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1:48 Northrop YF-23 Black Widow by HobbyBoss - released


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I think part of the issue, quite frankly, is the sheer amount of negativity that gets thrown into these threads. I do mean negativity, not just pointing out errors - there's a difference between "this isn't quite right" - even "this would take work to correct," and "this kit is trash because it's not perfect."

I mean, contrast my "I like the kit, but for someoen casual like me, the price and the completely made up decals are disappointments" to some of the rest. I don't mind pointing out the tails are a bit too big, or the intakes could be reshaped - ok, fine, good to know. But to me these aren't such major details as to completely dismiss the kit and tear it down like some people do... and which happens with every single kit.

It's the frustration of "If I listened to everyone's reviews, I'd never buy a kit."

Personally? The only reason I wouldn't buy another is the price. And that's my gripe with most modern jets (and WWII aircraft are getting there too... really, Meng? $80 for a -410?) If I find one on sale or ebay that's nice and cheap? I very well might snag it for a what-if. Or to see if I can scare up info on what would be done to turn this into that "FB-23." Or navalize it.

Could they have done better? Sure. Is it as horrible as, say, a P-40 with the wing so misplaced it's practically mid-fuselage? Nope.

(For the record, I'd be looking at anyone saying "No, it's perfect" and rolling my eyes, too.)

I think you hit the nail on the head.

I think the 'price vs accuracy' ratio is what drives these kinds of threads. If the model was offered for a third less, I'd think the criticism would be equally less.

If a company demands a premium price, they're going to get premium scrutiny. If a company is offering a reasonable price, they're going to get reasonable scrutiny.

It's just that simple.

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OK, side and front views.... not sure when the nose wheel decided to tilt on me. :/

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Also, while I agree with price... my price tolerance is lower in general. It's why I'll probably never use any of my -b/-d model Hornet markings... I'm not paying $80 for the Hase kit, and the last Testors I built, well... no. Question being, is this being released at an "average" or "premium" current-kit price? If we WERE hitting $80 on these, yeah, even I'd expect a lot more.

Edited by egmccann
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Thanks Anthony and egmccann for posting pictures of the kit! :cheers:

I'm looking forward to more and seeing some of these finished!

Will you guys be doing "What-if" markings or prototype YF-23s?

So lets see..you guys who expect 100% accuracy from a manufacturer use diagrams drawn to show the internal layout as the final word on external shape??

Seriously??

General arrangement drawings which are notorious for innacuracy??

If you cannot see the contradictions in play here i think you should just give up.

Comparing a photo of an aircraft in a full matt low observability paint scheme shot off center and definietly from not directly above with polished plastic parts under multi lighting?

There is only one person posting above with good enough knowledge on the real aircraft to validate any of the information above and he doesnt own the kit.

If you pit yourself up as a lord of accuracy then please at least do comparisons with plans designed for the job and comparible angle images.

More than happy to hear good information from good sources but general arrangement drawings and internal configuration plans are not them..

I assume you are talking about me. My apologies for confronting you, you are a friend, but I think in this case you are a bit off...

First I’d say that I didn’t pilot the plane, maintain the plane or develop the plane (which would instantly disqualify me as any kind of authority in the minds of many who post on the forums). Yes I did see both prototypes in-person and took hundreds of photos. Yes I did start prototype patterns in 1/32. However, I am just another model maker, just like you and Berkut.

I do have a lot of experience at studying drawings and photos to develop scale prototype models though.

When I was a professional model maker I used to work with a woman that could simply glance at a prototype and tell me that the radius on the left was different than that on the right (and I was pretty darn good at making sure that the pattern was accurate and symmetrical). Some people just see things differently.

Berkut is one of those people. He has also extensively researched the YF-23 and built an excellent 1/72 example. Because of his attention to detail I enlisted him to help me spot errors in the 1/48 Su-33 CAD model.

I happen to agree with his (and others) observations and comparisons of this kit to photos and the Northrop drawings.

I’d also mention that the Northrop drawings appear to be very accurate, unlike so many other ‘civilian’ drawings of many aircraft that are floating around.

With all my experience I know that a 100% accurate scale model is a pipe dream, but I do have doubts that this kit was developed using the Northrop drawings which would have resulted in a much more accurate kit.

With that I’d share these pics of PAV-2 that show the problem with the curve of the spine.

Looking at the profile pic posted by egmccann, the nose looks to be much too thick. This problem is exasperated by the error on the underside of the nose already pointed out by Berkut.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8f/YF-23_side.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/YF-23_left_view.jpg

I think part of the issue, quite frankly, is the sheer amount of negativity that gets thrown into these threads. I do mean negativity, not just pointing out errors - there's a difference between "this isn't quite right" - even "this would take work to correct," and "this kit is trash because it's not perfect."

I think a lot has to do with how passionate some people are for a particular subject.

I've heard the Kinetic F-16 called "trash" by F-16 fans, the Italeri F-14 by F-14 fans, just about every BF-109 by BF-109 'experts', etc..

I happen to be VERY passionate about the YF-23 (or as I called my 1/32 pattern when I was working on it all hours of the night, "The Other Woman").

Being this passionate and this familiar with the plane it's a big disappointment to see what in my eye are huge errors. Being this passionate and this disappointed it's hard not to say "this kit is trash because it's not perfect", but I have done my best...

If the kit had been even relatively accurate (in my eye), I would have sprung for at least two and dropped everything to build one of the OOB so that I could finally have a nice “YF-23” in my collection.

I’m happy for those who are satisfied with the kit as-is but I’m sad for those of us who wanted more.

To those who want to try to correct it, I wish you the best of luck...

:cheers:

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Cheers Zactoman, your opinion on that matter is highly regarded, especially for a brave soul like me who tries to get at least a decent shaped black widow out of the kit. I guess I am just more optimistic ;)/>/>

.

I happen to agree with his (and others) observations and comparisons of this kit to photos and the Northrop drawings.

I’d also mention that the Northrop drawings appear to be very accurate, unlike so many other ‘civilian’ drawings of many aircraft that are floating around.

This is very true, but one must admit that even these drawings have their limits. The lines are just to jagged for me to completely make out the shapes. I started to compare the drawings (enlarged to scale) with the kit itself. There are some good news, and some bad news (and a lot of areas I have not took measurements):

1. The exhausts pretty much agree with the drawings of PAV-2 (mind, that in the pics Zactoman analysed the exhaust covers are not installed.20131120_130814_zpsc98037cc.jpg] In this picture you see the cut out from the drawings. Very Much to my own surprise it was a drop fit. For modeling PAV-1 one hast some work here obviously.

2. The cross sections taken from the drawings also pretty much agree (not checked on the front part, e.g. the nose, but more on that one later). It is pretty much the area between the cross sections Hobbyboss screwed up (note for example the error with the intake is exactly between two of those cross sections). To check this, I transfered the cross sections to sheet plastic, cut them out and check against the model. Sorry, no pics there, as I have not figured out how to hold templates and camera at the same time <_</>/>/>

3. The humps on the front of the engine nacelles: Ok, the longer I stared at them and pictures of the real thing... they had to go, even though I am not sure if there should be a slight hint of them or not. Here is my take on the upper hull so far, your opinions are welcome. Smoothen the area some more? 20131120_175706_zps8d629f2a.jpg

Mind that I only began trying to improve the contours

4. ...plenty of more areas that need some work. I will report on that, when I get to that part of the build

Edited by blackwidowmaker
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Oh, Chris, Berkut. One thing I couldn't quite figure out on the Northrop plans. On sheet 1 there is a sideway view of the engine nacelle alone. Where, from a top view, runs the top contour line? I made a template from the plans, but trying to figure out where the centerline should run...Phew, she drives me nuts... that sexy beast :wub:/>/>/>/>

So here is what you get after some minutes with the sanding stick. IMHO much better, but I think I am still not quite there. Your opinions and keen eyes Ladies- and Gentlebots, please!

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Oh, and here is mini-Paul Metz cursing at Hobbyboss for all the small inaccuracies (and probably those added by the builder - why should the testpilot wear the survival vest? I have not seen any photo of the test pilots with one? Or why is there a F-16 Aces seat and not a F-15 version...AMS buddies, AMS)

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Edited by blackwidowmaker
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

My first post at Arc, tho' I've pillaged the site for its incredibly valuable information many times in the past. Really don't build that many aircraft anymore but something with a better science fiction shape than anything in filmed sf in recent years just can't be ignored. And for good information, this thread doesn't disappoint, at least some of the latter posts and thorve's and zactoman's posts 135 - 138. Let me just say, I'm a rivet counter. I mean that literally. I have counted rivets. But I still can't help finding many of the comments here so amusing.

So many people are getting so twisted up about the "accuracy" of this kit yet no one has yet mentioned the most basic measure of accuracy: how does it measure up dimensionally? Is this a 1/48 scale kit, is it closer to 1/32, is it 5 scale feet too narrow for it's length?

So many people are getting so bent out of shape about it not matching drawings. Who's drawings? I've spent way too much time researching the X-15. There are a swackload of North American Aviation and other X15 dimensions and drawings out there and guess what? None of them match each other or photos of the real thing. As with just about any blueprint anywhere, changes happen between between the drafting and redrafting and the construction and reconstruction of pretty much every part. Someone makes a correction kit for the X15 that recommends shortening the fuselage about 1mm at a certain point to make it "accurate". There are absolutely no references for the X15 that precise. Anyone who takes a drawing of an aircraft, no matter what the source, as the absolute irrefutable reference for 100% accuracy is just misguided. And somehow, I just don't think Northrop or the Air Force are going to be sharing 100% accurate plans and profiles for their design for THE state of the art aircraft with the rest of the world anyway? Some guy at the Pentagon is probably laughing his fool off over the latest reports of another clone based on those drawings going into the China Sea. And give any two people a tape measure and ask them to go measure something like an aircraft, even something like a relatively flat tail plane, and you'll get two different answers every time.

The YF23 has got some pretty complex shapes. Drawings like the general outlines from Northrop or other dodgy sources are always a good starting point. Comparing them with photos of the real thing is the obvious next step. But the more I look at photos of this thing, the more I realize just how the eye can deceive. That the kit seems to be a combination of elements from the #1 and #2 aircraft show that at least Hobbyboss tried to stay true to whatever references they could find, better than some kit manufacturers. Rather than trashing them, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. They are after all running a business and they don't have the luxury of taking decades to research and prototype every model the same way scratch-builders do. Am I holding my breath for a better 1/48 scale kit? Yeah, that could happen.

Obviously, the kit has problems. The more I look at photos, the more I'm realizing that the strangest looking parts of the kit might be the most accurate and the normal looking parts of the kit are probably the least. Strange aircraft, which is why I'm so attracted to it. Going to need a lot of subtle re-shaping to "fix" it. But that's what separates kit assemblers from model builders. If you're after something that falls out of a box and builds itself, and is 100% accurate ("accurate" being a condition that exists only in each individual's builder's mind anyway), then you have an awfully long wait between each model you're adding to your collection. Built-up model, I mean. No doubt you have hundreds of inaccurate, un-buildable kits in your stash in the basement. Either that or you're waiting to buy what someone else makes for you, and boy are you going to be a rotten customer.

I'm very happy to have this kit. I'm very happy to be able to find all the great information on correcting it that I'm finding here, and I can't wait to see how the brave builders here are going to correct its genuine faults. I'm so happy to find decent decals for the thing here. It's a few kits down in the queue but when I eventually reach that stage in my own build of this, I am going to count the very prominent damn rivets and I'm going to use decals to try to get them right, too. But is it going to be 100% accurate? Don't be daft. It's a model airplane.

And probably my last post here. Good building, builders! Don't let the nay-sayers get you down. Hobbies are supposed to/absolutely have to be FUN!

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yeah nice kit indeed but in the wrong scale,broke my only Italeri YF-23 that I had in my stash,Copyboss you need to scale it down and do it right for me and for my Ace Combat sake.

Edited by Mizar
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I finally 'caved' and bought one - and *then* did the 'background checks', which led me to this thread (via Britmodeller forum) to find that the issues discussed were the one's I'd mostly divined independently looking at images from my own 'pile' & from the web (tough finding an underside view, eh?) Unfortunately, most walkaround pix aren't much good with contour issues such as this kit is afflicted. I'll try and remember to step back the next time I'm snapping away at the NASM.

Doing the ol' brainstorm, I think I can work out how to correct the shape issues or otherwise mitigate them to a reasonable level. I wonder if the tail surfaces are actually oversize or just that the drawings used are presenting a perspective view (angled plane in top 2D view...) If indeed too large, cutting them down is no biggie. Most of the shape issues (other than the nose) seem to require filling. In the case of the 'humps' at the front of the engine nacelles, they may require *back filling* with epoxy putty. Perhaps the spine as well - I'll see.

For the intakes, I think I can saw the portion forward of the gear wells free of the underside and 'hinge' them down using shims (to get that 'bulge' seen in side view.) Also, some wedges to slightly widen them from the front along with the trimming needed to incorporate the missing angles. I expect the trunking will be wasted, though I may be able to salvage them by adding in some extra length at the front to mate with the 'new' intake openings.

Being flat panels, replacing the exhaust floors & walls with sheet (engraved with the proper tile patterns) while lengthening the opening and adding the missing details... just part of the game.

One item I noticed was that the scribed lines for the weaps bay apparently place it too far aft... I think. I'm pending Scott's email so I can download his scans of the YF-23 drawings which should help.

The nose! To correct this, I think I will cut it off at the "panel line" at the contour break, and make a new, smaller one. Obviously, HB took this off the production configuration proposal drawings since it (like the YF-22 - to- F-22 changes) is much larger to hold a radar. This should allow me to achieve the sleeker profile and more tapered underside contour - and I can include some embedded weight for balance at the same time! Gotta love that taxidermy epoxy putty! [i like the All-Game brand.]

So with Caracal decals & Scott's scans on order, putty in hand and my 'I'm building an old style vacuform kit' hat on, no worries! Who knows, perhaps I'll even open the weaps bay and have some little 'dudes' testing the fit of a JDAM... Cheers!

Robert

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Well, I finally 'caved' and bought one - and *then* did the 'background checks', which led me to this thread (via Britmodeller forum) to find that the issues discussed were the one's I'd mostly divined independently looking at images from my own 'pile' & from the web (tough finding an underside view, eh?) Unfortunately, most walkaround pix aren't much good with contour issues such as this kit is afflicted. I'll try and remember to step back the next time I'm snapping away at the NASM.

Doing the ol' brainstorm, I think I can work out how to correct the shape issues or otherwise mitigate them to a reasonable level. I wonder if the tail surfaces are actually oversize or just that the drawings used are presenting a perspective view (angled plane in top 2D view...) If indeed too large, cutting them down is no biggie. Most of the shape issues (other than the nose) seem to require filling. In the case of the 'humps' at the front of the engine nacelles, they may require *back filling* with epoxy putty. Perhaps the spine as well - I'll see.

For the intakes, I think I can saw the portion forward of the gear wells free of the underside and 'hinge' them down using shims (to get that 'bulge' seen in side view.) Also, some wedges to slightly widen them from the front along with the trimming needed to incorporate the missing angles. I expect the trunking will be wasted, though I may be able to salvage them by adding in some extra length at the front to mate with the 'new' intake openings.

Being flat panels, replacing the exhaust floors & walls with sheet (engraved with the proper tile patterns) while lengthening the opening and adding the missing details... just part of the game.

One item I noticed was that the scribed lines for the weaps bay apparently place it too far aft... I think. I'm pending Scott's email so I can download his scans of the YF-23 drawings which should help.

The nose! To correct this, I think I will cut it off at the "panel line" at the contour break, and make a new, smaller one. Obviously, HB took this off the production configuration proposal drawings since it (like the YF-22 - to- F-22 changes) is much larger to hold a radar. This should allow me to achieve the sleeker profile and more tapered underside contour - and I can include some embedded weight for balance at the same time! Gotta love that taxidermy epoxy putty! [i like the All-Game brand.]

So with Caracal decals & Scott's scans on order, putty in hand and my 'I'm building an old style vacuform kit' hat on, no worries! Who knows, perhaps I'll even open the weaps bay and have some little 'dudes' testing the fit of a JDAM... Cheers!

Robert

I think there are some underside pictures in the Condor ATF book or whatever it was,I do have it,where I wonder as I moved magazines and stuff in different boxes without writing down what's inside

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An F-16XL would be easy enough to scratch build.

I wish it were, but that is simply not the case.

I once thought I'd attempt it until I realized the fuselage on an XL is like 4 or 5 feet longer (exact dimension escapes me at the moment).

A legit 1/48 (or better yet 1/32) kit would be very welcome, although I'm sure it wouldn't be a huge seller.

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Amazing the different opinions-i guess we all build for different reasons. I must say, coming from a person who is in no way interested in the yf 23, a casual glance at photos for comparison really shows that this kit is wanting to say the least in terms of shape. I hope I am not stoking the fire, apologies if it is taken that way. Its just such a pitty that if hobbyboss could take the time to just listen to a few good builders eg berkut, they could produce real winners. For example some of their other kits I would say are 90% right but could be brilliant. I find that sad considering all the trouble of tooling up for a new kit. Man, if I had the money to produce cnc metal moulds, zacto and berkut would be "made an offer they couldnt refuse".......if I win the lotto, you want a job zactoman?

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I did contact them after initial CAD's were shown. I expected no answer and got none.

I don't really care if they want or interested in outside help. First off, they have to start to learn how to use references and pictures/drawings. That is bare bone basics.

Original drawings is a huge rarity, and even tho they are readily available on the Internet yet they screwed up. Massively. Statements like "looks like XX to me" are a waste of electrons, kilobytes and space. Equally useless as "I am offended" statements.

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I for one, am happy with my 1/48 YF-23. Could it be more accurate? Sure. But the odds of us getting a better or a production-representative kit are somewhere between Jack and s#!t, and Jack's left town. I've got more important things to worry about than the accuracy of a plastic model kit.

I decided on a scheme for my F-23 and my decals arrived friday. After working all weekend on a site, I took some time off this afternoon to work on the cockpit, intakes and exhaust. If I'm lucky enough to get some down time next weekend, I'll assemble the fuselage and wings.

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I for one, am happy with my 1/48 YF-23. Could it be more accurate? Sure. But the odds of us getting a better or a production-representative kit are somewhere between Jack and s#!t, and Jack's left town. I've got more important things to worry about than the accuracy of a plastic model kit.

I decided on a scheme for my F-23 and my decals arrived friday. After working all weekend on a site, I took some time off this afternoon to work on the cockpit, intakes and exhaust. If I'm lucky enough to get some down time next weekend, I'll assemble the fuselage and wings.

Liked mine too, actually really pleasant as a kit goes. I made my first into a Mitsubishi-Northrop F-3 :D

Too much work to make a true yf-23 from the kit tho so I'll stick to whifs.

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Could it be more accurate? Sure. But the odds of us getting a better or a production-representative kit are somewhere between Jack and s#!t, and Jack's left town.

article-0-04D58892000005DC-1000_468x363.jpg

Perhaps there's still hope...

Too much work to make a true yf-23 from the kit tho so I'll stick to whifs.

:thumbsup:/>

:cheers:/>

Edited by Zactoman
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Amazing that model companies still refuse to embrace 3D scanning.

I asked a metrology company to quote (informally) a full 3D scan of a WWII twin-engine bomber--and was quoted $4k.

The price included their travel to and from the site, the scanning itself, AND processing the scan into 3D CAD files.

While beyond my means, this should be chump change for a big model company like Trumpeter/Hobbyboss. There is a YF-23 sitting on the concrete outside a museum in Torrance, California, where anyone who's bought a ticket can walk up and touch it--certainly photograph it. (Forget laser scanning--the engineer at Hobbyboss could have called a buddy in California and asked him to drop a plumb bob from the wingtips, nose and tail, to at least get the major dimensions correct. How much would that have cost? Gas money and a museum ticket? But I digress.)

Obviously the manufacturers calculate that they will make less money from a highly accurate kit based on first-hand, ground-truth data than they make from: 1) wading through second-hand data comprising inaccurate 2D line drawings and a bunch of photos then converting those inaccurate drawings and subjectively interpreted photos into glaringly wrong 3D shapes, 2) investing in expensive mold tooling that essentially "freezes" those bad shapes, and 3) releasing a kit that becomes a dumping ground for terrible word-of-mouth with resulting depressed sales. :bandhead2:

Hey manufacturers: Why not just try it? On a single "high profile" project, hire a metrology service to scan the subject and produce CAD files. Save yourself all the time and trouble (i.e. salary and overhead) of "aviation archeology" and go straight to mold engineering. Release the kit to great fanfare, awesome reviews and highly positive, instead of uniformly negative, chatter on forums like this one. See what happens to your sales. Are you operating on such a thin shoestring of a budget that you can't afford to try it just once?

Sigh. I'm impossibly naïve. :rolleyes:

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I'm happy with it, even though its not perfect (having said that the one thing that drives me nuts on kits is "shape" issues) However I believe the only other game in town was the 1/48 resin offering I would never be able to afford and probably never get around to building. This is much cheaper and more accessible

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The other thing is, while the YF-23 this isn't an issue, museum birds are frequently inaccurately restored--check out the Detail & Scale SB2C Helldiver volume for some notes about several bastardized SB2C-3/4/5 mixmasters on display; the CAF bird is one of them but is noted as being more accurately restored to its factory configuration (aside from the obvious mods to stay legal) at press time (which was the '80s).

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