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Ben Brown

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About Ben Brown

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    North Carolina, USA

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  1. Designing your own decals

    I had Kinko's do that many years ago, before I bought a laser printer. As for the white, I design a separate sheet with white only and then hire someone with an ALPS printer. I used to send the artwork to Fireball, but he's gotten out of the decal business. I haven't found a replacement, yet. Ben
  2. 1/48 Zoukei Mura F-4C and F-4D

    I'm in for a set of short nozzles! I want to build my J as a BA jet. The only aftermarket the Z-M kit really needs is interior detail for the canopies, which I think Hypersonic is planning to release at some point. I was a little disappointed that they put so much work into getting the kit (mostly) right, and left out something as basic as the heavy canopy interior framework, just like every other manufacturer in the past. Odd aft fuselage shape aside, I think it's still the best F-4 available. You'd need to spend a lot of $$ on aftermarket parts to bring the other manufacturers' kits up to a similar level of detail. Ben
  3. 1/48 F-105 upgrade needs

    A better-fitting radome, with a more scale pitot tube, will go a long way to fixing the odd look of the Monogram nose. Based on standing next to and under the real thing while holding a built Monogram kit, I personally don't think the nose itself is off as badly as some might suggest. A B conversion would be nice, too. Ben
  4. Unslatted F-4Es in Vietnam?

    The TISEO arrived in Vietnam around the same time as the slatted wing. I don't think they ever fitted the system to any hard-wing F-4Es. Of course, now that I've said that, someone will post a photo of a hard wing E with TISEO! Here's a quote from Jay Chladek I found on the USAF SIG web site: Some 71 model F-4Es with LES and TISEO were sent to the 432nd TFRW (later 432nd TFW) under project Rivet Haste. They were assigned to the 555th TFW which had exchanged their F-4Ds for F-4Es either shortly before or during Linebacker II. The Rivet Haste F-4Es were uncoded and initially had RRRRIBIT in yellow on the tail, which was later painted out and just the fin cap was painted green. From Smoke Trails, Vol. 3 # 4, Tail Codes, 432 TFRW, by Harley Copic. By 1975, when Saigon fell, I'm sure that the F-4Es still flying in Thailand had the LES installed. Most of them were later sent to Clark and Korea. I think the shark mouths were applied to F-4Es of the 366th and 388th Tactical Fighter Wings, which flew hard wing F-4Es. There may have been others. A pilot from the 4th TFW told me they made shark mouth stencils for their F-4Es while they were on TDY at Ubon RTAB, but never used them. Ben
  5. Designing your own decals

    I'm learning this process right now. I've been able to print my own stencils and some simple airliner liveries with a laser printer. It takes time and patience to learn how to use the software to get it to do what you want it to do. I'm still at the "rank amateur" stage. First, you need a scale-able vector graphics program to draw up the artwork. I use Inkscape, which is an open source freeware. It is supposed to be able to do everything the expensive professional software, like Adobe Illustrator, can do. With this type of software, you can draw pretty much anything, depending on your skill level, and scale it to your needs. The vector graphics allows you to increase or reduce the size of the artwork without it pixillating, like expanding a jpg will do. The Inkscape website has a lot of good tutorials and there are a couple of good Inkscape books available from Amazon. For printing, you can use an inkjet or laser printer, if your background color will be white. Laser is better than inkjet, since the inkjet ink isn't waterproof and has to be sprayed with something to protect it. You'll need decal paper specific for either type of printer. If you need white, or if the decals need to go over a dark color (which will require an underlying layer of white) you'll need to find someone with an ALPS printer. Those can also print some metallic colors. There was a thread earlier this week in the General Discussion forum about people who do custom printing with an ALPS printer. Someone with a lot more knowledge about this will probably stop by soon, and can give you more/better info. HTH. Ben
  6. Completed 1:144 Sunwing 737-800.

    Nice models, Erik! I've used both Draw and Nazca's decals and like both. Nazca's are laser-printed, so they don't have white and you have to apply them over a light background color. Draw Decals (and Vintage Flyer decals, too) use a special printing process that enables them to print white, but the ink is impervious to decal setting solutions. You get them to conform to compound curves by dipping them in very hot water. I'll dip a paper towel in boiling water (while being careful not to burn my fingers!) and press them down. This works especially well on stripes that have to conform to the radome area. Ben
  7. Monogram F-105D

    I say this every time the nose issue comes up, but I'm not entirely convinced the Monogram nose is that far off. Years ago, during a visit to Seymour Johnson AFB with our local club, we had the chance to compare a built Monogram Thud with a real one. Monogram did a pretty good job of capturing how the nose has a slight curvature as it goes toward the radome, and then the forward 1/3 or 1/4 becomes a true cone. Monogram's problem is a combination of the radome not blending well with the rest of the nose and the pitot tube part, which is off-center and too thick. If you put a spacer between the nose and the radome, and replace the pitot tube with one from Master Models, it completely changes the look of the model. You just have to blend the pitot into the radome, because the pitot was meant for the Hobby Boss kit, which does have issues with the shape of its nose, among other things. Just my opinion, of course. Ben
  8. Monogram F-105D

    The plastic struts on my first Thud listed ~20 years, until I dropped it. The plastic ones are okay, just a little wobbly. Ben
  9. 1/48 Seamless intakes for Academy F-4J

    I used XMM's on my F-4B. One dropped in without any trouble, while the other took a little tweaking to fit. Nothing outside of what you'll typically run into with resin parts. Hypersonic's air conditioning scoops are much better than XMM's. Ben
  10. Monogram F-105D

    It doesn't need nose weight, but I would suggest adding a little, just to be sure. On my last one, I used 3-4 small (3/0) fishing sinkers. Ben
  11. Test Photo post using Imgur

    Test
  12. Amelia Earhart Evidence Lost

    Actually, the UFO took them to the Delta Quadrant and left them there in suspended animation. I would think if the Japanese had captured someone as famous as Earhart and Noonan, they would have made a very public spectacle of trying and executing them for spying, or at least using them in some way, to score political points. Ben
  13. F-4 Martin-Baker Seat Question

    Hi Chris, You want the 7s. Someone can correct me but I think True Details makes the only correct Navy 7s in 1/48. I agree, Eduard's look "off." Ben
  14. Which kit is easier? 1/48 ZM or Academy F-4J?

    If you mean the ECM pieces, it looks like they're on the black sprue with the tires. LINK Ben
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