Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Start of a New Year's Resolution

Make More Models!

I got a nice 1/10 scale bust for Christmas. This one goes with my Afrika Korps Tank Commander. This is the Young Miniatures Luftwaffe Pilot North Africa WWII

I also have the Life Miniatures MG42 Tripod Carrier, Totenkopf Division, Kharkov 1943

Before I start either of these, I am making the new tooling Airfix Hawker Typhoon 1B. This is typical of the latest Airfix kits. It is very nicely moulded with very clear instructions and a nice couple of marking choices. 

As you can see, I have got the major parts together. The cockpit is very well detailed but you cannot see much of it once the fuselage is put together.   I have made some seat belts from painted masking tape as these can be seen. The joins on the fuselage and the wings needed a tiny run of Vallejo acrylic filler. One great extra provided by Airfix are both gun bays. You have to cut out the panel but this was easy with a sharp scalpel. You also get the folded doors to fix on top of the wing to complete the effect. I have only opened up one bay.

When painted, this will look really good. I am going to try and get this finished before the end of the year to give me a boost for my resolution.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Progress on the Whitley

It took a long while but I have now finished the re-modelling of the gun turret positions. I have given the plane a coat of white primer and will start the camouflage next.

It looks a bit strange but this is what they looked like. It now has to be painted with RAF Dark Green and Brown on the upper surfaces and Aluminium on the underside. Then I have the fiddly part resin/part plastic propellors and undercarriage to put together. I think I might do that "after" I have recalled it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Next project - harder than I imagined!

I have a Fly kit of an A.W. Whitley c1942. I also have a set of BOAC decals for it.  BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corp.) used to fly these from Leuchars in Scotland out to Sweden. As Sweden was neutral, they would have impounded any military aircraft so we had to send civil registered aircraft with civilian crews. Until we had a decent stock of Lockheed Hudsons and, eventually, D.H. Mosquitos, we used aged Whitleys. They couldn't fly above the flak and couldn't outrun German fighters but, amazingly, none were lost.

The problem arises because the kit had three gun positions. These were faired over on the civilian versions. This is going to be interesting. I'm using DAS clay to make the changes.

Here is where I have got to. The DAS needs to dry and set overnight.

Tomorrow, I will start carving it to shape. No doubt it will need a good dose of filler as well!

71st Highlanders Officer 1854

As mentioned before, this is a Sovereign 2000 bust and costs an amazing £16.50. When I ordered it, Valerie asked me if it was going to be any good because my other Young Miniatures busts all cost around £40.00. Well, I didn't know but i thought it was worth trying. As it happens, it was well worth trying as the bust is beautifully moulded and looks exactly as it did on Historex's web site.

I did tell Geoff Woods that I would try using oil paints for the face and he was kind enough to drop off a book on figure painting when he was lunching at the Aurora restaurant just down the Waterfront from us. I am sorry to say, Geoff , that it didn't work. I bought the paints, mixed them up, got the right shades, etc. but when it came down to doing the shading, everything just kept merging into a single colour because the underlying coats never dried to any sort of hardness. I think I will have to talk to Geoff about this, as I can see the benefit of being able to merge the shades. I just don't know the knack at the moment. Still, I have finished it and I think it ranks alongside my DAK Tank Commander. I don't know what you think but I am very pleased.

Well here goes - let me know what you think.

I did speak to Geoff about the hat band. His comment was that he just drew some lines and did it by hand. I wasn't that confident so I did the following: Firstly, I painted the hat band white. Then, I cut a long strip of masking tape to the width of the vertical stripe. I then put this tape around the hat, butting each piece up to the next. This ensured that the gaps stayed the same and everything was as parallel as I could make it. Having got it fully set, I then removed every other one. I painted the bits that were open with the scarlet paint. Once this was dry, I cut  two further strips and placed them lengthwise around the band leaving the middle line open. This was then painted with a slightly brighter green than the top of the hat. Once, all this was done, off came the masking tape. With a little bit of cleaning up it was "Job Done!"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A mix of projects under way

I have quite a few things on the go at the moment so i thought I would give you a run down on the easy ones.

Firstly, I am a great fan of Camberwick Green - Trumpton - Chigley and have a large collection of the Robert Harrap series of figures. Recently, I have been increasing my collection of "the soldier boys that live in Pippen Fort". I have Captain Snort, Sergeant Major Grout, Private Meek and A.N. Other plus the bugler. What I don't have is Pippen Fort to stand them in front.  I bought a packet of white DAS - this is an air dried  clay - and am in the process of making the front of the fort.

I laid out some Starbucks stirrers to double depth. These gave me a frame to work to but also gave me some supports for rolling out the clay to a consistent 3mm/ 1/8" depth with Valerie's rolling pin! Once dry, I will lift it and cut a sheet of plastic card to go behind for support. I then have to make both sides (but only 1/4 depth). The fort stands 6" high so this will look great behind the soldier boys.

Project 2 - Chance Vought Corsair - Revell 1/144th scale
Having enjoyed making the 1/144th Ju-52 recently, I noticed a little kit from Revell when I was in the Cheap Shop - Tiptree on Saturday. As it was only £1.99 I thought - "Why not". I expect to have this finished before I go to Clacton to the model club on Thursday.
As you can tell from the handles of the cutting shears, this is not a large kit! It needs painting up in Gloss Sea Blue and then some decals. A quick job.

Project 3 - Sovereign 2000 Crimean War Officer
All I can show you is the body as the head is in the middle of a large paint job. This is pretty much finished.
That's all for now. The Stagecoach is getting on well but I am trying to finish these projects before i get back on to it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Hussars are finished

I thought I would try out the Perry Miniatures 28mm figures and bought a box of the Hussars last year for "my retirement". I posted some start up images a couple of weeks ago. Well, I have worked long and hard on these. The real pity is that the camera is a hideous revealer of blemishes because you have to enlarge the image so much when you are dealing with things this small.

In the real world, they look "quite" good, but remember that these are the first figures of this size that I have painted for 15 years - ever since I stopped painting Warhammer back in the 1990s. The last time I painted any Napoleonic figures was around 1975 so this is a real rave from the grave.

Well, here goes. I will try for some better images later.

If you dare, you can click on either image and you will see a much bigger version.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oh my, does she like to give me trouble!

So, not content with getting me to buy three intricate resin busts, she then gets onto me about "finding something to do", as though making scale model aircraft, building a model railway,  painting busts and sewing a tapestry tea cosy isn't enough - but then I do love her - grin.

It all started with SWMBO wanting a yacht on the shelf, because she sees them going past the balcony all day every day. It turns out the Cornwall Model Boats  has a great selection of these things, both for R/C and static. However, I expanded my looking to the non-boat sections. SWMBO followed up and having rejected my ideas for some nice 1930s yachts at reasonable prices - for instance - she fell upon a 1/10th Wells Fargo stage coach.  It is 695 mm long, 278 mm high and wide 187 mm, oh and costs a measly £196.00. They do free delivery - hooray.

You may, or may not know, back in 1970 I worked for American Express in London as a Deutsche Mark trader. Now, it is a little known fact that two of the original owners of American Express were a certain Mr. Wells and a Mr. Fargo! In the entrance to the bank branch in Abchurch Lane, E.C. was a scale model of a very similar stage coach. So, what did I say? The man said "yes".

It arrived today. Here are some shots of the box and the interior. I think that I have a long term job on my hands.

19" x 10" x 3" and 7lb in weight - in new money that comes out at 482mm x 256mm x 77mm and a thumping 3.2kg. The instructions are very comprehensive with lots of pictures. here is a taste.

The plans come in a pile about 1/2" - 12mm thick.

Each page is nicely laid out so I hope it will be easy to follow:

There is an extensive pile of sheet wood with a bag full of extra bits.

Lastly - joy of joys - there are three large sheets of etched brass! It is - make your own padlock using multiple layers of etch - time.

It is just as well that I already have a NWSL Chopper II and a Mission Models Etch-Mate. These should make cutting and folding a bit easier. Mind you, the big sheets of basswood remind me of the balsa rubber band flying kits we used to make when boys - no laser cutting here - carve it out yourself.

All joking apart, this will be a good change from what I have been doing for the last 10 years and should take me quite a long time. I will report progress as and when.

BTW, she didn't really have to twist my arm too much - I was already sold - but don't tell her that - grin.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And now for something completely different

I keep hovering between making one or other of the two Eduard special kits that I have in stock. One is their 1/48th P-38 for late war aircraft in Europe and the other is for Northern Europe F-16s. I keep looking at the first step - the cockpit - and putting both kits back.

One of the things I didn't stock upon when we closed all our trade accounts was some resin busts from Historex. These have been some of my most successful results (in spite of having to go head to head with Sonia Maes and Geoff Woods - both of whom win golds at major competitions). I have always been very pleased with my B-17 waist gunner and my Afrika Korps Tank Commander. I have recently been given a little bit of cash to spend as I like and, under pressure from my wife, have spent it on the following (and check out the links):

Sovereign 2000 Officer 71st Highlanders 1854
Young Miniatures The 92nd Gordon Highlanders - Waterloo 1815
Life Miniatures War Photographer Vietnam 1971

I have also bought a box of 6 shades of red by Andrea as I now have some British Scarlet to paint. Just imagine, me buying paint!

In the meantime, I thought that i would get back into the swing of painting figures and retrieved a box out of my stash.

Now, these are 28mm plastic figures. You might ask "what do I know about such things" but I cut my teeth on 30mm Hinchcliffe Napoleonics back in the early 1970s so, if I dig deep, I should be able to manage. I am only trying four of them to see how it goes. I have put the four together, at least partially, and have undercoated them with some Vallejo grey polyurethane primer. Here is where I am at the moment.

More pictures later. As a comment on the box, the contents are nicely moulded with very little flash at all. You get lots of heads, arms, swords, bugles etc. so that you can make a representative company of Hussars. Inside the box is a full colour page of every Hussar regiment during the period. However, they only show you the left hand side of every one - no right hand sides on show at all. Plus there is no real coverage of the horse furniture, so it is back to the two Gs - Google and Guesswork!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

There is no stopping me now!

Having finished the Ghostbuster's car, I thought I ought to get on with another model so that I would have something to take to Clacton next month. Being a bit of a masochist, I chose the most difficult model I have - well, actually, I didn't! There is nothing difficult about 1/144th scale aircraft.

My "brave" choice was an Eduard 1/144th Junkers Ju-52 - 'Tante Ju' as it was known to the German soldier on the ground. This is a small kit but extremely well moulded. It went together very easily with just a bit of filler on the wing roots. The one big problem I had was that the undercarriage kept collapsing. I sorted this out by putting some brass rods alongside each wheel set so that the aircraft sat on the rod and not on the wheel. Once painted, these really do not show.

Well, here it is.

I must admit that I chose the simplest camo pattern as I have rarely done German WWII aircraft so need a bit of practice. Still, I think this looks OK.

What next? I am dithering between the Eduard European Theatre P38 Lightning and the Eduard European F-16. These are both in 1/48th scale and both are rather special kits. They both are kits made by others (P-38 is an Academy kit for instance) but contain lots of extras such as etched brass, Brassin resin additions, replacement cockpits and highly colourful decals. I am very tempted towards the F-16 in Danish colours - purely because it "doesn't" have a resin cockpit. It does have tons of etched brass though :-(.

I feel that I should really finish off the resin COD Fairey Gannet that has been sitting around needing its wing folds finished for at least 18 months, if not more!

I will keep the blog up to date so you know where I am going.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Finally, finally, finally, I have finished a model!

Yes, Ghostbusters are GO! Valerie bought me this kit for Christmas. The first box arrived and when I opened it on Christmas Day, the insides were packed so tight that the roof of the body had been crushed downwards. A quick call to Creative Models - speaking to my old mate Richard - got another box off in the post.

It is an old kit but for all that it goes together very well. The decals have been re-printed so there is no trouble with getting these to settle OK. The biggest problems are that it is a car, so the bodywork has to be top notch, and it is painted white! My method of managing a car is to paint it with matt paint and then give it about 6 coats of Klear applied with a brush. That way, you get a deep gloss and no brush marks. Being white, I used Vallejo's white polyurethane primer which is absolutely brilliant.

I did my usual with the chrome and stripped it all off to be replaced with Alclad.

So, what went wrong - something always does? Nothing too bad except that some glue ran down the bodywork inside what gluing up the chassis. It proceeded to run over one of the windows so there is that which can be seen. I used superglue to fix the spot lights on the roof the first time and then broke one off so a bit of the white paint got pulled away. I lost an inside of one of the wheels, plus one of the bullet ends to the tail lights pinged away. Fortunately, I had the second box so I pinched these two items from there.

Anyway, this is what it looks like.

The sticker in the back window says "I Love Model Cars". This is an addition that is NOT on the original. Overall, I enjoyed making it. It was a simple kit and there was little that was difficult or awkward. My next project is going to be a 1/144th scale Ju52 in North Afrika camo. Should be fun.

Don't forget, you can click on any image and see a bigger one.

I hope it won't be so long next time before I post a blog entry.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Track is down and all the electrics are in

Sorry - this should have been posted to my Model Railway Blog. Check out

I have laid all the track, wired up the underneath and now have everything tied together so that I can run trains. Here is a patched panorama of the layout.

Here is a shot of underneath the left hand board.

This shows how I do my DCC power bus. I use self adhesive copper tape to run both sides of the bus. That makes it very easy to tie the track onto it. (Double click on the photo for a larger image) I used to use tinned copper wire for the droppers as there was no stripping of insulation. However, once you drop it down through the track, you don't know which side of the track it is connected to. This meant that I had to drop one side, turn the board over; solder that side up; turn the board back; drop the other side - and so on. I now use red and black hook-up wire so I can do both side and use the colour to tell me where to solder to the bus. The three PC boards you can see are part of my DCC set up. The one on the left is the connecting board for the NCE controller whilst the two to the right are Digitrax Accessory decoders. These is used to drive the point motors. They are very cost effective because they come with two connections and only cost £16.50 from my friend Kevin at Coastal DCC.  Not only are his prices great but he lives 5 minutes from me so it is very convenient.

These decoders are especially efficient when you need to operate two points at the same time. Each of the two channels can operate a pair of Peco point motors. Hence, my runaround, which has a pair of points at each end, only requires a single channel for each. Brilliant.

You may notice that all of a sudden I have an NCE controller. What happened to the Digitrax Zephyr. Well, I didn't like having a fixed control point. The thinking goes like this. I can buy a Digitrax Full Feature Super Throttle for £130 and add it to my existing Zephyr or I can buy an NCE PowerCab for £130 and sell the Zephyr on EBay (I should get about £110) leaving me a net £20 out of pocket. Job Done. I am a bit fingers and thumbs with it but I am sure that it will be fine once I have familiarised myself with its options, etc.

I am busy acquiring Locos (I have three now), coaches (I have two) and goods wagons (I have a half a dozen). I am busy at the moment getting hold of some deleted 6 wheel milk wagons and some Peco Wonderful Wagon UD Milk tanker kits.

Next step is to paint the back scenes with my airbrush.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A bit of a hiatus

I am working away on two projects at the moment but they are both gong on hold for while as we are moving apartments this week. The new one has some really great views out over the Ipswich waterfront, the Port of Ipswich and the River Orwell.

This is a panoramic view from our balcony!

We move on Thursday so, as I don't expect to get much modelling done for a while.

Anyway, where am I at the moment?

Hobby Boss Sea Hawk.

As you can see, I have got the cockpit done and installed. The undercarriage bays are also in. I put a good bit of weight in the nose. I have now to fit the rear fuselage and am a bit concerned about the joining line. But we shall see.

Ecto-1A - Yup -it's Ghostbusters time!

I finally got a replacement kit and this time the body was OK. So I am on my way. The body has been painted white and had three brush oats of Klear. I have I joshed the interior and the underside. I have also stripped the chrome and replaced it with Alclad chrome, as usual. Here are some shots.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Mustang Rocks - well it Rolls actually

Well it is finally finished. The body was painted black because I couldn't get any of the blues that I had to settle consistently except for Gloss Sea Blue and I didn't have enough of that to give full coverage. I had that wonderful black primer in quantity so that was how it went. It also got another 7 coats of Pledge Multi-Surface Polish (Klear to you) with decals placed on halfway through. Because Klear is self levelling, you get a better gloss by applying it with a brush. I use a brush about 1" wide. I found that if I airbrushed Klear, it would take lots more coats to get the same gloss level because airbrushing puts on such a thin coat at a time. The self levelling gets rid of all the brush marks.

PROBLEMS - I have had a few (to paraphrase Frank Sinatra). None were really crucial except for one major issue. I lost the badge that goes on the boot. Hence, the one that is there on the finished article has been made up. I glued two pieces of plastic card together, drilled a hole in the middle and placed it on my Dremel mandrel. I clamped the Dremel in a vice and used it as a lathe. I gently sanded it into a disk and shaped it. Following some polishing and fitting a post to the back, I gave it a shot of Alclad Chrome. I had a spare Cobra decal - I wasn't able to ascertain quite where it went so it was sitting on the sheet, unused. I put that on and that is as close as I can get to a replacement.

Anyway, have a look at the photos. I'm quite pleased.

BTW, I have tried a new photography system. For the photographers amongst you, here is what I tried. I set the camera on my tripod and set the shooting method to AV. This means that the exposure is set by me and the camera sets the shutter speed. Using this method, I was able to set an exposure setting of f11 which gives a great depth of field so more was in focus. This resulted in a shutter speed of 1/2 second - hence the tripod. I also used the led screen on the back of the camera rather than the eye piece as the camera was too low to look through.

Let me know what you think.