Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build Update 3

Time for another update. Progress is continuing on the X-15A-2. I have the external tanks primed and the first color applied.

I then moved to a part that I’ve been procrastinating on. The windows on the cockpit canopy have to be cut from a supplied square of clear plastic. I started by cutting out a rectangle of the approximate dimensions and then I carefully sanded the rectangle into an oval shape that will fit the openings in the cockpit canopy. It actually wasn’t as difficult as I was imagining. It did take a while to get a shape that fit, but careful sanding slowly created window that fit well into the opening. In the picture below if you look closely you can see the window in place. I used Plasti-Zap CA glue. It does not fog clear plastic, but holds the parts together very tightly.

I then shaped another window for the other side. I only dropped a window into the carpet once. Fortunately I was able to find it and didn’t have to shape another window. Once they were glued in and the glue cured, I used some alcohol on a cotton swab to clean the windows both inside and out. I then brushed on a coat of Future Floor Finish on both sides of the windows. It not only makes the windows very clear, but it also helps to hold them in place similar to the glue.

Next I applied some Tamiya masking tape and used a fresh #11 blade to mask the windows for future painting.

It was now about time to glue the fuselage halves together, but before I could do that I needed to nail down how the model was going to be displayed. Special Hobby does not provide any stand for the model if you build it as an in-flight version. My friend supplied a stand that he had bought some time ago. He and I were both fairly sure it would not work. Once the external tanks were mounted, the stand would not fit between them. I looked on the internet for an alternative. I thought I had found one, but after it arrived and I started doing some fit checks, I realized that it wouldn’t work very well either.

The stand had a very long chrome bar that came up from the wooded base. Since the X-15 has a substantial ventral fin, this stand would have required the model to be mounted just behind the cockpit. That was the only way to be sure the ventral fin would not hit the chrome bar. This would have resulted in a very unstable mount. So back to the internet I went. I finally found one that looked narrow enough and had flat metal bar that would be next to the model that was only and inch or so long. That would easily clear the ventral fin.

When it came in I was even more pleased. It included a threaded insert that could be glued into the model and then it had a thumbscrew that secured the model to the stand. It also had another short pin that went into the model and prevented it from spinning on the thumbscrew. Here some photos of the model with the holes drilled and the threaded insert in place, but nothing is glued in.

After verifying that this was going to work, I added a small styrene fence and then poured epoxy all around the threaded insert to permanently affix it to the model.

Now finally I could glue the fuselage halved together. The halves were slightly warped, but that was easily taken care of by gluing the halves together bit by bit from the nose toward the rear. When I was about a third of the way down I shifted to the rear and moved forward. It went together pretty well. I used Tenax 7R and it welded that halves solidly.

It required a bit of seam scraping and some filler. Then I needed to re-scribe some panel lines where they cross the seam. I then epoxied the ejection seat into the cockpit. It looks pretty good. I didn’t go all out on the instrument panel since so little will be visible through the tiny windows.

The canopy didn’t give me as much trouble as I was afraid of, but it did take a fair bit of sanding, scraping and re-scribing.

The wings gave me more trouble than I was expecting. They were both warped. I hadn’t noticed this before, but then I wasn’t really looking at them very closely at the time. I soaked them in boiling hot water for a few minutes and then took them out and carefully bent them to remove the warp. I wasn’t able to get all the warps out, but they are now visibly straight and you need to look closely to see the remaining warp.

I also attached the horizontal stabilizers. Now it is really starting to look like an X-15.

The external tanks have been painted. All that is left is to paint on the final few details and then spray them with a clear coat prior to adding the decals to them. I’m sure that I will have to run a drill bit through the small holes to remove the bits of paint and clear coat so the 0.015 rod will pass through.

That is it for now. Thanks for looking.

Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build Update 2

It has been a while since I posted on this build. I’ve been a little busy with other things and couldn’t find time to write a post. I’ve been working on it, just not enough time to post. Anyway, this post will probably bit a bit longer than normal.

I finally finished with the nose gear door. The scoop door required a lot of reshaping to fit the hole. I suppose it would have been less noticeable if it was modeled with the gear down, but with gear up you have to carve quite a bit off to make it fit.

You can see from the above photo that the RCS nozzles were drilled out. The original molding was just a small circle. Here is a set of before and after photos:

Next I painted the cockpit parts. Mostly gray with some black panels, gauges, yellow eject handles, red cushions on the seat and headrest, and some orange on various parts of the ejection seat.

Now to glue the nose gear well into the bottom half and the instrument panel and cockpit tub into the upper half.

Now I needed to tape the upper and lower fuselage halves so I could do a preliminary balance check. I want the model to have a CG near the center so it will fit on it’s stand with out trying to pull itself off from the front or back. When I went to hold the model halves together so I could tape them, I noticed that the front of the fuselage would not close.

The edges of the cockpit tub were to straight and were interfering with the curvature of the lower fuselage. I got some coarse sandpaper and started removing material. Basically I was rounding the edges off.

I was then able to close the fuselage halves.

Continue reading “Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build Update 2”

Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build Update 1

Work is continuing on the 1/48 X-15.  At the end of the previous post I showed the progress on the dorsal vertical stabilizer.  Well, after looking at it, and then doing some dry fitting, I discovered that the wedge should have been flush with the back of the fin sides and the resin back piece should have been put in below the wedge.  So I removed the back piece and then cut a small piece of .01 x .01 inch strip and glued that to the back of the wedge.  Then I re-installed the resin back piece.  Here is how it looks now.

I then moved on to the ventral vertical stabilizer.  It seems that most of the edges of the parts in the kit do not have vertical edges.  They are angled.  I guess for a short run kit they may have done that to make it easier to release from the mold.  It doesn’t help with the fit of the parts as it requires most edges to be sanded to get a good glue joint. Below is an example.  It is the wedge shaped fin edge piece.

Anyway, before I started work on the ventral fin, I notice that the sides of the dorsal fin had a slight curvature.  To correct it I inserted a small strip of .01 x .01 styrene.

I then got ready for the ventral fin.  When reviewing my research data, it looked like the ventral fin was slightly shorter than the dorsal fin.  Why didn’t I notice that when I was doing the 1/144 scale version?  Well, it turns out that both of my 1/144 scale X-15’s were modeled with only the fixed portion of the ventral fin that contains the air-brake.  So, I dove deeper into my research data to find some dimensions and sure enough, the ventral fin is 11 inches shorter at the back and 9 inches shorter at the front.  I guess I just never paid enough attention to that before.  Anyway, I converted those dimensions to 1/48 scale and drew then onto the ventral fin inside face as seen below.

The lowest line coming off the curved lower edge was to get a measurement line.  The next line up shows the fixed portion of the fin.  Finally the top line shows the amount that needs to be removed.  I made the same marks on the other side and then started cutting off the excess.

In the meantime I primed some of the parts to help highlight any areas that might need some more work.

I then did a little work on the nose gear door.  It required quite a bit of sanding and shaping to fit properly, and I still don’t have the scoop door added yet.  As an aside, the scoop door is what allows the nose gear door to open at a high angle of attack, otherwise the air stream pushing against it would keep the nose gear door from opening.

Back to the ventral fin.  The movable portion of the ventral fin is ejected before landing otherwise the fin would hit the ground before the skids did.  The ejected portion had a parachute in it so it could be recovered and reused.  This meant that I needed to model a parachute door on the back side of the fin.  The supplied resin part didn’t have any provision for a parachute door and it also had piping molded in that never existed on ventral fin of the actual plane.  Removing the piping would pretty much destroy the part.  So it was just easier to scratch a new one.  I took a section of .01 sheet stock cut to the proper shape and then marked where I wanted the door to be.  Next I glued on sections of .01 x .01 strip stock to represent the corrugations.  Then I cut a rectangle of .005 sheet stock to represent the door.  Onto that I glued some more .01 x .01 strip stock.  I then glued that to the gap in the strips I had left.  Here is a photo of the original part and my scratch build replacement.

I then went back to the ventral fin and started construction.  I began as I had with the dorsal fin, by gluing the leading edge.  I then added the top wedge, followed by the new back piece.  I also added the resin top of the air-brake.  Here are a couple of photos.

Here is a side by side picture of the dorsal and ventral fins and their size difference.  Note that I also have added some filler to both parts as well.

That’s it for now.  I should be getting to the fuselage soon.  I have some painting to do on the cockpit parts before I can start on the fuselage.

Thanks for looking, more to come.

Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build

I’m starting work on a new model for a friend.  He has had the kit for a long time and when he saw my other X-15 build asked if I would like to build his.  So I’m giving it a go.

Here is the kit box.

The kit comes with a couple of sprues of injection molded plastic parts.

It also has a bag of resin parts for most of the details of the kit.  There were a couple of small parts that had snapped from their pour plugs.  You can see them in the second from the right in the top row pour plug.  Also there are two VERY thin parts (first row third from the left) for the ejection seat fold out stabilizers, one of the pair was broken.  I’ll have to try and use some CA to fix it.

Lastly a couple of sheets of decals are included.  I’ll have to see later if any of them need to be replaced with more accurate decals.

Special Hobby is a Czech producer of limited run kits.  As such the injection molded parts don’t have locator pins and some of the parts can be a bit rough on the unseen inside face.  The kit parts are mostly pretty clean.  The fuselage parts do have a slight warp lengthwise that I’ll have to contend with when they go together.  It does have some fine engraved panel lines so that is good.  Some parts will need to have holes drilled in them to insert their resin detail parts.

My friend wants the kit built as an inflight representation so the cockpit will barely be seen through the small oval windows.  I’m going to try to make the canopy removable, if it will fit well enough, that way the cockpit can be viewed.  Here is the initial fit.

After quite a bit of sanding and shaping, here is where I am.

It is much better, but I’m not quite happy with it.  I’ll work on it a bit more before throwing in that towel.

Here I have attached the main control stick to the cockpit.

The right side hand controller went on well since there was a hole for it to fit into.  The throttle was a bit harder since it was very thin and had no hole.  The air brake control handle needed a small trough added before it could go in.  Here is the cockpit with all the control handles added.

I removed the ejection seat from it’s pour plug.  The ejection seat needed a couple strips of styrene added in order to properly attach the fold out stabilizers.  I also cleaned up the control panel.

Next I repaired the broken ejection seat stabilizer and removed the pour plug from the nose wheel well.  The wheel well will never be seen, but I am going to include it for overall balance of the model on it’s base.

I placed the ejection seat in the cockpit to verify my mod would not interfere with proper fit.  I’ll glue on the stabilizers after the cockpit and ejection seat are painted.

I next moved on to the dorsal vertical stabilizer.  The plastic parts are pretty rough on the inside.  There are injection plugs that will have to be removed and the leading edge will have to be tapered far more on the inside to allow the proper angle on the wedge shaped stabilizer.

You can see the amount of angle the kit had by the bright edge above.  It required a lot of sanding.  It is not nearly as bad as another kit is back in the stash closet.  It is a model of the Have Blue aircraft, the precursor to the F-117 Stealth fighter.  The wings on that kit (by Pegasus) are horrible.  I’ve pulled that kit out several time over the past 4 or 5 years only to stick it back in the stash after more sanding.  Someday I’ll finally get it finished, maybe.

Anyway, after sanding the proper profile into the inside of the stabilizer, they were glued together at the leading edge only.  When that set, I added the wedge to the top of the fin.

I then removed the resin fin back piece from it’s pour plug and glued it into place with CA.

That’s as far as I am right now.  I have a few more sub assemblies to finish before I can move on to the fuselage.

Thanks for looking and more to come.

BanDai 1/72 X-Wing Red 5 Build

I’ve been working on this post for a while.  Since it is May 4th, I figured why not post it now.  So here is a long delayed post on my latest Star Wars build.

I’m building the BanDai 1/72 scale X-Wing Red 5 to go along with they Millennium Falcon that I built last year.

I started with a look through the parts to check for damage or anything else of interest.  Being a space nerd I quickly found a Saturn V third stage part that was being used for the intakes on the X-Wing.

I also noticed that the open cockpit canopy had a break in it.  I should be able to fix that without much trouble as long as it doesn’t break when pushing the parts back into position.

I partially assembled some of the parts before spraying on the primer.  Some of the parts are pre-colored but since I’ll be using the decals for those parts I sprayed primer over them.

I also sprayed the rest of the parts on their runners.  After the primer had set I sprayed all the parts with the base color of White Gray, except for the droids which got painted white.

I decided to start with the figures first.  I assembled both R2-D2 and R2-D4.  R2-D2 got his dome painted silver before assembly.  The pilot figures were painted with black, orange, white, aged white, flesh, gray, and transparent orange.  The droids (other than R2-D2’s dome) were painted white.

Continue reading “BanDai 1/72 X-Wing Red 5 Build”