Ive updated the narrative in the description....probably not the best way. I'll copy and paste to here from now on...
Vacation's over, back to a challenging project. Not as difficult as it could be; Encore have generously provided resin and etch to reduce accessory hunting.
2 Dec update: scribing started on the wings. The mold changes from Case X to Case XX wings are a bit rough, requiring some filling. I've decided on using the resin control surface replacements supplied by Encore, though there's really no material improvement over the kit control surfaces, but the less-than-perfect mold revisions made it easier to replace than correct. For this project I'm using the MDC rivet punches rather than a sharp needed to replicate the airframe rivets, we'll see how it turns out. I'm of two minds on this bit of detail; the real jets had very clean surfaces with little or no rivet detail visible under the ADC Grey paint, but the addition of some visual interest breaks up the acres of featureless skin. Photos soon.
8 January update: Neck deep into the scribing. It's a pain, but worth the effort. I'm using the UMM Universal Scriber as my weapon of choice, I've never found a better tool. Standard stainless steel templates and my trusty Dymo labeling tape. I think I need to purchase a wider variety of punch and die sets, doing circular panels is significantly easier with the correct size punched in the tape. Plus, compound or tight curves are less problematic. Also began applying a bit of paint. Model Claus brought a Grex Tritium pistol grip airbrush. All I can say is "wow".
21 January update: Scribing on the fuselage and wings is 90% complete. I've left the panels at the fuselage seams for later, just in case the panel lines don't line up. Started painting the cockpit. The resin provided by Encore was pretty decent, requiring only careful painting. Surprisingly, there wasn't much available on the Internet in the way of photos of the ejection seat or assorted cockpit details. I had to employ some educated guess-work, but I think it's coming out ok. The seat still needs some highlighting, especially on the seat cushions. The pre-painted etch is nice, but in some regards I think the original kit panels, with careful painting look better. The side panels would be populated with a bunch of knobs and switches which don't translate well in a 2D printed piece, although the precision of the printing is far better than I could achieve with a brush. I might try a hybrid solution in future projects, using the kit side panels and printed etch for the instrument panel...I think that's where the printed pieces really shine. The exhaust can is also together along with the filler pieces on the bullet fairings on the aft portion of the fuselage. The seams were a bit of a bother, but they were dealt with using Gunze Mr. Putty (or something like that), and with careful sanding disappeared. I also used some Tamiya weathering sets (for the first time) to bring out the burnt metal look...blue and red effects. Very subtle, but easy to apply and control. Looks pretty good, I think. More to come...next up the: Aires gear wells.
22 January update: Photographed the exhaust can. The bluing is almost too subtle, but will be buried in the fuselage. A little exhaust soot and burnishing will complete it. Spent all day painting the Aires gear wells. This is really my first time with deep washing/highlighting/weathering. Need some more practice, but much better than most of my previous work I was so concerned with correct color and minute detail that, while accurate, everything looked pretty two dimensional and lifeless. Practice makes perfect. Word of caution...I was a little too aggressive in removing the casting blocks and actually removed some internal structure. It should be hidden when finished, but don't take the blocks off in one pass...
20 March update: Ok, quite a bit accomplished...I've just been lazy in posting. Took the plunge and started getting the major assemblies together. I always hate this part...it's a usually irreversible step where I find out if I forgot something. In this case, I did. The compressor face/bulkhead is sitting quite happily on my bench, unencumbered by fuselage. Thankfully, the intakes are small and the exhaust can blocks off the rear, so I won't have the dreaded 'see-through' airplane. After gluing up the fuselage, sans bulkhead, I rubbed down the almost nonexistent seams, described lost detail and set to work on the wing assembly. Pretty straightforward. The joints between the upper and lower wing halves was far, but less than positive. Due to the drooping leading edge, there was some filling that could have been easier. Also, the Aires wheel well was still a bit too tall, but the wings are flexible enough to accommodate the excess...maybe .5mm too tall, so not too big a deal. The extent of this little excess material became more apparent when I joined the wings to the fuselage, but nothing some clamping couldn't cure. Also joined were the resin intakes and note cone. Not the best fit. Three passes with filler and primer took care of it. The nosecone was about 1mm too small in diameter and presented the biggest challenge.
Also stared detailing the missile bay. After painting everything interior green, applying washes and weathering, I discovered that the door fronts with the unguided rocket detail was way too big to easily fair into the doors. Probably should have checked this earlier. I decided to raid the spares kit and started over. I figured out a better way to get things together to minimize trouble in getting the fronts mated to the doors. Also decided I wasn't happy with the oversimplified detail. I removed the molded in wire bundles and will replace them with 2lb test fishing line bundles. I'll also be plumbing the door actuators and installing hydraulic lines where they're visible.
May 20. Work keeps getting in the way...I really hate that. Anyway, lots accomplished since my last update. Fuselage is together, primed and preshaded. Fit was typical Monogram and very little filler was needed. Missile bay doors/walls are finished and painted. Things are coming together pretty quickly....I do need to finish the artwork for the missile decals, but they're at least painted (mostly)...and I may have lost one of the Bs. Inconvenient, but I can substitute a Hasegawa missile set item. More painting to follow...
21. May 2015, 00:45