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Videmus Agamus
 “We see, let us strike”




by Anthony Papadis

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I was recently given a Hasegawa 1/72 F111C kit, as the previous owner had decided that after ten years he was never going to finish it, and that I would probably appreciate the kit, as I have a known soft spot for the “Pig”. 

I will not review the kit here, as the kit is neither new nor unknown, suffice to say that when care is used, the kit assembles quickly and with few traps for the unwary. In my opinion, the F-111 kits are some of the best detailed 1/72 kits Hasegawa has produced and are easily the best kits on the subject in 1/72. Having said that, there is always room for improvement in any kit, and I chose to add a few extra touches during this build. 

I had decided early on to mount the kit ‘in-flight’ as this is really the only way to appreciate the sleek lines of the F-111. I wanted my pig to carry a pretty tough looking load and to be going quick, two things the Pig does well.



(Re) Construction


The kit’s previous owner had already begun the kit when it was handed to me. The fuselage had been assembled, but otherwise, the majority of the kit was intact and still on the sprues. Unfortunately, the cockpit was poorly painted and the instrument decals had been applied directly to flat paint without a sealer coat, with the result that they had curled up. There was no other option but to strip the cockpit. After carefully prying loose the seats, control columns and instrument panel, the fuselage and other items were all given a spray with Mr Muscle oven cleaner, and these parts were slipped into a resealable plastic bag and set aside. 

Note: Mr Muscle fumes are extremely caustic, Make sure you work in a well ventilated area and use appropriate skin and eye protection when using it! 

Whilst I was waiting for Mr Muscle to do its thing, I began to work on the other sub-assemblies. I cleaned up the horizontal stabilisers, a few quick strokes with a sanding stick was all that was required. Since this Pig would be depicted in flight, I would not require the undercarriage components. I cut the undercarriage components and put these into the spares box. This reduced the parts count considerably and really only left the afterburner and wings to assemble.



Since I wanted this F-111 to be going like the proverbial cut cat, the wings would have to be swept back to 72.5º and the flaps and slats would have to be tucked in. I t seems ironic that we, as modellers are always complaining when things like flaps and slats are not moulded separately, and yet  here I am gluing the separately moulded flaps and slats back in, there’s just no pleasing some people! 

The first problem was sweeping the wings back. The Hasegawa F-111 kits do not (thankfully) feature ‘swinging’ wings. They instead have two slots in the wing root which enable the builder to choose from one of two options, fully forward with 16º sweep-back or pinned fully back at 72.5º, as I wanted. 

The instructions make no mention of the fully swept back option, however the second slot corresponds with this position. To allow the wings to fit however, part of the wing seals will need to be removed. Hasegawa have thought of the modeller here and there is actually a shoulder behind the wing seal portion inside the fuselage. All that was required was for the plastic to be trimmed away up to the shoulder, and there would be an opening corresponding to the fully swept back position.



Pic 1 Wing seal shoulder 

My next hurdle was fitting the flaps/slats back into the wing. Hasegawa has done a brilliant job depicting the slats and double-slotted Fowler flaps, however gluing these back into the wing took some repeated filing and test fitting.




Pic 2 Wing flap portion to be removed 

I began by removing the upper row of flap segments on parts E5 and E6 as these fold into the wing when not deployed. After some careful sanding, the flaps fit into the wing. The slat guides at the front of the wing were sliced off with a new scalpel blade, as these prevented the slats from fitting flush with the leading edge of the wing. After more test fitting, I discovered that the slots at the front of the wing needed just the slightest sanding so that the slats could sit flush. The wings were now assembled and set aside.


After about four hours, removed the fuselage and other bits from the yucky jelly like mess that was the dissolved paint/Mr Muscle. A few minutes scrubbing with an old toothbrush and cold water rewarded me with some pristine plastic. Once the fuselage was thoroughly dry, I sprayed the cockpit, seats and instrument panel FS 36231 (Dark Gull Grey). I also sprayed the intakes, intake cowlings and inlet spikes (D4, D8) semi-gloss white. I decided to leave the inlet spikes and cowlings off until painting  was finished.

I had a spare F-111C decal sheet handy (‘gotta luv garage sales!) and I used cockpit decals from this sheet. These were then sealed with a coat of matt varnish. The kit does not include aircrew figures, so the spares box was robbed. I modified the helmets to depict the more modern ‘lightweight’ items currently used by sanding off the visor covers. Whilst I was at it I made a radar indicator hood from some shaped sprue. RAAF F-111 seats have black lamb’s wool covers. I painted the seat cushions black to depict this. The control columns are also matt black with semi-gloss black grips. The canopy bow part (B17) was painted and glued into the canopy. Once the canopy sprue stubs were sanded off, the whole thing was dipped into a tray of Future and set aside to dry.



Pic 3 Cockpit



I glued some sprue strips along the inside edges of the nosewheel bay to support the nosegear flipper doors (A9, A10) when they were glued into the closed position. I also glued some sprue inside both flipper doors themselves to re-enforce them further. 

The main gear door (B26), which also functions as a speedbrake, was simply glued into place. The second door (B28), will leave a gap through which some undercarriage detail will be visible (this is how the real thing is too!). I used the rear of the kit undercarriage well (A18) but cut the lower “V” shaped structure away and repositioned it at 90º. The two long thin arms were also cut off and replaced with some stretched sprue, also re-positioned at 90º to their original position. Most of this will not be visible when the rear door is glued on. 



Pic 4 Rear main gear door gap

The final part was to glued the tail bumper guard (B9) apart from its actuators and glue it flush into its fairing between the engines at the lower rear fuselage. This unit always extends and retracts in concert with the undercarriage.


 Pic 5 Tail bumper guard


Final Assembly 

I replaced the kit LCOSS (gunsight) with thin clear acetate from some blister packaging. The canopy was now attached and the masking applied. The ventral strakes and ‘figure 8’ panel (fuel dump panel) was added and seams filled. The vertical fin and the stab fairings were next.  I cut the rudder out and repositioned it deflected to the right. I replaced the kit nose pitot probe with a hypodermic syringe.




Pic 6 Rudder deflection



I wanted an interesting load, but not necessarily one that is typically carried. This ‘Pig’ is  carrying practice ordnance, as evident by the blue bands and bomb bodies. The ordnance was taken from the different Hasegawa weapons sets, while the kits provided the pylons and the BRU-3 (bomb rack ) and LAU-7 (missile rail). 

Although not typically carried in multiples on the BRU-3, when used, Mk.82/GBU-12’s are usually carried in the ‘slant 4’ configuration, which means that the inner shoulder stations are not used. GBU-12’s are too long to allow more than 2 per BRU-3. 

The AGM-84 Harpoon is also used in configuration with a data link pod. Since this is not a warshot round, I saved myself the trouble of having to scratch-build one.





Painting and Markings


I wanted to depict a 1SQN aircraft in the SEA (South East Asia) scheme, but with the big yellow 1 which some aircraft sported for a little while.  I remembered that Aussie Decals had issued these markings some time ago but these are no longer available. Luckily, the ever helpful Dave Turner came to my rescue with these decals. Whilst doing the research, I discovered that the tail art varied depending on the aircraft. The stylised yellow one features a Kookuburra (an Australian native bird) diving down its length. The variation is with the orientation of the bird’s body. The decals depict the bird’s body pointed down vertically. Most pictures that I found showed that the Kookuburra’s body was rotated slightly upwards instead of straight down. I came across a picture of A8-142 which had the Kookuburra shown as depicted in the decals, so that is the aircraft I would build.

 Aussie Decals 1/48 sheet (48004) has the Kookaburra printed separately and a full complement of tan and green numbers allowing the builder to make any tail number that they want.


Pic 8, A8-142 in a very clean state


I used Gunze Sanyo paints H309 & H303 for FS34079, FS34102 but used the Light Tan H27, instead of the FS30219 as this tan looked a little too red and dark. The black used was Tamiya NATO black, as straight flat black would be too dark, and I wanted to contrast the radome and glove antennas which were painted in semi-gloss black. 

I used the Aussie Decals tail art as well as their wing and fuselage walkways. The Hasegawa decals provided the RAAF roundels (the ‘rats’) and the flag, as well as all the stencilling. I needed to have “A8-142” in white for the nosewheel flipper doors and the same in tan and dark green for the fin, tan letters on the dark green and vice versa.  

Richard Chafer of Gekko Graphics was able to help here by supplying the white door numbers.  Unfortunately, the Aussie Decals  1/72 sheet does not supply a full complement of numbers  in the tan/green colours. I found an old Roodecals sheet that had what I needed and I was able to mix’n’match my A8-142 using this sheet. Incidentally, this sheet also included 3 x F/A-18 Sqn’s as well as 2 x F-111 Sqn’s as well as a FULL complement of numbers so that you could make any tail number that you want, value for money indeed! 

I gave the panel lines a dark brown wash using thinned oil paints. The area behind the main gear was weathered with several light brown, black and grey streaks to simulate the leaking oil, fuel and dirt which accumulates here 

The kit had a coat of Testor’s Dullcoat applied and the nav lights, formation lights and the wings and ordnance were added. The cowl intakes as well as the stabs were also glued into place.  

I now added the ‘goop’ streaks (anyone who has worked on the pig knows all about these!). ‘Goop’, or to give it its formal name of ‘reversion’ is a two part caulking compound used to seal panels on the aircraft. When subjected to the high skin temperatures of supersonic flight (a “Mach Run”) the compound breaks down or ‘reverts’ back to its uncured liquid state. It then oozes out of gaps between panels or injection holes, creating ‘goop’ streaks all over the airframe. I used some thin grey paint and a fine brush to reproduce these in the usual locations.


 Pic 9 “goop” 

I added new VHF, IFF and UHF antennas from plastic card. These antennas have protective tape at their leading edge to prevent them delaminating (peeling apart). I also drilled out the upper and lower rotating beacon locations and simulated these with some clear rod painted Tamiya clear red. These beacons are always on and extended when the aircraft is flying (in peace time anyway) I also depicted the ECS cooling door, a small door behind the AN/ASQ-26 PAVE TACK pod, using some aluminium sheet and stretched sprue. This door is always fixed open. Finally some stretched sprue was used to simulate the alpha/beta probes on each side and underneath the radome.





The kit has 8mm acrylic tubes fed into the afterburners. The rods simply slide into 8mm holes drilled into the 3mm Perspex stand, which in turn is screwed to the wooden base. The whole thing can be dismantled for transport in under a minute.  

When the F-111 has the wings swept beyond 45º the spoiler panels in the wings are ‘locked-out’ and the primary roll control comes from the horizontal stabilators (‘stabs). I have deflected the rudder to the right in order to put in ‘top rudder’, as if the aircraft is performing a knife edge pass at an airshow whilst the ‘stabs have been deflected differentially to give the model the impression of motion, in this case mid-roll.





As I have said, this is a sweet kit which doesn’t have any really bad pitfalls for the unwary. The kit is well detailed out of the box and is a real stunner when some extra work is put in. 

I cannot finish without thanking the following people, without whose help this project could not have been finished, 

Take a bow: 

Andrew Dunstone:  The kit! And info

Kevin Curtis:          Pictures and info

Dave Turner:           The Tail Art decals

Richard Chafer:        The nosewheel door decals

And my long suffering girlfriend  for putting up with me!




Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Anthony Papadis
Page Created 31 October, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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