuselage - should be able to do that no problem. 


That split "7":





What a telling picture - you can see some paint has already flaked off.  You can also see that messy paint repair I did a while back. 


Some may wonder "why did he saw the fuselage in two in the first place".  To which I would say to relook at the size of this thing, and what I have done the last four years (nearly).  Two bite-sized chunks, both very challenging by themselves, are so much better than one giant chunk - something I do not think I could have done at all.  No, I'd split it in two again given the choice.  What maybe I should have done was delay any exterior painting until the entire fuselage was joined.   


Edited by JayW
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6 minutes ago, JayW said:




  What maybe I should have done was delay any exterior painting until the entire fuselage was joined.   


Yeah,  it where’s the fun in that?

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Beautiful Jay, and I find it hard to believe that you constructed and painted the front fuselage before attached the rear fuselage, which will also be painted roughly the same, to blend with the front.  Totally "outside of the box" modeling, but I'm certain the final product will still look stunning.




Edited by chuck540z3
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Posted (edited)

I have plenty to report on.  First, recall I painted the dome on the prop hub white, as Hedrick's group identified themselves that way (other groups in VF-17 had different colors - red, black, etc):




That was some five months ago.  So I am thumbing through my "Skull & Crossbones Squadron" book for entirely different reasons the other day, and I notice something in a picture:




Note that more than the prop hub dome is painted.  The paint extends onto the hub itself, and also onto the roots of the prop blades.  I checked some more pictures, saw the same thing fairly consistently.  Here is another one:




There are many more.  And here is a picture of Hedrick's aircraft that I have posted before:




That's the only pic of his aircraft that shows the prop.  Tough to tell, but I could be talked into believing that prop has a similar paint job.  It makes sense - to only paint the hub dome when you are looking for an easy identifier of your aircraft, that's pretty small.  A larger painted area is better.  So I decided to make that change:








I like it.  


I am going to show progress on the mid/aft fuselage in the next post - it's a bit lengthy.

Edited by JayW
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Posted (edited)

I have made a list of items that need to be done prior to joining the two fuselage assemblies (forward, and mid/aft).   I know that once joined, it is going to be long, fragile, and unwieldy, so I want to finish anything on the mid/aft fuselage I can before joining it.  So I show you some miscellaneous work toward that end.


The armor plate and head rest:




One for the pilot's head, one for his torso.  The head rest is made from plastic and P-38 filler.  I was going to put a bead around it, but this picture (Dana Bell Vol 8) convinced me not to:




We have cussed and discussed the antenna mast situation a few weeks ago, and I concluded that VF-17 got rid of their forward masts, and instead incorporated an AN-104 VHF mast, commonly seen on alot of American WW2 aircraft, aft of the canopy.  Here it is, with a nice little litho cover plate, dry fitted onto the mid-fuselage:




Final installation of the mast will be after fuselage join; the cover plate I suppose ought to go on before paint. 


I also wanted to make sure the tail light provisions are good.  The Corsair has a tail light, just like it should:




My light (dry fit):




I suppose I will glue down this cover plate too, before paint, install the light after paint.


Also, before join, I must make sure the seat installation will not present any surprises, and that I can actually install it after join (it must be done after join).  The Corsair seat is mounted on a welded truss framework like so (lousy picture - sorry):




Here it is out of the aircraft (Dana Bell again):




There is an excellent engineering drawing of seat support framework:




I have circled in red the mounting fittings which attach the frame to the fuselage.  I am now in the process of building this framework, including those little fittings:




Soooo small!  Recall I Rhino modeled this stuff to make sure it was going to fit in my cockpit:




In order to do this with some accuracy, I felt I had to make a couple of fixtures.  One for the side frames, and then another to join the side frames to the rest of the framework.  Here is the first fixture:




WTF!! you say?  Well here it is in action, as I carefully assemble a side frame:




Note it has little pins for the two mounting points.  Works great!  Here is a completed side frame (well mostly completed):




Made of a combination of aluminum, brass, and plastic tubing or rod.  The trick is to make the other one exactly the same, and the fixture allows me to do that.   Next post I hope to show a completed framework and its fixture, and maybe some work on the seat itself. 


OK I think that will do it for now.  Cool stuff still to come - stand by!   

Edited by JayW
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2 hours ago, Citadelgrad said:

I am taking notes for my own build.  


Well I don't think you will have to scratch build a seat support!   You will have to show us how Tamiya did that thing.

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Posted (edited)

The seat support has turned into a bit of a success.  Last post I showed the side frames, I will call them, and the little fixture I used to accurately make them.  From there the two side frames must be joined with more tubing in such a way as to be absolutely square.  Here is little fixture number two which will do that for me:




It has some simulation lower "pi" attach fittings spaced exactly like the real fittings on the Sta 186 bulkhead, done literally years ago!  And some simple strips, properly spaced, that will locate the upper "pi" fittings which you can see sitting next to the side frames.  Ultimately those fittings attach to the armor plate behind the pilots head, which is part of the mid/aft fuselage.  I am using those fittings to help assemble the support.  Here is the assembly fixture in action:




As an afterthought I added that upstanding plate in the middle to better assure the support is square and not a parallelogram.  :P


And it worked well, after a couple hours of sensitive and frustrating work:






Finished, and painted:




I did the hairspray thing on these parts. 


And it fits in the airplane!  Huzzah! 




I have also started in on the seat assembly itself: 




Lots more work to do on that little jewel.  


Which brings me to a couple questions perhaps some of you can help me with.  


First, here is a picture from the KD 431 "Time Capsule" fighter book:




That seat is black over interior green.  I wonder if this is the accurate color scheme for the F4U-1A seat, or is it some repaint that occurred sometime during this aircraft's service.  Anyone have any comments/suggestions? 


Second, what is the best material to use for seat belts and shoulder harnesses?  Up to this point, I have been using lead foil from wine bottles, which work OK but not great.  Keeping in mind this is a 1/18 scale model, anybody have any better ideas? 


I am running out of things to do before the paint work on the mid/aft fuselage commences.  I have a bit more skinning to do on the fin and h/stab surfaces, and then - aluminum surface prep and application of self-etching primer, with fingers crossed that it will stick.  Stay tuned!








Edited by JayW
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Remarkable work Jay and a testament to your precision that it all fits to perfection.

Beautiful job. 


Alot of RAF fighters begain getting black cockpits after WW II. Did USN and Marine fighters go the same way? 


For harnesses, how would strips of cigarette paper work in this scale?

It could be dampened with dilute PVA and set in position. Possibly too thin but just a thought. 


Cannot wait to see chipped and worn paint effects on your seat. 




Edited by geedubelyer
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