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:
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.
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.
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.
Its finally done though.
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.
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.
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 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?
Some more photos of different -8F’s, hopefully giving me some clues on the tiny details.
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.
I did some work on the B747-8F today while waiting for to see if there would be any reaction to the tack. The cockpit is done and the brownish color is sprayed inside the fuselage.
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.
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.
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.
Change of plans: this will be the one I’ll be building! The LX-VCM was delivered September 2015.
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.
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:
The red decal came off complete and I have painted that part now. The fingerprint visible here is already covered with some more dirt color. Also visible is another broken off part, which I have hopefully fixed now.
A bit fingerprint on the side and a lot of paint disappeared..
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
As I wrote in a previous blog, I had glued the construction that will hold the engine in place without worrying too much about the beams that are right behind it..
Don’t try new things when you can’t take your time.. especially the primer application is a good example of that.
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.
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
I am happy with most of the weathering, especially on the drop tank and wheel covers.
Getting rid of seams went a lot better this time, by sanding it away and by giving the parts more time to dry.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Oh, and don’t mind the makeshift ‘studio’ I improvised for the photos..
A really short one, as I want to try and keep posting in a regular interval and there is always activity in my modeling life!
I was able to knock out many of the small jobs still left on the to-do list now that all the repair jobs are out of the way. The FW-190 is standing on its own feet! Or wheels would probably be more accurate.
The styrofoam is still here for the work I still have to do. Hopefully I can relieve some of the force I will still be putting on the model.
Once it is finished I want to make some good quality photos, so no more photos for now with the telephone!
I am really happy to be doing some translation work for IPMS NL. I was going through the ‘MIP’, the club magazine, I noticed they were looking for a translator from Dutch to English. I was immediately interested. I think I have the necessary skills for it, and it involves a subject I really love.
Yesterday I had this weird idea that finishing the model would be possible today. Unfortunately, as it goes, I ran into some problems.
So far so good I guess.. although it was becoming clear that I wouldn’t be finishing the build today, so I am aiming sometime this week depending on how much time I will have.
The fuel tank rack turned out to be problematic. I glued in on way too early and I am not sure why. But the result is not only that it broke off, but because the weight of the body has leaned on it too much it has become impossible to glue on the fuel tank in the ‘conventional’ way.
So instead of a longer day where I would be able to finish the entire model it looks like it will be another string of short sessions to finish it off.
I am really starting to look forward to continuing the B747-8F and finally putting this thing on display.