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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Next month's IPMS-Seattle Spring Show

Sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth temporarily. There has been a nasty cold/flu/bronchitis going around the family the last couple of weeks that well and truly knocked me for a loop. But I am currently in an upright position, so all should be well.

Nothing has been moving on the production line either, so in lieu of a construction report, let me give you some information on the upcoming IPMS-Seattle Spring Show, to be held on Saturday, 4-12-2014. This is club's major annual show, and it tends to be a good one. I'm told it is the largest show north of San Francisco and probably east of Chicago. There are usually around 700 models on display, both for competition and in display-only areas.

Vendors are arranged around the outside of the large display room (two gymnasiums side by side). Some are professional, some just fellows reducing the stash, but there are always interesting things on sale. I'll even be out there doing some creative stash reduction myself.
Each year I take photos of all the 1:72 entries and list them in my Photobucket account, but of course there are entries in all scales, formats, and subjects. We seem to have done especially well in 1:32 and naval subjects in years past, but be aware there is no way to predict the distribution. It's just potluck for whatever shows up on the day.

It will be held, as it has been for the last few years, at the Renton Community Center near the intersection of I-405 and Hwy 167 in Renton. It's a nice facility, but our show does tend to overwhelm the available parking, so getting there early is a wise choice unless your feet are looking for a workout. As I noted, we occupy two full gymnasiums so there is enough room for all.

Here is the link for further information: Spring Show

The fee is $10 for unlimited model entries ($5 for juniors) and $5 for spectators only. The floor opens at 9am, registration ends at noon, and awards usually are distributed around 3 or 4. It is a fun day for all. Hopefully some of you can make it; I hope to see you there! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rising to the level of my own incompetence

This almost qualifies as a success. I'm not there yet, but I at least seem to have gotten back to the state from prior to this round of struggles.

Tonight I decided to do the RLM80 mottling on the desert snake, and paint the undersides of two Hobbyboss Hurricanes that had been hanging around the queue for a while now. I loaded up the brush with the Luftwaffe dark green and out it came from the airbrush. Not partial and pencil thin, but not a total gusher either. Now, one of the problems I have historically had with my compressor is that it has no add-ons. No moisture trap, no pressure regulator. To be honest, the thing is so old I'm lucky it doesn't run on buffalo dung. A proper upgrade (I've already got the new Iwata compressor picked out on an Amazon wish list) is awaiting the return to normal working income. So I am somewhat used to the technique of letting just the tiniest of pressures on the paint trigger move as little paint as possible onto the model. The RLM80 patches are fairly large on this plane, so it didn't go badly. But the edges do display some spatter and are not as tight as they need to be. But no worse than historically with this airbrush. 

The undersides of the two Hurricane 2c, one in Azure Blue and one in Sky, proceeded better. But now the problem seems to have migrated in the other direction. Lots of paint is exiting the brush. It never got to the point of causing runs, but there are a couple of spots that will likely require a small bit of buffing and repainting. Again, things that I have dealt with before and am used to. For the second, surface coat, you load the paint with lots of thinner and just allow it to fill in the valleys that you've buffed into it. It is nice when you can avoid that step but not onerous if you have to perform it.

So the Death of 1000 Cuts Via Airbrush continues. Tomorrow I think I will relax with some pure construction and decalling, as I finish up the Russian AF Ilyushin Il-28 from Trumpeter.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A glimmer of hope?

I must say that that was an interesting airbrush session. Not that all of my problems have been solved, but there does seem to be a glimmer of hope in the process tonight.

Previously on the 72 Land airbrush battle: As you will know from the earlier issue of this blog, I have been having significant airbrush problems. The paint just does not seem to want to push through the brush. At times the paint flow is absolute zero, even though air is still coming out. A blockage? Pressure leak?

After some research on the net, I realized that over the course of the Iwata's tenure (something like 10 years now) it had lost the o-ring that sits in the nose between the tip and the body. Apparently these things don't stand up well to lacquer thinner, which I use due to the quicker curing time for enamel paint. Could that have been causing the issues? Getting a new one was worth a try.

A couple of days back I received a new o-ring from TCP Global, a supplier of airbrush parts. The o-ring is a tiny bit, and the shipping was more than the part, but I was desperate. The first time I installed it and tightened down the tip, it seemed larger than it should have been, and actually deformed itself - a tiny loop extended past the airbrush. Much consternation ensued. Eventually I got it to the point that the loop was minimized. Nothing is easy, it seems.

I proceeded to the acid test, an actual painting session. I still didn't have a decent coverage of Alclad on the NMF of both the Il-28 and the B-26, so I started there. At first things looked better; paint was actually coming out of the front visibly. I think I got the Il-28 to a point I can live with, but things started to collapse as I worked the B-26. The paint stopped flowing and bubbles were rampant in the paint cup. On a completely different level, I decided that the surface prep I had done on the B-26 was entirely inadequate, and no matter how much Alclad was on the surface it wasn't going to look good enough. A complete repriming and more surface prep were required.

But that didn't explain the state of the brush. I broke it down and fiddled with it. Even when I filled it with pure thinner, it bubbled like the fumaroles at Yellowstone. More stripping, more sticking toothpicks into various orifices (man, what kind of traffic am going to get via Google with that line?) I decided to try again with a non-metallic paint. This time I decided on the RLM79 upper coat on the Ju-87 desert snake and more Dark Green on the world's largest whif.

And after a slow and rocky start, it finally began to work. Coverage was slow and at some points pencil thin - why couldn't I have been doing Luftwaffe mottling while this was going on? - but paint was being applied. After probably 40 minutes of continuous spraying, the areas of Dark Green were opaque enough to call it a day.

Since the airbrush has been down a couple of weeks, I have a fair amount of paint work backed up in the queue. Later in the weekend I will try it all again and see what I can come up with.