Sunday, 24 June 2012

Euro 2012 Part two

Work continues on the Revell 1/32 Eurofrighter. For a modern-tool kit released in the last 4 years it's a shockingly poor fit.
The wing-root on top; it's even worse on the underside.
The wing root trailing edge – not just a gap but a step as well.
Lots of filling and sanding required to achieve a smooth tail transition.

Besides the sloppy fit there are numerous sink marks all over the airframe, the slats and airbrake seem to be the worst affected:
The fit problems are further compounded by Revell offering a multitude of options: open/closed airbrake, extended/retracted step, extended/retracted refuelling probe, exposed/closed engine bay etc. The kit has clearly been designed to show these options 'open', but closing them leaves large gaps and steps. Because my client wants the model to represent an aircraft on the flightline, none of the exposed options are applicable (except for an open canopy). Progress is being made, but it's slow and tedious...

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Euro 2012

Some years ago I built a 1/48 F-18 for a pilot, and at the beginning of May he contacted me again to request a build of the Revell 1/32 Eurofighter. Although it's neither a scale nor subject that I'd normally work in he offered me a fair price and I agreed. Along with the kit the client sent Aires resin sets for the cockpit, engines and wheel bays (with the stipulation that I was to use them only if it didn't create huge amounts of extra work). The aftermarket cockpit is so much nicer than the kit's that I felt obliged to use it, and it did fit without too much surgery.

Yet to be added are the joystick and HUD. The canopy/windscreen have a prominent seam line running their full length which was removed with sanding and polishing, followed by a dip in Pledge.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ring them Bells

This is another kit from my Feb 1st posting, in which I listed some of the stalled/abandoned kits that had lay untouched for years, in some cases. The Special Hobby 1/72 Bell X-1A was a fairly straightforward build, though like most kits from this stable it pays to do lots of dry-fitting before applying glue, because some of the locations are quite vague in the instructions. The biggest issue I had with it was the canopy, which was slightly too wide for the fuselage. In attempting to glue and clamp it in position stress-marks appeared on the top which aren't quite as visible to the naked eye as they are here, highlighted under the photo spotlights. So, not altogether successful but it's nice to be able to (finally) cross it off the list.

As a comparison, here's the Tamiya 1/72 Bell X-1 built some 8 years ago:

Friday, 6 April 2012

Japanese Midget

No, I'm not being politically incorrect, I'm referring to that classic of the Japanese auto industry, the 1957 Daihatsu Midget, kitted by ARII in their 1/32 'Owners' Series'. It's almost 40 years since I last built a car. The kit's quite basic and moulded in a bilious green plastic that's really brittle, but other than a lot of clean-up the build was quite straightforward.

Main paints are Gunze lacquers followed by several coats of Future, then polished with Tamiya's compounds. Bright shiny bits are done with Alclad chrome. ARII supply a canopy to go over the truck-bed but it's much too thick and slightly oversize so it was left off; besides I like the look of it 'open'. Overall it was a nice change of pace from aircraft and since I have a couple more kits from the same series I'll be doing more in the future.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

1/144 Butcher Bird

I always thought 1/144 models were half the size of their 72nd counterparts, but of course that's not true: they're actually 1/8 the size in 3-dimensional terms. Which explains why Eduard's 1/144 Fw190F-8 is dwarfed by the Airfix version I built last year.

Anyway, I built this to jump-start my modelling again. Somewhat burned out after finishing the article series, and without a deadline to motivate me, I've spent the last few weeks watching inane TV re-runs instead of being productive at the bench. I thought a quick completion would help, and as there was a 1/144 Group Build going on over at the Unofficial Airfix Modellers' Forum I jumped in.

The subject is a captured 190 and the camo scheme is completely spurious, applied by the Americans to make it look more Teutonic. The kit was really basic but the shape looked OK, however I've come to the conclusion that 144 scale stuff takes just as long as bigger scales because you have to be that much more detail-oriented; choosing a squiggle-pattern probably didn't help either.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Circuits and Bumps

The Saab Draken in the previous post was the last build for Scale Aviation Modeller International magazine's 'Circuits and Bumps' series, which I've been writing for the last 2 years. Here's a link to pics of all the models in the series.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dragon on a stick

Well, one of the kits from the previous post is finished, the Airfix 1/72 Saab Draken. It has several inaccuracies but still looks the part. A scratchbuilt cockpit was added and the model was rescribed, decals are my own. The base is a simple acrylic block and part of a paintbrush handle, sprayed black.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I've started so I'll...

I've always considered myself a 'one kit at a time' sort of modeller, but in the last few years I've strayed a bit and have ended up with several builds on the go at once.

Special Hobby 1/72 Bell X-1
Last worked on: December 2010
Status: Stalled due to canopy fit issues. I'd masked and painted the canopy once but scuffed the masking so many times trying to attach it to the model that I pulled all the masking off, meaning I'll have to do it all over again. To make matters worse I'd tried clamping the canopy in place last time which caused stress marks on the clear part; I'm hoping they won't show up too much when it's done. I've been unable to find pictures of the real X-1's canopy open – it's either closed or removed completely.

Hasegawa 1/72 Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui
Last worked on: October 2011
Status: Stalled due to laziness in adding cockpit detail. The kit was given to me already started; someone had nicely airbrushed the interior with Aotake, that metallic blue-green colour. However from what I can gather the Shusui, Japan's version of the Me163, had its cockpit painted in Mitsubishi green so I re-sprayed the interior. The original intention had been to build the kit straight out-of-box but the clear parts are so good they show up the model's deficiencies in this area, so some detail will have to be added. Probably just a seat back, harness, instrument panel and consoles, but I hate doing that stuff...

Airfix 1/72 Saab Draken
Last worked on: 30 January, 2012
Status: Current. All of the heavy raised surface detail has been sanded off and the basic airframe is together, so now it's lots of sanding and filling and preparing for paint. This one will be mounted on a base in flying mode, so all of the pesky undercarriage parts have been consigned to the spares box and – gasp – I've painted a pilot. My figure painting skills need work.

Airfix 1/72 Spitfire PR.XIX
Last worked on: September 2011
Status: Stalled due to loss of interest. I've already built one of these and have to say that it was an enjoyable project but I was never quite happy with the heaviness of the panel lines. For the second attempt I filled all of the surface detail with liquefied styrene (achieved by soaking offcuts of sprue in a jar of Tamiya liquid poly cement). After a couple of applications it seems to have worked, but maybe too well. It's a beggar to sand smooth, and having done so I just put everything back in the box until I could rekindle the interest.

Tamiya 1/35 Super Pershing conversion
Last worked on: Oh heck. July 2009
Status: Stalled, due to individual track links. This was one of those projects, inspired by a great build in Tamiya magazine, for which I bought every after-market set going including the Accurate Armour Super Pershing resin update and an Aires engine. Everything was going (reasonably) well until it came time to do the tracks, and I chickened out. On numerous occasions I've pulled the kit out, looked at the parts, quietly put it back. However, there's hope: an armour-building mate has offered to sit down and show me how to assemble them, so this kit may re-surface some time soon.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

American Bulldog

The Bristol Bulldog was an RAF inter-war fighter, also successfully exported to several countries including Finland, Denmark and Latvia. My model depicts the first of two examples sent to the U.S. for evaluation, which crashed after an aileron failure during a dive.

It's the old Airfix 1/72 kit, originally released in 1970. I didn't have to do much to it – a bit of cockpit detailing, replacing some of the heavier details and rigging with stainless steel wire.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A tractor in the hand...

Last night while waiting for glue to dry on my Bristol Bulldog I decided to start this:-

I won it on eBay last year for about $4.00, and thinking that HO scale was 1/76, bought it thinking I could have it in a diorama with a 1/72 plane. However it seems HO is 1/87 scale and significantly too small for 1/72, so it sat on the shelf for a while.  It's quite well detailed for its size:

The red corrugated strips are the rims of the main wheels. The kit includes a clear piece of acetate with circular holes cut into it and the rims are rolled and fitted into the holes, then glued:

It works OK actually. The spokes have then to be individually bent with tweezers and forced inside the rims.  After about 2 hours I was at basic painting stage, I'd decided to portray it as an abandoned vehicle:

This morning I weathered it up and assembled it. (The pics are greatly enlarged so it looks a bit rough...)