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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Potential projects

So what is coming up in the 72 Land small aircraft production queue? As I mentioned, there are Ju-87s and Spitfires in there already, along with Hurricanes. I have a Hasegawa B-26 with a coat of Alclad, but I think I will reshoot that to improve the finish.

But what is next? Although I have sold a lot of kits via Ebay, the stash is still substantial and there is no shortage of new projects that are always vying for attention. I discovered that I had something like 20 aftermarket sheets - most with multiple options - for DC-3s. I could only find one actual DC-3 kit, which I believe is the ESCI molding, and it was missing one of the engine nacelle halves, so unless I can find another kit or the missing part that probably won't move ahead at present. Maybe I'll use these decals when the new tool Airfix DC-3 becomes available. 

I've been pawing an Italeri Fiat Br-20 and Ca-314, in an effort to expand my completed Italian AF collection. I even ran across a partially completed Fujimi Grumman KA-6D tanker that I might push on with. The only downside with the Intruder tanker is that this is from the time period when Fujimi was trying to maximize their output by building in options for multiple variants and then releasing single boxings for all of them. The result is an over-engineered kit with the resulting seams all over the place to deal with. The A-6, like their F-4s, seem to have a lot of little panels and bits to add in to fuselage and wings.

Others I am considering include the Bell P-63 (a single engined fighter I've never built before), a couple of Japanese options (their Me-163 clone and a couple of floatplane fighters), more Italian aircraft (like the SM-79, SM-81, and CantZ 501), a Mitsubishi Betty, a Do-24 to extend my series of German floatplanes, and the Revell Transall C-160 (which will be in Air France markings) that won't seem to go away. I even found a Hasegawa Lancaster that I had started when the kit was first released, with an aftermarket sheet for postwar Lancs. I'm not sure how many of these will actually result in finished models, but it looks like the summer won't lack for modelling work. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Spits appear

I seem to be suffering from Modelling ADHD this year. I get started on a new project, stall a bit, then wander off to begin another project, leaving partially completed aircraft strewn  in my wake. It's not exactly an obscure ailment in our hobby; everyone has a Shelf of Shame that holds the models that never quite saw the finish line. But it seems to have taken hold of me pretty strongly in 2014. I do have some items that are at least nearing their final stages - a desert snake Ju-87, a couple of HobbyBoss Hurricanes - but I am having to force myself to get back to working on them. Something is in the air, which no doubt explains my lack of production so far. I've had years where 50 completed models was in sight. Not so in 2014.

But one new thing I've started on began life as a surprising discovery at the 2014 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. I was selling some kits from the stash and had put a couple of Tamiya Spitfire 1 kits into the stack. One person was looking into the box and noted that the kit was started. And I had no idea! In fact it turned out that both the Spitfires were in process, in one case the fuselage was together and the cockpit painted and installed. In the other the cockpit was partially built and already painted. And there were two aftermarket decal sheets in there as well. Once the customer had decided not to buy them I slipped them under the table. I didn't really want to sell the decals as part of the fairly cheap kit price, and decided that it would be more satisfying to just build them myself.

In keeping with today's theme of lacking focus, it took me the two months since the show to actually get the box open and do some work on the kits. As you would expect, the Tamiya is engineered very well and has no surprises even for the Profoundly Average Modeller™. I've gotten one example mostly built, and the other is almost ready to seal up, just needing some paint and final assembly in the pit. These will likely wear Battle of Britain markings, as that is what the aftermarket sheet covers. Most are just standard RAF markings - not much time for elaborate nose art in those dangerous times - but I might be able to find something with at least the split black and white undersides that some aircraft wore.

Next will come the masking and attachment of canopies, always a tedious business when I don't happen to have an Eduard set to allow my natural laziness to run free. Then I have to once again confront the formidable airbrush beast. Things seemed to be improving when I used it prior to my temp work imposed break over the last few weeks, but it is always a challenge for me. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Trumpeter Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle

We now return you to our regularly scheduled modelling blather.

One thing you won't find a great deal of in my display cabinets are Russian aircraft. I'm not sure why that is. Admittedly, I'm a child of the Cold War, and have never felt any sympathy for Russian political action. But then, I do enjoy German WW2 aircraft, and I certainly have no love for their political dealings either. Maybe it is just that I find Russian design to be exasperatingly utilitarian. Most Russian planes have more in common with a tractor than a bird.

But, occasionally, one will work its way through the construction process. Since I like prototypes, I've built models of the T-50, I-270, MG-144, and the J-10 and J-20 (and yes, I know they are Chinese). I have the three Russian trainers in process, though they seem to have stalled out a bit in the painting cycle. But in general I have never spent much effort on WW2 Soviet types. I will admit to having a Zvezda Pe-8 that doesn't seem to want to return to the stash, but its eventual fate is still undetermined.

About the only glimmer has been with postwar aircraft. I've toyed with the idea of a set displaying the MiG lineage. Eduard's new MiG-15 was the primary driver of that idea, along with the fact that I've never actually built a MiG-21, one of the more common fighters on the planet. There is a good possibility I will get around to that in 2014.

But I digress. Today's completion comes from one of my other preferred themes, the transitional periods in aircraft design. The Ilyushin Il-28 is a part of the early jet period, when straight wings were still common and the full potential of jet aircraft was still somewhat in the future. The type's first flight was in 1948 with aircraft entering service in the early 1950s.

The kit is from Trumpeter, though it has been reboxed by Italeri. It is not a difficult kit to put together, though for this particular variant you need to do some cutting and pasting on the rear fuselage to provide a different tail gun. If you are less hamfisted than I am, it probably will not be a problem, but it did provide me with some frustrating moments. Measure twice, cut once, indeed.

This also happened to fall into the timeframe when I was having airbrush troubles, so the spraying of overall Alclad caused a bit of hair-pulling as well. I still don't think the overall finish is particularly good, but I was rapidly approaching the point where it was more important to finish the model than to establish my artistic bona fides, so that is what I did. The color scheme isn't very imaginative either - another reason I'm not very excited by Russian aircraft, but it did have the benefit of being simple. All in all, it represents another scalp for the belt (ie, another model in the display case).

This is completed model #439 (#4 for the year), finished in March of 2014.