Takom 1:35 scale AH-64D Apache Long Bow Attack Helicopter

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Builder 2010

Staff Sergeant
802
1,021
Aug 25, 2016
Louisville, Kentucky
After the success I had in building (and blogging @ Kitty Hawk 1:35 SH-60b Seahawk: Start to Finish Build - FineScale Modeler - Essential magazine for scale model builders, model kit reviews, how-to scale modeling, and scale modeling products) the Kitty Hawk SH-60b Seahawk, I was excited to tackle the Takom kit when I read about its release. Like the SH-60b, this is a large scale model meaning that all the cool helicoptery things—like complicated rotor mechanisms—would be highly detailed and "fun" to build. The Takom kit does not disappoint. I chose the Longbow version because it's very cool, and is an effective weapon in the US arsenal.

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I tend to pick plastic kits based on a few criteria that I've had since I was a kid building a model a week: high parts count, fat instruction book, lots of decals... and a neat subject. This model checks all those boxes. Along with that complexity comes lots of fussing and potential frustration, but hey... as my wife reminds me all the time, "Stop whining! It's your hobby. Nobody's telling you to do it."

As a very modern kit, there's wonderful surface detail and texture and should look great. And also because it's a very modern kit with state-of-the-art molding technology it has parts that are almost too fine to handle, install and hold up in handling. A perfect example is the hand grabs. The instructions tell you to attach them very early in the process. This will guarantee them being broken off many times before the build is complete. Furthermore, even installed later, their survival is dubious at best. I will change them out for bent wire, which I had to do on the SH-60b for the same reason. This time I won't even attempt to use them first, I'll go right to the metal.

In the SH-60b build, I also purchased the Reskit detail-up components (Rotor Head, Rt Hand GE T700 turboshaft engine, Tail rotor and Rear End Hinge assembly). The T700 in this model is nice enough to use and, more importantly, won't require any extra surgery to get it fit into the plastic model's airframe. I'm also forgoing any aftermarket parts for the rotor head, for that too seems to be very intricate out of the box, and much is hidden under housings so the work is never seen.

I may splurge and order the Reedoak resin pilot and gunner figures. They are stunning and would be a great asset. I will super-detail whatever is practical and will be seen. I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of detailing invisible parts of the model.

Today I officially got started. I unpacked the sprues and installed them in my fancy, homemade sprue holder. I carefully crafted this out of scrap cardboard and a hot glue gun. The kit's part count is high and it fools you since the sprue holder has a lot of the alphabet unused. Lots of parts on some of the sprues. The SH-60b used more slots as did the RyeField Sherman A3M2.

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So stay tuned faithful readers. This should be a good one. The fellow that did the review in this fine magazine spent 150 hours building his and I do not believe that he added the vast amount of piping and wiring this model could display. The kit has a bonus "blade folding" kit, so the blades can be realistically folded. I will need this (as I did on the Seahawk) since I don't have the shelf space for a fully unfolded 1/35 large chopper. I didn't know they folded, but imagine it's a lot easier to stuff this bird into a C-17 with them in that configuration.
 
Finished the tub as far as I could go without painting stuff. My decisions to keep it open for access for airbrushing and detail work seems to be correct. I was having trouble with my various tweezers holding small round objects so I took another pair and made a small mod with a diamond burr and the Dremel. The group grips nicely and the parts don't go "Sproing!" all over the shop.



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I put the parts on my Ed Tackett designed parts holder and shot them with NATO black. I painted the tub holding it in my hand.

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While this was all drying I drilled the openings in the fuselage sides based on the instructions for this particular iteration of Apache. The sides had a few sprue attachments that needed snipping and cleaning. I test fit the fuse sides together to get an idea of how they mated. They mated well!

Two drills were called out: .7mm and 1.0mm. I used the English equivalent of them and drilled them out and lightly deburred the outside hole. One of the holes had to be drilled at the junction of the two hull sides. I hand-held the sides and drilled the hole successfully.

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I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Here in Louisvile we're having wonderful weather for a change.
 
After viewing the videos and reading reviews it was quite clear that decals would be a problem. I chose to use the screen decals for the instrutment panels. To ensure the thick carrier film was not a problem, I used the #11 blade to slice through the film to separte the colored part of the decal right at it's demarcation line. I didn't cut all the way through the decal paper since you need something to hold onto.

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This let the decal sit nice and tight against the screen boundary. I used Tamiya clear as a base coat for the decals and then, after application, Microscale Microlsol. They did settle down nicely.

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I'm not gloss coating the screeens. They are not glossy in real life. After decal application I started the detail painting. The panels ARE NOT colorful. There is very little color other than matte black and light gray. I painted the knobs Tamiya sky gray, and the tiny toggles just a touch of Molotow chrome. The dots are so tiny you can't tell what color they are. If fudged the three steam gauges to the right of the pilot's rt hand screen.

I painted the seat cushions off the seat pans and when dry glued them together with Testor's tube cement.

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Tomorrow I will go back and do some light weathering and wear marks on things. I still have to order the Reedoak pilot and gunner figures.

While that was all drying I started on the complicated and very delicate rotor head. I already broke one of the very fine extensions on one of the parts. I don't actually know when it broke. One minute it was there and the next gone. Much of the rotor is completely hidden by the fuselage fairing so I don't know if it's critical to replace it with wire. I have the skills to duplicate that portion of the part. I'm just not sure it will be worth the effort.

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The instructions for this portion are difficult to interpret and I trial fit it together multiple times before I understood just how it went together. The cylindrical part's spindle is slightly oversized for the hole and in attempting to push them together was probably what broke that tiny rod. I should just open up the hole with the properly sized drill. I did attempt to slightly reduce the size of the pin.

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As I was starting to get frustrated and it was dinner time, it was a good time to quit before I broke anything more. I'll tackle it again tomorrow and probably will re-make some of the tinier rods out of metal. Styrene doesn't work for everything!
 
I did drill that tight pin hole larger so it would no longer be a press fit. It was a #54 drill. I then made a metal connecting rod to replace the missing one. I first had to cut out the remains of the existing rod to leave an open clevis to accept my homemade part. To make these kinds of things, I take the phos-bronze or brass wire and crush an end flat in the powerful jaws of a Vise Grip. My vise grip was my dad's and is probably 60 years old. They don't wear out. I squish it in the jaws while tightening the screw until it gets as thin as I want it. I turn it over, clamp in different places on the on the jaws so the piece is flattened evenly. Since this piece needed a round end with a little bit of thickness, I added some solder on both side. Final shaping was done holding the shaft in a needle nose and filed both in thickness and width. I rounded the end.

I used a scratch awl to make a fine center punch mark and used the 0.022" carbide drill to create the pin hole. The other end, after capturing the length for the existing one, had the same treatments and then a piece of rod soldered in to simulate the pin on that end.

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I had to drill the bracket with the same drill to accept the pin. I first cut off the fake pin's nub and filed it flat so it would accept another center punch mark for an accurate drilling. I had to further reduce the radius of my rod's end so the two holes would align and accept the real pin.

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Putting that vertical lever on was a challenge and the glue joints of the cross pin kept breaking loose. I finaly got it together and decided to let in cure fully before finishing the assembly tomorrow (or wednesday). My younger (19 year old) grandson and I are installing a new garbage disposal. Depending on how long that takes will determine how much shop time I'll get.

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Waiting in the wings is another part of this complex set of swinging levers and frames that provide the cyclic and collective inputs to the swash plate on the rotor shaft. Helicopter mechanics are something else! This drawing, like others, is misleading. The leftmost arrow descending down from part F41, does NOT interact on that pin on F39. It falls way wide of it. I'm assuming that arrow just shows the direction the part must be assembled. I've read complaints about the instructions and they're not wrong.

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Till tomorrow.
 
With a fresh start I tackled this ridiculously complex and fragile rotor head. I had just played guitar for about a half hour. I'm very out of practice and pledged this weekend that I'm going to start playing again to build up my strength and callouses. I was inspired after seeing an old Austin City Limits show featuring Stevie Ray Vaugh (RIP) at his last appearance in 1989. Why am I telling you all this? Because the exercise and being a little low on blood sugar left me with very shaky hands and I was about to finally assemble the lever bracket assembly I started yesterday.

I have a ton of images today, and a lot of dialog since this was one heckuva session, so strap in... And paraphrasing the words of Obi Wan Kanobi remarking on the Tatooine Cantina, "things could be a little rough"!

After trimming the homemade link a scosh more I was able to get is all together. I ended up drilling more 0.022" holes and pinning the final connection instead of relying on the tiny plastic protrusions. It's now a reasonably stable assembly.

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After this, there is a mast base and rotor head plate (don't know what to call all of these sub-parts). Around the mast go a sequence of angular trusses that brace the rotor head. Each is different in their upper connection helping to avoid getting them in the wrong place. They fit nicely and caused no trouble. It lulls you into thinking that this could all go together easily. Wrong!

Here was the first one. I cut each individually off the sprue, cleaned it up and attached it before doing the next, just to keep things tidy.

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Here's the complete array installed. Note that the upper pin area is different for all four so even if you're confused, if observant, you could figure it out.

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Yesterday's assembly attaches to this with two plastic pins. At first I didn't glue it, not knowing for sure how it would settle in, but later felt it was okay to fasten it since it was moving around too much and not helping at all.

When this was installed the three operating links went in. These were very fragile with the upper clevis end almost being to fine to work. Comparing it to the #11 blade shows the lack of mass quite well.

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Amazingly, all three links went in without hassle or breakage.

The mast then slipped in between and glued into the base with a key to align it. BEFORE PUTTING IT IN PLACE YOU MUST PUT PART #F52 ONTO THE MAST. This part is supposed to be NOT GLUED. That's a real challenge as you're suppose to install swashplate parts below it and they must be glued.

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Just underneath the rotating connection plate (possibly for the collective pitch) went a two-part swash plate (term??) with two frail links that tie into the lever assembly installed earlier. The swash plate without the pins goes in first and engages another lever in this assembly. This was a horror, but not the worst horror. You are supposed to glue it in place WITHOUT gluing that collective plate above it. My first attempt with liquid cement did just that...glued it! I was able to spin it enough to break the not-complete-bond and get it moving.

There is a lug on the i.d. of these two shells that is supposed to engage in a similarly shaped slot in the main shaft. They are different sizes so you can't mix up what goes on which side. As I fussed with getting the rest of this in place, it kept breaking loose... over and over and over...

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Then came the real horror show. The last one was just a "coming attraction". In addition to putting the second shell in place into its rectangular slot, you must also captivate two tiny connecting links.

Attempt #1: I glued the two links into the pins on the non-attached shell and tried to manipulate it into position while catching the lower end of these links into another clevis on the lever mechansim. Not only didn't it work, knocking the previously installed shell off, but it ended up breaking one of the links in half. I then crafted a replacement matching the length and design of the two ends: one enclosed and one with an open slot.

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Attempt #2: Same scenario except this time one plastic and one metal link fell off.

Attempt #3: Plastic link #2 gave out. Getting a bit scary now, isn't it?

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With my vast experience making metallic links, I quickly crafted another the same length as the first one.

I then made a couple of changes so I wasn't doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. Hey! I'm obsessed! I'm not crazy!

I also removed the rectangular lug on the one shell that I was having trouble installing since the lug was not fully entering the mating slot and was preventing the two shells from meeting properly.

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Here's the slot that wasn't working.

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Problem solved! This shows the short pins which I subsequently abandoned.

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I also realized that attempting to hang the links on those tiny plastic pins and expecting it all to hold together as I kept manipulating the parts simply wasn't woring. I drilled the plastic pins out of the one shell and fully drilled out the dimple ont the other. I originally cut the metallic pins correct length, but this was just as hard to assemble as with the plastic pins. I wised up and used long pieces of 0.022" phos-bronze that I could thread through both shells and then guide them together.

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Once I got all these mods in operation, I was finally able to bring all the parts together. I brought then into engagement gradually, making sure that the links were engaging their correct clevises in the lever block.

Once I got the two halves positioned, I was able to swing the links up into engagement without worrying about all the parts falling into my parts catcher.

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Here's the reverse view showing the lnks into their respective locations. You really have to master the skill of drilling tiny holes in akward places to do this work. BTW: my hands steadied out after a snack and some Gummi Bears.

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And here's the fully assembled lower control end of the main mast. There's another crisis waiting around the corner. That upper rotating part has two little ears with slots to receive other links. Both of these ears have one half broken away and will need to be replaced. I believe I can either form it with Bondic UV curing resin or make it out of PE fret material. Either way, I'll get it fixed.

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That last bit took well over an hour to resolve. I can see why some folks are just leaving all this stuff off the model since it's out of the sight line. I also can imagine that a lot of modelers just don't have the experience making these small jewelery-like parts. If I had it my way, I'd replace all the plastic links with metal. I believe when Neil on videos got to this step, he wrestled with it all off camera. Granted, my metal links are a bit simpler in design than the kit's, but when painted, no one will notice. I had to do this a lot of the Seahawk too for the same reason. If I had a swiss-type lathe that can turn tiny long parts, I'd machine them all.

I think this assembly has reached the point where it can be painted. I believe it can be painted all NATO black. Part of the main shaft is polished steel, I will try and use Bare Metal Foil for this part. When you look at the mechanical complexity of a helicopter you wonder how they ever fly at all...

The color looks pretty dark. Anyone have accurate data on the rotating parts color? In this image it looks awfully like Olive Drab... Also note the polished portion and shiny ends of fasteners and link bearings.

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I'm glad this part is over. It was truly a challenge!
 
After airbrushing the rotor head and deck Tamiya Olive Drab, I prepared some thin aluminum foil to finish the steel portion of the rotor shaft. I have some German Aluminum foil that's very thin. That roll is over 20 years old and came back with us when we repatriated back from our German sojourn in 2002. It's thinner than standards Reynolds. I didn't have bright polished Bare Metal Foil. I do have the matte aluminum, but didn't want to use it in this application.

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To make the foil adhesive, I coated it with old standby Microscale Foil Adhesive.

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I actually measured the different areas area with a dividers and made each strip long enough to overlap the ends with reasonable extra. I then picked out all the shafts and pivots with Molotow decanted chrome with a very fine detail brush. I buy eyeliner brushes from Amazon to do this. They are very cheap, about $8.00 for 100 of them. They're impervious to solvents and when they don't work well anymore I throw them away. I like how this turned out. As I noted, the metal links do not look out of place now that they're painted.

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I tried this assembly into the fuselage. The piece keys into the side with very positve lugs, and the cockpit locates well too. As you can see, you can't see much!

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A lot has to happen before I button up the fuselage, but it was worth checking. I also did the final treatment to the cockpit and glued it together. I did very light weathering on the edges, rudder pedals and gloss coated the screens. I had trouble getting the masking tape off the lower edges of the armor glass dividing panel and scratched the clear styrene. I brushed a coat of Future on it to hide the scratches. I also put a wash on the seat cushions. I know there are aftermarket items that could even notch the cockpit up a level, but frankly, it's seems sufficient out of the box.



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The seat cushions are nothing special. i wish there was some more texture to them. The left seat has the wash.

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Then came the kit's PE seat belts. There are no instructions on their use. I first treated them in vinegar to micro-etch the surface to accept paint. I then treated them with JAX brass brown treatment which also chemically treats the surface.

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I then hand painted them neutral gray. Photos show that these belts can be gray.

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I have no idea just how they're going on, and I'm not a big fan of PE seat belts since they can have a mind of their own. I supposed I could have annealed them beforehand so they would be soft enough to conform to any shape I want, but I didn't. Wish me luck. I'll molotow the hardware after bending.

While I was waiting for things to dry I was re-watching Nigel's AH-64E buildk and was catching some more hints. He really went out of sequence on some things that seem to work. He installed those swash plate on the mast before installing that into the rest. That would have helped alot. So make a note of that. INSTALL SWASH PLATE HALVES BEFORE ATTACHING MAST TO REMAINING ROTOR ASSEMBLY!
 
I haven't done any Apache work for a while. If you're following along on the 5"38 project you can see why I haven't. I also haven't done any work becuase I needed those seat belts. Thanks to a tip from one of my readers, I got these on eBay and they'll be perfect. We're heading out for a week trip on Tuesday so work will begin again after that. They're just was the doctor ordered as long as I don't lose any of them.



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I'd hold off making any rash decisions until I get further along. This kit is highly detailed, but it seems to be pretty challenging.


Installed the new belts today and they are vastly better than the pathetic PE with the kit. I don't know why Takom bothered to include it. It might have been better to mold them into the seats.

Here's a nice comparison: I won't tell you which is which. You can figure it out.

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With the belts installed I was able to finally mount the seats. By default and installing the fancy seat belts, I'm saving my money and not spending $50+ on the wonderful Reedoak crew. I'm building the 5" turret and need to keep my powder dry to cover the costs of that project.

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I then got back to work on the fuselage.

Based on Nigel's video, he found that Part P25 which is installed on Page 20, must be installed on Page 5. You can't put the duct assembly in place without P25 being in place, and it's not an easy part to install requiring some pushing and shoving.

Here is part P25 glued to the exterior.

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The fit was a bit ragged and needed a tad of filler. Then you assemble the 2-part duct and insert it from the rear. It's supposed to nest tighly into the open space on the outside, but couldn't quite get there. This is what the fit it looked like.

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Here's how it looked after filling and sanding.

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And here's the ducting on the inside. This ducting is for an APU and the starboard side is the intake I'm assuming.

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There's similar opening on the port side which I'm assuming is the APU's exhaust. However, nothing is mentioned on page five. It shows the assembly going in on page 19 FROM THE OUTSIDE. Again, it's tricky fit that would require handling the model a lot and there's internal ducting (Parts C11 & 12) for this one too. I decided to install it now for the same reasons as the opposite side.

I assembled the three parts with the duct glued to the exterior fairing C60.

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T DOESN'T GO IN WELL FROM THE OUTSIDE. If you do try and force it, the duct doesn't bend around the corner and breaks the glue joint. Experiece talking. So I did it like the previous one and install the fairing on the outside and the duct from inside. Further reason to install in on Page 5. Page five is where you join the fuselage halves.

Here's the outisde view: The duct has a tiny gap. I'm thinking that all of this is going to be hidden by the engine exhaust housing.

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And from the inside.

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The last thing I did was install the tail rotor gear box housing. You need to install this BEFORE joining the halves. It has a small fairing and a small PE screen that goes in. All this done before gluing it in place.

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It's installed in the starboard half. There is a plastic tail rotor shaft that also goes in before closing it up. I'm not happy with the plastic and may turn a piece out of brass that should not break when you look at it. The vertical fit is excellent. The fore and aft fit looks a tad long, and I will shave it down when it's fully cured.ng. This is the insde view of the starboard half.

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And the exterior.

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We're heading out for a week trip Back East, so any work will have to wait until then. Happy modeling!
 
Today, I got the fuselage closed and was pleased by the general fit of the Takom kit. it was much better than the Kitty Hawk Seahawk I had completed earlier.

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Almost no filling is going to be needed on the model. The tail fit nicely as did the joint at the front.

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Likewise, the two bottom panels went on very tightly, Tamiya-like.

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Lastly, I assembled the wonderfully-detailed the 3D printed Reskit Chain Gun. I'm pretty good at 3D printing. These guys are working at another level. I would like to see what machinery, setting, etc. they're using. I get some amazing prints, but they are just a tad better than my best. That said, it's a fairly brittle resin and you have to be very careful removing the supports. One of the guard rails broke and I repaired it with Bondic. Bondic is a similar UV resin as they use to make the parts and welds parts together or fills holes. But you must have a way to shine the curing UV light on the resin. If it's buried in the joint, it will not cure. The heat shield of the barrel is actually proud of the barrel!

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This very delicate part will NOT go on the model until very near the end. Otherwise, I will break it!

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Some caveats… I'm not intending this model to be a show entry. It's for a friend who's into this aircraft, so it's going to be "mostly" out of the box. I use quotes because I've already added that Reskit Chain Gun. It's having exposed engines and then all the piping that I can add if I was so inclined. It's the same powerplant as used in the Seahawk, and y'all know what i did to that one. It got a silver metal at our Regional adjudicated show last September. This one is not going to be that spectacular. That said, I have AMS and therefore, can't be held responsible to any sudden urges to super-detail stuff.

Yesterday, I got the front optical sighting system built. I inadvertently cut off several nubs that I mistook for sprue remains that were in actuality alignment and pivot points. I fixed one by substituting a metal rod all the way… a much better solution anyway. For the other I put the part in from the front and managed to position it well enough.

First the metal rod substitution.

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The male pin was on the top of 1/2 of the drum. I filed what was left of it level with the surround surface, made a center punch mark with an awl and then drilled it all the way through and out the other side so the rod would be properly aligned.

The bottom had a female divot which was supposed to be captured by the pin in the bottom bracket. It was very dubious. With the metal, it ain't go'n anywhere.

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The lens on the top optical unit had two side bumps that were to key into respective divots on the two plastic shells. The instructions, which I didn't read as thoroughly as I should, showed the plastic lens being attached to one side and then captivated by the other. I glued them together first thinking the lens went in from the front as the other two, and left the bunps on, only to find that I couldn't pass the lens through the opening because the bumps got in the way. I filed them off and spent way too much time positioning the lens in the opening. It kept flipping or dropping inside. Persistence won the day. I used Testor's Canopy Cement to hold all the glazing.

For the telescopic optics. I painted the chamber flat black. When dry went over the lens areas with Dull Coat to seal the black. Then applied Molotow Chrome and let this dry.

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I added clear green and a mixture of clear red and blue to the two lenses. That ended the session.


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The glazing for this one goes on next. I'm deciding on how to mask them. I'm vascilating between liquid mask or trimmed Tamiya tape. I've had mixed results using either method. Should have painted the insdie of the larger opening flat black. Didn't realize you could peer into that space.
 
Had a week off... not by choice. Two weeks ago, I had a normal Medicare Wellness Checkup. It was PERFECT. All the numbers were centered in the green. I've been quite healthy lately without having a cold in almost four years and the mildest case of COVID anyone could ask for. My doc suggested getting an updated pneumonia shot, PCV 20. I normally have no reaction to vaccines.

That was on Wednesday. Friday night my wife and I went for a walk. I was more tired than usual at the end. Saturday night it started in earnest. Ran a fever, had terrible chills, headache. Fever got worse over the next two days, and then I got a rash on most of my abdomen and extremites. Then a tight chest, light cough, bloody nose, etc. I went from being very healthy to being completely miserable.

Went to the doc, had blood work which showed systemic reaction to vaccine. Got steroids. Slowly, things began to normalize. it's been 10 days and I'm almost back to normal. RIDIDCULOUS!

It seems I have "serum sickness". It's an identifiable immune response to a specific protein antigen in some medication. Usually it takes two weeks to show up. However, if you've been exposed to this antigen in the past, it can take 2-3 days... just like me. It self-cures, but don't have that vaccine again! Most likely it was because I had Prevnar 15 a few years ago. My doc and I need to find out specifically what caused it, since other vaccines may have this protien also.

So I'm finally back in the shop and got some Apache work done.

The mask set (AllScale from Czech Republic) is very precise. There are masks for the interior and exterior of all glazing. The interior frame has rounded corners reflected in these masks.

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And the outside masks have squared-off corners. There was just some tiny trimming needed on a few edges with a brand new #11.

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I airbrushed the interior frame with NATO black. I was able to remove the masks on the side glass, but left it on for the roof glazing until I got more detailing done on it. This is a model for a friend and not going to be a contest entrant. Therefore; I'm going easy on the detailing. To that end, I'm leaving off a lot of the doodads inside the cabin roof, and I'm not opening the doors. The model is much more secure with the doors in the closed position. With them closed, the roof is hard to view and therefore, I'm leaving stuff out.

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The roof does have some hand holds. (4). I used a J-B Weld Structural cement since it works well with painted surface and doesn't craze plastic. I had three installed and the four was just sitting on the bench in front of me. THEN IT WASN'T! Gone! I made a replacement out of 0.020" phos-bronze wire. Glued it in, and then... one of the plastic ones I previously glued in was now GONE ALSO! What the heck! Made another metal one.

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This glue takes several hours to fully set up, so I'll install the glazing tomorrow. The decal set, as I noted last post, had masks for the front optics.

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I then glued this assembly onto the nose with good ole Testor's tube cement, which works well on slightly uneven joints.

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I entertained the though of filling that seam, but then after looking at some prototype images, found that it's not a very tight seam and I left it alone.

More assembly and painting will go on tomorrow.
 
Worked today... well... sort of... spent half the time searching for a part. More about that later.
Got some smalll details put on the roof and proceeded to damage the small vertical antenna. So I cut it off and will replace it with music wire later on. The other detail also got whacked, but survived.

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With the top roof's handles secure, I glued it in with Tamiya liquid. Front and back went in nicely. There part over the mid-tub armor panel was gapped and needed some special attention.

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I glued in the pilot side glazing using Testor's Canopy Cement. I like that stuff since it does hold reasonably well, can clean up easily, doesn't craze and, G_d forbid, you have to remove the part, you can. Today I did. A couple of pieces of tape held it in place until it cured.
The Strb'd side needed Part P53. It's specifically shaped filler piece that goes in between the moveable frames and has provision for a hand grab. I cut off one end, and when the other end cut... whoosh! Gone! It took off to the left in an elevated trajectory. I didn't expect this part to be a flyer. I didn't hear it land anywhere. I usually try and listen if a part hits anything.

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I cleaned and emptied EVERYTHING. I checked my clothing, shoes, etc. I emptied a chaotic box of scrap wood and junk under the workbench (it needed it anyway... badly), swept everywhere, checked every nook and cranny of my other main workbench. This puppy was in the multi-verse.
So I fabbed a filler piece and glued it in. It lacked the surface details of the real thing, but did the job. It wasn't as easily as it looked since the slot was not uniform width all the way down.

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There was also some gapping at the top of the front glazing and I filled this with styrene to be trimmed later.

I started working on the two sponsons. I'm not opening the equipment bays. My friend is not a critical model observer and I don't want to spend the many hours to detail these areas if they're not appreciated. Furthermore, I have some big stuff in the queue and want this model done by the end of July when I deliver the turret model to the New Jersey.

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It was quitting time (5:00) and when changing out of my shop shirt, I reached in the pocket and guess what I found? P53! I swear I checked that pocket early on in the search. Absolutely drove me nuts!

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Brings up being able to rip out work when glued with canopy cement. I removed both glazing pieces and will install the correct part tomorrow.
 
With a fresh start I tackled this ridiculously complex and fragile rotor head. I had just played guitar for about a half hour. I'm very out of practice and pledged this weekend that I'm going to start playing again to build up my strength and callouses. I was inspired after seeing an old Austin City Limits show featuring Stevie Ray Vaugh (RIP) at his last appearance in 1989. Why am I telling you all this? Because the exercise and being a little low on blood sugar left me with very shaky hands and I was about to finally assemble the lever bracket assembly I started yesterday.

I have a ton of images today, and a lot of dialog since this was one heckuva session, so strap in... And paraphrasing the words of Obi Wan Kanobi remarking on the Tatooine Cantina, "things could be a little rough"!

After trimming the homemade link a scosh more I was able to get is all together. I ended up drilling more 0.022" holes and pinning the final connection instead of relying on the tiny plastic protrusions. It's now a reasonably stable assembly.

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After this, there is a mast base and rotor head plate (don't know what to call all of these sub-parts). Around the mast go a sequence of angular trusses that brace the rotor head. Each is different in their upper connection helping to avoid getting them in the wrong place. They fit nicely and caused no trouble. It lulls you into thinking that this could all go together easily. Wrong!

Here was the first one. I cut each individually off the sprue, cleaned it up and attached it before doing the next, just to keep things tidy.

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Here's the complete array installed. Note that the upper pin area is different for all four so even if you're confused, if observant, you could figure it out.

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Yesterday's assembly attaches to this with two plastic pins. At first I didn't glue it, not knowing for sure how it would settle in, but later felt it was okay to fasten it since it was moving around too much and not helping at all.

When this was installed the three operating links went in. These were very fragile with the upper clevis end almost being to fine to work. Comparing it to the #11 blade shows the lack of mass quite well.

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Amazingly, all three links went in without hassle or breakage.

The mast then slipped in between and glued into the base with a key to align it. BEFORE PUTTING IT IN PLACE YOU MUST PUT PART #F52 ONTO THE MAST. This part is supposed to be NOT GLUED. That's a real challenge as you're suppose to install swashplate parts below it and they must be glued.

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Just underneath the rotating connection plate (possibly for the collective pitch) went a two-part swash plate (term??) with two frail links that tie into the lever assembly installed earlier. The swash plate without the pins goes in first and engages another lever in this assembly. This was a horror, but not the worst horror. You are supposed to glue it in place WITHOUT gluing that collective plate above it. My first attempt with liquid cement did just that...glued it! I was able to spin it enough to break the not-complete-bond and get it moving.

There is a lug on the i.d. of these two shells that is supposed to engage in a similarly shaped slot in the main shaft. They are different sizes so you can't mix up what goes on which side. As I fussed with getting the rest of this in place, it kept breaking loose... over and over and over...

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Then came the real horror show. The last one was just a "coming attraction". In addition to putting the second shell in place into its rectangular slot, you must also captivate two tiny connecting links.

Attempt #1: I glued the two links into the pins on the non-attached shell and tried to manipulate it into position while catching the lower end of these links into another clevis on the lever mechansim. Not only didn't it work, knocking the previously installed shell off, but it ended up breaking one of the links in half. I then crafted a replacement matching the length and design of the two ends: one enclosed and one with an open slot.

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Attempt #2: Same scenario except this time one plastic and one metal link fell off.

Attempt #3: Plastic link #2 gave out. Getting a bit scary now, isn't it?

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With my vast experience making metallic links, I quickly crafted another the same length as the first one.

I then made a couple of changes so I wasn't doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. Hey! I'm obsessed! I'm not crazy!

I also removed the rectangular lug on the one shell that I was having trouble installing since the lug was not fully entering the mating slot and was preventing the two shells from meeting properly.

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Here's the slot that wasn't working.

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Problem solved! This shows the short pins which I subsequently abandoned.

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I also realized that attempting to hang the links on those tiny plastic pins and expecting it all to hold together as I kept manipulating the parts simply wasn't woring. I drilled the plastic pins out of the one shell and fully drilled out the dimple ont the other. I originally cut the metallic pins correct length, but this was just as hard to assemble as with the plastic pins. I wised up and used long pieces of 0.022" phos-bronze that I could thread through both shells and then guide them together.

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Once I got all these mods in operation, I was finally able to bring all the parts together. I brought then into engagement gradually, making sure that the links were engaging their correct clevises in the lever block.

Once I got the two halves positioned, I was able to swing the links up into engagement without worrying about all the parts falling into my parts catcher.

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Here's the reverse view showing the lnks into their respective locations. You really have to master the skill of drilling tiny holes in akward places to do this work. BTW: my hands steadied out after a snack and some Gummi Bears.

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And here's the fully assembled lower control end of the main mast. There's another crisis waiting around the corner. That upper rotating part has two little ears with slots to receive other links. Both of these ears have one half broken away and will need to be replaced. I believe I can either form it with Bondic UV curing resin or make it out of PE fret material. Either way, I'll get it fixed.

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That last bit took well over an hour to resolve. I can see why some folks are just leaving all this stuff off the model since it's out of the sight line. I also can imagine that a lot of modelers just don't have the experience making these small jewelery-like parts. If I had it my way, I'd replace all the plastic links with metal. I believe when Neil on videos got to this step, he wrestled with it all off camera. Granted, my metal links are a bit simpler in design than the kit's, but when painted, no one will notice. I had to do this a lot of the Seahawk too for the same reason. If I had a swiss-type lathe that can turn tiny long parts, I'd machine them all.

I think this assembly has reached the point where it can be painted. I believe it can be painted all NATO black. Part of the main shaft is polished steel, I will try and use Bare Metal Foil for this part. When you look at the mechanical complexity of a helicopter you wonder how they ever fly at all...

The color looks pretty dark. Anyone have accurate data on the rotating parts color? In this image it looks awfully like Olive Drab... Also note the polished portion and shiny ends of fasteners and link bearings.

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I'm glad this part is over. It was truly a challenge!
I can't even build a sandwich.
 
I'm bringing this model to Philly with me when I deliver the turret model. I'm building it for a friend. If you choose to build it with blades folded you have to leave off the Long Bow radar. The folded config is only used when airlifting or shipping the Apache. And the Long Bow would create head room problems. It's an entirely manual affair, unlike a Seahawk where blades are routinely and hydraulically folded for shipboard stowage. It would be easier to build with blades extended since the folded blade support system is finicky, complicated and looks a bit frail. I know that the Seahawk's support frame was a fragile mess that kept breaking right up the show last September when i got a 2nd place award for Helicopters. That said, I don't believe my friend has the display space for a 1:35 Apache with it's full rotor width.
Today, I glued the errant part P53 in place.

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I cleaned off the dried canopy cement from yesterday's attempt and then reglued the glazing with the P53 properly seated below the glazing. It's why the glazing had to come off. The glazing sits on a lip on the P53 which had to go in first. There's a lot to do before O.D. goes in on those windows. I trimmed those styrene strips in prep for painting.

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Got back to work on the sponsons. There's two PE grills that go in on each side which are retained by a narrow plastic frame. Went in without too much fussing.

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I read and made notes on all the review builds of this kit. One of the things that caught my eye was installing the stub fins now instead of much later in the assembly. If you wait, they will not go on! The fit is nested within the sponsons so you need to do them kind of simultaneously. I assembled the two wings and did some trial fits to the fuze. It's a very tight fit. They also say that it's wise to slightly thin the wing's broad tab so it's a nice sliding fit. Right out of the box it's almost a press fit and all that pushing and shoving can lead to bad things.

Here's the port side wing alone. That upper fairing is a separate part.

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The upper fairing completely fills the opening on the sponson and would be very difficult to install if the sponson was fully glued in place.

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And here's the sponsor during a trial fit. The Takom kit has very nice Tamiya-like without needing little or no filler. This is the strb'd side. Can't glue this in yet. You have to capture the main landing gear inside before buttoning up. That, of course, complicates things. I purposefully clipped off the pitot tube since it was bent sideways. I will replace all these tiny tubes with piano wire later in the build..

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Got the sponsons installed. It's a very challenging aspect of the build and lots of folks have written about it... including this author. It's theoretically a snap fit, but to accomplish that you much manipulate many things at once. Before that I replaced one of the pitot tubes with an assembly of Albion Metals telescoping micro-tubing. It's all held together with thin CA. I have this tubing in Aluminum and brass, and it's very useful in making miniature pipe fittings for super-detailing jet engines.

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The main gear is a challenge. The oleo strut should glue into the bracket on the main strut, but immediately I pinned it. It has to be flexed a bit getting it into place and having this joint movable is necessary (just like the 1:1). You also have to reduce the size of the half-moon pin. It has to engage in a similarly shaped hole in the fuse. It's a blind fit and if you have to push it in (or worse... if it doesn't go in) you will break something.

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The gear is installed in two locations in the sponson. They are not particularly secure and even with gluing, tend to come apart when doing the final asssembly. There are some tiny parts that attach to the gear that you leave off at this time. They will not withstand the handling that follows. You can add them later if you're so inclined.

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The pushing and pulling I did during my attempt at installing the sponson, broke that lug. It, however, wasn't critical and the gear is secure anyway.
You have to coordinate three things: getting the gear into their respective mating spaces in the fuze, getting the stub wing settled in, and pushing the sponson onto three large openings that correspond to the big pins in the sponson. The Stub Wing's very tight fit into the sponson greatly limits fore and aft degrees of freedom. You have to get all the pins into all the holes, even though some are completely out of sight. And you must do this without applying undo pressure.

This whole deal took a lot of time. I was getting frustrated and was thinking of building it without landing gear, but the Apache doesn't have retracting gear so that possibility was moot. I perserved! Eventually it snapped in place. I ran a stream of glue (Tamiya) around the entire perimter. The fit is amazing.

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Peering into the innerds, you can see the sponson-side mounting lug. You cannot see the fuze side which makes this whole affair so confounding. It's also why that pin must be reduced in cross-section so it drops into its hole. You can't force it!

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Now... with all that said, the second sponson dropped into position almost instantly and snapped solidly in place. Don't ask me why this happened or what I was doing wrong with the first side. I have no idea! As Mark Knopfler says, "You can get lucky some time."

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So here were are as now. Notice I broke off the Long Bow mast... AGAIN! I had already glued it with metal reinforcement. It broke right at the end of the metal rod. This time I'm going to replace it all with metal if I can. I hate long plastic shafts like that. I always break them during assembly when I'm doing something else on the model and holding it wrong. I'm waiting to whack the tail rotor shaft. Don't know when it's going to happen, but I am sure it will. I should replace it with metall before it happens.

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Lots of diffierent things going on today. Before I get into that, my wife had radical breast surgery in January after a cancer had returned after 16 years. She had chemo afterwards to reduce the possibility that any renegade cells got away. Then last week she had a followup bone and CAT scan just to make sure nothing was going on. The CAT scan found a 1cm "Enhanced Nodule" in her liver. Panic ensured. She had an MRI to confirm what it was (or wasn't) at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Today we got the good news. The 8mm nodule is benign, basically harmless and will never turn malignant. We needed that good news!

First thing I did today was make a brass sleeve that will positively connect the broken mast section to the existing stub. I will modify the part that joins here so it accepts the sleeve.

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I then started working down the port side putting in the various and copious details contained in this model. The first was a grilled access cover. The instructions call out some internal pieces… you will never see them so I didn't include them. The grills are on PE Fret A. There were three of them.

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I installed them onto the part before gluing the door to the fuze. I used Tamiya Gel CA. Gel CA gives you a lot of working time, doesn't wick where you don't want it and cures quickly with a tiny bit of accelerator when you're ready for it to set. The round one got a little banged up in this operation.

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Next up were mounting blocks for some countermeasure sensors. Takom couldn't just injection mold the part with the bolt patten behind it. Nooooo… they had to have a PE flange that sandwiches between the two-part styrene and the fuze. This precluded using Tamiya thin cement to do the gluing, which was now done with gel CA.

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And then there was another styrene/PE composite part with this odd, rear-facing vent… Anyone know what it is? Tail rotor Oill Cooler??? And again, had to put it togther with gel CA. I used the Small Shop Little Bender for this small PE job.

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That finished the port side for these things. The starboard side has similar components. In this case, just for fun, I added the internal, unseen details on the access door.

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Lots of stuff and a waste of time unless you like gluing stuff for fun.

This side had it's own passel of PE grills.

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This step also called out of a very frail, 2-part, styrene antenna structure. I didn't give it a second thought. I was going to replace this part with metal. It wouldn't last five minutes with the way I build models. It measured 0.031" in thickness, which is very closse to 0.032" wire I have. I have an American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit that makes putting together precision soldered assemblies enjoyable.

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Holding the stock against the master I marked where the bends would go and use a jeweler looping pliers to give smooth and accurately placed bends.

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For the support brackets (also measuring the same size), I first flatten an end to form the attachment loop. I use a very old, very strong, very reliable Vise Grip, that must be from the 1960s (my dad's) and with the jaws at fully-closed locked position, keep squeezing the stock and turning it over and using the side entry and front entry to the jaws to get it as flat as possible.

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Here's how the flat looks.

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After forming the loop, trimming any excess preventing full closure, I trapped the rod in the joint, and then, using a MicroMark ceramic soldering pad, setup the job to be soldered. With the RSU, the joint is made in seconds. I use very fine gauge rosin core solder (.5mm).

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I'm pleased with the final result, and although it might miss some small details, it will survive handling and the 700 mile trip.

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I have some 3D printed fitting that I'm going to use for the right end. There's a plastic kit part that was supposed to glue there, but I'm going to change that.

So it was a pretty good work day…
 

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