A-10A Thunderbolt II

The official count in terms of exact days since I first began my journey with this build is unknown. Quite frankly, I don’t want to know. It’s been basically a year and I am not at all proud of that. There were many bumps along the way but I think in the end, I succeeded in my vision for this build.

That Stupid Murphy’s Law!

Whoever this Murphy guy is, he’s a real jerk! I know you can guess by my title that I have hit a snag in my A-10 build. While it isn’t heart stopping like dropping a finished build, it’s still quite annoying. You see, my final step in this entire build was to assemble the rear wheels and attach them to the struts. Upon inserting the hub into the tire, the hub wanted to stick out way too far. With some further persuasion and gentle force, the wheel snapped in two pieces. ARGH!! So close to completion.

In normal circumstances, I would hit the spares as I did with the gear doors. Being that my spare Airfix kit is the same as the Heller kit, I didn’t want to repeat this disaster again. I have two Monagram kits that I could pillage from but couldn’t locate their whereabouts so it was off to an Italeri set of wheels. Clipped from the sprue, they went out to the garage for some paint.

The wheels were on the agenda to get some rubber painted on when I had the genius idea to reunite them with their kit and cannibalize one of my original A-10 builds from my beginning. All of my early “learning” kits are in a plastic bin just waiting for a moment like this. As you can see, my early work was not very skillful but it turned out to be priceless in this situation. I removed the struts from the aircraft and then snapped off the wheels.

I will hopefully spend just a little bit of time getting them weathered since they are already painted. A pilot hole will need to be drilled so I can attach them to the struts. After I can pass this conundrum, it will be time to mount the airplane to the base and call it finished. With just three days remaining until the dreaded one year anniversary, I better get this right!

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.

Finishing Touches: A-10

My original plan of action this morning was to finish up the decal application on both the F-15 and F-16. With one week remaining until my feared one year anniversary of the A-10 builds’ beginning, I chose to keep with the script and get this kit finished. It’s looking like a weekend finish is very likely.

The morning started by attaching both external fuel tanks. Not a huge project, but it’s one less step crossed off the list. Next were the tires. I tried, and failed, a little weathering project yesterday with some thinned down flat white. Horrible would be a proper term for my results. When the tires were dry, I repainted them for another go this morning. The second time around, I used Tamiya snow to give the faded look from the sun with rust to give add in some dirt.

It seems like I just can’t keep track of 100% of the parts for my kits anymore. Here is THE PERFECT example of the reasoning behind our stashes. So not one, but three gear doors went missing during this build. To be honest, I am not totally sure they were there to begin with. Regardless, I have three spares A-10 kits that I can pillage from. Luckily, the Heller kit that I used for this build is the same exact kit as the Airfix kit. Problem solved. So it was out to paint for the gear doors. The interiors were sprayed with Flat White yesterday, while the exteriors had to be brushed with Olive Drab this morning. I’m all out of the rattle can Olive Drab!

The final project for the morning was an MXU-648 cargo pod. I wanted to add a little visual on the ground somewhere and using this will be perfect. The assembly was done yesterday and sanded this morning. I took it out to the garage and gave it a coat of Dark Aircraft Grey. My sanding work will get checked a little later to see if I need to hit any areas again. Basic weathering will take place after that.

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.

Squeezing In Some Workbench Time

There wasn’t a whole lot of time to devote to workbench activities today so it was a short, to the point session with the A-10, Focke Wulf, and P-70. The A-10 was first up with final touch-ups and one last coat of clear matte. The insides of the gear doors were painted white and the external fuel tanks were detailed as well. After I very carefully brush Future over all the white areas, it will be time for final assembly. YAY!

With the P-70 already showing signs of impending frustration, I am thinking ahead and leaving out the unseen. You can see that I ruthlessly cut the top off of the bulkhead in the nose. It was that or fill a massive gap. And I do mean massive. The radar operator’s cabin will also be left out. We can’t really see it in the end so to save my sanity, it will be jettisoned. I left everything to dry and I will hopefully get the fuselage halves affixed tonight while at work.

The Focke Wulf was a real quick effort today. The fuselage halves were joined together and the aircraft was set aside. DML kits don’t enter my work space often and I find that to be a shame. Every time I build one, I get reminded of how nice it is to build them. I shouldn’t have any issues with the seams of the fuselage that I can see. A quick sand should take care of any issues. That will get addressed tonight at work, along with the P-70. After tonight, I will have 58 hours in at work for the week so I am very grateful that I am writing this post!

Weathering the A-10…Again

Staying with my goal to get the A-10 finished before the end of the month, I checked weathering off of my to-do list. I’m not sure if I really did much but it is there. Maybe it’s my lighting, but it seems like it turned out to be very subtle. After I finished, it was out to the garage for more clear matte. From here, more touch-up painting will be needed before I can transition into final assembly. I’d say we’re on the home stretch now.