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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Recent acquisitions (Bellanca CH-300, AS-3, Re-2000, Autoblinda AB-43, and Br-88)

I’ve added the DoraWings Miles Mew Gull to the beginning of the construction queue. I had quite a job getting ahold of this kit. Hannants decided not to bring any in at first (though they did bring in the Proctor and military Gull) and Sprue Bros doesn’t seem terribly interested in 1:72 kits that aren’t from one of the big producers. To the rescue came Scott from RebelAlpha, a longtime ebay seller. So eventually I got one. I wonder how the return of Loic (former GreatModels and recent purchaser of the Roll Models inventory) will affect the flow of obscure 1:72 kits to the US market.

I have also moved the elderly Hasegawa Grumman F11F Tiger into the queue. I have completed a number of Blue Angel aircraft, but haven’t worked on one for quite a while. It was time to pick up the threads of this project. I know I still have the F-4, A-4, and F-18 to go. Still undecided on the Anigrand early Cutlass, though I suspect I’ll do it eventually.

Other recent acquisitions that will be joining the construction queue include the Autoblinda AB-43 recon vehicle and the Raduga AS-3 Kangaroo (which is huge; the fuselage is nearly 8" long). Blame the NATO random name generator for the sobriquet "Kangaroo". There are only so many words that begin with K and Kipper was already taken. The AZ Martin MB-5 and Special Hobby C-41 in Evergreen Air markings are in the mix somewhere as well.

I also picked up the Special Hobby FH-1 (display teams boxing) and the Special Hobby Br-88 as part of my ongoing Italian AF project. Not sure whether it, the Ba-65, the Re-2000, or the Ro-37 will be the next Italian type to get the treatment.

A few more recent acquisitions include the Dora Wings Bellanca 300. I believe I will do the 1930 American Legion aircraft, if only to be different. My ongoing Italian project got the Re-2000. Another ongoing effort, wheeled recon vehicles, continues with the AB-43 from Italeri. 

All in all, a proper recent haul. Who says the stash shouldn't be padded, even at this late date? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Two announcements

First of all, in my capacity as benevolent dictator of 72 Land, I would like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you will find a few minutes between the turkey and the football to stick some plastic together. 

Second, I would like to announce the arrival of Sue and my first grandchild, Danica Susan Callahan. The birth came via C section at roughly 2.55am last night. 7 pounds, 2 ounces, 21" long. My son, his wife Becca, and the baby are doing well, though all three have gone through some strain in the last 24 hours, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I also received a few (plastic) acquisitions of my own this afternoon; a box from Hannants that we picked up on the way back from the hospital. I'll recap those purchases later this week. 

But first, a couple of photos of Danica is all her between-slumbers glory. She bears a striking (and rather disturbing) similarity to my late uncle Max. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

#500: Meng Manshu Ki-98

So it has all come to this. The following is the 500th completed model in my extensive collection of world aircraft in 1:72 scale. The type is rather fitting, given that it fits into one of my pet sub-collections.

It is the Meng Manshu Ki-98. This is something of a Hikoki 1946 type, having never actually flown during WW2. But that, and the wider line of “what-if” models, is one of the things I enjoy doing on occasion. Never one to be doctrinaire when it comes to model subjects – as long as it is in 1:72 scale – I like giving 3D form to one of the many dead-end lines of aviation development. And the Ki-98 qualifies.

It was intended as a ground attack aircraft, as signified by those rather large cannons extending from the nose, though it ended its development as a high-altitude fighter. The prototype was not completed at the time of Japan’s surrender, though many of the pieces were together at one point.

Meng hasn’t done a huge amount of aircraft in 1:72, though they do seem to have a soft spot for types that were developed but never flew. The great news is that the kit itself is excellent, with good fit and buildability. Those landing gear are a bit fragile, but with care it can be assembled into a very nice model. All paints are Xtracolour, except for the NMF  underside, which is Alclad. 

Alas, I can’t say the same about the decals. It was as if they didn’t have sufficient adhesive; the roundels for the twin booms didn’t even conform to the curve and stood up from the painted surface. I’ve never had this problem with Meng decals, and this may have been a one-off problem. So, to the rescue, I pulled out an old Aeromaster packet of suicide aircraft that was produced a couple of decades ago. I was able to match the size of roundels, but had to put some different squadron markings onto the model. My rationale was that this is a speculative type in any case, and it would likely have been spread around to different squadrons had it reached operational service.

So I am glad that the 500th model turned out well enough. It is a major milestone in my little sector of the hobby. Not unlike when the blog turned over 100k page views recently. At 62, I doubt I have another 500 in me, but will continue to churn them out until I no longer can. It is pretty obvious that my building standards are relatively modest, so it’s not like my skills are going to deteriorate much further in the coming years! And it hasn't escaped my notice that the two best models in recent history were both from Meng (this Ki-98 and the F-102).

This is completed aircraft #500 (17 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in November of 2018.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Paint session (T-45, #500)

Another (very short) paint session today. I’ve been laboring with a cold this week and really haven’t felt much like doing model work. Great quantities of snot will wreak havoc with your modelling mojo!

The main event was to get the Red outer wing panels painted on the T-45. I had neglected this work until after I had placed a few decals on the fuselage, and was terrified that I was going to destroy the work done so far with an accidental touch of masking tape to the applied markings. Luckily that did not happen and all seems to have gone according to plan.

The other work was to get a matte topcoat on #500, which will get its completion writeup in the next day or two.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Avis American Gyro AG-4 Crusader

When the Avis kit of the AmGyro AG-4 Crusader was first announced, I knew I would have to acquire one. It is a unique shape in the aviation world. An oblong fuselage, fixed undercarriage spats, twin tail booms, and a metallic copper paint job. What is not to like?

I was aware that the Avis kit would be a tricky one to construct if only because of its short run nature. That did indeed turn out to be the case. Most of the seams required at least some putty to fair them in. This, admittedly, is not my best trick, especially when a metal paint job is to be applied. There are a number of flaws, some of which I didn’t even notice until I was taking the photos for this completion summary. Some are due to chronic impatience, but some are just in the nature of a short-run plastic kit.

One of the biggest things you have to be careful of is the masking for the cockpit and passenger windows. That Avis provides masks is great, as I suspect a manufacturer like Eduard would not consider this subject worth the investment. Peewit, maybe, but they hadn’t announced one either. The trouble is that they are basically white label stickers that are die cut. They don’t conform at all well to the curves of the fuselage side (slitting the sticker where they wrinkle and then re-pressing the mask is the key here). Even worse, they are the very devil to get off the model once you have finished the paintwork, and they leave quite a bit of adhesive goo behind. My usual go-to process in this case is to apply some WD40 (a silicon de-greaser of all things) via a cotton bud and get the gunk off in that way. It usually works, and adds a nice shine to the glass while it is at it. But this one required some pretty vigorous scrubbing to get the adhesive off.

When I took the photos, the copper paint job acted as a total light sink and the thing looks rather darker than it really is. Plus I’m having some issues with the aperture setting on my Nikon D40, so even with the light tent the pictures aren’t that great. The learning curve continues; I’ll get it right one of these days. It looks fine if you are a couple of hundred yards away looking at it through misaligned binoculars.

This is completed aircraft #499 (16 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in November of 2018. You’ll note that there is only one more model to go (which is already pretty much done) to hit a historic milestone in terms of my model production. Stay tuned to see which type it ends up being.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Paint session (tires, Otter, Mc-202, Fiat CR-25)

Another small and quick paint session. Only 3 paint colors this time.

First was the interior of the Otter from IBG, painted Middle Bronze Green. I’ve already added a couple more parts to the model as construction continues.

Two sets of tires were sprayed after masking the center hub. These were for the T-45 and the Ki-98. I have also painted the Dark Grey of the Trent Meteor wheels and will see if I can find an appropriately-sized mask to paint the wheel hubs.

Cockpits were sprayed for the Fiat CR-25 and the Macchi C-202. I used RAF Grey-green, which to my eye is a pretty close match to the light grey-green that the Italians used. Good enough for a closed cockpit, certainly.

To my horror, I found that I had forgotten to paint the outer wing panels Insignia Red on the T-45, despite the fact that I’ve already placed some of the decals on the fuselage. Luckily I was able to mask it off without having to get tape anywhere near the decals; it’s instant death for tape to interact with decals in place. The photo below shows it all masked up and ready for the next paint day, which is the only photo I have from the session because the other models have already moved on to further construction work.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Matchbox Noorduyn Norseman - Ear Falls Airway

OK, we’re going to make this one quick. This model has been something of a hangar queen, though not quite exiled to the Shelf of Shame, for some time now. A complex paint job and all those fiddly struts, most of which broke at one time or another, caused endless delays. Even worse, when I did decide to finish it up and apply decals, they split into pieces when applied to the model.

The jigsaw puzzle that was the Norseman’s Ear Falls markings job was pretty bad. It’s not like it is a military aircraft, with just roundels and a few code letters that you could source elsewhere. {As an aside, when I built the previous Norseman a few years back and put it in fictional British Army markings, I really didn’t have much problem at all with construction or decals}. But the Leading Edge decal set (which usually perform much better than this) was problematic. And of course those floats and struts were endless sources of misalignment and chaos.

The trim around the engine cowling must have been in 20 pieces by the time I gave it up. Even bits of the side stripe disappeared sometime between decalling and photography. And the alignment of the struts – well, let’s just say we’re declaring victory and moving on.

This is completed aircraft #498 (15 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Paint session (Ki-98, Trent Meteor)

Another short paint session in order to move some of the projects along. The AG-4 got a sealer coat, so it is ready for its completion writeup once the window masks are removed.

The Ki-98 has been through more masking tape than any recent model I can recall. But this session consisted of the final color to be put on the main airframe: Alclad Aluminum on the lower surfaces. I have been having some more problems with bad Alclad batches lately. Mostly it is my own fault. Once I can tell the bottle is from one of the bad batches, I should just throw it away. But I always think I can find a solution to the problem down the line and just move the bad bottle out of the way. Then, of course, I forget it ever was a bad bottle, and the cycle starts again. This time I just chucked it once it didn’t work. There are other bottles like this lurking in my paint stash. I finally found one that covered properly and finished the painting. Next comes landing gear, doors, prop, and decals.

The Trent Meteor was masked up for its camo and a coat of Ocean Grey applied. Things were a bit rough all round, but I decided to just buff it up with a paper towel and call it good. The fuselage painting is now complete, so next comes addition of landing gear and assembling the props. As longtime readers now, I sooooo love superglue, and the prop hubs for this kit have been produced in resin, though the blades themselves are in plastic. Stand by for large doses of obscene language. The Ocean Grey and Dark Green don't provide much of a color contrast.  

I also gave the Blue Angels F11F a coat of gray for its cockpit.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka

Ever since Hasegawa included an Ohka suicide bomb in one of their (Rita?) bomber kits, I’ve thought that it would be interesting to have one of them in the collection. But since I already had that kit – without Ohka – I figured I would wait until something else came along. And it finally did. Brengun, who seem to specialize in small models, produced an Ohka a year or so ago, along with a masking set. So I took the plunge.

The kit isn’t complicated, but the fit could be better (assuming it wasn’t just my usual ham-fistedness at work). An area that needs special attention is the wing to fuselage seam. I constructed my own display structure since I didn’t want to bother with the kit wooden framework, which was produced in resin. Not sure why; there certainly wasn’t any shape there that couldn’t have been handled as well in plastic. But I will avoid superglue usage if I have any other alternative. My fingers have spent enough time joined together.

Decals are from the kit. They depict a suicide bomber from the Okinawa campaign in 1945. Quite a statement on just how willing the Japanese were willing to die to the last man in this war.

This is completed aircraft #497 (14 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Raduga AS-1 Kennel and transport cart

Today’s completion is actually two models which were done at the same time: the Raduga AS-1 Kennel missile and its associated transport cart, both by AModel.

The Kennel is an anti-shipping missile which was used by the Tu-4 and Tu-16. It apparently was in Soviet service from roughly 1955 to 1969.

This is one of AModel’s earlier efforts and it shows. Fit is somewhat miserable, and required a large amount of putty to take care of gaps and seams. I was concerned about trying to put a NMF over all of that when I noticed that one of the options was for a red-painted missile. I also found some photos of this example on Google. Painting a solid color, even red, over lots of repair work definitely beats trying to spray Alclad over it all. A couple of numbers from an Xtradecal set of RAF letters/numbers completed the work.

Another example of the AModel line of large missile ordnance. The next will likely be the AS-3 Kangaroo.

This is completed ordnance #11 and completed vehicle #19 (13 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Fujimi/Testors Junkers Ju-87G

Today’s completion is another model that just seemed to be born under a lucky star. Everything went together as expected, there were no stupid impatience gaffes, and painting was a breeze. It helps when the original kit is extremely well-done. This is the Fujimi Ju-87G Stuka, though I believe it was in a Testors boxing.

I’ve had this kit for ages, probably going back to the 90s. I had already completed another Stuka, done in desert markings with the large snake running down the side of the fuselage. That was, I believe, a B. The G, subject of today’s completion, is distinguished mostly by the two underwing Bordkanone 3.7mm cannon pods. About the only one I haven’t done yet is the A, which MPM did a few years back. Maybe it is in my near future?

The Fujimi kit is a pleasure to build. I used an Eduard masking set, thereby avoiding the job of cutting each of the many window panels individually. Proud to be a lazy sob when it comes to cutting masks. I seem to have misplaced my WD-40, which does a fine job of removing the residue left behind from masks and gives the canopy a nice shine. Once it turns up, I'll give this Ju-87 the treatment. 

The markings are nothing special on this particular aircraft. The instruction sheet is no help, as it gives no information (besides a type history). Standard mid-war camo. This type’s primary job was tank-hunting rather than dive-bombing, and by all accounts it handled the new responsibilities well.

It is nice to have a model come together well, and I’m pretty happy with this one.

This is completed aircraft #496 (13 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in October of 2018.