Academy 1/48th scale


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Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"

27th FW Cannon AFB - 27th July 1996

Model Built December 2004 to June 2005

Verlinden Superdetail set

1.     The beginning - November/December 2004. The work here shows the addition of some cockpit parts from a Verlinden Superdetail set.

Academy 1/48th scale F-111F
Sprue from the kit Other extras Shadows were added with artists chalk Right-hand cockpit wall
2.     This photo shows all of the sprue from the kit.

3.     As well as extra bits from Verlinden this photo shows all the other extras such as the flap and afterburners from Paragon. There is a PPAeroparts Ladder and a collection of my own reference photos.

4.     This next set of photo's have been taken in March 2005. By this point of the project the cockpit has been airbrushed and hand-brush-painted. Here we see the left-hand cockpit wall after shadows were added with artists chalk. 5.     The right-hand cockpit wall at the same point of construction. The Instrument Panel has also been mounted and painted by hand. The chalk dust goes on best with a matt finish so the next step was to airbrush on a gloss coat before an acrylic black wash is applied.
Painted cockpit from the Verlinden set Paragon resin wing flaps Gluing extruded plastic rod inside the wing Major sub-assemblies
6.     This is the painted cockpit from the Verlinden set. It can be seen unpainted in the photo's at the top of this page. 7.     After the cockpit was painted we cracked on with the Paragon resin wing flaps and slats. This photo shows the process of removing the kit flaps and slats. 8.     After removal of the kit original components from the wings we glued extruded plastic rod inside the wing to mount the resin inserts against. 9.     Towards the end of March all the major sub-assemblies were complete awaiting general assembly, filling and clean up. This will be a big job.
Fuselage assembled and braced Bits complete ready for painting Triple Plow 2 intake Re-engineered in situ
10.     This photo was taken early in April 2005 and it shows the fuselage assembled and braced in a vice due to the very poor fit of the front and rear parts. 11.     A quick view of the box of bits complete ready for painting.

12.     After assembly of the air-intakes it became noticeable that the Triple Plow 2 intake are nearly 50% too short. 13.     It was too late to remove them so they were re-engineered in situ with a new front cone, plastic strip and Milliput.
Braced with plastic card The finished intake cone Undercarriage bay with various resin cubes and plastic rod Main under-carriage
14.     The assembly was braced with plastic card and blue-tak which prevented bending & damage to the fuselage sides during clean up. 15.     The finished intake cone! This wasn't actually a lot of work but was important for the correct 'look'. 16.     Next we detail the main- undercarriage bay with various resin cubes and plastic rod. This work was based upon photo's. The kit bay is too shallow and the detail very poor. The rear is incorrect but would have taken too much work to re-engineer. 17.     The main under-carriage builds up quite nicely from the kit parts although it is a little short on detail. Additional brake-lines and pipes were added with fuse wire and plastic rod. Due its shape it will need to be painted separately before adding to the fuselage.

Tooth-pick temporary under-carriage Nose under-carriage Ready for painting Mounted on cocktail sticks
18.     However, you will still need to support the model during painting. Hence this tooth-pick temporary under-carriage held together with PVA white glue. The tooth-picks were sharpened and inserted into available holes so the 'rig' won't fall out. 19.     The nose under-carriage was assembled in a more conventional manner and took a lot of work. Only the main leg and strut are from the kit. Everything else was built from scratch and the brake lines added with fuse wire. 20.     By the end of April 2004 the completed assemblies were scrubbed and cleaned ready for painting. Here we see all of the numerous small parts mounted ready for airbrushing with undercoat and then 'pre-shading'. 21.     A close up of the mounted bits and pieces. Most are mounted on cocktail sticks and secured with PVA white glue and/or blue-tak. This allows small parts to be handled and airbrushed easily.
Pre-shading had been done with Humbrol Satin Black Decals being applied Painted & weathered Removable wings
22.     This photo was taken only a few days later after the pre-shading had been done with Humbrol Satin Black paint. 23.     This photo was taken about a week later which does show just how much progress can be made when you have a week off work! Decals are being applied. 24.     ...and only a few days later again the painting, weathering and decals are all finished. The model has been finished with a Humbrol Satin coat and left for several days to harden. 25.     Note that the wings are not yet attached and neither are the weapons pylons. This is to facilitate later storage, ie, they have been made removable. Note how this will be achieved in this photo.
LGB used on the F-111F Paragon wing flaps PPAeroparts Ladder Paragon items
26.     Close up of the two style of LGB used on the F-111F (amongst many others). Mark has photo's of both these types mounted on the aircraft of the 48th TFW at Lakenheath, Suffolk, during the mid-1980's. This model is finished in Cutting Edge decals depicting the F-111F at its retirement ceremony at Canon AFB 1995. 27.     The Paragon wing flaps and slats look superb when mounted. The red interior paint makes the painting stage a little awkward but the final effect is stunning after a little weathering with black acrylic and chalk dust. It wouldn't be appropriate to over-weather such a plane but the model depicts an obsolete aircraft at its retirement! 28.     The ladder is from, the now defunct, PPAeroparts. It was purchased off of EBay. There are now alternatives available. Note here the finished and mounted canopy. It looks good but a close-up of this photo reveals a poor surface finish yielded by Xtracolor Enamels. We shall try Xtracrylix next time. 29.     A quick look at the remaining Paragon items. Here we seen the wing root mechanism that is yet to be mounted onto the kit. I weathered the kit based upon references of the real thing. These tend to indicate that these old birds were very oily and dirty but didn't suffer from exposed metal or flaking paint.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"
30.     This next set of photo's were taken one sunny day in the Conservatory with natural light against a neutral coloured paper background. This was the end of June 2005 after final assembly was completed. The wings were pushed in place using Talc Powder to prevent everything from welding in place. 31.     The Talc also acted as a lubricant to help everything slide in. Then the wing glove vane mechanism was superglued in place. 32.     Here we see the wing tip with the Paragon Flaps and Slats. The static dischargers are made from nylon fishing line. 33.     A view of the cockpit area with the PPAeroparts Ladder in place.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"
34.     The wing/fuselage join with the Flaps and Slats all hanging down. 35.     Studying photo's of the real thing suggests that Paragon made a mistake in the length of the Slats. They are too short. 36.     The Tail section looks good with the Paragon Afterburners. 37.     More Static Discharge lines made the same way as for the wings.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"
38.     The Verlinden Instrument Panel looks pretty good from up here. 39.     Be careful super-gluing the open canopy in place! 40.     The entire finished model. 41.     A close up of the weapons pylon reveal the sprue sway braces.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"
42.     A close up of the those resin glove vane assembly pieces. Note our new Triple Plow cone. 43.     This model will eventually have a base and become part of a diorama featuring several items of ground equipment. 44.     Photo added September 2006 showing the custom-made base and trophy plate. How do you spell "Cannon" anyway? My mistake. 45.     The next six shots all show the F-111F on its new display base.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires" Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"
46.     View from the sharp end. 47.     Lined up and ready to go... 48.     Tail-end view. 49.     Rear view.
Academy 1/48th scale F-111F "Aardvark Retires"      
50.     Final shot of the base without any ground-support equipment. This will be added later for a true diorama.      

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