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F 100 super sabre aiplane. Sabre jet aircraft

14 Apr

I‘ll start this build write-up with a bit of a conclusion, just for a change. This is a very nice looking kit. It will build into a really good looking model and could easily be the basis for a super detailed show stopper. I normally model in 1/48 and both the extra size, and the quality of the kit as a starting point, make it cry out for extra work, but someone at Trumpeter has made some very strange decisions as to what to put in the box and there are some embarrassing mistakes which make you wonder what was going through their heads. But anyway – on with the show.

What you get is the usual sturdy Trumpeter box packed with 14 grey sprues, 2 clear, a sheet of etch, white metal undercarriage (also available on the sprues in plastic) and nose weight, vinyl tyres, ammo feeds and piping. There’s also a small sheet of film for the instruments and a large decal sheet. The 20-page instruction book looks clear and well laid out.

So looking in the box the first impressions are good. There are sharp trailing edges, rivet detail is extensive but not overdone, the cockpit looks OK, though it apparently represents an early model – D, there’s a full engine and stand and a selection of weapons and drop tanks. The fuselage is split at the right point to display the model with the tail off and the engine on show, and there’s lots of engine detail. There are brass parts to represent compressor blades but there are not enough of them, they’re the wrong shape and they’re not visible, while seatbelts and mirror are not called out in the instructions, so you have to find the parts by yourself.

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There are, on my example at least, some small amounts of flash and quite a few ejector marks, so some clean-up may be required on a number of parts. Most obvious are the ejector marks on the lower surface of the slats which would be easy enough to fill and sand. I didnt intend to use the working hinges on the control surfaces as I felt it would make assembly and clean-up a bit more difficult than it needed to be, especially as you hardly ever see the wing controls in anything other than the neutral position, but its nice to have the option and just a slight deflection adds a little life to the wings. Its just a shame they didnt include the tailplanes as posable parts as they were often in different positions. It is nice to have the slats separate as the default position is extended, something I’m not looking forward to having to do on my Monogram 1/48 F-lOOs.

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Items like ejection seats are invariably one of the areas best replaced

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A choice between Kit seat and aftermarKet products?

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The Kit instrument panel was used, as the more defined detail allowed an easier job of painting

The side console from the Avionix resin set. The detail was Trumpeter provide a hefty piece of metal very fine and repaid careful painting for the nose weight

The very impressive internal trunking passes the full length of the aircraft

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Some fettling and filling was required to hide the internal seams

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A seamless join will take a little effort to achieve

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The overall fit of parts was good. One anomaly involves some panel lines at the rear fuselage, missing on the starboard side

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Missing detail was quickly and easily scribed on the rear fuselage

The main gear wells seem a little shallow, although the level of detail is good

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One of many strange spelling errors on the decal sheet

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Leading edge slats are provided separately, and the overall Separate control surfaces can be posed – on the wings at surface detail is excellent least

I was also supplied with a cockpit set from Avionix, set number AV32045. While it undoubtedly addresses some of the Trumpeter issues it is not without its problems, for me at least. Firstly the detail on the side consoles is less defined than on the kit parts, and thus harder to paint for someone with my ability. Secondly, while the consensus is that the Trumpeter layout represents an early mark F-lOO, the Avionix parts match photographs I have no better than the kit parts, so I decided to go with the plastic tub and instrument panel. Also, using the Avionix set makes it much harder to install the ammo bays, and that was one option I did intend to use, so that was another point in favor of the kit tub. I also decided to use the kit instrument panel. I was also supplied with a replacement seat from AMS with the parachute removed, and as the more common configuration was the ‘chute-free seat this was the obvious choice, using the parts from the Avionix set to supply the parts that AMS didnt.

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You have the option of opening the avionics bay door, which is where the nose weight is, so if you have the door open you can see this big lump of white metal, and while there’s detail on the inside of the door there’s none in the bay.
One of the problems I thought I was going to have was the fact that the Avionix sidewalls also foul on the ammo bays, and as mentioned I intended to use at least one of these. Fortunately the resin parts offer a slight recess, which shows where you have to cut them to make them fit with the ammo bays, should you want to use them.
The tub was painted grey, as was the instrument panel and most of the seat, while the control boxes on the side consoles were painted a very dark grey, just for some slight contrast, with black knobs, and the instrument panel bezels the same. The kit panel is incorrect in that the sides should angle into the cockpit slightly so I bent them a little to represent this. I know it means you lose a little of the side consoles but I thought it worth while. I also added a map case (aka squarish lump of plastic) to the rear of the right side console, that detail being one of the things I preferred about the Avionix tub.
The instructions would have you now build the somewhat fictitious engine, followed by the wings and then the engine trolley. I chucked the main engine together without bothering with the detail parts that go on the outside of it and just put in a few of the brass internal bits to block the view and stop you seeing straight 
through the engine if you look up the jet pipe. I didnt attach the afterburner section at this stage as I felt it would be better put in place when the fuselage was together. The main wing halves were joined and put aside for the glue to set, the flap and aileron parts were joined together (but not to the wings) and the wing fences, slats and clear parts were left off at this stage.

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AMS provide plugs to convert the kit tanks to the later 335 gallon type

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Who knows what the artist was thinking of when the decal sheet was designed?

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One of the most striking aspects of the model – the ‘burnt iron’ on the rear fuselage involved a steady hand and a creative mind…

Time-consuming but totally worth the effort – an in-service aircraft would not look correct without this typical feature

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The final touch with metallic purple. This kind of effect takes time and patience, but is worth pursuing

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The main gear is provided in either white metal or plastic

with so many jobs, time and careful masking pay dividends

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The intricate process continues

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Spada decals provide a template to mask up the red for the shark-mouth

The intake trunking is next and you have to admire Trumpeter, as you have the whole intake through to the engine, which you cant see due to the curve, and then you get the whole afterburner section after the engine. It all fits very well and does, I guess, give you options for opening panels and finding something behind them. The two-part trunking was assembled and then attached first to the engine and then to one of the fuselage sides and the cockpit parts positioned on top of it in the space provided. The guns were left off for now, having established that it wouldnt be too hard to install them afterwards.
The rear cockpit area was installed, the Avionix resin canopy hood area fitted, the ammo bays glued in place and there simply remained a decision to make on the speed brake – early or late?
The instructions would have you choose the part based on what store you are going to install on the centerline pylon, which hardly seems logical, though of course the shape of the brake was changed to enable the aircraft to carry nukes, so I suggest some research into whatever machine you choose to do before sticking the wrong part in there. In my case I had enough pictures to show that my chosen subject had the earlier style so it was installed and the fuselage halves joined.

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The intake trunking didnt fit too well with the other fuselage side so some considerable effort was expended filling, sanding and filling again to eliminate the problem and trying to achieve that seamless look. Also, the avionics bay door seemed a little offset. After installing the nose weight, some clamps, pressure and strong glue alleviated much of the problem and I was happy enough.

Next was the turn of the rear fuselage halves. I left the skid off at this point but did install the two fuselage bulkheads. Despite not intending to split the aircraft for display I figured these would provide some strength and contact area for joining the front and rear fuselage. I had

one slight problem here – the right side of the rear fuselage is missing some detail that the left side isnt. Fortunately it’s not too hard just to scribe back in, but odd, none the less.

The fit of the front and rear is excellent and gratifyingly there was no step at any point round the join.

The wing joins were cleaned up, the flap and aileron parts installed and the wings attached to the fuselage. Again, all of this was a really good fit, even though the wing-to-fuselage tabs are a bit small. I would suggest the wheel wells are rather shallow, partly as a result of moulding them with the lower wing. The detail isnt bad, though I feel that in this scale the definition of the pipe-work could be more pronounced. That said I was very impressed by all the retraction jacks, the gear doors and the speed brake. The linkages, attachments and jacks look very convincing, and you feel you can see how the real thing worked.

With the wings attached, the canopy masked and put in place -1 wasnt intending to mess about with fitting it open, it’s quite big and clear enough that you can see most of the cockpit through it, even when closed – it was nearly time

to think about painting. The separate assemblies had been pre-shaded along the panel and rivet lines and cleaned up, and some random colours applied in odd places when I had them in my brush, just to give something to provide a slight contrast when the real top coat went on. Firstly, though, I attached a few more parts and made a few more subassemblies that would be painted at the same time. The fuel tanks were made up and put to one side, their pylons being attached to the wings and the holes for the outer pylons blanked off. I had been provided with plugs by AMS for the tanks to convert them from the 275 gallon models provided to the 335 gallon ones used later. Easy enough, just

like the real mod it involves cutting them along an existing joint and putting in an extension. I had already cut one tank up before I noticed that my choice used the earlier, 275 gallon tanks! Fortunately Trumpeter supply three tanks, for reasons best known to themselves, so I was saved having to reconstruct my cut-up example.

The mount for the in-flight refueling probe was attached to the wing (again, you need to check whether you should be using the straight or bent one, both being provided and having different mounts) and the brass wing fences attached. The slats were made up but not attached, and the pitot was very definitely left off at this stage.

I’ve already mentioned that I knew what aircraft I was going to represent, and it wasnt one of the kit options, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to avoid doing a Natural Metal Finish, and secondly, the kit decals are another of those odd Trumpeter things.’ In this case the really good looking, huge sheet covered in stencils and flash looking markings, features so many mistakes they are simply unusable.

Sabre jet aircraft

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I was glad to be offered a set of Spada Decals, SD-32004, covering F-lOODs in French service. While the decals themselves look really nicely printed the instructions leave a little to be desired, and one double-sided A4 sheet (in colour at least) with small side views of 6 aircraft is a bit limited when it comes to decal placement, but they were just about sufficient and a faded, SEA style scheme with a big red shark-mouth was impossible to resist. The instructions suggest an upper surface pattern of FS30219, FS34102 and FS34079 with FS26329 for the underside, so I looked them up and went with the closest I had in the drawer. With the sun and the dust these machines were subjected to the exact colours weren’t an issue. But first, and the bit I wasnt really looking forward to trying, was the afterburner section of the fuselage. All those wonderful burnt shades…

But it needs doing, so the rear section was painted with Alclad black gloss primer and then various shades of Polished Aluminium, Dark Aluminium, Jet Exhaust, Magnesium and various combinations of them all were applied to different panels, using pictures as a reference for which were most likely to be darker or lighter than others. Then Pale Burnt Metal was freehanded over bits of it, followed by clear blue and clear red as the mood took me, and then more of various Alclads again. The blues and reds didnt give me the purple effect I was looking for so in the end I got out some very old metallic purple I had lying around and this was sparingly applied to certain sections followed by more Alclad to take the edge off. All in all it looked pretty good, I thought, and I should just say the plastic was great, very smooth, and took the Alclad very well.

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Some additional detailing was added to the pitot tube

The finished cockpit employed a combination of Avionix The multi-part wing assembly. Working hinges are provided resin pieces and kit components for the control surfaces, but can be regarded as optional

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Control surfaces are not separate on the tailplanes unfortunate oversight

The large clear canopy will show off all the detail in the cockpit tub, so needn’t be fitted in the open position to display your hard work to advantage

The model has been pre-shaded prior to painting

The underside was painted first, not forgetting to do the gear doors and tank bottoms, and then the three top colours, one of which was used on the top of the tanks. This was done over a period of a couple of weeks or so, as a lot of post-shading was added in an attempt to replicate the faded effect seen on the real thing. The Spada decals went on well, reacted OK to Micro Sol/Set and were no trouble at all. The shark-mouth is supplied as six decals, basically white teeth on black lines, and a template is provided to help you mask off the area to be painted red. This is where larger drawings would have helped, but I got it masker! and painted and applied the teeth to the sides of the fuselage. There were a couple of minor fit issues, and maybe I just didnt get the side decals in quite the right place to start with, but it all worked pretty well in the end.

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With decalling and painting over the various fiddly bits were added, including slats, tailplanes, undercarriage and gear doors with all their associated struts and jacks, speed brake (posed down, as often seen), refueling probe, cannon and ammo feeds, bay doors, tanks and sway braces, arrestor hook, its guard and the tail skid, clear parts, and the nose pitot. With the canopy masking removed the very last thing was installing the afterburner section and exhaust nozzle, the latter of which has come in for a bit of stick from ‘people who know.’ Its not, it has to be said, a totally convincing exhaust, and it would be really nice to have the choice of the commonly retrofitted F-102 version – which may already have appeared by the time you read this – but it wasnt bad enough for me to worry about too much. I had thought for quite a while that I needed the F-102 exhaust for this particular machine but after staring at the pictures I found on the web for long enough I convinced myself that the kit part was close enough and the French had the old exhausts so I made do. It had been painted and highlighted with various Alclads and was afterburner section, which was in turn glued in place.

And there it is. The first aircraft model I’ve made in years that isnt 1/48, and I have to admit I can see the attraction of the bigger scales. The end result is striking, there are quite a few build advantages and plenty of opportunities to spend far too long super-detailing the basic kit. There are also enough strange errors in this model to keep you wondering – the engine, the decal sheet, and I havent even discussed the odd and rather unrepresentative choice of underwing stores provided – but overall I did enjoy the build and the end result. That said, with my loft looking the way it does I dont think I’ll be buying too many more big kits like this. I mean, where would I put them?

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