Saturday, 3 December 2011

Telford debrief

Ok, at risk of blowing one's own trumpet I did fairly well at Telford in the competition.  I ended up with 1 Gold, 2 Silvers, 1 Bronze and 2 Highly Commended.  Plus, second in the after market decal trophy and Best Allied Aircraft.  Not a bad haul.

With that trumpet fanfare you might think I'm happy.  You'd be right,I am, however this competition just proves that competitions are all down to the individual preferences of the judge.  A few blokes who have their own opinions hold sway, they award the prizes and that's that.  Did I agree with the results, not necessarily, models which I thought would do well got either lesser awards or none at all, models which I bunged in to make up the numbers did better than expected and one or two other models which did better than mine were, in my humble opinion not as good.  Still, seeing it's all down to a couple of individuals I didn't really lose any sleep.  Last year I got a bee in my bonnet about some of the judging, not in my classes you understand but in some of the others.  The best way I thought was to volunteer and judge myself so this year I did just that.  I was paired up with an "experienced" judge, good I thought, he knows what he's doing.  Unfortunately though this turned out not to be the case.  We judged a particular class and he picked out a model that had been dry brushed to within an inch of his life; "look" he said, "that dry brushing is lovely".  I really had to bite my tongue, we were 2 hours into it with no hope of parole and I was losing the will to live.  I tried to explain that the model looked horrible because of all the dry brushing and the very fact we could tell it had been dry brushed meant it wan't subtle enough.  I was then told that he was an experienced judge, had been judging Air Cadet modelling competitions for many years and dry brushing was an advanced technique.  It took all my self control not to knock him out, so I decide to laugh rather than cry, get him to bloody get a move on so we could come to a decision as the pub was opening in about 4 hours time and I needed a beer!

All that rambling has led me to make a decision, I won't be entering any models next year.  I think there is a "style" that does well in the Telford competition which doesn't fit in with mine.  For me, not enough weighting is placed on finishing, weathering, subtlety and realism.  I've got my awards so I'm walking away smiling and satisfied.  Whilst it's nice to get recognition in the form of trophies and awards I'd rather get it from my peers and modellers who I hold in very high regard.  Sour grapes?  No, not at all.

I wish there was a competition for aircraft run along the lines of Euromilitaire, a competition concentrating on the finishing and the art of modelling judged by professionals and experts in the field rather than enthusiastic amateurs.  That's not a dig at IPMS UK and SMW at Telford, far from it.  I thoroughly enjoy Telford and everything that goes with it including the competition it's just that I think things in the hobby have moved on and that particular competition is lagging behind.

Anyway, enough competition politics etc, it's dull.  On with the modelling and I've finished the T-55.  This model will be described fully in an upcoming Military Illustrated Modeller  magazine sometime next year.  It's had quite a bit of improvement, Eduard PE, Fruil tracks, CMK dozer plus a whole bunch of scratch building.

I've also finished another commission, a P-40E.  This model was inspired by Brett Green's model in his Osprey Modelling the P-40E, David, the chap I was building this one for didn't want a 112sqn aeroplane as he already had one in his collection so I did a bit of rooting around and came up with this scheme.  I liked it so much I'm going to do this one in 1:32.

Ok modelling mates, that's it for now.  My next blog will detail my latest foray into land based vehicles, it's something rather different and I hope you'll like it.  I'll try and stay away from the controversies as well!  Anyway, until then......

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Armour, weathering and Telford.

Hello one and all, and at last an update!  When I looked, it had been over 2 months since the last one!  Maybe that's the reason I've got loads to show you in this update.  The next one won't be as long, by the end of this my fingers will be killing me from all that typing!!!

First up the armour side of things.  I've really got into this in a big way now; the reason?  Well, that is all to do with the second item in the title, weathering.  In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, a model of a military vehicle can look as real as it gets whereas it's very difficult to make a model aeroplane look real.  This is all down to the fineness of the kits and the technique that's used to weather them.

Ooh. controversial.  Maybe, but then I suppose this is my blog and I can say what I like.  However, I've seen some lovely model aeroplanes in my time, some look almost real however I've seen some models by the masters such as MIG Jimenez, Spencer Pollard, Mike Rinaldi, Adam Wilder and others that do look real!  In fact Mike has a die cast bulldozer on his Facebook page at the minute, it's just incredible.

Anyway, on with my models.  First up is the dragon Panther Ausf A.  With this model I finally achieved an outcome that I am pleased with, using all the techniques from the last couple of armour models I've now developed my skills to what in my eye is an acceptable base standard.  My aim is to get as good as those blokes I've mentioned, will I ever achieve that, not any time soon but maybe one day.  It's important to set goals I think, it spurs oneself on.  So much so my aim is to win something at Euromilitaire with 5 years and get something published in AFV Modeller magazine, I hope I can achieve those, who knows!  The build article and finished photo gallery can be seen here;

Ok, next up are 2 models which are still in the works in progress stage.  The first up is the Tamiya T-55 in 1:35.  Way back in 2003 I bought Tamiya Model magazine, the reason I bought that issue (the first and only issue I've ever bought) was because of Marcus Nichols' Iraqi T-55 which adorned the cover.  That model jut blew me away and I always hoped I'd build one, one day.  Well now I have.  Even though it looks to be almost finished there is still an awful lot to do, I've done the chipping, filters and wash but there's still the oil fading and shading, pigments, dusting, streaking grime, rain marks, tracks, dozer blade, rust and spilled fuel/oil to do!  Hmmmm, quite a bit then!

Moving on the the other armour work in progress and blimey, is this a monster.  It's Tamiya's Tiger 1 in 1:16.  This is a commission and the kit arrived on Tuesday built and painted by the previous owner.  So far it's been primed, undercoated with Life Color and had a top coat of Dark yellow.  At the moment I'm in the most mind numbing tedious stage, the chipping.  In fact, it's so unbelievably dull that I had to have a break, hence the blog update!

Right, that's the armour dealt with, on to the aeroplanes.  Both my latest are Fleet Air Arm aircraft which is poignant as we are about to celebrate one of the Fleet Air Arm's most famous actions, the Battle of Taranto.  I always get a wry smile getting invited to celebrate the RAF's draw  in the Battle of Britain!  As Ben Elton would say, "ooh, a little bit of politics!!"  Anyway, enough Crab bashing (It's only banter fellas), back to the models!

First up is the wonderful little Eduard Hellcat which was almost called the Gannet in Fleet Air Arm service, what were they thinking!  The comparisons with the Tamiya Corsair are obvious and I reckon this is better.  It's better detailed from the box and fits better (the Corsair needs a smear of Mr Surfacer on the port wing root and the starboard flap, trust me, I built loads and they all needed it).  You get a small photo etch fret, canopy masks which are most welcome and a Cartograph decal sheet.  All that for the same price as the Tamiya model.  As I mentioned, this is a FAA aeroplane which is not included in the decal sheet, I used an aftermarket sheet from Techmod and jolly nice they were too.

Hang in there, almost at the end.  The last model is the new Italeri hurricane.  This is also a nice kit but not as refined as the Eduard offering, she needed filler on the wing roots, the tail planes were too thick for the roots and the gun insert fit was woeful.  The engine is nice but undersized and is a bit gimmicky, best wait for the inevitable Quickboost replacement I reckon.

She's again painted up in Fleet Air Arm colours, this time I got some custom masks made up from Ian at Ad Astra masks and they worked wonderfully.  There is a colour photo of this aircraft knocking about, it shows a filthy, clapped out aircraft which is wonderful for a bloke like me seeing I love weathering so much.  I used various effects from my AFV toolbox such as filters, washes and oil fading.  All in all it was a very enjoyable project.

Both the above models will be at Telford on the IPMS SLAM tables so if you're going and want to have a look you know where they'll be (before being given to MAI magazine).

The last model I want to show you is a Roden Strutter.  This was a commission and isn't my normal sort of thing, still, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  I wouldn't make another one though, the Roden Strutter that is, all the major parts were in clear plastic!  A stupid idea, oh well, I got there in the end and the client was happy.

That leads me nicely onto the last topic, Scale Model World at Telford, the biggest model show in the UK, maybe Europe or even the world!  I just love this show, not only can I get anything I want from the myriad of retailers, but it's a chance to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.  If you want to meet up I'll be hanging around the IPMS SLAM tables and doing a few demo's with Guideline publications throughout the weekend.  It's what I love best, models, mates and beer!

See you there.


Friday, 2 September 2011

Brrrrrr, winter's arrived.

Hi all, vehicles and aircraft often sported temporary winter camouflage schemes in order that they blend in to the environment, especially on the eastern front during the Second World War.  This is great for modellers and even better for those who relish the challenge of depicting these subject as they offer the weathering specialist almost unlimited scope to produce a really battered looking vehicle/model.

I've been on a bit of a winter theme for a little while now, finishing off 4 models.  The first is the stunning new 1:32 Heinkel He 111 from Revell.  I was forced into doing a conversion to the H sub type as the P depicted in the kit served only in the first few years of the war.  Not wishing to go the whole hog I only converted the cowlings and there are quite a few other detail changes but an H will be released at some stage as there is evidence on the sprues.  I used various techniques used by armour modellers to weather this one such as hairspray chipping and filters and washes.  All will be explained in a forth coming issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine however I have been invited to do a live demo at Scale Model World in Telford this November with the magazine.

The next aircraft model is the Hasegawa P-40K in 1:48.  This model was weathered using the same techniques as the Heinkel, I used AK Interactive enamel weathering products on this model for the first time and I am mightily impressed by them.  The tones are for armour models so the require a bit of modification although this isn't difficult.  This is a lovely kit although it does have it's critics, some say it's over engineered although this is easily overcome with super glue, sanding and a little re-scribing.  You'll notice that this model has been riveted like the Heinkel, it's a tedious and boring job however the results are well worth it.  I used the photo etched tool from RB Productions and can highly recommend it.

Moving onto the military vehicles, this model is the StuG III Ausf F from Dragon.  It's the old boxing and I picked it up from my fellow club member Bill, cheers Bill.  Being all inspired by the Mig Jimenex DVD's I really went to town, it's probably over done a bit but I quite like the end result.  Unfortunately the earth pigments look a bit orange in the photos but it looks better in real life.

The last model was also inspired by the DVD's and those who own it will instantly recognise the model, the only difference being mine is in 1:48 wheres Mig's is in 1:35.  I had great fun experimenting with the techniques and AK Interactive products and had the great pleasure of winning the seal of approval from the great man Mig himself which was a big thrill.  This model is also destined for publication, Brett Green's Military Modelling International.