Monogram 1/48 F-84F 'stores configuration study model'



ATO bottle rack

Monogram provides a set of four bottles, but forgot the rack that these bottles mount to. Using the very few reasonable photos that I could find, I laboriously made the drawing shown here. I guess it's +/-10 percent correct, and I still hope to find a real ATO rack one day to confirm that. The drawing is unfinished, and will stay that way, because I will convert it into a 3D model.
Here's the first CAD model of the ATO rack. Wall thicknesses are scaled for 3D printing: 0.3 mm. This will be a difficult part to cast in resin, with all the protrusions.
Top view of the same first CAD model, showing the three attachment points on the F-84F's three hooks. The aerodynamic plate that attached to the front side is still missing.
Here's the first 3D print of the ATO rack. The 'spoiler' at the front (top here) was not printed properly. Freeing the part from the numerous supports is not going to be fun.
Here's a first test-fit on the F-84F. The part fits very 'naturally'. But I haven't established the exact position yet.
The fifth print finally yielded a perfect ATO rack. But you also see how it's hidden in a forrest of supports. This makes it near impossible to get to the attachment points of the supports with (for example) a JLC saw.
The parts had no less than five cracks and breaks before it was free. This is partly due to brittle nature of the 3D printing resin, and partly due to my delicate CAD design. Back to the drawing board.
I decided to make the above part usable for the interviews. Before I could use the part, the spoiler had broken off. I made a fast replacement using 0.3 mm aluminium.

First were the magnets. There was room for a 2x2 mm magnet near the rear attachment brackets (left in the photo), and I used a cluster of three 1x1 mm magnets near the front bracket (right in the photo). Then the rack's interior was filled was filled with Apoxie to give the part a lot more strength and stiffness. The rack was painted MRP-184 Signal Red.

Following photos, I found the exact position of the ATO rack on the lower fuselage: the set screws on the side of the ATO rack rest on the frame line just ahead of the speed brakes. This in turn determined the position of the 2x2 mm magnets in the lower fuselage.
For this first version, I used JATO bottles from the Model Art '1/48 Dassault Mirage IVA & IVP JATO rockets & mounting pylon' set, catalog number M.Access 027. The bottles were painted MRP-105 FS 35237. A medium gray was the standard color for rocket casings at the time. I refrained from detail painting, the stores display is rather basic in that respect.
I mounted the bottles like the real thing, using the brackets on the rack and the bottles. But I'm not sure whether the aligment is like the real thing: the bottles seem to fan out more than I see in photos of the real thing. Still, even in this shape it's a big improvement over the Monogram part.
Here's the redesigned part, with the main rack part made solid, and the 0.3 mm parts made 0.45 mm. Hopefully this will work better for printing.
I made an extra hole on the inside to make the original hole still like a sheet metal hole. I have some doubts whether the 'spoiler' is worth printing, or better made from plastic card, but the next printing round will tell.




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