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  #81  
Unread March 25th, 2016, 07:51 PM
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I find myself once again having to apologize for an inordinate amount of time since my last posting. I need to get myself in the habit of smaller but regular updates; it’s amazing how quickly time passes! With that said I have to disclose I had this particular update drafted a month ago…and forgot about it! So without further ado, a slightly belated progress report.

Now that the hinges are sorted out it is time to turn to the pylons. On a normal build this would be a simple matter of clipping off a handful of pylons from the runners and a quick clean up prior to installation. With this build just going through the runners to find all the parts was and exercise!

Quite a pile of parts.



The Revelogram pylons seem to have a pretty good shape and feature raised panel lines. Personally I prefer scribed lines particularly for those that depict access panels, and so to match the scribing on the rest of the airframes the pylons would need to be scribed.

Because of the large number of pylons to scribe, I resorted to my familiar solution of making templates to make the task quicker. In this case the small size of the part and the location of some of the access doors on the edge necessitated a somewhat more sophisticated template than the usual clear sheet.

Fortunately, except for the small outer pylons, which are mounted only on the EA-6As, the pylons for the rest of the Intruder line are the same size so only a single template had to be produced. To facilitate locating and holding the template on the pylon quickly and accurately, I made a device that is similar to a jig with locating blocks made from scrap styrene and glued into place.

A couple of templates were used in order get to all the desired panel lines.









After scribing and clean up the installation was a simple matter of adjusting the fit and alignment, the only thing remarkable being the number of pylons to install.






Speaking of templates, I seem to have amassed quite a collection; can anyone care to try and match each template to its location?





The Prowlers posed a much less daunting task. As you may recall, two of the models have basically stock Kinetic wings though with thinned leading/ trailing edges and wingtips, while the other features a modified Revell EA-6A wing in an effort to obtain an overall thinner profile to better match with the Revell Intruders. The Kinetic pylons already featured acceptable scribed panel lines and were quickly attached to the relatively stock Kinetic wings.

EA-6B Prowler; thinned Kinetic wing and pylons



The hybrid Revellogram-etic wing presented one small wrinkle to iron out. The Prowler uses a different wing fold hinge than the Intruder and the outboard side of the outer pylon forms the underside fairing so to make things simple I adapted the Prowler specific pylons from the Kinetic kit to the Revell outer wing panels that had been grafted onto the Kinetic fuselage. Just a bit of tweaking needed to better match the curve on the underside of the wing. That’s about as straight forward as anything on this project is going to get!




EA-6B Prowler: Modified Revell wing with Kinetic pylons
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  #82  
Unread March 25th, 2016, 08:40 PM
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A small update, more explanation of why and how I came to the solution I did than pictures. As usual it took more time to figure out and complete the task than to describe it!

Now that the speed breaks are sorted out, it was time to address the wing fold hinges.

Though I am an admitted fan of Revellogram kits, in this case the kit’s representation of the hinge can be only be charitably described as basic. The kit’s hinge fairing shape and profile seemed to be pretty good but the scribed lines do not convey an impression of a folding mechanism, more of a series of right angles joined together.



At first glance of reference pictures, the hinge fairing seemed an incomprehensible jumble of panel lines. Closer examination revealed that the hinge is comprised of four sets of lugs and a fairing of interlocking sliding tabs that bridge the gap between the lugs and cover the hydraulic pistons and linkages for the folding and locking mechanism.

My first thought was that the kit’s scribing was simply unusable, I would have to fabricate new fairings and replicate the intricate panel lines that would be needed to represent the complex appearance of the surface. After the speed brake hinge project the thought of the labor involved to fabricate the seven sets needed (four EA-6A’s, one KA-6D and two A-6E’s) was too much to even contemplate. I had doubts that casting copies of a master would be able to reproduce the scribing without the need for a lot of clean-up and there would be the additional work of removing the kit moldings and fitting resin copies to the wing.

Taking another look at the kit molding and comparing with reference pictures, it occurred to me that perhaps the pattern of scribing did agree reasonably well with the sliding tabs of the cover but didn’t address the actual hinge lugs at all. When I laid out the lug locations with pencil, a possible solution came to light. By adding the hinge lugs and just a little tweaking of the existing scribing, the kit molding could replicate the prototype quite well.

To represent the visible part of the hinge lugs I used a modified fine tooth hacksaw blade to cut slots in the fairing at the hinge lug locations, tape was used to assist in determining a consistent depth for the cut. .020 styrene strips were then glued into the slots making no attempt to fill any gaps between strips and the slot. The strip was then trimmed flush with the fairing and the line of the gap refined to represent the joint between the fingers of the inner and outer hinge lugs.





The scribing of the panel joints needed just a little tweaking. Stretched gate (sprue) was used to fill in a small portion of unneeded panel line, and one short section of missing joint needed to be scribed. The result is a big improvement over the stock kit.



Eric aka The Yankymodeler
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  #83  
Unread April 18th, 2016, 09:06 PM
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Default Update 18APR16 More wing details

As discussed before, the Kinetic wing is relatively thick and the difference is quite noticeable when displayed alongside its Revell cousins. As you may recall, a highly modified Revell EA-6A wing was grafted onto a Kinetic Prowler fuselage in an attempt to reinforce the perception of the Prowler’s family relationship with the Intruder. The effort has been largely successful, though at the expense of quite a bit of work to add the Prowler specific details; the inboard leading edge shape, main gear doors and fairings, wing-fold hinge and fairings, outer pylons, inboard slats are all unique to the Prowler and needed to added to the base Intruder wing. The large amount of work begs the question; was the effort worth the results? For me it was, the thicker Kinetic wing next to the Revell wing (admittedly a bit thick in the trailing edge itself) was an inconsistency between the two types that share the basic wing design. This is an example of how individual tastes and impressions drive each of us differently, other modelers may not be bothered by this particular Issue but it was one that was glaring to me and needed to be addressed for my own satisfaction. I will however, readily admit I would prefer not to have to do it again!

So onto the progress to date:
The Prowler uses a different wing-fold hinge and fairing than the Intruders so new wing fold hinge fairings needed to be fabricated for the hybrid Prowler. I had at first contemplated grafting the fairing from the remnants of the Kinetic wing set that donated the lower root/main gear doors sections. Examination of references revealed that the Kinetic depiction of the fairing is close but I felt that with little added effort a more accurate representation could be fabricated. The hinge fairings feature a pair of flat bi-fold type doors that are faired onto the curve of the upper wing surface with fore and aft body fairings and curving side panels. The challenge was to carve the deceptively sophisticated shape from a simple block of styrene, but some work with a motor tool, files, scribing tools and trial fittings produced a pair of acceptable fairings.






Early in the construction it was determined the wing fences were not only too thick, but also short and in the case of the Kinetic Prowlers, one was missing! The decision was easily made to remove the kit representations. At the base was a small ‘flange’ to mount the fence, this was added to the wing with .005” styrene strip.

While laying out the locations for the fences, I noted a discrepancy in the relation between where the fences came up to the leading edge slat and the position of a series of small tabs that span the joint between the slat and the wing. These tabs hold the trailing edge of the slat down when it’s retracted and prevent air loads deforming the trailing edge of the slats. On the Revell kits, these tabs were molded as small symmetrical bumps equally spaced along the joint. A closer check of references confirmed that Revell erred in the span wise position of the tab and that the tabs are not equally spaced. Closer inspection revealed that the axis of the tabs was not perpendicular to the trailing edge of the slat or aligned with the airflow but lay at an angle in between. Since much effort has already been expanded to correctly capture as many small details as practical, the molded tabs were removed and replaced.

The tabs were cut from .020X.030 strip styrene and affixed into position with the aid of a template to mark the span-wise location. A simple angle template was made to place each at a consistent angle, and once the material was glued into place a gentle sanding created the prototypical tapered profile.


Fortunately the Prowlers outer wing panels have the same tab locations as the Intruders. The section inboard of the wingfold has a revised slat that does not utilize the retaining tabs. Thank goodness because this little side project resulted in the placement and profiling of over 200 tabs on the Intruders alone!

The joint for the split speed brakes was scribed, a bit tedious along the trailing edge but not an impossible task.


Of course in the process of all the measuring for locating tabs, fences, fairings and stiffeners it came to light that a few panel lines on the wing root needed correcting. More filling sanding and scribing


After all that work, the speed brake hinges have still not yet been installed, pretty soon these builds should start to get easier and show some real progress!


Eric aka The Yankymodeler

Last edited by Yankymodeler; April 19th, 2016 at 07:16 AM.
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  #84  
Unread April 18th, 2016, 11:28 PM
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Always a pleasure to read your updates, Eric. Nice progress and the details you're building in are going to really set these off when you're finished with 'em.
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Unread April 20th, 2016, 01:14 AM
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the machine is back !
nice job over the wings !!
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  #86  
Unread July 7th, 2016, 06:37 PM
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Once again much time has transpired from the last update, I can only ascribe this abject failure on the part to the builder’s lack of discipline to keep to a regular interval of updates.

Much refinement has taken place of scribed panel lines, cleanup of file marks and those pesky sanding scratches, unfortunately, that particular kind of progress does not show up well in photographs so you’ll just have to trust me. At this point the basic airframes have reached an acceptable state and work can begin on replicating the nuances of particular versions and individual airframes.

So with no further ado, on to the update!
In the early work of attaching the wings to the fuselage, I eradicated the engine bay vents located on the underside where the sponson housing the tailpipe and main landing gear joins the mid fuselage. The fit of this area could be described as challenging and the molding of the vents was not well defined anyway. My plan to restore this detail was to use a motor tool and files to cut new vents before installing the tailpipes to avoid the probability of cutting through the tailpipes themselves in the process. I of course forgot this step in the effort to fabricate and install the tailpipes and nozzles. Drat, now what am I going to do?!? Examining references, I noted the vents were located within a panel, located on the underside of the fuselage where it was difficult to get a clear view. I figured that I could use this to advantage and resort to a bit of trickery to replicate the look of a vent.
My thought was by cutting a sheet of styrene to the shape of the panel, a nice neat rectangular ‘opening’ could be cut into the panel that would provide a sharp corner for one’s eye to see as the edge of a hole. That combined with the age old technique of painting the bottom of the hole black, should be enough subterfuge to adequately simulate the vent.

The panel in question is not a simple rectangle, but has curved sides and lies partially in the cove on the fuselage bottom just forward of the tailpipes. This location results in a challenge to get the proper size and shape, a pattern was produced needing a few iterations of trimming and fitting until a satisfactory fit was achieved. Fortunately, the panel is common to both Intruders and Prowlers so a template could be used to help produce the ten sets needed. The prototype shape was then transferred onto an aluminum template and the parts cut from a sheet of .020 styrene sheet.


The part was pre-curved over a file handle to help with the installation, yet a bit of clean up with files and sandpaper was required. The jury is still debating the success of the process but at this stage the results are encouraging.





Next mini-project was producing the refueling system hose and drogue housing for the KA-6D conversion. The assembly is straightforward to fabricate from basic geometric shapes cut from styrene tube and sheet.


The ramp which protects the underside of the fuselage and guides the hose and drogue was likewise built up from styrene sheet.


The Doppler radar antenna fairing was removed and the refueling unit installed. The red painted speed brake wells are in error, to be discovered and remedied soon…




Most KA-6Ds were produced by converting A-6As (78 As and 12 A-6Es) and most of them retained the perforated fuselage speed brake panels after the brakes were deactivated during the introduction of the Intruder into service. I decided to build my tanker in this configuration so this meant on close inspection of the model (no one would ever use a light to peer into a dark recess of a model on display, would they?) a possibility exists that the well could be a glimpsed through the holes. After discovering the speed brake wells were typically painted white on the deactivated units I stripped the red to avoid any possible bleeding/coverage issues and corrected the color, a quick and somewhat exaggerated wash and drybrush was applied to bring out the molded details.



The kit speed brakes fit well needing only a touch with a sanding block to true the edges and just a bit of tweaking of the hinge arms to capture the angle of the hinge arms. The final result looks acceptable, and indeed the back of the well can be seen through the holes!





To avoid collateral damage while the heavy work was in progress, the previously fabricated speed brake hinges have been languishing in storage. Now that I wasn’t hacking at the airframes with large files and sanding blocks it was time to install the hinges. Because each hinge set consists of a front and rear section, reference lines were drawn with pencil to help with alignment and spacing. The hinges were installed paying attention to keeping the top and bottom in the same plane. To represent the prominent hinge bolts short sections of hexagonal rod were set in predrilled holes and trimmed to length.





The upper hinges had a short beam-like section that had a bolt at each end. This section was built as a separate unit, the ‘bolts’ added after it was set in place. Note the snazzy jigs to assist cutting to length and a consistent angle.





I don’t know if the end result justifies the considerable amount of work that went into the fabrication of the hinges (356 pieces), but to my eye they are an improvement over the original moldings.







That’s all for now, thank you for your infinite patience and your interest!
Eric aka The Yankymodeler
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  #87  
Unread November 15th, 2016, 05:44 PM
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To all hearty souls who are somehow still following this sorted tale, I present a typical story of one step back and two steps forward in a pathetic attempt to account for my long absence.


With the completion of the speed brakes I next turned to installing the horizontal stabilators. The real aircraft uses an all flying tail, entire surface moves for pitch control and the control surface moves on a shaft. The Kinetic Prowlers kits have a shaft molded into the kit stabilator and a corresponding socket into the fuselage halves, very prototypical. The Revell Intruders on the other hand use a tab and slot to attach the stabilator to the fuselage. Early in the build the slots in the Revell kits where filled with styrene strips and filed smooth planning on later installing an aluminum tube. The location of the pivot was measured from the Kinetic kits, as Prowlers share the same stabilator position with Intruders, and marked with a deep pinprick. (cue spooky foreshadowing music here). A template was then produced to ensure the proper position of the access hatches on the aft fuselage relative to the pivot for the stabilator, and the hatches scribed. To me this was a key point as the hatches lay under the leading edge of the tail and have ground check stabilator position reference marks painted on them.





Much time passed as the build progressed but eventually it became time to install the stabilators. With a bit already in the chuck, for some reason I held up a stabilator to the fuselage for a check for general over all appearance. The relative location of the hatches looked good as well as the vertical location of the stabilator on the fuselage, but as I looked at the trailing edge something didn’t look quite right. According to photographs the trailing edge of the stabilator should be just a couple of inches forward of the hinge line, but on the model the trailing edge was too far forward. Did I miss-mark the pivot location on the fuselage or the stabilator? Rechecking measurements taken on the Kinetic kit revealed no error, perhaps the position of the shaft on the stabilators was incorrect? Examined closely, photographs taken from an advantageous angle reveal the location of the pivot point. With a little measuring and calculation of ratios of stabilator root to the relative distance of the shaft from the leading and/or trailing edge of both reference photographs and the kit pieces, the proper shaft position can be calculated. A quick check confirmed the location on the Kinetic stabilators agreed very well with my calculations. A check of stabilator root length using photographs and ratios as well as a number of 3-view plan drawings exposed no major discrepancies. That can only mean one thing (cue previously introduced spooky foreshadowing music) the pivot location on the fuselage was incorrect.


As the sockets had not been yet installed on the seven Revell Intruder variants, the remedy would be to simply move the sockets back on the three Prowlers, a fairly easy process even for me. I was in the process of marking the new socket location when a sudden realization struck. The access hatches were scribed with a template referenced to the original (incorrect) pivot point, moving the pivot location back would result in the hatches not being in the correct relative locations relative to the leading edge of the stabilator. For myself that mis-match would not be something I could ignore, so the hatches would have to be filled and re-scribed.


To avoid the issue ghost outlines caused by shrinking filler and the problems associated with scribing over different materials, stretched sprue was glued into the scribed lines and filed smooth. The template was positioned over the new pivot position and after triple checking with a Mark 1 eyeball, the sockets installed and the hatches re-scribed.








A little clean up still needed on the newly scribed hatches.



Finally turning to the stabilators themselves, the tabs were cut from the Revell stabilators and couple of the more prominent panel lines seen in photographs scribed. The location of the shaft he was transferred from the Kinetic stabilators, a shallow hole drilled and a short section of aluminum tube epoxied in. Simply repeating the process a few times, I declared this portion of the project a success!







The EA-18s have not been neglected and their progress has actually passed the Intruder/Prowler assembly line. I am very happy to report a coat of the final color coat has been sprayed and with the exception of one or two small areas needing attention, looks acceptable.








Pleased to report the slot formed between the flaps and the gap seals looks just about right







So that dear followers is my sorted tale contributing to my lack of updates.



Eric aka The Yankymodeler.
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  #88  
Unread January 17th, 2018, 07:22 PM
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Spurred to resume my eternal musings by a personal message from what can only be described as a devoted follower, it came as a major shock that my last update on the epic saga of plastic butchery was almost exactly a year ago! Struggling for a plausible excuse I can only offer a pathetic story of a new position within the FAA (in my case that is the Federal Aviation Administration here in USA), family adventures with two wonderful teenage children and a couple of full sized aircraft and boat projects.

To sum up the last year, working sessions have been a bit irregular with flurries of activity interspaced with periods of a dark and quiet work bench as a seemingly endless stream of self-inflicted small tweaks, corrections and enhancements occasionally consumed my modelling mojo, but progress has been made!


Starting with some of the more tedious (and least likely to be noticed once on display!) details, I started at the bottom. The underside of the Intruder/Prowler is a veritable assortment of vents, intakes, scoops and drains. The drains are quite easily represented by the simple expedient of drilling a hole, the trick is to determine exactly where the hole should be drilled! A bit of research revealed that fortunately the undersides were fairly consistent between the Intruders with slight variations for the Prowlers and stayed fairly consistent throughout the service life of the airframes. Locations were marked and bits of appropriate diameter, estimated via the time honored TLAR (That Looks About Right) method, used to drill the orifices.


A series of small tube-like vents along an access panel between the tailpipes and on either side of the sponsion just behind the wheel well were easily represented by aluminum wire bent to shape and epoxied into a hole drilled at the proper location. Note the Prowlers have 4 vents on the bottom panel while the Intruders have 2.





The ‘V’ shape is a deflector formed of shallow channel to help keep oil and other vented fluids from seeping into the aft equipment bay. This was formed from a strip of styrene and once in place the tip of a knife blade was used to carve the channel shape.
Additional doubler plates just aft of the tailpipe outlet were cut from .005” styrene.




The doublers around the Prowler aft equipment bay opening were added from strips of .005’ sheet.


Ground fueling points on the lower right intake were made by drilling into the custom resin intake being careful not to go too deep and drill into the duct interior then lining the hole with a short section of aluminum tube. Note the Intruder’s recess was flush with the outer skin while the Prowler’s had a slightly raised rim. This is easily simulated by leaving the aluminum tube just proud of the external contour. The actual valve at the bottom will be represented by a styrene disk to be added near the end of the build.


One small vent was a bit more involved having what appeared to be a prow-like angled intake with a boundary layer plate, a tapered profile and an outlet. Built up from styrene the fabrication was a bit more involved due to the boundary layer plate and the small size but the final product turned out to be acceptable. Fortunately, the Prowlers lacked these particular vents, saving the fabrication of 3 sets!


Turing to the upper side, a variety of materials and techniques were used to produce the plethora of intakes on the top of the airframes. Unlike the undersides, each version had a unique set of intakes, so it was time at last to make the final decision as to what specific airframe would be modelled at what time frame. After much research, the subjects were identified, the specific configurations determined and work could carry on.

I started with the easy ones, the Kinetic EA-6B Prowler kit supplied 2 two large equipment bay air cooling intakes for installation on either side of the aft fuselage. The Prowler subjects for this build, versions flown by VAQ-209 Star Warriors, needed only one on the right side, this would prove fortuitous a bit later. So, the left side locating hole was filed with a styrene plug and the molded in base pad filed off. The kit supplied pieces were easily cleaned up and as the intake is quite prominent, the interior ducting was opened with a drill and file and installed without much ado.



The Kinetic Prowlers lacked the four small reward opening vents on either side of the fuselage center section, these were simply an exercise in small part fabrication and installation.



As supplied in the Revell EA-6A kit, the equipment cooling intakes on the left side just aft of the wing appeared too short. They were lengthened by cutting and inserting a styrene spacer and height slightly increased with a styrene base. The intake opening was reworked to better represent the prototypes slightly squared cross- section and the external profile refined with files. Once into place the appearance is much improved




At the base of the tail the aft compartment ram air intake was opened up. Of course, it was only after the intakes were opened on all the airframes, that I noticed it was deleted on the A-6Es, so out came the styrene and a blanking plate was fabricated and installed.





A-6Es modified with the CAINS (Carrier Airborne Inertial Navigation System) are readily identified by the large cooling system intake on the left side of the aft fuselage. The kit supplied pieces appeared too short, generally anemic and exhibited crater like sink marks. Not impossible to rectify but fortunately an easier solution was at hand. The before mentioned unused EA-6B aft cooling intakes looked to be pretty close to the right shape but a bit short for the Intruders. A section of styrene was used as a spacer for the base and the profile modified with a bit of file work, once installed the intake looked a close match. The exhaust located on the lower side of the fuselage being fairly large and in a prominent location was drilled out and a section of styrene tube used to simulate the interior of duct. The external doubler plates around the opening through the fuselage side were cut from .005” styrene sheet and attached.





The small fuel vent intakes on the spine were carved from built-up styrene blanks, because of the conspicuous location, a small recess was carved into the front to simulate the opening. These are present on all the versions of Intruders and Prowers.





The UHF/ADF upper fuselage antenna on the Prowler and EA-6A did not seem to capture the elusive complex curves so replacements were fabricated by old school carving and filing from a block of styrene. Not a difficult process the only issue was producing 6 consistent units.



The inlets and vents on the right shoulder panel of the Intruders differed depending on time frame. Initially the Intruders had a slot vent with a louver-like shroud on the right side and a trapezoidal set of horizontal louvers on the left side. Later in the Intruders service life, the vent was replaced with a protruding intake and the louvers reduced in size. The Revell kits duplicated the horizontal louvers found on the left side incorrectly on the right. This actually made tins a bit easier as all I had to do was fill in either all or half the louvers depending on the version. The EA-6As seemed to carry the earlier shroud/vent throughout their service lives, as A set of intakes were carved up and a bit of filler applied with the aid of a strip of masking tape and sanded smooth brought the area into compliance. I decided to build an early and a late ‘E’ model so the pair of airframes were appropriately equipped.






So there is my loooong overdue update for those who still follow this tale plastic butchery. The has been additional work on the series, I hope to get a posting written up in much less time than this last one. Thank you all for your continued interest and thank you to Rade for spurring me to get something posted! There’s more progress to report, hopefully I’ll get an additional update posted in much less time than this last interval.

Eric aka The Yankymodeler

Last edited by Yankymodeler; January 17th, 2018 at 08:04 PM.
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Unread January 18th, 2018, 03:36 AM
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Fantastic progress. You do us proud!
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Unread January 18th, 2018, 02:00 PM
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Holy Crap:

I see you are still at it and haven't lost your mind yet. Stellar work! All that custom work is incredible! Please keep the pics coming...

Stephen C.
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Unread January 19th, 2018, 09:26 AM
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Jesus Maximum Christ. That's a lot of kits......
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Unread January 20th, 2018, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intruder500 View Post
Holy Crap:

I see you are still at it and haven't lost your mind yet. Stellar work! All that custom work is incredible! Please keep the pics coming...

Stephen C.
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Thank you! Been busy with life so not a lot has gotten done but progress is inching forward. As for any notion of retaining my sanity...

Eric aka The Yankymodeler
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Unread January 20th, 2018, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skull Leader View Post
Jesus Maximum Christ. That's a lot of kits......
I have no idea how this build got so out of control, it started so simply!

Eric aka Te Yankymodeler
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  #94  
Unread February 19th, 2018, 12:37 PM
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I had mentioned in the last update that I wanted to represent an early and late A-6E and the most distinguishing feature of the late ‘E’ is the large Target Recognition Attack Multi-sensor turret (TRAM) mounted under the nose. The full-size turret is a sensor laden sphere suspended in a fork that can rotate in azimuth and the sphere rotates in elevation within the fork. The Revel A-6E kit supplies an add on that attaches to the underside of the nose that although is adequate for casual inspection, is lacking in refinement. In preparation for a to be later fabricated TRAM turret, an opening was cut into the underside of the chosen airframe and a styrene tube of appropriate diameter installed. Care must be taken to ensure symmetry as even a small variation in lateral position will result in large changes in the shape of the opening on the curved part of the nose.

Rough opening cut


Tube in place and rough trimming, easy to go too far at this stage!


Finished TRAM opening



The KA-6D as a dedicated tanker usually had the armor plate protecting the engines and the flaperon actuators located in the aft inboard section of the wings removed as a weight savings measure. The removal of this armor for the KA-6D version of the build has been documented in a previous WIP posting. It was not uncommon for the armor under the aft fuselage protecting the stabilator actuator to also be removed, and as it turns out the subject and time frame I chose for my KA-6D build was one of those airframes. This meant a bit more work, did I really expect anything different?
Close inspection of the reference pictures that turned up this tidbit of information also revealed the bumper/tiedown was mounted to the fuselage and the armor plate, when fitted, was slotted to fit around it rather than the bumper being mounted to the armor plate as depicted in the kit. The fuel dump was also poorly represented by both Revell and Kinetic and I was never satisfied at how I had cleaned up the unit when the fuselages were joined. All this was in a relatively prominent location so this was a chance to improve the area, but how could I improve just the tanker version and not address the rest of the collection…a familiar sinking feeling that I was going to get into more work than I anticipated once again crept in

Original bumper and fuel dump area with armor. This happens to be a Revel EA-6A, the A-6 variants are identical. Note the bumper is attached directly to the solid armor plate. This armor needed to be removed for my specific KA-6D subject.


The bumper/fuel dump area on one of the Kinetic EA-6Bs



So, once again taking the opportunity to turn a simple conversion of one model into a large mini project, I decided that I’d go ahead for the sake of consistency and replace the bumper/tiedown/fuel dump on all the versions. After all, how hard can it be? Cleaning up the area was a quick matter with razor saw and file. The KA-6D needed a small patch of styrene to replace the very aft section of fuselage as it became too thin for comfort after removing the armor plate. Aluminum tube was formed into fuel dump tubes, the upper section pressed flat with jewelry pliers and a mandrel from a piece of wire. The hole for mounting into the fuselage was carefully drilled and the tube epoxied into place. The fairing for the pipe was carved from styrene.

Fuel dump fabrication from aluminum tube


As long as I was in this deep, I wanted to represent the slot in the armor feature on the aircraft that were so equipped, the two A-6Es and the EA-6As. A small end mill in the Dremel tool and slow very cautious work produced the desired results.



After all this the tail bumper/tiedown itself was anticlimactic, a simple matter to build up from styrene the only difficulty being the relatively small size.

KA-6D without armor


A-6E with armor.


EA-6B


Overall, I think the appearance in somewhat improved.


In departure from the usual construction sequence and in anticipation of the amount of work expected in achieving any resemblance to proper fit and appearance, I decided to install the landing gear at this point. The stock kit landing gear parts are somewhat simplified to accommodate molding restrictions, and due to the age of the molds the details were very soft with large amounts of flash. So in my trademark spirit of making projects much more work intensive than they need to be, I choose to clean all the details off down to the basic gear legs and add them back on with styrene rod and strip.

I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the stock Revell Intruder main gear leg, y’all have to use your memory of this ancient kit or use imagination for the ‘before’ comparison!

Clean up of the oleo scissors proved to be difficult due to an impressive amount of flash as the molded flexible brake lines crossed the scissors. It was easier to simply remove and replace with new assemblies built up from styrene sheet and rod. This also offered the opportunity to fabricate a more petite part and include the lightening holes. Removal was accomplished by razor saw, hobby knife and small files taking care to provide a properly aligned mounting surface on the gear leg to attach the new scissors. As 16 sets were needed this process took a couple of building sessions.



A repurposed paint mixing tray served to keep the various components organized.
Here are some of the ‘spares’ left over in case the carpet monster demanded a sacrifice or two.



Both the Revell Intruder and the Kinetic Prowler kits depict the trunnion on the upper end of the main strut as a solid triangle. Although correct for a Prowler, the Intruder trunnion is an open structure with a tubular appearance. Being one of the larger and therefore more prominent components in the wheel well, a more representative structure was built up using styrene rod. As a number of sets needed to be built, a small jig was constructed to help keep the size and the subtle angles consistent.





Once the concept was decided upon, it was a simple matter of repeating each step seven or eight times, I lost count and just kept building until I ran out of parts!


Revell molded brake line details into the main gear legs and they suffered the most loss of fidelity from molding restrictions and wear of the molds. The metal non-flexible portion of the brake lines running along the back of gear leg were simulated with styrene rod. The only thing of note having to do the work twice, as reference pictures revealed dual lines.

Here a single line is installed, the second was added after the first was thoroughly set, I forgot to take a picture of that stage before the gear legs were installed in the airframes.





The flexible part of the brake lines was molded as leading to a terminal on the bottom of the strut close to the axle, rather than to the wheel hub as on the real aircraft. Fortunately, the terminal looked very much like the fitting that is supposed to be on the inside of the hub, so it was carefully removed from the strut and attached at the appropriate location on the wheel hub. One less part to fabricate! The flexible lines will be added after the wheels are attached close to completion (If that day ever arrives!)





The intruder nose gear is quite busy, consisting of a myriad of struts, hinges, actuators and hydraulic lines. Due to molding limitations and in the case of the Revell kits, the age of the molds, the details were simplified and quite soft. So in keeping with the spirit of making more work whenever possible, the moldings were cleaned up and the details replaced with various sizes of styrene stock and rod. The large cylindrical steering actuator mounded low on the right side was built up using tube, disks and rod for actuators. The unit also has a big flat spring coiled around it that serves as a shimmy damper.







Installation began once the subassemblies were to a sufficient state of delicacy to ensure appropriate levels of damage during the process. Fortunately, I managed to underachieve in that endeavor even though the fitting process was a test of patience requiring a number of building sessions and a few minor repairs, all seven sets were eventually in place, aligned and left alone over night to set. I did leave off a couple of the more vulnerable details that would be fairly easily added after installation. The large drag links need yet to be installed, they will require a bit of fabrication and custom fitting and will be topic for a future update posting.



To sum the progress for this update; all the Grummans are now on their gear, a milestone of sorts. A paltry accomplishment, I can’t figure out why it took me so long! And that wraps it up for now, thank you for your continued interest!

Eric aka The Yankymodeler

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  #95  
Unread February 19th, 2018, 10:56 PM
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dang! That is looking sharp! Keep the updates coming.
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  #96  
Unread February 22nd, 2018, 11:45 PM
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Amazing.....is putting it lightly! The amount of work you're doing is mind boggling. I always enjoy reading your updates as building just one Revell A-6E is challenging enough. Great work and please keep the post coming.

Elmo
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  #97  
Unread May 9th, 2018, 06:03 PM
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I was hoping to have a bit more progress to report but not surprisingly a couple steps took more time than anticipated (I can hear the chorus of “Again?!?”) and what I had hoped would be a fairly simple repair turned out to be more involved than I intended. (Again?!?)

To finish up the final details on nose gear I had planned on adding a single simple linkage for positioning the launch bar and calling the units complete. Just before I began, I took a few moments to read my last posting and noticed in one of the pictures that I had somehow broken the end of one of the launch bars (tow link). Ugh!



Well, shouldn’t be too hard to fabricate a small piece, repair the end and move on. (Please stop laughing) For some reason, I decided to take a look at some reference photos (bad move as you will see momentarily) and noted that the real launch bar is an H-beam of constant section contrary to the tapered molding provided in the Revell kit. Uh oh.


For a brief moment I thought I would be able to ignore the discrepancy, repair the broken unit and move on. But the idea was fleeting, I knew I would never be happy knowing that detail was wrong especially when compared with the more accurate launch bars on the two Kinetic Prowlers. Besides, my stock of styrene strip contains a selection of H and I beam sections and it would surely be simple to match size and cut appropriate lengths, how hard could it be? That question was quickly answered when all of the sections proved too big. Fortunately, the solution was fairly simple; fabricate a length of H section from styrene strip with a short section of rod representing the lugs that engage the shuttle. Other than tedious the process went smoothly.




Once installed, the new launch bars did turn out to be a noticeable improvement, so much so that kit representation of the mechanism that latches the launch bar into one of three positions was now a very visible disappointment. Since I had allowed this ‘repair’ to evolve to this state, little time was lost in removing the offending component. The latches and levers were so small they were literally built up from the scraps littering the desk top! Installation was a simple exercise in patience and fine motor skills (which as usual I found sorely lacking). In the end I’m pretty happy with the final result. Having run out of extra work to make for myself, the making up and installing the curved linkage that moves the launch bar that began this little side journey was, shall we say, anti-climactic.







In both the Kinetic Prowler and the Revell Intruder kits the drag links for the main gear looked pretty good and my intent was to clean them up, take care of a couple light ejector marks and move on. Test fitting the link on the Intruders revealed they were too short particularly on the inboard attach point to the gear leg. I had taken much care to position the gear legs according to reference picture so I was confident the alignment was where I wanted it and the issue was the drag links. Investigating methods to lengthen either the rod-like upper section or the lower flat ribbed section, I came to the conclusion that building up new links from scratch would yield the best results.
A prototype was built up from various thicknesses of sheet and strip styrene to verify the concept and mass production quickly followed.



Because 10 sets of links were required a simple template was used to speed up the cutting out and assist in keeping the base of the flat lower sections consistent.



Styrene strip was used for the flanges but looked a bit plain. Close inspection revealed the flanges had a shallow rounded cove cross section. A round file was used to add the contour to the outside of the flanges and provided a finer detailed appearance.



Note that there are left and right side sections and the slight differences in the stiffeners on the top and bottom sides.



The upper section had a bit of interesting detail consisting of a tapered flange on the upper and lower sides of a tubular strut. Although intricate appearing this was easily replicated by triangular pieces of styrene sheet glued to opposing ‘sides’ of styrene rod.



The kit attachment fittings at the forward end looked pretty good so they were cleaned up, cut off the kit parts, a shallow socket was drilled into the end and then attached to the new drag link.



The drag link fitting on the main gear leg is represented as a solid protrusion where as the real one is made up of two lugs. This little tidbit was discovered (of course) after I had installed the landing gear and the improved drag links would only highlight the incorrect mounting so a solution was needed. Without a better idea a ball-end mill was placed in the Dremel tool and a deep cleansing breath taken…. Carefully taking shallow cuts, material from the center of the molded protrusion was removed leaving the outer ends to represent the lugs. Surprisingly no damage was inflicted!
As-molded solid fitting


Refined fitting



The drag link assemblies were intentionally made just a bit long and each will require a bit of custom fitting by carefully filing the lower end to fit to the lugs. I only got a couple of assemblies were in place, and the results are almost worth the effort! Still to be added are retraction cylinders and the link actuator/locks, but that is material for another update.




Thanks for your interest, Eric aka The Yankymodeler
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  #98  
Unread May 9th, 2018, 06:45 PM
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Holy cow that is some super fine detail work!
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