Trumpeter F-105D

By Rick Cotton

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Here's my Trumpeter F-105D kit, with a Black Box cockpit and Albatros decals for "P***y Galore", serving in "Nam in 1965. Overall, a great kit, but with the well-documented sparse cockpit and structurally unsound landing gear, this bird needed changes.

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I replaced the boring kit-supplied office with Black Box's resin replacement, but I should have glued the right sidewall to the rest of the tub before attaching the tub to the fuselage. That's what I get for following the instruction diagram…oh, well, live and learn. Detail on the set is typical Black Box...mind-blowing.

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Having read about others' misfortunes with the kit landing gear, I did a bit of re-engineering...I shaved off all the upper details on both legs and sanded them smooth.I then took some aluminum tubing, just a bit bigger diameter than the gear legs, and trimmed off a couple of pieces about a half-inch long. I epoxied these to the underside of the 105's wing (watch your angles here!) and let them dry hard. I slipped the gear legs into them, replaced the extender struts with brass telescoping rod, and glued everything tight...Viola! The bird's legs now hold, even if it is a bit wobbly. Not a perfect solution,but it at least holds the bird's tail feathers off the ground.

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Speaking of tail feathers, I tried something new with great results. I mixed together a dark black wash of watercolor with a drop of dishwashing liquid to cut down on the water tension, and then added a bit of shaved dark gray and black pastel chalk dust, and then stirred it into a gloppy mess, then brushed the goo liberally onto the inside of the already-painted exhaust petals. The next day, these surfaces were covered with a smoky-sooty blackish gray three-dimensional smoke stain effect that just blew away my previous attempts at this type of weathering. It's cheap and it works!!!!

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If you are planning the F-105 Lawn Dart anytime soon, try these tips...and good luck! It's a challenging bird, but that's half the fun, right?

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© Rick Cotton

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This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016