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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Construction (AS-4, X-3) and paint prep (wheel hubs, F-15, F11F)

Even though most of the news lately has been on the painting front, there has been some construction and paint prep going on in the dark shadowed workbench of the 72 Land small aircraft manufacturing queue.

I recently received the AModel Raduga AS-4 Kitchen missile. This is part of my ongoing ordnance project. I’ve already gotten the entire missile together. Well, ok, it only consists of 8 parts, but still. I’ve also applied some Mr Surfacer 1000 to the joints and once that cures it will be ready for its first coat of part. The nosecone is some sort of Russian Dark Grey. The transport cart for the missile (which I really appreciate AModel providing) is in process as well but not as far along.

A bit further back I got a copy of the AZ Models Douglas X-3 kit. AZ Models seem to fall into two categories, as if two separate companies were producing the molds. Some are really quite nice, with good detail and decent fit. Some others are definitely within the short-run category. The X-3 is definitely one of the latter.

I have installed the cockpit, wheel wells, and exhaust cans and was ready to close up the fuselage. That was when I discovered the huge gaps; if the upper fuselage halves touched, the lower fuselage gaps must have been near to ¼”. So, decision time. Try to trim things down and proceed with gluing the fuselage halves, or go with a large shim. Given the length and width of the fuselage gap, I decided the best first approach was to do what I could to try the trim the internal bits and then clamp the fuselage for gluing. It did work after a fashion, but I wonder if I have just pushed a problem downhill a bit. After all, I was only able to trim one side of the central wheel wells (the main blockage to closing things up). Does that mean the landing gear and going to look wonky when I try to install them? We’ll see.

And there was another issue as well. I’ve been following an X-3 build on Britmodeller by a gentleman with the handle of HSR. Howard is about two steps further than I am on the kit. When he finally got his fuselage together, one intake was visibly higher than the other. Using his experiences, I intended to follow his solution (get the intake front pieces in visible line, and then try to deal with the discontinuity between intake pieces and fuselage with endless sanding, puttying, and filing, which likely would extend to Doomsday.

But here’s the thing. When I got my fuselage together, the intakes seemed to be fairly in line. At the least, not the huge discontinuity that HSR saw. Why? No clue. Some odd idiosyncrasy with different kits produced at different times? It is certainly not that I did anything extreme to deal with the problem. If I solved the conundrum it was through sheer dumb luck and no particular effort on my side. However, I will take it. It’s rare enough that I get a break during a model’s construction, and I certainly am not going to examine the proverbial gift horse.

There has also been some work done to prep for the next paint session. I’ve mentioned all those replacement resin wheels that need their hubs painted Aluminum. In addition, I’ve masked up for the second camo color on the D-520. And I’ve got those metallic panels on the F-15 done up and ready to go. After that cures, I believe I can start on this plane’s rather garish Oregon ANG special markings.

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