This one turned out quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. I mean, it’s not huge, but it’s not small either. And it is definitely a unique looking build, as far as the planes I’ve built. It’s long, narrow, sleek, and almost has a haughtiness to it. And those jet engines… those look pretty wicked.
It’s nice to build a classic silver model from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve grown to love the colored ones, too. But it’s a little nostalgic to get a pure stainless steel build in. And they still look dead sexy, even without the paint. This one has some nice and intriguing curves that really pull your eyes in, and I think colors might have taken away from that.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I did a great job with the big curves of the main body. I wasn’t able to smooth out the sections where it preferred to bend more at the creases, due to the challenge of executing that fade from curving one way to curving the other. I probably could have spent a lot more time working on it, but I was feeling impatient, I guess. Still, I don’t think it turned out that bad, right?
And that should probably clue you in to the fact that this isn’t a “simple” build. I’ve had it for a while, and the curvature on the top of the plane has intimidated me for quite a while, but I finally decided to tackle it. Of course, it turned out that I spent a lot more time trying to form the engines than the top of the plane, because things never actually go how you expect them to. Now, this is still not a super-challenging build, and it’s not even really a long build, but it’s definitely one you should be slightly wary of, especially if you don’t like not-well-defined curves.
One thing I’m really glad I did with this model was read through the instructions before-hand and try to review them for things that might trip me up, or areas where information available later in the instructions would actually help me out earlier on. In particular, I was hoping to find some information that would help me judge how to shape that crazy curve in the top of the plane (how much to curve at the front, middle, back, etc). Usually, I look for parts that I can reference to shape things to, but this model is not helpful in that regards. Because things don’t line up the way you think they will, at least it wasn’t intuitive to me. Even after having read through the instructions several times, I was still not sure while building it and had to double- and triple-check again.
But that “review of the instructions prior to building” did lead me to a rather interesting decision. I decided to skip around in the build process a little bit. Instead of starting at the beginning (forming the top of the plane) I jumped way ahead to building the jet engines (parts 9-13), attaching them to the bottom of the plane (part 14), and then attaching the lower wing halves (parts 16 & 17) and the strip under the cockpit (part 18). I realized that all of the lower part of the ship remains basically flat (at least in the side-to-side direction) and, by assembling these parts, I could use them as a guide for shaping the top of the plane and the cockpit sections. So, after completing that, I went back to the beginning, and continued from there (not forgetting to stop and attach the stand arm (part 15) along the way. I feel like this really helped me know how to shape these parts, and I got really close to what they needed to be.
Strangely enough, other than that, I don’t have a lot of specific suggestions or tips for this build. The biggest challenge, really, is dealing with all the curves. They involve a lot of trial and error, but you can use some reference parts or sections to help you finesse them into the right-ish shape. Of course, I’ve already suggested how to get a reference for the big curves on the top of the plane. For the engines (part 9 and 13) you can reference part 12 for the amount of curvature. In fact, I would suggest doing some test fits, as you go.
And now I’m remembering some more specific feedback. Because… that’s how scattered my brain is right now. When forming the engines, there is a small divider part (#10) that gets attached with two tabs. These tabs are parallel to each other, and the part is just supposed to stand up straight. The instructions suggest that you twist the tabs, but I didn’t want to have those twisted tabs on the outside. In this sort of situation, you can fold the tabs in opposite directions to somewhat stabilize the part, or you can twist a little and then fold. I went with the former, and followed it up with a dab of UV glue at the back corner of this part on the inside.
Speaking of glue, I also applied a little glue on the tabs that secure the tail fin / wings / whatever. I’ve found that, when building aviation models, I tend to end up knocking the tail sections a little loose while handling the model after they are attached. And nothing makes an airplane model look more sad than a wiggly tail. It’s fine on a dog, not so much on a plane.
Next up, I want to call attention to a minor error in the instructions. It’s minor, but if you don’t notice it beforehand, it could mess up your build. In the instructions for forming the first tail-fin, the blue arrow is rendered incorrectly. And the fold is wrong, too. The tab is folded down, when it should be folded up. I mocked up a “correct” rendering of this step, blue arrow and all, in the graphic below?
The last thing I’ll mention is the fact that the rendering gets a little weird with the right (or starboard-side) pair of engines being attached to the base of the airplane. It seems, to me, that the engines got aligned a little too far away from center of the plane. Or something. They just don’t match, side-to-side, as far as aligning to the base, and I’m not sure how it should be changed to be “right.” So… just bear that in mind when looking at those renders.
Argh. I keep lying in this post. Because I still have one more thing to say: joining the top half to the bottom half is… not as bad as it seems like it should be. But the wings, at least for me, didn’t stay as “dimensional” as I would have liked. The bottom wing did not want to be held down by the front edge. Well… crap, I can’t figure out how to say that. I hope it makes some sense. But, anyways, I worked from the front to the back, and it went pretty well. During this process, it does seem to shape the bottom half a little, adding some curves that aren’t indicated.
And now, I am actually done. Just gotta wrap up with the build time and the embedded build video, right? Well, the build time was a little under 2 hours, and here’s the build video, silent as always.
I did it. Thanks to your heads up I built the bottom first and the fits and blends seemed to take care of themselves. It’s not quite as smooth as yours but I am pretty pleased with the result. Timothy above is right. If authorities want my fingerprints they won’t have to look ant further than my model cabinet.
It’s a tough one to get the curves smooth, for sure. Just so hard to get a good angle to smooth out the curves without messing up the adjacent curves. And, lol… they could probably get a full set of handprints out of my model collection. Just have to puzzle-piece it together. hahaha.
Great lines on this little masterpiece. And it’s so shiny! Definite fingerprint magnet.
OMG, the fingerprints! I know some people build with gloves or finger cots, but I just can’t do that. So I accept the fingerprints. And this one, wow, so many fingerprints everywhere. hahaha
Yet another timely build. This model was next on my list. The tips will come in handy. I’ve had issue with a couple of the more modern planes getting the nose cones to blend nicely as well as having the curves preferring to bend at the etchings instead of curving. As always yours looks great. Photos are pretty cool, especially a couple that look like 3D wireframes. We will see how this works out this weekend.
Thanks man! Yeah, the contrast on a few of the photos did make it sorta look wireframe! Keeping the curves from folding on the etchings is SO HARD. I have to come back and roll over that sort of stuff over and over again, which wasn’t really possible with this one. R2-D2 comes to mind as one of the most challenging for getting a smooth curve on. That body has so many deep etches that want to fold instead of curve around!