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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

    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
  2. 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
  3. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks! ALF
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    I just want to say that I used to be a huge Habs fan, but that died about the time my son was born... my wife was in labour during the last Stanley Cup parade down Ste Catherine Street (June 93). Now, I just enjoy the hockey, and I save myself lots of heartache by picking teams I think will win in the playoffs, and cheer for them - until they lose! Then I jump on another bandwagon. Maybe the Leafs have a chance this year. I used to despise them, but now my list of teams I cannot stand is reduced to one: Boston. Speaking of flaps (like the tempest I may have touched off within the Bruins fans on ARC), it's time for the flap actuators. My trick is to glue the actuators in place, and allow them to set. I used to get very concerned about the little locator pins (visible on the aft portions, atop the actuators), but now I find that if they fit, fine, if not, I shave them off and mount the flaps and ailerons at the proper place to avoid gaps. The large actuator (for the aileron, just outside the wing fold) is the only part that is not symmetrical in this group of 4. It is important to locate the little cutout so that it faces outboard. That is the spot for the underwing navigation light. That tiny transparency is one of the most difficult parts to install on this kit, but not nearly as tough as on a 1/48 Hornet! My next step, after the actuators were starting to set, was to install the leading edge flaps. For those who do not know, the CF-18 (and all A/B/C/D versions) will usually be parked with the LEF (Leading Edge Flaps) and TEF (Trailing Edge Flaps) fully drooped. The LEF droop at 12 degrees down. The position of the LEF is entirely dependent on where the pilot sets the flap switch prior to shutdown. If he sets it UP (called AUTO on the Hornet), then the LEF will be flush with the wing, horizontal. They will remain there all day; they do not droop after hydraulic pressure is removed. If the flaps are set to half or full, the LEF will droop to 12 degrees and remain there. A CF-18 will almost ALWAYS be left with the flaps in half or full (i.e. LEF drooped 12 degrees), because it makes LEF lock-ups far less likely when the FCS (Flight Control System) is reset after start, especially when cold-soaked. If the LEF lock up (because they did not respond quickly enough to the demand to move after reset), then the pilot must go through a few manipulations of FCS test functions, which are time-consuming and waste time and fuel prior to take-off. The TEF, regardless of flap switch position, will slowly droop to 45 degrees down after engines and hydraulics are shut down. Ailerons droop to that angle as well. That's why I always pose mine with flaps and ailerons fully drooped. While we're on the subject of FCS after shut down, the stabilators (horizontal tail planes) will always sit in a nose-down position. That means the front of the stabs will be up high, while the rear portion will be down. Rudders tend to sit fairly flush with the tails, but the wind may blow them a bit off-centre. Here is my precisely-measured LEF 12 degree angle, using the TLAR method. Note that the outboard end of the LEFs terminates before the end of the wing centre section. That's because the missile rails (which I will install after painting the upper and lower colours to save masking), include a small part that fills in that gap. More soon. Thanks for chiming in. ALF
  11. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    The instructions show the preferred order being to glue the aft fuselage sides in place, then attach the intake lips in front. Previously, I have mated the intake lips to the side panels, allowed them to dry, then glued the whole assembly into the aft fuselage. It had the advantage of avoiding a noticeable step between the fuselage side and the intake front, but led to fit problems with the rest of these panels. This time, after considerable dry-fitting, I decided to follow the kit instruction order. Instructions: Some dry-fitting: Here is the part where the forward sections of the intakes get glued into place, after the side panels. Look how tiny those little struts are (parts B30a x 2 and B30b x2). I had a heck of a time with them. Assembled forward intake parts. I have allowed the tiny struts to dry in place. They are almost impossible to install after gluing the intake splitter plates in place... I've tried it on previous builds, and it was an even worse exercise in frustration. You can see the LEX (Leading Edge eXtensions) ready for installation in the background. In the meantime, here is how well the parts fit together so far around the intake lips. An appreciation of how huge this kit is. Here is what I meant by the noticeable step between the intake fronts and the side panels. I will need to fill and sand them prior to priming! Now to add the flaps and other panels to the wings and fuselage. First, here are the two parts included in the kit for the lower forward fuselage. The part that is still on the sprue (B16) is the correct one, while the one that has been detached is an F/A-18C part. The noticeable difference is the mesh screens on the later version, while CF-18s have the slits with screens (visible as deeper grooves) for avionics cooling. The 5 little teats are Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) antennae; they are sometimes called the "cow's udder." If the jet you're modelling does not have RWR installed, these should be shaved off to make a smooth blanking plate. Very few CF-18s in the modern era do not have RWR; back in the good old days (late 80s, early 90s), we had a limited number of RWR and jammer sets, so at times almost half our jets (i.e. NORAD ones) did not have RWRs. More soon! ALF
  12. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Ya know, being retired is a lot of work... 😴 Amazing how busy you can make yourself, even when you're not working. I've been slowly plugging away at this model, with most of the time taken up getting the resin cockpit to fit. Here, I've glued in the resin cover to the avionics bay. A bit nicer detail than the kit part, and of course the resin part has a hole to see the avionics bay (the kit part is just a solid representation of the net over top of the bay). In behind, you can see the intake trunks and the engines. I have done almost zero detailing on the engine exteriors, because they are invisible when built. Curious why they made the engines with external detail; I guess some people might leave one out and put it on a trailer. Here I painted the compressor blades black, then used a silver pen (visible at the top right of this pic) to make the fan blades pop a bit. Frankly, these engines are so deep inside the intakes that this detail does not really show. You can also see the white landing gear parts. More detail work to go on the gear struts, of course. The trunking and engines fit nicely, with their locating pins, into the lower aft fuselage. I am using a high-tech weight to hold one contact point in place. Note the two "towers", one on each side of the red tool. Those are the receptacles for some of the screws that hold this big boy together. Lots going on here. I've glued the upper and lower rear fuselage parts together, but left the sides off for now. I've also assembled the wing centre sections. Wings in place. Here is the upper forward fuselage cover, where the CIT (Combined Interrogator/Transponder) goes. Modellers call these the "bird slicers." The locating holes need to be punched out from inside. Nice touch; it allows the modeller to make an earlier version of CF-18 before the mods that added the CIT. Here is the aft fuselage, ready to be mated with the forward fuselage. Here is another reason I've been slow building. I've discovered 4K hockey games on my new Samsung Q7 TV... The picture does not do the image justice, but it is noticeably clearer than HD. I took this picture for my good buddy AX_365, because it was before things went downhill (again) for the Senators. ALF
  13. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks, AFM. Can't remember which tail number I'm doing, but from memory, only our earliest Hornets had that door on the right side of the forward fuselage. I'll ask when I remember the number. So, here is some of the hassle I went through with the resin cockpit fit. After I tried to force the forward fuselage halves together and glue them in place, I realized it was not a good job, so I opened them up again. Luckily, I used a trick Emvar taught me by simply reapplying the Tamiya extra-thin glue to the seam, and have it come apart fairly easily. Then, I realized I needed to trim more off the casting block of the cockpit tub. It goes into this spot. First, I had chopped off the locating pins at the rear (that are on the kit part, but the resin tub is deeper than the kit part). Note the little step at the front of the nose wheel well; after I tore the fuselage apart, I did some surgery to reduce the height of the step, which better fit the resin I had chopped. Here is the bottom of the resin tub, with some more hacking done. I also chopped some off the sides and top of the avionics bay. Note that there is a tiny hole in the thin bottom; it doesn't show inside the dark fuselage. Some of the trimming required at the top of the avionics bay. Endless chopping and dry-fitting. This is not fun. The flat parts of the kit fuselage above the resin tub should meet nicely in the middle. Obviously, the resin is too fat for now. Another view of the one thousandth dry-fitting... getting bored and frustrated with this part. Fitting a bit better, but not quite there yet. Finally, got it to sit fairly well. Will glue the front part first, then after it has properly set, will glue the aft part. Ensuring the fuselage width is correct, to receive the upper fuselage part and the radome without bumps. Thankfully, the tape holds it nicely. Not too wide now. More soon. I've been slowly building up the white on the landing gear struts, and preparing the engine and intakes. ALF
  14. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    Thanks, Mike. Bundle up... apparently it is quite chilly in Florida these days. Just so you don't feel bad, Brian in Montreal says it's quite cold there, so you're still better off. I'm having a b*tch of a time with this resin pit, getting the forward fuselage to close up properly. Will post some pictures soon. Right now, I'm painting the landing gear struts, and slowly hacking away at the resin to get the pit to fit. ALF
  15. ALF18

    1/32 CF-18

    I follow that guy's channel. He has written some books that I really like. I've read all but the last two (which are in progress on my Kindle). ALF
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