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Saturday, December 7, 2019

MIA, for a while at least

This is the formal announcement that I’ll be missing in action for a few weeks. I am scheduled to have LVAD cardiac surgery (a left ventricular assistance device, ie heart pump) on Wed 12-11. I’ll actually be admitted on 12-9, so this will likely be my last entry for a while.

Inpatient stay will be a couple of weeks, then home rest for 3 months. The procedure will be done at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

Postings haven’t been frequent lately due to the gradual deterioration of heart function. But once I’m back my intention is to jump back on the hobby train and see what can be accomplished.

Many thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts for this difficult and complex operation. Keep em coming! And I’ll see you once I’m able.

This is kind of a lame photo to use, but believe me, most of them on the net are pretty gross. Not something you'd want to be surprised by when you thought you were going to a modelling website!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Hasegawa Morane-Saulnier MS-406C

I have actually finished a model recently, but it is liable to be the last completion prior to the LVAD cardiac surgery. It is by no means a great model, because it was snakebit from just about the first act of construction.

This is the Hasegawa MS-406. I found two Hasegawa kits and a Heller one in the box (I suspect I got this from a fellow IPMS-Seattle member). Over the course of the build, just about every dangly bit broke off. The antenna, the pitot, the tailwheel. One of the pugs got ahold of it during the painting process and swallowed one of those bits. The Hasegawa kit is well engineered and the fit is just fine.

Painting was a little tricky due to the number of colors in the camo. But at least it worked its way through the paint queue without major trauma. A bit of pebbling which required some careful buffing. The canopy masking took some time to remove; not sure if that was due to the number of months it was attached to the model, but that is certainly a possibility.

When I got to the decals, a Berna sheet, the adhesive was either too little or plain nonexistent. When I shot the matte topcoat, it actually blew some of the decals off and they floated to the floor. I was able to replace them with kit decals, which (thankfully) were pretty close in color to the Berna sheet. The markings are from GC 1/17, Escadrille 2 in the Vichy Air Force, based in Paris in 1940.

So, it’s…. finished. Not a great one, but the models get displayed on this blog however they turn out.

This is completed model #515 (13 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 3 vehicles this year), finished in September of 2019.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Paint session (MiG-29, Su-24, Eurofighter, Tornado)

I finally got a chance to do a bit of airbrushing this week. It didn’t eliminate the backup in the queue but it did make a dent at least. It being November, it was pretty damn cold out in the garage. My fingers were barely functional by the time I cleaned things up and headed upstairs.

Three colors cycled through the brush today. First came a matte coat on the latest finished model, a Hasegawa MS-406. There were some issues, but not with the paint. The Berna decals did not adhere very well to the model, and one fuselage roundel actually got blown off the side and floated to the floor! I’m in the process of replacing that – not particularly easy, given the many color variations of the French Blue that exists on various decal sheets. I don’t know if I got a bad Berna batch. The matte coat went on without issue.

Next came some Xtracolor X564 (Russian cockpit green). This went onto two recent construction efforts: a MiG-29 and Su-24. No problems there.

Finally, some Xtracolor X141 White onto wheel wells, inside gear doors, landing gear of the Eurofighter and Tornado.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Construction (Eurofighter, Tornado)

Still having some issues that are preventing much in the way of model production, but I have gotten some basic construction done. No painting as of yet, but the queue is overflowing and I’m going to have to deal with that sometime soon. No medical appointments until next Friday so I’ll try to get some things painted before then.

The construction to summarize today is pointed directly at two decal sheets I’ve purchased in the last year. First comes a Tornado, which will get one of the retirement specials from the Xtradecal sheet. Next comes a Eurofighter, which will carry the RAF100 special from Model Art.

Major construction is done. Some seam cleanup will be required, but I’ve gotten the canopies masked and attached. So there is no real bar to painting the wheel wells, gear, and doors White. Therefore, it joins the vast – and lengthening - paint queue.

I don’t want to turn this into a medical blog, but here is an update to my situation. The decision has been made to install an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) as a temporary bridge to stabilize the heart cath numbers and get to the next step, a heart transplant (yeesh). This is not the preferred alternative, apparently, because it requires the same sort of sternum entry and rib-spreading, just like a transplant and a multiple bypass. I’m meeting with the surgeon this Friday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Paint session (Finnish Hurricane, Eurofighter and Tornado)

Last Friday there were echoes of a sound not recently heard here in 72Land. It wasn't the thunder – though that was one spectacular lightning storm – it was the sound of a compressor. Something that hasn’t happened in nearly 5 months. I was able to work a small paint session in.

Of course it didn’t proceed painlessly, since I’m definitely a bit out of practice. It was a sort of greatest hits of painting problems. Insufficient thinning caused a bit of spattering from the airbrush tip. The water trap on the compressor seemed rather wonky as well, and resulted in a bit of water exploding through the airbrush. Thankfully, it *appears* that the splattering and water injection levelled out once the items had a chance to thoroughly cure, so a buff-and-repaint is probably not called for. But I will need to see what I can do to avoid a repeat at the next session.

Only three colors were used. I needed to get some White on the underside of one wing, both wing upper surfaces and the fuselage sides on the Finnish Hurricane in delivery markings. After it cured, I applied a series of circular white masks to the upper wings and fuselage. These will protect that White when I spray the Black (wing underside) and top camo colors.

The next was Dark Admiralty Grey to pick up some cockpit items that were missed in the latest Eurofighter (destined for RAF100 markings) and a newly started construction of a Tornado cockpit. This will eventually end up being the markings of one of the three specially painted Tornado retirement aircraft. I’ve already got the Xtradecal sheet that will support this.

Finally, I got the third and final upper camo color on the Ms-406. 

It wasn’t a long session, or even an especially successful one, but it is one step on getting back on the production track. I’ve got 4 doctor appointments in 5 days this week, so it may be the weekend before I can get some other painting done. I certainly have a number of items in the paint queue. Primarily these will be cockpit painting for a MiG-29 and Su-24, along with Blue Angels Yellow wingtips on the A-4 and the lower surface coat of the Macchi Mc-205.

Here’s hoping I can keep the momentum going.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Construction (Tornado GR4)

Y’know, that almost looks like the completed cockpit of a Tornado GR4 to the right of the photo. Could it be that gremlins have snuck into the vast 72Land workshop complex and did some construction?

This is the Revell GR1 (which will have conversion parts from Freightdog to get it to a GR4), a less than new but reliable kit that is my personal go-to for the mud-mover variant. For an F3 I would use the Hasegawa kit. Although there is a surprising amount of parts for a 1:72 cockpit, fit is good and it didn’t take long to get everything together. Now it moves to the long paint queue for a coat of Dark Admiralty Grey and some detail painting.

This represents the first actual construction since early April!

Plus there is a Eurofighter in the box which needs a coat of DAG to the rear of the cockpit. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Warpaint A-4 Skyhawk

Just because I haven’t been doing much construction or painting in the last 4 months, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying the occasional items. Big surprise. Since I haven’t been moving much in the way of models, most of my current spending is catching up on book series such as the spaces that I have in the Warpaint series collection.

Interestingly, when I owned The Supply Depot, we were (I believe) the first American retailer to import the early Warpaint books. They were pretty successful for the company, and I always regretted when other American retailers started bringing them in.

Out of roughly 120 titles, I believe I have about 95 and am gradually filling in the holes, mostly on the later titles. The latest one I picked up is #121 on the A-4 Skyhawk. The A-4 seems to be a popular type these days, given recent Modellers Datafile and Ginter Publishing releases.

This book is massive as Warpaint volumes go. It is 140 pages and perfect bound (most are just magazine style, though with heavier paper stock) and is roughly 1/4” thick.

Unlike some Warpaint books, the emphasis here is on the engineering of the variant series. That series’ strength, color sideviews of representative paint schemes, is rather lacking in this one. But for those who want as many photos as possible, this is dead on. You could probably do a book this size with sideviews alone, but the 10 pages at least have some interesting schemes.

Definitely recommended for A-4 fans, possibly for the engineers but with the occasional nod to the artist type. 

BTW, western Washington is currently hosting a huge lightning/thunder storm. Nearly constant, with the occasional burst of extreme downpour. Almost like a midwest version. It sounds like the summer is winding down (which is ok by me; I'm not the high-summer type). Does cooler temp mean a return to active modelling. The Magic 8-Ball says "signs are favorable"...

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Not below ground yet

Rumors of my death have been at least 20% exaggerated. I'm still dealing with some ongoing health issues, some of which just don't want to go away. To add to this, my computer had a hardware failure and forced me to buy a new tower. So most of my spare time has gone toward rebuilding expense history from the time of my last thumb drive backup (late May, unfortunately). Note to self: weekly backups from now on even if it takes a while. 

I do have an entire paint session ready to go, but haven't summoned up the energy to actually take care of that. Plus it is summer, not the best month for houses with no A/C. 

I may use a strategy I put forward in 2017 when I was caught in another catastrophic loss of mojo: finish a few pieces of ordnance or a small vehicle or two to allow myself to get some low-hanging wins and try to back into the hobby that way. 

In any case I haven't given up on the blog, I'm just trying to get myself into the frame of mind to continue producing content. So, to coin a phrase: 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Hobbyboss Macchi Mc-200

I am working my way through the WW2 Macchi fighters, having completed the Hasegawa Mc-202, and today’s completion is another step on that road, the Hobbyboss Mc-200. I also have an Italeri Mc-205 in the paint queue currently.

As with many Hobbyboss kits, this is a pretty simple build with an overly sparse cockpit. This is a bit of a downside given that it has an open cockpit, but I rarely try to superdetail an interior so it really was not an issue.

I did have a bit of an issue with the painting, however. It’s funny, when you see it on the display shelf it doesn’t look too bad, but in the close-ups (such as the completion shots below) the paint looks very splattery and indistinct. I still haven’t mastered a thin airbrush line for mottling, but this seems a bit of a step backward. Still, it can function as a 4’ standoff model (given that it is best viewed at roughly 4’ away).

Decals came from the kit, with a masking set by PMask. Not much else to tell, just another model that I’ve never built before to add to the completed queue.

This is completed aircraft #514 (12 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 2 vehicle for the year 2019), finished in March of 2019.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Airfix Tilly Standard truck (from RAF Support set)

Before I fell into the April health crisis, there were two completions that I had no chance to write up. This is the first, the standard Tilly truck from the Airfix RAF support set.

There really isn’t much to say about construction. It is a simple, well engineered kit with only those vices associated with 1:72 vehicles. Minimal decals and a relatively simple paint job too.

I still have a couple of models unbuilt in that particular support set. I even picked up a photoetch set to detail the included bicycle. Which is about ¼” long by the way.

The biggest crisis with this kit happened after it was complete. I came into the hobby room one day and found that Kirby, our younger pug, had it in his mouth! The damage was repairable, and the truck seems to have survived its conflict with a giant prehistoric pug monster.

This is completed vehicle #26 (12 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 3 vehicles for the year 2019), finished in March of 2019.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Paint prep (Hurricane, Mc-205, A-4, MS-406, I-16)

As I slowly crawl my way out of the post-spring-show health crisis, I have somewhat forced myself to do a few modelling actions. These mostly qualify as paint prep, though I’m not sure when the paint session itself will take shape.

Much came under masking wheel wells. There were basically three types done: The Arma Hurricane, Italeri Mc-205, and the Blue Angels Fujimi A-4. They will be moved down to the garage to wait for the compressor to fire up.

The other two were masking jobs as well, this time for camo. I’m now ready for the final camo coat (of X115 Field Green) to be applied to the Hasegawa MS-406. And I’m working on masking the upper surfaces on the Hasegawa Polikarpov I-16.

Content production might get a bit erratic this week. I received a note from the main cardiologist on Friday (after close of business in their office) which sounded dire but provided very little information. But until the paint session happens, I have two items to write the completion documentation for. Plus there are new models to add to the construction queue - trying to stay optimistic here. They are all modern Soviet fighters of all things, not my normal area of interest. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mensis horribilis

Mensis horribilis. Actually more like 6 weeks and still not completely done yet.

It all started on the Wednesday after the Spring Show. Since I’m not working any longer, I don’t circulate amongst the public and therefore don’t pick up the normal immunities that almost any schoolkid will have. I knew there was a possibility that I would get struck at the show since it was 10 hours of talking to the crowd, selling, and shaking hands. But this was one of the worst and longest-lasting colds I’ve seen in many many years.

But was that it? I had a bad labwork result that showed fluid buildup around the heart. Is that where the coughing was coming from? Or all the crap being dumped out the back of my sinuses? To make things worse, we got the late spring phenomenon of all these little tufts of plant material (cottonwood?) floating in the air. We all joke that it looks like it is snowing, but the stuff actually forms into drifts when it blows into a curb or house side.

So cold, cardiac event, or seasonal allergies? Whatever it was, it went on for 6 freaking weeks. I felt just awful. The airbrush remained silent, I didn’t even venture into the workbench room, and I didn’t even read much during this interval. Just felt like sleeping or at least laying in a darkened room.

Then, just to provide the cherry on this horrible sundae, my cardiologist decided I might benefit from a discussion with a heart failure specialist inside his practice. Practically the first words out of his mouth were “heart transplant” and how I should get ready for it. I admit to being taken rather aback by this. None of the cardiology team ever mentioned this as a possibility, and I’ve had 3 straight years of “abnormal but stable” echo-cardiograms. It’s a bit like going in for jock itch and being told that the solution is a sex change operation. Time to back this bus up for a minute. I’ve been trying to get my cardiologist’s take on it, but he is not responding to emails. I hope this isn’t another example of one doctor refusing to contradict another one. I’m old enough to remember the first heart transplants. Even after 40+ years of research, it still strikes me as a last resort. Am I overthinking this?

So that why there has been no content for the last 6 weeks. I am feeling a bit better, and have 2 models to write up completion reports for. Plus there are lots of items backing up the paint queue now, mostly waiting on me to finish masking of one type or another. And, of course, I have bought some additional models and stuff (masking, paint, books). When has that ever stopped one of us?

But it has been a pretty depressing 6 weeks. Definitely a visitation from Churchill’s “black dog”. And if one of the greatest and most successful men of the 20th century can suffer from this sort of overwhelming depression, I guess I shouldn’t assume that I am immune. So bear with me as I get my content generation back on the rails and see if I can resolve the potentially rather disastrous health issues.

And on another note entirely. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

2019 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 5 of 5)

Now for the last group of 1:72 models from the show. Armor, sub, sci-fi, miscellaneous. Remember that if you want to see the entire album of models, the link is:

That's all folks. I'll post stats from the show when I get them. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

2019 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (pt 4 of 5)

OK, time for some miscellaneous items that caught my eye during my brief tour of the contest tables. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019