Weekly random thoughts

Last week I had the idea to do a weekly blog on Friday night about random modelling related subjects that I wanted to write about.  Although a week later it seems it won’t be a Friday night thing necessarily I’d still like to do a ‘weekend’ update as long as there is something to write about.

For the last three weeks I have been watching Friday Night  Live ‘At The Bench’ By International Scale Modeller. I’m not sure if I will watch every week, but I quite like the idea of spending my Friday night in that environment, listening to modelers and hearing about new kits and related stuff with a beer in my hand. The only problem is I am not a known person in that community, and obviously sometimes that means you will be ignored.

I hope to have found a dutch community though, even if it doesn’t have hangouts and a live Friday night show!

IPMS Nederland

If all goes well I will be a member of IPMS Nederland soon. IPMS is an abbreviation for ‘Internation Plastic Modellers Society’, and that name makes me suspicious I will have to go through some sort of sacrificial ceremony to become a member. Perhaps I will have to throw my first model into the fire and cut my hands open while performing a secret dance. I have a feeling it will probably still be worth it:

  • My main supplier Hobbycar in Tilburg has a very nice deal that entails getting a 10% discount on every purchase when showing your IPMS card. With the recent purchase of the compressor I’ve come to the point where I could have joined immediately and saved 40 euro’s, but since I haven’t been active in the hobby for that long it would have been a risk. By now, I am fairly certain I will stick to this hobby for the coming time so a membership will be worth it, especially since I am already planning my next purchases (which I will have to keep quiet about until somewhere in October hopefully! Ooooh secrets!)
  • Free entrance to IPMS NL events. While I am usually not a huge fan of this sort of thing, I am actually quite keen on seeing what others are up to and I might end up going to some of these!
  • A magazine, published 5 times a year.
  • Access to the forum to contact other IPMS NL members.

Looking forward to becoming a member!

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The flag I will have to pledge allegiance to when I become a member.

Site work

I have done yet another overhaul of the site layout. The reason is I have become a premium member of WordPress. Is it an economical decision? No, absolutely not. And realistically it will never be. But writing about modelling is a huge part of the hobby for me and I want things to look good!

A big change not directly related to this upgrade is that I have sorted my blogs according to category, so it’s easier to see all related posts for a project I am working on.

I notice I get a lot of traffic from people who most likely typed in ‘Revell’ and the kit number into Google. Probably looking for a review the poor people find my site. I don’t like disappointing people so next time I will tag my posts like that I’ll make sure I will actually have something useful to say about the kit itself rather than my experience with it. With that, and the addition of the categories, I hope they will stick around for the other posts about the build they apparently take interest in.

In the future I’d like to do proper kit reviews of my new purchases, just showing what is inside the kit and not so much giving my opinion on it. If people are interested in the things I come a cross they can follow the build blogs. I might do these reviews on video. The premium deal has some possibilities for that, but I might also go for YouTube which could provide more viewers.

To be clear: right now I have a handful of followers. I love their support and feedback and I hope to keep them subscribed, but of course I started this blog purely for myself to keep track of where I am heading with my modelling, and the things I am learning about modelling. That said I want all my visitors to have a good time and I provide quality when it comes to my output. That means even though this site might be my little place, I wouldn’t want to to do anything that hurts the experience of visitors. In fact, the more visitors the more information likely will come to me, and my ultimate goal is to learn more all the time!

Upgrading the workplace

This is just a dream at the moment, but looking around a bit I have seen some nice workbenches on the internet! Nice and spacey compared to what I have right now..

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This becomes cluttered so quickly.. I really need something bigger.

Sure I can clean a couple of more shelves, but it seems this hobby is here to stay and that means I would just love to get a big desk and a nice big construction to place my paint an materials in.. Really have to look into something nice, but it seems the really nice workplaces are DIY!

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This is the homemade workplace by Simon Jones, which I saw on the ISM facebook page today. Looks exciting!

And what I also still need is a nice showcase to place my models in! I probably will have to go for that purchase first, since the FW-190 is progressing nicely.

The FW-190 A8/R11

I didn’t do a lot of work since my last update of this kit, but I did paint those antennas today that are specific to the R11:

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The R number was the designation for the conversion packages available for this plane and the R11 package was the night fighter conversion. The antenna’s on this conversion will be fitted to the wing and I am very excited to see how this will look on the end result! And yes, that’s the propeller cone on the left, which is in the same color and thus rode along with this airbrush session.

In my last update I gave this model a gloss clear coat. The next step will be to apply the decals! Really looks like I am getting in the final stages of this build!

Inspiration in the skies above Gilze

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I live about a 10 minutes walk away from the Gilze-Rijen Airbase. While the bulk of the activity of this airbase comes from helicopters of Defensie Helikopter Commando, the Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vluchten is also based there. This morning they were flying around with an awesome beast:

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The PH-OUQ is a Mk IX. The Koninklijke Luchtmacht actually operated the MK IX for a while, but it was the clipped wing version. Should I want to mimic that: 03927 also has the clipped version of the IX.

I plan to do some other kits before picking up the Spitfire MK IXc (Revell 03927) again. but seeing this bird make it’s rounds above the village this morning gave me half the mind to do this build in this livery.

Plenty of time to think about that though.. the problem might be this livery might be a little too simple, especially since I plan to pick this up after the A6M5 which also doesn’t have a very exciting livery. I will probably end up doing to camo that is displayed on the box..

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That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

Groetjes,

Dan

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Decision Time

Let me start this blog off first by telling you I am so happy to say I seem to have fixed the fitting on and around the engine!

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There is some cleaning up to do and the side panels stick out a little bit but that’s allright.
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The side panels and upper panel are glued on, the panel that will go above the guns is not. I have tried all the other panels separately and they all seem to fit pretty nicely now!
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These panels still need to get the olive colour but I am not really managing long airbrush sessions yet.. two sessions with Revell #45 were not enough to get to these things!
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Yesterday I did most of the main gear parts and handpainted the…. I am not very good in parts names.. windscreen? Anyway, since I don’t trust myself masking it I made the choice to paint it this way and it turned out pretty good.
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So this is pretty much the stage it is in now.

I am getting somewhere with this build I feel. there are quite a lot of small parts left, but I can prepare those while waiting for the main body to get ready for the next stage.

This afternoon I got myself some inspiration by checking out the builds of Brett G, IBM and ScaleModelAircraft. Brett G hasn’t been able to apply primer because of the weather, but the other two show the primer stage, pre-shading and the final air brush. This has me intimidated a bit and let’s be honest: with good reason. I have never done these things before and there is nothing like screwing up on the main body!

still do to now:

  • Temporarily place landing gear covers, engine covers and mask off the cockpit.
  • Primer?
  • Propeller and nose cone, not painted yet.
  • Air brush the livery on the body.
  • Landing gear, flaps and other small parts that can’t get put on until the final phases. Some of these parts are not painted yet.
  • Apply coating.

To be completely honest with you, I am not confident right now in getting the result I want for this kit. It is not that I am comparing myself to the guys I mentioned above as they have been at it a lot longer than I have and this is only my second kit. I know I will probably not get the result they got, but I know how much I learned the last weeks while making this kit and trying new things.. but so far I am not even sure how to use primer, if I have the right color for instance. If I keep learning and getting a feeling for new techniques I am sure that soon I will feel confident enough to finish this kit.

The Spitfire is a simpler kit. It does not have an engine and the livery seems easier to me.

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Besides, I already had it at 90% finished before I decided I had ruined it enough. My original idea was to start fresh with this kit straight away, but there was something wrong with a part and I had to wait for a replacement. I started the FW-190 while waiting for it.

Something to think about tonight!

My first kit (Revell 03927, Spitfire Mk. IXc 1/32) / Getthereitus

My goal for this kit was to see if I had the concentration back to do this kind of thing, and see if there would be any kind of spark to light my modeling fire again.. concentration has never really been a problem during this build even if I sometimes worked an hour with no break, and boy has the fire been lighted!

This blog won’t be a step by step description of what I did. I want to focus on the many things I learned during this build and some of the decisions I took.

I think I’ve read somewhere about cutting open the box since the Revell boxes are a bit goofy. Sprues are easier to access and possibly a slightly smaller chance of some parts falling of of them prematurely.

I made an account on scalemodeller.com. They have box reviews, building reports, some good beginners tips that are very useful to me, and a collection of reference pics. I decided I would go for the silver in box livery.. obviously I don’t feel comfortable yet going too far from the box versions! But my target was to let reference photos be a factor.

Above is the actual airframe the kit tries to portray. Eventhough Revell shows this model to have the clipped  wings configuration I could not take that out of this picture and I aimed to go for the full wing version. The real question in this picture seems to be: are those stains above the engine outlet actual camo or is it just smeared on grease to avoid the pilot being blinded in this baremetal ‘livery’? Since I was not sure and all kits of the MJ250 show the same camo being used, I decided to be my conservative self and go with that.

At this time I did not yet have an airbrush but instead I used a small roller. While the result is better than using a brush probably, one thing I learned is this build is don’t paint before you’re done with the big glue operations! I guess I just really wanted to see what it would look like in the alluminium color.. that little kid that touched his Starfighter model before the paint was dry is still very much hiding in me I guess!

Another thing I learned: take those seams seriously! I just didn’t allow the time for some parts to dry together after glueing, and I did not bother to remove the seams before applying paint. The result probably could have been a lot better:

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But the moment it all really came crashing down..
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What happened here?? Well, first of all I did not properly dry fit the outer wing edges, so there were some incredibly big gaps between the wing, the ailerons and the wingtips.. so far nothing more than typical noob mistake resulting in a less-than-perfect endresult.

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But, ambitious as I am I decided I wanted to try and fix this! I got myself some Revell Plasta and smeared away! Before I started I even considered taking the throw-away kit I made 3 years ago and trying the stuff on it before ruining this one.. But is there such a thing as ‘getthereitus’ for modelbuilers? It really must have struck me at this point, because when I smeared way too much on with my finger and all the nice little details were melted away before my eyes I panicked and tried to remove the stuff with water and sand it away.. neither worked obviously. To finally get to the ghastly sight like shown above (I can’t bare to look at it again!) it takes a totally freaked out noob that takes his little cup of alluminium paint and tries to make the horror go away.. resulting in the obvious ‘refrigerator drawing result’ as I would call it.

This was the first moment I started thinking about buying a second version of this kit, or perhaps a completely different kit. In the end I did both! But for now, I decided to make the best of what I still had and go for the clipped wing version. But..

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Taking the full wingtips off also needs some care. The right side didn’t pose much problems but the left wing was glued together much tighter.. I already applied paint remover here by the way, to see how much was left of the details. At this point I had already resigned myself to this becoming a full on experimenting kit, so I decided to just have fun with the build and leave the perfectionism for a next one. I tried some milliput putty and the result was not perfect but still was a slight improvement.. and good practice!

At this time I had also bought my first airbrush, and I tried the camo at the front.

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Again, this was good practice. The end result shows my mixture wasn’t too great (ofcourse I am still experimenting with this) But my next camo I will definitly approach differently. I will first spray one complete color, then spray the other part over that.. And I hope I am not being too ambitious here or reaching to far above my abilities, but my plan is to do it freehanded.. if it fails I will have to let it dry and start again and hopefully I’ll get it right before all the details are buried under a thick layer of paint.

So, in the end another big thing to learn was don’t attach anything to the main body before absolutely necessary. When the landing gear cracked during the airbrushing of the camo I had already bought my second kit, and then went back again to buy this exact same kit again. So, I’ll have plenty of work to do for the next couple of weeks!

Also: all scratches will be visible once you apply paint, and will be even worse once I start working with weathering. I didn’t realize this as much as I should have, and some of the parts look horrible now.

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This model shall henceforth be known as the Spit-Wreck and will now be the place to try plaster, fillers, airbrushing and all the things I am scared to try on my proper kits! I learned much and I still had fun, although after the gear collapsed I had enough and moved on to the kit I am currently working on.

My third kit (Revell 03927, Spitfire Mk. IXc 1/32)

I think Star Wars also didn’t begin with the first part of the saga, and even though I know absolutely nothing about Star Wars and a blog about scale modeling isn’t exactly a saga, I have reasons to start off with my third kit purchase. As I’ve said I want to spend a seperate blog to my first build attempt. There are some developments regarding this third kit though, so I’m getting right into that one.

So, a short while ago in a living room not so far away..

..I opened up my third purchased kit in just a couple of weeks. Just like my first kit this was Revell 03927, a 1/32 scale Spitfire Mk. IXc by Revell.

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I picked up the habit of checking the box content after seeing YouTube member ‘International British Builder’ (check the links for his excellent YouTube channel) doing it and actually finding some incorrectly filled boxes. The contents of this box were complete.. however I noticed some nasty misformed details on the leftside of the fuselage:

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Initially I just noticed the white line and the outsticking part which has rivet detail on it.. even I would trust myself to be able to get rid of that part and sand it. However the rivet detail I am not sure still at this point how to get it back at around the same level of quality the original part has and I started making photo’s to send to my supplier.

Then I noticed that actually the entire side of the rear end of the cockpit was sticking out.. hence the white line.

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The next day I got a card from my supplier with contact details of the head of customer service of Revell.. Sent him a mail on friday evening 6pm, got a reply on monday morning 9am saying it was no problem to send a new part.

So today I picked it up. The lady at the mail order company must have thought I was an idiot when I started smiling at seeing her enter with a Revell box like it was an old friend I hadn’t seen for 10 years. Ofcourse I didn’t have the patience to wait until I was home.

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Ofcourse the replacement part looks fine.

I wasn’t too optimistic at the prospect of having to rely on Revell’s customer service, particulairly after some bad experience Internation British Modeler has had with them. But I have to say there was absolutely no trouble getting a new part, in fact it was incredibly quick service!

My original plan was for this to be my second kit, but in the meantime I have started another kit, on which I will also spend a seperate blog.

For now I am tired so it’s time for some rest. Hopefully I’ll have some energy later to get some actual modeling done.