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EA-6B Prowler (02 April: Done!)


easixpedro

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1 minute ago, Collin said:

Alum tape. 
 

Collin

That's my first thought. But how well does the adhesive stick in the long run? I know it's sticky as all get-out, but am hesitant about it lifting or generally failing over time. 

 

Then again, I might be over-thinking this...wouldn't be the first (nor the last).

Peter

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Peter, I have used thin plastic before, 0.010 inch for large scales or 0.005 inch.  That's as thin as I have gone.  I will use 0.005 on the Corsair I think.  The flat patterns will be complex curved shapes of course.  I have done this on the computer before, and will again.  However using masking tape and pressing on the joints or using a pencil or other appropriate marker to imprint them works too.  Good luck with anything much thinner than .005 inch.  I believe this is one of those things where one cannot accurately scale the gage.  :(

 

BTW - those pics of Prowlers/Growlers are amazing.  Few aircraft are as badass looking (that's because they truly are badass!).  Question - do I see four crew members?  If so what are the functions of each?

 

And I see what you mean about the tint - I see it in spades on the F-22.  Think you can get it?

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1 minute ago, easixpedro said:

That's my first thought. But how well does the adhesive stick in the long run? I know it's sticky as all get-out, but am hesitant about it lifting or generally failing over time. 

 

Then again, I might be over-thinking this...wouldn't be the first (nor the last).

Peter

Flying S Models talks about using it. The stuff is pretty robust. 
 

break

 

I’ve got one of the last USMC ECMOs out here in my command now. He’s a Hornet WSO until that job dries up. He was one of the lucky ones to make the jump. 
 

 

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16 minutes ago, Collin said:

Flying S Models talks about using it. The stuff is pretty robust. 
 

break

 

I’ve got one of the last USMC ECMOs out here in my command now. He’s a Hornet WSO until that job dries up. He was one of the lucky ones to make the jump. 
 

 

 

Thanks for that! Sets the mind abuzz thinking about the possibilities. Will have to tinker a bit before I commit to a course of action though.  Biggest hurdle I see is getting the correct template shape/profile before I attempt to attach it to my canopies. Don't want to risk cracking them yet again. Now that they're on and everything is buttoned up, I'm super-paranoid.

break break

NFOs in the USMC are literally a dying breed. Seen a few that jumped ship to the USN and became WSO/EWO types. Only time will tell how the corps fares in the long run without any corporate knowledge in the institution, (thinking of all those years of EW expertise being thrown aside in favor of a couple of Intrepid Tiger pods). But I digress. Thanks again for the video and the suggestion. Will hopefully tinker with it tonight!

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28 minutes ago, JayW said:

Peter, I have used thin plastic before, 0.010 inch for large scales or 0.005 inch.  That's as thin as I have gone.  I will use 0.005 on the Corsair I think.  The flat patterns will be complex curved shapes of course.  I have done this on the computer before, and will again.  However using masking tape and pressing on the joints or using a pencil or other appropriate marker to imprint them works too.  Good luck with anything much thinner than .005 inch.  I believe this is one of those things where one cannot accurately scale the gage.  :(

 

BTW - those pics of Prowlers/Growlers are amazing.  Few aircraft are as badass looking (that's because they truly are badass!).  Question - do I see four crew members?  If so what are the functions of each?

 

And I see what you mean about the tint - I see it in spades on the F-22.  Think you can get it?

 

Still debating trying to use some super thin styrene sheet. Collin has me leaning towards the aluminum tape, but will try both (I think).  As for the tinting, I did my best. The gold watercolor looks good, but that reflectivity on the real deal is because it's actual gold flakes. In that photo on the elevator, it's really fascinating because depending on the light angle, you can see through the canopy or it's blocked. I really wanted to try some of Hasegawa's holographic decal film, but none of 'em are transparent. I even tinkered with actual gold pigment that crafters use. It worked ok. It gave the sheen like the real deal, but the pigment was thick enough that it also wasn't transparent. So I settled with a tinting on the inside of the canopies. Gives a close representation and you can still see all the detail inside.

 

As for the crew, here's a quick synopsis. Yes, normally a crew of 4. Depending on the mission we could fly with just the front seaters though (local ops, carrier landing practice etc). Minimum crew for an actual mission was 3. Lot's of factors go into that--especially as we humans are often the limiting factor when it comes to scheduling. Think additional duties, standing watch, even flying too much (crew rest).

Front left seat: Pilot (self explanatory)

Front right seat: ECMO-1 (Electronic Countermeasures Officer, or ECMO--now called an EWO in the Growler) this person did all the navigation and handled radios and was essentially a co-pilot (but no controls). Also did the comms jammer from the front.

Back right seat: ECMO-2

Back left seat ECMO-3. The back-seaters handled all the actual mission stuff (electronic warfare, i.e. the jammers) and the controls are the same. Once qualified, ECMOs sat in any seat and did any task that was required of the mission.  Over to individual crews as to who took what back seat. I'm 6'4", so always sat in ECMO 2 because there was extra leg room. That, and I didn't trust the ECMO up front to actually be looking out of the cockpit--I knew the pilot would be, because pilots tend to have a good scan pattern. NFOs, not so much. So out of a sense of self-preservation, I'd keep a pretty good scan out the right side of the a/c. something like that is super important in a mult-crewed a/c like the Prowler, as the Pilot couldn't see everything on the right side--so you had to be able to talk to them and talk their eyes onto anything, or get them to maneuver against a threat.  

 

As far as what ECMO got the front seat, well that was over the the scheduling gods. We all fought over it as that's the best view right? But the operations folks tracked that to ensure equity amongst the ECMOs and that all the qualifications (# of instrument approaches/types etc) were met.  It just meant that every 3rd flight was up front, unless you could sweet talk/bribe the Ops O.

 

Long-winded--hopefully it answered your question!

-Peter

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I still remember my first ever cat shot in ‘91 in the back of a Prowler. Midshipman First Class Collin couldn’t see a darn thing looking forward. Seems like ages ago…wait, it was ages ago.  
 

I’d probably G-lock if they threw my 06 tail in a bird now….been some time since I put some G on my person. 
 

Cheers

Collin

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I would use high build primer.  Use vinyl tape to mask the frame.  Spray primer until a layer has built up the carefully sand down to the tape and violin, a raised panel.  As for paint type, maybe Mr. Surfacer or generic high build rattle can stuff (admittedly I haven’t personally used either), I use 2 part auto primer.

 

The gray section on this shot is a panel made with primer.  The white ones are vinyl sheet cut with a vinyl cutting machine.

 

IMG_1037+copy.PNG?format=2500w

Edited by Timmy!
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20 minutes ago, Timmy! said:

I would use high build primer.  Use vinyl tape to mask the frame.  Spray primer until a layer has built up the carefully sand down to the tape and violin, a raised panel.  As for paint type, maybe Mr. Surfacer or generic high build rattle can stuff (admittedly I haven’t personally used either), I use 2 part auto primer.

 

The gray section on this shot is a panel made with primer.  The white ones are vinyl sheet cut with a vinyl cutting machine.

 

IMG_1037+copy.PNG?format=2500w

I'd pondered the vinyl, but hadn't really thought about high build paint. Will add it to the list of things to 'test' before committing. Am actually pondering Tamiya primer. This kit is covered in it already, so a couple more layers wouldn't hurt!

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27 minutes ago, Collin said:

I still remember my first ever cat shot in ‘91 in the back of a Prowler. Midshipman First Class Collin couldn’t see a darn thing looking forward. Seems like ages ago…wait, it was ages ago.  
 

I’d probably G-lock if they threw my 06 tail in a bird now….been some time since I put some G on my person. 
 

Cheers

Collin

My last flight was back in 2012. I'd just come back med 'up' following back surgery, but yet thought it would be a fitting end to have one last flight in the Viper. Went about as well as you'd guess after raging around for a .5 and never coming off the throttle. They had to haul me out of the cockpit. The doc was there as part of the group hosing me down, and was looking a little anxious. I told him it was his fault for believing me and for actually giving me an up-chit...:lol:

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Hi Peter, 

let me give my modest contribute about the canopy frames: I think the safest route is to do some test either  with evergreen sheets and various alu tapes. 
the plasticard, when very thin, is pretty delicate and sensitive to glue, but once in place give the canopies that materic result one can expect.

here you can see how a little hint of glue has ruined it.

IMG-1190.jpg

 

otherwise the alu foil replicates every imperfection, and with some type (the aeronautical high speed 3M, i.e.) the glue can be really sticky so be careful. the pro is that with very little effort is possible to add to it rivets heads and other details. 

IMG-2040.jpg

 

so... it's up to you!

but I have no doubt that with a few separate experiments you will come up with a neat and clean canopy. keep it up!

cheers, Paolo

 

Edited by mc65
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21 minutes ago, mc65 said:

Hi Peter, 

let me give my modest contribute about the canopy frames: I think the safest route is to do some test either  with evergreen sheets and various alu tapes. 
the plasticard, when very thin, is pretty delicate and sensitive to glue, but once in place give the canopies that materic result one can expect.

here you can see how a little hint of glue has ruined it.

IMG-1190.jpg

 

otherwise the alu foil replicates every imperfection, and with some type (the aeronautical high speed 3M, i.e.) the glue can be really sticky so be careful. the pro is that with very little effort is possible to add to it rivets heads and other details. 

IMG-2040.jpg

 

so... it's up to you!

but I have no doubt that with a few separate experiments you will come up with a neat and clean canopy. keep it up!

cheers, Paolo

 

Thanks Paolo, with pictures too!  I guess that's one of my fears with styrene is the potential of glue smears. As you say, I'll test some bits out tonight and see what I'm most comfortable with, AND most likely to succeed with.

 

Stay tuned--will hopefully have an update soon.

-Peter

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Was having trouble seeing high and low spots as I sanded. Decided it would be easier to mask it and shoot some primer so I could see what I was dealing with.

 

20220121_191022

 

Oddly enough,  the windscreen is the worst fitting. Needs some serious filler along the leading and bottom edges. As for the canopies, once I get everything faired in, I'll go back and start adding the framing.  Haven't decided how to tackle it just yet--still tinkering with the ideas everyone proposed. 

 

This pic also reminds me of a Prowler we had in VAQ-209. A crew was tanking off the Iron Maiden during an Allied Force flight. (Easily 1/2 the Prowlers deployed for it--was literally a conglomerate of squadrons and crews all flying together. I don't remember exactly, but they called themselves VAQ-679 or something as it was all the squadron numbers added together). Anyway, the drogue on the KC-135 is metal and does bad things to your airplane...in this case, it actually ripped the entire refueling probe off the Prowler.  Usually it's the other way around, especially on the nylon baskets on other tankers. So the jet essentially became a hangar queen for all of OAF, and was robbed for parts. When everything had settled down, they still hadn't repaired the IFR probe. One lucky crew got picked to hop their way across the Atlantic with a bazillion stops while everyone else flew home with big wing tankers and were home in a day. I remember checking into 209 and seeing a pic of the crew standing in front of the probe-less jet and was wondering what that was all about... they had been forced to pose for pics after they finally made it home about a week after everyone else. Such are the breaks of NavAir...

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Shark attack! :D :D :D

 

Does really start to look like a Prowler! :) In the past I've replicated frames with high-build primer as well (also good for depicting raised areas that aren't too big) but also using painted white decal paper (later overpainted in the final colour) -that is usually pretty thick, but I think for 1/32 it might be too subtle.

 

Good luck, I'm following along!

 

 

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Looking really really nice mate!  Love your last photo, she's really looking the part now.  As for window frames, I havent found an easy answer as each airframe throws up it's own set of issues.  I have considered @Archer Fine Transfers  as an option.  I think he does some large sections that could be cut into strips and applied to the canopy.  I have found that using Sol and Set you can run around curves.  But they are thick enough to replicate a frame without being too clunky looking I reckon??

 

Sorry I cant be much more help at this stage.

 

keep up the personal experiences...really enriches this build!  Totally loving it

 

Cheers Anthony

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  • easixpedro changed the title to EA-6B Prowler (02 April: Done!)

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