Welcome to the final episode in our foam kit bashing series! It was quite the journey getting here and I actually didn’t intend on it taking as long as it has to document the whole series, but life has been crazy with no signs of slowing down it seems (plus, I just started a new position at work!). If you’ve just found this series, we have gone through and completely transformed a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir. As a part of that, we covered the transformation process talking through the building methods in converting the airplane using balsa wood and foam, we’ve talked about painting and finishing and we’ve also covered how to make panel lines and add realistic weathering. I hope that you guys have enjoyed the series and are geared up with some new techniques to try on your models! To finish this series up, I thought it would be best done providing a little discussion on how the airplane flies in it’s new form as well as some of the things that were done in wrapping the airplane up and getting it tuned in the air. Also, I had a little incident with the airplane at the Warbirds & Classics event which tore out the right main landing gear mount. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity, now that we have this nice new airplane, to show how to make cosmetic repairs when they are needed as well.
In doing all of the final setup for the airplane, I didn’t want to change too many things all at once since the airplane flew well in the Mirage 2000 configuration. I knew however that I did want to change out the radio. Airtronics has been my go-to radio for quite literally, decades (even had a sponsorship with them). Though a good radio, it’s a system that’s just not supported in the US anymore and frankly, SANWA/Airtronics gave up on the airplane market years ago anyway.
Panel lines and weathering are something that can really make or break a scale model. When we started this Kfir kit bash, I knew that I wanted to use it as a canvas to show some simple weathering and panel lining techniques. Very often we can get too heavy with either and so my hope here is to give some pointers for adding some realistic and effective looking panel lines and weathering that’s easy to do. These are some techniques that are pretty simple to employ and that I actually use on my competition models also.
There are so many different techniques we can turn to for this stuff, so these are just a few that I regularly use. Ultimately the best techniques are the ones you like and give you the results you’re looking for so experiment and try different techniques. The only way we develop these skills is through practice and use.
As we talk about panel lines and weathering, my recommendation is less is more. What I mean is that if you feel that a panel line is too dark, or the weathering is too heavy, then it probably is. Also, it’s highly recommended doing all of this final finish work inside under artificial light. The sun washes out much of what we apply and so the results are much less subtle once we bring the airplane inside since we’ll continue to darken until we can see a result. So, just a couple things to keep in mind as we go through this (it’ll be stated again too 😉 ).
THE PANEL LINE PROCESS
To apply panel lines to the surface, we are simply applying all of them using a mechanical pencil. This works excellent in this case because the pencil lines when applied, are darker than all of the colors on the airplane. So, as a result, you can get aContinue reading →
Continuing in our Kit Bashing 101 series, in this installment we are talking about painting camouflage and adding markings to our Kfir. The transformation from Mirage 2000 to Kfir has taken place and we’ve even added some nice Kfir specific cockpit details. So, there’s no more procrastinating, it’s time to prep and paint this jet! We have an awesome 4 tone Isreali camouflage scheme lined up that we’re going to paint and so we’ll talk through the process of achieving that. We’ll be utilizing an airbrush in the process along with some humbrol plastic model paints for the camouflage and then once painted, we will be applying our markings.
First things first though, the airplane was made paint ready. The process used was the same as what we did in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird Series where we applied 6 coats of minwax polycrylic, primered and sanded a few times, and then finished it off by wet sanding with 600 grit sand paper to get it paint ready. There were a couple things done differently here though that are worth mentioning. First of all, there was quite a bit of texture coming through after the initial primer coat, so I decided to spray a some Rust Oleum gap filler primer. This helped build up the lower areas to even out the surface. After sanding it down with a sanding block, many of the imperfections disappeared. Being foam it’s difficult to get a perfectly smooth finish, but this helped really smooth it out. Also, this primer is ideal for prepping 3d printed parts and getting rid of the striations you get due to the layer build up.
The last thing was, I had a couple areas of the pink Home Depot foam react to the Evercoat primer when I applied it too heavy which melted some areas underneath the polycrylic. To fix it I just filled it back in with some spackle and sanded it flush. I’ve Continue reading →
One of the features that always gets inspected on a scale model is the cockpit. There are so many gadgets in the cockpit of a full sized aircraft, it’s fun to see what was modeled. Yet, when it comes to ARFs and foamies, we’re lucky to get a decent pilot let alone a decent looking cockpit! So, in this episode of our Foam Kit Bashing Series, we’re going to talk about some quick and easy ways to dress up an otherwise minimalist cockpit. The whole idea here are simple things that can be done that add big results. We’ll cover full scratch building of a cockpit in a future episode. Oh, and in case you missed it, last time we talked about the whole construction process of converting a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir. This airplane has really transformed and looks awesome as a kfir.
Before prepping and painting the airframe (we’ll cover painting in our next episode), we really should work out the cockpit interior first since we need to pull the canopy off the airframe to work on it. It’s better to do this earlier in the process just in case we mess something up it will be an easier fix. The base cockpit provided with the Mirage 2000 is ok, but there are definitely a few issues that we’re going to fix. First off, the pilot is just too small for scale. To solve this, we’re going to replace him with a 1/12 scale Castle 5 bust which comes from my folks at JetHangar.com and show you how to paint him (this is one of the pilots I manufacture for my folks in sizes ranging from 1/18 scale all the way up to 1/6 scale). The second thing we’re going to do is show how to make the cockpit a little more “popcorn” proof and then detail it a little bit to make it a little more Kfir representative. The stock cockpit is black and inside a sealed compartment and had already “popcorned” up…so, now is our time to fix that.
HOW TO PAINT A “CASTLE 5” PILOT BUST
Painting a nice looking pilot is not a difficult thing to do and is something that can actually be done pretty quickly. We first off need a selection of paint brushes. I have a number of paint brushes that I turn to when I’m painting a pilot. I’ll use a wider, kind of square brushContinue reading →
Well, it’s been a little while since my tease at kit bashing a Freewing Mirage into an IAI Kfir (“Kfir” is Hebrew for “Lion Cub”). We started with an assembly & flight review for the Freewing Mirage 2000 which out of the box flies awesome. However, the Kfir is such an awesome looking airplane and with canards and a little extra wing area we’ll add in the bashing process, I can only imagine that the airplane will fly even better! So, in this article, we’re covering the transformation process of turning this airplane into a Kfir and we’re using 3D printed parts as a part of that as well as employing some traditional building methods. Through this whole process we will be employing the foam refinishing method I covered in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series. I don’t plan to get into much detail about the foam prep work itself in this series as I want to focus on the kit bashing aspect to compliment the refinishing we did previously and use the next couple articles to go into more detail on painting, simple panel lines and weathering.
Now, one of the reasons that it’s been a little while is, in addition to of course a few distractions, is that I’ve been working out the 3D printed parts with a friend of mine. CAD modeling takes time and there were a number of parts that we ended up making. These include printing a new nose, the exhaust shroud and turkey feathers, the dorsal inlet, external wing tanks, lower ventral tank, and the afterburner cooling scoops and inlets on the fuselage. As a whole, we printed a total of 23 individual pieces for the conversion (many of the parts required multiple pieces to be printed).
It’s no secret, I love deltas! The Mirage, Kfir and Skyray are some of my favorites if you couldn’t tell from my builds and the aircraft in my hangar. There’s just something about the look of a delta wing that is so wicked in the air, especially with the addition of canards like the Kfir. So, when I received a Freewing Mirage 2000 as a gift this last Christmas, I was stoked! I had been eyeing them for a while, especially after all of the fun I’d been having with the Freewing F-14. Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so we will actually be spending a few articles covering the transformation of this Freewing Mirage 2000 into an IAI Kfir…yes, you read that right! 😉 So, consider this as our first installment of “Foam Kit Bashing 101” as we work toward transforming this Mirage 2000 into the wicked looking Kfir. However, before tearing into a full kit bash, I wanted to discuss how this airplane assembles and performs stock out of the box.
The nice thing with these Freewing jets is that they are an all inclusive package. The full power system, retracts, and servos come fully installed and at $299 for the Mirage 2000 it’s a pretty killer deal. They’re EPO foam which I do have a love/hate relationship with, but none the less you get a pretty cool airplane and they are a great canvas to do fun things with (which we’ll start next in our next installment). They’re fully finished and Continue reading →