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chuck540z3

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

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but I am merely one of their disciples!
Pffft! Whilst I appreciate the sentiment (the cheque is in the post BTW :P ) I'm here to tell you that your builds are the equal to any on this board Chuck. Just because someone adds more little bits of wire to a wheelbay, it does n't make them a better modeller than you (just more anal ;) ) You are already much better at construction, filling and finish than I'm ever likely to be and you're improving with every model. :explode:

Your tenacity and diligence to get every detail correct is far greater than most and your willingness to share that process enriches everyones' modelling experience so please keep it up bro.

Now I'm eager to see how this latest pit looks with a little colour on it.

Cheers.

:cheers:

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HAHA

Cmon chuck your so modest !!

I think your one of the best rivet counters i have watch building kit. You Canadian F-18B was mind blowing and this one is coming along really nicely too im sure if you take a pic of the kit and the real plane you can fool 80% of the people that look at them

Enjoying your wips btw im learning lots of stuff

Cheers

Neo

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I've got Jake's book in the basement right now so i can't look to see what coverage he has of the cockpits behind the seats, but I think he's got a lot of useful photos for you. I took a few of a derelict F-4C that also might have some use for you as the area behind and beside the rear seat is very similar to the F-4E. The F-4C I photographed was missing its rear canopy which makes some areas a little easier to see and photograph. Hopefully you can use these photos:

RCPRightrear.jpg

RCPreardeck.jpg

RCPreardeck2.jpg

RCPbulkhead.jpg

RCPBulkhead2.jpg

leftRCP.jpg

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Thanks for your very kind words Neo and Guy- and thanks for the cockpit pics Scott. You can never have enough reference pics!

I've been doing so much cockpit research lately, I don't know where to begin. If you're looking for trouble in a WIP thread, build an F-14, F-15, F-16 or F-4 whatever of the many versions. Due to their popularity, there are experts all over the place who know a lot more than I do. The following is what I've learned so far and is by no means totally factual, although I have pics to support most of it.

I've got Jake's book and the instructions from the Avionix pit, the Eduard interior set and the kit, which is for an F-4EJ, which is slightly different than the F-4E I'm building. I'm so confused! :worship: For one thing the rear IP for the F-4EJ uses part N3, which is different than the part required for the F-4E (F-35). Fortunately the correct resin part is there in the Avionix kit, but it isn't mentioned in the instructions which ask you to use the kit part "H26". There is no "H" sprue!

Here is what I know (sort of) so far. The cockpits of all the F-4 variants have some subtle and some very specific differences. There is no way I'll get them all right, but I should be able to get close. Like my last build of the CF-18B using the Avionix pit, I'm going to use the kit instrument panels instead of the resin ones, mostly because the resin ones are straight copies of the kit ones anyway and they aren't as clean. The differences that apply to the F-4E I can modify using some resin and Eduard bits, in sort of a cockpit bash.

Here's an example. The kit IP on the left has an old school F-4C radar scope at the top for some reason, but the resin IP has the correct larger, but shallower one. Unfortunately the resin ring is missing at the bottom at about 5 o'clock....

IP1.jpg

The fix is easy if I cut off the resin one and add it to the kit IP....

Pit9.jpg

For the rear IP, however, I'm better to go with the resin one, since it has a key gauge box at the top missing on the kit part and some of the gauges on the top right are angled inwards, as they should be.......

Pit8.jpg

The resin boot over the rear radar scope is also more accurate than the kit part, so you should go with it as well....

Pit7.jpg

While I'm fitting everything together, I checked out the front glareshield and it looks like one from an F-4D, not an F-4E. Note the asymmetrical peak at the top. It's also way too thick...

Pit10.jpg

Apparently, F-4E's have a camera mounted on top of a flattened glareshield, which looks like a book with a tubular camera on top and the fit is fairly poor. This was attached to later F-4Emodels, so I may have gone too far in modifying mine for a Vietnam era bird. To do this I sanded the kit glareshield flat at the top which made it paper thin, then I added CA glue to the top and bottom for strength and then added the camera assembly from Evergreen bits as close to pics of the real deal as I could create. Here's how everything looks with the newly modified IP and glareshield dry-fitted together. For the radar scope at the top, I drilled out the resin and then added a clear piece from the stash, so the poorly cast ring at the bottom won't show. I'll add some orange-red to the back of it later so that it will have some realistic depth and color. Note the relief of the kit part is really good- much better than the resin equivalent, so I won't be using the Eduard parts which have great detail but no relief and the gray color is off a bit to the rest of the cockpit ....

IP2.jpg

A view from the top....

Pit14.jpg

As mentioned earlier, the Avionix instructions are not very good, which is typical. For the throttle controls front and back you need to look at real pics and then fashion something similar by modifying the resin parts. The top of the control sticks are also dead wrong, so I used the kit parts instead to get closer to reality. I also modified a few areas with the Eduard photo-etch parts, then added 0.020" rod to the side panels as per instructions. Here's how everything looks after a ton of research and a first coat of paint. Not bad at all- almost Aires quality....

Pit13.jpg

I've got a LOT of picky, picky painting to do now. Stay tuned!

Edited by chuck540z3

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Chuck, your pit work looks really good, it's already coming alive and that's just with a single coat of paint on. Your research has of course paid off.

:pray:

Marcel

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The squarish rear cockpt radar scope was the newer Digital Scan Converter Group (DSCG) scope, which I'm pretty sure came out in the very late 1970s. Prior to that they used either a DVST or MSDG scope, both before my time with the Phantom so I don't know much about them, even what the acronyms stand for. Here's a website that mentions those, but no photos unfortunately:

http://webspace.webring.com/people/hu/um_688/systems.htm

I think the round scope that came with the kit might be correct for a Vietnam-era jet. I do know the DSCG scope CRT was gray with power off, I think the MSDG was the dark red-orange that the front scope was, though I don't know for sure. I'll try to get an answer for you later, got to get ready for work in a minute...

The small gauge panel at the top of the rear instrument panel was for the VOR/ILS indicator. That system was likewise added after the Vietnam days. Again the kit part is more accurate for a Vietnam era Phantom.

Scott Wilson

Edited by Scott R Wilson

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The squarish rear cockpt radar scope was the newer Digital Scan Converter Group (DSCG) scope, which I'm pretty sure came out in the very late 1970s. Prior to that they used either a DVST or MSDG scope, both before my time with the Phantom so I don't know much about them, even what the acronyms stand for. Here's a website that mentions those, but no photos unfortunately:

http://webspace.webring.com/people/hu/um_688/systems.htm

I think the round scope that came with the kit might be correct for a Vietnam-era jet. I do know the DSCG scope CRT was gray with power off, I think the MSDG was the dark red-orange that the front scope was, though I don't know for sure. I'll try to get an answer for you later, got to get ready for work in a minute...

The small gauge panel at the top of the rear instrument panel was for the VOR/ILS indicator. That system was likewise added after the Vietnam days. Again the kit part is more accurate for a Vietnam era Phantom.

Scott Wilson

Rats! I knew this would happen when using the newer photographs of Jake's book, which means newer configurations post Vietnam. The rear scope and IP are easy enough to fix because nothing has been glued in. What about the front IP scope and glareshield? I may have to re-visit the vintage of this bird if there are too many differences.

Thanks again for your help Scott!

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Oh man! This cockpit will be incredible once painted and installed! Another masterpiece is unrolling before our very eyes!

/Kristian

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Rats! I knew this would happen when using the newer photographs of Jake's book, which means newer configurations post Vietnam. The rear scope and IP are easy enough to fix because nothing has been glued in. What about the front IP scope and glareshield? I may have to re-visit the vintage of this bird if there are too many differences.

Thanks again for your help Scott!

I haven't yet got an answer for the rear scope, but the front cockpit scope wasn't ever changed to my knowledge. By the way, the oval slot you cut in the piece for the gun camera is actually only there for a dummy film cartridge. The gun camera is heated to keep the lenses from fogging up, and with no cartridge installed the heater would burn up. So when they didn't need a real film cartridge installed the dummy was installed as a heat sink. A real film cartridge wouldn't have that oval cutout, it would be smooth on the top.

I don't have any good references on the cockpit from the Vietnam days, sorry. All I know is what I worked on and stuff I heard people talking about. I've heard discussion among the WCS troops who'd been around during the Vietnam days of the current DSCG scope versus the old MSDG scope, and I also know the F-4 originally didn't have a VOR/ILS set installed. During the Vietnam days an IFR approach was always a PAR (Precision Approach Radar) approach, where a guy on the ground with two radar scopes, one for azimuth, the other for glideslope, talks the pilot down. I did a bunch of PAR approaches at Ramstein in a Piper Tomahawk, it was great fun...

You know, if I just sit here quietly you could do a Vietnam Phantom with a modern cockpit and I'll bet no one else would know...

Scott W

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I just found another site that says the original scope in the F-4E was the DVST scope:

http://webspace.webring.com/people/hu/um_688/jargon.htm

"DVST

Direct-View Storage Tube. The original radar scope used in the F-4E, it used digital techniques ( in 1968 ) to display TV video and acquisition/lockon symbols. As the use of raster-scan TV weapons and sensors increased, the persistent, smeary, poor-quality of the TV display on DVSTs forced its replacement."

I've posted on the Google F-4 group the question about what this scope looked like. I'll let you know if we get an answer.

Scott W.

Edited by Scott R Wilson

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Very nice work, Chuck! :thumbsup:

...

I've got a LOT of picky, picky painting to do now. Stay tuned!

...

While I usually prefer the painting phase I just can't get around the fact that I am not very fond of cockpit painting, as it seem to go on forever.

One office is usually enough but then you have the F-14 and F-4 with two of them! Oh well...

As always, looking forward to see more progress.

Cheers,

Anders

Edited by Anders_Isaksson

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Michael France provided me with this scan from the T.O. 1F-4E-1 of a very early F-4E rear panel. I don't know yet what color the scope was, but I think this one is what you'd expect to see in 1972. I asked him if he could provide scans of the side consoles and front cockpit as well. I'll post them here if he does.

F-4E_Rear_Cockpit_original_scope_02a.jpg

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Michael France provided me with this scan from the T.O. 1F-4E-1 of a very early F-4E rear panel. I don't know yet what color the scope was, but I think this one is what you'd expect to see in 1972. I asked him if he could provide scans of the side consoles and front cockpit as well. I'll post them here if he does.

Too Late!

As much as I love all the info (please keep it coming for me and everyone else!), I have to make some modeling decisions along the way and some of them will be wrong for the time period I'm trying to match. "At the end of the day" (I'm really tired of that phrase), I have to go with what I like, even if it isn't accurate. That means this cockpit is a bit more modern than it was in Vietnam, but I like the update features more than the "accurate" parts, so I went with them.

One other thing I'd like to mention before I show some results is that the Avionix pit is really, really nice- almost Aires in quality- and it's not too far off the real deal either. Some of the gauges and other bits are out of place, but what model cockpit isn't? I'm a little surprised, because my last Avionix pit for my CF-18B build (F/A-18B) was only so-so. This painting and detailing took approximately 8 hours, so be warned- and I used almost none of the Eduard bits other than a few ejection handles and I tried to get a well-used and weathered look. I also used the Eduard foot pedals and then added sandpaper to the foot surface to replicate the rough anti-skid surface of them. Colors were taken from Jake's book of the real deal, like the slightly red-brown color of the outer throttle handles (front and back) and the rear rubber radar scope. Other details like the canopy locking handles will be added at the end so that they don't break off during assembly. As mentioned earlier, the sticks are from the kit parts, since the Avionix ones must be from some other jet. Now the pics...

Pit15.jpg

Rear Pit.....

Pit16.jpg

Pit18.jpg

Pit19.jpg

Pit21.jpg

Pit28.jpg

Front Pit....

Pit23.jpg

Pit24.jpg

Pit29.jpg

Side panels....

Pit26.jpg

Not bad eh! (I'm Canadian)

Next up, the seats. I think these will look really good. :worship:

Thanks for your continued interest!

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Eight hours..... man, i couldn't do that in eight years. Sometimes i wonder why i bothered buying resin pits, they never turn out. Waiting to see the seats. :worship:

Don

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The pit's looking good, Chuck. Your bezels/gauges look very good, did you paint them or did you use decals?

When I installed my last Avionix Phantom pit, I found that the rear seat only barely fit because the seperately installed launch rail was in the way. Does your dry-fitting reveal this problem?

I'm working on my cockpit too, but in the JASDF Kai spec. Will post pics when I have them ready.

Cheers,

Terry

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The pit's looking good, Chuck. Your bezels/gauges look very good, did you paint them or did you use decals?

When I installed my last Avionix Phantom pit, I found that the rear seat only barely fit because the seperately installed launch rail was in the way. Does your dry-fitting reveal this problem?

I'm working on my cockpit too, but in the JASDF Kai spec. Will post pics when I have them ready.

Cheers,

Terry

Hi Bud,

I'm using the Quickboost seats, which also barely fit-but they do. The rear stick is not cemented in either, for this reason.

For the gauges, I used an old John Wolstenholme trick. I painted the entire IP gloss acrylic white, let it dry for a few days, then painted the IP the correct gray and flat black using enamel paints. I then wiped each gauge carefully with paper towel with a little paint thinner to remove the enamel paint but leave the acrylic white underneath. It works really well, especially on this kit which has excellent gauges.

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When I installed my last Avionix Phantom pit, I found that the rear seat only barely fit because the separately installed launch rail was in the way. Does your dry-fitting reveal this problem?

Terry

Hi Terry,

Which "launch rail" are you referring to? The pit instructions ask you to shave off some plastic from the bottom part above the front gear well. Is that it?

Notwithstanding all my dry fitting of the cockpit parts before painting, final assembly within the fuselage is very, very time consuming as I dry fit and shave off little bits all over the place. I'll try to take some pics, but it isn't very pretty right now as this stage fights me every step of the way. Typical resin pit in 1/32. :rolleyes:

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Hi Terry,

Which "launch rail" are you referring to? The pit instructions ask you to shave off some plastic from the bottom part above the front gear well. Is that it?

Chuck,

I was referring to "Ejection Seat Rail", part 27 in the Avionix instructions.

Terry

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I don't know how I missed it before, but the front cockpit right side console in your resin pit has a AVTR, Airborne Video Tape Recorder, which wasn't installed until 1985 or so. That's the big box that sits about right next to your right elbow if you were sitting in the seat. Prior to that there were a couple of control panels mounted there, and on the right bulkhead there was a Thermos bottle holder, which was a couple of rings with latches.

Scott Wilson

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Terry. Yes, the seat is a snug fit with the seat rail installed, but I'm using the Quickboost seats instead of the Avionix ones and if you cut off a little gauge thingy on the left rear of the seat (which you can't see when installed anyway), it fits fine and doesn't look too out of scale.

Scott. Thanks for that info on the AVTR. The reality is, without a lot of pictures of F-4E cockpits during Vietnam out there, I can't get everything right nor will others immediately know that things are wrong. There's no doubt that this cockpit has been modernized to a post-Vietnam era, so my thoughts of maybe adding slatting wings and slime lights are coming back. Besides, I already know that some items in the cockpit are either made-up or fake anyway.

As mentioned earlier, getting this cockpit into the fuselage cleanly is a real challenge. I want everything perfect including the side panels, but perfection just isn't possible so I'm doing my best to go with the materials and skill level that I have at my disposal. I should have some pics up this weekend.

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Back again. I'd like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this stage of the build, but getting resin cockpits into the fuselage properly is always a struggle for me and I'm glad this step is over. The challenges are:

- Side panels must fit the pit tub properly, but still fit into the fuselage. To do this, you need to do lots of trimming and dry fitting.

- Side panels must align to the bottom sills perfectly. If the panel fits the tub, it likely won't fit the side sills at the same time.

- Front fuselage will flex to accommodate wider tub assembly, but other parts may no longer fit if you do it too much.

- Gluing and attaching panels has to be done at the same time. With 4 side panels, 2 tubs and a fuselage, this can be really tough, especially with fast drying CA glue.

So here is what I did. As indicated before, I trimmed the fuselage inside and the side panels so that they would fit relatively effortlessly. I then taped the side panels to the tubs and inserted both of them with the front nose cone attachment in place for correct width and alignment. I marked the side panel positions with a pencil on the top sill, then removed everything. Next I glued the side panels in place with CA glue according to the pencil marks. The panels should be flush to the bottom of the cockpit sills, but of course there's always a gap that needs to be filled with putty. I used masking tape to keep putty off the fine detail below the gap line....

Pitinside1.jpg

Next you can try and insert the cockpit tubs back into the fuselage. With the side panels aligned to the fuselage now, however, nothing will fit like it used to, so you're back to trimming and dry fitting another 30 times or so. I glued the rear tub in first to make sure it aligned with my semi-circle cut in the rear of the fuselage, then I glued in the front, which has a bit of give with the removable front nose-cone kit part. I don't want anything moving later, so I use LOTS of thick CA glue along the sides. I even attach the bottom fuselage part which was previously dry fitted properly to make sure the width is OK. When I like what I see, I splash some CA glue accelerator on. No turning back now!....

Pitinside10.jpg

Perfect fit on the bottom now.....

Pitinside11.jpg

Unfortunately, the IP for the rear cockpit fits like crap. The front of this part should sit flush and level with the front seat and the rear IP should be elevated above the sill line and not touching the radar scope. I flexed the top a bit too much too, so the width is now a bit too wide. Not good!....

Pitinside2.jpg

Evergreen bits to the rescue! First, I used a square bit of .06" plastic to the rear where it dropped the most.....

Pitinside3.jpg

Then I put a piece of .02" sheet across the front and back, leaving a notch for the square front canopy piston depression, and then I added some thin strips to the sides of the IP to get a snug fit......

Pitinside4.jpg

All better now!....

Pitinside5.jpg

There's a bit of a gap on the sides at the rear which I filled and painted, but the real deal has a slight depression here too....

Pitinside6.jpg

The side panel with putty filling the gap. Looks like I need to touch-up the seat rail where I splashed some flat black at the top....

Pitinside7.jpg

The other side. I used a bit of Eduard photo-etch on the rear side panel, then re-painted it since the color was way off.....

Pitinside8.jpg

Edited by chuck540z3

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Another angle....

Pitinside9.jpg

From the rear. I forgot to mention earlier that I drilled out that radar scope to get deeper relief.....

Pitinside12.jpg

Make sure that nose-cone part is installed before you glue anything.....

Pitinside13.jpg

Next up: The Seats. More picky painting and seat belt details to come.

Pitinside14.jpg

Thanks for your interest.

Edited by chuck540z3

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