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F-16C Block 52+ "Raven" Polish Air Force - First LSP

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6 hours ago, LSP_Kevin said:

Nice work! Man I wish we could get that style of paint booth here.





I pushed this off for a while due to cost and was convinced by others in the family to upgrade.  I'm glad I did because I've lived way too much and played harder than I've ever worked, and now am paying those dues.  With luck, this will serve me for many years to come.  


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A small update from the weekend.  Not near as much progress as I had hoped, but still moving forward.


The first challenge to address is the nose wheel bulge for the heavy landing gear.  The Tamiya kit does not have this in the kit parts, and I've opted to use those for this build over the aftermarket on this round.  I layered some .020 styrene in a stacked set of ovals, some TET to lock them together, then mounted on some .050 styrene to have something to hold on to and sand away.  It is not blended in as nicely as I'd hoped it could be, but in person, it looks passable to me. My sausage fingers could not get in there comfortably enough to blend in the bulge.  Next round I'll do this part before gluing the halves together :hmmm:. (These parts were already glued together in the Thunderbird doner kit)  Blurry phone photos below. . . .  you may also see some details on the canopy rails.  The grab handles are compliments of the spares from a SUFA kit, and the JHMCS sensor from PhaseHanger - but was moved forward after this photo was taken putting it where it should have been the first time.




A little light through the gear well to assist in placement with a little dab of TET and the blister was moved around until it looked centered where it should be.  Then a generous amount more cement to fuse it solid to the intake.  The last thing I wanted was for this to come loose with the following prime, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint effort - that would be my luck.  Remnants of the 3M red glazing putty are present in the seams but are very smooth.  




After a couple coats of Pink primer (which in hindsight was a BAD idea here, and a couple of rounds of sanding, the intake trunk was smooth all the way back.  In bare plastic, the seam in the middle was barely visible.  Maybe once glued into place, it will be less so than in the photos below show.  Here the parts are dry fit and the seam between has not been cleared of paint just yet - going to let that dry for a few more days.  The intent on the pink Mr. Surfacer 1500 was to provide some contrast when I painted, to make it easy to see when I had full coverage, thinking it would be a better color than Black or Gray.  The bottle of white surface would have been a better choice in the end, but it all worked out eventually.  The reason the pink was not a huge win here was the reflection from the outside overspray, and it made the interior look like full coverage had not been reached.  Eventually, after covering the intake with my hand on the outside, it was very clear that full coverage had been reached - but at least a new bottle of LP-2 will be on the way soon.


Tamiya LP-2 Gloss White/MLT 40/60% ratio to slowly build the finish and try and minimize the effects of airbrushing down the intake trunk.  After good coverage occurred and the paint set for about an hour, I flooded the intake with MLT and allowed both sections to sit vertically to level the paint, which took care of the dry surface from the turbulence and leveled the paint nicely.  After 24 hours to dry, some 400 grit wet/dry paper to level the few last bits of orange peel and it was ready for the last coat of paint.  I sanded just to the plastic at the edges fore/aft of each section of the intake trunk to ensure that the paint was not too thick at the transitions for the eventual mating together and lastly the installation of the exterior mouth of the intake - once this is glued in, I'm not putting any more paint in there.  The final paint coat was Tamiya X-2 Gloss white with some X-22 gloss and MLT for a final mist coat and then flooded with MLT again to level out the dry spots and with very few exceptions, the surface is very smooth and extremely glossy.   After the below photos were taken another round of MLT was flooded in, and leveled out the last few imperfections in the paint. 


The turbine face is some decanted TS-14 for a base coat, and MRP Titanium followed by a thin layer of MRP Gloss.  After a bit of a wash, the sheen will be dialed back to a satin finish.




What looks like an imperfection in the paint is the reflection of the blister applied below it.   





I was not a fan of the latex pour-and-dump method on the last F-16 I started, but that was a bit easier but the overall finish was not nearly as smooth, and was a bit too thick.  Need to see about other options for the next round.  


Thanks for checking in!

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Greetings all, no photo updates this week, rather a couple of questions for the masses should anyone care to contribute.  


Looking to erase the gap between the forward and aft sections of the intake trunk on this one, especially since it will be posed in-flight, and as such will get much more attention than a build sitting on its legs.  My question is to those who have completed this kit - - is it possible to insert the forward intake (completed) with the aft section glued in place first?  (What I'm describing is the assembly shown in my previous post, with the external intake parts attached) With everything taped together, it seems like it *may* work, but the tape allows some flex, but it is a tight fit.  The aft engine bay section would be slipped over the aft trunk before everything is screwed in place, then the forward intake would be glued on the outside.  This will allow me to use the MRT - melt the paint to the gap technique that worked so well on the sides, but that will be tougher once everything is inside the model - I'm confident I can fish the turbine face inside after the fact if the kit instruction flow is needed here.


I want to maintain the tight fit where the internal pieces screw down as that will support the model when I mount the brass tube in there preventing any stress or tension on the burner can section and allowing the support rod to float up to the mid-section.


Secondly, I've had a huge challenge finding any good photos of the cockpit aft of the seat, of any block.  I am looking to confirm if, on the block 52+ machines (generally speaking) if there is any wiring on either side of, what I assume is, the environmental duct behind the seat.  On photos I've found on the net some jets seem to have none, others have up to four, two on either side, all of the photos I've seen have these connectors as 90-degree mounts, which I have.  Looking to add a little more to the kit pit.   Understanding that not all blocks will present the same, more looking for a general idea of what would be most plausible, since I have no idea what those would be connected to in the real jet.


This weekend's bench time was consumed with some larger-scale aviation activities.  It's been more than 10 years....




Thanks for checking in.   

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  • 5 weeks later...

Not much to show after what seems like an eternity away from the bench.  After some time with family, appeasing work, and sorting out issues with an eye, progress should be back on the front burner.


The Thunderbird kit I purchased was partially started, and the fuselage parts were superglued together, but in such a way that the pieces did not align all that well.  I tried to separate them, but in the end, that was not going to work out, so the gray plastic is back in style.  A couple of sprues from the web will make the original kit complete again, which will be set for a GE/skinny gear/MCID or NSI setup if I wish in the future . . . . 


I added some details to the fuselage compliments of Anyz awesome line of resin parts.  As previously mentioned, the grab handles were stolen from an old SUFA kit, and the JHMCS sensor from Phase Hangar was glued in place. Some fine brass/lead wire was then added to busy up the space.  100% fictional in application, but I think the end with some light weathering/dust it will show enough to compliment the closed cockpit, though in the end most will likely not even notice it.  







Before paint and gluing of the major fuselage sections, all parts will get a good very light sanding to 1500 grit and all the panel lines/rivets will get some attention.  The major assemblies will get a re-sand and touch-ups on the scribing at intersections once permanently assembled.  I did start scribing and when it became clearly evident that I could not clearly see what I was doing, a few lines that had been scribed will need correction with CA and a rescribe.  Watching Chuck's builds over the years I plan to employ the panel line wash/pre-sand before paint to rule out as much re-work as possible.  Scribing is a skill that still escapes me on many days (things like the hinge detail always seem to get boogerd up), but working on smaller pieces seems to make the job a bit easier.  


While waiting to see what my eyes were going to do, I wanted to sort out some better amplification that would work with glasses - which are a new thing for me as well.  In searching the web I found plenty of medical applications for stereo scopes with a good working focal length and magnification, but the cost and fitting requirements killed the budget - and the Amazon knockoffs did not instill confidence in a quality product.  Eventually, Craftoptics.com popped up, and they make glasses with supplemental binocular amplification built in, to include any prescription needed (illumination is also an option).  I have a set on order (Black Friday deal), and hopefully, these will fill the bill.  A bit pricey, but this is the only real option I've found that offers a decent focal length - 12-14", 14-16", and 16-18" and true magnification that works well with glasses.  Being able to sit up and see while working will be a game changer.  If anyone has a pair of these I'd love to hear what you think of them, I'll surely pass along my thoughts when mine arrive. 


Thanks for checking in!

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Wonderful work and progress! That intake looks immaculate. I don’t have any optical perspectives to share unfortunately, but really have enjoyed catching up on your work. That pilot looks pretty impressive as well. 


Cheers,  Tom

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32 minutes ago, Uncarina said:

Wonderful work and progress! That intake looks immaculate. I don’t have any optical perspectives to share unfortunately, but really have enjoyed catching up on your work. That pilot looks pretty impressive as well. 


Cheers,  Tom



Thanks for the feedback.  The pilot was an exercise in small painting for me - first time I've done so, and it certainly only turned out as well as it did thanks to the multitude of work others post and videos on the old YouTube.   The hobby is certainly much different than when I stepped away so many years ago.  Long gone are the days when you had to wonder how someone did something, (secrecy was a thing) now one can find a dozen different methods in minutes, and the products out there to support the hobby are staggering.  





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1 hour ago, Zola25 said:

The JHMCS sensor looks great mounted - I also purchased a couple sets from Phase Hangar Resin. Nice little item that makes a big difference.





Agreed, these printed parts are very well-detailed.  I would love to scratch something like this, but don't think I would have the same level of detail these bring.  I'd love to get into 3D printing to make parts for myself - but that will be another rabbit hole altogether.  



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Minor update for the weekend effort.  


A 1/2" acrylic rod will be used for the in-flight pose on this model - I didn't have the thunderbirds stand when I started this build, so I've come up with this method for an in-flight display and allows for the jet to be rotated if desired. 


The overall strategy is to place three .060 styrene disks in the engine bay.  I made a paper template to get the size correct as measuring the internal diameter was a bit tough for the tools on hand.  Once the outer diameter was sorted out, I marked up the styrene for the outer dimension and the center hole that will accept the brass tube to house the 1/2" acrylic rod.






These disks were roughly cut out with a pair of scissors, then chucked into a rotary tool and cleaned up with a file to the final outer dimension.  I then used an awl to scribe the center hole slightly smaller than marked until the disks were free from the rotary tool.  The disks were then taped together and the center hole was cleaned up with a tapered drill bit to a diameter very close to the final dimension, then fine-tuned with the rotary tool and a straight cutting bit until they fit snugly on the brass tube.  My thoughts were this method would keep the center hole aligned with the center of the burner can and the turbine face while allowing for a friction fit that will be backed up with epoxy.  The last thing I want is to see a seam open up on the model after a few years due to stress caused by misalignment or a glue-only bond that could fail causing stress to a single point on the model instead of distributing it across the entirety of the fuselage.




On the back of the turbine face a short section of K&S #8140 17/32" brass tube will be epoxied into place.  This slides into the longer section of K&S # 8141 9/16" tubing snugly.  I had to sand the cut edge slightly because the pipe cutter did compress the tubes it a touch.  This will register on-center and ensure the tube will remain in the proper alignment when everything is glued in.  It would not look very appealing if the acrylic rod is not centered in the burner can on this when everything is said and done.  






To ensure the best bond of the disks to the engine bay, some .040 strips of styrene will be glued into the kit part to essentially sandwich the disks in their final locations.  Then a generous amount of TET will be applied melting everything together into what will essentially become a single piece of plastic.  The brass tube stops mid-way through the hot section of the engine exhaust, which should allow one to see a good portion of the interior, but be far enough back to not be visible easily when displayed.  I'll epoxy a small section of the 17/32" tubing part way down the larger section to limit the distance the acrylic rod needs to be inserted into the mount.  Thus far, I've only been able to locate 12" pieces of acrylic.  If I can find some 24" long sections this step will be bypassed.  So far, my orders have either been canceled before shipping (twice) or have shown up damaged (once).


The kit parts with a closed nozzle - as it came with the T-Bird kit - show the alignment to be pretty close to on-center.  I'll take this as a win.  This leaves the option open to use the kit parts the Reskit set I initially wanted to use.  The kit parts aren't bad, and I think with a little scratch work, they will look just as good as the aftermarket stuff on hand.  This setup will allow that decision to be made much later in the build.


Kit hot section:




Reskit (installed backwards . . . )




Kit closed burner can - and I think the alignment is about as good as I could get it.  




Lastly, the re-scribing and rivet punching has begun.  I use brown panel line wash to allow for the use of my black CA glue for any corrections and to ensure I can tell the difference in the end.  My time at the bench is usually in short spurts.  


First pass for the forward upper fuselage, some re-work needed.  The lower fuselage has the rivet/fasteners done, and a start on the panel lines is underway.  Does anyone like re-scribing hinges . . . . 




And the tools used for the different size fasteners.  The short needle seems to work the best on the hinge detail and round areas, and the UMM or MRP scribers for the straight lines.  




Feedback is always welcome and thanks for checking in!



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