Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Swoose, restoration.

Like thousands of other B-17s, The Swoose was caught in the rush to disarm, ending up at the extensive War Assets Administration facility at Kingman, Arizona, slated to be melted down for its aluminium. At this point, March 1946, Colonel Frank Kurtz persuaded the City of Los Angeles to retrieve the bomber for use as a war memorial, with the bomber arriving at Los Angeles Municipal Airport on 6 April 1946. Kurtz piloted the aircraft on what was at the time described as her last flight.[4] Three years later, however, the city still had not found an appropriate place to display the historic airframe, so in January 1949 it was donated by the city fathers to the National Air Museum in Washington, D.C. Refurbished at March Air Force Base, Riverside, California, for its delivery flight to Washington, it was flown by Kurtz with National Air Museum curator Paul E. Garber aboard to their storage facility at Park Ridge, Illinois, arriving on 26 March 1949. In January 1950 it was flown to Pyote Air Force BasePyote, Texas, for additional long-term storage, and again in December 1953 it was airborne one final time, flying to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, arriving there 5 December 1953 on just three engines.

F4's at Chu Lai

 New photos take at Chu Lai. Great photos for a Phantom modeler.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

More vintage Chu Lai Photos

 The A4 is being sent back to the state for repairs.  This why it looks like

Barry Numerick Assembly note for the 1/72 BF-109F series

 As we all know Barry is the expert on buildings and creating amazing 1/72 scale BF-109s/

Here is his build comments on the Eduard BF109F

1. Painting the exterior of the gun troughs with the camo color before assembling the fuselage halves. This allows you to paint the guns before inserting them (with the unusual two part contraption that is the Eduard solution to gun alignment). I'm being a bit harsh here; I had a rather difficult time with the first 109 F I built, but these three were much easier. I even used the Eduard 3D. printed guns on one of the models. Although time saving and foolproof, it is not necessary. If you are VERY careful drilling out the kit guns, which is difficult given the soft plastic, you can achieve comparable results. But, as I said, the aftermarket part is foolproof.

2. Paint the wheel well area on the outside of lower wing first. Then separately paint the wheel well pieces and weather to taste. Do the same with the interior of the upper wing parts. Finally assemble all three. Here again, on one of the models I used Eduard's 3D printed inserts. This time they are definitely better than the kit parts. The stitching of the leather boots is beautifully rendered. They are also a bit more flexible which helps - because at least for me, the plastic inserts resist setting into their grooves perfectly. I used small clamps and 5-minute epoxy the tack on one side first. After that set up,  I removed the clamps and smeared more epoxy to firmly secure that side. Finally I repeated the process on the other end of the well. Several days of work, but there were no excess glue smears and the joint was very secure. I did find that the wells need some sanding to allow the upper wing to fit. This was easier on the 3D printed set. This may be operator error. Regardless, it would make sense to test fit and sand them down before gluing them to the lower wing. Notes made on the instruction sheet for future builds. 

3. The clear wing tip lights are beautiful, but fiddly to the max. I drilled a hole in the back and forced some paint into it to represent the bulb. Per my usual habit, I then painted the rear of this part black, as well as the area of the wing tip where they will be inserted. A tiny drop of white glue held them in place temporarily. Then I applied black superglue (great stuff) to fill the joints. After setting with accelerator the excess was removed with a Q-tip and debonder. This worked better than my previous methods. 

4. Frustratingly, all three models suffered from FWS - Flat Wing Syndrome. Dry fitting the wings resulted in the fuselage sides pushing out the upper edge of the wings forcing them down. Again, this may be user error, but it happened with all three kits. No real problem, I just sanded down the fuselage wing roots a bit, allowing the wings to assume the proper dihedral. This may have been prevented by taping the lower wing to the fuselage and dry fitting the upper wings, but I didn't expect the issue to come up. Again, notes made on instructions for next time.

5. The horizontal stab is a single piece that slots into the fin, a nice touch. But the fit is extremely tight, to the point that if you dry fit it, good luck with getter it off again. I used a very thin file to open the fin slot a bit. Also note that there is a tiny mold defect on one of the elevators. Fortunately, this is intended to be placed on the bottom.

6. And finally - the fuel line through the cockpit. Eduard uses a clear part to represent this tube. An excellent concept, but ... clear plastic is very brittle. I have broken four of them. If you're very careful you can glue them back together, for a bit. Regardless, the limits of molding and practicality intervene and the tube appears too big when painted yellow. In the future I may keep the clear central section and form the remainder of the tube from thin solder. To tone them down, I used a lighter shade of yellow.

Here are a few more photos showing progress to this point. No clues as to the aircraft to be represented, but at least one of them is obvious!

I hope these tips will prove useful to first time 109 F builders, but then again, some  may be purely user errors.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

FW-190 wing configuration for Eduard by Mr Driskill

 Eduard has already done quite a few versions of this kit. As the resident "Crazy Old Fw 190 Guy" in the hood, I have of course procured most of them! I thought a guide might be useful for normal people (i.e., those who have NOT obsessed over this aircraft since grade school) who perhaps have a particular 190 in mind, and wonder which version of the kit is most suitable.

Eduard gives each sprue in these kits the number 70110, followed by a suffix letter. With the release of the F-8 kits, they have completed the sequence of sprues from A through J. The sprues' suffix letters and descriptions are listed below.

Quick notes on my nomenclature:  
"Early" wing = MG FF cannon in outer bay (for the real-life A-2, 3, 4, 5)
"Standard" wing = MG 151 in outer bay, smooth top wing surface (A-6, 7, early 8)
"Universal" wing = MG 151 or MK 108 in outer bay, bump on top wing surface (A-8, 9; and F-8, 9)  
"Sturmbock" fuselage = full set of applique armor plate (A-8/R2)
"Empty outer gun bay" = flush panel beneath the wing replacing the bulged gun access panel (for so-called “light fighters,” or to mount ordnance racks)

The sprues:
A - big sprue of common detail parts for all variants
B - small sprue of ground attack parts
C - A-8 fuselage + universal wing w/MG 151
D - clear parts for all variants
E - A-8 Sturmbock fuselage + universal wing w/MK 108
F - F-8 fuselage + universal wing w/empty outer gun bay
G - A-5 fuselage + early wing w/MG FF
H - A-8 fuselage + standard wing w/MG 151
I - A-8 fuselage + standard wing w/empty outer gun bay
J - A-5 fuselage + early wing w/empty outer gun bay

The narrow center bay of all the fuselage + wing sprues (C, and E through J) is identical--effectively, an extension of sprue A. It contains the rudder, tailplanes, and ailerons which are shared by all variants; and all the variations of nose gun and top cowl panels.  

The kits released so far have these sprues:

R0012, A-8 Royal Class: Ax4, Cx2, Dx4, Ex2, I
2122, Grunherz Dual Combo:Ax2, C, Dx2, G, H, J

70111, A-8 Profipack: A, C, D
70112, A-8/R2 Profipack: A, D, E
70116, A-5 Profipack: A, D, G, J
70119, F-8 Profipack: A, B, D, F

7430, A-8/R2 Weekend: A, D, E
7435, A-8 Standard Wing Weekend: A, D, H
7436, A-5 Heavy Fighter Weekend: A, D, G
7439, A-5 Light Fighter Weekend: A, D, J
7440, F-8 Weekend: A, B, D, F

70110X, Small Parts Overtree: A, D
70111X, A-8 Overtree: A, C, D
70112X, A-8/R2 Overtree: A, D, E
70114X, A-8 Early Wings Overtree: A, D, H
70116X, A-5 Smooth Wings Overtree: A, D, J
70117X, A-5 Bulged Wings Overtree: A, D, G
70119X, F-8 Overtree: A, B, D, F

Note that the Royal Class and A-5 Profipack each contain an extra fuselage/wing sprue, and the Grunherz Dual Combo has two! Adding the same number of Small Parts Overtrees gives you all the plastic needed for additional complete builds from those boxings. This overtree is also an awesome fixer/detail set for those Hasegawa, Revell, and Airfix kits still in your stash,, indeed, are the normal "leftovers" from any build of the Eduard kit.

Eduard seems to have lost interest in additional variants for the time being, unfortunately. The gaps in the kit numbering, lack of a single-kit boxing using the night fighter antennae or wide-blade prop, and the fact that sprue "I" has appeared only in the Royal Class boxing, hint that more were originally planned and could appear in the future, though. The basic parts are already there to produce the A-6, A-7, or A-9, along with a dedicated night fighter, early or late ground attack variants, and others.