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Navairfan last won the day on August 18 2017

Navairfan had the most liked content!


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About Navairfan

  • Birthday 02/29/1960

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    Biloxi, MS
  • Interests
    My interests are 1/48 scale US Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, from the Golden Wings age up to the present. My long-term project is to build as many MiG-killing Navy jets as possible.

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  1. Hi, everyone. I'm looking for a set of decals that came in the Revell Germany boxing of the old Monogram 1/48 F9F-5P Panther. It's the markings for VU-1. If anyone has these decals, I'll be glad to buy them from you. Thanks!
  2. Beautifully done! I have that kit in the stash - any construction difficulties?
  3. Thanks very much, Gil! Reading John Lundstrom's outstanding book, The First Team, many yeas ago, I knew I wanted to build a model of Rawie's aircraft. It took about 20 years, but I finally did it.
  4. Superbly done, in every respect, Gil. I'm in awe that you can achieve such a high level of craftsmanship in just ten days.
  5. My latest build is the 1/48 Hobby Boss F4F3 'Early Version', which I converted to an F4F-3A. I finished it in the markings of F4F-3A BuNo 3914, the first Navy aircraft to down an enemy plane in WWII. Flown by Lt.(jg) Wilmer Rawie of VF-6 aboard USS Enterpise, he shot down a Japanese Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96 ‘Claude’ fighter over Taroa Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Feb. 1. 1942. The F4F-3A differed from the F4F-3 in several ways. The engine on the -3A had the magnetos on the rear of the engine, instead of the crankcase, so I used a resin replacement engine front without the magnetos. It also lacked inter-coolers in the wheel wells, so I left these off, and also removed the inter-cooler scoops from inside the cowling. The -3A also had single formation light on the fuselage spine, instead of two as molded on the kit. The -3A also had extra side braces on the windscreen, and one large cowl flap on each side, which the kit correctly provides. To complete the engine, I added thin copper wire to the cylinders for spark plug wiring. I used an Eduard Zoom set to replace the instrument panel and few other cockpit details. I replaced the over-scale kit gunsight with a resin Mk VIII gunsight from Quickboost, and the kit seat with a resin one from Ultracast, with molded-in lap belts. Shoulder harnesses weren’t installed until June of ’42, and the aircraft I was modeling flew combat in February, on the first offensive strikes of the war. I painted the cockpit and lower fuselage tub Model Master Acryl Euro I Dark Green, which to my eye closely matches photos of the dark bronze green color Grumman used early in Wildcat production. The assembled cockpit fit nicely into the assembled fuselage halves. Once major assembly was complete, I compared the kit to photos, and did a side-by-side comparison with my Tamiya Wildcat, and determined the kit sits about an eighth of an inch too high. I cut the axles off and trimmed a bit off the main struts, then re-attached the axles. On my Tamiya Wildcat, I used resin replacement wheels, so I used the leftover Tamiya kit wheels to replace the inaccurate Hobby Boss examples. The Wildcat I was modeling was painted in the blue-grey over light-grey scheme, and these colors have no Federal Standard equivalents. I used Model Master Acryl US Navy Blue Grey for the topside color. Based on photos of the Wildcats and TBDs found when the wreck of USS Lexington was discovered, I think this color is a good match. The bottom Light Grey color is more perplexing. All color references today state that the Light Grey camouflage color is the equivalent of Flat Gull Grey, FS 36440. But, according the noted aircraft historian Dana Bell, they are NOT the same color. Flat Gull Grey has a brown tint, and Light Grey was a neutral gray color, which is supported by the few color photos that exist. I wound up using Camouflage Grey, FS 36622 – not correct, but I think it’s a closer match than Flat Gull Grey. After priming with Tamiya White Primer, I airbrushed on the Light Grey bottom and Blue Grey topside colors. The F4F-3A I wanted to model was BuNo 3914, the first Navy aircraft to down an enemy plane in WWII. Flown by Lt. Wilmer Rawie of VF-6 aboard USS Enterprise, he shot down a Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96 ‘Claude’ fighter over Taroa Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Feb. 1. 1942. All the fighters on that mission carried two 100lb. bombs. I robbed a pair of these small bombs and their racks from an Accurate Mniatures F3F-1 kit. The bombs come molded with the fins in the + rather than X configuration, so I cut them off and reattached them oriented correctly. I painted the bombs Tamiya Yellow Green, since they came from pre-war stocks and were not yet painted grey or green. The decals came from a long out-of-production sheet of famous Wildcats by Three Guys Replicas. The sheet correctly gives the 9 red and white stripes for the rudder instead of the proper 13, and makes provisions for the smaller, painted-over wing stars when VF-6 applied the oversized national insignia to their Wildcats. Overall, the Hobby Boss F4F-3 kits make fine models, and are great choice to model the first version of the venerabe Wildcat to see combat.
  6. Thanks, Mark! I had a LOT of things go wrong on this build, but I'm pleased with the results.
  7. All I can say is....wow! Another outstanding build, as usual from you. The B-10 certainly is an interesting-looking aircraft.
  8. My latest build is Hobbycraft's 1/48 T-33. I used Iliad Designs Naval T-Birds decal sheet to model a jet from Guided Missile Group One, used to control Regulus missile flights in the early 1960's. I replaced the very plain kit cockpit with one from True Details cockpit. The biggest accuracy issue seems to be the aft fuselage, which has a humped appearance just before the tail. The the rear canopy fairing where it meets the fuselage is the wrong shape as well. Otherwise, the kit looks enough like a T-33 to me to pass muster. The only options the kit gives you is to display the canopy open or closed, to add pylons and bombs beneath the wings, or to have nose guns visible or replaced with blank-off plates. (I used the bank-off plates, since the TV-2D I was modeling was unarmed.) The flaps are designed to be displayed down, but could probably be trimmed to fit closed. The tip tanks are (I think) the Misawa type, that hang under the wingtips. The jet I was building, though, had the longer Fletcher-type tanks that attached directly to the end of wingtips. Fortunately, I had a pair of Fletcher tanks in my spares box left over from an old Testor T-33 kit. I primed all the cockpit pieces with Tamiya white primer in a spray can, then airbrushed the cockpit Tamiya acrylic NATO Green. I added wire ejection pull handles to the seats, and painted them black with yellow stripes. The seats themselves were painted Tamiya acrylic NATO Black, with Model Master Acryl Insignia Red headrests, and Model Master Acryl Light Grey belts and harnesses. A fellow modeler told me that the Regulus missile drones were flown from the front cockpit of TV-2D’s, so I guesstimated and added a side control stick to the right console, along with a few additional instruments and boxes. I couldn’t find out if these jets retained the main control stick in the front cockpit, so I left it in. The kit instrument panels had better detail than the True Details panels, so I used them instead. I used Repli-Scale decal instruments for the instrument panels, and generic white stenciling for the headrests. The torsion links on the struts are solid, so I drilled them out for a more accurate appearance. The kit wheel wells are bare, so I added a few lines and cables from wire and styrene rod. Nothing major, just enough to busy up the wells some. I did replace the molded-on brake lines on the main gear with wire for a more scale appearance. The flaps have molded-on rib detail, but it’s not very pronounced. I left them as is, but added ribs and stringers to the upper flap wells, which had zero detail. I also added sheet styrene to the fuselage to cover huge holes visible when the flaps are lowered. The splitter plates, which are supposed to go inside the intakes, did not fit well all. I adjusted the fit by trimming part of the plate, but they still fit very poorly. For the tail position light, I drilled out a small hole at the base of the rudder, painted it silver inside, and added a drop of Krystal-Clear for the lens. The wingtip and tank lights were replaced with clear resin pieces, then colored with Tamiya Clear Red and Clear Green. I added a red anti-collision light under the center of the fuselage. I also used Krystal-Clear to make the two landing lights on the nose gear strut. In researching T-33’s for this project, I read that all T-33’s had a green-tinted center windscreen panel, so I used thinned Tamiya Clear Green to replicate this on the kit windscreen. The kit had no pitot probe, so I made one from a probe found in the spares box, bent and sanded to shape, and attached it under the nose. Finally, I added antennas for drone-controlling on the top and bottom of the nose. The tall blade antenna on top came from a 1/48 Hasegawa A-4 kit, and the smaller bottom antenna came from a 1/48 Hobbycraft A-4 kit. I used a sharpened mechanical pencil to lightly enhance the panel lines on the wings and tail. But otherwise, I kept weathering to a minimum.
  9. Gil - I continue to be deeply impressed by your abilities as a modeler. Your B-47 was simply a masterpiece of design, construction, finish, scratch-building, and ingenuity. No doubt this Nell will be another yet another example of your exemplary skill as a modeler. Well done, Sir!
  10. My latest effort is the old, but solid, Monogram 1/48 F-8E Crusader. This classic from Monogram features average fit, with (mostly) accurate outlines and shapes. It has raised panel lines, which also appear accurate compared to drawings and photos in my references. There is one glaring mistake: the entire nose, from aft of the canopy to the end of the nose, is one quarter inch (or one scale foot) too wide. This gives the windscreen and canopy a flattened appearance compared to the actual aircraft. Monogram made this same mistake on their 1/48 A-4 E/F Skyhawk kit. Another flaw, though one more easily remedied, is an incorrect seat. The kit seat looks more like one from a Tomcat or Intruder, rather than the correct Martin-Baker Mk F5 or F7 seat. The sit of the landing gear, especially the mains, is too low, and needs to be corrected. Inaccuracies aside, the kit can still be built into a fine and relatively accurate model with a little work, and some help from the spares box and aftermarket parts. But why bother, when the far superior Hasegawa Crusader is readily available? First, I’m a Crusader nut, and I bought several Monogram Crusaders before the Hasegawa kit was released. I had it in the stash, and every once and a while, I enjoy the challenge of updating and improving older kits. Second is cost, but not by much – you can get two or three Monogram/Revell Crusaders for the price of one Hasegawa kit. However, you must factor in the cost of a resin replacement seat, and if you raise the wing, the underwing bay (unless you scratchbuild it yourself) and replacement landing gear (again, unless you modify the kit gear yourself), and decals (the kit decals may be useable, but are old and very thick). By the time you purchase update sets, you may still be under the cost of a Hasegawa kit, but just barely. And you still have a kit with a nose that’s a scale foot too wide. Another reason I chose to build it is that I had already purchased the excellent Furball Aero Design sheet of MiG-killing Crusaders, and wanted to add another F-8 MiG-killer to my collection, so this was a slightly less expensive way to do so. Here’s a list of additions and modifications I made to the kit to bring it up to snuff: The kit cockpit needs replacement seat, but has a good insturment panel and side consoles. The area behind the seat, though, is void of any detail at all, so I used a resin cockpit from Black Box, which can be had for around $10 these days. But use the kit instrument panel, as it is more accurate for the F-8E. The bulkhead at the rear of the canopy was replaced – the kit piece is too thick and has raised lines, but the actual bulkhead was thin sheet metal with stamped indentations. I cut a thin piece of sheet plastic to shape, and carved in the grooves. The front windscreen was detailed with a grab handle, and a stand-by compass. I added rearview mirrors and a restraint strap to the canopy. Monogram didn’t provide an afterburner nozzle, so I created one from an old F-18 exhaust cone from the spares box. Before closing up the fuselage, I cut out the boarding steps. The afterburner cooling scoops were hollowed out for a more realistic appearance before attachment to the tail. I drilled out the small navigation lights on either side of the upper fin, painted them silver, and filled them with Krystal Klear. I also drilled out a hole for the refueling probe light on the left side just under the windscreen, filled it with a drop of Krystal Clear, and painted it with Tamiya Clear Red. The wingtip lights received the same treatment, with the starboard lights painted Tamiya Clear Green and the port lights Clear red. I removed the over-scale pitot probe and replaced it with a more accurate resin piece from Quickboost. The landing gear needs a lot of work. The nose gear strut is too thin – it should be almost twice as thick in diameter. I used the replacement metal gear from the old Cobra Company backdate set. But the nose gear strut is just a copy of the kit piece – I left it as is. I added a 1/4 inch thick spacer of scrap plastic to the top of the nose gear strut to give the model the characteristic nose up stance seen in most photos. I drilled out the lightening holes in the kit nose gear drag link, and added an actuating cylinder in the nose gear well. The main gear were replaced by the Cobra Company set as well, which does correct the squat stance of the kit gear. The wheel bays are pretty bare, so I busied them up with wire, styrene rod and bits of plastic scrap, including the prominent main fuel line in the starboard well. I wanted to build this jet with the distinctive variable incidence wing raised, which means the flaps and leading edge droops must be lowered. The kit makes no provision for raising the wing, so the underwing bay must be either scratchbuilt or an aftermarket set used. I used an old Cobra Company F-8 backdating set for the underwing bay and the separate flaps and droops, which must be cut away from the kit wing. The plastic used in the Monogram kit is soft, so this makes all the surgery a little easier. I used to think the under-wing bay was painted white, but Tom Weinel, a former F-8 pilot, informed me that this area was painted interior green. I painted the bay Tamiya NATO Green. The large diameter pipe that runs along the right side of the well, the heat exchanger cooling line, was painted Tamiya Flat Aluminum, and the the fuel filter red. Folding the wings presents a challenge. The kit has seperate wing tips, but there is zero detail at the fold joints, so all of it has to be scratch built. I used sections of styrene rod and wire for the fold joints, and photo-etched tie-down rings.. The Squadron/SignaI F-8 Crusader Walk Around book was an invaluable reference for this project, with a wealth of detail photos. The kit has the option to display the in-flight refueling probe extended, but again there is no detail in the probe well, and the probe itself has incorrect and missing details. I wanted to display the IFR probe extended, so virtually everything was replaced or scratchbuilt, using plastic strip and rod styrene, wire, scrap plastic pieces, and photo-etched pieces from an Eduard detail set. The tip of the probe is inaccurate, so I robbed a tip from an extra A-4 refueling probe in my spares box. The probe bay door was replaced with metal pieces from the Eduard set. The only kit piece I used was the forward half of the probe arm. A small data plate at the rear of the probe well was replicated with a small landing gear data plate decal from an F-18 sheet. The IFR probe and well were then painted Tamiya Yellow Green, which appears to be a good match for the yellow protective primer Vought used. F-8E’s often carried underwing pylons, so I decided to include them on the model. The Monogram pylons are simplified with soft details, so I used a pair left over from a Hasegawa F-8. The paint scheme was the standard Navy gull grey over white. I pre-shaded the model with Tamiya rubber black, then used Model Master acrylic Gull Grey for the topside color. The underside, the UHT’s (unit horizontal tail) and the upper and lower surfaces of the flaps and ailerons were sprayed Tamiya acrylic gloss white. To represent the Coroguard applied to all leading edges, I masked them off and sprayed them Tamiya Flat Aluminum, darkened a bit with Gunmetal. The raised panel lines were accentuated with a mechanical pencil. The markings presented another challenge. I wanted to portray F-8E BuNo 150926, the jet flown by LCDR John Nichols when he shot down a MiG-17 on July 9, 1968, when deployed aboard USS Ticonderoga with VF-191. Originally I intended to use leftover kit decals from a previously-built Hasegawa F-8, but when Furball Aero Design released their sheet of F-8 MiG-killers, I bought it and assumed it would have more accurate markings than the kit decals. My research indicates otherwise. The Furball sheet appears to be in error in two cases for this jet. I couldn’t find photos of this jet during the timeframe of the MiG-kill, but photos in the ’68 Ticonderoga cruise book show that other jets in the squadron during the time of the shootdown carried large black blast panels around the canons on each side of the nose, and also carried the Satan’s Kittens squadron insignia just behind the blast panels. The Hasegawa kit decals have these markings, but the Furball sheet doesn’t. Two emails to Furball inquiring about the discrepancy went unanswered, so I went with the best available evidence and included the markings. In addition, a cruise book photo showed the red bulkhead visible when the wing was raised carried the squadron number inside three white diamonds, rather than the ‘Satan’s Kittens’ logo that both sheets provide. I recreated this with small numbers and white diamond shapes raided from my decal catalog. Whew….it was a lot of work, but I enjoyed improving and modifying the Monogram Crusader. It will always be a favorite kit of mine, even though it has been outclassed by the newer and far superior Hasegawa kit. But with patience, research and some work, it can be used to build a fine model of this attractive and historic MiG-killing jet.
  11. Thanks very much for your comments, Gil! After back-to-back Hellcats, I'm finishing up a Monogram Crusader.
  12. Your Tomcat is just superb, Gil. I bought the kit recently, but haven't started it yet. When I do, I finish it as a VF-41 bird, too, one of the 'Fitter-killers' of the first Gulf of Sidra incident. Glad to hear you can confirm reports that the fit is darn near perfect. That will be a pleasant change from the Academy Tomcat I build years ago!
  13. Here’s my latest effort, Eduard’s 1:48 scale F6F-5 Hellcat ‘Weekend Edition’ (which, ironically, took me six months to complete.) The Eduard series of 1:48 scale Hellcats were hailed as the best in scale when they were released in 2008. They are great kits, but after building one, I’m not convinced it’s the best. The kit features excellent surface detail and good-to-average parts fit. The wings and horizontal stabilizers are basically butt-joined to the fuselage, leading to some gaps along the left wing root, which I filled with Mr Surfacer 500. It also makes getting the correct dihedral a challenge. The kit has separate flaps and control surfaces, but has no provision to display them in any position but neutral. This just complicates the build, and creates extra seams that have to be filled and sanded. The Weekend Edition doesn’t have the photo-etched and resin parts that come in the standard kits. To dress up the cockpit, I bought a photo-etched cockpit set from Eduard, a replacement seat from Ultracast, and painted the cockpit Tamiya NATO green. Not technically the correct color, but it looks good to my eye. New wheels came from Ultracast, too, since the kit wheels are way too thin. In photos, you often see Hellcats in the overall gloss sea blue scheme with aluminum or even white wheel hubs, so to add a bit of color, I painted the hubs Model Master Metalizer Titanium, to give a weathered and oxidized metal effect. Unlike Hasegawa Hellcats, The Eduard kits come with two canopies, one designed to fit open, and another for a closed canopy – something all kit makers should do. The engine is good, but needs a wiring harness, which I added from thin copper wire. The kit prop is really poor, with soft or missing details, and blades that are too wide at the base. I replaced it with the excellent prop from an old Arii Hellcat. The drop tank in the Weekend Edition is poor as well, with no representation of the prominent vertical or horizontal seam, and without the bracing straps provided in the standard kit. The fit of the forward tank brace piece was really bad, needing filling and sanding. I used thin strip styrene to replicate bracing straps and the horizontal seam seen on the early version of the tank. I added a small round photo-etched piece from the spare parts box to represent the fuel tank filler cap. Again to add more color, I painted the tank white. Photos indicate this was seen often, too. You get two sets of HVAR’s – the earlier 2.5 inch rocket with a 5-inch warhead, and the later 5-inch rocket. Both sets are very well detailed, but the mounting pylons are molded with the rockets, and have little detail. I used the later version HVAR’s on my kit, with the warheads painted olive drab, and the rocket bodies painted light grey. I recently switched to acrylics, and boy, did I make a big mistake by not priming this kit before spraying the overall gloss sea blue paint scheme. While the Model Master paint sprayed beautifully once I arrived at the right thinning ratio, the finish was extremely delicate, and the paint would scratch off easily. I spent a few hours re-spraying scratches in the finish. Lesson learned – always use primer! I kept weathering to a minimum, since the aircraft I was modeling had been in combat just a few months. To recreate the ever-present exhaust stains, I used Tamiya Weathering Master sets, made for armor modelers. These powders, applied with a make-up type brush and pad, give me greater control than doing applying stains with an airbrush. I also think it's easier to blend the colors to get the effect you want with these sets. It's hard to see in the photos, but for the antenna wires, I used my wife's hair. I've never had much luck stretching sprue - it always broke, and never looked in scale. To my eye, hair is just right for antenna wires. The Eduard kit decals are outstanding, with walkways and full stenciling, and features a Hellcat from VF-20 deployed aboard USS Enterprise in October of 1944. I wanted something a little more eye-catching, so I chose the flamboyant checkerboard markings of VF-27 deployed aboard USS Independence in the final months of the war. VF-27 was famous for their earlier ‘cat-mouth’ squadron markings that adorned the cowls of their Hellcats. After their carrier, USS Princeton, was sunk, the squadron was sent stateside for a while, then re-deployed aboard USS Independence from June to August of 1945. The checkerboard tail and wing markings came from SuperScale sheet #481239. The checkerboard markings on the sheet are for VF-46, but VF-27 was deployed aboard Independence at the same time and used the same checkerboard carrier ID markings. The only difference was VF-46 used a single small plane number on the tails, and VF-27 used the more common large plane number beneath the cockpit, and also on the upper right wing. My main reference for the markings is an outstanding little booklet, ‘Markings of The Aces, Part 2, U.S. Navy, Book 1, by Richard Hill. It was published by Kookaburra Technical Publications in 1969, and provides a detailed look at the markings and combat record of VF-2, VF-9, VF-17, and VF-27. Once everything was decaled, I airbrushed a coat of Testor semigloss clear coat over the model, which I think has more scale accuracy than a gloss coat. Having built a Hasegawa and Eduard Hellcat back to back now, I can say that neither kit has a big advantage over the other. Both kits have great points, and weak ones, but I think I prefer the Hasegawa Hellcats for overall ease of construction.
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