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1/32 Trumpeter A-10C Hog- "Putting Lipstick on a Pig of a Kit"


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Hi Chuck, here is a pic that the Judges may deduct points from.

Jari

Whoa! I see at least half a dozen! ;)

That brings up a good point as I stir up a hornet's nest in the General Forum concerning model contests- This model will never win a thing at a model contest when I'm done. Hopefully it will look really cool, be well constructed and will have many, many, modifications to make it look more like a real Hog, but the kit is just too crappy to begin with and you can't polish a _urd to equal a Tamiya, Academy or other nicer kit. No worries, however, because I think I'll really like the final product and I'll enter it into a future model contest anyway. Who knows, maybe there will be a special award for "Most Brave" to tackle this project? :P

With the big time floods in Calgary right now, most of us are staying home letting our emergency services do their thing. Word out right now is that I likely won't be able to get back downtown where I work until mid next week, so I may as well get going on this kit again! Here's some more progress, with the following comments:

1) I use CA glue to seal all of the fuselage and other seams, which dries clear. Unfortunately, when I fill a panel line or other seam, the old seam still shows up fairly clearly with the oil wash I used previously, so bear with me that filled seams are indeed filled and there are no gaps. Only a primer coat of paint will show what is filled and what isn't.

2) I re-scribed every panel line and re-punched every rivet, so the end result is light years better than the original kit markings.

3) Most of the panel lines on this kit are in the wrong location. Some are big errors, while most are subtle, so I just focused on the big ones.

4) The work you're about to see looks like no big deal, but it took me about 15 hours to complete. Maybe I'm slow, but this picky work is quite tedious- and hopefully worth it in the end.

Now some pics....

Here's an example of big panel line and detail errors. Every single one of these lines are just plain wrong or in the wrong place....

FrontFuse10.jpg

After filling the lines in and repositioning the front tab on the windscreen shroud, the panel lines should look more like this. Note again the old marks are still visible under the clear CA glue and the front tab should have 4 screw holes and not 3 and be a little shallower. I also added scratch built rain/gun gas residue removal vents just in front of where the windscreen will soon go. The front aerial fueling slipway panel is only dry fitted after quite a bit of sanding and re-scribing to make it fit flush. I'm leaving it off until I know if additional weight is required up front when I attach the rear fuselage....

FrontFuse11.jpg

The other side, which shows the new AN/ALR-46 antenna I made out of spare brass parts. Note how it is now located much further down and forward than the old kit placement, which was sanded off and filled...

FrontFuse12.jpg

The other side, showing that weird banana shaped curve to the lower fuselage part that was filled as well. New panel lines were then added in more or less the correct location...

FrontFuse13.jpg

The big gaps on the bottom were also filled and sanded, while other panel lines were added according to pics of the real deal. That big antenna on the bottom will soon be cut off and other antennae will be added or modified later. For instance, that circular antenna just forward of it will be made into a square box instead, to replicate an A-10C. I know, I know, I have a pre-LASTE cockpit, so how can I build an A-10C? Just watch me! :woot.gif:

FrontFuse14.jpg

Those long seams lines on the bottom of the fuselage were actually raised when molded, so I re-did everything....

FrontFuse15.jpg

Now a real problem area- the big circular GPS receiver is poorly molded and gibbled. I tried just about everything to get it smoothed out, but working on a tiny curved surface is very difficult. It also should have some fairly large screws that stick up all over the place...

FrontFuse16.jpg

I thought if I could somehow add some raised rivets, it might hide the poor casting and take your eye away from it. I have the decal-like Archer raised rivets, but on a curved surface like this, they likely won't work very well and I needed something much stronger. Thinking about it for at least a week, I decided to try drilling tiny holes and slipping soft copper wire inside, then trimming the wire almost flush. I'm sure I'm not the first guy to think of doing this, but I've honestly never seen it done before...

FrontFuse17.jpg

After sanding off the wire tops a bit to remove the sharp edges and flatten the wire out a bit, voila, raised rivets! I dry fitted the antennae nearby to see how they would fit. Normally I would leave this step until much later- along with many other antennae and other bits that are fragile like the AOA probe, but the bases of these parts are crude and the front one is all wrong. Only the oval bases should show as relief..

FrontFuse18.jpg

With more CA glue, I filled the offending gaps and sanded the surfaces smooth. I then added the Eduard formation lights and some scratch built tubes out of brass tubing for the covert lights that can only be seen from above- presumably from friendly aircraft...

FrontFuse19.jpg

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A view from the rear. Note the formation light is off to the left side instead of centered. I can see a model contest judge scratching his head already...

FrontFuse20.jpg

FrontFuse23.jpg

Remember this pig a few months ago? Pretty bad all over, especially those front antennae that are weirdly shaped, in the wrong location and just plain wrong....

Nosejob1.jpg

Reborn! Not perfect by any means, but a heck of a lot better than the original- after a ton of work....

FrontFuse22.jpg

Overall, this is starting to look like a real Warthog.....

FrontFuse21.jpg

Thanks for your continued interest in this build- as slow as it is.

Chuck

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Wow Chuck!!! The flying tank is really looking great!!! Boy that's gotta be one of the busiest airframes around... You've really took on a huge project this time, looks like you have a good handle on it though! It looks like a whole new kit, great scribing job and genius idea for the raised rivets... :popcorn:/> Sorry to hear about the flooding, praying for everyone who lost their homes and loved ones.

/Jesse

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Hi Chuck;

Glad to hear you're okay. We've been watching the flooding on TV. Unbelievable video showing damage to the residential areas, and flooding in downtown Calgary and the Stampede grounds. Let's hope the worst is over.

John

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Thanks Jesse!

Hi Chuck;

Glad to hear you're okay. We've been watching the flooding on TV. Unbelievable video showing damage to the residential areas, and flooding in downtown Calgary and the Stampede grounds. Let's hope the worst is over.

John

Here's the weird thing about the worst part of the flood. In Calgary, some of the most expensive real estate is right on the shores of the Elbow River. Calgary is a fairly affluent city due to the oil business, which has been booming for about 10 years. Most of these homes are worth at least $2M, with many up to $8M or more and there are hundreds of them in the Elbow River flood plain. One of our directors lives right on the river and was flooded out in 1995 and 2005, but that was only his basement. Insurance coverage does not include overland floods, but it does cover sewer back up, so he was able to convince his insurance company that the sewer backed up first before the river took over. It was a fairly weak story in 2005 and his insurance company told him that this would be the last time they bent the rules a bit in his favor. Overall damage was about $500K that time, so he was very lucky.

This time, the river is half way up his house walls, along with all his neighbors, who no doubt have similar insurance coverage. I think it is reasonable to assume that just above every flooded home has no insurance, so they are all on their own for damages. A lot of these guys can afford it, but I bet a few are levered fairly high like any neighborhood, in which case they are facing financial ruin. A big part of me feels sorry for them, but a small part of me thinks they asked for trouble in the first place living in a river flood plain. Flood plains are called that for a reason- they flood once in awhile! It's not a matter of if but when.

Our Calgary Saddledome, where the Calgary Flames play NHL hockey, is submerged with 15 feet of water in the lower bowl. The Flames dressing room and a lot of equipment is completely under water right now, so even if it dries out quickly, they have a lot of work to do to get it ready again for September. I could go on and on about how others are affected by these floods, but the reality is that loss of life for a major disaster is fairly low (4 people?) and we will get back on our feet as a city and move on. Compared to the major tornadoes in the US, this is a non-event, although it still sucks.

Thanks for your concern! My house is on a hill, about 200 feet above the rivers, so life goes on in my neighborhood like nothing happened. That will be short lived when the water levels recede and we pitch in for the cleanup. It's a lot easier to help clean up somebody else's mess than your own!

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Dude not only are you an outstanding modeler you are a great humanitarian!! My prayers go out to the victims of this tragic event and I wish only the best for you and this most exquisite build!!

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Hi Chuck,

I've been thinking about you since I first saw about the floods, so I'm very happy to read that you're doing fine!

About your build: I wouldn't be so sure that it would not win a thing at a contest...I bet it will be a stunning model at the end!

/Kristian

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Hi Chuck, How was Paris? Sorry to hear about the floods, but I don't know of one building tat was built in a flood plain by accident....if you get my point. We have enough data now as a civilized society that building next to rivers and over fault lines and in tidal areas is just a matter of time before disaster strikes. We are running out of money an too save people who should not be there in the first place, and to repair the public and private infrastructure time and time again. Oh Well!!!!

Any how, seeing your fun here, I have decided so sell all of my Hog stuff this next fall. To much work for a project I have no room for. I would think that as popular as this bad kit has been, that Tamiya or Academy would come out with one, but I think to do it right it would be a $300 + kit, and no one could afford it. You are doing a great job, and there is too many other subjects I want to build so keep up the good work, as I am following it with great interest.

Gary

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Chuck, your work on the nose of the kit is a real turnaround! I commend you for taking the time to sand away / rescribe the wrong panel lines... I think my patience would have long been exhausted. Nice work on the GPS dome and love the little brass tube lights.

On your comment about how this would score in competitions, I have similar feelings about my Flanker.

Hope you're staying dry over there.

:cheers: from Seattle,

Marcel

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys. The floods here in Calgary will cost a LOT of money to fix. I spent a few days last week helping a friend clean out his mud ravaged house and it wasn't very pretty. I'm sick and tired of all the media coverage and looking at the damage everywhere, so I'll just leave it at that. We will move on.

Speaking of moving on, I'm back doing a little more progress on this beast and I think I have mastered the Squadron vacu-formed windscreen and canopy to replace the crappy and poorly shaped kit parts, so I should have some pics up in a few days to give you guys some tips. I'm also re-working a lot of the front fuselage to make it look more like an A-10C- notwithstanding the pre-LASTE cockpit!- and one of the things I've found is that just about every current A-10 has a new antenna right behind the GPS dome used for the "Beyond-Line-of-Sight Airborne Radio Communications-210 system". It looks like this:

New A-10 antenna

Does anybody have a better pic of this new feature? I think I can scratch-build one without too much difficulty, but I'd like better pics of the oval base if I do. It appears that this antenna is subsequent to when Jake's book was published, so I don't have any decent shots to go by.

Thanks!

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Head on view:

Jari

Thanks man. I was kind of hoping the “Master of Aircraft Googleing” might stop by and give me some shots! Scott Wilson also sent me a few good ones via email, so I think I’m good to go to attempt building a scratch built antenna. We’ll see how it goes!

Before I get to the next steps of this build, I want to seal up the windscreen area so that I can mask off the cockpit. As outlined earlier, the clear plastic glass parts of this kit are really bad with swirl seams everywhere that look like actual cracks within the plastic. Here’s the windscreen once again dry fitted to the fuselage. Note the large marks on the right hand side- and the shape is totally wrong as well.

Canopy1.jpg

To fix this problem, it was recommended that I use Squadron replacement parts, so I ordered a set on ebay. Total cost was only $12 shipped to my door. Why so cheap you ask? It’s because you get a single block of thin vacu-formed plastic. Oh-oh, this looks like a real challenge- and where’s all the detail?...

Squadroncanopy.jpg

Since I’ve never dealt with vacu-formed parts before, I was given some tips by John W. and a few others which I mostly used, but modified very simply as follows:

1. Using a sharp scribing tool, scribe a very light score of the plastic along the seam joins at 45 degrees to the join. I supported the plastic in my bare hands to make sure the part was rigid and all cuts were straight with no curves to stress the plastic. I did this all freehand, but you might want to use masking tape as a cutting guide.

2. Progressively scribe the cut deeper and deeper until you’re almost through.

3. Using a #11 knife, finish the cut, being very careful not to slip and mark the plastic.

4. Trim all bits of plastic away that you couldn’t remove with the straight cuts. Again, use more straight cuts.

5. Using a foam sanding block, sand down the rough edges of the parts with the part secured in your one hand and the sanding block rubbing the part with your other hand. If you stroke the part against a rigid sanding block instead, the part will vibrate and possibly crack.

6. Make sure the base of the canopy and windscreen is sanded to a 90 degree angle at the base for a snug fit against the fuselage.

Canopy2.jpg

These vacu-formed parts have some positives and negatives. One positive is that they are very flexible and less prone to cracking like regular clear plastic, but this is also a negative, because they are hard to sand due to the additional flex which moves with sanding strokes rather than resist them. The other big negative is that they have almost no detail, even if they do fit very well…

Canopy4.jpg

With careful trimming, they fit well enough to do a closed canopy if you want. As mentioned earlier, a lot of those panel lines are really not there any more and are filled with clear CA glue, hence the sloppy look to some of them....

Canopy3.jpg

I obviously need to beef up the trim on these parts, so I considered using the rear kit canopy because it isn’t as bad as the windscreen. Forget about it- the front angle and fit is all wrong…

Canopy5.jpg

For a windscreen frame I used thin 0.25 X 1.5 mm styrene strips that were carefully glued using CA glue to the Squadron part, with thin masking tape installed to prevent any glue seepage onto the glass area and provide a guide. The thin plastic allowed curvature in two directions to conform to the windscreen and once installed, I added two additional strips of styrene to build it up a bit to provide some height, using Tamiya Extra-thin cement. This results in a seamed look that sort of replicates some of the canopy gaskets found on the real deal….

Canopy6.jpg

Although I have both the Eduard brass for the front frames and the Cutting Edge resin for the canopy frame bottom, neither fits the squadron parts because they are obviously made to fit the kit parts instead. Since the Cutting Edge resin has some really nice side wall detail, I cut the parts in half where the T-bar hinge assembly is cemented in order to make it fit better- and I’ll likely cut off the bottoms of the Eduard brass to trim up the bottoms of the canopy frames

Canopy7.jpg

Here is how things look on the bottom of both parts. For the windscreen, I added some small tabs for the accelerometer and standby compass that are suspended from the windscreen frame and some tabs for the Cutting Edge T-bar part where it attaches to the canopy. Note that the rear tab of the canopy has been cut off completely to accommodate this more accurate part. Although I added more styrene to the top of the windscreen between the frames, I did not add any more along the bottom edges, because you won’t see these areas after painting and they would impede clearance against the glare shield. Also note the “dots”…

Canopy12.jpg

Those “dots” are resin rivets provided by Archer Fine Transfers. One of the most characteristic features of the windscreen is lots of big raised rivets, so I gave these decal-like resin rivets a try to add some much needed detail. They were VERY easy to install and after a bit of Microsol, they stuck like a booger to an oven door. :D/> I cut each strip of rivets off the sheet, leaving a minimal amount of decal film on either side. After only seconds in hot water, they slid off the backing as easy as any decal I’ve ever used before. For more info on this product, the Archer website is here:

Archer Transfers

Canopy8.jpg

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Now some results, using pics of the real deal to get a rivet pattern that is fairly close. After the rivets were dry, I dipped the canopy and windscreen assemblies into Future to seal in the rivets a bit more and add some clarity to the glass. I normally don’t use Future because I think it makes glass surfaces look too thick, but in this case I need depth, so it worked out perfectly…

Canopy10.jpg

Canopy11.jpg

For the canopy, the rivets on the side should follow the ridge on the side a bit higher than the CE resin parts. I think after painting the interior black and the outside grey, you’ll never notice this gap. For the rivet counters, there are more rivets at the base of the front of the canopy than towards the rear and the gap where I cut the resin side walls has been filled in with clear CA glue and sanded smooth...

Canopy9.jpg

Since these parts are so delicate compared to regular clear kit plastic, I won’t be able to sand the glass after installation or I’ll remove the new rivet detail. With careful sanding of the base of the windscreen beforehand and some sanding of the fuselage sides, the dry fit is almost perfect. I’ll need a bit of putty at the front join, but fortunately there is a very obvious panel line on the real deal, so I won’t need any putty along the sides. Note the windscreen frame was left a bit short at the base to allow clearance against two posts on the fuselage. This gap will be covered with paint and the base of the Eduard brass parts, and I still need to do a bit more sanding to get a tighter fit.

Canopy14.jpg

Canopy13.jpg

Next up, I need to paint the windscreen and canopy on the inside flat black, install new glass on the HUD, then attach the accelerometer and compass to the windscreen frame before cementing the windscreen on permanently. This small step will take a while….

Thanks for checking in guys!

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Wow! That took a long time to load. Nice BIG reference pictures. :blink:

Super work Chuck, this is getting better and better.

Any plans to tint the windshield? (Many reference photos of A-10s show the windscreen a tinted shade due to age.)

That Squadron version is a huge improvement. Neat work dude. :worship:

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Chuck

Great work on the canopy! I wish model companies would mould the canopies with some of the fuselage so that blending it to the airframe would be much cleaner and easier. Your endeavors here are inspiring. Playing with glue around the clear parts must take great courage and steady hands. The greater the risk the greater the reward. :)/> As so many have said before thank you for your fine educational tutorials. You are keeping this hobby alive.

Anthony

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Chuck, I am speech less.......just fantastic work. A big thanks again on the airbrush suggestion, as I really like it and I have spent a great deal of time with it. did the instrument cover fit under the squadron windscreen OK,? or did you have to adjust it?

Keep working hard! Gary

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Chuck, YOU ARE the MASTER of detail. Absolutely amazing work my friend, clean and perfect. My compliments sir :worship:/>/>/>

John

Thank you John. I still have a few more tweaks to do, but I'm fairly happy with the windscreen so far. I bet after a good paint job those rivets will pop and make all the extra work worthwhile.

Any plans to tint the windshield? (Many reference photos of A-10s show the windscreen a tinted shade due to age.)

Thanks for the kind words Buddy. The real answer to this questions is yes, absolutely.... and no. I WAS planning on tinting the windscreen, but to be totally honest, I forgot all about it! Thanks for smacking my head and reminding me! I am also going to be adding some very thin flexible tape to either side of the front glass to replicate the gasket often seen there, just like I did on my F-4E project. Just before installing the windscreen, I'll add the gasket and then add some tinted Future, which should help seal in the tape.

As for the BIG pics, I wish they were bigger! Thanks to Photobucket, we are restricted to 1,024 px wide, even though my pics are 1,600 px wide to capture more detail. That way you guys can see all my flaws and fingerprints! :P

Chuck

Great work on the canopy! I wish model companies would mold the canopies with some of the fuselage so that blending it to the airframe would be much cleaner and easier. Your endeavors here are inspiring. Playing with glue around the clear parts must take great courage and steady hands. The greater the risk the greater the reward. As so many have said before thank you for your fine educational tutorials. You are keeping this hobby alive.

Anthony

Thanks for checking in Anthony. I was fairly brave with my knife and the glue for one reason: A replacement was dirt cheap, at least relatively in the big scheme of a project like this. If I slipped and nicked the glass, I could always buy another one easily. As for the glue, this brings up a good point that I did not mention earlier. I got a tiny bit of CA glue fingerprint on the glass area and was certain that the part was a goner. After a LOT of rubbing with Tamiya polishing compounds, I got about 90% of it removed. After dipping the part in Future, it is totally gone, so glue mark risk isn't as bad as it might seem.

Thanks for your last comment especially. Documenting all this stuff is a chore, but if some of you guys really benefit from my detailed descriptions, it makes all the effort well worth it.

Jewel like parts! Amazing workmanship as always Chuck!

You sir are always one of my regular cheerleaders. Thanks Man!

A big thanks again on the airbrush suggestion, as I really like it and I have spent a great deal of time with it. Did the instrument cover fit under the squadron windscreen OK,? or did you have to adjust it?

Keep working hard! Gary

Hi Gary!

Glad the Iwata airbrush is working for you. They are a little pricey when you get into the CM-C Plus line which is my current favorite, but I have never regretted buying one.

I was a bit worried about clearance of the new Squadron windscreen over the Cutting Edge glare shield, but the fit is quite good with no modifications required. When you mix up after-market parts made for the kit and not each other, things sometimes don't work out so well, like the resin walls on the canopy. Oh well, it's not like this kit has been plug and play in the first place!

Edited by chuck540z3
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Unbelievable work Chuck. I envy yer ability to make those perfectly clean cuts on the vacuform canopy..... Not an easy task, but you mastered it on yer first try :clap2:/> Most impressive!

/Jesse

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Thanks a lot guys!

While I try to recover from a bad case of sciatica (that hurts like he__!), I can sit down without too much pain and, thankfully, model!

Before I get the windscreen on I need to deal with the HUD. The cutting Edge resin one is superior to the kit parts, but there is no clear plastic for glass, so you have to find some on your own. I looked everywhere for some clear acetate and couldn't find any, so I just cut up some thick clear plastic that is used to shrink wrap ink jet cartridges from Costco. Not only did it work, I needed the cartridges anyway, so it was effectively free.

The A-10 HUD, which is huge, is made up of 2 panels of glass. Here's one of the new panels installed with the remaining one on the left and the thick crappy kit part on the right. I also drilled out the circular glass at the base of the HUD and installed a spare lens from a laser guided bomb...

HUD1.jpg

Here it is installed on the Cutting Edge glare shield, but something is missing. The top of the HUD should have a thin black metal plate...

HUD2.jpg

Fortunately, the Eduard interior set has this plate which fits almost perfect. I'd normally trim a bit off, but then I'd lose the nice screw detail on all 4 corners, so I left it as is...

HUD3.jpg

The Eduard kit came in handy again when I installed the accelerometer on the left and compass on the right of the windscreen after the interior was painted flat black. The resin parts are Cutting Edge while the faces are Eduard parts, which include the AOA lights on the bottom of each gauge. These gauges are too far forward in the windscreen for scale, but I had to install them that way or they would have interfered with the HUD. Oh well, only Jake (and a few others) will notice!

HUD4.jpg

After painting the interior of the windscreen, I dipped it into Future mixed with a little Tamiya acrylic Smoke to give it some tint. After the Future dried, I then brush painted the black again with dull coat to knock down the shine. I also played around a bit more with the windscreen fit, because I want it to be virtually a drop in that I can install later. Here it is dry fitted from the side...

HUD5.jpg

You can't tell how tinted it is until you compare it to untinted plastic. Here's the kit canopy placed against it for comparison...

HUD6.jpg

Another few angles with the HUD installed...

HUD7.jpg

HUD8.jpg

This angle shows the glass seal gasket at the front I installed with thin vinyl tape before I dipped the windscreen in Future which helped seal it in. It should go along the sides and bottom, but not the very top

HUD9.jpg

Here's another pic of those windscreen gauges. For the gauge faces, I used some spare Barracuda IP decals from my Mustang project that worked really well, then I filled each gauge with some more Future to give it a glassy look. Note the laminated styrene around the windscreen frame sort of looks like the sealing gasket on the real deal.

HUD10.jpg

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Since I'm really building an A-10C externally, I decided to scratch build "Beyond-Line-of-Sight Airborne Radio Communications-210 system antenna", which looks like a TV antenna on a motor home. Apparently this new antenna allows communications to the ground in hilly terrain in Afghanistan where the A-10 is still deployed (I think?) and I believe it is now installed on all active A-10's regardless of model. In Neil Dunridge's book of the A-10 (Reid Air Publishing), every pic in the book shows it installed.

Before I show what I made, here's the older antenna behind the GPS dome...

FrontFuse23.jpg

And now my new offering made from spare plastic and styrene. This was made by trial and error until it looked about right and I tried to replicate the rivet and screw pattern with more Archer decal rivets. There are also 4 fairly large tabs on either side of the base plate panel...

RadioAntenna2.jpg

A closer look. It's not perfect because I believe the forward angle should be the same as the rear, but in order to get everything to fit and the height correct, I had to make some compromises...

RadioAntenna3.jpg

Since I'm making the antenna, I thought I better fix a few panel lines. The rear one should be filled and new one should be added right behind the antenna and forward of the tubular position lights. Again, with clear CA glue used as a filler, you can't tell the rear panel line is no longer there. Yes, there should be extra rivets on the antenna base plate over the rest of the panel line...

RadioAntenna4.jpg

The antenna is only dry fitted at this stage, because I'm afraid I'll break it off during further assembly. When I do glue it in, I'll fill in the small gap on either side of the base...

RadioAntenna5.jpg

It's coming together now!....

RadioAntenna6.jpg

and it's starting to look like a real Warthog. I'll be glad when I get a coat of paint on it to finally hide all those filled panel lines and rivets, which obviously still show up in the pics above.

RadioAntenna7.jpg

Next up: The canopy, which is another big job if I want it to look right. Thanks for checking in!

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