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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Airfix BAe Lightning F2A

Now for the third in the flurry of April completions. This is the new-tool Airfix Lightning F2A. What I wouldn’t have given for a Lightning of this quality in the 80s and 90s. I was still struggling with the old-tool Airfix versions. It wasn’t so much that it was a bad kit, just elderly. Raised panel lines, always a problem, and not much detail. The biggest issue in these new releases is the choice of variant. I personally would much rather have had an F1 and F3, if only because of the great wealth of attractive markings (for many of which I already have decals). There are a few colorful F2s and the rare F6, though nowhere near as many as for the earlier marks. I suppose I could just wait for Airfix to release the F1/F3, but given how long it has taken them to do what many perceive as a slam-dunk for sales (a metal wing Hurricane 1) there may be no profit in the wait. I do have a couple of Sword early marks, as well as their trainers, so that may have to suffice for now. But Sword kits can be difficult builds. 

As with many of the new tool Airfix kits I have built, the construction phase was calm and steady. About the only kit I have had a hideous time with was the Blenheim, an experience, like childbirth, best left to the dewy mists of memory. The new Lightnings are so much more detailed than their older counterparts. If I can continue to search out decent markings, there are probably more of the F2s and F6s in my future.

I did have some painting drama. As noted on the blog a week or so back, the Alclad Dark Aluminum I first used was from a messed-up batch that I had not yet disposed of. Luckily I had a second, newer, bottle to rescue the paint job.

I thought I had aftermarket decals for a 92 Squadron example, but it turned out I did not. Or at least I was unable to find the sheet at the crucial moment. I ended up using the kit decals, which exhibited a distressing tendency to physically pull up from the model when they dried. The wing walk-lines and the lines under the belly both pulled up. Not sure if this is a one-off problem or not. To be honest, I usually use aftermarket decals in order to have something a little less common, so I haven’t used actual Airfix decals very often.

Generally, I’m happy with the model, though there still are signs of the paint problems. It will soon be joining its compatriots on the Lightning shelf out in the garage.

This is completed aircraft #470 (3 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year), finished in April of 2017.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 5)

Just to switch things up a bit, here are some 1:72 armor photos from the show: 

Russian tractor

(Another) Russian tractor

SdKfz 7 with trailer

AMX 13

Panzerjaeger IV in the snow

WW1 tank

And finally... war elephant! (though the faceted enclosure seems to have confused my camera a bit)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Airfix BAe Hawk T2

I seem to be sticking to familiar models in my campaign to get some completions in 2017. That probably is not a bad approach if you’re trying to recharge your mojo after an extended drought.

This completed model was inspired by a Combat Decals set: 72004 – Test and development Hawks. I’m a fan of promotional schemes like these, and most Hawks are covered by the two excellent Airfix kits. Alas, a couple of the schemes on this sheet are for Hawk 200s. The only kit in 1:72 was the Matchbox version, which has been out of production for many years. I’ve already built it and am not inclined to pay collector’s prices for another. I seem to remember that some manufacturer was talking about a new kit, or at least a conversion, but I haven’t seen any news along that line lately.

The one I chose for the first model was the Bae Systems demo from Warton in 1997. This must have been around the time they were trying to sell Hawks to South Africa, since the plane has stripes in their national colors.

The build was uneventful, having already constructed a number of T2/127 Hawks. The decaling was a bit more problematic. The large decals weren’t so much the problem – although it would have been infinitely better if Combat had allowed for the cutout for flap fairings on the lower wings and more precisely cut the decal into pieces to allow for the parts that appear on the gear doors. The issue came with the smaller markings, primarily stenciling. I had a lot of them break up while trying to transfer from backing paper to model surface. Despite being thin, they resolutely resisted the efforts of Microset/sol to get down into the panel lines.

After the decals were all on, I added a Master nose probe. This is a tiny part, but much better than the plastic kit version. I do wish they had been produced it in steel rather than bronze. Being gold colored, I had to get some silver paint on it, and I did a bit of clumsy job. Still, another colorful Hawk to add to my display lineup.

This is completed aircraft #469 (2 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year), finished in April of 2017.

I thought I would add a few shots of my upstairs / hobby room display case. This is solely for Tornados, Eurofighters, Hawks, and Hurricanes and is the only one not currently in the garage (pending the lower story reconfiguration). And even it is running out of space.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 4)

Some more photos from last weekend's IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. This time I thought I'd serve up some of the many helicopter models in attendance, along with some other things that caught my interest. 

Special Hobby CH-37 Mojave

AModel H-25 Mule

Hobbycraft Piasecki H-21 

Hiller H-23 Raven

One of Bob Hoover's aircraft (he just recently died late in 2016)

Vought V-173 Flapjack

Tupolev ANT-25 long distance aircraft

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Airfix Hawker Hurricane ragwing

I’m now ready to present the first aircraft to be completed since July of 2016. This should be the first of many, since I have lots that are approaching the final painting and decal stages. Hopefully April and May will turn out to be good months for productivity.

This is another Airfix ragwing Hurricane, this time in captured German markings.  According to the Kora decals information, the plane was captured in France (at the Merville airfield) and then taken to Rechlin for testing. It ended up at one of the fighter flight schools (I/JFS2) at the Anhalt airbase. As you can see, it was repainted in RLM paint, in this case RLM74/75 over RLM76 with grey mottles. I still am not satisfied with the mottling work on this model. I think this particular botched job came from the combination of having no pressure regulator on my compressor and mixing the paint too thin. But it is what it is. Next time I won’t mix the paint quite as thin, and I do have (distant) plans to pick up a new compressor, since mine was built alongside George Washington’s famous white carriage. But reality tends to intrude on my thoughts about capital spending – a new furnace, replacing a portion of the fence that has collapsed, upcoming car repairs, vacation, and even the new display case I have been eying.

The kit is the Airfix ragwing. I’ve built enough of them now that I know all the pitfalls, and to be honest there aren’t many. I still can’t see why Airfix hasn’t tooled new metal wings to turn this into a late mark 1, but then I’m not on the Airfix board of directors. I’ve probably guaranteed they are about to announce one since I recently ordered some Alley Cat resin wing conversions. Send your thanks, when it happens, to my Paypal account.

The decals were from Kora 72-188. All German captured machines, I chose the one I thought most interesting. Be aware that on this sheet at least, the carrier film is continuous, and not specfic to each decal. No need to ask how I know this now. Once I found out, it is easy enough to cut around each marking, though most are small and the sheet itself is tightly packed.

This is completed aircraft #468 (1 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2017), finished in April of 2017.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 3)

Another selection of 1:72 models from last Saturday's show. 

First up, a selection of 5 Beaufighters. Some were from the Hasegawa, and some from the new-tool Airfix.

H-P Hampden

Dornier Do-24

Monday, April 24, 2017

Paint update (DC-3, Lanc, P-47, Hurricane)

Even though I was hurting after the show on Saturday, I set aside a bit of time to airbrush two colors onto four models. Maybe it is because I tend to find shows inspiring.

In any case, I put an Alclad White Aluminum coat on the Hurricane demo/hack, as well as on the P-47 that will eventually carry the markings of “Eight Nifties”. Both seemed to cover pretty well, so next up for the Hurricane are wheels and decals. Next for the P-47 is landing gear, doors, and external details.

The Gloss White – in this case Modelmaster – went to provide surface coats for a Lancaster and the upper fuselage of a DC-3, the future “Arctic Rose”. Next for both is a long masking session.

Both the Hurricane and P-47 have already moved on to their next stages, so the photo below covers the DC-3 and Lanc.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 2)

Another few photos from Spring Show. I'll be concentrating on all the civil types that were gathered in one category (and likely from one modeller). 

Matchbox Noorduyn Norseman

KP Piper Cub

Ford Tri-motor

Khee-Kha Waco YKS (?) on floats

Turboprop Otter conversion

Matchbox Twin Otter

AModel Piaggio Avanti (next on my list once I finish their Beech Starship)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 1)

Another IPMS-Seattle Spring Show is in the books, and it was pretty consistent with the past decade’s shows. Large turnout, interesting vendors, outstanding model work, and, for me, a crippled back.

For one with a fragile back, two hours of bending down to take pictures at table level can really do some damage. At 60, this is just something that you have to take into account. But I shudder to think what it will feel like tomorrow morning!

I don’t have the official numbers yet, but I’m fairly sure there were at least the usual 700+ models on the tables. I took 170 shots of just the 1:72 items. Paint and construction quality was, as you might expect, very high. One the things I most like about the Seattle show is that there always seem to be some adventurous choices when it comes to kit selection. Many of the other shows I check out online, even if they have much in the way of 1:72 on display, always seem to be the standard Bf-109s, Spitfires, Fw-190s, and other common WW2 fighters. At Seattle this year, there seemed to be lots of civil aircraft, helicopters, and Beaufighters (both Hasegawa and the newer Airfix). Not too much in the way of 1:72 armor.

Here are the first few photos from this year’s show. I’ll be interspersing these with completion summaries on 3 new models over the next week or so. 

First off, a couple of shots of the overall show floor itself. The vendors are arranged all round the outside wall. The space is basically two basketball courts in size. 

A Wein Air C-46

AModel Jetstream as used by The Economist magazine

One of the five Beaufighters 

The Fine Molds Savoia S-21

An interwar flying boat

For those who want to take a look at the entire folder for this year's 1:72 entries, feel free to access the Photobucket file: 2017 Seattle Show 172nd entries

More over the next few days, but next up: the first aircraft completion of 2017. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Painting (sealer coats, bombs, and a transport cart)

A brief painting session in order to get three models ready for their completion pictures. Since I was there, I decided to go ahead and paint two bombs and one transport cart from the recently received RAF Bomber support set from Airfix.

Tomorrow is the annual IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. It is always a great experience, and if any of you are in the vicinity I would encourage you to stop by. Details are on the IPMS-Seattle website, but in a nutshell: it will be held once again at the Renton WA community center, doors open at 9am, registration closes at noon, admission is $5 for juniors and no-entries walk-ins, $10 for unlimited model entries. We’ve had heavy turnout for many years, usually hitting around 700 or 800 models, including display only. Lots of vendors as well, so there will be things to hide from your wife when you go home.

And of course I’ll be there taking pictures of all the 1:72 entries, as I have every year. I’ll display my favorites here on the blog over the next week, interspersed with some actual 2017 completions of my own.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

More decals and masking (Hurricanes, Lightning, Hawk)

Most of the bench time this week has been devoted to decalling. I actually have three models in that stage, but all three require sealer coats before they are ready to have the canopy masking stripped and get their photographs taken for the blog.

There are also canopy masking efforts underway, specifically for the civil Hurricane demo aircraft as well as the Yugoslavian Hurricane. Boring work but necessary to progress the model.

But I can’t even put away the masking tape yet, since I’m still doing the leading edges of the Beech Starship. Won’t be much left once I get these silver areas painting – mostly props, wheels, and decals.

Two new models entered the front of the construction queue this week: the EADS Barracuda drone from Avis, and two new bombs for the ordnance series. Plus, having received the Airfix RAF Ground Support set this week, at least one choice from that box (a bomb trolley) has been  started. One of the trucks will be under construction as well.

I received a nice little package of decals and masking sets from Hannants this week. One highlight was a super set from DK Decals for Pacific P-47s. There must be 20 options on the sheet. Along with the other 1:72 P-47 decals I have, I could probably stop everything else and just build Thunderbolts and still wouldn’t finish before I croak. I’ve already completed something like 25 of the beasties, and will get more into production shortly.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Painting (Lightning, P-47, Hurricanes, exhaust)

I was able to find a few minutes midweek to do some painting. Three airframes and then a number of smaller bits that required the same paint (in this case Alclad Exhaust).

First came the P-47 which will eventually wear the “Eight Nifties” markings. This required an Olive Drab anti-glare strip that extended back to the fin.

Then came the RAF Lightning F2A. The fin, spine, and anti-glare strip had all been completed and masked, so this was the overall Dark Aluminum coat. I didn’t want the finish to be too bright, certainly not along the lines of the silver doped Hurricane, so I opted for this somewhat darker paint. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do contrasting panels on this one. I don’t typically go in for that. I did have one hiccup while doing this work. It turns out that one of the bottles of bad Alclad that turned up a few years back had not been dumped as I had thought. There was a definite lack of pigment, which means that coverage was bad and it tended to pool a bit since a simple spray did not color the model. Luckily, I had a second bottle of this color that I must have bought in the intervening years. It sprayed on just like it was supposed to. When it cures, I’ll check to see if there are any areas that need attention.

Finally, various bits (mostly Hurricane, with some Eurofighters thrown in) of exhaust pipes were shot with a coat of Jet Exhaust. I’ve used Pale Burnt Metal for them on occasion (all Alclad options, by the way) but while this works well for the metal rings on the front of some British medium bombers – that’s what I used for the Blenheim – I find that I like the Exhaust better for the darker baked exhausts, jets and props both.  

Some of the Tamiya curve tape used to mask the Red Arrows Eurofighter turned out to be less sticky than I would have liked and has pulled up in a number of places. So I decided to wait to shoot the red paint on that one until I have had a chance to address that problem. Instead, I took care of the rudder in Roundel Blue. The rudder surfaces are flat and therefore don’t exhibit the tape pulling up. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Academy Scheuch Schlepper

And now comes a proper milestone. The first completed model of 2017. This is firmly in the category of padding out the annual completion statistics. Hold on. I was misquoted. This was all taken out of context. I of course meant I am very proud to have completed this fine example of the modelling art.

And it wasn’t even an aircraft. This is the second variant of the Scheuch Schlepper, vehicles that were meant to haul around the wheel-less Me-163 (it landed on skids). There is a slightly different variant that hauled the Me-163A, which has compressed air tanks for inflating the devices that sit under the aircraft’s wings. That is included in the most recent Special Hobby Me-163A kit, which is on the way to my house currently.

But this is the one meant to carry the Me-163B. The plastic is included in the Academy kit, and has been sitting in my spares box since I first built a Komet probably 20 years ago. I got into a slight fascination with airfield support equipment in early 2017 – which also explains the RAF Ground Support kit from Airfix being on its way to me as well.

The kit is simple, though the painting requires a small bit of forethought. Wheels and tracks were kept separate while the main assembled bits were painted RLM04 Gelb. Hubs were then painted RLM02 and the tires and tracks done separately.

I don’t generally do much in the way of weathering. I prefer models to be a bit more pristine than that, as if they were on display in a huge air museum. I enjoy looking at dioramas, but don’t really have the patience or artistic flair to put together a complex and nice one.

This is completed vehicle #1 (0 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2017), finished in March of 2017.