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.