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ModelCollect's 1:72 B-2 Spirit: "You're on your own!"

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  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Monday, March 14, 2022 8:10 PM

Attacking the areas noted above with sandpaper helped to some degree, but I started getting diminishing returns.  So I did the best I could, and now it's time to improve my putty skills.  I'm starting on the top of the aircraft, because it will be least visible there when I hang it from my ceiling.

I'm doing things in sections so I can test out some things as I go.  I've got the port side of the top puttied and painted, and while you can still see the seam it's a heck of a lot better than it was.  I'll try to improve it even more while I do the starboard side.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Friday, March 11, 2022 6:47 PM

Pawel
On the wing - it looks to me as if you were better off cutting one (or both!) tabs off and just using those large flat surfaces to glue the parts together.

In the photo above something is interfering with the fit and I could bet a small amount of money it's one of the tabs (or both). Maybe it would be a good idea to narrow the tabs down (chordwise, so to say) or at least make teir sides taper - that could help, too. Once again, in the photo above if you could move the left part "down" (towards the bottom of the photo) it would not only take care of the panel lines in the top portion of the photobut also make the gaps smaller. 

I have been looking at the tabs.  I've reduced them some and may continue to do so.  There's a couple other places I've been looking at.

The very last mating surface in the back is the one place that's flush.  So I'm thinking that sanding it down a little might bring everything closer, and also allow the wing to slide back and make the panels match up.  I've sanded a little here and it may be helping, but I'm wary of trading one highly visible gap for another one.

This mating surface, second from the front, is complicated with a sort of internal shelf.  This is one area where I can't see all the way through the gap, so there could be an interference here - it's hard to tell.  I've been testing out removing some material here as well.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Friday, March 11, 2022 6:39 PM

GMorrison

 

 
Brhino
I don't know how designing a model airplane kit works, but I assume after they have the molds made, they go through some rounds of checking to see if they can actually build what they produced, and checking to see if their instructions make sense

 

LOL!!!

 

 

No, they don't. That would only either (a) make them guilty of deliberately selling garbage, or (b) cause them to revise their tooling at great cost!.

 

Bill

 

 

Well, maybe I'm giving them too much credit.  I'm an engineer, which means I have to design things that actually work... I assumed model makers were subject to similar rules.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, March 11, 2022 5:45 PM

Brhino
I don't know how designing a model airplane kit works, but I assume after they have the molds made, they go through some rounds of checking to see if they can actually build what they produced, and checking to see if their instructions make sense

LOL!!!

 

No, they don't. That would only either (a) make them guilty of deliberately selling garbage, or (b) cause them to revise their tooling at great cost!.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, March 11, 2022 5:42 PM

Hello!

Sorry to hear about how poor the fit (and thought!) on this one is.

On the wing - it looks to me as if you were better off cutting one (or both!) tabs off and just using those large flat surfaces to glue the parts together.

In the photo above something is interfering with the fit and I could bet a small amount of money it's one of the tabs (or both). Maybe it would be a good idea to narrow the tabs down (chordwise, so to say) or at least make teir sides taper - that could help, too. Once again, in the photo above if you could move the left part "down" (towards the bottom of the photo) it would not only take care of the panel lines in the top portion of the photobut also make the gaps smaller. And before you break out the putty I recommend putting pieces of styrene sheet on the surfaces that don't mate and sanding them down neatly before glueing the parts together - this helps prevent losing detail and having to rescribe it from puttying.

Good luck with your build and have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Friday, March 11, 2022 4:19 PM

Part 7: Two Wings and a Million Prayers

I'm going a bit out of order now.  There aren't too many assembly steps left, especially since I'm not building the landing gear.  I closed up the engine bays and main gear bays, which went fine.  The nose wheel bay doors were too big so I had to sand them down a ways.  I'm not going to gripe too much about that though - I have done many kits where the bay doors don't fit right with the gear up.

 

Now then, it's time to work on the wings.  The two wing halves themselves went together fine.  The flaps were finicky and to be honest they weren't my best work... hopefully I can clean it up a bit later.  Once the halves are together and the flaps are attached, the wings go into the fuselage.  I'd read reviews that this was a poor fit so I was kind of dreading it.  Let's take a look.

There's a slot and a tab on the wing, and a slot and a tab on the fuselage.  In theory, two tabs go in two slots and you're set.  It's a very tight fit, so you're going to have to slide the tab straight into the slot - no coming at it from a sideways angle.  And that's a problem, because each tab/slot combo uses a different angle.  You literally cannot do both of them straight on.  So unless I'm having an absolute brain dead moment here, there is no way you can attach the wings as intended.  Anyone have any insight I'm missing?

The only thing I've come up with so far is removing material from the tabs, to make them smaller and give the whole thing enough margin to come in at an angle. It's a bit unfortunate because that will weaken the attachment somewhat, but I don't see a way around it.  I've done that with one of the wings so far, so I can dry-fit the attachment.  How's that look?

Yup.  That is one big ugly gap.  Not only is there a gap, but there's a bit of a translation as well - you see that the panel lines don't line up.

My putty skills are not great, although part of that might be because the tube I was using was past its service life.  I got a couple tubes of Tamiya stuff and I likely will need it, but I'm going to see if I can reduce this gap with some selective sanding first.  Wish me luck.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Friday, March 4, 2022 9:16 AM

Space Ranger

I get the impression that each and every part of a ModelCollect kit is designed by a different person, and that none of them bother to talk to the others to see if the parts will fit together.

 

 
Right? I don't know how designing a model airplane kit works, but I assume after they have the molds made, they go through some rounds of checking to see if they can actually build what they produced, and checking to see if their instructions make sense.  They really seemed to have skimped on both of those areas here, which is hard to understand given the price point.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    January 2020
Posted by Space Ranger on Thursday, March 3, 2022 6:43 PM

I get the impression that each and every part of a ModelCollect kit is designed by a different person, and that none of them bother to talk to the others to see if the parts will fit together.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 10:16 PM

Part 6: Last Man Sanding

Now that the bomb bay, wheel bays, engines, and cockpit are all in place, the next step is to glue the top and bottom fuselage halves together.  Before I added anything, I checked the fit of these two pieces, and it was fine.  Now... not even close.

What happened?  Well, at first it was hard to tell what was getting in the way of what when I tried to bring the two halves together.  Over the course of weeks, I repeatedly fit checked, found where it was interfering, sanded, removed material, and tried again, over and over.  When it was as said and done, the problem areas were as follows:

A: The main wheel bay assemblies interfere with the top of the fuselage.  Solution: lots of sanding.

B: The exhaust ducts interfere with the framing around the engine bay. Solution: partially remove framing.

C: The rear of the cockpit interferes with the top of the bomb bay.  Solution: more sanding.

D: The front of the cockpit interferes with the front of the nose gear bay. Solution: even more sanding.

Now, some of these things may be my fault, if I didn't get things in exactly the right spot.  It's hard to tell, given the lack of alignment features for most things.  I knew the cockpit was going to be trouble when I attached it to the top fuselage instead of the bottom.  I really would like to watch someone from Modelcollect build this thing and show me how it's supposed to work.

I did eventually get things fitting well enough for my not-too-exacting standards.  But I don't have a lot of free time these days so it took me weeks to get to that point, and I can't say it was much fun.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    March 2020
Posted by Faux fisherman on Sunday, February 20, 2022 5:15 AM

For large areas of white try Colortool floral spray it covers very well and has very fine pigment and sprays great.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Saturday, February 19, 2022 7:58 PM

Part 6: Catching Up

It's been a while since I've updated, because progress has slowed way down.  On this post, I'll show what went fairly well, and then the next post will dive into what's not been so good.

First, as previously mentioned I followed the advice of the FSM review and attached the cockpit to the top half of the fuselage.  I can't imagine getting it in the right spot any other way given how weird the attachment is.  I installed the tops of the engine compartments and the engines themselves.  This all went reasonably well, with no more than a normal amount of work with a sandpaper and a knife to get everything to fit well.  Mostly just a couple quirks in the instructions to point out.  First, there are a quartet of diamond-shaped openings above the engines of the aircraft.  My understanding is that these open to allow more air into the engines during low-speed situations like taxiing and takeoffs.  The instructions suggest you can model these pieces open, but... what are they going to attach to?  They're floating in space, or maybe attached by a single point, in the instructions.

The engines and ducting are well detailed and fit pretty well.  The instructions are once again weirdly lacking in consistency.  You need to build four engines, marked as subassembly P.  Each one uses part A9 and part A12, so clearly those are identical.  However, we've once again got this "part A5/A6" label that makes no sense.  Is A5 not the same as A6?  If it's the same, why does it have a different part number?  Why not give all four the same part number like you did with A12?  If it's not the same, then not all four "P" subassemblies are the same, in which case I need some guidance on which "P" subassembly mates with which "G" subassembly.  Ultimately I'm almost certain that A5 and A6 are identical (and ditto for the other parts on this page) but it's just bizarre that they don't seem to have any consistency in labeling parts.

Going back to the theme of "do you detail parts that you can't see in the finished model?"... if you're going to be modeling the big doors underneath the engines closed, then the only part of these assemblies that you'll be seeing is the intake ducts, a tiny bit of the A12 fans (like, if you shine a flashlight down the intake), and the very end of the outlet ducts.  On the other hand, if you are going to leave the access doors open, you'll be treated to a view of the well detailed engines and ducts, but there's no detailing in the engine bay itself.  There aren't even walls, really... you'd be able to see all the way into the cavity that is the inside of the model.  I can't believe anyone who wanted to go into the trouble of making the engines visible would be very happy about that.

As for me, it'll all be sealed up, out of sight, out of mind.  And now I'm going to spend three weeks trying to get the two fuselage halves to fit together.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    August 2013
  • From: Michigan
Posted by Straycat1911 on Monday, February 14, 2022 10:26 AM

Eaglecash867

Well, at least the ACES II seats are correct for the B-2.  ModelCollect has those same ACES II seats in their B-52 model, and that is most definitely wrong.  Had to get some F-5 seats to sorta come close to what the Webers look like that are actually in the B-52G.

 

I'm building the Monogram B-52D and I decided to use a pair of F-101B seats up front. 
Not totally accurate but looks better than the OOB option, especially with the pilots installed. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, February 12, 2022 3:05 PM

Well, at least the ACES II seats are correct for the B-2.  ModelCollect has those same ACES II seats in their B-52 model, and that is most definitely wrong.  Had to get some F-5 seats to sorta come close to what the Webers look like that are actually in the B-52G.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    August 2013
  • From: Michigan
Posted by Straycat1911 on Saturday, February 12, 2022 2:48 PM

Note to self: avoid ModelCollect aircraft as if they were from Meng. 

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Sunday, January 30, 2022 7:28 PM

Part 5: Back to the Cockpit

With the GBUs nestled safely into their beds, it's time to move on.  The next step is to build up the walls around the cockpit access ladder.  Here once again I won't be making full use of the feature because I'll be building the hatch closed, but it's important to build up the framework because the cockpit is meant to rest on it.

Now that that's in place, we're meant to install the cockpit.  I haven't even finished the cockpit yet, but the important thing is that there's a new drawing here that sheds some light on the "upside down table" pieces that I couldn't figure out what to do with.

This drawing is from an angle they didn't previously give me, and based on this it seems that the confusing pieces are mounted up against the back of the arched divider.  I had considered this as a possibility before but it didn't seem right then.  Now that I've got a better angle I can see this is indeed how they're supposed to go, something like this.

From here, the rest of the cockpit goes together.  It's not great, not terrible.  Many reviews I've read have pointed out that the control sticks are way too short.  I felt like the seats were a bit too wide for the space they had available, but I made it work.  Another interesting thing - the kit comes with a set of prepainted photoetched instrument details.  Every review mentions that they are prepainted, and says what a nice touch that is, even though they'll barely be visible.  Well... I guess the photoetch painter had the day off when they made my kit, because mine weren't painted.  That level of detail is way too small for me, but I did get some basic color onto them, and the end result is acceptable, at least by my standards.

At this point the cockpit's complete, and it's meant to rest on top of the nose wheel well and the structure built up around the ladder, something like this:

There's a lot of wiggle there, and it would seem that the odds of getting the cockpit in exactly the right spot to fit when the top half of the fuselage comes on seems remote.  The FSM review recommends attaching the cockpit to the top half instead and then doing whatever's necessary to make the bottom half fit.  Things are coming along far enough now that I can start to do some fit checking of the fuselage halves and there are problems.  But that's a subject for the next post...

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Friday, January 21, 2022 11:59 AM

Part 4: Busting Bunkers

It's now time for the main event: assembling the payload of two GBU-57 bombs.  It's a pretty simple step which is good because after reading the instructions I have questions.  So many questions!

So we start by gluing the bomb halves L2 and L3 together.  Then, we're to attach the four rear pop-up fins.  They've each been given a different part number, which implies that they're not identical.  Furthermore, for each position you have two different options, which implies that you've got two non-identical sets of fins.  Let's take a look at the sprues...

Sure enough, each sprue comes with 8 fins.  Two sprues gives you 16 fins in total.  If there's a difference between any one and the next, I truly cannot see it.  So what are these alternate parts about? No idea.

Next, we'll be attaching brackets L4 and L5. Normally kit designers will give you some help making sure your bombs get on their racks in the right spot.  Sometimes the bomb has holes or indentations. Sometimes there are partial holes on the inside of the bomb and instructions to drill them the rest of the way out.  Here we have none of that, which fits with our "You're On Your Own!" theme. The odd thing is that by some indications, they think they did put holes on the bombs.  The illustration seems to think they're there.  The brackets have little round pegs where they interface with the bombs, so whoever designed the brackets expected holes to be there.  But we're neither given holes nor given instruction to make them.  I think I'll clip the pegs off rather than trying to drill into the bombs.

You'll notice L4 and L5 are not symmetrical.  This makes sense because the ceiling of the bomb bay where they will attach is curved, so we need to attach the brackets for the port bomb differently than the brackets for the starboard bomb.  The instructions make no such suggestion. There's one additional bracket, L1, that IS symmetrical, although it's not used. I wonder what it's there for? One more common courtesy these instructions are lacking: A list of the parts that are included but not used.

Figuring out how to paint the GBU-57s was a bit tricky.  90% of the currently available pictures are clearly test weapons or "dummy" unarmed versions (the box art depicts an inert weapon), but I wanted to depict operational weapons.  There is one video on youtube of a drop of an olive drab weapon and what perhaps appeared to be bare alloy rear fins with a similar coloration to a vietnam-era GBU-8, so I've modeled my color scheme based on that. 

These bombs are BIG!

Left-to-right: GBU-38, GBU-12, "Fat Man" atomic bomb, GBU-57. Airfix B-26 pilot figure on bottom.

One interesting note is that GBU-57s are stated to weigh 30,000 pounds, and the stealth bomber can carry two of them.  The B-2 has an official payload capacity of 40,000 pounds, an "estimated" capacity of 50,000 pounds, but we'll be attaching 60,000 pounds of bombs.  So somebody is fudging some numbers!

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 6:58 PM

That FSM article would have scared me away. I had the AMT YB-35 in my stash for a while but I gave it to Hans von Hammer (Mike).

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 6:39 PM

Eaglecash867
I have their 1/72 B-52 and it has been a real...ummm...adventure so far.

That's what I've heard.  The fact that they've been saying for years that they're working on a B-1B model is equally exciting and terrifying.  I don't know why the big players don't do postwar bombers in 1:72.  So many very significant planes and your only options are badly dated kits with major accuracy issues.  I guess they don't think there's enough market out there to justify making a new mold.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 4:54 PM

Brhino
I could not describe to someone the difference between Insignia White and pure White.  It all looks the same to me.  This is why I asked my wife to help me mix up the correct shade of blue for my early-war Wildcat. 

Heh...the only way I could describe the difference is to hold two things up that are painted the two colors and say "See?  There's the difference." Which would probably just lead to more confusion. Cool

Good luck with the B-2.  I have their 1/72 B-52 and it has been a real...ummm...adventure so far.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 3:14 PM

Eaglecash867
Speaking of Insignia White, which is really close to white

I could not describe to someone the difference between Insignia White and pure White.  It all looks the same to me.  This is why I asked my wife to help me mix up the correct shade of blue for my early-war Wildcat. Big Smile

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 1:48 PM

For painting large areas white, I start by airbrushing decanted Tamiya Surface Primer (just the regular grey stuff is good enough when decanted...no need for their Fine White Surface Primer).  After the primer has cured, which takes about 2 hours, I airbrush MRP White lacquer on top of it.  It takes several passes (not coats) to get opaque coverage, but the primer and paint layers are nice and thin, and even the most delicate of details are preserved in sharp definition.  By the time I get through 1 pass, the previous pass is dry enough to go over again with another pass.  When using MRP lacquer, that nice, smooth, white surface is fully cured and ready for detailing and weathering in about 1 hour.

Did the main gear wells of my F-4B this way.  The paint around them that looks "white" is actually the FS17875 Insignia White for the bottom of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, its not overspray of the pure white in the gear wells.

Speaking of Insignia White, which is really close to white, here is a bottom view of the stabilators, showing the preservation of the panel lines under it.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:17 AM

murph
As for painting large areas white, or any other broght colour such as yellow, I prime with a very light grey.

Interesting, I'll have to give that a try on my next white build.  It's strange how just a tiny bit of pigment to make light grey paint seems to made it cover the model better, but it absolutely does.

Great looking CF-104!  

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: West of the rock and east of the hard place!
Posted by murph on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 8:50 AM

"Now I have a huge bomb bay that needs to be white.  I kind of hate painting large sections of planes white.  It always seems like you need so many coats of paint to get a solid color that you end up washing out a lot of details.  Anyone have any pointers there?"

 

Looks like lots of patience is going to be needed to get this thing done.  Best of luck as you move forward.  As for painting large areas white, or any other bright colour such as yellow, I prime with a very light grey.  I use Model Master enamels so my primer of choice is FS36495.  I spray a very light coat and let it dry.  I then spray fine coats of white to build up the colour and coverage without losing very much detail.  That's the technique I used on this 72nd scale CF-104.  Yeah it may take a bit of time but the results are worth it.  Just go slowly.

Retired and living the dream!

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 8:30 AM

Cadet Chuck
 it also brings up that old point of controversy- why build and paint all those interior details since they will never be seen again, once the model is finished?  Personally, I have stopped spending time on those invisible greeblies.  Anybody else agree with that?

We had a discussion about that! 

https://cs.finescale.com/fsm/general_discussion/f/9/t/189978.aspx

Opinions are pretty mixed.

For this model in particular, I will not be painting any of the hidden components - mostly the wheel wells and the engines.  I'm still installing some things that arguably won't be needed, like the four walls and the roof of each of the main gear wells, because sometimes it's hard to anticipate what's needed as part of the overall structure.  Plus since I'm documenting what fits and what's problematic for this model, it makes sense to try and get as many of the parts in place as I can.

I haven't even gotten into the photo etch cockpit details that come with the model... that will be a later post.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 8:25 AM

That looks like an interesting kit, and I will enjoy following your progress.  However, it also brings up that old point of controversy- why build and paint all those interior details since they will never be seen again, once the model is finished?  Personally, I have stopped spending time on those invisible greeblies.  Anybody else agree with that?

Gimme a pigfoot, and a bottle of beer...

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 7:10 AM

keavdog

Thanks! I've read that review and most of the other ones currently on the internet, I think. You'll see a lot of similar comments about the kit from review to review, I think.

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 5:22 PM

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 5:00 PM

Thanks for the warning.

  • Member since
    August 2015
  • From: Ypsilanti, MI
Posted by Brhino on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 4:07 PM

Part 3: Bays for Days

With the cockpit set aside for now, the next step is to build up the bays around the bottom half of the fuselage.  There are a lot of them - one bomb bay (semi split into two halves), three gear bays, and two bays to open up the engine compartment.  I'll be displaying my bomber in flight, bomb doors open, so everything else is closed, but it seems like a good idea to build up all the structure anyhow.

First up are the main landing gear bays.  This part was straightforward, especially since I'm not including the gear itself or the hinges.  Make note of parts C1 and C2 though, because they're going to come up again soon.  There is a lip around the opening in the fuselage, which really helps to align everything, which is nice.

Next up is the framing of the bomb bay, which consists of 5 pieces not including B3 and B4.  Let's talk about those.  They're 3-way pipes or conduits that will plug into the side wall and the roof of the bomb bay, and this is absolutely not the time to install them.  It will be much easier once the bay is assembled.  Anyhow, the framing of the bomb bay is kind of finnicky and there's no registration surfaces on the mostly-flat bottom piece of the fuselage, so a misplacement or misalignment here is definitely possible.  I got it all on and found the whole thing to be shaky.  I decided to quickly proceed with putting the roof of the bomb bay on to lock everything into position before the glue set.  With the roof on the fit still wasn't great, but I clamped some rubber bands around the whole thing and squished it into a fit that I'm pretty pleased with. 

Now I have a huge bomb bay that needs to be white.  I kind of hate painting large sections of planes white.  It always seems like you need so many coats of paint to get a solid color that you end up washing out a lot of details.  Anyone have any pointers there?

The engine bay frames are each one rectangular piece, C1, and C2.  Okay, who was paying attention?  We already used C1 and C2.  Yes, this kit seems to have two very different parts each labelled C1, and two more C2s.  In fact, in the same area of the sprue there's two hinge pieces very similar to A40 and A41 shown here, so you might say this kit has THREE each of part C1 and C2.  If the hinge versions of C1 and C2 are used anywhere, I haven't found it yet.

Anyhow, it's time to put C1 and C2 in.  There are no registration surfaces for these either, but they've got to fit between the bomb bay frame and the wheel well frame.  Do they?

Not really!  See how the sides are buckled in?  There simply wasn't enough room.  In hindsight I think my bomb bay is shifted to the right by about 1/16" of an inch, but the problem is present in both engine bay frames.  As I said I'm going to close this compartment up so in the end it's not a huge deal... but if I were looking to display the engines there would be a lot of sanding and clamping to get these sections looking good.

Next will be the roofs of the bomb bay and main gear bays. 

 

I've already done the bomb bay roof so I just need to get the gear bay roofs, which have registration surfaces on each side.  Why do the small easy parts have registration surfaces but the large cumbersome parts do not?  Also note that these three parts do not have number callouts.  It's not a big deal because these are large, easily identified parts... but this is a pretty basic error that should have been corrected, especially given that we're now into the second release of the kit.

The last step is to build up the nose gear well.  This consists of two side pieces and one back/top piece.  Even though my nose gear will be up and covered, it's important that this section goes together well because the troublesome cockpit rests on top of it.  It's not super clear from the instructions if C28 goes on top of B13 and B14 or between them, but some testing reveals it only fits properly between them.  There are grooves on either side of the opening that this assembly should rest on... but it's just a touch too wide.  So I double check that C28 goes between, and believe me, the fit is much worse if you try it the other way.  So it's time for the knife and the file, and eventually it fits.

This ended up being a long post for a few relatively simple steps.  Every single step was a fight though, whether from ill-fitting parts, errors that could have been prevented with more generous use of registration surfaces, or unclear instructions.  We've still got a long ways to go...

 

 

Who keeps stepping on wings?  Someone won't stay off the wings and now I have to apply all these tiny "NO STEP" decals.

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