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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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Meng F-102 ready for decals

This year’s early May heat wave seems to have finally exhausted itself earlier this week, though a new record for high was set at SeaTac Airport on Monday. But it is back in the mid to low 70s now, so I hope to get the delayed paint session done within the next couple of days. There are a large number of items backed up in the paint queue, and I need to progress a few of them. It has also been a generally busy time around here, including the announcement that my son and his wife are due to have a baby (our first grandchild) this December. Go Kenton and Becca!

But in the meantime, here is a shot of the Meng F-102 that is pretty close to being done. All paintwork is completed. Most of the gear doors are on. I’ve delayed putting the middle gear doors and the Master nose probe on due to the fact that they tend to be easily broken off during the decal process, which is what comes next. I'll be using a FunDekals set for the 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron based in Langley VA. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

HobbyBoss Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (41 Sqdrn RAF special)

The string of Eurofighter special schemes continues. This particular one is from 41 Squadron RAF, noting the 100th anniversary of the group’s first flight. It flew in these markings in 2015. Xtradecal put the decal on X72233, an assembly of special markings (others include multiple Tornados, Chinook, and a Hawk T1, which I am also building at present).

You’ll have to excuse me – I’ve built so many Eurofighters by this point that I can’t definitively remember which kit this is. I believe it is the HobbyBoss version, chosen primarily because it was the only one I hadn’t built yet. There was nothing wrong with the building experience, but except for the upcoming Italian anniversary Typhoons, I think I will stick with the most-current Revell tooling. Excellent buildability and a decent price.

As I said, the building of the HobbyBoss kit went along without incident. There were seams around the intakes and some on the lower wing that needed attention, but any other problems were self inflicted. I’ve never had a problem with Xtradecals, so all went well there.

I’ve now completed 11 Eurofighters, all but 3 in anniversary markings. Next come some non-RAF examples, specifically Italian AF specials and Luftwaffe specials. I am somewhat surprised that I’ve seen so few of this type on model show tables. Maybe I’ve just been looking at the wrong show videos, but they are very thin on the ground, and when they do turn up, it tends to be in (IMO boring) standard squadron markings.

This is completed aircraft #487 (4 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2018), finished in April of 2018.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Paint (F-102, Hawk, Daimler, Komet, Eurofighter)

The paint session itself went well enough, and the three paint colors (Black, Middle Stone, and Dark Green) all went where they were supposed to and came out looking properly smooth. I don’t think any of them will be needing a polish and reshoot.

Once the paint cures, I will be attaching the landing gear to the F-102 and Hawk. Next, I’ll be painting the tires of the Daimler armored car. Both the Komet and Eurofighter will require additional masking, allowing me to move on to the next colors for both of them.

I’m still working on stripping the paint off of the Ffrom Delta so I can reshoot Alclad White Aluminum overall. This has been a painful process; the construction phase went very smoothly, so the disaster with the primer/Alclad coat was a major disappointment. Hopefully I can get all of the paint off and start over on this one.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Paint prep (F-102, Eurofighter, Hawk T1, Komet)

Now that I am getting more mobile post-surgery, things are picking up in the never-ending construction and paint queue in the 72 Land production line.

Today’s construction work was mostly oriented toward getting ready for the next paint session. There was a great deal of masking to be done. On the Meng F-102, both the nose (Black) and the metal areas of the tail (Aluminum) were masked off.

On the latest Hawk T1, which is overall Black, the wheel wells were all masked to protect the White wells.

On the Italian Eurofighter special scheme, the spine and vertical tail needed Black as well.

But Black wasn’t the only color to be prepared. The Daimler armored car will get an overall coat of Middle Stone, and the captured Me-163B needed its wings and vertical tail painted RAF Dark Green.

As you can see, I've started stripping the Delta of its primer and Alclad. But there is still a ways to go before it will be ready to reshoot the White Aluminum. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Paint (Delta, F-102, Me-163B, Hawk T1)

I managed to sneak in another painting session the night before the Spring Show. It was a prototypical experience for me: one disaster, one omission, and a few successful paint jobs.

The disaster is still mystifying me a bit. Here is how it developed. As I was building the Ffrom Northrop Delta, there were a couple of seams that needed attention. One wing seam and the tops of the two landing gear spats. Plus a couple of instances of general seam cleanup. So I decided to do something I rarely do: apply a primer coat. As it happened, I just wanted to use a color that was already in the airbrush. I had just finished doing cockpits with Dark Admiralty Grey, so I did an overall coat on the Delta. I figured I would just paint the Alclad over the top once I checked out the seam work (which turned out to be fine).

And here, as they say, my troubles began.  As I sprayed the Alclad, it just absorbed into the Grey primer coat. You could tell there was some metallic sheen in there, but the color coverage basically disappeared. This led to a desire to spray a bit heavier, which led to runs, which led to a catastrophic finish. The only thing that looked correct was the engine cowling. And, no coincidence since I had added that piece after I primered the model, that was the only thing that did not have any other paint on there. I did try to take a photo of it, but my camera was misbehaving and I decided to move on. As I said, I typically don't prime before Alclad. And now I know why! (BTW, the photo below shows the Delta after primer but before I shot the Alclad). 

Other less traumatic paint work included getting the wheel wells for the F-102 in ZC Green, the cockpit interior for another Bae Hawk T1, and a coat for the cockpit of the RAF captured Me-163B Komet. I was planning to do the Trainer Yellow undersides for the Komet as well since this would not interfere with the cockpit, but completely spaced on it. Ah well, something for the next paint session to cope with.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 5 of 5)

Here is one final load of photos from the Spring Show. 

If you want to look at the entire album (I shot a couple of hundred models, many more than I can highlight directly on the blog) here is a link to the gallery: Link

Today's list includes an RAF MQ-9 Reaper UAV, Me-262, LVTA1 amphibian, Ki-43, F-105, and Nardi FN-305.

Many thanks for having a look. And congratulations to the IPMS-Seattle team for another excellent show!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

2018 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 4 of 5)

Another batch of photos from the show. These include an Israeli B-17, Bristol Beaufighter, a Mk 1 "female" tank, P-26, Henschel Hs-126, and a SAAB B-17.

Last set tomorrow. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

2018 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 3 of 5)

Another selection of photos from the 2018 version of the IPMS-Seattle Spring Show. This time we have a Heinkel He-70, a big diorama of the Deathstar with a group of 1:72 Star Wars fighters, that spectacular 1:32 XB-70 I was gushing about earlier (not 1:72 but definitely drew some attention!), a 1:72 sub, a rather lonesome Eurofighter - and Italian to boot, and a Revell Lanc. 

More tomorrow! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 2 of 5)

Time for another selection of photographs from the Spring Show. This group consists of a brightly colored CF-18 in markings for the 150th Canadian anniversary, a trio of very nice Meng F-102/106s, Macchi MC-72 seaplane racer, AModel Jetstream 31 in Economist magazine markings, a Spitfire (but at least in unusual Egyptian markings), and a USN Sea King.

More tomorrow; maybe some armor/trucks and maritime as well. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

2018 IPMS-Seattle Spring Show (part 1 of 5)

Another Seattle Spring Show is in the books, and I suspect it set another record for attendance and models, though I won't know that until I get the statistics in another few days. But it was definitely crowded from walk-ins and the 1:72 tables were packed as well. 

Now, all of you know that I will be a 1:72 guy until the day I am loaded into my 1:72 scale coffin, but even I have to admit that the most impressive model at the show was a 1:32 version of the XB-70. The thing was bloody huge and very well done. If it started life as a Combat vac, the work is even more impressive. I do hope it was as least in contention for best model, or at least best in category. 

Types chosen in 1:72 were decently diverse this year, though there were the usual high numbers of 109s, 190s, and Spits. Quality, I have to say, was pretty high up there as well. Not many obvious dogs on the tables. In all, I think the Seattle team can be justly proud of another well-run, well-attended model show. 

For the next few days, I'll be running a selection of my favorites each day. This isn't meant to be the "best" in the categories; my choice is always eclectic and follows no easily discernible standards! Below are Anigrand XB-51, Anigrand A-12 Flying Dorito, Special Hobby B-18 Bolo, AModel Beech 1900, Mistel, and Special Hobby Me-264.

If you want to see the entire gallery: 2018 Gallery

Friday, April 20, 2018

Paint (F-102, Hawk, DC-3, Eurofighter, Me-163B)

The paint session went well enough. Our streak with breaking appliances continues – this time it is the garage door opening mechanism – so I had to manually push the thing up to allow for ventilation during the painting. I do wear a respirator, but prefer to have ample fresh air coming in while I’m doing this job.

Pretty much everything I mentioned in the last post got covered. The F-102 got its wheel wells and the inner side of the wheel doors painted. Next comes masking the wells and an overall coat of ADC Gray.

A general Aluminum coat took care of exhausts for DC-3 and the Italian Eurofighter.

The cockpit for the Bae Hawk T1 was painted Admiralty Grey. I also used that for the primer coat on the Ffrom Northrop Delta. Seam work looked good, and I will next paint it overall NMF. I also got the cockpit for the HobbyBoss Me-163B – which will be painted up in captured RAF markings – completed. Next comes masking and attaching the canopy, and eventually putting on the Trainer Yellow undersides.

Overall semi matte coats for another Eurofighter (41 Sqdrn RAF 100th anniversary markings) and the DC-3 (Worldwide Airways “Arctic Rose”) means that these two can now be moved to the completed column. Expect summaries as soon as I can get the photographs taken.

I’ve already gone on to do some construction after this painting session (and of course I do have the two completions that will need to be written up) but the next few days will consist of highlights from the IPMS-Seattle Spring Show on 4-21-2018. I was concerned that the surgery would cause me to miss this year’s version after 23 straight years, but I seem to be doing well enough that I can at least hobble around the display room and get photos of all the 1:72 models.