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Building the Diorama
I used the Hasagawa 1/48 kit to build the aircraft. I real nice kit to build, perhaps not the most advanced kit available, but fine for what I wanted to make.
And, most important, it was an Air National Guard machine from Alabama.
The first I did was to plan for a light in the tail pipe because the plane sucked in a lot of dirt and vegetation into the jet engine and spat it out with smoke and fire – which of course ruined the engine.
I decided to use a 220V 3W LED lamp which gave enough light for what I needed and emitted almost no heat.
It could easily be placed in the tail pipe.
The pictures to the right show the fixing (glueing) to the pipe and the testing of the LED lamp.
Even if this kind of LED lamp does not emit much heat, you should NEVER live the lights on unattended.
It is better to simulate a fire than to actually start a fire!
The electrical wires were let out through the wheel wells and would go through a hole in the diorama base.
The next was to cut off the nose cone, file the edges very thin and put in some interior stuff to make the separation look authentic.
The come the paintings with different gey colours: Medium Sea Grey on parts of the fuselage sides, Dark Sea Green on the upper part of fuselage and wings, Light Grey on the underside and the fuel tanks and USAF Medium Grey on the nose cone.
The tail was painted red.
Everything was brush painted.
This diorama is inspired by an event that happened at Oshkosh's EAA AirVenture in 2011
The pilot in the Alabama ANG F-16 landed in the number-two position of a two-ship formation at midday as part of a training flight.
According to Air Combat Command, the pilot "applied the defog procedure" without success during landing and was therefore deprived of "necessary visual clues."
The F-16 departed the paved surface of the runway and came to rest roughly 300 feet beyond the runway's end.
The pilot was not injured in the incident.
The Air Force accident investigation board report says that the jet's environmental control system caused extreme fogging that completely obscured the pilot's vision.
Contributing factors were a fast touchdown speed and inadequate aerobraking by the pilot, which increased the landing distance.
If not for the lack of visual and instrument references, the pilot could have executed
a proper aerobrake, come to a complete
stop on the runway, and still had approximately 1000 ft of runway remaining.
As it was now, the nose dug in and collapsed.
The mud filled the intake and engine.
Mud/dirt actually went through and out the tail pipe, and flames of burning debris could be seen as the fighter skid along the field.
The radome and first bulkhead broke off.
Damage to the aircraft has been estimated at $5.4 million.
Although economically repairable, it was decided this was not feasible, and the airframe was stricken from charge on July 2012 and scrapped
The incident happened during an airshow, and everything was recorded on film and video.
Some of these pictures were used as background info for the diorama.
Unfortunately, the markings of the Alabama ANG F-16 in the crash is not available as decals, and I had to use another Alabama ANG decal for the F-16 I am using in the diorama.
The canopy was all fogged up when the jet run off the runway, and I used a thin layer of grey acrylic colour to make the canopy look unclear.
Before the decals, a coat of Johnson Future was applied, then everything was covered with satin varnish.
There was a lot of debris thrown up when the plane skidded over the grass field and smoke and flames coming from the jet nozzle.
All this had to be addressed, and I used a combination of Kapok and cotton.
The Kapok was used for the earth and dust thrown up by the plane, and the cotton was used for the jet smoke.
The Kapok is more comfortable to stretch very thin and still hold together.
The cotton is denser and more useful as smoke, it can be stretch a lot, but not as much as the Kapok.
The picture shows the Kapok to the left and cotton to the right.
The colours were sprayed on with an airbrush.
The Kapok was stiff enough for applying directly on the model, but the cotton needed to be stiffened by some hairspray.
Some “earth and mud” was attached to the Kapok.
I used a 70 x 36 cm (28” x 14.5”) OSB board for the base.
Small wooden pieces were glued to the underside to make room for the electrical wires coming through the base from the light in the tail tube.
Holes for the wires was drilled, and a piece of painted cardboard was glued to the end of the base.
This would be the runway.
A layer of Papier Mache was applied to the board.
This would be the grass field. Marks were made in the Mache where the plane had ploughed its way through the field.
The Papier Mache was painted with acrylic colours.
The field was covered with artificial grass.
Then it was only to put place the F-16 on the field and apply the Kapok/Cotton, and the diorama was finished.
And here is what the wrecked F-16 fighter looked like after the pilot had walked away. Unharmed, but maybe a little embarrassed…