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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

ICM Sdkfz 222

My 1:72 vehicle collection continues to grow. This is the 20th in the series, though some of those are transport carts. I seem to have developed something of a love for recon vehicles. I’ve completed a Daimler armored car, the M1117, the Stryker, and this Sdkfz 222, and have started work on the IBG Otter. And there are still quite a few more to do. Not sure why I gravitate to wheeled vehicles rather than the ones with tracks. But transport and recon seem to be my niche at present.

This is the ICM kit. It is really well detailed, though perhaps a bit overly complex as well. Still, if you want more than 10 parts to your 1:72 armored vehicles, this is what you get nowadays. Some impatience is evident on this model, but I think I was able to compensate well enough. I also tried some dark brown acrylic wash on the lower bits in order to bring out the detail and cut the impression of one gigantic brown model. Whether I did enough is open to interpretation. It is an ongoing bit of work.

There are two bits of photoetch: one for the fuselage body and one for the mesh that encloses the gun compartment. Never my favorite medium, but I managed to get through it without a complete breakdown.

There really aren’t any hidden pitfalls on this model other than the complexity. With patience and attention – not always in my arsenal at least – this will come out well.

Now a word about the pictures. These are indeed taken in the new photo tent, and you can see that the light coverage and exposure are better. I did not, however, use the tripod and the aperture setting on my D40. So there are still some depth of field issues. I needed to get some completions documented, and I decided to take better in lieu of best. It too is an ongoing experiment, so once I get the next few postings done I plan to take some time and really see what can be done. 

This is completed vehicle #20 (12 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Recent acquisition: Photo tent

I’ve been rather dissatisfied with the photos, both the completed glamour shots and the in-progress construction pics, for a while now. Partially due to laziness on my part, the depth of field just doesn’t keep enough of the model in focus and the background can be problematic as well. So I decided to invest in a photo tent.

The main advantage of the tent is that you can control the amount of light – and the direction of that light – that comes onto the model at time of shooting. There are other ways to get there, such as floods or a lens-mounted ringlight, but I hadn’t retained any of my gear from my hobbyist years as a photog. I thought that the tent would be a good compromise of ease and functionality.

A quick check of Amazon showed a range of options, and I chose the one I thought maximized value and minimized cost. The final damage was about $50.

The first photo below shows basically what comes in the box. Tent, background cloth, three small floods, and some bits for a tripod. The tent will be set up in our living room, since the new cat’s occupation of the hobby room means that there is no existing real estate available there.

The second shows the tent folded up. 

The third photo shows the tent as set up, surrounded by the floods. The white background cloth has not yet been installed. It wasn’t too difficult to do; most is simply intuitive. That’s a good thing, because the included instructions aren’t much help. They do advertise their customer service number, so I suppose they expect you to overcome any problems that way. The main issue: the card table I bought isn't big enough! Not much the vendor can do about that, though...

Tomorrow will be the big test, when I try some completion shots on a little German recon vehicle I’ve recently finished. Then, the Ju-87G and the Raduga AS-1 Kennel and transport cart. Finally I can get some of the completions documented.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Paint session (AG-4, F-15C, Trent Meteor)

As part of the effort to push smaller blocks of work through the painting cycle more often, I was out today getting just a few projects moving.

First came the lower surfaces of the Trent Meteor in Trainer Yellow. Once that cures I can mask the lower surfaces off and paint the top RAF Dark Green.

Next came an overall coat of light gray onto the F-15C. It turns out that the proper colors (Light and Dark Ghost Gray) are not part of the Xtracolor range as such. So I tried to get an eyeball match to the light grey, which turned out to be Compass Gray. The dark splotches on the upper surface will be done in Neutral Gray. As it happens, Neutral Gray is the same FS number as Dark Ghost Gray, so no harm no foul there.

Finally, I shot an overall coat of Alclad Copper onto the AG-4 Crusader. Some troubles here. The paint actually splattered a bit and the coverage was spotty. Alclad doesn’t require any thinning, and are basically ready to go out of the bottle once you shake them up with a BB inside the container. Not sure what happened here, but it is likely I’ll need to buff things down a bit and then reshoot with a surface coat. Not a disaster, but a little surprising. You can probably see the uneven finish in the photo below. 

While the paint is curing on these models, I’ll mask up the wing stripes on the Ki-98 and get the cockpit together on the Dora Wings civil Mew Gull. Still working on setting up and refining the photo tent as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Paint session (T-45, F-15C, AG-4, Ki-98)

Since I wanted to reduce the size of the painting session (ie, the number of colors used, and therefore the number of times the airbrush must be cleaned and reloaded) I decided to do a small session this afternoon. We are back to consistent rain here in the great Northwest, and it provided a nice soothing backdrop just outside the garage. Luckily I was inside the garage.

First was the matte top coat for two models that are now crossing the finish line: the Raduga AS-1 Kennel missile and the MXY7 Ohka from Brengun. The missile, like many of the early AModel kits, was a bit of personal combat most of the way through, but the Ohka behaved itself generally. Writeups coming soon.

The F-15C and the T-45 both needed their wheel wells painted White. In addition, the Goshawk gets a (mostly) overall coat of White. The nose is Black, in keeping with the decals I’ve chosen. Lots of landing gear got the White treatment as well.

The Avis AG-4 Crusader got a repair coat of Black to get it ready for the Alclad Copper. I think I will still buff it down a bit more; NMFs are a tricky thing to pull off, even with an odd color like copper. 

Finally, the Meng Ki-98 had the Yellow leading edges masked off and IJAAF Green applied to the upper surfaces. Lots more detail painting to come before this one is ready for decals. I already painted the landing gear the last time I had Alclad Aluminum in the airbrush.

I had planned to start using the new photo tent for this sort of photo, but I decided that there just was no remaining space in the hobby room, especially since the new cat and her toys are spending most of the time in there. So I ordered a card table from Amazon, which is due to arrive on Friday (10-26-2018). It will take some time to learn the intricacies of using this new device, but I'll take some photos as soon as I get it set up. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Paint session (T-45, AG-4, Ohka, AS-1, Ki-98)

When the paint queue backs up here at the 72Land aircraft production facility, it backs up for real. I had something like 8 or 10 projects needing some form of paint in order to progress. That is intimidating enough to cause me to hold off until I had some lengthy time to get it all done. Of course that “lengthy time” never seems to materialize, so I finally had to force myself out to the garage, with the proviso that if I didn’t finish everything it was no big deal.

As it happens, I did get everything done. Once you get started, it is easier just to put your head down and bull your way to the finish line. As you can see from the photo below, the work actually had to be spread out over two trays.

A matte coat went on to three models: Ju-87G, Sdkfz 222, and the AS-1 Kennel transport cart.

Black went on to the nose of a T-45 Goshawk (required by the decal scheme I’ve chosen). I also put a primer coat on the AG-4 Crusader. Once it cures I’ll be able to see if more buffing is required. It will be getting an Alclad Copper top coat, something I’ve never had occasion to paint before.

The Brengun Ohka got an overall coat of IJN Grey. I’ll need to assemble the little support framework that it will sit on. Alas, Brengun chose to mold that in resin rather than plastic.

The Raduga AS-1 Kennel missile with the orange-peel surface had gotten buffed down as much as I was able – with all the wing fences that is a bit of a challenge. Then I reshot it with a surface  coat of Xtracolour Post Office Red. It looked ok, but will require a closer inspection.

I painted the leading edges of the Ki-98 Yellow. There were a number of things that needed Alclad Aluminum paint: Ki-98 landing gear, AG-4 props, Norseman prop, and wheel wells of the Trent Meteor.

Quite a ton of painting work, but I’m glad that the big job is done. Hopefully I can manage the workflow a bit better to make for smaller loads.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Construction progress on the DH-91

As I prepare for the next painting session, I thought I would show the state of the Valom DH-91 airliner. All of the major construction is complete. However, there is a lot of PSR in this model’s future. Issues range from a bit of part slippage while under pressure to let the glue cure, and simple lack of good parts fit. Nothing that is unusual for a Valom kit, but it will need some attention before I get this one painted – especially given the fact that this will be sporting a NMF.

The Valom B-45 and Harrow are both in the short finals queue. As will the Twin Pioneer when it is released. Valom does have a good sense for kitting subjects that I would like to build!

As I start to clear out some space as models get finished, I’ve designated a few kits as joining the construction queue. There have also been some new acquisitions, which I’ll get to in a few days. I’ve also bought a photo tent to try and improve the completion pictures. Once I get it unpacked and set up I’ll do a post on it.

And my wife goes in for foot surgery on 10-22, so new material might be a little sparse in the next week. Sometimes a thing like that actually gets me to spend some time on hobbies (since I’ve basically cleared out as much time as possible to deal with the surgery and the fact that Sue can’t get out of bed for a week). We’ll see how it all develops. It isn’t me for a change going under the knife, so there is that novelty at least. 

You can definitely see some of the gaps to be dealt with, mostly on the underside of the aircraft. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Airfix Short Skyvan

 I’ll warn you right now, this is not one of the better models I’ve made. Far from it. It is from an ancient kit, and I’ve probably offended some portion of the internet by even daring to build the thing rather than keep it in its rather pristine box. It was covered with rivets (right up there with raised panel lines for my person bete noir) and the fit was not great. The decals were unusable, though there are aftermarket alternatives. The overall white paint went on thick and lumpy, the window masking was partially ineffective, glue marks crept into the windows, and I think I made a mistake on the paintwork (though the decal sheet didn’t show the panel as being what I would have expected it to be). I’ll leave that to your discovery. I’m not going to reveal all the secrets of my disasters. It also is one of the models that suffers from the haste and impatience that I wrote about a few posts ago.

It is the Airfix Short Skyvan. Originally, I pulled it out of the stash to accompany the Mikro-Mir Miles Aerovan on the production line. I thought they would make an interesting comparison, but the other kit has had its own share of fit and putty issues and has lingered on the bench.

There was a tremendous amount of prep, mostly sanding to get rid of all those rivets. Given how much work it was, I rather wish it had come out better in the end. But the major distinguishing feature, which I can’t hide even with creative photography (translation: hide the worst of the errors) is the canopy framing. I spent some extra time with toothpicks and lacquer thinner, with a final shiny coat of WD-40, but it didn’t improve things much.

I do appreciate the Two-Six decal sheet for Gulf Air. One wouldn’t expect a nearly 50 year old kit to have such an option. Plus there was a masking set that I got via Hannants, apparently done by a Brit IPMS group. I don’t blame them for my own incompetence in preventing the paint from seeping under the edges though.

“It is what it is” is a common description of some of my models lately, and I’m afraid the streak hasn’t come to an end yet. Thankfully, I’ve been making an effort to slow down and let things develop rather than rushing them to an inadequate conclusion, and I think that will begin to show in the finished product – eventually.

This is completed aircraft #495 (12 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 4 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Construction progress (DH-91, Aerovan, DH-88, F-15C)

Since the post from a few days back described items that were in the pre-paint stage, here are a few that are still working their way through the construction queue.

I am making slow progress on the DH-91, though I mentioned last posting that I was having trouble getting the individual panes into the fuselage sides without contaminating them with glue. That is always a problem for me. I think I will get one of the Big Planes CRF-200s, which takes a whole different approach to glass. Basically there is a hole in the fuselage where the entire strip of windows is placed – not individually. The key there will be having a masking medium for the oddly-shaped windows. I finally did get the fuselage halves together, so next will come getting the wings and tail attached.

The Mikro-Mir Miles Aerovan also works its way slowly through the queue. The fit has been rather problematic. Not unexpected on a short-run kit – it doesn’t say Tamiya on the box, so it is not like I didn’t expect issues. But there will be a fair amount of putty in the seams when I get the major construction done.

The AZ DH-88 Comet is all together and has its canopy masked, but there are still some putty spots that need a bit of PSR.

I’ve found a new paint scheme for the Raduga AS-1 Kennel missile. It requires nose and tail to be painted Yellow. Plus I don’t have to put a NMF on a surface that has seen more than its share of puttying and sanding.

Just to show that not everything I do comes from the 30s, there is an F-15C on the way, which will use the lavish Oregon ANG markings from a year or two back. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Paint session (Skyvan, Ju-87G, Sdkfz 222, Ki-98)

I finally dragged myself down to the garage for an extended paint session. What with the conversion to the keto diet, house improvements, my wife’s preparation for foot surgery, and the introduction of yet another new pet to our household (along with some lingering lack-of-energy issues) this has been a difficult fall model season to get started.

Everything that was in the previous blog post got its paint on tonight. The Skyvan, with a topcoat of semi-gloss, moves into the completed column as soon as the paint cures and I can get the cockpit masking off.

The Ju-87G got its RLM71, the Ear Falls Norseman its International Orange, the Sdfkz its DAK Yellow, and the Ki-98 and Ohka got the cockpits painted.

The shot below definitely shows a full tray of work (no less than 6 colors). It will be a relief to make some progress on these kits, which have been stalled for much of the late summer. Shortly I’ll be doing a completion writeup on the Skyvan as well.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Paint prep (Skyvan, Ju-87G, AS-1, Sdkfz 222)

After my public whine session last time, I thought I would recap the pre-paint work that has gone on prior to the next paint session. It has taken a long time to get this session together. 

The Short Skyvan is pretty much finished and now awaits a matte top coat. This is a Two-Six set that covers Gulf Air. I do wonder how difficult it will be to remove the paint masks for this one. We'll see. 

The Ju-87G has been all masked up and is ready for the RLM71 camo coat.

For the Noorduyn Norseman on floats, I’ve finally gotten the leading edges and engine masked for the Intl Orange paint. This has become a big of a hangar queen, so it will be nice to progress it down the line.

The Sdfkz 222 light recon vehicle is now all together. Not sure I like how the mesh lid turned out, but that may just be down to the fact that I don’t own any photoetch bending equipment and had to do it by hand. I so rarely use PE and never anything that requires a lot of bending, so it just isn’t cost effective to have that sort of tool on hand.

And of course the two IJN fighters will be getting their cockpit color.