Monday, October 31, 2011

The Gannet gets a cockpit

BTW, I would really like some feedback so if you think of any suggestions or thoughts, please leave a comment. However, if you can't be constructive, please don't be offensive.

Please remember that this is a 1/72nd scale model and that the pictures on here are 200% life size so expect it to look a bit gritty. However, it is proving to be quite enjoyable. I have broken one piece of resin (the base of the seat for the Radar operator at the back. The block underneath was too high for the seat to fit under the headrest so in cutting it back, I smashed the seat. I have painted it as if it was there and and I am sure that, once the canopy is on, you will not be able to see it. There really is a difference between the Pilot and Radar op. seats against the Navigator - he didn't get a leather back to his seat - the other two have a red/brown back but not him!

The seat belts are just Tamiya masking tape painted and cut to size; then a touch of silver  for the buckles. Again, this is 1/72nd!

The white is the residue left from the accelerator that I used to speed up fixing the rear cockpit as it wouldn't stay in place.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What a nice kit this Gannet is

I spent Friday afternoon and evening removing all of the main Gannet parts from their moulding blocks and cleaning them up. Then, this morning, following instructions from Ken, I gave everything a dose down with Cillit Bang degreaser with a good scrub with a tooth brush.

This gets rid of all of the release agents, etc. that get onto the surface of the resin and stop glue and paint from adhering.

The small parts are wonderfully moulded and were extremely easy to clean up. Here is a shot of all of the parts for the fuselage. I am very impressed both with the detail and with the fit of the parts.

I am going to give everything a coat of primer later today. Because I have had such good results with it, I am going to make that first coat one of black primer.  This will suit the cockpit and the upper surfaces. I will then use it as pre-shading for the lower half of the body, which is going to be in Sky - 'Duck Egg Blue' - 'Duck Egg Green' as it is variously called. I will put some more shots up when I have done that.

I am still wary of the gluing up process as you all know my love of super glue. However, the Gator's Grip is a quick grip, slow cure, acrylic glue and will be better for gluing the major components together. I just need to be patient. This is why I am doing this alongside the Admiral Seafire -so that I have something else to do whilst the glue sets.

You may well ask 'where are the wings'. Well, as I have mentioned, I have the wing fold set. This is a complete replacement for the deployed wings that come with the kit. However, it is very complex so I am keeping my options open on this.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I must be mad but here goes!

Having ranted and raved and cursed about resin over the last couple of years and vowing to avoid all kits that have it in their make up, what am I doing? Well, just a Czech Master Resin Gannet COD.

The COD was the final version of the Gannet and was just an slightly emptied out airframe for use as a communications aircraft - COD standing for Carrier Onboard Delivery. There are a few injection Gannets around - Frog, Trumpeter and Revell, but they are all either AS1/4s or T1/2. there is not an injection COD, nor is there an injection AEW3.

My good friend Ken has persuaded me to have a go at both of these. As you know I have a soft spot for Gannets so I would like to have all 4 types in my FAA collection.

I am currently working on the Admiral Seafire 46 which is coming on nicely but I need something in between paint coats. Here are a couple of pictures of the kit out of the box. As you can see, it is very nicely moulded and has very little flash. The moulding blocks on the fuselage are nicely handled. I haven't opened the other bags yet but I am assured that this will go together nicely. I have a bottle of Gator's Grip so I shouldn't need to use Super Glue for the main parts - Gator's Grip, masking tape and patience will be the order of the day.

Oh, did I mention that I was not only supplied with the Gannet as a kind gesture, but also the wing fold! I was a bit concerned about this but the wing fold set comes with replacement wings so I don't have to do a cut and paste job, thank goodness. Must get the decals right though - unlike a famous one in the magazines.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This Seafire is fun

Having had such heart aches and trials over the Eduard Tempest, I sort of assumed that the Admiral Seafire 46 was going to be much the same. However, I am finding it great fun. Why is that?

Firstly, it doesn't rely on lots of etched and resin for its details - what detail it has is all plastic - except for the seat belts. Secondly, the plastic is quite soft so sanding everything to fit isn't too big a chore. So, I have found myself spending hours putting together one of the smallest aircraft I have built since I did the two Salamanders.

The plastic all needs a bit of clean up and fettling to fit but generally, as you can see, it makes it without filler - except for one wing join. The cockpit has come out quite well. However, the headrest didn't appear to be there in spite of being in the drawing, so I had to make one.

For some time I thought I had lost the decals and was contemplating a Model Alliance set - almost the price of the kit, but I finally found them - in my tool box!

Here is where we are to date.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eduard Tempest finally finished - I am happy, anyway

Well here we are - I thought I would never do it but it is finally finished. I have gone for pristine rather than weathered on the basis that it is fine like this and the potential for screwing up is great so I left it!

Comments? Well, I didn't use much of the etched brass - the seat belts and the UC doors mainly. The resin cockpit was a complete waste of time. I didn't realise that there was a plastic one in the box or I would have used that - not that you can see anything of the cockpit, as my shot of the seat shows. I lost the tail wheel so I had to make one up. It came from the back end of the propeller shaft plus an unused piece of etched from the kit. It's a bit low but it is there so not to worry.

The basis of the decoration is Pierre Clostermann, No. 3 Squadron, RAF Fassberg Germany July-August 1945. I really wanted to do Roland Beaumont but was scared off by the D-Day stripes. Now I know that I can do this without etched and resin, I will maybe have another go some time.

Fantastic extra book for my Fleet Air Arm Project

My friend Ken put me on to this one. Cheap at £40 on Amazon but -Wow - what contents.

The book is "Fleet Air Arm Fixed-Wing Aircraft since 1946" by Ray Sturtivant.

This book has 640 pages and covers every single aircraft that flew with the FAA - that's right - aircraft - NOT aircraft type! Every aircraft is listed under its FAA serial along with a description of all known activity. It doesn't show standard flights but does show any incident - from a wing hitting something on taxi through to complete write offs.

It is loaded with black and white photos and has a colour section in the middle which gives basic colour layouts for most of the aircraft included.

Lastly, it has a list at the back of every pilot that flew with the FAA with a listing of the aircraft flown.

This has enabled me to  finally track down what happened to my scouting friend - John Sillett. He is listed as flying the following aircraft - all AEW3 Gannets: XG786, XG885, XL450, XL473, XL482 and XL493. The incident that I remember John telling me about is listed as follows: "Night GCA approach, std engine failed, prop failed to feather, ditched port beam of Eagle near Singapore (Lt. JM Sillett & Lt. BM Jackson-Dooley unhurt). So now I know.

Also, I was interested in the expression std (starboard) engine in an aircraft that looks as though it only has one engine. However, the 'Double Mamba' engine was arranged with two engines side by side driving contra-rotating propellers so it actually does have a starboard and a port engine!

The book is not competition for the Ray Williams book mentioned in an earlier blog. That has much more detail about the aircraft type - but put together, I think I will be able to do a good job on the project. Incidentally, it lists 55 aircraft types, where the Ray Williams book only lists 44.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Starting on my Fleet Air Arm theme

I have listed out pretty much all of the aircraft that I can get and have been acquiring some of them in readyness - suddenly I have a stash!

This is going to be some ride as I am moving out of my comfort zone in many ways with this. So many of the aircraft can only be found in 1/72 and so many of them are short run or even (don't say it too loud) resin kits!

This all came about because I finally found out the details of my old Scouting friend, John Sillett's crash when flying a Gannet AEW3. In conversations with Ken Withey, I suddenly had committed to building not only an AlleyCat AEW3 but also a CzechMaster AS/4 COD - oh dear :-(

So I have to start somewhere, and in my enthusiasm, I have left the Lightning a little unfinished and the Eduard Tempest just needing a flat coat and the wheels + radio aerial fitted. I will sort that out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am making these FAA models in date order to avoid doing all the ones I like first. Hence, I have started on the following:

This is distictly a short run kit - no alignment pins or tabs, rotten instructions and some flash. However, I have persevered and this is where I am at the moment:

The scalpel handle is marked in millimetres and centimetres so you can see the size!

Next step is to fit it into the fuselage - now that might be fun. Some pics later if I get it done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Tempest moves on

Actually, it is not looking too bad now. I have given it some camo and have put the decals on.

Here it is for all to see:

I am working on the canopy and the propeller/boss at the moment. After that, I am left with the wheels and doors plus the radio aerial and I should be finished - oh after I gove it a coat of flat varnish - BEFORE I fit the canopy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finally - a proper project

Some years ago I put a list up on a newsgroup suggesting that it was the sum total of aircraft used by the Fleet Air Arm since 1945. I was quickly disabused of my ideas and given the real list - much longer. I then purchased 'Royal Navy Aircraft Since 1945' by Ray Williams. This lists 44 aircraft.

I have gone through the list and have come up with all those that I can find as currently available in 1/72nd. I now propose to work through the list and end up with a definitive set of models.

Here is the current list (with some gaps noted) along with their kit numbers and mask/decals required.

Aircraft Date of 1st Service Kit Extras
Blackburn Firebrand 1945 VAL72006
D.H. Sea Hornet 20/22 1947 SH72057
Fairey Firefly FR47 1947
Hawker Sea Fury 1947 TU01631 EDCX199
Supermarine Seafire 46 1947 ADM7205
D.H. Sea Vampire 1948 CMR1219
D.H. Sea Hornet 21 1949 SH72059
Douglas Skyraider 1951 MAG7224
Supermarine Attacker F1 1951 AZM72082
Westland Whirlwind 1952
Grumman Avenger 1953 AC1651 X72108
Hawker Sea Hawk 1953 HB87251 EDCX290
Sikorsky Dragon Fly 1953
Supermarine Attacker FB2 1953 AZM72083
D.H. Sea Venom 1954 EA72225
Fairey Gannet AS1/4 1954 TU01629 EDCX178
Westland Wyvern 1954 TU01619 EDCX058
Short Seamew 1957 MAG7205
Hawker Hunter T8 1958 OLPR7250
Supermarine Scimitar 1958 XK72011
D.H. Sea Vixen 1960 CH5051
Fairey Gannet AEW3 1960 ACRK7201
Fairey Gannet COD 1961 CMR1118
Westland Wessex 1961 ARK72032
Blackburn Buccaneer 1962 AX04049 EDCX280
Hawker Hunter GAII 1962
Westland Wasp 1964
McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG1 1969 FJ270449
Westland Gazelle 1974 AX50084 MD026
Westland Sea King HAS2 1976 AX04048
Westland Sea King HAR5 1977 AX50113
Bae Sea Harrier FRS1 1980 AX03078 EDCX259
Bae Sea Harrier FRS2 1981 AX03079
Westland Lynx HAS2 1981 HB87236 EDCX243
Westland Lynx HAS3 1982 HB87237

I cannot believe that I cannot find any currently available kit for a Westland Whirlwind or Dragonfly helicopters - Kingkit, Kit Krazy, EBay - NOTHING!

Moving on with the Tempest

I have now got the underside sprayed and masked and the Ocean Grey/ Dark Green camo on the upper surfaces. I am trying to lay down the black walkways on the wings. One would have thought that Eduard could have provided decals - but no chance.

As they are of a curved nature, I have had to make masks. To do that I have an undersized scan of the Eduard sheet showing where to put all the stencils.

I have scanned that and resized it to actual size and then made some Tamiya masking tape masks. This is where I am at the moment.

If you are interested in how the photo was managed, here goes:

The photo was taken on my iPad2. Under iOS5, this is automatically transferred to my Mac Mini using the new iCloud Photostream. I then cropped the picture in iPhoto and uploaded it.  Under the "old" regime, I would have taken the photo on my Canon SLR, placed the chip into the Mac Mini. Uploaded it manually. Opened Photoshop and cropped it then I could have uploaded it. Apple are slowly making lots of 'stuff' easier!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The masking off and Klear on

I have given the spine and tail a few coats of white. I then lifted the masking tape off the black lines on the wings. The last thing I have done so far is to give it all a coat of Johnsons Klear - well actually Pledge Multi-Surface Wax to seal the black lines and to protect the silver paint when I start putting the decals on - next step.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Off with the Alclad on with the Model Air

I got the Ligthing to the point where it was ready for a coat of natural metal. This involved undercoating the model with Vallejo Black Primer. Then there was a lttile trick that I learnt with the previous Lighting that I did. There are thin back lines around the wings which delineate the no-walk areas. I tried on the previous model to use the decals in the kit but they kept breaking as they were so thin and fragile. Having undercoated the model with black primer, i then laid out these lines in custom cut masking tape. All I have to do now once the wings are finished painting is to lift the masking tape and - bingo - no-walk lines. Well that's how it worked out last time.

I got some Airframe Aluminium Alclad for the finish but, as normally happens when I use Alclad, the whole thing looked so unconvincing. Not only was it patchy but I could see a fingerprint in the primer through the Alclad. I know from experience that touching up Alclad is almost impossible so I was already in for a respray - if I continued with Alclad, that would be two resprays - primer and final coat. So, out came a bottle of Model Air Silver - which went on like a dream.

Here is the model after the Model Air layer but before removing the tape. I have a lot more masking to do because the spine on the aircraft is grey.

Here is where we are so far.