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Vacuum formed kits

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  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Everywhere
Vacuum formed kits
Posted by stinger on Friday, October 10, 2003 8:45 PM
Hey All - I haven't seen any references to, or opinions of buiding vac-formed kits. As I am into exotic WW2 aircraft, I find many available, but am leary of buying them as I don't have any experience with them.
I have seen articles in Fine Scale on building these, but I value more the experience of those of you in the forum.
Has any one out there built kits of this type (aircraft or otherwise), and if so, I would appreciate any and all opinions of them.
Thanks, Stinger

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Sandusky Ohio, USA
Posted by Swanny on Friday, October 10, 2003 8:51 PM
Vacs can be great or they can be awful, depends on manufacture and kit. If you have never done one before the best place to start is with a Koster or an MPM kit. Both offer female mold kits (that means good detail) made out of fairly heavy styrene sheet (that means easier to glue together and stronger). See my site for a complete vac build (Koster FW-200) and links to articles on how to work with vac kits. If you need more my email is listed on my site - drop me a line and I'll be happy to help you out. First vacs to stay away from?? ID models and Combat models.
  • Member since
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  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:01 PM
Hi Stinger, i do build vacforms and they are quite a challenge, what i do is have one vacform going whilst building normal kits that way i am not getting too frustrated at the lack of progress whilst sanding the parts (man i hate that bit) the vac kit i am working on at the moment is the 1/72 Blackburn Beverley and i have been building it for about 4 months now and i still havn't started construction yet. all i can advise is take your time and pick a simple subject, even if it isn't within your main interest, one kit that i can recomend for a first vac kit is the DH Chipmunk in 1/48th scale by aeroclub. its a simple kit and has cast metal undercart and prop and is a nice looking model when complete. also you could try a vac form conversion kit as tis would be a relativley easy introduction to this type of modeling. please let us know how you get on. Greg
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
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Posted by stinger on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:02 PM
Thanks for that Swanny! I will check out your site, and appreciate especially the best and the worst info.
By refernce to female mold kits, does that mean that they are vac'd into a mold rather than over one?

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
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  • From: Everywhere
Posted by stinger on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:10 PM
Thanks gregers - I have a few kits in progress (no vacs yet) and understand about taking time with each. They are all in various states of (hopeful) completion.
Having read some articles on them in FSM, i gather that they need no special adhesives, as they are all basically still styrene, right?
I think I know what you mean about the sanding part, again having seen the articles, but it really doesn't seem that intimidating.
Thanks again, Stinger

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Sandusky Ohio, USA
Posted by Swanny on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:14 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by stinger

Thanks for that Swanny! I will check out your site, and appreciate especially the best and the worst info.
By refernce to female mold kits, does that mean that they are vac'd into a mold rather than over one?

Exactly. Male mold kits mean you have to do most of the panel lines and such with a scribe. And Gregers is right on the money with the vac conversion idea - that's how I started into vacs and it made the transition less painful and multiple projects is not a bad idea either. As far as sanding, when you get blood you have gone far enough - Gregers will know what that means and so will you after one kit.
  • Member since
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  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:21 PM
Your right about not needing any special glues all i use is mek-pak and tube glue, sometimes i will use superglue too. its the sanding the parts off the backing sheet that i don't like because it takes ages. i started making vacforms after reading "making model aircraft" by Brian philpot. quite an informative book that covers all aspects of modeling. it has even got me thinking about doing my first total scratch build . Greg
Swanny. that is soooooooo true. you not got any fingerprints left too?
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
  • Member since
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  • From: Sandusky Ohio, USA
Posted by Swanny on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:26 PM
Fingerprints? Can't even remember what they looked like. On the sanding issue, you are marking the demarcation line with a marker and scribing at a 45 degree angle, right? I went to Lowes and got some black sandpaper for glass and metal and it really helped with the sanding. It did not take me long to figure out how to make a sanding handle out of masking tape either.
  • Member since
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  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:29 PM
yep marking then cutting at 45 degs . sanding handles is one of the tips i got in that book. Greg
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
  • Member since
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  • From: NE Georgia
Posted by Keyworth on Friday, October 10, 2003 9:34 PM
stinger, I just finished my first vac kit, courtesy of Woody. It was a simple kit, parts and construction-wise, but I think I was probably more anxious about this one than I was about anything I've ever built before. Gregers is right about the sanding: it's a colossal PIA. I used Testors liquid cement, some superglue, and Microweld. It's always good to have a good stock of spares around for vac kits. I kept some conventinal kits on the bench to remind me this was a new thing.
"There's no problem that can't be solved with a suitable application of high explosives"
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Posted by stinger on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:19 PM
To All - Thanks for the info. I am a woodworker/designer by trade, so I know quite a bit myself about sanding. Luckily, my skin is so tough from handling wood materials that I haven't drawn blood. Sanding just gets it down to that point where I can actually feel the little bits and pieces of my models!
I think I can picture what you guys mean about the 45 degree angle thing. Makes perfect sense. Basically sanding excess material down to a 'perfect' (demarcation) line. Like trying to achieve the same seam line and flatness of mating surfaces as what we get from injection kits, right? (I may be totally off on this though).
I am curious about the sanding handle. Do you know of a website where I can order that book? I have an online account with Barnes and Noble, so maybe i can get it from them. Is "Making Model Aircraft" the exact title? By Brian Philpot?
Nice looking Liberator there, swanny.
Thanks to all you guys, Stinger

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
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  • From: Everywhere
Posted by stinger on Friday, October 10, 2003 10:38 PM
PS to Swanny - That's a great website you have there, and some great looking models! I recommend it to all!
I see that you are somewhat into German WW2 yourself, so here's a website that piques my interest, and a book along the same lines:

www.luft46.com

Secret Aircraft Designs of the Third Reich, by David Myhra (Schiffer pub.)

Thanks, again, Stinger

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Sandusky Ohio, USA
Posted by Swanny on Saturday, October 11, 2003 7:23 AM
Ah yes, the Luft '46 site. It has been behind many of my stranger purchases. The sanding handle simply is a piece of tape where you make a tab in the middle of the tape by sticking it to itself then press the ends down onto the part you will be sanding. This is particlularly effective when sanding very small parts that you would not be able to get a grip on. You can pinch the tape and apply slight downward pressure to the part with your fingers and be able to sand effectively.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 11, 2003 12:16 PM
I just stumbled across this thread and want to thank you guys for the contributions. I am getting ready to start my first vac formed kit as well and you have answered the basics before I asked (or screwed up!).

Mine is an old British 1:48 Halifax bomber, and it looks like I'll be scratch building most things but the fuselage shell! The scratch part doesn't bother me but getting the vac formed parts right makes me a bit nervous!
Regards,
Bruce
  • Member since
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  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Saturday, October 11, 2003 6:25 PM
Hi Stinger. that books title is "making model aircraft" the auther is Brian Philpott and the publishers are PSL (patrick stephens limited) you may end up having to borrow it from your local library because it is a fairly old book, the edition i have is the second edition and is dated 1989. good luck with your first vac kit, you kinda got me going on that Beverley again i have just spent the last hour sanding and am now more than half way there as i have only got the wings to do. Greg
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
  • Member since
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  • From: Everywhere
Posted by stinger on Sunday, October 12, 2003 10:37 AM
Hi All - Thanks to all who contributed here. You have put my fears to rest. (It's only plastic, right?) Now all I have to do is decide which model to buy. I may take gregers suggestion and try doing a conversion.
Glad this turned into a positive for all!
Will let you know what I get, and thanks Swanny, for making yourself available. I'm sure I'll have more questions.
To everyone - I'd like to see some pics of your models.
Thanks again, Stinger.

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 13, 2003 7:43 PM
Gregers, Did you see that the Beverley at the museum of Army transport in Beverley, E Yorks is under threat? ( Aeroplane Monthly, November issue, get those detail photo's now!) As for vacforms, I built a D H Sea Vixen in 1/48th for a friend about three years ago with no major problems, my first, and so far, only vacform. I'd say have a go Stinger.
There seems to be a greater sense of achievement out of finishing one than there is from an injection moulded kit, plus you end up with something that's not run of the mill ordinary and owned by everyother modeller in the county.
Think through the stages & reinforce joints, you'll do fine.
To use a military saying; Prior Planning Prevents P*sspoor Performance (The 5 P's)
Pete
  • Member since
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  • From: Everywhere
Posted by stinger on Monday, October 13, 2003 8:00 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Pete. I am definitely planning to have a go at it. My biggest problem righ now is choosing a kit, but even beyond that, finding the time. My work requires me to travel extensively and righ now seems to be our peak season. I'm working on putting together a mini "travel workshop" so I can occupy my time while on the road, but that's another topic.
Will let you all know how things turn out.
Stinger

May an Angel be your wingman, and the Sun be always at your six

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: UK
Posted by gregers on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 5:59 PM
Hi Pete and thanks, i read about the beverley in Flypast and think that it should really be saved as it is the last one, there was another at the RAF museum at Hendon but that was scrapped quite a few years ago (unfortunatly i didn't get any photo's of it when i was there) i do have some photo's of the Bev at Beverley in its silver paint scheme, i really do hope that the Yorkshire air museum manage save it as it would be nice to keep it in yorkshire. i am hopefully going to the Y A M in the next few weeks and if i find out any more on this i'll let you all know. Cheers. Greg
Why torture yourself when life will do it for you?
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