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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A cluster of Polish light aircraft

The second project comes completely out of left field. I was reading a posting on one of the forums I follow (most likely 72nd Scale Aircraft) and came across the finished model of a RWD-5. It is a small civil aircraft from the Polish aircraft industry. It seemed nicely done and something one doesn’t see very often, which I always find alluring. When I wandered down to the garage, I found that I had 4 of these RWD series planes in 1:72 (and a Czech Skoda D-1 I’ve been meaning to knock out for a while now), all of which are from obscure Eastern European manufacturers.

The decals have that dire look of ones that will shatter once they get a good look at a cup of water, so I’ll have to be careful when applying them. The plastic itself doesn’t look very much better. Still, to quote Star Trek 2, a project like this “has the virtue of never having been tried”. I’ll be doing the aforementioned D-1 and the RWD-5, -6, -8, and -14. Light a candle for my sanity, someone.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Three new Hawks

The first series project of 2013 is actually a holdover from last year. I bought all three of the kits in probably late summer, but just couldn’t seem to get started on them. And it is not like they are kits I am unfamiliar with; these are the Airfix BAe Hawks, something I’ve built 15+ of. But the interesting thing with this group, besides the markings, is the fact that I’ll be using all three of Airfix’s recent version of the Hawk. This would be the Hawk T2, the Hawk T1 of recent vintage (AX2005) and the somewhat revised version (AX2005A). What are the differences? Mostly that the wing on the revised kit has the fences already in place, and the exhaust tube is considerably thinner. Some will tell you that the panel lines are rather more delicate too. We’ll see when the three are completed.

The T2 will have the special markings on Xtradecal X72156 (the sheet which has already been used for a Eurofighter special scheme). One of the T1s will have the Bomber Command markings from that decal sheet as well, though I am making some personal amendments to it. Although on the actual aircraft, only the upper spine is painted in Dark Green/Dark Earth, with all wings and tail surfaces being Black. Personally I think the plane will look better with upper wings and horizontal tail in the DG/DE colors as well. So technically, the model that I produce will be a whif, but that is fine with me.

I’m not sure what markings the other Hawk T1 will eventually get, but I have a half dozen sheets with potential choices. Anything that is in a special scheme or at least with squadron bars will be eligible. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Considering the next wave of kit starts

Though it has been a slow time for production, I have been giving some thought to which new models I will introduce now that I’m in the final stages of a number of kits. I have an AModel Rutan Voyager to finish painting, and a lot of touchup required on the Phantom FG1, both of which must be done before I can turn them to the decaling stage. But other than items on the Shelf of Shame, those are the final examples of the current production run. So what is next?

First of all, I have three items that are continuing themes from 2012. The first item, which already has the cockpit together, is the Trumpeter Wellington. I did fiddle about with the MPM Wellington for a little while, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to put together and I think the Trumpeter kit will be less stressful. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no big fan of their choice of how to represent the geodetic structure and fabric, but I’ll have to see how that looks with a coat of paint.

Then comes the MPM Fairey Battle. That cockpit too has been built, though it was a titanic struggle to do so. Nothing fit, and I think that some major filing may still be in order before the fuselage halves will come together. Both of these types are important entries in the WW2 RAF bomber collection.

Next, I’ve decided to add the Dragon/Cyberhobby DeHav Sea Vixen into the postwar British fighters group. This collection saw a lot of additions in 2012 and this will be my first in 2013. I know that the Sea Vixen has been slammed for the shape of its radome, but if I decide that it annoys me too much there are always aftermarket resin replacements. I suspect I can live with it in its present form, however.

And finally, I’ve added a kit that I completely forgot that I owned! While doing the stash crawl that gave me the idea for the mini-projects I’ll be following in the next couple of blog entries, I ran across the AModel Global Flyer, a descendent of the Voyager that I am currently wrapping up. The difference in sophistication between the two kits is rather stark: smaller sprue gates, sharper molding, better plastic, more polished surfaces. I suspect this one will be quite a bit easier to build than the Voyager was, and that wasn’t exactly a life or death struggle.

In the next three days I’ll outline an additional three series projects that I will be starting on. At least a couple of them involve kits that I can’t remember having seen built in at least the recent past. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Revell Panavia Tornado GR4

Though it continues to be a somewhat slower than usual winter on the 72 Land production line, I did manage to finish another model this week.

This one actually started with intent to become another example from the Xtradecal 72156, but it didn’t end up that way. I was looking seriously at the 2 Squadron Tornado GR4 on that sheet, but then stumbled across Model Alliance 72154. On that sheet was an earlier example of 2 Squadron’s anniversary markings from 2007. I’ve always liked the look of that aircraft, so it moved into first choice.

The problem was that I didn’t have a GR4 kit. Now, the differences between a GR1 (which both Hasegawa and Revell do a kit of) are not extensive. There are some cockpit differences, which I was willing to ignore, and there are some types of ordance that the later version carries. But since I was going to build it clean, like I do most examples, that wasn’t a big deal. But there is a second sensor on the underside of the nose that is very distinctive. Without that bit, it couldn’t be considered a GR4. I considered just carving it from a piece of styrene strip, but didn’t happen to have drawings.

The 72nd Scale Aircraft forum came to my rescue. I found a helpful chap named Jim Bates, who was willing to part with the Airwaves resin piece for the sensor. This had the advantage that it would give me a 3D model in case I wanted to scratch build the next one. So Jim sent me the bit free of charge (cheers Jim!) in a Altoid box, so it not only arrived in fine shape, but minty fresh as well!

I used the Revell GR1 as the base kit. I find these marginally more difficult to build than the Hasegawa version, but not really enough to make much of a distinction. The Revell landing gear is the only place that presented definite problems, and that is more a function of the Tornado’s oddball engineering than anything else.

The fin and spine are Black, remaining upper surfaces are Dark Sea Grey, and lower surfaces are Dark Camo Grey. Gear and wells are White. Exhausts are Alclad Aluminum and Light Burnt Metal. I think if I had it to do over I would paint the rearmost exhaust piece Dark Jet Exhaust.

As mentioned, this is the 2 Squadron’s 95th anniversary markings as applied in 2007. Another in my short lineup of Tornado GR1s, F3s, and GR4s.

This is completed model #423 (#4 for the year), finished in February of 2013. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A new U-2?

Apropos of basically nothing, I put a coat of primer on the Rutan Voyager. But since I didn’t have any light grey, I used a panzer grey. Given that it is quite dark, doesn’t it look like an undisclosed Skunk Works high-altitude recon aircraft? Maybe a successor to the U-2? Someone needs to do a whif version of that…

Friday, February 8, 2013

New kits for 2013

I haven’t spent much time in the modelling dungeon over the last couple of weeks. Just enough to stay connected to the hobby, and some of that time was in examining the announced new kits for 2013. Like everyone else, I have my favorites.

Pride of plane will probably go to Italeri’s Short Stirling. True, I’ve already built the Airfix version, but it was not a very pleasant experience given all those rivets to sand off. It will be nice to have a modern version of the type. Honestly, I thought that Airfix would likely be the only one to invest in a new Stirling, given their programme of redoing elderly kits in their catalog.

As always, I find lots to like in the list of Airfix new toolings: the fabric-winged Hurricane, Vampire T11, Gladiator, and of course the Lightning F2 (though where are the two seat trainers?) The Lanc would be more interesting if I didn’t have the Hasegawa kit already, though I will probably spring for the B2 radial variant.

But I have to give props to AModel too. I’ll be in line early to get ahold of a Beech Starship, a truly unique shape in the sky. I’d like to snatch up an XB-60 to sit next to my B-36, but I doubt that will be possible until my income returns to normal. And the Spruce Goose will be one place in line ahead of it anyway.

In releases with less personal excitement involved, I do have some interest in the Hobbyboss MC-200, the new tool Hasegawa V-22 Osprey, and the Revell Gripen if it really is a new mold.

One great thing is that we surely don’t know of every release which will come out in calendar 2013 yet, since many of the smaller manufacturers hold off their announcements until the models are almost ready. Plus we haven’t heard from DML or seen the definitive list from the various Czech outfits. There are likely to be more surprises before we pop the champagne on New Years Eve 2014.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The P-47 collection

Since I was delving into one of the storage boxes in order to put the three finished P-47s with their brethren, I decided that a family photo was in order. So here it is, 24 of Republic's finest all lined up and facing a somewhat more anemic Bf-109 group. OK, so I'm not a typical modeller; just 7 or 8 Bf-109s...

Extra points for finding the P-35 and XP-47H that are in among the P-47 horde.