National Air and Space Museum

My list of airplane related museums is long and seemingly impossible to complete. The venues here in the States are attainable and not too much of a worry to cross off my list. The ones across the pond are going to be the difficult ones. At the very top of my list was The National Air and Space Museum. With my Spring Break trip to Gettysburg, we took a day trip to Washington D.C. to check out the sights.

Before we planned on going to D.C., I never knew that Air and Space was two separate museums. The main one is among the rest of the Smithsonian museums in the National Mall while the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is a traffic filled drive located at Dulles International Airport. My son and I did both. There is no way that I could be that close and not make the drive. My love of aviation runs deep.

National Air and Space Museum

My expectations may have been a little too high because I was a little disappointed. Please don’t get me wrong here, there is plenty to look at and it’s worth the visit when you combine it with the rest of what Washington D.C. has to offer. My main beef is that the exhibits are all basically cramped into small rooms that really can’t facilitate the mass of visitors. With the Wright Flyer, Spirit of St. Louis, and the Bell X-1 on display here, it was a must for me to go. I am a sucker for historic airplanes.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

This was more up my alley and I felt a sort of redemption while walking inside. This is your traditional, hangar filled with airplanes museum. If you had to choose one to go to, this should be your choice. The collection was a fantastic blend to satisfy anyone. The Enola Gay was really the main reason for the visit but seeing the space shuttle Discovery really was a show stopper.

Spring Break

Well it’s Spring Break, again and this year the Amateur Airplanes workbench has traveled to Gettysburg, PA. There is quite a bit more to do than I had thought so my build time has dwindled. We’ve been here since Saturday and today was my first chance to unpack the Focke Wulf, P-70, and F-22.

The Focke Wulf was first up with the engine cowling getting wedded together and the lower half of the wings being attached to the fuselage. I plan on getting the tops of the wings attached before I do anything else. From there will be all the filling and sanding.

The P-70 and its’ gap issues were next up with a gallon of filler added. Not really but there will be a lot to be applied in many future sessions. I used Testors filler to get the gaps filled in. When I sand that down, I will apply some Tamiya filler for the rest of the time.

Preparation was not the name of the game when packing the F-22. I forgot to pack a  rattle can of flat white for some more preliminary painting. That aside, I was able to work on the cockpit and get it installed. The ejection seat will need some added details so I will install it at the end of the build. Hopefully I can find a hobby shop so I can grab some paint today. I’d like to get those parts painted and installed on this trip.

The Tale Of The Troublesome P-70

Throughout the years, there have been plenty of project builds to grace the Amateur Airplanes workbench. Revell’s P-70 is just another future badge of honor to conquer. The gap predictions from earlier posts have come to fruition and, well, just see for yourself. The belly doesn’t look bad at all, which is uplifting to say the least.

So now that damage control has kicked in, I figured that I need some strength in the fuselage to withstand tremendous amounts of filling and sanding. My solution was to add strip styrene on the inside to bond the two halves together so I can go Donkey Kong on that gap. I also added some styrene in the front of the cockpit just in case. My fingers are crossed and I will go to Hobby Lobby this weekend to buy more filler!

The Focke Wulf took all of two minutes to work on today with some Silly Putty added to the cockpit and then some filler to the cowling. Not a bad couple of minutes worth of work. My future agenda for this kit will be the sanding, of course, and the wings. I would like to get them assembled and a good dry fit to see if any modifications are needed. I also need to address the engine and housing. Some of the panels need to be cut away to expose the engine so I need to get that squared away soon. This build is feeling good so far.

The Squeeze, Part 2

Day two into the workbench squeeze and we see a nice breakthrough with the A-10. All the white received a coat of Future this morning to give some contrast against the flat camouflage. When that all dried, I proceeded to do some final assembly. Landing gear struts and weapons pylons were the main act of the day. The wheels will need some sun-baked weathering before I can feel comfortable putting them on.

After the landing gear struts were dry, I gave the aircraft the sit test. Epic fail! Ballast was added to the nose but I failed to account for all the filler in the engine nacelles. It’s a tail-sitter. More weight can be added in the nose wheel bay but I may just end up gluing the wheels to the base. We’ll see.

More work was completed on the P-70 and Focke Wulf last night. The Focke Wulf was sanded down quite nicely. I will need to fill one tiny area. Certainly acceptable. The P-70 is looking like a project build in the making. I sure hope that I did something wrong in the beginning to create these issues. Otherwise, Revell should be ashamed. After some hacking and cutting, the fuselage halves were somewhat ready to wed together. I’m hoping all the tape kept the halves together enough to get a good hold. Even if that holds true, I still foresee some storms in the forecast. I think I will need to add some strip styrene to stabilize the spine so I don’t keep cracking the seams apart. At least I have a decent start going.

Weekend Warrior II

Day two of the weekend proved to be a success. I picked up where I left off at the airbrush and then some. Again, the A-10 was first up to make sure that I get this build finished as soon as possible. Euro I Gray was sprayed and the airplane was set aside to dry. Dark Green is next with a date at the airbrush for tomorrow.

The F-15 is finished with its camouflage and just needs the nose painted now. I had a bit of a hiccup with the Dark Tan and had to touch it up a little. I am still learning the nuances of my new Aztek airbrush so I had a case of spattering from a clogged nozzle. Another boo-boo was getting off course from the camouflage pattern. All fixed now so it’s time to get that nose painted.

The P-70 and Ta-152 received a little spotlight time at the workbench as well. Cockpits were finished up and affixed to one half of the fuselage. The Ta-152 looks like it will be nice to me. The P-70 on the other hand…yikes! There is a good size gap on the underside that will need to be fixed before I can wed the two halves. Some surgery will most certainly need to be performed.

Weekend Warrior

Well, my intentions were pure on getting more completed since my last post. It seems like the weekends are the only time that I can really give 100% now. This week was kind of hectic with chiropractor appointments and a dinner at church, so nothing was accomplished. Yesterday was the start of my weekend so I did some much-needed work at the airbrush.

The A-10 remains at the forefront in priority. Five weeks are all that I have left before I hit the one year mark. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! I went to Hobby Lobby to get the Olive Drab that I was lacking and went ahead and applied that yesterday. Color two will commence tomorrow sometime.

The F-15 is cruising along with its second color. I used Pale Green and it seems a bit too dark. My hope is that it tones down a bit with some weathering. Maybe after I apply the Dark Tan tomorrow it will look a little better. The nose cone will need painted eventually. I have been looking at reference photographs and I will need to address that detail.

The F-16 is almost done with paint. The camouflage scheme is finished and all that remains for paint is the nose. I will get that masked off and wait for the F-15 to spray both noses at once. I’m quite happy to see this aircraft painted.

So the P-70, F-22, and Ta-152 are coming along slowly. I worked some more on the cockpits this afternoon. Tomorrow should open up to some assembly on all three. Ideally, I’d like to get some fuselages affixed as well. High hopes, I know.

Productive Week

Well the posts haven’t been flowing this week but the model building has to an extent. There weren’t any huge breakthroughs but all six builds have progressed a little bit over the week.

A-10

So the A-10 is slowly gaining ground with all the masking. I would say I am about 80% done with that project. I will keep chugging along and eventually it will get done. Again, the lack of good reference photographs is hampering me. The underside will be all guesswork of what I think would be covered up.

A positive note on this build is that the base is almost complete. I still need to add some more vegetation though. I will most likely use one of my many built A-10’s as a template to get a rough outline of where the shadows would be. I also need to create some anchor lines soon. Lots to do still!

F-16

The F-16 is ready to head out to the airbrush. All the parts were sorted out and everything is accounted for and alligator clipped for final paint. I would like to make it out to the airbrush today or tomorrow but I will most likely wait for the A-10 to catch up and knock them out together.

F-15I

So the F-15 has had its first taste of final paint. The underside was painted yesterday afternoon and is now ready for some masking and the topside painting to commence. Like the F-16, I will more than likely wait for the A-10 and paint them at the same time.

F-22

The F-22 has gone through preliminary paint and just awaits the beginning process of cockpit assembly. With the F-16 & F-15 in final paint stages, I have plenty of time to get this build going.

P-70

Alarm bells are already ringing on this build and I have only started on the interior of the aircraft. The instructions are unclear and misleading at the start so I hope that I am doing this correctly. There is a good amount of detail which is a plus. Most of the interior has been assembled already and that leaves me with some touch-up painting before I fit them into the fuselage. It feels great to be further along with this kit.

Ta-152

The Focke Wulf wasn’t really far along at all. The engine was about the only thing that was addressed. It looks done so at least that is out of the way. The inside of the fuselage was painted but the cockpit pieces weren’t. Not quite sure of my logic in that but we all have brain farts right? So the cockpit parts were painted along with the inside of the engine housing. Eventually the housing panels will need to be cut out to open up the engine. I have a decent start and I will try to get the cockpit finished toady.