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53 Marine

1/48 CH-53A USMC Build

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After planning things out a bit, I think it will work out better to build two birds at once. The first one will be an early A model without EAPS barrels. Since I do not have a good picture to show you, I am showing two pics that will illustrate what I am talking about.

In this first picture, you can see the paint scheme that I am referring to. This is pretty much what it will look like but with no EAPS. Please note the cut back engine cowl around the exhaust. This was a distinct feature of the A model 53 with the original engines.

CH-53A153295HMH-769ELPJan79.jpg

In this second picture, you can still see the paint scheme that I am refering to, but this picture shows the 53 without the EAPS barrels installed. The only thing wrong in this pic, is that you can see the rear of the engine cowling is flush up to the exhaust all the way around and is not cut back at all. That means that this is a "early" D model (before they added the bat wings and tanks) or more likely what was called the "Super" A model (just an A with better engines)

ch-53d.jpg

The second model that I am going to work on will be a CH-53D in the tactical paint scheme of Green/Gray/Black

Markings will be for HMH-361 circa MCAS Tustin in the 80's.

I will post some starting pics a little later on - right now it is time for grandpa to spend time with the little one. Cheers.

<EDIT: The D build will be in a seperate thread when I start it>

Edited by 53 Marine

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excellent! looks like we'll both have a high vis 53! mine a D yours an A.

semper fi

Dan

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excellent! looks like we'll both have a high vis 53! mine a D yours an A.

semper fi

Dan

Hey Dan,

Are you doing the one from the Microscale Decal sheet 48-224 for BuNo 137139 w/ the big pineapple on the nose?

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Hey Dan,

Are you doing the one from the Microscale Decal sheet 48-224 for BuNo 137139 w/ the big pineapple on the nose?

What's on this sheet? I did not know of many 53 decal sets. Do you have a scan of it? OOP right?

mason

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That first pic...

Guy on the flightline with a white shirt, black tie and black suit? What is this evidence that MIB was a true story or did Jarheads dress differently that long ago?

Or was it a couple of airline pilots going gaga over the latest and greatest hardware of the time? From that distance it almost looks like a TWA uniform...

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Ok - seems like all of the other guys started with the rotor heads, so instead of doing that I started with the engine cowls on my early A model. As noted in the picture above, the cowls are cut back from the exhaust and have almost an eliptical look to them. The Revell kit has the normal D cowling (even though it is too thick and the engine exhaust is molded on as a little ridge with no interior detail at all.)

To modify this it would take alot of cutting, making a template and lord knows what else - or so I thought. Then as I was playing with the nacelle, rolling it over in my hand, trying to figure out how to do this it hit me. I just needed one simple cut to get the ball rolling, so here is what I did.

Made a straight cut from the tip of the fairing that mounts the engine nacelle to the fuselage and basically cut the entire aft section off (in this pic - it is the starboard engine nacelle that I have cut up)

CowlCut.jpg

The next thing that I did was to cut off the molded engine exhaust from the aft nacelle.

CutAftCowl.jpg

Then I thinned the aft wall of the nacelle to give it a more scale appearance.

ThinnedAftCowl.jpg

Now I just have to rotate the aft section 180 degrees and glue it back on. Just reversing that section give the outboard side of the nacelle the cut back curve it needs. Next, I will be gluing it back on, sanding and finalizing the shape. All considered - a much easier conversion than I originally anticipated. I will show that step next time I post, along with the new engine exahust and a few more nacelle mods to make it more accurate.

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Hey Dan,

Are you doing the one from the Microscale Decal sheet 48-224 for BuNo 137139 w/ the big pineapple on the nose?

yep that's the sheet! nice work on the cowls! i got some of the boxes on the interior wall done tonite and finished with the framing on the other. i'll upload pic's later.

semper fi

Dan

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Thanks Dan - just finished some more work on the cowls - will post later. While looking for some ref material on the cowels, I ran across a picture I took of the wet head on the 53A at MCAS Miramar this past August. It should be a big help for anyone who wants another shot of all the plumbing. Also note that there is an inspection window in the center top of the rotor head cover (you can see it from underneath)

P8300255.jpg

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Ok, here are some more pics of the starboard nacelle that I have been working. I have three angles, the side profile shwoing the eliptical aft end of the cowl, the top view that shows the cut back angle towards the fuselage, and a bottom view showing the hole I made to match the real deal.

Side View

CowlSideView.jpg

Top View

CowlTopView.jpg

Bottom View

CowlBottomView.jpg

Here is a close up of the underside of the nacelle cowl that shows the opening.

P8300276.jpg

Sorry about the image quality - for some reason my camera wants to rebellious and not focus properly.

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Just a note of interest, I work at the FRC East at Cherry Point and they pulled a CH-53D (might be doing two) from the boneyard to overhaul and put back into service. It's goint to be overall gloss gull gray with dark gray markings.

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Just a note of interest, I work at the FRC East at Cherry Point and they pulled a CH-53D (might be doing two) from the boneyard to overhaul and put back into service. It's goint to be overall gloss gull gray with dark gray markings.

Would you be able to get me pics, or at least the info, on which BuNo, what Modex #, what Squadron and what paint scheme they are in before they start the overhaul and repaint? I am interested in seeing which ones they are and what unit retired them. Thanks.

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Ok, here are some more pics of the starboard nacelle that I have been working. I have three angles, the side profile shwoing the eliptical aft end of the cowl, the top view that shows the cut back angle towards the fuselage, and a bottom view showing the hole I made to match the real deal.

Nice looking engine, very nice work.

BTW, when did you get the pics of the 53 on display at Miramar. I had heard that it was going to be replace with an E, but wasn't sure if it had happened. Maybe I need to head down there and get more pics.

mason

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Ok, been busy. While not the HUGE "12 hour window" that "some people" get, I have managed to clear out ALL of the women from the house for the entire evening. At first I thought.... hmm, grab a drink - watch a ball game, and maybe even run around the house in nothing but my scivvies.

Then reality hit - I better do some more work on the model while I have some peace and quiet. Besides, my work bench is by my computer, so I can watch the ball game on the internet, having a drink can still happen, and while I could do the modelling in my drawers - I figured for that one in a million chance of slipping with my xacto knife and accidently ending up like Dan :) so I put some shorts on at least.

Here is what I have accomplished.

Removed the tail boom from the fuselage (decided I was going to fold the tail and the blades on this one), trimmed off the upper rotating beacon (will be replaced with colored acrylic), and removed the screened areas (going to replace with photo-etch mesh with plastic frames) and I will have a scratch built tail gear box.

TailBoom.jpg

Then I tore apart the tail rotor. I cleaned up the extra plastic, drilled a hole through the shaft and will be pinning the blades back in place and adding a new control assembly (actuators for pitch and such).

TailRotor.jpg

Next up - the outer part of the sponsons. I notched the leading edge corner so that I could put in some colored acrylic navigation lights, I sanded off some kind of plate that had been molded on (all my references do not show that little plate - it was probably a patch for a bullet hole that they just modelled into the kit on accident - and it was on both sides ) Then I put some putty on the starboard front to cover up the refueling door that does not exist on that side of the 53. You will only find that door on the port side sponson.

Sponsons.jpg

Then I cut out all of the areas on the main fuselage that I will be replacing with photo etch mesh, and opened up all of the intake/exhaust ports that needed to be opened.

Fuselage2.jpg

Fuselage1.jpg

More to come later.

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Nice looking engine, very nice work.

BTW, when did you get the pics of the 53 on display at Miramar. I had heard that it was going to be replace with an E, but wasn't sure if it had happened. Maybe I need to head down there and get more pics.

mason

Thanks for the comment. I was at Miramar in Aug '07. The bird that I took pics of was damaged by a drunk driver (who ran into the Iraqi Huey, which then got knocked in to the side of the 53, putting a nice big hole in it.) At that time they told me that they were planning on replacing it with another CH-53 since it was not worth repairing. I was under the impression that they were going to get another A model, or possibly a D. However, it would not surprise me if they replaced it with an E (or maybe when they get the new building in they will have both - that would be nice)

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Ok, been busy. While not the HUGE "12 hour window" that "some people" get, I have managed to clear out ALL of the women from the house for the entire evening. At first I thought.... hmm, grab a drink - watch a ball game, and maybe even run around the house in nothing but my scivvies.

Then reality hit - I better do some more work on the model while I have some peace and quiet. Besides, my work bench is by my computer, so I can watch the ball game on the internet, having a drink can still happen, and while I could do the modelling in my drawers - I figured for that one in a million chance of slipping with my xacto knife and accidently ending up like Dan ;) so I put some shorts on at least.

:)

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I figured for that one in a million chance of slipping with my xacto knife and accidently ending up like Dan so I put some shorts on at least

ouch!

Dan you godda have a good comeback for that!!!

Richard

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Ok, been busy. While not the HUGE "12 hour window" that "some people" get,

I figured for that one in a million chance of slipping with my xacto knife and accidently ending up like Dan :woo: so I put some shorts on at least.

:thumbsup: et tu Brute.

i expect that sort of trash from a human sardine(tank). but from a fellow aircrewman! i'll just chalk it up to being a crotchety old man. buy the way you've been married along time. i would expect the wife confiscated those many years ago. if not her the daughters forced them into retirement!

buy the way nice job on all the work so far. i was wondering what to do about the rear blade actuators. so know i have a ref to follow.

semper fi

Dan

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Removed the tail boom from the fuselage (decided I was going to fold the tail and the blades on this one), trimmed off the upper rotating beacon (will be replaced with colored acrylic), and removed the screened areas (going to replace with photo-etch mesh with plastic frames) and I will have a scratch built tail gear box.

Then I tore apart the tail rotor. I cleaned up the extra plastic, drilled a hole through the shaft and will be pinning the blades back in place and adding a new control assembly (actuators for pitch and such).

Next up - the outer part of the sponsons. I notched the leading edge corner so that I could put in some colored acrylic navigation lights, I sanded off some kind of plate that had been molded on (all my references do not show that little plate - it was probably a patch for a bullet hole that they just modelled into the kit on accident - and it was on both sides ) Then I put some putty on the starboard front to cover up the refueling door that does not exist on that side of the 53. You will only find that door on the port side sponson.

Then I cut out all of the areas on the main fuselage that I will be replacing with photo etch mesh, and opened up all of the intake/exhaust ports that needed to be opened.

More to come later.

What kind of photo etch mesh are you using? I was going to try to use some of the 53E exterior set on my A, some will work, but some will not. But I have been looking for other sources.

Looking real nice.

mason

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:pray: et tu Brute.

i expect that sort of trash from a human sardine(tank). but from a fellow aircrewman! i'll just chalk it up to being a crotchety old man. buy the way you've been married along time. i would expect the wife confiscated those many years ago. if not her the daughters forced them into retirement!

buy the way nice job on all the work so far. i was wondering what to do about the rear blade actuators. so know i have a ref to follow.

semper fi

Dan

LOL - I almost fell off my chair laughing (thank god for chair arms - only thing that saved me) when you put in the "et tu Brute" comment. Ya - just me being old and crotchety, but I learned long ago with my friends -- take my shots when they are available, because you know they will be shooting you when they can.

By the way, if you want to hear something funny (the et tu cooment is what reminded me of this) try to find a clip for Bobcat Goldthwait entitled "salt and pepper nut sack" from one of his stand up's. You will see what I mean. :worship:

Thanks - I will take better pictures and detail what I do to the tail rotor hub when I post that part of the build. That is another reason I started in different spots from you guys. Seeing your work on the rotor head gave me alot of guidance on how I want to tackle that beast. I hoped that way we may be able to help each other out.

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What kind of photo etch mesh are you using? I was going to try to use some of the 53E exterior set on my A, some will work, but some will not. But I have been looking for other sources.

Looking real nice.

mason

Yes, some of the photo etch is coming from a spare E exterior set. The rest is coming from sheets of pe mesh that I bought. I can't recall if the product brand is studio 27 or if that is the name of the business I bought them from. Anyway, as soon as I find the guys card I will post the info. This mesh is marketed towards car modellers (like formula one racers and high end import cars)

They have multiple mesh patterns to choose from and each mesh pattern comes in different sizes. When I dig them up from my stash I will let you know exactly what size and mesh pattern I intend on using.

Edited by 53 Marine

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