HOW-TO: THUNDERJET SEAT BACKDATE

Pilot Ejection Seat Backdate to Early-model Thunderjets

By Bruce Craig

The Tamiya F-84G, being the current definitive 1/48th scale kit of the subject, is a worthy subject for after-market detail sets. Cutting Edge has produced a resin super detail set for the Tamiya kit, which includes most parts needed for either an E or a G version to be modeled. Authorities differ on whether the early style ejection seat was used on some blocks of the E-model; it was used on D and earlier Thunderjets. This "backdate" part is neither documented nor included with the Cutting Edge set. This is how I made the early style election seat to backdate the Tamiya G to any model with the early style seat.

THE SEAT

The early style seat is not nearly as well documented as the late style seat. Therefore, because I had to do some interpolation from existing drawings and photos, I don't guarantee that this scratch-build seat is "spot on" for accuracy. But it is close.

I used the seat with the Tamiya kit, plus photos and drawings of early seats, to determine the dimensions for the parts which I cut from sheet styrene. One photo shows the parts with a scale so you can have an idea of the dimensions. All parts except the arm rails and rests were cut from .015 stock, and if needed for thickness, two sheets were glued together to make .030 stock. The arm rails were cut from .025 square stock and the arm rests were cut from 20# paper and bent 90 degrees. After cutting the parts out, I glued them with liquid styrene cement. I first glued the back panels and the back pad to the back; see the parts photo. Then I precurved the back/bottom and glued the sides to the back only and let the parts cure for 24 hours, then the (precurved) bottom was glued to the sides. I then glued the arm rails and rests to the sides; the arm rests were saturated with the styrene glue and let cure before I glued them to the rails. The rectangular hole in the back was cut out before the headrest was glued on.

After reveiwing a number of photos, I airbrushed the seat with a 1:1 mix of green zinc chromate and yellow zinc chromate, then "dusted" a final dry coat of yellow zinc chromate. Headrest and seat pad are olive drab. Note that the photo below of the painted seat does not accurately show the colors.

Although not a difficult "scratch-build" the small thin parts require careful handling, especially when gluing the curved bottom to the sides.




This photo shows the parts to make the early style Thunderjet ejection seat. Note that some of the parts are already glued to the main "seat" part. The square "part" at bottom center is a "parachute" for the pilot to sit on if modeled with pilot. On the left is an assembled seat, and on the right is the cockpit with a floor insert with slot to properly position the seat. A matching tab is glued to the bottom of the new seat.




This photo shows the Tamiya kit late style seat (left) and the scratch-built early style seat (right) after painting. The colors don't show correctly; see the text for colors used. The pilot sat on a parachute which served as the seat cushion.


Contents Copyright 1997-1999 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved


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