Author Topic: F-23A photo recon version  (Read 7859 times)

Offline kerick

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F-23A photo recon version
« on: February 09, 2019, 07:29:03 AM »
As I've mentioned before I'm going to attempt an F-23 recon build. I have the required kit thanks to the Big Gimper so now I no longer have any excuses. I found an interesting article on the changes that would have been made to make an F-23 production aircraft.

 http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24911/this-is-what-a-northrop-f-23a-wouldve-looked-like-if-lockheed-lost-the-atf-competition

I'll make the changes I can without hacking up the whole kit. Inlet shape is very different but that will be easy. I was going to lengthen the fuselage anyway so that's no problem. Changes to the rear fuselage will be much more difficult and would require almost a total scratch build in that area so not likely. At least this makes inaccuracy problems with the kit irrelevant. Biggest problem right now is the paint scheme. All black like an SR-71 or shades of grey? What if I custom mix some grey with a touch of blue? What do you think?
Wish me luck!

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 01:01:24 PM »
Here is the starting pic.



Actually there is some good detail on this kit. The landing gear and ejection seat look pretty good on the sprues. The fuselage looks good overall but the inlets and exhaust need work. The inlets will get changed drastically anyway. There is a weapons bay that's not too bad but it will probably get closed up. I'll be cutting through the middle of that so it will be lost anyway. Maybe tomorrow I will stop planning and start building.

I'm going for high altitude work. Sort of an SR-71 replacement. The YF-23 had higher altitude, higher speed and better stealth than the F-22 so I thought that would make it a good candidate.

Offline finsrin

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 02:00:03 PM »
Definitely a recon bird on beyond the RP-26.

Offline Some Duck with an Ultimax

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 05:35:52 AM »
Sounds like a cool idea - Iíd go with SR-71 black for the scheme, it just looks badass - and reminds me of the black ship with the black controls on the black dashboard in the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.
Never trust a man who tells you that you have too many paints, for he is obviously a liar and will most likely try to deceive you again in future.

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 11:10:36 AM »
I managed to get in some good modeling time today. I've been working on the engine exhausts first. I'm sticking with the prototype exhausts but improving the kit parts. Its goofy how some parts on this kit look really nice with great detail such as the seat and wheels while the exhaust fits terribly. Here's the pics.





These are the areas I had to close up to avoid gaping holes looking into the fuselage.



I cut the fuselage just ahead of the wing. No turning back now!



This would be a one inch extension.



Here is a one and half inch extension. Go big or go home they say so its the one and half inch version.



The weapons bay makes a handy place to frame up the extension. A heavy piece of plastic that won't bend cut the same width as the bay allows me to line up the front and aft sections. The weapons bay will be closed in the final product anyway.



Boxing it in makes it more rigid and gives something for a new skin to attach to. I'll glue the sections together later. Its easier to work on different areas this way. More pics to follow.

Offline finsrin

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 11:16:29 AM »
Sooo cooool   8)

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 11:21:28 AM »
Thanks!

Offline elmayerle

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 11:25:16 AM »
Looking real good, there.

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 01:44:16 PM »
Thanks for the nice comments!

Here's the latest pic of the exhaust.



There is two pieces to the upper part of the exhaust outlet. In the kit they are molded as part of the fuselage. The bottom piece should be separate and is movable on the real thing. So I cut away the molded on part and carved replacements. Looks much better to me. It's amazing how "loose" these parts of the exhaust are on the real aircraft. Maybe to allow for expansion when things get hot. Plus I'm sure they don't want parts with stealth coatings rubbing and scratching each other. The exhaust outlet appears to be covered with heat resistant tiles. I need some graph paper type decals to accurately replicate that.
I've started on the inlets. Shouldn't be too much trouble if I can find some 3/4 inch tubing I can cut in half. I have some PVC pipe the right size but the walls are very thick. Plus gluing could be a problem. Maybe I'll just wrap some sheet plastic around it and soften it with a hair dryer. Probably a half day at work tomorrow so maybe I'll get some more done on it.

Online Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 08:26:33 PM »
Much impressed with your fuselage extension efforts to add in what amounts to a total of 9.0' (2.74 m) to the length of the aircraft.  A shame you are not going to open up the weapons bay to show it off.
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Offline LemonJello

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 10:47:29 PM »
Impressive surgery going on here.  Taking notes for future projects.

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2019, 01:36:00 AM »
I plan on adding a recon pallet to the underside that will cover the weapons bay. Cameras plus maybe SLAR or some such ELINT type devices. At least that will be my story.

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2019, 04:51:46 AM »
This looks like a very brave build and not only am I impressed with the concept, but also that fine looking cut!

If I rolled dice like this, I'm sure I'd be looking for some kind of small scale airliner nose to fit on there.

But you've got the Superior Styrene Surgeon's touch, kerick.

Your badge & certificate are "in the mail".

 ;)

Watching with interest,

Brian da Basher

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 06:39:30 AM »
Thanks for the compliments!
I changed my mind on the SLAR. No good going around in a stealth aircraft and radiating energy to advertise your position. Maybe some other spooky electronic gizmos.
Iíll have to print some decals to mimic the different colors of materials around the edges of openings and what appears to be antennas and such. Can I draw that sort of thing in MS paint or some other easy program? I donít have access to the fancy stuff.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 07:43:46 AM by kerick »

Offline ed s

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 08:04:44 AM »
Looking good. This is such a neat looking bird.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2019, 02:11:03 PM »
SLAR on an LO bird is not impossible.  TACIT BLUE showed that it could be done as it was a testbed for the Assault Breaker radar system that later developed into JSTARS.  I also know of some LO recce drone concepts that carried both emitting and passive sensor systems.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2019, 08:22:30 PM »
Just a leetle stretch! :smiley:
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Offline tankmodeler

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 11:25:04 PM »
SLAR on an LO bird is not impossible.  TACIT BLUE showed that it could be done as it was a testbed for the Assault Breaker radar system that later developed into JSTARS.  I also know of some LO recce drone concepts that carried both emitting and passive sensor systems.
Plus, of course, there are radars that can know a LO aircraft is out there, but can't target it. In an environment where they know you're there, just not exactly where, you can radiate in small doses and on frequencies that they might not be monitoring and still stay hidden. After all, the new LINK 16 communication system radiates constantly but all over the spectrum such that you can't get a fix on it.

But, certainly, planning on doing primarily passive optical recce and SIGINT is a very good plan.

Programs like MS Paint and the like can produce perfectly adequate graphics for decals, as long as you're willing to put in the occasionally excruciatingly frustrating time to do anything moderately complex in some of those programs.

May I suggest "Paint.net" as a free bitmap graphics and photo editing program? Easy to use, but has some advanced features such as layers and some filter techniques that make it pretty powerful for day-to-day editing and creation functions. For simple graphic shapes and the like, it a good choice.

Paul

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2019, 02:29:50 AM »
Looks like Iím behind the times on my knowledge of radars and such. Iíve read where the F-35 has some electronic recon capabilities built into each aircraft.
Thanks for all the info. Iíll try the paint.net and study up on elint

Offline elmayerle

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2019, 03:45:39 AM »
AESA radar on F-35 has some interesting potentials for ELINT.  Too, the DAS system has demonstrated some good visual recce abilities in addition to what the sensors for the EOTS can pick up.

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2019, 10:00:19 AM »
It appears more and more that there is a lot more to the F-35 than the usual fighter plane stuff. Not trying to start a whole discussion on it but it seems thatís another topic to read up on. BTW thanks for all the input.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2019, 02:56:43 AM »
It appears more and more that there is a lot more to the F-35 than the usual fighter plane stuff.

Indeed, that is the case.  I've used the analogy before that comparing the F-35 to other, older platforms on traditional features such as speed, turning ability etc is a bit like comparing a '80s era walkman to a modern iPhone.  Sure, they can both play music but the iPhone also allows you to make calls, surf the web, watch movies, do all sorts of things with various apps whereas the walkman just plays music.  Most, if not all of the F-35's capabilities are less obvious.
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Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2019, 02:49:59 PM »
I said the inlets would be easy....I lied. I'll try some more tomorrow, this time with beer.

Offline kerick

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2019, 08:35:52 AM »
Some progress at last! Once I found a piece of plastic to cut the new inlets out of things got easier. I rummaged around in the two drawers of found objects I have until I came across this cap for some old spray bottle. Tough part was judging the shape of the teeth on the edge of the inlet. Once I made one I had to make another mirror image of the first. The plastic was brittle so I had to be careful. Lots of file work.



Then I cut out the old inlets.



And boxed in the new openings.



Hopefully I can glue them in place and start the putty work tonight.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: F-23A photo recon version
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2019, 01:13:57 AM »
Looking good.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.