Sunday, 31 January 2016

Dystopia Bronco Part 3 - Rear cabin

Welcome back to the blog and the Bronco project.  We've done the front end, now time for the rear.

The rear bulkhead was was detailed up, I didn't go mad as it's going to be dark back there! 

The floor plate was detailed with etched tread plate, plastic strip and HGW rivet decals. The basket is from the WMIK kit but the floor became the lid, a new floor was made with plastic card, the back blanked with photo etch mesh and various details added such as clasps, hinges etc. 

The bits were primed with Alclad black micro primer.

The various bits were painted and chipped as per the cockpit. 

The base coat was Tamiya XF-4 again over the same worn metal tone and a coat of Ammo of Mig Scratch Effects.

Keeping the area wet, it was scrubbed with a brush until it started chipping.

The tread plate didn't chip too well so it was enhanced by dry brushing. 

Rust was simulated by applying Ammo of Mig's Rust Streaking effects. When dry it was blended with a moist brush. 

Ammo of Mig's Airfield Dust and Earth pigments were applied and fixed with white spirit. 

A thinned mix of Ammo of Mig Fresh Engine Oil, Engine Grime and Black pigment was applied to simulate old oil stains. 

The finished floor.

Part 4 will detail the fuselage construction.  Stay tuned and until then, happy modelling.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Dystopia Bronco Part 2

  Hi chaps.  I've been really busy on the Dystopia Bronco so standby for a pretty long post!

The cockpit was finally finished.  To be honest I just let the imagination run away and I just kept adding more and more so in the end it looks really very busy.  Its all plastic card, bits of that 1:48 F-14 and 1:35 WMIK, lead wire, brass wire and Albion Alloys tubing.

That row of black dots are HGW rivets, decals in fact!  Note also the home made spring in the pilot's seat, inspired by the real thing but I think that's part of the comms.  I did this because I think it looked cool!

To glue the brass rod, I squashed the ends to give a larger surface area for gluing.

The pilot's office wasn't neglected.  As well as plastic strip and Albion Alloys tubing, I also added a WMIK thingamajig and some Airscale photo etch bits.

Now time for paint, first up, Alclad black primer.  This is highly recommended owing to all the different materials, plus it will help with shading.

Next up I sprayed a mix of Tamiya Black, Buff and Light Aircraft Grey, I wanted a worn metal tone.  This was then promptly sprayed with a coat of Ammo of Mig's Scratch Effect chipping fluid.  This chipping method is by far and away my favourite, more details in a bit.

The base coat is predominantly Tamiya XF-4 Yellow Green, in other words a zinc chromate colour.  The black areas were masked and sprayed.

Then the area was wetted before scrubbing with a brush.  Eventually the water soaks through the paint and dissolves the chipping fluid, this then lefts off the dry paint creating highly realistic chips.

Now for the detail painting.  A very fine brush was used, plus some nerves of steel!  I found the CB panel tricky, I resorted to a "wet" dry-brush!  In other words, just wiped off a bit of the paint before very carefully stroking the raised detail.  This gives a much more opaque and strong effect, plus it doesn't distress raised areas and corners, not what is required.

Next up, pin wash.  I used various tones of Ammo of Mig here, mixing a neutral grey/brown tone.  I also experimented with a brand new product, I can't say anything here as it's still a prototype but it's awesome.  As soon as I get the nod you'll know all about it here!

Next up Airscale placards to dress up the panels.  I lost count after 70 or so!  Most of them are tiny individual decals........

But I think you'll agree, they really liven things up in there.

Almost there!  Next up it was time to dish the dirt, literally!  Ammo of Mig's Airfield Dust and Earth pigments were applied on the floor and in the nooks and crannies.  They were fixed with their own brand thinner.  I didn't feel the need for pigment fixer as it wouldn't be handled.


  You can see here I added some wiring bundles, again inspired by the real thing.  They're not painted, I used cotton covered wire (available from

Ammo of Mig's Engine Oil was applied sparingly on that tank thing in the deep recesses at the bottom.

This is the pilot's seat and frame for the gunner.  The seat was detailed up with all sorts of scrap and Albion Alloys tubing (I'm getting through tonnes of this stuff)!  This paint is by far the best on the market, Mr. Paint, think Alclad but coloured!

Ammo of Mig's new acrylic paint was used to brush paint various details.  its superb stuff, it sprays nicely too!
This is the rear gunner's seat made from bits of the WMIK seat.  I used a scalpel to cut nicks and rips in the vinyl.

The seat harnesses are from the HGW He-111 set!  Much more appropriate I thought.
It was painted with Tamiya paint.  There's no wash, just a dry brush with Vallejo flesh for a worn and distressed look.  The grey strips is decal from a 1:72 F-4 walkway decal, its supposed to be gaffer tape covering up the worst of the rips!

The finished pilot seat.  That had some Airscale decals too!
I guess this does what it says on the tin.  But there's a mix of the kit decal and yep, you guessed it, Airscale!

And here is the finished cockpit, apart from the tops of the throttle levers.  this will be white glue but there's a lot of wet sanding to come so I'll wait.

That front coaming was too wide.  I ended up chopping it in the middle and re-gluing it together!

I've got more but I don't want to bore you to death!  I'll be posting Part 3 on Sunday all being well.  So until then, happy modelling.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A new look, a new completed model, a new project. Pirate Apocalyptica Part 1.

A new look

Hi all.  Over the years I've been doing this blog I've had quite a bit of feedback, most of it thankfully positive and constructive.  One of the themes has been the layout and some folk found it a bit of a challenge to read.  Actually I thought it was fine and I liked the look however I thought I'd freshen things up for the New Year.  I've chosen a basic, clean, crisp look which I hope you'll like.  I'd really love some feedback so leave your comments or ping me a message.

Latest completion 

To the modelling and  my first completion for 2016.  This is the Hobby Boss F-14 Tomcat.  The kit is actually the Eduard Danger Zone boxing so you get Brassin jet pipes, wheels, seats, a photo etch set and canopy masks plus a wonderful decal sheet!  Well, as you can see I kind of went off piste with this one!

I was asked by Carlos Cuesta from Ammo of Mig if I and good mate Andy Brown would be willing to do a joint What-if project.  After bouncing ideas around we settled for an F-14 and Su-27 with a change of clothes!  This is my half of the article, the Tomcatski!  Paints were Alclad and Mr. paint for the underwear and Akan for the top coat.  Decals were Begemot, its the first time I've used these decals, they were ok but needed a load of setting solution to get them to confirm and they do need a pretty good gloss coat.  This model and Andy's Flanker in VF-84 colours will be appearing in the What-if edition of The Weathering magazine soon.

Extra's used;
  • Great Wall Hobby missiles (pinched from a MiG-29 kit)
  • Quickboost resin seats
  • Alclad Duralumin
  • Mr. Paint Lemon Yellow primer colour
  • Mr. Paint Soviet/Russian green (for the wheel hubs and aerials)
  • Akan (for the camouflage)
  • Mr. Paint Super Clear gloss varnish (the best gloss I have ever used, bar none!)
  • Ammo of Mig scratch effects chipping fluid
  • Ammo of Mig PLW
  • Ammo of Mig Chipping colour
  • Post shading using dirty mix of Tamiya Rubber Black, Hull Red and Buff

It was a fun project, I can see me doing more What-ifs!

Pirate Apocalyptica Part 1

The year is 2039 and the collapse in the Middle East oil reserves following the 3rd Gulf War has plunged the world into a world war.  Nuclear fall out preceded drought and famine.  Now the few remaining humans eke out a dangerous hunter gatherer living, trading scarce resources for food.  Materials are abundant, abandoned in the old times, food and expertise are not.  Neither is fuel, that precious commodity now replaces money and gold as man's treasure.

By far the safest mode of transporting goods is by air.  The few remaining aircraft are cannibalised and adapted to keep flying, and their crews brave the airborne pirates who own the marauding skies.  To survive a crew must relay on guile, cunning and superior flying skills to live.  Many are pilots who survived the old wars, but then so are the pirates!

I've wanted to do a project along these lines for a long time.  Ever since I did my post apocalyptic Japanese Police Car (featured in Tamiya magazine a few years ago) I've wanted to do a similar thing to an aeroplane. As fun as doing the good guys was, it's time to do the baddies!

The base kit is the superb Kittyhawk OV-10A Bronco in 1:32.  Normally I thorow the usual pile of resin and photo etch at a project, not this time!

Here are just a few of the goodies that I will be using in this model.  Yep, there are Zero engines in there,  Live Resin Wrangler Humvee wheels, Live Resin minigun, resin skulls......?  And what is not shown is the Hobby Boss WMIK kit and Aires PW2800!

Work started inevitably in the cockpit.  This is going to be heavily modified as you may imagine so straight away I opened the WMIK kit, nicked the steering wheel and chopped it up.  Some wire cored plastic rod, punched plastic sheet and lead wire plus the base of the kit control column resulted in this!

Next up was the pilot's seat.  Scrap plastic card was used here to dress things up but its not finished, I need to add a load of wiring and the cushions will be added at the end after painting.  A He 111 harness will finish things off!

Now for the cockpit tub itself.  Again plastic rod was used to start building up the structure.

As I am mounting some radial engines I thought it would need more controls so the rear throttle quadrant was moved. 

I carefully sawed off the quadrant using an RB Productions razor saw; a superb piece of kit and extremely fine.  I can't recommend this tool highly enough.

Now I could let my imagine run wild.  Plastic card and strip built up the rear cockpit, the gry blob on the floor is half a 20mm Vulcan cannon from the Tomcatski and the brown thing is part of the engine block from the WMIK!

Here is the progress so far and its building up quite nicely.  I've got a really long way to go yet though, I need to add some tubing, more structure and make a start on the wring, lots of it!

So until the next instalment, take it easy and enjoy your modelling.

Friday, 1 January 2016

So that was 2015

So, 2015 has ended and he calendar has clicked over to 2016.  It's at this time of year that many of us take the time to reflect over the last 12 months, here are mine.

Day job

First off professionally.  To be honest, its been a slog.  At the moment I work in Navy Command, doing my bit to run the Royal Navy.  Its a desk job, my first ever one, and I miss the flying terribly.  I did manage to get airborne a few times, once each in the Hawk and Avenger and a couple of times in the Grob Tutor.  Hopefully, desk allowing I'll manage to re-qualify on the Grob and I can do a little more, here's hoping.  I've got a meeting with my career manager later this month as I will be changing jobs, but I've already been tipped off that it will be back to flying and back to teaching.  Trouble is where?  I have a few ideas on that, we'll see.....

Sub optimal modelling

Now the modelling.  I'll start off with a few negatives, the main one this blog.  I am shocked; just 2 postings all year which that is not good enough, no way, and I apologise.  To be honest my computer down in Portsmouth (I work away in the week) packed up so its hard to update the blog as weekends at home are very precious.  That said, once I start my next project I'll be serialising it on here so hopefully there should be lots of updates!

Output.  15 for the year.  That's not bad but I could have done more and I will have to next year, especially as I'll be coming home and the modelling will take a step back.  Not least because I don't have a cave in the new place!  I think I maybe relegated to the garage, brrrrrrr!

Book.  As some of you maybe aware, I am writing a couple of books.  I was hoping to get one done and dusted by Christmas but alas it was not to be.  There are a variety of reasons for this, one of which is that one of the publishers also produces a magazine and regularly asks me to contribute which pushes the book down the priority.  However, I have just a couple to do which I want to get finished as soon as I can which will mean I can get writing!  The sooner its in the can, the sooner it will get released which is very exciting.  That will free me up to concentrate on the other book whilst still contributing to the magazines, if I can get that one done by this time next year too I'll be chuffed to bits!


Magazines.  The Weathering Magazine has gone from strength to strength and I am very proud to be involved.  Ammo of Mig is a great company, I love the guys' attitude to the business and the hobby as a whole and I especially love the magazine.  They have just published a new magazine called The Weathering Aircraft magazine.  It's modus operandi is the same as its older brother in that there is a theme each issue, the inaugural theme being panel lines. My F-15J aggressor was featured with my Egg Plane MiG-15 in the next issue which will focus on chipping.

 That's my Tamiya F-16 on the cover.  Akatskia like it too!!!!!

I also renewed my contributions to Model Airplane Magazine.  In my opinion, (humble that it is  :-D ) this is the best monthly modelling magazine out there and I am also proud to be involved again.  There will be more from me in there in 2016.

My Trumpeter Su-9 Fishpot featured on the cover of the July issue.

Weathering.  I continue to refine my modelling and in the area I am most passionate about, weathering.  We all make models for our own enjoyment and really it is up to us how we finish our models but for me, I strive to make my models as realistic as possible.  Of course, by their nature compromises have to be made owing to scale but the references are always to hand and I am constantly referring to them trying to reproduce in miniature what I can see on the full size machine.  If people want to draw dark lines all over their panel lines so the model looks like a tartan blanket then that's up to them, I hate that but all I can do is try my best to do what I like to do.  My aim with the books and magazine articles is not to dictate how models should be finished, no way.  What I want to do is simply explain how I achieve my results and the methods I used to get there and if people like my models and appreciate the articles then that is a real thrill.  And that leads me back to my first sentence in this paragraph, I continue to refine my modelling.  Some people are happy with where they are, they have no desire to improve or get better, they plod along enjoying themselves applying the same method on their models with no real thought or logic.  That's fine, but its not me.  I want to get better, to improve, to learn, to progress.  I am not always successful, but then you have to fail sometimes if you want to improve as you'll always be trying to push your skill level up.  I may not be entirely happy with my latest model, but I know that the next one will be better!

The models

First off you'll note that I said I finished 15 models.  Below are 13 models.  The discrepancy is because one of the book publishers doesn't want the models appearing on the web prior to publication which I totally understand.  So, you'll have to be patient!

Here we go then, in no particular order;

Eduard Spitfire VIII 1:48.  This was built with the addition of Barracuda Studios' resin update set.  That set is simply superb!  The base kit is phenomenal, one of the best I've made but that little upgrade did do much to busy up that cockpit, honestly, if you have this kit then you MUST buy the Barracuda set.  it also has Brassin exhausts and Master barrels brass replacements  The markings are all sprayed using Mal Mayfield's superb Miracle Masks.  I won't lie, that shark mouth was insanely fiddly but I think you'll agree the result is well worth it.

The second Spitfire was also painted using Miracle Masks although built straight from the box with the exception of the Master brass barrels (another essential).  I wanted to see just how it would look buttoned up with no enhancements.

And here we go again, another Eduard Spitfire.  This time I used the Master barrels, Barracuda's one piece resin cowling and the Brassin cockpit.  To be honest, I wouldn't bother with this, I'd just use the Barracuda set and drill out the lightning holes.

This is the Eduard MiG-15 in 1:72.  It has the resin cockpit and jet pipe although with the former I did struggle to get it to fit properly, hence the FOD guard in the nose!  Its had a full riveting job which wasn't too onerous in this scale.  this appeared in the Heavy metal edition of The Weathering Magazine.

I love the abandoned look and another natural metal job was this Trumpeter Su-9 Fishpot; a brute of an aeroplane.  This kit was a game of two halves; lovely exterior detail but pants cockpit!  There is a resin replacement due soon apparently!  This one appeared in MAI in July.

Another MiG-15, this one though a bit different though I think you'll agree!  It's Hasegawa's egg plane!  this one had a Retrokit resin cockpit, new jet pipe donated from a 1:72 F-4 and a full rivet job.  I used the kit decals which actually were very nice.  This one will appear in issue 2 of The Weathering Aircraft magazine due soon.

Staying with the abandoned theme, the Airfix Gnat in 1:48.  I love this model, its such a great little kit and I built it straight from the box.  This aeroplane didn't end up like this (I'm assuming), I found lots of phots on the internet of various Gnats and other classic trainers from the period in this state and based this model on them.

And now for something completely different.  I built the Revell 1:32 hawk as a desk top model for my boss at work.  Well, it was for him to present to the Captain of RNAS Culdrose as a leaving gift as he had a model of every type flying from the air station apart from a hawk!  This again featured Miracle Masks.  At risk of appearing a total bum licker, I also made the new tool 1:72 Revel kit for my boss (a shcking kit for a new tool 2015 release, nice detail and good fit but flash absolutely everywhere, ugh!)!



Now for a couple of 1:48 Great Wall Hobby kits.  The first is actually my favourite of 2015 and that's the MiG-29 9-12.  I found a few phots of a Bangladesh Air force aircraft undergoing refurbishment in Ukraine.  The paint had been partially stripped back to the bare metal and primer.  It was such a cool looking thing I just had to do it.  this model had all the Eduard photo etch thrown at it!  I loved this model so much I've managed to get the latest version for MAI so stay tuned for that.

Next up was the F-15J (converted from the C (although ignore the incorrect bullet fairing on the top of the fin!)).  Again I vomited Eduard photo etch all over this one!  She appeared in the first issue of The Aircraft Weathering magazine.

Now for the little F-16.  This was the Tamiya kit although I did a cut and shut job on the tail, grafting the Revell brake chute housing on.  Its not 100% as pointed out by a few folk on the web although I don't care, this was a canvas for weathering and she appeared in The Weathering Magazine.  This was my first go with Akan paints (thanks Andy), they are great which is a relief as they'll be used on a few projects in 2016!  In fact I don't generally care about accuracy, not really.  Only when it's really obvious like that HK Models Mosquito, the nose of which looks like a cartoon, horrid!

And last up was my final model of 2015, Trumpeter's new tool MiG-21UM in 1:48.  This has the same level of exterior detail as the Su-9 although the cockpit is superb.  That didn't stop me chucking sheets and sheets of PE at it though!  Look out for this one in MAI sometime soon.


So, that was 2015.  But what's next?  Well, I am currently building the Hobby Boss F-14 although this will be a really cool What-If.  And when I say really cool I mean sub zero!  The fit so far is pants, but some of that is my fault as I elected to close the slats and flaps, I'm ploughing though however!  After that I have an even cooler project, in fact I'm really excited  about it, never have I been that keen to start a model.  I intend to serialise this one in the blog so hopefully we can go on the journey together.

Big picture wise I've got the books to finish, articles for magazines to do plus do my bit to help run the Navy from my desk in HQ so it's going to be busy but I really can't wait to see what the year brings.  I may even get to go flying!

I hope you all had a great Pagan Roman Winter Solstice and I hope you all have a fantastic 2016.  Happy New Year.