Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A small diversion from racing cars

When I was at Southern Expo in Hornchurch, I picked up a figure that took my eye. Jon Page of Sphere Products stocks a range of WWI figures by Tommy's War. I was particularly taken by one based upon the campaign that took place in East Africa. The specific figure was of a Corporal of the East African Mounted Rifles in 1915.

It is a very simple figure to put together although it had some large moulding posts that were difficult to remove without damaging the model itself. It also came with a brass tube which looked as though it was to be used as a mount but I couldn't see how that was going to work. When discussing this with Sonja Maes at the Ipswich club last night, she thought that she had used it on her version of the figure but I am still at a loss. Never mind. I cut up a length of an old paint brush handle. This did the trick. The model  went together with just a slight gap around the join between the head and the hat which I filled with my usual Vallejo white plastic putty.

I didn't have a paint of the right colour for any of the major items so I had to mix everything up. You have to be careful when doing this to mix enough because there is nothing worse than having to touch up a part when the special mix has dried in the palette! I had a base left over from the same trip to Hornchurch. This one was of the right size but, like all of the Just Bases bases, it is unfinished so it is very dull. I gave it a couple of coats of Johnson's Klear but this did nothing so I took out my new box of Zero One Two Pack Varnish. Wow! One coat of this and I had a nice shiny base. Brilliant!

Well, here it is. What do you think? A simple but attractive figure that has a great historical interest.

As a final comment, I am not sure what you think but I get the impression that the neck is lightly too long. As I said at the club last night, maybe the guy who made the master was looking at a giraffe at the time - grin.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Workstation developments

Having sorted out my painting station, I decided to give my attention to the cramped situation I was in for actual construction. I was using the desk that held my iMac. As you can see from this image, it was not ideal.

I have already had to change my keyboard because the previous one was covered in paint. Also, there was barely room for a cutting board, let along anything else. Under pressure from my wife, I decided to do something about it. There is no more space in the hobby room - if you look carefully, you can see some of the track from my model railroad along the wall behind the Mac. The railroad takes up a lot of space; then there are two upright freezers and my bookcase. As it is, the railroad is fully kitted out with storage underneath as well so I had nowhere else to go in this room.

The decision was taken that I should move my actual modelling onto the dining table, whilst carrying out the airbrushing in the hobby room with the use of my newly constructed cabinet. There were two issues.

  1. I didn't have anything that I could work on other than the A1 cutting board that I use for cutting out patchwork fabrics. I didn't really was to start getting modelling mess on that.
  2. The lighting in the living room, in spite of being halogens fitted into the ceiling, was quite poor. In a fairly large room it was fitted with only four 50w halogens, so we rely on spot lighting for most thing.
Valerie already had a very nice floor standing lamp fitted with a daylight 6 watt 6400k LED cob lamp which was perfect to light her jigsaw table. We had bought this when at a craft show at Duxford from the Craft Light company in Lowestoft so off I went and ordered another one. I then remembered that Sphere up in Martlesham made things using 1/4" MDF and a laser cutter. I sent Jon an e-mail laying out an idea for a workstation incorporating an A2 board. It was only after I sent it that I realised that he already sold such things and hence my e-mail sounded very patronising as I had described it in detail. I popped up to see him and apologised - smile. He understood and together we came up with a design that would incorporate an A3 board and have holes cut out specifically to hold the various sizes of Zero One paints that I use for my car kits. He did an incredible job and one week later I collected it from his shop.

Here are the workstation and the light:

So, now I can store the workstation on my jigsaw table - as in the picture - and heft it onto the dining table as and when I want. The light is permanently there so I can be all set in about 2 minutes. I can then set up the airbrushing workstation just as quickly because my nice Iwata PowerJet Pro compressor is situated down by the side of my desk in the hobby room with my Iwata HP-CH and my Neo airbrushes both hosed in and ready to go.

How could it be better?

330 P4 Disaster and a plan

Ok, so things were going really well and then - well you have heard the story before. As usual, I screwed up on a few simple things. One of the laws of model making is that once things start going wrong they don't stop until the whole thing is wrong.

I fitted all of the lights.

Things were going grand until I came back to check and found that one of the rear brake lights had fallen out - somewhere - and was not to be found. As these were small blobs of red, I thought that I could replace them with blobs of super glue suitably painted.

As you can see, the left hand one is fine but the right hand one - well, the only way I can describe it is that I hamfistedly touched it - without realising - and then held the body to turn it. Needless to say, I had some superglue on my finger and the result was to say goodbye to a portion of the decal on the left hand door!

That left me a bit miffed. However, I was really only cruising by this time as I had already written the body off with my stupid attempts at adding the front and rear screens. I normally use Gator's Grip for fitting screens as I can clean it up with water. I am now trying out the Thin Gator's Grip which seems to dry quicker than the standard formulation. The net result was that I got some on both screens.  Again, normally, I can wipe this off but it didn't work on this occasion. In trying to clean both of the screens, I managed to crack the front windscreen! The rear screen wasn't too bad so I thought I might try to buff out the problem with some toothpaste. Again, I have used this successfully before. Not this time. You can see the results of both efforts in the pictures below.

I am left with a very nice chassis.

and a nice body - apart from the two screens and the decal damage.

I decided to finish off the body - you shouldn't fit the lower skirts until the body is on the chassis but this is never going to happen so I carried on. I love the final effect of using the two pack varnish. That works wonderfully and the car is gleaming. My next job is to order up another kit and make a new body. I wouldn't normally bother but I don't want a gap in my model procession. The kit is unobtainable in the UK so I have to get one from Japan but Amazon have them at £29 so that isn't too bad a deal. Watch this space!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Improvements in my painting arrangements

I decided that I needed to get a bit more serious about my painting process. I have been unhappy with the TR0 for some time. There is nothing wrong with the airbrush itself but I couldn't get the same control that I used to have with my Iwata HP-CH. I had fitted it with an air control but even that didn't seem to be as adjustable as the built in MAC valve on the HP-CH. Hence, I put the TR0 up on EBay. It didn't raise too much and was won by an ex-SBX customer so it went to a good home. As mentioned earlier, I had a blitz on my stash of aircraft etc. Much of the money went into buying a replacement HP-CH. I now have a great combination of a high quality Iwata and a simple little Neo. One is great for the high quality finishes whilst the other is very good for touch up and spraying Alclad, etc.

I then had to address the problems highlighted by my wife which had resulted in my getting paint onto a good quality shirt and a pair of trousers. This has been sorted now. I have bought a full apron.

Funnily enough, everyone seems to think that this suits me!

I have also bought a box of vinyl gloves - £2.50 for 100 pairs! Then some face masks - 10 for £2.50.

All I was left with needing was an airbrushing booth. Now, I had one of these which I bought when I retired. However, it was quite bulky and along the way I had lost the power supply. The Airbrush Company had stopped selling it so was unable to supply either a replacement or details so that I could find a suitable one. I had some very strong cardboard so I decided to make one for myself.

I cut a hole in the roof and made some supporting pads to enable me to place my little LED magnifying glass in the right place to shine down inside.

I made the joins between the boards to be quite loose and then fitted some Velco strips along the top edges. The stuff I had was heavy duty self adhesive Velcro so that will hold it all together when erected.

This resulted in an airbrush booth that could be folded up and stored flat.

The only real problem is the lack of an extraction fan. The Zero One paints are quite toxic so I have to have the model room widow open. 

330 P4 chassis finished

Well, here we are. The chassis is on wheels and has everything attached.

Remember that I mentioned that there was a PE set in the box. Well, so far, all I have used are the seat belts and the strap over the spare wheel. At the moment, the spare wheel isn't attached as the positioning is not terribly well defined so I am waiting until I can fit the body before I glue it in place I don't want it fouling the body at that late stage! Actually, the chassis isn't quite complete as there are the final stages of the exhaust pipes to add. This can wait until, again, the body is fitted. I think that I will try and use the PE windscreen wiper but this is a little delicate and I might bottle out.

I have found two great videos of the 330 P4 in action. One is from the owner of the only one left in racing condition and the other is one lapping the Top Gear circuit. When you see this, you realise the difference in the technologies. Although this car looks really streamlined, it has little in the way of, what we now call, downforce and thus slides around much more. Wait for the final part of the Top Gear run. This is tremendous!

I have started spraying the body with my new Iwata HP-CH airbrush. I managed to drip some paint onto the body during the first coat of red so I have had to sand the body down and re-coat it with white primer. That will wait until the next blog entry.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

First steps with the Fujimi Ferrari 330 P4

This kit is very nice. So far, everything has gone together beautifully. There is a sheet of PE in the box but I am not sure how much of it I shall be using. These new PE sheets are very hard and take some bending. I might even have to get my Mission Models folder out - that will be almost a first :-0

Anyway, I have got going on the cockpit. I have sprayed the roll bar using my new pot of Ferrari Rosso Corsa 300, which I am reliably informed is the correct colour for cars of this era. The decals in the dashboard didn't sit in properly but an application of MicroSol fixed that.

I am just about to start work on the seat belts. There are PE versions in the box which, supposedly, supersede the paper ones but time will tell.

Anyway, this is what it looks like at the moment.

I am really glad that I spent some time spraying Alclad aluminium on the inside of the doors and then picking out the details in black. As you can see, the door interiors are almost completely unseeable because of the extreme curve of the shell. In fact, there are some PE details for those door interiors. I am really glad that I ignored them!

The first part of the front suspension has been sprayed with Alclad as well. Actually, I have gone through the whole kit and done that job on everything that needs it, along with painting everything that needs to be black with my favourite Vallejo polyurethane black primer.

More to come.....

Saturday, May 09, 2015

I thought that I had stopped buying!

At least, that is what I told my wife :-(
Since the last post, I have bought three more kits and two more paints plus I am currently bidding on one more.  So, what have I added?
Firstly, and rather simply, I have carried on with the 1960s (well early1970s) Le Mans kick by picking up the Fujimi Porsche 917K - the winner of the 1970 Le Mans. This is the full kit, so it includes suspension and engine parts. I find that this, whilst being a bit fiddly, is a more satisfying way to build a kit over a kurb side model. While I was at it, I picked up a bottle of Zero One Porsche/Shell red. I love these options on Hiroboy!

Then....... well, then I bought the 1/24th Simil R Matech Ford GT. For more information of the team and the event, check out the details HERE. The car is based on the 2002 release that Ford made of road going Ford GTs and entered the 2010 Le Mans - "In June 2010, Romain Grosjean made his debut in the famous Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race, sharing a Ford GT1 with Mutsch and Jonathan Hirschi. After qualifying third in the LMGT1 class, they were forced to retire from the race after 171 laps." - Wikipedia.It is in a different shaped box - square and deep - so it doesn't sit to well on the shelf - but I don't care!

According to the internet, the kit has a few detail and fit problems - but I don't care! 
I have picked up the Zero One matching paint.
Check out a couple of pages from the instructions.

Yes, it has a full body cage and - gulp - individual body parts. This is the box side.

This kit has a huge number of decals and it can be built for the Le Mans car.
I have stolen an image from the internet to show one partially complete.

I must be mad!
I have bought the Tamiya BMW635Csi Jaegermeister model.

I am currently bidding on the Ravalglia/Surer/Berger version but I don't know if I will win that.

So, I must really stop now.  Mind you, I am building up a plan for Christmas - Namely the Trumpeter 1/12th Ford GT40 and the Tamiya 1/12 Lola T70. Phew!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Acquisitions and disposals

I am trying to make sense of my "holdings" of kits - otherwise known as my "stash". I have always been anti-stash - especially as I could see what happened to many modellers through contact via my shop. It seems that some modellers aren't happy unless they count their kit numbers in the hundreds - sorry, should that be thousands? I had a conversation on Sunday where the ownership of 500 kits was deemed normal - sorry Kelvin - grin. On the other hand, I have known a man in his 80s tell me of his stash of 4,000 kits (yes I will spell it out - four thousand). On asking him how many kits he made a year, he admitted to 4 - 5. I went on to ask if he was aiming to live to 450 or maybe 500? I think that he saw the point.

My stash is very small - smaller even than my wife's stash of jigsaw puzzles.  At the time of closing down SBX, I was on a Fleet Air Arm line and stocked up with a supply that I could get whilst I still had a trade account. It hasn't diminished one jot since then. I have currently decided to leave aircraft alone for a while so these are all sitting on the top shelf of my wardrobe along with a few other aircraft kits. As you will be aware, I have been on a car jag recently and am finding my self imposed stash budget under pressure so I think that I will be disposing of what I have put aside in the hope that the income might ease my car burden. This also means that I have two very nice CMR resin kits to go - one Blackburn Firebrand and one de Havilland Sea Venom. These are very nice kits - nicer than a lot of short run plastic but I don't think that I will be making them 'ever'.

So, what do I have at the moment.

1 x Fujimi 1967 Ferrari 330P4 1/24th
1 x Fujimi 1970 512S 1/24th
1 x Fujimi GT40 (Dan Gurney 1966) 1/24th
1 x Tamiya racing Jaguar MkII 1/24th
1 x Tamiya racing Mini-Cooper 1/24th
1 x Revell Monte Carlo Rally Mini-Cooper 1/24th
1 x Revell Shelby Mustang 350 1/24th
1 x Fujimi Tyrell P34 6 wheel F1 1/20th
1 x Tamiya Lotus 49 (Jim Clark) 1/12th
1 x Tamiya Lotus 49B (Graham Hill) 1/12th
1 x Tamiya Lotus 72D (Ronnie Peterson) 1/12th

The only aircraft kits that I am planning on keeping are:

1 x Revell Hawker Typhoon 1/48th (to go alongside my 1/144th and 1/72 versions)
1 x Eduard Lockheed P-38Js over Europe special edition

The only armour kit still to be around is the Tasca 1/24th PzKfw III for which I am planning on acquiring the metal barrel set.

I have also been acquiring all of the requisite Zero One paints for the cars so I have the green/yellow Lotus set, the red - white - gold Gold Leaf Team Lotus set, the Rosso Corsa Red 300  for the two Ferraris and the Alan Mann Racing set of red and gold for the Dan Gurney GT40. All of the tobacco sponsorship decals are in their boxes and in pristine condition so that should be alright.

We shall see how we go with all of this. To finish, when I put in my order today for the Gurney GT40 and the 512S, I shamefacedly told my wife that I had extended my stash of cars. She then told me that she had bought another 5 puzzles - so that's alright then!