Tuesday, April 7

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

Gary continues to whittle away at his 1/48th scale North American FJ-2 Fury masterpiece. This model from Kitty Hawk gets the full riveting & finishing the kit before painting that is soon to come. See how the model is progressing in today's story...

Build Review: North American FJ-2 Fury - Build Review

From Kitty Hawk 
Kit No #80155
1/48th scale
Price €44.48 / 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 - Fuselage & Wings 


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

One of the distinctive features of the Fury, compared to the Sabre, was the inclusion of hydraulically folding wings. This was a requirement to enable carrier operations and gives the Fury a very different look to its land-based cousin.
The main wings section (inboard of the wingfold) and fuselage is engineered as one piece by Kittyhawk. The slats are designed to be displayed in the extended position but it would not be hard to cut off the rails and reposition them closed if you wanted to model the aircraft in flight. The flaps on the trailing edge are likewise designed to be down as the fit is not easy to retract them.
KH provides some nice interior detail for the flaps as well as the main wheel wells, the top of which are moulded integral to the wing top part. I was a bit surprised the KH provides no alignment marks or slots for the leading edge slat rails, even a small indent would have been nice to make sure everything is lined up properly.
Being a carrier aircraft the Fury had to be modified for carrier launch and recovery. This meant the installation of the catapult launch hook, typically on the fuselage centerline. The catapult hook recess on the FJ-2 was a triangular shape, which changed to a rectangular shape from the FJ-3 onwards.
KH obviously intend to use the lower wing parts for both their FJ-3 and FJ-2 boxing so it was inevitable that one of the kits was going to be wrong. In this case, it is the FJ-2 that loses out but luckily its a very easy fix. I used a straight edge and pencil to mark out the correct shape of the recess and then slowly carved the plastic away using a blade. There is sufficient plastic in and around the recess to allow this to work.
The outer (foldable) wing tips include the ailerons and more automatic leading-edge slats. The wing fold mechanism includes a "piano" style hinge with interlocking fingers, which are very well done by KittyHawk.
FJ-2s and early production FJ-3s had automatic leading-edge slats but no fences on the wings. The slats hung forward on rails when the aircraft was on the ground or flying at low speeds. At higher air speeds the slats were forced back into the retracted position. This required no pilot input, hence the term "automatic".
After I applied the riveting details the ailerons were attached to the outer wing. I plan to leave the slats off until after painting as I want to use different shades on each and want to avoid painful masking as much as possible.
The lower surface of the outer wings has also been riveted and cleaned up in preparation for painting.
The recess into which the slats would retract has a pronounced edge or step on the KH kit, probably deeper than it should be, but not so deep that I felt the need to figure out a way to reduce it. When adding rivets to tricky shapes like this the Galaxy Models "Corner Tool" comes in handy as it's designed to allow the placement of rivets right into corners like this. Places that the normal wheels cannot reach.
Kittyhawk has allowed for the modeller to display the model with either folded or extended wings.
Often when a manufacturer allows either folded or unfolded wings its a good bet that one of these will end in a degraded result. From my dry fit testing,  it seems that KH has managed to mould the wingfold in such a way that either option works fine and results in a very clean and tidy finish. Here you can see the wings displayed in the unfolded (flight) configuration and the fold joint is almost invisible.
I expect that most modellers will fold the wing and the Kittyhawk hinge provides a clean and reasonably secure/sturdy join to allow this. Note how the wing folds just past the 90-degree mark and was often seen supported by a brace. Kittyhawk does not provide the support brace but as you can see it would be easy to fashion from scratch.
The interior of the wingfold mechanism (although quite small in 1/48) would benefit from some detailing if you feel so inclined.
Turning to the tail the vertical fin is provided by KH as a separate sub-assembly. I'm not really sure why they did this as I expect the same tail will be used in their upcoming FJ-3 boxing. The 10-degree dihedral on the Sabre's horizontal tail was removed on the Fury, leaving them mounted with no (0 degrees) dihedral. I mention this as its not really obvious from the KH instructions.
The elevators and rudder on the Fury changed over the life of the aircraft and in the box, KH provides only the later (FJ-3) style which had external ribbing added to improve stiffness. The earlier FJ-2 had smooth skin elevators and rudder and so we need to either deal with this ourself or Hypersonic Models (48033) have released a correction set in resin.
As the problem was the same on the elevators and rudder I used the same approach to fix them. The ribbing was scraped off using a blade and some strip Evergreen plastic was glued in the recess to fill it up. Once the glue was dry this was sanded to shape and blended with Tamoya Basic putty still smooth. Certainly not a hard modification, but it would have been nice if KH had provided the correct parts in the FJ-2 kit.
The completed tail assembly with corrected elevators and rudder. The riveting was added by me afterwards and checked with a coat of grey primer.
As I was carrying out the riveting work I realised that I had not shown a comparison of the before and after. Here you can see how even a small amount of rivet detail lifts the whole model. As this model will be painted in a natural metal finish the extra effort put into riveting will be quite visible and hopefully worth the effort. It's worth mentioning that the surface detail provided on the kit by KH is very good, it's just in this case I wanted to go one step further.
For the Fury, North American modified the Sabre design by increasing the main landing gear track by some 8 inches and redesigning the brakes. Kittyhawk have moulded the main struts as single units with the oleo scissors. The retraction/support braces are provided separately and once again I found the KH instructions to be pretty vague with regard to the attachment points to the strut and wheel well.
The kit main undercarriage is nicely detailed and the only extra I decided to add was some brake lines from lead wire. The FJ-2 undercarriage seemed to be painted in a silver finish as can be seen from the photo.
The mounting holes for the main undercarriage are designed in such a way that you can leave the gear off until the model is finished. I drilled out the mount points to allow a snug, but firm fit so that the gear is held properly at the correct alignment later on.
As previously discussed, the nose undercarriage needed a bit more work but in general, the kit parts form the basis for an accurate representation of the real aircraft.
In this FJ-2 kit, Kittyhawk provides a number of external stores and pylons. As the FJ-2 was based on the F-86E it was capable of carrying the same 120-gallon tanks. Whilst the Kittyhawk tanks themselves look pretty good (the nose seems a little sharp to me) there is no mounting points provided for the pylon to the wing join. This means it's up to the modeller to figure out the correct location as well as make sure the pylon/tank is properly aligned to be parallel to the fuselage centerline.
To solve the tank pylon mounting issue I fitted some brass rod pins to the pylon and then drilled appropriate locating holes on the wing. I needed to make sure of two things: the pylon had to be parallel to the fuselage centerline and also it had to be correctly located in relation to the wingfold. Examining photos of the Fury I decided that the pylon actually spanned the break in the wing.
There is not much margin for error when locating the pylon to the wing. The length of the pylon (when placed at the correct angle) just about takes up all the available wing exactly. You need to be careful as you don't want to have the end of the pylon extending out either end.
The wing to pylon fit is quite good and KH seems to have included the right amount of curvature on the pylons mating surface. It is just an annoyance they did not include some simple locating holes for this pylon. To add insult to injury they have included holes for the inner "missile" pylon which is not appropriate to the FJ-2, being only fitted to the later FJ-3M for use with the AIM-9A Sidewinder.
The "sit" of the tank to the pylon also looks pretty good. Once I get the aircraft sitting squarely on the undercarriage I will be able to better determine the alignment more accurately.
I'm a great believer in "killing two birds with one stone" wherever possible. I had recently been asked by Galaxy Models to review their new riveting tools and I figured what better way than to use them on this model build. Being a natural metal finish this would be the ideal subject to add more surface rivet detail to.
The Galaxy Tools riveting set comes in several sizes and shapes, each of which I made use of as I was riveting the Fury. As this model was 1/48 I found that the 0.65mm and 0.75mm spacing looked the closet to what Kittyhawk already had on the model.
When undertaking to rivet an entire model its always best to obtain plans or reference material to show you where the rivets would go. Unfortunately I could not locate any such plans for the FJ-2 itself but I figured that it was pretty close to the F-86E Sabre and I did have a good drawing on hand for that aircraft. Where the two differed I made an "educated guess" to fill in the blanks.
One trick I had picked up from other modellers was the use of Tamiya Panel Liner wash to visually highlight the rivet and panel line work as I went. This was a great help as I could immediately see how the riveting looked and where it needed fixing as I went along. Even though the panel liner from Tamiya is enamel based it did not seem to affect the plastic in any adverse way, even when I cleaned off the excess with white spirits.
The breakdown of the KH kit afforded me the benefit of being able to carry out the rivet work on the wings, tail and fuselage as separate sub-assemblies. One lesson I re-learnt was to take your time and double check measurements before committing any tool to the model surface.
I started out using tape and metal rulers to guide the rivet wheel. As I gained more confidence in the tools and my skills I began trying out freehanding the rivets, following only a pencil line. The Galaxy Tools are very precise and this certainly helps you obtain consistent and reproducible results.
I like to regularly check the surface of the model by applying primer. Here I have used some of the nice Alclad Microfiller Grey Primer to check the results under some paint. It's also worth noting that I chose to close the nosegear door but leave the main gear doors open (which did not happen often but I did find photos of Furys parked with the doors down).
One technique to get consistent (and parallel) spacing between rows of rivets is to use strips of masking tape. Cut the tape to the desired spacing of the rivets and then use it to provide a visual (not physical) guide as you run the rivet wheel along. I found this to be a useful technique rather than the more time consuming task of measuring and marking with pencil the spacing.
The fuselage was the most challenging part of the model to apply rivets. The compound curves near the nose present quite a challenge in terms of keeping the rivets straight. Once again I relying on thin strips of tape to give me that assurance of straight lines and I freehanded the riveting along each of the existing panel lines.
Often you will need to add rivet lines that are perpendicular (90 degrees) to an edge or existing panel line. Here I used some black Dymo tape, placed along the reference line, and a metal square to ensure I had achieved a perfect 90-degree angle. As I gained confidence with these techniques I was able to move much faster.
Not all of the riveting work was done by me, in particular, the area around the arrestor hook was included by Kittyhawk in the kit's plastic. I also learned that you don't need to reproduce each and every rivet from the real aircraft, just enough to give a sense of realism and dimension to the models surface.
The last task I had for my Silhouette cutter was to fabricate some fins for the "combat tanks". As before I scanned the over-scale kit part into Inkscape and made a vector graphic drawing from it. This was then used as input to the cutter software (Silhouette Studio) to create four fins out of 0.25mm (0.010") Evergreen sheet.
The final part of this build is at this link

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 www.Scalespot.com for a whole lot more of that...