1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

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1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:32 pm

I have a few projects on the go at the moment, but I needed to get started on a decent large scale jet as I have felt a little rushed come Model Expo in June for the last few years when I have been caught napping and haven't got my act  together and almost not had an entry ready for the Large scale jets category. This will be a long term project so there wont be any rushing here and it will fit in nicely with the other stuff currently on my bench.

I have wanted to do an F-100D for a long time and have felt that it would be a great addition to my collection, considering that I am well on my way to completing my collection  of the Forward Air Control trifecta of the O-1, O-2 and the OV-10A as flown by RAAF pilots during Vietnam. It would be important to be able to display the aircraft that they called upon to deliver the ordnance and give some context to the mostly unarmed aircraft that were the FAC's.

During my build of Mac Cottrells O-1, he supplied me with a combat report written by two F-100 pilots that he called upon to provide a strike assisting troops in contact. They recommended him for a Distinguished Flying Cross for which he was awarded. Here is the Combat report that Mac supplied me with. I decided to see if I could find either of the two pilots mentioned.

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With a bit of persistence, I was able to track down Ronald Swanson (Blade 02) via a photo of him that I found on facebook. He has agreed to be my subject pilot for this build and we have been having conversations over the last week via email and social media (we are on opposite sides of the earth after all). I am very happy to be able to make a model with such a unique connection to another in my collection and thank Ron for being the inspiration to do so.

Ron flew 268 combat missions during the Vietnam war, between April 1968 and April 1969. He flew for the 615th Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Phan Rang Air Base. This picture is Ron immediately after his final mission in Vietnam.

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This picture is of Ron's Squadron, with Ron being the 5th from the left in the back row. Major Davidson, the flight leader mentioned in the combat report is  second from the right in the front row.

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Ron will have access to much more information in October, so please stay tuned!

The build.

I am using the Trumpeter F-100D, with as much aftermarket as I could find for it.

I started in the cockpit. The Aires resin pit is quite nice and looks to be reasonably accurate. I painted it all over black

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I then painted it MRP FS36231 grey. From there I masked the side consoles and painted them with an extremely dark grey custom mix of SMS Camo black and white.

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I followed the same paint process as above with the instrument panel. I then hand painted each instrument bezel with Vallejo black, and used the excellent Airscale Allied Jets decals for the instruments. I used a few 1/48 scale decals for the smaller instruments. Each instrument has a drop of clear glue to simulate the glass.

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The cockpit sides and rudder pedals painted using the above process. The kit pedals have been used with the Aires photo etch North American logo on the top of each pedal applied. For some of the harder to paint parts, I attach a piece of masking tape to a pop stick to enable me to stick parts to it.

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Part way through the cockpit. I have painted some of the button labels with white paint and started picking out some of the details with other various colours. I have applied a wash to build up a level of grime and have chipped the floor in front of the rudder pedals to simulate a well worn machine. There was almost a mini disaster here when I went and got a coffee inside and returned to the shed to a strong smell of Mr Levelling thinner. My son (almost 8) was looking a little suspect and quickly caved in under questioning and owned up to accidentally tipping over the bottle, filling up the tub with thinner! luckily, it dried OK with no harm. Visible here is a new undercarriage lever which I have fabricated from brass and plastic card. 

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The silver chipping in front of the rudder pedals is visible here. I have painted the outline of the worn areas with a thin line of zinc chromate primer to simulate the various layers of paint down to the bare metal.

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Whilst stuff was drying in the cockpit I dry fitted the fuselage halves together and sawed off the really inaccurate intake from the kit. this will allow me to fit the Zactomodels correct intake, an essential upgrade to the kit.

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Once the intake duct was together, I fitted the Aires front wheel bay. This took a bit of work to get right but it is also another important upgrade.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby Dave Brewer » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:26 am

Nice result in the cockpit Eric,I'll be using your process as a guide on my next US jet.
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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby surfsup » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:36 pm

Nice start Eric. The 100 is one of my favourites so will be watching with Interest.....Cheers mark
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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:57 pm

An issue with the map case was pointed out to me on my Facebook page as well as over on LSP so I had to fix it. I was initially a little perplexed as to why it was depicted with a cut out, but Aires followed an engineering diagram a bit too closely.

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I was asked by TTail whether I was going to make this a RHAW equipped jet. I haven’t settled on a particular aircraft yet as Ronald won’t have access to his log books for another couple of months, but I posed him the question anyway and this is what he wrote back to me.

Eric: For most of the year I was in Vietnam, our unit's aircraft did not have RHAW. However, during the last half of my tour, some of the aircraft were modified to include RHAW. In other words, sometimes we flew RHAW equipped aircraft, and sometimes not. It is highly unlikely that the aircraft I flew on the mission in question was RHAW equipped since I arrived in Vietnam in April of 1968 and the mission took place in June. By the end of my tour in April of 1969, most of our aircraft were RHAW equipped.

At this stage I will keep the model non RHAW equipped, so the equipment on the instrument panel coaming will stand as per the AIRES set.

I added the various handles from plastic rod and painted them yellow with black stripes.

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I then closed up the forward fuselage. The kit provided nose weight is a nice touch. The picture highlights the excellent fit of the Zactomodels nose.

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The Aires cockpit tub fit is excellent and did not require too much modification of the kit parts to get it to fit. I have dry fitted the part under the windshield and the part behind the pilot seat.

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Starting to come together nicely.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:43 pm

Trumpeter have the traditional tab and slot attachment method for the horizontal stabilisers, which is fine if you want to keep them in a neutral position. I want to have them drooped slightly down as per my reference pics so I set about making it happen.

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I filled the slot and holes with plastic card.

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I chose a suitable diameter brass tube

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The tube was superglued into position and runs from one side of the fuselage to the other.

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I cut off the tabs from the horizontal stab and inserted some brass rod, located at the pivot point. This rod fits tightly into the tube in the fuselage.

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With this mod complete, I am able to position the stabs as required and remove them easily for painting.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:42 pm

Some more work.

The exhaust almost clears the brass tube and as the resin part is quite thick, it requires a small modification to make it fit properly.

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The large avionics access panel forward of the windshield requires some work. I am pretty sure this has been made to be posed open as it appears Trumpeter has missed a small feature. There is a big step where it meets the windshield.

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A straight edge confirms that they missed the small kink upward where the trailing edge of the access panel meets the windshield area.

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I cut a square from plastic card and superglued it in between the trailing edge and the first rivet line.

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I then back filled the edges with my preferred mix of superglue and talcum powder. I use this mix as once set, it sands exactly like plastic and it is very easy to blend without shrinkage.

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Sanded smooth.

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A couple of coat of SMS primer, which is an acrylic lacquer paint with that has a fine talc additive that makes it excellent for filling blended areas such as this. Also visible in this pic are the thin panel catches made from plastic card that were not provided in the kit, and also i have deepened the small cooling vent under the avionics bay, using a microchisel.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:03 pm

Here is a picture of Ron taking on some gas. Here is what he had to say about the pic:

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One of the photos I sent you was of me taking fuel from a KC135 tanker. The interesting part of air to air refueling in the F-100 was that we used the probe and drogue method. The tanker trailed a hose in back of it which had a circular basket on it (the drogue). The F-100 had a probe on the right wing which was essentially a fuel pipe. The trick was to fly up behind the tanker and "stick" the probe into the drogue and then maintain that connection whilst you took on fuel. Some "Hun" pilots were very adroit at doing this while, for others, it was a challenge. I can only tell you that regardless of how good you were at this task, it was always gratifying to see that beautiful tanker appear in front of you.

One thing that has been bugging me about this kit is the incorrect way that Trumpeter and as an extension, Aires have depicted the cockpit tub. The rear bulkhead of the cockpit looks like it is halfway back into the ammunition access panels, which is very much wrong. As usual, once I see these things I can’t unsee them and it would simply annoy me every time I looked at the kit. If I had my way again, I would cut the Aires cockpit up and shorten it but it was now to late for that so I have come up with a compromise which may be useful to those who may wish to do the same thing.

Aires have put a spacer between the seat and the bulkhead as a compromise to get it to sort of look right as per this pic. The seat looks as though would be against the bulkhead, denoted by the forward edge of the ammo access panel, but the rails and everything else is well behind it. As can be seen by the opened access panel, the rear of the Aires tub is well back. I forgot to take a picture of the left side of the cockpit before I started the modification so a little bit has already been done.

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Here is the left side of the fuselage before the modification. The spacer that Aires have provided is not fitted in this photo.

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I removed the top section of the rear bulkhead. It is this part that needed to be shifted forward to make the modification work.

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I would have to shift everything on the top side of the cockpit quite far forward to make it work. I decided to shift the stuff on the top a little bit and do something else to make it a two pronged attack. I reckon Trumpeter have got the ammo access panels a little bit too far forward and though there would be a small avenue there for a correction which would assist somewhat with the mod.

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I stuck some dymo tape 2mm back from the rear edge of the ammo access panel and lightly scribed a line.

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Using the new line as a guide, I cut a new rear edge with my JLC razor saw. If you follow the new cut line it lines up with a panel line of an access panel below.

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I glued 2 pieces of plastic card together to make a width of 2mm. I popped this into the hole and traced around it with a pencil

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I used the pencil line to trim the card to size and glued it into the forward edge of the access panel and trimmed it. The kerf of my previous saw cut will become the new panel lines of the access panel.

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Using the SMS primer, I sprayed the area and sanded it smooth. This stuff is excellent for refining areas that have seen a bit of work as it is a great micro filler.

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Compared to the first pic above, this has made a reasonable amount of difference.

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Some small amount of scribing to reinstate some panel lines which I will do later on. The modified area looks a lot better. Everything on the topside looks to be forward of the ammo access panels.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:25 pm

Ron sent me a photo and and anecdote from his time in Vietnam;

Ron landing after a mission. Note the empty pylons.

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I recall a mission in late 1968. As we were completing the last ordnance delivery,my engine oil pressure dropped to zero. This is not good in a single engine aircraft. I headed to the nearest base which was Bien Hoa near Saigon. I declared an emergency, reduced engine rpm and descended to a final approach carrying some extra airspeed in case the engine quit and I had to pull up to eject. On final approach I was told by the tower to "go around" because a C-130 was on the runway for takeoff. I advised the tower that I was not going to go around and needed to get the machine on the ground quickly. The tower persisted with another "go around". Amidst a flurry of radio chatter between myself and the tower, a cool mature voice came over the air saying "this is the C-130 on the runway and I am on the roll and will be out of your way shortly". By this time I was on very short final approach and it didn't look like I would be able to land - but I kept coming. The C-130 rotated suddenly and lifted off the runway in a max performance climb. As I touched down I passed immediately beneath the C-130 which was about 100 feet above me. All I could do was utter a heartfelt "thankyou" to the C-130 pilot who had taken charge of the situation and allowed me to get my F-100 on the ground safely.

But the irony of this whole thing is that the problem was a faulty oil pressure gage - the oil pressure was fine the whole time.

Thank you Ron, your stories are much appreciated.

Some more work.

The Super Sabre leading edge slats were always extended unless locked shut for maintenance. Trumpeter have the slats positionable opened or closed but there is no detail under the slats or on the leading edge of the wing, just bare plastic. Thankfully, Eduard have produced a photo etch set to remedy the problem. I normally try and avoid photo etch if I can help it, as the sets usually provide only a small gain in detail for a significant increase in work. These sets I felt were needed in this case though, so they were promptly ordered and fitted in preparation for the wings to be attached to the fuselage.

I haven’t invested in a roller set yet, so I pre curved the photo etch parts using a low tech piece of sanding foam and a Prismacolour silver pencil.

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As can be seen, the leading edge of the wing is devoid of detail. The pre curved photo etch sits in front, ready to be applied.

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The inside of the slats and leading edge of the wing with the photo etch applied. I used superglue to join the parts on. It is a one-go affair and if you mess it up then the photo etch is pretty well toast, so carefully does it. There are some minor flaws which will be sorted with some filler.

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Trumpeter have provided repositionable control surfaces. In all of the pics of the F-100 that I have looked at they are retracted and neutral. I am not a fan of gluing control surface halves together over wing tabs. In this pic the wing halves are joined together with Aires wheel bays and control surfaces joined together. The hinges are going to prevent the control surfaces from attaching to the wing.

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I cut off the hinge points and left some of the tabs.

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The completed wing. I will refine these joints a bit later. All surfaces are now neutral.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby ericg » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:35 pm

I have been reviewing the excellent tweak list as mentioned earlier. There is a mention of the mistake that Trumpeter made with the drag chute cable run panel that they doubled up on the right side of the fuselage. I filled this with a mix of superglue and talc and sanded it smooth. These ‘Trumpeterisms’ whilst slightly annoying are actually sorta fun to find and correct!

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I then turned my attention to the tail skid area. The skid was deployed when the gear was down and needs to be boxed in.

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I made up a small rectangle box from plastic card.

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I then glued it into place inside the skid bay. Whilst in this area, I refined the panel lines that depict the drag chute bay doors, adding hinge lines and further rivets on the doors. I feel that this will allow an observer to see that this is an actual working area, rather than a vaguely defined area of panel lines.

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Whilst I was doing some work to the cowling fasteners on the Bronco, I used the same tool to engrave the small circular buttons under the bottom of the cockpit on the fuselage that are there to open and close the canopy.

Before:

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After:

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I mounted some aluminium tube across the fuselage to act as a spar for the wings. There is not much plastic to attach the wings on this kit so it could do with some beefing up.

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Once the wings were on, I wanted to check out the stance of the kit ASAP to determine if was going to have to modify it, and if so, where. I have seen a couple of these built up and to my eye they look a bit flat, lacking the characteristic tail sit of the real thing. It doesn’t look too bad but could do with a couple of mm’s taken from the length of the main undercarriage.

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I have used the master turned aluminium pitot tube, an essential item IMO.

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I have also used the Armory resin wheels, which also feature weighted tyres, something I am always looking for when I see whether a modeller is paying attention at the end of a build or not.

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Re: 1/32 USAF F-100D Capt. Ronald Swanson 1968

Postby surfsup » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:22 pm

Really enjoy your detail work Eric and this one is no exception.....Cheers mark
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