1/144 B747-8F/-400F Part 1

Hello everyone,

Today I wanted to dedicate this entry to the B747-8F/-400F main deck detail set project.

Prior to getting into details, I would like to take this chance to say that I won’t be able to restock things on the 15th because of the Holy Week which is a national holiday here. As my father will also be on holiday, I will help him with some things we have to do at home plus the post office will remain closed on the following Monday.
The delay won’t be so long as I postpone the restock till next Friday 22nd.

This is the first and most probably the last screenshot of this project as you know I always prefer share things done rather than computerized but for the sake of a general idea, this is what the project is going to be (part of it):

Needless to say this is in its very bare bones, no wingroot, no panel lines yet, simply the basic structure of the fuselage which may also require some fine tuning.

I have decided to make my own portion of the fuselage for several reasons that I would like to mention here.
I know that probably some of you are against this route (because it may increase the costs), but to be honest, in order to make things right, I felt that most of the fuselage had to be re made in order for me to allocate all the areas and details I would like to represent.

The main reasons why I opted for this are:

  • Wing mounting had a conflict with the interior of the original Revell’s kit. The wing root placement is so deep that it goes behind the fuselage, this would interfere with the main deck as it crosses its level.
    The solution is, with the new wingbox/wingroot I plan it to be ready to fit Revell’s wings, but not as deep resulting in the need to remove a few millimeters from the original wing base which can be done with a simple cut.
  • Overall structure of the cargo holds. Now being able to assemble the cargo holds directly on the fuselage, allows me to make connecting points so that everything can fit perfectly, the fuselage will be ready to allocate the cargo holds for the reason that they will be designed to fit in it. This is very different and much easier than having to make a part adapted to the original fuselage with the limitations of the plastic thickness/landing gear/wing root design.
  • Thickness. The plastic thickness does not represent the thickness that can be seen around the edge of the door openings, both for the cargo holds and the side cargo door considering the work on the door edges, also, if you pay close attention, the thickness varies at the nose door opening, whereas the bottom side is thicker than the left/right side.
  • Main deck. Making the main deck having as a reference the fuselage I am making will make things so much easier for me and later for you to assemble altogether. Fuselage will still be joined from both sides, so it is going to be important to make the fitting of the main deck to be completely perpendicular on both sides, so when you put together the whole thing, it fits perfectly.
  • Lighting. The B747 has lights at the sidewalls besides the ceiling, this presents a challenge if lights have to be installed in such places. My solution to this is to make some sort of gutter that goes from the light panel down past the main deck, so wires can be placed and later covered. I am also thinking about the panel lights to be some sort of frosted for a better diffusion of the LED lights.
  • Cockpit. As I mentioned before, the plastic thickness gives away the realism I wish for this project, so by making my own fuselage I can make the cockpit opening thinner for better detailing. The windshield will be presented as a precut acetate, (which may include the multicolor effect known as optical birefringence). What I am still considering is including the cockpit windows frame as photo etched or include a masking template to paint the frame, I am leaning more towards the first option although I may include both, but an assembly scenario I think of is painting the PE frame, gluing it on the acetate and then gluing the set onto position, this won’t require to mask anything (simply cover the interior) in the fuselage painting stage since the windshield can be placed later.

Being able to work directly on the fuselage interior will allow me to make a complete new cockpit as well as upper deck. For this reason and due lights being able to be installed, the correct window openings will be made, as you may have noticed, Revell’s kit has used the passenger window shape/size of the -8i for the upper deck, but actually the -8F uses the old type of windows like the -400 variant.

Fuselage. The advantage of making this portion of the fuselage myself is that I would later be able to make the -400F version.

So basically, with this whole set you will be able to use from the kit; engines, wings, landing gear, horizontal and vertical stabilizers (with the fuselage cone section).
As I am going to make a wing root specifically for the Revell kit, that does not mean that with a little bit of extra work, you can still use Zvezda’s B747-8i for this purpose.

The next step I will take is to print the rear end of the hump section to check if the hump postwork that I need to do will be possible. Also, test the end cone that will fit with the original Revell section, for that area, the bulkhead part will aid in the assembly of both parts.

The hump was not easy to make, the transition in the original aircraft is not “smooth” but you can see from some angles (specially top) that it looks like a dome, the shape is very well defined. Hasegawa 1/200 models nailed this, Revell’s kit is very close so hopefully I can do a test first prior getting any further and see if I can represent it as close to the original as possible.

I am going to take the chance to look at the wing root fairing, because I am not sure Revell’s is 100% similar to the original, so I will take this chance and correct this if needed. Another challenge will be the landing gear bays which will be ready to fit Revell’s landing gears.

That is all for now, I am continuing with the work and with the projects, I am also working everyday on the restock process, for which PE is the remaining thing to make.

Best wishes,
Guillem

Info – 1/12 B737 cabin update Part 1 – GSE 1/200 and 1/72 a reality

Hi everyone,

It has been again some time since my last update, things have been very busy here as it is not easy sometimes to take care of our elderly. I’ve been somewhat burnt and gloomy, however work distracts me thankfully and I’ve been working hard on the upcoming restock which I predict for the second or third week of March, so no updates usually mean no time to post due work.

I am trying to increase the numbers per item, from the usual ten units to at least twenty. A week will be dedicated to finish the base parts, and two will be required for those parts resin-casted and for the photo etched.

Along the way I am also doing some modifications in the making process in order to cope with the production rate maintaining the same quality, so for example, the twobar pushbacks have now their bodies resin casted, which is similar as the AST-1 F method for its body, same body/quality just different production process.

Work on the belt loader TUG 660 “v2” has progressed forward and I expect to make a test and a finished version soon.

I plan to have the TLD ABS 1740 stairs truck handrails resin printed as opposed to resin casted, this makes the process a bit quicker but also allows me to add some more extra handrails in the set. Also, I will probably be changing the 1,5mm metal rod by a plastic one (which I may provide silvered) as the time to cut/sand each metal bar was extending a lot, the brass tubes will still be included.

Basically all units for the AST-1 F600, stairs truck and the Commander FMC15i are nearly done. Production of other items is also on the way.

So as I mentioned earlier, I plan to have a general restocking each month, so if I restock on March 18th, I will be producing again for the third week of April and so on.

As production is taking me some time, progress on the current projects is a bit slow (but steady) so this weekend I was able to dedicate it to the 1/12 B737 cabin project:

Sidewalls will come next together with the forward electronics panel (FMC). Note that the work done so far still requires detail such as screw heads (and all the panels for each section).

Regarding the 1/200 scale GSE, it is a reality as I was able to test it finally. The 1/200 scale will consist in finished GSE items though, so these will be more limited (and perhaps customizable), but for test purposes here is the first F110 next to the 1/144 version and near the USB drive for size comparison:

To my surprise, the model was able to retain all the details, including the figure, the rear engine grid, fire extinguisher and even the holes of the chocks and panel lines.

The 1/72 is also moving forward:

Apologies for the overexposed photo, details are on the engine cover despite they can’t be seen here.

Although the F59 in 1/72 is progressing well, it sure has much more work to do than the 1/200 models.

The cabin shown here needs a lot of modifications and improvements, it is merely a “mockup” to see the overall fitting. The cabin will most surely be resin casted as so is the body and engine cover. A lot of work still required on this one which I will now move on to weekends.

There is so much going on with all the projects that at times I do feel quite overwhelmed as I do not want to disappoint anybody, however I have set myself schedules and times to do things so that I can actually finish something before going to the next.

That is all for now, I will most surely be publishing more news next weekend as I progress with stuff.

Take good care everybody.
Best wishes,
Guillem

747-8F/-400F FWD lowerdeck cargo floor and Belt loader 1/200 update

Hello everyone,

I have been progressing a little bit more on current projects while also trying to adjust a few other things about the current GSE models, more than adjusting, simply re arranging things so that it could be a bit easier to produce/pack them.

On regards the 747 cargo project, both fuselages are now at the same step, the sidewalls are smooth so I expect to do something with them to imitate the lining.
The deck that you can see for the FWD cargo holds is actually my second attempt, as I did one the other weekend, now I have it where I wanted it since the first version was conflicting with the door level.

The door frame will require some modifications at the lowest part, on the real aircraft the wall that contacts with the door (the latches) is vertical, but due the cut that was done and due the fuselage being cylindrical, the face where the latches go is diagonal. There is some work to do on the door area, I will be reworking it next weekend. This is another of the reasons why I want to cast the whole thing, there are modifications that required to be done in a project as big as this, it does not work by simply opening the door, and as you can see, the side walls had to be build directly on top of the fuselage.

The FWD floor will be different for Revell and Zvezda kits on regards length, this is due the kit limitations as I could not push longer with the Zvezda due the plastic part for the nose gear, so that section is a few mm longer on the Revell, won’t be an issue since sight can’t reach both floor ends.

 

The 1/200 GSE models are coming along very good. I have started assembling the belt loader for testing and example purposes and so far so good, I still have to make the PE and add the wheeldrive. This time the belt loader will come with one single figure version, winter without helmet, the reason for this is to ease on stock production, although I may give it a try and do the other variants as the 1/144 scale.

The Houchin GPU C690 is also being tested, soon to be assembled/painted, again for example purposes.

Both 1/200 items are going to be in the store soon since the first productions were coming out very well from the start.

Nedless to say the belt loader pictured here is stil a work in progress, PE is yet not in place, some parts are not yet added and some decals are still missing on the conveyor.

Next month will be very important to me, because there are some things that I want to do that I never have the chance to do, so I will take a couple weeks “off” and try to reorganize/make things.

It won’t be fully holiday for me, I will still be dispatching orders, I will still be making units (slower) but I want to take this time to enjoy modeling, which I nearly forgot and assembly at least one airplane. There is hopefully going to be something tangible on the 1/12 B737 cabin project, it will be time for me to check what are the steps needed for the current projects and prepare the next 1/200 GSE because once things are a bit more equal in the catalogue between the 1/144 and 1/200, I will start the next 1/144 GSE, the FMC15i cargo loader “universal”.

Best wishes,
Guillem

B747-8F/-400F FWD cargo bay progress

Hello everyone,

Today I want to share a very little progress that I am doing with the Forward cargo hold on the 747-8F (at the moment, the -400F will be coming later).

I have been studying carefully the reference photos that I could find as well as a very extensive manual. So far I am trying to reproduce everything that I see from the 1/1 model, for example, the ball rollers of the loading platform are the same number than that of the real aircraft.

The structure panels have this kind of insulation texture, although I am at the moment thinking about making them a bit thinner. There is still some work to do which I expect to do between today and tomorrow, because my goal is to test fit it this weekend on the model.

These photos are a work in progress so I am at the moment working mainly on the platform. To my surprise, to floor is not flat, manual indicates two walkways which are also the place for some sort of wheels, so basically you can see through the airplanes interior and see the structure. Rail tracks and such are placed on top of these structure sections.

So this is how at first, I would like these parts to fit, the fuselage will have the inbuild sidewalls and then the rail system which also includes the entry platform and structure will be placed inside during the building process. If you recall that white plastic floor I showed on the previous entry, this printed part will take its place.

That is all for now, I hope that if things go well I can do some more progress this weekend, I also need to advance with the other fuselage.

Best wishes,
Guillem

747-8F/-400F FWD cargo hold structure

Hello,

Although I haven’t been able to advance as much as I wanted to, I finally finished the main structure of the B747-8F FWD cargo hold.

This is cargo bay is by no means finished yet, it is only the main structure; the sidewalls. The white floor you can see in the images is a “dummy” floor, it was needed to have it in order to make the sidewalls, the floor level was gotten from placing the plastic at the cargo door level.

I wanted to do the same steps on the other fuselage, but I run out of time, for the next weekend I plan to have the same steps done on the other model. There is still some work to do currently with this main structure, and that is to make both fwd and aft walls thicker.

On regards the floor, it will be made with the computer and it will represent the rollers, the locking systems and the platform with the rotating balls as similar as possible to the real aircraft. There is one detail that I like to include and this will be the different beams and sections which have the round shape of the fuselage under the floor level which can be visible in the real aircraft.

One last note for today’s entry, the side walls are now just a flat surface (although angled), but I expect to give them some volume to imitate the lining texture, the upper side will also have their correspondent details, decal markings etc.

 

Hopefully I can post more updates next week!

Best wishes,
Guillem

B747-8F/-400F here we go again!

Dear all,

As I am finishing establishing the new equipment (so far everything seems good, fingers crossed) I am able to produce quicker than before, however, there are a few things that need to be changed since the new equipment has a bit more power, thus some adjustments with the settings need to be done.

Here we have summer and working at the top floor is always… an adventure. I did manage to keep the room cooler so work continues as always.

With this entry I wanted to explain the comeback of the 747 cargo project that was started a long time ago.

I have been cutting Revell’s and Zvezda’s fuselage as I will start working on the cargo holds soon. As you can see, this time I decided to go with another strategy, very similar to a model ship’s hull:

By cutting the fuselage this way, I have full access to the cargo bay, this way it will be much easier for me to work with it and add as much detail as I can, this will also be very useful in the building process since access for painting will be possible.
The main deck will sit on top of two guides I will place on each side of the fuselage (or on top of the side walls), so once the cargo holds are painted, the main deck can be painted/decaled outside and placed on top.

The finished product will include both halves, top and bottom fuselage, however, I will also put available the underside of the fuselage, for those who want to have only the cargo holds on a passenger or a “closed” freighter.

I will not compare the two kits since each has its own pros and cons, but what I will say is that for me, one will be a bit “easier” to work with while the other will require some putty under the belly, but that is not a big deal, as I said, both have pros and cons, some lacks a bit of detail on the tail section while the other has more lines engraved, plastics are different, one sands better than the other.
In the end this will be a resin kit, the center union will already be sanded down, so the only union that will require putty/sand will be the horizontal one. At first, I won’t be including the tail and tail cones,  since the bulkhead will be attached to the end of the fuselage and will rest inside the tail cone.

I wanted to cut the fuselage as further as possible towards the tail, because I would also like to make the BCF or BDSF freighters and those have the original passenger doors and I did not want to miss fuselage section for the 5L door.

Both are fantastic kits, and the cargo set will be done for both equally and at the same time. The reason for making the Zvezda version as well is to convert the -8i model into the -8F model, for several reasons, availability of the model kit, modeler’s preference (for plastic etc) and prices at which these kits can be found.

The two fuselage shapes are practically identical:

Putting the fuselages on top of each other, they match very well, there are however some differences on the cargo doors, I have to double check this, but it is possible that the positioning of the cargo doors is slightly different from each kit. Speaking of doors, I still have to open the bulk cargo door, area which now will be “easier” to work with.

Above image shows a test I did to find the floor level, obviously there is still a lot of work to do, but I am very optimistic with this project and will focus all my energies into it.

The next step will be to scan the model and get the shape of the main deck, once the main deck profile is drawn, I will work with it in 3D and by the time the cargo holds are ready, I will be able to progress with work upwards and onto the other half of the fuselage.

Hope to progress a bit more soon!

Best wishes,
Guillem