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ALF18

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About ALF18

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Jonquiere Quebec
  • Interests
    Canadian Forces aircraft
    WWII fighters
    Modern jet fighters (USAF, RAF, etc)

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  1. ALF18

    Kinetic CF188 1/48 Production Line x4

    Absolutely terrific painting. ALF
  2. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    For much of the masking, I use Nextape by 3M, which is quite flexible and easily manipulated into nice shapes. I stick it on a glass surface (dust-free), and slice several length-wise strips out of a single width. Now, time to outline the false canopy. Sure, most Canadian decal sets come with these, but I don't like using decals. This is representative of the latest style of false canopy, which is a bit flatter and more elongated looking than the original style. Small strips of 3M Nextape. Don't forget the little light grey gap! In fact, I learned (the hard way... don't ask!) that it is easy when working with an upside-down fuselage and detached doors, to get the light grey stripe in the wrong spot on the door... so I make sure I match up the locating pins when applying the tape to the door. I also have the door that goes on the drag brace with its little mask in this picture. At the same time as I paint the false canopy, I will paint the radome tan on the tip of the nose. Current jets have more and more weathering, and typically there is a dark ring around the rear of the tan portion. I used a pencil to make a dark circle on the primer, and it helped to locate the masking tape at the same time. Not sure if the circle will show under the Tamiya flesh paint I'm using, but easy to add the scribing again. Mostly masked. I plan to paint some Tamiya primer white in the main wheel wells, the FS 36118 on the false canopy, and the radome tan. Also some white into the intakes. It has warmed WAY up to plus 2 Celsius today! I can paint outside with the Tamiya primer. You can see some remnants of the snow in the background. I will not show too much of it; virtually all of our yard is still covered in at least 4 feet of snow, and some drifts are taller than 6 feet still. White primer in the intakes and rear wheel wells, and the dark grey on the false canopy. Radome is also done. Here I've put some pre-shading using the false canopy colour on the top of the fuselage. Not sure how this will turn out, but worth a shot. Here is the front wheel well. My plan is to mask over the dark grey when it's dry, and spray some white Tamiya primer into the well. Hopefully not too much cleanup required afterward. That's caught us up to today. More soon, but the TV beckons... Survivor, Whiskey Cavalier, Game of Thrones... WAY too busy these days! ALF
  3. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    I have used a couple of the after-market strengthening plates on the outboard portions of the two vertical stabilizers. Most aircraft have 3 or 4 of these (one either side of each v-stab), but frankly I don't care enough to check what this particular tail number may have had at any given time. These started to show up about 10 to 15 years ago as fatigue was discovered on each jet. I have also applied some white filler to some of the gaps. Filler added around the ovals where the F/A-18C has its ECM bumps aft of the cockpit. Those plates are not present on the Canadian Hornets. Finally, so that Alien Frog Modeller will not get angry with me for ignoring his inputs, I have chosen to fill in the gaps around the right hand side emergency egress panel. It was only present on the first few of our jets, and this one (around 770, I think, but I'll have to check) definitely would not have had it. After gap-filling, etc, I finally painted the whole thing in Tamiya light grey primer. That colour is an excellent match for the regular lower camouflage colour, FS 36375. Notice I've left off the missile rails, which were painted separately with the primer, along with various other bits like landing gear doors still on the sprues. Here's the bottom, nicely primed. Now for some planning and masking. Luckily, I'm retired, and have more time for this! ALF
  4. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks, Chuck. Fantastic ref pic. Love that sentiment. Lift with your corporals. Although this is an easy "hit out of the park" setup, I'm not sure if my buddy Chuck540Z knows him... so I will reserve comment! Finally some progress updates here. I have been doing some steady work after taking a break for about a month (family issues, Disney World trip, general winter blues). The pics and text in the next few posts represent a couple month's work. I started to finish off the exterior detail. Here I have installed the flap guides (the four curved pieces attaching the tops of the flaps and ailerons to the wing). Although they will be very hard to see, they will help to support the fillet part (technical term I just dusted off, and may have used improperly) between the wing fixed section and the rear control surfaces. I have installed the resin (fat) pylon, and the other 3 underwing pylons, as well as the centreline pylon. I've also added the ECM bumps under the intakes. They are not easily identifiable in the Academy instructions, but they do work nicely. One is longer than the other, and installed inboard of the chaff/flare dispenser, and the other one is shorter and directly in front of the dispenser. The gaps are a little obvious, so I will fill some areas around the intake lips and the splitter plates. This is the kit's GPS dome. Lately, the aircraft have been updated to include a larger bump that is further forward, but I don't have a satisfactory part for that. Flap fillets installed. These are the LAU 7 missile rails that go on the wingtips. The first time I built this kit, ages ago, I trimmed the extra sprue off them, and left the unassembled parts aside. I then made the mistake of gluing two together that did not have the little locating pins. I then walked away, and tried gluing the other parts together later... but they wouldn't go together because of the pins. I also found that the little slats did not locate properly into the wing leading edge. Finally, I realized I had glued the wrong parts together, and fixed the problem. When put together properly, they have a clever way of sliding into the wingtip. Assembled rails. This is what it looks like when properly put together. The little slat sticking up locates into a slot in the wingtip. Here's what it looks like when dry-fit in place. I leave the rails off until after main painting is done, because the rails are the lower light grey colour, and I want to avoid having to mask them when painting the top medium grey. More soon. ALF
  5. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Why didn't you file them down... ? 😈
  6. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    I beg to differ with you, dude. The fatigue life mods they made to the CF-18 were quite obtrusive, including LEX fences with huge bolts and these brackets. Not a great picture, but here's how thick they are: Here's a picture I took of my wingman on the way back from Greenwood to Bagotville. You can see the shadows are quite pronounced on the brackets. Believe me, they are fairly thick. ALF
  7. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Finishing up details on the structure. Now it's time for the 3 little brackets that reduce the tail flutter and vibration problems we had early on. When I first flew the aircraft, it did not have the LEX fences. One of the advantages of the Hornet is it can fly at extremely high angles of attack. To put it in perspective, most conventional aircraft stall, and shudder and drop the nose to regain flying speed, at angles of attack in the 12 to 15 degree range. Supersonic fighters, like the F-5, F18, F-16, etc, can exceed that angle of attack without doing the regular shudder and nose drop; they will shake a bit but allow the pilot to maintain a nose-high, very high AOA (angle of attack) flight condition. The F-16 is limited to about 25 degrees AOA, though, with a flight control limiter. The Hornet does not have any such limit. Optimal manoeuvring is at 15 AOA, or as my instructor at 410 Sqn used to say, "light tickle" in the seat of the pants. Beyond that, the aircraft may slowly lose energy unless afterburners are used. At 25 AOA, it is doing its minimum radius turn that can be sustained, and the aircraft shakes a lot more. When you really want to manoeuvre hard, like "cashing in" all of your energy to point the nose and shoot, you can pull 35 or more degrees AOA, and that's when my instructor said "the elephants start jumping on the wings." We used to practise slow flight at 25 AOA at about 15,000 feet, without afterburner, in level flight, to get the feel and precision required to properly manoeuvre the aircraft. The elephants have only started to stomp a bit (i.e. the aircraft shakes quite a bit, but not to the point your fillings come loose). It was when my instructor said to look at the tails that I kind of flipped out. The tops of the tails were flapping in and out like leaves in a thunderstorm. I estimate the tops of the tails were moving at least 6 to 9 inches, maybe more. Turns out that the attachment points of the tails were subject to cracking as a result. All of this was caused by vortices coming from the leading edge extensions (LEX). After several iterations, the coke-bottle glasses types came up with two fixes: LEX fences to break the intensity of the vortices, and the braces to stiffen the bases of the tails. Later production models than our CF-18s (i.e. F/A-18Cs) did not have the little braces, because they had changed the design of the tail attachment points. All this to say that the CF-18s, after about 1989, had the 3 braces and LEX fences installed. Before that, neither modification was present, so you are free to model the era you wish. When they were adding the LEX fences, we were concerned about the potential impact on performance they might have, but turns out it was imperceptible. There are 3 braces, small to larger, on the sprues. Note that they have little tabs that stick out. Some versions of this kit have little recesses that those nubs fit into; this particular boxing doesn't have it, which is curious because normally jets of this era would have the braces. I chopped those little nubs off. I double-checked to see which one was largest, the aft or foremost one. This picture of a demo jet, taken by the Wing imaging section at Bagotville, clearly shows the largest braces at the rear. Nice of them to paint them dark blue to make them stand out... Thanks, Jim Beliveau! Here's what they look like, installed. More soon! ALF
  8. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    This is a fantastic kit. I encourage you to "just do it." I'm happy to see that my explanations (and sometimes mea culpas when I make mistakes) can help others to build this and other kits I attempt. Don't worry about the paint; I have some easy ways to weather it that only involve a pencil! May not be perfect, but it's a technique that is very forgiving. Stick around to when I get to that point. ALF LOL! You can do it all. Just abandon everything else in your life. ALF
  9. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks! ALF
  10. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    I'd like to thank AFM and Danny for both providing some great information about CIT and landing gear. The airframe is now coming together. The mount for the Sniper pod goes on station 4, of course (because it is the one station with the IR cooling plumbing, and possibly electrical hookups that I am not so aware of). The resin part is beautiful for that mount. I have also placed the "fat pylon" at the bottom right of the picture. The resin detail is superb on that pylon. Pretty good fit for an after-market part. Fat pylon, all trimmed of its casting block. This pylon can house a jammer which is unique to the CF-18 (ALQ-162). It is usually installed on station 2 or 8; putting a pylon that is full of wiggly-amps onto station 3 or 7 with fuel connections would NOT be a good idea! Option: resin or kit part. The kit part is in the foreground, and darker in colour. The resin part is harder to fit, because of where the casting block was. The kit part fits beautifully, of course. On careful examination, the only difference I can see is the small detail behind the HUD projector. The rest looks pretty much identical to me. I'm going with the kit part. I've installed the tails. Still to come are the little braces on the inside bottom; the kit comes with these. One thing I love about the A+/B+ kit I'm using is that there is no need to use an aftermarket resin tail, nor do I have to do major surgery on a C/D tail. Much cleaner, and looks great. ALF
  11. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Simple. Only Canadian F/A-18s have the smaller, inverted shock absorber. All other Hornets have the SAC-gear style strut. ALF
  12. ALF18

    1/48 Revell Sabre "Hawk One Canada"

    Thanks! Thanks, Shawn! Thanks for your help Tony, even if I ignored some of it... 😎 No, for me. I haven't asked Pierre if he wants one. ALF
  13. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Are you referring to the possible splay outboard of the aft portions? Hard to tell from this picture, but damn near parallel. Thanks for pointing it out. Would you believe I actually made them splay out slightly? No? Oh well, I tried! ALF
  14. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Slow and steady. I am giving things time to dry in between, which leads to less mess and more solid assemblies. For example, after I glued the CIT blades in place, I let them set before attaching the big assembly to the forward fuselage. It was a bit of a pain to make sure they were all parallel, with only one locating pin per blade. Here it is glued in place. With 4 separate parts (top, bottom, and two sides), the forward fuselage could potentially be a fit nightmare, given that the radome is moulded in one piece. That is one reason I spent so long trimming and dry-fitting the cockpit tub, to make sure the fuselage sides were the right shape when glued together. For the radome, I always deviate from the kit instructions. See the circular part J15? There are two similar parts, one that goes inside the radome, and the other that goes into the forward fuselage. These two parts are supposed to mate, but I always find the fit to be terrible. I DO glue the other part inside the radome, because it provides a supporting platform for the gun ports, but I leave off J15. Here, I have dry-fit things together with J15 in place. There are always gaps, so I leave it out. This is the fit with J15 left out. I have also left the metallic part for the gun ports off for now. I will insert it after the fuselage is painted, so that it will have a nice, crisp line between the metal and the grey. Some CF-18 paint jobs have a silver-coloured rim around the gun ports (the u-shaped part with the rivets at the top of the radome here), but sometimes that part is painted camouflage grey. Poor focus, but the fit is nice after it's glued in place. The flap actuators are solid now. I have just glued the flaps and ailerons in place with CA glue. They are hanging at slightly differing angles, which is not unusual with power off. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! At least until the Commons Justice Committee orders an inquiry, and I will then invoke client confidentiality. 😈 More later! ALF
  15. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks, Shawn! As usual, it takes me a lot longer to come up with a result similar to your work. 😎 ALF
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