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!

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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.

Back from vacation

A really short one as it’s been a while since the last post.

I’ve had a nice couple of weeks off, first having a week in Madeira and last week visiting the European Masters snooker tournament. Good times, although it was quite exhausting.

As for modeling, where I left off before my vacation was spraying the fuselage halves:

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The size of this thing is a bit of a challenge, but I know the F-15 I have in my stash will probably be big as well, and I will have to make it work.

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The left side has had two layers now, the right side has been sprayed on the rear.

While doing this I realized it just wasn’t going to work.. the white plastic really is a difficult color to have to put such a light color on! I really can’t see what I am doing and it looks a bit patchy.

So here is a crazy idea: I am going to do a very light sanding to fix any unevenness from my first layer of paint and apply a very light layer of gray primer on this thing. Very, very, very light.. as this is a 1/144 scale model I don’t want to ruin the details on it.

I probably be blogging a bit less often by the way. I am now back on 20 hours of work per week and hope to extend that soon. I will have less and less time and energy for making models the coming time so I will collect the work I do in one or two posts a week probably.

Groetjes,

Daan

This Wheel’s On Fire

During my last build I had no problem to find inspiration to write a little piece about my progress on the build.. unfortunately this kit is a slow mover at this point, because ‘doing the wheels’ doesn’t mean doing the gear, gear re-tractors, gear covers, the wheels and a wash on all of those. I think I spent two or three hours in total on the gear.. and these are just 8 of the 18 total wheels.

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Its finally done though.

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Looking at the instruction booklet, I’ll be spending some time with the kits biggest parts for a while. I don’t mind about that!

It looks like the best idea is to do the light gray layer at this point, since after that I will be placing the gear and cockpit inside the fuselage halves and I don’t want to put masking tape on those tiny parts! I will apply a gloss coat layer at a later point.

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The real LX-VCM is currently between Luxembourg and Miami, above Newfoundland, Canada. Since my last blog, it flew back from Budapest to Luxembourg, to Turkmenbashi and on to Taipei to Bangkok and back to Turkmenbashi to return to Luxembourg this afternoon. The distance this thing covers is amazing and since my last blog it has been in the air for about 32 hours!

I couldn’t resist by the way, and I got new stuff again. The UMP sanders are quite good, but the most important thing are the 0.2mm and 0.3mm rescribing tools. Or maybe the sweets! I can’t order from these guys too often because the sending costs are astronomical but their stuff is great.

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I won’t be blogging for a while. First I’m off for a couple of days for a nice holiday, and after that I will finally be visiting a snooker event in for the first time in years! Unfortunately it isn’t easy to visit live snooker events when you’re Dutch, but I live near Belgium and they have the fantastic Luca Brecel who recently won his first major tournament. Hopefully that means more tournaments will be coming this way!

I’ll probably be back around October 9.

Groetjes,

Dan

Boeing 747-8F Cargolux (Revell 04949 kit) Kick-Off

I started the B747-8F build a few days ago. A small introduction to the exact plane I will be building is in order!

To start off: a video made by a good friend of mine,  TheYottaTube. The video shows the LX-VCD. It was delivered to Cargolux on October 13th 2011 and is titled “The City of Luxembourg”. This is the one I plan to build.

What first surprised me when I saw the F type of the ‘dash 8’ was the shorter upper deck compared to the passenger version. Of course the engineers at Boeing have made sure this thing is ready for the future, and the range and payload numbers obviously have improved from the -400, but that’s not a reason to copy them from Wikipedia is it?

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LX-VCD landing at the Polderbaan (18R) at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. This is a still from TheYottaTube’s video.

Some more photos of different -8F’s, hopefully giving me some clues on the tiny details.

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N5573S, upon delivery to Cargolux registered as LX-VCC and the third 8F delivered to Cargolux.
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LX-VCB at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
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The tiny cockpit has already been sprayed as I am writing this, but as good a job as you can on a 1/144 scale kit. Edit: oh and no, this is not my result on the 1/144 cockpit but a reference photo to see if I got the color right. Thanks Dave! 😉

No nice camouflages on this kit.. or maybe…. no. Still I suspect a huge challenge once I get around to getting a clear gloss coat on. I will really need to make sure I am ready when that time comes because this will make or break the kit and need to do my learning before I start on this job!

While building the FW-190 I for a few days had this crazy idea that it would be good for me to do two kits at the same time, to keep myself interested. I don’t know about the future, but I quickly realized that it was just not my thing to do two projects at the same time. I really like something to be a project and have my full attention. I have my job for doing different things at the same and not having the time to properly finish one thing before starting the next, so why would I do that to myself in my new primary hobby??

Anyway, my little adventure left me with a finished cockpit, two sprayed cockpit halves on both fuselage sides and a couple of main landing gears.

 

Before doing any work on the kit I first wanted to get something out of the way that had bothered me during the FW-190 build.

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No more endless flipping in the instruction booklet.

First order of business: I had some problems fitting the landing gear straight into the gear bay, so I first had to correct that.

 

I tried using the squares on my cutting mat to point out how misaligned the left gear is. What I do to fix it was cut a piece out of one of the supports and glue it together again, this time straighter. It still isn’t perfect but I am sure it won’t be visible in the end.

After this it was time to do a big airbrush job to get all the light-gray parts out of the way.

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The light gray is barely visible on these parts since they’re white on the sprues but hey, we’re not going to leave them bare.

The last work I did was on the landing gear, and all that is left now is painting the tires.

 

One thing I already noticed: building in 1/144 is asking for RSI! My hand really starts cramping up after half an hour when working on the tiny parts like the wheels and gear, so all this work has been from the last couple of days and this probably won’t be a fast build.

It is nice though, to work on another subject like this!

Instant update: I was talking to TheYottaTube today and it turns out that the Cutaway livery is still flying around! It actually was just one of the fleets -8F’s that got the livery, the LX-VCM as shown below.

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Change of plans: this will be the one I’ll be building! The LX-VCM was delivered September 2015.

The LX-VCM arrived half an hour ago at Budapest.

Groetjes,

Dan

Lessons learned

I am currently ‘between builds’ and I’ve put up the result of the FW-190 on the ISM Facebook page where it got a whooping 108 likes so far! The feedback is amazing, with someone even saying he had building for 50 years and this was the result he was aiming for! I am very proud to hear that!

I might be cheating a little bit though, because if you haven’t followed this blog and haven’t seen some of the broken off bits, torn decals and the elephant tracks on the wings you could be fooled into thinking this thing is exactly how I wanted it to be. Besides that the ISM group is very friendly and will not be the place where they tell you things suck. I love them for that, and the Friday night Live show has become an instant favorite moment of the week for me. But for some rougher feedback I have joined The Scale Modelers Critique Facebook Group as well on and I might post some more photos there. I have some critique of my own though, and that is what this post is for.

Before moving on to the next project I want to review the last build and see what I can improve the next time. I also want to highlight some things I haven’t tried this time but are still on my list of techniques I want to try.

Things to improve

Most of these are related to basic building discipline.

    1. Wear gloves! After applying primer, paint or varnish it’s a great idea to start wearing latex gloves when handling the model as Darren of The Scale Model Hangar also remarked. I actually started wearing gloves when applying primer, so all that is needed is some more discipline to actually put them on. Otherwise this might happen:
    2. Don’t place fragile parts on the model until you absolutely have to. During this build I made the mistake of gluing on the fuel tank rack before it was actually required, and in a combination with #3 coming up, it led to a very avoidable disaster.IMG_20170806_145846
    3. Avoid placing the model directly on a surface. Especially scraping the body will lead to breaks, like the antenna attachment on the tail of this kit. I have had to reattach that multiple times which was frustrating. When the model was almost complete I rediscovered some pieces of styrofoam that had been used as packing material for the compressor I recently bought. They were perfect to keep the model in the air and relieve some of the stress I put on it during the final parts and I hope I can rely on them for a while.wp-image-1679548378
    4. Be careful once parts are sticking out of the model.. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to attach parts on the body, like the wing cannons on this kit. Sometime around the primer phase one of them broke off though. I didn’t even notice when I did it, but it was just a sloppy lack of attention in the end. I even broke off one of the distinctive antenna’s just before taking the final photos.. You just have to be on your feet all the time when handling a model with this much things sticking out!
    5. Be delicate with the weathering. I tried it once now, and it has been invaluable experience. In my view, trying a thing for the first time makes you vulnerable to overdoing it. But with the experience I gained, I can look at other builders and understand better what they did, and why they did it.DSC00433
    6. Either place the canopy and windscreen and mask them properly, or let them off and mask off the cockpit. The windscreen was damaged because so primer got on it, probably because the masking tape let loose and I failed to correctly replace it. The inside of the cockpit also got primer on it because the temporarily placed canopy didn’t seal off properly. At this time I am tempted to think that not placing the clear parts until rather than masking them off is the cleanest way for me.
    7. Test fitting, really do it! Some gluing mess was avoidable with hindsight. I just was a bit impatient I think, and both with the wheel bay as the engine there is a snowball effect: if the first part doesn’t fit right, the firth part is way out of wack. I was able to fix both of these issues, but it could have been avoided.
    8. Don’t try new things when you can’t take your time.. especially the primer   application is a good example of that.
    9. This is a big thing I have learned: applying brush paint to ‘fill up’ the parts that weren’t airbrushed for whatever reason really leaves a totally different result.wp-image-1101347224
    10. Well, what can I say about the decals.. I think this will always be something that can go wrong. An attention point for me though, is to be more careful with handling the model and removing the weathering once they are on, to avoid tearing them up.

The things that did work

  1. I am happy with most of the weathering, especially on the drop tank and wheel covers.wp-image-918222488
  2. Getting rid of seams went a lot better this time, by sanding it away and by giving the parts more time to dry.
  3. I was able to get rid of a gap after applying the wings on the fuselage, using Revell Plasto which led to wrecking of the Spitfire I started out with.IMG_20170726_133427
  4. I am downright proud of free handing the camouflage, and the mottling effect. I know it’s not perfect when I compare it to the pictures on the box, but I have ideas on how to do better the next time. The gloss coat also looks nice and shiny!wp-image-71328868
  5. The engine really was great to build, even though I ended up covering it up! A good tip I got for the next time though: paint it black and dry brush the metal parts to create more depth.IMG_20170728_145426

Things I want to try next time

No list for this because I’ll just see what comes up mostly.. I haven’t tried pre-shading on this build, and that’s a big thing I still want to try in the future. Also I want to do more with dry brushing.

Now to finish my first translation job for IPMS and then it’s time to continue work on the Boeing 747-8F!

Groetjes,

Dan

My first finished model! (Revell 03926, Focke Wulf Fw190A-8, A-8/R11 Nightfighter 1/32)

I have to be honest: the closer I got to the finish line, the more I started thinking about the next build. The kit itself has been excellent, but with all the things I have learned during this project I have some less than perfect results. In itself I am fine with that: I made it through even though I knew the result would not be perfect, which is a huge thing for me. I accepted that this was a learning project and kept my head down.

That said, the final days I kind of rushed it. I want to try and apply the things I’ve learned on a new project! But rushing is an especially bad combination when working on a model full of fragile parts, some of which have been broken off earlier.

Before starting on the next project I will however first be making a blog about the things I like and don’t like about my version of this, and the lessons I have learned so far!

Without further ado, the pictures of the end result!

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Oh, and don’t mind the makeshift ‘studio’ I improvised for the photos..

As always, I am thankful for feedback!

Groetjes,

Dan