Friday night reflection

If I don’t forget about it next week, I’d like to use the Friday night for some reflection time about my modelling and the things surrounding it.

Primary build, the FW-190 A8/R11 (Revell 03926)

First things first. As I start to get towards the final stages of this build and I enter unknown terrain, the old fear of failure is creeping in again. I have had already had a bad experience with trying something new, but I actually feel that failure has taken the pressure off for a little while. I guess I for a few days felt it couldn’t get any worse.

I am reasonably happy with the job I did on the camouflage, even though the mottling isn’t perfect. Today I did a thin over-spray with light blue of the mottling.

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My plan is to do a final layer of staubgrau tomorrow and accept the mottling as it is.

I also resprayed the underside and the engine cowlings where I took the staubgrau a bit too low initially.

I think it’s time to get back to my little list I made a few blogs back:

  • Retouch some parts of the mottling.
  • Mask off and spray the dark area behind the engine and above wings.
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Unfortunately Revell doesn’t say what color this is. The same goes for the fuel rack area. A few steps back the manual says they should be in light blue as well, but I am not too sure. Both parts will need some more looking around on the internet.
  • Recover the cockpit where the primer got through.
  • Mask off the canopy I will use and spray staubgrau.
  • Clear coat.
  • Decals.
  • Clear coat again to seal in the decals.
  • Weathering?
  • Re-place the cannons in the landing gear bay.
  • Antenna’s, landing gear and other easily breakable stuff.
  • Re-place the broken off fuel rack back on the underside.
  • Re-place the broken off cannon on port side and paint it again.

On one hand I know this is just my second build and it takes practice to get to a higher level, but I hope to make the best of this thing of course!

Secondary build, the Boeing 747-8 in Cargolux livery (Revell 04949)

I am not very far with this build. I did the first main gear bays last week, and had some trouble getting the gears on straight. Because I had the feeling this had something to do with my less than thorough approach to this build I temporarily put it on hold until the Focke-Wulf is done and I will make this my primary build when I’ve reached that point. It might be better for me to just focus on one build at a time, but if I really get bored I still have this to pick up.

Looking forward to building this beauty.

I will probably give all my attention to this build when the FW is done, but I’d still like to preview the kit I am already planning on building next.

Preview, the Mitsubishi A6M5 ‘Zero’ (Revell 04755)

A few weeks ago my dad gifted me a couple of kits, and the idea of building the ‘Zero’ has grown in my mind.

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Funnily enough, when we placed all the boxes on the table this one initially found its way to the ‘nah’ pile.

The reason for that..

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This is the entire construction phase of the build! 8 steps! It’s a level 3 model

At first I thought: this is too simple, this won’t give me the challenge I need. But while I was compiling the rest of the booty this thing stuck to the back of my mind.

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Even though the build might be simple, there is still plenty of challenge in getting the final finish to the quality level I desire. I can be happy if I could even achieve the quality level displayed on the box!

So in the end I decided to take this home with me. It wasn’t complete, but my brother has made the exact same kit and he had the missing part laying around from his own build of the kit:

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He did an O.K. job with painting the middle part of the canopy, but I will at least look into cleaning it and doing my own attempt at airbrushing it.
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I already purchased all the paint I need, although I still need to find Revell aqua 383.

There is more shopping to be done though:

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The decals are pretty battered up by Father Time!

I will need to get some new decals, and I hope I can find an upgrade set somewhere while I am at it. Maybe I can also see if there is some other stuff to make this build more interesting? I’ve seen some of those custom seat buckles around, or maybe I can even make them myself? It would be a step up from what I am doing normally but scared as I am, I still like to always improve myself!

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The instrument panel with give me a nice opportunity to try some cockpit detailing.

 

That’s the little summary for this week! Maybe I’ll do something like this again next week but until that time I will surely continue updates on the FW-190.

Groetjes, and have a good weekend!

Daniël

Finally back on track

A few days of problems with the airbrush and wrongly thinking I had found the source of the problems has really taken the wind out of my sails. I noticed that this morning as I was finally ready to start some actual work again.

New compressor

In my last blog I attempted to repair my first compressor and failed. So within a month after purchasing the Fengda BD-831 set which includes a BD-135 airbrush and an AS-200 mini-compressor I had to get something else.

I first visited a couple of hardware stores to see if there would be a cheaper alternative to a ‘specialized’ airbrush compressor. The two stores I checked only had more expensive options, so I drove on to Hobbycar again.

I left with a Fengda AS-186. I had already decided it would definitely be something with an air tank because turning the mini-compressor on and off all the time and it still being overheated within half an hour really got me in trouble once I started the camouflage stage of the FW-190 build I am doing. The AS-186 has a 3 liter tank and when it turns on again it doesn’t make much more sound than my airbrush booth.

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Unfortunately I didn’t think about an airbrush holder and the 1/8 2x airbrush hose I needed. But after a second visit to Hobbycar I had another nice addition to my workplace!

This morning I went back to Hobbycar for a third time in two days. I joked to the store owner he should consider getting me my own key by now. When I tried the compressor last night with a bit of water in my airbrush, I noticed the spray didn’t go straight. After all the trouble I had last days it would make sense that either the needle or the nozzle would be damaged so I bought both, and after replacing the needle it seemed better.

After having two longer airbrush sessions today I can say I am really falling in love with this compressor! The only downside from having the thing next to me on the table is that it shakes quite a bit when it has turned on again, and of course a 3 liter tank is empty quite quickly so there’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. Still, that is really a minor nuisance and at times I didn’t even notice until well after it had turned on again. Probably just needs some getting used to.

I am now also able to adjust the pressure output, which has already come in handy today! Probably essential in getting an acceptable result on the challenging camo I am working on right now.

Back to the FW-190 camouflage

Since I started my re-integration to get back to a 40 hour work week I notice I have had a lot less energy left for model building, which is fine and of course was to be expected. But since I noticed the quality on my B747-8F work wasn’t what I wanted it to be I decided to at this stage wait with doing two builds at the same time like I planned. I’m sure when my energy-levels are back to normal I can pick it up again, but at that time I will hopefully also be back to work completely so I will have less time available for modelling anyway.

As I said in the introduction, I had to get my bearings a bit when starting this project up again.

Today I was able to really get some work done on the camouflage of the FW-190 and I am very curious what you guys think, especially on the mottled camouflage on the sides.

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I didn’t do a lot on the underside, but I painted the sides and front of the wings and although I am happy with the stripes it has left on the front as was supposed to happen, I will have to redo some of the rest of the wing area since I didn’t mask anything off.
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I am quite proud of the wing camouflage! I free handed it and I think it turned out pretty good! I didn’t mask off here so no tight lining here between the different colors.
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Don’t mind about the broken off gun, that happened a while ago directly after the primer stage. The camo on the engine cowlings also needs more work.. it is shaped wrong and is probably too low. I am not sure about the mottling effect.

I did this side first, and after some reading I did most of the other side with a thinner mixture and a lower pressure output on my compressor.

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I think I like this side a little better.. the lower pressure and thinner mixture gave me a little more control which is required for those tiny details.

But even on this side I think I will either have to do a thin layer of the light blue because the effect is too strong, or maybe I will even have to do a complete layer of light blue and start all over again?

I even tried the camouflage on a Spitfire part I had laying around last week, but I am not sure how I like the mottling effect right now and I am hoping you guys can give me some feedback on how it looks.

As always, I am very grateful for all constructive criticism and feedback!

Groetjes,

Dan

 

 

Compressor failure

Unfortunately I had another bad session with my airbrush this weekend, but before I was able to do more testing I let the airbrush compressor overheat and the ‘safety mechanism’ on the Fengda AS-200 means you are basically done until you let the thing cool off, and then open it again as I wrote in an earlier blog.

Safety Mechanism

Imagine if you and your mate Fengda (he is adopted) are sitting in a bar.  He picked you up with his car, and the plan is to have a couple of beers before he will drive you back home. But hey, look who came through the door! A couple of old friends who used to live in the same town you and your mate still live in! You have much catching up to do and you buy the guys a round of beer, and before you know it is 3 am in the morning and both you and Fengda are incredibly drunk.

You do have to get home at some point, but it would be irresponsible to have Fengda drive you in the state he is in. He just keeps going though. He says he is an even better driver when he has had a couple of beers. You start arguing and you tell him he should give you his car keys.

Suddenly Fengda storms out of the pub, sprints to his car and slashes all four of his tyres.

After you both walk home and sleep it off, you meet up with Fengda again. You take the bus to get a couple of new tyres. You just can’t figure out why Fengda didn’t just give the keys to you or the barkeeper instead of his dramatic little show, but you are too tired to start about it, and so if Fengda who still smells of booze and puke.

The Red Button

I know by now that there are three things you might notice when the Fengda AS-200 compressor is overheating:

  1. The engine noise will occasionally fluctuate even though you are not using the airbrush.
  2. The engine will shut down.
  3. The compressor can not be restarted. The red button simply does not click and nothing happens when you try.

Before I opened the thing up or even had the overheating situation, I had read the safety instructions and saw that there was a safety mechanism in place to prevent overheating. It gave me a safe and cozy feeling. After my first overheat I let the thing cool down like the instructions said, even though I already noticed the red button did not respond and I found it hard to believe it somehow would again after letting the thing cool off. After an hour or two the red button still made no sound and the compressor still didn’t start, so I decided to open the thing up even though some of my greatest technical achievements are changing a light bulb and resetting a fuse switch.

Fengda AS-200 inside
Doesn’t look too complex, even for me.

The above picture is not what I found though. What I found was that what was on the underside of the red button (the black tube where the red and yellow wires end up on the left side of the picture) had come loose, and the spring that was between that part and the red button which made the button do anything had also popped out and lay somewhere next to the engine.

As said I am not very technical when it comes to these things, but I was able to deduct what should go where and quickly had it working again.

The yellow wire

This week I had another overheat, and after letting the engine cool down I opened the compressor up again to do this same trick. Unfortunately this time I was not able to get the button back to working condition since the yellow wire which is soldered on to the button contraption had come loose in the struggle to get it back together. The difficult thing I found was keeping the contraption together while at the same time making sure the wires don’t get stuck between the sides of the compressor and don’t rest directly on the engine so they could possibly get damaged once the thing gets heated.

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Time to do some soldering of my own I guess!

Soldering on

I bought myself a soldering set and spend a few hours trying to get this to work. Unfortunately even though I have watched a few videos on soldering, this job turned out to be too much for me.

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The closest I got to restoring the contraption to the way it was.

This result wasn’t acceptable even for my standards, and the thing fell apart when I even started thinking about putting it back together. I wanted to add more tin, but the heat had already melted the plastic through heat conduction and things went from bad to worse from there.

It’s a shame really, because I actually got a bit further than I had expected. What was probably a bit too much for me was that this was more than just soldering a wire together with a piece of metal. There was a third part that had to be joined, and in the end I was unable to correctly join these together. I used too much tin and there was too much heat in all parts so even the plastic melted.

Of course the repair job is purely my lack of expertise and experience with this. Good experience though!

So, was this a safety mechanism?

I am wondering if this really is the way Fengda has designed it. The instruction manual advises to use the thing for not longer than half an hour, an advice I have to say I frequently do not follow although I also have to say that if this is a mechanism that works as intended it at least does what it should: it keeps me from further using a device that is already overheating.

But the manual also talks about the device being equipped with a thermal switch. It tells me to let the thing cool down for at least 30 minutes, but does not say whether or not the DIY button fix is required. It could be something is just not working as it should.

Cheap

Whether or not the Fengda way is to passive aggressively slash the tyres rather than give you the keys I just don’t know, but I do know this compressor is about 25 euro’s in the Netherlands. That is probably about as cheap as you can get a compressor.

In the end it was my own mistake to not return this thing to the store when it didn’t work after letting it cool down. I find it hard to believe you have to send the compressor back to the factory every time it has overheated. If that is the overheating protection, than I am glad I tried to fix it myself. In the end though I will have to literally pay the price, by buying a new compressor.

Hopefully I can do that tomorrow so I can finally get back to some actual modelling!

Groetjes,

Dan

 

More stuff.. again!

In the words of an obscure late-20th century poet B.J. Spears: ‘Oops, I did it again!’ That is obviously a joke and obviously she didn’t write that herself. Anyway!

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Tada! The BD-512 spray booth. I wanted to get one anyway and yesterday I visited hobbycar again and well.. here we are!

I really can’t stand strong smells and let’s be honest, this hobby has a few.. I especially hope it will help with the primer!

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The reason I went to the hobbyshop again was actually to get one of these.. and well, once something is in my head I want it so after a demo I decided to just go for it.

I know I buy a lot of stuff, but I spend a lot of time on this hobby and I like to be prepared. I see these things as an investment since I just started this hobby. I’m sure I won’t keep spending the amount of money I spent on all this in the last two months!

Back to the FW-190. I started work on the camo these last two days.

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First I expanded the light blue color that I did on the underside earlier this week so now the tail and side are covered as well.

I did a larger area than required to avoid having to revisit this color.. I hate it when I at some point discover I forgot a small area, especially if mixing colors is involved like with the light blue. Of course today I did discover just that, but the area I missed is small enough to do with a brush.

I keep learning more about my airbrush. In my last blog I joyfully reported I had thinned my mixture so much for the light blue that I had a good result. Well it appears that wasn’t the entire story.. To finish the light blue on the sides of the fuselage I went straight for this thin mixture and it still didn’t work! Then finally after another frustrating half hour I guess I accidentally didn’t screw the air cap back on completely and the thing started working like a charm!

I don’t know if this means I screwed something up when I put the airbrush back together a while back, but today I did more work on the camo and it worked reliably. I don’t think I haven’t been able to use my airbrush reliably for two days in a row so far! Well, today was fine just like yesterday!

Since I didn’t know yet how good using the airbrush would go today I didn’t want to go all out again and planned on doing the rear wings first and see how far I would get with just a bit of very thinly mixed ‘staubgrau’, more englishly known as dust gray.

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Do your masking jobs look like this? There has to be a better way!
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And of course there is, because I bought some flexible masking type a few weeks ago! Requires a lot less angled yellow masking tape.
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I don’t know if it’s visible on this picture but the result of the airbrush isn’t very precise.

I suspect this is either because I screwed loose the air cap or because I still used a very thin mixture of dust gray because of my earlier experience.

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I used up the rest of the staubgrau until the flow staubed, ha.

I free-handed the camouflage so far and I will probably will need a few tries to get it just right, but I am still confident it will give me a better result than masking it off.

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Since airbrushing went so well I did the two bottom engine cowlings as well.

The yellow mixture was way, way too thin! Even though I already knew it didn’t need to be as thin as I have used in the last couple of weeks I went for an even thinner ratio.. don’t know why I did that because it was already somewhat thinned with water because I had just cleaned my mixing cup. Ah well, I did a couple of layers and the result looks fine!

Pretty happy with how this thing is turning out!

Groetjes,

Dan

The fun is back!

I can’t say everything went smoothly today, but having had some time to put things in perspective about some of the mistake I made so far on this kit and I did get that satisfying feeling back with today’s work.

I will hopefully look back at the FW-190 kit in a while and be happy about the things that have I have learned since then.

Like not gluing on fragile parts too soon! Here I placed the fuel tank rack back on because it also goes in the same color.
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It would make sense to do the underside first. I have to mix light blue matt with some white matt and I don’t think I will be able to do everything in one take because the compressor might overheat.

After mixing those colors I first sprayed a line on the Spit-Wreck to see what the exact output was.

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Unfortunately I ran into trouble soon after I started airbrushing. This is a far as I got when I decided to do an ’emergency’ check and cleaning on respectively the compressor and the airbrush.
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I first opened up the compressor because the engine seems to be getting slower right after starting it up and I might have placed things back in the wrong way after I last opened it.

I first opened this thing a few weeks ago after a my first long airbrushing session. I had read in the manual there was a ‘safety mechanism’ that would let the compressor automatically shut down when it got too hot. I had this weird idea that there would be some complex system behind that, so I kept going for more than 45 minutes when the engine sound starting fluctuating and the thing switched off. Ah, I thought. There is the safety mechanism. Unfortunately after letting the thing cool down for half an hour it wouldn’t turn on again.. When pushing the nice red button on top I heard no click like I should and so I opened it up.

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The part I have my finger on had separated from the part just above it.

I screwed the part back on and the button clicked and functioned again. And that’s the entire safety mechanism. Well, it works I guess. But of course it also means I have to take better care in managing the time of my sessions and make sure thing doesn’t overheat. Which is fine, but after opening it again to take these pictures I first made a mistake getting the wires back in the right place in the right place so they got stuck between the covers. I noticed that soon enough and corrected it by moving the PCB in the right place. I got a nice shock in the process as I didn’t unplug, doh!

That was last week, and this afternoon when I noticed things weren’t working I first wanted to check the compressor to see if I placed the engine back correctly. I am no expert, but I had the feeling the engine had a harder time getting the air through because of the slowness, maybe because I had somehow twisted the tubes in the compressor.

Anyway, the engine sounds better again like it should but the problem still wasn’t solved. I already occasionally open the airbrush to clean the needle and I clean the nozzle from the outside. I clean the thing with water after every use and every now and then with paint remover. This afternoon I did the same but for the first time I also removed the nozzle. So I now took the entire thing apart and cleaned everything, literately squeaky clean.

And still it didn’t work!

Since I was ready to throw the mixture away now, before I did I threw in another couple of drops of thinner.. and then it finally worked! It was a bit splashy, but after the first few seconds of spraying it was under control.

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Pretty happy with having done the entire underside!
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The result isn’t as thick everywhere, but that’s fine. This isn’t a 50’s Cadillac.

The compressor was pretty hot by now and I didn’t like the light so that was all today for airbrushing. Anyway, my mixture keeps being too thick and I really have to not be so careful with thinning it.

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I decided to move my table again to hopefully get some better light in the daytime.
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I spent an hour on the B747-8F again.

Having this as a second project is a nice contrast from the FW-190. These two tiny gear bays together took me almost 2 hours! Unfortunately things seem to fit a lot less neatly than the 1/32 stuff I did so far, so I really have to take care with dry fitting. And that in itself is also very difficult, because you sometimes have to keep 5 parts up at the same time!

Groetjes,
Dan

Watching paint dry

Or actually primer. I didn’t do anything to the body today but do a tiny bit of sanding, which doesn’t seem to make anything better. I did apply primer on some parts though.

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Maybe I should get some new furniture for a nice big piece of styrofoam!

Then I moved on to the B747-8F. I made less progress than I had planned, but those tiny parts really need a lot of time to get right.

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I worked with primer again inside the house, and my girlfriend so far has been very sympathetic (maybe because she saw me sulk over the primer fail) but I really have to find a way to reduce the smell when it’s time for primer.

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Something like this probably.

Started me re-integration into the workplace and as was  expected it is tiring, so I will have less and less time for this hobby. Which obviously is a good thing for me, but perhaps also for way I do things in this hobby.. sometimes I just try to rush things and getting my balanced life back a step at a time will make me think better about what to do when.

-Dan

 

A layer too far

Short blog because I’m tired and I really have to pick myself up after this..

Unfortunately I didn’t take enough care this afternoon, and I guess in hindsight I picked the wrong moment to try to fix yesterdays mistakes. As far as I’ve been able to tell, most of them are now fixed, but the underside and port side now have some details gone thanks to another ocean of primer applied, and there is some ugly surface because of trying to correct in a hurry.

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I sanded down the scratches first.
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Sh*t result. Uneven, scratches and in some places too thick.

I’m still finishing this thing.. first need to let it dry and find motivation again. I tried to rush it before an appointment this afternoon and I was, again, too tired to think straight. I just have the tendency to just keep going even though I know it’s not necessarily the best thing.

Next time:

  • Take my time
  • Work in daylight
  • Don’t use a dusty dark shed
  • Don’t do it before an appointment so you can’t properly clean a bad result.

I’m not thinking about buying a new kit this time.. I not only have plenty of them lying around now but I also want to try other stuff on this one, like the camo and weathering.

But chances are that some day when I feel more confident I will have to re-buy the A8 or the F8 to get it right!!

-Dan

Update:

Scratches are gone, sanded it down to the bare minimum to get rid of the uneven parts and very lightly applied primer again. The detail is still gone, by I used my heavy duty knife to give an indication of where some of the lines are. Of course I had to take my attempt to far so I might have to do this again, but it is what it is.

If I can get the proper stuff (some of that Label Writer tape?) I can hopefully get some of the details back..

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I did this last part in the man-cave just like I thought I wouldn’t do anymore.. but I think a very controlled environment is essential to do this, and the outside/dirty shed route with the poor lighting might not work for me.