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Monogram A-6E TRAM 1/48

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It's that time once again. As always, thanks to all that have left some feedback. A big thanks also to YF65_CH53E; always nice to receive feedback from those who've served and know the equipment well.


On to the update. Finally completed a few more chapters in this never-ending saga. The ejection seats that for so long had me up against a wall are finally complete. Rather than scratch building seats, which at one time I believed was my only option, I ended up modifying a set by Aires and got them to just barely fit the Blackbox cockpit tub by sanding off the seat-sides completely and scratch building new ones out of .005 styrene. I kept details to a minimum to ensure the seats would fit, plus you can't see most of that detail anyway once installed. Of all the different manufacturers resin seats I had in my stash, the Aires looked to be the nicest of the bunch, with clean and crisp detail throughout. Needless to say, they still required a lot of extra work to get them to a point I was satisfied with. They're not perfect but they'll do the job.


I also finished painting all the fuel tanks, including the buddy pod I built from a spare tank. I used the black-basing method for the first time and even though it took me way too much time to paint due to my inexperience, I'm happy with the results. I also decided to add a couple of MK20 Rockeye bombs to the MER that I had previously finished many years ago.


Pics to follow.

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The last pic was loaded to confirm the issues I was having loading pics was resolved. Below are the rest of the pics.


MK20s attached. The bombs have a bit more weathering than what shows up in the pics. I also used different shades of white for contrast.


Fuel tank showing the black basing technique. Used various shades of gray, white and even brown on top of the black. Quite satisfied with the results considering it was my first time trying it. You just have to take it slow and be careful not to cover too much of the mottling. The topcoat also consists of various shades of gray and other colors along with enamel washes worked into the paint using mineral spirits.



Buddy store. Scratch built this from a spare kit tank.


Buddy store fins made from .002 brass sheet.


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More pics.

Aires ejection seats. Here you can see a seat with the sides sanded off and the scratch-built sides. I purposely kept adding details to a minimum to ensure they'd fit in the narrow Blackbox tub. Black rivets on the sides are from Archer.




Plastic coated wire (.015) used for the pull rings with yellow decal strips wrapped around. Amazing how much trial and error I went through to accomplish this seemingly simple task. But even after figuring out a suitable process, wrapping the decal around the wire and trying to maintain a constant angle and width between rings was very difficult.


Seats all finished, or as finished as they're gonna get. I scratch built the oxygen hose fittings as well as the lap belts and harnesses, and a few other things. I first tried using Tamiya tape for the belts/harnesses but that yielded unrealistic results and was reluctant to maintain any curves or bends. At the suggestion of a friend, I tried foil which worked great. I used the type of foil that you find on the tops of wine bottles. The foil is very thin, so you have to be careful when handling it but otherwise It's easy to shape. Now It's time to drop them in and attach the mechanisms behind each seat.







That's all I have for now.



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I can smell the inside of the cockpit, and I can hear the sounds on the flight deck as this bird gets ready to go.....WOW.  The ejector racks are a work of art by themselves.  The buddy store looks like it just came up from the hangar deck right out of the storage racks, and the plane captain only had time to "wipe it down" prior to hanging it.


From a guy who spent 33 years around Marine/Navy aviation I can safely say you hit the realism nail right on the head with your weathering techniques.  Not over done by any means, as some weathering can get away from us, I know I am a victim of too dirty on my helicopter kits sometimes, but this weathering is right in there.  USN/USMC line aircraft are dirty, weathered machines. The sunlight out on cruise is brutal on the gull grays/ghost grays of these aircraft.  Combine that with the non-stop corrosion control of a salty sea environment, and viola you get a gray/gray splotchy mess.  Not to mention, we paint the aircraft while underway, or deployed with what ever we have aboard.  And, it does not always match....just sayin.....


Again thank you for sharing this build, I have not followed it as long as some folks as I am new here, but I read every page from 1 to now 30.  I am trying to be a better modeler because of the inspiration of your passion and dedication to your builds.


r/Gunny Dan

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crackerjazz, the stripes on the pull rings were created by winding a thin strip of yellow decal around black wire. There's no way I'd ever be able to paint lines of that size and achieve acceptable results. And for those of you sharp-eyed modelers out there, you'll notice the yellow stripes are angled in the wrong direction; they actually angle in the opposite direction on the real thing. I did them this way because it was easier for me to handle the wire while wrapping the decal and I figured in the grand scheme of things, it didn't really matter too much. The decal stripes were made by spray painting the clear (unpainted) carrier film from my spares stash with Tamiya gloss lacquer paint followed by a couple of coats of Future to seal them. The Future coat also helps prevent the yellow stripes from moving when I bent the wire to shape. Once the paint was dry on the decal, I cut thin strips using a single edge razor blade. Note: I tried Testors flat yellow, and Tamiya flat yellow first but they had a tendency to crack while winding the decal strip around the wire. 


Gunny Dan, thanks again for your kind feedback and for sharing your insight from your extensive naval aviation career. For those of us that have served in aviation, the smells are just one of many elements that are forever etched in our brains. 


Based on your experience, I'm glad my weathering effects look acceptable. As I've stated many times before, my painting skills are lacking because I tend to spend years detailing and very little time actually painting a model as a whole. In this case, I tried the black-basing technique for the first time but went about it rather slowly to control any errors I'd make along the way. 


Thanks again to all for checking in!




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I am not worthy! 

That is unbelievably great...did you shrink a real jet? The detailing alone knocks me off my socks with the painting and weathering it is simply magic!

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Fantastic Elmo, absolutely fantastic...as usual!

I haven't been online here for a while, but every time I receive a notification that you posted an update, I'm immediately on the PC.

It'd been a pleasure to follow from the beginning!



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Thank you all for leaving your feedback and for sticking around for so many years while I try and finish this build. 


Once I install the seats the only major thing left is detailing the wingfolds! Once those are complete It's off to the paint shop and finishing her up......so maybe by 2023 if I'm lucky. Wow, only like 25 years to finish a model.....not too bad!




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