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1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19 Finished!

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On 1/9/2019 at 8:03 PM, chuck540z3 said:

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:



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


Beautiful work on this F-5 Chuck.   If I may make a suggestion without being too forward and out of line, post both of these tutorials in the Tools and Tips section and have them pinned.  They are some of the best tips I've come across discussing either of these topics.   I've copied and saved your "Taking good pics of models post" but would never have seen it if I hadn't started following along with this build.  


Simply amazing and masterful work sir.

Don  :salute:

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And with regards to the seat, if I may? 


The seat has a strap that runs in the middle of the back, it is known as a "Seat Kicker" or Seat/Man sepparator, and it is green. Any type of olive drab/green works. It goes into a Y but that is below the seat pan.




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Thanks Guys!


On 1/31/2019 at 12:44 AM, Drifterdon said:


Beautiful work on this F-5 Chuck.   If I may make a suggestion without being too forward and out of line, post both of these tutorials in the Tools and Tips section and have them pinned.  They are some of the best tips I've come across discussing either of these topics.   I've copied and saved your "Taking good pics of models post" but would never have seen it if I hadn't started following along with this build.  


Simply amazing and masterful work sir.

Don  :salute:



Thanks Don!  The Photography tutorial is already pinned in the archived Tools and Tips forum, but it's hard to find.  Thanks to your suggestion, I updated it with my newer version above.


On 2/1/2019 at 10:49 AM, Winnie said:

And with regards to the seat, if I may? 


The seat has a strap that runs in the middle of the back, it is known as a "Seat Kicker" or Seat/Man sepparator, and it is green. Any type of olive drab/green works. It goes into a Y but that is below the seat pan.






Thanks a lot Harald.  Do you (or anybody else) have some good pics of this strap?  It would likely be an easy edit, but I'm not sure what it would look like with a seat with no back cushion, like the resin one I have.


February 2/19



This next update was fun.  It was the right combination of sufficient kit quality with enough flaws to keep my mind working on how to fix them without too much pain.  Think of somewhere between the 1/32 Tamiya Spitfire gem I last made and the 1/32 Trumpeter A-10 turd, which I managed to polish a few years ago.



With the cockpit finished, it was time to put it to bed within the front fuselage.  After trimming and dry-fitting it at least a hundred times, it slipped in like a hand in a glove.  As mentioned in my tutorial above, thick CA glue and styrene spacers are the ticket.






With glue now bonding the sidewalls, the fit is much better than before.






Before I glued anything, I painted the back of the tiny formation lights and glued them into place from the inside.  Warning:  These little suckers are easily lost!






Something that didn’t fit like a glove was the gun compartment to the front of the cockpit, due to the thick resin glare shield and IP.  Since I’m not showing the guns, no worries and no need to be neat and tidy- just cut a chunk out with sprue cutters.






This cutout also allows you to glue the back of the glare shield to the gun compartment for strength, which is also much needed for the very flimsy join in front of the windscreen.  After careful measuring, this little 1.5mm styrene spacer seemed to be around the right thickness.






There are a few flaws on the bottom of the fuselage, most notably the misaligned panel lines.  It’s funny how some are aligned while others aren’t.  Also, according to the reference pics I could find, there’s a long and thin molding flaw along each side.






Most modelers  who have made this kit have found this flaw on the front part behind the nose cone.  Easy fix.






While there is a massive gap on the top of it.






Fixed.  Note that I use CA glue as a filler for everything, so the clear glue doesn’t totally hide old flaws.





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At the front on either side of the gear well are gun vent doors that are molded open.  They should be closed and another molding flaw fixed.






To close the gun vents, I trimmed the back of the vent doors, deepened the hinge with a scriber, then bent them flat.  They also need to be shortened about 10% and the corners rounded before you install them.






Two more areas fixed and the panel lines are now straight.






There is a lot of trimming and dry fitting to get any or these pieces to fit together.  Almost every join was modified in order to do so.  Kind of a pain, but kind of fun too.






With the styrene spacer used at the front of the windscreen, the join is now fairly flush and the top center piece fits perfectly.






Before I fit and glue the gun doors closed, I need to install the guns and modify the parts so that I can install the gun barrels at the end of the build.  Here I have cut the gun breaches back to fit my modifications and used minimal gun parts.  The key is to just get an anchor point to slip the gun barrel into later.






The openings at the front of the gun compartment were widened slightly and the base of each gun barrel was narrowed, so they now just slip in from the front with minimal effort.






The gun door fit?  Not so good.  This kit is made for doors to always be opened with no parts made for closed doors.  As a result, the fasteners are molded open and the closed fit is crappy.  Time for some more “fun” I guess….






Later boys and thanks for your input.








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4 minutes ago, Zactoman said:

Very inspirational stuff Chuck!

So inspiring that I'm going to skip casting resin tonight and sit at the workbench for a change. Thank you!





Hi Chris!


What you really should do is cast some seamless intakes for this sucker. You'd sell hundreds of them!   There's a few guys who claim they are making them, but so far I haven't had any luck in getting product, including Phase Hanger.  What I'm likely to do is try and make some myself, but I have no idea what to do yet.  More "fun".




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30 minutes ago, Winnie said:

Hi there!


This is an image I found at the Ejectionsite, it shows the strap quite dark, but it is there.


Northrop Norair seat


As far as intakes, I DO believe Phasehangar resin are doing some. I could be mistaken.


Thanks.  Another Harold at LSP just sent me a zillion pics of just about everything, so I'm good- and thanks again for pointing this out.  As for Phasehanger, I'll believe it when I see it!





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February 9/19



Time to finish off the front fuselage once and for all, with the windscreen and gun doors installed permanently.  In sort of random order, let’s start with the glare shield and HUD.  The Black Box (BB) resin kit doesn’t come with a HUD, so you are asked to create one from scratch.  While there are lots of options to do this, the kit HUD isn’t too bad, although it’s a bit too thick, so I went with it.   It needs to be sanded down from the sides, however, because it’s about 10% too wide.  Unfortunately, the BB assembly that holds the HUD is crude and not uniform, so you need to use a filler of sorts to get it to lay straight and flat.  I tried a number of water-based glues to do this, but all failed due to their thickness, which quite frankly made a big mess.  Thankfully, clean-up was easy with water, so that I could start all over again- about 5 times!



The solution, although it was a big risk, was to use thin CA glue instead.  There are no ways to start all over again with CA glue on painted resin, so I sucked up some courage and taped the HUD in place, then oozed from the sides some thin CA glue on a microbrush.  As hoped, the glue worked perfectly, running down the HUD assembly by capillary action, while creating a strong bond.  Normally you wouldn’t risk using CA glue on clear plastic for fear of fogging, but in an open environment, the CA fumes won’t hang around, as they would in an enclosed canopy.  For the circular glass lens behind the HUD glass, I used a drop of Future/Pledge mixed with a little clear green acrylic paint.  The entire glare shield was then dulled down with Tamiya pastels, to create a bit of a weathered and rubberized look.






On the left side of the HUD should be a shielded gizmo that I found was an “AOA Indexer” from references.  While the BB kit was missing this feature, the kit has this part, but it is very crude with a big seam line running through it.  Cleaning it up and adding some brass for the shield on the top along with an Airscale placard, it turned out pretty good.  After it was assembled, I drilled a hole and inserted it beside the HUD.  Note the big gaps along the gun door to windscreen panel lines.  More on that later.






Another view from the top.






Another part supplied in the kit and BB resin set is the compass on the windscreen on the right side.  Both are crappy, so I made one myself from styrene rod and more Airscale brass bezels and decals, with a wire attached to the back.  For the compass holder/bracket, I modified an Airscale bezel that had an extension that I cut out, bent, then glued to the windscreen.  The compass was painted black, while the bracket was painted cockpit gray, after masking off the entire windscreen and painting the front gray and the rear black on the inside only.






Dry fit, albeit a bit crooked.






Now it looks more the part than the kit offering.






Now the gun doors.  As mentioned earlier, they are made to be in the open position, so they don’t fit at all.








The door latches are also made in the open position, while the surface is lumpy, due to the ribbing on the inside.  To fix this, I sanded the surface smooth, then carefully trimmed the latches, scoring a cut on the inside, then pushed them into the open holes.






A view from the inside, showing the ribbing and the latches closed on the top panel and still open on the bottom panel.






Before getting active with gun door modifications, I glued the windscreen in place to protect the HUD, etc.  The windscreen and canopy are not very well cast, with lots of marbling in the clear plastic.  After polishing both with Tamiya polishing compounds, they are better, but the real flaws are within the plastic, so you are stuck with what you get.  From a distance like this, the flaws are invisible, so “good enough”.  Note that I did not paint those areas under the windscreen that are in contact with plastic, to ensure a strong bond that won’t let paint get into the windscreen area.



Using a sanding stick only, I carefully sanded down every panel to get them to fit, starting with the bottom gun door glued closed.  This took a long time and some of the panel line gaps were tight while others were too large.  The big gaps were filled with CA glue, then sanded down and rescribed, creating a more uniform look like the real deal.  After a lot of work, I’m pretty happy with the clean and uniform look now.




Edited by chuck540z3
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Just for laughs, I put on the canopy to see how it would fit.  Almost perfect!  Very surprising, since a canopy closed option is not available without extensive modifications, that are not described in the instructions.  The fit is so good, that I think I will be using the canopy to seal the cockpit, using masking solution as the “glue”.






Next up, the engines.  I have a few surprises that I think you will like, but like everything in my builds, this will take a while!





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Thanks Guys!


Feb 12/19



Thankyou Gentlemen!



With the front fuselage done, it’s now time to attack the rear fuselage.  Before I go any further, many of the modifications I’m making I found in the LSP Kitty Hawk F-5E SIG thread, so thank you to everyone who pointed these out before.  You guys tell me what’s wrong with this kit, and I’ll try to show how to fix them!



My jet doesn’t have the chaff and flare dispenser (B12), so the raised panel should be removed and the two small holes filled.








At the rear of the fuselage are 4 raised lumps.  Two should be there and two should be sanded down.






As mentioned earlier, I rescribe every panel line and re-punch every rivet to enhance detail, so I also always use a dark wash to see if I goofed up somewhere.  For all my criticisms of this kit, the bottom detail is excellent. 






I was also going to hide the landing gear bays with closed doors, but with this fine detail, I’m having second thoughts.  I may jazz this stuff up some more and leave it exposed.





The top of the fuselage, however, isn’t as well detailed and it has a few errors.






The engines have nicely formed intake fans and compressors, but there’s lots of crap in the way and ink marks for some reason, so I’m not sure why KH bothered.  There is a fix, however.






Eduard supplies flame tube screens to cover all the warts and some nice detail for the compressor face.  Some engines have this screening and some don’t and I found a pic of a jet that had one of each, so anything goes.






All painted up and ready for assembly.






With the exhaust extensions dry fit, most of the seam lines are covered.






And no ugly seam lines on the sides either.




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Now the intakes present a much bigger problem, because they don’t exist at all and so far, there are no after-market ones available.  Phase Hanger Resin is making some, but after at least 10 attempts to contact them and get a real date for delivery, I gave up and for the first time, tried to make some of my own.  With small engine intakes and a fairly straight forward trajectory, I found some 5/8” OD/1/2” ID PVC pipe and gave it a whirl.  Let’s call these “Econo-Intakes”, because they are nowhere near as good as resin ones, but they are better than nothing- and waiting for some to show up one day (or not).




I started with a few tools to shape and bend the plastic pipe.  The pliers on the right give an intake opening similar to the kit plastic and the awl-like gizmo on the left (it’s really a wine stopper) should spread the pipe enough to get it around the engines.








After a lot of trial and error using a heat gun, I found that the pipe will become very flexible when heated and you can shape it.  The pipe also has a bit of shape memory, so by re-heating the pipe, you can get it to go back close to where it started before heating.  So here is Proto-type Econo-Intake #7, which worked out quite well.  In order to get the intake to fit over the gear well, you need to sand down both the bottom and top so that it will clear.  This was done using a sanding wheel on a Dremel tool, which made quick work of the plastic.  Other parts were heated and shaped accordingly, but you have to be careful to let the pipe cool before it touches the kit plastic.  While the outside of the pipe is quite rough, the inside remains very smooth.








The fronts are a bit rough right now and everything is still only dry fit.  After the top fuselage has been cemented to the bottom, I will sand and shape them super thin so that they are one smooth unit with no gaps.








When the front portion of the intake is installed, it will be tough to see this join anyway.  This front piece has lots of issues to deal with anyway, so I plan on making everything smooth as one unit and, well, seamless!








From the front you can see the intake fan, which is really hard to photograph.  I’m leaving these intakes white, so no need to paint them.






That’s it for now boys.  Next up will be clean-up of the “Econo-Intakes”.







Edited by chuck540z3
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Waiting for an update from you is like waiting for your 20 oz t-bone steak to come out. You are drooling with anticipation and your mouth waters! But when it does come out, you are every bit as satisfied. I'm hungry now.😋

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Outstanding update Chuck.  What a great solution for the seamless intakes.  Your problem analysis and solving skills and ingenuity are top shelf.


Wonderful work.



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Beautiful work Chuck !! Way to think "outside the box" !!

I just have to scratch my head at times. What are these model companies looking at when they do their research to make a model ?? How do they constantly get things wrong and put stuff where it shouldn't be ?



Edited by A-10 LOADER
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Thanks guys!


While I have criticized this kit, the alternative Hasegawa offering is much, much worse, so we modelers have to remind ourselves that we lucky to have these kits at all.  Aftermarket seamless intakes and other goodies like maybe new gun doors will likely arrive soon enough.




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