Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Construction (Delta, Me-163B, F-102, Eurofighter)

Even amidst the mid-winter heater crisis and my ongoing health issues, there has been some activity on the workbench.

The main effort has been with a dish of warm water (which doesn’t stay warm very long, unfortunately). I have been decaling the latest RAF Eurofighter, using the newest tool Revell kit. Also, I’ve been on a long journey to get the Arctic Rose DC-3 completed. That DC-3, using Thunderbird decals (a reprint of the original Whiskey Jack version) has been something of a trial. The decals are admirably thin, but prone to break when moved from wet sheet to model. I’ve given up on applying any of the green stripe in a section larger than maybe 3”. And I want it to have a chance to snuggle down with setting solution between adding sections. I’ve got about half of the job done. The Eurofighter, using an Xtradecal RAF update, has been easier, but still consists of a lot of very small and very white markings.

But construction has not been ignored. The four kits that entered the construction queue (Italeri Eurofighter, Azur/Frrom Northrop Delta, HobbyBoss Me-163B, and Meng F-102) have progressed through the cockpit phase and have most of the major assembly complete. Next come some seam work and masking of canopies.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Academy Kubelwagen

You might remember that I finished a Schwimmwagen in November of 2017. Today’s completion is the land based version of the vehicle, the famous Volkswagen Kubelwagen.

This is the Academy kit, which happened to be packaged with a Fi-156 (which will hopefully be entering the construction queue sometime around summer). It comes with decals for “Otto”, which you have likely seen in photos and previous Kubelwagen kits in other scales.

Like most of the vehicles I’ve built in the last couple of years, construction is simple. It got an overall coat of AK dark yellow (Xtracolour), while the canvas cover was painted more of a tan color for contrast. I had to think about the green mottling on the exterior. With the airbrush and compressor I currently have, there was no way I was going to be able to get a thin enough line for this job. Hence I fell back on a brush. It’s not feathered, but it is probably more representative of the way it should look in 1:72. Besides detailing in the interior, the tires were painted with Tire Black. Decals, matte coat, done.

Another addition to the growing vehicle line. I've included a pic of the Schwimmwagen below as well. 

This is completed vehicle #16 (3 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 1 vehicle for the year 2018), finished in February of 2018.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

RS Models XP-79

Those of you who have been occasionally stopping by this blog for a while will have realized that I enjoy the side road of aviation known as experimental aircraft. I find them more interesting, sometimes, than planes that actually made it into production. The current completion is a good example of that. It is the Northrop XP-79, another in the long series of Jack Northrop’s flying wings.

At one time planned to be rocket powered (ala the Me-163), it was eventually installed with two early Westinghouse turbojets. It followed a proof of concept test aircraft, the MX-334. The XP-79 had its problems during testing, and was cancelled shortly after the first prototype had a fatal crash.

The kit is from RS Models. I have to admit I am growing to like this brand of kit; they combine interesting types with good engineering (even if they are at the upper limit of what could be considered short-run). As you can imagine with a flying wing, parts count is limited, though that doesn’t mean a trouble-free build.

The major point of contention is the canopy. I had a hell of a time getting it masked and then attached to the model. The canopy is in two parts, meaning a glue seam between clear parts. I used Clearfix in an attempt to avoid fogging. That worked out fine, but in exchange I sort of bollocksed up the masking job, leading to ragged edges and rather uneven lines. Some of this is no doubt chalked up to native impatience.

The canopy isn’t the only danger zone. The landing gear don’t have great spots to anchor them, and for a plane this small it has an absolute forest of gear doors. Some of them are supposed to be flush with the lower surface, but I just couldn’t get them properly mounted. Maybe their hydraulics bled down and the doors lowered accordingly. At least that’s my story.

I always enjoy finishing an unusual model, though I suspect this one won’t be in the front row of the display case.

This is completed aircraft #486 (3 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 0 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in January of 2018.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Construction in the freezer (F-102, Eurofighter, Gamma)

So, it is one of the coldest days of the winter, with ice on the streets. The city is basically shut down. Even the trash trucks aren’t running. So what happens? The furnace decides to go belly up. Never a dull moment here in 72 Land.

It is not easy to use fine motor skills when your fingers are numb and the house indoor temps are around 50 degrees F. Still, I was able to do some work on the three kits that have just entered the construction queue.

The first was the relatively new Northrop Gamma from Frrom/Azur. So far construction has been trouble free. The cockpit is painted and installed, and the fuselage is together. I am in the process of getting the wings and horizontal tail attached. I’ve decided that in the absence of a masking set, I will fill the passenger compartment windows with Kristal Kleer. The cockpit canopy will be masked freehand.

Next comes the first of the Italian special markings Eurofighters. The Italeri kit is not the best version of the Eurofighter (the two main contenders being latest new-tool Revell for price and Hasegawa for fit). But that is where I got the four sets of decals, so at least the first two (there are two kits in this box) will be from Italeri. The cockpit is in and the fuselage together, so the next task will be to finish with the wings and other major airframe construction.

The third is the Meng F-102 as part of the Complete Century Series project. I have already built a Hasegawa F-102, but that is quite an old-tech kit and the Meng is far superior. So far the cockpit is painted up. Next I’ll apply the cockpit decals and then close the fuselage.

Waiting in the wings are the Valom B-45 and the MPM Trent Meteor. The Special Hobby SR-53 and Valom Harrow are in the deeper queue. 

I am also adding the landing gear to the RAF Eurofighter and prepping to do decals on the Arctic Rose DC-3. That is if the water I use for soaking the decals doesn’t form a layer of ice while I’m using it.

Once I get the furnace sorted (to the tune of $3500 – yowtch!) it looks like I’ve got a good spring planned for the 72 Land production lines.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short paint session (Eurofighter, DC-3)

Once again proving that a paint session does not need to be a drawn out event, I got a quick half hour in the garage to apply some color that was holding up two projects.

First came the Alclad White Aluminum for the metal fuselage portions of the latest Eurofighther. The exhaust cans themselves have already been finished. Next on this one will be lot of masking tape removal (and paint repair if required) and then attaching the landing gear and doors.

Second was a surface coat of Dark Aluminum for the Arctic Rose DC-3. I was of two minds on this for a while, and then decided that at least the wings needed a stronger and more consistent coat.

And that was it. I could have painted some cockpits while I was at it but decided I had better declare victory and bug out while the going was good.

As you’ll notice from the photo below, I’ve already partially stripped both aircraft of their masking. The DC-3 looks fine so far, but some of the Eurofighter is a bit rough. The biggest problem was a light grey I used to do the nosecone and leading edges of tail and canards. This is the same paint that caused issues with paint seeping under the canopy of the J8M1 Shusui. Maybe it was a problem with the paint itself and not the masking? Further experimentation will be required.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Paint session (DC-3, Eurofighter, Skyvan bits)

I finally got around to a paint session, though I probably should have waited. I was really run down today, and that in my case often leads to impatience and sloppy work. At least one of the jobs will likely need to be redone, or at least touched up.

First came an overall Matte coat on the Academy Kubelwagen. Once I demask the windshield, this one will be complete.

Next came a surface coat of Barley Grey on the latest anniversary Eurofighter. This seemed to do its job and it should be ready for additional work once the paint cures.

I also did a number of items with various Alclad paints. The DC-3 (undersurfaces, wings, parts of the horizontal tail) was not entirely satisfactory, using Dark Aluminum. I thought I had purged the paint room of those bad batches of Alclad that I unknowingly bought a few years back, but I apparently missed this one. It didn’t cover terribly well, and will likely need another coat to get everything up to a consistent surface color and texture. That is very rare for Alclad, in my experience, but once you get a bad bottle, trouble always follows.

I also painted (using another Alclad, White Aluminum) the props and engine covers of the Skyvan that is in construction now. Just trying to get a jump on work that will need to be done once the major assembly is complete. I also painted the exhaust cans of the Eurofighter. Next, I used Engine Manifold to highlight and put some contrast on the exhausts of both the Eurofighter and the Skyvan exhausts. It really does make a qualitative difference to take this extra step.

I often use Testors spray cans to put the first coat of grey onto cockpit areas (in this case, the Meng F-102, Ffrom TWA Delta, and the Italeri Eurofighter, first of the Italian AF specials). But I discovered after about 2 seconds of spraying that I was out of both greys I typically use. Looks like it’s back to airbrushing, but that will be a project for another day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Construction (Skyvan, F-102, Delta)

One milestone was passed today on the 72 Land production line. The “Arctic Rose” DC-3 has actually been masked up for its final trip to the paint booth. This has been a long journey which I believe began in about 2015. Paint trips for Black, White, Red (with masking steps in between) plus a couple of repair sessions have occurred so far. Next will be the Aluminum surfaces – mostly lower fuselage and wings. Then I will add the landing gear and head for decals.

I’ve also had a chance to buff out the wings/fuselage on the latest Eurofighter, so it will get a surface coat of Barley Grey.

The construction on the Airfix Skyvan has been a long and winding road as well. But at least I have the fuselage together, windows added, all transparencies masked, and one wing attached. It should be too long until the second wing goes together. There are a lot of parts on this not particularly large aircraft. Tail surfaces need to be done too.

Two cockpits for new aircraft have entered the production queue. I received the Italeri boxing of the single-seat Eurofighter which includes four Italian Air Force squadron specials. Plus I have another commemorative scheme from the 4+ book on Eurofighters. Not to mention at least four Luftwaffe Eurofighter specials. Current air forces do love to paint these up. And the RAF specials for 2018 haven’t been announced yet.

The Meng Convair F-102 and the Ffrom Northrop Delta TWA have also gotten their cockpits together and are awaiting paint.