Set the bomb and run away

Air combat missiles and a pair of bombs

As the major paintjob was finished, I continued the work on the remaining construction, more or less according to the instructions. Next up in the schedule were the bombs! As I'm famously not too well-informed about these, I googled a bit and maybe got a bit wiser. For a short while.

The main bomb bay was to receive six AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, the side bays would get an AIM-9 Sidewinder each. Under the wing pylons two GBU-32 (or 31, who knows) would be installed. Those were stupid iron bombs with JDAM bomb-smartener modules bolted on.

Because I didn't trust my guesses even with wikipedia, I painted the democracy-savers just the way the instructions told me to. I thought that it'd be safer than guesswork and going wrong at full speed. The AMRAAMs I left basic grey but I painted the tips light grey. The Sidewinders I painted white over a bunch of different sessions and their tips I painted black. And the smart bombs I painted olive green (VMA 71096 Panzer Olive Green). Into the rear ends of each missile I painted a black dot to represent the rocket engine's nozzle. [180]

The canopy debacle

I decided that I'd save time and my nerves with that accursed canopy. An extra motivator was also that whatever I tried to do to the sepia crap, the result might not be clean or acceptable. So I took a shortcut and painted it black (VMA 71057 Black).

My idea was that when I'd varnish the model, I'd apply the glossy one over the canopy as well. And when applying the matt varnish, I'd just leave the black part untouched, achieving a night-like cockpit. Or something. We'd see when all was done.

Bombs go where bombs belong

Gluing three AMRAAMs nicely and neatly into the tight bomb bay was easier drawn than done. With a bit of fighting they all went in their places. The Sidewinders went beautifully on their extended LAU-141/A catapult-like launchers because they had plenty of clearance. Later on I thought that I could've been silly and used the closed pylons in the side bays and the extended ones in various slots of the main bays.

As a thought those devices are very amusing: the bay doors open for less than a second and that thing catapults the weapon out instead of it falling out with the help of gravity alone (and slowly). I find it extremely funny.

Bothersome doors

From this subtask I first built and glued on the landing gear bay doors, as they were noticeably easier and simpler. The bomb bay doors consisted of multiple flimsy part and they were of annoying shapes and sizes. They didn't have much surface to glue on to anything: the few tiny hooks were to be attached to the very narrow edges. [230]

Final details

I painted the wheels in the traditional way: black-grey (VMA 71056 Black Grey) and a couple of cylinders in the landing gears with steel (VMA 71065 Steel). Because I had reached the fine-tuning part of the project, I finally painted the often-forgotten engine nozzles metallic (VMC 70863 Gunmetal Grey) and then washed them with brown (Citadel Washes Devlan Mud). This time I remembered to paint the notification lights on the wings, one red dot (VGC 72010 Bloody Red) and a green dot (VGC 72030 Goblin Green).

Finally I applied a glossy varnish over the whole model (70510 Vallejo Gloss Varnish) in preparation for the decals. As an eagle-eyed reader may have noticed, this time I didn't wash the plane itself at all. [245]

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