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Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 3 of 3)

And another selection from the show. To see the full batch of photos, including some armor, please click this link:

You just don't see that many Italian aircraft at US shows, but here is a nice CANTZ 1007. 

And here is probably the smallest entry, the Sack AS-6. 

There was a collection of 5 different B-25 variants.

The Delta MC-72, another rarity. 

One of the Hasegawa anime aircraft in 1:72. Sorry, but I'm not well-versed enough in the subject to know exactly which one this is. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 2 of 3)

Another few items from the 2013 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. 

Privateer, one assumes from the Matchbox kit. 

TBH, I am not sure which kit this is, but given the decals and the general look I am assuming it is the ICM one. 

A PV-2 Harpoon, one that is on my short list as part of the Lockheed twins project. 

Ilyushin Il-28 trainer. 

This one arrived literally right before registration closed. It is always good to see one of the Heller DC-6s built up, and this one had nice Braniff markings. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

2013 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 1 of 3)

The 2013 edition of the IPMS-Seattle Spring Show is wrapping up now, and it was as enjoyable as the others have been. As is always the case with shows, you never really know what is going to appear, and it is always a surprise which categories fill while others are barren.  I have to say that I thought the numbers for 1:72 were slightly down this year - not so much in the single and multiple engine categories, but in the off-the-beaten path categories like commercial and light aircraft. But this was made up for by having some very interesting kits being present. Oh, there were the usual suspects like F4Us and Mustangs, but there were also a nicely done Anigrand Boeing Clipper, a Mach 2 Coronado, a T-45 in anniversary markings, an Emily flying boat, a Roden Staaken, and a scratchbuilt Boeing B-9.

For the next couple of days I will spotlight some of my favorites. Feel free to take a look at the online Photobucket album at

Be advised that there are, in addition to all the 1:72 models, some 1:48 armor I shot for a friend and the occasional 1:35 armor bit that has slipped in. The categories that were uncommonly heavy this year were cars and, of all things, Gundam mechs. Large scale kits were missing in action a the beginning of the day, but by the end of registration had filled in pretty well. Armor seemed maybe a bit down as well. 

There seemed to be a lot of people carrying newly purchased kits, so I have to assume the vendors did all right too. If I get an official number of entries, I'll post it later. Eventually, IPMS-Seattle will have its own set of photos of the entries, including of course the categories I don't pay much attention to. 

My personal favorite - and I should stress that these are all personal favorites, and not necessarily related to their judging value - was an Anigrand Boeing Clipper. 

Next is a T-45 Goshawk in 100th anniversary markings.

A Mach 2 Coronado.

And finally for today, a view of the crowd scene. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Still getting some light modelling done

Like the title says, I'm getting a bit of work done despite the fact that I do come home from this temp position pretty bushed. It isn't difficult work, though there are lots of little traditions and nuances in the process that everyone is expected to obey. But it does require some focus, which by the end of the day can tie your upper back in knots and give you a headache of epic dimension. 

But two things are brightening the horizon. Not only have I gotten the decals on to three models in the last few days, but the IPMS Seattle Spring Show is this Saturday. I still will need to get a sealer coat over the decals before I can introduce them on the blog, so that may take a few days to get accomplished. 

The weather for the show this weekend looks good: high 50s to low 60s and mostly sunny. Always glad when we don't have some extreme rain drenching the poor souls trying to get a few models from car to contest without damage. I'll try to have some photos of the 1:72 entries uploaded to Photobucket (with teasers and a link on this blog) by the end of the weekend. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Amodel Scaled Composites Global Flyer

Once I finished the AModel Rutan Voyager, I was inspired to start work on its descendant, the AModel Global Flyer.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Global Flyer is definitely a later product in the AModel line. The surface is much smoother, the sprue attachment points are smaller, and the small pieces can actually be removed from the runners without destroying them. But never forget that they produce short-run kits, and construction had a number of challenges.

First, it is a very delicate model. Lots of long surfaces. Plus the flying surfaces are all butt-joined, making them even more vulnerable to the bumbling attack of a stumpy-fingered modeler (eg, me). And once you get past the overall white scheme, the Global Flyer requires small patches of bright Red and dark Purple, which means multiple masking sessions. I toughed it out for the tail portion... and broke off two horizontal tail surfaces. The lower fuselage remained, and it just seemed rife with possibilities for disaster. Humbrol 68, the purple that AModel recommends, is actually mixed well for brush applications. Very thick. When I did airbrush it it required massive thinning, like 50%. My bottom line rationale was that it was the underside of the fuselage, and therefore not in a location that would stand out if I made a pig of the job. Luckily it went ok, given the limitations inherent in brush painting, and I can live with the result.

I’ve found that the provided decals from AModel will work well with a little care and focus. Warmer water works best with only a few seconds of actual immersion in water, then leave them on a hard surface to soften and detach from the backing paper. Slide them off with great care and soak up the extra water with a paper towel. Do any last minute placement adjustments and then give it a press with the paper towel to sop up the rest of the moisture. I do avoid touching any decal that has been attached, though I can’t recall ever lifting one of AModel’s markings once they were in place. A good thing too, since many of their aircraft have markings that aren’t exactly provided elsewhere.

Generally speaking, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It is another in a series of strange aircraft shapes which I rather enjoy. Here is a shot of the Global Flyer and the Rutan Voyager together. I suppose it is logical to go for the AModel Space Ship One / White Knight combo next. Alas, I don’t have that kit in the stash, so I have to see if I can score it on sale somewhere. It seems to be going in the neighborhood of $45 at the usual online stores.

This is completed model #426 (#7 for the year), finished in April of 2013. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Painting duties

I’ve got a couple of hundred tins of Xtracolour paints in my garage, and yet all I seem to be painting lately is black and white!

Today’s session was primarily centered around the three Hawks, the lower surfaces of the Wellington, and the B-57B, all of which required black. The other main paint duties were some touchup and surface work on the CyberHobby Sea Vixen.

I finished some touch up work on the Global Flyer as well. To avoid an even bigger pain, I had to succumb to one of my least-liked jobs: brush-painting the exterior of an aircraft. I have had an airbrush for almost as long as I have been modeling; it was really one of the first things I bought when I got serious about this being my primary hobby. This is not meant as a slam to the adherents of the hairy stick, but for the last 30 years I have only used a brush for detail areas such as cockpit detailing, maybe the occasional exhaust, and tires. I’m just not terribly good at it, and a bad brush-painting job stands out like maggoty roadkill. So even though there is a fair amount of work involved in masking, I almost never brush paint the camo.

In a somewhat later session, I was able to get the surface coat on the three Hawks, and they all look pretty decent. I also got the color coat on the entire B-57B (only finished part of it the first time) and the underside of the Wellington.

 I know that I haven’t exactly been a fountain of modeling activity this spring, and it may slow down even further for the next few weeks. I’ve found myself a bit of temp work (processing incoming deposits for a non-profit’s capital campaign) which should last a month or six weeks. It’s not my usual line of work (project management) or my usual hourly rate (you don’t want to know how much less) but it does constitute paying work, so I won’t feel like quite so much of a leech in the family income derby. I will be trying to get some things accomplished on the workbench (along with an increased presence at the gym), but sometimes the energy just fizzles before I have a chance to get the the keyboard. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More details for the Hawks

Most action in the last few days has centered around the three Hawks. Once the wheel wells and landing gear were shot White, the wells were masked and some fiddly bits (nose pitot and some antennae that seem destined to be broken off) were attached. Now they are ready for the overall Black coat.

And they aren’t the only ones. The B-57B Canberra has its gear wells masked and is waiting for an overall coat of Black. And the Trumpeter Wellington, which has been sitting around patiently for a few weeks, needs its undersides the same color. And the Sea Vixen needs its nose radome to join the queue as well. I hope I have enough black paint!
Construction-wise, the C-46 got its landing gear bits painted and assembled. And the Su-28 has its rather rudimentary cockpit together and is awaiting that gawd-awful turquoise color that the Russians paint their cockpits. 

A white and purple night

Out comes the airbrush for another session. I’m still having some air/paint throughput issues, but eventually the area that needs to get painted, does. I’m disassembling the brush after each paint session until I get to the bottom of these problems.

In any case, white is a difficult color to paint. Sometimes one thins it too much and it refuses to cover; sometimes it is too thick and can barely exit the airbrush. But the main effort this time went into painting the three Hawks wheel wells, landing gear, wheel hubs, and the underside of the CyberHobby Sea Vixen. And the main problem was that, even after thinning, the paint was a very unusual consistency, which resulted in some pebbling on the undersurface of the Sea Vixen. Some buffing and a surface coat will likely be called for.

The next color is one that no one will be able to say they can’t see when it is sprayed. This was the Humbrol 68 Purple for the lower bits of the Global Flyer’s tail bits. I managed to knock off one of the horizontal tail surfaces while masking, and I know that is going to haunt me repeatedly until this model is complete. Which it won’t be until I paint the underside of the central fuselage pod in the same Purple.

Interestingly, after I cleaned the brush from the White, when I mixed up the Humbrol Purple it shot out like a fire hose. I’m beginning to think I had some bad or contaminated paint. Maybe the tin lid didn’t seal properly? In any case I’ll shoot the surface coat with a new tin. My last of Xtracolour White, alas, due to the new Royal Mail restrictions on shipping enamels. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fujimi McD-D Phantom FG1

Completions have not been frequent this spring, though I think that the dam is going to burst a bit here in the next couple of weeks, but I do have one to announce today. Remember back in the 1980s when it seemed that the only new models that anyone was producing was some variant of F-4? Well, some of you may not remember, but it was a common area of complaint that all we seemed to get were jets in general and F-4s in particular. Just in 1:72, we had infinite variations by Fujimi and Hasegawa, Revell/Italeri/Airfix. When they got to the Spey-engined UK models it was confirmed that F-4 Mania was truly running wild. The Speys actually require a retooled fuselage, since the engines are a bit wider, and of course they have different exhaust cans. The Fujimi kits, like all those from that era’s production by this company, were refined and beautiful to look at, as well as a dream to build. Admittedly, they did tend toward over-engineering, but that is how they accommodated all those F-4 variants.

I‘ve had a Fujimi F-4K boxing since it was first released all those years ago. I just don’t do F-4s very often. I’ve done a couple, mostly just to feed the display section of USN fighters. In Seattle, one generally leaves the production of 1:72 F-4s to Norm Filer, who at last count had upwards of 100 of the things finished.

Now F-4s do have the advantage of having been the one of the primary fighters during the golden age of colorful US naval markings. But it just isn’t an aircraft that lights my particular fuse. However, every so often someone produces a special color scheme that even I can’t ignore, and that’s what happened in this particular case.

Long time readers will know I am a great fan of Dickie Ward’s Modeldecals, as much for their educational value as for their excellent decals. When I ran across the scheme on set #72, I knew that someday I would produce a model of it. This is the 25th anniversary of F-4 special scheme that was unveiled at the 1983 International Air Tattoo. The event was held at RAF Greenham Common in July of that year. This plane’s actual designation is Phantom FG1, but a quick check with the fine fellows on Britmodeller confirmed that the FG1 and F-4K were externally the same. However, there was a curious little amendment to the actual aircraft used by the A&AEE at that time. The radome was flattened on the bottom and a little Doppler panel was attached there.

I figured I could sand the thing down a bit and then add some thin plastic or a decal, when I started an online conversation with Grant Matsuoka. At least I think it was Grant; now of course I can’t find the original emails. He had a copy of the Fujimi kit that they had produced specifically with this aircraft’s mods, but had used it for another purpose and still had the radome bits. In addition, he had a copy of the Fujimi decals. Grant was kind enough to send the bits to me so that I could use them on this model. After a bit of surgery to accommodate the new parts, I had a much more accurate shape.

The Modeldecals had yellowed a bit (well, they are 30+ years old now) and the Fujimi example were bright and sharp, so I used them. I think the biggest challenge on this model was the paint work. It was basically a raspberry ripple job, with a black radome and the usual NMF parts of the exhaust and tail. So, there was a lot of masking to be done. I started with an overall white, using that as a primer. Then I masked for the PO Red stripes and tail, and then for the Oxford Blue lower portion and underside. Then came the black radome, and finally the metallic bits. And then the inevitable cleanup. Some of the dimensions are a bit off in hindsight, particularly the red stripe width and location. But I was not going to remask after all that work.

Decals went on perfectly. They even snuggled down over the wing details without any setting solution at all. A matte coat, unmasking the canopy, and another one crosses the finish line. I had intended to display it with the Alcock and Brown special that I built a couple of decades back, but it needs some cleaning and repair before it gets camera time. So we’ll save that for a future session.

This is completed model #425 (#6 for the year), finished in April of 2013. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Incremental steps

Much of the work being done in the production line this week is small incremental steps that, while not very flashy, will eventually add up to some model completions. In a bit of paintwork, I got the light grey sealant strip painted onto the three BAe Hawk canopies that are currently in process. Which brings up a question: I wonder how many of you actually install the clear piece that is meant to represent the Plexiglas panel between the two cockpits in a Hawk? I generally don’t (though I do represent the sealant strip that is visible externally from the outside of the canopy). I don’t really think the clear piece does a good job of representing what actually sits in the cockpit. Plus it is a very difficult piece to fit correctly and has a high probability of looking bad. Worse in fact than not having anything there at all. And on a closed cockpit, no one really notices it is gone. Plus I’m lazy.

The lower surfaces of the C-46 got their coat of Canadian Voodoo Grey, as recommended by the Draw Decal sheet. The Williams Bros kit is not an easy build – the reason why it spent some time on the Shelf of Shame – and it is another one that will not be the best model in the case, but will hopefully be competent. And, more to the point, it is a model you don’t see completed all that often. Models like that are a significant part of my output. I have also added the C-46’s engine nacelles. Next comes the landing gear.

I have also been prepping for my next paint session. I've been having some issues with the Iwata airbrush lately: all self-inflicted, I suspect, and ultimately due to ineffective cleaning leading to paint buildup in the body of the brush. I have completely broken down the brush after the last two paint sessions, trying to clear out the gunk. It is getting better, but it still doesn't seem to be producing the air and paint that I would expect. We’ll see how it goes next time.

The Hawks are ready to get their wheel wells painted. The Sea Vixen will get a coat of White on the lower surfaces. And the Global Flyer will get its lower tail sections painted in a truly garish color of (believe it or not) Purple. 

Pictured below is the current state of the B-57B and the C-46.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Catching up on construction

I must apologize, since the media empire that is 72 Land has been unusually quiet for a couple of weeks. Nothing dire, but I haven’t had much in the way of computer time. The good side of that is that I have been able to get some construction work done in the modeling dungeon.

I've been able to make some progress on the three BAe Hawks. Cockpits built and painted and major assembly complete. I’ve built so many of these things that it took me a bit of time to realize that I have one of each of Airfix’s current three production kits on the workbench. This is the relatively recent T1, the stealthily-revised T1 that appears in a Red Arrow box with a different code (AX2005A), and the T2.

All three versions are engineered well and the fit is as good as it gets, requiring almost no filler. The newest T1 has the innovation of wing fences already as a part of the wing, so if you’re a ham-fisted modeler (as I am) that will be one less place to get errant glue all over the place. The modified version also has a one-piece canopy (something else The Lazy Modeller appreciates) and no HUDs on the cockpit consoles, and we’ve already discussed the much thinner exhaust can.

But three unexpected things happened. First, I resurrected an Italeri B-57B from the Shelf of Shame. Actually in this case it was a Box of Shame, but you understand. Second, I decided to resume work on a Williams Bros C-46 that had been languishing as long as the B-57. Finally, I stopped looking at the Cyberhobby Sea Vixen and got all the major bits together so that it now resembles an aircraft. Yes, I understand the nose is faulty, but it certainly builds up better than the ancient Frog version of the type. The one gripe I have with these new Cyberhobby kits is that they have the folded-wing built into the kit. I do get it that many modellers like the option, but if you are not going to build it with wings up, fit can become an issue. Most parts on this kit fit wonderfully (though the front fuselage seam was a struggle), but parts of the droppable flaps where they intersect with the foldable wings just… don’t. A bit of extra sanding and a sigh of relief that the bad patch is on the bottom of the aircraft and off we go.