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Cold War (1950-1974)
Discuss the aircraft modeling subjects during the Cold War period.
Hosted by Tim Hatton
Best Starfighter Ever?
RussellE
#306
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Victoria, Australia
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Posted: Friday, July 17, 2020 - 01:16 AM UTC
Incredible work Steve

Congratulations on a very fine build!

I too know the frustrations and the relief of finishing builds that stretch over years, having finished 2 ships builds that took 5 years each...

But for all the trials and challenges, what it really shows is that you have an inner strength to follow through with your ambitions!

Well done Sir! I look forward to seeing what you've got lined up next
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 01:35 PM UTC
Steve, it looks like a pile of cr4p, throw it in the bin and start over mate!

Seriously, this has been an awesome thread to follow, start to finish. I've been one of the (mostly) quiet spectators, but I've learned a hell of a lot both from your progress details and philosophical musings, and quite a few laughs along the way. Outstanding result, a really beautiful build and a wonderful display piece. I love it!

I completely understand your feelings towards the work that went in to the details that are now completely hidden away. The struggle between the desire to do as much as possible on a complete build VS the "time better spent elsewhere" argument knowing that it will only ever be visible in the WIP images. I've just gone through the same process on a 1/48 Me262 build, and left about a dozen interior detail parts on the sprues.

Looking forward to the next adventure, can't wait to see what you choose from the stash.

Cheers, D
Stickframe
#362
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California, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 01:25 PM UTC
Hi Steve,

This was well worth the wait to see done! Really a great project, that looks good both up close, and as an overall build.

I appreciate your closing thoughts on the whole process, and the pros and cons - interesting points. I enjoy building and looking at others' various scratch/detail work, which is often lost once the the project is buttoned up. I admire your honesty - or willingness to ask - "would I do all of the hidden detail again?" On the other hand, that's the fun of a build as opposed to a job - you can do what you want.

Hope you had a good ride on that bike!

Cheers and stay well -

Nick

Cosimodo
#335
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Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: September 03, 2013
KitMaker: 1,808 posts
AeroScale: 195 posts
Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 12:17 PM UTC
Thanks for your commitment Steve!
It is a great looking Starfighter - love the whole of plane photos.
I have followed this build because I have one in the stash It has both been educational and entertaining. I think your final comments reflect what I usually feel about completed builds -enjoy the satisfaction of completion and what will I do differently next time.
Look forward to your next build!

cheers
Michael
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 10:23 PM UTC
Ladies and gentleman, this is the end, beautiful friends, this is the end. The F-104C is finished. I started building this kit on October 17th 2017 - thatís two years, eight months and twenty-five days ago - with the idea that it would be my best kit ever. It has been quite a journey; one that tested my skills, patience and resilience. So, was all that time, effort, money and sometimes angst worth it? Is this my best model ever? Well, here are the pics, all taken in the F-104ís new home (more on the reason for that below). After the pics is a roundup of my thoughts and feelings. Iíll answer my own question. Feel free to stop at the pics - youíll have drawn your own conclusions by then.

















Here we are then nearly three years later. Was it all worth it? Frustratingly, the answer in my mind is Ďyes and noí. Letís look on the positives first.

Yes, it was worth it because:

When I look at the finished kit thereís a lot to see. Detail and weathering draws me in, and the more I look the more I see. It makes the same-scale Mirage III sitting above look plain.

I learnt a huge amount about building, painting and my own strengths and weaknesses. My next build will benefit from all this and Iíll enjoy it the more for that.

I really enjoyed scratch building and adding details. In retrospect I think the cockpit is where I did my best work.

Writing this blog has been fun, and the support from Joel, Gaz and the many folks who looked in was inspiring and supportive. Thanks guys! Iím not sure I would have finished without the added incentive of writing for you.

Finally, I feel a sense of pride in the finished product. There are undoubtedly areas I rushed towards the end, and I see them, but none the less, I enjoy looking at the finished product. I like my own work, and I guess thatís ultimately why I build - to enjoy it.

And, now the counter-arguments:

Much of the painstaking detail I added is hidden. I spent hours and days building tiny things in the wheel wells, and cockpit, that just canít be seen now. In the end I could have bypassed much of this fiddly stuff.

I spent too much time correcting faults made by the manufacturer. That was really frustrating. Whatever I do next, it wonít involve a kit with the kind of basic moulding and fit errors that this one had.

I didnít crack the natural metal finish weathering. I like the wings, but the body isnít what I wanted. It looks OK, but compare it to photos and itís just not the same. Thereís more experimentation in the future (but not the immediate future).

Here are some things I learnt too:

Tiny photo-etch detail is almost useless. Unless youíre building for close up photography or video, the near-microscopic and fragile details vanish the moment the model is viewed. Maybe they add to the overall visual impression, but Iíve grown away from small PE in the course of building this kit. The work to reward ratio isnít high enough for me.

Start with the end in mind. Thinking many steps ahead really helped me out, and when I didnít (like not considering how to attach some of the fiddly sub-assemblies to the fuselage), it was usually a pain.

The best tools I own are my own skill and patience. I have draws full of tools I didnít use. In the end a few basics kept me going, but it was how I used them that made the difference.

Viewing a model is so different from looking at it in photos; the environment affects what you see. That's why I took my final shots in a display cabinet rather than on the workbench or a little studio set up.

This is an amazing hobby. There is much depth and reward to it. Some people might think all that time spent building a model is crazy, but for me, ultimately it has reaffirmed that I love this hobby, its creativity, and the people who contribute to it.

Well guys, thatís all from me for this build. Thanks again for your support, suggestion and interest. If youíve been lurking thatís cool too. Sometimes these blogs are spectator sports (and that thereís not much of that these days).

Now Iím going to take a long ride on my motorbike, then tidy my workbench, and then take an excited delve into the stash to decide what next. At this point Iím not sure. Thanks for staying until the end of the line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMVjToYOjbM&list=RDUMVjToYOjbM&start_radio=1

Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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New York, United States
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Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 05:36 AM UTC
Steve,
From the Car guy: Wow You really nailed it. Loved the ride for the last 3 years. So what's next on your bench?

Joel
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
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Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 03:45 AM UTC
Thanks Gaz,

About an hour more and she's done.

I can't quite believe it!
GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: April 23, 2015
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Posted: Friday, July 10, 2020 - 04:08 PM UTC
Great work, Steve!
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Friday, July 10, 2020 - 03:47 PM UTC
This is the penultimate part of this F-104 story. The photo below shows all the sub-assemblies ready to go together. Thereís a little bit of detail painting to do, but the next time you see this model it will be finished. Before we get there, I want to say a few words. They are: decals wonderful, instructions not. Cartograph lived up to their reputation both in the quality of the decals and the way they applied. And in a sense, so did Italeri. The instructions can be vague or confusing, for example the illustrations didnít always look like the decals on the sheet. A combination of references and guess work got me through. Luckily the Cartograph printing is first class and the decals can be read. That helped to.

So here it all is, awaiting some fiddly assembly. At this point Iím thinking detail really is a double edged sword, and I hope it's all worth it.

Happy modelling guys.

GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: April 23, 2015
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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 07:05 PM UTC
Hmmmmmm............
SpeedyJ
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Bangkok, Thailand / ไทย
Joined: September 17, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 06:03 PM UTC
Hi Steve.
Actually my first name consists of more names.
Full name is Robert Jan Gerardus. Where Robert is my personal name, Jan and Gerardus are my grandfathers first names.
So there are some options. Friends call me Robert or RJ. In Thailand it's also Robert, at work even 'Mr. Robert', in Thai they say Pi' Robert.

So it's up to you.
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 03:52 AM UTC
Hey guys

Jan (sorry, I think that's your first name yes?), I am honoured to be an inspiration. I have the same feelings looking at all the great work here and elsewhere too. I want to get better, and make fewer mistakes This isn't a terrible kit. I made life interesting by deciding to add so much extra detail and pushing my weathering skills to the limit. Are you building a Hasegawa Starfighter?

Joel, of course you right about the aftermarket. I thought about that then arrived at your last point. Few people will notice, but the refuelling probe is a give away for those in the know. LOL, and now everyone :-)

Thanks for looking in guys.
Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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New York, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 01:19 AM UTC
Steve,
Just love your weathered decal look. In 1/32 scale it really works. As for your decal issue, there's quite a few After Market decal sheets available that you could use to solve your problem as far as the markings for a particular plane.

I'm quite sure that 9 out of 10 modelers would never know that the plane you modeled isn't a replica to the nth degree. The real test is if you can fool Jessica.

Joel
SpeedyJ
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Bangkok, Thailand / ไทย
Joined: September 17, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 12:46 AM UTC
Hello Steve. Still following your build.
Been a long time I send a reaction.
It's one hell of a job your doing with this kit. I purchased one some time ago, but dare not to start yet. First finish my Hasegawa I started more than a year ago.
Your build is a great inspiration for me.
Thanks for all the great photos you share, techniques and dedication to the subject.
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 11:17 PM UTC
I donít often swear, at least not out loud, but as I watched the big serial number decal on the rear fin disintegrate like shattered glass, some very blue language filled the air. A disaster like this in the final stages of a three year project is, erÖ not helpful. Iíd love to blame Italeri or (less credibly) Cartograph, but the real problem was me. A combination of too much softening solution and a little sanding to get some weathering before I apply the decal, led to its down fall. If I can resort to some stereotypical British understatement, I can say I was a bit miffed with myself.

After a few moments of inner tantrum the inevitable question bubbled up - what to do? There are other marking options provided but not for the ĎCí version I was building in the colour scheme Iíd chosen, and the underside is done, which limited my choices even more. In the end after weighing up all sorts of options I decided to commit a sin. My ĎCí version from 1964 is going to get ĎAí version markings. Now before people start calling lawyers, I know (all too painfully) that this means I will end up with a non-existent mongrel; a plane that never flew. That pains me, but it will still look like a USAF Starfighter and I need to move on to a new project. One of the reasons I messed up is rushing because Iím so close to the finish line.

So with the on-line equivalent of talking through gritted teeth, here are some shots of the decaling so far, including the weathering effects I wanted. Iím trying to recreate the look of faded and worn paint seen prominently in some of my references. Oh, and I checked; none show tail markings so totally fractured as to be unreadable. You might summarise this whole last episode with the phrase ĎNice decals, shame about the accuracyí. Ugh.

Happier modelling guys.



SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 06:10 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text



Guys, thanks again for dropping in. The end is sight! Then what will I do???

Have a great day, and happy modelling.




Sit back, relax and admire your work!

After that, grab a cheap 1/72 kit that can be slung together and brush painted all in one evening just for the fun of it...



I really like the sound of it and I'm already rifling through my stash. There are three or four kits whispering seductively, all 1/48 scale or above. I think maybe a break for a week or two to get some sun and admire the Starfighter, then some time reorganising my desk, then a new project and definitely not one that takes years!
RussellE
#306
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 27, 2010
KitMaker: 3,957 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 01:50 PM UTC

Quoted Text



Guys, thanks again for dropping in. The end is sight! Then what will I do???

Have a great day, and happy modelling.




Sit back, relax and admire your work!

After that, grab a cheap 1/72 kit that can be slung together and brush painted all in one evening just for the fun of it...
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
AeroScale: 551 posts
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 - 11:13 PM UTC
Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback, it's great to have you along.

Richard, that's high praise! Thank you. I lurk in all sorts of places, often meaning to leave a comment or two, but not finding the time. I really must do more because it's great to hear from people.

Joel, I sort of feel your presence and you've been a huge inspiration over the years. I'm hoping to offer you a finished Starfighter to look at soon. I like to sand the paint gently too - it can give a wonderful smooth surface finish as you said. There's also a great video on decalling by Will Pattison - check it out on Youtube.

Russell, I hear you. There are some nice variations in finish after all the weathering that I want to preserve so I'll try and avoid a gloss coat but it might not be possible in the end.

Guys, thanks again for dropping in. The end is sight! Then what will I do???

Have a great day, and happy modelling.

RussellE
#306
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 27, 2010
KitMaker: 3,957 posts
AeroScale: 596 posts
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 - 03:55 PM UTC

Quoted Text

How do you feel about decals? Love Ďem or hate Ďem, unless youíre a wizard with masking, sooner or later you have to tackle them. I approach them with a combination of excitement and anxiety; there arenít many second chances with these delicate make or break markings. Iíve been eyeing the big, high-quality decals for the F-104C for some time, and I just gave in to temptation. Earlier work on the drop tanks gave me some confidence that this would not be a traumatic experience.

Iíve seen on-line modellers get great effects by sanding decals after they are applied and dried. I wanted to blend the F-104ís into the weathered surface, so I thought I would give it a go. The decals themselves went on beautifully with the help of Tamiya Mark Fit Strong. There is some carrier film showing but thatís my fault. I really donít like applying gloss coats so I put the decals onto a fairly mat surface. I guess I will have to go there in the end. Sanding them was actually fun. I was gentle of course and took my time. The end result is some pleasing fading especially around panels. To my eye it looks authentic and interesting and Iíll do more. What do you think?


Happy modelling guys.



Steve, these look amazing!

Like masking, decals are a necessary part of model making...

There are many ways to a good finish, personally I prefer laying down decals over a gloss coat, and then another gloss coat to seal them in before applying washes... but you must find what works for you ultimately
Joel_W
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
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New York, United States
Joined: December 04, 2010
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Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 01:18 AM UTC
Steve,
Like Richard, I've followed your build for years, but generally don't post as I'm a car modeler for the last several years.

Your decaling came out darn good if you ask me. With that being said, I've learned from the masters like Paul Budzik that you don't need to apply a heavy coat of gloss to decal on that hopefully fills in the nooks and valleys to prevent flash and silvering. Actually, you don't need any clear gloss at all. Just a light rub with 6,000 to 12,000 micro mesh emery cloth will give you a super smooth surface. I've been decaling that way for years and almost never have any flash or silvering issues.

I do gloss over the decals so that I can blend them in for a painted on look. Then either a gloss or matt finish.

Just some food for thought.

Joel
rdt1953
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: February 06, 2015
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Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 11:04 PM UTC
Hi Steve - Iíve been a bit of a lurker on this one . Well done all around - tremendous scope , effort and execution. Beautiful.
Cheers - Richard
SteveAndrews
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 10:45 PM UTC
Hey Gaz,

I hear you. Generally I prefer masks for the big stuff if I can get hold of them, but you're right of course - there's a limit.

And, yes stencils are in my future. Isn't this the kind of thing that artificial intelligence and robots should do for us? Hmmm, maybe I'm reading too much sci-fi.

Have a great day, and thanks for ripping in.

GazzaS
#424
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Queensland, Australia
Joined: April 23, 2015
KitMaker: 4,648 posts
AeroScale: 1,938 posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 08:55 PM UTC
I'm glad to see you still at work, Steve.

I'd rather have good decals than bad masks. But carrier film is the bane of all modellers. It's not bad if you can make the film disappear. Masking takes a fair amount of time and effort, and that bogeyman Paint-lift is always threatening.

Conversely, decals can hide the silvering until you've applied the matte coat, necessitating much picking, pricking, slicing and applying of decal softener.

At any rate... we can only make masks so small. So we'll always be at the mercy of decals.

That's how I feel.

And you've plenty of stencils to lay, young man.

Gaz
SteveAndrews
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
AeroScale: 551 posts
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 06:56 PM UTC
How do you feel about decals? Love Ďem or hate Ďem, unless youíre a wizard with masking, sooner or later you have to tackle them. I approach them with a combination of excitement and anxiety; there arenít many second chances with these delicate make or break markings. Iíve been eyeing the big, high-quality decals for the F-104C for some time, and I just gave in to temptation. Earlier work on the drop tanks gave me some confidence that this would not be a traumatic experience.

Iíve seen on-line modellers get great effects by sanding decals after they are applied and dried. I wanted to blend the F-104ís into the weathered surface, so I thought I would give it a go. The decals themselves went on beautifully with the help of Tamiya Mark Fit Strong. There is some carrier film showing but thatís my fault. I really donít like applying gloss coats so I put the decals onto a fairly mat surface. I guess I will have to go there in the end. Sanding them was actually fun. I was gentle of course and took my time. The end result is some pleasing fading especially around panels. To my eye it looks authentic and interesting and Iíll do more. What do you think?





Happy modelling guys.
SteveAndrews
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 16, 2010
KitMaker: 693 posts
AeroScale: 551 posts
Posted: Monday, June 15, 2020 - 08:23 AM UTC
Thanks very much guys. I have a busy few days but I hope to get some decaling done over the next week or so.