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1/72 Convair YF-102A -- Nostalgic Plastic

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I don't have a good record of completing Group Build here on ARC (or anywhere else, for that matter...), but I'll give it a go.


I'd like to start off with the 1/72 Nostalgic Plastic Convair YF-102A. It took a lot of persistence and a prince's ransom to even get this kit, and it remained hidden for far too long. I wish someone would re-release a kit of this airplane as it is too hard to find.


The kit itself was started about three years ago. I start and stop many kits at a time and don't keep track. The kit itself is very simple; so simple in fact, that there are no instructions per se, expecting the builder to be skilled enough to figure it out. In this case I had glued in the rudimentary cockpit (with a little fiddling -- can't even remember what all at this stage). We'll just have to unmask it later, to find out what's in it!  (Wait, I've heard that somewhere...) and the chosen tailpipe (early and later are provided -- to make any of the several YF-102's), and glued the fuse together with CA. About 18 months ago, I finally got around to sanding it down a bit, and sprayed on a black primer. And that is where this group build project begins.


Among many other shelf queens, I shot a photo of just a few, the black one shown below is the one for this effort.:




I began by sanding out very tiny scratches, with 4000 thru 12000 grit sanding pads, re-priming as needed. Then everything was given a coat of Alclad II Black Gloss Base coat, and two coats of Alclad II Polished Aluminum, with each item given time to dry between coats.  I then began masking for the leading edges, with yellow kubuki type tape. I will use Stainless Steel as that color:




At this point, allow me to digress.... MASKING!


One of the necessary, yet painful things we modelers must endure.  I learned long ago that you can't have too many tools to make life easier!  Yes, you can whittle almost anything out of a log and a penknife, but it's a heck of a lot simpler to build most things with the right tools. Masking mediums are some of those tools.


On this model, I will probably NOT use any liquid masking film, but I think I masked the canopy with Bare Metal Foil. I do use these things, when appropriate.


We'll start with tape. Pretty much most modeler's will agree that Tamiya tape has been the best around for modeling, and that remains true. However, there are two problems with Tamiya tape: 1) it's sometimes hard to find, and 2:it's always relatively expensive, based on cost per inch. I have solved both problems, at least to my satisfaction, and I'll pass them along for what it's worth. If you don't live in the U.S., you'll have to hunt for your own solutions, or shop internationally.  The big thing about Tamiya tape is that it's made with rice paper, which allows more flexibility than the other stuff. I believe that Kubuki tape is a brand name where Kubuki does not refer to the Japanese play, as much as the word "Kubuki", which I think means "Star" (as of a play). Hopefully anyone more informed will enlighten us all!   Oh, and also, the "good stuff" has a "low-tack" adhesive, at least less sticky than regular old masking tape.  Seems that what we are looking for uses an acrylic, "no residue" adhesive. Some makers also use "Washi" tape, which might be made of many things.




Here's what I use:




The first three on the bottom row ( L to R) are of course, various sizes of Tamiya Tape, of which I have a fairly good supply. When it's gone I may or may not re-order. There is a lot of convenience in grabbing the next nearest size roll when you need it, but then again, it doesn't take that long to stick a length of the wide stuff and an old glass refrigerator shelf, and use a steel rule and sharp knife to slice off what you need.


The top left roll is from a maker called "Frog Tape", in about a 1.5 inch width. Next is a tape called "Shurtape CP 60 (60 day release), in 1" width. Both are available in American "big box" stores. The roll on the top right, I can't remember the manufacturer or where I got it -- somewhere on line. One possible link is here :  Yellow Tape.


The white tape at the lower right is someone's (probably Squadron Shop) vinyl, narrow width  vinyl  masking tape for curves. I only use it infrequently, an only  for it's intended purpose.


The next masking element, that I've used for years is Parafilm "M". used for sealing medical tubes, flasks, etc . It can be found in various places in smaller sizes, such as Micro Mark, but I got this huge roll from Amazon for a very low "cost-per-inch" factor, and if the glue holds up, it will outlive me!  It is used by cutting off a chunk ( I recommend about 1-1/4" unless you have VERY long thumbs), removing the paper backing,  and then stretching it width-wise to about 4 times it's starting length. This activates a slightly sticky side, that will burnish down to a very thin edge, and allow cutting with a VERY sharp (read NEW) razor blade tip -- old X-acto #11 works fine for me. Furthermore, it will absolutely ding-dong-dare ya refuse to pull up any paint that you stick it onto, which is just fine for bare metal finishes. I have built BMF aircraft with no other means of masking, but it's a little tedious, cutting along every panel line you wish to mask.:





The next pic shows my YF-102A wrapped securely in two layers of Parafilm. I use two layers, because sometimes, when masking canopies for instance, one layer is very tricky to get off the model, whereas two layers works much better, at least for me:




Next, Figure  "A" show where only the intake areas that I wish to paint a different color have been unmasked, by means of judicious use of the aforementioned #11 blade. This leaves everything else securely protected from over spray, and I promise you -- is much easier than trying to use masking tape in this area!




Next the results after spraying the second color. (we'll have to wait until later and the Great Reveal to see whether there's enough tonal difference to make this worth-while.




Next, more masking with tape for the elevons, and a large section of the center upper fuse: This time I think the color was Airframe Aluminum.




By now, you may have guessed the reason for this model's achieving Shelf Queen status -- all the work for the BMF paint job  -- and don't start up about Bare Metal Foil -- Ive grown much to lazy in my dotage. Hat's off to the more sincere types among you!


Well, that's it for this installment. It will take a while for this gal to wend her way through the paint shop. Updates will follow!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all,


While working my way through painting, I ran into my first roadblock. The Alclad II Gloss Black base, even though it felt hardened, apparently decided to soften back up, I suppose due to the heat of my hot little fingers holding the model. Usually, anytime after a model is primed, I usually only hold it with cheapie white cotton gloves. Sometimes, I get in a hurry and forget. I guess I forgot!


Anyway all the paint at the upper fuse behind the canopy area decided to act up, as shown in the very poor photo below:




I masked that area off with Parafilm "M" and re-shot it, as shown below:




Next I decided to shoot the red nose scallop or whatever on the nose of the aircraft. I started by wrapping the model with a couple of layers of Parafilm "M", then fiddled about with tape patterns, which were trimmed, peeled off, trimmed again, etc. until they were about right:




Then, I put them on and trimmed at the edge of the tape, through the Parafilm "M", and when the scallop was masked, shot a coat of white primer, followed by MM red for the nose.


At that point, the world caved in!!


Paint all over the model started to soften, so after much screaming , yelling and general mayhem, I decided that there was no choice but to strip the model and start over. I used part of my last precious can of Testor's  ELO paint and decal remover to strip the model --  except the cockpit, which was still masked. ( I hope that decision doesn't bite me later!). After the ELO, I used a quick wipe of lacquer thinner on a paper towel, followed by a soapy warm water rinse. Then , I started over...


This time, I started off with a whole different approach. First, I glued a broken-off  large needle into the nose, and faired it in with 3M spotting putty, and later Perfect Plastic Putty. When this was dry and sanded ( and the entire fuselage sanded down with 4000, 8000, then 12000 sanding pads)  I gave the nose a coat of white Alclad II primer. After it dried, I masked off the nose scallop area with the Parafilm "M" and tape again, then shot on the MM red again.  At that point, it now looked like this:




After masking off the new red scallop with Parafilm "M", I shot a coat of Alclad II Black Primer, over the whole model.  When that dried, I shot two coats of Future over all. When THAT had dried, I shot the leading edges, elevons, wing fences and intake fronts with Alclad II Stainless Steel. When that had dried, I masked off several panels, again with Parafilm "M" and shot those panels with Alclad II Airframe Aluminum. I then removed all the masking, and then re-masked the leading edges,  intakes, previously painted panels, elevons and wing fences -- and then shot the whole model overall with Alclad II Polished Aluminum:

With all the masking (except canopy) taken off, it now looks like this:




The anti-glare panels on the nose and the top of the intakes are decals, not supplied in the kit. To make them I used typing paper and a pencil to rough in the shapes on the model. When the paper patterns fit properly, I then used double-sided cellophane tape to stick them to the back of a sheet of black decal film. I trimmed around the paper patterns with a sharp #11 blade on sheet of glass, cutting through the decal sheet from the back side.

When the decal shapes were cut out, I soaked them like regular decals, extra paper backing and cello tape notwithstanding, and applied them like any other decal. As they soaked off the backing, all the tape, etc. was left behind with the paper backing. A couple of applications of Micro Set and Micro Sol soon had them nestled down quite nicely.  (I forgot to mop up the excess Sol or Set on one side, and had to sand, mask and re-shoot that side of the nose. For those dummies out there (like me) that don't pay attention to others' warnings --- DO NOT LET EXCESS DECAL SOLVENTS POOL ON ALCLAD II PAINTS!!!


The bottom side looks like this, although the flask has killed most of the fine panel lines:




I elected to paint the wheel wells Zinc Chromate Yellow (Colourcoats) based on the theory that the primer was actually yellow. The green only comes in if a second coat of primer is put on, with black being added to the yellow to show inspectors that a second coat of primer had been added. I figured that this was a one-off test plane (albeit the first of thirteen!), so why add the weight and waste the money?


Anyway, that's my story about why yellow --not green -- and I'm sticking to it!


Anyway, the darn thing is finally ready for some decals and wheels, so that's  where we'll begin next time -- barring further disasters!










Edited by TheRealMrEd
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Hi Stefan, thanks.


Speaking of sights, I can't remember exactly when, probably around 1959 something happened that I'll never forget....


I was sitting on some old steel bleachers at Langley AFB in Hampton, Virginia, along with some other folks. It was an open house (probably Armed Forces Day), and we were all watching a demonstration of a Republic F-84F doing either some "toss" bombing (or was it "over-the-shoulder" bombing -- can't remember for sure) with flour-filled dummy bombs. They always put on a show in those days, lighting aircraft hulks on fire for the base flight-line fire crews to extinguish, or some such.


Anyway, I happened to glance sort of back over my left shoulder, and saw a tiny dot rapidly approaching. As the dot grew larger (I was an avid aviation buff even then, and read all the aviation magazine I could find), I suddenly realized that it was an F-102A, close to supersonic, headed right at us!  When he was right over the area of the bleachers, he did a hard pull into the vertical, going straight up -- and then he  hit the afterburner! Almost blew us all off the bench. It was great!


It was my first actual sighting of an F-102, since Langley had been flying F-100's for a while. What an entrance!  Airshows back then were the best!  Then, around that time, going supersonic over developed lands was prohibited,

and everything got tamed up a bit after that. The old saying that the Air Force used to use back then was that the "boom" of an aircraft going supersonic "was the sound of Freedom flying". Great stuff!


Never saw a YF-102 fly,  but certainly saw a bunch of F-102A's.





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Hello everyone.


Well, I have endeavored, and "sort of" persevered! When I began putting on the decals, I was again reminded of why this WAS a "shelf Queen" in the first place. To begin with, the unique decals that came with the model were printed on an ALPS printer, and are, basically, irreplaceable. (No pressure here!)


As they were many years old, I gave them one coat of MicroScale Liquid Decal Film. The decals were also printed very close together (I guess to save paper or a tree or something...), which necessitated trimming each one separately. In most cases this was okay, but in certain critical areas, it was NOT! The larger decals, "USAF" and the like had a reasonable amount f surrounding clear film, which is needed for the decal to help "blend" into the painted background; in this case, Alclad II polished Aluminum.


Normally, on regular paints, you'd use Micro Sol and Set to apply the decals and help them snuggle down helping to hide the film. However, both these products are DEATH to ALCLAD II Polished Aluminum, even on surfaces where Aqua Gloss clear coat had be overlaid. Makes no difference, just eats up the paint.


So, I had no choice but apply the decals with plain water, to which had been added a drop of DAWN dishwasher detergent, and take my chances. This seemed to work out okay. Good so far.


In the past, I have left decals unprotected atop Alclad II finishes, and if you ever have to handle the model thereafter, sometimes the decals lose their grip and come off. So, an overcoat with Alclad Aqua Gloss clear coat helps to give the decals a bit of protection, and thankfully, does not seem to affect the polished metal sheen very much.  However the downside in this case is that the Aqua Gloss is water soluable, and when I over-sprayed the model, and went away and left it to dry, I returned only to find that a couple of the closely-trimmed smaller decals such as the "F-102A" decal on the port side, had curled up and become unrecoverable. The one on the starboard side survived,  and a couple of the others curled just a little. I decided to cut my losses, and quit while I could still get out alive! If I were ever to build this kit again (not likely!), I would probably choose a different scheme than this very first prototype, and thus have fewer decal problems, A word to the wise...


So, for better or worse, here is the finished Shelf Queen, my Nostalgic Plastic YF-102:






Notice the odd configuration of the main gear doors -- both are mounted onto the gear leg on this prototype, whereas on the production F-102A, they moved the larger inner door to the fuselage. The two "inner" door from the kit are way too thick, and there is no definite mounting place. I made new ones of thin plastic card, molded around a bottle, then cut to shape. All the gear doors are mounted with clear canopy cement, and were a chore. In addition, the kit's nose gear door was molded as two halves, so I made a correct one-piece nose gear door of thin plastic card.












This is a darned rare kit, and I'm very glad to have it, but I wish I could have gotten it a little bit sharper here and there. I also fervently hope that some like RS or LS will come out with a plastic kit of this, as it's the beginning of America's first operational delta aircraft series. I believe a new kit of this would be an instant hit, at least in the U.S....


I wish I could say that I enjoyed this build, but other than the initial gluing together of a half-dozen pieces, it has kicked and screamed the entire way. I'm just glad that I got something fairly presentable built from it, after a long time on the shelf.





Edited by TheRealMrEd
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I have had trouble with the gloss black base. It doesn't seem to set properly for me and seems to bleed through the Alclad Airframe Aluminium or Polished aluminium. I now use gloss black enamel as un undercoat but BE CAREFUL. Lacquer over enamel can be trouble so spray gently and keep the airbrush moving.

What scale is it, 1/72? Over here (UK) Whirlykits list one (for ££). I wonder if they are related.

Anyway nice job on a rare bird. I would like one for my collection.


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Thanks, Pollo1112 and Johnr!


Yes, john, it's 1/72nd scale. I think that Nostalgic was either a forerunner or related to Anigrand. This kit has been out of production for a long time and is very rare. I don't know what scale or material the Whirlykits one is, but I hope someone will build one and let us see!



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Thanks, folks.


The kit was very simple and with the exceptions mentioned, was very nice. The finish about did me in, however!


That being said, I ran across a build thread online for the Whirlykits YF-102. It looks like even a better kit, have 20 metal pieces (no stinkin' resin landing gear!), and it even includes the wings, etc., so you wouldn't even need a donor Hasegawa F-102A kit! While it does list for $50.00 U.S., it would have been a bargain for me. I hope you all buy one, build it, and show us the results here!




"I make my money the old-fashioned way -- investing in munitions..."

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Nice thread, Ed.


The end result looks good and I enjoyed your story about the F-102 at the Langley AFB Open House.

You were born at the right time to enjoy some cool sights and sounds, not that I can complain myself.

Imagine that we'd been born a 100 years earlier...maybe big steam locomotives would have been our thing.  :closedeyes:


Cheers, Stefan.



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  • 5 years later...

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