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1/48 vacuform P-3C Orion; full build thread

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Old ID 1/48 vacuform kit. This represents about 2-3hrs of work, removing and sanding parts, and then the initial test fit. Still have a L-O-N-G way to go on this one, and it'll probably be a bumpy ride too!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Holy (beep)! Wow. Good luck. Post lots of photos.

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Do you have any finger prints left after all that sanding?

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And then people ask me...."Why do you build tanks"? 'Nuff said!!!! Best of luck, I am sure you will make it great, and keep the photos coming!

 

:Smile_sceptic:

Edited by Mark Aldrich

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Fingerprints???? well, the ridges are pretty well worn down, but there's a few sworls left! :lol:

 

Alignment AND support is always a toughie when the manufacturer doesn't do it for you (something we take for granted with most kits!). So how to support those big wings, AND also establish the dihedral desired? Use metal tubing! In this case, some aluminum airfoil shaped tubing was cut and bent to fit from wing root to wing root (it's just sitting in there for now), and slightly smaller tubing is placed into the wings (just taped in place for now) that will slide up into the bigger pieces. Those pieces will all be epoxied in place for strength, and epoxied again when finally mated together. I want to be able to pick this sucker up by one wing!

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Note that a simple pop-sickle stick will be enough to support the tail planes, as they bear no loads and have no dihedral.

 

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Doesn't look bad for just being taped and set in place for an initial check! I'm also pleasantly surprised that the wing roots on the fuselage and the wings match pretty well in span and depth, and the tail planes look like they'll mate with very little fuss too. That's better than usual for an ID vac!

 

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Glamor shot with everything in place and self supporting!

 

Think I'll tackle the wheel wells next. If I can get them and the gear done to where it all sits level, AND supports itself, then the rest is mostly cosmetic work! Questions, comments, and critiques welcome, as always!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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I had some success with minimum expansion insulation foam. I sprayed it into the fuselage and let it sit a couple of days then cut off the excess. I then epoxied the halves together and had a huge surface to work with. Don't use the yellow foam stuff as it expands too much and exerts too much pressure.

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Gil,

 

The stabilizers do have dihedral to them. Before you glue them up check your references. The kit looks great so far Keep it up. When I saw your pictures, the tail just didn't look right to me. Check a front view picture or drawing and it will show the stabilizer upsweep. Just thought you should know.

 

Bill

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p3_schem_01.gif

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Gil you are a mad man! good luck!

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Hope you are documenting all this for the Journal as well.

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Will definitely double check the tail dihedral...wouldn't be the first time I was wrong....after all, I'm a married man! :smiley3: It's an easy fix if needed!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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5° IIRC

 

What squadron markings?

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Haven't decided on markings, but I DO plan to do the older gray/white scheme. TPS may be easier, but that all-gray stuff is just boring.... :smiley21:

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Here's some basic improvements to the upper wings...

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Vacs suffer from "soft" details, and the molded in NACA ducts (the triangular intakes on top of the nacelles) were that way. The solution was to thin down the interior plastic, cut the ducts open with a new (very sharp) blade, and then blank them off with sheet plastic (the black outlined squares you can see). That sharpens their detailing as well as actually opening up their rears, like the real ones! You can also see the sheet plastic glued into the rear of the wing to blank off the nacelle exhaust ports.

 

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The vac molding at the rear of the exhaust ports was both soft and uneven. The sheet plastic bottoms solve both problems. You can also see the brass tubing that has been cut and fit to be the actual exhaust pipes. More details will need to be added, but most of them will be done in the scribing stage! Cheers!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Gil:

I believe Lonestar makes some resin engine cowlings for this bird, might want to contact Mike.

Hub

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I contacted Lone Star, and apparently his resin cowls are not ready yet. I think he hopes to have them done for the Nats, but that won't do me any good! Also, you should know that he's making his cowlings for the "Tigger" vacuform kit (which I'm not familiar with); so I don't know if they'd fit the ID vac anyway.

 

Just epoxied the wing spars into the lower wings. Tonight I'll try to print out some pics of the wheel wells and perhaps tomorrow I can get to work starting to construct the main gear wells!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Gil, you have {blanks} the size of church bells! What a mountain to climb!

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Hi, Gil,

 

In January 2010 I was treated by the U.S. Navy to an extensive walkaround and walkthrough of a P-3C Orion on active patrol duty from Hawaii. I took many photos of exterior details. Let me know if you need them for references.

 

Ed

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Oh man, I'm speechless! What an incredible project! I have a plastic kit of this plane in 1/72 scale; this is getting me fired up to start mine!

 

Spectacular work Gil! Keep it coming!

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Thanks for the offer Ed, but there's actually 3 pages of walk-around pics on the P-3 in the IPMSUSA Gallery!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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3 hours of work and the main gear wells are built!

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Traced the well opening onto tape from the plans and then transferred that to the nacelles. Cut the doors out carefully with a new knife blade! I'll probably use them as vac masters to make thinner gear doors and then build up their interiors.

 

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Nothing fancy here....just a lot of measuring, fitting, trimming and gluing using good ol' trial and error! The roof of the rear main wells are a heavier gauge plastic than the walls, since they will be supporting the main gear struts.

 

It's very hard to see, but if you look closely you can see some of the liquid epoxy on the spars. Next task is to get out the strip plastic and detail the wells! Cheers!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Presenting......FRANKENTIRES!

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At this time there's no injection molded or resin tires available for a 1/48 P-3. The solution? The bottomless spares box! The first step was to find tires of the correct diameter (or close to it) as compared to the drawings in the kit. Next, find wheels close to the correct diameter and with a pattern close to to pics of the real thing. Do NOT be deterred by the fact that NONE of these items will be together in ONE tire!

 

MAIN TIRES- 3 parts each, two tire halves and a wheel insert. Found 2 tires (don't know what from) that would have been PERFECT in the spares box (but I need 4!) So....split those tires to provide 4 outer halves (the gray ones). Next, come up with 4 inner tire halves. Those are actually the inner halves of the bomb cart tires from the old Monogram B-17. They're slightly too square, and just slightly smaller in diameter, but then that's what God made sanding sticks for! Next- I need 4 wheel rims. Found those on some old Monogram F-105 tires....BUT, had to split the tires open (to get 4 pieces) and then carve the tires away from the rims (of course) by scribing round the rims and then using a motor tool to make saw cuts into the tire. That then allows you to snap off the tire parts all the way round, and then sand the rims smooth. The gray tire halves then have their incorrect wheels reamed out with the motor tool to make an opening for the F-105 rims...and voila! Main gear P-3 tires!

 

The nose tires were MUCH simpler. Found some tires of the correct diameter with an acceptable wheel pattern that just happened to already be "hollow" on one side to allow for a rim insert (maybe from the F-106, or F-102?) I also managed to dig up some old spoked Mustang wheel rims (old Otaki maybe?) of the proper diameter where the REVERSE side had the holes you see, as well as the collar for the axle. A slight reaming of the tire hollow and then some sanding to thin down the rims and voila! Nose tires! Also, note the punched discs to close the hole and provide detailing on the outside of the rims.

 

So why do the tires now? Well, I have a hankering to build the gear, build the nose well, and test fit the sit of this beast. So, now it's on to the gear legs! As always, comments, critiques, and questions are welcome!

 

GIL

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Very cool. Getting up wasn't a waste of time for me today, I see. Nice explanation of those tires. Almost to easy. In this case a picture is worth a thousand words... Carry on. Love the pix of this build. My hat is off to you.

 

Bill

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