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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Foothills Trail Orting

Continuing with the occasional non-modelling content in 72 Land, this is from last weekend's outing in the Northwest summer. This time we took the Foothills Trail in Orting, a small town south of where I live and 15-20 miles west of Mt Rainier. It is a converted rail-trail, which are great for walking or biking because they tend to be long and flat.
We had intended to make it a biking trip, but my bike decided to acquire a sticky front wheel in the offseason. So I walked while my wife and daughter biked. Mine was a 4.6 mile out-and-back on foot. You start out in the rural downtown of Orting, past some farms, and you eventually join up with the Carbon River. The last part goes by a buffalo and emu farm (only one emu was in attendance on the day I was there). A warm and sunny day on the trails, and my feet were complaining by the time I got back.

For those interested, there is a Photobucket album with the photos I shot. The link follows:

Progress and questions

I decided to make some time for the paint room a couple of evenings back. It appears that we’re getting some warmer weather in the next week and it can get uncomfortably hot in the garage while painting. This house seems to have been specially designed to get absolutely no breezes into the interior, even if there is a windstorm outside.
First up was the MSG upper coat on the Hawk T1. Didn’t look too bad, so that was a postive start. I also put the light blue on the F4U4 Corsair racer. The instructions specify a particular type of Model Master teal, but I had not been able to find a bottle at any of the usual places. Of course the day after I painted it I stumbled across the Model Master Acryl version in a local Hobbytown. So that's the quandary: paint over it or leave it as is? I know there are issues with combining acrylics (which I have never to date used) and enamels, but I can't remember whether the chemical reaction occurs when the enamel or the acrylic is the bottom coat. It's not like the Italeri F4U4 is a $200 Trumpeter monster, so if the paint bubbles I can always scrap the whole thing and start over. I'll have to give this some thought.

Then there was some dark metal exhaust work on the Sukhoi T-50. I used Alclad Exhaust, and even though it dries almost immediately, I’ll let it cure for a day since I have to mask over it. Last for this session was landing gear for the T-50 and J-10 in dark aluminum. I stumbled across this old bottle of Alclad, which does not seem to have the issues of some recent batches.

In terms of construction, I was able to do some work on the Italeri SM-82. One could wish for a conversion fuselage for the airliner variant, but I shouldn’t  be ungrateful. It’s an enjoyable kit so far; a little work in terms of fit, but manageable.

And indeed, I was sweating like the proverbial pig by the time I finished. That’s why you get pictures of models instead of me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Construction on B-47, C-46, 707

As I have mentioned before, summer is historically not a very busy time at the 72 Land aircraft construction facility, and so it is proving this year as well. Last weekend was the annual Pug Gala (a fundraiser for Seattle Pug Rescue, which features literally hundreds of the breed in one spot) and the Olympia Airshow, one of the few Seattle-area airshows to survive. I had been planning to go to both, but found out that the 520 bridge was due to be closed all weekend. Seattle drivers are, shall we say, not known for their talent behind the wheel, so I knew this would cause a huge tie-up. Even if they were great drivers, freeway design and capacity in the Puget Sound area is awful – I-5, the major north/south artery, narrows to 2 lanes each way downtown. The traffic was even worse than advertised, so we reluctantly gave a skip to the event that my wife and I (and another couple) started 11 years ago.
The Olympia Airshow was fun, if a bit understated. Photos are in a previous blog entry. And I proved that you can get sunburned even if the sky is overcast.
Back to modelling. I haven’t spent much time in the model room, but there are a couple of projects to catch up on. The Williams Bros C-46 has gotten its major bits together, though I will have some work to do to clean up the wing/fuselage seams. Plus I need to sand off all the raised decal.
The Hasegawa B-47 too has gotten its major assembly completed, and its raised detail has already been removed. Soon I need to paint the antiglare strip Black, and detail paint a couple more gear bays. This will use a Superscale decal sheet for the 1000th B-47 produced.

I’ve also started masking a 707 I’ve had built for a decade or so now.  It will be a Braniff jellybean, using one of Jennings Heilig’s Liveries Unlimited sheets. I’ve had issues with how those sheets aged in the past, so I will be tremendously careful while getting these onto the model. Luckily the decals are mostly logo and window surrounds instead of large tail-size pieces.

I’m working on masking the second Hawk T1 and the F4U4 Corsair racer, so hopefully they can get to the paint shop before too long.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Olympia Airshow 2011

Remember that I did say that summer wasn't a very productive time, modelling-wise. I don't think I've even been in the model room more than a couple of times in the last two weeks. I will be posting what I was up to later, but first: airshow!

We don't have many airshows in the northwest any more. The usually very nice Museum of Flight and Paine Field shows collapsed in the early 90s, Abbotsford now requires a passport, and SeaFair really only has the Blue Angels. So the Olympia show, at the capitol's regional airport, has a sort of "last man standing" appeal if you like seeing airplanes in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, being in June, it is at the mercy of the unpredictable Seattle weather. I've been there when it was over 90 and I've been there when it was under 60. This year the temp was nice, but we had a lot of overcast and showers all day Saturday. Sunday, when I went, was drier but still mostly overcast. Of course there were some sunbreaks just as I was pulling out of the parking lot.

The promised B-17 was a no-show (but at least they posted that publicly outside the venue), and there wasn't much of a warbird presence (P-51, B-25, a flock of T-6s), but it was still pleasant to watch the festivities. This show still features the world's only flying HH-43 Huskie, there was a solo A-10 to bound all over the skies, and of course the Mustang. The rest was mostly aerobatics, which I'm not terribly interested in.

For those who are interested, I have a Photobucket album with the pictures I took there at
I had to shoot with a longer lens (70-300mm) since my short zoom (18-55mm) picked the start of the airshow to croak on me. Not sure what the issue is yet, but hopefully I can resolve it before I need to shoot more finished model shots.

I will hopefully find some time to do some painting this week.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Italeri BAe Hawk T1 (208 Squadron RAF)

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, my main interest in 1:72 modelling is the exterior of the model: the colors and markings. Thus, there are a few types – not many – that I have done in series. Not all at once, but I tend to come back to them time and again with as many unusual paint schemes or markings options as I can find decals for. Hurricanes, P-47s (all that nose art), A-4s, Tornados, Eurofighters, Spitfires, even (to a limited extent) Bf-109s. Being a confirmed RAFophile, BAe Hawks also fall into this category. I’ve completed 9 up to this point, and with the advent of the excellent new T1 and T2 kits from Airfix, I suspect that there are many more in my future.

I have two on the workbench right now. The first has just been finished, though the second is still taking its trips to the paint shop since the color scheme is a bit more complicated. This one is in fact the Italeri Hawk, the Red Arrows boxing with its exasperating red plastic. That stuff is a devil to cover with paint, especially white.

I probably wouldn’t have used it at all, given the new Airfix kit, but the decal set I wanted to use was obviously sized specifically for it. It is the famous Roundel Hawk, which was the 2008 display aircraft from RAF Valley. It came from 208 Squadron. The large roundel on the underside lies astride the wheel wells. The wells are a slightly different shape and location on the new Airfix kit. The decals weren’t going to work on that kit, hence the use of the Italeri kit.

The Italeri kit has an adequate interior, nothing special, and the fit is a bit more suspect. Still, I made it through the construction phase with few issues. The overall color scheme of Black is delightedly simple, though I don’t think I like the brown I used for the internal sealant between the cockpit sections. I think it should closer to a cream or doped linen color. Something to remember for the next set of Hawks.
The decals came from Xtradecal 72085. Also on the sheet are a Red Arrows example, and the Hawk in WW2 camo from a couple of summers back, for the 70th anniversary of the Spitfire. The decals are applied in two layers: a white background and the colored decal itself. The white decals are starkly opaque, and not a hint of black made it through. I applied decal solvent to them and let them dry overnight to make sure there was no movement when I put on the second layer. The colored decals went on like a dream and got another coat of solvent. My one note of caution here is that the underside large roundel doesn’t play well with the flap retractor fairings, and unless you measure and cut the decal ahead of time, you will likely be doing some touch-up painting. Otherwise it matched the gear doors quite well.
After the decals were on and they received the customary semigloss overall coat, the masking was removed and the canopies got a polish with WD40 on a Q-tip.
This is completed model #358, finished in June of 2011.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nisqually NWR

Just to prove that modelling isn’t the only thing we do here in 72 Land, here are a couple of shots from a hike we took today at the Nisqually NWR.

We combined the Twin Barns Trail and the Estuary Trail for a 4.5 mile walk along the Nisqually River, its various marshes, and the 1.5 mile long boardwalk over the tidal estuary. The Nisqually River begins on Mt Rainier and courses along 80 miles to Puget Sound. The wildlife refuge covers the last few miles of the trip. We couldn’t have asked for better weather – 78 degrees and bright sunshine. It might even last until next weekend, but don’t bet money on it. Having lived here for 27 years, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen the phenomenon of getting sunny weather until Friday afternoon, having it cloud up and usually rain over the weekend, then dawning bright and sunny on Monday morning. It’s the origin of the old NW joke: What do you call the day after two days of rain in Seattle? Monday.

The 18 pictures I shot from the trip are in my Photobucket account at this link if you are interested.

Back to our regularly scheduled modelling blog shortly.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hasegawa GenDyn F-111E

There was a period where Hasegawa was stretching their muscles a bit with modern aircraft in 1:72, which produced fine kits of the Tornado and F-111 (and, yes, all those F-4s). The F-111 was especially interesting, because they went to the trouble to engineer the kit with flaps and slats extended. The plane goes through some gyrations to get to that mode, including a couple of moving panels that clear the front of the wing glove for the fully extended wings. And since the hidden areas of flaps and slats are painted in red (and the SEA camo is four colors) and the gear are a different color as well, it makes for a complex masking job to accommodate all these colors.

In fact, the model ends up looking like a mummy, as you’ll have seen from earlier in-progress shots on the blog. I was finally able to unwrap the thing last week, and was generally pleased with the job. There were a few spots that needed touch-up, and some of the camo masking was a little clumsy, but nothing I considered reworking. There was still a laundry list of detail bits to add (those wing gloves, the exhaust cans, the slats, a nose probe) after the decals went on. But I still give it thumbs up for being a well-engineered, nicely detailed kit of an important aircraft. I do believe it will be my last F-111, however, unless I decide to use my Esoteric resin nose and do an F-111B.

I used the kit decals, not having any F-111 markings in the stash (only a Modeldecal sheet of EF-111s). I would have chosen this plane in any case. It is the Bicentennial aircraft of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing called “Spirit of 76”. I almost always go for special markings if I have the option, and since I lived through the Bicentennial celebrations in 1976 I saw this plane in many of the publications of the day. Hasegawa decals have a weird quirk: the whites seem to always be printed as a cream colour, or maybe they just yellow really quickly. In any case, you can see that in the pictures. It was a long project, but a good addition to the special markings lineup.

This is completed model #357, finished in May of 2011.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


No, I’m not practicing my Dwayne Johnson promo imitation; I’ve just finally had my first thoroughly successful airbrushing session in a while.

I haven’t repainted the mottling on the Ju-88 yet, but I was able to completely repair the RLM79 upper surfaces. They do show some evidence of too much paint having been applied (what with the redo) but I think that will be minimized when the RLM80 mottling goes on, followed by decals and matte coat. But, honestly, one mulligan is enough for this model – whatever happens to the mottling this time is going to be the finished product.

Beyond that kit I was able to get the first grey on the Trumpeter J-10. The kit only specifies what I assume are Gunze paint reference codes. And although I did find a nice color chart on the IPMS-Stockholm site, the image provided wasn’t sharp enough to read the FS colors that were in small print next to the color entry. But from what I have gathered, the lighter grey is similar to Barley Grey, which happened to be what I was spraying on the lower surfaces of a Hawk T1 at the same time. Thus I was able to spray two at once, a rare occurrence. The second grey is apparently a blue grey which corresponds to FSx5237, which Xtracolour produces as X126. The upper surfaces of the Hawk in its scheme are Medium Sea Grey (with a black tail).

Lastly, the F-22 got its overall coat of Light Compass/Ghost Grey, Xtracolour X136. It will need some buffing and a surface coat, but I was generally happy with the session.

I was able to get the decals onto the GenDyn F-111E and at least the first few on the black Hawk T1 as well. Those two will need to finish up and get their topcoats, and should feature on the blog in a few days.

After a stretch of inactivity, it was good to actually make some progress. Things are liable to be a bit sporadic over the summer months, as this is traditionally a time when Northwest Modellers emerge from their dungeons, blinking and rubbing their eyes in the sun they probably haven’t directly seen for a few months. The yard, parks, and hiking trails are all calling, and given that I still have a large amount of free time (though I do have one recruiter supposedly arranging an interview for a PM position next week) I intend to answer the call.