Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

08 June 2013

ALT 1977 1/400 [8]

Yesterday I finished the tail section. Just some small stuff like the tail stabilizers and the APU exhaust part. Now I am about to tackle the midsection with the wings and the engines and the landing gear. 

To prepare myself for that and just to get a small, quick and satisfying result from an inbetweenie, I decided upon trying to make one of the T-38 Talon trainers which accompanied the SCA and Enterprise on their test flights. NASA uses a whole fleet of these versatile jet aircraft and although its original design, the Northrop F-5, stems from 1962, the USAF (and NASA) still fly the trainer version today.

Richard de Vries, who redesigned the SCA from Canon's 747-400, also made an 1/72 model of the T-38 Talon in NASA livery. I reduced it to 1/400 and gave it a try.
In case you missed it, underneath the cutter there is a very small cone. 
That's the pointy end of the T-38's nose cone.
Lots more pictures after the jump.

Here's the build of the T-38 Talon. It all started with this very tiny end cap of the nose cone. It even was too small to roll around a cocktail stick's pointy end. I had to sand the stick down to a very sharp point to be able to make this piece fit around it. By just a dab of glue at the seam and careful rolling between thumb and finger, using the cocktail stick as a guide, it was rolled and then put aside to cure.   
Nose cone end cap close up.

Nose end and the part where the cockpit will be. 
This section consists of four parts (and one bulkhead at the back).

The hardest part was to keep the pieces aligned straight. I managed but it is just a tiny bit wobbly... 
I used my calliper to get the parts in a straight line.
The main part is the engine section. the two air inlets up front, the two engine exhausts at the back. A very curved fuselage in between. The F-5 and its derivatives are a classic example of the so-called "area rule", a principle that explains how air flows over an aircraft and how to shape the aircraft's surface so that it goes supersonic more easily. It turned out that the aircraft performed much better when the "waist" was shaped like a wasp tail, or if you will, a coke bottle. The F-5 also got this shape. I think it also made the plane, especially the two seater variants, aesthetically very pleasing.
Top part of the engine section. I used a double ball stylus, a kind of embossing tool, to curve the edges. You can see it (out of focus) in the background.

Awaiting its sides and the bottom.

More or less finished fuselage. Every part is curved and edge glued.

Nose and main fuselage joined. Just a little over 30 mm long. (33.18 mm to be more exact)

Canopy added. It really starts to look like a T-38 now. Pity the striping is not completely well aligned here, 
but it is not really easy in this scale and size, I am afraid...

Tail  added.

And there we have one very small T-38 Talon.


I wanted to compare sizes with a shuttle of the same scale so I took my Columbia stack. 
For giggles, I also put my 1/2400 shuttle stack next to it, the smallest thing I ever built. 
I don't think I will be able to make a T-38 on that scale...

With the SCA's tail section. Now it's down to the probably more elaborate midsection of the 747.
That's it for today, I hope you liked it.
Thanks for watching!
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