Jim - as you are probably aware, having access to manufacturer engineering drawings is a blessing and also a curse. If the modeler can exercise some restraint and work within his/her means, then it's a total blessing. If not (that's me BTW), it turns into a recurring nightmare of sorts, where one constantly pushes the envelope WRT how much detail he/she can cram into the modeling effort. Makes for years-long projects, bad eye sight, and bad back. Also bouts of frustration and anxiety. But also immense satisfaction watching a detail come true that nobody else has done.
As for finding drawings, without a good drawing tree (ACL have them but not good ones), one can do two things:
1. Try to find your part in the the parts catalog. The table of contents is good, and consistent among models (gov't must have specified how they should be done). Just about every part is there including gov't supplied items like engine, LG, electrical boxes, radios, etc. Each figure has a table with a list of the parts. Once you have a part number, then use the search block to find that part number, and poof! it shows up on your screen.
2. Once you have a part number, you can make your way upstream to find the "top" drawing. It doesn't matter which part; you can get to it. Each drawing has a next higher assembly block near the title at the right hand lower corner of the drawing sheet. Hopefully it can be read. Once you pull up the next higher assembly, keep doing that until you can go no further. For instance, Seat Installation is drawing 57009. I see its NHA is 57001 (located right above the title block). This is "Furnishings Install.", and a very interesting drawing with ALOT of stuff. Anything you see of interest, just read off the part number and look up the drawing. Similarly, the NHA of 57001 is 53000, which is "Airplane Final Assembly", which is the top drawing for F8F. In the list of material, you will see all the major high level components (wing, fuselage, LG, Furnishings, Hydraulics, Electrical, Power Plant, etc.). That top drawing can get you anywhere you want to go.
Use a combination of both methods and there should be nothing you cannot find, as long as ACL provides the drawing and the drawing is sufficient quality such that it can be read, and as long as Grumman designed the part. You won't find R-2800 details in there; just the installation level drawing for the engine (Grumman obviously was supplied the R-2800 already built by P&W). Same goes for landing gear etc. But some of the installation level drawings provide enough detail in their views where you can make some pretty good guesses on part configuration and dimensions. Certainly better than revell!
BTW - if you have not seen LG installation 54700, you are in for a treat.
Edited by JayW, 12 March 2018 - 01:40 PM.