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Friday, December 8, 2017

Painting (F-101B, Me-163 and MR Paints)

Here is a quick recap on yesterday’s paint session. As mentioned, the Me-163 and Mark 7 nuke both got their top sealer coats.

The F-101B got the exhaust area taken care of. The darker exhaust markings are fairly subtle, but I think they make the point. Next on this project is to strip off all the masking tape and get the landing gear and doors added. Then comes decals.

My first experiment with MR Paints was a success, though admittedly a small sampling. I shot an overall coat of Olive Drab onto the nuke’s transport trolley and wheels. There is no thinning involved, since these come mixed for airbrush use. This is no small issue, since once paint is thinned, it can’t really go back into the bottle. Unused paint from this source, however, can go directly back. Less wastage overall. At $7 a bottle, that’s at least some consideration. The paint sprayed smoothly with no orange peel or pooling issues. My only complaint is that it dries very matte. I’ve become so used to using Xtracolour paints that I rarely have to add any gloss to the model prior to decals. Looks like I’ll have to get used to this extra step as my Xtracolour collection diminishes and MR Paints take over. Still, very happy with my experiment so far, and am looking forward to trying additional colors.

One thing to note: MR Paints just released a wave of Italian AF colors, 32 in all. I can see what my next order will consist of. There are multiple varieties of greens, browns, yellows, greys. Italian markings can be a bit of a labyrinth, so I would suggest checking out the Stormo color guide. I know I’ll be spending some time there shortly. Start at

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Benchtime (ME-163, F-101B, Mk 7 nuke)

Workbench time in the last few days has been divided between more paint prep and a bit of cockpit construction.

I finally finished up all the detail bits on the French civilian Me-163 and have it ready for a sealer coat of semi-gloss clear. This one will stand out in the Komet lineup.

Similarly, I’ve got the decaling done for Valom’s Mark 7 Thor nuclear bomb. It won’t get its completed display until the transport cart (included in Valom’s kit) catches up. But it needs a sealer coat.

The masking is complete for the NMF area of the F-101B’s exhaust. A first coat will be in White Aluminum, followed by some detailing in Alclad Exhaust Manifold.

And I will have my first experiment with MR Paints when I hit the nuclear bomb’s transport cart with a coat of Olive Drab.

In terms of construction, I’ve got all the bits ready for paint for the Eurofighter cockpit. This is Revell’s newest-tool version. Can’t say as I’ve seen much difference so far, not including the mold deterioration that the RV4317 kit has experienced. Next job is to paint and detail the cockpit, then seal up the fuselage.

No photo today, since I’ve already taken everything down to the garage (ie, the subterranean paint shop dungeon). But I will have a paint report soon. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Painting session (Me-163, Schwimmwagen, F-101B)

On this final day of November, I took some time to put together a small airbrush session. I didn’t get everything in the queue, but enough to keep some projects moving.

First, I shot a matte overall coat on the Academy Schwimmwagen. It will be debuting as a completed model as soon as I resolve one dilemma.

I then shot a coat of Alclad White Aluminum on the Norseman airliner’s floats, the body of the Valom Mk 7 nuclear weapon, and the remaining portion of the French civil Me-163 glider.

I used a spray can of Testors SAC Green to get the cockpit of the J8M1 ready for detail painting.

Finally, I cleaned up some rough areas on the F-101B and painted the landing gear doors (which I had somehow forgotten while painting the plane overall). Next I’ll be masking off the area around the exhausts, which will get a covering of White Aluminum (and some areas of Burnt Metal for contrast).

Not every painting session needs to be a marathon, but all paint sessions can advance multiple projects!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Construction (J8M1, F-101B, XP-79, DUKW)

First off, I’d like to wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving. We just put the turkey in, so it won’t be long until the house fills with proper holiday smells.

But back to the workbench. Many construction sessions are really just paint-prep sessions in disguise. Though there wasn’t much time devoted to bench time this week, most of it was in preparation for paint.

I was able to get the cockpit together for the J8M1 Japanese Komet. For simplicity’s sake I will probably paint it via spray can and then do some detail painting after that has a chance to cure. Then I will be completing the overall assembly.

I have buffed down the ADC Gray overall coat on the F-101B. There were a couple of rough spots, but those are ready for a surface coat. Also, I found that I had forgotten to include the landing gear doors in the last paint session, so those will be included this time around.

Repair work is needed on the DHC-1 Chipmunk. The masking on the lower fuselage was a bit clumsy, and will need to be remasked and sprayed to eliminate the overspray. Next I can mask the wingtips and tail for the Insignia Red portions.

The Valom mark 7 nuke needed to have the nosecone masked off so that the rest of the bomb can be painted Aluminum. While I’ve got the Alclad out, I’ll take the opportunity to paint the floats on the airliner Noorduyn Norseman as well.

Finally, I’ve gotten the major assembly of the RS XP-79 in gear. Next comes the rather frightful act of masking and cementing that canopy, which does not look like it will be easy.

In terms of pure construction, I’ve gotten the major body pieces together for the Italeri DUKW. In comparison with the tractors and airfield support vehicles I’ve done to date, this is a gigantic model (well, gigantic for 1:72 vehicles at least). Lots remains to be done, including the transmission, interior, and a bunch of stuff hanging on the bow end. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Painting (F-101, Me-163, Schwimmwagen, Mark 7 nuke)

Armed with a new respirator (mine went to pieces a couple of months back) I ventured into the paint shop for the first time in a while. The weather has been just exactly what we want everyone outside of the northwest to think it is all of the time; rain rain rain as far as the weather eye can see. But that does make for a pleasant painting experience.

Four projects in the spotlight for this session. First comes a small job, putting the Red Brown nose onto the mark 7 nuclear bomb from Valom. A surprising amount of cleanup went into this 5 piece item.

Then came an overall Desert Yellow coat on the Academy Schwimmwagen. I do rather enjoy these small vehicle kits. They are easy to put together, don’t require a lot of complicated paintwork, and make for a quick completion. Of course I do very little weathering on any model, so that does simplify the process.

Next was a coat of Insignia Red on the upper fuselage of the Me-163B. This is going to be a French postwar glider. I never knew the scheme existed until I was grazing on the net one day and discovered an out-of-production Rocketeer sheet with this set of markings on it. It was just too weird to pass up. The problem was I didn’t own the sheet. Since Rocketeer has gone to the big hobby shop in the sky, that could be a problem. After some inquiries, I was saved by a fellow 72 Scale Aircraft board member Pyran, who cut the decal out and mailed it to me. I always appreciate these random acts of kindness from other modellers and try to do the same thing whenever I have the opportunity.

Last was an overall coat of ADC Grey on the F-101B. This is part of my Complete Century Series project (complete because it includes the prototypes XF-103, XF-108 and XF-109, all by Anigrand).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

AModel Beech Starship

I finished today’s completion some time ago, but it was enough of a struggle that it took a while to write up the summary. It is the AModel Beech Starship. This is one of those types that I have always wanted to model, but in olden days the only available kit was a vac. Not that this kit requires less work than a vac.

The large pieces of the kit are not that difficult to get together, but almost everything requires some sanding, dry-fitting, and foul language. It’s the tiny parts that are the real killer. Since this is a short-run kit, the small parts are connected to the sprues by gates that are sometimes bigger than the parts themselves, often causing damage when removing them. And the instructions are not that great at specifying exactly where all those tiny bits go. Most seams require filling.

Painting the overall white wasn’t all that difficult, but when it came time to mask for the leading edge NMF strips I was breaking off antennae right and left. Even the front canard managed to disengage itself. In the end I decided not to mask the overall kit (overspray would get everywhere) and just brush painted the leading edges. Not a completely successful endeavor.

Painting the canopy surround was rather a pain as well. As was most of the rest of the detail painting. Note the theme developing here. But things really went into the crapper when it came time to decal the model. While AModel kits have definitely improved over the course of their existence, their decal technology hasn’t kept up. They are very thin and prone to tear. Not a good thing when many of the decals are thin stripes.

It isn’t one the best I’ve done, and actually would probably not be seen in public if it weren’t for my core founding principle that anything I build gets displayed on this blog, good with the bad. So what you see is what I got.

Just to add a final layer of insult, as I was transporting the kit down to the garage display cases, I dropped the thing and broke off one canard and one vertical tailpiece. I’m probably lucky the landing gear didn’t go as well. Thankfully photos had already been taken. But that just goes to display the rather snakebit nature of this model. I do love AModel’s kit choices, and still plan to build their Avanti and SpaceShip. But I rather dread the experience.

This is completed aircraft #482 (15 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 12 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in October of 2017.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Recent acquisitions

Two packages arrived this week. One included a selection of 6 bottles of MRP paint, a new line that has been getting good reviews on the sites that I visit. They are very similar in size and mix to Alclad (except not being metallic of course). Although my first order was meant to supply colors where my Xtracolour stocks were running low – or out – I’m not sure I have an immediate need for the colors in the stream of projects that are moving into the paint queue at present. Once I give them a try I’ll put together a report.

The other was a set of three items from RebelAlpha. First comes the Mark 7 nuclear bomb. They are including this in one of the later B-45 boxings and decided to put it out as a separate release as well. This works for me as I’ve already bought a B-45. In fact, since the bomb itself only has 5 pieces, I finished construction on it last evening. Some tidying up will be necessary. The transport cart has more pieces.

Second was the Print Scale decal sheet for FJ-3 and FJ-4 Furies. I want to build at least one of the Sword kits in Gloss Sea Blue and this sheet has markings for one.

Last came an impulse purchase, the Ace Models Trattore Autocaro Sahariana AS-37 truck. Another in my project of wheeled support vehicles. I wanted to get a close up look at what Ace kit were like, and at least I can paint this one in desert colors. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Construction (Me-163B, Schwimmwagen)

Not everything around the 72 Land capital city has been lack of production in the last month: we’ve also acquired another pet. This time it is a 10 week old black pug puppy, now named Kirby. As any of you with pets know, puppies have two modes of operation: 1) Berserk and 2) Comatose. He has certainly been running me ragged trying to get him housebroken and socialized with our 9 year old pug and 6 year old cat.

But there have been some modelling related movements as well. I have mostly pieced together an Academy Schwimmwagen, and once I add a couple more exterior bits it will be ready for a first coat of Desert Yellow.

Following that, the first of two Me-163 derivatives has gotten its cockpit painted and installed, and most of the major construction completed. Next on the list is masking and installation of canopies. This one is going to be in postwar French civil markings.

Other lines of work include getting all the exterior bits added and the wheel wells masked on the F-101, major construction on the XP-79, some painting repair on the AZ Chipmunk, and masking on the Noorduyn Norseman airliner.

Just getting started (as in still in the box) are the Hasegawa J8M1 Shusui (almost an Me-163B), Miles Aerovan, and the Northrop Firebird drone recently released by Sova. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eurofighter (11 Squadron RAF anniversary)

This completion, like the previous (Hurricane), is a model that I’ve built numerous times over the year. It is the 10th Eurofighter, 6 of which are special anniversary schemes of one type or another. The other 4 are in regular squadron markings.

I think I have built just about all of the various 1:72 Eurofighter kits out there, though this is my first Hobbyboss example. The new tool Revell is next in the queue. The Hobbyboss is not a difficult kit to build, though it does fall short a bit on detail. The Revell one is still the best – at least until the mold deterioration started to kick in – so I live in hope that the new tool variety will put it back on top.

Decals came from an Xtradecal set: X72230. I had already done the red-tail 29 Squadron RAF special, so this time I did the 11th Squadron RAF anniversary scheme. As always the Xtradecals performed as advertised. I do enjoy these RAF special markings schemes, but I might be tempted by some Luftwaffe specials shortly. And the Italian AF is starting to do them also, and if someone makes decals I will likely add that to the herd as well.

This is completed aircraft #481 (14 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 12 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in October of 2017.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Revell Hawker Hurricane 2c (Egyptian AF)

I, like I suppose everyone else, have favorite aircraft. Eurofighter, A-4, Spitfire, Corsair. One of my main projects is the Hawker Hurricane. Tonight I am presenting the 23rd completed model of this type in my collection.

Although I love the new Airfix ragwing Hurricane, markings options are fairly limited. I do have a couple of metal wing conversion sets so I should be able to expand on the early types. This particular model is of the 2c. I’ve been informally working my way through the foreign users, and this one is from the Egyptian Air Force.

It uses the Revell kit, which I find to be a nice buildable example. The one weakness the kit has, and you can see that I ran afoul of it on this particular model, is that the four guns on the wing leading edge are extremely fragile. I typically knock more than one of the guns off during the life of a Revell Hurricane and this was no exception. The difference this time was that it happened after the painting stage, and I honestly don’t know when it detached from the wing. I did a thorough search on the workbench and floor, but no luck. The Carpet Monster is probably sneering at me.

Being a kit I have built many times before, there wasn’t much out of the ordinary during construction. Paint was in desert colors (Dark Earth, Middle Stone, Azure Blue) with the slight variation that, while most of the RAF desert planes have red spinners, this Egyptian example had one painted up in Sky. The decals came from Kits World 72144, an all-Hurricane sheet. It is likely my next Hurricane will come from this sheet as well; if I had to guess, I would say it will be the Free French version.

With the exception of the missing gun, this one came out well enough. Not my best, not my worst, which is after all where most models end up. And you’ll see that late devastating errors are not that uncommon on the 72 Land production line. Looking at you, Starship.

This is completed aircraft #480 (13 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 12 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in September of 2017.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Paint session (F-101, XP-79, Me-163)

The procedure having gone well enough on Tuesday, I decided to clear out the paint queue backlog this evening.

Most of the activity (3 models) was applying a matte or semi-matte top sealer coat. It went well enough on the Hurricane and Eurofighter, and they will be debuting as finished models shortly. The AModel Starship continues to be the problem child, and broke off its nosewheel while in the painting process. After repairs, it too will get its completion photos taken.

Other than that, I painted the nosecone of the F-101 Black. Next comes some masking of that and the wheel wells. Then I’ll proceed with the ADC Gray coat.

Finally, two cockpits painted: Me-163 and XP-79. Some detail painting needs to be done in both, but at least they’ve cleared that hurdle. Me-163s don’t take long to build, so that one should be featured in near term installments of the blog.

The photo below does not include the three models that are ready for completion photos; just the others.

On the subject of the spinal injection, I must say that it is never pleasant for someone to stick a wide-diameter needle into your spine. Most of the process was merely painful, but the last poke was on the nerve that has been giving me the most problems. Imagine if you had just broken your arm, were in screaming pain, and someone came up with: “I’d like to stick a needle in there please”. They’re lucky they didn’t have to peel me off the ceiling. I don’t think this was the magic bullet for my situation, but I will need to wait about a week, when the steroids will have done whatever they are going to do. Isn’t the aging process fun? 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Decals (Eurofighter, Starship)

Most of the workbench activity for the last couple of days has been related to decals: the long, slow journey to get the Beech Starship finished, and the much quicker job of getting the RAF 11 Squadron Eurofighter marked up.

The Starship required a bit more effort before it was ready for its topcoat. The front wheel broke off more times that I care to remember (until I finally just set it aside until all the handling is complete). Same with the two small antennae on either side of the nose.

The Eurofighter got the Medium Grey fin details and radome taken care of. I’m still in the process of working the decals. One side is complete, and I’ll try to get some time in to finish the other half tomorrow.

Everything else is just leading up to the next painting session. That likely won’t happen until later this week, since I have to make another run to get the spinal injections done tomorrow morning. Last time they didn’t like some of the bloodwork numbers and cancelled. If they do this to me again, we will have what was known during the cold war as a “full and frank exchange of views”. I’m getting quite frustrated by this whole process. My back is only getting worse, and I need to see some progress in this case. If this is all just leading up to spinal surgery, let’s get it done and stop farting around!

As three models will be moving into the completed column this week, I’ll be introducing some new ones the start of the construction queue. A civil French Me-163, a Japanese Komet, and the brand new Sova Northrop Firebird drone. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Construction/paint prep (Hurricane, Eurofighter, F-101B)

The production gears here in 72 Land are gradually getting back into operational shape, limited mostly by ongoing mobility issues. But some work has been accomplished setting up for the next paint session.

I’ve pretty much completed the Egyptian AF Hurricane after adding a few exterior detail bits (like the antenna) that just love to break off and hide in the carpet at the slightest provocation. All that is left is to apply the matte topcoat and it will be ready to have its photo taken and moved into the completed column.

I masked the Hobbyboss Eurofighter for those medium grey areas at the top of the tail which continue down the leading edge of the fin. I’ll also be painting the nose cone the same color. I’ll probably use a Testors spray can just for ease of application. Next comes landing gear and finally, decals.

The Monogram F-101B has had its nose cone attached, and it will need a quick coat of Black. Still a fair bit of construction work on this one, mostly detail exterior bits. It will also need to have the wheel wells stuffed with wet paper towels prior to applying the overall ADC Gray paint. This is part of the Complete Century Series project (complete because it will include the prototypes of the F-103, F-107, F-108, and F-109). The only model I don’t physically have in house is the Trumpeter F-105, though I have already sourced some decals and a Master nose probe. I’ll probably pick the kit up from Sprue Bros shortly.

The Northrop XP-79 and N1M need their cockpits painted, but that likely will not happen until the following paint session. But the ones in queue should give me enough to do for one turn at the airbrush. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Academy GLDS M1126 Stryker

The Yak-130 wasn’t the only completed model languishing while the temps swirled around in the upper 90s. I had also finished up a vehicle, this one being the GLDS M1126 Stryker.

The Stryker is an armored infantry transport vehicle with seating for 9 soldiers. It also comes with a top mounted 50 cal to provide support once the squad is disembarked. They have been used pretty extensively in Iraq. There is even a local connection; one of the main Stryker units is based nearby me at Lewis-McChord joint base south of Tacoma.

The Academy kit is not bad at all. Surface detail is very nice, and only the suspension for the eight wheels makes for some tiny and complex parts. Your carpet monster will be eagerly eying the individual suspension bits, so take some extra care in this area. Fit is good, there are no clear parts to mask, and the assembly is a relatively stress free affair.

The Stryker is a single color paint job (except for the tires). I’ve begun using an actual Black for the tires on these wheeled vehicles I’ve been producing instead of the dark grey I use for tires on most aircraft. There was just so little contrast between the Olive Drab of the vehicle and the dark grey of the tires. The Black improves the look, though it might be marginally less realistic.

All in all, another reasonable entry into the vehicle collection.

This is completed vehicle #12 (12 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 12 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in August of 2017.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

AModel Yakovlev Yak-130 prototype

I understand that there is a Yak-130 coming from Zvezda in the near future. Up until this point, all we’ve had to work with is the AModel kit, which, while buildable, has its own problems. The Zvezda will likely be better engineered and much higher on the buildability scale.

But this is what we have to work with now. I started this kit ages ago, back when it was a brand-new AModel kit. I liked the fact that the first boxing came with company demo markings, even if it was something of a complex paint job. I got to the point of painting the overall White, and then stalled when faced with masking for the Intermediate Blue.

Three or four years later, as I was trying desperately to rejuvenate my modelling mojo, I made a conscious effort to pull items off the Shelf of Shame and get them finished. It turned out that the Blue masking job was not as difficult as I was expecting, though it did take a fair amount of time (and masking tape). Then came the Red tail and final assembly. I thought I was just about to cross the finish line as I started decaling.

And that is when the difficulties deepened. Maybe I got a bad batch, but the decals were thin, flimsy, prone to tearing, and – despite being on a gloss paint layer – silvered all over the place. SuperSet/Sol didn’t seem to help much, and even a final overall semi-matte coat only improved the situation rather than solving the problem.

Hopefully the Zvezda kit will have options/decals to make the Aermacchi M-346 version as well. To be honest, I’m not familiar enough with the details to know what it would take to go from Yak-130 to M-346. I think the differences are mostly internal, but haven’t confirmed that. Some changes around the intakes as well, perhaps.

This is the great thing about 1:72 scale: the vast range of models. Even modern Russian trainers have multiple kits out there.

This is completed aircraft #479 (12 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 11 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in July of 2017.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Another day, another excuse?

Well, I hope that is not what this is turning into. but a combination of high heat and low mobility have put me on another temporary Shelf of Shame. 

Tomorrow is still listed as a blistering 97 (I am not an iguana for heavens sake) and the following Wednesday as 90, but then things start moderating somewhat. Mostly high 70s and low 80s through 9-18. 

I am about to head over to the hobby room to take some photos for two completed models, which, if all goes well, will debut in the next couple of days. My excruciating foot issues (gout? neuropathy? sciatica?) had been alternating between the left and right foot, with a couple of weeks in between. When only one foot is down I can use crutches. But this weekend they introduced a new wrinkle: both feet is unreal pain to matter what sort of tiny pressure is put on them. We were able to get a wheeled office chair, which has become my substitute wheelchair. But that puts me beyond the reach of the garage (but not the hobby room).

I do have a spinal steroid injection on 9-12 as a first step in dealing with the stenosis in the lumbar vertebrae. But I don't think that is even related to the foot issues. And I can't get to the docs to maybe get some answers until the feet moderate. Because I can't get out of the house! In the meantime I should still be able to display model progress and get to the workbench in the hobby room. When it isn't 104 degrees in there at least. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Painting in the heat (Stryker, Yak-130, Eurofighter)

I am currently in the process of drying myself off after completing a short paint session. The last couple of days have crept back into the mid-80s, and (as you know) the garage has no air conditioning. So it is a hot and sweaty process. Nonetheless, progress was made. The forecast isn’t giving us any relief whatsoever, since we have a 6-day streak of over 90s, and one upper 90 in the bargain. There are no days under 70 (except for tomorrow) that are under 80. Our purchase of a room A/C unit for the master bedroom is starting to look like the smartest capital outlay we’ve made in a while.

Nothing too exciting in this batch. I got a matte coat on the Stryker, so it will soon be appearing in the completed column. I also got a semi-matte coat on the Yak-130 trainer. Once I strip the canopy masking it will be ready to go as well. It looks like the topcoat covered up some of the silvering of the AModel decals.

Next came a surface Barley Grey for the anniversary Eurofighter. It looked fine afterwards, so it looks like I’ll be able to strip everything but the canopy masking and proceed with adding landing gear and doors.

Finally came two Alclad colours. First a White Aluminum for landing gear and exhausts for various projects (Hurricane, F-101, XP-79) and then an Exhaust Manifold shot for some detailing on the F-101 and Eurofighter exhausts. This is a bit of an experiment, and I’m interested to see how it turns out.

I know the photo of the post-painting below looks very similar to the last couple of entries, but as it turns out the same models have been getting most of the focus lately. Now that I can clear out the Stryker and the Yak-130 (followed, I hope quickly, by a fully decalled Starship), I should have some additional space on the workbench to allow me to concentrate on other projects.

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.