Things are warming up!

Even though I made an effort to isolate my new workplace, it can still become (at least) a degree colder than the comfortable living room, which kept my away for the last few weeks.

However spring is upon us, and I find myself back at the workplace daily!

A goal I set for myself in the last blog was to finish the I-16 cockpit. And I have! High time to write about it.

New Airbrush

But first.. I already considered purchasing a new airbrush at the time I was writing my last blog, and once the thought of buying new stuff sets it never seems to take long before I actually do!

This time I didn’t drive straight to my main hobbyshop to splash the cash. I like Hobbycar and I have most of my stuff from that place, but although I started my search there, I really took my time to see what is what in the world of airbrushes and get the best deal out there. Especially now I have lost my 10% IPMS discount, there might be better alternatives around.

My current airbrush is a Fengda BD-135. It did a good job, and it gave me a good idea of what works and doesn’t work. Unfortunately, it broke fairly quickly: although it still functioned, the black cap at the end had come off, probably because the screw-thread had come off. Nothing more but a minor nuisance, but I do like the cap to be on so I don’t accidentally poke my eye out. A bigger problem was the persistent clogging I have experienced with this airbrush, basically from day one. I have gained a lot of experience especially with thinning my paint, and it has gotten better, but still a lot of the trouble was down to using a 0,2mm nozzle and needle for all my airbrush jobs.

With this experience in mind I had an idea of what I wanted in a new airbrush

  • Perhaps pay a bit more if the results will be better.
  • Something easier to clean.
  • A bigger paint container, preferably one I can close off while using the airbrush.
  • The possibility to use larger nozzles.

I realize that a higher price doesn’t always represent a better result, but my first Fengda already cracked after a few months of (fairly extensive) use. I started my search for the names I have seen in many discussions about airbrush.. but even though I have my own experience of my 20 euro airbrush failing so quickly, I still couldn’t find a lot of good arguments to go straight for the high-end airbrushes.

As I’m sure you recognize if you have been involved in any online modeling community, the argument to use a particular brand of airbrush is usually something like ‘I use Brand X is so it is great, I don’t use Brand Y is so it is shit, hurdur’.

For me this just isn’t a good enough reason to spend more money. Although I hope another low-end airbrush will not break again so soon, I ended up looking at the Fengda alternatives.

Taking into account my other wishes, I ended up with the FE-130:

img_20180220_211307975105301889354971.jpg

This particular set has a three nozzles and needles included: 0,2; 0,3 and 0,5!

So far I have used only the 0,3 nozzle, and I have to say that for the things I am doing this has probably been the size I have been waiting for. I like to airbrush basically every part because I just like the end result a lot better. I imagine myself using the 0,2 size for finer detail and 0,5 for larger areas or primer jobs.

Although I first aimed to spend somewhere around 100 euros on something not-Fengda, I ended up with this 35 euro Fengda set.. Ofcourse I can only hope the quality will be better than the BD-135, but for 35 euro I can’t complain even if it only survives one year.

I-16 Cockpit

In the last blog I considered ripping apart one of the first assembled and painted sub-components.

img_20180222_1928211384405293221896330.jpg
I ended up doing that, and to be honest I don’t see a difference with what it was before, and I still don’t really like the end result. The good thing about the cockpit on this model though: you can really spend time on the details if you want to, but even if you look down into it once it is finished you won’t see a lot.

The black parts on the chair are my own interpretation, and it looks a bit shabby. Next time I’ll make sure to not limit myself in terms of reference material. The back of the seat is based on how things look in IL-2, but later on in the cockpit build I actually started using anything I could find.

img_20180304_1152184986164718427242996.jpg
The bottom plate of the cockpit should be light gray according to the instruction booklet, but most reference show a green metal color. I changed this later on.

I quite like the instrument panel on this kit! It actually has a back plate which you need to paint black, then place a decal on top of it, and after that you place a clear part on top of that. The instruction booklet actually seems to indicate this clear parts needs to be painted black as well, that doesn’t make a lot of sense and obviously I didn’t. I did paint the sides of the clear panelfront.
img_20180317_1718377147106425971198072.jpg
The end result of the instrument panel.

Before closing off the cockpit I had seen so much reference photo’s with the green steel parts that I did a last-minute change of the bottom plate as well as the control. After applying a clear gloss coat I did some weathering, including a bit of a dirt wash.img_20180321_2214486741009263030824924.jpg
The almost-end result, but this is before applying the wash.

Like I said the end result doesn’t show much of the cockpit anyway, especially if you decide to close the ‘canopy’ (it is basically two doors) you won’t be seeing much of the interior.img_20180324_2146277143482932871694478.jpg

img_20180325_1247092284882833418023829.jpgThe result so far. The cockpit is finished, and now it is on for the engine!

I like this kit a lot so far. Things fit together perfectly overall, and on the parts where it doesn’t I don’t mind too much: a WW2 aircraft to me doesn’t have to fit a 100% perfect, as long as it doesn’t have enormous gaps between.

One of the things I am less enthusiastic about is probably the instruction booklet. I especially feel the range of colours has been simplified to not force a builder to spend a lot of money on paint. However, there are a lot of reference pictures available and I actually enjoyed the search to find a plausible set of colours. After a few months of building I have collected a respectable amount of paint too, so I can deviate from the booklet and go for what I think makes more sense.

Next up on this kit: the engine!

Groetjes,
Dan

 

Advertisements

Finally back on track

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

New compressor

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

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

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

wp-image-1841286666
Unfortunately I didn’t think about an airbrush holder and the 1/8 2x airbrush hose I needed. But after a second visit to Hobbycar I had another nice addition to my workplace!

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

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

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

Back to the FW-190 camouflage

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

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

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

wp-image-7953534
I didn’t do a lot on the underside, but I painted the sides and front of the wings and although I am happy with the stripes it has left on the front as was supposed to happen, I will have to redo some of the rest of the wing area since I didn’t mask anything off.
wp-image-651861158
I am quite proud of the wing camouflage! I free handed it and I think it turned out pretty good! I didn’t mask off here so no tight lining here between the different colors.
wp-image-1219963289
Don’t mind about the broken off gun, that happened a while ago directly after the primer stage. The camo on the engine cowlings also needs more work.. it is shaped wrong and is probably too low. I am not sure about the mottling effect.

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

wp-image-278387132
I think I like this side a little better.. the lower pressure and thinner mixture gave me a little more control which is required for those tiny details.

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

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

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

Groetjes,

Dan

 

 

Compressor failure

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

Safety Mechanism

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

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

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

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

The Red Button

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

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

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

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

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

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

The yellow wire

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

wp-image-534156050
Time to do some soldering of my own I guess!

Soldering on

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

wp-image-463469757
The closest I got to restoring the contraption to the way it was.

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

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

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

So, was this a safety mechanism?

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

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

Cheap

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

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

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

Groetjes,

Dan