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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Airfix BAe Hawk T1 (208 Sqdrn RAF, Valley 2016)

The British Aerospace Hawk in its various incarnations (T1, T2, T-45, 200) is an aircraft that I can say that I have some experience with. There are 22 completed models in the collection so far, and today’s completion represents #23.

This is most current Airfix tooling, which is a simple and easy to assemble kit with very few vices. Given that it was an overall black paint scheme as well, even painting was a relatively pain-free task. Decals came from Xtradecal 72233, one of that company’s periodic RAF special scheme updates. This particular Hawk belongs to 208 Squadron RAF, based at the RAF Valley, and flown by Kidd and Atlett. The markings come from 2016. I did add a Master pitot. Those are great little aftermarket parts and well worth investing in. 

Not much else to be said. The current Airfix is the gold standard of Hawks, and unless I am putting together a T-45 (which I currently am, using the Wolfpack boxing of the Italeri kit with extras and a Caracal decal sheet) this is the kit I would use. Xtradecal has a huge range of Hawk decals, from basic squadron markings to rather elaborate specials.

This is completed aircraft #489 (6 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 2 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in May of 2018.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Hasegawa Daimler Mk 2 armored car

Time to catch up on some completions.

This is the Hasegawa Daimler Mk 2 armored car. The original was a parallel development with the Mk 1 Dingo (formerly available in an Ace 1:72 kit but now appears to be discontinued) that served primarily in the Western Desert.

It is a very simple model – just how I like 'em – that didn’t take long to assemble. Plus it was painted a single color. But that paint job raises an interesting point. Long-term readers will know that I do little in the way of weathering. My rationale is that I’m not doing dioramas and the fictional backstory is that these are all museum exhibits that are pretty well cleaned up prior to display. But something like this armored car, with lots of wide flat surfaces and no camo, shows the weakness of this approach. It just doesn’t look right without any color moderation at all. Not that I could become an advanced weatherer at this late stage, but I might need to at least get some post shading accommodation into a model such as this.

Still, the simplicity can be said to be its own reward.

This is completed vehicle #17 (5 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 2 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in May of 2018.

100.000 page reads

And there it is, folks. The distinct page-read counter just notched over 100,000 views. It seems like I’ve been working on this blog forever, so it is nice to see that somebody at least is looking it over. Although many of them are probably robots looking for places to stash “Ukrainian Models Want To Love You” ads in the comments section.

Many thanks, all.

Except this is what I wish I was getting.

And this is the bald reality.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Great Amtrak Disaster of 2018

Well, that was a bit of a cluster.

As planned, my brother and I left on Monday morning for a leisurely drive down to Southern California. At the end of it, I was scheduled to board an Amtrak train (which I enjoy taking) for the ride back to Seattle.

About mid-morning, I received a voicemail alert that the train had been cancelled! You can imagine the panic, especially since I was in a place with no cell service when I picked it up. In the motel that night I called Amtrak. Apparently a tunnel had partially collapsed on the Coast Starlight route and was not due to be cleared for up to 10 days. There was no alternative Amtrak choice unless I wanted to route by way of Denver. I am not a great flyer, so that wasn’t really a choice either. Yes, I am aware of the irony of a person whose main hobby is aviation modelling and history not liking to fly.

So we had to make some stark choices. We were staying in Albany OR at the time. The Cascade route (Eugene OR to Seattle WA) was still running. The Cascade route departed from Eugene on 6-12-2018 at 4.30pm. The deciding factor was that I only had meds with me through Monday, when I was supposed to be home. That meant that even if my brother was nice enough to put me up for some extra days (he was) my meds would run out. And these are not really meds you can just stop on a whim. That decided it, and I made arrangements for the Eugene-Tacoma route on the next day.

Since we had most of a full day, we decided to go over to the Oregon coast from Corvallis and then come back to Eugene. Luckily we got a very nice and sunny day for it, which isn’t always guaranteed in the Northwest in June. Most of the more scenic parts of the coast are to the south, farther than we were going on this revised itinerary, but that was just a casualty of the replanning.

I caught the Cascades route with no problems and made it to Tacoma. And in retrospect, it may have been for the best. We were splitting a room, and I was assaulted all night long by the loudest and most inhuman sounding snoring I have ever heard in my life. Even across the room, it was like listening to a semi-truck crashing into a slaughterhouse. I doubt I would have gotten much sleep in the remaining 5 days of the trip.

I’m still getting my stuff all sorted, but should be able to resume normal modelling content shortly. Here are a couple of (the few) photos I took. First is Silver Falls State Park near Salem OR (which is beautiful and recommended if you ever take a trip to the area) and the Oregon coast.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Busy times (and plans for the future)

I have to apologize for the lack of new content in the last few weeks. Not only has real life intruded in various places (spinal surgery, neuropathy problems in the feet) but planning for a couple of notable events has been ongoing. This Sunday is my son’s delayed wedding reception – 100 people at the wife’s parents farm in Arlington WA. They had planned to hold it outside, but the forecast calls for 80% chance of rain. Always a risk in June here in the Great Northwest.

After that, I’ll be taking a week to drive back to my brother’s house in Los Angeles, by way of Oregon Coast, Lassen, Donner Memorial State Park, and Hwy 395 in CA. I’m returning via Amtrak, something I haven’t done in 15 years. So don’t expect any updates until later in the week of 6-18.

Not that I haven’t been getting modelling work done. Although I have another long paint queue waiting for attention, I have no less than 6 models in the completed column. They just need a writeup and have their photos taken. As I say, that's not likely to happen until after 6-20. The completed models are a Hasegawa Daimler Mk3 armored car, an anniversary RAF Bae Hawk T1, Meng Convair F-102, Trumpeter Textron M1117 ASV, the first of a set of four Italeri Eurofighters in Italian AF anniversary markings, and a Hobbyboss captured RAF Me-163B.

And significant progress has been made on the Mikro-mir Miles Aerovan, Airfix Short Skyvan, and a Fieseler Storch in markings from the 4+ book. The lovely Azur Northrop Gamma still glares at me sullenly from the bench, waiting to have its paint stripping completed. And I’ve started an F-15 (for those wonderful Oregon ANG decals), Wolfpack T-45 (with Tiger markings), AModel AS-1 Kennel bomb and transport cart, and the Avis American Gyro AG-4 Crusader. I even acquired the appropriate Alclad paint for its unusual copper paint finish.

Whew! So at least the content should begin to flow again, once I can push aside real life and make time to write some blog entries! And if that wasn’t enough, we are rapidly approaching another milestone: 100,000 page views! So stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a photo of Lassen NP. 

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.