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boys & girls.
middle of all this I was a young boy growing up. Early on I caught the flying
bug. My father and some of my uncles had been pilots or aircrew in "The Big One"
and their stories were fascinating. At the age of eight I began building models.
Plastic models, balsa stick & tissue models and control-line flying models. As a
budding engineer I was particularly fond of the Monogram "Quarter scale" kits
with working features. When I was about ten my best friend,
This kit is pretty standard fair for the 60's. Raised panel lines, not the best fit, a rough approximation of the cockpit. At least it doesn't have raised lines for the decals.
A few years ago I picked up two Gulfhawks on ebay. One had been started and the other was missing some pieces. Inventorying everything showed that I would be able to get one kit out of the two. There were two sets of decals, the first one being from the original 1960's release which were pretty much worthless and the 1967 release which were the thick ones that Monogram released when it was part of Mattel. As far as I know there are no aftermarket decals for these markings.
I feel the instructions are one of the nicest features of this old kit. 45 steps spread over eight pages with a nice black & white picture showing details of each step. For the correct assembly of the retractable gear these pictures were essential. To a ten year old it would have really been a great experience to follow those instructions and arrive at result with the retractable gear working.
I followed the instructions very carefully as I wanted at least try to have the gear workable if at all possible. I painted the interior Floquil SP Lettering Gray which is a light gray similar to USN Gull Gray without the brownish tinge. It matches what I have always assumed was "Grumman Gray" that was used in the 30's and 40's. I know that USN F3F's were painted aluminum lacquer in the interior however I went with the gray. If anyone wishes to climb up to the ceiling of the Smithsonian to peek inside the Gulfhawk hanging there and prove me wrong you are most welcome.
I did the instrument panel with Mike Grant 1/32 scale individual instrument decals. I just could not bring myself to use the kit decal which was just some white circles on a black background. The modeler who had one of the kits before me had done the cockpit out of the box and after comparing the two I was very happy with my representation. I also added some seat belts made out of paper and some bent fine wire.
The engine also received some detail. The engine from the box is very plain yet is pretty visible thru the open front cowl. I added a wiring harness from bits from my parts box and also did some detail painting of the crankcase and cylinders.
Another concession I had to make was to not do the "hot screwdriver to flare the axle so the wheels would turn". Even in the 60's that was too hokey. I also carefully trimmed off the little nubs that Monogram molded into the wings and fuselage that were supposed to catch the sewing thread they suggested for rigging.
After assembling the fuselage I used a strip of .020 plastruct to replicate the flange that ran along the bottom of the actual plane to join the fuselage. It also conveniently covered most of the fuselage seam! I also opened up the air scoop at the top of the engine for just a little more authenticity. I left off the oversized canopy slide rails as well.
The old silver plastic that makes up the gear and gearing for the retract mechanism is now 50+ years old and is very brittle. I had to do some repairs with CA on some of the small bits along the way.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Since this was a "nostalgia build" I also
decided to use a bottle of Pactra International
Then it was time for the decals. I have built many of these kits from the 70's and have used the old Monogram decals with widely varying amounts of success. This was one of those that was going to fight me all the way. I coated the decals with Microscale liquid decal film and then futured the kit and let it dry thoroughly. I first dipped one of the smaller decals in very hot water to see how this was going to go. It took forever for the decal to release. When applied they would not lay down for anything. Gentle pressure with hot water, Microscale SolvaSet (the red label) and not even my old and cherished Solvaset that I reserve for only the most recalcitrant decals didn't get results. After a few minutes the decals would curl up at the edges. Things were not looking good in Mudville.
I finally resorted to brushing on future
and then gently pressing down with a soft brush as the future set up to get the
edges to lay down. There are a lot of decals on this kit and this method worked
but it took many days. I was not going to let this kit and good ol'
Finally all the decals were on and I gloss blacked the struts and prop followed by Alclad chrome. The kit assembled well and then I rigged it with .007 music wire measured with dividers and then cut to length. I use white glue as it remains flexible for a long time and gives the wires some "give" in case you bump them. The little wire separators were made from some .020 plastruct painted orange. The antenna is EZ Line.
Even though I am not a figure painter I called a friend in my model club for some advice and came up with a passing resemblance to Major Al Williams to stand next to his little hotrod. When I took the kit to our club meeting my friend said the figure turned out pretty well but I didn't do the final dry brush step enough. Some people you just can't please.
All in all I was very happy with this build. I did try to retract the wheels one time but did not have the nerve to get them all the way into the wells. That old Monogram silver plastic is just too brittle.
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