Rolling Thunder diorama blog

Where to begin..

I have no idea how to introduce that new diorama of mine.

It’s going to be slightly smaller than Tsushima II, will be probably turn a few stomachs by the completion.

Oh well, let’s start as usual with some shapes printed on paper , cut out and glued on some plastic. What lookslike cross-sections will be glued on 1mm thick plastic, 2mm for the “support”.

More cutting and about vietnam dios

Though i don’t want to hurt anybody, I have to say it’s been 25 years i didn’t see a diorama  about the Vietnam war that I actually liked.

All the usual clichés are shown in dioramas, but all the ones I saw miss their point, the most important I think, the *whole spirit*.

Ah, if I say “25 years”, it’s because I saw one great one once on a French mag. Technically it was just okay, it showed a couple of M 113s, big puddles and a couple of yanks in one cornerwith Coke bottles. Why did I liked it? Because of the whole color scheme whichwas very orange-red and those big out of balance  puddles. I have been reading countless stuff on Vietnam War when I was younger, all of them tell about thered dust and the big puddles, but what I see in dioramas is well, some anonymous bits of jungle and no light.
Back to the diorama. More cutting on the way, here all thepieces cut, and me starting to do some sort of canopy out of various thickness bits.
ah, did anybody found what plane I am using? Hint: half of all the number built ended up in flames, one of the great success of the Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex I suppose.

Gluing and filling


So that's still the boring part of the SBS, Gluing all the cross-sections of the fuselage together as well as preparingplaster for filling the shape

So let's fill the fuselage with plaster! 


Scuplting and smoothing plaster

More plaster modeling, basically, i workand work the plaster until it is set -in the end I smooth it will water so thati can save a bit of sand paper!

Here is the canopy and the front fuselage -everything except the radome. Of course no way i would buy the Trumpeter kit. I read it was not that accurate,the problem is, will my own  version be *more* accurate than the trumpeter one? hmm, i doubt that


Preparing the vacuform canopy


Time to do the glass canopy -not much willbe left by the end of the build but I still need it.

I used some kind of eraser that was lying there to glue the canopy on it
I pinned some transparent plastic on a wood shape and next picture for tomorrow will show my attempts at vacuforming the canopy.
Important note: I undersized the canopy form so that the final result would getthe right size..  

Vacuform the canopy

Now i can show my vacuformed canopy, notbad, and on my first try too. I slightly burned my hands by actually pressingthe plastic on the bottom of the form so that I was sure the shape would beperfect, those are the risks of this kind of work.

Anyway, now I will try to fit the canopy with the plaster base, and i have onereally good reason to do that.
[but that’d for tomorrow hopefully, he..]

The photoetch fret

Now what you see represents literally hoursof work in front of a computer with a vector drawing software

Thanks to the great pics at Primeportal as well as a few reference I found inbook, I think *this* fret should be enough so that I can get areasonably good representation of a downed F-105 at the end.
You can amuse yourself by trying to figure out what goes where!

Printing the photoetch fret

Once all this work is done you have to actually print the fret on some transparent paper, glue both sides together onthe edges (where the drawn targets are on the pic) and insert a special photoresist coated brass plate –which is figured here still with its stickers attached on both sides.
I know 2 companies in Europe that do these plates: a French one which is overexpensive, and a British one whose mailing charges are true rip off. And both brand don't react the same way to the photoetching process, so beware when choosing.
All in all, once you have all the material such a plate would cost me somewhat 5€.Then you have to insulate the brass under a specially done machine. I am about the worse craftsman imaginable and yet I managed to build that thing so YOU can.
that's 2.30 minutes on each side no more. Then dip the metal in some developing material liquid for printed circuits (you find that in electronics shops), and soon enough you have something worth.. 

Etching time

So here I am back to this photoetch plate.I have to reckon that the French product is -well-somewhat better than theBritish one, more sensible, but has a great downside it's that the varnish ituses is also way more fragile (look at the big cut traces on the plate), sowhat to choose?..

I have French stuff right now, so i'll use it, but how I have to be ultracareful with it when handling!
Sorry no pics of the actual etching, but i had to dip the fret into an etchingtank of my own build, and after 1 hour in the ferric oxide, I got that (below).Yep, that should be enough for my f-105 :)