Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ju 88 started

I decided to go ahead and get started on the Revell 1/32 Ju 88 kit. Opening the box revealed quite a few sprues of rather large parts. Everything is so BIG! After looking through the sprues and reviewing the instruction manual I was worried that I might not have enough paint on hand!

One thing I've decided is that I'm not going to try and document every single step for this build. If you search on Google you will find there are already several good reviews available in both written and video form. I'm just going to try to document the highlights and/or trouble spots I run into. 

Construction begins with the cockpit. Or more precisely, the starboard cockpit wall. There are several other parts that are attached to it before it is painted. Color callouts in the instructions are all for Revell paints that aren't available in the US. Looking online I did my best to find color equivalents but some of the lists I found left me scratching my head in confusion. In the end I used Tamiya XF-22 RLM Gray as the base color for the interior as shown here:

Detailing the parts with black, white, and leather brown brought it to life. Here it is with the other bits I've been working on:

I still need to give it a wash and some dry brushing to show wear. As you can see the cockpit area all by itself is nearly 4 inches in length! Once installed in the fuselage and with the canopy parts in place the cockpit area will be a bit over 4 inches by 2 inches, a lot of area to paint, detail, and weather!

Monday, December 1, 2014

This is a BIG box!

While she was out running errands prior to Thanksgiving my wife stopped by a hobby shop to look for a particular kit for me. They didn't have the one I want but did have something else that's been on my list. Even though it was a bit on the expensive side ($50!) she brought this home for me:

This is a huge kit. Well, compared to what I have been building at least. The wingspan is 24.8 inches (63.0cm) and the length is 17.8 inches (45.3cm), quite a bit larger than anything I've built in a very long time! In years past I have built larger models but it's been a very, very long time since I tackled something this size.

The kit is produced by Revell Germany. One of the things you'll notice if you look at the artwork carefully is the lack of a swastika on the tail of the bomber. German law prohibits the display of the swastika as a Nazi symbol. They don't include them on the decal sheet so I will have to source aftermarket decals when the time comes. There are also a lot of aftermarket detail bits available from Eduard (photo-etch for interior and exterior, resin wheels, etc.) but I'll have to make do without since it would more than double the price of the kit!

I'm going to try and take my time with this one. Given the scale there is no excuse not to take my time and try to paint as much detail in the cockpit as possible, especially given the huge canopy area. My primary concern at this point is whether I'm going to have enough paint when it comes time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Eduard 1/48-scale Messerschmitt Bf.109E-4 Weekend Edition (Kit 84166)

While at the hobby shop a few days ago I picked up this Eduard 1/48-scale Messerschmitt Bf.109E-4 Weekend Edition kit. As this is my first Eduard kit I went into it with great anticipation and have not been disappointed. Even the packaging sets this kit apart from the majority, with a sturdy box holding beautifully molded parts protected by resealable plastic bags. The clear part are in their own ziploc baggie. The decals are superb as are the instructions.

Eduard's Weekend Edition kits are the same plastic parts as their Profi-Pak kits, but only the plastic parts. They don't include the photo-etch or canopy masks, and rather than the multiple choices in marking include decals for only a single aircraft. In the case of the Bf.109E-4 those are for W.Nr. 5819, Obstlt. Adolf Galland, Geschwaderkommodore JG 26, Audembert, France – December 1940, a find choice for this iconic aircraft.

Inspection of the parts shows the magnificent recessed panel line and rivet detail:

This detail is consistent across every part of the aircraft's surface. Such a change from the raised panel lines and rivets I was so used to in the kits of the 70's and 80's!

Interior detail is a bit less prevalent as this model is intended to use Eduard's photo-etch details. It is still excellent in quality and will build into a great looking cockpit. Here are the cockpit walls for reference:

The kit includes a fully detailed DB-601 and gun bay for displaying the kit with the cowlings removed. I decided to forgo this option as I just don't have a safe enough spot to display what would be a very delicate model.

Building starts with the interior parts. The cockpit, firewall, oil cooler, and tail wheel all need to be built and inserted into one fuselage half before the fuselage can be closed up.

Oil cooler:

Interior parts were painted with a base coat of Tamiya XF-22 RLM Gray. Details were picked out with flat black, flat white, and flat yellow.

There are two options for the instrument panel included in the kit. One is flat panels to be used with supplied decals, the other is raised detail panels for painting. I chose a third option and applied the decals to the raised panel using several applications of Micro-Sol. The result was well worth the effort.

The panels were given a light misting of Testors Dullcote to knock down the gloss of the decals. After installation you can't tell they weren't hand painted. Once they and the other interior parts were glued in place I closed up the fuselage. I also built the wings at the same time.

The fuselage goes together with nearly invisible seams except in the area of the oil cooler under the chin. There I had to used a dab of Squadron White Putty to smooth things out.

Once the glue had set up properly (and a small accident had been cleaned up after knocking my Testors Liquid Cement bottle over) the wings were joined to the fuselage. Once again the seams were nearly invisible and required no filling. Even the wing root/fuselage join, an area where many models have issues, was miniscule. The cowling and access panels for the engine and gun bay were also installed.

More photos to come!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More goodies!

Yesterday I acquired two more kits. The first I won in a Twitter giveaway by DragonUSA Online. Here's what I won:

Later on I took a trip to the hobby shop to pick up some paint for this and a couple of other models. I made the mistake of browsing the aisles and ended up bringing this home as well:

Both are fantastic kits. I fell in love with Dragon kits while building my Hummel and expect nothing less from this kit. The Bf.109E-4 is a kit I've looked at before. I've been wanting to try an Eduard kit and this seemed like a good one to start with. And yes, I did get the paints I had gone to the shop for originally plus the paints for the Emil. All in all a very good day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Revell Ford Custom update

The Revell 1/25 scale Ford Custom is pretty much finished. All that's really left is getting the body painted and attaching the last chrome bits. I need to get some paint before I can proceed.

Finished interior showing dashboard

 Engine compartment

 Underside showing exhaust and fuel tank

Preview of what the finished model will look like

This is a great kit. The parts all fit well, there is minimal flash to clean up, and it builds into a solid model. About the only thing I can really complain about is that the instructions are a bit vague on the exact placement of some parts, especially on the engine and in the engine compartment. I strongly recommend that the builder take the time to dry fit repeatedly before gluing assemblies into place. One example in particular is that the steering pump has an end that fits into a hole in the firewall. Nowhere in the instructions is this shown. It is up to the builder to discover this and figure out how to fit these parts together when the time comes.

Unfortunately this is something that isn't uncommon in plastic model kits. Most have gone to simple CAD generated line drawings with minimal text. In the past instructions were highly detailed and each step was fully explained and accompanied by precise drawings. Those detailed instructions do take much longer to produce and require the services of experienced technical writers and draftsmen to create. The simpler instructions coming in today's kits are adequate if the builder takes the time to dry fit parts, and they do help to keep kit prices lower so I guess it's a trade-off we'll just have to live with.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Not scale, but it is modeling

A different type of modeling, in fact - model rocketry. I'm sure many will immediately think of Estes model rockets as they are widespread and common in most hobby shops. Well, the world of model rocketry is far more than just those familiar kits! In fact there are two national/international organizations dedicated solely to the pursuit of the rocketry hobby, the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), and the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA, or more commonly just Tripoli). Rocketry clubs will usually be affiliated with one and/or the other and will abide by the rules and regulations created by these organizations for the safe practice of the hobby. Members are also required to abide by each organizations respective safety code. Each also offers certification for high-power rocketry activities, which will be discussed in more detail below. I have not joined either yet but hope to do so soon. All of my launches have been with clubs sanctioned by one or the other, though, and always will be.

Model rocket motors are classified by their impulse level. The more common black powder motors used by the Estes and Quest Aerospace kits and sold by the typical hobby shop are classified as low-power motors, typically A through D impulse. These are the rockets you will see folks launching at the park - where such an activity is legal, of course. I highly recommend that if you want to launch model rockets you do so only at sanctioned launches due to the inherent danger of a hobby which involves igniting highly energetic substances to propel objects into the air. Such launches will have multiple experts in attendance to provide direction and assistance, not to mention insurance coverage if something unfortunate does happen.

The next classification is mid-power and is usually associated with more complex rockets in terms of building materials, construction techniques, motor propellant, and performance. These are the E, F, and G impulse motors. Rather than black powder motors these are usually powered by Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (or APCP for short) although Estes does make a couple of BP motors that fall into this class. Estes makes a few kits of this nature in their Pro Series II rockets. Due to their power, performance, and danger factor it is best to save these powerful rockets for launch at a sanctioned club event where experienced model rocketeers are present. They can also fly high enough to require a waiver from the FAA, something most clubs will already have in place for model rocketry activities.

The last classification is high-power rocketry. Rockets in this class used motors of H or higher impulse and operate under a different set of regulations established by the National Fire Prevention Act (NFPA). To fly one of these rockets requires certification by either NAR or Tripoli. Within high-power rocketry there are also three different levels of certification, Level 1 (H and I impulse), Level 2 (J, K, and L impulse), and Level 3 (M impulse and beyond). The actual impulse levels are more specific, and some lower letter motors can actually have an impulse level that moves them into the next higher tier as far as certification level goes. These rockets can only be launched at events where there are specific provisions in place, such as an FAA altitude waiver. Rockets in this class can easily go many thousands of feet. Some are so powerful that they can even approach the edge of space! It is easy to see why they must only be launched under controlled conditions in suitable locations and with proper precautions in place!

Most of my rockets are Estes kits and fall into the low-power classification. However I do have two more powerful rockets. One of these rockets is an Aerotech IQSY Tomahawk and uses a 29mm motor mount. It can be flown with more powerful 24mm black powder and APCP motors using an adapter but is intended for use with 29mm APCP motors. It is a great performer and an exciting one to watch fly! Motors for this range from E impulse to the low I impulse range. Although designed as a mid-power rocket it can also fly on high-power motors with the appropriate certification.

The other is a K&S Super Flash. Sadly the company that made this kit is no longer in business. This rocket uses a 54mm tube, is 47.375 inches tall, and has a 38mm motor mount. This rocket is one I plan to use to get my Level 1 High-Power certification. I could also use it for Level 2 if I ever choose to certify at that level. Typical motors for this will range from G through J impulse levels. This rocket can reach altitudes from 2000 feet to well over 8000! It is designed as a dual deployment rocket although I plan to fly it in single-deployment mode for classification.

I haven't completely finished construction on this one yet but it is very close. Before I can fly it I have to decide which national organization to join and which of the many available H or I impulse motors to use. I'm fortunate in that I have a Tripoli prefecture that flies 20 minutes from my house where I can go to launch, as well as the largest of Southern California's NAR clubs about an hour away. Either one has members than can preside over a Level 1 certification flight.

Model rocketry is a fun and exciting hobby, and one that is a great family activity. By its nature it is extremely educational. Taking the time to learn the science behind the hobby is a huge part of the enjoyment!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Revell 1/25 scale 1957 Ford Custom ("Tudor")

I've been working on this kit for a few days now. I'm quite pleased with how it's going together. Parts fit is very good and the assembly is well thought out. Detail in some areas is soft but that's to be expected from a kit in this price range.

Assembly starts with the engine. The left and right halves of the block/transmission line up very well and go together with no unintended gaps. The seam is tight and easily removed.

It really begins to shine when painted and with the other parts on.

I did deviate from the instructions a bit by altering some of the colors called for. Simply put I don't have any gold paint nor the money to get any, so I used silver and certain Metalizer colors that I have on hand. I also decided to go ahead and work on the interior while I waited for the paint and glue on the engine and frame to fully cure.

The blue is Tamiya XF-8 Flat Blue, which happens to be a very close match to the Dresden Blue from the Ford color brochure for this car. The grey patterned areas are decals provided in the kit, and the door and window handles are painted with Model Master Chrome Silver. The only change is that I used Testors Dullcote to get a flat finish rather than the gloss of the uncoated decals.

More as construction progresses.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A new kit for the stash

While we were out and about yesterday we stopped by Hobby Lobby. They had several kits marked down for clearance. I was about to pass them by when I spotted this one:


Originally $25.99 marked down to $15.99, too good a deal to pass up!

The box contains two bags of white parts (body in one, all the rest of the white sprues in the other), one of chrome, one with clear parts and optional drag slicks in separate compartments, and one bag of wheel pins. There is a folded instruction booklet and a sheet of decals as well. There is no excess room in the box - it's stuffed! The kit offers the option of building either stock or drag racing versions with optional parts for both.

Box art:

Manual and decals:

Parts sprues and bags:

The only release year info I can find is 2012 so it does look like all parts are new tooling. There is very little flash, the exception being the tree with the rear seat and front seat back. Otherwise the molding is crisp and clear. Detail is typical for a model of this scale and price range. Ejection pin marks are minimal, although there are some on the inside roof of the body that will have to be cleaned up.

I plan to do a bit of research before time to paint the exterior comes. One thing I did find already was a brochure listing Ford colors for 1957:

This will come in handy for gauging the color match when the time comes!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Suffered a major setback in finishing the Hummel. I was trying to paint some of the detail parts when I dropped a brush full of Model Master Metalizer. The result is not pretty:

I'm not sure how to proceed at this point. Options are to lightly sand the affected areas and try to repair the existing paint job, or to lightly sand the entire thing and start over. The lower hull and tracks weren't affected so that can be masked off whichever way I choose to go. If I do decide to repaint I"ll go with a different camo scheme. This one is neat but a bit more than my current airbrush skills were capable of. There are simply too many flaws for my liking, so this would be a really good excuse to redo things. Got to think about it some more - maybe while we're waiting for our landlord to fix the broken air conditioner.