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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Catching up with recent events

Things seem to be gradually getting back to normal here in the capital city of 72 Land. Tug has pretty much gotten back to normal after surgery, and is getting used to being a one-eyed pirate pug.

My daughter’s new cat, named Booker (a Bioshock rather than a historical reference, so she didn’t get all of my genes) is settling in well. He is an indoor-only cat, and now has run of the entire house. This is really a story all by itself. I have never been a cat person. In fact, I had some pretty bad allergies to cats when I was a kid. But while I am not a cat person, I am certainly an animal person, and when Shannon decided to adopt the cat that turned up at her vet assisting job, I couldn’t refuse the chance to better his circumstances. He had been living in a WalMart parking lot. So far no allergic reactions. But any of my friends who have heard of this development are just shaking their heads that I actually have let a cat into the house. So far he and Tug are wary of each other, but they are co-existing.

Modelling work has been pretty minimal, though. Temps have moderated somewhat, though we are due for a string of upper 80s in the last week of August. High summer is never a busy model time, since we all have other commitments that take precedence. But my next painting session is filling up (matte/topcoats for the Yak-130, Stryker, and Beech Starship along with a surface coat on the latest anniversary Eurofighter) and that will give me a chance to put the finished models on display in the blog.

The photo below is pretty similar to the previous session’s shot, though you might notice I have finished decaling the Stryker and have started the Starship. But I wanted to give a quick status and let you know that the production line is still functioning – albeit slowly – here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Not much progress (Yak-130, Stryker, Starship)

Between Tug’s surgery, the addition of a new pet to the 72 Land menagerie, and the advent of what will apparently be the hottest week in the Northwest so far in 2017, work hasn’t been progressing very far on the production line. However, I was able to get a few things in place for the next painting session. When that session will be, given the forecast, is currently in doubt.

I completed the decal process on the AModel Yak-130 and am still working on Beech Starship. AModel decals are still a bit problematic, though their molding techniques have improved in the last couple of years, and there was some silvering on areas of the Yak-130 that were painted in darker colors. It seems to be less of a problem on the white-painted spots. Both of these will be getting their semi-gloss topcoats during the next paint session, and will debut in the completed column shortly thereafter.

I’ve been slogging my way through the painting of 8 tires for the Stryker. Boring but necessary. Next will come decals – what few there are – and then it will get its matte topcoat as well.

As three models (Stryker, Yak-130 and Starship) move out of the production line, two new models are joining up. These will be two variants of the Komet lineage. I’ll be doing a postwar French glider Me-163 (thanks to the generosity of fellow 72-Scale-Aircraft member Pyran) and the Hasegawa/NC Shusui.

Honestly, given that it isn't going to be below 90 for a couple of weeks, I wouldn't expect much updating to be going on. About the only time I can tolerate the hobby room is in the wee hours, and I can't use the compressor when everyone in the house is asleep. That old thing is LOUD. But this isn't a typically busy time of year for modelling anyway. I'm definitely longing for the cooler fall weather. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A wounded pug

Sometimes when the blog is dark for a few days, it is because there just isn’t much going on with modelling. But this time, there were indeed things going on. A medical issue, in fact, and for once it wasn’t me!

Our 8+ year old pug, who you’ve seen on my various avatars, was diagnosed with a perforated cornea. It likely happened on one of the occasions he chased the wild rabbits through our backyard and ran face first into a bush or low hanging branch. Not like he is ever going to catch one of the rabbits.But Tug the Mighty Hunter will not be dissuaded. 

After a trip to the regular vet, and then being referred to a regional emergency vet, we were recommended to have the eye removed. Though this is a serious decision, during our years as pug breed rep for Seattle Rescue, we handled two dogs who had had their eye removed. Neither of them seemed particularly bothered by their new situation. So it was more an aesthetic issue.

Tug had the surgery on Wednesday, and is now at home recuperating. As with any post-op situation, we are trying to manage his pain (he had a dental at the same time) and keep him as comfortable as possible. It will likely be difficult for the next 48 hours at least.

With my wife and daughter at work, I am the de facto caregiver, which will likely keep me occupied for a bit. So if it takes me a couple of days to provide additional content to the blog, you will, I hope, understand. I’m sure those of you who are dog people certainly know what goes into situations like this. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Painting and sweating (not necessarily in that order)

The area is transitioning into another couple of weeks of warm temps. Even waiting until 8pm to start airbrushing, it didn’t take long for the garage to get uncomfortably hot. But I persevered, dripping all the while before running back to my computer-room fan.

There were a few colors put on tonight that will help models advance down the production line. The Academy Stryker got its coat of Field Green, along with its tire hubs. Next comes painting and attaching the tires themselves.

Two aircraft got their wheel wells painted ZC. These were the DC-3 and the F-101B. Next will be getting some actual paint on the aircraft themselves (NMF for parts of the DC-3 and I believe ADC Grey for the F-101, but don’t quote me on that. I just picked up an aftermarket sheet for it and haven't read the paint notes yet. 

The Hurricane got the Middle Stone camo sprayed on. Once it cures, I’ll decide if it needs some buffing and a surface coat, though it looked ok when I finished. Other than the Aluminum for the wheels and Burnt Metal for the exhausts, I believe this is the last bit of paint for the Hurricane.

The HobbyBoss Eurofighter, having had its Black tail, spine, canards and wheel wells masked off, was painted with an overall coat of Barley Grey. Next will come a contrasting Grey for the nosecone.

Finally, the DHC-1 was given a lower fuselage coat of Brit Airways Blue. I do hope the masking held for this. It looked a little loose, so there may be some repair and respray in my future. After that is resolved, I’ll be masking the wingtips and upper tail for the Red sections of the British Airways flying club markings. 

So, a generally productive painting session (and a crowded one, as you can see by the photo below), even if it felt like I was doing it in a sauna. I’m already pining for the cooler autumn air. Fall is really when the Northwest shows off its most spectacular foliage, weather, and general mood. And of course autumn is when the modelling season once again kicks into high gear. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bench time (Hurricane, Stryker, Skyvan)

Things were pretty busy this weekend, but I did get a bit of bench time over the course of the two days.

The main distraction was in celebration of a significant promotion my wife received at her work (go Sue!) We spent the day out, culminating in a dinner at Azteca (a favorite NW chain of Mexican restaurants). A day of activity, of course, means a setback for my back and hip issues, so I spent a lot of the remaining time horizontal, catching up on some reading. But the lure of the workbench eventually got me up and working.

I’m using one of the Revell Hurricane 2c kits for my long-planned Egyptian AF example. The kit goes together well, but I have had some problems with the wing mounted guns. They are very nearly to scale, which means that the barrels are very slim indeed. To a ham-fisted modeler like myself, that can only mean one thing: broken-off barrels galore. I probably should have held off on adding them until after painting, but my gluing technique – flooding the join with Tenax to ensure a good seal – doesn’t coexist well with paint. So I’ve tried to be careful while handling the model, and for the most part it has worked. However, once I got around to adding an Eduard masking set for the camo, all bets were off. As were all guns.

I’ve finally finished major construction on the Academy Stryker. It is a nice little kit, with a surprising number of parts for such a small vehicle. Well, not in comparison to some of these 1:35 scale monsters with literally 500 parts to them, but much of the non-aircraft work I’ve been doing is airfield tractors and ammo wagons, which don’t have many pieces at all. The big gun mounted on the top of the Stryker and all wheels have yet to be attached (since they require different paints) but it is now ready for a coat of X115 Field Green.

Decalling is the other major activity at present. I'm working on two AModel kits: Beech Starship and Yak-130. The decals on the Yak-130 have been a disappointment. Despite the gloss coat on the model, and liberal use of SuperSet/Sol, some silvering is taking place. The only hope at this stage is that the overall semi-matte coat will hide the worst of it. The Starship is all white, so the problem is lessened. AModel kits have improved dramatically in the last few years; it might be time to upgrade their decal tech too. 

The Airfix Skyvan continues its slow descent down the production line. I do have the cockpit transparencies masked and will shortly button up the fuselage. There will be lots of seam work to be done on this aged kit. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Italeri Eurofighter what-if: Red Arrows

Time to display another finished product of the 72 Land small aircraft production line.

No one would accuse me of taking anything seriously, much less a hobby, and I have no problem at all with doing what-if models on occasion. I’ve done navalized P-47s, a USAF Corsair, and even a WW2 era B-36. This one is on the more restrained end of the what-if spectrum: a Eurofighter done up in Red Arrows markings.

I don’t know who it was that set me on this path, but I do remember seeing a photo somewhere on the net, and knew that one of them was in my future. Since I had recently finished 3 Bae Hawks in different-era RA markings, now seemed like the time. Plus, I had an Italeri two-seater in the stash, which didn’t seem like it was going to be built unless I thought of something creative.

The biggest challenge was to mask the White stripe swooping down both sides of the fuselage. I used the new(ish) Tamiya white tape for curves and it worked well enough. The big White arrow on the lower surfaces was less of a success, given that the masking straddled lots of raised detail, vents, flap fairings, deep curves, and two of the three wheel wells. I think this pretty much used up the last of my Xtracolour Red Arrows Red paint, so unless the Royal Post rethinks its policy on air-shipping enamel paints, that is probably my last Red Arrows type for the time being.

Decals were cobbled together from various Airfix Hawk Red Arrow sheets, with a serial number picked more or less at random. The “Royal Air Force” titles came from an Xtradecal lettering sheet. It will always be a conversation piece, although the RAF would be unlikely to use such an expensive aircraft for their display team.

This is completed aircraft #478 (11 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 11 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in July of 2017.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Paint session (DHC-1, DC-3, Eurofighter, Hurricane)

When you spend the majority of your time masking items up for the next paint session, your next step is generally – another paint session.

So I and my box lid of prepped models went down into the garage and fired up the mini compressor. Which, it appears, is about ready to give up the ghost. I’ve had this thing since probably the mid-90s, and it is well overdue for replacement. It is a good tool to upgrade, but there have been many competitors for the capital dollars needed to replace it: med bills, upgrading model storage/display, some fencing that needs to be rebuilt, and the looming heat death of our aged refrigerator.

The main color of this session was Gloss White. I had to patch up some overspray on both the DC-3 and the airliner Norseman. Plus there were prop tips to be done for the Beech Starship. The DHC-1 also needed an overall coat of White after I masked off the antiglare strip.

Two other models were on the paint bench as well. First was a Eurofighter (this is the one that I forgot to paint the canards Black when I did the spine). Second was the Egyptian Hurricane, which needed a top coat of Dark Earth. Looks like the coverage was smooth enough to  bypass a buffing and surface coat, so the next step on this one will be to add the camo masking.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

More paint prep

Much of the workbench time this weekend was spent in prepping for the next paint session. I was also able to complete the decaling process on two models, so they will be getting their photos taken and will premiere on the blog shortly.

I seem to have had an unusual amount of overspray on a couple of recent models. There’s only so much you can do with masking, I guess. Strangely, most require White in order to cure the overspray. These would be the DC-3 and the Norseman. A basic White paintjob is also required on the British Airways Club DHC-1 and prop tips for the Beech Starship.

I masked off the lower surfaces of the Egyptian Hawker Hurricane along with the Sky fuselage band. It is now ready for Dark Earth uppers.

I will probably also take advantage of the paint session to get the Eurofighter canards painted Black. I forgot them during the last session, when I painted the spine.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Construction (F-101B, Stryker, Skyvan)

There has been some construction going on, though with the summer temps coming on full bore, I usually wait until after dark to get to the workbench. At least then I have a chance of not drowning in sweat while sticking plastic together.

The F-101 continues to come together. The cockpit is painted, detailed, and installed, so I am currently finishing up the major assembly. This is part of my “complete” Century Series project. By that I mean that I have acquired all of the Anigrand experimental types in the series (XF-103, XF-108 and XF-109). So I will have everything from the F-100 to the F-111. I’ve already completed an F-100, F-102, F-104, F-106, and F-111, though I will be replacing the elderly Hasegawa Deltas with the newer (and considerably nicer) Meng kits. I also have the Trumpeter F-107 on standby. The one thing I will need to acquire is the Trumpeter F-105. I do have an ancient raised-lines Hasegawa kits, but would prefer a newer technology starting point.

I’m also continuing construction on the Stryker. Right now, I am deep into the wheel suspension on the vehicle underside. Lots of small parts, but nothing truly difficult. I think this is actually the largest wheeled vehicle I’ve done to date. There is a local connection with the type – a large Stryker unit based in Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma.

The Airfix Short Skyvan is proving to be a devilish little beast. The kit itself is old as dirt and the buildability scale is pretty low. I’ve spent much time sanding off the raised rivets since I like them just about as much as I like raised panel lines. Fit has been indifferent at best. The cockpit clear bit was broken when I got the kit, so that has been a challenge as well. I did run across a masking set for this kit, believe it or not, that Hannants was selling. So at least I will just be putting pre-cut mask on the fragile windows rather than having to cut them in place. But there will definitely be some seam work to be done once the fuselage is together. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Blackest night (DC-3, Eurofighter, DHC-1, Norseman)

As I’ve mentioned, it is always best to group your paint requirements so that you’re painting multiple models with the same paint. It might be more prep, but it certainly saves on cleaning time, wasted paint, and just sheer modelling efficiency. I’m not sure how I ended up with no less than five models that required Black paint, but I worked my through all of them tonight. There was even one model in progress, a Tiger Force Lanc, that needed Black but didn’t make the session since I did not get it properly masked in time.

First up is the Arctic Rose DC-3, which needed de-icer boots on wings and tail surfaces, as well as the antiglare panel on the nose. There is some White touch-up needed before I mask for the NMF part of the wings and fuselage. 

Both the Ear Falls Norseman and the DHC-1 Chipmunk needed an antiglare panel also. The Beech Starship just needed the prop spinners taken care of.

Finally, the Eurofighter required a Black tail and spine for the anniversary scheme of 11 Squadron RAF. I just realized that I forgot to paint the canards too. (sigh)…

There was one other color put through the brush this night, though, for the Egyptian Hurricane. This was for a Sky fuselage stripe and prop spinner.

Hopefully this will clear out the paint queue for a few days at least. But the fiery forges of the 72 Land production facility are rarely quiet, so it won’t be long until the backup begins anew. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Painting prep (DHC-1, DC-3, Norseman, Eurofighter)

In preparation for the next paint session, I wanted to get some more masking done, especially for models I knew were needing the same paint color as one I already knew was on the schedule. This meant that I masked for the antiglare strip on the DHC-1, another such strip on the DC-3 (along with the leading edge de-icer boots), and a portion of the underside on the Norseman airliner. I also masked the Sky fuselage stripe on the Egyptian AF Hurricane.

Other things that occupied my bench time was decaling the F-101 cockpit, and adding some BB weight to the nosecone of the next Eurofighter. Since the Eurofighter requires a Black tail and spine, it can be added to the next paint session as well.

So now the paint queue is getting crowded again, just as the weather takes the opportunity to turn rather warm once more. I really can’t grouse too much – it is July after all – but I’m just not made for warm weather operations. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day

I’d like to pass on my best wishes for Independence Day. Still the greatest country in the world.

And I should point out that this message marks the 500th post on the 72 Land blog. So many of these sort of blogs seem to flare for a while and then die out. But I think I’m pushing on seven years now. As long as I have content, I’ll continue to post.

Monday, July 3, 2017

More masking (Eurofighter, DHC-1)

Although we spent Saturday morning in Gig Harbor, a nice little town across the Narrows Bridge west of Tacoma, I was able to get some workbench time in the latter part of the day.

Lots of canopies to mask up. First came the DHC-1 Chipmunk. I used a Peewit masking set, available through Hannants. Peewit seems to specialize in masks for shortrun kits, or at least ones that Eduard perceives as not having good enough sales potential to do. They are made from the same yellow tape that most companies are using now, and worked perfectly.

As an aside, I’ve mentioned that my choice of markings for this one is the British Airways Club hack. But a quick look through shows that there are many civil schemes for all of the different Chipmunk variations, including the Canadian blown-canopy one. I think it would be great if someone like Xtradecal – who did a set of civil markings for the Tiger Moth – would give us more civilian examples for the AZ kits. I’d buy it, for whatever that is worth.

Incidentally, after masking the Chipmunk canopy I attached it to the model. The fit was not good at all. It seemed that you could either get one side of canopy flush to the rim or the other, but not both. My solution was to clamp it and hope it didn’t shift while drying. Unfortunately, the clamp was likely too large, because it left some micro-cracks along the top side of the clear part. I won’t be able to see the whole of the damage until after painting is complete and the masking is removed. Just when you think you have a clever solution to a stubborn problem, it all goes south. Cue a long string of deleted expletives. Still a bit of cleanup to do on some puttied seams. 

Next came the Hobbyboss Eurofighter canopy. The canopy for this type is extremely simple, and I’ve never felt the need to spend for a masking set. It is very easy to do with Tamiya tape and a sharp Xacto. There is little framing to it, so you’re basically trimming around the bottom of the canopy where it meets the fuselage.

Along with the canopy masking, I detail painted the cockpit for the RF-101C. Again, pretty basic stuff. I’ve also added the instrument panel decals, and now that that is done it is time to cement it into one of the fuselage halves.

I need to get a few models across the finish line. I’ve started some new ones in the last week or two (Chipmunk, F-101, Skyvan, Aerovan. Eurofighter) and the workbench is starting to look like an aeroparts graveyard again. I’ve never been able to work on only one model at a time, but this is starting to get out of hand. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Another warm paint session (Yak-130, Hurricane, F-101)

It was warm today, but not oppressively hot – that is coming in two weeks, when we again break into the 90s – so I decided to get some painting done.

I wanted to patch some overspray on the Yak-130. Just a couple of spots, but they still had to be taken care of. I didn’t want to remask the whole thing, so just kind of wrapped it in paper towels and carefully exposed the areas that had to be repainted. The only things I masked were areas near to the overspray. Seems to have turned out ok, so I’ll soon get its tires painted and attached. Then it is on to decals.

I spent part of yesterday putting together a Hobbyboss Eurofighter. I believe it is the only 1:72 scale kit of the type that I haven’t built yet. I’ve done the Italeri, Hasegawa, old tool Revell, and I have the new tool Revell in queue. Being a (more or less) easykit, construction wasn’t time consuming, and since I had the White out to patch spots on the Yak-130 I decided I would take advantage of the paint availability and do the wheel wells, wheels, and doors for the Eurofighter.

Another new kit entering the construction queue is the Revell McDonnell F-101B Voodoo, a part of my long-gestating “complete Century Series” project. Somewhere along the line I picked up a pair of resin True Details ejection seats for it, and got the cockpit together. Today I sprayed it with a light grey. Detail painting in the cockpit will be followed by major assembly.

Finally, I put a lower surfaces coat of Azure Blue onto the Egyptian AF Hawker Hurricane. That paint too has developed some lumpy tendencies since the last time I used it. But it is almost gone and is my last tin of Xtracolour Azure Blue. I tend to make a fair amount of desert scheme RAF types, so I’ll need to be scouting for a replacement.

By the end of the session, the garage was pretty warm and I was pretty sweaty, but it was a nice successful paint adventure, and those are worthwhile no matter what the weather is.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hasegawa flatbed trailer and hydraulic loader

Just a short entry today, to display two new vehicles making their way to the finish line.

These are the last two items that were in the Hasegawa US Aircraft Weapons Loading Set. Pretty generic items: a general purpose flatbed trailer and a hydraulic lift loader. There are no manufacturer names in the Hasegawa kit, and I was foiled trying to locate more details on the net. My google fu is clearly having some issues lately.

This is completed vehicle #10 and #11 (10 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 11 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in June of 2017.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Painting (Yak-130, trailers)

Time enough for a relatively short paint session today. I am still completing the 3 cockpits that will require painting shortly, so this was mostly catch-up work.

My primary concern was getting a surface coat of Intermediate Blue onto the Yak-130 prototype. And that went just fine, thankfully. After everything cures and I take off the extensive masking, I’ll work on painting and attaching the tires. This might be made more complicated by the fact that they, like the decal sheet mentioned earlier, seem to have disappeared. Not sure where this rash of missing items is coming from lately. Or going to, for that matter.

It turned out that once I stripped the masking on the Yak-130 there were couple of small areas that require a quick respray due to overspray. So I’ll address that at the next paint session.

Finally, two small ammunition trailers were given their final matte top coats. They will be premiering as finished items shortly. 

And, as promised, a shot of the Tsar Bomba transport trailer doing its intended function: holding up a Tsar Bomba. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Painting work (cockpits) and construction (Hurricane)

Not all painting requires an airbrush. Sometimes you just want to get a color coat onto an assembled cockpit, and a spray can will do. Such was the situation when I discovered that I had a Chipmunk, the next Eurofighter, and a Short Skyvan (along with a couple of sets of props) that required a dark grey. Out came the Testors Panzer Gray can, and the work was done in just a few minutes. Once the paint cures, and a couple of bubbles on the surface of the props are buffed down, these kits can progress.

I hit sort of a speed bump with the Red Arrows Eurofighter whif. It turns out it did require quite a bit of White touchup paint once I got the masking all stripped off. It will end up being a definite standoff model (if you don’t stand off a ways from it you run the risk of being attacked by an enraged modeler with any weapon that easily comes to hand). Worse yet, one of the decal sheets that I had been saving for this one – which has ROYAL AIR FORCE in the right size lettering – has mysteriously vanished. Not sure if the carpet monster is expanding his diet to include decals or what. So this one is sidelined until I can either find the missing sheet or buy a replacement.

Another bit of work was to mask up the canopy for a Hurricane 2c that will eventually wear Egyptian AF markings. This time I am using the Revell kit.

I also buffed up the Intermediate Blue portions of the Yak-130 prototype. It is now ready for a surface coat at the next available airbrush session. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More recent acquisitions

The final Hannants box has arrived, which should keep me busy through the rest of the summer months. Four kits and a few accessories were included.

The first is the Special Hobby BP Balliol in civilian British markings, and has a bit of a story attached to it. I bought their Balliol kit when it was first released, but couldn’t get very excited about the markings options that SH provided. When I heard about the re-release, with markings for a maroon Balliol with civilian code letters, I was sold. But I already had the kit. I found that Alley Cat, in support of their own resin Balliol, was selling the decal sheet separately. And sure enough, when I visited the website, there was the maroon version. I bought it along with their metal-winged Hurricane I conversion and a Lightning F3 conversion for the Airfix kit. It took nearly three freaking months for the parcel to arrive, and when it did – no markings for the civil version. Upon further research, it turns out that in the Alley Cat kit, the civil one is done via paint masks rather than decals. Fair enough, do it however you like, but the item on the website clearly shows that as one of the options on the standalone decal sheet and makes no mention that it is not available as part of the item. An email went to Alley Cat explaining the issue; I figured he could either refund or send me a set of masks and the issue would be concluded. No response. It’s been a couple of months now, and I would say this ends my customer relationship with Alley Cat. Buyer beware, as always. I’m still stuck with one Balliol kit that I’ll likely never build. That kit’s future is probably to be dumped on ebay eventually.

Next comes the Meteor 3 and 4 hybrid that set the speed record. I’ve always liked this scheme, and will likely pair it with the Trent Meteor and enter it into the construction queue later this summer.

The third kit is the Northrop Delta from Azur/Ffrom. I’ve built the Williams Bros Gamma civilian version and believe I have an Esoteric conversion for the Delta sitting around somewhere. This will be a much easier way to get to a finished model, however. TWA markings for me.

Finally, I picked up the M26 Dragon Wagon from Academy. This seems to be difficult to acquire in the states, though I’m not sure why. It will serve as a sort of final exam for this first phase of my vehicle modelling, before I actual start working my way into MBTs and other tracked vehicles. It is large and complex – but still probably holds fewer horrors than the AModel Tsar Bomba transport did. Since I am still primarily an aircraft modeler, it may take a while to actually find a spot in the workbench queue.

Monday, June 26, 2017

AModel Tsar Bomba trailer and Vietnam era ammunition trailer

Two new vehicles cross the finish line today.

The first was more of a challenge than most 1:72 aircraft. It certainly had more parts. This is the AModel Tsar Bomba trailer. It comes as part of the Tsar Bomba boxing itself, and probably constitutes more actual plastic than the bomb. Although there are a couple of large pieces to anchor things to, everything else – each support beam, each hook and latch, each hinge and wheel, is a separate bit. And, given their short run kit nature, tiny pieces are not really AModel’s best trick. Still, with perseverance and sheer dimwitted stubbornness, it can be done. I have taken photos of the trailer itself and will take a shot of it doing its intended job, holding up a Tsar Bomba atomic bomb.

The other completion is another small airfield vehicle included in the Hasegawa support set. I really haven’t been able to find much in the way of information about this rather generic Vietnam era trailer, either in the Hasegawa documentation, or on the net. I usually like to know the manufacturer and the military designation of the models that I build, so if there are any experts out there who know exactly what this trailer is, speak up.

This is completed vehicle #8 and #9 (10 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 9 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in June of 2017.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Too hot to think

Welcome to the 72 Land weather report. I know that I occasionally mention the inclement weather that seems to dog my airbrushing activities. We've seen hail storms, deluges, ice storms, even rumors of a funnel cloud once. But today was something that not even my steely airbrushing resolve can handle - a heat wave. 

It hit 99 in Auburn WA today. First, a bit of context. The highest temp ever recorded at SeaTac Airport (a few miles to the northwest of my location) is 101. In other words, it was only two degrees cooler than the highest temperature in all of recorded time. We usually save these days for late July and August; June is early but not unheard of. 

And before all of you who live in southern climates break into laughter, might I ask what you do when the temp hits 100? Do you go out on your asphalt driveway and lay in the full sunlight? No, you head for the room in your house with no windows, turn the air conditioning up to max, and (presuming you have some musical taste) put Blue Oyster Cult on the stereo and throw back some pina coladas. But in Western Washington, very few residences have central air. So we just sweat. Our house thermostat hit  92, and that is in a dark house somewhat in the shade.

There was no way I was going to airbrush, and I couldn't even summon the enthusiasm to do any work bench time. It's just too bloody hot. Thankfully this seems to be a passing bit of hideousness at this point; the 14 day shows mostly mid to upper 70s. When that happens, your regular modelling report service will resume. I have a couple of vehicles to show as finished, and the last of my retail therapy boxes from Hannants has arrived, so there are new toys to show. 

Until then, pass me somethin' cold, willya? 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Retail therapy

Another couple of packages landed on the palatial modern runway of 72 Land’s capital today, from Hannants, Amazon, and Sprue Bros. Since they all managed to arrive on the same day, though ordered as much as 14 days apart, Mrs. 72 raised many an eyebrow at the large stack of boxes on the porch. Luckily she is a knitter, and they are every bit as bad when it comes to accumulating a stash that they probably will never get around to making.

First of all was the second in the Osprey X-Planes series, on late-war emergency fighter projects. I’m pretty interested in this new series (along with the upcoming Air Campaign books). I suspect much inspiration will come from this direction. I’ll likely keep on picking them up if I can continue to get them at decent prices.

Second are two books from Sprue Bros. The AirDoc book on German Eurofighters has been on my radar since the modern Luftwaffe started putting their Eurofighters into colorful commemorative schemes. It is printed in both German and English. Longtime readers know that I have a thing for RAF anniversary types, so this is a natural extension. I’ve already gathered up a few decal sheets which will figure in to the future construction plan. I do have two RAF Eurofighter specials to finish up before I get to the Luftwaffe types.

The second book was my first example of the Valiant Wings Airframe Album series. This is #10, which features the Messerschmitt Bf-163 Komet. The format is roughly similar to the Modellers Datafiles, not surprising since both were created by Richard Franks. There is a bit too much of excerpts from the technical manuals for my taste, but the development and operational history, and especially the markings information, were just what I was looking for. Even though I have completed a number of Komets, I’ve got plans for a captured RAF example, the Japanese MXY8, and Special Hobby’s Me-163C.

Finally came the Hannants box. Headliner for this shipment is the Mikro-Mir Miles M-47 Aerovan. I was overjoyed when I found this on the future releases list, and photos of the test sprues only made me more ready to go. It will be dropping into the construction queue right after the recent AZ DHC-1 Chipmunk. I’m inclined to also add the Airfix Short Skyvan to the queue, if only for the fact that the two aircraft had similar applications. I thought I had I had a copy of the Skyvan in the stash, but so far it has evaded my attempts to dig it out (think of the warehouse scene at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”).

Also in the box was the new IBG PZL P-23. There seems to be a lot of interest in early WW2 Polish AF types at present, and I’m on board for that. Now if we could just get that 1:72 injected Zubr.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A long painting session

Things had really begun to back up in the paint queue due to hip pain and a general desire for downtime. But yesterday I was able to drag myself and a tray full of painting projects down to the garage for a fairly long and productive session.

First up was to put a matte top coat on the Tsar Bomba transport carriage. That was a long and complicated project that finally is going to make it across the finish line. Photos coming soon.

Then I was able to get a surface coat on the Eurofighter Red Arrows whif. Once the paint cures I’ll be able to strip the masking and see where repairs will be needed. And then comes the addition of landing gear.

Next came the coat of Intermediate Blue on the Yak-130 prototype. Looked pretty smooth when I was done, but I noticed a couple of thin spots, so it will require a polishing and a surface coat. That’s not an uncommon result, since Xtracolour blue paints have a tendency to dry a bit – for lack of a better word – sandy. But most of it doesn't look too bad. 

I gritted my teeth and started the repairs on the Beech Starship. These were made necessary by a clumsy botch while trying to mask and paint the leading edges Silver. Things seem to look ok at this point, so the next step will be to mask and paint the engines’ intake vent edges and then move to props and wheels. And replace the nose probes that were broken off during my first attempt at masking. At the same time I also did some repairs on the White areas of the Arctic Rose DC-3. Next up on that kit is to get the wheel wells painted.

Two small bits of airfield support equipment, the last two items in a Hasegawa set, got a coat of Olive Drab. I’ll soon be painting and attaching the tires. I don’t believe either of these items has any associated decals, so they will soon be moving to get their overall matte coat.

Just to top the day off, I painted the two DC-3 props silver (after having masked off the tips). They’ll go back in the box, waiting for the model to progress a bit further before they are needed. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Academy Republic P-47 "Passionate Patsy"

Another P-47 crosses the finish line. Although I do have a P-47E two seat trainer conversion on the bench, this will likely be the final P-47 at least until I need another mojo injection. Good available kits and lots of decal options means these are never too far away from the top of the pile, but I’d like to concentrate on some more unusual types for the near term.

This is another off the new DK Decals sheet, 72-040: P-47s in the PTO. Lots of color variation and nose art on this sheet. This particular aircraft was named “Passionate Patsy” The pilot was Lt Ralph Barnes of the 310 FS, 58 FG, based in New Guinea in 1944. There appear to be two aircraft that wore the name – an Olive Drab and Neutral Grey razorback and a NMF bubbletop. Mine, as you can see, is the razor.

Nothing unexpected on the kit construction, and the decals performed as anticipated. I have become a definite fan of the DK decal series.

This is completed aircraft #477 (10 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 7 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in June of 2017.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Marathon masking session

Workbench time this week has been primarily spent on masking and other prep for the next paint session.

I had a chance to buff the Eurofighter whif’s coat of Red Arrows Red. It will indeed need a surface coat, to get a smooth final surface and to reinforce the red paint over the overspray from the Insignia Blue rudder.

I also needed to mask the Arctic Rose DC-3 to clean up some overspray. Same with the Beech Starship, though that is to clean up a massive botch I made while trying to paint the silver leading edges.

There has also been some cockpit construction for the next models to enter the construction queue. I’m always leary of using superglue, but had to deal with resin cockpits for both a P-47E two-seat trainer conversion and the Planet N1M flying wing. Plus one of the wing halves on the N1M had gotten broken during its time in the stash and I had to repair that. The RS Models XP-79 cockpit also got some attention. The P-47E cockpit is noticeably too wide for the fuselage to close, so some fettling will be required to shave the sides down, probably prior to painting. And of course the recently acquired AZ Models DHC-1 Chipmunk is getting attention as well.

In an effort to move a couple of hangar queens along, I’ll be masking the bottom portion of the Norseman seaplane and the upper surfaces of the Hasegawa Lancaster in order to get them both ready for Black paint. These will probably not be ready for the next paint session.