F-111C  A8-144


1/72 Hasegawa F-111C, A8-144, 1 SQN RAAF


by Alfred Stolfa

 

Serial No

A8-144

A/C type
General Dynamics F-111C
Based at
1 SQN Royal Australian Air Force
Scheme
Standard three tone (FS 30219, FS 34102 & FS34079) camouflage with black (FS 37038) undersides. Other colours in accordance with kit instructions.
Kit

1/72 Hasegawa (K33) F-111C
1/72 Verlinden Productions (#472) F-111D/F Update Set

Decals
Kit decals supplemented by Aussie Decal Sheet A72481
Reference Personal library

 

Introduction

Prompted by a recent post and encouragement on the AMI forums, I decided to post an old effort of mine, which coincidentally, is my first post of this nature online. Apologies in advance for the limited number and quality of photos, as these were taken in the mid 1990s with an ‘old technology’ 35mm camera and subsequently scanned. References were also from my bookshelf, prior to internet access being available.

It is the 1/72 Hasegawa F-111C and was built in the mid 1990's. It was built for a work colleague - both of us having worked on the design of the aircraft modifications associated with the RAAF AUP modification undertaken by Rockwell Australia/Hawker de Havilland Victoria in the early 1990’s. It’s one of my favourite aircraft, as it was my colleague’s. After being photographed and entered in a Model Expo soon after the build was completed, the model was delivered to its very satisfied new owner.


The kit

The model incorporates the resin cockpit and some etched parts from the Verlinden F-111D/F Update set. Clearly there are aspects of the configuration of the various resin instrument panels and consoles that are not strictly accurate for either a pre- or post-AUP RAAF F-111C, but my main interest was to create a ‘busy looking’ office. Use of etched canopy framing for the forward windscreen was omitted, while that for the opening canopy sections was essential in allowing the door segments to be posed in the open ‘butterfly’ position, so characteristic of the ‘Pig’ at rest, awaiting the boarding of its crew. There are simply some ‘characteristic’ poses the ‘Pig’ has - this is one of them.


Construction pretty much proceeded per the kit instruction sequence, with the resin cockpit interior being completed before assembly of the forward fuselage halves. I think I enclosed the cockpit using the kit windshield/canopy tacked in place with white glue. I did this to simplify masking of the otherwise open cockpit, as I was yet to modify the opening section of the canopy. I suspect I must have left the wings off also, to be masked/painted separately, as were the horizontal stabilators. I don’t recall exactly if the kit allows the wings to be slotted in place after assembly of the upper/lower fuselage halves, but that’s the option I was left with due to my paint/build sequence.

Painting of the camouflage scheme was accomplished by airbrushing (single action airbrush), utilising paper masks. I scaled up the Hasegawa kit instruction painting profiles on a photocopier, and corrected them, where possible, using photos of A8-144 I had available in various hardcopy references. I made a couple of sets of masks for each stage of the masking process (i.e. application of each colour). My recollection is that I painted the red areas beneath the flaps, slats and glove vanes before applying the camouflage colours and masked them off using tape and liquid mask.

Painting was accomplished largely following the kit instructions using Testors Model Master enamels and Metalizer lacquers, and Testors Glosscote and Dullcote to seal in the decals. A precaution I took on the basis of my experience with gloss coats and flat colours, knowing that the gloss coat would tend to darken the underlying flat colour coats, I lightened the camouflage colours before applying them. Using some trial and error, I established an appropriate tone for each colour so that after clear coating, they would be a better match for the nominal aircraft colours. The aircraft was built relatively ‘clean’ as at that time I didn’t have much confidence in my weathering techniques.

Proceeding from lightest to darkest hue, I started with tan, then applied the masking for each of the greens successively, finally completing the undersides in black. I held the masking in place using Blu-Tac and/or short segments of masking tape, which held the masks up from the surface in order to allow me to replicate a ‘soft edge’ to each camouflage colour. A potential issue with Blu-Tac I found, that if left on too long especially on flat paints, it can slightly ‘mar’ the painted surface by leaving a ‘footprint’.

Decals were from the kit for some of the common F-111C markings, while the Aussie Decals sheet provided the special 1 SQN artwork on the vertical fin. I took a RNLAF squadron crest (which I passed off as a RAAF squadron crest) from an old ESCI F-104 decal sheet from memory. Stores were from either the Hasegawa or Italeri sets, and the configuration was based again on photos in one of my reference books. The inboard pylon carries a GBU-12, while the outboard pylon carries a GBU-10, with an AIM-9 Sidewinder on the mid-pylon launch rail.

Aircraft A8-144 was chosen as the subject because it was one of the early tail numbers to be inducted into the AUP modification at Amberley (the 3rd aircraft from memory), and I had reference photos of it showing the striking ‘1SQN’ tail art as evidenced in that aircraft’s visit to the UK in 1990.

As an aside, A8-132 was the AUP prototype, being modified at the Rockwell facility in Palmdale, California (USA), while the balance of the F-111C/RF-111C fleet were modified at the HDHV (later Boeing Australia) facility at Amberley. Tail numbers A8-142 (F-111C) and A8-143 (RF-111C) were the first two ‘kitproof’ aircraft to be modified in Australia.

In the end, a satisfying result on the model, while having the privilege to work on what was overall, a satisfying program. Now, if only I could get into the stash and build a few more of these – for myself!

 



 

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