Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Airfix Models and Molds

For most of my life, I have built mainly military model kits, but not exclusively. One of the more popular types of model kits in the early days of plastic was a company called Airfix from England. The models came in poly bags and the detail was sparse to say the least and the decals; well lets just say the decals were from hunger however; the price was right. For many years, Airfix kits were almost impossible to find in the United States. Recently Airfix, now part of a much larger group of companies, began publishing there own magazine both print and electronic versions. The kits have begun showing up in local hobby stores and more important many are now new molds and or new models which are completely on par with the big Japanese and Chinese companies. The model pictured here is one of the new molds and model of an early A-4 Skyhawk naval jet fighter. What's even better, this type of aircraft was a fighter attack wing attached to our carrier while I was in the service in the 1960's.

Monday, December 10, 2012

With nothing to do the other day, I opened my box containing my Anker Stone puzzles and there sat two boxes of miniature stone blocks.  One manufactured by the factory and is available from the Toy House.  The second box is one I designed myself and added stones to make the original set more versatile.
So what the hey, lets make something, I thought to myself.  So the photo shows a gate somewhat based on some gates in one of the design books.  Total building time, about nine or ten minutes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Titanic Part 9 (Finished?)

Amid ships shot
Well it's been a few weeks since I lasted updated my Blog on the Titanic.  During that time, almost all of the deck, bow and stern have been finished.  To be certain, there were some minute PE parts that did not make it on the model.  Either from the instructions I could not see where they went or these PE parts were so small as to not work well with my eyes and my fingers. One of the main features yet to be added are the deck benches. and the radio antenna.
The bow
The story gets interesting from this point.  On the weekend June 9th and 10th, our complex held its annual Garage Sale.  I thought I might put the Titanic out on the table to see if it would draw people to our sale.  Some two hours later, a young boy rode up on his bike and stared open mouthed at the Titanic model.  I also had on the table a Monogram B-25 that turned out not bad, but certainly not one of my best.  The young lad looked at it and "Wow!" was his comment.  "is that the Titanic"? he asked.  Yes, it is.  "How much do you want for this airplane"?  Remembering my youth and the models or toys I was given, I told him he could have it for $2.00.  He pulled out some money and paid me the money, taking it in his hand, hopped on his bike and was gone.
About twenty minutes pasted and he comes back with his Dad.  They both started looking at the Titanic and making comments like "Such a detailed model, look their are the collapsable boats and the derricks.  Look how the funnels have the support wires, did you build it this"?  "It's a beautiful model. so highly detailed."  "Yes, I built it."  "You did a beautiful job, is it for sale"? he asked.  I replied yes and told him the price.  His son said "Dad are you going to but it?  He said I want your Mom to see it.  He thanked me and they left.
Another twenty minutes or so past and here comes the lad with his, Mom and sister.  She took a quick glance at the model and ask if I would hold it till the first of July as that's when she gets paid on the 30th of the month.  She wants to buy it for her husbands birthday.  She told me he is really into the Titanic as his Great, Great Aunt was a Titanic surviver.  She then looked at both her children and told them not to say a word about this to their father, and made them promise.  I took the model off the table and told her I would hold it.  she promised she would be back on the 1st and pay for it.
So now it sit on the shelf where I have been folding the deck benches and preparing to put them where they belong on the various decks.  By the time the 1st arrives, it should be totally done.  So after the 1st, look for a Titanic Part 10.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Titanic Part 8

Some time has past since I posted my last part (7). Progress has gone forward as well as backward.  So lets begin with once the deck was attached.
The next thing I decided was to use the plastic railing that comes in the kit.  My reason at first, was this piece or pieces would be one of the more outstanding items when viewing the ship from the stern.  The photo etch (PE) parts for this railing is one piece versus the plastic which contain several smaller pieces making up the rail.  Now. I am not the worse modeler working with PE parts nor am I the best; in most cases I do acceptable work. Trying to bend the one piece PE rail would be a challenge as there are several right and left folds necessary for this section.  I figured I would probably screw it up and ruin the desired effect.  So I opted for the kit railing. After I attached this railing, I decided I did not like it.  Unfortunately the glue had set up and trying to remove this would only mar the final appearance.  I'll leave it I said, and do the rest of the railings with the PE parts.
A good view of the stern railing referred to in the text

So I started attaching the PE railings.  Right off the bat, it seem like I was about to get into trouble.  The PE is so thin, it's almost impossible to remove the railing from the fret without distorting the railing.  Once bent where it was needed and attached, the railings became almost invisible.  This is not to take into account that the funnel rigging had been completed, making it very difficult to fit the railings in place.  After attaching three or four railings it became evident that the PE railings were not going to work.  It was back to the kit railings.  I thinned the railing with sandpaper as much as I dared for fear of  destroying these in the thinning progress.  As can be seen, they do not look all that bad.
The cover over the dome
So now that the railing was done, the skylights over the famous glass domes was to be attached.  Again a problem occurs.

The PF skylight, although perfect in folding does not fit properly over the dome.  The dome sits to high not allowing the skylight to sit on the deck as it should. To make it sit lower would call for a major reconstruct of this area or dis-forming the skylight. What to do?  Easy, leave the dome off, unless one is looking for the dome by close up examination, you won't notice its not there. the hole in the cover are small enough to hid where the dome would sit.
The bow without the railing attached yet.
Next the bow and stern. I begin by drilling out the port holes on the bow and thinning out the railing.  When I test fitted this piece it just did not look good.  Like a large white glob.  So I carefully cut the railing off in hopes of using the PE ones. I believe in this case, it just might work out okay.  Time will tell and look for the next Titanic Part 9.  By then that should be done.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Titanic Part 7

Just a short add on to this on going series.  In viewing to photo files of the titanic that I have, it is apparent that the port holes at deck level should be drilled out.  Fortunately with the hull being so flat sided without projections sticking out over the hull, it is easy to lay the hull and on side and drill out all the port holes which are only indented on the model.

On the Starboard side the holes have all been drilled out.

One can see a big difference compared to the Port side which still remains to be done.
One can also see that some of the detail work is in progress on the boat deck and above now that the stacks have been finished.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Titanic Part 6

The experience keeps growing; when last I wrote in part 5, I was about to tackle the decks and the sides.  In studying the instructions it became apparent the four funnels needed to be assembled and rigging put in place before attempting to attach the decks.  Not to be out smarted by the instructions, I would glue the fore and aft decks to "A" deck then attached the decks to each other.  Well that was not the smartest thing to do.  Pay attention to the instructions, they sometimes know the proper sequence that should be followed. I soon realized the were correct.
So I backed off and proceeded to finish the boat deck attaching the funnels before rigging.  This also proved not to be the best way to apply rigging to the funnels.
there was so much flexing of the deck assembly that it became impossible to rig the funnels in this way.
As an end result, I glued the decks to the sides and managed with a lot of struggling to get the entire assembly attached to the hull.  It took a lot of pressing, snapping and cuss words before I was able to get this assembly to fit as it should for the most part.  There are still a few areas which will require some additional fitting and I assume more cuss words before I am satisfied with the final fit.
The ship as she sits on my work bench
Now came the problem of how to complete the rigging of the funnels as they are designed to have the rigging attached to the boat deck run up into the funnel laced around and back down through the boat deck and up again into the funnel until the funnel is fully rigged and ending at the bottom of the boat deck where it is to glued to the underside of the deck.
Instead of this being a simple thing to do, I now must rig each funnel by single lines glued first into a hole on the boat deck then run up into the funnel glued and trimmed.  This has slowed the entire process down by a considerable amount.

Two of the funnels are done, two more to go.
In short it sometimes behooves one to follow the kit instructions to a tee.  I say this as an experience modeler.  Many times in the past, due to painting or some special detail it is not always best to follow the instructions. Changing the assembly sequence only makes the modification more difficult to do.  In this case the instructions are correct.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Lionel Little Train

A little departure from the Titanic.  I discovered this Lionel train that runs on AAA batteries and is remote controlled.  The entire set comes with engine, tender, gondola, caboose, enough track to make a small circuit going up a grade, across a trestle and down again.  There is also a loading station with two cubes for a load and two switches.  A number of small accessories complete the set.  The engine chugs along and the hand controller has a whistle.  In reverse, it gives a sound like a real steam engine going in reverse.
I will probably sell it on Ebay but for now, I am going to see if I can purchase more additional track from Lionel.  I have some doubts as the entire set is manufactured in China and in Chesterfield, Lionel I believe only has offices now.

So enjoy this quick movie!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Titanic Part 5

The thumb is on the mend, so it's back to building the titanic.  I have painted and removed all the deck chairs where necessary and applied the wooden decks.  Per the instructions it looks like they want the rest of the decks and stacks built before assembling all the decks to the sides and attach the whole unit as one piece.
As yet, I have not decided on how I will tackle this next step.  I have assembled two of the chairs and placed them on the Bridge deck as shown where I removed two plastic ones early on in the construction, one on each side.
Here the remaining decks have been laid in place for these pictures

The stern gives a good view of the screws

looking carefully, you can see the deck chair, not yet painted on the deck just to the right of the hatches

Another view of the bow.
Stay tuned, I may not be updating until I have figured a way to go and have proceeded.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Titanic Part 4

Well what would be a model without some sort of damage somewhere.  In this case, the damage is to me. So lets go back in time for a brief spell; say the 1940's.  Back then, most men shaved with Gillette Double Edge Razor Blades. In order to cut out model parts that were printed on Balsa wood; it was necessary to snap a razor blade in half taping the broken edge so ones fingers could negotiate around the printed area of the part. This was not always successful and many a finger or thumb ended up with a razor cut. Then came the Gem Single Edge Blade and wow we still managed to cut a finger or thumb somewhere along the way.
Fast forward to the present and all the advance modeling tools and imagine one still being able to inflict damage to one fingers.  In this case, it was my thumb when a simple slip of the blade cut into the face of my thumb right down the center to the first joint.  Deep, but not requiring stitches. So. Well wrapped in gauze and tape my modeling has slowed to a crawl.
The damage occurred while removing some plastic which was to represent benches.  These would be replaced with photo etched benches during final assembly.  It was necessary to remove these in order for the deck to fit flat at that area.
I was able to remove three and a half of the the four benches before the mishap took place.
and early this morning with my thumb on the mend, I finished removing the fourth bench and attached the wooden deck.
"A Deck" - Where it will finely go.

Full View

Several parts yet to opened, assembled and attached.
Todays pictures, give you another photo of another deck, in this case "A Deck" the culprit; temporarily placed in position.  In these photos, one can get an idea of the amount parts yet to assembled and attached to the ship.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Titanic Part 3

The next step per the instructions call for the assembly of the Bridge Deck.  This is very simple, and only three small pieces of wooden deck was necessary.  Again for the most part, finial finishing won't take place until all the decks are assembled and ready to install on the hull.
The Stern

The bow, not the Bridge deck covers both the stern and the bow

Here you can the wooden deck in place
I have temporarily placed this deck on the hull along with the fore and stern decks to give you an idea of the progress.  None of the pieces have been permanently set in place. I only placed them there to take these pictures.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Titanic Part 2

Well I have partially finished the Fore and Stern decks and thought I might give you an insight in the construction. I will admit without reservations that if you are going to spend the money and the time to build such a model, and there are a few worth spending the above, do it right.
One of the nicest features of wooden decks, is the fact that deck accessories don't have to painted very carefully to avoid smearing paint on the deck or vise versa.  I started by painting the bulkheads white, then masking them after drying. next came the hatches brown and lastly the bollards black.  Then came the wooden decks which are self adhesive.  As you can see by the pictures they are now ready to be applied to the Stern.
Stern deck spray painted and ready for the decks.

Here you can see the deck pieces ready to be applied.
Meantime I have spayed the hull and it now rest on the base to cure for a week or so or until I need it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Building the Anniversary Model of the Titanic by Academy (Part 1)

There are many different models of the Titanic available, suffice to say all of them are inaccurate in one sense or another.  The purist among modelers like to go around with the manufacturer drawings in hand pointing out this error or that omission.  Well really who cares except those purist.
When finished each of these models looks like the Titanic.  Whether or not there are errors, the average person viewing any model looks at the over all appearance and see's a model hopefully pleasing to the eye.
This year being the Centenary of the Titanic's sinking, Academy Model Company Ltd of Korea has produced a special 1/400 scale model with many extra goodies and limited to only 5,000 kits.  My kit is number 3,515 of the 5,000.  The extras include a 150 piece jig saw puzzle of the kits Box Art, a special Titanic booklet with many pictures and the Titanic story, photo etch parts replacing many of the plastic parts to enhance the over all appearance of the model and finely wooden decks which over lay the plastic ones in the kit.
To date, I have cleaned up the hull, removing the parting line where necessary, masked and painted the the underwater portion of the hull, and attached the screws. The base was assembled so as to have a place to rest the model on during assembly.  next the hull will be flat sprayed and then given a light coat of Future Floor Wax to preserve the hull from marring during the rest of the assembly.
The kit's box showing the puzzles picture.

One cannot see the kit number in the Holograph, but it is there.

It is my intension to post future parts of this story as I progress building until the model is finished.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Experience buying an Air Gun

What a bunch of B.S.!   Just to buy a Pellet Pistol (air gun).  I have had guns all my life, from my first Red Rider BB gun to competition guns.  Over the years I have sold off my gun collection and recently wanted to do some tin can plinking with a pellet pistol.  So I went to one of my favorite sites Beamen's and Air Gun Depot.  At AGD, I found a nice single pump 177 cal. pellet gun used made by Ruger.  Now the problem started.  Can't ship gun to Michigan!  Michigan has so many rules regarding pistols that it's almost impossible to buy one legally.  To do so, required going to the Sheriff's Department, waiting till your turn is called, fill out this questioner, pay five dollars to have it notarized then go to a Gun shop that has a gun you wish to purchase.  the permit is only good for 10 days.  So you must have the gun and the location ready when you get the permit.  Now comes the next problem! Do to all these laws most gun shops don't carry air pistols any longer. I found a gun, not the one I wanted, but it will do.  So now comes, three pages of forms to fill out for the State Police and the FBI.  Everything must match right done to the dot above the (i) or its rejected by the State Police.  This takes about three hours and by the way, you must also purchase a gun lock! I was however lucky having been given one by the dealer.  But you cannot leave without either your own or one that you purchased.  Lastly, once all this is done, the remaining parts of the gun permit must be taken back to the Sheriff's office within the 10 day period or you are subject to a fine of $250.00. UNBELIEVABLE!

What ever happened to going into a gun shop looking over several different guns, pick one that you want; purchase it; take it home and shoot with it.  I was told this came about after 911 and when a group of kids or a gang went around shooting out car windows a few years ago.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Running out of Room

I've been busy building so many models these past two years that I find I am running out of room to display them; so I did the only thing I could.   I hung them from the ceiling  so I can enjoy them and have room for more. All are 1/48 Scale. Please enjoy viewing some my hangings so to speak!
Monogram/Revell Kingfisher

Italeri T-6 Texan

Academy Bf-109

Monogram/Revell Spitfire Vb

S2F Stuff

Eduard Mig-21

Trumpeter Mig-3

Eduard Bf-108

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Revell/Monogram Spitfire Vb

I built this with an open canopy
An old kit, re-issued for Christmas sales at the Big Box Stores, this is an old Spitfire from Monogram of the 1960's. It still makes a fair model now that it has an up-dated cockpit and canopy that can be assembled in either open or closed position. The packaging is the typical white box with Revell clearly printed in the upper left corner.  I purchased it for $4.99 at the Christmas Clearance aisle in our local store.
Still not a bad looking model considering the kits age.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Italeri Junker's Ju-87 B2 in 1/48 Scale

Well it's the beginning of a new year and I just finished up this JU-87 that I started and sprayed with Future Wax then set it aside for at least four weeks before applying the decals.
This is a great departure in modeling for me in many aspects.  First, I built and painted the fuselage, wings, and smaller parts without attaching these parts into a completed model.  Once the wing was complete with most of the small parts attached, (most being the key word here) I masked and sprayed the three colors necessary for this aircraft.  Likewise, I did the same with the fuselage.  As this aircraft is a low wing aircraft, meaning the wings are attached to the bottom of the fuselage it becomes much easier to finish the model as separate pieces before attaching all the parts into a complete model.
Next I sprayed these parts with several coats of Future Floor Wax until a nice smooth coat could be felt over the surfaces of the model. Then it was set aside on the shelf for almost four weeks before I even looked at it again.
Finally, I started applying the decals on Saturday and Sunday.  As I found out, the background film is almost eliminated.  The other secret is to dab some decal set on the surface where the decal is to be applied first. This seems to totally eliminate the background film.  There were a few small decals where I missed the mark, but one has to scan the model carefully to find these.
As to the kit, it is an Italeri kit with several different markings available.  The kit was on sale at our local hobby shop and also comes with a small PE set comprising of seat belts and windscreen shield and a detailed engine should you want to leave the cowls off.  The part fit is right on and it was truly a joy to assemble.

The wing walks are also photo etch parts
What surprised me was the fact that our Grumman Hellcat is a more robust airplane for it's size compared to the Ju-87.  I have seen real Hellcat's close up, but never a JU-87 and the Hellcat seems larger in stature. Here are some photos of my completed Ju-87. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012 - LCAC Hovercraft

Christmas brought a 1/350 scale model of the Navy's LCAC Hovercraft by MRC.  It is a small but cute little model.  The entire model composes of 18 parts and measures less then three inches in length with two kits per blister package.
Total building time was about nine hours spread over five days including the diorama that the model now sets on.  Most challenging was painting the top surfaces of both side superstructures.  The diorama was constructed of a small piece heavy board stock given to me from a friend.  It came out of the zipper type garment bags used to store clothes.  The wood frame was cut from a wood paint stirring paddle thanks to Home Depot.  Water was from a small piece of Triang plastic sea from their 1/1200 scale waterline ship models.  This material has not been available in over forty years. Even today it is hard to find something suitable to serve as water without going into a large modeling project such a Woodland Scenics.
Completed model on the package it came in

The tan piece represents the beach which the hovercraft
 is about to come ashore on.

Here is the stern view with it's two large fan power plants.