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!