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1/12 partial F-104G


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Hi guys

 

This has been going on for a while, but I needed to know that I would actually get somewhere before I showed it to you guys.

 

Sometimes my friends think I'm nuts... I don't know why :wacko: I recently asked them "how can you look at this kit and not want to do this to it"... yet they still looked at me as if I was crazy

 

The kit is Esci/Italeri F-104G 1/12 cockpit and how can you not want to build a plane for it ??? Understand it or not - that's what I've set out to do, although it will not be a complete F-104, only down to just behind the intakes. Believe me - it will be big enough

 

I've thought about this for many years, but in 2018 I traveled a lot for my company and among other trips spent 10 weeks in the same place in China. There is a limit to how often you can go out and drink beer, so in those long evenings in the hotel I decided to teach myself 3D modeling with the software my company had. Naturally I needed a topic that could keep my mojo up and I chose to start a this F-104 model. I took a good drawing that had cross sections and measurements on the framework and set out to do the 3D model in a way that I could use for this model. This is where the 3D model is now - still needs some work here and there, especially the intakes that I expect to 3D print from this model.

 

cF4mSTl.png

 

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I made some internal framing that would support me in modeling the shape of it, and I also did a rudimentary model of the Italeri cockpit tub, seat and instrument panel to allow me to check the size and position in the framework. The black bit is how I imagine to mount it to a base, perhaps it will be a little more artsy...

 

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So... using all the bits that made up the framework of this model, I transferred these to AutoCad files that I was able to cut out in 1/2mm styrene using my silhouette portrait. A little bit stupid, because I'd made the model using 1mm thickness, but I found that the portrait made nasty noises when I cut 1mm so I resorted to cut in 1/2mm and cut two that were laminated. At some point I was investigating having it lasercut, but several people told me that lasercutting styrene did not work all that well. This was ok, the portrait didn't cut all the way through, but enough so I was able to snap the frames out of the sheets.

 

fNOenWB.jpg

 

 

The assembly tabs and grooves needed a little sanding to get a good bend free fit, but once that was done it could be assembled. I decided to try and assemble and skin a nose section to see if I needed to change something before I went ahead on the complete model...

 

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Good thing I did this test, because I needed to make a lot more guidance for the frames. Actually what you see on the images further up - with lengthwise stringers in four positions and four grooves on each frame is the final version after I did this test.

 

So after this (and cutting some new frames and stringers etc etc, sanding the connections) I could assemble the entire frame

 

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I actually made a jig to control it while assembling it - it was quite lively (note the time on the PC... and we are not using am/pm...)

 

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The base Italeri cockpit was checked for fit - some adjustments were necessary

 

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Here you see the position against the anticipated canopy opening area. Support on ejector sear rail needs to be down on 'shelf' behind seat and the instrument panel back cover needs to be down at the edge

 

qu9a8GH.jpg''

 

Like this

 

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I guess I'd better split this into several posts...

 

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Ok the overall frame was fairly stable, but it could be better. Also from the nose experiment I found that skinning was going to be a challenge. I was planning to skin it using 1/2mm styrene. So I filled out the entire framework with balsa wood, except where the cockpit would go.

 

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Then, using a planer I cut it down to the framework. Lots of wood chips there

 

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Once relatively good, it was given a coat of automotive filler spray and sanded down again. It did not look fantastic, but since it was going to be skinned with styrene, it did not matter that much as long as it gave me a good foundation for that. I used insane amounts of super glue to do this wood filling...

 

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So around where the cockpit should be was quite open at this stage. I needed to establish the edge bring the skinning up to that. So I did a 3D model of the entire windscreen and canopy assembly and did that in the same manner. The plan was to establish this edge and use the plug later for vacuforming a canopy

 

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However... this approach was abandoned. I was not happy with the shape - especially how symmetric it turned out and how good it fit the fuselage, so I went in another direction. I drew a base plate in 3D, cut it and checked the fit against the fuselage. Pretty good

 

75L7wdM.jpg

 

I also printed a copy of this drawing (not square to check it printed correctly) and bend some square brass rods to the correct shape - with a little overlap

 

JsxOdDa.jpg

 

And mounted them on the fuselage. In the picture below, you can see that I've already put in a piece of styrene (bent around a piece of glass in the oven at 90°C) into that area.

 

iUV6eZ7.jpg

 

The outside of this area was filled with thin balsa wood and planed/sanded down as the rest of the fuselage

 

UpHoqfc.jpg

 

Finally I could get started on the skinning. The first aft pieces you see here was pretty easy as the aft 3 frames are identical, so it is only curved in one direction

 

4sBSu1P.jpg

 

But as soon as I started to move further forward it was curved in two directions and a flat piece of plastic simply wouldn't do. So I resorted to do small triangular pieces - much like 3D models do in games and such, and that worked out relatively well. Big piece of work... and TONS of super glue... Finally it was filled with sprue dissolved in Tamiya glue... that was not a pretty sight... and the amount of Tamiya glue in the air must have removed several university classes...

 

FfmCLfe.jpg

 

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But after a couple of days of drying it was hard enough to be sanded down - using a hand tool you'd use around the house - definitely heavy duty...

 

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Soo... this is where we are today. Next will be another coat of that automotive filler to see if the sanding down has left it nice and rounded or we have flat spots - I bet we do...

 

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Thanks everyone

 

5 hours ago, Rainer Hoffmann said:

Great project, Thomas. But I'm sure, you'll want to build the rest of the Zipper as well. It would be just about 1387 mm long. You can handle that :fight:

 

Rainer

 

No. nope, nix, never, fuggetaboutit

 

 

1 hour ago, jenshb said:

Since you have already created the 3D model, could you not get some of the forum members to 3D print parts for you?

 

 

Looking back it would probably have been an easier path, although I think more expensive... After all I have made several corrections that would have required re-prints. I do have friends with 3D printers close, so at least the intakes will be 3D printed, and perhaps some more parts as I go along

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Absolutely stunning project, I like it a lot! Whilst you're at it, you may want to have a closer look at the ejection seat provided with the Italeri cockpit - not the most accurate Martin Baker seat out there... 

 

By the way, whilst lasercutting PS may not be ideal, it works just fine - you just have to sand the edges. Alternatively, you could have had the formers lasercut from laminated cardboard. I have used lasercut PS to build the skeleton of my S-3B and quite a few parts like the birdcage for my Prowler; the skeleton of my ongoing C-2A was lasercut from laminated cardboard. 

 

Keep up the great progress, I can't wait to see more! 

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Go big or go home! :) 

 

I must suffer from the same madness as you as well Thomas, for I also have an ESCI 1/12 F-16 cockpit too (for many years) and also want to make an F-16 front end to wrap around it, but I need a seated 1/12 scale modern seated US style pilot figure to sit in it, something which I have been unable to find to date; this is the main reason I have not gone any further with mine at present (I also do not have the advantage of any 3D type software to assist me like you).

 

Great  project Thomas and one that I shall follow with great interest so that I can learn from your valiant efforts - good luck.

 

Derek

Edited by Derek B
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1 hour ago, Starfighter said:

Absolutely stunning project, I like it a lot! Whilst you're at it, you may want to have a closer look at the ejection seat provided with the Italeri cockpit - not the most accurate Martin Baker seat out there... 

 

By the way, whilst lasercutting PS may not be ideal, it works just fine - you just have to sand the edges. Alternatively, you could have had the formers lasercut from laminated cardboard. I have used lasercut PS to build the skeleton of my S-3B and quite a few parts like the birdcage for my Prowler; the skeleton of my ongoing C-2A was lasercut from laminated cardboard. 

 

Keep up the great progress, I can't wait to see more! 

 

Yeah I know that the seat needs work - will cross that bridge when I get to it :D

 

I know you S-3B build (fantastic build) and I'm thinking that I'll read it over once more with different eyes

 

Thanks

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