So, I managed to assemble the landing gear without things exploding, but in the process I finally figured it out. I decided to open the TF.X kit and do that gear, just to prove to myself that my idea was right. It is!
So, for those who may do either of these kits, here is the “secret”:
First and foremost; DO NOT FOLLOW THE KIT ASSEMBLY SEQUENCE. If you do, it will lead to disaster.
1. Assemble the entire gear well “box,” including part E-99, the front wall that the gear attaches to. Set this aside and allow it to set up. When this is set up, paint it British Interior Green. Also paint the insides of the gear wells in the lower wing part inside the nacelles. Also paint parts E-101 and 102, the gear door attachment parts (there are two sets) in BIG. DO NOT attach Part F-35, the forward gear well bulkhead at this point. It will go on last.
2. You have to pre-paint the gear before assembly. My research has found that the gear legs are painted semi-gloss black. I used Tamiya X-18, Semi-Gloss Black. You also need to assemble and paint the main wheels.
3. Assemble the main gear legs per the instructions, including the main wheel. The rear gear legs (part E-97) need to be scraped down on the outside of the area of the part that is inserted into the gear well. Test fit until you get it where it can slide in easily (this is the part that is just slightly too big and screws up assembly if you don’t do this).
4. Attach the gear to the gear wells. Before proceeding with putting in Part E-97, cut off the little tabs at the end that attach to the gear leg, since they were molded reversed. Then take E-97 with parts E-91 and 92 and F-90 assembled and attached to E-97, get this assembly in postion and attach to the gear legs and then glue in position inside the gear well.
5. Attach part F-35 and glue it firmly to all parts of the main gear leg that touch it.
6. Attach parts E-101 and 102 in their position.
Now that you have the entire gear and well assembled, slip them into the lower wing and glue into position. Voila! Everything fits.
The pix attached should be able to guide you with this. Don’t get confused jumping around in the instruction book so you do all of this as one process. Whoever came up with the assembly sequence in the instructions needs their brain (assuming they actually have one) re-examined.
10 attached images. Click to enlarge.