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Unread January 12th, 2014, 01:39 PM
Jens H. Brandal's Avatar
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Default GWH F-15B

Well, this highly anticipated kit has been discussed at length on ARC and here, and I thought a build thread might be of interest. When seeing the first CAD renderings, I thought of the possibility of building an early B using my "Candy Cane Eagles" sheet from Two-Bobs. Both the Air Superiority Blue and the Ferris camo would be attractive colour schemes that you don't see modelled very often. Some of the issues would take a lot of work to correct, so I'm not seeking out to fix everything. The nose was a given, but changing the crossection would involve a bit of remodelling and rescribing of very fine detail, hoping instead that GWH will fix that for later releases. For that reason, building the candy-striped aircraft on the sheet (which should be ASB, and not Compass Grey regardless of what the Two-Bobs instructions say) might highlight the issues in this area, so Ferris scheme and 73-111 it was. The Plan B would be to use the Israeli option on the decal sheet.

To make this kit a proper B, the fairing behind the airbrake must be modified. The kit has the Y-shaped fairing that is found on the C/D/E (and apparently the very last As and Bs). I chiselled away features of the Y-fairing to make room for pieces of plasticard to define the border of the new fairing. Any gaps will be dealt with later.



Another feature of this early aircraft was the strake on the airbrake. This was added from 50 mm long strip of 0.25 mm plasticard and roughly sanded to shape. It may still need some refining, but I will do that later. The raised dot to the right of the airbrake is (probably) a GPS antenna that needs to be removed for this 1977-period Eagle.



Another feature that should be removed is the raised detail on the stabs.

I have looked through every reference book, and I just can't see these being so prominent - in fact, you barely see panel lines at all. Sanding them off will also allow me to thin the trailing edges which are far too clunky - rather surprising for such an impressively tooled kit.

A big "if" for this project was the exhaust nozzles. Three of the alternatives in the kit will be OK with featherless exhausts, but "704" as portrayed in 1982 would have had them in place, so GWH missed an opportunity to make the kit more correct here. My chosen subject had turkey feathers, so I raided the stash for some Aires exhausts - made for the Hasegawa kit. The opening on the GWH kit is slightly larger than the Hasegawa kit, but luckily the burner can and ring to the fuselage of the turkey feathered exhausts (tan resin) was slightly too large for the Hasegawa kit (!), and is virtually a perfect fit for this kit. However, if you want to use Aires featheless nozzles (again supposed to fit the Hasegawa kit) to improve the model, beware, as the ring on that burner can (grey resin) is smaller and will drop inside the fuselage.



Intakes. As portrayed, the intakes would create a venturi effect and speed up the air - not what you want when you really try to slow the air down. So from a technical viewpoint, they don't work, and being long, narrow and not fit terribly well, that was good reasons to seek out an alternative.



After having practiced some surface modelling skills using the drawings that Viperbite and Mark posted on ARC, they should really look more like this:


Side view

Plan view

Front view


I had a cheap Academy kit in the stash that I purchased to get weapons and bits to improve Hasegawa kits, and this would provide a more accurate representation of the intake. It needs to be narrower at the front , so I cut a wedge out and used a strip of 0.25 mm plastic to cover any gaps.



The upper and lower fuselages need a little modification too. The forward part of the wheel wells and the inside of the forward part of the engine humps as well as removing some material from the intakes where they go over the wheel wells. It's tight, but it will close - just.





One of the selling points of this kit would be the wheels that portray the A/B style when the Hasegawa and Academy kits both provide C/D styles only. Unfortunately, GWH put the bulge in the wrong place on the brakeside, so this would be a candidate for an in flight model - this would also show off the camouflage scheme on the lower surfaces and the large fake canopy. Another selling point was the inclusion of ESCAPAC seats as well as the ACES II. However, when I put a pilot recruited from Hasegawa's F-4 series in the seat...



I dug out the pilot from Monogram's F-15 as well as Academy's new F-4 and an Aires Escapac seat for the A-7D - although there are variations, I'm convinced the kit Escapac seat is too tall. The same problem applies to the Aces II seat BTW. The Aires seat I think is probably a little on the small side, so hopefully the True Details seat will be a little larger...we'll see when the postman arrives.



To further cast doubt on GWH's rendition of the ESCAPAC seat, the canopy won't actually lay down at the back because the headrest of the seat stops it from doing so.



Here the Aires ESCAPAC seat has replaced the front kit seat, and even though it has been raised 2 mm, it still seems a little short....

Thoughts and corrections welcome

Jens
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Last edited by Jens H. Brandal; January 12th, 2014 at 02:44 PM.
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Unread January 12th, 2014, 01:46 PM
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You're gonna have to create the "U" shaped notch on the bottom of the aft engine bay panels where the flex strap is located just forward of where you have the nozzles attached. Also, you need to create saber drains on the bottom of the engine bays. Check your references in detail of these areas.

Yeah, those stabs are horrible...
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Unread January 12th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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Yep, haven't got that far yet Chris, but thank you for the heads up. If you see anything else feel free to shout.

Jens
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Unread January 12th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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Nice work Jens. I was unaware of the speed brake issue, at least for this version anyways. Those seats are hosed up something bad. I'm not sure the "original" True Details ESCAPAC seat would help as it's about the same size (maybe slightly smaller) as the Aires seat.

Yea, I knew that intake ducts were going to be way too narrow just from the sprue shots alone. Looking down the intake on the real jet, it's a clear straight shot, which you can see the entire engine fan. The GW intakes are so narrow, they are dam near 72nd scale in the middle and you can only see about 2/3s of the engine IGVs/fans, which are wrong anyways.

Good save using the Academy Intakes. I did a fit check of test casts of my intake ducts for the Hasegawa F-15 and they will require the same alterations.

I sized up the F-15A and C main wheels and ironically out of the of all the F-15 kits, GW's F-15 has the most practical and true strut axle. I'll be positing test cast next weekend; not to mention I owe you a set or two.

BTW, I also have someone working on a radome correction. It won't fix the egg cross section at the 207/208 bulkhead, but it'll correct most of the radome's cross section.; especially at the nose.
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Unread January 12th, 2014, 04:14 PM
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The speedbrake is fine as is for a D, but the problem is that GWH has also marketed this as a B which it isn't for that reason. As they marketed the MiG-29 series as specific variants with options and upper fuselages as appropriate, it would have made sense if they had done the same with this. Maybe they felt that a two-seater - especially a B - wouldn't sell well enough to warrant it's own release? The strake on the airbrake is no big deal, and that is easy to add anyway.

The nose... Just out of curiosity I decided to take a closer look at the nose of the GWH kit and the Monogram kit. Here the GWH kit to the left, Monogram to the right.



The GWH kit has a fractionally (probably about 0.5-1 mm) wider nose than the Monogram kit. We can see the Monogram kit tapers more towards the radome bulkhead.

Comparing noses, here I have taped up the GWH (bottom) and Monogram (top) and aligned them on the verticals. There is very little difference between these kits in the lower quadrants - we're probably talking 0.13 mm or so. The main difference is in the upper quadrants, and this I think is responsible for the eggshape of the radome. I wonder if it is possible to sand a wedge out of the upper nose ahead of the windshield and pinch it in?

Jens

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Unread January 21st, 2014, 04:17 PM
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After a good modelling weekend with friends in Kent, some progress has been made. The seats in the kit are really bugging me, but I think I'm nearer the truth in terms of proportions with the pilot. Here, the Aires seat and the pilot is on the left. Compared to Hasegawa's F-4 pilot, the seat seems a little small. The middle seat is the shortened kit seat, and the seat to the right is an ACES II from Tamiya's F-16 kit.



The sizes of the modified kit seat and the ACES II are close enough that I am happy with the modifications, and here is the unmodified kit seat to the left with the modified seat.



To reduce the height of the backrest, I cut out 1.5 mm, and reglued it. To lower the headrest, I cut off the headrest itself but not the frame and sanded the chamfered surface to lower the padding by about 1 mm, reducing the total height from 30 mm to 27.5 mm. When inserted in the cockpit, the top of the headrest is now approximately in line with the top of the windshield arch.



Now I just need to modify the other seat accordinly and find out where to trim the seat rails. BTW, what would the chap in the back seat be doing while the pilot closes in for an imaginary kill? Keep a lookout for bogeys? Would he have this hands in his lap, or would he be grabbing the nearest handle?

Air intakes. The modifications to the front were fairly straightforward; just pieces of 0.5 mm plasticard to the front that would fit against the air intake ramps later.





One thing I was not expecting in a brand new tooling are thick trailing edges. The stabs also had the reinforceing strips sanded off, and I'm wondering whether to bother rescribing the panel lines.



Surprisingly, the ailerons and flaps were also awfully thick, but some sanding with 240 grit wet and dry sorted things out.



The wingtips outboard of the fuel dump needed similar modifications which necessitated the panel lines and rivets to be rescribed.

Jens
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Last edited by Jens H. Brandal; January 21st, 2014 at 04:34 PM.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 12:20 AM
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Great progress and explanations So in your opinion, the seams on the horizontal stabs should be recessed? Looking at my references those seams definitely aren't as profound as they are molded on the F-15 kits I've seen.

/Jesse
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JesniF-16 View Post
Great progress and explanations So in your opinion, the seams on the horizontal stabs should be recessed? Looking at my references those seams definitely aren't as profound as they are molded on the F-15 kits I've seen.

/Jesse
Early light gray F-15's had those seams (the sealant between the three sections of the stab), but the sealant was more flush. On the Strike it's a different story. The seams are more pronounced. Now, if light grays are using what is called a GridLock horizontal stab, then the light gray and Strike should use the same type because Strikes use GridLock stabs.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 02:35 AM
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So if the sealant was oozing out between the sections, does that mean that raised panel lines would be more appropriate?

Strangely, the vertical tailfins adre nice and thin with acceptable tailing edges as are the rudders....it's almost like they were designed or tooled by two different people.

Jens
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Last edited by Jens H. Brandal; January 22nd, 2014 at 06:07 AM.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens H. Brandal View Post
The speedbrake is fine as is for a D, but the problem is that GWH has also marketed this as a B which it isn't for that reason. As they marketed the MiG-29 series as specific variants with options and upper fuselages as appropriate, it would have made sense if they had done the same with this. Maybe they felt that a two-seater - especially a B - wouldn't sell well enough to warrant it's own release? The strake on the airbrake is no big deal, and that is easy to add anyway.

The nose... Just out of curiosity I decided to take a closer look at the nose of the GWH kit and the Monogram kit. Here the GWH kit to the left, Monogram to the right.



The GWH kit has a fractionally (probably about 0.5-1 mm) wider nose than the Monogram kit. We can see the Monogram kit tapers more towards the radome bulkhead.

Comparing noses, here I have taped up the GWH (bottom) and Monogram (top) and aligned them on the verticals. There is very little difference between these kits in the lower quadrants - we're probably talking 0.13 mm or so. The main difference is in the upper quadrants, and this I think is responsible for the eggshape of the radome. I wonder if it is possible to sand a wedge out of the upper nose ahead of the windshield and pinch it in?

Jens

Thanks for the primer on the GWH Eagle. I'm closely following this build. Will you be trying to pinch the forward fuselage? I'm hoping it works. If it doesn't, I'm hoping for a retool, but don't expect it.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 06:09 AM
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Thank you for your interest B2Blain. I think that trying to pinch the forward fuselage will create more problems than it is worth fixing. I too hope for a retool, and as the build progresses, the list of my "wants" is getting long...

Jens
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens H. Brandal View Post
So if the sealant was oozing out between the sections, does that mean that raised panel lines would be more appropriate?

Strangely, the vertical tailfins adre nice and thin with acceptable tailing edges as are the rudders....it's almost like they were designed or tooled by two different people.

Jens
Well, it's not oozing, but applied a certain way. It's there on all stabs, but not as thick on the version you're building. However, the channels are there.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 08:50 AM
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RIght...I'll have a good look at stabs and decide what to do. I may even chicken out and draw them on with a pencil after paint

BTW, the bulges on the rudder should go away for an early A right?

Jens
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 09:59 AM
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For an early A, yes.
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Right then - off they go. Thanks Chris. BTW, when did they start appearing? C/Ds?

Jens
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Unread January 22nd, 2014, 01:10 PM
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Good question. It may be an entire fleet thing since I've ordered stabs for Strikes and they are painted for a light gray straight out of the crate. I can't imagine late A's having a different stab either.
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Unread January 23rd, 2014, 05:19 PM
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Filling and sanding doesn't make exciting pics, but now I considered the air intake good enough to cut. Having struggled to paint the intake and the colour border down the throat on a Hasegawa kit, I decided to take a different approach this time. After cleaning up the ducts to my satisfaction, I taped the duct in place, applied Dymo tape along the cut line and took the razor saw and cut carefully where I wanted the colour separation line. I seem to remember the magical number being six feet, but from pics, this should coincide with the rear edge of ramp 4, which it doesn't. This edge should also be curved, clearly shown in Jake's book, and no Eagle kit that I know of portrays this correctly, so either way it would be wrong. I decided to keep a little brace across the for rigidity and also make it easier to align the parts later.



The idea is to tape the front and rear back together, then glue the forward parts to the lower fuselage half, then remove the rear ducts once the glue is dry. Then I can fill and sand the front part and paint them separately (together with a representation of ramp 4). The rear ducts will be glued in place last and then I can close the rear fuselage.

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Unread January 27th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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The air intake is progressing with the white being done, but the grey part still needs some filling and sanding before the exterior colour can go on.

One of the shape problems that were poking me in the eye is the fairing behind the cockpit. I have the Hasegawa kit, the Revell-Monogram Strike Eagle and the Academy kit, and none of them are 100% correct, so GWH missed the opportunity to get one up on the opposition here. The real thing (as clearly shown in the photos from Ken Middleton on ARC as well as Jake's book) has a kink just aft of the ECS vent, and the curve of the canopy continues down to this kink. Compare this then with the kit which has concave shapes in this area.



Correcting this also meant scratchbuilding a new ECS vent, and this could break my plans for an in flight display and have to be patched with a red RBF cover if things went pearshaped...

The first stage was to create a box approximately the size of the vent as well as plates that would form the transverse grilles. The grilles are 0.25 mm plasticard, and to ensure an equal spacing I glued 0.5 mm black plasticard between them until I had the right width.





This was then left to dry thoroughly. In the meantime, I was looking at the piece behind the cockpit, and part of the problem is that the profile starts curving before it reaches the vent, meaning that the panels behind them would not be interchangeable with the singleseater (which would make sense to my engineering brain). I decided to straighten this profile after cutting out the vent.



Note the spaces between the grilles have black plastic supports made from the same material as I glued at the bottom, but they are loose. This was to support the thin plasticard while shaping it. The shape isn't final here, but near enough to use the razor saw to cut grooves for the lengthwise stiffeners.



Here it is glued in place and shaped - still with the support material in place.

A check on the profile shows a considerable improvement - maybe not 100% correct, but a lot better.



Here, the support material was removed and ribs from heat-stretched Evergreen strip was glued in place. When dry, I will sand it smooth and deal with any minor issues. I don't think I will tempt fate by grinding out the grill from behind to thin the grilles as it will make it rather fragile.




Still, the cool thing is that you can see through it



Jens
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Unread January 27th, 2014, 06:27 PM
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Very nice work! I really wanted this kit to better than it is but I imagine it'll still be very impressive when you finish with it. Thanks for taking the time to post your progress.
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Unread January 27th, 2014, 07:39 PM
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Good job Jens,that vent looks great.

Now get someone to cast it so we can all use it.
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