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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Academy GLDS M1126 Stryker

The Yak-130 wasn’t the only completed model languishing while the temps swirled around in the upper 90s. I had also finished up a vehicle, this one being the GLDS M1126 Stryker.

The Stryker is an armored infantry transport vehicle with seating for 9 soldiers. It also comes with a top mounted 50 cal to provide support once the squad is disembarked. They have been used pretty extensively in Iraq. There is even a local connection; one of the main Stryker units is based nearby me at Lewis-McChord joint base south of Tacoma.

The Academy kit is not bad at all. Surface detail is very nice, and only the suspension for the eight wheels makes for some tiny and complex parts. Your carpet monster will be eagerly eying the individual suspension bits, so take some extra care in this area. Fit is good, there are no clear parts to mask, and the assembly is a relatively stress free affair.

The Stryker is a single color paint job (except for the tires). I’ve begun using an actual Black for the tires on these wheeled vehicles I’ve been producing instead of the dark grey I use for tires on most aircraft. There was just so little contrast between the Olive Drab of the vehicle and the dark grey of the tires. The Black improves the look, though it might be marginally less realistic.

All in all, another reasonable entry into the vehicle collection.

This is completed vehicle #12 (12 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 12 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in August of 2017.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

AModel Yakovlev Yak-130 prototype

I understand that there is a Yak-130 coming from Zvezda in the near future. Up until this point, all we’ve had to work with is the AModel kit, which, while buildable, has its own problems. The Zvezda will likely be better engineered and much higher on the buildability scale.

But this is what we have to work with now. I started this kit ages ago, back when it was a brand-new AModel kit. I liked the fact that the first boxing came with company demo markings, even if it was something of a complex paint job. I got to the point of painting the overall White, and then stalled when faced with masking for the Intermediate Blue.

Three or four years later, as I was trying desperately to rejuvenate my modelling mojo, I made a conscious effort to pull items off the Shelf of Shame and get them finished. It turned out that the Blue masking job was not as difficult as I was expecting, though it did take a fair amount of time (and masking tape). Then came the Red tail and final assembly. I thought I was just about to cross the finish line as I started decaling.

And that is when the difficulties deepened. Maybe I got a bad batch, but the decals were thin, flimsy, prone to tearing, and – despite being on a gloss paint layer – silvered all over the place. SuperSet/Sol didn’t seem to help much, and even a final overall semi-matte coat only improved the situation rather than solving the problem.

Hopefully the Zvezda kit will have options/decals to make the Aermacchi M-346 version as well. To be honest, I’m not familiar enough with the details to know what it would take to go from Yak-130 to M-346. I think the differences are mostly internal, but haven’t confirmed that. Some changes around the intakes as well, perhaps.

This is the great thing about 1:72 scale: the vast range of models. Even modern Russian trainers have multiple kits out there.

This is completed aircraft #479 (12 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 11 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in July of 2017.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Another day, another excuse?

Well, I hope that is not what this is turning into. but a combination of high heat and low mobility have put me on another temporary Shelf of Shame. 

Tomorrow is still listed as a blistering 97 (I am not an iguana for heavens sake) and the following Wednesday as 90, but then things start moderating somewhat. Mostly high 70s and low 80s through 9-18. 

I am about to head over to the hobby room to take some photos for two completed models, which, if all goes well, will debut in the next couple of days. My excruciating foot issues (gout? neuropathy? sciatica?) had been alternating between the left and right foot, with a couple of weeks in between. When only one foot is down I can use crutches. But this weekend they introduced a new wrinkle: both feet is unreal pain to matter what sort of tiny pressure is put on them. We were able to get a wheeled office chair, which has become my substitute wheelchair. But that puts me beyond the reach of the garage (but not the hobby room).

I do have a spinal steroid injection on 9-12 as a first step in dealing with the stenosis in the lumbar vertebrae. But I don't think that is even related to the foot issues. And I can't get to the docs to maybe get some answers until the feet moderate. Because I can't get out of the house! In the meantime I should still be able to display model progress and get to the workbench in the hobby room. When it isn't 104 degrees in there at least. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Painting in the heat (Stryker, Yak-130, Eurofighter)

I am currently in the process of drying myself off after completing a short paint session. The last couple of days have crept back into the mid-80s, and (as you know) the garage has no air conditioning. So it is a hot and sweaty process. Nonetheless, progress was made. The forecast isn’t giving us any relief whatsoever, since we have a 6-day streak of over 90s, and one upper 90 in the bargain. There are no days under 70 (except for tomorrow) that are under 80. Our purchase of a room A/C unit for the master bedroom is starting to look like the smartest capital outlay we’ve made in a while.

Nothing too exciting in this batch. I got a matte coat on the Stryker, so it will soon be appearing in the completed column. I also got a semi-matte coat on the Yak-130 trainer. Once I strip the canopy masking it will be ready to go as well. It looks like the topcoat covered up some of the silvering of the AModel decals.

Next came a surface Barley Grey for the anniversary Eurofighter. It looked fine afterwards, so it looks like I’ll be able to strip everything but the canopy masking and proceed with adding landing gear and doors.

Finally came two Alclad colours. First a White Aluminum for landing gear and exhausts for various projects (Hurricane, F-101, XP-79) and then an Exhaust Manifold shot for some detailing on the F-101 and Eurofighter exhausts. This is a bit of an experiment, and I’m interested to see how it turns out.

I know the photo of the post-painting below looks very similar to the last couple of entries, but as it turns out the same models have been getting most of the focus lately. Now that I can clear out the Stryker and the Yak-130 (followed, I hope quickly, by a fully decalled Starship), I should have some additional space on the workbench to allow me to concentrate on other projects.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Catching up with recent events

Things seem to be gradually getting back to normal here in the capital city of 72 Land. Tug has pretty much gotten back to normal after surgery, and is getting used to being a one-eyed pirate pug.

My daughter’s new cat, named Booker (a Bioshock rather than a historical reference, so she didn’t get all of my genes) is settling in well. He is an indoor-only cat, and now has run of the entire house. This is really a story all by itself. I have never been a cat person. In fact, I had some pretty bad allergies to cats when I was a kid. But while I am not a cat person, I am certainly an animal person, and when Shannon decided to adopt the cat that turned up at her vet assisting job, I couldn’t refuse the chance to better his circumstances. He had been living in a WalMart parking lot. So far no allergic reactions. But any of my friends who have heard of this development are just shaking their heads that I actually have let a cat into the house. So far he and Tug are wary of each other, but they are co-existing.

Modelling work has been pretty minimal, though. Temps have moderated somewhat, though we are due for a string of upper 80s in the last week of August. High summer is never a busy model time, since we all have other commitments that take precedence. But my next painting session is filling up (matte/topcoats for the Yak-130, Stryker, and Beech Starship along with a surface coat on the latest anniversary Eurofighter) and that will give me a chance to put the finished models on display in the blog.

The photo below is pretty similar to the previous session’s shot, though you might notice I have finished decaling the Stryker and have started the Starship. But I wanted to give a quick status and let you know that the production line is still functioning – albeit slowly – here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Not much progress (Yak-130, Stryker, Starship)

Between Tug’s surgery, the addition of a new pet to the 72 Land menagerie, and the advent of what will apparently be the hottest week in the Northwest so far in 2017, work hasn’t been progressing very far on the production line. However, I was able to get a few things in place for the next painting session. When that session will be, given the forecast, is currently in doubt.

I completed the decal process on the AModel Yak-130 and am still working on Beech Starship. AModel decals are still a bit problematic, though their molding techniques have improved in the last couple of years, and there was some silvering on areas of the Yak-130 that were painted in darker colors. It seems to be less of a problem on the white-painted spots. Both of these will be getting their semi-gloss topcoats during the next paint session, and will debut in the completed column shortly thereafter.

I’ve been slogging my way through the painting of 8 tires for the Stryker. Boring but necessary. Next will come decals – what few there are – and then it will get its matte topcoat as well.

As three models (Stryker, Yak-130 and Starship) move out of the production line, two new models are joining up. These will be two variants of the Komet lineage. I’ll be doing a postwar French glider Me-163 (thanks to the generosity of fellow 72-Scale-Aircraft member Pyran) and the Hasegawa/NC Shusui.

Honestly, given that it isn't going to be below 90 for a couple of weeks, I wouldn't expect much updating to be going on. About the only time I can tolerate the hobby room is in the wee hours, and I can't use the compressor when everyone in the house is asleep. That old thing is LOUD. But this isn't a typically busy time of year for modelling anyway. I'm definitely longing for the cooler fall weather. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A wounded pug

Sometimes when the blog is dark for a few days, it is because there just isn’t much going on with modelling. But this time, there were indeed things going on. A medical issue, in fact, and for once it wasn’t me!

Our 8+ year old pug, who you’ve seen on my various avatars, was diagnosed with a perforated cornea. It likely happened on one of the occasions he chased the wild rabbits through our backyard and ran face first into a bush or low hanging branch. Not like he is ever going to catch one of the rabbits.But Tug the Mighty Hunter will not be dissuaded. 

After a trip to the regular vet, and then being referred to a regional emergency vet, we were recommended to have the eye removed. Though this is a serious decision, during our years as pug breed rep for Seattle Rescue, we handled two dogs who had had their eye removed. Neither of them seemed particularly bothered by their new situation. So it was more an aesthetic issue.

Tug had the surgery on Wednesday, and is now at home recuperating. As with any post-op situation, we are trying to manage his pain (he had a dental at the same time) and keep him as comfortable as possible. It will likely be difficult for the next 48 hours at least.

With my wife and daughter at work, I am the de facto caregiver, which will likely keep me occupied for a bit. So if it takes me a couple of days to provide additional content to the blog, you will, I hope, understand. I’m sure those of you who are dog people certainly know what goes into situations like this.