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Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

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Flying Derpus
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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#11

Post by Flying Derpus »

Alright, time for another update. I'm progressing rather well, albeit slowly. That's because I took it upon myself to make many small additions and fix many small details - not only does that mean additional hands-on work, but also time spent thinking about potential solutions, trying out stuff and being too chicken to just go ahead and finally do it. ;)

Sometimes a solution looks good, but I leave it aside for a while, and when I return to it, I have thought of way to do things in a better manner in the meantime. The result is an iterative method of working that doesn't yield visible results because it happens away from the model, but it is still progress somehow.

So, leading edges in silver, eh? And the exhaust cans without that penne rigate look and in darkish grey/anthracite? So be it - a first very basic attempt:
Image

Lots of tape work to be done for the silver parts - did it work? Well...
Image
Some cleanup along the boundaries between colours required, but the general idea is visible. The panel lines in the exhaust cans seem to be properly filled as well. It's something! Could have been worse.

Btw, the vertical stabilisers also got their silver treatment:
Image
Note the little position light at the end of that fairing - I cut a notch out of the plastic there and inserted a position light made of Krystal Klear with a drop of red. The other stabiliser has the position light towards the leading edge. It's details like these that I hope will make the model look more elaborate than the old Dragon kit actually is once it's done. Just tiny little somethings sprinkled all over the aircraft...

It will be a long time before I get around to attaching the stabilisers, though. There's much work left to be done before I can close the fuselage, and it's far easier to handle both half shells and squeeze them together without those paddles sticking up into the air.

Speaking of fuselage halves, the lower half also got the exhaust can treatment, of course:
Image
Note that I already painted the area where the intakes will be attached. This is so I can do that in the near future and proceed. However, at this point I was not sure what to do with the end of the intakes. I attempted to paint a vague mock-up of the front engine surface on there, but it's hard to do because the surface is tiny, and the fuselage blocks many angles of access. This was one of those choke points... I eventually had an idea, but it took me a while.

The cockpit received a first dab of colour in the meantime:
Image
Those ejector marks are not nice, but they will not really be visible once the cockpit is closed, so I didn't bother.

Much hidden work here as well - it took quite a while to get the instrument panel halves on either side to line up in depth and height and angle.

Between the two halves: the cockpit floor with side consoles - these now include the angled panels where the side consoles transition into the main instrument panels. These innocent-looking lumps also took a while to get right: They must be positioned such that all four come to rest against the respective vertical mating surface and such that the cockpit floor as a whole will sit at the correct fore/aft position to allow the seats to fit into the pilot's/RIO's cockpit tub, respectively. Tricky stuff!

Here's a close-up that shows my trademark cheap construction:
Image
I knew these empty sprues left over from older models could be useful one day!

Finally, here's another little thing that I spent some time with - more stuff that isn't visible on the model as obvious progress, but might become relevant later:
Image

I'll try to post another update during the weekend. From Monday onwards, I'll be on a mini vacation until Friday, so no updates next week.

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#12

Post by smeg1959 »

Excellent progress, FD. But another whitey? You certainly are a glutton for punishment! ;)
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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#13

Post by Flying Derpus »

smeg1959 wrote:
Sat Oct 08, 2022 8:40
But another whitey? You certainly are a glutton for punishment! ;)
I sure am. :D But seriously, in the meantime I have acquired one thing that changes very much and makes painting white considerably easier - a bigger brush! I had been painting everything with a rather small one, and now I fare so much better with a bigger one. The finish so far doesn't even compare to my earlier efforts. Never would I have thought that this change would have such an impact!

This being said, today's update will be focused on the cockpit entirely although work on other parts of the aircraft continued as well.

Here are the pilots with a few dabs of paint (helmets still unpainted) test-fitting the cockpit tub:
Image

And yes, the canopy fits:
Image
However, it's a very tight fit. I would have loved to try my hands at those ejection handles (?) on top of the headrests, but since the canopy is so thick, there is just not enough space.

I have not painted the area parallel to the fuselage seam because I suspect I'll need some filling and sanding there anyway.

It was really fun to paint the side consoles, especially since you can go totally ham in our scale and don't need to attempt to imitate the real thing too closely. Zoom the pic to 50%, and the consoles don't look too different from the decals of the Revell kit:
Image

Painting the instrument panels was next. These do vaguely imitate the real thing:
Image
Not as trivial as it may look because I had to paint both halves separately and get them to line up.

Here a look at the side consoles in the tub:
Image
The front console will receive a control stick, and I had an idea for the RIO as well, but that's for a different update.

I also painted on some fake structure on the side walls to spice things up a little:
Image

Here we have our little guys taking a seat between their brand spanking new side consoles:
Image
If you look closely, you can see the step behind the pilot seat. As mentioned earlier, I tried to imitate the slight difference in seat height between pilot and RIO.

Finally, the whole shebang loosely held together:
Image
I don't know about you, but to me it looks like a cockpit - enough so to work out for 1/144, especially after the canopy is on.

The next update will focus on the wing roots. These could be called the problem zone of this kit, which is really nice otherwise. OK, enough for now - off to bed with me!

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#14

Post by Flying Derpus »

So, the wing gloves. Several problems here, even after ditching all swing-wing action and fixing the wings in the forward position.

The first problem is this step:
Image
Towards the front, the lower part of the wing glove is too open and leaves too much space. You could practically look into the aircraft there. While I appreciate the thinly moulded wing gloves, I will have to beef them up a little to narrow the gap.

The second problem is this gap:
Image
It is also too wide and opens the view into the fuselage, which should not happen.

So what to do? Once again, being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to use a solution that couldn't be much more low-tech:
Image
Yup, that's regular office paper. Not even a fresh sheet.

The plan was to glue it in place and then blend the edges with Vallejo liquid putty and sand over it all until it would result in one smooth surface (hopefully!). Another fiddly task, in other words.

Since I was busy doing lots of fiddly stuff at this point (the cockpit being a good example, but not the only one), I had to reward myself a little by loosely putting together what I had at this point:
Image
So far, the paint finish was really good. It'll be exciting to see at what point exactly I'll screw up. ;)

Back to work, I decided I'd cut the paper a bit shorter so I would not risk accidentally filling the panel line between the solid fuselage and the wing bags when it comes to blending paper and plastics:
Image

Having the gap more like this (it became even narrower in the end) looked better to me:
Image

The port side was pretty OK early on, but the starboard side was worse - gap still too large, and there was a visible kink instead of a smooth transition. So more liquid putty, more blending, more painting over to check:
Image
This was at some time during the process - it ended up looking acceptable, but that's for another update.

While this may not be too exciting, it was one of the many points on the agenda that I had to complete before I could even think about finally closing the fuselage. The nose section halves, too, were still separate. For me, this is one of the hardest phases - you have done (and still are doing) a lot, but not much has visibly come together yet. It's still a bunch of loose parts, and there are still road blocks ahead of the more substantial and tangible steps of progress. Oh well... sometimes all you can do is soldier on and hope for the moment when you do make those big steps and all the previous work finally pays off.

This being said, I'll probably be absent until Sunday evening, so I wish you all a plesant weekend and happy modeling!

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#15

Post by su27rules »

8-) 8-)
You can never have enough Flankers!!
Su-35 902Black=one half the cost of an F-22; twice the good looks!!

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#16

Post by Flying Derpus »

More boring bits of work that will probably look rather disjointed until it all comes together finally... or so I hope at least.

Today on the menu:
  • Preparations for the in-flight presentation
  • Some fake engine detail
  • More work on the wing gloves
  • The "beaver tail"
  • Some more cockpit detailing
I had a suitably sized piece of old sprue flying around which I sanded into a slight "U" shape...
Image

...so I could glue it into the fuselage and use it as anchor to hold the wire that would hold the model in the air:
Image
I had to trim it down a little to make room for the wing-sweep mechanism.

Then I made some little discs by cutting some pieces out of my trusty styrene sheet and sanding them into roughly circular shape:
Image
These will act as compressor faces and exhausts - crude and cheap, but buried deep inside the intakes/exhausts, they should be good enough. (I would end up doing the exhausts again, though, because they were a tad too small.)

And here the compressor faces attached in place:
Image
They are obviously too large in diameter, but that's fine. According to the profile drawings that I have seen, you don't see the entire circle when you stand in front of the aircraft and look into the intakes. I'd simply sand the excess material down, and what you'd end up seeing should come reasonably close to the original.

With the intakes loosely attached to the model, this lousy photograph shows the general idea:
Image

Meanwhile, work on the wing gloves continued. They started to look acceptable. While I was at it, I noticed that these air exhausts on the upper fuselage are apparently vertically divided by a strut or baffle of sorts, so I faked that by painting it:
Image
Another one of those cheap little things that I hope will contribute to the overall appearance even though they're very subtle in effect and very simple in nature.

SInce the wings sat far too loosely in the fuselage and left excesssive gaps all around, I decided to build the wing gloves up some more to reduce the gaps:
Image
Everything looked so messy again at this stage...

So, the beaver tail. The part that Dragon wants me to use is pretty blank. However, according to that Tomcat reference site, the F-14B should have a fuel drain pipe on the bottom (which appears to be ever so slighly offset to the starboard side) and an ECM antenna and fairing on the top (this one clearly offset to the port side).

I ended up using some tiny bits of sprue and a chip of wood from a wooden toothpick to make this:
Image
Close enough, I hope. Or at least better than nothing, eh?

Another photo I took with that coin for scale takes us back to the cockpit again. Test fitting had shown me that it would be possible to glue the halves together and use fine pincers to attach the RIO's control stick plus console under the main instrument panel afterwards. So I whipped up something cheap and simple again:
Image

Finally, another - and less pleasant - detail I had discovered during test fitting was that the cockpit would need a rear wall. How to attach this, though?
Since I had made it so I could slide the RIO seat plus floor between the side control panels from behind, I decided to attach the rear wall to the RIO's bang seat and sand it to shape. This is a glimpse at the concept:
Image

Lots of work to do, but all unfinished jobs, and the model is full of putty and other ugly stuff that will remain visible for quite a while until I can finally close that fuselage. This is one of the phases where progress can't really be felt.

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#17

Post by smeg1959 »

Coming along in leaps and bounds. And I do like the fact that you are photographically documenting so many stages of the build. I often do something, think "Must remember that for future builds" then completely forget what I did! :oops:
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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#18

Post by Flying Derpus »

The problem with documenting in such small steps is that those "leaps and bounds" seem awfully slow, but hey - at least anybody reading here can skip the stuff that I spent many evenings with. ;)

So this update will be focused on the cockpit. I had finally taken the plunge and glued it all together:
Image
The offset in the RIO's instrument panel cannot really be seen with the naked eye, and once the canopy is on, it will be a non-issue.
However, attaching that little control stick console from below after I had glued the cockpit halves together fortunately worked... my pincers hardly fit into the gap, and I could picture myself losing the part inside and shaking everything wildy to try and get it out, but everything went well!

Now I could take care of the coamings and of the parcel shelf. Speaking of which, something was missing there:
Image
Nothing that a tiny bit of scrap styrene sheet and a blade can't fix!

What else? Oh yes, oxygen supply for the boys! Coming right up:
Image

Now it was time to make the fuselage seam a little less noticeable on the coamings before I could think about attaching the canopy:
Image
(Note that offset in the panel line across the nose - Dragoooooon! Why are you doing this?)

Aaaand here we go:
Image
Image
I'm calling it a cockpit!

The dry brushing on the parcel shelf was too strong, but with the canopy on, it's actually okay.

The next update will deal with the exhausts - more cheap tricks to fake a higher level of detail than the kit actually has. And then it's off to my favourite part (not), filling and sanding.

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#19

Post by ID19 »

That's looking darn good, your cockpit! Well worth every effort you put in there, even if some smaller details may not be seen. The oxygen tubes, however, will definitely be seen, great improvement!

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Re: Grumman F-14B Super Tomcat (Dragon) - The Intrepid Albino Turkey

#20

Post by Flying Derpus »

About time for another update!

With the cockpit done, it was time to focus on some other things and bits. As I had mentioned before, that moulded-on arresting hook had to go, and go it did:
Image
I painted the area to check if the surface below was OK, and it was good enough for me. Not easy to sand away, that part! Bit iffy to reach. Also in the picture: The intakes are on, and a first bit of filling has been applied.

It was not the last, as it turned out:
Image
I blame that on me more than on the kit: With those fake compressor faces inside, I guess I made it more difficult for myself to achieve a good fit. Dry-fitted out of the box, it was not shabby at all. Oh well, nothing that a bit of putty can't fix.

Now, of course I needed a replacement hook. So I took a piece of relatively rigid iron wire and started some merry little freehand painting:
Image
Not good enough yet, but a solid start.

What else? Ah yes, engines. Exhaust cans. If you remember that striped paper from a few updates ago - this is what it was for. I rolled some tape around a screwdriver until I had the desired thickness, then rolled the paper around that and glued it to form a barrel:
Image

Now some more components made of sheet styrene by yours truly, Captain Cheapskate:
Image

And, finally, the exhaust cans with a little extra:
Image
This is basically a strip of ordinary paper painted in silver, then in thinly diluted grey, then with some black irregular smudges across, cut into a long rectangle, and the rectangle cut into tiny strips, two of which you can see next to the can.

Aaand here is where they go:
Image
(The edge of the exhaust can has lost its paint because of me having to handle it a lot while glueing all those paper strips inside, but that will be remedied.)

This solution even has a slight three-dimensional effect because, well, it is three-dimensional:
Image

Now that I had all the parts in place, I had two cute little exhaust kits-in-a-kit:
Image
Ridiculously primitive, but that's the charm of this scale: You can actually get away with it. :mrgreen:
In any case, it's a lot better than looking into an empty fuselage!

What followed was a rather big step: With the fake engines done, I could finally glue these into the fuselage, attach the wings inside the fuselage, and glue the fuselage top and bottom havles together - a moment I had been waiting for!

This also meant that I could now glue the nose section and the vertical stabilisers to the main fuselage, and the "beaver tail" to the rear. All of a sudden, things fell together. I also closed the cockpit by attaching the canopy, and for the first time I had something on my workbench that actually resembled an aircraft:
Image

The next phase would be much more boring again: Paint white, identify flaws, fill them, sand them, paint again... but for the time being, I hope you enjoyed this update! :)

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