A-37B Dragonfly (Trumpeter) Build #1 – Parts Layout and the Start

This build is going to be substantially different from my usual builds. I’m going to build this one out-of-box (OOB). If the part isn’t in the box, it’s not going into the model. I’m also going to try to do this in less than a hundred hours (actually, less than fifty, but I don’t want you to think I’m…oh, never mind…I’m crazy). The copyright date of this kit is 2015 so that means I expect the parts to fit. (My…what a novelty!)

That said, this is what I’m starting with:

In looking at the parts, I’m impressed in some areas and not so much in others. This kit comes with a small fret of PE parts, so that’s impressive, and so is the quality of the clear parts. Not so impressive are some of the details. Some of the moldings are a bit thick for scale, particularly the fins of the ordinance:

The painting diagram will be very helpful, particularly since I’ll be using the kit’s decals. Of course, I’ve already noted an error in the painting call-out as well as in nomenclature. One of the bombs isn’t a “bomb” at all…it’s a napalm canister:

The decal sheets look good also, including decals for the instrument panel gauge faces:

I’m going to be building the aircraft shown on the box’s cover art, and that starts with the cockpit. But before I started with that, I wanted to add weight to the nose so that the finished build will sit properly on its landing gear. I used two 4g lead balls (.44 caliber, if you’re interested in that sort of thing):

Before I could get them into the nose, they had to be reshaped. Before they could be reshaped, I needed to know exactly how much room I have. To do that, the nose landing gear bay had to be assembled:

I dry-fit the bay into the nose to see how it fit (perfectly!) and see what had to be done with the lead to fit into the spaces available:

Lead is soft and a hammer is hard and the first smack of the hammer showed me that unless I like sore thumbs (which I do not), best hold this thing with needle-nosed pliers:

Fit the nose bay again and it works, so I did the other ball the same way and superglued them into place:

I taped the fuselage halves and wings together to check the balance and it’s good.

The kit’s seats aren’t bad (but were this not OOB I’d replace them) and I assembled both:

There are separate parts for the rudder pedals and throttles. The throttles needed a bit of seam removal and adding slots that the throttles would slide in:

I added all the bits I needed to so that I could paint, leaving the seats out until later. The instrument panel has three parts that sit on top; the gun sight, back up compass, and a radio:

Didn’t take long:

Since this is being modeled as a combat aircraft in a war zone, there will be wear and dirt, so I started by putting down a base coat of aluminum:

Over that I shot a cockpit gray, added wear, and painted details in the cockpit tub and sides of the fuselage:

I’m going to try using the kit decals provided for the instrument panel. Since decals go on over a gloss coat, their locations needed a gloss coat. Since I didn’t want to involve myself in TINY masking tasks, once I’d shot the flat black (light-corrected with about 25% white added to the black), I brushed the areas where decals go with clear gloss. Good enough:

The plan at present is to pick out the other instrument panel details and switches using paint and colored pencils.

So the parts are sitting on the bench for the paint to set up properly. So far, so good enough…

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