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chuck540z3

1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. April 27/19 Tail Done

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Posted (edited)

January 9/19

 

A New Year and a New Model, “Kicked Up A Notch”!  With my 1/32 Tamiya Spitfire put to bed, it’s now time to build another jet, since I like to alternate.  My last few builds were the Spit, Tamiya F-15C, Trumpeter P-38L, Trumpeter A-10C, Tamiya P-51D and Tamiya F-4E, because I’m not a “Prop Guy or a Jet Guy”, but I am mostly a Fighter Guy, all in 1/32 scale.

 

Looking through my fairly modest stash of 12 models, it was easy to pick my next subject, because I’ve made at least 1 model of the other 11.  About 7 years ago when I was building my F-4E Phantom, one of the guys who tagged along was Scott R Wilson, who not only used to work on F-4E’s during the ‘80’s, but he photographed many of them with photo’s never seen on the ‘net before, including many close-ups to show that they were mostly quite beat up with SEA camo paint jobs left over from the Vietnam war.  That changed later with newer “Euro Camo” paint jobs, but during 1980, the subject of my jet, they were heavily weathered.  Anyway, Scott and I developed a great “cyber modeling friendship” as he guided my progress, while I tried to do as good of a job as possible.  For those who might be interested, that build thread is here:

 

1/32 Tamiya F-4E, "Kicked Up A Notch"

 

During this time period, Scott was trying to build a 1/32 Revell F-4, which is a fairly poor kit for a beginner, so I mailed him a 1/32 Tamiya F-4B, as thanks for all his help.  He was very grateful and about 18 months later, he moved from the US Mid-West to the Big Island of Hawaii and while thinning his model stash, he sent me a 1/32 F-5E Aggressor, the subject of this build.  Opening the Hasegawa box, I was immediately taken aback by the raised panel lines and relatively crude molding, so I started to have second thoughts.  Two of my best models are the Trumpeter A-10C and Trumpeter P-38L, which are really bad kits, so I am up for a modeling challenge now and then, but after the precision of the Tamiya Spitfire kit, everything is going to look like crap right now, so I started to do some research.

 

It didn’t take me long to find that Kitty Hawk came out with the 1/32 F-5E and later F-5F kits very recently and all of the reviews of this kit that could find were quite positive, so I ordered a kit from China in December and it arrived about a week ago.  Doing further research, I found an excellent thread at LSP as the “Kitty Hawk F-5E/F Special Interest Group”, where, between complaints about the kit, I found a lot of really good information here:

 

LSP 1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E/F Special Interest Group Thread

 

For a bunch of reasons behind the scenes and the fact that I’m now posting at ARC but getting most of my information at LSP, I have decided to post by build of this kit at both sites, much as I did my P-38L a few years ago.  It’s a bit more work to do, so we’ll see how it goes and I’m glad to be posting once again at both ARC and LSP.  I’m open to any tips and suggestions and as you help me, I’ll try to help you with this kit.

 

In doing my research at LSP and other sites, there are a number of problems with the Kitty Hawk kits that I won’t go into now, but I hope to fix or tweak in the coming months.  If things are just plain wrong, I’ll try to fix them, but if they are only specific to an F-5A, F-5B, F-5C, F5-D, F5-E, F-5F, F-5G, F-5S, F-5N or F-5T, I generally don’t care.  There are so many different F-5’s in so many versions exported to so many countries, it’s really hard to keep up and even if I tried, I’d be sure to do something wrong.  The purpose of this build is to create something close to an F-5E or F-5N as used by the US Navy as an Aggressor in the gloss black “Mig-28” theme made famous by Top Gun, similar to this bad boy:

 

SRdWbs.jpg

KUj1ea.jpg

 

Nobody makes decals specific to this jet, which I believe is an F-5N, so I’ve got a bunch of decals from a bunch of different manufacturers that I will bash together to create a bit of a “what-if”, but still entirely possible.

 

The Build Begins!

 

I almost always start with the cockpit and one of the main shortcomings of this kit is exactly that, the cockpit.  The starboard side console is flipped backwards, which some have fixed with a razor saw and the floor of the pit is way too shallow for scale.  Although some have raved about the detail, I’ll give it a 6/10 at best.

 

TTFybQ.jpg

 

Thankfully, there is a ton of room underneath the floor with nothing but empty space!

 

q7g1Jk.jpg

 

While nobody makes a resin cockpit for this kit yet, Scott Wilson also sent me a Black Box cockpit made for the Hasegawa kit, which is super rare right now.  Like most BB resin cockpits, there are lots of tiny parts with really great detail and really bad instructions.  Thank you Scott!

 

kf2ASp.jpg

 

Here is the base kit cockpit on the left, compared to the base resin one on the right, before the addition of many, many, tiny parts.  Using the rear shelf as a reference, note how much deeper the BB pit is.

 

ohJ35z.jpg

4Zkdgy.jpg

 

The resin set comes with a really nice seat, with both early and late head rests.  Here’s the later version glued to the top of the seat.

 

l11Yp6.jpg

 

Even the back is highly detailed, although you will likely not see much of it after completion.

 

O860Pu.jpg

 

The instrument panel, attached to the glare shield, is really good too and no doubt derived from the Hasegawa IP on the left.  The Kitty Hawk IP on the right?  Meh…  The instructions don’t tell you what the heck to do with it and the kit even supplies a big IP decal.  I have no idea what you’d do with it, because it will never fit this piece of raised plastic.  Experts will note that the IP’s do not have the later RWR radar warning instrumentation.  I don’t care.

 

XK8fpI.jpg

 

 

 

ImVpJc.jpg

Edited by chuck540z3

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But would the Black Box resin cockpit fit the Kitty Hawk kit??  Eyeballing it for several hours, I decided that it had a very good chance.  I have a Love-Hate relationship with resin cockpits and here’s the thing I hate the most.  You are better to cut off a bit too much and shim it later than leave it too deep, which could stress the plastic.

 

m8qIpn.jpg

 

Next, you need to cut off the tabs on the side of the fuselage, which are amongst a moonscape of pin marks.  Good thing they will all be covered later!

 

EtjWu7.jpg

 

After cutting off these parts including the rod antenna that isn’t needed and after LOTS of dry fitting and trimming, the side walls were glued into place.  The fit isn’t perfect for obvious reasons and while the scalloped tabs on the top of the sill are on the resin parts, they don’t sit high enough to see them from the outside.  The fix, which also covers the sidewall join is to use the kit PE brass, trimmed to fit some of the resin detail.

 

RKN06G.jpg

 

Again, after lots of sanding and dry fitting, the cockpit slips into place as a dry fit.  Note that the joins with the sidewalls will tighten up when glued permanently.

 

0qPMPX.jpg

 

Those fuse box thingies on the shelf behind the seat are just placed there to see if they cover any gaps on the sides.  They do.

 

bMGfR5.jpg

 

The rear fit is pretty darn good considering this cockpit is made for the Hasegawa kit and I did not need to trim any of the top.

 

RTaYaV.jpg

 

With the front IP and glareshield dry fit, I wanted to see what the windscreen will cover.  Compared to pics of the real deal, the fit is fantastic.  Again, note that everything is just dry fit with plastic shims in place.

 

oTWe6C.jpg

 

ECXMcX.jpg

 

wAC5T2.jpg

 

So there you have it.  The Black Box F-5E resin cockpit not only fits the Kitty Hawk kit, but the detail is superb and the instrument panel blows the kit one away. 

 

Next up, I will try to fix some of the panels on the sides before I paint the fuselage walls.  The lack of an AOA vane on the starboard side, which would fit into the wrong square panel rather than an oval one at the top, is first on the list.  Thankfully, the Hasegawa kit has an AOA replacement!

 

Cheers,

Chuck

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Thanks guys!  Time for a timely tutorial.

  

How to Install a Resin Cockpit

 

Looking at my finished models, it appears that I have installed about 8 full resin cockpits, excluding added resin detail walls, etc. like Barracuda for my Mustang and Spitfire.  Like most modeling skills, the first few cockpits almost killed me to install, while this F-5E one was a relative breeze in comparison.  While they have all been a bit different, they all shared the following:

 

- Excellent fine detail, but also fragile detail

- Some detail that initially looks like flash, but isn’t

- Lots of tiny parts, some of which never show up in the instructions

- A big mother casting block on the bottom that you need to cut off and

- Terrible instructions, which are sometimes illegible

 

Tools Required:

- A razor saw, with a variety of blade widths

- A Dremel or similar tool with a sanding wheel

- Facemask

- A #11 knife

 

The first order of business is to remove the casting block from the bottom of the main pit.  Using the fuselage sides as a guide, cut off the bottom block with a razor saw so that you have at least 3/8” of clearance on the bottom.  Be careful as you hold the resin to not knock off any fine detail with your hands.  I usually cut down half way, then flip the pit over and cut from the other side to meet the cut half way.  This clearance allows you to adjust the height of the pit within the fuselage, but also to tilt it front to back, as later required.   If you’ve got lots of clearance to begin with, skip this messy and dust filled step.

Tuck the pit up high on one fuselage side to see how it meshes with the kit plastic.  Trim it with the #11 knife accordingly to get a snug fit.  When you’re happy, attach the pit to the other fuselage side and do the same thing.

Next try to put the fuselage halves together with the pit inside, with obstructions removed from the sidewalls, like anchor points for the kit cockpit.  Nine times out of 10 the width of the pit will be too wide, so you need to shave off some resin from the sides with the Dremel tool.  Do this where you can make a dusty mess and always wear a face mask, because that crap in your lungs may never come out again.  Here’s the main strategies:

 

1. Take off as little as possible, which means that you should sand off the resin in thin layers, dry fit, then shave off some more. This might take 20 or more iterations, so take your time!

2. Shave off both sides equally, so that the pit isn’t off-center

3. ALWAYS get the parts to fit snugly without squeezing the fuselage together too hard.  If you do, the fuselage can become swelled and other subsequent parts, like canopies and windscreens, may not fit later.

 

While you’re doing this, shim the bottom of the pit with bits of styrene to get the pit to fit tight to the top of the fuselage halves at the same time, including the front to back tilt.  You are trying to deal with 4 different things at the same time:

 

1. Width

2. Height

3. Forward/ Backward position, and

4 Tilt

The Forward and Tilt positions may involve dry fitting the Instrument Panel (IP) at the same time, to get it in the correct position.

 

After a lot of dry fitting, trimming and a bit of cussing, you should be ready to deal with the cockpit walls.  With the pit dry-fit installed the way you want it with shims and tape, try to fit a sidewall to one side.  If you’re lucky, it’s a bit too tall and if you’re super lucky, it fits right away.  Using the #11 knife, carefully shave off bits of resin here and there on the sidewall to get the wall to fit snugly against the pit on the inside, rather than the outside, which causes gaps.  When you’re happy, mark the exact position of the sidewall and the pit with a pencil, then move to the other side of the cockpit and do the same thing with the other wall.  Next, try to dry fit almost everything at the same time, including the IP and maybe other bits that might get in the way.  You will likely have to do other adjustments to get all the parts to be happy with each other.  When they are, glue the sidewalls to the fuselage halves according to your pencil marks.

 

Next, paint the sidewalls and cockpit separately, including many of the tiny parts that may be easier to paint off the cockpit assembly than on it.  After you have decaled, assembled, detailed and maybe weathered your little work of art, it’s time to glue the cockpit in.  This is when you need to focus on the pit to fuselage attachment more than the fuselage to fuselage join, because you can’t do both at the same time.  With the cockpit dry fit in place with the fuselage halves held together with tape, using shims and tape again to get it fitting just right, ooze thick CA glue down the sides of the pit where it will bond with the fuselage plastic, using gravity to guide the flow, but not run down into any exposed areas.  In most cases, the styrene shims can be glued with the rest of the plastic, assuming they won’t get in the way of other kit parts later.  Hit the glue with CA accelerator, then glue another area, until you have filled much of the voids around the cockpit.  Be very careful obviously, because there is no turning back.

 

Now you can glue the fuselage halves together.  Using a used #11 knife blade, spread the plastic fuselage halves apart and ooze Tamiya Extra Thin cement in the gap, then let the mating surfaces fuse together as you move the blade along the seam, repeating this process in a zipper-like fashion until all seams have been glued together.  After that, you guys know all the rest!

 

Here's my last Black Box pit fit into my F-15C Eagle

 

vNsKfF.jpg

 

Good luck and if you have any questions, fire away.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3

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You are off to a killer start so far Chuck.  Can't wait to see how this goes! 

 

I just found a Black Box cockpit for my 1/32 Trumpeter F4U-1D Corsair so I know what you mean about the really bad instructions...  Your F-15 cockpit - wow!!

 

Looking forward to more.

 

-Derek

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Wow, that was quick, right back in the saddle again. Following along as usual Chuck. Excellent start bud.

 

Steve

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Hi Chuck,

 

You are off to another winning model.

 

Your tutorials are very helpful to the rest of us and I have certainly profited from them.

 

Could you possibly post a photo or two of your photo set up? I have a photo set up, but I find it very cumbersome to set up and tear down and it interferes with getting at other things in the basement. I'm looking at a more efficient way to do things. I know you have a photo booth/tent, but I would like to see how you position your lights around it and what the base may be. Your photo work is excellent.

 

Any photos, help, suggestions would help a lot.

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

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Thanks guys!

 

8 minutes ago, Bob Beary said:

Hi Chuck,

 

You are off to another winning model.

 

Your tutorials are very helpful to the rest of us and I have certainly profited from them.

 

Could you possibly post a photo or two of your photo set up? I have a photo set up, but I find it very cumbersome to set up and tear down and it interferes with getting at other things in the basement. I'm looking at a more efficient way to do things. I know you have a photo booth/tent, but I would like to see how you position your lights around it and what the base may be. Your photo work is excellent.

 

Any photos, help, suggestions would help a lot.

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

 

Thanks Bob, I will.  I get asked this same question now and then, so I'll do a quick tutorial in a few days with pics of my setup.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

 

 

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Here you go Bob! I am not really a big photographer myself and my camera knowledge is limited, but over time, my pics have improved along with my modeling skills as I learn new tricks through trial and error.   To me, taking good pics of our models is mandatory if you are going to display them here, because if I see a model build with crappy pics taken from a phone, I just move on, because you can’t tell if the modeling is good or not.

Below is a cut/paste of a tutorial I did 6 years ago, updated with my current views, with asterisks on what I think are the most important items.

 

 

Taking Good Pics of Your Models

 

Camera

The first thing you need is a decent camera, but owning a fancy DSLR with all the bells and whistles isn’t necessary, but it sure helps. Besides having a good lens and decent resolution of at least 8 MP, the camera needs to have an aperture priority setting, so that you can fix the aperture to a high number, giving a small aperture. The camera also needs to be able to focus on objects from a minimum of 2 feet or less. Zoom lenses help if you need to be further away, but maximum aperture settings often deteriorate as you zoom in. Most point and shoot cameras have a macro setting which is often displayed as a flower for close-ups, but just make sure you can adjust the aperture at the same time if you leave it on this setting.  For the record, I use a full frame Nikon D610 (24 mp) with a 60mm Micro lens for 90% of my shots and occasionally my Nikon D810 (36 mp) for completed model shots.

 

*Lens and Focus

If you can afford it, buy a dedicated “Macro/ Micro” lens and always focus by hand.  Some of the shorter fixed lenses of 50 mm or less work well too, but most zoom lenses don’t have f-stops high enough at the focal lengths you want and sometimes they have distortion.  That’s why they still sell fixed focal length lenses, often at much higher prices that zoom lenses: They quite simply take better and sharper pictures.  Auto-focus should be avoided, because the camera usually locks onto something you don’t want in focus, rather than the area you do.

 

*Aperture Priority

A maximum aperture of “f-22” or higher is recommended for most model photography. With high aperture settings, you can achieve good depth of field, which is critical for close-up or “macro/micro” photography. If you are taking a close-up of your model from, say, 1 foot away at f-3.5, the object you focused on will be in focus, but the parts of the model just in front or behind the focus point will be blurry. With a higher aperture number of f-22 or higher, almost everything a few inches in front and a few inches behind the subject will also be in focus. My macro lens on my camera has a very high maximum aperture of f-36, so almost everything is in focus without any fuss.

 

*Tripod and Self-timer

The next thing your camera needs is a self timer and the ability to fix it to a tripod. With high aperture settings, the shutter speeds will decrease dramatically, so you can’t hand-hold the camera without getting some blurring from shake. Anything longer than about 1/100 of a second will likely have some blur, but you can sometimes hand hold 1/60 of a second if you’re very steady. For maximum apertures of f-22 or more and the lighting I routinely use, my shutter speeds are often one second or more, so a tripod is a must along with a self timer, so that you are not touching the camera when the shutter is released.

 

Lighting

Generally speaking, you can’t have enough light when taking pics, so try to have 2-3 light sources coming from various angles to fill in shadows. Having one light source stronger than the other is OK, which creates a natural looking shadow, but if the light is too strong from one direction, it will overpower what the camera measures for light. If you can find them, there are some excellent coiled gas bulbs available that give off strong natural and balanced light of 3200 to 5000K, which is a “color temperature” close to natural light. They are not expensive- about $8 each- and I use at least 2 of them in goose-neck lamps over my model and sometimes one held in my hand, so that I can direct the light at shadows that I want to tone down as the self timer on my camera takes the pic. Check out “Alzo Digital” here for lamps:

 

Alzo Digital Lamps

 

There are now a lot of LED light sources that do the same thing and although they are more expensive, the prices are starting to come down to the affordable level.

 

White Balance

Colors will shift according to your light source. Fluorescent lighting is greenish in color, incandescent lighting is reddish and natural sunlight is neutral, which is why many modelers take their pics outdoors. You can hand hold many outdoor pics due to the strong light and resultant fast shutter speeds, even at high apertures, but strong sunlight can also produce too harsh shadows, so a cloudy day is often better than a sunny day to take pics. If you’re taking pics under artificial light, you need to compensate for the color shift of your light source and many cameras have a white balance compensation setting, other than “auto”. More sophisticated cameras allow you take a measurement of the colors your light source is sending to your model, by taking a picture of a white card (sometimes grey) as a base line for what is supposed to be pure white, which is saved as a setting in the camera. The pics you take are then color shifted accordingly to provide a neutral look, rather than one that is red looking because you used an incandescent light bulb, etc.

 

ISO

This is the sensitivity of your digital light sensor, with low numbers of 100 to 400 being the most commonly used. ISO settings in this range will give your pics the most resolution, but sometimes you need a higher ISO setting to get the pics you want under poor light. High ISO settings, however, tend to be grainy, with the higher the number the grainier the pic. My camera goes to a smoking high setting of 12,000 (and higher), but the pics will look fairly pixilated. If you have good light and a tripod, you don’t need to worry about using a high ISO setting, so you should leave it as low as possible.

 

Flash

If you own flash umbrellas and light tents, you know a heck of a lot more about photography than I ever will, but for most people who use the built-in flash on their camera, my advice is to leave the flash down and never use it. Flashes tend to totally overpower the front light of the photograph, making them look artificial and washed out. With adjustable external flashes you can bounce the light off the ceiling, etc. to create a more natural look, which might work great for some. I like to use my own external lighting so that I can see what the pic should look like before I take it, rather than what it might look like with a flash.

 

Light metering

Many cameras give you options for how the light is measured on your light sensor, from tiny “spot metering” to versions that measure a wider spectrum in your viewfinder. I generally use the spot metering option, because I can control where the lighting is measured. This isn’t all that important due to “bracketing”, which I also use.

 

Bracketing

Most of the time your pics will be properly exposed automatically, but sometimes you might want a little bit darker or lighter pic as a comparison to choose from. I used to also shoot 1 “stop” under and 1 stop over what the camera measures as correct, so that I had 3 pics for every shot, then chose the best one and deleted the other two.  My camera does this automatically if I set it this way, but you can always do it manually if your camera doesn't have this capability. I sometimes find that the slightly overexposed pic is the best and sometimes it’s the under exposed one, so it's good to have choices.

 

*HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Most DSLR’s have some auto compensation for HDR, to smooth out the dark areas and very light areas of a photograph, but a true HDR photograph on my Nikon camera takes 3 different pics then stitches them together into one, automatically.  This is the single biggest discovery I have made recently, that has improved my photography of models the most.  To do this properly the camera should be on a tripod to eliminate camera shake, which it already is for the reasons above.  The camera takes a properly exposed pic of the very bright areas, then one of the average areas, then a third of the dark areas, then combines them into just one photograph.  Under strong light, close-up photography often has very light and very dark areas in the same pic, so the average of both is measured and taken, which can sometimes still look wrong.

 

*Background

Ideally, you don’t want to see anything in the background, because it can distract from the model. Having all sorts of modeling crap in the background for an in-progress shot can add some nice realism to your photography, but for a finished model, I want to see nothing but the model and maybe the diorama the model is placed on. To accomplish this on a finished model, I use a very easy and cheap background, which is a large roll of white poster paper that is placed on the flat surface like a desk or table and draped up and taped to the wall behind, so that you can’t see any folds. Since your photograph is focused on the model, the background will be slightly out of focus, achieving a nice “nothingness” to the background or as the pros call it, “Bokeh”. For in-progress shots, I usually use a blue background, which creates a strong contrast with the grey plastic parts, making them “jump out” in the pic.

 

File Format

I have some photography geek friends who tell me to always shoot my pics in “RAW” format, so that you can play with all the information the camera has recorded on a computer without the compression (and loss of data) by converting the pic to “jpg”.  I don’t do that, because my pics are already huge at over 7,000 pixels across and when I shrink them down to 1,024- 1,200 pixels across to fit these forum pages, shooting in RAW is overkill.  That’s just my opinion, but it is also shared by some pro photographers like this guy:

 

RAW vs. jpeg

 

*Computer Editing

All pics can be improved and enhanced with photo editing software. Contrast, brightness, shadow compensation, histogram manipulation, color shifting, cropping and sharpening are some of the more common things tweaked after you take the pic. This step is VERY important, because every single pic I take is improved significantly by doing so. This all takes some practice to get it right and there are many software packages out there, but I quite like the standard, free and easy to use “Windows Live Photo Gallery” that comes with Windows 7 and you can also download for free for Windows 10.  I’m sure there are free Apple versions that are equal, or you can step up and buy the Adobe Photoshop software if you want to get really serious, although I never have found the need so far.

 

Now a couple of examples to show depth of field (and show off my models) :rolleyes::

 

 

In this pic of my recent Spitfire, I am using a fairly middle of the road aperture of f-14 that is focused on the engine only.  It is clear and the foreground wing is not, which brings your eye to just the engine.

 

 

v1DY9D.jpg

 

 

Here I’ve done the opposite, with a focus on the wing and fuselage only, also at f-14

 

 

0rpJ5g.jpg

 

 

For this deep shot, I’m using my maximum aperture of f-36, which keeps the front of the prop all the way back to the front of the cockpit in focus.  Normally, the engine would be in focus and nothing else.

 

 

UNdrwX.jpg

 

 

Same for my Eagle.  Just about everything is in focus, even though there is lots of depth and potential focus points.

 

 

f5VgJj.jpg

 

 

FYI, Here is my modeling work area and a computer screen with details of the starboard side of an F-5E, which is quite wrong on the KH kit, that I am currently changing.

 

 

OmfbIs.jpg

 

 

On the other side of the screen is my small photo-booth, where I take all of my in-progress shots.  For 1/48 scale or small 1/32 models like my Spitfire, it’s all I need, including the shots of the finished model.  For my huge 24” F-15C Eagle, sub-assemblies are OK, but the final shots of the model must be taken elsewhere where I can stretch out a larger background.  This little booth has a small light on either side that usually provides enough lighting for my pics, especially with the HDR settings I use.  For some applications where I need more light, I turn on the goose-necked lamp above as well.  All lighting is diffused through the white screens and all lamps are 4-5,000K gas filled lamps as described above.

 

 

rcDccm.jpg

 

Note the lint roller to the left.  That blue background always has crap on it!

 

CYv5Mm.jpg

 

 

And just for laughs, here’s a print of one of my favorite aircraft over my work area, which provided inspiration for my Spitfire build.  My father had this over his own desk 40 years ago and it never gets old.

 

 

PYN3ct.jpg

 

 

Hope that helps!

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3

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Thank you Chuck!! That wasn't a short tutorial...that was a master class!! :)

 

The photos of your desk top set up and the photo booth set up is just what I was looking for!! It's given me some ideas on how to proceed.

 

I used to have that same print...until my wife decided that I didn't need it anymore!! It's a classic.

 

Thanks for the fast and excellent reply!!

 

Bob

 

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What an interesting project, I'm following 👍

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Jan12/19

 

Quick update.  The LSP F-5E SIG had identified a few panel line and other surface errors on this kit, so from now on I'm checking this detail using references of all surfaces and if I can, correcting as many as possible.  The front starboard side fuselage wall is especially problematic, because just about all of it is wrong.  It appears that KH has taken the detail from the port side like the canopy release handle, step panel, water release handle, etc. and just made an mirror image of most of it on this opposite side.  Also, the starboard side is missing the AOA vane, which even Hasegawa supplies with their old kit.

 

Here's what I mean.  These details should all be removed and the front two panels should be flipped, with the oval one on the top, which is where the AOA vane should go.  I'm changing this now before I paint or detail the interior sidewalls, to minimize possible damage.

 

J1L5p0.jpg

 

Using CA glue to fill all the fine detail, I sanded it smooth, then re-scribed every panel line and re-punched every rivet, which I will likely do for the entire model.  No biggy, because I kind of like it!  :rolleyes:  I usually do this for all my models to make the fine detail extra crisp, although the Spitfire required only the addition of rivet detail, rather than fixing the kit ones.  Although I've made the excellent 1/32 Tamiya Mustang before, I think the Tamiya Spitfire might be the best injection kit ever made at any scale.

 

Anyway, here is the port side on the top, which should have this surface detail, while the detail is now gone from the starboard side with the front panels corrected, and the AOA vane inserted slightly off-center within the oval panel from the Hasegawa kit.  Now that I look at it again, I should have added two more of those circular static ports just below the rescue panel at the front like the port side.  There is also a small square "air scoop" that should be added just ahead of the canopy release handle on the port side.

 

lGkWHu.jpg

 

 

That is all!

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3

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Great catch Chuck and, this is exactly why we do research. Not all model companies get it right. Is Kitty - Hawk related to Trumpeter ?? Trumpeter is known for their kit inaccuracies. Keep up the great work.

 

Steve

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1 hour ago, A-10 LOADER said:

Great catch Chuck and, this is exactly why we do research. Not all model companies get it right. Is Kitty - Hawk related to Trumpeter ?? Trumpeter is known for their kit inaccuracies. Keep up the great work.

 

Steve

 

 I have no idea Stevie, but if I can build the 1/32 Trumpeter A-10A kit into a decent model, this kit should be a walk in the park.  We'll see!

 

Cheers,

Chuck

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Chuck,

 

I guess this doesn't come new to you:

 

https://www.furballaero-design.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=32-002

 

Go black, but if you ever change your mind, take a look to the old Top Gun splinter (1986) and keep the all black finish for "the" black jet F-117. 

Edited by Lucio Martino

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TIGER scheme, anyone can shoot straight black. C'mon Chuck, you got this.  No guts, no glory.  😉

 

Steve

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Thanks for all the feedback guys!

January 15/18

 

 

Thanks for the feedback guys.  As mentioned, I have lots of time to think about the final paint scheme and in all situations, I will be painting the entire model in gloss black anyway, like I usually do.  From there, I can make the final decision as to whether or not I’m done or I add the tiger stripes.  Both schemes should look cool, so there is no right or wrong answer.

 

 

While I have successfully installed the Black Box (BB) resin cockpit into the Kitty Hawk fuselage halves, the remaining big question is how will the canopy parts fit?  As mentioned, I have never experienced such a complicated mess of control arms and gadgets to raise and lower a canopy before.  Doing lots of dry fitting and eye-ball experimentation against reference pics, I have decided to go with the kit canopy and other parts, modified to fit the BB cockpit.  The reasons to do so are simple:  The BB canopy parts don’t fit the clear canopy very well and the kit parts are actually quite good and they DO fit the canopy, so why fight it?

 

 

To start off with, the KH kit cockpit has a rear wall too far backwards and all the kit parts are made for this distance, so rear control arms and other bits had to be shortened.

 

 

ohJ35z.jpg

 

 

In order to get these parts to fit together, I have had to permanently install the seat rails which the canopy fits into and some other stuff behind the seat, because gluing and installing them later will be very difficult without making a mess.  This makes painting more difficult, so its always a compromise between ease of painting and ease of final assembly.  Here is where I have started, which are the only parts that need to be permanent until final assembly.  Please note that not all parts have been cleaned up properly yet, since I’m still experimenting with fit.

 

 

8lbcY6.jpg

 

 

There are two main canopy parts that fit together at the back and in general, they fit terrible and must be trimmed and modified in order to do so.  Very weird and further, one of the control arm couplings coming off the left side of the assembly (at back) is missing two tabs to hold the control arm, like it does on the right side (at front), so I have added a couple of beads of CA glue to get things started.  This will be modified properly later.  The upper attachment points of the main arms were cut off, drilled out and metal pins were inserted to create a stronger fit.

 

 

dvdVBg.jpg

 

 

gCTpmP.jpg

 

 

When attached to the cockpit assembly, everything fits pretty good, with some of the control arms “glued” to hold them in place with liquid mask.  I will be adding several more smaller control arms at final assembly, since they are much too fragile to add now.

 

 

0AvueR.jpg

 

 

WENkUW.jpg

 

 

So far, so good, but how will this assembly fit when parked within the fuselage halves with the canopy dry fit on?  According to my references, pretty close to bang on…..

 

 

vZSN58.jpg

 

 

QIOUoj.jpg

 

 

The alignment from the front was off a bit, because the resin parts are not exactly identical, which initially made my heart skip a beat until I thought of a solution.  I dunked the top of the cockpit frame and the top of the resin seat assembly into some boiled water for 10 seconds, then carefully pushed the parts back into place.  Again, pretty darn good, which will be made even better when I glue the parts in permanently.

 

31ST4A.jpg

 

 

With the cockpit and canopy parts figured out, the rest of the technical aspects of this build should be fairly straight forward.  Yeah, I know the front gun doors fit like crap, there’s lots of re-scribing left to do and the chances of actually getting my hands on some seamless intakes is only 50/50 at best.  Still, I’m having lots of fun with this kit so far, because it’s the right combination of kit quality (6/10) and my improving skill set to try and create something special.

 

Next up:  Lots and Lots of cockpit detail and painting.  This could take awhile!

 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3

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Very nice work pal, you should have been a surgeon.  😁

 

Steve

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Following along.  That F-15 cockpit -- I'm weak in the knees.   It's just like zapping the real deal with a shrinking ray.  Incredible work!

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On 1/11/2019 at 1:36 PM, chuck540z3 said:

Here you go Bob! I am not really a big photographer myself and my camera knowledge is limited, but over time, my pics have improved along with my modeling skills as I learn new tricks through trial and error.   To me, taking good pics of our models is mandatory if you are going to display them here, because if I see a model build with crappy pics taken from a phone, I just move on, because you can’t tell if the modeling is good or not.

Below is a cut/paste of a tutorial I did 6 years ago, updated with my current views, with asterisks on what I think are the most important items.

 

 

Taking Good Pics of Your Models

 

Camera

The first thing you need is a decent camera, but owning a fancy DSLR with all the bells and whistles isn’t necessary, but it sure helps. Besides having a good lens and decent resolution of at least 8 MP, the camera needs to have an aperture priority setting, so that you can fix the aperture to a high number, giving a small aperture. The camera also needs to be able to focus on objects from a minimum of 2 feet or less. Zoom lenses help if you need to be further away, but maximum aperture settings often deteriorate as you zoom in. Most point and shoot cameras have a macro setting which is often displayed as a flower for close-ups, but just make sure you can adjust the aperture at the same time if you leave it on this setting.  For the record, I use a full frame Nikon D610 (24 mp) with a 60mm Micro lens for 90% of my shots and occasionally my Nikon D810 (36 mp) for completed model shots.

 

*Lens and Focus

If you can afford it, buy a dedicated “Macro/ Micro” lens and always focus by hand.  Some of the shorter fixed lenses of 50 mm or less work well too, but most zoom lenses don’t have f-stops high enough at the focal lengths you want and sometimes they have distortion.  That’s why they still sell fixed focal length lenses, often at much higher prices that zoom lenses: They quite simply take better and sharper pictures.  Auto-focus should be avoided, because the camera usually locks onto something you don’t want in focus, rather than the area you do.

 

*Aperture Priority

A maximum aperture of “f-22” or higher is recommended for most model photography. With high aperture settings, you can achieve good depth of field, which is critical for close-up or “macro/micro” photography. If you are taking a close-up of your model from, say, 1 foot away at f-3.5, the object you focused on will be in focus, but the parts of the model just in front or behind the focus point will be blurry. With a higher aperture number of f-22 or higher, almost everything a few inches in front and a few inches behind the subject will also be in focus. My macro lens on my camera has a very high maximum aperture of f-36, so almost everything is in focus without any fuss.

 

*Tripod and Self-timer

The next thing your camera needs is a self timer and the ability to fix it to a tripod. With high aperture settings, the shutter speeds will decrease dramatically, so you can’t hand-hold the camera without getting some blurring from shake. Anything longer than about 1/100 of a second will likely have some blur, but you can sometimes hand hold 1/60 of a second if you’re very steady. For maximum apertures of f-22 or more and the lighting I routinely use, my shutter speeds are often one second or more, so a tripod is a must along with a self timer, so that you are not touching the camera when the shutter is released.

 

Lighting

Generally speaking, you can’t have enough light when taking pics, so try to have 2-3 light sources coming from various angles to fill in shadows. Having one light source stronger than the other is OK, which creates a natural looking shadow, but if the light is too strong from one direction, it will overpower what the camera measures for light. If you can find them, there are some excellent coiled gas bulbs available that give off strong natural and balanced light of 3200 to 5000K, which is a “color temperature” close to natural light. They are not expensive- about $8 each- and I use at least 2 of them in goose-neck lamps over my model and sometimes one held in my hand, so that I can direct the light at shadows that I want to tone down as the self timer on my camera takes the pic. Check out “Alzo Digital” here for lamps:

 

Alzo Digital Lamps

 

There are now a lot of LED light sources that do the same thing and although they are more expensive, the prices are starting to come down to the affordable level.

 

White Balance

Colors will shift according to your light source. Fluorescent lighting is greenish in color, incandescent lighting is reddish and natural sunlight is neutral, which is why many modelers take their pics outdoors. You can hand hold many outdoor pics due to the strong light and resultant fast shutter speeds, even at high apertures, but strong sunlight can also produce too harsh shadows, so a cloudy day is often better than a sunny day to take pics. If you’re taking pics under artificial light, you need to compensate for the color shift of your light source and many cameras have a white balance compensation setting, other than “auto”. More sophisticated cameras allow you take a measurement of the colors your light source is sending to your model, by taking a picture of a white card (sometimes grey) as a base line for what is supposed to be pure white, which is saved as a setting in the camera. The pics you take are then color shifted accordingly to provide a neutral look, rather than one that is red looking because you used an incandescent light bulb, etc.

 

ISO

This is the sensitivity of your digital light sensor, with low numbers of 100 to 400 being the most commonly used. ISO settings in this range will give your pics the most resolution, but sometimes you need a higher ISO setting to get the pics you want under poor light. High ISO settings, however, tend to be grainy, with the higher the number the grainier the pic. My camera goes to a smoking high setting of 12,000 (and higher), but the pics will look fairly pixilated. If you have good light and a tripod, you don’t need to worry about using a high ISO setting, so you should leave it as low as possible.

 

Flash

If you own flash umbrellas and light tents, you know a heck of a lot more about photography than I ever will, but for most people who use the built-in flash on their camera, my advice is to leave the flash down and never use it. Flashes tend to totally overpower the front light of the photograph, making them look artificial and washed out. With adjustable external flashes you can bounce the light off the ceiling, etc. to create a more natural look, which might work great for some. I like to use my own external lighting so that I can see what the pic should look like before I take it, rather than what it might look like with a flash.

 

Light metering

Many cameras give you options for how the light is measured on your light sensor, from tiny “spot metering” to versions that measure a wider spectrum in your viewfinder. I generally use the spot metering option, because I can control where the lighting is measured. This isn’t all that important due to “bracketing”, which I also use.

 

Bracketing

Most of the time your pics will be properly exposed automatically, but sometimes you might want a little bit darker or lighter pic as a comparison to choose from. I used to also shoot 1 “stop” under and 1 stop over what the camera measures as correct, so that I had 3 pics for every shot, then chose the best one and deleted the other two.  My camera does this automatically if I set it this way, but you can always do it manually if your camera doesn't have this capability. I sometimes find that the slightly overexposed pic is the best and sometimes it’s the under exposed one, so it's good to have choices.

 

*HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Most DSLR’s have some auto compensation for HDR, to smooth out the dark areas and very light areas of a photograph, but a true HDR photograph on my Nikon camera takes 3 different pics then stitches them together into one, automatically.  This is the single biggest discovery I have made recently, that has improved my photography of models the most.  To do this properly the camera should be on a tripod to eliminate camera shake, which it already is for the reasons above.  The camera takes a properly exposed pic of the very bright areas, then one of the average areas, then a third of the dark areas, then combines them into just one photograph.  Under strong light, close-up photography often has very light and very dark areas in the same pic, so the average of both is measured and taken, which can sometimes still look wrong.

 

*Background

Ideally, you don’t want to see anything in the background, because it can distract from the model. Having all sorts of modeling crap in the background for an in-progress shot can add some nice realism to your photography, but for a finished model, I want to see nothing but the model and maybe the diorama the model is placed on. To accomplish this on a finished model, I use a very easy and cheap background, which is a large roll of white poster paper that is placed on the flat surface like a desk or table and draped up and taped to the wall behind, so that you can’t see any folds. Since your photograph is focused on the model, the background will be slightly out of focus, achieving a nice “nothingness” to the background or as the pros call it, “Bokeh”. For in-progress shots, I usually use a blue background, which creates a strong contrast with the grey plastic parts, making them “jump out” in the pic.

 

File Format

I have some photography geek friends who tell me to always shoot my pics in “RAW” format, so that you can play with all the information the camera has recorded on a computer without the compression (and loss of data) by converting the pic to “jpg”.  I don’t do that, because my pics are already huge at over 7,000 pixels across and when I shrink them down to 1,024- 1,200 pixels across to fit these forum pages, shooting in RAW is overkill.  That’s just my opinion, but it is also shared by some pro photographers like this guy:

 

RAW vs. jpeg

 

*Computer Editing

All pics can be improved and enhanced with photo editing software. Contrast, brightness, shadow compensation, histogram manipulation, color shifting, cropping and sharpening are some of the more common things tweaked after you take the pic. This step is VERY important, because every single pic I take is improved significantly by doing so. This all takes some practice to get it right and there are many software packages out there, but I quite like the standard, free and easy to use “Windows Live Photo Gallery” that comes with Windows 7 and you can also download for free for Windows 10.  I’m sure there are free Apple versions that are equal, or you can step up and buy the Adobe Photoshop software if you want to get really serious, although I never have found the need so far.

 

Now a couple of examples to show depth of field (and show off my models) :rolleyes::

 

 

In this pic of my recent Spitfire, I am using a fairly middle of the road aperture of f-14 that is focused on the engine only.  It is clear and the foreground wing is not, which brings your eye to just the engine.

 

 

v1DY9D.jpg

 

 

Here I’ve done the opposite, with a focus on the wing and fuselage only, also at f-14

 

 

0rpJ5g.jpg

 

 

For this deep shot, I’m using my maximum aperture of f-36, which keeps the front of the prop all the way back to the front of the cockpit in focus.  Normally, the engine would be in focus and nothing else.

 

 

UNdrwX.jpg

 

 

Same for my Eagle.  Just about everything is in focus, even though there is lots of depth and potential focus points.

 

 

f5VgJj.jpg

 

 

FYI, Here is my modeling work area and a computer screen with details of the starboard side of an F-5E, which is quite wrong on the KH kit, that I am currently changing.

 

 

OmfbIs.jpg

 

 

On the other side of the screen is my small photo-booth, where I take all of my in-progress shots.  For 1/48 scale or small 1/32 models like my Spitfire, it’s all I need, including the shots of the finished model.  For my huge 24” F-15C Eagle, sub-assemblies are OK, but the final shots of the model must be taken elsewhere where I can stretch out a larger background.  This little booth has a small light on either side that usually provides enough lighting for my pics, especially with the HDR settings I use.  For some applications where I need more light, I turn on the goose-necked lamp above as well.  All lighting is diffused through the white screens and all lamps are 4-5,000K gas filled lamps as described above.

 

 

rcDccm.jpg

 

Note the lint roller to the left.  That blue background always has crap on it!

 

CYv5Mm.jpg

 

 

And just for laughs, here’s a print of one of my favorite aircraft over my work area, which provided inspiration for my Spitfire build.  My father had this over his own desk 40 years ago and it never gets old.

 

 

PYN3ct.jpg

 

 

Hope that helps!

Chuck

 

My hobby room 🙂

 

Picture003.jpg

Edited by Scooby

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