How To build a Vac Kit

by Larry Hawkins

What you need to build a Vac kit

  1. A lot of super glue and hardener
  2. Scissors - optical type
  3. Sandpaper and a piece of flat wood 12 by 12 and glued on the board
  4. # 11 blades
  5. Balsa Strips - for re-enforcement
  6. Sheet Plastic - comes with the kit - (sometimes)
  7. small can of Bondo with hardener
  8. Tube of red spot putty
  9. Primer - I use can type from Wal-Mart - K-Mart, many parts stores
  10. Paint - Silver/ A/C - automotive paint in cans - get at parts store
  11. Plastra Struct or Ever Green
  12. K and S Aluminum tubing- some needed for various situation
  13. Regular Plastic cement - for scratch parts (when needed)
  14. Spare parts - depends on what's need for type of A/C you're building
  15. R/C Rubber tires - gives realistic look
  16. Decals - scrap box or steal them from another kit
  17. Reference material, Photos, Pilot intel and etc.
  18. You need an airbrush for painting - brush on won't cut it
  19. Brushes for fine detailing
  20. Car wheel weights - some need to have them sit down in the front
  21. Masking Tape - for clear parts etc.
  22. A Lighter - for heating sprue to make antennas, brake lines and etc.
  23. I use lacquer thinner and lighter fluid for mixing colors
  24. Bombs, Rockets and etc. Spare box
  25. I use black acrylic paint to wash and weather my A/C, I get it at Hobby Lobby

It's a long list and some of it we already have. But for a Vac kit, it's a must.

Part 1

The 1st picture shows this kit as two full sheets for the los. I outlined the parts so these could be used as a guideline when cutting out parts. I use a #11 blade and scribe around the part.

When all the parts are cut from the sheets, the sanding begins. Do not over sand, and when sanding hold the part firmly and move the part around the flat surface of the sandpaper. You don't want to sand to the point where you get gaps when you get ready to glue them together.

I glue a piece of iso grit sandpaper to a piece of scrap wood, say about 12'' square. It's portable and handy for anything else that you need to sand. Wet and dry paper also can be used as in the above. Usually 240 grit is used here. The following pictures show different parts that have to be made out of sheet plastic. I do this by finding the part that needs to be made from the plans that come with the kit. I use pencil and rub it on the backside of the plans then place the sheet plastic under the plans, and a trace out the part from the plans, which is then cut out, sanded and glued to the plans as the plans show.
The pictures above also show the fuselage after it is cut out and sanded, and balsa strip locations that are shown at the edge of the fuselage. These give strength to the edges like you find in a traditional styrene kit. (See example) After the fuselage is glued together, bondo is added to the small gaps that pop up. These areas are sanded down to the shape of the fuselage and where other gaps appear.
Pictures here show before and after the part has been cut out, sanded, shaped, and glued together, then glued to the position as to the plans and aligned also to the plans. These plans are almost always other than reference material, photos or say 48th scale instruction sheets that I use when building 32nd Vac.
I used Jerry Rutman's resin cockpit set for this build, which really kicks it up a notch and speeds up the building process. The detail was to say the least was EXCELLENT!!! The set even comes with metal landing gears. These were cleaned up and various small scratch built parts were added. These were also smoothed off (burrs) from casting and glued into place.

One thing about Vac, their basic shapes, but combat models lately has added panel lines and raised areas which does it (the kit) justice when one wants to weather and apply a black acrylic wash. This accents these areas to great advantage, but this is putting the cart before the horse.

Vac can be easy even for the beginner, but here if one wants to start Vac, I suggest starting with a kit in 72nd. It's less expensive and will give you hands on experience on working with Vac.

I've been building since 1990 and I'm still learning when doing Vac.

Part 2

The first Picture shows the fuselage, wings, tail plane and Jerry Rutman's resin exhaust cone. I applied six coats of primer. This was set aside to dry for two days. The entire plane was gone over to see if there were any pits, scratches, (from sanding) glue build up, and etc. Red spot putty was added to these areas and sanded down to leave a smooth surface.

After this was done, I applied another six coats or so of primer and this was left to dry for three to four days. There were a few places that cracked. These were wet sanded and redone with primer. Primer, like paint, can pop or lift so drying time is a must, when doing Vac. Again, I went over the plane checking for 600 - 600s and sanded and filled in where need be. I did this about four times. I then let everything dry and ready for paint. I applied three coats of light tan out of a can and this was left to dry for 24hrs. There are paints that have a drying time of 24hrs or less. But still, it has to dry before one starts applying the paint. This color was used so I could trace out the camouflage colors used on the los in 'Nam. I applied the dark green pattern first, followed by the medium green, then the tan. After all these colors had dried, I went over the whole plane with a scuff pad. For me, this smooth out the flat colors and takes any small pieces of dirt or paint splatter or boo-boos that are floating in the air. I went over the plane again and touched up areas that were over looked or didn't look right. When everything was ready for the clear coat, I shot one coat of clear and this was left to dry 24hrs. Decals were applied, and these came out of scrap box. Weapons and ordnance were glued into place. When this was done, it was gone over with a flat coat to seal the decals and paint.
Larry Hawkins