Nose job

Fitting the nose to the SR-71 Blackbird
Installation of the nose on the SR-71 Blackbird
Main assembly of the SR-71 is complete with only the intake cones and the vertical stabilisers remaining
Main assembly of the SR-71 is complete with only the intake cones and the vertical stabilisers remaining

Well with the addition of the nose and engine nacelles the main phase of construction is pretty much complete. I will fit the Intake cones once I have managed to sand the inside of the cowlings as there was a liberal application of Mr. Dissolved Putty on their internal seams.

The join between the nose and the fuselage isn’t the best and it will be interesting trying to blend the join without damaging the raised detail. I might actually leave the vertical stabilisers off until after paint and decals are applied purely to ease access.

I have to say, considering the kits issues I am having a lot of fun with this one, they are coming to me as interesting problems to be solved rather than headaches. It’s a pleasant change to have so much mojo!

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D-21, The Speedster Drone


Whilst the fuselage is all clamped up I thought I would tackle the Lockheed D-21 drone included in the kit.

For those that don’t know the D-21 was an unmanned drone that was originally designed to be launched from the back of the M-21, a variant of the original Lockheed A-12 photo reconnaissance aircraft from which the SR-71 was derived. The D-21 was developed as a response to policies bought in by Eisenhower after the downing of Gary Powers. The original D-21/M-21 combination was designed so as the drone would be launched at Mach 3, complete a pre-programmed overflight of Russia or China then eject its recon package for retrieval before the drone was to self destruct, however this combination was short lived after an accident during launch of a drone lead to the loss of a crew member.

After this the drone program was modified to the D-21B which was to be launched from under the wing of a B-52. It is this D-21B that is actually included in the kit and whilst its inclusion with an SR-71 is slightly erroneous this they are know to be displayed together in museums and the two aircraft are linked.

The model looks fairly simple and is victim to some more of old Revell’s superb sprue gates as the photos show. Still it will make an interesting addition to the shelf and will look nice along side the completed SR-71, there is also the inclusion of the drones trolley to display it upon which is a nice touch.

Paint


Time for another quick update on the Vampire, the main colour is going on nicely, for this I am using a mix of Vallejo Green Black with a couple of extra drops of black to darken a little more. Its going on quite nice so another light coat or two and I should be done and ready to paint the red pinstripes and the tail panels.

Preshade


Well its time for another little update on the Vampire, with all the main airframe construction complete and the Mr Surfacer all cured and sanded it was time to move towards paint so the model was primed with the ever faithful Tamiya Fine, although I will be trialling a new primer on my next build.

Now being relatively new to this preshading malarky it was time for another first for me, a multi-coloured preshade. On this occasion as part of the wings and tailbooms along with the drop tanks are going to be getting painted a yellow colour I have preshaded these parts in Orange, we shall see how this works out shortly as thats her masked up ready for the first coats of Mr Color Chrome Yellow.

Vampire rises from.. the corner of the bench.


So whilst this isnt quite a ressurection of the undead from beyond the grave I thought it about time we did some more work to the Vampire build. I had a few issues with the fit of the intakes, this seems to be a common issue for me and I am starting to wonder if it’s the way I am building the kits.

With the benefit of hindsight I don’t think I would follow the construction order given in the instructions for this if I was to build these parts again I think I would either attach the intake to one half of a wing, attach this to the fuselage then complete with the other half of the wing, or attach the intake to the fuselage first, then put the wing in place before the glue between the wing halves cures just so I can move all the parts in relation to one another to try and get the best possible fit.

However it is what it is and I have a slight step and some gaps to deal with so I go with my tried and tested method of Mr Surfacer 1000 to address this issue. Here’s some photo’s waiting for the 2nd coat of Mr Surfacer to cure after the inital coat was sanded.

Cockpit complete




Well after what seemed like far too many parts of etch the cockpit is pretty much complete and it’s time to shut the fuselage up, meaning that most of the etch will never be seen again but that’s nothing new is it! Onward!

New project!



Well the progress on the MiG-27 is slowing down a little as there’s a lot of waiting around at the moment waiting for things to cure etc and I had just received an Aztec decal sheet for Vampires in Latin American colours so I thought I would make a start on a build of Revells boxing of the MPM Vampire F.Mk3 in 1/72nd and happily there’s still time to build as and entry for the Made in Britain Group build on Britmodeller so here we go!

 

Taking Shape


Well I have put the cockpit and nose together and attached to the fuselage, it’s starting to look a bit like a Flogger! I think I am actually going to get some primer on her just now so I can check seam lines before I put the intakes togther plus I will need to move the wings and prime the bare bits once the first coat of primer is dry.