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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New record for monthly page views

Time for a little self high five. May of 2017 set a record for number of page views for a single month (2564), surpassing the December 2016 totals. I’d like to think that these were unique page views by people coming across the blog on the net and The Faithful following the surge in production that has happened in spring of 2017. However, the fact that a few mysterious spam turds have shown up in older posts means that there may have been spambots lurking on the premises as well.

But never let a few inconvenient facts get in the way of a celebration! It is still a record, and even the threshold of 100k distinct page views is on the horizon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Academy Clarktor 6 and trailer, Hydraulics Intl MJ-1 bomb loader

Another small cluster of airfield support vehicles fell into the finished column today.

The first is a Clarktor 6 tow tractor. It came as part of the Academy kit AC13403, along with an ambulance (which will be making an appearance here in due time). As with many of these vehicles, parts count is minimal and construction was quick. I decided to put it in Olive Drab markings.

The second is also from the Academy box, and is a trailer (no manufacturer or model number cited in the kit) for hauling ordnance around.

Finally, from the Hasegawa kit of airfield equipment comes a Hydraulics Intl MJ-1 bomb loader. Again, not complex and easy to paint. The error in construction is clear when you see photos of the device (which I didn’t until it came time to get some more information online about it). At the time, it seemed like the only way to connect things under the fuselage. Ah well, live and learn.

These are completed vehicles #5, #6 and #7 (7 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 7 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in May of 2017.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Academy Republic P-47 razorback

Another completion in a long line of models: a P-47 razorback. There are aspects to the type that I really like: at least two nicely engineered kits and lots of decal sheets, each with some good nose art. What’s not to like?

I recently purchased DK’s latest sheet, entirely devoted to P-47s in the PTO (72-040). There are a lot of interesting markings schemes on the sheet, and the one that first drew my eye was in overall NMF with yellow and black wing and tail tips, and a yellow/black spinner as well. Sold!

I am familiar enough with the construction process for these Academy kits that there isn’t much new to impart. Painting was a rather drawn-out process: paint the yellow, mask, paint the black, mask, paint the wheel wells, mask, paint the Alclad White Aluminum. The DK decals performed as per expectations.

I was generally pretty pleased with this one, and will be glad to add it to my long series of completed P-47s. 

The aircraft was flown by Major M J VandeHey of the 78th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group, while part of the Pineapple Air Force in Hawaii in 1944. I’ve been referring to the snake on the cowl as a rattlesnake, but given that the nickname of the 78th was “The Bushmasters” it probably means that the snake belongs to that species. VandeHey was apparently the squadron commander.

This is completed aircraft #474 (7 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 4 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in May of 2017.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ready for decals (P-47s, Barracuda)

Bench time today was centered around adding various details to get three aircraft ready for decals.

First off were two P-47 razorbacks. These both had a long painting cycle, with their white tails and wing leading edges and variously colored cowlings. I added the landing gear, wheels, gear doors, and various externals like pitot and antenna mast. Props as well. They are now ready to receive decals for “Passionate Patsy” and “Pride of Lodi” respectively.

Then came the Avis EADS Barracuda. I added their rather complex landing gear (which when combined with their short-run nature, made for something of a challenge, especially the gear doors). Final touches were a couple of antennae and a (FLIR?) ball on the underside. Decals are next for this one too.

Finally, I added wheels and decals to another ammunition trailer, this one coming from a Hasegawa set. It will need a minor bit of detail painting and a coat of matte sealer and this one will be done.

Production is good at the 72 Land industrial heartland, though the weather here in the Great Northwest is going to be hitting the upper 80s the next few days, which usually means the head production czar is going to be spending most of his time sitting in front of a fan with a glass of lemonade. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hobbyboss Hawker Hurricane IIc

Today’s completion is yet another aircraft type that I seem to return to time and again. Yes, it is another Hurricane. I had one more Hobbyboss kit in the stash and thought I might as well finish it off. It is in their easy-kit line, so the number of pieces is minimal. It’s not a favorite of the engineers, as the nose is rather thin and undernourished. With the Revell 2c kit available, I think I will be sticking with that one for future Hurricane needs.

I am gradually working my way through the various foreign users of the type. I’ve done captured versions from Germany and Japan (with an Italian one on the way), civil and racer examples, and a number of other nationalities. This particular one is in Yugoslavian markings – actually 352 Squadron RAF as based in Libya in 1944. The decals are found on a Print Scale sheet, 72-022. More than likely, the Egyptian and Free French markings on this sheet will find a home in the near future.

This is completed aircraft #473 (6 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 4 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in May of 2017.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Painting (P-47s, ammunition transport cart)

Yesterday’s paint session helped to push a few projects toward completion.

There was yet another piece of airfield equipment (in this case an ammunition trailer) that needed a coat of Olive Drab. While I was using that color, I decided to buff and reshoot some portions of one of the P-47s. Specifically, the horizontal tail.

Once that was all taken care of, I moved on to the Neutral Grey undersides of both current P-47s. This includes the gear doors. The surface looks pretty good, so hopefully I won’t have to buff them out. The next step for these two will be adding landing gear, painting tires, and getting the engine and cowling attached.

Finally, there were some more small vehicles that needed a matte sealer coat. They’ll be appearing in the completion column shortly. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Painting (P-47, Barracuda, vehicles)

Much of today’s painting involved repairing surfaces that weren’t quite up to code. The main culprit was the EADS Barracuda drone. There were a lot of little microspecks, and the surface just wasn’t smooth enough. This meant that some buffing with a fine sandpaper sheet was called for. Then, a thin new coat of X126 was shot. It actually came out looking fine, so I’ll be moving on to installing the landing gear next.

Another surface that required some work was on a P-47 razorback. I think I just thinned the paint too much last time, as coverage was a bit watery and there were some bubbles that appeared in the paint. As with the Barracuda, the surface was polished and a new coat of Olive Drab was shot. It looks fine now, so as soon as the paint cures I will be masking the upper surfaces and shooting Neutral Gray on the underside. There is another P-47 in queue waiting for the Gray paint as well. Since I was already using Olive Drab, I painted an MJ-1 bomb loading vehicle as well.

Lastly, two models received their overall sealer coats. I’ll be putting them on the blog in the next few days, once I have removed the masking on the canopies.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fiddling about (DC-3, Barracuda, P-47)

I spent some time last afternoon putting the engines and nacelles together for the “Arctic Rose” DC-3. This will allow me to paint the gear bays ZC Green (the back of the engine compartment is one wall of the wheel well). I will likely hold off on this until the cockpits for the XP-79 and the two-seat trainer conversion P-47E can catch up. Another task coming up for the DC-3 is to mask for the wing and tail de-icer strips. I also need to clean up some clumsy masking on the tail. 

The EADS Barracuda was sanded to clean up the engine intake seam. A few antennae were also added. It is now ready for its overall coat of Dark Blue Grey (Xtracolour X126). Once I’m satisfied with the surface on it, I’ll have to start on the surprisingly complex landing gear. The plastic in the kit is somewhat brittle, so this may be a challenge.

I continued to unmask propeller tips. Three for P-47s and one for a Hurricane. I also masked the tips for the DC-3.

I also masked up the tail and wing leading edges on one P-47 in preparation for a coat of Olive Drab. At the same time, I’ll paint the assembled Clark tow tractor and its trailer. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Painting (P-47 and Barracuda)

Another early morning paint session. I shot a first coat of Olive Drab on a P-47 and the Clark tow tractor and trailer. The paint seemed a bit too thin and will likely require a second surface coat. It also bubbled in a couple of spots, needing some buffing out.

I also put a coat of Dark Blue Grey (Xtracolour X126) onto the EADS Barracuda. It too came out a bit rough and will require buffing. I also finished up all the prop tips so that won’t hold up any model completions. In fact, there are three that are going in for decals and their matte sealer coats shortly. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Construction (masking, XP-79, Barracuda)

After the last painting session, much of the workbench time was devoted to attaching landing gear to models that were approaching their final stages. Along with this, a lot of tires were painted the usual Euro 1 Gray that I’ve found works well for that job. More routine stuff, like masking for Insignia Yellow prop tips, was accomplished as well. Boring stuff, but it still has to be done to get to the finish line.

A bit of Mr Surfacer was added to the intake seam on the EADS Barracuda. The seam wasn’t as bad as the rear exhaust parts, but it is on the top of the aircraft and I wanted to make sure it was clean before I start working on overall paint.

Three new models entered the construction queue since some are finally starting to exit out the other end, making for space on the workbench. I’ve started getting the cockpit together for the RS Models XP-79, and working with the David Brown VIG1 tractor from the Airfix Bomber Resupply set and the Clark tow tractor from a Hasegawa set.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Painting (P-47s and props)

Today’s painting session consisted mostly of mundane tasks, though I did get a final NMF / White Aluminum coat onto one of the P-47s that are in progress.

While the Alclad was loaded into the brush, I took the opportunity to get all of the P-47s’ landing gear, wheel hubs, tail wheels, and one prop hub painted. Also, since the Barracuda has metallic landing gear, they were taken care of also.

I belatedly discovered that two of the P-47s I was working on had White wing leading edges. I should have known this, since they both also have White tails, but the decal sheet drawings I was working from only showed it on the upper view. Not a huge deal; I just masked the leading edge off, covered the rest of the model with paper towels, and shot some ModelMaster Gloss White. It would have been more convenient if I had done this while painting the tails, but at least it wasn’t a catastrophic failure. At least, not what passes for a major failure in MY paint booth…

I also got a coat of Sky onto a Hurricane’s prop spinner, and repaired that same Hurricane’s landing gear doors. The Azure Blue didn’t cover terribly well and needed reinforcement.

Finally, I used a rattle can of Panzer Grey to get a first coat onto props for the P-47s, Hurricane, and DC-3. Next will come masking the prop tips and giving them a shot of Insignia Yellow.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hasegawa fuel tank transport carriage, Airfix 4k bomb, Hasegawa Ford military tractor

Not satisfied with last week’s twofer completion, today we have a threefer. Two are simple models, but the third was relatively complex for its size.

The first completion is from a Hasegawa air support set. It is a transport carriage for the 370 gallon tank that hangs off of an F-4. I poked around for the appropriate tank, but I really have relatively few F-4 kits. If I should run across one at a later date I will reshoot the photo in order to be able to show the cart in actual use.

The second completion is the companion to the previous RAF 8k bomb. This is its smaller brother, an RAF 4k bomb. Same canister shape, same segmented construction, but a smaller diameter casing. It is shown loaded onto a previously completed transport. 

Finally comes a Ford military tractor from the Vietnam era. This too has its origins in the Hasegawa support set. It is clearly an older Hasegawa tooling, with detail on the sparse side, but construction is easy enough. If you want to do anything to the interior you’ll probably want to paint it overall Olive Drab with the cab ceiling separate, do the detail painting, and then attach the roof. The white reflector stripes do not come as decals in the kit, so I had to take some Xtradecal white stripes and cut them to size. It was a hit and miss affair, especially since those stripes come with an overall carrier film, which makes cutting and getting them actually on the model a chore. The other decals are, as you would expect, tiny indeed, but the usual SuperSet/Sol process made them behave.

These are completed vehicles #3 and #4, and completed ordnance #8 (5 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 4 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in May of 2017.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Academy Republic P-47 bubbletop

Today’s completion is the latest in a long string of Republic P-47 Thunderbolts. I have completed something like 25+ of them already, and have decals on hand for 3 or 4 times more than that. One sheet I recently picked up was Kits-World 72-052, which has markings for “Eight Nifties”. I like Kits World decals; they work well and always feature some sort of nose art.

This particular P-47 was flown by Clyde Knisley while he was with the 510 Fighter Squadron (405 Fighter Group) in the ETO. He was killed in January of 1945 when flak set this aircraft on fire and he baled out at too low an altitude.

The kit is the Academy razorback. The Tamiya kit is better engineered and a delight to build, but the unit price is double that of the Academy version. As I’ve said before, if you’re going to build only one P-47, use the Tamiya. If you intend to put together a lineup to show off nose art, the Academy kit is more than adequate.

The biggest problem I had, as you can see from the photos, was the canopy. A bit too much glue to seal it to the fuselage, which caused some minor frosting around the bottom. I have since invested in a bottle of Pledge Floorcare acrylic clear finish, which will hopefully prevent this sort of issue in the future.

For the blue stripes, I used Xtracolour Oxford Blue (since I had that color loaded into the brush for the recent Bae Hawk T2). The metal finish is Alclad White Aluminum. I’m all out of any sort of wire, so the antenna line from mast to tail will need to be added at a later date.

This is completed aircraft #472 (5 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 2 vehicles for the year 2017), finished in April of 2017.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Painting (DC-3, P-47s, Hurricane, Barracuda)

I swear that late spring of 2017 is going to become known for associating harsh weather with airbrushing sessions. Today, the northwest had another series of fairly severe squalls going through, pelting us with heavy rain and the occasional hailstorm. Normally, the rain is light but steady, but this spring we’ve gotten a lot of the heavier stuff.

But, like the post office, “neither rain nor sleet” etc when it comes to airbrushing. I’ve got some serious momentum going, and do not want to fall back into last year’s indolent ways.

The first color through was Insignia Red. This went onto the wingtips and tail of a DC-3 (the future “Arctic Rose”) and the cowl flaps of a P-47. This particular cowl is a colorful piece all by itself, with Yellow, Olive Drab, White and Red all required.

Next came some Olive Drab, which found its way onto an antiglare strip for a P-47 and the upper surfaces of yet another P-47. On the few aircraft that I do multiples of, they tend to be built in clusters. In the near future another small group of Thunderbolts will find their way through, along with another short series of Hurricanes and even Me-163s.

I used an Eduard masking set for camo on the Yugoslavian Hurricane. Last time the Middle Stone coat went down, and this time featured the Dark Earth camo. This concludes the fuselage painting for this one. Next comes a Sky spinner and the Aluminum landing gear. In fact, I have about 6 different kits that require landing gear painting, so next session will heavily feature Alclad paint.

Finally, the EADS Barracuda drone needed its wheel bays and doors painted in a Dark Grey. I just used a generic USAF grey for this one. I’m so used to modern aircraft having white gear and bays that it is a good thing I checked the instruction sheet on this one. I also needed to check some seam work so I used the grey as a faux primer. A bit more work to be done but not as serious as I had expected. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Airfix 4k lb bomb and Airfix bomb trolley

Today we get a twofer in terms of completions. First comes the RAF 8000 lb bomb, and second comes the RAF transport carriage that hauls the bomb to the aircraft (generally, a Lancaster).

Both of these items come from the Airfix RAF Bomber Re-supply set. Neither were a construction challenge, having so few pieces, and both were painted RAF Dark Green. Well, except for the tires, for which I used Modelmaster Euro 1 Grey. Decals were a marginal struggle, with the kit markings seemingly uninterested in remaining stuck to the paint. Patience and a bit of Supersol/set eventually took care of the situation. With all of the Hitler insults that the crews chalked onto these bombs, I thought the one used on the decal sheet was unnecessarily innocuous. Bah!

A couple of simple and pleasing additions to the completed model display.

This is completed ordnance #7 and vehicle #2 (4 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 2 vehicles for the year
2017), finished in April of 2017.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Painting progress (P-47s, Hurricane)

Another weekend painting session, highlighted by lots of detail work on P-47s and an upper surface coat on a Hurricane.

For the rattlesnake P-47, each wing and tail tip has a black and yellow stripe. In addition, the cowl is also black and yellow. I had already painted and masked the Insignia Yellow portions, so now I hit it with Gloss Black. There were some thinning issues (too thin) which caused a weird bubble-like surface on two of the tips. These were wiped off and reshot. Whether this will require more intervention, such as a complete sandoff and respray, will have to wait until the paint cures and I can see what the surface looks like.

Two other P-47s, “Pride of Lodi” and “Passionate Patsy”, require white tails. One needed its cowl flaps painted as well. In addition, I picked up some bits from the Barracuda that needed white paint. Mostly sensors.

The upper surfaces of the Yugoslavian Hurricane got a coat of Middle Stone. It looked pretty smooth, so if it cures properly I’ll do the camo masking in preparation for the Dark Earth.

Three small pieces (two vehicles and one ordnance) needed a flat sealer top coat.

Except for the issues with the Black, it was a pretty successful paint session, and will progress a number of projects down the line.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Much masking (P-47s, Hurricane, DC-3)

Time to catch up on some recent construction here on the 72 Land production line.

Actually, most of the work was masking, but the one bit of extended construction came with the recent Avis kit of the EADS Barracuda, a German drone/UAV. I’m gathering together quite a little sub-collection of these unmanned aircraft, including the RQ-1, RQ-4, and RQ-9. I also have an unfinished Attack resin kit of the RQ-7. They have their attractions (no canopy masking)! I haven’t quite yet screwed up the courage to face the line of Unicraft drones; though they have a lot of them, engineering and molding does leave a lot to be desired. I think it is just a case of time being too precious to spend it rassling with a Unicraft resin.

Being a short-run kit, the Barracuda has had its building challenges. Detail is a little soft, fit is in some cases approximate, and I think they could have figured out a better way to mold the nose gear bay, which comes in five pieces. They really should have just used the same method that they molded the main gear bays, which is one piece each. The biggest trouble I’ve had so far is connecting the engine exhaust to the rear fuselage; I’ve gotten some rather sloppy putty started on the gap, but there is much sanding in my future I suspect.

Beyond this, most of what I’ve been doing seems to be masking. I had a small burst of activity in my long-term P-47 project (one completed bubbletop and three in-process razorbacks). One required wingtip/tail masking, two needed some complex cowl masking, and all three needed Eduard canopy masking sets applied. While the razorback canopy is fairly angular and thus open to freehand masking, I really do appreciate these Eduard sets. They just speed the process up wonderfully.

I also masked the lower surfaces of the Yugoslavian Hurricane in preparation of an upper surface coat of Middle Stone.

Beyond this, there was a bit of decal work needed on some airfield equipment. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Painting (P-47s galore)

Lately I seem to have been working my airbrush sessions while hail and downpours were going on beyond the garage door. But this session was actually beautiful, with clear blue skies and a nice 62 degrees going on. Please don’t pass this information on to anyone else; we want the rest of the country to assume that all it does in the Northwest is rain.

This round of airbrushing had something of a green theme. Besides putting a matte sealer coat on three almost-finished models, almost all of the other paints I used were shades of green. First of all, there was Zinc Chromate Green for the interior and gear bays for a couple of P-47 razorbacks. Then there was a repair coat of RAF Dark Green to fix up some sanding work that I did on a 4000 lb bomb from the Airfix RAF Bomber resupply set. Finally, there was Olive Drab for a pair of support vehicles (one Ford tractor, one fuel tank cart) from an old Hasegawa airfield set.

These little airfield vehicle kits are good for the mojo: easy to assemble and quick to finish. Nothing that would draw me away from my primary interest, aircraft, for very long, but fun to make a change of approach.

The one exception to the green theme was that I put some Insignia Yellow on the cowling and wingtips of an upcoming P-47 (whose markings will come from the recently acquired DK decal sheet). 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 7)

Here are the last set of shots from the 2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. The IPMS-Seattle website can be found here:

My Photobucket album of the show can be found here:

First, the sole Eurofighter at the show (and not even a Brit)

Special Hobby Ro-57

AModel Ilyushin Il-40 Brawny

MPM Fokker G-1

Fine Molds Y-wing fighter

Two extra large 1:72 scale submarines

And because the earth will likely crack if I don't include at least one, Bf-109G

I hope you've enjoyed the coverage of the 1:72 models at the 2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. We will return to our regular program of construction, paint, and finished models shortly. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Airfix Hawker Hurricane ragwing

Yet another ragwing Hurricane crosses the finish line. Having built a number of them, I don’t have much to add in terms of construction. I can whip them out pretty quickly now.

The markings, for a Hawker Aircraft demo and testbed aircraft, came from Iliad 72-013: Pre-war Hurricanes. According to the instructions, the plane was originally assigned to 56 Squadron RAF in 1938 but then sent back to Hawker. From there it was fitted with various mods and props and was used for flight testing. There are only 2 decals for the scheme, so I would have to say they performed exactly as expected.

This is completed aircraft #471 (4 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2017), finished in April of 2017.

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 6)

Another selection of 1:72 models at the show that caught my eye. 

Special Hobby Meteor 4 in Egyptian markings

AGM-68 Cruise missile

Hasegawa F-16 in Italian AF anniversary markings

Italeri Fiat BR-20

Azur Nardi FN-305

Will Bros Northrop Gamma (Texaco)

Mercury capsule

After tomorrow's completion recap, I have one more selection of models to put up. The final count of models on the table turned out to be 1358 including collections and the display only areas. I knew the tables seemed crowded, but I wasn't expecting that. I wonder how many non-national shows in the US can draw that many models for a one-day show.