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

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Thanks Guys!


I never would have tried this method of creating intakes on a larger jet, like my big Eagle, because you can actually see quite a bit inside those big intakes.  These tiny intakes mean that you can get away with minimal detail, because you can't really see much of it inside, even with a flashlight.  In any case, even crude intakes are better than nothing!


A bit of an update, but more of a warning.  I am currently detailing the upper fuselage before I glue the entire fuselage together and along with moving the fuel caps to the port side, I've been scratching my head on how to deal with those circular windows just in from of the engine vents on each side.  These windows indicate the level of some kind of fluid, but the kit instructions don't have clear windows for them.   A review of other builds of this kit indicate that nobody is using an alternative, so the circular depressions are left as is.  After looking hard at where all the clear parts go (GP Series), I think I have figured out that many parts are miss-labeled and therefore not missing.  So here is what I've found, looking at the GP sprue below:





1)  On the bottom of the forward fuselage, the instructions tell you to place two GP-9 circular lens into the openings in Step 22.  These lenses are too small, so you should use two GP-1 lenses instead.






2)  Now we have two small  GP-9 lenses for the sides, which fit perfectly in the holes in front of the engine vents in Step 17, which are not mentioned.






3)  The instructions tell you to use the GP-1 lenses for the navigation lights on the bottom of the wing in Step 19, but nothing for the top of the wing.  Since there are four GP-7 lenses, which are almost identical to the GP-1 lenses, these should be used instead for the bottom AND top of the wing.






4)  The remaining error is that the instructions ask you to use the circular GP-7 lenses in the vertical stabilizer in Step 21. This is wrong (and we used them already above), because they are rectangular shaped and should be GP-5 instead.






In Summary:


1)  Step 22.   Use GP-1 instead of GP-9 for the bottom lights on the forward fuselage


2)  Step 17.   Use GP-9 for the side lenses just forward of the engine vents. (Missing in instructions)


3)  Step 19.   Use four GP-7 lenses instead of two GP-1 lenses on the end of the wings, top and bottom.


4)  Step 21.   Use GP-5 instead of GP-7 lenses on the tail.


5)  Kitty Hawk instructions should be scrutinized thoroughly before gluing anything.



Hope this helps!


Edited by chuck540z3
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Thanks Guys!


On 2/18/2019 at 5:49 PM, hawkwrench said:

Great job Chuck! What wash do you use for the panel line and rivet highlights?

I'd like to start doing that on my builds. It makes the subject pop out at you better.




See below




February 19/19



In my last post a few days ago, I was fairly impressed with the lower main fuselage which has fairly good panel lines and rivet detail.  Although I usually re-scribe every panel line and re-punch most rivets, the bottom didn’t need too much of that.  The upper fuselage, however, is not nearly as good as the bottom half.  As a matter of fact, it’s quite bad and almost everything needed to be enhanced or changed. 



Here’s a few pics of what I mean.  There are some nasty and big molding flaws that run the length of the fuselage, that need to be sanded down and removed.  Further, the panel line and rivet detail are there, but quite weak to almost non-existent.  Sanding off this flaw will remove this detail, so you need to enhance it, sand it, then bring it back.






As noted earlier, the fuel caps are on the wrong side, so the ones molded on the starboard side should be filled and replicated on the port side.  This is kind of weird, because the Kitty Hawk decal instructions have the fuel caps on the correct side, so there was obviously a screw up somewhere along the way.  The caps should be slightly recessed and there should be some detail of a handle within.  I don’t have anything that looks like that and I really don’t know how to replicate same, so I filled the caps on the right side with CA glue and drilled progressively larger holes on the left side, then inserted some circular PE brass bits to create new fuel caps.  They aren’t exactly accurate, but they are crisp and detailed beyond anything I could have created with styrene, so as we say in modeling far too often, “Good Enough!”






My jet has the circular GPS dome instead of the swept back VHS antenna.  From the few pictures that I can find of this newer feature, the antenna base is about the same with a “hockey puck” replacing the antenna.  Searching through the stash, this AIM-9 missile end is about the right size and it even fits the slot in the base, so that I can leave it off until the end of the build.  I also sanded it down a bit to be more to scale.






One of the most characteristic features of the F-5 is all the rivet detail, which is easily seen, no matter what the paint scheme is.  This needs to be enhanced, so after sanding all of the plastic very smooth, I then re-scribed every panel line and re-punched every rivet, adding a few more rivets according to references.  By doing this, you not only bring the detail out, you enhance it.  A sharp scriber or a needle in a pin vice enhances the detail by creating a sharp demarcation line that actually pushes the kit plastic on either side of it, filling the dull detail around it.  It is subtle, but very effective.  Here is the upper fuselage after many hours of tedious work- and a sore neck!






As always, I use Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color in Black to show this detail, but also flaws that I may have made or were already on the kit plastic, which are easily fixed at this early stage.  I have found that this method of building models greatly reduces the number of flaws you find later after a first coat of paint.  A few more close-ups:






Sometimes, however, you get stress cracks, created by the scriber and needle, which is made worse by the dark wash, which is a solvent that weakens the plastic within.  This is fairly rare, the cracks are not wide enough to see after paint and I have never had a problem with them later.  Still, I added some CA glue to the inside of the cracks to stabilize them, just in case.






I tried not to be too aggressive with the detail where it will join other parts of the model, like the front and bottom fuselage.  As you may recall, the panel lines did not align very well on the bottom of the front fuselage, so it’s best to glue the parts together, then re-do the panel lines.  The fit from top to bottom, however, is pretty darn good, so I should be able to align the panel lines fairly easily.












In my next post I hope to have the intakes installed and all of the main fuselage glued together and cleaned up.  That won’t be for about a month, because I’m off to Hawaii for a couple of weeks to get away from this “Polar Vortex” that the media has recently discovered is caused by global warming.  Really.  It’s in the news just about every day.  That’s funny, because when I was a kid and it was cold for a long time, we called it “Winter” and there was no mention of it being an abnormal event, ever since the Ice Ages 11,000 years ago.





Edited by chuck540z3
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Great job with all the fixes and additions to the air frame Chuck. I can really appreciate all your efforts in adding all the rivets/panel fastener details too since, as you know, I did the same thing to my 1/18th scale Cat. It's extremely tedious and definitely makes a big difference in the end. Enjoy your vacation and I'll look forward to the next update.



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17 hours ago, Brett M said:

Beautifully clean work as always from you and brilliant tutorials for the rest of us. 


Enjoy Hawaii, sounds like a good break.....20 days till Maui for myself and fam, I won't miss the 20 degree weather!

Enjoy Maui, such a beautiful island! Was there in 2017, enjoyed every bit of it!

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Thanks Guys!


1 hour ago, clioguy said:

Chuck, great inspirational job as always!


Two questions if I may please:

1. What do you use to re-punch the rivets?

2. How do you apply the Tamiya Accent Colour?


1.  Sewing Needle in a pin vice.  Choose a needle that's sharp, but also a bit fat not too far from the tip so that you can modulate the depth and width of each rivet hole.


2.  The Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color (TPLAC) product comes in the exact same bottle as their Extra Thin Cement, complete with the same application brush.  Shake the bottle, then apply the wash sparingly, using capillary action to suck the dark wash along panel lines.  When it dries for at least 10 minutes, use a paper towel or rag with just a little plain paint solvent (not lacquer thinner!) to wipe the excess wash off.  Too much thinner and you remove too much wash.  Too little and it won't come off at all, so you will discover what that fine line is with a little practice.


One note on the TPLAC washes.  The label says that it it might harm bare plastic, but used sparingly I have never had that problem.  The tiny stress cracks above are 90% new scribing and rivet detail and about 10% TPLAC making it a bit worse, like any solvent would.





Edited by chuck540z3
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/14/2019 at 7:52 PM, hawkwrench said:

Chuck,  what color backdrop do you use? I'd like to buy that color for mine.



Tim, that blue fabric just came with my mini-photobooth, so I don't have a good answer.


March 20/19




Back again after a few weeks on a cruise to Hawaii and back, where my wife and I were able to meet Scott Wilson and his wife, who helped me so much on my long F-4E build.  As mentioned in my first post, Scott sent me the 1/32 Hasegawa version of the F-5E and the now very coveted Black Box cockpit, which has been instrumental in “kicking up a notch” the cockpit of this Kitty Hawk kit instead.  Scott and his wife Lei took us on a full tour of Volcano National Park on the Big Island and we learned many things about the recent volcanic eruptions and how they affected his community.  Scott now flies an air ambulance in a Beechcraft King Air, so he has hundreds of photos of the eruptions from the air that he shared with us.  Very cool- as was our all day island tour.  I hope to return the favor if he and Lei ever make it to my neck of the woods in Calgary/Banff, so thanks again Scott!




Obviously, I haven’t had much time for modeling lately, but I did manage to get the main fuselage assembled this week, complete with my hack seamless intakes made out of PVC plastic pipe.  Since the pipe is so thick and hard to sand, my plan is to create a bit of an optical illusion within the intakes, so that all you see at the join with the front portion of the intakes is white and if you’re lucky with a flashlight, the front of the engine fan.  After heating and bending the plastic pipe to fit, I cemented it in with lots of thick CA glue, much as I did the resin cockpit.  To fill the remaining gaps, I used good old Poly Instafill, primarily used to fill cracks in drywall.  This worked really well, because the filler dried quickly, was easy to sand smooth and more importantly, I didn’t have to paint it white.








Although really hard to photograph, here’s what the intakes look like inside and if you squint, you can see the front fans.  These pics also show the challenge of creating seamless intakes for this kit, because they must flex up and over the landing gear wells.  While the prototype Phase Hanger Resin intakes appear to do this, an email exchange with Gary of GT Resin indicates that he may try to incorporate the gear wells in his F-5 intakes as kit replacements to reduce this arch, much like his F-15 seamless intakes that I used on my Aggressor last year.  In any event, any new seamless intakes will be better than my plastic pipes and, in the meantime, until they actually become available, plastic pipes are better than nothing!










Elsewhere, the fit of the top fuselage to the bottom half was quite bad in many areas and not so bad in others.  The panel line and rivet detail isn’t bad, but using several references I did make some changes.  The seam line from the rear to the horizontal stab pin is real and should be retained, but forward of that it should be filled completely, as shown in purple below.  Other vertical panel lines should be deleted, also in purple, while adding the two blue panel lines instead.








And here’s the same pic without all those colored lines for reference.  Unfortunately, the dark wash I used earlier can still be found in “ghost panel lines” that I have filled with clear CA glue.










For the rear, I used both kit and Eduard PE parts.  For some reason only the left of the 4 holes at the top is open, which I found in many different reference pics.  This hole was drilled out, along with the loop in the middle from the top.








FYI, the wing will cover most of the seam line along the front, so repairs to this area are mostly unnecessary.








Before attaching the front intake parts, the front and rear fuselage halves should be cemented together into one unit.  This join is poor and weak, so I used the old styrene strip trick to reinforce the junction, fusing the two parts together solidly.








From the top, the panel lines line up fairly well, albeit a bit lumpy and no, this join line should not be there as a panel line, as I’ve seen with a few builds of this kit.





Edited by chuck540z3
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From the sides, however, the front panel lines are lower than the rear on both sides…







While the bottom fit is quite bad.  This may have been created by the insertion of my plastic pipe intakes, but I don’t think so, because the fit was not forced.  In any case, sanding all this down while retaining the fine detail will be very tough.






After a LOT of sanding and rescribing, I think I have the join licked.  Again, ghost panel line detail can still be seen under clear CA glue filler.









As expected, this bottom join was a bear to fill and re-scribe, but it turned out pretty good after all.






With that out of the way, it was time to attend to the front intake parts.  As you can see, there are 6 moon crater pin marks on each side and a lip at the rear.  The curved cutout may be there so that you can see the engine fans from the front of the intake, although with nothing but plastic junk inside, why bother?  That rear lip, I assume, may be for future or failed intake parts, that never made it in the current kit?






The pin marks were filled with CA glue and sanded smooth, while the rear of the intake was filled with sheet styrene, to smooth out the intake and create a thicker join to my pipe intakes.






A view from the rear, showing how the styrene parts are interlocking, much like the rest of the intake parts.  My plan is to not paint the white styrene, but paint the forward portion gloss black as found on my subject.  That way your eye will see a sharp demarcation from black to white, with nothing but white found behind in the plastic pipes.  To get a good and smooth paint finish, I am going to paint the intakes before assembly both front and back.






I will also paint the sides of the fuselage where the intakes attach, again for the same reason.  This needle-like jet is now really looking a bit menacing and mean.  I love it!








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