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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Construction (AS-4, X-3) and paint prep (wheel hubs, F-15, F11F)

Even though most of the news lately has been on the painting front, there has been some construction and paint prep going on in the dark shadowed workbench of the 72 Land small aircraft manufacturing queue.

I recently received the AModel Raduga AS-4 Kitchen missile. This is part of my ongoing ordnance project. I’ve already gotten the entire missile together. Well, ok, it only consists of 8 parts, but still. I’ve also applied some Mr Surfacer 1000 to the joints and once that cures it will be ready for its first coat of part. The nosecone is some sort of Russian Dark Grey. The transport cart for the missile (which I really appreciate AModel providing) is in process as well but not as far along.

A bit further back I got a copy of the AZ Models Douglas X-3 kit. AZ Models seem to fall into two categories, as if two separate companies were producing the molds. Some are really quite nice, with good detail and decent fit. Some others are definitely within the short-run category. The X-3 is definitely one of the latter.

I have installed the cockpit, wheel wells, and exhaust cans and was ready to close up the fuselage. That was when I discovered the huge gaps; if the upper fuselage halves touched, the lower fuselage gaps must have been near to ¼”. So, decision time. Try to trim things down and proceed with gluing the fuselage halves, or go with a large shim. Given the length and width of the fuselage gap, I decided the best first approach was to do what I could to try the trim the internal bits and then clamp the fuselage for gluing. It did work after a fashion, but I wonder if I have just pushed a problem downhill a bit. After all, I was only able to trim one side of the central wheel wells (the main blockage to closing things up). Does that mean the landing gear and going to look wonky when I try to install them? We’ll see.

And there was another issue as well. I’ve been following an X-3 build on Britmodeller by a gentleman with the handle of HSR. Howard is about two steps further than I am on the kit. When he finally got his fuselage together, one intake was visibly higher than the other. Using his experiences, I intended to follow his solution (get the intake front pieces in visible line, and then try to deal with the discontinuity between intake pieces and fuselage with endless sanding, puttying, and filing, which likely would extend to Doomsday.

But here’s the thing. When I got my fuselage together, the intakes seemed to be fairly in line. At the least, not the huge discontinuity that HSR saw. Why? No clue. Some odd idiosyncrasy with different kits produced at different times? It is certainly not that I did anything extreme to deal with the problem. If I solved the conundrum it was through sheer dumb luck and no particular effort on my side. However, I will take it. It’s rare enough that I get a break during a model’s construction, and I certainly am not going to examine the proverbial gift horse.

There has also been some work done to prep for the next paint session. I’ve mentioned all those replacement resin wheels that need their hubs painted Aluminum. In addition, I’ve masked up for the second camo color on the D-520. And I’ve got those metallic panels on the F-15 done up and ready to go. After that cures, I believe I can start on this plane’s rather garish Oregon ANG special markings.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Paint session (Hurricanes, F-15, F11F)

I managed a short paint session yesterday. The weather was very nice (clear and low 50s F) and a short time in the open garage seemed like the proper thing to do.

First up came the Trainer Yellow stripes and patches on the SAAF Hurricane. This is the last fuselage painting that needs to be done for this one. Once the paint cures and I can strip off all the masking, I’ll be adding the landing gear and doors.

Second on the menu was the exhaust cans for the F-15. I realized I will need to mask and shoot the metallic areas on the fuselage, upper and lower, fore of the cans themselves. I had considered brush painting that, but the area to be covered is pretty large. I think it will look better as an Alclad airbrush job, even given the time required to mask it all up. The cans in the photo below have had some black wash added to highlight the detail. They're a bit shiny; hopefully the matte overcoat will tone that down. 

Next was the other current Hurricane, destined for Italian AF markings. This required an upper surface dark green paint job, and I used X110 Forest Green for the job. It did seem a bit grainy, so I may have to buff it and reshoot a surface coat. I do believe this is the first time I have used this particular color, so it could be pretty old. Seemed to flow and thin fine, though.

The last large job was an overall coat of Blue Angels Blue on the F11F Tiger. This is the one I expected to have troubles with – the various shades of blue do seem to have some issues with the size of their pigment grind – but it looks ok. Next will come some masking and then a set of leading edges in Aluminum.

In fact, in my next airbrush session the Alclad White Aluminum is going to get quite a workout. The order containing replacement resin wheels from Hannants arrived yesterday, so I have wheels for the Mc-202, D-520, and one Hurricane that need hubs painted. Add that to the previously mentioned leading edges of the F11F and the fuselage portions of the F-15 and the entire session might be devoted to Aluminum.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Construction and paint prep (Hurricanes, F11F, F-15 exhaust cans)

I’ve started gearing up toward the next paint session. This will be a smaller effort. Mainly it is to progress the Hurricanes, the Blue Angels Tiger, and the F-15.

From the photos below, you can see the masking that has been done for the Trainer Yellow patches on the SAAF Hurricane. Also, the White and Yellow portions have been masked off on the Italian Hurricane for a first coat of X110 Forest Green.

The Blue Angels F11F has had all of its Yellow sections masked and is now waiting for an overall coat of Blue Angels Blue.

Finally, I have cobbled together the rather complicated exhaust cans for the Academy F-15 and will put putting some Alclad Steel on them. Then I’ll probably hit them with a black acrylic wash to bring out the details.

I’m still waiting for the Hannants order with all the resin wheel replacements to appear so I can spray the hubs with Aluminum. In the fullness of time, as they say.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Paint session (props, Meteor, Hurricanes)

A second paint session in two days! I am a machine.

Lots of little detail work in this one. The Yellow prop tips were fully cured so I masked them up. Not easy when you come equipped with 10 thumbs. I then painted the Black of the props for the Lanc, two Hurricanes, Mc-202, and D-520.

I also had to fish out the Alclad White Aluminum to paint the landing gear and inside gear doors for the Trent Meteor. Landing gear struts for the D-520 were done as well. I also painted the exhaust stacks for the two Hurricanes in Alclad Exhaust Manifold. Seems to work well enough.

Next came some White. First, on the fuselage stripe of the Italian AF Hurricane. Second, on the inner gear doors and landing gear of the F11F Blue Angels.

Finally, I put some X116 Light Green for camo on the Hurricane from the SAAF. This morning, finding the Dark Green quite cured, I used an Eduard camo masking set. I do like these masking sets and will probably pick up some more for my next two Hurricanes. Next for this model, I’ll be masking for the Trainer Yellow wing stripes and fuselage squares. I’ve built so many 1:72 Hurricanes that they seem to just progress through the construction and paint queues like clockwork. That emphatically does not mean I am incapable of screwing them up royally at some stage, however.

You'll notice that I've already started masking the two Hurricanes for their next paint session. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Paint session (Props, Trent Meteor, CR-25, F11F)

Now that was a long painting session. And only one disaster!

The first shot was putting a matte coat over the Fw-200 airliner Condor. I have to admit that, given the painting problems I encountered while doing the black stripes and the fact that it sat on the Shelf of Shame for an extended period, I don’t think it really turned out that bad. It will be getting some completion shots and a writeup in the next few days.

The next effort was pretty tedious, but necessary if you do WW2 aircraft. This was the Yellow prop tips for the two Hurricanes, D-520, Mc-202, Trent Meteor, and Tiger Force Lancaster. My blurry vision being what it is – I was wearing a painting mask instead of glasses – I could barely tell when I was getting a good coat on the tiny prop tips. I should probably convert over to a matte Yellow for this job, as it seems to produce better coverage. Once it cures I will mask the tips and paint the props themselves Black. While I had the Yellow out, I painted the nose portion of the Italian AF Hurricane.

Then came the first upper surface coat on two aircraft, the SAAF Hurricane (RAF Dark Green) and the D-520 (Dunkelbraun, representing the French dark brown). I accidentally slipped while putting it aside to dry and damaged the surface near the wingtip. Guess which section of the wing will get the first contrasting camo coat at the next paint session.

I also painted the ZC Yellow primer sections of the Trent Meteor engine nacelles. Lots of masking for two little areas. Next for this one will come the attachment of landing gear and wheels.

I probably should have stopped there, but sometimes when you are on a streak you just want to continue with the session. This is especially true when you are having energy depletion issues like I have in the last couple of weeks. So continue I did; I gritted my teeth and put another surface coat on the Fiat CR-25, using MRP Italian yellow. Thankfully (I say this without knowing if removing the tape will cause any damage, as it has on other MRP Paint jobs) with the air pressure turned down lower and infinite patience – never easy with me – I was able to get a nice coat on it. Next comes mottling in Olive Green and Dark Brown.

The last event was painting the wing and tail tips of the F11F of the Blue Angels project. Once it cures, more masking. Then I’ll be able to get a coat of Blue Angels Blue laid down.

I went rather nuts with a recent Hannants order and got replacement wheels for the ragwing Hurricane, D-520, Mc-202, and the MS-406, a future French AF project. I wish I had known about the missing Lanc wheels, and could have included them in that order. I’ll have to pick them up next time.

But I will have some new acquisitions to discuss shortly. I took the plunge and bought two Detolf display cases from Ikea. I may not agree with their politics, but I’m a mercenary when it comes to proper furniture. I also ordered some extra shelving to double the number of shelves in the unit. I haven’t finished assembly yet, but will report when I do.

In the meantime, here are some post-painting photos of the most recent session.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Paint prep (Hurricanes, D-520, F11F, CR-25)

Lots of work going on to prepare for the next round of painting. I’ve masked the lower surfaces of the Fly/Hasegawa Hurricane 2b, to ready it for an upper coat of RAF Dark Green.

The other Hurricane in process at present, the Airfix (with the broken canopy) has had the lower surfaces masked off as well. In addition, I’ve masked for the White fuselage stripe and the Yellow nose.

The D-520 has also had the lower surfaces masked. It will get a coat of Xtracolour X219 Dunkelbraun to get the camo started.

In addition, six different kits had props that need to be painted Yellow. The Macchi Mc-202 has a two-colored spinner which is already painted and just waiting for the prop. Once all these prop tips are painted Yellow, I’ll mask off the tips for everything and paint them Black. 

Still leftover from the last session is getting a second upper surface coat of MRP325 on the Fiat CR-25 and the Blue Angels Yellow wing and tail tips on the F11F.

During a calm evening last week, I masked off the revised engine nacelles on the Trent Meteor, which will need some ZC Yellow primer applied. 

I just finished the decaling for the Lufthansa Fw-200, so a Matte coat will need to be applied. Then it will officially cross the finish line as the first completion of 2019.

In terms of construction, I've just about finished up the buffing and PSR for the Valom Albatross. Next comes primer. I've also reactivated a Shelf of Doom queen and put landing gear onto the Hasegawa Lancaster. That was quite a chore; the instructions are pretty useless on telling you where and how to apply all those stalky gear parts. Plus I've misplaced the Lanc wheels! An Aires aftermarket set may have to come to the rescue here. 

Again I must apologize for the lack of photos. In my enthusiasm to get out there and get a few things painted, I neglected to photograph all of the many items slated to go into the next slot in the paint queue. Next time for sure...

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Paint session (Hurricanes, D-520, X-3, F-15)

The main point of this particular painting session was getting an undersurface coat on three fighters: two Hurricanes and a D-520. This required 3 different Xtracolor paints: Azure Blue for the Fly/Hasegawa Hurricane 2b, Neutral Grey for the Airfix Hurricane ragwing, and Lt Compass Grey for the D-520.

I decided I could also use the Neutral Grey for the F-15 upper fuselage mottles and the cockpit for the X-3. Xtracolour does not produce a Dark Ghost Grey, and I needed a dark grey that would provide a decent contrast. The Neutral Grey worked out well enough. And I would have to say that the idea of turning down the pressure and free-handing the mottling worked out just fine. Not sure I have found the secret of producing a pencil-thin mottle – which I will need on some of the Italian aircraft that are working their way down the queue – but experimentation will go on.

I didn’t get a chance to paint some miscellaneous parts such as props and wheels, so that will have to wait for the next paint session. Though, in fact, I’ve just ordered replacement resin wheels from Hannants for some of these projects (Mc-202, Hurricane 5 spoke, D-520), so I will have to delay that in any case.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Construction (D-520, X-3, F-15)

Other items have also entered the construction queue in the waning days of 2018. I decided that I should make more of an effort to widen the types of aircraft I was finishing. This doesn’t mean I can’t do multiple Hurricanes or Eurofighters, but more unusual types needed to be added to the mix. This is the origin of the series of Italian fighters I’ve been doing (Mc-202 and CR-25). And I decided to add a couple of French aircraft – a byway of aviation that I haven’t spent very much time or interest in – to the construction effort as well. First up is the Hasegawa Dewoitine D-520, followed in the fullness of time by that company’s MS-406. The D-520 has had its major assembly completed and is now awaiting paint.

I recently received the AZ Douglas X-3 from Hannants. AZ can be a bit hit or miss in terms of kit quality, and this one definitely ranks in the short-run range. But (while the real aircraft was something of a performance dud) it surely ranks as one of the coolest looking prototypes in aviation history. I have built a vacform of the type way back in the early days of 72 Land (Maintrack, maybe?) so I was committed to having an X-3 on the shelf. I imagine this one will turn out better than that. The cockpit is together and is awaiting paint as well.

An F-15, destined for those glorious ANG Oregon markings, has been languishing around the workbench for a few months. The holdup was masking for the darker mottling on the upper surfaces. I finally decided that, with the new compressor giving me additional options for managing the air pressure, I would freehand paint those splotches. Wish me luck on that one.

Finally, I pieced together an old Hasegawa F11F, to be shown in Blue Angels markings. A lineup of Blue Angels aircraft was one of the first sub-projects I ever started on, back in the early 90s. I still have to do the A-4 and F-18, along with the various support aircraft (DC-4 and C-130). But the wheel wells have been painted and masked, so I’m waiting on some detail Blue Angels Yellow painting on wing and tail tips.

And there is also a box of miscellaneous items awaiting paint: props, engine exhausts, landing gear, even a wheel or two. I just put in an order for a selection of resin wheels for some current projects, so I might now even be using them at this time. 

Waiting for some workbench space is the Sword Sikorsky S-43 (Catalina Air markings), various wheeled vehicles, and the AZ SR-53.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Construction (Hurricanes, Fw-200)

There has been quite a bit of construction going on, now that we have passed the craziness of the holiday season. This is not necessarily a good thing, given my ongoing storage crisis, but I am once again considering interim measures to get more square footage. How this will all work out, only time will tell.

I received my Arma Hurricane metal wing Mk 1 from Hannants, along with the AZ X-3 and the Revell Boxer (a modern AFV command post vehicle). The Hurricane and X-3 immediately went into the pre-queue. You know you have too many projects going on when you need to designate a decal queue, paint queue, construction queue and pre-queue.

While I was anxiously awaiting the Hannants parcel, which took longer than usual to arrive due to the Christmas holidays, I decided to start work on the Fly Hurricane 2b (ex-Hasegawa, to use unusual SAAF markings) and an Airfix Hurricane ragwing I didn’t even remember I had, to be put into Italian AF markings.

I have previously mentioned the Mc-202 painting disaster that took place, but it wasn’t the only modelling catastrophe that took place prior to year’s end. When I took the Airfix Hurricane out of the package, I found that the canopy was split right down the middle. The clear plastic is admirably thin, but clearly that is not always an advantage. My solution was to mask both sides of the canopy, glue it in place in phases (using regular cement for the part that connected to the fuselage and Clearfix for the areas where the two broken halves came together. Once dry – and yes, I actually did wait until it was fully cured for a change – I masked the portion that covers the middle of the canopy where the split occurred. Whether all of that survives painting and mask removal is a problem for a later date.

And if that wasn’t enough, when I de-masked the horrendously complex masking job on the Lufthansa Fw-200, I found that some of the RLM63 Light Grey had pulled up. At this point I was about to look for a ledge to crawl out onto. And neither of these problems were due to my native impatience for a change. But they were still problems. The RLM63 issue was made worse by the fact that Xtracolour changed their paint color to a darker, near RLM02 shade, based on further research. With extreme good fortune, I found that I still have a tin of the former color; I had thought that they were all used up. So some careful remasking and reshooting ensued. I did have a problem with overspray landing on one of the black stripes on the Fw-200 fuselage, but I was able to repair that to my satisfaction as well. I have added wheels and props, and the model now stands ready for decals.

BTW, in the photo below, the Airfix Hurricane with the broken canopy is on the left, in lighter grey plastic. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

AModel Raduga AS-3 Kangaroo

I originally opened the category of ordnance as one of my 1:72 model options due to my intent of building a large display of bombs, missiles and drones (though I have since re-categorized the drones as regular aircraft). Most of the bombs and missiles are relatively small items that will look much better in a group setting. There are, however, some devices that are pretty large.

This includes the Raduga AS-3 Kangaroo. It is a Soviet air to surface nuclear missile that was designed to be slung under a Tu-95. It is actually larger in fuselage length than most single engine fighters. They were also difficult to transport and arm, taking as long as a full day to get them mounted to their bomber. Not so good for a quick-response weapon (though apparently this was eventually worked down to 4 hours).

Developed in 1954, it was replaced by the AS-4 Kitchen in the 1980s. AModel also makes one of these, which I have on order from Hannants, and it will be the next ordnance model to receive my tender mercies.

If you have experience with AModel products, nothing will come as a surprise during this build. Uncertain fit, seams that need work, and a rather complex transport cart are all part and parcel of this line of kits. Still, take em where you can get em; Soviet nuclear air to surface missiles aren’t exactly the most common type of model on the planet.

I had some issues with the painting process on this, but eventually was successful with Alclad White Aluminum. The kit provides a wide variety of stencils, but they are barely visible on the final model, so I only used the ones I could see easily.

This is completed ordnance #12 (19 aircraft, 2 ordnance, 8 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in December of 2018.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Production summary of 1:72 models in 2018 (pt 3 of 3)

Final part of the coverage of what was completed in 2018. See the post for 1-2-2019 for the names of all the models in sequence. 

And that's all, folks (for 2018 at least). Much production (and even additional disasters) in the early days of 2019. But are we discouraged?! Bloody well right we are, but we will continue to persevere in any case. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Production summary of 1:72 models in 2018 (pt 2 of 3)

Continuing the coverage of what was completed in 2018. See yesterday's posting for the names of all the models in sequence.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Production summary of 1:72 models in 2018 (pt 1 of 3)

DeHav DHC-1 Chipmunk (British Airways Club 1974) 1/1/2018 AZ Models 484
Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui (IJN evaluation unit 1945) 1/2/2018 Hasegawa 485
Northrop XP-79 (USAF evaulation) 1/27/2018 RS Models                 486
Volkswagen Kubelwagen (Western Desert 1942) 2/17/2018 Academy           16
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (41 Sqdrn RAF 100th anniv) 4/18/2018 Revell 487
Douglas DC-3 (Worldwide Airways "Arctic Rose" 1964) 4/19/2018 Italeri 488
Daimler armored car Mk2 (7th Armored, British Army 1942 5/2/2018 Hasegawa         17
Bae Hawk T1 (208 Sqdrn, RAF Valley 2016) 5/19/2018 Airfix         489
Convair F-102 (48 FIS, ADC, Langley AFB 1959) 5/22/2018 Meng 490
Textron M1117 ASV (Armored security vehicle) 5/23/2018 Trumpeter   18
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (10 Group Italian AF 100 anniv) 6/1/2018 Italeri 491
Messerschmitt Me-163B (Captured RAF 1945) 6/8/2018 Hobbyboss                 492
Fieseler Fi-156 (Trumpf Chocolate civil 1999) 8/29/2018 Academy          493
Northrop Delta (TWA 1938) 8/30/2018 Special Hobby                         494
Raduga AS-1 Kennel transport cart (Soviet AF) 9/14/2018 Amodel              19
Short SC-7 Skyvan (Gulf Air) 10/9/2018 Airfix                                 495
Sdkfz 222 (DAK Libya 1941) 10/14/2018 ICM                                           20
Junkers Ju-87G 10/15/2018 Fujimi                                                 496
Raduga AS-1 Kennel (Soviet AF) 10/23/2018 Amodel                                    11
Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (Okinawa 1945) 10/24/2018 Brengun                  497
Noorduyn Norseman (Ear Falls Airlines 1988) 10/30/2018 Matchbox  498
American Gyro AG-4 Crusader (prototype) 11/1/2018 Avis                  499
Manshu Ki-98 (IJAAF 1946) 11/8/2018 Meng                                  500
McD-D T-45C (USN VT-21, NAS Kingsville TX 2012) 12/2/2018 Italeri  501
GMCanada Otter (2 Can Inf Div, HQ platoon 1944) 12/7/2018 IBG            21
Autoblinda AB-43 (Rome Police 1950) 12/14/2018 Italeri                    22
Raduga AS-3 transport cart (USSR 1965) 12/26/2018 Amodel                    23
Miles M47 Aerovan (Sivewright Air 1950) 12/27/2018 MikroMir          502
Raduga AS-3 Kangaroo (Soviet AF) 12/29/2018 Amodel                            12