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chuck540z3

1/32 Tamiya F-4E post-Vietnam- Kicked up a notch.

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Hi Guys

Amazing Chuck, really looks outstanding!

A true tribute to a singular aircraft, one of the greats!

Best regards

Filipe

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Excellent work mate

What did you use to glue the wires on the underside of the wind screen? Did you use CA? How did you manage not to fog the clear part?

I usually don't worry about CA glue fogging up canopies too much, because I can always remove the haze with the polishing compounds indicated above. Of course, this assumes that you can get at the clear surface in the first place, which is not possible on the closed windscreen and the tight space left between it and the glare shield. To avoid this problem when gluing the wires, I masked off the interior of the wind screen, because I was painting it anyway and the CA fumes can't touch it.

When gluing it down with the masking tape removed, however, you have to be careful so I used a few tricks. The first and easiest one is to only glue the front and rear of the wind screen, so that few if any fumes are actually coming up on the inside that can fog it up. Since this bond isn't something that needs to be super strong, you avoid glue marks along the bottom and the putty at the base also helps hold everything together. The other trick I use is to always put a few drops of CA glue on a piece of paper and let it breathe for a few minutes before dabbing it with a small applicator and then applying the glue. Using thin CA glue, I can get about 20 minutes of useful gluing time before it thickens and hardens too much. Meanwhile most of the volatiles that create the fogging have evaporated into the air.

Edited by chuck540z3

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Why not using Mikro Krystal Klear for glueing the canopy? That doesn't cause any fogging.

Great work Chuck! I really enjoy this build. If my F-4J only gets half as nice....

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Why not using Micro Krystal Klear for glueing the canopy? That doesn't cause any fogging.

Great work Chuck! I really enjoy this build. If my F-4J only gets half as nice....

Thanks for the tip. Funny, I use Microsol and Microset all the time and I didn't know this product existed. Any experience out there guys? I don't want what is essentially "white glue" that is clear when it dries, but you can still see glue marks if you look closely. Also, how hard does it dry? I'd rather have hard and sandable than glue that is flexible but makes a mess when you try to erode it down.

Edited by chuck540z3

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It is a kind of white glue drying completely clear. You can also use it to make clear lenses, so I'm afraid it will not 100% fit your needs. I'm not sure how hard it dries. The building of my Phantom takes so long that I forgot about that.... :bandhead2:

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Hi Chuck,

Question for you - what is the correct angle of the stabilator anhedral? Most references I have say 23.5 degrees, while the wingtip dihedral is 12 degrees. I've since been told this only applies to British phantoms, while the J79-powered F-4s have a 33 degree anhedral on the stabilators! (Also given in Jake's book)

Which is correct? Perhaps Scott could also tell us?

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Hi Chuck,

Question for you - what is the correct angle of the stabilator anhedral? Most references I have say 23.5 degrees, while the wingtip dihedral is 12 degrees. I've since been told this only applies to British phantoms, while the J79-powered F-4s have a 33 degree anhedral on the stabilators! (Also given in Jake's book)

Which is correct? Perhaps Scott could also tell us?

Geez Al, I thought they were all the same. All I really paid attention to was the wingtip dihedral which is supposed to be 12-12.5 degrees. I thought the stabs were all the same, but I learn something new about the F-4 every day.

There's a good article on the F-4 at the link below, which states that 23.5 degrees for the rear stab's is "normal".

http://www.aviation-history.com/mcdonnell/f4.html

And that this angle was reduced on F-4K's (British) here:

http://www.f-4.nl/f4_22.html

So maybe 23.5 degrees is correct and F-4K's are less than that?

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Great work Chuck and very useful tips with the canopy. What if after the treatment with the tamiya polishing compounds dip the canopies into the future? Have you try that? And about the fumes, you can always use odorless CA glue, no fumes to worry about.

Your builds are great tutorials my friend, thanks for sharing.

John

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Hi Chuck,

Question for you - what is the correct angle of the stabilator anhedral? Most references I have say 23.5 degrees, while the wingtip dihedral is 12 degrees. I've since been told this only applies to British phantoms, while the J79-powered F-4s have a 33 degree anhedral on the stabilators! (Also given in Jake's book)

Which is correct? Perhaps Scott could also tell us?

Sorry, I never measured the angles, just foolishly assumed the printed literature was correct. How about getting a good rear view photo and measuring the angles yourself? I don't have any straight-from-the-rear photos, but one of you guys living near a display Phantom might be able to get a good one.

Scott W.

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Haven't checked in for a while bit I was not disappointed to see your latest progress on this one.

Amazing attention to detail in the front office, Chuck! :thumbsup:

I'll be watching it all come together...

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Great work Chuck and very useful tips with the canopy. What if after the treatment with the tamiya polishing compounds dip the canopies into the future? Have you try that? And about the fumes, you can always use odorless CA glue, no fumes to worry about.

Your builds are great tutorials my friend, thanks for sharing.

John

Hi John- and thanks for the compliment. I've used Future many times in prior builds with success, but I find the canopies tend to look a little bit too shiny and thick. Using the methods described earlier, here's some pics of my prior build, the 1/32 Academy F-18D kit turned into a CF-18B. Even after sanding off the usual seam line on the top of the canopy, it turned out pretty good without Future- and I can sand it to remove glue marks which you can't do with a coat of Future.

Canopy22.jpg

Finalfix13.jpg

Haven't checked in for a while bit I was not disappointed to see your latest progress on this one.

Amazing attention to detail in the front office, Chuck! :thumbsup:

I'll be watching it all come together...

Hey Buddy, thanks for stopping by!

Thanks also to Filipe, Al, Santtu, and as always Scott, for your words of encouragement.

Edited by chuck540z3

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Dang Chuck, that cockpit is looking nice. I'm glad you showed how the Tamiya's compound worked. I was wondering about those cause my local hobby just got some in and I wasn't sure if I wanted to try them yet. So, thanks for your help ;)

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Thanks Guys!

Here’s another update, but nothing earth shattering when it comes to real progress. As I approach the 1 year anniversary of the commencement of this build, I find that my modeling has become a lot more picky about what’s “good enough”. What was good enough 10 months ago just doesn’t cut it any more and my sense of urgency to finish is waning. This isn’t because I’m losing interest in this build- far from it. I’m now really enjoying the “mini-models” I’ve made so far of the cockpit area, drag chute, wheel wells/ landing gear and now I’m having a lot of fun with the canopies and windscreen areas. I’ve also had to go back and give other things a tune up, as you will later see.

Other than the inevitable sprue marks left on the canopies and windscreen, the other challenge with this kit is that the clear canopies need to be glued inside opaque plastic canopy frames. This presents 2 problems: Glue marks on the canopy itself and reflected glue marks at the base of the canopy to frame join. I’m now very sensitive to this because I was given a deduction on my F-14B at a modeling contest last June due to “Glue marks on canopy”. This deduction is unfair, because there are no glue marks on the canopy itself when viewed from the side, but reflected ones that come up through the clear plastic in a fiber-optic kind of way. Here’s a pic of the offending canopy from the top. You can see the whitish and uneven surface at the base of the canopy to frame join (sorry for the crappy pic)…..

Details2.jpg

When viewed from a slight angle, it looks pretty good to me (pic taken before lightning strips were painted to the top)…..

Canopy53.jpg

This same thing happened in my last F-4J build, only it looks worse…..

F4J-8.jpg

Although the contest deduction is pure crap, it does point out that I need to fix this problem if I want things to look more realistic in this particular build.

It would seem that the best way to eliminate the whitish glue join color would be to paint the bottom of either the canopy or the canopy frame black, then glue the two parts together. The problem with this is that the only real glue join is to black paint, which easily pulls off when stressed, so you wind up with a mess. I experimented with all sorts of glues mixed with black paint, but that idea didn’t work very well either. The paint either messed up the adhesive properties of the glue or the color was way off due to dilution of the paint in the glue. What to do?

After putting the tiny black ring marks on the emergency ejection handles of the seat, it occurred to me: A Sharpie Pen in Black! The ink won’t pull off with glue and, if anything, it will mix with the glue so that there won’t be any light spots at the glue join…..

Canopyframe6.jpg

The canopy frames themselves have some huge pin marks on the bottom. You won’t likely see them when installed, but I know they’re there, so they have to go….

Canopyframe5.jpg

Now here’s where I screwed up. I forgot to take pics of the glued parts! Trust me, everything came out perfect with no glue marks and no light colored base to the canopy. To do this I used thin Tamiya tape along the edge of both canopy and the frame so that no glue would get on either part, then I used Tamiya ultra-thin cement and spread it along the join seam, allowing capillary action to suck the glue into the join surface. The Sharpie pen ink sort of melted with the glue and I now have a solid BLACK join between the 2 parts. After removing the tape and doing a light sanding along the seam followed by Tamiya polishing compound, they look really good now.

The reason I forgot to take the pics is that I was anxious to get the Eduard brass detail glued to the canopies, including some more rivet detail on the underside of the canopy frame I made with soda can aluminum and a needle (silver part). Here’s how it looks before painting. That white “pull handle” on the port side I made out of styrene rod is really a “canopy knife” to break out of the canopy should the need ever arise, according to Jake’s book. I have no idea how this would work, but I assume it has a sharp end to it….

Canopyframe8.jpg

A close-up. The front canopy frame (left) has a thicker frame than the rear (right)…

Canopyframe9.jpg

Pics of the canopy knife show that it has a rubber handle that is kind of a rust color. There’s also usually some white paper memos of some kind in those side pockets, so I added something similar. Add a little flat black and some light dry brushing of silver…..

Canopyframe10.jpg

Don’t forget to paint the rear-view mirrors….

Canopyframe11.jpg

Edited by chuck540z3

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If you look at many builds of this Tamiya F-4 kit, you’ll find that most modelers add the center cockpit frame for the front canopy at the last, because it’s easier to mask off the cockpit that way. The problem with this if you aren’t proactive, this part usually doesn’t fit very well and there’s often an unsightly gap at the sides, especially when you pack in a tight fitting resin cockpit that swells the side walls a bit….

Canopyframe1.jpg

The other side isn’t much better…..

Canopyframe2.jpg

With a little light sanding, this big gap is eliminated. The real deal has this join line, but it should look very subtle. After some paint, you’ll hardly notice now…..

Canopyframe3.jpg

Mmmmm, getting there. I still need to work on the front bit. Anyway, once this is done, you can mask everything off, knowing that the cockpit frame will fit like a glove later after everything is painted….

Canopyframe4.jpg

Now for the cockpit frame itself. The trickiest thing to do here is mask off the side windows, inside and outside. Here I used thin Tamiya tape and liquid mask. I then added a resin box-like instrument to the top that seems to hold a compass-like gauge and then added the Eduard brass as per instructions…

Canopyframe7.jpg

After painting on the inside, front and back…..

Canopyframe12.jpg

After finely sanding the front windscreen putty join, it is now ready for masking tape as well….

Windscreenmask1.jpg

If you want sharp canopy paint lines, you need sharp Tamiya tape applied….

Windscreenmask2.jpg

Remember this wing root join I did several months ago? Yuck!...

Wingroot1.jpg

After lots of sanding and a re-application of the anti-skid material, it looks all better now. The real deal has a super sharp edge to this join, but I don't want to see a gap either, so this is just about right....

Wingroot2.jpg

Thanks for your continued interest and support of this build. Next up, tiny details and the vertical stabilizer!

Edited by chuck540z3

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To hide the glue marks (for which I got busted too at a contest on my F-4S) how about painting black the edges before applying the glue? In this way the residues would not shine through...

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Hi Chuck,

The more you do on this build the better it gets. It's an absolute pleasure to follow your progress so thanks for taking the time, care and effort to keep us all up to speed.

I find it fascinating to see how your approach has changed over the years. The improvement is tangible. At this rate I think you are all set to achieve your goal of bringing home the silverware and it even looks as though you are enjoying the task too. :lol:

Keep up the inspirational progress buddy. :thumbsup:

:cheers:

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(snip)

That white “pull handle” on the port side I made out of styrene rod is really a “canopy knife” to break out of the canopy should the need ever arise, according to Jake’s book. I have no idea how this would work, but I assume it has a sharp end to it….

(Snip)

Pics of the canopy knife show that it has a rubber handle that is kind of a rust color. There’s also usually some white paper memos of some kind in those side pockets, so I added something similar. Add a little flat black and some light dry brushing of silver…..

The little white cards in the front cockpit right-hand canopy frame were, from front to back, the "whiskey" compass correction card; the UHF radio frequency presets, and the aux receiver frequency presets. The UHF radio presets could be easily programmed by the aircrew or maintenance on the jet. Every airplane in a squadron was set up the same and had the presets listed on the card for quick reference. The AM-2349 UHF Aux Receiver/Power Supply (supplied different voltages to all the different black boxes in the original ASQ-19 integrated avionics system) presets had to be set by the comm-nav shop, which meant pulling the AM-2349 out and taking it to the shop. Most F-4s I saw only had two cards in the rear canopy, the "whiskey" compass correction card and the main UHF radio presets. The aux receiver could be operated from either cockpit, but for whatever reason the aux receiver presets weren't in the rear. I've seen photos of foreign F-4s that had white cards in the left side canopy frames, I don't know what those would have been for unless they had additional radios installed. The whiskey compass was just a magnetic compass, no electrical power needed. I wish I'd taken a close-up photo of the cards.

As always Chuck, your attention to detail and creativity is simply astounding.

Here's a photo I took of the canopy knife in an F-4C. The whole thing was steel, no rubber handle. Most often they were painted solid black, but I've seen them painted with a red handle, and painted overall red. The rust red one you saw in your reference might have been just that, rusty. The blade was very thick and not really all that sharp, but they say you could break through a canopy with it in a matter of a few seconds. The blade fit into a slot in the center of that D-shaped bracket you see (which was pointed toward the rear of the jet), and the front end of the handle had a "pip pin" with a pull ring that held it in the front bracket, with the ring and pin being silver (but rusted brown in this photo I took on a display F-4C at Volk Field ANGB, Wisconsin):

canopyknifeScottRWilson.jpg

Edited by Scott R Wilson

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I just went through a bunch of my photos to verify my memories were correct, and found quite a few Ramstein Phantoms with one, two or even all three of the white cards missing from the right canopy frames. It seems most of the photos I took where they were missing were on deployments, which possibly makes sense since the Ramstein preset freqs wouldn't apply at Decimommannu or Zaragoza. But there were a few local Ramstein shots with the one, two or all three cards missing as well from one or the other or both cockpits. I don't know who was responsible for making sure they were in the jets, but evidently they were pretty lax about it. And strike what I said above about the aux receiver preset cards not being installed in the rear, they sometimes were. Here's a DoD shot of an F-4G at Nellis with all three cards in the rear. Note the mirrors at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions are mounted on the rear canopy frame on an F-4G. On all the other versions they were mounted on the center arch frame.

DF-ST-02-02891.jpg

DF-ST-02-02891cropped.jpg

Edited by Scott R Wilson

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Chuck, great results on the cockpit and canopy, and really useful tutorials too! I'll be using the Sharpie trick for sure...

:thumbsup:

Marcel

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I'm losing track of how many new tricks I've learned from this thread. Great stuff and Scott's wonderful pics / anecdotes just add to the goodness!

Regards,

John

Edited by 11bee

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Thanks everyone for your responses of encouragement!

To hide the glue marks (for which I got busted too at a contest on my F-4S) how about painting black the edges before applying the glue? In this way the residues would not shine through...

Hi Pierre,

As mentioned earlier, a glue to paint bond is asking for trouble (vs. bare plastic to plastic), so I thought this black ink solution would work better. It seems to have really well, but we'll have to wait some time before I can show the results. I need to paint the top of the canopies, Future them, add decals, then dull coat them before the masking tape comes off- which I plan to do alongside the rest of the fuselage painting to reduce the work load.

Hi Chuck,

The more you do on this build the better it gets. It's an absolute pleasure to follow your progress so thanks for taking the time, care and effort to keep us all up to speed.

I find it fascinating to see how your approach has changed over the years. The improvement is tangible. At this rate I think you are all set to achieve your goal of bringing home the silverware and it even looks as though you are enjoying the task too. :lol:

Keep up the inspirational progress buddy. :thumbsup:

:cheers:

Hi Guy,

Thanks for your kind words as always. As I've mentioned several times before, my approach to modeling has changed over the years, mostly because of YOU! You taught me how each step along the way of a big build like this can be a model in itself, if you take the time to get it right. When it all comes together, there's so much to see- and screw-up. Due to the latter, I'm not so sure I'll be taking "home any silverware", but I'm trying to eliminate any obvious flaws, just like the canopy glue reflections mentioned above.

I just went through a bunch of my photos to verify my memories were correct, and found quite a few Ramstein Phantoms with one, two or even all three of the white cards missing from the right canopy frames. It seems most of the photos I took where they were missing were on deployments, which possibly makes sense since the Ramstein preset freqs wouldn't apply at Decimommannu or Zaragoza. But there were a few local Ramstein shots with the one, two or all three cards missing as well from one or the other or both cockpits. I don't know who was responsible for making sure they were in the jets, but evidently they were pretty lax about it. And strike what I said above about the aux receiver preset cards not being installed in the rear, they sometimes were. Here's a DoD shot of an F-4G at Nellis with all three cards in the rear. Note the mirrors at the 10 and 2 o'clock positions are mounted on the rear canopy frame on an F-4G. On all the other versions they were mounted on the center arch frame.

Hi Scott,

Notwithstanding all of your research on the cards, I think I'll just stick with one white card on each side of the canopy to break up the monotonous flat black paint and to highlight that there are indeed card holders on each side of both canopies. Jake's book shows some interior shots as well to prove it's possible to have one card on each side, but I have no idea what version of F-4 is photographed. As always, your technical input to all things Phantom is very much appreciated by everyone, especially me.

Chuck, great results on the cockpit and canopy, and really useful tutorials too! I'll be using the Sharpie trick for sure...

:thumbsup:

Marcel

Hey Marcel. I was reading through Jake Melampy's F-4 build and someone asked him what he used to create great looking anti-skid areas on his jet. His response was, "The paint I used was Rust-oleum textured paint that I bought at the local Wal-Mart". Gee, I wonder where Jake got that idea from? ;) We all owe you for documenting that great idea. :thumbsup:

Next up I should have some good tips on how to deal with the vertical stabilizer, which always fits like crap on this kit. I should have some progress pics up in a day or two.

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Another update- and it's not even another month!

One guide I've been using with this kit is a relatively famous "Tweak" guide written by Thierry Laurent & Ben Brown which can be found here:

http://www.largescaleplanes.com/Marketplace/Tweaks/F-4EJ.pdf

It has a lot of great tips, but I did find one that is wrong. When I built my last F-4J, I found that the vertical stabilizer stuck up too far and didn't fit flush with the fuselage spine. To fix this kit flaw, the authors recommend the following:

"Post that provides mounting point for fin is too tall and interferes with brace inside of

fin. Remove a couple of millimeters and fin will fit much better."

Here's what I mean about the crappy fit, however, I didn't glue the two halves together yet....

VertStab1.jpg

A look on the other side reveals that the post inside is not too tall at all. If anything, it's too short a few millimeters, but notice how flush the inside edge fits. Not bad.

VertStab2.jpg

It turns out that the problem has everything to do with a square bottomed vertical stabilizer on a curved fuselage spine. If you shave off some of the inside of the bottom of the stabilizer at a 30 degree angle, leaving the outside edge untouched, you get something like this on the first try...

VertStab5.jpg

The other side...

VertStab6.jpg

Why is this important? Well, besides reducing, if not eliminating, the need for putty at the base, you can put the stabilizer on at the last minute after painting and decaling, which is a huge bonus for ease of handling and masking. Many modelers wind up having to glue the stabilizer on now so that they can deal with the gap with putty before painting.

I WAS going to remove the rudder so that I could glue it back in at a slight angle to add a bit of interest to the build. I chickened out, however, because of the fuel dump nozzle at the back, which is an integral part of the stabilizer which I want to leave off. If I removed the rudder, I need to glue the fuel nozzle on the back just above the drag chute, which will break off for sure every time I look at it. As one solid piece I can throw on later, it is much stronger and when looking at many pics of the real deal, the rudder is often in the neutral position anyway, unlike say, an F-18.

The other issues to deal with are the removal of the upper pitot tube and the surrounding reinforcement plates and a few more of those hugely raised panels. As mentioned too many times before, these are NOT BDR panels, but merely some panels that might be raised a bit due to maintenance and caulking underneath. The best thing to do is to just sand them down entirely or leave them raised just a little bit. I chose the latter.

VertStab3.jpg

The front vent is quite different from other earlier F-4's, but it's way too thick in just about every dimension. Also, those little tabs on the inside at the front of the stabilizer need to be cut off, so that you can see nothing but a clear vent after assembly....

VertStab4.jpg

While I'm modifying the stab, it's time to make a decision on what formation lights to use. The kit ones are stick-on ones at the top and the Eduard ones are on the bottom. Eduard wins again, but not just for extra detail, but color of the lights themselves. Too often formation lights come out looking canary yellow or some shade of pea green. these Edaurd ones are just about right....

FormationLt1.jpg

In fitting them to the stabilizer, however, I found out that not all F-4 formation lights are created equal. The Eduard ones are too short! Here they are in comparison to the AirDoc decals I'm using for the rest of the model and the kit stickers. The yellow light itself is just placed inside the frame for comparison....

VertStab8.jpg

Some Aeromaster decals I have show them to be a bit short too, so I'm just going to have to suck it up and use them. Unless you're Scott Wilson, I don't think anybody will notice! Here is generally how the formation light should look- and no it doesn't parallel that front panel line....

VertStab12.jpg

Edited by chuck540z3

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