Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! It’s a sunny morning here at Amateur Airplanes and I am thrilled to report that all is well at the workbench. With the A-10 finally finished, I can start focusing on finishing up the F-15 and F-16 builds. Remember those two? Yeah, it’s been a while. Logically, they should have been finished weeks ago. In Amateur Airplanes time, they’re right on track! Seriously though, they just need their remaining decals applied, weathering, and final assembly. Not much at all.

The F-15 took its turn yesterday afternoon getting the rest of its decals applied to the aircraft. It made its way out to the garage for some clear matte this morning. Weathering will be next. Ordnance, external fuel tanks, Litening pod, and Navigation pod will get glossed today and taken care of tomorrow with the F-16.

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.

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.