Started 05 February 2012
Intended Livery - Microscale #72119
This is the 4th Tomcat Prototype, in her 1974 markings of the Naval Missile Centre (NMC), where she was used to test the AWG-9 and the Phoenix Missile systems.
On the Bench
Kit and aftermarket to be used.
First task on opening up the box was to locate the canopy and windscreen, remove the mold seam from the canopy and clean all scuff marks, before dipping in Johnsons Klear and storing in a plastic tub until required later.
Parts removed from sprues so far. Cockpit built and ready for paint, nose weight added, wings and wing pylons built up.
One thing I have discovered, is this kit was bought second hand, and although it has all the correct parts, it has sprues that are definitely from two different boxings, shown by the different colours of the the upper and lower fuselages.
As it doesn't seem to be a problem however, I started with modifications to the gun port and filling in the vents
10 February 2012
Using the drawings at the back of this book I have started to modify the glove fairing to the initial shape of the prototypes. Also I have scratchbuilt the older longer outer wing fences. Once I am happy with the glove fairings, I just need to glue them on.
13 February 2012
With temperatures warmed up sufficiently on Sunday for spraying, I sprayed AlcladII White Primer over most of the parts.
Also I sprayed AlcladII Black Primer over the kits PE fret and the True Detail seats, and sprayed the cockpit tub and instrument panels with Xtracrylix Dark Gull Gray (FS16231) #XA1131. After attaching the PE side consoles with CA, I ran a toothpick over them to remove the black. 0.4mm copper wire was used to created the overhead ejection handles.
20 February 2012
After completeing the assembly of fuselage, masking and sealing of the canopy, the main paint scheme was completed.
AlcladII Black primer was sprayed over the canopy and windscreen, followed by AlcladII White over all parts.
Nose was masked and Model Master Radome Tan #1709 (FS33613) was applied.
Masking of the White was carried out, and Model Master Gull Gray #1730 (FS36440) sprayed.
The engines were also sprayed using AlcladII. Using Black Primer as a Base, Pale Burnt Metal, then Aluminium were faded together. Jet Exhaust was used at the openings, and last Transparent Smoke was shaded over the panel lines.
After recovering from a torn back muscle, I restarted the build by spraying coats of Klear, ready for decalling. The decals for the tails were cut out, but unfortunately shattered on submersion in water. Similar experiences with other markings on the sheet, meant a difficult choice.
Either abandon the build, try to find another scheme in the stash with similar mods, or redo the decals using my inkjet. Picking the later option I created two sets of graphics.
First up were the NMC tail markings on White decal paper
followed by the Black markings on Clear decal paper
After printing on my inkjet, I let them cure for 24 hours in a tupperware box, before coating them with Microscale Liquid Decal film. Meanwhile I applied the other stencils using a CAM Hi-Viz Stencils sheet (#72-012).
Once the homemade decals were ready I carefully cut out them from their sheet, and applied them. Although the White backed decals look very thick, compared to aftermarket, the don't look bad from a distance. I think the calibration between my scanner and printer are off, as the grey I scanned from the tails and used to surround the NMC characters looks a little darker than it should.
Once I was happy with the decals, I sealed them up with further coats of Klear, and let it harden before apply a Flory Models Dark Brown wash. I finished off by adding the landing gear and doors, phoenix pallets and pylons. The wings, stabs, tails and engines were push-fit in place, leaving the fuselage probes and spine antennas to be glued on last.