New inspiration

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for a while now, but truth be told I have another huge time eater in my life since recently!

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of X

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Since last summer I was convinced my days spending time behind a computer for fun were over, but since I started feeling better and better and having gone back to a full work week I realized I didn’t only get better at my job by having better focus on the thing I am doing. I was also ready again to spend my free time doing ‘complex’ things. Complex in the sense that most of the computer games I used to play have at least some learning curve to them.

A few weeks ago I actually started playing ‘War Thunder’, but the arcade feel was an instant let down for me. I had seen the IL-2 series in the past, but the title caused me to never look into it.. after all, the IL-2 wasn’t a very interesting plane to me so why would I play a game about it.

Well it turns out that the IL-2 Sturmovik Battle of Stalingrad/Moscow/Kuban series is so much more than a series about the IL-2. I am amazed each time I play about the level of detail and the feel of the different aircraft.

I came across a small Dutch IL-2 squad looking for members and joined that group. Here is me doing a bit of flying with on of the members:

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Where does this hook in to the model building hobby for me? Well I am getting all sorts of vibes about stuff I want to build, and the details on the planes are amazing. Especially the weathering looks amazing and will be great inspiration for how things might look on a WW2 plane.

Speaking of inspiration: I originally planned to get a new Revell kit for my birthday, but at the last moment I changed the subject and decided to go for another subject.

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I had been eyeing this kit for a while, but my IL-2 involvement made me change my mind about the present I wanted. I can’t keep my eyes of the in-game eye candy, so here is a shot of the plane in the game:

It will also be a great tool to get an impression of how a cockpit would look like:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor il-2 battle of stalingrad fw-190

Before I finally move on to some actual modeling in this blog, here is one more of me almost starting a bomb run with a squad mate in a PE-2:

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All in all, I hope to find a lot of the modeling subjects I am interested in find its way into the game!

The A6M5

In my last blog I finished up the underside, so now it’s time to do the same thing on the top. I’m having some problems with my airbrush unfortunately, so it took me a while to get the result I wanted.

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I called it a day before reaching the back of the plane..

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This morning I put on the second layer. Seeing it like this I think I will want to add some darker green on the final layer, but that’s fine.

img_20171223_095103717336858098641691.jpgI am happy with another reasonable job on the freehand airbrush job.

It isn’t done yet. The final layer will be thin, and as I say a bit darker to get a better Zero look. I mixed this color myself from mixing the light gray the instruction booklet indicated (which looked totally off to me) with some tints of light and dark green. I am reasonably happy with this tone of green and I gather there were some different tints of green going around on these planes, but I think it is definitely a bit too light on this medium layer.

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That’s all for now! Next time I will put on the final layer of green and mask and spray the canopy.

Groetjes,

Dan

A6M5, ready for more primer

Compared to the last weeks I have put in a bit more work. Seeing it come together really boosts the enjoyment I guess.

img_20171130_1544477570249540924393223.jpgSince the already painted rear wheel can only be placed before the halves are attached together I choose to do a first layer of white around that area.

As you will see at the end of this blog, I am ready to start working on the livery and thus I took one of the perfect illustrations by Rikyu Watanabe from the book I bought a few weeks ago. I noticed on the illustration that the rear wheel area isn’t completely white on the A6M5, which I found supported by other pictures from the book.

img_20171130_1942168961483420165780870.jpgTime for actual assembly. The wing part isn’t actually glued on at this point as the photo would suggest, but I couldn’t help myself.

img_20171130_2016484358014409856441101.jpgIn the meantime I had a look at the canopy/windscreen situation.. first I made a start at masking the whole thing. I then decided I hated that, and after some sanding I decided to try and hand paint over my brothers effort of a decade ago..

I hated the result, and I hate hand painting almost as much as masking of the clear parts. I guess I will have to switch my brain off and do the job. For now I decided to move on though.

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The next day I attached the wing assembly and the fuselage together as tight as possible. It was already obvious during the test fit that this wouldn’t be a tight fit straight away, so I already mentally prepared for another filler operation.. Revell Plasto should be enough for the seams that are left.

 

I learned from my earlier Plasto usage on the FW-190 and this time used some tape to mask off some of the detail, even if the amount of detail on this kit is minimal compared to the current generation of plastic.

 

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Another thing learned for the next time: why not just use a bit more tape to mask of both sides of the gap? I thought about it before starting applying the Plasta, but I decided to wing it. Some Plasto has gotten onto the wrong places, but there are not a lot of panel lines to accidentally  fill on this particular kit, so I am lucky to learn another lesson before it really matters.

img_20171202_1609315977293473316998127.jpgThis is the result after using a wet wipe. The filled areas should be sanded down well enough, although as said I could have done a better job at masking.

I also masked of the entire cockpit. On the FW-190 I tried using a temporary canopy. Well, for this model I don’t have a temporary canopy, and I doubt it will give me much of an advantage to first get the canopy on anyway.

The plan right now is

  1. Mask of the canopy/windshield and airbrush them separately.
  2. Touch up on the black primer to get any unevenness out.
  3. Start on the livery!

I have kept a blog by Darren from The Scale Model Hangar in my mind since the moment I read it last September and so I wanted to try the technique on this model as soon as I started it, because as Darren explains it is a good way to make a monotone color scheme more interesting to look at. The blog really is a good single page to show the technique, which is great.

A more detailed look at the the Black Basing technique can be found at Matt McDougall’s YouTube channel. I will look at both these sources before trying it myself!

Groetjes,

Dan

Engine #2

Work is progressing nicely on the A6M build

Another engine

I was proud of my attempt of the engine assembly of my recent FW-190 kit, but I got a couple of nice pointers when presenting it on this blog, and hopefully my attempts at applying those will have payed off.

I started off with a black base, and used dry brushed steel color to get a somewhat realistic end result.

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After that, I assembled everything and did the wash like last time to make it look nice and used.

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Even though this assembly is a lot more simple than that of the FW-190, I am still at least as happy with the result! Hope you like it!

The instruction booklet

I have to say the way you work on this kit is maybe even more fun than on the modern Revell offerings in terms of following the instructions. There might be just seven steps, but the steps show more instructions. For example:

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This in itself would probably be a complete page on modern (Revell) kits. The fun thing is it sort of invites you to do your own planning rather than completely go with the manual flow.

Of course I  still wouldn’t change a thing on the newer instruction booklet. It works for this kit because it is so simple and has relatively few steps. Besides, I am a relatively new builder and with each kit hopefully will step away further and further of the instruction flow.

Fuselage assembly

Last week I already applied a layer of primer on the fuselage. Not sure if that was the best choice, but it felt like a good idea to avoid masking tape if I could. Besides, I really went for black basing here, and I can always touch up on the primer if I have to do some more sanding once it is all glued together.

Before actually sticking the halves together I did a nice and shadowy layer of farngreen on what will be the cockpit walls. Hopefully this will create some depth, although to be honest I doubt you can see much of the cramped cockpit once it is finished.

Apart from the clear parts, I have everything ready to start work on ‘step 4’

One point of attention is the rear wheel. This kit gives you no option to attach the wheel later. Once you glue the halves together there is no room to get it in. This means I will either have to do a first layer of the area near the rear wheel, or I will have to do a good job at masking it and maybe use a brush to work near the wheel so I don’t accidentally mess it up.

I will probably first do a layer of light gray around the rear wheel area, then stick in the wheel and glue the halves together. After that roughly masking off the area will be sufficient.

ESM

Last weekend ‘Euro Scale Modeling’ took place in Houten, near Utrecht. It was my first modeling show.

I did not take pictures, and I am not sure why not! Too busy looking around I guess. And more regret still: I didn’t have any cash on me. I figured most stands would have the option for electronic payment, but in fact most of them did not. I saw the McLaren MP4/13 I have on my wishlist for 20 euro’s, but I didn’t have the cash to pay for it.. which actually makes me kind of sad now! Ah well, I have enough stuff in my stash to get through the coming year I guess.

Besides, I didn’t come home empty handed. Next to a new cutting mat, I bought a book I already have in e-book form. It’s incredibly unhandy to have it in e-book form, so I decided I wanted to spend a lot of money to get a proper copy of it:

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It is really a beginners book, which is great for me. I am not someone who runs out to try new things, but usually once something or someone plants an idea in my head I start figuring out how I could implement it.

A nice thought I got from this book for example: removing raised panel lines and rescribing them. Especially older models (like the Zero I am working on right now) have raised panel lanes, and rescribing them myself would be a great piece of work. I already have in my head on which one of my dads old kits I want to try that on, but I still have a couple of other things I want to do first.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Groetjes,

Dan

Zero cockpit, part two

This week I finished the Zero cockpit. Not sure about all the choices I made, but overall I am fairly happy.

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I am happy with the cockpit, and I think I did an all right job cleaning it up. At this stage of the Japanese war effort I doubt the A6M5 made it past a couple of months, so I figured it wouldn’t make sense to do a very heavily weathered cockpit. I wanted to make the pilot look less clean, but this is probably not the right way. He looks like a pig really.. Since Sinterklaas will be giving me a present soon that will have a couple of figures included I will have to look into how to create a good looking result!

Since this kit is fairly simple I skipped a few steps ahead in the instructions. Yesterday I applied primer to the parts I will require for the next two steps.

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In other news..

When I bought my airbrush booth this summer I somehow developed this crazy idea that the filters were relatively expensive. The last time I worked with primer I noticed the booth was doing a really poor job at getting rid of the nasty air, and I finally decided to replace the paint-filled original filter.. I then found out these things aren’t as expensive as I somehow assumed they were, so I hopefully have enough of them to last me a year.

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I also did a final revisit of the FW-190 A8. Last month I visited a IPMS meeting and one of the gentlemen had some nice pointers for me. Besides that I wanted to fix some obvious mistakes. In the end I decided to leave some of the bad parts.. the Zero will hopefully be beautiful, and it will replace the FW-190 which has earned a spot in the living room.

In the end I didn’t bother getting rid of the scratches in the canopy since they are quite subtle anyway. I did reattach the antenna which had come loose somehow during or just after my vacation.. I also noticed the plane was very lightly leaning to one side because the wheels were a bit loose. I cracked them off and reattached them, which nearly went wrong.

As for the details I wanted to change: the pitot tube on the starboard wing had a bronze rather than a aluminium look, and my version of the A8/R11 had a mechanism that ensured the wire from the canopy to the tail was always tensed.

Quite happy with the result, but I am done fiddling with this thing now.

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Groetjes,

Dan

Light gray snowballing

Even though I am still doing some modeling almost every day, I have to admit my motivation hasn’t picked up much since finishing the FW-190. I know sticking to the WW2/War will keep things a bit more fun in the future, but right now I will try switch between the A6M5 and the B747-8F.

A few weeks ago building gave me energy, but right now I am just too tired coming home from work. Last week I have started doing full work days again, and once I get home I am knackered and have to take a rest first. This should get better though, and overall my energy has increased a lot the last few months!

Anyway, on to some actual modeling!

img_20171105_1342551953958942.jpgFirst I did some sanding on the seem-line.

img_20171105_1445382063839840-e1509909475675.jpgI decided to not continue with the first spray of light-gray and instead went back to the more conventional way of first gluing the halves together. Things got a bit too messy with paint when attaching the pre-painted fuselage halves.

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Of course this does mean I have to mask off the little clear parts on the front of the wing. The strip on the front will have a different color anyway, so a very wide piece of tape will do for the moment.
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After another adjustment to the desk layout I am fairly happy with it now, and I am able to see the light differences very well even though it is very subtle on this model. I placed the light on the airbrush booth. It already fell off too, narrowly missing the model that was drying from another layer of light gray. Hopefully it won’t happen again when I return the light to a more balanced position.

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What remains now is (ever so slowly) snowballing this model with the very thin mixture of light gray with a lot of thinner.

Before the airbrush clogs up completely I am usually able to get out 2 halve cups the mixture, which really is enough. I think in total there will be about 3 or 4 layers and after that the challenge will remain to get a very crisp and even result on the light gray!

Next blog will be about the A6M5 on which I have done some work on the cockpit already.

Groetjes,

Dan

Counting down to Zero

Time for what has evolved to be a weekly update!

Actually the amount of updates is really fine for me. Obviously there is a lot less time for me to work on the hobby, but I enjoy a few minutes almost everyday and, just like all grown ups, I try to use my free days to get a couple of hours in at a time. I wish I had more energy to spend in the evening but it is what it is, and I’m sure it will get better the coming months.

Anyway, lots of stuff to talk about this week! Let’s get started.

Cargolux B747-8F

First off, the main build. Last Sunday I visited my parents, and just like my dad used to do when we visited my grandparents, I took a model with me to do some work!

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Not bad for a couple of hours.

I assembled the anti-shock bodies and the rear wings, and I did sanding on the wings.

I planned on glueing the wings together but there a clear part that needs to be glued in there. For that reason I prefer to do a first couple of layers of light gray on the wings before glueing them together.

I hadn’t realized the wings actually will be light gray just like the fuselage.. this kit just won’t get any more exciting! To be able to see what I am doing I decided to do a thin layer of gray primer on the wings as well.

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I started with a first layer of light gray, but spraying this color is really a pain. Tip dry is horrendous and it is very difficult to get on with it. But I managed to do a first layer on a wing side, and a first layer on the rear wings:

 

The final step I did on this today was attach the cockpit and the wheel bay on the starboard side. Earlier this week I did another layer of light gray on the fuselage sides, but I am fairly sure I will have to touch up on the color in the future. With that in mind, I have masked off the windows I have glued in yesterday.

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At this point I already know I will not want to continue with this build until I have properly sorted the damage on the tail.

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Unfortunately, the trouble started on a layer of primer that was already damaged. I should have sanded it off and perhaps do another layer. The first layer of white was sloppy and runny as well, and in the end I was left with an uneven finish. I did use my nice UMP sanders and got a nice and smooth result, but I think I have to deeper and really remove those damaged areas.

Of course all this sanding has removed some of the detailing, and even though I got a couple of good scribing tools from UMP a few weeks ago I will need to get some good tape to assist me in rescribing the panel lines.

New light

As I said last week, I ordered a LED light that could really simulate daylight. After using it a few days, I am at least confident I am getting the best lighting possible.. Obviously it will never be as good as standing in the garden on a bright day, but winter is coming and this light is as good as it will get.. the amount of light is adjustable, and you can set warm yellow light so if you’re not working on a dull light gray model you don’t have to feel like you’re working in a garage.

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Regional IPMS Meeting (NL South-West)

On Tuesday night there was a IPMS meeting planned for the South-West region in the Netherlands. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. Just a bunch of guys talking about models, is that really what I wanted to do with my evening? But then I started to doubt if I wasn’t just dealing with the good old social anxiety again, and at the last minute I decided to go just because I was afraid to sink in a hole I have been in for the last years.. and I am very happy I decided to go!

In the end I was just happy talking to a couple of very nice people who are very experienced in modeling. One of the gentleman there had a couple of nice WW2 models with him, and after having a chat with him I was really wondering: what am I doing making a civilian airplane?? There is just so much to say about all the different WW2 subjects, whether it is a tank, a plane, a V2 rocket, a half-track etc. All the different variations alone, but also the things we don’t know for sure about the subject and are left to the imagination, for instance the color of German half-tracks as they were used in the field. That stuff is up for debate, whereas the Cargolux 747 is a beauty, but completely covered in the same dull light gray and no one doubts what it looks like.

I had a chat with two gentleman there about their collection, and how they decide what to build next. I explained them that I tried to not create a ‘stash’, and that I was building the Cargolux Revell offering but not really enjoying it. Watching the nice military models on display, I expressed my love for the subject.. and while driving home later I asked myself: why am I limiting myself like this? Sure, I want to do a good job on the Cargolux, but WW2 is the subject that really interests me everyday. I play WW2 games, I read WW2 books and I love building WW2 models.

The gentleman who brought his WW2 1/48 models encouraged me to bring my FW-190 A8 to the next meeting after I showed him the pictures if the end result! He had a couple of very nice pointers for me as well, so before I take it with me there is some more stuff to adjust:

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This is an easy one.. coming home from vacation I found one of the antennas on the ground. Have to glue that back in place.
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Not sure if it is visible, but the canopy has some scratches. Since I finished this model I got the UMP sanders with the buffer. I should be able to fix these scratches now and I will try.
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On to the more interesting details: apparently the end of the pitot tube is coper and not aluminium! That will be an easy fix.
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Another interesting detail I learned: this version if the FW-190 A8 (with this particular canopy) had a controller to tighten the antenna cable when the canopy is open. Another little adjustment to make then!

Luchtvaarthobbyshop

Today I will be visiting the Luchtvaarthobbyshop with my mate TheYottaTube. My wishlist:

  • The Zero decals
  • PE set for the Zero
  • AK Interactive 757, Black Primer and Microfiller
  • A good Zero research book.

Starting the Zero..

As you will have guessed, the IPMS meeting has convinced me that I should start doing work on the Zero along with the work on the B747. Time to get the required stuff and hopefully I will be able to start with it next week!

Indistinct shades of gray

Time for a little update on my scale modeling life. ‘Tis the season to get a cold, and so I did last week. I was able to get some work done on my current build, but it is just one of the setbacks I am having with it currently.

The Cargolux Boeing 747-8F

So starting off with my progress on the build, as I announced last week I applied a very thin layer of primer.

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As you can see it is not very evenly applied, but the point is to be able to be able to see where the light gray is applied over it.

To cleanly apply both the primer and the light gray I created a little contraption of the styrofoam I by now even can’t remember I got from. Some toothpicks with a little tack stuck on them held the body halves reasonably well in shape during work.

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I love it when two pieces of styrofoam come together.
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A first layer applied to the front of one of the halves.

I thinned the paint down to an almost watery consistency, and applied multiple layers. In fact, I am still far from done with this job.

When applying the first layer of gray I noticed I made a scratch on the primer layer before it was dry. I sanded it down and cleaned it, but I might have been a bit optimistic on the covering properties of my very thinned down mixture.

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I had to go back and this time do the sanding a little more rigorously. The picture shows the current state, still waiting for another layer.

If I feel well enough for it I might work ahead on some of the bigger parts, to get the feeling I am finally getting somewhere. I still haven’t gotten the wind in my sails yet since coming back from vacation.

The plan for the halves itself, is to do a good enough layer but accept that it will not be perfect yet. Perfection will have to come once the two halves are attached and small adjustments should be enough so I don’t have to try and mask off those tiny windows..

I am currently waiting on a new purchase though, that will hopefully make my life a little easier..

LED there be light

I haven’t looked it up, but I am instantly sure that in the LED/light scene that joke might be massively overused.  Anyway, I am still tweaking the work space since setting up my new desk a few weeks ago.

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I’ll be trying this setup for the coming weeks.

Hopefully this will give me more room to move around.

Something that has really come forward during this build though: I need some real ‘white light’ to be be able to see in greater detail what exactly I am doing.

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This is the current state of both halves. I want to do one more layer.. Currently waiting on a new purchase that will hopefully make my life a little easier.

I really need a neutral ‘cold’ color, especially when working with all these light shades of gray. Hopefully this will help me to get the 100% even finish I will need to do a convincing commercial jet.

Here is the object that will hopefully show me the light:

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This light is adjustable to between 3000K and 6000K and is dim-able, so hopefully will be suitable for all my requirements.

Something I learned about light sources the last couple of days: you need a high K (Kelvin) number to get to an actually daylight kind of color.. unfortunately I bought another ‘2700K’ light bulb, which is essentially just your yellow standard living room light. It isn’t suitable to see the consistency of a white color paint job.

Luchtvaarthobbyshop

The night before flying to Madeira for my vacation, my friend TheYottaTube informed me that the Luchtvaarthobbyshop was just a five minute walk from the hotel I stayed at near the airport. Of course, I took the opportunity to check it out.

I’d love to have a nice series of photos and make a proper report of it, but this was such an ad hoc thing I didn’t even think about it. Instead, I’ll just say that:

  • Since pronouncing Luchtvaarthobbyshop might get funny in english, they cleverly use a good translation of ‘AviationMegastore’, and I have to say that name is spot on.
  • If you ever visit Amsterdam it might be a nice stop, at about a ten or fifteen minute drive from the airport.
  • They have a huge selection or books you can use for your research, a nice selection of new models and something particularly interesting for me at this point: they have a large supply of decals and PE parts for various scales. I have already checked their webshop and I know where I will be getting my decals from to replace the eaten-away decals for the A6M5 build!
  • Should it be your poison, they also have a huge area with diecast-models, and an area for flightsimulator stuff. There is also an area with scale modeling magazines, and a small area with your coffee mugs and your wall decor.. something I will be interested in to decorate the man cave at some point!

Decals for the A6M5 build

As I mention above, I think I have found a good replacement for the original decals in the Revell kit.

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I really haven’t looked into what sort of livery is ‘attached’ to this decal. Looking forward to the research phase already!

The ‘nice’ thing about this model is that it is a super simple kit from 1993. As I wrote earlier it’s an 8 step build, and I think my dad got it for 15 guilders (the Euro wasn’t even around). I want to do a good job at it as I want to do on all my kits, but its is not a very detailed kit.. so what I am still doubting at this point is if I really want to spend a lot of money on custom stuff. The decals I definitly need, but I will not be getting every custom part available for this thing. Presumably the decals alone are worth more than the original price of the kit!

I am interested in getting some PE parts for it though! Even though it might be like slapping jewelry on a turd, it will still be a very nice learning experience!

That’s all for this week! Hopefully the new light will help me finish the job on the fuselage halves, and after that I want to get on with this build.

Groetjes,

Daan.