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Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!


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January 14/21

 

With the cockpit, avionics bay, most of the landing gear and the engine done, it’s time to glue everything into the fuselage and seal it up.  This is going to be very tricky, since the many resin parts need to be glued with CA glue while the fuselage halves will be glued with ordinary Tamiya thin cement- and all at generally the same time.  I have a method to do this that has worked for me in the past, so I will show how to do it later.

 

Before I glue anything together, I want to glue the engine intakes onto the fuselage halves for ease of handling and before I even do that, they should be pre-painted.  My references show the CF-104 intakes to be flat black up to the back of the front cone and white behind that, while the areas between the intake and the fuselage should also be painted before installation, to ensure a clean and smooth finish in a very tight area.

 

Here is what the parts looked like before installation with a note on a big error in the instructions.  This kit gives you 2 choices for intake covers, with a triangular intake door on Parts A16 and A17 and square intake doors on Parts A11 and A12.  The instructions have 8 versions of F-104’s from A to H, with G being the CF-104.  Page 21 of the Instructions show that the triangular doors are for A and H only, while on Page 22 the square doors are to be installed on versions B/C/D/E/F and the CF-104 version G.  This is dead wrong.  According to the kits decal instructions and from what I can see on references, the only version with square doors is version C, which is the only F-104S.

 

 

Fgluib.jpg

 

 

I decided to glue the intake halves together first before installing anything onto the fuselage for ease of handling.  Since you will be able to see some of the back of the intakes, they were painted black as well. 

 

 

 

nkN4rC.jpg

 

 

I then glued the intakes onto the fuselage halves.  Here you can see why I pre-painted the areas between the fuselage and the intake.  Since this model will be painted with Alclad lacquers, I used Tamiya Gloss Black lacquer that I will be using as a primer, while the front cone of the intake will get a clear dull coat later.  Note the triangular and not square door, which is on both sides.

 

 

53sXhG.jpg

 

 

For all my whining about some of the kit parts so far, the intakes fit pretty darn good.  The main seam where the intake parts are glued together, however, should be mostly filled and sanded smooth as you will see below.  Note the flawed fasteners at the top, which are on both sides.  These were filled and re-punched as well.

 

 

MGjDZv.jpg

 

 

The rear of the port side intake has a noticeable step that should be sanded down.  Unfortunately, this has the most fastener detail on the entire model in front of it that needs to be restored after sanding.  Thankfully the starboard side fits almost flush.

 

 

XZHSfb.jpg

 

 

After gluing, sanding and re-scribing, the intake should look like part of the fuselage, rather than an added part.  I will be adding further rivet detail later, depending on how my HGW raised rivet experiment goes later.

 

 

sbMcdW.jpg

 

 

Based upon the DACO book, I made many changes to the panel lines at the top, especially the L-shaped panels at the front.  Not perfect by any means, but the changes are a good compromise between reality and the limitations of the kit panel lines, which are off a bit to begin with.  As we say in modeling too often, "Good Enough!"  Note that the CA glue filler is clear, so much of the ghost detail can still be seen.  The black panel line wash helps me see what I've done and also where I've screwed up.

 

 

FITgtc.jpg

 

 

All the key panel line changes from above noted.

 

 

tlcRcz.jpg

 

 

This existing fuselage panel line didn’t line up with the intake, so it was filled and re-scribed on both sides.  Rivet detail was then added to both sides of the narrow panel.

 

 

gLZ9CJ.jpg

 

 

The bottom was much easier to deal with, because the L-shaped panel lines are already there.  Weird that they weren’t on the top already, which would have been much easier to deal with.

 

 

fTM0Bh.jpg

 

 

The changes.

 

 

rUTM2O.jpg

 

 

And a peek down the front of the intake, where you see the black front and just white behind.  Thankfully perfection within the intake isn’t a priority, since you can’t see much in such a tight space, so a flawless finish and weathering is a waste of time.

 

 

spFl6f.jpg

 

 

Next up, full assembly of the fuselage and all the fragile guts that go inside.  Wish me luck!  :unsure:

 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Jan 14/21, Engine intakes done

On top of everything else it is astonishing how fast you are able to crank out this super high quality work.  I started my current P-51 project a couple days after your first starfighter post, and at the rate you are going you will be three models past this one by the time I’m done!

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25 minutes ago, Alex said:

On top of everything else it is astonishing how fast you are able to crank out this super high quality work.  I started my current P-51 project a couple days after your first starfighter post, and at the rate you are going you will be three models past this one by the time I’m done!

 

One word:  Covid-19  Thanks to this horrific pandemic, I work from home like many others, which frees up about 1 1/2 hours of commuting time and an hour a day for lunch that I used to waste when going to work.  My home office desk is also my work bench, which allows me to check emails, do some work and glue little pieces of plastic together, so I'm modeling about twice as much as I normally do in winter, which is also when I do most of my modeling.  Rather than 1 model per year, I'm doing 2 lately, which is a far cry from the modeling machines I often see in the Ready for Inspection Forum that kick them out every 2 weeks at a very high skill level.  For some of them, modeling must be their job?!  :hmmm:  I might be just jealous as well.  :P

 

Cheers,

Chuck

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Chuck.....one word buddy.  Stunning!

 

Now I know your secret to such progress.  I too wondered how some of you guys crank out masterpieces so quickly.

 

Life strangely here in NZ is weirdly very normal.  We are all about our daily activities like nothing is happening in the world, watching the news is surreal and my heart really goes out to what is happening, in fact it is hard to comprehend.  Having said that, complacency is our enemy!  As much as they are keeping the borders tight I fear it is only a matter of time before we are in the same boat again like last year when we went into lockdown.....

 

The positive side is that I might get to crack on with my Phantom faster if we do!

 

Keep safe Chuck and LSP family, loving see these projects move so fast, very inspiring!

 

Cheers Anthony

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Chuck I always follow your work with great pleasure and admiration, here in Italy I am working like a madman around the country and I have very little time to devote to this fantastic hobby, taking into account that my laboratory does not have heating , the months of work at the desk are few, luckily my mental insanity leads me to throw myself into increasingly difficult projects.

Following you and the other members of the various forum families make me feel a little less inactive, however I vent with 3D modeling and can't wait to bring my virtual productions to life.

Cheers Marco

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Thanks Guys!

 

6 hours ago, Anthony in NZ said:

Chuck.....one word buddy.  Stunning!

 

Now I know your secret to such progress.  I too wondered how some of you guys crank out masterpieces so quickly.

 

Life strangely here in NZ is weirdly very normal.  We are all about our daily activities like nothing is happening in the world, watching the news is surreal and my heart really goes out to what is happening, in fact it is hard to comprehend.  Having said that, complacency is our enemy!  As much as they are keeping the borders tight I fear it is only a matter of time before we are in the same boat again like last year when we went into lockdown.....

 

The positive side is that I might get to crack on with my Phantom faster if we do!

 

Keep safe Chuck and LSP family, loving see these projects move so fast, very inspiring!

 

Cheers Anthony

 

4 hours ago, spartacus2000 said:

Chuck I always follow your work with great pleasure and admiration, here in Italy I am working like a madman around the country and I have very little time to devote to this fantastic hobby, taking into account that my laboratory does not have heating , the months of work at the desk are few, luckily my mental insanity leads me to throw myself into increasingly difficult projects.

Following you and the other members of the various forum families make me feel a little less inactive, however I vent with 3D modeling and can't wait to bring my virtual productions to life.

Cheers Marco

 

Very kind words guys and very much appreciated!

 

Here in Canada we are deep into the second wave of the pandemic and lock-downs continue across the country.  Thank God more vaccines on the way and hopefully we can have a semi-normal life again in about a year.  Until then, and also partly because it's winter here, my wife and I are stuck inside most of time, other than the odd walk outside.  We modelers are so very lucky we have this hobby to keep us occupied during this pandemic, while my wife is equally lucky to be a big time quilter with many sewing machines that occupy most of her time.  Last night I was working on the wings of this project and it was about 8 PM.  After a bit more time, I was thinking it was about 8:30 and after looking at my watch, it was 10 PM!  I had a few tunes going on in the background and was thoroughly enjoying this model, flaws and all, and not once did I think of the pandemic, challenges at work, or world affairs that aren't very good right now.  Modeling, in a way, is like yoga or other ways of relieving stress.  That is, of course, until I drop a tiny important part on the floor and can't find it anywhere, then all hell breaks loose!  :P

 

Cheers,

Chuck

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6 hours ago, spartacus2000 said:

Chuck I always follow your work with great pleasure and admiration, here in Italy I am working like a madman around the country and I have very little time to devote to this fantastic hobby, taking into account that my laboratory does not have heating , the months of work at the desk are few, luckily my mental insanity leads me to throw myself into increasingly difficult projects.

Following you and the other members of the various forum families make me feel a little less inactive, however I vent with 3D modeling and can't wait to bring my virtual productions to life.

Cheers Marco


I too have been busier due to Covid. Looking at these builds has given me joy and relaxation. 
 

Although lately I’ve returned to my 1/32 Tamiya Corsair build.

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7 hours ago, Anthony in NZ said:

Chuck.....one word buddy.  Stunning!

 

Now I know your secret to such progress.  I too wondered how some of you guys crank out masterpieces so quickly.

 

Life strangely here in NZ is weirdly very normal.  We are all about our daily activities like nothing is happening in the world, watching the news is surreal and my heart really goes out to what is happening, in fact it is hard to comprehend.  Having said that, complacency is our enemy!  As much as they are keeping the borders tight I fear it is only a matter of time before we are in the same boat again like last year when we went into lockdown.....

 

The positive side is that I might get to crack on with my Phantom faster if we do!

 

Keep safe Chuck and LSP family, loving see these projects move so fast, very inspiring!

 

Cheers Anthony


NZ and Australia have people who listen, good to see you are doing so well there.

 

I have family in Australia, they are so lucky. I had a chance to move to Australia when the RAAF raided the CAF in the early 90s. I chickened out but roughly 30 of my squadron mates made the move.

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January 18/21

 

 

Before I seal up the main fuselage, the navigation lights need to be installed from behind.  These were painted in clear red and blue, then a backing of chrome for reflectivity and depth.  The reference pics I have show the starboard light to be blue rather than greenish blue, which is more normal, although my F-5E had blue lights as well.

 

 

KMlSMZ.jpg

 

 

The other thing I wanted to check is the wing fit.  I’ve read a few build logs of this kit that noted that the wings fit sloppy and needed shims on the inside of the fuselage and as a result, the dihedral could be off a bit.  I also read that the bottom wing parts were warped.  I had none of those issues and despite my complaints about certain parts of this kit, the wings are beautiful after a little gentle sanding to smooth them out.  Here is the top of the wing on the right and bottom on the left.  Since there are no anchors for the aileron and front flaps to attach to, I’m going to leave them off until the end of the build, since they will be fragile.

 

 

CrDr0n.jpg

 

 

Another pleasant surprise is how sharp the leading edge of the flaps are (right), which is a characteristic of this aircraft.  Even the back of the ailerons are nice and sharp without further sanding, which is a first for me on any aircraft that I’ve ever built.

 

 

wTxWLa.jpg

 

 

The wings fit super tight so there was no sloppiness and I bet I only need glue to fill the very thin gap at the wing root.

 

 

KGNc6t.jpg

 

 

The dihedral looks pretty good when compared to reference pics in the DACO book.  I’m not sure why my kit didn’t have these fit issues, other than it’s one of the later ones and maybe some of the parts were altered in this version?

 

 

qK7hcK.jpg

 

 

With all the resin tucked inside this fuselage, you need to have a system to close it all up or you will run into trouble getting everything to fit properly.  Through lots of trial and lots of error, here’s how I do it. 

 

Each resin assembly should be attended to one at a time.  First, I placed the cockpit into the fuselage and when I was happy with how things lined up; I tacked a little thin CA glue to only one side of the fuselage where it can’t be seen.  You need just enough to hold it steady so that it won’t move when you pull the fuselage apart again.  For this model I did the first gluing on the right side, because the cockpit side walls on this side are tricky to line up without breaking parts and the engine rests on a tab on the right side, but not the left.  I then placed the fuselage part on it’s side and oozed thick CA glue between the resin and the fuselage, which acts as both an adhesive and a filler.  The glue should have the viscosity of honey, which also is slow to dry, allowing the glue to penetrate small cavities.  When you are happy with everything, add some CA glue accelerator, to keep the glue from migrating to areas you might not want it.

 

 

BfKGld.jpg

 

 

With the cockpit solidly locked in place, I then put the fuselage parts back together with the avionics bay inside of it and when I was happy with its alignment, tacked more thin CA glue to hold it in place.  What’s nice about this kit is that without the front landing gear installed, you have great access to the bottom of the resin parts for gluing.  I then took off the left side of the fuselage again and oozed more thick CA glue in and around the avionics bay to the fuselage cavity.

 

 

vEYL74.jpg

 

 

While the cockpit is mostly supported from below, the avionics bay is not and is vulnerable to collapsing later.  To support it, I added a segment of a plastic chopstick and glued it in place underneath it.

 

 

cRUIrW.jpg

 

 

Next I installed and glued the landing gear bay in the same way, but used regular Tamiya regular cement from behind so that it wouldn’t harm the painted surfaces.  Tamiya extra thin cement is too thin and will likely ooze through cracks onto the paint.

 

 

mTlTMq.jpg

 

 

Next I glued the engine to the back of the gear bay, which I had trimmed and dry fit many times before to ensure the proper length and alignment.   In my particular example, the resin engine just touches the brass ring at the top, so I glued it there, while on the right side of the fuselage is an anchor point that the plastic portion of the engine is glued to.

 

 

pxjLaq.jpg

 

 

For added engine support, I glued another piece of plastic chopstick underneath and oozed in more thick CA glue, which was made easier by the open panel.

 

 

Y6q3d6.jpg

 

 

Placed at about 7 o’clock when viewed from the back, this keeps the engine from moving to the left and from dropping, while the kit part on the right keeps it from moving in that direction.  This engine is rock solid now.  Note that the black line indicates up, so that the flame holder within the engine is at the bottom where it belongs.

 

 

9H1R3b.jpg

 

 

Of course, I was test fitting the tail to the fuselage many times as I was gluing to make sure everything lined up when I add the exhaust later.

 

 

SDyLpY.jpg

 

 

It was now time to glue the fuselage halves together, which are very long and hard to glue all at once unless you have a method to cleanly do so.  Several years a go I saw a guy in FineScale Modeler magazine glue fuselage and wing halves together using this simple system of gluing about 3 inches of the mating surface at a time, while keeping the unglued gap open with a #11 blade.  You start at one end and glue about 3 inches, tape the gap shut, then move to the next 3 inches, while keeping the blade ahead of where you want to glue.   This keeps enough of a gap open to allow the insertion of Tamiya extra thin cement, which doesn’t get a chance to dry before the gap is closed.  I’m sure many of you do this already, but since it was new to me only a few years ago, it may still be to some of you as well.

 

 

aREhBf.jpg

 

 

All glued with very few gaps to repair.

 

 

rmo1vT.jpg

 

 

With the fuselage glued together, I then added another block under the avionics bay on the opposite side from the one installed already.  This was cut to size and slipped between the bay and the gun compartment, but out of the way of the nose gear bay that will be installed a bit later.  The styrene shim at the bottom of the cockpit may or may not be glued in, depending on the clearances of this assembly.

 

 

fTwkQe.jpg

 

 

The view from the top.  Pretty good at the front, but a bit of a gap to fill at the rear.

 

 

 

0hPkPL.jpg

 

 

Recall that I made a brass hinge for the avionics door, which will fill most of this gap quite nicely.

 

 

NeLfj4.jpg

 

 

Fuel compartment door dry fit, which is pretty clean before glue.

 

 

eq39QW.jpg

 

 

Someone asked me earlier if the avionics bay door would fit behind the back of the seat.  While the resin door will not due to some of the boxes on the roof, the kit door does, although barely.  Having said that, there’s only about an inch of room behind the seat on the real deal (page 88 of DACO book), so 1/32” is about right.

 

 

xqAgeI.jpg

 

 

A view from the side.  Now that the resin parts are glued into place, I need to clean up the area behind the seat and add the brass side rails that help clean up the sides.

 

 

75xmga.jpg

 

 

This is when I’m really glad that I don’t have landing gear in the way.  This sucker is long and I don’t even have the nose cone or tail on yet!  You may have noticed the upper instrument panel is missing.  It broke off when I was gluing stuff together and thankfully it came off in one clean piece.  Whew!  I’ll glue it back on when I glue the glareshield and windscreen on, that will protect it from further mishap.

 

 

YqmmLo.jpg

 

 

Which reminds me, it’s now time to add a little protection to the cockpit area while I fool around with other parts of this build.  Ordinary foam pipe wrap works perfectly.

 

 

r2C0WU.jpg

 

That's about it for now.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Jan 18/21, Fuselage gluing tricks
  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!

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