Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Airfix Bristol Beaufort Mk. I

 I bought this after seeing some good reviews. I also know how good the latest Airfix kits are so I had high hopes. I took the box down to the club and showed them how a 1:72nd scale model could have 106 instruction steps! It all seemed a bit daunting so it stayed on the shelf for some time.

Looking at my "huge" stash of 4 unstated kits and the BR-52 in progress, I didn't have too much choice for my next model. In fact, it was a good model to make. I made some stupid errors, as usual, but all in all it worked out OK.

Most of the complication comes from the complete interior.

As you can see from the picture below, most of it can't be seen once the fuselage is glued together

Thos struts coming from the fuselage are very good when it comes to fitting the wings. Just for once, there was no filler required along the wing roots.

Normally, when doing British WWII camo, I spray the background colour and then hand paint the seconds once but this time I decided to spray both colours so a complex bit of masking took place. This is a combination of normal 10mm Tamkita Kabuki tape and 5mm Tamiya flexible. Just force this work OK and everything looked good afterwards.

Once it was painted, it was time to fit the undercarriage. I always leave this and the aerials off until last as I have a habit of breaking them whilst painting. The undercarriage was quite complex but every part had a notch to go in, all except the curved bit on the front which was a case of stick it where it stays!

Here is the finished plane on the workbench. I will note the issues at the end of the blog.

Here is the finished plane in its full glory.

Problems and issues

Well, there were no real problems except for the difficulty I had putting together the turret and its gun. I just didn't seem to be able to get the guenon the ring and then get the two turret transparencies to go on using my normal Titebond yellow PVA. Then I made the real mistake of changing back to my standard MEK. This was going OK until I got some on my finger and than got some on the glass and so it went downhill. As a result, the turret glass is no longer transparent!

Secondly, I left the chin gun and aerial off until last. I stuck the chin gun on and the realised that I had put it over the hole for the aerial so I removed it, simultaneously putting the aerial down. Guess what? They both disappeared and are no longer to be found. I have searched the desk and the floor but they are gone! So, the model is complete (?) without them. As I never pick a model up once it is finished and in the cabinet, I won't ever see the issue but, actually, do I care? Not much as it was a fun build and looks good on the table. At least I got some nice comments at the club, which is unusual.


Well, that's it and on to the next one. The stash is getting a little sparse and may only real options are the Airfix 1:48th Sabre, the Tamiya 1:48 P-38 Lightning or back to the BR 52, Wait and see.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Sword Fairey Gannet AEW.3 - not as simple as it looks

 You may remember, a few years ago, me telling you about an ex-Air Scout colleague - John Sillett - who joined the Royal Navy and flew Gannet AEW.3 aircraft during the Rhodesia crisis. I built a model of one of the aircraft that he flew using a CzechMaster resin kit, given to me by an SBX customer, plus some AlleyCat decals.  Check out that blog post. Well, that model finally fell apart and died. I recently found out that Sword had released a plastic version in 1/72nd so I decided to have another go.

Given that I found the resin kit to be somewhat tricky, I was expecting an easy ride but it was anything but. I have a series of images rather than a blow by blow account. I will then fill you in with what went wrong and what went right.

What went right is fairly easy. Not much but I ended up with a reasonable model which, if you stand a bit further back, looks OK. The decals went on well, the basic paint job was good and the masking didn't bleed. 

What went wrong? 
  • I got the line between the dark sea grey and the sky wrong on the nose - I didn't bring it in at a sharp enough angle. I only noticed this as I was putting the decals on so I had to carefully mask off the decals and paint the new line in. 
  • I got the undercarriage bay on one wing in the wrong place. This was easy to do as there were no real markers for where it should go but I didn't realise that part of the setup was the support for the undercarriage leg. As I set the bay too deep into the wing, I had to make a new support for the leg out of plastic card. It worked ok though.
  • I lost the radio aerial so had to put in a new one made of a piece of piano wire.
  • I thought that I had lost the small door on the front undercarriage so I made a new one. After sticking it on and painting it, I found the original!
  • In the instructions, the wheels attach by sliding onto pins on the u/c legs. However, there are no pins, just some small stubs. As a result, the front wheels wouldn't stay on so I had to use super glue on them. Now I find, after coming back from the club, that one wheel has fallen off and is now missing!
I have ended up with a model that I really wanted except that there are some issues which mean that it really isn't possible to show it to anyone. For instance, I came in today meaning to put it on my mirror turntable and take a video of it turning. However, with the  wheel missing, it looks ridiculous. It is such a shame. I expect that I will throw it away and have another go sometime now that I know the pitfalls. Lucky that it isn't an expensive kit.

The image below was taken at the club meeting so both front undercarriage wheels are in place.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Simple little 1/72nd scale Airfix Hurricane

 I have been watching some programs about the construction of a two seat Hurricane. This inspired me to make a Mk. 1, which I had not done since I was a kid. I have made a 1/48th scale Sea Hurricane but I broke all the landing gear so it is a bit of a failure.

Anyway, I placed an order with our friends in the North (or Lowestoft at least) and got on with it.

The aircraft on the decals  was a 1939 Mk. 1 that was based in France during the "Phoney War". It had that strange black and white undersurface pattern. Colin Ovens describes the early war options in his book - "A (very) Rough Guide to UK Fighter & Bomber Colours September 1939 to the 1990s" which is available from the IPMS Clacton web site.

RAF fighters: UK & NW Europe

Sept 1939 to June 1940

Dark Earth/Dark Green disruptive camouflage was on the upper surfaces. Undersides were originally port-side Black and starboard-side White, divided along the centre-line of the fuselage - but on June 6, 1940 all fighter undersides were ordered to be painted in Sky. Little of this paint was immediately available to front-line squadrons, and thus aircraft undersurfaces appeared in a variety of locally mixed colours ranging from Eau-de-nil to Duck Egg Blue, but from early/mid-August 1940, the supply of Sky had much improved; by the end of September most fighters had Sky undersides. Squadron code letters were Medium Sea Grey; spinners were painted Black.

OK, so I had the details and proceeded with the kit. This is a very simple kit with not much of a cockpit (not that you could see in there anyway). I, fairly quickly, got the cockpit done, the fuselage made and the wings on. Nowadays, I leave the tailplanes off if I have to mask up a different colour on the underside from the upper surfaces. This makes the masking easier as you don't have to fiddle around them with the masking tape.

I had to use a good bit of filler on the wing roots as I could't get them to close up properly.

Once this was sorted, it was out with the trusty £15.99 Amazon airbrush and on with the paint. The black, white and brown went on fine. I tried masking up the green. I even scanned in the box and tried to size up the image so that I could cut out a mask. In spite of have a desk top publishing company some years ago, I failed miserably. Here is the scan.

After the first coat of green there was a need for a second coat. Now there are two different Tamiya codes for the RAF green and I have both bottles. I also have a Vallejo version. I forgot what I used on the first coat so had great fun sorting out the final colours!

Having finished the painting, I attached the undercarriage and doors. I found that I had lost the original tailwheel and aerial so I had to use the other ones on the sprue - presumably for another version of the plane but, hey ho, what do I know - grin. Lastly, I fitted some of the old Aeroclub stretchy thread, that I have had for years, as the aerial wire and all was done.

I knew that this was an easy little kit but I didn't find it much fun. Frankly, it was a bit of a fiddle.  Now I expect this on short run kits (see my next project) but I had hoped for better from a recent Airfix kit. Anyway. This is what it finally looked like.

Next up is a 1/72nd scale injection moulded replacement for the CzechMaster Resin Fairey Gannet AEW3 that I build some 10 years ago.  Unfortunately, I don't have the decals for my friends plane on HMS Eagle. This is a Sword kit and it is going together nicely - fingers crossed.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Getting back to normal P-39Q and Beneito 54mm

 Well, we have been through lockdown and, as a family, we have been shielding for most of the time, which means not going out or seeing anyone else. I have made quite a few models in that time but got out of the habit of posting here, yet again. I am making a new start, now that the Covid restrictions are slowly being removed. That said, I had a £50 Hannants voucher for my birthday back in March so I took advantage of the restrictions last Saturday. Hannants are still closed to visits but do provide a click and collect and there was me with a £50 voucher and a new car! Saturday was the day that I drove to Lowestoft and back. It always used to annoy me, when I had SBX Model Shop, that people could drive the 45 miles to Hannants and back on a Saturday rather than coming in to me, but now that I am retired I am happy to do the same thing. Mind you the nearest other model shop is in Colchester and they carry very little that I would want. 

I am not one to own a stash but currently I have a little one building - Tamiya 1/48th P38, Hobby Boss 1/48 RN Avenger and now  an Airfix 1/72 Beaufort and 1/48th RAF Sabre. I will pass me thoughts on the P-38 later as I am reluctant to start that one. I have had it for nearly 2 years and it remains in the box.

Right, thoughts over, what have I been doing this month. I am having a restart on some 54mm figurines, I haven't done a 54mm since way back in 1973 so I was worried that my skills(??) on 1/10th busts might not translate. I picked up a Beneito Miniatures British soldier from the Mahdist War in the Sudan - specifically from the Battle of Ginnis in 1886. I liked it because of the informal pose.

I think that I made as good a job as I am capable of with this figure. So much so, that I have bought two more to tackle, but some about that later.

OK, on with the current scale model. Valerie bought me an Eduard 1/48th P-38Q for my birthday. I have built one of these before, as a night fighter. This one arrived with an Eduard set of 3D printer decals for the control panel. These were very realistic and came in three layers. Firstly, I found them difficult to glue as none of my usual (non-super glue) glues worked. Secondly, when putting the fuselage halves together, to get the two parts to merge correctly, I had to give it a bit of effort. I heard a "crack" and the 3D panel broke into three pieces. It seems that it was a little bit too wide for the closed up fuselage.

I put the model together carefully but it needed quite a bit of filler in various places. It looks very nice to my eyes. I have finished it as follows:

"39Q-5 21-9896, flown by Lt. William W. Gambill, 363rd FS, 3257th FG, 8th AF, Oroville CA, USA, autumn 1943" - Hamilton Base CA, used for pilot training and factory-fresh."

Here it is in its partial finished state. I have used these images to highlight the issues that I had!


  1. As explained, a major problem using the 3D printed panel
  2. I have had to leave off the red walk lines on the wings because I placed the upper stars and bars on without realising that the red lines needed to be in place. As a result, if I had fitted the red lines, they would have overlaid the bars!
  3. I forgot to mask the windows on the doors before spraying them and, now, the windows are a little on the hazy side and I had trouble cleaning them. Some Future has helped a little.
  4. There are two decals that are marked where I have been using some MEK to glue things and got it on my finger. This has dissolved some Olive Drab paint which has then got onto two decals. One on the port fuselage stars and bars and the other on the port side door decal.
  5. Biggest of all, but the one that can be fixed, is the lack of enough "liquid lead" in the nose so we now have a tail sitter. I have ordered a Noys Miniatures sheet of 1/72 sheet of PSP (yes, stupidly 1/72 and NOT 1/48) from Hannants. I will use this as a base and then I can stick the nose down - job done!
Overall, I have enjoyed the build, except for the 3D mess. Also, there was a sheet of etched but I find that I can't manage all the tiny pieces that Eduard show you to use so that packet was a waste of money.

Lastly, I have had to buy a new airbrush because my Iwata HP-CH seems to have given up the ghost. I have had it for about 8 years. It has been difficult to use over the last few months and I have had to fight it to get any results. I even bought an UltraSonic cleaner bath but even that didn't solve the problem. I finally gave up and bought a new airbrush. The new one works absolutely brilliantly and has brought back the fun of painting a model. How much was it? Well, it is a generic make purchased off Amazon for the grand sum of £15.00 - yes £15.00. Super!

OK, that's all for now. I will finish off the P-39Q and describe it in its final state; I will talk about the new set of magnifying spectacles which I bought off Facebook and I will lead you into my next project.