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Thursday, June 30, 2016

White night (Starship, Eurofighters, B-17, Norseman)

Thankfully the uncomfortably warm weather seems to have moved on, and will be replaced for the next couple of weeks by upper 70s, which I can at least tolerate. In celebration, I spent an hour or so in the garage doing some painting. And it's a good thing, because my paint queue has been growing pretty extensive!

Three of the models required Gloss White. First, I put a surface coat onto the Beech Starship. I define a surface coat as, after any required buffing on the first (color) coat, a relatively thin top coat that fills in all the buffing scars, generally just reinforces the paint color, and provides a smoother surface. Sometimes I can avoid this by getting the mix on the color coat correct, but there was some seam work that was necessary on this A Model kit. Not unusual on a kit of this maker, but I do dearly love watching an interesting shape like the Starship moving its way through my modelling queues.

Second, I had to put a first coat of White onto the Ear Falls Airways Noorduyn Norseman. It seemed to go on pretty well, so hopefully that will be it for this color. Next comes a patch of Black on the underside, some International Orange on the wings, and of course Aluminum for the floats.

Final use of White came in laying down a coat for the stripes and underside arrow for the what-if Red Arrows Eurofighter. There are no decals specifically for this type, or course, so I decided just to mask the stripe and assemble the other markings I need from the spares box (mostly leftover RA Hawks).

The other two colors on tonight's menu were for another Eurofighter and an RAF B-17. After the epic masking job on the B-17/Fortress, I put on a coat of Dark Earth. And the Barley Grey on the Eurofighter was really just to repair a pair of spots where the paint bubbled unaccountably.

That completed the paint session. I have also been working on finishing up construction on the space shuttle. Most of the major assembly is complete, though I still have to attach one of the cargo bay doors. Attaching the first one was no easy job, and there will be some serious clean up once the glue has cured. Then I will attach the end bit where the engine nozzles all reside (the nozzles themselves will be attached later in the process). I recently picked up a new bottle of Jet Exhaust from Alclad and I'll be trying it out on the space shuttle exhaust as well as that on the Eurofighters. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Construction: Space Shuttle

Although I have a significant line forming in the painting queue, most of this weekend's work happened on the construction side of things. Lots of seam sanding, and the addition of a number of small bits that need to be attached prior to arriving at the paint shop.

But the largest amount of work went toward completing the space shuttle. This thing is a pretty large size model. The fuselage is together, the wings and tail are attached, and since the landing gear bays had to be put together before the fuselage was sealed, the gear are in place as well. It is an elderly kit and had a number of spots where the fit is not great, but at least minimally acceptable. The tail seems to have shifted slightly while drying - something that has happened to me more than once lately - but it is tightly attached and would cause massive destruction if I tried to pull it off. Looks like there is some putty and PSR in my future.

The biggest hurdle to pass over before construction is majorly complete is the cargo bay door structure. I have no interest in posing it open, so the doors will need to be closed, something the kit was clearly designed not to do. Besides being difficult to attach the doors at all (imagine some really bad bomb-bay doors that don't fit) there are strange protuberances that I assume are meant to represent hinges when the doors are fully open. They extend quite beyond where anything should be when doors are closed, so they will need to be meticulously sawed off, one at a time, and then patched. Sounds like a boring job to me, but I suspect necessary.

It's going to be getting warm here over the next two weeks. Well, it is almost July. As long as it doesn't go much over 85, I can probably do a paint session some morning before things get uncomfortable. I've also received my recent Hannants order, so I'll be laying out what was included sometime soon as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Masking (Lancaster, B-17)

One thing that seems to take up a large portion of my modelling hours is masking. I don't have a pressure regulator on my current compressor, so overspray is an issue no matter what I'm trying to accomplish. The solution is to mask the heck out of the model.

A good example of that is the RAF B-17 featured below. I have already painted the lower surfaces Black, so it now remains to get the uppers done. Just wrap the thing up in the modelling equivalent of a babushka, and you're ready to go.

More intense detail masking was required to get the Hasegawa Lancaster ready for its first coat of paint. With the canopy and all the turrets with their tiny panes, this actually represents a fair amount of time invested. Thankfully I had an Eduard masking set, because this is one I would hate to have done by trimming individual pieces. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Construction (DC-3, Norseman, Eurofighter what-if)

As well as the paint session, I've been able to do some serious construction as well.

I got all the major bits (not including floats) together for the Ear Falls Airways Noorduyn Norseman. Like so many of the old Matchbox kits, this is engineered well and really looks nice when complete. Some seam work will be necessary, and then I can shoot the first paint coat.

I've had a set of Thunderbird (successor to Whiskey Jack) decals for the Arctic Rose DC-3 for a while now, but the only DC-3 kit I have at present had catastrophic damage to the landing gear. Like half-dozen pieces catastrophic. Eventually I picked up some SAC metal gear from Sprue Bros, though they were rather expensive at $13.50 and probably cost more than the DC-3 kit when I originally bought it. But now that I have the gear issue squared away I was able to finish major assembly.

The Eurofighter two-seater that will eventually become a Red Arrows what-if now has the cockpit painted and installed. Major assembly will commence shortly.

And though it is not pictured here, the Special Hobby Trent Meteor and Revell A400M will be working their way into the construction queue shortly as well. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Paint session (Eurofighter, Starship, Hurricane)

There are warnings of yet another heat wave on its way to western Washington (currently due to hit around the 20th). So I figured I'd better get a jump on some construction and painting before it gets here.

First, the paint session. I had already finished the necessary masking, so I was able to shoot a coat of overall Barley Grey onto the anniversary Eurofighter. Most went on smoothly, but there are a couple of areas of orange peeling that will need some buffing attention. Plus I neglected to paint the landing gear doors (d'oh!) so that will mean a second session with that color.

The Beech Starship is moving along well too. I got a coat of overall White applied, but (as often happens) the main thing that did was highlight some seams that need additional work. It is a problem I often have with Mr Surfacer - it shrinks when it dries, so what you thought was a filled seam turns out to still have a visible crease in it when you think you're done. I may have to go back to putty for some seam filling.

I also shot an RLM76 coat on to the captured Hurricane. The main coat went on fine, but on this one too I managed to forget the landing gear doors. Obviously some mental damage manifesting itself here.

The final part of this session was spraying the cockpit for the demo Hawk T2. I am hoping to get major assembly of this model done before the heat arrives and I am umbilically attached to my box fan for 3 or 4 days. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another purchase (Revell 1:72 Airbus A400M)

Now for the third purchase of the recent spending spree.

I missed out the first time the Revell A400M was released in 1:72. Lack of available funds meant that I had to put this project on the back burner. When I finally saw the latest Mission: Impossible film, with Tom Cruise hanging on the side door of the A400 during takeoff (which was apparently him and not a stunt double, and they had to do something like 8 circuits to make sure they had all the shots they needed) I knew I had to search one down.

Unfortunately by that time Revell had let the kit slip out of production. Sprue Bros said they couldn't get any more til Revell decided to reissue. So I went off to ebay, and found that, instead of the $70-ish MSRP of the original kit, they were now going for roughly $120 with shipping. I decided to hold off until a reissue or a more reasonably priced kit came within my view.

Last week, I did find a kit on ebay for $60 ($74 with shipping). I figured that was close enough for me and bought it. It took the package a while to make its way up here from California, and it took something of a beating on the trip, but the kit seems to be all there and undamaged. The box got smooshed, but it will be in a recycling bin soon enough, so that is not an issue.

The kit is rather huge, as expected. There is a full cargo interior, but since I have no plans to have the ramp down or any doors open, I may see if it is possible to forego those bits. At this point I don't know if the interior serves any structural purpose on the model, or is just there as an option for those who want everything open. But I'll find out soon enough because this one is entering the build queue.

All i need now is a 1:72 Tom Cruise figure. 

The only shipment still in transit is from Hannants (mostly decals with one small resin kit). It usually takes 3 weeks to arrive, so I probably won't be seeing it for a little while. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

A modelling ordergasm

What is there to do when you've hit a temporary lull in construction and painting due to other distractions and weather issues? Why, buy more kits of course.

I seem to have created a splurge in modelling purchases over the last week. Four orders: Ebay, Hannants, Sprue Bros, West Coast Hobbies. The Ebay purchase came about because I found a kit I'd been looking for at a reasonable price. Hannants was due to the arrival of a decal sheet I've been waiting for since it was announced. Sprue Bros for non-kit supplies, including masks to support other kits I have both here and on the way. And West Coast Hobbies due to a nice little sale Rob was having.

First in is an order from West Coast Hobbies. This is my first time ordering from them, though they do have a good rep on the boards that I visit. Rob was having a clearance sale, and I decided to pick up a Special Hobby B-18 and two of the Sword Lightnings (a T4 and an F3).

I remember when I first bought a Special Hobby DC-2 back in the day, I assumed that a B-18 was a given and would be out soon. But it took them years to actually produce one, and then my non-working status meant I couldn't shell out for one when they finally appeared. But the WCH sale was a good one, and although this really isn't the boxing I would have preferred, I am still glad to have picked one up.

Being a fan of trainers, I've been on the lookout for one of Sword's two seat Lightnings for a while, but they always seemed to be sold out when I was assembling an order for Hannants. I have had troubles with Sword kits in the past (the P-47N was tough) but for a trainer Lightning I'll take another chance. I have a decal sheet coming from Hannants that has the pink tail with the flamingo zap. But there are a lot of colorful choices for this one.

As to the Lightning F3, I would hope that Airfix would create a new one someday. But in the meantime this is what we've got. I have a lineup of something like 9 completed variants - mostly elderly Airfix with a couple of Trumpeter - and this will fit right in. With a bunch of decal sheets (Xtradecal, Modeldecal, and I think some Cutting Edge ones) I should be spoiled for choice.

I also got an order from Sprue Bros today, but it was just supplies - masking sets, glue, paint, a small brush and some MicroBrush glue applicators. Nothing glitzy. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Returning to the workbench (Hawk, Norseman, Eurofighter)

I finally got a chance to return to the workbench today, though it wasn't a long session. The main things were getting the Hawk T2 and Eurofighter T1 cockpits ready for some paint, more general assembly on the second Noorduyn Norseman, and the beginning of paint masking for a Yak-130. I've also got a ragwing Hurricane pretty much built, and am just waiting for cockpit masks to arrive.

In process as well is a USGov Space Shuttle and Hasegawa Lancaster. I'm still in the process of masking the transparencies on the Lanc; that is a long and tiresome job. There's an RAF B-17 in queue as well.

Here are a couple of photos of the progress.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Revell BAe Hawk T1 (Red Arrows 2014)

We've just passed through another one of those early summer heatwaves, with temps pushing their way up to 95. On those days, in a house with no a/c (like most in the Northwest) about all you can do is carry your electric fan around and plug it in wherever you plan to be for more than 30 seconds and sweat a lot. So no significant modelling work, certainly no painting, has been completed in the last couple of weeks. Plus I still haven't gotten the workbench straightened out after the work to reconfigure the hobby room so things are pretty inconvenient at present. However, I do still have a couple of completions to report.

First comes another in a long series of BAe Hawks (as well as a short series of Red Arrows variations). The only difference is that this particular model is the new-tool Revell Hawk. Although it is pressed in red plastic - which I hate - the fit was decent. There were some details you don't usually see on Hawks, like the pipes over the exhaust that generate their smoke. Otherwise, the construction is pretty standard. I used the kit decals, which went on fine with a little Super Sol. These are the most current markings, not including the 50th anniversary scheme that was on during that summer. All else being equal, I still prefer the modified Airfix Hawk T1.

Basically an uneventful build, which is nice to have once in a while just to be different.

This is completed aircraft #464 (#31 for the year), finished in May of 2016.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Airfix Bristol Blenheim

We now come to the sad tale of the Airfix Blenheim.

Since I do like early war aircraft, I was glad to see the recent Airfix releases of the Do-17, ragwing Hurricane, and Blenheim, especially given the overall quality of the last few Airfix kits that I had built. So it wasn't too long after I acquired the beastie that it found a place in my production queue.

And here my troubles began. I believe the origin was in my creation of the pilot seat. It is in multiple pieces, and (IMO) is not very well explained in the instructions. So of course I got it wrong, leading to the seat itself being too wide. There is so little room in the cockpit that such an error pushes other bits out of proper alignment. This lack of internal alignment exponentially increases the main difficulty of the kit: the canopy is in 3 pieces that don't really want to cooperate with each other. Even if they did, getting a good bond between all those clear bits is extremely difficult without glue damaging the clear panes. Then, as a final insult, once you get the cockpit enclosure together, it really does not want to fit onto the rest of the fuselage. Worse, the multipart nacelles and the engines - especially the forward exhaust ring - just don't want to cooperate either. 

I can fess up to many of these failings being my own. I have seen the kit built by better modellers (one actually won Best Aircraft at the recent IPMS-Seattle Spring Show) and those skilled fellows can turn it into a show-stopper. But for me it was practically a construction-stopper with a short sharp shock and a trip to a local landfill.

But my credo for this blog is to finish what I started, so I labored on to the end of the process. It is definitely a model that will be assigned a dark corner of the display cabinet. To put a bitter coda on the experience, I still had only semigloss sealer at the time this one was finished, so the model ended up being too glossy as well.

Time to concentrate on Hurricanes (which is a wonderully engineered little beauty), though this does make me suspicious of the Do-17.

This is completed aircraft #462 (#29 for the year), finished in April of 2016.