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Yet another 1/48 Tamiya F4F-4 (completed)

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  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Yet another 1/48 Tamiya F4F-4 (completed)
Posted by Johnny1000 on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:02 PM
Hello everyone
I was an avid modeler as a kid, but drifted off as I got into girls and rock and roll. After 30+ years, I decided to have a go at doing a build again. While I had considered picking up a kit over the years, I was always dissuaded by huge amount of stuff you need to actually put one together to any standard. The impetus that finally overcame that was running across some artifacts from my grandfather’s service in WWII and wanting to somehow connect with that. 
 

2nd Lt Jacob AO Stub was a pilot with VMF-121 and served at Guadalcanal at the height of the battle, from late September 1942 through the end of the year and was awarded the DFC. (This shot is from 1944.)

He’s credited with 4 aerial victories in that action. While I don’t know the details, as a kid I do remember being told something about Bettys and  thinking that wasn't as glamorous as Zeros. (Kids… sheesh.) 
 
On November 7, both he and Joe Foss were separately shot down and forced to ditch off of Malaita. Foss was picked up a few days later, and Stub a few days after that. (My grandfather would eventually reconnect with Foss in VMF-115.)
 
Since a squadron would only have about half as many planes as pilots, pilots didn’t really get assigned to a particular aircraft, and I haven’t been able to find any record or photo showing him with a particular plane. Except one. The military dutifully records the BuNo of every aircraft that went down, and his is no exception: BuNo 03480. The plane Foss ditched that day was 03453, and he famously flew ‘black 53’ so I’m going with 80, the last two digits as the id number. Top right below is the only shot I've been able to find of that aircraft. Note how far back the fuselage star is.
 
 
The build...
 
I’m building the Tamiya 1/48 F4F-4 as it would appear in late October, early November 1942.
 
As everyone mentions, it seems like a pretty good kit, though my frame of reference is a bit outdated so I don’t really know. (My entire stash consists of one other kit: a 1/48 Tamiya F4F-1A, which will be from VMF-115 at Emirau circa August 1944.) 
 
Because I’m a bit of a glutton, instead of just doing a nice, simple, out of the box build, I’ve decided to make a few modifications:
  1. The Tamiya engine just doesn’t look like any references, so I’m using the Quickboost resin.
  2. A parked Wildcat should have open cowl flaps and dropped elevators from pushing the stick forward to exit the cockpit.
  3. Quickboost seat and Finemolds harness/belts, plus a few scratch built details.
  4. Wildcats at Henderson Field in late ’42 were mostly scrambling to defend the strip and harassing Japanese ships in the slot, thus not going very far, so fill the drop tank holes.
  5. Replace the molded guns with aluminum tubes.
  6. Squadron vacuform canopy and windscreen. (I might regret this.)
  7. Turn the rudder and tail wheel slightly so they look more naturally parked.
As I mentioned, this is my first attempt in 33 years so please go easy, but I welcome any tips or advice.
 
I started with the cockpit. Yep. And the first thing is to cut out the floor.
 
While it looks okay out of the box, the seat and harness are what you really see, so seemed to benefit from aftermarket improvements. I tried the Eduard PE harness and couldn’t get it to look right. The Finemolds stuff is really cool—great detail and a lot of pliability. I wish I got a slightly more natural drape, but I think it works well enough that I don’t want to go back at this point.
 
In this shot you can also see some of the plumbing detail I added coming out of the electrical boxes. Probably not all that accurate, but gets across the vibe. I did nudge the stick forward, but not sure it really comes across.
 
The main electrical box is inexplicably undetailed in the kit, so I added switches with styrene and fine wire. It’s not all that accurate, and the modeling isn’t especially clean, but hopefully is close enough. (In this shot I had decided the paint job wasn't right and had windexed clean to start over. I think I ended up painting it three times all together.)
The IP is drybrushed and then the dials filled out with Pledge/Future.
 
 
I impulse bought the Airscale Cockpit Placard Decal set one night. There isn’t enough resolution to actually register words, and some of them aren’t really authentic to the prototype but I sprinkled them around.
 
I've also got the engine about done. The ignition ring is .030 square styrene and the wires are .3mm lead wire glued w/ CA, which I think is a lot easier to work with than electrical wire. This is pretty much straight out of lawdog's playbook. Almost every reference I've found has black insulation on the harness wire, but that just disappears, so I mixed Tamiya Buff and Nato Grey to get a kind of neutral rubbery color. The connectors to ring are just built up CA. Next time I'm going to try to get them a little cleaner, maybe with short rods or tubes ala lawdog's method.
 
The silver color is Alclad Aluminum, just because I wanted to try it to see how it sprays. At the end I did an oil wash which helped get everything to sit down. You can't see it here, but I tried painting the PW logo which is molded onto the case. It's basically a sky blue blob with a brown surround and doesn't look like anything. Oh well.
 
I've got the fuselage and wings (w/ aluminum tubes for the guns) going but don't have pics.
 
Thanks so much for looking and in advance for any feedback.
-J
Tags: 1/48 , build log , f4f , Tamiya
  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:37 PM

Well, Johnny, looks like you didn't get very rusty with your skills over those 30 years! The 'pit is looking good, the engine too, so good luck with your build and thanks for sharing, have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 6:16 PM
Thanks Pawel. That's very kind of you to say.
  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 9:06 PM

Looks really good, Johnny, and might I say familiar as I just finished this kit.

Thank you for sharing your story about your grandfather; I bet he would love what you're doing here.

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:13 PM

Thanks much.

Your comment triggered a memory: I suddenly remember building a Corsair model for him once while visiting my grandparents. My grandmother bought it for me at the Vons in Diamond Bar, CA, along with a tube of Testers cement and I must've spent maybe an afternoon on it. No idea of brand. Either 1/48 or 1/72. No paint but I did put the decals on. I'm guessing it was an F4U-5 because it was molded in dark blue plastic and had rockets and a checkerboard pattern on the cowl. He dutifly hung it up on the ceiling over his desk in his study in a dive bomb posture. 

Thanks all for indulging. This is a trip...

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 6:29 AM

Nice story, thank you for sharing that.  You've done a fantastic job on your start of this F4F!

Toshi

 

Retired due to work related injury

Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi

 

ON THE BENCH:

Revell B-17G Flying Fortress 

NEXT BUILD:

Mrs. Toshi just purchased for me a Tamiya 1/48 Ki-61 via eBay, when it arrives, as always, I’ll do a WIP.  Thanks to M.Brindos and Model Maniac for the heads up and the inspiration in obtaining this kit for my next build.

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:35 PM

Thanks Toshi! That's very kind of you to say.

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 10:45 PM

First let me say that it is truly admirable that you are building to honor your grandfather. And to go all out on your Widcat to do so is awesome. Like you I desire to build USN aircraft that my father flew and to honor him. Unlike you though, when I returned from my long hiatus from the hobby I built a few models first to sharpen my skills. As such, I am quite impressed that you jumped right in whole hog to build what was important to you.

With that said, Your "whole hog" effort is really very impressive. You have exceptional skills that you are certainly demonstrating with your detailing and fundamental paint & construction. Excellent work my friend and I am very excited to watch your progress.

Not to mention that I have both the Tamiya & Hobby Boss 1/48 Wildcat as well as the new Airfix 1/72 and I'm paying attention to what you have for me. Thanks for sharing with us

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Thursday, October 20, 2016 4:17 PM

Thanks Joe. That is really kind. 

Building a few models to sharpen before taking on something 'important' would have been super smart. But my initial intention wasn't as much about re-engaging with a hobby as wanting to make this tribute, and so intermediate steps would have seemed beside the point, if that approach had even occurred to me. Now, of course, I've acquired all this crap (lots of paint, 5-6 different glues, files, tweezers, scribes, and other hand tools, airbrush and compressor, lots of styrene stock, a cart to hold it to hold it all, etc) just to make this one stupid model, so I suppose I'm in it. Dunno. One thing at a time. 

Regarding going whole hog, this project has not been planned well or realistically at all. I've gone back and done almost each step at least twice, so it's taking forever. I just have no use for a poorly executed model at the end, so if it doesn't look right, or as close to it as I can envision getting to, then I try again. Again, practicing on a few low pressure models would have probably been more efficient and less stressful, but here we are.

BTW, this forum has been such a great resource. Everyone is so generous in sharing their work and techniques, and to the extent that I'm managing to work anything up to any standard at all, this is largely why. So, thanks!

-J

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Thursday, October 20, 2016 10:06 PM

You're Welcome.

I'd sure hope that since you have acquired such an awesome aresenal of modeling equipment that you stick with it and build more kits with us.

You are not alone in constantly test fitting again and again to ensure everything is right. I'm one of those folks. Takes me about a year to build one single 1/72 aircraft. Limited bench time also tends to be a factor.

As for going whole hog, don't be fooled by my F4U Corsair WIP. That is simply another step in honing my skills and getting familiar with the subject. I have yet another Tamiya 1/72 Corsair as well as 1/48 ones that I have a plethora of AM for. Same goes for my 1/48 PBY Catalina. Those will be epic builds for me when I get to them.

You are absolutely correct in your statement concerning the folks here. They are absolutely tremendous. I've been here on the forums for over 6 yrs and my skills and abilities have been enhanced exponentially because of all of the help and kindness given to me by the people here. It doesn't get any better than here.

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Lacey, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Friday, October 21, 2016 12:59 PM

Glad to have you with us! I am really enjoying your scratch building. It looks really good for 1/72 scale.

You probably should have built up a few kits to get the skills up, and this is a really good looking build so far, but you have definitely accomplished the one thing that all good small scale builders try to accomplish, which is to make the build look like a larger scale. You're doing that very well. Its easy to mistake this for a 1/48 build already.

Very nicely detailed work!

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Friday, October 21, 2016 11:40 PM
That's fascinating info about your grandfather Johnny. Thank you for sharing it. Your first in 30 years?.....very impressive. If your having issues with seatbelts, Ultracast makes resin versions with the belts molded on. Careful painting and a wash and they look convincing. Yours do however look fine to me. That QB motor is nice. I may have to look into those on a future radial. Keep up the good work, Joe

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Saturday, October 22, 2016 5:31 PM

Thanks Mike and Joe. 

About the 30 years... I work in a creative field and have been involved in a lot of projects with particular visual requirements, so while a lot of the mechanical craft skills are rusty or new, a lot of the things around seeing details are probably more developed, which might help. Dunno. Finding my way, hopefully. 

Mike, it actually is 1/48. So glad it doesn't look 1/72! (yet... )

I thought about the Ultracast with molded belts, but finally decided that arranging them was expressive enough to be something I should do myself. Not sure that actually makes sense, and I'll probably reconsider in the future.  

Cheers

-J

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Saturday, October 22, 2016 5:48 PM

Got some more work in. Mostly fighting the vac canopy. Not sure where that's going to net out, but the kit canopy doesn't look right. 

I got the cowl flaps opened with some Evergreen stock. Not perfect, but hopefully once it's cleaned up and painted it will be convincing.

I can't find even a single image of the inside of the cowl flaps, so I just made it up, inspired by Corsair cowls, which are well documented. The flaps don't open very much and you'll be barely able to see in, so hopefully its okay.

I've also got the wheel wells and firewall mostly done. I've seen a lot of examples of this kit with gaping holes where the wheel well meets the fuselage skin. The join on the real plane is really clean, plus you won't really be able to see where it joins the top fuselage piece, so I decided to glue it to the bottom piece instead of having it be part of the cockpit assembly. I've got to touch up the paint on the join area.

You can also see where I've filled in the drop tank holes with CA. That's my second attempt (I learned an important lesson about masking around filling operations), and Tamiya customer service generously sent me a replacement part for free when I determined I wouldn't be able to repair the first.

I'll probably want to reinforce the firewall because it's the only thing holding the landing gear, right?

Started playing around with test fitting. There's going to be a gaping chasm where the wing assembly joins the fuselage bottom. I notice that's a problem with a lot of people's builds. Anyone have any ideas about how to address?

Thanks for looking and for any advice. 

Cheers

-J

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Sunday, October 23, 2016 9:08 AM

That is some most outstanding work my friend. Exactly how long did you say you've been away from the hobby? Not sure I'm buying it.Wink. That is some wonderful attention to detail and the work you are doing to execute it is excellent.

I have not scratchbuilt cowling flaps yet but, one thing that I have noted for when the time comes is to use pieces cut from aluminum soda cans. Seems to be easy to work with and more accurate in scale. Simply an observation.

As for the gap you've encountered, it looks as though a thin styrene shim might do the trick.

Keep bringing the awesome modeling Johnny. It's first rate.Yes

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Sunday, October 23, 2016 9:56 AM

Joe, you are being way too kind. Thank you my friend. That's a confidence booster for sure.

I actually tried aluminum can and wine bottle foil, and finally decided that styrene was the material that was the easiest for me to work with. The foil is easy to cut cleanly, but is just too fragile. The can cuts okay, but is harder to shape and refine. I also like that you can tack down styrene parts with CA, but then go back over with cement to really nail down.

I should have given props, forgive me... I referenced this WIP of a 1/32 Corsair cowl build for a master for an AM resin product pretty heavily:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/19952-mastercasters-132-f4u-1-corsair-cowl-flaps/

That guy goes way, way deep into it. I didn't even consider getting that ambitious because, man... but that is some really inspiring stuff.

-J

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, October 23, 2016 10:07 AM

The build is going very well and your attention to detail is outstanding. Historic significance is always an added feature to modeling. You are doing both well. Keep up the good work and I'll be watching! Cheers,

Max

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, October 23, 2016 10:15 AM

Johnny,

I don't recall having much issue with that wing joint attachment.  Your example does look a bit off there, though.  How I approached this was through a time consumming process of putting glue on just a part of the attachment and holding it in place for about 20 minutes to ensure that the joint was sufficiently tight.  I repeated that process all along the attachment.  

I only needed a tiny bit of filler right there in that tiny area where the wing actually joins to the fuselage (not the curved underside of the fuselage).

Your cowl flaps look quite good.

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Sunday, October 23, 2016 11:43 PM

Johnny1000
http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/19952-mastercasters-132-f4u-1-corsair-cowl-flaps/ That guy goes way, way deep into it. I didn't even consider getting that ambitious because, man... but that is some really inspiring stuff.

Holy Smokes! That's just plain nuts, absolutely incredible, but nuts. Thanks for sharing this with us as I will find this guys photos invaluable for my future 1/48 Corsairs. Funny you should post all this when you did as the cowling flaps are exactly what I'm working on right now on my 1/72 Corsair. No scratch building, just a Ultracast resin part. I was checking reference photos to get an idea on how the acctuator cables looked. So, your link is quite timely. Here's what I've got so far:

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Monday, October 24, 2016 12:28 AM

I wish I would have thought of the cowl flaps on my Wildcat....great idea and execution. In 1/48, I wouldn't think it would be too necessary to detail inside. It's hard to see in there. Indeed thin sheet styrene is the way to go, just fuse it in place with Tenax. I did not have that issue with the belly fit. Try forcing it backwards till it meets and use Tenax (or your liquid glue of choice) on the line to melt it together. Let it dry for a bit then scribe the line back in with a needle chucked into a pin vice. The back side of an exacto knife works too or even a scriber.

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Monday, October 24, 2016 2:24 PM

JOE RIX

 Holy Smokes! That's just plain nuts, absolutely incredible, but nuts. Thanks for sharing this with us as I will find this guys photos invaluable for my future 1/48 Corsairs. Funny you should post all this when you did as the cowling flaps are exactly what I'm working on right now on my 1/72 Corsair. No scratch building, just a Ultracast resin part. I was checking reference photos to get an idea on how the acctuator cables looked. So, your link is quite timely. Here's what I've got so far:

Joe, that's awesome! Getting details to the level of the actuator cable in at all in 1/72 is great. They're so splayed on the Corsair that you'll really be able to see, too. Nice. 

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Monday, October 24, 2016 2:29 PM

JOE RIX

As for the gap you've encountered, it looks as though a thin styrene shim might do the trick.

Do you mean roughing in sheet stock in the shape of the profile and then sand or filing down flush? Would you do that before or after joining the wing assembly to the fuselage?

This is where my lack of experience really comes out.

Thanks!
-J

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Monday, October 24, 2016 2:37 PM

lawdog114

Try forcing it backwards till it meets and use Tenax (or your liquid glue of choice) on the line to melt it together. Let it dry for a bit then scribe the line back in with a needle chucked into a pin vice. The back side of an exacto knife works too or even a scriber.

Do you mean compressing the aft section of the fuselage down to get it to meet the fore section? If fusing w/ liquid glue, how would you keep the glue away from the rivet detail on the fore section of that panel? 

What I think is tricky about that area is that on the prototype those lapped (not sure that's the right term) panels lay out the same all the way up the fuselage, and on this kit  that join almost always looks slightly different. It would be easy-ish to fix if you were willing to sacrifice the rivets, but I'm not (yet). The raised rivets are a lot of the charm of this kit... 

Thanks!

-J

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Sunday, October 30, 2016 11:30 PM

A bit more work.

First detaching the elevators do drop them. What a pain! Now I know why people don't bother. 

The hinges are from Eduard’s PE detail set. I managed to break, lose, or accidently throw away almost every other piece from it (the perils of learning as you go, I reckon). I should have filled back in some of the plastic lost in cutting. 
 
I decided to try a styrene shim to fix the wing bottom gap. I roughly traced out around the fuselage on a piece of .05” stock and then trimmed the inside piece and glued it with Tamiya Extra Thin.
Once attached, I shaved the outside flush with the fuselage. 
After joining the parts, I filled in any remaining gaps with gap filling CA. Not sure this is the best way to do this, but I think it’s going to work out. 
 
It’s starting to look like an airplane and I’m about ready to start painting. It’s so weird to me that it’s weeks and weeks of fiddling about with tiny details and then, bang, all of a sudden there you are.
  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, October 31, 2016 3:40 AM

Hello!

Nice work with fixing that gap! You can save a lot of time this way, too! If you would like to perfect this technique, you could try Dragon's P-38 - you get to do it with almost every part, and in 1:72, too...

Good luck with your build and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    August, 2013
Posted by Jay Jay on Monday, October 31, 2016 7:35 AM

Man you're doing a great job on this F-4

.Irreguardless of the 30 year modeling hiatus, it looks like you've been modeling all along.  After I re-started the hobby,my first 4 found their way to the trash can.

 

 

 

 

 

 I'm finally retired. Now time I got, money I don't.

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Monday, October 31, 2016 3:48 PM

Thanks guys!

Pawel

 If you would like to perfect this technique, you could try Dragon's P-38 - you get to do it with almost every part, and in 1:72, too...

Yikes! That just sounds miserable.

-J

  • Member since
    August, 2009
  • From: MOAB, UTAH
Posted by JOE RIX on Saturday, November 05, 2016 6:13 PM

Absolutely outstanding effort Johnny. You tireless work is paying off in spades. Very glad to see that the shim seems to have worked out well. You are really doing some stunning building. Hang with it and keep the updates coming. 

"Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did". George Carlin

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Monday, November 07, 2016 12:15 AM
Nice fix bud....That's coming along nicely..

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    July, 2016
  • From: NYC
Posted by Johnny1000 on Monday, November 07, 2016 9:21 AM

Joe and Joe

Thanks so much. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the encouragement and support. I haven't had a chance to get back to it in a bit, but will hopefully will get some work in this week.

There's a few remedial items (finishing cleaning up that join and restoring rivet detail, cleaning up around the machine gun tubes, fixing a gap between the horizontal stablizer and elevators, etc) that need to be addressed before finally moving on to painting the airframe. 

Best

-J

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