Building resumes.. Kind of!


Well it certainly has been a while since I worked on a kit, and whilst not technically building I did manage to dig the Revell SR-71 from the bowels of the cupboard it’s been stored in for the last however many months it has been and look it over.

Truth be told I couldn’t really remember what I was doing with it before it got boxed away so whilst my workbench isn’t actually back in location I managed to set the spray booth up on a coffee table and get a coat of Vallejo black primer down on her to have a look see at the state of play.

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A quick coat of Vallejo Black Primer went down on the SR-71

So whilst the coat wasn’t the most even I have ever put down it did show up a couple of issues, a slip with the scribe became obvious as did an area near the cockpit that would need a little further attention with the filler and a sanding pad.

Whilst these aren’t too major an issue I think I may need to wait until I have my bench set up again before I tackle the issues.

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Nothing a little filler and sanding can’t fix, although I am puzzled as to how it occurred.

Workbench should be going into place later this week, although I am also looking to increase my work area with the addition of a new bench, the better half is also going to be joining me in the studio once her jewellers work bench arrives and then I am also looking to add a laser cutter / engraver to the studio too.

Exciting times are ahead but first of all we have the largest show on my calender this year, the Scottish National Scale Model Show 2019. Whilst I don’t think I will be in much of a position to enter anything this year, truth be told I will struggle to add much to the clubs display either as many of my built models have been damaged during the home renovations.

Whilst the damage for most of the kits should be easily repairable it does give me the opportunity to cherry pick the ones I actually want to put back on display, whilst replacing those I don’t want back on display is providing a good reason to get back building regularly again.

 

 

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Drone done

Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley
Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley
Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley

It’s been a while since I have done a completion photoset! Well this isn’t really a true completion as it’s only part of the kit really but as I think it’s the first one this year (shocking I know!!) I am counting it. Having said that we are going to be in for a few completions very soon.

I present to you the Lockheed D-21B High Speed Unmanned Reconnaissance Drone as launched from the underwing of B-52’s during the cold war.

You can’t really see any of the trolley she is sitting in the photos but to be honest I was more interested in making the most of the fleeting sunshine to try and make the natural metal finish look as good as I could.

Drone moves to paint

Main assembly on the D-21 completed
Main assembly on the D-21 completed
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal

Well there wasn’t much construction to the drone itself as you can imagine, so I have put down my first coat of paint on her. For the paint on this I am going to be using AK Xtreme metals and the first one down is the White Aluminum. I will be picking panels out individually in alternative shades to try and get a convincing natural metal finish on this. We will see how it actually ends up looking though!

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!

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.

Two big pieces of plastic get stuck together


Ok first of all sorry for the blurry photo, but here’s the cockpit installed into the fuselage and two of the largest pieces of 1/72 scale plastic I have ever seen have been fitted together.

The fit between the two halves is not great, there are some fairly big gaps in the seam but fortunately the seam is on the underside so even after I take remedial action it won’t easily be seen anyway. It appears that Mr. Dissolved Putty is going to be my friend on this one.

Blackbirds office


Well the cockpits for the SR-71 provided no issues at all and look pretty decent even if I do say so myself. There was a nice amount of raised detail to pick out so I didn’t feel the need for any aftermarket. Time to get it installed!

Classic Revell


Whilst there is a lot to be said for classic Revell kits, for example the shape accuracy on the Blackbird kit is pretty impressive considering the year of manufacture, however it is easy to see why they have picked up a bit of a reputation on their old kits too.

As you can see in the images above there’s the questionable practice of stamping licensing etc information on the outside of the kit parts (lower nose has the licencing info shown in the photo, there is also a copyright stamp on the lower flaps on one side). Then there are things like this strange “blob” on the canopy frame, the blob is actually there to provide an ejector pin location on the other side of it, however you have to question the need for the blob to actually infringe into the canopy frame itself.

These faults are easy worked around and I have no issue in doing so, but they could have also been easily avoided so it makes me wonder what someone was thinking when at the design stage?

Revell 1/72 SR-71 Blackbird


Well it’s time to get another new build on the go I think! So I picked out the venerable old Revell SR-71 in 1/72 scale from the stash, I am not sure why I chose this one from the stash, I know its not the best kit due to its age, but I am sure with a little effort we can over come many of the issues.

I did briefly consider sanding down the raised panel lines etc and giving it a re-scribe, but to be frank it’s not something I have done before and the thought of doing this on an aircraft this size was somewhat daunting (despite the scale the aircraft is a decent size, in fact its larger than many of the 1:48 kits on my shelves!).

I will be finishing it as Rapid Rabbit, after all it would be rude not to when the decals for her are included in this boxing. It does mean however that the aircraft will be being painted the traditional all black scheme rather than one of the more exotic natural titanium finishes, but I may pick up the Academy kit or something to do that with in the future.

Enough with the talk! Here are the box and sprue shots, I will take some photos of the more obvious issues that can be seen on initial inspection of the contents, wish me look as I am going in!