Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014, a year of change

Hi everybody, I think its a fair comment that I haven't exactly been prolific with either the modelling or the blog entries and the reason is eluded to in the title of this blog entry/

2014 has been a year of considerable hard work and change which has had a big impact on my modelling output.  For the first quarter of the year I hit the books hard as I had my A2 exam, this is a 2 part assessment by CFS's Exam Wing.  First off you fly with the examiner who pretends to be a student, first you teach a basic early sortie from the syllabus, when he's seen enough he morphs into an advanced student who is having difficulty with an advanced aerobatic manoeuvre (or in my case the examiner was fairly new to the job and quite unfamiliar with the Tucano and as such he was struggling with the reverse stall turn, for real so no pressure sorting that one out!).  You then fly your own aerobatics and advanced flying manoeuvres before suffering a simulated emergency, once in the circuit you teach some circuits and landings.  All that packed into around 1:30 hrs of flying.  Then it's a cup of tea followed by a 3 hour grilling on everything; aerodynamics, Tucano tech, met, instructional theory, flight instruments...the lot!  Only at the end of all that do you get told if you've passed!  This is the pinnacle for a UK Armed Forces instructor, it is a professional qualification which will open many doors for me professionally and I hope all that intensive study will pay off in the future!  

That wiped out the first third of the year so very little if any modelling was done!  However, I've also changed jobs!  Acting promotion and a desk job!  Arse!  The pay rise and pretend half stripe is very welcome but I do miss the flying terribly, especially the Tucano, and I'm already investigating ways of escaping HQ and getting back where I belong, with a squadron, flying!

Me flying my last ever Tucano sortie, low level formation through the lake District.

I've also moved house which funny old thing kyboshed any thoughts of modelling for quite a while.  Still, it’s a great place and finally all the kids (4!!!) have their own bedrooms so now there is no passing the buck on the untidy state of them!

So, after that rather long winded explanation of why I’ve only finished 5 models this year; here are (some of) those models!

First up is the Revell Hunter in 1:32, this model had everything thrown at it; True details cockpit, Eduard PE, Flightpath PE, Master Barrels pitot.  I also sprayed all the markings using the superb Miracle Masks by Mal Mayfield.  This model featured in MAI magazine.

Next was the huge Trumpeter Hind in 1:35.  This had a load of Eduard PE chucked at it but also unusually for me (because I hate building these things) a load of scratch building, mainly in the rear cabin.  Once again I used Mal’s masks for the paint job which turned out rather neat even if I do say so myself!  This model will feature in my forthcoming book of weathering for Mig Jimenez’ Ammo company (more of them in a mo!).

And the last one, the lovely Hobby Boss F-84F in 1:48.  I loved the surface detail on this model, it is sublime but the sparse cockpit lets it down, so much so I broke out the plastic card again and pretty much scratched it!  The wheel wells are too shallow but that didn’t bother me as unless you turn the thing upside down you can’t see them anyway!  The wheels are also pretty wank but there’s not much out there in resin land so I worked with what I had.

Now, there are another 2 models done but, that’s for another project.  Another book in fact, the publisher doesn’t want any photos of those appearing on the web so you’ll have to wait for that book.  I hope to have all the modelling, and writing all wrapped up next year and submitted to the publishers, then we’ll just have to wait for them to come out.  Please don’t ask when, because I don’t know but as soon as I find out I’ll pass on the gouge.

I’ve got 2 on the bench at the moment, a derelict 1:32 Fw 190D-9 for the next issue of The Weathering Magazine and a scrap yard Airfix Gnat in 1:48 for MAI magazine.  Bother are almost at the painting stage so hopefully I’ll be able to show you the finished thing pretty soon.

Another thing worthy of note is the Scale Aircraft Weathering page I set up on Facebook.  It's turning into a bit of a gold mine of fantastic reference photos for weathered aeroplanes, from the lightly weathered to the derelict and rotting carcass!

I just wanted to finish off talking about Mig Jimenez and Ammo and my involvement with them.  As you know, I contribute to their modelling magazine The Weathering Magazine.  This has been great fun and has allowed me to explore various weathering techniques, not only that but because he’s managed to get the world’s most eminent modellers on board it’s forced me to up my game to keep up!

I’ve been involved with Mig, Carlos and Diego Quijano in developing a range of Panel line Washes.  These have been specifically designed for aircraft modellers and are the perfect consistency for our use being thin enough for capillary action to do it’s stuff but opaque enough for the job.  They can also be used for streaking effects and even thinned to be used as a filter which is neat.  What is handy is the tones have been designed to complement the various camouflages in the sets, this means the modeller doesn’t have to use primary blacks, greys, etc which often result in too much contrast.

Another product which has just been released are the paint sets for modern aircraft.  Subjects amongst others are post war British, Cold War Soviet, Migs and Sukhois as well as modern US.  All are matched to BS or FS numbers and have been lightened just a touch not only for scale effect but also to introduce a touch of realistically faded paint.

I also have another project with Mig along with my good friend Geoff Coughlin (you may know him from Tamiya Model Magazine and his web based magazine ScaleModellingNow.com) but you’ll have to wait just a little while longer for the details.  I think you’ll like it and tickets will go very quickly!  Stay tuned for more details.

So, that was 2014.  A year of change for sure with some pretty big things getting in the way of the modelling, only 5 completions is low by my usual output but 2015 will be much more stable and with some exciting projects on the horizon.

Happy New year, all the best for 2015 and I’ll see you soon.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Hi everyone.  I've managed to get the Thunderstreak finished, just in time for the editorial deadline which was a relief as it was a close run thing.  In case you didn't know, this model is in the current issue of Mig Jimenez' Ammo The Weathering Magazine, there is a full 8 page step by step on not only how I finished the model but also the cockpit and drop tank.

Modelling has taken a bit of a back seat unfortunately.  I've just moved house and we are living under a huge pile of boxes at the moment; the house is a magnolia palace so there's an awful lot of decorating to be done not to mention a whole load of DIY!  Added to that I have only 1 more week at Linton flying the Tucano.  She may not be the fastest, or the sexiest but she's fantastic fun and I'm going to miss her dreadfully.  I shan't miss smacking my head on the canopy at low level when it's windy though!  Actually, because the new job is driving a desk I think that I probably will!

Telford is in a few weeks time and I shall be there, along with some of my models of course however this year I shan't be entering the competition.  I have my reasons (just scroll back to previous blog entries around November!) but suffice to say I just fancy not bothering this time.  I've won all the gongs I wanted to now and I'm not much of a pot hunter but I will be judging again.  No doubt I'll get cross when I see some stupid decisions but I guess you'll always get that somewhere in a competition of this size.  I'll be hanging out with Mal Mayfield on his Miracle Masks stand, there you'll see a couple of my models, probably the Thunderstreak and the huge Mi-24!

Right, I'm off to unpack some more boxes and get cracking on some of that Ikea flat pack so until next time, or Telford, happy modelling.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Humongous Hind

The Hind is finished and what an enjoyable project it turned out to be.  Yes the detailing was a monster pain in the arse but I can't argue with the finished result even though its not the easiest to see.  These Trumpeter kits are a great canvass for weathering as you can appreciate from the photos.  Working in a large scale means the effects are easier to control as in the smaller scales, especially 1:72 and 1:144 it's very difficult to keep things in scale and realistic.  Obviously with a large scale model you just can't slap it on but there is a little more leeway and it is more straight forward; any mistakes with a small model are effectively magnified.

Some of you may be asking about whether you'll be seeing this model in print.  The short answer is yes but at this stage I cannot say in what guise; suffice to say its a new rather exciting project which I do hope you will be pleased with.

I've been working hard with Ammo to expand the range of the aircraft PLW (Panel Line Wash) range of weathering products.  A new set which will be useful is the early war Soviet set, ideal for those green and black MiG-3s or early Yaks.  The sets are not limited to what's on the box though, they are very flexible.

For armour modellers, Ammo have also released sets specific for Vietnam AFVs which is timely as the next issue of The Weathering Magazine focussing on this conflict is about to hit the streets.

I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment.  One of them is an F-84F Thunderstreak for the wrecks and relics issue of The Weathering Magazine.  Here's a sneak preview of the mostly scratch built cockpit.  And for all my Belgian friends, I hope you'll like the finished model!

Ok, time to leave you all now so until next time, I'll see you next time; happy modelling.


Monday, 23 June 2014


Blimey O'Reilly!  My paragraph the other day certainly caused a minor ripple in the fabric of space time that is on line modelling opinion!  I wasn't going to say anything more, yes I have an ego which goes with the job; I don't feel I "won the argument" or anything like that, I'm not that petty but I did want to say a few things before putting things to bed.  To put things in context, one known douchebag was intent on voicing his opinion which is all very well, however I think it's important to get your facts right first. To begin with, don't call me a coward accusing me of hiding behind my blog when I clearly posted a link to it where everyone can see it.  Secondly, anyone is free to post their opinion in the comments section at the bottom so again, you can voice your opinion there too.  Thirdly, you can always email me, I always fill in the email box.  Lastly I think it's a little hypocritical spouting anonymity when you hide behind a self appointed internet handle and don't post your real name!  I get the impression you are so far up the other bloke's arse all we can see is your toenails!

The Eduard 109 thing got out of hand and many guys went completely over the top.  This is fact.  It's not my opinion, it really happened.  Fact.  Some people thought I was having a downer on the kit.  How they came to that conclusion reading the blog I don't know.  For the record, I have the kit, I think it's great and having waded through all the bollocks (thanks to Spencer, the voice of reason swimming amongst the turds in the stream) I'll be lopping off 2mm off each wing tip.  That's all.  For me that's enough, for some they won't even do that, for others it's unbuildable and Vladimr Sulc deserves to be metaphorically burnt at the stake.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but please, keep things in context, it's only a model aeroplane after all!  If you want it, buy it, if you don't, then don't buy it but please, have a Cadbury's Caramel!  All the bleating buried all the useful gouge.

One guy, intent of fanning the flames started a new thread (why, unless you wanted to be deliberately provocative) saying he'd lost respect for me after my naked ladies comment.  For those who need reminding, I pointed out that people who get all hot and bothered on the internet about little plastic toy aeroplanes and get overcome with emotion are douchebags who have never seen a naked lady in real life and are probably pentagenarians who still live with their mum.  Some people actually thought I was being serious!  Oh chaps, do come on!  Get a sense of humour please, some people need to lighten up.  This same chap stated he would no longer buy MAI because of the comments.  Ok, that's his loss, next month's issue with my B-17 in it is my first in there for over a year, I've been very busy and haven't been very prolific lately but hope to have more in there this year.  So, its his choice but also it's his loss, it's a great magazine and he'll be missing out.  He also un-followed the blog, fair enough, I am a pilot by trade so have a huge ego but collecting followers on a blog, whilst nice, is not the reason I do this so I'll cope.  In fact, I have 8 new followers!

I wouldn't normally type a new blogpost such as this but I thought some people just read what they wanted to read and waded in without thought or understanding.  Me and my friends will continue talking amongst ourselves pointing out twattery where we find it for our own amusement. Some of us have our own public blogs such as this and we may, occasionally comment on said twattery or even douchebaggery.  If you feel you must squinny then fine, but I urge you to read the posts properly first and try and understand the meaning of the musings.  And I remind you, that there is always the comments section and email if you wish to reply.  Thanks to all the nice messages, it seems there are lots of blokes who feel the same.  Thanks also to those who took the time to disagree.

For the record, I really like Hyperscale.  It's very informative and a friendly place.  I have immense respect for Brett and regard him as a friend.  Unfortunately though, as with most places it seems (but not all) it has a few people who sometimes behave like idiots.  Normally, one or two of these guys have some really good information and are very useful however sometimes they say or do something which is out of order, they over step the mark.  One of them though contributes nothing, is spiteful and just behaves like a one eye.  I'm sure some people think I am in this part of the Venn diagram, I do like poking them with a stick sometimes as it's good sport.  Sometimes I get poked, replying is also quite amusing occasionally.  I'm sure a few people think I am a douchebag, again, they are entitled to their opinion and I am fine with that.  Someone brought LSP into it; I never mentioned LSP or referred to it in the blog.  I like LSP, it has a really great membership and douchebaggery is very very rare if it happens at all.

At the end of the day though, this blog was set up to show case my models.  That's it really.  My passion in this hobby is weathering and I will continue painting models and developing my techniques and showing them here as well as in print.  I've got some exciting projects coming up which I'll be sharing on here and I hope you'll like them.  The next post will have models in, honest!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Poking them with a stick

I love internet modelling forums; they educate, inspire and I enjoy contributing but sometimes they make me put my head in my hands and weep at just how some people conduct themselves on them.  I guess its the anonymity of sitting in your bedroom (in the house you still live in with your mum despite being a grown man in your 50's) and never having seen a naked lady in real life that makes these guys unleash complete and utter bollocks!  The Eduard 109 probably generated every modelling cliché going from spurious red lines on dodgy photos (a particular favourite of mine), ill informed rumour spreading, self appointed experts talking nonsense, petty arguments over nothing owing to wounded egos and so on.  Plus it wouldn't be forum twattery without a certain member of Hyperscale with the self appointed nickname alluding to his egotistical and spurious patriarchal role on the board wading in.  I'll say it now; this annoys me so I go on there and purposely poke them with a stick.  It really is great fun and I enjoy a little sabre rattling as one thing I can't stand is grown men arguing over a little plastic model aeroplane.  Gentlemen, it is, and you are pathetic. Take a step back and for once look at the big picture; do this correctly and you WILL see how sad and insignificant this really is.  Oh, and that bloke from Hyperscale, if you are reading this go and learn your Blackadder quotes you bell!

Ok, that rant over (we have a rantometer at work so I'd better chalk one up when I get back in on Monday) its back to the serious thing (if making little plastic aeroplanes and tanks can be serious).  I posted finished pictures of the Hunter last time but some of you eagle eyed guys will have noticed it wasn't quite done!  Oops!  Here are the finished shots (honest governor).  This model will be featured in Model Airplane International magazine in due course.

Actually, while I am talking about MAI, look out for next month's issue (July 2014) as my Monogram B-17 article is due to be published.

Staying with the large scale theme, here is a sneak preview of a model from my new, special, exciting project!  The focus of the project will be obvious to many, its weathering, however as you can see, that bit hasn't been started yet so here she is in her base livery!  You'll also note that I've done some extensive scratch detailing inside, I was going to button her up but there was some interesting internal weathering effects I could showcase and the kit is rather bare in this regard.  I normally don't really enjoy this bit but actually I rather enjoyed this one.

Ok, that's it for now, I'm just off to weep owing to England's lamentable performance in the world cup!  Next time I hope I can show you a sneak preview of the finished Hind along with more modelling observations.  I best check those forums!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Swiss Hunter plus derelict F-84F

Hi chaps, the Hunter is all done.  For those who don't know, this has had pretty much everything chucked at it; True Details cockpit, Eduard photo etch, Flightpath photo etch (amazing by the way), Master barrels pitot and not to mention Mal Mayfields Miracle Masks for the paint job.

Construction wasn't all that straight forward, there is a fair amount of filler around all the various nose parts and the wings and tail planes needed more than just a smear of Mr Surfacer.  One job I still have to do which I've only just realised is taking the masks off the intake FOD guards and adding the grab handles, I'll do that when I get back to the bench next week.  The chap I've built this for has asked me to ensure the stance of the gear legs is correct, I just followed the instructions and thought they looked a bit odd as they're toed in.  It should be a simple enough tweak.

Now the the shameless plug, I've gone and used the Ammo PLW stuff again!  Honestly chaps, I know I am biased but they are great, the consistency is perfect; thin enough to be very easy to use and be drawn along by capillary action but opaque enough to be just the right opacity.  All this and tonally matched exactly for your model.  However, don't think you need to get the whole range, many will be useful for many other camouflages, on this model I used the British WW2 Bomber set and the US Navy grey set, in fact I'd say the latter is probably the most versatile if you do anything grey!

And here is the finished model (apart from those pesky FOD covers)!

With this I can get on with my exciting projects, I can't say too much suffice to say you wait ages for a book deal to come along then you land two!  Not only that I got offered to contribute to a third!  Blimey.  I can't say too much as yet but you won't be surprised to hear they will be centred on weathering!  Please don't ask when they will be coming out as I haven't got the first clue, I haven't snipped off the first part from the first sprue from the first kit yet!  :-D  It is very exciting though and I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into them!  There should be something for everyone; early jets, cold war jets, modern jets, WW2, helicopters, in service jobs, derelict and abandoned jobs!

Talking of abandoned jobs, the issue of The Weathering Magazine I am working on is on that very subject.  I've done a couple of these already, you'll remember the Rukuhia P-40M and the Tamiya Gekko which I serialised in the blog.  Well, a slight change of tack this time, this is what I'll be doing.  I have the Hobby Boss kit (which is absolutely stunning by the way, I'm blown away by the surface detail) but at the moment I really can't decide between this lot!

I'd better get my thinking cap on!

Talking of The Weathering Magazine, those of you who have received the latest issue I hope you enjoyed the Ju 88 and all the other models in there.  If you are a pure aircraft modeller and are put off because most articles are AFVs then don't be, I have learned so much from that sector of the hobby and I read as much as I can about other genres, that is how I have picked up so many new techniques along the way.  Anyway, the next issue is regarding Vietnam and I have 2 articles in there, the MiG-17 and the F-4B Phantom!

Ok, time to mow the lawn, wash the car and clean the rabbits' hutches!  Its a lovely day so I need to go and take advantage.  All the best and happy modelling.


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Haggis is back!

Well, what a relief it is to be back.  Since Christmas I have been studying hard for the biggest exam of my life and now having passed it, it means I am officially "Above Average" and will hold the qualification for life.  The A2 as it is called is the pinnacle of being a QFI (Qualified Flying Instructor) although there is the A1 but then only the clinically insane attempt that!  The day itself is rather stressful, an airborne sortie where you have to teach an exercise to the examiner (one of CFS's Exam Wing instructors), who pretends to be a student (universally known as "Bloggs"), he then morphs into a more advanced student who is struggling with an advanced aerobatic manoeuvre so you have to re-teach him how to do it properly, then show your general handling by flying your aerobatic sequence amongst others, you then get an emergency to deal with all topped off by a Practice Forced Landing and circuits.  In the afternoon its into the classroom where you have to "teach" Bloggs various aerodynamics, principles of flight, met, flight instrument theory and various technical aspects of the Tucano.  Phew!  But its all over now and potentially it will open many doors professionally for me (although no pay rise unfortunately!) but for the moment I'm staying where I am teaching the next generation of Naval and Air Force fighter pilots to fly the Tucano.

The rather fortunate bi-product of passing the assessment means I can get back to some modelling and to be honest I've really rather missed it.  Over Christmas I finished the fuselage on the 1:32 Revell Hunter and the wings.  Now I can detail the wheel wells with the Flightpath photo etch set and the flaps and when that's done, bring the airframe together.  That shouldn't take too long so soon I'll be able to start painting!  This will be painted in Swiss markings so there won't be too much scope for weathering, just enough to keep it interesting.

As if I haven't blown my own trumpet enough, there's more.  I have been working with Mig Jimenez's Ammo along with Diego Quijano and Mig himself to develop specific weathering products just for aircraft modellers.  For too long the AFV lot have had it their own way and these products have been developed specifically with the aircraft modeller in mind.  Brand new is the Panel Line Wash or PLW, these have been formulated to highlight panel lines in a subtle and realistic way.  The tones have been specifically designed to compliment the specific camouflage scheme and will dilute with white spirit to make a filter to blend and soften the original paint work.

Check out the Ammo website or Facebook page for further details.  You can get them from Ammo stockists worldwide or direct from the Ammo website.

On the subject of Ammo, the next issue of The Weathering Magazine is about to hit the street.  Some of you may recognise the Ju-88 on the cover!  A full step by step article on the weathering and finishing is included although sadly the new Ammo PLW line was not ready when I made the model.

Yet more trumpet blowing!  The Scale Aircraft Weathering Facebook page has really taken off with almost 2500 "Likes" since I set it up in October.  It's proving to be a great resource with a steadily growing collection of weathered aeroplanes from pre war stuff, through to modern jets and even airliners!  There is some wonderful inspiration for some potentially stunning models so why not check it out.  Feel free to post you own pictures of weathered models and if you have them photos of the real thing so we can all look, study, learn and enjoy.

Ok, that's enough of the brass band!  Its great to be back and as I said, I'm really looking forward to hitting the bench again and cracking on the with the Hunter.  Don't forget to check out the Ammo stuff and the Scale Aircraft Weathering page on Facebook; until next time happy modelling.