It's been a while... over a year in fact, since I last posted here. In that time there have been a few completions which I'll post over the next few days and weeks. The most recent of these was a Blitzbau build of the AModel 1/72 Yak-18.
For those not familiar with the term, a Blitzbau (BB) is a start-to-finish kit completion within a 24-hour period. That's not 24 hours of build time, but a literal day in which inconveniences like eating and sleeping also have to be slotted in. The BB originated on the Unofficial Airfix Modellers' Forum (UAMF), and they're a lot of fun, with participants not only posting regular updates of their build but also their meals and preferred music. Extra cachet can be earned by the inclusion of a particularly awful clock in the build photos, as well as unusual mugs and beers.
Having failed to finish the last BB I attempted (a new-tool Airfix P-51D), I was determined not to make the same mistakes. Last time I was too precious about detailing and painting the cockpit, and on top of that took an extended (though very enjoyable) lunch-break on a pub patio with my wife and a steak sandwich – no such frivolity this time. The keys to finishing a BB build are to plan ahead by making sure all the paints and materials are on hand, the Dremel is charged, reference material is to hand etc. Choosing a simple paint scheme is also a major factor – we all know how long a complex masking job can take. Quick drying materials like acrylic or lacquer paints, and superglue with accelerator for filling, are a huge help. Start time was crucial; beginning at lunchtime gave me just enough time to get the paint on and a gloss coat, which could then be left to cure overnight; decals, flat coat and all the detail stuff could then be finished the next morning. And it requires a certain willingness to compromise, or at least take shortcuts, preferably in areas where it'll be least noticed.
The Yak kit had been in my stash for several years; taken out, examined and put quietly back on many occasions. It's a typical Amodel kit, with lots of flash, soft mouldings, no locating pins and a canopy of dubious clarity. The fit was terrible, especially on the underside where the wing met the fuselage. There was lots of filling and sanding throughout, but in the end I finished with about 10 minutes to spare.
The finished model definitely wouldn't win any contests, but it's one less kit in the closet of shame. As always though, it leaves me wondering why, if I can finish a model in a day, do my regular builds take so long?