OPERATION WING SWEEP Disconnecting the wing-sweep mechanism from the landing gear on the Sky Striker XP21F while retaining functionality.
*Note: Not sure if this tutorial will work on the original Skystriker XP14F, I did hear the mechanism is slightly different(yet works the same?), and it's been years since I took apart an original* Introduction
After over 2 decades Hasbro finally re-released the Skystriker in the form of the Sky Striker XP21F
. While many of us had hoped that the wing-sweep mechanism would be separate from the landing gear, this unfortunately did not pan out. Hasbro wanted to keep the XP21F close to the original XP14F(albeit with some notable differences). Once I got my XP21F's I was determined to someday figure out how to separate the wing-sweep mechanism from the landing gear.
I had seen numerous methods before, usually involving scratch-built parts. However, I have never scratch-built anything for toys, and I was wary of attempting such an endeavor. The easiest method was to chop the teeth off of the wings so that they could move independently. However, while the actual F-14 Tomcat could indeed accomplish that(it was tested), the wings moved in unison for the most part. As such, I don't like it when Tomcat toys can't move their toys in unison. It just doesn't feel right. *NOTE: It is best if you do NOT attach the nose/cockpit section to the body until AFTER you are done with my mod*
So after finally seeing how to bust open the XP21F, I went to work. First off, you need the following for my modifications:
- X Acto Razor saw(size 236 blade)
- Small screw drivers
- Gorilla Tape
- Krazy Glue(or any other super glue that bonds ABS)
Remove the engines Step 2
Unscrew all the screws on the underside of the Sky Striker Make note of which screw goes where as not all of them are the same size Step 3
There are rings glued onto the engine housings towards the rear
Using the Xacto saw, saw these rings off(I found that using long strokes instead of a back & forth sawing motion worked better) You can go ahead and sand the cut surfaces now to smooth them out or you can do this later Step 4
At this point, you can start put your fingers in-between the halves of the Sky Striker body and gently pry it apart. However, it is glued at 2 tabs on the intakes. I suggest pulling the wings out as this makes room, and grab towards the front, at the glove area(ahead of the wings). Pull hard enough and the 2 tabs should break(note: feel your way around and don't pry too fast). The tabs are seen below: Note: These tabs do NOT need to be glued back once you're done, the screws are enough Step 5
At this point you have reached the heart of the wing-sweep/landing gear mechanism; the black back plate. There is a grey cover that keeps this plate in place, go ahead and unscrew it.
Optionally, you can cut away part of the grey cover, this should let the wing-sweep lever pull back a bit further thus letting the wings move a bit more forward. This step is not necessary but I did it anyways. Step 6
Remove the black back plate. I forgot to take an image of the bar before I cut parts of it off*EDIT, here is an image of the black plate before it was cut:
However I did not saw off much. You only need to saw off the parts that make contact with the landing gear. When you are done, the back plate should look like this:
In addition, to increase the wing sweep range of motion by a few increments, you can cut away part of the bottom glove area(the part circled in red is what has to be cut away). This is an optional step.
Then(this is another optional step), you can cut away more at the back plate(this is the "after" picture): Step 7
Find the rear landing gear bays. Unscrew them. NOTE: After removing the bay, keep the 3rd screw(towards the rear) highlighted in red IN the screw hole. If you have big fingers this is near impossible to put back in by itself once the bay is put back in after this step is over. Step 8
Remove the rear landing gear. Cut off the triangular extensions towards the back(highlighted in red)
Screw the rear landing gear bays back on. The landing gear will be loose but there IS a way to keep them down. WARNING: Do NOT lose the springs attached to the rear landing gear doors! Keep them in place, no need to remove those and you actually NEED them
. More on that later. Step 9
Towards the front, there is a cover covering the nose gear bay. Unscrew this cover and remove the front landing gear. Cut thin strips of Gorilla Tape and wrap them around the front landing gear pegs. Alternatively you could coat the pegs with Krazy Glue and let them dry(and coat the circular housing for the pegs in Krazy glue and let them dry...IF you use any glue make sure the parts are DRY before reconnecting
. Anything from Gorilla Tape to thin shreds of looseleaf paper can be used to cushion the front landing gear pegs. This is to provide tension, otherwise the gear will be loose. After applying the tape to the pegs, re-insert the front landing gear in the down(vertical) position. Make sure movement is tight, then screw the cover back on. The goal is to have a manually moving front landing gear that isn't loose. Step 10
Screw the whole Sky Striker body back together. Step 11
Glue the engine rings back on(WITHOUT the engines in! You don't want the rings glued to the engines.
). Alternatively, you don't need to glue the rings back on, you can put the engine rings on the engines(they are snug), then wrap looseleaf paper(EDIT: OR gorilla tape!) around the engines as a cushion, then reinsert into the engine bays(shown here):
I suggest this route if you ever feel like going back to open up the Sky Striker again for further mods Conclusion
At this point, you will have a wing-sweep mechanism actuated by the swing-lever, and manually retractable landing gear. The gorilla tape(and any other material that you decide to use to provide tension) leaves the front landing gear tight enough to stay up or down. The rear landing gear seem loose right? Here is the basis of my later discovery a few days ago...
Remember how I mentioned that the rear landing gear door springs need to be retained and in-place? This is why. The tension of the spring will keep the landing gear in the retracted(closed) position. They will also keep them DOWN! How?
To retract the landing gear, merely open the rear landing gear doors, and pull the landing gear out. HOWEVER, once lowered, pull/push them forward a bit, and close the rear landing gear doors. You basically just have to move the gear forward enough to close the doors. This is why you have to cut off the triangular extensions mentioned in Step 8
. The doors may scrape against the landing gear legs as it's a tight fit but I found that if you push the gear forward enough, the doors have just enough clearance to get by. This actually provides a sleeker underside look once the landing gears are down. This is why the springs NEED to stay in place; without them the gear will just flop down. The landing gear doors lock the rear landing gear in place! After the rear landing gears are down, they will be able to move a few centimeters forward and back. Optionally, you can cut away a bit from the rear landing gear doors so that they can move past the landing gear legs without scraping against them. However as stated earlier, when pushed forward a bit, the rear landing gear do provide just enough
clearance for the doors to close.
The end result is this:
Wing-sweep mechanism finally separated from landing gear. Landing gear that move down manually without being loose. Wings that sweep in unison with the wing-sweep lever. All without having to build anything from scratch, and with the bare minimum of tools. I basically used what was already there.
This is VERY easy for Hasbro to implement in future releases of the Sky Striker. All they have to do is add something to tighten the front landing gear pegs, and make a new backplate or retool it so that it doesn't have the parts that actuate the landing gears. I hope this tutorial is easy for all of you to use. My goal was to find the easiest way to separate the wings from the landing gear yet retain functionality.
I was puzzled by how to do this as a child, so I'm glad I finally figured it out.