Author Topic: Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod  (Read 21694 times)

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Online HaaTa

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Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
« on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 10:29:51 »
Intro


Before trievalot even sent me my Model F, I wondered if I could fix the annoying issue of the L-Enter button of death/pestilence/annoyance. Its not that I mind the large Enter button, its just that it's taking the spot of '|' and '\' and making the Backspace so damn tiny.

Anyways, so part of my deal with trievalot was that I got a full set of Model M key caps (which is what put this plan into motion).


What you need:

    [*]IBM Model F (I only have an AT to test this on)
    [*]ANSI sized Backspace
    [*]ANSI sized \ | key
    [*]ANSI sized Enter button
    [*]Flat Head Screwdriver
    [*]Needle-nose pliers
    [/LIST]


    Optional: (Highly recommended!)

      [*] 2x Model M style plastic insert key stabilizers
      [/LIST]


      Disassembling


      First, take all the key caps off.



      Next you use the Flat head screwdriver to remove the four screws from the back of the board.
      Now pry the board apart from the side with the cord. You here lots of creaking sounds, that's normal. While prying, unslot the cord from the board.

      Remove the screw holding in the wires and the two screws (to the right and left) holding the board in place.



      There should be two plugs going into the main controller board (the smaller one is for the LEDs, you can ignore it completely), unplug them. Notice how they are somewhat idiot proof, so you'll be able to remember how to plug them in later.

      Now take out the main board assembly.



      Don't worry about the controller board, you can ignore it completely for this mod.

      Next, notice the folded over tab on the top right corner (above picture). Use the needle-nose pliers to unbend the tab enough so that you can take the assembly apart.

      If you take a closer look at how the assembly is put together, you'll notice that it slides into all of the tabs in order to lock it into place. I just used my hands to pull it apart and leveraged the floor a bit. This post has way more details on how to take apart a Model F, if you're still confused.

      Now before removing the top piece, raise the assembly off the ground. I just stacked some empty curry boxes. This is so all the springs don't jump out at you.
      Next, remove the top piece of the assembly.



      Look at all those extra contacts :D. Unfortunately I don't have any extra springs, and switches so I can't put them to use.

      Now locate the spring/switch of the \ | key, remove it and place it where it should be.





      Next you'll notice that there is an insert just beside the Enter key spring/switch; remove it, as it doesn't fit properly with the Model M style keys.



      Mmm, instant (well 6-7 minutes plus however long it takes to cook the rice) curry.


      And we're done!

      Well not really. You still have to put the keyboard back together (which is relatively easy, just follow this).
      You also have to place the new key caps back on...
      Easy nonetheless.


      Optional Part:

      Right before you put the Enter and Backspace back on, insert the spacers.



      They only go in one way, so don't force them in (though they do fit more snugly that the Model F insert stabilizer did, see pic with the curry box background above).

      This part makes a world of a difference to the key feel as the keys don't shake so much.

      I got 4 insert stabilizers from trievalot, 3 of them white, and one grey coloured one. The grey one is for the numpad 0 (as per trievalot).


      Scan Codes


      Next part, scan codes. I use this board in Linux, so that is what this guide will describe. I have no idea how to fix this up in Windows (and am too lazy to figure it out). ripster says its automagically detected in Windows, what ever that means :P.


      Scan Code Background - Safe to skip unless you are having troubles

      At first when I started doing this mod I could not get any scan codes out of the new \ | key. For me, xev gave me nothing. Next I tried showkey (you should run without X running), but still nothing (even using the -a, -s, or -k options).
      But after reading a the man page I discovered that the 2.6 kernels does some keycode magic first before sending the signals to you.
      To turn the magic off add the following option to the the kernel grub line:

      Code: [Select]
      atkbd.softraw=0

      For the clueless, at the grub boot loader, highlight the desired boot, press 'e' then highlight the line that starts with kernel. Now add the option at the end to look something like this (this one is for ArchLinux):

      Code: [Select]
      kernel /vmlinuz26 root=/dev/md0 ro atkbd.softraw=0

      Now press Enter and then 'b' to boot the OS.

      Since the kernel is no longer doing magic to the scan codes you can pick up the scan codes that weren't there before. albeit only with:

      Code: [Select]
      sudo showkey -s

      The -k, -a and xev will still give you nothing.


      Assigning the new \ | key

      On my system the \ | scan code is 0x75. This works even if you have not added the atkbd.softraw=0 option from the previous section.

      To remap the key just issue the following command:

      Code: [Select]
      sudo setkeycodes 75 43

      This sets the scancode 0x75 to signal the keycode 43. Keycode 43 is the keyboard layout identifier the OS has already prepared for \ |.

      You can see a list of the current keycodes with 'xmodmap -pke'. For me I had to guess because I have an odd way of enabling colemak, but 43 should be ok for those using en_US.

      Now you just have to add that command somewhere so it runs on startup. I'll probably use the /etc/rc.local file so it gets loaded before the login.


      Finally, you're done!



      [/SIZE]


      Conclusion


      So far this mod has been working great for me. The only minus would be that the backspace and Enter keys don't have stabilizers. But its not really that big of a deal.
      And I'm sure somebody can figure out a way to fix that (the board has the slots for a Backspace and Enter stabilizer).

      This guide should also work for any of the other unused pads (there are 6 of them, the space bar ones are hard to use mind you). Soarer was nice enough to provide a list of scancodes for the other pads.


      Mod Images
      Extra Dismantling Images
      « Last Edit: Sun, 07 November 2010, 06:26:18 by JBert »
      Kiibohd - Kiibohd Party!

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      Online salcan

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #1 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 11:03:46 »
      Just me or are all the images broken?

      Offline itlnstln

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #2 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 11:07:19 »
      It could be your browser or firewall.  They're broken for me, but it's my workplace's firewall.  My firewall-buster can't handle AJAX, so I can't see any of the pics in the "wiki" forums.


      Offline mp29k

      • Posts: 134
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #3 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 12:45:58 »
      "You thought keyboards were expensive. Try putting some rubber domes in your GF." -itlnstln

      Offline JBert

      • Posts: 1188
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #4 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 13:22:27 »
      Quote from: ripster;158843
      Whaddya know - there's  SUPPOSED to be images but Vbulletin has a nasty habit of erasing them if you take too long editing the post.
      And that's why I prepare articles in a text editor before posting...
      IBM Model F XT + Soarer's USB Converter || Cherry G80-3000/Clears

      The storage list:
      IBM Model F AT || Cherry G80-3000/Blues || Compaq MX11800 (Cherry brown, bizarre layout) || IBM KB-8923 (model M-style RD) || G81-3010 Hxx || BTC 5100C || G81-3000 Sxx || Atari keyboard (?)


      Currently ignored by: nobody?

      Disclaimer: we don\'t help you save money on [strike]keyboards[/strike] hardware, rather we make you feel less bad about your expense.
      [/SIZE]

      Online HaaTa

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #5 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 16:16:54 »
      Lol, sorry about that. I was pretty much falling over when I finished the guide, so I didn't test it properly.

      "Should" be fine now.

      Here's the picasa link for the lazy.

      More pictures as well.
      « Last Edit: Wed, 17 February 2010, 16:20:50 by HaaTa »
      Kiibohd - Kiibohd Party!

      ALWAYS looking for cool and interesting switches
      I take requests for making keyboard converters (i.e. *old keyboard* to USB).

      Offline mp29k

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #6 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 17:30:57 »
      Great post now that the pictures work.  I had absolutely no interest in the Model F before this post because of the crappy layout, now I am reading about the tasty feeling of the Model F, and along with this post, now I want one...

      Which one will work with PS2 again?  AT or XT?
      "You thought keyboards were expensive. Try putting some rubber domes in your GF." -itlnstln

      Offline kishy

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #7 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 17:34:20 »
      Quote from: mp29k;158873
      Show Image


      That was a good movie...shame nobody I know is familiar with it.
      kishy.dyndns.org is now KISHY.CA

      "AT Model F". Not "Model F AT", "F AT", or "Model AT F". Just "AT Model F".
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      Offline mp29k

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #8 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 17:36:29 »
      Quote from: kishy;158944
      That was a good movie...shame nobody I know is familiar with it.


      I watched it once, fully intending to buy it so I could really dig in and understand the nuance of it, but life happened and I never got around to it.  I will have to rent it again, or torrent it off the net to watch it again.
      "You thought keyboards were expensive. Try putting some rubber domes in your GF." -itlnstln

      Offline itlnstln

      • Posts: 13093
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #9 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 18:52:04 »
      Is that from Memento?  Great flick.


      Offline kishy

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #10 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 19:06:51 »
      Quote from: itlnstln;158962
      Is that from Memento?  Great flick.


      Indeed it is.

      Obviously not ALL of it though...

      Fantastic movie.
      kishy.dyndns.org is now KISHY.CA

      "AT Model F". Not "Model F AT", "F AT", or "Model AT F". Just "AT Model F".
      Enthusiast of springs which buckle noisily: my keyboards
      Want to learn about the Kishsaver?

      Offline elbowglue

      • Posts: 1110
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #11 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 19:54:50 »
      OMG that is an awesome mod.  May I buy the keyboard off of you now?
      My keyboards: Filco Cherry Blue Tenkeyless(daily home), Compaq MX11800 (modded to blacks), Compaq "MX 84u",  Wellington\'s Dampened Endurapro, Pinkalicious Filco Blue Cherry, Chicony KB-5191, Chicony KB-5181, Desko MOS 5023 UP "elbowglue" spos (modded to blues), Siig Minitouch (monterey blue), SMK-88 (blue cherries), Ricercar SPOS
      Smallest to biggest keyboards in inches (Length X Height) - Length is most important for a midline mouse position

      KBC Poker: 11.6 x 3.9 - HHKB: 11.6 x 4.3 - Siig Minitouch (Geekhack Space Saver): 11.6 x 6 - Deck/Tg3 82: 12 x 6 - Noppoo Choc Mini 12.4 x 5.3 - Compaq "MX 84u": 13.1 x 7.5 - Filco Tenkeyless: 14 x 5.3 - Cherry "ricercar spos" G86-62410EUAGSA: 14 x 7.75 - Topre Realforce 86u: 14.4 x 6.65 - Desko "elbowglue spos" MOS 5023 UP: 14.5 x 8.4 - IBM Model M Spacesaver: 15.3 x 7 - G80-1800: 15.9 x 7.1 - Adesso MKB-125B: 16 x 7.3 - Compaq Mx11800, Cherry G80-11900: 16.25 x 7.5 - Filco Standard: 17.3 x 5.4 - Unicomp Endurapro: 17.9 x 7.1 - Adesso MKB-135B: 18.3 x 6.0 - Cherry G80-3000: 18.5 x 7.6 - IBM Model M, Unicomp Customizer: 19.3 x 8.27

      Online HaaTa

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      Re: Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #12 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 20:23:31 »
      Lol, no :P.  Its my coding board.

      It took me longer to do the write up than it did to figure out/complete the mod.
      Best part is is its easily reversable (why you'd want to do that, I don't know).
      Kiibohd - Kiibohd Party!

      ALWAYS looking for cool and interesting switches
      I take requests for making keyboard converters (i.e. *old keyboard* to USB).

      Offline trievalot

      • Posts: 687
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #13 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 21:29:56 »
      This is an awesome looking board.......very very very cool now.
      Best of both worlds with the quality of a Model F and the usability of a modern board.
      [SIGPIC]

      Offline mp29k

      • Posts: 134
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #14 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 21:38:39 »
      Which Model F works with modern PCs?  XT, or AT?
      "You thought keyboards were expensive. Try putting some rubber domes in your GF." -itlnstln

      Offline kishy

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #15 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 21:41:52 »
      Quote from: mp29k;159011
      Which Model F works with modern PCs?  XT, or AT?


      AT.

      The IBM PC and PC/XT used an earlier version of the interface. The IBM PC/AT introduced a new version of interface which was then carried over to PS/2, just using a different connector.

      Converters for XT can be built but it's easier to just find an AT keyboard.
      kishy.dyndns.org is now KISHY.CA

      "AT Model F". Not "Model F AT", "F AT", or "Model AT F". Just "AT Model F".
      Enthusiast of springs which buckle noisily: my keyboards
      Want to learn about the Kishsaver?

      Offline trievalot

      • Posts: 687
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #16 on: Wed, 17 February 2010, 23:13:53 »
      Ill swap my other AT Model F for a Topre if anyone is interested :P
      [SIGPIC]

      Offline JBert

      • Posts: 1188
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #17 on: Thu, 18 February 2010, 12:49:53 »
      Quote from: HaaTa;158995
      Lol, no :P.  Its my coding board.

      It took me longer to do the write up than it did to figure out/complete the mod.
      Best part is is its easily reversable (why you'd want to do that, I don't know).
      Actually, it seems you took a lot of time writing the disassembly, even though that has been explained before. We should make a wiki article about it. :wink:
      IBM Model F XT + Soarer's USB Converter || Cherry G80-3000/Clears

      The storage list:
      IBM Model F AT || Cherry G80-3000/Blues || Compaq MX11800 (Cherry brown, bizarre layout) || IBM KB-8923 (model M-style RD) || G81-3010 Hxx || BTC 5100C || G81-3000 Sxx || Atari keyboard (?)


      Currently ignored by: nobody?

      Disclaimer: we don\'t help you save money on [strike]keyboards[/strike] hardware, rather we make you feel less bad about your expense.
      [/SIZE]

      Online HaaTa

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #18 on: Thu, 18 February 2010, 16:31:39 »
      So It'll be a NIB modded Model F :P
      Kiibohd - Kiibohd Party!

      ALWAYS looking for cool and interesting switches
      I take requests for making keyboard converters (i.e. *old keyboard* to USB).

      Offline trievalot

      • Posts: 687
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #19 on: Fri, 19 February 2010, 02:52:53 »
      Ill buy that for a dollar!
      [SIGPIC]

      Offline msiegel

      • Posts: 2046
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #20 on: Fri, 19 February 2010, 15:14:36 »
      HaaTa, have you noticed any difference in feel between the original Model F keys and the replacement Model M keys?

      ripster had pointed out that the slots in the key stems are different lengths, possibly affecting how a spring buckles...

      Filco Zero (Fukka) AEKII sliders and keycaps * Filco Tenkeyless MX brown * IBM F/AT parts: modding
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      Offline maxlugar

      • Posts: 759
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #21 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 03:47:24 »
      Quote from: webwit;159320
      I think this mod will be one of the classics. Well done.


      If you (webtwot) think this mod will be "one of the classics" then I'm absolutely convinced it's a bad move.

      The last thing I would consider attempting to do is **** up a perfectly good$500 NIB sealed 84-key PC AT Model F.  Let's see how fast the market value can drop for a pristine sealed vintage board of which there are only a handful that still exist.

      In fact, I wouldn't peform this mod with any of my other used 84-key AT Model Fs either.   I like the large enter key, the Control Key is where God intended it to be, and the small backspace key is something I've become accustomed to.

      Having burned literally thousands of dollars during the past 12 months on virtually every type of key switch, vintage or current production, I've come full circle back to exclusively using my 84-key AT keyboards at the office and at home.  

      Beam spring keyboards aside (I've never seen one or used one) there ain't nothin' better than the IBM buckling spring over capacitive contacts key switch used in the 84-key Model F.  Everything else, Model M's Cherry toys, even the good ones, suck **** in comparison.

      The only mod worth attempting is JBerts space bar force reduction mod.   Done correctly, that makes the 84-key damn near perfect.
      Emperor of the IBM 84-key AT Model F Darkside

      Offline platon

      • Posts: 122
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #22 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 04:48:23 »
      Quote from: maxlugar;159558
      If you (webtwot) think this mod will be "one of the classics" then I'm absolutely convinced it's a bad move.

      The last thing I would consider attempting to do is **** up a perfectly good$500 NIB sealed 84-key PC AT Model F.  Let's see how fast the market value can drop for a pristine sealed vintage board of which there are only a handful that still exist.

      In fact, I wouldn't peform this mod with any of my other used 84-key AT Model Fs either.   I like the large enter key, the Control Key is where God intended it to be, and the small backspace key is something I've become accustomed to.

      Having burned literally thousands of dollars during the past 12 months on virtually every type of key switch, vintage or current production, I've come full circle back to exclusively using my 84-key AT keyboards at the office and at home.  

      Beam spring keyboards aside (I've never seen one or used one) there ain't nothin' better than the IBM buckling spring over capacitive contacts key switch used in the 84-key Model F.  Everything else, Model M's Cherry toys, even the good ones, suck **** in comparison.

      The only mod worth attempting is JBerts space bar force reduction mod.   Done correctly, that makes the 84-key damn near perfect.

      I agree with webwit. It is a classic mod. Just seeing it motivates me to try something similar to a Chicony 5181 and a Focus 2001.

      I would not touch a NIB $500 Model F either. Apart from that though, the enter - backslash - backspace combo is a matter of personal preference.

      I for example despise the big enter key layout and i bet i'm not the only one.
      « Last Edit: Sat, 20 February 2010, 04:53:27 by platon »
      Filco Majestouch brown no nkro, Filco tenkeyless white lettered with browns, IBM Model M 1392934 Space Saving \'91 x 2, Cherry G80-3000 LSCEU-2, Chicony KB-5181, SGI Granite 9500900, IBM Model M 52G9658 \'94, HHKB Lite 2 for Mac, SGI RT6856T (rubber dome), Logitech Illuminated Keyboard, CH DT225 trackball, SGI 063-0009-001 mouse

      Offline Brian ONeil

      • Posts: 2
      Msg from Brian O'Neil
      « Reply #23 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 05:57:01 »
      I believe a may have a parts unit at my warehouse that I can steal the parts you need off of. Send me an email if you need help. brian28027@gmail.com

      Offline trievalot

      • Posts: 687
      Look what i just did......
      « Reply #24 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 06:00:54 »
      Haata, very easy mod thank you!!!
      Man, once my wife sees this she will be SO impressed :P

      So, who wants to buy it?
      [SIGPIC]

      Offline trievalot

      • Posts: 687
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #25 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 06:11:44 »
      im using the F now.....DAMN this is so much better
      Hey Haata, as for the M guides beiing different, i have a few spare ones i can send you (let me know how many you want) for the extra keys?

      Again, thanks for the very easy guide (and the Filco in the above picture!)
      [SIGPIC]

      Offline ch_123

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #26 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 10:09:57 »
      It is theoretically possible to mod the keyboard to have a standard sized space bar and two Alt keys flanking it. However, you'd have to a) cut out two holes in the plate to make room for the barrels for the extra Alt keys, and b) find some way of holding the stabilizer bar for a Model M space bar.

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      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #27 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 11:27:37 »
      Quote from: msiegel;159437
      HaaTa, have you noticed any difference in feel between the original Model F keys and the replacement Model M keys?

      ripster had pointed out that the slots in the key stems are different lengths, possibly affecting how a spring buckles...


      Hmm, if I really test the Model M keys closely, they do feel a bit different. Though what I notice the most is the texture and thickness of the keycaps when typing.

      The sound is also a little bit different (closer to a Model M actually :P).

      Since trievalot has added the extra stabilizers in his board, he would probably have a better answer.
      Kiibohd - Kiibohd Party!

      ALWAYS looking for cool and interesting switches
      I take requests for making keyboard converters (i.e. *old keyboard* to USB).

      Offline maxlugar

      • Posts: 759
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #28 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 13:38:17 »
      Quote from: webwit;159563
      Oh dear, attack out of nowhere. I can do this, I was twelve once. Let's see. If you (maxloser) have a problem, maybe you should mention it instead of randomly attacking me like a little kid.


      Sorry webwit.  I was a bit impaired last night.  Fri & Sat nights are usually busy but business at the club was very slow which means I lost money which in turn impacts my ability to fund my addiction to buying keyboards.  I had to find a way to lessen the pain  :)   :violin:

      I agree, this really is an awesome mod - maybe the best one ever if it enables more people to experience the joy of using the 84-key AT Model F.

      I know I am in the minority regarding the archaic 84-key layout.  I'm just used to it and have been able to switch betweeen the 84-key, standard 104 key, and HHKB without too much of a problem.

      The new 84-key will remain tucked away in the gun safe and probably passed on to my kids.

      After looking at the steps for the mod, I think I will attempt it on one of my used 84-keys for ****s & grins.  From all the positive responses, this mod will probably increase the market value of a used one...at least within the geekhack community.

      Keep that box in pristine condition ripster!  You should have no problem selling it NIB on ebay after the mod.:heh:
      Emperor of the IBM 84-key AT Model F Darkside

      Offline maxlugar

      • Posts: 759
      Model F - Gimme back my Big Backspace Mod
      « Reply #29 on: Sat, 20 February 2010, 13:57:38 »
      Quote from: ripster;159651
      The club?  


      Um..yes along the same line, but much less classy.  The city of Phoenix will not grant me a liquor license to sell alcoholic beverages...know what I mean?   :)
      Emperor of the IBM 84-key AT Model F Darkside