Wednesday, 21 December 2016

2016 reflections, 2017 projections

Goodness gracious, has it really been way back in May since I last updated the blog!  To be fair, I have been concentrating on pushing out the plastic, and writing.  Not just for magazine articles, but also my first book which is very exciting.  But just when I thought it was in the can and in the hands of the publisher, they go and ask for 2 more models for it!  However, both are very cool subjects and certainly fit the "extreme" brief and it will result in a better piece of work. If all goes to plan it should be released around early Q3 in 2017 (that's calendar, not financial....!  I must learn to let the day job not creep in....)

I really enjoy doing the blog and now the bulk of the book is done, I am going to aim to try and push out more regular content.  I'm going to aim to avoid opinion, musings and commentary on the hobby at large.  There's enough of that on social media, other blogs and forums, and that usually just ends up in blah anyway.  I don't want blah on my blog, I'll leave that to others.  I'd rather talk about my models, interesting new techniques, tips and hints that I come across, and new models and products I've got hold of.  I'll write my thoughts on various kits I've received, but they won't always be the brand new latest release though.  For example I've just got the Hobby Boss Mirage III, it arrived this morning.  Looking at the sprues at a glance it's a lot nicer than I was expecting from what I've read on the interwebs and magazines. 

Now onto my output for 2016.  All told it was quite a good year for me with more than one a month completed on average.  I've covered 1:72, 1:48, 1:32 and 1:24 even (although that was a car!).

Hobby Boss (Eduard boxing) F-14 Tomkatski 1:48.  

This model had replacement Russian resin seats and replacement missiles (from a GWH MiG-29).  Decals were Begemot and I tried Akan paints for the first time; they were nice but did clog up the needle often.  By doing the maritime scheme I could really go to town on the weathering as some of the Soviet stuff got really quite grotty.

The premise for this was that back in the late 80's as the Cold War was thawing, an exchange programme was set up between the USSR and USA in order to increase trust and cooperation.  A squadron of F-14s and F-16s were exchanged for Su-27s and MiG-29s.  Various modifications were required in order to make the operation sustainable.

The article appeared in The Weathering Magazine.

Kittyhawk Bronco 1:32

Next up was my favourite model of the year... scratch that, it's my favourite model I have ever done!

I had so much fun with this one, the shackles came off and I could let rip with the imagination.  The base kit is the Kittyhawk Bronco which had a full scratch detail job; many of the parts came from the Hobby Boss WMIK, engines from Aires, mini gun from Live Resin... but there's all sorts of stuff in there including miles of Albion Alloys tubing!  All the markings came from Mal Mayfield's Miracle Masks, he produces custom masks to order and I'd be totally lost without him!

This model will feature in the forthcoming book.

Great Wall Hobby MiG-29SMT 1:48

Another great kit this one although not without its disasters!  I ended up tipping the colour cup over the wing root destroying the paint work in the process.  I let it dry, sanded it back but then had to try and match the paints as they were custom mixes, it didn't help that I'd taken out all 3 shades!

This one was done straight from the box and appeared in MAI magazine.

Italeri Wessex 1:48

I threw pretty much everything at this model; tonnes of photo etch, a load of scratch building, rotor fold set (Scale Warship - brilliant) and all the divots were filled in and a proper rivet job was done.  A while ago I found some pictures of a derelict Wessex sat in a field on White Waltham airfield, I love trying to recreate these rotting aircraft and I just couldn't resist.

The interior of this model featured in The Weathering Magazine, the exterior SBS is in the book.

Airfix Shackleton 1:72

My good mate Shifty is a modeller but had recently moved house and the builders were in so he asked me if I could finish this off for him.  His wife's brother in law's father used to fly them and had just passed away and as the builders were turning the house upside down Shifty asked if I could finish it off for him.  I had to sort out all the seams and spend quite a while getting it into a position where I could paint it.  Still, it was fun.

This one wasn't published.

Hasegawa Ki-44 Shoki 1:32

Being a weathering fanatic I HAD to do a paint peeling Japanese job.  The Hasegawa Shoki is a lovely kit, all I did was thin and drill the seat, add a HGW harness, used Master gun barrels (how do they do that!) and rivet the airframe.  Once again the markings were sprayed but this time using a Montex set.  I really like these sets, especially as they include canopy masks for both outside and inside.

This model will feature in the Extreme Aircraft Weathering book.

Hasegawa Bf 109F-4

A bit of a cheat this, its an older model which received a re-paint for the book.  Still, I had a lot of fun and it's a neat way of updating older models which are sat on the shelves gathering dust.

Eduard Spitfire IX 1:72

What an astonishing model kit this is.  The detail is incredible but not everything went to plan, the wing roots ended up too wide which I put down to me gluing the cockpit in too tightly, I'll modify that next time.  Rather than the standard look I wanted something a little different so went for Techmod decals and this Egyptian aeroplane.  The sheet is full of Israeli aeroplanes and I have the Brassin cockpit so will be doing another in the future.  I'll also add Brassin exhausts, top cowl and the Master barrels, they are absolutely essential!

This model featured in MAI magazine.

Aires PW2800 1:48

This was a fun little project and saw a return to dereliction!  The brief was to do an abandoned engine as if it was from a wreck, so that's what I did, in a weekend!  Although a lovely little thing, the wiring was fiddly...

This featured in The Weathering Aircraft magazine.

Academy P-38J Lightning 1:72

Initially was a bit nervous of doing this one, I'm not particularly au fait with Academy's older stuff however I needn't have worried, this is a lovely little kit.  There were no extras used, all I did was add rivets, other than that it's straight from the box, save the battle damage of course!

This is out in the brand new edition of The Weathering Aircraft magazine, Base Coat edition.

Hasegawa F-4EJ Kai Phantom II 1:72

I've always wanted to do this aeroplane.  It's got all the photo etch I could find thrown at it (apart from the intake FOD guards, they were too fiddly and I failed!) plus an Aires cockpit.  Having struggled with the 1:48 cockpit I was pleasantly surprised that this was an almost drop fit!  Decals are Model Alliance, a rip off but the only game in town unfortunately.  In hindsight I should have painted the cheat line, the decals are too narrow.

This appears in The Weathering Magazine "Real" edition which has just been published.

Revell Trabant 1:24

Anyone remember when Eduard released the first of the MiG-21s?  For the marketing they did a bunny cartoon of each of the marking options, the East German was a Trabant!  I've always wanted to do this as I think it's a neat project with a cool sense of humour.

Hopefully this will appear in Airfix magazine sometime next year.

Airfix Junkers Ju 87B-1 1:48

This is the brand new Airfix Stuka in 1:48.  Standby for OOLAM, the chief designer asked me if I'd make the model for their trade stand, so of course I agreed!  It's a wonderful kit, full of detail and innovation, it fits great and finally it looks like they've nailed the plastic and refined exterior detail.  I'm still not sure on that one piece open canopy/centre section though.

This is another in the MAI pipeline.

Sword Lightning F.3 1:72

Now this did make me nervous, a Sword kit with natural metal finish!  For speed and ease I used super glue for the main construction, something I'll definitely do again.  Seams were made true with a coarse sanding stick, glue applied, bits stuck together, rubbed down and re-scribed all in record time.  I started Saturday lunch time and by Sunday evening the gloss black undercoat was on!  The package is really nice with a resin seat (no harness though so I used the mind blowing Barracuda Studios replacement) and burner cans, the latter which needed a lot of fettlting!  If I was to be a bit self critical though, I think I over did the the post shading a bit, something I'll take into the next one.

Watch out for a future edition of The Weathering Aircraft for the article.

Hasegawa F-104M Starfighter F.3

Going full circle, the last model of the year was another "What-if" subject, the Hasegawa F-104 done as an RAF machine, the premise being the Lightning was cancelled in the early 1960's and when missiles were deemed a failure for the defence of the UK's airspace the Starfighter was chosen.  This model had a bunch of photo etch added plus a resin MB MK. 4 seat along with Barracuda Studios' superb Firestreak missiles.  Xtradecals were used with my old squadron markings, I love that red tail.

This should be in MAI in the future, along with it's wingman!


So that was 2016.  The year I did my favourite ever model, the year I made a Sword kit and discovered they're really nice, the year I used super glue for the main construction and that it is awesome, the year I tipped paint and thinner all over a model with custom mixed paints!

All in all, I had a lot of fun.  But 2017 is shaping up to be very exciting.  The book is coming out, I've got a new job (going back to fly fast jets which is super exciting) and lots of very cool new projects.  I may even start posting more regular blog updates!  And hopefully, I'll make a few more shows, including Telford.  First up though, there's  a derelict helicopter to paint!

Have a great Xmas, new year and a fun and productive 2017.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Priming, do we need to?

To prime or not to prime, that is the question.  Lots of modellers do, lots of modellers don't, each modeller has their own reasons for their method and as we only do this activity for ourselves then of course that's perfectly acceptable (unless you sell primer and state modellers should always prime, but then I can understand why they'd want to say that).

As for me, I very rarely prime as I don't see the need.  The reasons are;

Paint.  I use GSI Creos and Mr. Paint which both etch into the plastic so durability doesn't come into it.

Kit choice.  I normally only build kits which fit very well and thus need little or no filler.  Seams are easy to glue and clean up so I don't need to hide flaws.  If flaws become apparent after the paint goes down, I'll fix it and touch up.

Detail.  Some panel lines, rivets etc can be very fine so another paint layer will affect the depth and crispness of the detail.  Some primers are very fine and won't affect this much, but they all will to some extent.

NMF.  For piece of mind I will normally prime underneath Alclad (my paint of choice).  It's so thin it will show every teeny tiny little flaw...


I have used primers though.  I tried that Stynylrez stuff on the MiG-29.  It was impressive, pulling into the detail but even some of the finer panel lines on the nacelles were affected to some extent and the wash struggled.  The model didn't need it, I thought I'd give it a go.  I will also use it on the Shackleton I'm doing at the moment as there's been quite a bit of filling and sanding so it may help with getting a smooth base coat.

I do tend to use primers on my armour models, this is primarily owing to all the brass PE stuff I vomit all over them.  It helps to unify the undercoat for an even finish and helps prevent chipping paint off the metal.

So that's my 2p on the subject.  Prime everything, prime sometimes, never prime.  It's up to you.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

An apology, 2 finished models, music to model by......

Hello all, wow has it really been that long since the last update!  First off, may I sincerely apologise for the lack of Work in Progress updates on the Dystopian Bronco.  By way of mitigation, I fly a desk at Navy Command which means I live on board in HMS Nelson during the week, I have my work bench and iPad to keep me company but the iPad doesn't rally work very well with Blogger.  What does work well though are various internet forums.  So, if you're a member of Flory Models you can go into the "I'm an Animal" Group Build section and see the whole thing.  For non members, I also posted the full process in Large Scale Planes so you can go there.

Here is the LSP link:

And here is the finished model.  To say I had fun is a slight understatement, never have I been more engaged in a project.  Normally I love getting to the end of a project as I get the sense of satisfaction having created something but I like to sit back, reflect on the projects then work up for the next one.  I did get that with this one but also had a profound sense of loss, I loved every second of this one and really didn't want it to end...

This model will also feature in the book.

The Wessex.  This is the Italeri kit, and it's typical Italeri.  Soft details, questionable fit, average moulding etc.  There is a rotting Wessex at the White Waltham airfield so I wanted to depict this aircraft, however, seeing The Weathering Magazine issue this was destined for was "Interiors" I did a bit of scratch building plus used the Eduard photo etch sets.  I haven't found any pictures of any of the doors open so don't know how much of the "Pinger" kit remains, so I just added some bits and pieces thinking most of the gear would have been removed.  Also, all the photos have the doors shut, not so good when doing a model for an "Interiors" issue......!


A full step by step will appear in the magazine article.

The original.

Hard at work!

I filled in all the rivets and re did them accurately for a realistic look.  I used the RB Productions rivet wheel.  You'll also note how much brass is used!

Mal Mayfield's excellent masks were used yet again.

 And my interpretation

 This was a very involved project with extensive scratch building, photo etch work not to mention all the filling, riveting and scribing.  And although it was very much worth it I don't think I'll ever be making another Italeri kit again any time soon!

On the bench at the moment is the Airfix Shakleton, this is for a mate who had started it as a model to give to his Brother-in-law as his father who recently died flew them back in the day but owing to a house move etc is unable to carry on for a while.  Hopefully I'll bring you some phots of the progress in due course.

Before I go I'll just mention a couple of friends' You tube channels.  Drewe Manton is a good mate and he's added quite a few videos lately on his Kittyhawk Super Cobra and tank thing (sorry mate, they all look the same to me!).  Also is a handy tip for Flex-i-file users. Spencer Pollard, MAI editor, has just started up on there and is worth checking out...

Until the next time, happy modelling.