Saturday, January 31, 2015

Seat Belts and other things

Firstly, I had a bit of a disaster. I had to decant some more metallic blue yesterday. I thought that I had left it long enough for the propellant to disperse but... I opened the bottle this morning and it blew everywhere, including over the bonnet of the Cobra! So, I have had to re-do the whole front of the car. Unfortunately, one of the things that got covered is the white circle with the racing number on it. Remember that I was very pleased to have obtained these from the Ferrari GTO kit. This means that I am left without a number on the bonnet. As it happens, the Fujimi kit had three white circles on the decal sheet so I can, at least, replace that easily. The number 3 is a bit of an issue, though. As part of my Model Railroading, I have been re-decalling my locos from the supplied road names into my own Sunset & North Eastern Railroad (for more details, check out my Model Railroad blog HERE). This means that I have a stock of white decal sheet which can be printed with an ink jet printer. All (??) I have to do is to scan the side of the body, which will give me the bulk of the 3. From there, in Photoshop, I can create a new 3 and print it out in black on the white background. I should, then, be able to use that to finish everything off. I didn't take any photos as I was pretty ashamed but it is going OK so far. Mind you, I have still to repaint the thin blue line between the two white stripes so - Watch This Space!

As it is a dismally cold day with intermittent snow, I have spent most of the time at my desk making the blue seat belts - yes they finally came in the post today. These, if you have read my GT40 entries, are very fiddly to make but look great when finished. here is the sheet of etched nickel as it comes.

You can see that I have made up the two shoulder straps. Here is the completed seat. I have left the scalpel in the image to set some idea of scale!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fujimi Shelby Cobra 427 nearly there

The car is a few details away from being finished. All it requires are a few more coats of Klear and then all of the chrome external parts to be attached. I normally attach them using Gators Grip - an acrylic glue that works like super glue but can be cleaned up as it sets.

I am including a long list of images as a slide show because once the body is finally closed up then most of it cannot be seen :-(

I must give a round up of the final painting which proved to be more complicated than I expected. As I have discussed, I painted the car with Tamiya metallic blue which went on very well once it had been decanted from the rattle can. The next step was to add the white strips. Now the kit contains decals for all of these so it should be a simple exercise. If I had know then what I know now, I would have approached this very differently. I applied the white decals but I had a similar problem to that which I had with the GT40 - namely that the decals split as I was applying them. Add to that the fact that I couldn't get the decals around the air intake on the bonnet (hood for my American friends) to settle down and things were not going well. In the end I took all of the decals off and decided to paint the white stripes.

This is where the "if I knew then" bit comes in. The best way to do the stripes would have been to paint the car white in the first place and then mask out the white whilst I applied the blue. However, now is a different country from what might have been then! So, I had to mask out the blue. This involved cutting a very thin strip to get the separation between the two white stripes. Now you see why it should have been done first. The other way would have involved just putting two masks down for each of the stripes. Still, I managed it. Here is the car all masked up.

Here is the final result, after all the painting, touching up and decal application.

Irritatingly, Fujimi supply the parts to make it a racing Cobra  and give you the white circles for the numbers. However, they don't supply any numbers! I had a look in the Revell Ferrari GTO that came the other day and it has two decal choices. One was for a Le Mans racer, which is what I wanted to build, whilst the other was for a race at Monthlery which wasn't of much interest. I cut off the numbers for that car and applied them to the Cobra.

As mentioned earlier, if I don't show you the insides now then they won't be available once the body is on to here is a few photos as a slide show.

Lastly, I thought that I had better mention why there is only one seat fitted. I have bought a set of Eduard 1/24th scale seat belts in blue. I have three sets of belts but they are all red, which wouldn't look right. So, the seat is waiting for the belts to arrive before I can fit it finally.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Getting started on the Shelby Cobra 427

Another Fujimi kit under way.

This looks to be just as nice a kit as the GT40. I am trying something new with this one. The body is to be painted with a metallic blue. It is very difficult to hand paint metallics so I have bought a Tamiya acrylic rattle can. As using a rattle can is normally a broad brush operation and the paint goes everywhere with little control, I decided to decant the paint into a bottle and use the airbrush.

Decanting is an interesting process.  Brett Green, of Hyperscale fame, has done two videos on the process.

Having decanted the paint and left it for the gas to escape, I loaded up the Iwata Neo and sprayed away. Here is the result so far.

I think that this looks really smart and am very pleased with the result.

I have also made a start on the engine. I am not one to do a lot of scratch building detail on engines as I don't really understand all the bits so this is built OOB (out of the box).

The engine block and exhausts have been sprayed with Alclad steel whilst the rest is in Alclad chrome. I tried using Coca Cola to remove all of the original chrome but I think that my bottle must have been passed its sell by date as nothing happened so it was back to the trusty old Mr. Muscle Oven Cleaner which did the trick in about 10 minutes. Funny but I never realised that it worked so quickly. I had always followed the instructions I got from the internet which said - put the items in a plastic bag; spray them; leave overnight; wash and dry. It seems that I can replace the plastic bag with a metal tray and the overnight with 10 minutes! Anyway, job done. I then undercoated everything with Vallejo black primer and then sprayed the Alclad. While I was at it, I sprayed everything else that needed to be black. So, I am ready to get on.

Lastly, I am very excited that I have found the Ferrari kit that I wanted to pair with the GT40.  It seems that Fujimi make a 1/24th kit for a Ferrari 330 P4. It is not quite right (yah boo) as it should be a P3 but externally, I can't tell the difference. here is the box art. I have one coming from Hong Kong as the kit is unavailable over here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GT40 ready to roll

At last, I have finished a proper model kit. Apart from the 1/144th stuff that I was doing last year, it is a long time since I completed what I see as "proper".

I have always loved the GT40 and have wanted a model for many years.  The target for this model was the Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon Le Man winning car of 1966 as in this photo.

When I found that the Fujimi kit only contained one set of decals, I was a bit concerned but when I saw the box, I knew that I had to build it. The kit itself went together with very little problems - or effort. Being black all over, I was able to use my favourite Vallejo black primer as the paint and then multiple coats of Klear - hand brushed to get a decent shine. I always find that spraying Klear leaves very thin coats whilst hand brushing goes on better. Remember that Klear is self levelling so you never get any brush marks. It is a bit disconcerting when you put on a second coat as you think that everything has gone wrong because the surface becomes very cloudy. However, what is happing is that Klear consolidates itself into a single coat from multiple applications so the cloudy effect is the top coat softening the layer beneath before this consolidation takes place. Within a few minutes, the surface is its usual brilliant shine again.

The only bit that isn't quite right in the kit is the front wheels. They are designed to roll but the mechanism leaves them a bit floppy on the suspension. Still, as it is a static model, that won't matter. In fact, I would have shot some super glue of into the wheels to fix them in place (I only realised that it was a problem when I put the body on) but I have run out of super glue! I can do it later, though.

So, here is the finished kit.

Some close ups.

So, what is the next project. Well, I have had so much fun building this that I decided that I was on a roll. Firstly comes the Fujimi 1/24th Shelby Cobra. I have built the Revell version before but that went to Dan in Connecticut so I would like one for myself. The Revell kit was out of stock at my supplier, so Fujimi it is.

Then, The Revell 1/24th Ferrari 250 GTO. I would have liked a 250Por 330P but there isn't a kit for that.

Finally, the Revell Shelby Mustang. Again, I have built one of these but it, also, went to Dan as a present.

Keep watching this space.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The airbrush saga ends

The new nozzle arrived. Once fitted, I gently tried the airbrush to find that it worked perfectly. So, thanks to Ken Medwell of The Airbrush Company. They provided their usual first class service.

Where am I left in all of this. Well, I have a nice little Neo airbrush which can be used without a paint cup.

Without a cup attached, it will hold just under 1ml (1/32nd oz.) of paint. I have found that this is sufficient when doing small amount of touch up. It has an added bonus in that there is no cup to clean out. A quick blast through to empty the brush of all paint/varnish and then a fill with airbrush cleaner followed by another blast though and everything is tickety boo! I find that I am turning to it quite often. In fact, it has made me think about the TR0 and why it is a fag to clean.

I used to have a Hi-line HP-CH airbrush which I sold off when I got the TR0. However, I am rethinking that decision now that I have re-acquainted myself with a top cup. The TR0 is difficult to clean because it has a side cup. This gives it a convoluted paint path. The cup has to be washed out each time to keep the small connecting tube clear of any residue. Then, the paint path does a 90 degree turn into the airbrush which, again, is awkward to clean thoroughly. The Hi-line is like the Neo - a straight through paint path that is easier to clean. However, the Neo cannot come close to the TR0 for detail work. The trigger gives a lot more control than the button on the Neo.

I am thinking about what to do. The Hi-line is £225 whilst the TR0 is £205 so selling the TR0 on E-Bay wouldn't give me enough to get back in with a Hi-line. I don't think that SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) would agree to me spending around one hundred pounds just to resolve my little airbrush dilemma. Oh well, I will just have to carry on!

Anyway, the whole thing is irrelevant as I am now managing very well with my combination of airbrushes so onwards and up as they say. I will use the Neo for the quick touch up jobs and area spraying whilst keeping the TR0 for the finer work such as aircraft camouflage, etc.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fujimi 1/24th Ford GT40 progress

I am enjoying this one. It has been an easy build and great fun. I am just at the point where I am readying the body for decals. The chassis is pretty much finished.

The parts that should be metal have all been stripped and coated with Alclad - either Chrome or Aluminium. The wheels had the glossy chrome stripped off and have been painted with Vallejo Model Air Brass. The seat belts, as mentioned previously, are a bit late for the actual car but I wanted a decent set of belts in there. These are Eduard 1/24th Sparco seat belts.

I expect to get on with the decalling tomorrow so more news then.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New start - again - and a fun way to spend an afternoon!

I can't sort out the paintwork on the Mini so I have put it away until such time as I can clean the body up.

So, I am off on a new one. Still on the racing car route.

This is the 1/24th Fujimi kit of Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren's Ford GT-40 in which they won Le Mans in 1966. It is a very straightforward kit. The bodywork was painted black so there shouldn't be any issues there. A bit of history. I set my alarm clock for every hour during the night to keep up with the race. Roger and I were that keen and so wanted the Fords to win.

I am cheating a bit. The kit includes some very simplistic seat belts. I happened to have a set of Eduard 1/24th etched brass seat belt that, although they are more modern than the actual car (and are red where the originals were black) they look really great. I have used these before in a Shelby Cobra so I knew how fiddly they are to make. 4 hours later...

Here is a shot of the instructions. Can you imagine how fiddly this all was?

I have sprayed all of the black and silver and am now putting the chassis together. I hope that this is going to be a simple build!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Airbrush Woes and an old familiar story!

Although I have been blaming the amount of medication, etc. that took up a lot of last year, there was another underlying reason why my modelling slowly drifted away. When I retired and closed SBX, I made sure that I topped up with anything that I thought I would need in the future - paints, glues, thinners, etc. plus a few kits. This last blast got me all these things at trade price so it was worth doing. One small issue I had at that time came from my arthritic hands. Using an airbrush for a long time was quite painful. Hence, one of the very last things I bought as SBX was a TR0 Iwata trigger airbrush.

I got on very well with this until the middle of last year - 2014. It seemed that it would only rarely let any paint through and became a nightmare to use. As this coincided with my other issues, I didn't really think about it. However, whenever I thought of making a model, I saw an image of fighting this airbrush so put everything on hold. I am making a lot of this as it was actually secondary to my health problems but it didn't help. Recently, as you know, I got back into the swing of things and am busy putting together the Copper Car Company racing Mini. This is going quite well. I got some colour matched painted from Hiro Boy - Zero One paints, which are lacquer based. On spraying the body, I again had huge issues with the airbrush. I had bought a full Iwata cleaning kit so I stripped the airbrush right down to its constituent parts and cleaned everything so that the whole thing glowed. I ordered a new needle as the one I had was slightly bent at the tip.

Being a bit of a belt and braces chap, I also ordered an Iwata Neo airbrush. Note that as the price of this is £55 - in comparison to the £215 of the TR0, this is a cheap unit. It has turned out not to be so. It comes with two sizes of cup. I tried it with the small cup. I ran the Zero One green through it and it sprayed brilliantly. It also cleaned up without any effort at all. I then found that I had missed spraying the four wheel arch extensions. As I only needed a tiny amount of paint to do this, I didn't even fit the paint cup but put the paint directly into the airbrush. Firstly, it sprayed then very nicely and, secondly, it took no effort to clean it out completely - not even a cup to clean!

I exchanged e-mails with Ken Medwell, of the Airbrush Co., who suggested that I might have a damaged tip on the TR0. Having bought a new needle, I felt that if I bought a new tip then I would have replaced everything so it should work. I hadn't accounted for the cost of a 0.2mm tip - £32.60. So, now, I have spent £32.60 on the tip and £10.99 on a new needle. This is almost the cost of the Neo! The tip should arrive today. If this doesn't work, I am going to have to send it back for a service.  Over the years at SBX, I because something of an Iwata guru so I am annoyed that I can't solve this problem. Still, the little Neo is giving me great service for now.

On to my second thread. I have sprayed all of the Mini that needs to be in British Racing Green but there is a big problem. The paint has gone on fine everywhere except on the body. The pain there has a gritty finish which will be useless as a polished car.

I am currently dousing it in oven cleaner in the hope that I can take it back to bare plastic and start again! The inside is coming on OK. It is a tiny car, so blowing up the image doesn't do any favours but this is where I am with it.

More news later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So what went well over the years?

Having posted all the things that went wrong, I thought I might celebrate a few that went right. I have trawled back through the blog and recovered a few photos. In all of the recent moves, I seem to have lost a lot of my archived images so these are all I have but they make a nice slideshow.

The models are as follows:

  • Revell 1/24th Shelby Mustang 500 - a present to my friend Dan in Connecticut
  • 92nd Highlander - Battle of Waterloo 1815 - 1/10th scale resin bust by Young Miniatures
  • 1/24th scale ECTO-1A Ghostbusters Cadillac Ambulance by AMT
  • Revell 1/12th(!) scale Shelby Mustang 500
  • Trumpeter BR-52 WWII German Loco - 1/35th scale so this is 31" (80cm) long!
  • Revell 1/24th Shelby Cobra - another present to my friend Dan
  • 71st Highlander Officer Crimean War 1864 - Young Miniatures 1/10th scale resin bust
  • Hawker Typhoon in 1/72nd scale - one of Airfix's latest mouldings.
  • German Marder self propelled gun - Tamiya 1/35th with Miniart figures and FriulModelli cast metal tracks. "Warum sind sie rückwärts gefahren?" means "Why did you reverse?" hence the tracks jammed up on the front drive sprocket
  • "Verdammte Jabo" diorama. 2 x Armourfast 1/72nd German 251 half tracks and Italeri hacked figures.  In the title, Jabo means British ground attack aircraft and Verdammte means "F****** "
  • B-17 Waist Gunner - a Young Miniatures 1/10th scale resin bust
  • DAK Panzer Office - a Young Miniatures 1/10th scale resin bust
  • Civilian BOAC De Havilland Mosquito. 1/72nd Tamiya with Vingtor decals
  • Eduard (Ex-Academy) 1/48th scale Hawker Tempest Mk.V/Pierre Clostermann, No. 3 Squadron, RAF Fassberg Germany July-August 1945
  • Fairey Gannet AEW3 as flown by John Sillett - AlleyCat resin 1/72nd with AlleyCat aftermarket decals
  • Ice or Beer diorama. Comprised of a Revell 1/35th scale Scout Car plus lots of aftermarket detailing plus Verlinden figures. Soldiers maintain that they slid on the ice. The MPs can see the crate and opened bottles in the back and want to check for alcohol on the breath! Which was it - you choose!
  • North American PBJ-IJ Mitchell "Raggedy Ann". US Marine Corps upgunned aircraft operating out of Raboul in 1945
  • Israel Defence Force F-16I Sufa - Hasegawa 1/72nd
This list makes me feel a bit better! I haven't listed everything. I have quite a few 1/10 busts not listed plus other aircaft but felt that I should limit the list to those that I really like.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I am amazed at how many models I have failed to finish!

I spent some time, yesterday, going through my blog back to the beginning. I was amazed at how many models I started but failed to finish. Do you remember these?

  1. Dragon Northrop Black Widow - given to James in the shop as I couldn't face all of the window masking.
  2. Dragon StuG - Part of a proposed diorama - a German T-34 being towed out of the mud by a StuG and a captured Russian tractor. I made the T-34 but started both the StuG and the tractor but never finished either.
  3. Tamiya 1/48th Vietnam Skyraider - I made a mess of the painting and never finished it off.
  4. Tamiya 1/12th Tyrrell P34 6 wheel F1 car - put it away in the garage - then put something heavy on to and broke the chassis!
  5. Airfix 1/72nd Canberra PR9 - messed up the decals and it ended up on my grandson's ceiling.
  6. According to my blog in December 2009 I received a 1/12th Trumpeter Ford GT40 and a Pegaso 75mm Arapahoe warrior. Both of these got sold off, un-started, on EBay. However, I intend to make the GT40 one day.
  7. Monogram 1/48th Catalina - for some reason it never got beyond the building stage. Not sure where it went.
  8. Hasegawa 1/72nd E.E. Lightning Mk. 6. Made so many mistakes and stupid errors that I, eventually, broke it up on the table.
  9. Tamiya 1/48th P-51d - not quite sure what happened to this but I was very daunted by the red/yellow checkerboard nose, which "didn't" come in the decal sheet!
  10. Bronco A13 Cruiser Tank - the body shell was so warped that I gave up.
  11. Hasegawa F-16I Sufa (Israeli) - binned due to inability to finish the three colour camo :-(
  12. Accurate Miniatures Vindicator - binned because I shredded the marking when removing masking tape! Oh, and I managed the throw the canopy away when clearing my modelling table.
  13. Ark Yak 7D and Unimodel Russian Fire Engine - I can't remember what happened to these two but they never got finished.
  14. Dragon 1/144th A-6E Intruder - just disappeared.
  15. Czech Master Resin COD Fairey Gannet - Ken gave me this kit. Unfortunately, he also gave me the wing fold. I knew that I should have made it with straight wings but... I finally threw the tired body away about 2 months ago. I never did do the wing fold.
  16. Hobby Boss 1/72nd Sea Hawk. Just never got going.
  17. Fly 1/72nd Whitley. I had the BOAC decals for this and did all of the major body work to make it a de-armed aircraft (flying as an airliner between Gibralter and Malta). Got as far as the undercarriage and found that all the parts in the kit were very fragile and, in fact, had broken in the bag. Another one hits the dust!

Wow, what a list. 18 (No.6 above is actually two) models in total all trashed because I made stupid errors.

Perhaps, in a while, I will go through the blog again and list the successes and then sort out what I regard as the winners. Unfortunately, I have had two recent clear outs of completed models. One was as we shut the shop when both the BR-52/Karl Morser and The Ice or the Beer diorama were given away. The other was when we closed SBX finally and moved into an apartment on the Ipswich Waterfront. This required a major thinning out so quite a lot of the 'OK' models were disposed of.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Off and running on a full tank again

Having finished the Highlander, I am now fired up for getting back to modelling. Mind you, it's a good thing that I had a budget set aside. Recently, I had sold some of my old railway stuff and acquired a Paypal balance of around £100. I thought that this would see me through a few models and materials. Ha!

This is what I am currently working on. I started it early last year but stopped when I couldn't get the colour right.

I remember seeing these race at Crystal Palace during the 1960s with John Love being one of the drivers. The problem was the shade of green to paint the bodywork. I tried every green I had but nothing seemed right. I then found a company called Zero One that make matched colours. They do a Dark British Racing Green (BRG) which looked perfect to my old eyes. I got as far as buying a bottle when my enthusiasm for modelling was overtaken by other events.

So, now I am back with a vengeance. I opened up the kit box to find that there were no instructions in the box! I went off looking to see if I could find some to download. I got very sidetracked (more later) but couldn't find any. I had another root around in my stash (yes David has a stash - he always said he would never go that route!) and found the aforesaid instructions on top of one of the piles. You would think that this was good news. Well, £100 later... I ended up on Tamiya's Japanese web site (in English) but couldn't find what I wanted. What I did see was their Future Releases link (dangerous this). On that page I saw that they were re-releasing their 1973 kit of a 1:12 scale Jim Clark Lotus 49B. Jim Clark is one of my top ever drivers. The very last race that he finished in F1 was in this car. He was killed a short while later whilst competing in a Formula 2 race at Hockenheim in Germany - a great loss.This sent me off to Hannants to find out when it was coming out. They had it as a future release. End of story, or so I thought. I checked EBay to see if there were any on there and it did seem as though the kit had been released. Anyway, I forgot about it as the kit was £90 on EBay.

I opened the BRG bottle yesterday so that I could paint the inside of the wheel arches. I found that the paint is of a strange mix which caused the plastic to craze a little. Now it isn't too important inside the wheel arches as they will be in heavy shade but it did matter for the body itself. Off I went to my favourite model car web site - Hiroboy - to see about some primer. I found a bottle of Zero One primer and some airbrush cleaner. As an aside, I checked out on the Lotus kit to find that they had it at £80. A quick chat to the family accountant and everything was ordered. I have the primer, airbrush cleaner AND a Lotus 49B coming! How great is that. It is even better because Zero One do a set of paints for the car which are colour matched - the green and the yellow. I had better make a good job of this one!

I will continue with the easy bits on the Mini but am really waiting to get the primer so that I can make a really good start on the kit. More later.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

At last, something worthwhile - and finished!

As you may know, I had a long while on medication last year. This really messed up my modelling and left me pretty much uninterested in doing anything at all. Now, if anyone knows me, they know that I am not one to sit still and do nothing but... Medication can do strange things. I am still not fully fired up but I thought that if I could get one decent thing finished for the new year then I might get going with a will. Unfortunately, the same lethargy has hit my building of my model railroad so I hope that I can throw that off as well.

Here we go. I have a small stock of un-started resin busts. These are something that I have always enjoyed doing. I might not be the best but I make a good fist of any one I make. I was especially proud of my Desert War Panzer Officer and my 71st Highlander Officer from 1854. I thought it would be good to do another Highlander - especially as I had cracked the tartan on the hat, or so I thought.

It all started out well and I went through my usual paint red, paint white, touch up white, touch up red and so on. I finally got the main part of the bust completed. I then tackled the face. I had three goes at this. I tend to make my faces too dark. Eventually, I overpainted it all and gave him a slightly pink tinge which, in fact, works very well. This left me with the tartan band on the hat.

I thought I could remember how to do it. The important thing is to have the vertical stripes really vertical. I found that the best way to do this was to calculate how many stripes there were and work out their width. This turned out to be 3mm. Firstly, I painted the band white.  I cut lots of masking take and filled the whole hat band with vertical stripes of masking tape. I then removed every other one. Painting the result red, I then removed the masking tape - wrong, I was left not being able to define the green squares properly. 2nd go - I did it all over again but this time left the vertical tape in place whilst I masked off the top and bottom to leave a clear stripe around the middle. I painted this green. On removing the tape, I found that, somehow, I had some of the red stripes with green squares along with some of the white ones! I am not sure how this happened. I removed all the tape and took the paint off again. This was the second time I had to do this. Using my Dremel with a sanding disc - I very gently took all the paint off and did no damage. On the third go, I finally got it right!

I gave everything a few coats of Klear. The haversack was coated with gloss varnish as this would have been polished. I then gave the busby and the rolled up blanket a few coats of matt varnish and the rest a coat of satin. I then touched the hollows of the face with matt varnish and finally it looked alright.

Using Adobe Illustrator, I made up a name plate on some glossy photo paper. I still have a couple of nice polished bases from the old SBX days so one of them came out of the treasure box.