Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My first Age of Sigmar unit

Well, not quite because I haven't built the Stormcast Liberator Primes. Still, for someone who hasn't painted Warhammer in 15 years, this is a good effort, I think.

Here we are - all Six lined up.

I am going to do some of the Mighty Lord of Khorne (Korghos Khul) warriors. These are basically red rather then the blue of the Liberators so it will give me a different view.

In the meantime, I am trying to finish the T-45 Goshawk before I go to Clacton next week. I have now masked off the orange and have given it a new coat of white. I think that I have missed masking a bit of orange but I can sort that. If this works OK when I take the masking tape off (a big if!) then I just have to paint the anti-glare panel in black and then will be able to start decalling.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Moving on to pastures old!

Moving on means that I am starting making the Testors (née Italeri) T-45 Goshawk to make a US Navy trainer pair next to the Buckeye. I know that this kit is based on a pre-production prototype and isn't fully in agreement with the versions in service. However, it is the only T-45 kit available so it will have to do.There is an article in an old Fine Scale Modeler that describes how to update it but I can't find a copy of that.

The kit has gone together very nicely up to now. I had to use a bit of filler on a wing join and on one of the nacelles but they were minor problms. The biggest issue is that I am back to using the Modelmaster International Orange Enamel. I don't like enamels. I haven't used them for years and I can't get used to the fact that they don't dry very quickly.The orange here was tacky for 30 hours or so.

This is where I am with it.

As you can see, the orange has gone on OK but in both pictures you can see that the masking tape has taken off some of the white. This is in spite of the whte being a AK Interactive primer and having a coating of Johnson's Klear on top!

The final image shows just how I didn't mask enough so I now have a lot of overspray to deal with. Fortunately, the white primer will not only go on well but will dry quickly!

Now to the 'pastures old'. I have been looking for something a little different to do this year. Valerie bought me the 'Age of Sigmar' starter set from Games Workshop. 

I have spent a few hours watching a video on painting the figure sets in the box. I spent a lot of time considering what to do about paints as Games Workshop have their own range. Going through the videos, it seemed that I would need 51 different paints/washes etc. Pricing this up resulted in a total cost of £137.70! I sent a Facebook message to the local GW shop manager and asked what he thought. His response was that I should use the recommended paints. This didn'tseem like a reasonable response. In my shop, I would have tried to find a compromise that might have reduced the cost. I then reviewed what I had (as I have a good stock of paints left over from SBX) and found that, at full retail, I had over £500.00 worth of paint. I decided to go with my own paints except for getting a set of the special extra opaque Game colours. I ordered these on Boxing Day (Staturday) and they were delivered on the Sunday. You can't beat Amazon for service.

Anyway, off I went and had a go at the first 6, know as Stormcast Liberators. Here they are about halfway through the process.


The figures are only 45mm high but are extremely well moulded.The detail is very sharp and easy to follow with a brush. I have gathered together a special set of brushes including a couple of nice flat ones. Again, these all came from my ex-SBX stuff. The painting consists of a three layer process. Taking the gold as an example, you paint the gold; apply a wash of a flesh coloured wash; re-apply the gold on the highlights. The gold that I am using is one of a set of three Dark Star golds that I bought at the Wivenhoe show. More soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A step back

When we had the shop, we did some business with Historex as I felt that it would be good to have a stock of figures. We did get a couple of customers that bought into the idea but it wasn't very popular and eventually we sold off most of the stock to EBay. However, I kept back a few thing that I thought I might like to do. One of these was a Pili Pili Flatz figurine.

Pili Pili Flatz are resin cast representations of famous paintings.They are produced as a slightly 3D representation of a flat painting. This one is based on the painting by Roger Van Der Weyden (1400 - 1464) that is called "Portrait of a Lady". Here is the box (well packet) art.

As you can see, it has some complications. The headdress is semi-transparent so her hair and shoulders can be seen behind the cloth. This is what tempted me towards the item and I felt that this would be a good project for the airbrush. I did it this way but then had to hand adjust the effect anyway. That's a bit too soon to be discussing the final item. I started this model about 5 years ago and got so far but then put it aside when we closed the shop and it then got forgotten. Later, on clearing out my models, etc. I found it again and, miraculously, it still had the box art with it. I pulled it out saying that I would get on with it but never did. Some two and a half years later I have finally decided to complete it.

It needed her face to be finished and some final touching up. In the event, I over painted almost everything as I found that her hair band was it the wrong place and her fingers weren't painted correctly. It was a fun project but shouldn't have taken quite so long. I was able to finish it because I now have a very nice LED lit magnifying glass which has helped with painting the eyes and the eye surrounds.

Firstly, I thought that I would show you what being a "flat" means so here is a side shot of the figure.

As you can see, it has very little depth. The item is 83mm high and 60mm wide so it is a reasonable size. Anyway, here is the finished item. It looks better from a distance - grin.

It is painted with a combination of Vallejo Model Colour and - for the flesh - LifeColour Flesh Paint set.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wolfpack 1/72nd scale T-2C Buckeye

I picked this kit up at the St. Ives show a few weeks ago.  The first thing I did, which is totally out of character for me, was to purchase a full colour set of etched. Staying out of character, you will find later, that I even applied every one of the tiny stencils that came on the decal sheet.

Overall, it is a very nice kit. Very well moulded with no flash. It has some very good full colour instructions (that include some full size aircraft shots) and a colour decal sheet that calls out every single stencil that is on the real aircraft. The decal sheet had 70 individual decals on a sheet that was  130 x 65mm!

The first step was to build the cockpit. This required a decent amount of coloured etch and, because the canopy is so open, gives a very good result. Often, after doing all the work on a 1/72nd scale aircraft you find that you can't see anything when the fuselage is closed up. Not with this one so "tarting" up the cockpit was very necessary.

The next job was to close up the fuselage and the wings before painting them. Fortunately, the wing fit was almost perfect as it was so I was able to continue with the build whilst keeping the model in three main parts. Having sprayed it all over with AK Interactive white primer, I carefully masked it all up for the red.

Aside: I used to swear by Vallejo primers but the white I have is very insipid. I bought a bottle of the AK Interactive version  at the Billericay show. So far I have found it much superior to the Vallejo version.

The underside of the port wing had to be carefully masked as the NAVY decal ran into the red area but was on a white background. Some careful measurement and planning got the whole thing correct.

First off, I tried a new bottle of Vallejo Fluorescent Orange which is how the colour is called out. However, this was way too bright. Fortunately, I had a brand new pot of Modelmaster International Orange that I had purchased from Relish Models ready for the build of the T-45 Goshawk that I bought to sit next to the Buckeye to make a nice pair. This was a much better option. The only problem was that I hadn't used enamel pains for at least 45 years so I didn't have any experience or thinners! Fortunately, it sprayed nicely out of the bottle and the airbrush cleaned up perfectly through the use of my trusty can of Liquid Reamer.

I found a small problem with the enamel paint. It doesn't take very well to over painting once it has been airbrushed. The finish of hand painting is very different.  Thus, I found touching up some of the masking bleeds to be difficult. In the end, I hand painted over all of the orange ares to get the same finish overall. Fortunately, I didn't have to apply much of a coat - just a light brush was good enough but it did regularise the final finish.

Once this was complete, I moved on to decalling. As mentioned, I had decided to do the whole 10 yards so put aside an afternoon and made sure that I had had a nap so that I was wide awake. It took me 3 hours in the end but I did apply every singly decal and stencil that was called out. I have to admit that a couple of the tiniest ones got away once I had them wet on the backing but apart from that, everything is there. Here is a small area to show how many there were.

Finally, the aircraft got put together and the undercarriage was added. The doors of the main gear had to have red outlines whilst the nose gear doors had to be part orange and part white to match the fuselage. This model was turning out to be a lot more complicated than it looked up front.

The last job was to complete and mount the canopy. I painted the outside white and the interior dark grey to match the cockpit.  I then fitted the strut to hold the canopy open. Lastly I attached both parts of the canopy using my trusty Gator's Grip glue rather than relying on getting Plastic Weld in the right place and not harming the glass. Finally, I fitted the tail hook!

Now, why would I be doing that at this late stage. Well, there is a story here. Firstly, it is painted with black and white stripes. They do supply a decal but I tried and it was impossible to fit a flat, wet, decal around a tail hook. In the process, I managed to break the hook into two halves! I tried rebuilding but it was too thin and I couldn't get a good enough fix. So, I painted both parts of the hook and fitted the front end. I then fitted the back end but it fell of somewhere along the line so I kept it out of the way until I was finished. So, my very last action on the model was to glue the read end of the tail hook in place. 

All Done!!

Now, all I need is the Italeri T-45 Goshawk to sit next to it. That's a project for next month.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Racing Mk. II Jaguar - part 3

I don't know why I don't just create a blog template for what I am going to say now.

Well, that was a disaster! So, what went wrong? Just about everything that could be imagined. You wouldn't believe that I have been making plastic models for 57 years, would you?

OK, so let's go through it step by step.

1. I spray the body with a good coat of Vallejo white primer. With the addition of some varnish, this will be more than good enough.

2. I then try and find the metal strips that they give you to provide the chrome that Jaguar fitted to these bodies. I eventually find the 40mm x 10mm sheet stuck to the carpet at my feet. This is a good start. These strips are very stiff metal and are supposed to come away from the backing with some glue attached. Well, the first one didn't so that was that idea squashed. Now, I have to think of another way to go.

3. I get out some 1mm masking tape and very carefully go around all of the areas that have to have chrome fitted. These areas are around a half of a millimetre wide so it is a fiddly job. I then have to fill in all of the rest of the body with tape before I can spray up the chrome. I give the body one coat of flat black primer; one coat of gloss black primer (as recommended - I find that the new Vallejo gloss black primer doesn't cover very well so I put a flat black coat on first). The last coat of Vallejo Chrome goes on and I leave it a suitable time before removing the tape and finding that - the black primer has bled everywhere below the tape!

4. I have a brain wave - why not just paint the body black and hand paint the chrome. That can't be too difficult can it? Er, Yes! The black goes on fine but I make (as expected) a pig's ear of the hand painting! I also forgot that the racing numbers were black circles with white lettering so, with a black body, I would have to make my own racing numbers - I have been there before.

5. Back to white then. A quick respray and a decision that I can live without the chrome - who would know as everyone expects a racing car to be stripped of non-essentials. Aside - Jack Sears used to drive this car home after the race. All that was changed from a standard Mk.II Jag with a hotted up engine was the racing tyres so the chrome, the radio and all of the seats stayed!

6. I now realise that I have about 2 inches of paint on this body and it looks awful. Time to strip the body back to the plastic and start again. It seems that I can peel the paint off with my finger nails. That's how thick it is. Here is a picture

7. Having got the worst off, I have a good go with MicroMesh and got the body clean again.  

8. I carefully respray it once again and put the decals on. Three coats of Two Pack result in a body that doesn't look too bad so I proceed to add all of the chrome parts, using Gator's Grip. I use the same glue to fit the windows but here I am let down by Tamiya for once. The fit of the side windows is terrible and I have to have about 10 goes at fitting them so that they stay in place. I am also plagued by various chrome bits falling off such that I eventually lose the light fitting over the rear number plate! 

9. I have one last go at fitting the offside window in place securely - and get glue on the glass! 

By the time that I got it to the club on Thursday, I had also lost one of the chrome wheel nuts. I had purchased a sheet of Bare Metal Chrome to try and fit the missing strips but I didn't seem to be able to do that to a decent standard so I dropped the idea.

Repeating all of this at the club made me realise that I have had a torrid time of it with this kit and that I felt like throwing it away. It was suggested that I might like to buy another kit and have a 2nd go at the body. I did this with my Ferrari 330P but I knew that I would only have to confront the same issues once again.  I feel that I have made a really good job of the chassis and the interior, as you can see.

Thus, having brought it home, I have decided to keep it and have put it in my cabinet as a split display of the chassis and the body, with the body nicely arranged so that the best bits show!

I have decided that I will give cars a miss for a while and go back to aircraft. I have a nice Eduard kit called "Vietnam Scooters" that I picked up at the Billericay show. This was originally a Hasegawa kit so it should go together well and has lots of etched and resin thrown in. Oh well - here we go again!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Racing Mk. II Jaguar - part 2

I am getting on quite nicely with this kit. It is always a joy to return to a Tamiya kit as they do make them to go together well. So far, I haven't found anything that needed trimming, filing or fettling. Everything has fitted perfectly. In fact, the old adage still applies. If a part doesn't seem to fit properly then you have got it in wrong - Tamiya almost never get it wrong (I say almost but I really think that they "never" get it wrong but that is to definite a statement!).

I have finished the chassis and completed fitting out the interior except for the dash board. The real car interior is a mix of red carpet, material and leather. I decided that I would try and put some 3d effect into the seats and door cards* by using my Andrea Color Red Paint Set. This is actually designed for painting British Army uniforms from the Napoleonic period but its five shades let me put some depth into the seats.

However, there is one element of the kit that I haven't enjoyed. This involves the decals. Well, actually, there are two issues that I have with the decals in this kit. The first is that they take a very long time to release from the backing paper. I found that I had to stack the decals up in the bowl so that, once the first one was on the go, the others were nearly ready. The second issue is with the decals for the nicely varnished wood all around the Jaguar cockpit. The wood runs along the top of the doors and is all over the dash board. Here is an image of the dashboard as it is at the current time. I still need to finish off the painting but it shows you how hard it is to manage all of the little bits of decal that fit around the dash detail. Please remember that it isn't meant to be seen this close up. At normal distances and buried inside the car, it will look a lot more natural.

Obviously, I still have the knobs, switches and the radio/speaker to detail but you can see how the decals convert the dash to a wooden one very effectively. I still marvel that they didn't strip the car for racing. It really did race with carpets and wooden trim!

I have sprayed the body white and am looking next at putting the metal stripes onto it before I give it a coat of Klear. Once that is done, I can decal up the rest of the car and follow that with a coat of two pack varnish. All that will be left then is to fit all of the chrome parts and the wheels. Cor, I might really finish this soon!

* Door cards. I have always called them door panels but I have been watching Wheeler Dealers lately and Edd China always calls them door cards, so I follow his knowledgeable lead.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A rave from the grave

When I was a lad, motor sport was my passion. I was very lucky to live close to Crystal Palace which, at the time, had a motor racing circuit that was noted for the quality of drivers that would attend the races. With my best friend, Roger, we would get a 49 bus from Streatham Common up to the Palace, as we called it,  every bank holiday. According to my information, Jack Sears took part in the saloon car race at the Palace on Whit Monday in 1962 in a 3.4 Mk.II Jaguar. It is inconceivable that I wasn't there on that day. To remember the wonderful times that I had there, it was with great delight that I saw the Tamiya Mk.II racing Jaguar up for auction on EBay. I won it with a bid of £22.51 - bargain!

The model is of that same Jaguar that was at Crystal Palace on that Monday. The kit is a usual Tamiya kit and goes together without any problems at all. I have changed the way that I handle metal finishes. My wife really disliked me using Alclad because the smell lingered for hours in our apartment. Recently, my favourite paint manufacturer - Vallejo - released a range of acrylic paints that do exactly what Alclad does - give you a finish that looks like metal. The other good thing is that, with care, it can be hand brushed to touch up.

The first thing I do with any car kit is to remove all of the shiny chrome that they put on the wheels and some of the body work. To me, the chrome finish isn't realistic and creates problems once the items have been cut off the sprue. This always leaves a small area without chrome which is impossible to touch up. I have my trusty can of Mr. Muscle Oven Cleaner. I was told, via the internet, to put the sprue into a plastic bag, spray the Mr. Muscle into the bag, seal it up and leave it for 24 hours. I have found that is all unnecessary. I put out a sheet of metal foil on the kitchen sink. Place the sprue on the foil and spray it with the Mr. Muscle. I use a pair of tweezers to turn the sprue over. I have found that if you do this and walk away for about 5 minutes, on coming back, all of the chrome will be gone. A quick wash and it is done and dusted!

OK, so I started on the chassis. First off, I put the engine together. I had a look around the internet to see if I could do any small bits of enhancement. I found that the obvious thing that was missing was the ignition leads. I stripped a short length of flexible wire to get to the thin strands inside. A bit of jiggling and super glue and it was in place.

Fortunately, the lower part of the engine is hidden so I didn't have to attach that end to anything. I gave the chassis a coat of the Vallejo Metal Colour Gloss Black undercoat and all of the chassis part a coat of steel.

The chassis is now complete so I am starting work on the interior.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Tail of two spitfires (joke!!)

I have finished both Spitfires. In spite of their small size, I found them quite time consuming to complete. They were very fiddly and needed a lot of work.

First off is the more normal Spitfire in camouflage. This is the Spitfire Mk IXc flown by Otto Smik, No. 312 Squadron, North Weald, Late August 1944.

There is always a saga with any aircraft that I build and this was no exception. As mentioned, I lost one of the tailplanes. This meant that I had to make a new one from plastic card. I measured the thickness of the existing part which came out at around 1mm but when I used 1mm card it seemed way too thick. I reverted to two layers of 0.2mm (I didn't have any 0.4mm to hand). I had a couple of goes at it and finally I got something that looked the part.

The tailplanes look a bit askew at this angle but they actually sit on the tail OK. Once painted, it looked fine. What next? Well, the radio aerial is moulded onto on side of the fuselage so, with all of the handling, this got knocked off - as it usually does with me - even if I try hard. I got a length of 0.7mm brass rod and flattened it with a small hammer. I then filed it to shape, cut it to length and fitted it using Gator's Grip glue. As you can see from the top image, this came out OK.

Lastly, I had a brain storm and painted the two greys in the wrong order. The upper surfaces got painted in medium sea grey and the lower in ocean grey - wrong! Having sprayed all of this, I really didn't want to go back to masking everything out - especially the upper camouflage - so I hand painted the greys in the opposite way.

The second Spitfire was an unusual one.  It is MJ250 from No. 601 Squadron in Italy during the Summer of 1944. This is unusual because it is in bare metal. The normal reason for this is to eek out as much top speed as possible. The interesting thing about the scheme is that there is the usual anti-glare panel on the upper surface of the nose which is normally painted a matt black. On this aircraft it is dark sea grey and dark green - although I used medium sea grey so I got that wrong! This one went together quite well. The finish is the new Vallejo acrylic Aluminium paint which I airbrushed on over a coat of Vallejo Gloss Black primer (just released to go with the metal colours). This finish seems to be as good as I would get by using Alclad. The big advantage is that I don't get my wife complaining about the smell.

As mentioned, I also had to replace the radio aerial on this aircraft as well.

Overall I am quite pleased with these two although they were more fiddly than the Revell US Navy aircraft I have been building. They are nice additions to my growing group of 1/144th scale models.  Here is the full collection:

Junkers Ju-52 - Eduard
Douglas Dauntless - Revell
Grumman Wildcat - Revell
Grumman Hellcat - Revell
Chance Vought Corsair - Revell
Hawker Typhoon - Revell
Spitfire Mk IXc - Eduard x 2

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Too much to do and so little time

It's been a busy few weeks since I was working on the Tyrrell 6 wheeler.  As the last stages of the car were going to be tricky, I decided to make something simple for the next Clacton club meeting. Ha!

I pulled a box out of my stash that looked to be a quick task. It was the Eduard  1/144th scale boxing of a pair of Spitfire Mk.IXc fighters.

Looking through the five different paint schemes, I picked two easy ones. The first was from 312 Squadron based at North Weald down in Essex in late August 1944. The other, which I thought was quite interesting, was a bare metal version from 601 Squadron on Italy in the Summer of 1944. Both of these were chosen because of their lack of D-Day Invasion Stripes.  I didn't want to get involved in painting these given the very small scale.

I decided to make both in parallel which went very well. I left off the wheels/struts/doors to make handling easier. that didn't stop me breaking off the antenna on the bare metal aircraft though. I have done this before and it is fairly easy to make a replacement so I wasn't too worried. I wish that this was the only problem.

When I had finished painting both aircraft, I noticed that the tailplanes of the 401 Sqn plane were loose so I removed them, meaning to glue them back on once the decals were in place. Somehow, one of the tailplanes went missing! I have searched high and low for it but it is nowhere to be seen. Again, fortunately, the scale is so small that I can probably make a replacement out of some plastic card, a bit of cutting and some judicious filing. I have yet to try that.

As that task would be a bit time consuming, I decided to finish the 601 Sqn plane first. I have got the decals in place. It doesn't look too bad. I will never understand why they print the roundels in three parts. Trying to line up the yellow outline, the blue and white part and then add the red dot to the middle - all on something that is about 6mm across is not easy. Still, I have done it.

The panels in front of the cockpit are painted in the traditional RAF upper camouflage colours. The front part is in medium sea grey and the rear part is in RAF dark green. However, I only have Hannants Xtracrylix RAF dark green which is semi-gloss when it dries so I will have to touch up that part with some matt varnish. I am quite pleased with it so far. I still have the propellor and boss to fit plus the undercarriage. I then have to paint the gun covers (bright red) and it will be done.

The other plane will be tackled once this one is complete. Here is where it is.

Just to get some scale in all of this, the photos were taken with the models sitting on the top of a bottle of Micro Set. The white top that you can see is 22mm across and the Spitfire itself is just 60mm from nose to tail.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tyrrell P34 US GP 1977 - 1/20th - First Steps

I thought that I would do an F1 car after a spate of Le Mans contenders. It also would make a change from Ferrari Red! I had this nice 1/20th kit in the stash so I thought that this would be easier than tackling one of the 1/12th scale monsters that I have lurking.

On opening the box, I was surprised as to how many parts there were to the kit. Not deterred, I pressed on and established all the parts that I thought would require a shot of Alclad. I normally use Alclad to coat anything in steel or aluminium. These parts require a coat of black paint first but then Alclad gives them a great finish. Having carried out this smelly operation, I started on the constructions. One thing that struck me was the delicacy of some of the parts. Four wheel steering, if you consider it, must be very delicate in real life, let alone in 1/20th scale.

I found that my fingers were way too big for some of the tasks so gentle handling of tweezers was the  order of the day. Unfortunately, I found that some of the parts required hadn't been sprayed with Alclad. Plus, it was hard going getting all the little parts into place without the glue harming the paint. Although I use Plastic Weld (contains Dichloromethane) which evaporates extremely quickly so normally doesn't harm the plastic surface, it was actually making a slight change to the tone of the Alclad. I decided that the best way forward was to just fix everything and then, very carefully, give the result an accurate shot of Vallejo of the right tone. This worked very well. My little Neo airbrush is just the job for shooting very small amounts of paint in tight spots.

This is where I am at the moment.

I managed to break one of the front suspension rods when fitting one of the front wheels. This required that the end of the rod be pushed onto a mount on the wheel. It was so thin that the item broke. Fortunately, there is enough support around it to keep it in place. I was, thus, able to glue it back together. As you can see from this image, the parts are beautifully moulded and are extremely fine.

Fitting the rear suspension was also a lot of fun! The lower locating rods both broke when fitting so I had to replace both with some 0.7mm brass rod. I have a nice digital vernier calliper that lets me check such measurements accurately.

I had great fun fitting the oil coolers. These are mounted by two pipes - that disappear into the bowels of the engine - and hook onto a single point on the side of the car. As there is no fixed point, the part floats around with, at any one time, one of the fixtures falling off. I estimate that it took me nearly 30 minutes to fit just one of these. Fitting the other one is my next task.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Rave from the grave - Tamiya A-10 Warthog

I have just been reminded that a model that I made back in 2003 - ish has never been mentioned on this blog. This is of no surprise because I didn't start this blog until 2006. However, my friend Dan, in Connecticut, New England, has just reminded me about this model - mainly by writing some very nice things about me on his blog. If you can stand it, check out No Facilities.

Anyway, back to the story. Dan lives very close to Bradley Airport which not only houses the New England Aircraft Museum but also, and more importantly for this story, was the home of the Connecticut Air National Guard (CT ANG).

I have been writing software for Dan's company since 1996 but had only got to meet him around 2002 and now, in 2003, I was going out to spend some time with him visiting his company to discuss future projects, etc. I wanted to take him a present and hit upon a model of an A-10 as he saw these flying over his house as they landed at Bradley. The only model I could get was the Tamiya one in 1/48th scale. This is a very early version but I was sure that Dan wouldn't care and I didn't have the time do a lot of conversion work. Mind you, my idea of "gentle scale modelling" as in the title of this blog probably precludes me from doing such work!

I started to realise that, although I could give this a modern paint finish using the kit, or even aftermarket, decals wasn't going to be any good as it really had to be CT ANG or nothing. Needless to say, I had left all of this very late and was extremely pressed for time to complete the model before I had to leave for the trip.

I did a search across the Internet and found that there was some guy in the US that was making custom decals for the CT ANG A-10s. I managed to contact him and, very quickly, there was a set on the way. I was down to about 3 days to go when the decals arrived and, to my horror, I found out that he had sent me the 1/32nd scale sheet rather than the quarter scale ones that I needed. Fortunately, these were too big so scanning them and reducing them would work. Scanning them and enlarging them would have created problems. I scanned them, enlarged them and printed them out on my colour printer. A couple of the set didn't work too well so I had to hand create them from scratch. Fortunately, I used to own a design studio so am quite adept at Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

With a day to spare, I put the last coat of matt varnish on, glued on the canopy and packed it up in a box ready to go. Fortunately, I did take one photo of the finished article.  I packed the model up in a sturdy cardboard box, padded it out with various unmentionable items of clothing in such a way that when I rattled the box, not one bit of the model touched the sides. It then went into my suitcase to go in the aircraft hold. Amazingly, it got to CT unharmed and was duly unpacked and presented to Dan.

Here is the sole image that I have of the finished model (you can double click on it for a larger image).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fujimi Ferrari 330 P4 - how many ways.............

Well, I bought another kit to get a replacement body. This had to come from Japan as there were no local suppliers with any stock. This time I was determined to get it right. Some chance! Actually, it isn't as bad as that but I do seem to be fated with every kit I make to continuously get things wrong.

I extracted the body, painted it along with the two lower side skirts. I added the decals and gave it a coat of two pack varnish. I use the Zero-One two pack which gives a tremendous gloss with one coat. Did I say "I added the decals"? Ha! I added the white number circles and that was it. Somehow, I completely forgot to add the rest of the decals. This had a knock on effect which was quite important.  When I realised what I had done, I started to add the rest of the decals and worked out that the door numbers were too far forward as there was only just enough space to get the Ferrari decals onto the door as well. Now, if I had done all of the decals at the same time, I would have noticed this and would have been able to move the number circles. Now they were under a coat of two pack, I wasn't able to do anything. Fortunately, I had left just enough room so I could proceed.

Right, that's mess up number one out of the way. With all of the decals in place, I was going to give the body another coat of two pack but it is extremely smelly and a bit complicated to do so I decided that I could leave the body as it was. It is good stuff but you have to measure out varnish, hardener and thinner in the right proportions and, given the toxic smell, I skipped it. The next step was putting the front and real glass into the body. This is where I seriously messed up last time so I was very careful this time. I used my old faithful Gators Grip and not the new thin version and everything turned out OK. I fitted the body to the chassis and glued the side skirts on.

Next day, I saw that I had missed out the fuel filler. This is a small piece of plastic painted silver that has to go into the body on the left hand side. The only problem is that it must be fitted from the underside - and I had put the side skirts on! Well, they came of with a bit of persuasion and I was able to slip the filler in place
. The body went back on and the side skirts got glued on - for a second time.

I was due to attend the IPMS Ipswich Model Show on Sunday so I created a nice base for the car. I like to model a specific car and 330 P4 number 26 came in third at the 1967 Daytona 24 hours when driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet so I put this on the base. As I did that, I noticed that the car had blue wheels! I had missed the fact that the car was entered by the North American Racing Team - known as NART - which was owned by the USA concessionaires for Ferrari. I also noticed that I had failed to paint the holes that held the lights on the front of the car. These should have been silver. The light clusters look a bit odd as they are red throughout! Also, I noticed that the rear glass panel was not correctly fitted and was sitting badly in its frame. Oh well, it was too late to do anything so I took it off to the show. I had a discussion with Bob Rowles of the North Essex Modellers about this and he clearly remembered that there should be some element of blue on a NART car.

Today, guess what? I prised the skirts off the body - again - and removed it from the car. Fortunately, the rear glass came out easily with no damage so I was able to reset it in place. I also prised the wheels off the chassis and then removed the tyres. A quick undercoat of white and an airbrush blast of Vallejo Model Air  Light Sea Blue gave me the wheels as they should be. I left all of this overnight. I have now put the car back together again. I am not sure if I will do anything about the background to the lights as that might do too much damage to the surrounding body so I may just leave that as it is. Here is the finished model!

In this last view, you can see how anaemic the lights look without that silver background. I am just a bit annoyed with myself for all of the stupid errors. Still, I have another 16 kits to practice on. Maybe, one day I will get it right!

Lastly, here is the actual car, just so that you can confirm the blue wheels - smile.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Back onto the 330 P4

OK, so I managed to keep up my tradition of having "something" on the table at the Clacton model club even if it was only two little 1/144th scale WWII US Navy aircraft. I am back on the Ferrari now. I have painted the new body, sanded it down and painted it again so the surface is pretty much perfect. Tonight, I am in the throes of putting on the decals so, sometime in the next couple of days I will be able to get the 2 Pack varnish on. Then, I have to put the windows in - and that is where it all went wrong last time! Still, we have time for an up to date report of the current model so here goes.

Well, not quite here goes because I wanted to show you my current 1/24th scale car collection in its regular home. This is a glass cabinet with a mirrored back. I couldn't find an angle that didn't have some of me and the camera imposing but never mind.

You can just see my collection of 1/10th scale busts on the next shelf down. I am running out of space!

Right - here goes for real:

Firstly, the new body

Now a look at the front suspension and radiator

Then the rear of the car

Finally, the cockpit

More news tomorrow when then MicroSol has dried and the decals are firmly down. Microsol is a liquid that "melts" the decals and grips them down to the surface of the model. It helps decals sit into complex curves, etc. Before it sets it quite often makes the decals bubble up which normally causes a state of panic but, usually, it all settles down with a perfect finish. So far, I am placing the large racing number circles so we shall see.