Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Little Progress on the Scooter

But maybe not much. the fuselage and nose are together now, and we'll do a little painting in a bit, but it's officially time to start sanding some seams---boredom personified!

We do have a couple of things to talk about, though. The first is holes. Today's illustration is an annotated scan of the instruction sheet for the Charlie, with red circles showing where Hasegawa wants you to drill holes. It's moderately important that you do that before you assemble the fuselage, because it'll make locating those scoops and the blade antenna that lives just aft of the canopy a whole lot easier to do. I've also circled the few areas that need to be filled and sanded, not so much because you'd ever forget to do it, but because I usually do. You'll note, however, that I didn't open up the hole that facilitates installation of the boarding ladder, that being because my intent is to have said ladder either on the ground in an extremely basic diorama, or nowhere near the model. Time will tell on that one.

The interior was simple, and Eduard's belts and harnesses provided a lot of activity in the cockpit, making things really busy in there. That's a Good Thing. The cockpit/nose gear tub fit without any issues, and the ballast was a snap; two .451 round balls epoxied inside the fus immediately behind the cockpit bulkhead, and another one epoxied inside the nose. Three balls may have been overkill but it's not unduly heavy and the model is properly ballasted. (Don't you love it when a plan comes together?)

I almost forgot to mention; there's a jetpipe inside that fuselage too. It has a bulkhead with a representation of the engine's flameholder at the front end, but you'd need a small flashlight to know it's there. There's a certain tempation to eliminate the seam and paint the jetpipe, but the honest truth is that all you can see of it is its insides once it's installed in the model. Paint it if you want to, but unless you open things up nobody will ever see it.

There's another issue too, and one that's really surprising. On the real A-4 the rudder is a single piece of skin with external doublers. It was a quick fix during the early days of flight testing and it's on every operational Scooter ever built. Hasegawa gives us a fine representation of it, but it's really thick, which is a shame, 'cause it's not that way on the real airplane. It won't be that obvious once the model is done so I'm leaving it alone; nowadays I've got enough seniority on life that I build for pleasure, and in my world rebuilding that rudder and the aft part of the vertical stab wouldn't be pleasurable. Feel free to do it on your model if you're so inclined.

Next on my agenda is addition of the intakes and a little more prepainting, plus final bodywork on the fuselage. Somewhere along the way we'll sneak in another couple of photos, but not today. I'm spending the rest of the afternoon in the attic, looking for those old Hasegawa weapons sets left over from the first iteration of RIS, so I can put some Mk 82s on a centerline MER once the model is done. (You'd think there'd be a MER in the kit, but that's not how Hase does things; they've got weapons sets for that, and that's how we get our ordnance. I'm not entirely certain I agree with that philosophy, but that's how it is. It's no Big Thing either way.) That said, we're done for today.

So, be good to your neighbor and we'll see you soon.

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