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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hasegawa McD-D AH-64 Apache

Building the Italeri A129 Mangusta/Mongoose was a very pleasant experience overall, so I started poking around in the stash to find another attack helicopter to build. One of the first that came to hand was the Hasegawa AH-64 Apache.
It was listed as a "special marking" but I honestly don't see what is special about it. The only unique marking is a teeny little band of the Arizona flag above the tail rotor. The rest is bog standard helicopter drab.

Being a Hasegawa kit, the engineering is fine and construction proceeds without tragedy. There are a couple of mods in the kit that differentiate it from earlier versions: more than one tail rotor and a revised set of exhausts. The only set of canopy masks I had were Eduard's old dark grey vinyl versions, which don't seem to adhere well to even slightly curved surfaces. But with some additional attention right before painting I was able to keep the clear bits clear.

There is really not a great deal to add. Sometimes it is soothing to the mojo to do a quick model that you're not strongly psychologically invested in. I still have my eye on the Italeri Eurocopter Tiger to further my set of attack helicopters.

This is completed aircraft #457 (#24 for the year), finished in March of 2016.

Friday, April 29, 2016

2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (5 of 5)

Here is the last selection of photos from the show. Once again, here is a link to the Photobucket album with all the pictures:  Link

We will go out in a hail of Spitfires

Another great year for the IPMS-Seattle Spring Show, with nearly 1000 models on the tables (though not all were in the competition). Congrats to the show team!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (4 of 5)

More from the show. A selection of 1:72 armor this time. 

As before, see earlier entries for a link to the Photobucket album with all photos that I took at the show. We'll finish up this view on the annual event tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (3 of 5)

I received the official totals on the show from Andrew Birkbeck, show chairman. 948 total models, of which 197 were display only or multiples in the collections category. So 751 competition models coming from 205 registered modellers. 

Now for some more random photos from the show:

 Savoia S-21

Bristol Bulldog

Zero (this might be the one that won Best Aircraft - not sure)



More tomorrow!

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (2 of 5)

Back with more examples taken from the 4-23-16 Seattle Spring Show.

There were two Blenheims on display, one of which won Best Aircraft (not sure if the winner was this Mk 1 or the Mk 4). Anyone who can win a high award with this kit has my respect.

BAe Hawk T1 in CONA markings

Something of a DC-2/DC-3 hybrid

HP Halifax

Romeo Ro-57

More tomorrow!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (1 of 5)

Back to a more positive topic after last time's rants. April 23 was the date of the 2016 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show, the largest show in the Great Northwest. I don't have numbers yet, but there were definitely large numbers of people and models, and the quality was very high. The 1:72 tables were especially full, so my camera was working overtime. 

There seemed to be an especially strong turnout of the usual suspects (Spitfires, 109s, F-16s) but I will be concentrating more on the oddball types that I like to see. For those of you that want to access my full set of images (including some 1:72 armor), here is a link to the Photobucket album: Link

F-16 (well, at least it had an attractive paint scheme)

An very nicely done Voisin 3

An A Model Tu-128 Fiddler

BAe Lightning

Tomahawk cruise missile

More tomorrow!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sins and rants (F-4D, Blenheim)

Forgive me Faddah, for I have sinned. Well, at least I'm getting ready to. My sins are many and varied, but today we should talk about sins against accuracy and sins against buildability.

I have this decal sheet, see? It is a Syhart rendition of the noteworthy F-4 Phantom that flew for the North Dakota ANG in a lavish commemorative paint scheme. And it's an F-4, so there must be dozens of kits to choose from, right? Unfortunately it is an F-4D, which, although both Fujimi and Hasegawa have technically created kits for this version, they really only got one pressing and then disappeared forever (or at least until after I finish this model).  Ebay prices for this, when the rare F-4D actually is listed, usually run over $50 with shipping. Even with the recent small financial windfall, I am still a modeller of limited means, and that's a bit higher than I want to go for a type that I'm not super interested in. Buying the Hasegawa Eurofighter for $38 almost killed me :) !

So here's the deal. I have an ESCI Bicentennial release F-4 of indeterminate type. It's another one where the instructions have become separated from the plastic. It does have a small sensor under the nose (as does the F-4D), but I'm not enough of a Phantom geek to know what other errors I would be committing if I build this kit and cover it with Syhart decals. But the truth is that I think I can make it look as much as possible like a D. F-4s are relatively similar until you get to the Spey engined versions, and this thing is going to be sitting in my display case, not in the F-4 Museum. The only public airing it will get will be in this blog. Thus, my first sin.

The second is more of a rant. I really hate the new(ish) Airfix Blenheim. I'm not an Airfix hater; in fact I've gobbled up all of their new product and enjoyed it immensely, though I haven't gotten the C-47 or Shack yet. But I found the Blenheim to be almost unbuildable. There, I said it. It is difficult to get everything to fit inside the cockpit, the nose pieces don't want to cozy up to the rest of the fuselage, the cockpit glass is in too many pieces which are hellacious to line up, the bomb bay door took a pound of putty, and the engines and exhaust ring didn't want to fit in the nacelles. The wings did fit all right...

I have no illusions. Most of the misalignment is likely to have been caused by impatience and the fact that I have two hands made up mostly of thumbs. But I haven't heard much positive being said about this kit in the blogosphere. I was keeping notes for doing an eventual Mk 4 Blenheim, but that won't be happening. I'm done with the kit, and once it gets its airing on the blog it will be confined in the deepest, darkest, most spider-infested part of one of the display cases. The attached picture pretty accurately sums up my feelings. 

I will do appropriate penance to expiate these sins against accuracy and buildability, possibly 10 Hail Hasegawas or more. Here endeth today's lesson. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Model SovGov Tsar Bomba

As part of the ongoing Ordnance Project, which attempts to display single versions of airborne weaponry, I've already done a couple of US atomic weapons. So I guess it was time to give equal time to the other side. A Model has done a kit of the Tsar Bomb, a hydrogen weapon that was detonated in 1961 north of the Arctic Circle. As you can imagine, it lit the place up pretty well, and the shock wave came close to mangling the Tu-95 that launched it.

I'm an unreconstructed A Model fan, generally for their adventurous choice of subjects. Quality of engineering hasn't caught up to their ambition quite yet, so their kits do tend to be for modellers who are willing to invest the time and focus if they want a contest winner. Luckily, Profoundly Average Modellers like myself just sort of blunder their way through a project like this and don't take no for an answer. Is it noble obstinacy or sheer bloody-minded stubbornness? You decide.

An A Model kit's greatest weakness is typically their smallest parts. This has improved in the last 5 years or so, but there are so many miniscule parts in the Tsar Bomb that are difficult to separate from the sprue that I was driven even more insane than I already was. The location of many of these small bits are vague at best. From photos I could figure out where most bits should go, but not all of them went on flawlessly.

Plus, keep in mind that the number of parts of the Tsar Bomb itself only make up about 50% of the kit. The rest is an elaborate trailer to move the weapon from storage to the belly of a Tu-95. My first inclination was to just bin the extras, but I think I've decided to make this the inaugural of a new series here in 72 Land: military vehicles and armor. I've got a half completed Dragon Challenger around someplace too. We're an all-encompassing service here; aircraft, ordnance, military vehicles and armor, and naval as well someday.

This is completed ordnance #6 (#23 for the year), finished in March of 2016.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hot paint session (Bv-222, Blenheim, Tornado GR1)

The weekend painting session was done on what is always something of a surprise here in the Great Northwest - a rather warm April day. Again, I'm ignoring you Texas or Tunisia folks who will burst into laughter when you hear this, but we've got three days in the upper 80s this week. For Washington in April, that is downright hot. So I, being the heat wimp that I am, was pretty much sweated out when I finished painting.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish was getting the camo coat of RLM73 on the Bv-222. This is a survivor of my Shelf of Shame, and one of the reasons I delayed it so log was the extensive masking that was necessary on what is a large airframe. The entire lower surfaces were masked off after painting RLM65, then I put on a coat of RLM72, and then I had to mask large patches for the camo. I think I ended up using over 50% of a container of Tamiya 10mm yellow tape by the time I was done, and a good long strip of paper towels. Somehow in the process I managed to forget the lower wingtips should be in White (though I did get the fuselage stripe painted earlier), so there is still one more trip to the paint garage before I can do the decalling.

I also shot the Dark Earth camo on the troublesome Airfix Blenheim. At this point, with my bumbling of the canopy bits, it's just a race to the finish line, but I do want to get it completed and in the display case.

Then there was the Dark Sea Grey camo on a Tornado GR1. I have loads of anniversary decals for GR4s, but decided to use an old Almark set (AKS11) instead. I do have a couple of GR4 conversions coming from Freightdog, so will likely make any future mudmover Tornados with those glitzier markings.

Finally, there were some miscellaneous interiors that needed painting, like the Space Shuttle, another Norseman (a real one this time), and a primer coat on the A Model Starship. Pretty happy with the results so far, even if it did practically melt me. What is July/August going to be like if we are flirting with 90 in April? 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fine Molds Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro

Today's completion is one of those events of serendipity that just seem to come out of nowhere. I have had the Fine Molds kit of the Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro for many years, possibly since it was first released in 1991. Somewhere along the line the instruction sheet and decals were misplaced, so when I rediscovered the kit it was just a couple of very small sprues in a standard sized box. But after looking at things for a while, I figured I could dope out the construction sequence or find a copy of the instructions online. And finding hinomarus wouldn't be an issue; I have many of them in the decal vault.

But we manly modellers don't need instructions anyway, right? The build was trouble free, though I did have to think about the strut work on the landing gear for a few minutes until I was sure I had them. Luckily I did have photographic reference for the gyro and there are not many parts in the kit. And being Fine Molds, they fit well.

One of the options was for a Ka-1 in overall silver dope, so I opted for that one. Some detail painting was required on the wheels, prop, leather surrounds for the cockpit openings. Thankfully the airbrush was thoroughly behaving itself during the session with Alclad aluminum, and I was really very happy with the result.

It even got me down to the garage stash to see what else I have in the way of autogyros. I found the Azur Cierva C-30 in French markings and the Planet Fw-186 in German. One of them will likely be joining the build queue in the near future, though there is a lot of competition for bench space right at the moment, with a flurry of recent purchases. I know there is a Russian gyro out there too (from A Model?) but that is for the distant future.

This is completed aircraft #456 (#22 for the year), finished in March of 2016.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New construction (Hasegawa Eurofighter, A Model Starship)

After struggling a bit with my two remaining single-seat Eurofighters from Revell, being rather disappointed with what I believe is mold deterioration in only a few years of releases, I decided to spent some money on a Hasegawa version. The differences are unbelievably stark. While the parts layout and building process is very similar - as you might expect - the engineering differences are miles apart. Everything so far on the Hasegawa kit has fit snugly and positively. Detail is good, though there is always scope for an aftermarket cockpit set if you are so inclined. I am really happy with the kit, and fear that I am now getting spoiled. I've still got planned another half dozen Eurofighters to handle all the commemorative markings and remaining RAF squadrons. At $38 per as opposed to $14, that runs up quite an extra bill. But the fit and buildability are super.

I've got the cockpit installed and the fuselage together. Next comes the completion of major assembly, primarily wings, intakes, and canards. The Hasegawa approach to the intakes looks the same as Revell's, but we'll see how much struggle the newer kit eliminates. More as this progresses.

Further down on the buildability scale, I've got the major bits together for the A Model Beech Starship. Now I love Rutan designs, and am (as always) appreciative that A Model has decided to bring this and the Avanti to styrene actuality. But be fair, no one is going to confuse Hasegawa and A Model engineering. There is a great deal more cleanup involved, and small bits are often difficult to even remove from the sprues, given that his is short run molding technology. Current A Model kits have evolved for the better over the years, but they still require more forethought and handling (and putty) than more mainstream kits. But bless em, I'd rather have to struggle with a Starship than have 10 flawless F-4s in my queue. And that's a fact. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Catching up (Bv-222, B-17, Hawk)

I would like to catch up on the painting and construction sessions from the last couple of days.

It was another uneventful painting process. I had to put surface coats on the uppers of the Bv-222 and the lowers of the RAF B-17. Both seem to have gone on well enough, and I'll be able to mask both of them for their next paints as soon as everything dries and cures. I also sprayed aluminum (Alclad) on the same B-17s wheels, quick process. Finally, the overall RA Red layer went on to the Revell Hawk (this is the one that will get the most recent RA markings, with the Union Jack on the rudder).

For decalling, there is really one one model at that point in the process, the British Army whif of the Norseman AL-1. I just have to get a few more items applied (mostly the "ARMY" script and the plane's serials).

Three new models entered the front end of the construction line. Two of them, the Hasegawa Eurofighter and the Revell Gripen, are part of my recent Sprue Bros purchase, and are having their cockpits built and painted. The Eurofighter Red Arrows whif is also in the cockpit stage.

We're getting a string of decently dry days and moderate temps here in the Great Northwest, so I may be distracted by other domestic requirements. The doctors have ruled me out from mowing, but I can still spray weedkiller and use a hedge trimmer to fight the wild raspberry vines back from the edges of our property. So I might have to delay reporting the latest completions for a day or two. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Spending spree (C-60, Gripen, Whitley, Hasegawa Eurofighter)

We recently got some good financial news, a rarity in my non-working days. There was a small financial settlement involved, which took some pressure off. No need for me to get too excited though, because the inevitable law of equal and opposite reactions kicked in shortly thereafter. I was informed by a mechanic that transmission work required for the Honda Odyssey van is estimated at $6,600. Yowtch.

But I did decide to indulge in something I haven't done much of in the last 5 years: buy some new kits. Two orders, from Hannants in the UK and Sprue Bros in the US. The domestic order arrived today, though I don't expect to see the foreign one until next week sometime. So let's see what topped my list of kits after so long a drought.

First comes the new Airfix Whitley. I have built a Novo Whitley, which was not a particularly satisfactory model, and even have an original Frog version in a pretty mint box. I suspect I will move that one along via ebay, to some kit collector who will have a better appreciation of it than I will. The Airfix kit looks nice, though it continues the company's trend of borderline overengineering, with the fuselage in more pieces than it really needs to be IMO. I know that Xtradecal and PrintScale do aftermarket decal sheets, but the variances are mostly in code letters and where the black demarcation begins, so I'll likely just go with what the kit provides.

I also picked up a Revell Gripen (the new tooling, with Tiger Meet markings). I wanted one of these to continue my group of modern frontline fighters. I will likely pick up a Hobbyboss Rafale at some future date unless I decide to just bite the bullet and build the elderly (and raised line) Italeri version I have somewhere in the stash.

In addition, I got an MPM C-60 Lodestar in BOAC wartime markings. I'm working my way through the civil/airliner variants of the Lockheed twins, having completed the L10 Electra and L12 Junior Electra. Still remaining: the L14 Super Electra and L18 Lodestar. I likely will use the kit's BOAC markings, though if Greg Drawbaugh comes to the Seattle Spring Show in two weeks, I might pick up one of his airliner sets. The Continental one looks nice.

Finally (kitwise) I indulged in the Hasegawa Eurofighter. I found the last two builds of the Revell kit to be more frustrating than I expected or remembered, possibly due to mold deterioration. In any case, there was a lot of flash and ill-fitting pieces. I can't imagine I will have those problems with the Hasegawa version. The biggest barrier to this being my new go-to for Eurofighters is the price: $39 per unit as opposed to $15 for the Revell. I'll likely choose to use the Xtradecal 72230 set for the red-tail anniversary markings.

The rest of the order was a book (Squadron's USN UAVs), some more Tenax, and a mask set for one of the kits coming from Hannants. It was an odd experience in unpacking a box of models after such a long time, but a thoroughly enjoyable one!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Airfix BAe Hawk T1 (Red Arrows 50th season)

The completion tonight is for my 19th BAe Hawk. Having completed so many, it is surprising that I have avoided a Red Arrows version. Well, one of my earlier ones was in RA markings, but it is an early effort and really only worthwhile in the back of the display case. But for some reason I got it in my head to do a mini-series of Arrows, with the four main variations of paint schemes: the simple Blue rudder, the recent version with Union Jack on the rudder, the 50th anniversary markings, and the 2000 season markings. The majority of my Hawks are covered with anniversary paint schemes anyway, so these will fit right in.

This is the Airfix Hawk kit, my usual go-to for Hawks. It is extremely buildable and priced to attract those of us who want to build multiples of a type. Airfix has had a number of Hawk models over the years, but this is the most recent upgrade of their molds. AX2500B if you're keeping track.

Although the box came with Red Arrows markings, I thought the tail markings set on Xtradecal 72216, from which I had already used markings for a Eurofighter and a Tucano, were a bit sharper. Plus they required that you paint the fin Roundel Blue prior to applying the decals. The advantage to this - Airfix has a decal for the entire fin, including the blue color - is that you don't have to worry about any lack of coverage or a decal that doesn't want to conform to the edges of the tail. It is just a more tidy solution. The rest of the decals came from the Airfix kit.

Thankfully I still had enough Xtracolour Red Arrows Red paint. Not sure I am going to make it through the final two Hawks, the whif Eurofighter, and the Gnat, but color matching will be an issue for a later day.

As always with Red Arrows planes, the main difficulty is applying the extensive white decals. The upper surfaces aren't usually bad, but that arrow on the undersides crosses over wing fairings, wheel doors, and has to avoid the under-fuselage pod. This generally requires some decal cutting and then touch-up painting. Opacity on both the Airfix and Xtradecal sets was good, so that definitely helped.

This is completed aircraft #455 (#21 for the year), finished in March of 2016.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A productive session (Bv-222, Norseman)

When you can describe a paint session as fun, that is a win as far as I am concerned. And last night's session went well, no doubt mostly due to the newness of the airbrush. It is still performing at a high level (unlike myself...)

The main event tonight was getting the first coat onto the upper surfaces of the Bv-222 flying boat. It was an epic job to get the lower surfaces masked with all those engine nacelles and a part of dangling floats to have to cover up. I'm burning up my Tamiya tape at an alarming rate. The RLM72 seemed to go on pretty smoothly, though there may be a couple of minor runs that will need to be cleaned up and resprayed to finish the job.

Next up was a load of Dark Green to do the camo on the Norseman and the upper surface on the Airfix Blenheim. A note about the Royal Army Norseman. Jim Bates correctly pointed out that the Royal Army did not in fact have any Norseman types on their roster. I had discovered an image of a model RA Norseman when I was doing a Google search. I wasn't terribly enthused about another Olive Drab and Neutral Gray type for my military model, so I latched onto this one immediately. I'm always a sucker for Brit markings. It wasn't til I got Jim's comment that I went back and took a closer look at the article that accompanied the photo. And there was that dateline: April 1, 2011. <Sigh> You'd think I'd know better. But after having just completed a WW2 Bomber Command B-36, I'm not going to let a whif paint scheme stop me! Royal Army it is. 

Here are a couple of shots of the Bv-222 and Norseman.