Sunday, November 25, 2007

Violence and progress

I was working on a model to take to Colchester last week. I didn't have a lot of time so I went for a 1/72nd fighter. We had had a Hasegawa F6 Lightning returned to the shop for replacement because it had a hole in the fuselage side. I felt that this could be filled and to save the kit being binned, I decided to have a go. I didn't realise that it was actually a rework of the old '70s Frog kit but soon found out when I saw the detail in the cockpit and the wheel wells - none at all!!!! But - hey - it wouldn't take long to make.

I got on with it and actually felt I was getting somewhere - I have been a bit depressed about my modelling skills recently - I felt I had done a less than good job on my RNZAF Sky Hawk so was a bit touchy. I did it in the three colour Medium Sea Grey, Dark Sea Grey and Barley Grey. That went on fine. I put all the decals on - not missing out any of the tiny ones. The white lines on the wings were tricky but I got them on OK. I had painted the radome Olive Drab as ordered. I came back an hour later to find that I had drawn a line of Olive Drab over the wing - right across the white decals. Stupidly, I tried touching it up with white paint instead of trying to scrape it off:-(

I called my wife over to tell and show her what a mess I had made when I noticed that the tail planes didn't fit tightly and I had missed filling the gaps. before she knew what had happened, I had brought down my fist and smashed it! Now this is very unusual for me. I am not noted for violence, nor for destroying kits - I tend to keep them even if I can see the poor job on them. I think that I had done so much soul searching about my abilities recently that I had just had enough.

Now I have that out of my system, I can show you what I did take to Colchester. I managed to put together a Hobby Boss UH-34A Choctaw in French Marine colours. Only one problem - the large F of the fuselage broke up so I left that and the other two off. Maybe Dom won't notice - Dom is the helicopter specialist at the Ipswich club. This Hobby Boss kit is quite nice. A decent interior, good panel detail, decals for the rotor tips and dropped rotors.

I still have to do two elements for the Land Sea and Air competition at Colchester next month. I am planning an Airfix RAF Air ea Rescue launch for the sea element. I already have my Hawk Weirdo for the Land.

The Air element is going to be the hasegawa 1/72nd PBJ USMC Mitchell.

This is going together quite nicely and it seems that the fit on the wing joins is so good that I can probably paint it and put the wings on afterwards. That will help with the USMC Pacific three colour camo on the fuselage. There is a radome on the end of the starboard wing which means cutting the tip off. That's done - as you can see - and it went well. I have managed to break the rear machine guns off but it was always hope over experience when I fitted them. I can get some brass tube to replace them so that should be OK.

Great news from Colchester - I came 3rd in the annual competition. This was aided by the fact that I had entered on 9 occasions and scored on 5 of them. It was also helped by winning with my Ice/Beer diorama. Mind you 2nd place also entered 9 times and scored 5 so my record was good.

It's the Ipswich club on Tuesday and I am going to take the Choctaw and the Sky Hawk. I am hoping to collar Brian - who did the excellent RNZAF Sky Hawk a few months ago - to give me five minutes and tell me where I have gone wrong. Hopefully I can learn something from him.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Modelling at last - again!

Not having written anything since September, I need to do a bit of catch up.

Skyraider - didn't go anywhere. I messed up the camo, had another go and am still not happy so it's on hold.

Metal Modeles Chasseur - I finished this one.

Academy F-4f Wildcat - This was a model I made three years ago - left it very bland as it was a demo for the shop on how to make a model. Having taken part in a weathering discussion at Colchester I decided to have a go at weathering it. I used MIG pigments on the panel lines and sprayed some lighter blue to give it a faded look. Forgot to mask the canopy so had to put a new canopy on to it. I had a 1/48th carrier deck from Verlinden which I scanned, reduced and printed out for it to stand on.

Hawk Weird0 - Digger. This is a hark back to the Sixties. All the problems of a Sixties model with poor fit, etc. However, it was great fun to build and paint. The tragedy came as I was taking it to the club - Ipswich. I had my camera bag over my arm and it dropped, knocking the kit to the floor. It broke into a few pieces. I ran back to the modelling table and - with copious amounts of superglue - got it back together again. However, when I got out to the car, my thumb was superglued to the dragster tub. Hence, you will find my thumbprint stuck to the model. It was my skin or the kit - the kit won!

Finally - RNZAF Skyhawk - Gekko brought out some New Zealand decals for a Skyhawk so I thought I would have a go. I did intend to do the low-vis three colour scheme but found out that it is on the underside as well as the upper surfaces and not having had much joy with the Skyraider I decided to do the low-viz - all green scheme. This is an interesting scheme as they used to touch up the panels as it got a bit worn - colours didn't match so I have tried to do that with the model. I did get an Aires cockpit but ruined one body shell trying to fit it. I did use the Eduard painted etched for the cockpit and canopy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not much happening

I have managed to get the Skyraider to the point where I can start masking up for the top camo. In the meantime, I have started on a Metal Modeles Chasseur a Cheval 1793, which is yet another 54mm white metal flat. So far I have primed it, airbrushed the horse and given the uniform a coat of green.

What has stopped me is the need to have a model in the shop for demonstrating our airbrushes. hence I have had to rapidly put together a 1/48th Academy bf109. Just the fuselage, wings and tailplanes. It's been primed so it is ready for the shop. I can get back to some modelling again.

Went to the Colchester club last night. The evening was dedicated to 'Weathering Techniques' so I took along my SKP Humber Scout Car and my BR-52. Both of these have been weathered but using different techniques so I hope they fund it interesting. For the competition, I took along my 1804 Ciurassier and also put the BR-52 in. The B-52 came 3rd whilst the Ciurassier was unplaced. A quiet night though with not too many people present. Pity.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Life gets too busy!!

Well, the shop has been frantic for the last few weeks. We have been refitting and extending the shop area, completely rewriting the web site and ordering lots of nstock from a wide rangeof new suppliers. This has meant late nights and weekends so littletime left for modelling.
We are near to completing the expansion plans so I am now getting back to something at long last.

A recap first. I finished the Alemany Stug - including the four figures that came with it. I put it on a small base. However, when it came to Colchester club time, I couldn't find the figures. Hence the model is waiting until I can find some replacement figures for it. Don't forget to click on each photo to see a bigger version.

I finished the 4th Ciurassier flat and took it to the Ipswich club. However, I appear to have left it at the shop so can't give any finished photos of it yet.

Recently, we have been finding an interest in the shop for more expensive Iwata airbrushes - specifically, the Hiline HP-C. As I had little experience in using or cleaning this, I persuaded my wife that, as we needed a demo airbrush in the shop, I should let my Eclipse go and get a Hi-line. So I am now experimenting with the new acquisition. I have to say that it is a bit smoother and slightly more accurate (see below).

Having asked my wife and regular in the shop Aaron for a suggestion for my next project they were about as helpul as a paper umbrella. Hence I was left to choose. The idea was that they gave me something unusual but... So, I have a 1/48th Tamiya Vietnam Skyraider on the stocks. Doing this reminds me why Tamiya are so respected. Everything fits - no filler, no messing around. I have now painted the cockpit - fully airbrushed with the Hi-line with only the knobs picked out with Vallejo using a brush. I have also airbrushed the wheel wells, including all the shading. I just love my airbrush!

Hopefully, I am back to a weekly development in my modelling and a weekly post to the blog.

If you want to see what has been going on with the shop, check the shop blog at

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Unusual Projects

I am working my way through the Morser. I now have the second rail truck substantially completed. Pictures later this week. For now, I have decided to do something different.
There are currently two projects on the go:
1. Alemany 1/72nd Resin/Wite metal STUG III
2. Metal Modeles 54mm Flat!!!

This has been quite fun so far. The wheels and the tracks are all white metal and fit to the resin body. The it is quite well designed and there isn't a lot of work to do on each element. The kit includes a few crew members. I don't think that the construction of this wll take long. A little diorama could be fun though.

This is what it says - a flat 54mm figure. Its an 1805 Cuirassier 4th regiment. Obviously not much construction but a deal of painting.

Here they are.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

F-84f finished just in time

I had to replace the stars and bars on the side due to one of them moving. I stripped the decal and the paint back using 600 wet and dry and then resprayed the primer and the final coat. t went very well.

The final outcome wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I really do have trouble with aircraft. I seem to make a series of stupid mistakes and have to be always making good rather than enjoying the process. I had to cut some more red line decal because Imessed up putting that on. I have touched up the join in the back coloured stripe decal but it doesn't look good so i will re-do that after Colchester club tomorrow night. Also, I managed to lose the minor main gear doors so had to make them of plastic card. Still it looks good from Aaron's 4 feet standard so its one more aircraft done and back to the Morser. I will keep trying - I have an RS Models Do-17 to do next so we shall see how I get on there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nearly there with the Thunderstreak

I had to mask up the F-84 after Alclad and found that the masking took the alclad straight off! Hence I rubbed the aircraft down and gave it a couple of coats of Vallejo steel. It now looks fine to my mind (no uneven areas and no rotten smell!). I will have to give Alclad another try sometime.

I have moved on to the decals to find that they are quite think. They do respond quite well to Microsol/Set and bedded down fine after a time. I had some trouble with the one at the back of the fuselage and in fact I am not happy with that at all.

I hope to finish the F-84 by the end of Sunday as I am being nagged to get back to the Morser. Plus I have the 1/12th Maclaren sitting there glaring at me!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What a smell!!!

I have just given the Thunderstreak its coating of Alclad. Last night I did the grey primer and didn't like the smell. Tonight was even worse. I carefully cleaned out the Iwata after the first coat of Airframe Aluminium. I then came back for a second coat and couldn't work out why the Alclad was dripping out the front of the airbrush. I had forgotten to put the needle back! Mind you, it still gave a great finish;-)

I will put some pictures up tomorrow.

Its 11 pm and I'm off....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sea Knight and Kinetic Thunderstreak

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the shop and over the weekends so I haven't had much time to update the blog. However, I have finished the Hobby Boss CH-46F Sea Knight. It's a Marines version so I have done it in Vietnam.

Firstly the kit. It was a very nice kit to make - not one of the 'easy kit' Hobby Boss but a real one. It went together very easily. The only problems I had were with the rotors. The fitting of these is very flimsy and I ended up cutting them off and re-pinning with brass rod. I had great fun with the decals and ended up using a second kit as I kept destroying bits of them. Once finished and matt varnished, I noticed that one of the 'MARINES' decals had distorted so I had to take that area back to bare plastic and repaint. The Iwata did its usual trick and was absolutely superb in its control as I was respraying just the small area around the 'ES' without any overspray.

The paddy field was made from the bristles of a 3" paint brush - bought as a set at the Pound Shop in Ipswich. I firstly coated the base with Vallejo Acrylic water, sprayed it with Tamiya Flat Earth and set the paint bristles, cut to length, into the wet acrylic. Once dry, I painted the bristles in a variety of greens, starting with Olive Drab. The last touch was to use a bottle of Vallejo 'Still Water', which is very runny and comes out of a very narrow nozzle, to run around all of the visible earth areas to make them shine as water. Lastly, I had to remove the bristles where the chopper sat so that it was sunk into the paddy field.

I was casting around for some figures when Richard Langford offered me some Britannia Miniatures white metal US Vietnam Marines. The four he gave me are great. Two are running for the chopper, whilst one is carrying an injured colleague. the fourth is a chopper crew member giving covering fire - note his flight helmet and flak jacket.

I am really pleased with this and shows how effective aircraft can be in a diorama.


A few weeks ago, Lion Marc in Hongkong offered us a new kit by a company called Kinetic. It's an F-84F Thunderstreak. As this manufacturer was new to us, I decided that I would make one to see how they went together. So far I have finished the cockpit. I am looking forward to doing the rest and intend to use Alclad for the first time in 1/48th.
The cockpit has gone together very nicely. There is a bit of flash on the parts but nothing too dire. The instructions are very clear. The cockpit/gun compartment includes holders for two large ball bearings supplied as weights. I am going to make mine with the gun compartment and the air brakes open so that people can see the detail provided in the kit. As ever, it will be OOB so watch this space.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Humber Final Leg

Well, here it is. Its intended to be somewhere in the Bocage. The officer has got out to have a shufti. Driver has got out to have a fag! Preliminary title is 'Are we off yet?'

The Scout Car was painted in Xtracrylix British Khaki Drab. Weathering is thinned Tamiya Flat Earth and then applications of Tamiya thinners onto which was dabbed, poured, rubbed - MIG Dark Mud. The base is a bit of OSB (oriented strand board) I had sitting out in the garden. This was covered with my favouriteVallejo Pumice, de-frosted in the microwave to speed up setting, and then painted Vallejo flat earth with some Vallejo Leather for detail. Puddles are Vallejo gloss varnish (still to dry in these pictures, hence the white colour. I am probably going to give the road a final coat of Vallejo satin to give it an overall wet look. The bocage hedge is two Scotchbrite scouring pads, torn and fixed together for depth and then overlayed with some small torn pieces to give it some 3d texture. This was then coated with Games Workshop grass and the the depths were sprayed with Vallejo Olive Drab!

The figures are two of the new SKP figures. The officer with the binoculars has had the binocular straps added. These were made from wine bottle metal cap. The driver figure has had a small amount of .4 steel wire inserted (painful) and then painted off-white to represent the cigarette.

This has been a fun project. This little kit, although needing a bit of cleaning up on each piece and careful positioning, due to the lack of alignment pins, actually went together very well and I think looks the part. Its a tricky complex outline but I think they have got the look dead right. It looks ugly but useful, which is how it should be.

A couple of pieces of advice when making this kit.
1. Dry fit all the wheels before mounting the mudguards. I didn't and got one mudguard in the totally wrong place so I had to take it off, make good, and refit it. Also, one of the real wheels is touching the mudguard as the guard is about 1mm off its right position. By dry fitting the wheels when you fit these, you should get all the mudguards in the right place.
2. Don't fit the spare wheel mount when they tell you to. There is zero chance you will get the position right and, in any case, you will want to paint the wheel off the model before fitting it. Leave it off until the end. Then fit the mount to the wheel and lastly fit the whole assembly to the car, getting it positioned correctly between the mud guards.

One bad point is that the etched brass for the jerry can racks was way to large for the jerry cans and would have looked stupid. Both I, and Bob James - from the Ipswich club who is also making this - have as a result left the jerry cans off. It seems that not every one did carry them so that's alright but it would have been better if the racks had fitted.

One a point of accuracy, most people I have spoken to don't like the twin brens fitted with the standard magazines. The feeling is that drums would have been better. As a consequence, I have left off the guns.

With all that said, I loved making this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Got going on the Humber again

Having found that I had put a wheel arch in the wrong place, I stalled for a while on the Humber. I got going on the first rail wagon for the Morser.

This is a usual Trumpeter kit so goes together very well. The springing of the chassis is complex but I got there having broke only two pieces. Thank goodness that MekPak is so good at sticking these tiny bits back together.

However, with the next club nights looming I decided that I would have to do something with the Humber so...

I got the mudguard off and started again.I did stick the spare wheel on until I realised that it would be much easier to paint off the car. Well here we are in primer. Tonight I start the paint job proper.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

BR-52 - sort of finished

I took the loco to the club on Tuesday night. The first question as I took it out of the boot of the car was 'Aren't you going to weather that?' I have a few strong views on current trends in BR-52 displays. Firstly, I don't believe that any wartime loco went into 'war zones' with a bright red chassis and wheels. Secondly, I think that smoke deflectors were a post war addition. Lastly, if any loco ever got as rusty as some paint them, the crew would not have taken the loco out because of a risk of the boiler exploding! My weathering was intended to be a) subtle and b) realistic (maybe a personal view). Hence, there is a tinge of rust around some edges and a calcium streak in places following water leaks. The an overall grimy feel. Oh, and yes, that is real coal!

Anyway, as you know, this is the first step in 9 feet of Karl Morser train so it's only the beginning.

Pity that the cab interior cannot be seen unless you take the loco off the track and peer in. For those of you who know the BR-52 kit, the vinyl hoses defeated me so they are not all in the right places. Also, the cab steps are missing. If I have made any other mistake, well I can live with them so please don't tell me - grin.

Just in case you are wondering, I KNOW that the track wasn't painted - smile - I have no real confidence that painting parts of the 9' stretch as I go wold result in an even and compatible finish. I intend to paint and finish the track once I have finished all of the vehicles.