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Monogram Enhanced B-17

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  • #16
    B-17 Work: Bombardier's Compartment Start

    Today, I got into the bombardier compartment. Lots of little resin bits that replace molded on details. There was some ambiguity on the Verlinden plans that I needed to decipher. The part that caused me the most angst was that control stand in front of the Norden Bombsight. You were supposed to clip the top off the kit part and then glue the more detailed head and then you have to attach the two handgrips. Those handgrips really gave me fits. The first one went on okay. The second flew out of the tweezers and disappeared, so I scratchbuilt another and glued it on. Then when handling the whole assembly when working on the back bulkhead, the first one broke off with the little stem and hit the floor. After rolling my work table back further, and using a dust brush to sweep the area, both handgrips showed up. It then broke off again. This time I have no idea where it is and I'll have to figure how to get the other that I found into place. I would have just used the kit's piece, but I had already disassembled it so I could use its mounting shaft. There was no good way to get the mounting shaft attached to the resin head so I made my own shaft out of 0.032" brass. When this picture was taken, both handgrips were in place.

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    To remove all the molded on detail I used a combination of razor saw, #11 blade, a special chisel sold by MicroMart for doing just this, and various files and sanding tools.

    I added the work table and then added the navigotor's seat. On this table was supposed to go the big switch panel, but the plans showed it up against the bulkhead. It doesn't fit, so I glued it to the table in front of the bulkhead. I also removed molded on pipes and conduits and replaced them with brass. Very little of this stuff is going to show up, even through the big front window. There will be too much optical distortion for any fine details to reall show up, but it's fun to do.

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    I've got one more ammo box to install on the bulkhead and this piece will be ready for painting and detailing. Because of the all the CA'ing, I couldn't decide if I should air brush the zinc chromate and interior green before adding all the bits or after. I chose to paint after since it will hide a bunch of glue blemishes. I'm good with fine detail painting and enjoy it so it will work out okay. I have to remove some details on the fuselage sides to replace with resin so that will be next and then I'm move to the flight deck.


    • #17
      B-17 Work: Bombardier's Compartment WIP

      I didn't get much done the last couple of days. We're heading to Spain for a vacation starting on Friday and had stuff to do regarding that. I did get the bombardier's compartment all fitted out, added a couple of O2 bottles in the fuselage, and installed the cockpit side panels. I also added a couple of piece of PE on the front side windows. I was surprised that the 3-window frame was included on the fret for the right side, but not the left, and yet "Yankee Lady" has the 3-window partition on both sides. I'm going to add some PE stripping to the other side. It will lack the cute little rivets.

      I exchanged the O2 bottle next to the entry door with the proper fire extinguisher casting. After checking photos I realized my error and made the switch. Becuase CA doesn't weld resin to styrene, you can break it away pretty cleanly. I was concerned that the upper-left ammo box would interfere with the fuselage, but after checking, it works okay. This assembly's ready for some paint.

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      Here are all the little details on the right side of which I spoke. In an ideal world, I would have replaced those molded on oxygen hoses with an "A" or "D" round-wound guitar string, but it will not be seen very well and, more importantly, the only round-wound strings I have are sitting on my Fender Stratocaster and aren't coming off for this model.

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      There is a piece of PE trim on the fore side of the next window. It fit the left side well, but didn't fit the right side very well at all. With the glazing in place it will work okay... I hope.

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      While I may get some work done tomorrow, but don't count on it. So if I don't put in a journal entry for a little over a week, you'll all know why.


      • #18
        B-17 Work: Interior Green laid down.

        I did get some shop time today. I was able to open up the bomb bay doors since the PE ones will be there. And then I got the first color in place; interior green. This will have a nice long 10 days to dry before I start detail painting. I used a small drill and did the row-of-holes method on the hinge line, but was able to use the razor saw for the perpendicular cuts. After filing down to the seam line, it was done.

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        I'm using Model Master acrylics for the interior green. I thinned it a bit with Testors universal acrylic thinner. I use a Badger 150 gun that's about 40 years old. Badger's have a lifetime warranty. This was borne out when I sent it away a few years ago and they completely rebuit it with new bushings, nozzle and needle for just the price of shipping.

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        I sprayed all the parts that needed this color on their trees. I'm going to enjoy picking out all the details.

        So until I return, hasta luego.

        I'm actually trying to learn Spanish using Duolinguo. It's a very user friendly language training program that syncs between the computer and the smart phone. My grandkids have used it their early language training.


        • #19
          After a long hiatus work continues.

          Well... Thanks! It's been 17 days since the last post taken up by working on a monster mountain for my O'gauge RR, and a really nice 10-day trip to Spain. Then last week while working on said mountain and attempting to use a staple gun at an odd angle, I heard and felt a "pop" in my shoulder. It went downhill from there. I apparently did something to my bicep tendon, although this was an external exam by my orthopedic surgeon son in law. I may have pulled the tendon out of the groove in which it runs or I could have torn something. Anyway, I have to take it easy with my right hand so... building models is the perfect activity.

          Today I got the interior of the fuze painted, painted the wheels, and finish painting the bombardier compartment and started painting the props.

          The only unconventional part of the bombardier painting was the plywood work table. I used a first coat of Tamiya Nato Brown and then a top coat of a Nato Brown and Flat Yellow mix. When it was dry I wet-sanded with a fine grit stick and removed the yellow top coat exposing the brown that was sitting on the raised plastic wood grain. It all doesn't matter since the top surface of this table (along with almost everything else inside) is not visible when the fuze is closed and all the plastic glazing is in place.

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          I painted all the switches and dials randomly since I have no idea what is actually going on with this apparatus.

          I then worked on the main wheels. I first airbrushed Valllejo acrylic metal finish for the hubs. Then I made circular masks for the hubs to paint Tamiya Rubber Black. It's a new color that's got just a little gray to it and looks very good. To make the circular masks I measured the diameter with my digital caliper and came up with .560". I divided this in half to the radius and set this number on the caliper and locked it. I have a Starrett divider that I sharpened on edge to a razor-sharp chisel point and then cut the circles out of .75" Tamiya Masking Tape. I had to do a little touch up after it was all done.
          While I had the silver acrylic out I wanted to paint the tail portion of the fuze which apparently natural metal instead of interior green. I masked the demarcation line and then used some packing paper to finish out the mask so the rest of the interior didn't get over-sprayed. I found this paint hard to clean out of the airbrush and had to disassemble it all to get it unclogged.

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          After this dried I painted the O2 bottles yellow. Also in this picture you can see all the detail painting for the walls and flight deck side walls.

          Lastly, I also sprayed the prop hubs and then removed them from the sprues. After cleaning up flash and only on one blade, I brush painted the Rubber Black. I realized that I wanted to do the yellow ends first and then mask them so I did this on the other three props and hand-brushed the tips. For the rest I brush painted the yellow over the lines and then tomorrow will mask and paint the black. I'm not airbrushing these since the masking around the hubs is to tricky to be worth the effort.

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          I also hand brushed the tailwheel aluminum after air brushing the rubber black.


          • #20
            OOH, the tendon thing sounds painful. Sorry to hear about that, but more time for modeling!!!!!

            The Valllejo metal paint looks like it goes down good with a airbrush. What did you try to clean up with? On other forums Lacquer thinner seems to be the go to choice. And the cheap, hardware store brands since its for cleanup not application.

            Wish I had known about Badgers lifetime warranty a few years ago. Had a 40yr old 200 that decided to die. Couldn't do anything to get it to spray right so I trashed it.

            How different is the "Rubber Black" and "NATO Black". Nato black has a lot of grey. That's what I normally use for tires.


            • #21
              Bomber Build interior Cont. Part A

              Thanks Gun! The Rubber black is blacker than Nato Black which is sort of a weathered black. The Vallejo paint says to use alcohol and that finally cleaned it out. Acetone didn't do much.

              Even though the shoulder is beginning to function a little better, I worked only on the bomber today. The fellow for whom I'm building it is going to visit me in Louisville in the beginning of November, but we're going to be back East the week before Halloween, which means I can bring the bomber to him at that time. So that gives me a firm date to finish it, October 19. I'm making good progress and should have it done by then.

              Today, I masked and painted that finicky little ball turret. I wasn't sure what parts were glazed and what aluminum so I went to the Internet and downloaded a good picture of one. I'm still waiting for m Eduard B-17 masks and suspect that I'll have the model finished by the time they arrive. I did the masking with Tamiya narrow tape and some Scotch Magic Tape.

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              To do this I put the tape in place, burnish it down paying attention to pushing into the engraved frame lines and then with a very sharp #11 blade. For the little windows down the flank, the engraving was so shallow that I couldn't find it using Tamiya tape so I switched to Magic tape so I could see the lines through it.

              I stuck the halves onto a wide blue masking tape after sealing the little halve holes with some more tape. Then I sprayed it with Tamiya Rattle Can Spray Natural Metal. It's a lacquer, looks good with fine grain, and dries really fast.

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              I was very pleased with the result when I pulled the tape. There was no bleed through anywhere which was, frankly, unexpected.

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              I built a gun set using the Verlinden 50 cal replacements. Unfortunately, they did not have a set specifically for the ball turret. The kit's version has the guns tied together with some form of mechanism to properly space the guns so they fit through the apertures in the turrett. I had to cobble a spacer together out of scrap resin sprue after transferring the distance with the digital calipers. Incidentally, I use digital calipers more often to transfer measurements than to actually get a digital reading.

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              The Verlinden barrels are much finer than the massive kit version. They are also much more delicate. When I built that 1/16 scale RC version I had to scratch-build all the guns since all that was included was some wood dowels. I machined the barrels out of two layers of aluminum: inner solid rod drilled with the 1/16 of a 50 cal. bore and an outer jacket drilled with the cooling holes. Ideally, that outer jacket should have been photo-etched (which I can't do...yet). I made the receivers from styrene. The Royal kit's vacuum formed ball turrett was actually a terrible rendition, but at least the guns were cool. I even had to build out the bolsters where the barrels exit the turrett. I used epoxy putty for that.

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              • #22
                Bomber Build interior Cont. Part B

                With 7 pics I needed a double post.

                I finished painting the props and then over-coated the front side with Tamiya clear gloss spray as a surface for the "Hamilton Standard" decals that go on each blade.

                I finished building up the flight deck with the addition of control sticks, seats and rear bulkhead. I didn't bother to paint the seat support frames since they're be invisible.

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                Lastly, I put together the radio room. Again, due to its invisibilty didn't detail any of it other than attaching the seat. There is a skylight on top, but the plastic is not optically pure and will distort anything underneath.

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                I test fit the fuselage sides and amazingly, it all fits. There's some more surgery needed. The Verlinder windscreen is a photo-etched frame assembly with acetate windows which will be optically clear. The Cheyene tail gunner's house is also PE with glazing. Both it and the upgraded tail turret need plastic removed from that area. I'm going to work on that next since you can't do surgery when the model is all painted and pretty.


                • #23
                  Looks really good, Builder! Really like all the AM stuff you're using, wish I could afford it!

                  Coincidentally, I've been working on the exact same model for the last few months, but I am making MUCH slower progress than you are! I am a strictly an OOB builder, so my B-17 won't have QUITE the level of detail that yours does (although I DID do a few modifications to my B-17, including opening up the bomb bay; it just seemed really stupid to have a somewhat detailed bomb bay, including 500-lbs. bombs, that nobody would ever see). Also really like the detailed radial engines; now I may have to "dress mine up" a bit (thanks!).

                  Incidentally, I spent a lot of time researching the exact colors for the interior (that's my OCD showing), and came to the conclusion that the forward portion of the B-17 (forward of the bomb bay) was actually a darker green, more like MM Euro Dark Green, FS #34092, than Interior Green; aft of that, the majority of the fuselage was actually natural metal (aluminum), presumably "because there were no glare problems for the gunners there."

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                  The best reference(s) I've found so far for the B-17 is the series of articles on WWII aircraft colors on the IPMS Stockholm website; you might find them interesting. The B-17 is specifically mentioned about halfway through Part II:

                  Interior Colours of US Aircraft, 1941-45 Part I

                  Interior Colours of US Aircraft, 1941-45 Part II

                  Interior Colours of US Aircraft, 1941-45 Part III
                  "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge


                  • #24
                    Bomber Build Potpourri Part A

                    Thanks Stitch! In this case all of that AM is being paid for by the fellow for whom I'm building this. I'm not charging a commission, but he did spring for the materials. The AM cost more than the kit. I've read most of the info you included about interior colors. It's a confusing mess. I'm not going to fret about it. The shades that the Model Master Acrylics use for interior green and Zinc Chromate seem reasonable and will be very hard to visualize anyhow. I never realized that Zinc Chromate wasn't a color, but was a compound.

                    As far as my speed. I'm on a mission since I want to deliver the model in three weeks so it needs to be done. And since I'm not working on the railroad, I have all my afternoons. I generally spend about 3 to 4 hours each time I'm in the shop. It's one of the best things about being retired (other than being able to travel off-season).

                    Today was a potpourri of things starting with finishing up the propellors by adding the "Hamilton Standard" labeling to each blade. I mounted the prop on a shaved end of a micro-brush and held that in the PanaVise. After the decals dried I shot them with Dulcoat to level it all out.

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                    Here are all four done and waiting to be mounted on those spiffy R-1820s.

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                    Next up was finishing up the ball turrett. After painting the guns Tamiya gunmetal, I CA'd the guns into the front ball half. I clamped both halves together and applied solvent cement with my Touch-n-flo capillary applicator. After it dried I sprayed a bit of the Tamiya Bare Metal into a cup and touched up any glue marks. I then build the suspension hanger, sprayed it with the same color and snapped the ball into the hanger and then hanger into the radio compartment floor. This is a very old model with very old molds and there was lots of flash and ejection pin marks on parts.

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                    With the simple stuff out of the way it was time to get into the two main challenges. The first was the Cheyenne tail gunner's compartment and gun emplacement. This Verlinden change required some mods to the fuselage, one of which was to remove the boss that held the B-17E style tail gun so the Verlinder updated gun can be mounted flush to the tail. The other was to both open up the space a bit AND to remove the rear-most 1/8" of the compartment opening for the PE gun sight that will be added a bit later.

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                    Go to Part B
                    Last edited by Builder 2010; 06 Oct 16,, 00:46.


                    • #25
                      bomber Build Potpourri Part B

                      Then it was time to tackle the PE tail gunner's windows. The first part had to be folded and bent to fit the fuze's contours. The second part was the rear window that needed bending to a nice curve that had to match the first parts width. Before bending they ask that you cut the acetate glazing. I had forgotten to do this for the main part, but was able to cut the odd-shaped rounded window. I CA'd the glazing in place before curving the piece by wrapping it around a suitable diameter. For the main part glazing I was able to measure and cut the acetate with the part in its formed shaped. I had to adjust the fuze opening a few more times once all the forming was done.

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                      The second challenge: the new flight deck window set. First of all, this stuff is really cool since it allows for an open left side seat's window. And it's also tough since the plastic fuze's opening does not fit this PE and needs to be shaved and re-shaped.

                      I've been suffering a bit with the very soft PE which is a self-inflicted wound. I was so traumatized by the Eduard PE hardness when building the Missouri that I annealed all this before using it. The annealing was too effective and the PE bends like modeling clay. As I was handling the parts during the fitting and glazing it kept deforming and I would have to flatten in my PE bending jig over and over. Next time, I'll hold off annealing until I find out how brittle the metal is.

                      In this picture you'll see that some more fitting is probably warranted. The acetate is so myuch more optically clear than the styrene kit windows. In this case I measured all the acetate while the PE was flat.

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                      Finally, a couple of new pliers I ordered from MicroMark arrived today. They're parallel jaw pliers which I wanted for some time. Traditional long-nose pliers when grabbing and oject often only hold by one point since the tapered jaws create a tapered opening. For bending stuff where I need even grip I was resorting to using my vise grips. This way is much more elegant. One pair with the straight jaws is brass-lined to be a little easier on surfaces. The other is a loop-forming tool that will also do the job with parallel pressure.

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                      Tomorrow I'll continue with fitting the windows. Once done, it will time to start enclsoing the fuselage, building wings and starting the painting and finishing process.


                      • #26
                        Bomber Build Flightdeck Windows.

                        Today was spent entirely installing the flight deck PE windows. It was difficult, frustrating and the results didn't not meet my level of expectations. The problem was that I kept getting CA on the acetate windows. I had to keep handling the assemblies to get the fit just right and this handling increased the deformation I was having and offered more opportunites to screw up the acetate. I replaced the windows and this too created problems especially when I had to replace the left side windscreens three times. The last time it almost wrecked the entire deal to try and extract the CA'd accetate. To make matters worse, the windscreen has an inner frame that also was CA'd.

                        Took help align and hold the frames I didn't like the little PE tabs that were integral to the PE part. I cut them off and made little Z-clips bending them with my PE bending machine.

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                        The right side ultimately went in using medium CA along the seam to hold it all in place. I worked to get the center line to match the plastic fuze's so that it will mate well to the other half.

                        Here was one of the first windshields I replaced. Because it was off the plane it wasn't too terrible.

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                        And here's that side installed.

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                        But then came the left side with the open window. I changed out the sliding window with 0.010" clear styrene since I used up the acetate provided in the Verlinder kit. Then as I had already CA'd the side window portion, the windscreen got whacked and I decided to try and replace the glazing while it was on the plane. Of course here the CA was very effective and just wouldn't let go. When it did it resulted in this!

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                        I spent the best part of the next hour putting in the new glazing and attempting to get it straightened. It was disheartening and definitely blows the image of me being the "super craftsman". I'm thinking that I'd like to see if Verlinden can send me another set of PE.

                        Here are both sides "Complete". If I can get the replacements in a reasonable time, I may choose to do so, although this part has to be complete before the two halves are brought together which is where I kind of am right now.

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                        You really can't see how wavy that metal is now. It's really not very good. I just sent a note to Verlinden to see if they can accommodate my request. I also have to add a bit of filler at the PE plastic interface.


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Builder 2010 View Post
                          You really can't see how wavy that metal is now. It's really not very good. I just sent a note to Verlinden to see if they can accommodate my request. I also have to add a bit of filler at the PE plastic interface.
                          Doubt you will get a response. They went out of business a couple of weeks ago.

                          There are pictures on some of the model forums of workers emptying the warehouse. Throwing everything into trash bins.


                          • #28
                            Oh crap! Really? Just my luck. Why couldn't they liquidate the stock instead of scrapping it? They've been in business for a long time. Their website wasn't caught up with the bad news.


                            • #29
                              Wow! Verlinden is (was?) a big company, and they've been in business for quite a while; wonder what happened? I know the plastic model industry is in a steady decline (unfortunately), as us old guys who used to build models as kids back in the '60's and '70's "go away", but Verlinden was an international company with worldwide distribution. Sad . . .
                              "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge


                              • #30
                                More Bomber Fun...

                                I called Verlinden on the phone and it's disconnected. So it's official, Verlinden is no more. I've used them very little leaning more towards Eduard. Eduard's instructions are better too.

                                Today started well. I masked and painted all the appropriate glazing parts first with Tamiya Rattle Can natural metal and then Dullcoat. \
                                After pulling the tape I was happy with the results.

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                                Next was the nose cap. Verlinden... which BTW went out of business two weeks ago so my thoughts of getting another PE fret just went out the window... inlcuded a PE ring that went between the clear plastic and the fuze, an inner frame with rivets, a folded PE piece that glues to the ring and a piece of vinyl tubing that extends form the inner frame under the bombardier deck. I had no trouble gluing the inner frame to the clear dome.

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                                And then the proverbial poop hit the fan!

                                After folding the front piece and CA'ing it to the ring, I decided to CA the ring to the back of the canopy. Before doing this, I attached the vinyl tube to the protuberance on the inner frame. The tubing was not very flexible and that started the cascade of bad things. I said from the outset, that I document all my good stuff and all my bad. After gluing on the ring, the tension imposed by the tube popped the inner frame off the plastic. As I attempted to glue it back on, now not easily since stuff was in the way, I got some CA on the clear. Then the ring lost grip and started popping off, and then the inner ring let go again... you get the picture. Finally, in desparation, I ripped it all off and decided to paint the canopy the old fashioned way.

                                This next picture is pretty gross and if you have a heart condition you may want to avert your eyes.

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                                After I pulled the tape (which came out okay) and lightly sanding out some of the blemishes, I dropped the canopy into a bath of Pledge Floor Wax with Future, let it drain off and put it under cover to dry for the next few days. Hopefully, this canopy restoration technique will help. Otherwise, I might be going to Revell to get a new front dome.

                                I then built the upper gun turret. In this case I used the Verlinder thin gun barrels glued into holes drilled in the kit's breaches. This solves the problem of losing all the other structure needed to hold the guns in place. The assembly was the bright spot in the day.

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                                I put this aside since it gets installed last. I then started to construct the bombs and bomb rack. Rather thne gluing the bombs in place and running the risk of them coming unglued. So I decided to install some real rings like the prototype and will create hooks on the bomb rack to hold them.

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                                I don't work in the shop on weekends as part of a deal with the CinC, so next report will be on Monday.

                                I don't know about you, but I sometimes find that adding the PE creates more problems than it's worth. Case in point, those cockpit windows. I could have masked the plastic ones with no problem and would have been on my way. Instead, I killed an afternoon wrestling with the metal and wishing I could rip it out and put the plastic one back in, except it will no longer fit since the opening was filed much larger....although now that I write this, I could pack the space out with styrene and it might work out. I think about it and do it my head several times to see how it would turn out. It might clean up that mess now that I can get any new material with Verlinden.