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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Boneheadedness (a tale of the Airfix Blenheim)

It seems that the Bonehead Virus has taken root here in 72 Land. I'm - ahem - not the most fastidious of modellers at the best of times, and at the worst? Let's just say the results can get ugly. But today's construction session didn't just make me feel all thumbs. It made me feel like I was building with two deformed pinkies and a big toe.

The first disaster was on a model that hasn't been coming along too badly, an Airfix Short Tucano. There is a Memorial Day (Remembrance Day?) special marking set on the same decal sheet along with one of the two Eurofighters I am doing (Xtradecal 72-216). It is a black Tucano with lots of poppies and a slogan along the lower surfaces. The body of the model has been coming along fine. But the prop... This is a piece about an inch square with teeny blades and requires no less than three paints, and some masking to boot. Black and white sections on the front, black with yellow tips on the back. Of course I broke it early on, so I'm also now dealing with one blade that isn't connected well. No matter how I tried to mask it the paint bled under. The yellow didn't want to cover when I sprayed it. Even when I got paint in the right place, the consistency was gooey and awful. The result is something that looks like an abstract work of the Ape Men of the Indus. But I am done with dealing with it. Hopefully the vivid artwork on the body of the model will draw the eye away.

The second disaster I'm more bummed about. This involves the Airfix Blenheim. Things were going swimmingly; the fuselage and wings were together and awaited the cockpit module. But oy. If you learn nothing from this post, know that this structure is a complex entity just waiting to feast on the despair of any modeller that doesn't have an advanced engineering degree. Airfix doesn't help things by making three of the five sides of the cockpit surround out of clear parts, which makes gluing treacherous for the ham-fisted. That there are five parts at all means that it is hard to get a solid bond. And there is a lot of furniture to stuff into this small space. I made the bad situation worse by misunderstanding how the pilot seat was supposed to go together, which meant it was too wide for the space allotted. The assembled module resolutely did not want to fit into its spot in the front of the fuselage, which meant that, although I gave it some tape support during the time the glue was drying - the way it is positioned clamps do no good - the module slipped out of place and is now both fragile and misglued. Where the two clear bits in front meet is thoroughly misaligned. I can probably cover up the plastic joins with putty/surfacer, but I'm still vexed about how to get the transparencies lined up. Maybe a tiny sliver of plastic sheet that both can be glued to, assuming I can wiggle them around enough to reposition them.

Honestly, if I wasn't a fan of the type (and of Airfix) I would probably bin this and take my learnings into the Mk 4 that I will eventually buy. Plus there is that blasted core theory of this blog, that everything gets displayed, even the disasters. Still, these two have had me tearing my thankfully still abundant hair out.

Though I am glad to report that this was followed by a pretty successful airbrushing session (with added thunderstorm to boot!) More on this later. 

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