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Fellow Hobbyist

1/72 Novo La-7

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Five weeks ago a fire destroyed my home and my belongings. Most of my neighbors, my family and I escaped. But sadly four neighbors did not. It was a tough four weeks but we finally found a new home and moved a little over a week ago. Things are returning to some level of normality. Further my friends from my scale modeling club gave me some new kits. Now I feel ready to start the first project since that dreadful day.

Considering the limited tools and resources I have I chose a simple 1/72 Lavochkin La-7 by Novo (formerly Frog).

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Started with painting the pilot, seat, and cockpit interior.

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Among the other thing generously provided by my friends was a bottle of Tamiya extra thin cement. Using this made fusing fuselage and wing sub-assemblies a breeze. How come I never discovered this product sooner?

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With a few more pieces to attach I can move to seam filling by tomorrow. It feels nice to be building again.

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sorry to hear of your loss. :(

the Frog/Novo is a quick and easy project to back into the hobby with :thumbsup:

you look like you are off to a good start ; keep up the good work !

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What an incredible event to endure, you have my total sypmathy and all my best wishes. So glad you and your family are ok!

It's great that you're able to get back into the hobby so quickly, it sounds like you're part of a great club.

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What an incredible event to endure, you have my total sypmathy and all my best wishes. So glad you and your family are ok!

It's great that you're able to get back into the hobby so quickly, it sounds like you're part of a great club.

I appreciate your sentiments K5054NZ. The fire marked the end of life as it was. And for as painful as that day was; I've kept in my mind that this new chapter in life can offer the opportnity for joy and renewal for us all.

As for my club. They are the most wonderful group of people I could have ever met. I can't think of any other way to describe my friends.

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I've recently attached the landing gear door panels, oil cooler intake, and the tail wheel piece to the underside of the fuselage. As the gear doors are closed the instructions called for cutting off the tail wheel. The nub received an initial sanding but final shaping will be pending. Also note I opened a notch at the bottom of the fuselage, forward of the oil cooler, for mounting the finished model atop a stand.

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My focus over the last couple of days has been blending the fuselage fillet and upper wing surface. To speed up the project I am using latex wood filler. It dries relatively quickly and can be blended with a damp q-tip. The later technique was done during the initial application of filler. Subsequent applications were sanded smooth. First dry sanding to roughly knock down the layers of filler followed by gentle wet sanding to thorough blend the filler smooth (too vigorous of a wet sanding will remove most of the filler...which is not what I want).

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Having finished the fillet/ wing join blending this morning I added some filler on the gaps along the oil cooler intake/ fuselage join and reshaped the contour of a contiguous fixture, the gaps just aft the oil cooler and where on the gaps where the bottom wing panel joins with the top wing pieces (not photographed yet).

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So in summary the filling has more or less been completed since the end of July. I spent August and part of September ecthing some of the lost panel details atop the cowling. Also I spent copious time filling, sanding, and scraping the plate that made up the main landing gear doors so as to make the part flush with rest of the underside of the plane. That part was cartoonishly too thick.

 

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Around the beginning of September I finally got the part smooth. But due to work and some focus on other project the La-7 was set aside till now.

 

Over the last few days I've set about re-etching the lost panel detail particularly around the landing gear doors. With the exception of the round wheel covers; I just eyeballed the door panel lines and etched with a scriber and DYMO tape. Surprisingly the latex wood filler did not get damaged by the removal of the DYMO tape from atop the areas filler was applied. Likewise the filler tolerated scribing; the only minor divets where the scribe did sometime get stuck, but overall it etched satisfactorialy. For the door panels I traced a pattern onto the model with pencil and laid a piece of scotch tape over the pencil marks. I then traced over that with marker and carefully removed the tape. The tape was transferred to thin piece of scrap plastic. I then carefully cut out a template and finalized the contour with half-round file. Labeling forward and aft orientation helped to make sure the template was placed onto the model in the right direction.

 

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With the template taped into place I etched the round door panels. This was a little more difficult than the straight lines. The scriber got stuck frequently! But it worked out in the end. The rounded panels got done and I finished off all the straight lines this evening. The plate now has "separate" door panels as they should. Next will come restoring the lost panel lines from around the periphery of the gear doors and etching lines on the tail gear doors.

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Initial priming has started. As it is getting colder to spray primer onto the model outside I hand brushed thinned Testors enamel flat gray onto the model from the comfort of my apartment. So far I've done two priming sessions.

 

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The first session revealed the joins where the wings and fillets meet needed more sanding and some some spots on the starboard fillet need more filler. More sanding was to be done on the duct on the underside and the bottom of the port wing tip.

 

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The second primining showed the work on the fillets was worth it. The filler was more evenly feathered into the surrounding plastic and the holes eliminated. Still more work is needed on the underside duct. The wing tip was fixed.

 

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It might be hard to spot but you can see the lines where I etched the main gear doors. I am happy with how the etching turned out.

 

One thing I've noticed is the thinned paint dries far too quickly than I like. And unfortunately dust and lint is an ever constant problem. It does not help my room has full floor carpeting. Regarding the fast drying nature of the thinned paint; any suggestions on how to get more working time out of the thinned mixture?

Edited by Fellow Hobbyist

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Quick update. I've painted the La-7 but had to put hold pending the arrival of new decals. I got them on Saturday. Before proceeding I had to make a repair. The aerial mast just aft of the cockpit had broken off some time ago.

 

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So I cannibalized an unused landing strut (it was about the same diameter). The remnants of the old part was removed and the repurposed part was formed, a mounting hole drilled out, and the new part installed.

 

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I need a new camera. With this now done decal laying can commence.

 

Edited by Fellow Hobbyist

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The decals I purchased to replaced the originally supplied sheets was a good investment. They did not disintergrate when immersed in water unlike the original decals which did. However these are still very brittle and most cracked as the backing paper curled up during the soaking process or when being applied onto the model. Fortunately only two have partially disintergated so far. The arrow decal on the cowling in the picture above was one example of this. The decal broke apart at the arrowhead and the trailing ends of the ribbon. All but a tiny piece was pushed into position and a coating of acrylic floor wax locked them in place. A touch of paint on the crack in the arrowhead and the ribbon would all but hide that fact.

 

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Tonight I finished applying decals on the vertical tail and the #33 on the port side. The decal for the vertical tail made me really nervous. The decal applied to the starboard side was not particularly flexible. It would not sit into the grove between the tailplane and the rudder. I decided to carefully cut the decal along the grove...and wound up fracturing the decal instead of cleanly cutting through. I applied the acrylic wax in the hope it draw the jagged edges back into place inside the rudder/ tailplane grove. I though I had ruined it. But after drying it appears the wax did it's job. The application of the tail's portside roundel went much more smoothly and this time the inscission was clean. Once the decals dry from this seesion I'll apply the final two on the bottom of the wings and decaling will be done. All I have to to is wait for good weather to dull coat in prep for some weathering.

 

 

Edited by Fellow Hobbyist

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