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CLOSING UP THE FUSELAGE

(I Only Wish)

First up was to remove the Big Allison as there was no need to install it after I decided to close up the engine access panels. Secondly, with the addition of the excellent Eduard Brasin Exhausts that blew the kits offering away, that sealed the fate of the engine – plus it’s saved the engines added weight behind the main gear, reducing nose weight to help prevent a tail sitter. I made a three-part mounting plate for each set of exhausts from Evergreen sheet, glued them into place on the inside of the fuselage and the job was done. The rear, upper radio deck  was added and that closed up the engine and rear portion of the P-39 from view.

After test fitting the clear armor plate behind the seat in the bulkhead, I still didn’t install it as I wanted to finish doing all the test fitting and see how the two fuselage halves joined together. A bit of tweaking and oh no, my major fear right from the start raised its ugly head: using the PE floor raised the height of the forward bulkhead, instrument panel and ammo drums, prevented the forward fuselage halves from closing up over the front bulkhead. No way to back track and the only answer was to sand down all the offending parts until the fuselage halves came flush together without clamping. Message to myself: in the future, do not use the PE Cockpit floor – way too much added work and fuss. In the end job done and the fuselage above the front bulkhead now closes without clamping.

The nose gear wheel well was glued into place, the last part before I could glue the two fuselage halves together but I’m still holding off as I just have a bad feeling and want to leave some wiggle room just in case.

Time now to work on the nose portion of the P-39. Right from the start I knew I didn’t want the gun bay open with all the access panels removed and that meant dealing with a boat load of parts and alignment issues. What parts would be needed to close up the access panels were built and added with my fingers crossed. In my humble opinion, way too many parts that didn’t fit all that well together. What Kitty Hawk should have done is mold the access panel/cowl in two parts for those of us that want it closed and for those want wanted to have everything hanging in the wind, just leave cut lines in the inside so the parts could be cut apart as needed. From this kit, reviews of other Kitty Hawk builds, this seems to be a stable mate of their design philosophy: just way too many parts for an assembly when less could have done the job.

After countless attempts and playing with the six panels that make up the P-39’s nose panels, I had the assembly taped together. Right now, I’m looking at six bad fitting parts that are going to require a lot of sanding and filler and then my least favorite part of any build: scribing.

Hubert’s note: “one of the worst fitting areas I believe is the rear spine panel, where the R2D2 located” is spot on.

I do feel bad about such negative comments after the bad news regarding Kitty Hawk going out of business but this is just my view of the kit under construction. If they were still available or down the road, would I buy another one – no way. Yes, I do have Kitty Hawk’s Kingfisher in the stash and will be building it down the road.   

Thanks for checking in

Peter

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Great progress and a huge amount of work Peter. You really managed to overcome all the challenges offered by the kit. It reminds me of something I actually have in my hands.

On the fotos I can clearly see what is waiting for you with all these nose-cowlings. Reminds me of my air intakes. 

Can‘t understand what the designers think when creating a model and its parts breakdown. Maybe it were the same who created the Italeri Mirage III…

The KH Mirage 2000 seems to be much better. Why can’t they define quality standards like e.g. Tamiya? 
Would make life so much easier for us modelers…

But against all odds your model starts to look like a P-39 and it will be awesome in the end. Cockpit and exhausts look really beautiful!

Cheers

Kai

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Looking good Peter, although that seem work will be challenging.

Still can't quite get my head around an airframe with the engine in the middle!? :blink:

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17 minutes ago, GusMac said:

Looking good Peter, although that seem work will be challenging.

Still can't quite get my head around an airframe with the engine in the middle!? :blink:

Ideal regarding center of gravity…

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10 hours ago, GusMac said:

Still can't quite get my head around an airframe with the engine in the middle!? :blink:

It's the Lancia Stratos of fighter airplanes, that simple :D.

Cheers Rob

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Peter,

    I feel your pain, but I know you will overcome as you have so far.  You've done well so far!  My PCM 190 took a lot of work and filler...  and scribing to get done.

As far as KH goes...   I just think it's a self-inflicted wound.  The P-39 is a great airframe.  I was going to buy this kit until everything anyone wrote about it was bad.  I know it's "buildable".   But if you look around the modelling world, you'll see that a stack of thick paper can be made into any model you like as long as you have the time and will.  I only have so much time and will to devote to things I don't want to do.

Keep up the great work, my friend!

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Peter hang in there buddy.  You are doing an awesome job and will (like others have said) will have a lovely looking model in the end.  What I see so far is stunning, I know you will turn this into another masterpiece!

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Hi Kai

Much appreciated and so far, the good old P-39 has been a fight to the end ... firmly convinced the designers for the P-39 and Mirage has at least trained together in the past! Making tiny progress steps as each step is just full of fit issues and obstacles. Working on the nose panels and what a mess - nothing fits and at this point, I need to see how the front windscreen fits before gluing the fuselage halves together and working on the six access panels - Oh what fun. 

While slugging it out with the nose section, I assembled the main gear wells and wings - nothing new here surely it wouldn't be too much to have asked for: a small wing spar - nope just a few small stubs to play with.

:construction:

Still staying the course

Keep 'em comin

Peter

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Thanks Gus

Challenges - the key note of the kit.  Still slugging away and making some progress .. John was sure right in his assessment of the kit after building it: a high cuss level build.

Mid engine - I'm a fan and solves a lot of problems and absolutely creates others. I'm thinking Ferrari here 

Keep 'em comin

Peter

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Thank Gaz - much appreciated

It's certainly is a bear of a kit and buildable, just a matter of time and sweat to get it done;  so wonderfully engineered. Completely agree about the demise of KH, "I just think it's a self-inflicted wound"  It's said to see a large model manufacturer close up shop but after the P-39 and already having the Kingfisher in my stash and knowing their reputation - I don't think I would purchase any more if their kits, as long as they are available.

Keep 'em comin

Peter 

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Gluing up the Fuselage

Finally, all the interior work I planned on doing was completed and I turned my attention to mating up the two fuselage halves. Lots of test fitting, tweaking and then it was time to glue the fuselage halves together. I started with the bottom seam as it fit rather well and was the best starting point. The upper fuselage was glued together from the rear of the cockpit back to the tail. The small portion in front of the IP was not glued together yet, allowing for a bit of wiggle room when fitting the windscreen and upper cowling parts, as that’s the plan. The  left and right hand sides of the front cowlings were now fitted and glued in place, left to dry, with some fancy seam filling yet to come. Looking at loads of photos, especially Martin’s, it was obvious, KH went way overboard on the size of the screws that hold the panels in place. They aren’t rivets, nor bolts but flat head, single slot screws, so I removed them and might add some with small holes drilled in their place. The two upper cowling panels, will be installed after the wings, so I can add nose weight as needed, to help prevent a tailsitter. Just couldn’t think of a more confusing way of installing parts that didn’t fit well to start with.

I played around with a filler strip in front of the windscreen, trying to adjust the width for the best fit I could, so the windscreen would have a good chance of fitting and come close to the correct height and curvature for the top cowl panels; just one shot at it to get it right. Talk about the pressure being on. Right now the 'glass' is just resting in place.

The top spine panel that Hubert so correctly identified as the R2D2 panel cover is the worst fitting panel/part on the kit – nowhere close to being in the ballpark and I am assuming KH thought everyone would leave it open/off to see inside the rear fuselage. I spent hours carving and fitting and when glued in place, the gaps were filled in with two applications of my home brew of sprue glue and then a few more with Tamiya White Filler. A ton of work to fit one simple access panel!

I started working on the rudder and vertical stabilizer for a good fit and I’m close and as good as I’m going to get.

I’m amazed at the progress I’ve made over the past week and this coming week modeling will be on the back burner as I have a few doctor appointments and oral surgery on Friday – Oh what fun.

Thanks for checking in

Peter

In all four photos, the 'glass' is just resting place, while work is needed to obtain a good, tight fit, so far it isn't looking too bad

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Awesome work Peter. And well planned steps how to get everything fit and always in keeping in mind to eliminate every risk of having a tailsitter in the end. 

Your fight with the top spine panel reminds me of my fight with the Mirage intakes: Lots of hours and effort spent. But all the work payed off and this area looks perfect now. 
And high-quality pictures btw. 

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Peter, looking at where you are now, I wouldn't never think that it's as Kuch of a bear as it has been. I guess that's testimony to you skills and perseverance on the kit. 

As for the Kingfisher, I actually managed to get the engine and cradle installed. The only thing I recall about doing it is not following the instructions. I think they showed it upside down or something. I do need to go back and finish building it though. 

Carl

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