F-111C FLAP AND SLAT CONVERSION

ACADEMY 1/48 F-111


1/48 Acadamy RAAF F-111


by Mark Thoroughgood

 

Introduction

This is by no means a hard and fast set of guidelines that must be followed to the letter, but more a rough guide that will follow the steps that I took to complete this conversion. This was the first time I’d ever attempted anything like this and it was only the high price of the aftermarket wings that lead me down this road. If you have the time and patience (and an understanding wife) then I think that the reward is well worth the effort.

Tools and Materials used

Cutting of the flaps and slats

Put some protective tape on your wings! With the amount of work you’ll be doing you don’t need to be sanding out the scratches and re-scribing them as well.

Thin the wings and fuselage where the flaps, slats and wing gloves are to be cut out. I used the Dremel for this with a coarse sanding disc.

TAKE YOUR TIME.
This job will take you forever! If you rush this (like I did) then you will put too much heat into the plastic and it will shrink back and warp right at the worst possible time. Every 10 mins you spend on this is an hour of repairs you will save yourself.

The plastic is thin enough when you can hold the wing up to the light and you can just make out the panel line through it (Yeah, that’s really thin!).The story for the fuselage is much the same.

Cut out the flaps and slats by scoring through the panel line with the back of your #11 blade. Snapping the very tip off the blade helps a lot with this.

I believe a razor saw might be the go for doing this sort of thing but I don’t have one and have never used one so I had to make do with the tools at hand.

NOTE:

Cut through on all the black lines above but only score the red ones. These will be folded into the wing cavity later in the piece and it’s much easier to do that with them still attached.

Your wings should now look something like this.

PLEASE NOTE in these pics I’ve cut the slats too long. If you follow the black lines on the cut out guide you will not make this same mistake.

Cut out the wing gloves from the fuselage in the same manner as above and put them somewhere SAFE! (It’ll be a little while before they’re needed).

Assembling the wings

Glue what’s left of the upper and lower wings together.

I joined the wing tips and let them sit for a day before joining at the wing root. My wings had warped a little from the heat I generated while I was thinning them. I needed to join them this way as with the tip joined I could then push or pull the two surfaces relative to each other to remove any distortion.

NOTE:
Depending on how much distortion you have I recommend that you glue a strengthening spar to the underside (inside) of each wing half. I didn’t do this but if I were to do this again then I will certainly do this myself, as it will make the job a lot easier.
Hint, Hint.

Glue your flap halves together as well as your leading edge slats.

Using sheet styrene:

Much of what you need to scratch build is shown in the above photo. These components are numbered correspondingly on the picture above:

Sand and fill the underside of the WING SPOILERS (#3 in the above picture)

NOTE:

These will be seen on the finished model.
                                                      

Fold the DEFLECTOR DOORS into the wing cavity and glue in place.

Fill and sand both the leading edge slats and the flap. I found it easier to build up the lower half of the flap using sheet styrene and sand it to shape, then finish it off with putty. It’s much easier to do in one length and then cut out the slots as has been done below.

The Flap Vanes were made in one piece. I used sheet styrene (1mm Evergreen) again and cut 4 pieces that were about 7mm wide at the base and tapered to about 3mm at the top.  They were made the same length as the trailing edge of the flap, (I’m sorry but I don’t remember this measurement.)

                                                                                 

Glue two of each of these together and sand and fill till you’ve got an aerofoil shape.

The FLAP TRACKS are either side of the screw jacks and hold the FLAP VANE segments in place. These were made using sheet styrene and a compass as follows:

You should now have 8 hoops that are 2.5mm thick; these are going to be cut into segments to form the FLAP TRACKS.

Flap assembly

This is the hardest segment to describe, as I don’t think I did one thing the same way twice.

The above steps require continuous fitting, adjusting, trimming and re-fitting. This is the most time consuming part of the whole build.
I hope you can work it out from the finished pics, as I didn’t think to take any during the process. (I didn’t think it was going to work)

Hopefully your flaps look like the ones above. I didn’t need to glue mine. The Flap tracks just slid into the slots between the Deflector Doors as can be seen on the wing above.

The leading edge slat should be ready to install too. I simply glued mine in place.
You can see that I’ve cut the leading edge to allow for the SLAT TRACKS that are quite prominent in all the reference pics I have.  The truth is that these were such a pain in the backside to get right that I left them out and you would never know. I just glued the slat in position.

 

Joining the fueslage

 

I chose to use the kit’s mounting points and leave the geared teeth on the wings as it makes the positioning a lot easier.
Dry fit them first as, I’m sure with the extra weight and the little bit of warping that has occurred, you’ll need to make some shims to pack above or below the gear teeth to get both wings to sit level.

I braced across the top of the gears with some spruce and then glued it in position. It took a lot of time, a fair bit of cursing and a little lateral thinking but in the end I got them level.

Wing gloves

Go to that safe place and retrieve your 6 pieces of wing glove. (3 each side)

  • Glue the upper and lower half of the wing glove together. And then fill the inner edge with styrene.

  • Fill the hole in the fuselage with some sheet styrene.

  • Clean up the lower glove door and the job should be just about finished.

 

Painting and assembling

For painting I found it best to attack everything with Blu-Tac so that I would get a uniform finish and wouldn’t risk damage by handling these fragile assemblies.

The final configuration of the Flaps and Slats and the Wing Glove positions can be seen in the following pics.


I hope this article has helped you through this complex process.
If you do manage to stick with it, then you’ll find that after this everything is easy.

If all else fails, there is always the Scaledown set to bail you out.

Look out for another article on how to simply correct a few of the inaccuracies in this kit plus a few hints and tips to help get the most from this model.