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A Whole New Ballgame For Me

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As I stated in my introduction post, I have dedicated most of my years in the hobby to automotive subjects. After over 30 years of modeling cars and trucks, I have reached a point where the burnout factor has really set in.

I have dabbled in aircraft a few times but haven't really gotten in depth with them. The most extensive I got was when I modeled the A-10 I crewed in Saudi in '90 and '91.

 

I have a plethora of questions regarding building accurate aircraft. I do have a few kits to choose from. I would ultimately like to build a replica of each aircraft I crewed in my USAF career. Those aircraft would include the KC-135R, MC-130E Combat Talon, C-130E, and the A-10.

I'm looking for a decent 'R model -135 kit for starters and I'm also curious as to what kits are best in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale for the other aircraft I would like to build. I'm also an avid Phantom and Tomcat fan as well.

I'm floored to be honest by the quality of the work I see posted here and it's very intimidating seeing such awesome work. I guess right now I'm just looking for some tips and recommendations as I'm really out of my element building aircraft.

 

Thanks for any tips and help in advance.

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As I stated in my introduction post, I have dedicated most of my years in the hobby to automotive subjects. After over 30 years of modeling cars and trucks, I have reached a point where the burnout factor has really set in.

I have dabbled in aircraft a few times but haven't really gotten in depth with them. The most extensive I got was when I modeled the A-10 I crewed in Saudi in '90 and '91.

 

I have a plethora of questions regarding building accurate aircraft. I do have a few kits to choose from. I would ultimately like to build a replica of each aircraft I crewed in my USAF career. Those aircraft would include the KC-135R, MC-130E Combat Talon, C-130E, and the A-10.

I'm looking for a decent 'R model -135 kit for starters and I'm also curious as to what kits are best in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale for the other aircraft I would like to build. I'm also an avid Phantom and Tomcat fan as well.

I'm floored to be honest by the quality of the work I see posted here and it's very intimidating seeing such awesome work. I guess right now I'm just looking for some tips and recommendations as I'm really out of my element building aircraft.

 

Thanks for any tips and help in advance.

 

My choices:

 

Any of the C/KC/RC-135's: AMT did them in 1/72 scale, they can be a bit difficult to find. I believe that Testor's or Italeri reissued the KC-135 kit not too long ago. They have their pros and cons--you may need to add/delete some details to suit your particular aircraft.

 

C-130's: Testor/Italeri's is best, they do both 1/72 and 1/48. An MC-130E would be a conversion, not sure if there are any available but someone else may know.

 

A-10A: What time frame? Any of the early Davis-Monthan or Myrtle Beach planes, and I'd go with Tamiya's early kits in 1/48 (ESCAPAC seat, no chaff/flare boxes). Any later, and I'd use Monogram's (currently the kit is in Revell boxes). In 1/72, Hasegawa or Italeri make decent kits. I'm building a Revell (Monogram) kit now, and it has a few fit issues, but nothing a little bit of old fashioned modeling work can't fix. I also built Revell's orignal A-10A (it dates form about the same time as Tamiya's) in 1/48 scale. It also isn't a bad kit, but they have been long out of production. As a friend and I once discussed, the modeling world still needs a good, state-of-the-art A-10A kit...but there are a few that will fill the bill.

 

F-4's: 1/48th scale, Hasegawa's are better than the others, although Monogram's kits are good, too (raised panel lines and all). 1/72 scale, and you'll also find Hasegawa does the better of the offerings. Revell GmbH also does the long-nose versions, usually in F-4F and RF-4E boxings. If they were to release an F-4C and F-4J based on these molds, they'd have winners.

 

F-14: Hasegawa, both scales. Fujimi also does a very nice 1/72 scale Tomcat, but they were hard to find for a while--some like it better because it has a better shape to it.

 

Hope this helps...

 

Ralph

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As I stated in my introduction post, I have dedicated most of my years in the hobby to automotive subjects. After over 30 years of modeling cars and trucks, I have reached a point where the burnout factor has really set in.

I have dabbled in aircraft a few times but haven't really gotten in depth with them. The most extensive I got was when I modeled the A-10 I crewed in Saudi in '90 and '91.

 

I have a plethora of questions regarding building accurate aircraft. I do have a few kits to choose from. I would ultimately like to build a replica of each aircraft I crewed in my USAF career. Those aircraft would include the KC-135R, MC-130E Combat Talon, C-130E, and the A-10.

I'm looking for a decent 'R model -135 kit for starters and I'm also curious as to what kits are best in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale for the other aircraft I would like to build. I'm also an avid Phantom and Tomcat fan as well.

I'm floored to be honest by the quality of the work I see posted here and it's very intimidating seeing such awesome work. I guess right now I'm just looking for some tips and recommendations as I'm really out of my element building aircraft.

 

Thanks for any tips and help in advance.

 

My choices:

 

Any of the C/KC/RC-135's: AMT did them in 1/72 scale, they can be a bit difficult to find. I believe that Testor's or Italeri reissued the KC-135 kit not too long ago. They have their pros and cons--you may need to add/delete some details to suit your particular aircraft.

 

C-130's: Testor/Italeri's is best, they do both 1/72 and 1/48. An MC-130E would be a conversion, not sure if there are any available but someone else may know.

 

A-10A: What time frame? Any of the early Davis-Monthan or Myrtle Beach planes, and I'd go with Tamiya's early kits in 1/48 (ESCAPAC seat, no chaff/flare boxes). Any later, and I'd use Monogram's (currently the kit is in Revell boxes). In 1/72, Hasegawa or Italeri make decent kits. I'm building a Revell (Monogram) kit now, and it has a few fit issues, but nothing a little bit of old fashioned modeling work can't fix. I also built Revell's orignal A-10A (it dates form about the same time as Tamiya's) in 1/48 scale. It also isn't a bad kit, but they have been long out of production. As a friend and I once discussed, the modeling world still needs a good, state-of-the-art A-10A kit...but there are a few that will fill the bill.

 

F-4's: 1/48th scale, Hasegawa's are better than the others, although Monogram's kits are good, too (raised panel lines and all). 1/72 scale, and you'll also find Hasegawa does the better of the offerings. Revell GmbH also does the long-nose versions, usually in F-4F and RF-4E boxings. If they were to release an F-4C and F-4J based on these molds, they'd have winners.

 

F-14: Hasegawa, both scales. Fujimi also does a very nice 1/72 scale Tomcat, but they were hard to find for a while--some like it better because it has a better shape to it.

 

Hope this helps...

 

Ralph

 

Thanks Ralph. I do have a few aircraft kits in my current collection. I have a KC-135A from AMT. I worked on the =R models though when i was stationed in England along with a few occasional -E models. I will see if I can score an -R model on E-Bay.

I have a couple Fujimi 1/72nd F-4 kits along with Hasegawa's 1/48th F-4G Wild Weasel kit. I'm looking for the -E model F-4 that has the Missouri ANG decals with the shark's mouth on the nose.

I have the Academy 1/72nd A-10 and a Monogram 1/48th A-10 so I can see what i can come up with there.

Other kits I have are the 1/72nd AMT B-52H, AC-130U Gunship, Fujimi F-4C/D, A-37 Dragonfly, and the Academy 1/48th F-15E Strike Eagle, and I even have a couple civilian airliner kits.

 

As you can see, I do have a few kits to choose from, but it's intimidating breaking into them when I'm as inexperienced as I am building these kits. I also have to figure out what's wrong with my airbrush as well so I can at least try to lay down the appropriate paint schemes.

Needless to say, I have a ton to learn and I'll be working slow, that's for sure.

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Thanks Ralph. I do have a few aircraft kits in my current collection. I have a KC-135A from AMT. I worked on the =R models though when i was stationed in England along with a few occasional -E models. I will see if I can score an -R model on E-Bay.

I have a couple Fujimi 1/72nd F-4 kits along with Hasegawa's 1/48th F-4G Wild Weasel kit. I'm looking for the -E model F-4 that has the Missouri ANG decals with the shark's mouth on the nose.

I have the Academy 1/72nd A-10 and a Monogram 1/48th A-10 so I can see what i can come up with there.

Other kits I have are the 1/72nd AMT B-52H, AC-130U Gunship, Fujimi F-4C/D, A-37 Dragonfly, and the Academy 1/48th F-15E Strike Eagle, and I even have a couple civilian airliner kits.

 

As you can see, I do have a few kits to choose from, but it's intimidating breaking into them when I'm as inexperienced as I am building these kits. I also have to figure out what's wrong with my airbrush as well so I can at least try to lay down the appropriate paint schemes.

Needless to say, I have a ton to learn and I'll be working slow, that's for sure.

 

AMT did do the -R model, and I believe that's also the plastic that Italeri reissued not too long ago. It shouldn't be too difficult to find.

 

The Fujimi Phantoms aren't bad, either--once completed, they look like F-4's and build up pretty easily. Watch the cockpit tubs--they tend to leave gaps between the consoles and the fuselage sides.

 

Academy's 1/72 A-10A is a close cousin of Hasegawa's--that was when Academy would change just enough on the kit to keep from being called a copycat. The big boo-boo is the door for the ladder--the lower notched corner is the opposite of the 1:1 A-10A. Easy enough to fix--close the door, fill the seam, and rescribe it correctly. Or leave it be. It doesn't really detract from the finished product.

 

Of the others, AMT's late BUFF's had some issues, not least of which was the fact that they molded the wing in an in-flight condition--if you park the model on a flat surface, the tip protection gear was way too high off the ground, even for an empty-tank airplane. The engines on the -H model are too small, too. Back a few years ago, Paul Boyer updated and corrected one for FineScale Modeler--if you check the Kalmbach website, you might be able to order the back issue. That being said, they are the only kits that will get you a late BUFF without doing a conversion on Monogram's -D model. I never really noticed the too-small engines until someone pointed them out to me. Best way to do it is build it gear up and hang it from the ceiling (as I hear the masses gasp and faint)...

 

The AC-130U also had a few goofs--the engine nacelles are kind of mis-shapen, and the kit generally is soft on details. Again, though, where else are you going to get a late Spectre? Sometimes you have to just built it. In the end, you have a model of an airplane that you might not be able to get.

 

The best A-37 kit is Academy's, but Hasegawa's in 1/72 scale was all we had for years. Either way, you should be good to go. Monogram did a 1/48 version that was pretty neat, too.

 

Academy's F-15's are nice--purists note that there are some shape issues with the kit, but they build up quickly, and again, nobody will mistake the model for a 1957 Chevy.

 

Airliners are fun. I have a whole sub-collection devoted to airliners, particularly those that wore Air Florida and Braniff liveries.

 

You might note, too, that my philosophy on model building is to do what YOU want--don't let the purists deter you from building a particular kit. If you think a model looks good, go for it. Don't get me wrong--I love the fact that there are people in the hobby who can spot shape and detail issues and point them out to us--after all, that spurs the kit designers to produce better kits--but for a good percentage of modelers, many don't care that the exit for the whatsits valve on the left side of the whoosits isn't there (and, taken to the extremes I've seen) which, then, makes the kit then utter crap and not worth looking at, let alone buying and building...

 

As for the airbrush, Step 1 would be a good, thorough cleaning. Disassemble it, get some lacquer thinner, Q-Tips, and some of those soft interdental picks (G-U-M makes some--they look like little green rubber fir trees on white plastic picks), and carefully scrub it down. Make sure all the paint passages are squeaky clean. If it is an Aztek, I'd buy a new tip--don't waste time trying to disassemble it, they're cheap enough. (Actually, if it is an Aztek, I'd look into replacing it...) If it still doesn't work, you might contact the manufacturer and see if they can repair it--I know Badger will pretty much overhaul an airbrush in a week or so, at very little cost to boot. Most of the early Azteks had a lifetime warranty, but it is now a 3-year warranty (one reason I abandoned mine once they started to leak and went back to my tried and true Badger 150 and 200--and bought a 105 Patriot).

 

The best way to go from inexperienced to experienced is the same as how you walk a mile--one step at a time. As I used to say on the forums back in the day, have fun--if you aren't, you're doing something wrong.

 

Ralph

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Regarding the AMT KC-135R, you are looking for AMT Kit #8909. AMT did the KC-135 family of kits as KC-135A Kit #8848, KC-135R Kit #8909, EC-135C Kit #8955, RC-135V Kit #8956, and NKC-135A Kit #8958. AMTech did the sixth variant EC-135N/E Kit #729202. Either the EC-135C or RC-135V kits will give you the engines for the KC-135E. ESCI and Heller have reboxed the plastic, so you might get lucky with multiple engine choices in these boxes, but I can't affirm that from my shash. Good hunting, and may you pay a fair price if you find what you need. You can find box art images of all these kits on the Box Art Archive on this IPMS website.

 

Ed

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I appreciate the info Ed. I've been hunting E-Bay and did find the "Snoopy Nose" Recce version of the -135 which I will pick up. Having worked on A's, E's, Q's, and R's, I would ultimately like to build one of each variant before I'm done. I'm hoping the upcoming IPMS show in New York will have what I'm looking for in the Vendor market for a reasonable pricetag, but we'll have to see.

I guess half the joy of building is the hunt to find what you're looking for in the first place, right? LOL

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Wish I had read this before Yesterday. There was a vendor that had some version of the AMT KC-135 kit. NOt even sure what he wanted for it. However, it is not on any of the ones currently selling or have sold on EBAY. Also, looking at the EBAY pricing, Not sure what a GOOD price would be.

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I did a bit of digging into my stash. The AMTech kit contains BOTH sets of J57 turbojets and TF33 turbofans, so you can build a KC/EC-135E with the fans. Another option comes in the Heller Kit #80383 E-3F/E-3B AWACS, which gives you BOTH sets of TF33 turbofans and CFM-56 turbofans. You can use one set on the AWACS and the other on a KC-135A to make an -E or -R variant. Make sure the Heller kit has the 50th Anniversary of NATO special markings for the E-3B so you get the TF33's. All five of the AMT kits come only with the specific engines used on the variant in the box--J57, TF33, or CFM-56.

 

Ed

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I haven't any decent photos of my B-52H anymore; I'll have to take some if I can clear a tabletop big enough. However, if you'd like to see the AC-130U built up, this is how it looks:

 

USAC130UGunshiplt.jpg

 

USAC130UGunshiprt.jpg

 

I hope this helps a little. despite what the rivet counters may say, I think it looks like an AC-130 gunship. I'm certainly happy with it.

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Holy cow Mark, that is a great looking Gunship. Is that painted in overall Gunship Gray? I was station at Hurlburt and worked on the MC-130E's while I was there and always enjoyed watching the gunships over the range and the sounds of those cannons going off could never be mistaken.

How long did it take for you to build that kit? Did you run into any serious fit or assembly issues?

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...I never really noticed the too-small engines until someone pointed them out to me...

 

I concur with Ralph's comments. A clarification here: I believe only the AMT/Italeri B-52H version has undersized engines. I was happy with the G-model and built it to hang from the ceiling, so the straight wings were a plus. In fact, they needed to be bent slightly upward for flight. (The build was posted on the 'AIRCRAFT' section of this forum for a while). Lots of aftermarket resin bits are available to 'accurize' these kits at GreatModels.com, especially the BUFF MASTER stuff. I've got a set of their resin H-model engines in the stash and they look decent. They even sell a wing box like Paul Boyer scratchbuilt, to droop the wings of the Italeri BUFFs. The only thing that probably can't be corrected without major sturm und drang are some very subtle innaccuracies in the B-52G/H windscreen; not worth bothering with, IMHO. I didn't use any aftermarket on the B-52G, or the KC-135R, and was satisfied with the results.

 

For simplicity's sake, might I suggest starting with a KC-135 in the old SAC gloss gray, or current AMC flat gray paint (Testors ModelMaster makes both of these colors). Weather it as much as you like - or not at all. Many of these jets were/are immaculate.

 

Ralph's comments on building what YOU want, and doing it the way you want it, are the key. Just jump in and get one going. You won't want to stop. I refused to get in a hurry with the BUFF and enjoyed the ride, warts and all. Not many people actually build these big jets, so you will have a very rare and interesting finished product, in any case.

 

As Ralph said: "Have fun--if you aren't, you're doing something wrong-!"

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As I stated in my introduction post, I have dedicated most of my years in the hobby to automotive subjects. After over 30 years of modeling cars and trucks, I have reached a point where the burnout factor has really set in.

I have dabbled in aircraft a few times but haven't really gotten in depth with them. The most extensive I got was when I modeled the A-10 I crewed in Saudi in '90 and '91.

 

I have a plethora of questions regarding building accurate aircraft. I do have a few kits to choose from. I would ultimately like to build a replica of each aircraft I crewed in my USAF career. Those aircraft would include the KC-135R, MC-130E Combat Talon, C-130E, and the A-10.

I'm looking for a decent 'R model -135 kit for starters and I'm also curious as to what kits are best in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale for the other aircraft I would like to build. I'm also an avid Phantom and Tomcat fan as well.

I'm floored to be honest by the quality of the work I see posted here and it's very intimidating seeing such awesome work. I guess right now I'm just looking for some tips and recommendations as I'm really out of my element building aircraft.

 

Thanks for any tips and help in advance.

 

Brian,

 

I'll be at the IPMS Regionals in NY this month. Look me up if you want. I'll be there on Saturday, I'll have on a blue IPMS shirt with my name badge. I model armour, but I spent my career in the Navy working on the flight decks of carriers as a Catupult Chief. I can give you some insight to the F-14 Tomcat if you like. Also going to these shows and see & talking to the actual modelers about their work and how they did things is in my mind the biggest learning factor one can get. Modelers are very proud of their works and are more then willing to share their tips on how they built their model. So go around and talk and ask questions. I can say that the group of guys that host the show in Albany are a very talented bunch. So seek them out also. Most will have on blue shirts with their club logo.

 

Chris Graeter

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I appreciate the info and pointers. Chris, I will be going to the show next weekend. I was kina hoping to be ther both Friday and Saturday, but it looks like i may only be able to make it on Saturday. I am hoping to score some decent deals in the vendor area if possible. Not sure how many vendors will be there or waht the prices will be like so I guess we'll have to see on that front. I am still debating on whether oo not to actually enter any of my builds at this point.

 

Bob, having spent many years working on the -R Model -135, I can attest that they are kept pretty clean. I spent many a day in the wash rack cleaning those big birds and I

m not afraid to admit when I got home at night, my arms were sore from the scrubbing and cleaning. I notice there don't seem to be many big plane modelers as well. I guess the size of the completed kits tend to turn some builders off from building them, but I enjoy modeling the aircraft I worked on during my military career. I personally always liked the "Shamu' scheme of dark gray over light gray that was used in the 80's and 90's. I'm still searching for an -R model tanker though so we'll see what happens...

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I am hoping to score some decent deals in the vendor area if possible. Not sure how many vendors will be there or waht the prices will be like so I guess we'll have to see on that front.

 

 

Brian,

 

What are you going to be looking for? I'll be at the IPMS Champlain Valley club sale table - we inherited a stash that we're selling off and I can make sure to bring some stuff off of your wish list. We have quite a few kits and we won't be bringing all of them to the show (too many) so let me know what you want and I'll throw them in the box and set them aside for you to look at. We can probably make a deal that you'll be happy with.

 

Dave

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PM sent Dave.

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...I spent many a day in the wash rack cleaning those big birds and I'm not afraid to admit when I got home at night, my arms were sore from the scrubbing and cleaning...

 

Well done! They are magnificent when well kept.

 

The R-model kitss are out there. Have seen all of the AMT/ERTL/Italeri/Heller variants on Ebay and in the occasional vendor stash. Do remember to post some pix of those, when you build 'em. It's inspiring to see them built!

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Holy cow Mark, that is a great looking Gunship. Is that painted in overall Gunship Gray? I was station at Hurlburt and worked on the MC-130E's while I was there and always enjoyed watching the gunships over the range and the sounds of those cannons going off could never be mistaken.

How long did it take for you to build that kit? Did you run into any serious fit or assembly issues?

 

Brian, I apologize for getting back so late to you.

 

Yes, this gunship was painted in overall Gunship Grey. Building the kit took about two weeks total. The only issues I ran into were that the rear ramp tended to break alot as the hinge pins are so delicately molded. I glued the ramp in place but a number of times, it broke of and had to be re-glued. One of the guns, the forward one if I remember correctly, kept breaking off every time I handled the model for painting, decaling, and finishing. Aside from that, the wings, fuselage and even canopy went together very well. I do love having this model hanging from my ceiling.

 

My father was at Hurlburt Field with the 1st Special Operations Wing as an observer at the Air Ground Operations school. He was there from 1971 to about 1981. When did you serve there?

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