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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44

Another model crosses the finish line today to close out the month of April. I’ll admit that this isn’t one of my better efforts, and it’s not the kit’s fault.

While the kit is pretty old and not really up to modern standards, it at least comes with engraved panel lines. But it doesn’t have much in the way of an interior, which led me to install a True Details resin one. However, since I don’t typically leave the canopies open (and the Hasegawa one was one piece in any case) you can’t see a thing from the outside. I guess that is one reason why I don’t typically add resin interiors; this was an old set lying around from the 90s and I figured I should use it since I had it.

The problems don’t end with the interior. This was one of the models that I was painting when I discovered my issues with certain production runs of Alclad paints. I had intended to paint it Dull Aluminum, a reasonable shade for a NMF, but the paint wouldn’t cover. I had to quickly figure out an alternative, and used some of my dwindling supply of White Aluminum, even though I don’t think it is the best shade for this use. Some of my masking was a little porous, causing tiny overruns, and I totally spaced on the painting of the cloth control surfaces in the interior green-grey color. By this point I just wanted to finish the thing up and move on to the next job.

This was my first experience with using Gunze Paints (their lacquer-based line). My usual paint of choice is Xtracolour, but they don’t do anything that adequately represents the Japanese brown prop color. But Gunze does. Unlike my other paint experiences on this one, it turned out fine.

I used the Aviprint decal sheet (72003: B-29 hunters) since I could also take a Ki-45 from it when the time comes. But I also used the anti-glare panel decal from the kit, which turned out to be a mistake. It broke up and required some touching up with paint. All in all, a subpar effort. But it is done now and can be added to the IJAAF/IJN section of the display cases. The back section.

This is completed model #352, finished in April of 2011.

And while we’re at it, here’s a look at tonight’s paint shop action. Lots of white paint for wheel wells and such. And there is the Airfix Bf-110, on its wheels and waiting for some detail painting and decals. I’m a little concerned at how matte the kit decals are, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do. The AZ Gauntlet is there as well, patiently waiting for me to get my act together and finish the rigging.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Frog V-1

This is almost cheating, but not too long ago I also finished painting a Fieseler Fi-103/V-1. This was originally an insert in the ancient Frog kit of the Spit 14. Very few parts and three colors, including the exhaust. Even I can manage that! At one time I was also working on the manned version from Heller, but the canopy was devoured by the Carpet Monster and has not been seen since.

This is completed model #344, completed in February of 2011.

And here are the results from yesterday’s painting session. You can see the Bf-110, Ju-88, the beginnings of a racing Corsair, and even the cockpit of the T-50.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Revell Eurofighter T1

I have to apologize for the lack of activity on this blog for the last couple of weeks. I went through a period of post-show burnout coupled with the advent of actual Spring here in the Northwest. Almost a week of no clouds, and at least one day over 70! Hey, you take what you can get here in the Rain City.

I did do some construction on the Trumpeter J-10 and Italeri F-22. But as usual my main hangup was the paint shop. I don’t know what deep psychological scars the painting of models stirs up with me. Well, yes I do – it’s where I usually screw the model up. In any case, it can keep me out of that phase of model production for long stretches. I have something like 7 or 8 models in queue right now for some sort of paint work.

But I forced myself in there tonight to paint the surface coat on the Hasegawa Ju-88 undersides, the detail Gelb patches on the Airfix Bf-110E, the prop on a Hasegawa Ki-44 (which apparently inspired Sword to announce a new-tool Ki-44 since I’ve nearly completed the ancient Hase one), and the cockpit on the Zvezda T-50. Small jobs all, but you still need to clean the airbrush out between colors, so it is significant work.

Right before I dropped from sight, I had finished another Revell Eurofighter single seater. This is part of a long term project to do all the RAF squadrons that are flying the type. The 3, 17, and 29 Squadron models are complete (in that order). 6 Squadron decals are on the way from Hannants along with another single seater. 11 Squadron will finish the series, at least until they move another group into active service. There is a standalone flight (1435?) also, but since they don’t use squadron bars they are low on my priority ladder. Here is a group photo. Somewhere I have an elderly Airfix model in prototype colors done as well, but I didn’t bother to pull it out for these shots.

I’ve built enough of these Revell Eurofighters at this point that I can move pretty quickly through the construction process. Other than having a lot of parts for a jet this size, there aren’t any big traps awaiting the unwary. Both the RAF site and have plenty of photos. And then it is just the painting sequence. My main bonehead move in this was reversing the colors on the main gear doors. D’oh! See why I love painting (and in this case repainting) so much?

This is completed model #351, finished in March of 2011.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More photos from the Seattle Spring Show

I don't believe that the judging/awards list has made it to the website yet, but a whole raft of photos has been uploaded from the 4-9-11 show. If you must look at something other than 1:72, you now have the opportunity! Of course, if you're new to this blog and are a confirmed 72ophile, you can find the earlier post that has the link to my Photobucket album with just the 1:72 entries.

Here is the IPMS-Seattle link (most photos by Norm Filer, though I know others contributed too).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show

There hasn’t been much going on in the modelling dungeon lately, since the evil wild raspberry vines in the back yard have awoken from their winter hibernation and I’ve again embarked on the Never-ending Battle to keep the backyard from resembling the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

However, this was one of the red-letter days in the great Northwest. The largest local model show, IPMS-Seattle’s Spring Show, is normally held in the first half of April. We’ve had everything from snow to 80 degrees for one year or another (and to be honest, neither extreme is very good for model show attendance). But today was dry, partly cloudy, and the mid-50s.

The show is held in the Renton community center, in their two-basketball court gymnasium. They put a thick rug over the wood surface. The competition tables are in two rows down the center, and the vendors are arranged against the walls. I don’t yet have the “official” numbers, but it certainly seemed that the numbers of entered models and walk-ins was up over our last couple of years. That’s always a good sign.

If I had to spot a weakness in my scale, it might have been single prop. Just in terms of numbers, not model quality. I mean, it wasn’t empty, but it wasn’t what you’d expect at a large show. But multi-prop was in full flower, with a very nice Pe-8, Piaggio P-108, and B-25. Biplanes were also outstanding. Not much in helicopters or collections.

In other scales, 1:32 was full, as you would expect after all the releases in the last 3 years. Mostly Trumpeter and Revell. Armor wasn’t overwhelming, but again, a lot of recent releases were on the table.

Besides local vendors like Skyway, and many people selling off second-hand kits, we had a nice group of internet sellers. Draw Decals was there, as was KCC, the new Anigrand importers. They’re probably still wiping my drool off the Anigrand box for the Boeing Clipper, but at $180 I just couldn’t justify the expense at my current income (ie, none). Besides, had I bought it I would just have to sell it again to afford the divorce lawyer. The molding on the Clipper looked rather better than many of the Anigrand kits I have in my stash. Hopefully that means that they have improved the process that gave us so many short-shots and warped bits in earlier iterations of their kits. They also had the C-5 and VC-10 in kit form to marvel at.

I left while the judging was going on, but the results should be posted on IPMS-Seattle’s home page before too long. Here is the URL:

And here is a link to the Photobucket album with pictures of the 1:72 models from the show:

As a taster, I’ll leave you with shots of the Pe-8 and Piaggio P-108.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roden Sopwith Snipe

Now this little beastie was something of a struggle. Not that the kit is bad, though Roden is well known for having some of the tiniest parts in all of the modelling kingdom. But I seem to have been abnormally ham-fisted in handling it. While trying to straighten a slight misalignment in the two wings, I gave it a bit too much pressure and managed to snap some of the struts. The repairs were done on the upper end of the struts, so they are hidden a bit by being on the underside of the top wing.

Being a two bay biplane, there were a lot of rigging lines to be laid. That’s always a bit of a crapshoot, and I can certainly understand why modelers who are not committed to biplanes would shiver a bit when confronted with the process. The system I have works pretty well, for me at least, though I'm not sure the product I’m using is being made anymore. It is called Wonder Wire, and is a ceramic wire that had been ordered from (I believe) Roseplane aka Rosemont Hobbies in the late 90s. Being ceramic, it does not bend happily, so there is no problem with sagging or losing tautness between attachment points. Being a wire, it is wonderfully thin.

The process is easy: use a set of calipers to measure the distance to be spanned, break the wire with a sharp scalpel (while keeping the wire taped to a back board so that it won’t disappear into the carpet monster when it breaks), dip both ends into white glue or Kristal Kleer, and carefully apply it to the model. I don’t deal with turnbuckles in 1:72 scale (good lord, I can barely remain sane doing it the way I do), and at an appropriate standoff distance it looks just fine. Alas, Roseplane Hobbies is no more, and I don’t know of any other manufacturer who has picked up the product. I have one bag left of the stuff, and once I run out I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I can’t see myself using monofilament, which needs superglue to work. I can hardly get that stuff to do what I want it to when I’m dealing with large resin pieces, let alone a microscopic attachment point like would be needed in this case. Maybe I’d better do all the biplanes I want to do now.

Here is some supplemental information I just found on a Google-hunt. I found an old forum posting from Hawkeye Hobbies from early 2010 saying that Wonder Wire was still available from Precision Enterprises, PO Box 97, Springfield VT 05156. $7.95 for a 10-foot length, postage $2.50 for up to five packages. I think I’ll send a note over there and see what happens.

The decals are another option off of the Model Alliance Wings of Silver sheets, in this case 72156: Wings of Silver Part 1. The Snipe is from 19 Squadron RAF, based at Duxford in 1924. No squadron bands on the upper wing, but an interesting diagonal blue-line marking along both fuselage sides. As always these decals performed flawlessly. I’ve mined these sheets pretty regularly; 4 completed models from them, 1 awaiting decals, and another waiting to start construction.

This is completed model #350, finished in March of 2011.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Catching up

I need to catch up with the model progress for the last couple of weeks. There has been some progress, though less than you might expect. We’re starting to see the early wedge of spring break through in the Great Northwest. The temps are consistently getting into the 50s, though we are living up to our reputation for rain. I’ve been spending some time on a few house projects (painting the living room areas, beginning some tentative yardwork when it isn’t pouring). Concurrently, I hit a bit of a modelling slow patch. Just a little bit of work here and there.

The Eurofighter T1 and Sopwith Snipe are both finished, and will be making their debuts on the blog shortly. The Airfix Bf-110 is closing in on its paintwork cycle, just needing the RLM04 Gelb patches on the tail and the lower engine nacelles. Both the Hasegawa Ki-44 and AZ Gloster Gauntlet are patiently waiting for their decals. Painting progress has been made on the Hasegawa F-111 and Ju-88, along with the Airfix Bulldog. I’ve started a mini project of three next gen fighters, the Italeri F-22, Trumpeter J-10, and Zvezda T-50, but I’ve really only gotten the cockpits together and painted so far.

I believe I have conquered the dust problem on my Nikon D40’s sensor, but will have to confirm that when I take the shots of the Eurofighter and Snipe. That was a bit nervewracking – but interesting – to have the mirror up and the sensor exposed while cleaning it. For the first go-round I only used air rather than cleaning fluid.

My records show that I’ve completed 15 models in 2011 so far, about half of which have featured on this blog. I’m on pace to blow away last year’s record of 27. Well, like I’ve always said, all you have to do to increase your production pace is get unemployed and abandon all pretense of quality standards!

Coming up in less than 2 weeks is the annual IPMS-Seattle Spring Show, the largest modelling contest in the northwest. It will be held this year on 4-9-11 at the Renton Community Center in Renton WA. I’ve heard that vendor participation will be good this year, with Draw Decals and the American distributor of Anigrand expected to be here, along with the usual mix of professional vendors and people clearing out some of their stash. That Anigrand Boeing Clipper is tempting the heck out of me, but at $173 it may have to wait until my income returns to normal.

Here are a couple of random shots from the workbench, showing models in progress.