Friday, February 21

Build Review Pt II: 1/48th scale North American FJ-2 Fury from Kitty Hawk

ARE YOU READY FOR GARY TO BRING THE FURY AGAIN?­čśä?.....Gary Wickham continues the build of the 48th scale  Kittyhawk FJ-2 Fury today on the news, with the fuselage tweaked and made perfect before sealing the whole thing up in a helpful article...

Build Review: North American FJ-2 Fury - Build Review
From Kitty Hawk 
Kit No #80155
1/48th scale
Price €44.48 EUR / 49.35 USD  from Hobbylink Japan
Facebook Link for Kittyhawk Models
Previous parts of this story on the news...
Build Review Pt I: 1/48th scale North American FJ-2 Fury from Kitty Hawk - Cockpit areas
Build Review Pt II: 1/48th scale North American FJ-2 Fury from Kitty Hawk - Sealing the fuselage
With the cockpit now squared away I turned my attention to the rest of the fuselage interior. First stop was to join the front and rear fuselage halves. Kitty Hawk have designed the fuselage to allow it to be displayed with the tail separated from the front, allowing access to the engine (just like the real aircraft). I was not interested in having the fuselage split and so glued both sides and strengthened the join with some plasticard strip.
The intake ducts on the fuselage side were different between the FJ-2 and FJ-3. KH provides both styles of duct and suggests that for this FJ-2 build you can select either. The correct choice for an FJ-2 is the NACA duct (a low-drag air inlet design, originally developed by the U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the precursor to NASA, in 1945). Parts B19,23 are the ones you want.
Because KH have engineered the duct as a swap out part it was necessary when using the NACA duct to remove most of the seams which are present around the rear of the duct. For such tasks I like to use Tamiya Basic putty to fill and blend any unwanted seams. Having reference photos of what the real thing looks like always helps. 
The small rectangular engine vent just below the duct is only applicable to the FJ-3 and comparison to real photos shows it not present on FJ-2s. This was easily filled with some styrene card and sanded smooth.
To their credit KH provides full intake trunking from the nose intake all the way back to the engine face. However, before work can begin on the intake there are some major sprue stubs that have to removed and cleaned up. As its a tight fit inside the curved sides of the trunking 
I used my Dremel tool to grind away the large stubs and then tidied up with putty and sanding. The same type of stubs were also present in the engine exhaust tube.
As the nose-wheel well is an integral part of the lower intake trunking I also needed to deal with these parts now prior to closing up the fuselage. Comparison of the kit nose strut to period Marine FJ-2s showed that KH has incorrectly moulded the oleo strut as fully compressed. This would only happen when all pressure is removed from the system as is often the case for museum aircraft displays. It's my guess that KH has used photos of museum aircraft instead of period photos.
As a general rule I always try to work out some method to allow me to delay the install of the landing gear until the very end of a build. In some cases, like this model, this requires some modifications to the kits parts as they may be designed to be trapped inside the wheel well walls during assembly. A test fit of the assembled nose gear into the bay results in an unexpected fit problem. It's clearly too wide and even if you wanted to fit it during assembly I think you would struggle. You can see (using the red lines) just how far outside the bay walls the alignment pins sit. 
As I wanted to allow the gear to drop in afterwards I needed to trim it back anyway, but it was still a tight fit
After cutting the strut with a razor saw I drilled out the end of each part and inserted a brass rod and adjusted the length to match photos. The deck tie-down rings (standard on most carrier based aircraft) were poorly represented in plastic and I cut these off and replaced with copper wire. I have yet to add the hydraulic lines in this photo but that was done using 0.3mm lead wire and super glue.
Kittyhawk generously includes a full engine with this kit. If you like to build maintenance displays then the supplied engine will be a great starting point. One thing to be aware of is that when assembling parts C16/17 don't forget to also attach parts B30/31 into the provided slots. Kittyhawk includes the necessary parts but has left them off the instructions completely.
One of the many challenges manufacturers face when trying to design a kit that spans multiple variants is which parts to adjust and which ones to leave the same. I imagine its a balancing act of compromises and in most cases extra sprues can be used to add-in parts that are clearly different between the versions. Sometimes you notice that larger parts are simply re-purposed, perhaps hoping that no-one will notice (or care all that much). So it is with the main engine parts provided by KH for the FJ-2/3 Fury kit. There are quite visible and obvious differences between the J47-GE-2 fitted to the FJ-2 and the J65-W-2 fitted to the FJ-3. KH have decided to only provide parts that represent the FJ-3 engine and so if you want to be accurate and display the engine on your FJ-2 build you will have a bit of work ahead.

The two different configurations are shown below...
For me I had no intention of displaying the engine outside the fuselage anyway, so the incorrect detailing (which would not be visible) was of little concern. The interior of the engine exhaust was however of interest and after I had removed the extra large (XXL actually) ejection pin stubs and sanded smooth the provided detail (particularly near the very rear) was quite nice.
A dry fit of the assembled engine to the fuselage revealed some alignment issues. These were actually caused by KH themselves with some overly large alignment pins and mating holes on the fuselage halves. The fix was pretty simple and involved shaving the top off the alignment pin which then allowed the engine tube to sit lower and flush with the rear opening.
One of the few "old" paints that I still like to keep a tin handy is Humbrol Metalcote "Gunmetal" (27004). In general enamel paints have been largely replaced by acrylic and even lacquer paints by many modellers. The Metalcote range from Humbrol has some properties that I still have not found present in the new ranges of metallic paints from Alclad and AK Xtreme Metal. The simple ability to buff with a cloth (not sand with micromesh) and significantly change the finish of the paint. The thing I like in particular about Metalcote Gunmetal is that when first applied it has a matt, almost chalky, finish. Leave it to dry fully and then get a soft cloth or cotton bud and polish the surface and see what happens. The metal-like properties come out and you end up with a very convincing metal finish which in the case of my Fury engine exhaust looks like burnt metal.
The Fury, like most tricycle undercarriage aircraft, has a high propensity to be a tail sitter. Due to the inclusion of full intake trunking we are left with very few places to add some weight in the nose. The small empty compartment which sits above the intake trunk and forward of the cockpit firewall is our best option. Fishing sinkers (made from lead) are cheap and come in many sizes and can be cut as needed (for awkward spots) then glued to plastic with CA or Epoxy. I fitted as many as I could into the space available and fingers crossed it will be enough to keep the nose down and the tail up.
KH is to be commended for providing full depth air intake trunking and engine detail in-the-box. The majority of these parts will not be seen or appreciated on the finished model but its certainly good to have an intake and exhaust of sufficient depth to provide the right effect. To allow me to properly glue and sand the area around the very rear of the fuselage (ie the engine exhaust opening) I wanted to see if I could leave the engine out of the model initially and fit it (through the opening for the wings) later. This way the painted engine would not interfere or be damaged by my sanding work.
I determined that I would need to cut away the rear part of the intake and front part of the engine to make this possible. A razor saw made short work of both cuts. I made sure the cut on the intake was aft of the section where it curves up so as not to be visible from the front (even with a torch)
I now had ample room inside the mid fuselage section to allow the insertion and removal of the engine as needed. I simply needed to blank off the rear of the intake with some black styrene sheet (something I did not know even existed until I went looking).
I'm always on the lookout for new tools to aid my modelling efforts and I recently came across some Godhand Sanding Sponges. Think of these as sanding sticks without the rigid core which allows them to be rolled up and fit inside things like intake interiors and in my case the rear opening for the engine exhaust. Here I am using a 600 grade sponge (the abrasive is on the other side).
The end result of my sanding inside the tail and you can see I have applied some Tamiya Putty to cover the gaps left around part B2. Being able to deal with this area more easily was my main motivation for figuring out how to leave the engine out till later. Having the painted engine in place would have made the cleanup and sanding job far more tricky and time consuming.
I mentioned earlier that I had only recently discovered Godhand Sanding Sponges. As you can see they come in several grades of abrasive (120,240,400,600,800 and 1000) and three different thicknesses (the sponge I mean). All these are 3mm thick but you can also get 2mm and 5mm. I've found them very versatile and if like me you've never used them before I'd encourage you to pick some up. Of all the Godhand tools they are probably the cheapest thing they sell !!
KH have designed the arrestor hook bay as a single piece which slots into the bottom of the rear fuselage. This is a good idea as it removes the burden of some otherwise tricky seam work from the modeller and the end result is a very neat and tidy solution. It also means I could leave this part out as I glued the main fuselage halves together. To ensure as flush a fit as possible I added some small card tabs to the sides which help prop the centre part up when inserted.
I also took the time to test fit the arrestor hook itself and two of the forward doors that cover the retracted hook. As you can see these doors are short by about 2mm and my fix was to laminate some strip styrene to them to correct the length.
With the fuselage joined it was time for some seam work and reinstatement of lost panel lines. Another product that I used for the first time on this build was Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color pre-mixed wash. I've noticed a number of modellers using this Tamiya enamel based wash to aid with panel and riveting work as its extremely thin and does an excellent job of making the recessed detail visible.
Whilst working on the spine of the fuselage I wondered what the two rectangular indents provided by KH could be. Should they be deeper, were they exhausts or vents of some kind. A quick search and post on the forums resulted in me collecting enough information to detail them a little more accurately than what was provided by KH out of the box.
To begin I opened up both vents and trimmed them to size, I then added some plasticard to the interiors to provide depth and a better sense of realism. The aft exhaust opening is the largest of the two and is angled (much like the side exhausts) to vent gases to the rear. These were simple fixes that add a lot to the look of the finished fuselage spine.

Build Review Pt III: 1/48th scale North American FJ-2 Fury from Kitty Hawk Riveting & Sealing before painting

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for the kit – check out all of their stuff at their website or Facebook page… 
If you like Gary's models then please do go to his website for a whole lot more of that...