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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Williams Bros Curtiss C-46 Commando

Today’s finished model is one that spent some of its lifespan on the Shelf of Shame, though certainly not as much time as the long-term denizens of that area (like the Constellation or the B-36). The reason it was diverted to that bit of punishment duty is simply that it is a difficult kit to deal with. Though it is a long-run molding, it has a lot of the identifying marks of an early short-run kit. Fit is pretty ghastly throughout, it is a putty hog, and the instructions are one page and mostly text. There was a short shot on one of the wing pieces, which didn’t help much.

Originally the idea was to display it next to its infinitely more successful cousin, the C-47. You can see the conceptual differences in the C-46’s larger body, with much more cargo space. They still make a good comparison.

The worst construction problems I ran across were the two-part canopy that simply didn’t want to fit, that wing short-shot, another instance of brain fart (wherein I reversed the orientation of the main landing gear - now don’t start), and the general soft molding on most parts. But liberal doses of the proper sort of modeling music – in this case a live show from the Dio-era Sabbath restoration performing under the name of Heaven and Hell from 2007 – enabled me to power my way through the troubling parts of the build.

And then I came to the decals. Always on the lookout for obscure markings, and especially oriented toward commercial versions, over the years I had picked up the Leading Edge Canadian airliner conversion, and the Draw Decals Everts Cargo set. I decided I didn’t want to deal with the resin wingtips on the LE set (if you’re interested in this out of production set, it will be appearing on Ebay in a week or so). There is a relatively new Maestro Models sheet that has the BOAC camouflaged C-46 on it, and had I been starting the model now that is probably the version I would have gone for.

The decals presented me with a difficult set of problems. I don’t have an issue with markings on an overall carrier sheet; it seems easy enough to me to cut them out to size. But when the decals themselves appear to almost have no adhesive on them, that can be troubling. I have had this problem twice, on a JBot 737 set and this Draw Decal set. The symptoms that are presented are that the decal doesn’t entirely lay down on the surface of the model, and starts to pull up a bit as it dries. Also, if you try blowing a bit of dust off, you could find the decal piece actually fluttering to the floor. Finally, the markings will not conform to any irregularities on the surface. Solvent solutions do not appear to have any effect.

After asking around the various forums, the consensus seemed to be that the addition of some diluted white glue / Kristal Kleer was called for. So that’s what I did, with mixed results. If the glue solution went where it was supposed to, it seemed to work well enough. If it didn’t, the residue wanted to pool up and turn sticky within seconds, and cleanup around all those fragile decals was tough. If you put your finger on any decal, it was liable to pull up completely. So much careful handling ensued. Not easy while you’re trying to attach wheels, gear doors, props, and add Kristal Kleer to make the windows.

Eventually with some models you just want the ordeal to end. If I hadn’t made the rather boneheaded decision when I started this blog to show everything I completed, good or bad (in a vain attempt to show that production is sometimes a good thing that trumps the search for perfection that keeps most people from finishing models) then this would likely be one of the ones you wouldn’t see. However, that isn’t the case, so here it is.

This is completed model #430 (#11 for the year), finished in May of 2013. 

1 comment:

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