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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Italeri Douglas DC-3 (Worldwide Airways Arctic Rose)

Sometimes when you get a model project completed, you look back in wonder about how all the elements just came together for a perfect modelling experience. This is not one of those stories, but we’ll have one along in a few days concerning the F-102. But this is a tale of woe and disasters, and concerns what is normally a fairly well-tamed kit, the Italeri DC-3.

Many moons ago, I ran across a Whiskey Jack decal sheet for the DC-3 “Arctic Rose”. I thought it was a very attractive looking set of markings: a 1:72 airliner with a giant rose on the rudder. The owner of Whiskey Jack was, I believe, based in Vancouver BC and came down for an IPMS-Seattle meeting one Saturday. Why I didn’t buy the sheet on the spot I don’t know, but I was looking for it ever afterwards. Eventually it was reissued by Thunderbird Models, and I bought one via Hannants.

I’ve built the Italeri DC-3 multiple times, in both its military and civil incarnations. This particular kit had its landing gear disconnected from the sprue and broken into bits. Not much point in trying to glue them back together, so I decided to get a replacement set from SAC. Now, I rarely buy one of these white metal sets; I just don’t see the point, since they are direct-cast replacements of the kit parts. No model I’ve ever built has had a landing gear failure (except at a glue point) and it requires the use of superglue, which I am never fond of. But this was a clear case of necessary replacement, so it seemed like a good idea.

The model spent a long time in development hell. No less than 5 paint colors (Arctic Red, White, Black, and NMF for the wings, and of course the overall final semi-gloss coat) with occasionally complex masking in between. But I eventually got to the day when the paintwork was finished and I could start on the decals.

The decals are admirably thin, but that makes them very fragile. Any large marking (like the cheatlines and even the airline name on the fuselage) had to be cut into smaller bits. Keeping everything in line and in place was a major challenge.

I delayed putting on the landing gear until after the decal work. It can be said that if you leave a major operation til the last, THAT will be where you have your major screwup, after almost of the work is completed. That was certainly the case here.

The three part gear (I also used Quickboost wheels) just did not want to stick via superglue. I glued the main gear, left it to cure overnight, and when I picked it up, the gear actually fell out of its supposed anchoring holes. This happened multiple times with the different bits. I stuck myself together (still the only place I can get superglue to work: my fingers). Since I was covered with superglue I managed to get a big stain on the lower wing, which is why there are no underside photos of this model. By some mercy, I eventually got them to stay in place, but I think they would have done as well if I had secured them with spittle as with superglue.

Some models you are happy were done well, and some you are happy are just done. This is one of the latter. But it does look interesting in line with the other DC-3s in the case.

This is completed aircraft #488 (5 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2018), finished in April of 2018.

A few days of neuropathy issues in my feet have meant a stall in progress, since when the pain is dramatic I can't make it downstairs to the paint room easily. But things seem to be improving now so hopefully I can get photos taken of the completions and a paint session scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Paint (Me-163B, Eurofighter, Hawk T1 and some cockpits)

The paint session seemed to go well enough, and gave me the opportunity to start clearing out the queue that has formed up in the last 2 weeks. I didn’t get quite everything taken care of, but I did make some significant progress.

A clear matt coat was shot over the Daimler armored car. It is now complete, and should show up in the completed column shortly.

The fuselage coat of RLM76 was put onto the Me-163B as captured by the RAF. When that cures I’ll add the RLM74/RLM75 mottling and it should be nearing completion as well. I do need to paint the detachable wheel/skid undercarriage and apply decals.

I got a coat of MRP Italian Eurofighter paint onto the – well, the Italian Eurofighter. I’m of two minds about the MRP paints. They do have a number of colors that are not available via my usual source, Xtracolour. However, they don’t cover very well. Let me rephrase that. They are mixed for airbrush use and are therefore extremely thin, and will pool and run at the slightest opportunity. One thing I do not like is that they are pretty matte, which just adds another step or takes the finish quality down a notch when compared with the gloss Xtracolours. Like any paint, they take some experimentation, and I haven’t been using them for that long, so I’ll reserve final judgment for a while yet.

I also took care of three cockpits: the Valom DH-91, the Mikro-Mir Miles Aerovan, and the Special Hobby Trent Meteor. Some detailing and I should be ready to seal up the fuselage on the latter two. The DH-91 is stalled until the Avalon masking set is released. I don’t think Eduard is going to do a set for this type. The Aerovan comes with a masking set, which while it adds to the cost of the kit, I think that is an excellent upgrade. Some canopies are not that difficult to mask, like the Bae Hawk T1, but others are much improved with a precut set of masks. 

Finally, I shot an overall coat of US Sandy Yellow (Xtracolour 812) on the M1117 armored security vehicle. I need to paint the tires, but they came in rubber, not styrene, so I’m not sure what pitfalls await me there.

In the next few days I hope to spotlight some recent completions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Meng F-102 ready for decals

This year’s early May heat wave seems to have finally exhausted itself earlier this week, though a new record for high was set at SeaTac Airport on Monday. But it is back in the mid to low 70s now, so I hope to get the delayed paint session done within the next couple of days. There are a large number of items backed up in the paint queue, and I need to progress a few of them. It has also been a generally busy time around here, including the announcement that my son and his wife are due to have a baby (our first grandchild) this December. Go Kenton and Becca!

But in the meantime, here is a shot of the Meng F-102 that is pretty close to being done. All paintwork is completed. Most of the gear doors are on. I’ve delayed putting the middle gear doors and the Master nose probe on due to the fact that they tend to be easily broken off during the decal process, which is what comes next. I'll be using a FunDekals set for the 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based in Langley VA. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

HobbyBoss Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (41 Sqdrn RAF special)

The string of Eurofighter special schemes continues. This particular one is from 41 Squadron RAF, noting the 100th anniversary of the group’s first flight. It flew in these markings in 2015. Xtradecal put the decal on X72233, an assembly of special markings (others include multiple Tornados, Chinook, and a Hawk T1, which I am also building at present).

You’ll have to excuse me – I’ve built so many Eurofighters by this point that I can’t definitively remember which kit this is. I believe it is the HobbyBoss version, chosen primarily because it was the only one I hadn’t built yet. There was nothing wrong with the building experience, but except for the upcoming Italian anniversary Typhoons, I think I will stick with the most-current Revell tooling. Excellent buildability and a decent price.

As I said, the building of the HobbyBoss kit went along without incident. There were seams around the intakes and some on the lower wing that needed attention, but any other problems were self inflicted. I’ve never had a problem with Xtradecals, so all went well there.

I’ve now completed 11 Eurofighters, all but 3 in anniversary markings. Next come some non-RAF examples, specifically Italian AF specials and Luftwaffe specials. I am somewhat surprised that I’ve seen so few of this type on model show tables. Maybe I’ve just been looking at the wrong show videos, but they are very thin on the ground, and when they do turn up, it tends to be in (IMO boring) standard squadron markings.

This is completed aircraft #487 (4 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2018), finished in April of 2018.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Paint (F-102, Hawk, Daimler, Komet, Eurofighter)

The paint session itself went well enough, and the three paint colors (Black, Middle Stone, and Dark Green) all went where they were supposed to and came out looking properly smooth. I don’t think any of them will be needing a polish and reshoot.

Once the paint cures, I will be attaching the landing gear to the F-102 and Hawk. Next, I’ll be painting the tires of the Daimler armored car. Both the Komet and Eurofighter will require additional masking, allowing me to move on to the next colors for both of them.

I’m still working on stripping the paint off of the Ffrom Delta so I can reshoot Alclad White Aluminum overall. This has been a painful process; the construction phase went very smoothly, so the disaster with the primer/Alclad coat was a major disappointment. Hopefully I can get all of the paint off and start over on this one.