In the back seat sits the sage, the guide, the tormentor and big brother; the Instructor Pilot. His construction was an exercise reposing a plastic figure and this poor 32nd scale figure was gruesomely chopped to pieces only to be rebuilt again into his jocular pose. Modification of the figure began with fitting it to seat and cockpit. The narrowness of the kit cockpit foot wells meant that boots were discarded and the legs narrowed to allow the instrument panel and stick to fit between the legs. To give a sense of weight and to get the figure to settle in the seat, the figure’s back and backside were filed down to fit the seat.
Once the fitting was complete it was time to chop the figure apart. The arms were cut at the joints, fingers removed and torso was cut at the waist. Holes were drilled at the ends of each resulting parts to allow copper wire to be added. The wire created an armature of sorts to allow adjustment of the pose. Knowing the IP figure was going to require repeated test fitting I had taken care to get the cockpit parts to fit precisely together, partially due to the excellent engineering on Revel’s part, so that just a pair of rubber bands wrapped around the fuselage halves held the assemblies together. With this temporary assembly I was able to fit the seat into the cockpit, place the figure in the seat and adjust the pose. The arrangement also allowed the canopy to be test fit to ensure the were no inferences with its fit by the figure.
Repairing the figure came after the pose was set and checked for clearance of the aircraft assembly. The major gaps were filled with Apoxie Sculpt. Smaller details like the fingers were made with JB Weld, metal filled epoxy. Sanding and filing followed to blend the repairs with the original figure segments. It should be said this figure would win no awards as a stand alone figure. Most of this work, especially the area around the waist was difficult to see with the canopy in place and the figure’s arms also obstructed view of this area. I also did not add quite as many details last the student pilot figure. For one thing the IP’s helmet as molded was fine for the figure, as an older aviator, he had his trusty well fitted helmet and was certainly an older model that the students. His oxygen mask is off, hanging at his chest and less visible. However, his back was much more in view and required detailing. Strips of aluminum tape were added to depict the back of his survival vest and the canopy risers the ran from the seat to the figure’s torso harness. Finally, the “horse collar” flotation enclosure was added, fashioned from Apoxie Sculpt.
The Slathering of Paint
On to the painting. Often the instructor pilots wear desert flight suits, an this IP was no exception. He ended up in the usual oddness of desert colored flight suit with green and gray torso harness, survival vest and g-suit. Since the IP is a Marine, he wore no patches on the shoulders. The helmet had a personalized decal applied. Admittedly the paint job will win no awards and the camera did me no favors. This was mostly due to not having good paints on hand, and I finally called the finish good enough after painting and stripping the figure three times. He passed muster once the canopy was on and I was pleased enough with that.
Good Under Glass
With the pilots on board it was time to close the fuselage and complete the assembly of the the airframe. That construction brought about the model’s name. I named it; “The Student’s Revenge.”
Shape Shifting, the Airframe Modifications
Written and performed by,
June 20, 2018