Nosing across the finish line just before midnight….
Well…a few days before midnight! My goal was to finish my VF-142 F-4B before the New Year and I made it! The Academy kit is over all pretty good, there are a few well documented areas that need addressing, but overall it is a fun build if you take your time and plan ahead. The Eduard bombs, ‘winders and Sparrows are a big improvement over the kit parts as are the wheels and the Wolfpack exhausts. The Eduard interior set is a huge improvement as well. My “Frankenstein” Mk5 seats look good, I wish Eduard made a set, as their Mk7s are excellent. But with some deep breaths as I cut, and a set of Wolfpack Mk5 seats to splice in with the Eduard Mk7s I think I did ok. I used both Furball decals Bravo Mig Killers sets to make VF-142s CAG bird from 1967 aboard USS Constellation. I have a soft spot for Connie birds as I would go to war aboard her in VS-38 in 2003. The Furball decals were great EXCEPT..for the national insignia, for some reason they just would not lay down. I went through literally all of the ones I had in the two sets I bought before I got the ones you see that snuggled down. I did manage to get a decent closed cockpit with some sanding and fitting. I just have a hard time leaving my canopies open after 26 years of making sure the ones on the birds I worked on stayed closed. Wet parachutes and seat pans will make the Chief go nuts, and at sea squalls come and go especially in the South China Sea and other tropical waters. Ask me the words I used when I was a Senior Chief and someone left the over heads on one of my CODs open and we went through a squall…I’m still mad about that 10 years later! But I digress, the last picture is a family portrait of my two Academy F-4s, both from ships I would serve on years after these birds flew from their decks VF-84 USS Independence, and VF-142 USS Constellation. Happy New Years iModelers!
Oh one last note, the brownish/orange stains you see are not rust (NO RUST!) They are grease stains, some of the grease used on USN aircraft turns orange after it stets for a bit, then as the airflow hits it it streaks back as an orangeish stain.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.