1/72 AMT/Ertl F-15 and Hasegawa F-16

Inflight Display 

by Ken Middleton



The display consists of a Hasegawa F-16C in USAF Thunderbird markings, and an AMT/ERTL F-15 in markings of the 102 Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard. The models are 1/72nd scale. I made 2 displays, one for the 102 FW, and one for the USAF Thunderbirds. The displays will be presented to the respective parties at the Otis Air National Guard airshow on Aug 3, 2001, at the banquet preceding the weekend shows. It will truly be an honor! I didn't keep track of the hours, but the project took about 4 months to complete. 


A lot of pre-planning was needed to pull this off.

How were the models going to be displayed?

What materials would be used to support them?

At what point should the brass tube be placed into the models?

What color and type of coating would I put on the bases?

Where will I get the current Thunderbird markings?

What schedule must I follow to meet the deadline?


The kits:

The F-15 is marked as a C model, but is an A, because of the wheels included. It didn't matter because I was making it with the gear up. They were built out of the box, with pilots from the spares box. No weapons were attached, which saved time, but that time was consumed with the Thunderbirds decals and the display bases! There were really no surprises in the building. The camo paint was achieved by laying paper masks made from drawing of the pattern.    

 Early in the build stage, I inserted a brass tube towards the back end to hold the acrylic rod support.
Click on image below to see larger image

The Thunderbirds are both Hasegawa standard F-16C kits. I was fortunate to get the decals for one the C's from Sean Bratton (thanks again, Sean!!).  

 Some of you may remember my constant entries searching for the basically extinct F-16C Tbird kit from Hasegawa. The other decals are a mix of Superscale and AMT/ERTL. The Superscale ones I think were designed for the F-16A prototype. They didn't fit right anywhere. That's why I used the AMT/ERTL, which are much darker. Seeing they are for an A model, I had to touch up with paint. It came out OK. Both were sealed with Future. My first time using it to seal and I brushed it on and it came out great after 3 coats. The decals caused a lot of problems for fit and some of them tore easily, too.  Again, early in the build stage, I inserted a brass tube towards the back end to hold the acrylic rod support. Pilots came with the kits.
Click on image below to see larger image


The displays:

A note about the brass tubes inserted into the models. I gradually increased the size of the drill bit until I got to the size desired. I think it took 4 different sizes. I used a standard power drill, not having a motor tool. I also did it freehand, not having a drill press. The larger bits had a tendency to "catch" the surrounding plastic, causing the model to try and spin. The grooves on the larger bits are spaced further apart and are large enough for the plastic to catch. Take your time if you ever do this. It took me an hour to drill the holes for 4 kits.  The brass tubes were superglued into the fuselage bottoms near the end of completion.

The brass tube was cut with a tube-cutter normally used for plumbing. The only drawback with this is it slightly collapses the ends of the tube. This is easily fixed by using small pliers to reshape the opening. The brass fit easily within each other, but the acrylic rod is not made to the same exact standards. To fit these, some sanding was required.

The base is a pre-made one. I used Minwax stain, followed by a semi-gloss sealer by Minwax, too. The clear sealer needed to be sanded between coats to remove the "pebble" finish. 

Labels were made with Microsoft PowerPoint, and then laminated with clear sheet.   

Click on images below to see larger images



This project had many different highlights to it: some good, and some not so good. Some points on the models and displays I would try to improve on the next time. I tried many new techniques learned here on ARC, and overall, it was very rewarding.


(click on the image below to load the full size photo)

Photos and text by Ken Middleton