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:

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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

 

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Going down

It’s been a while since my last blog so here we go! I have been building a bit more the last week but before that it has been pretty meager.

The Zero

img_20180128_0946144701470520897405054.jpgI put primer on most of the final parts of the zero.. unfortunately I found out later I forgot about two small panels that are part of the wheel covering. I’m not going to make a mess of my airbrush just to put primer on two parts that I can put on my fingertip so I will either have to wait for more parts before I get the stuff out again, or I might just see what the result is when I get around to finishing this model.

There is some decision to make about the color of the wheel bays. Some internet sources show the A6M5 with either brown or light blue wheel bays. Then again, there are different tints of green, and things like the propeller cap are either white or green as well.

I will have to see if I can find more sources on the specific plane I want to make. Since the original decals are eaten away I purchased some after market ones.

Workplace

The last couple of months I found that one thing that kept me from doing some work is having to go upstairs. I do spend quite some time in ‘my room’ but right now it is mostly to do virtual flying in IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad.

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So I am now slowly moving my stuff to our house extension. It’s a bit colder there, so I have some small isolation work to do, but there is nothing wrong with that. Besides the summer will be here before we know it.

I-16

Another thing that has probably stopped me from doing work sometime is a promise I made to myself.. to not have a ‘stack of doom’. To me that meant not starting work on a new kit before the old one was finished. In fact I actually broke that promise pretty early on when I start working on the Cargolux B747-8F, a kit which is still standing half finished in my room upstairs.. recently I also started work on the ICM I-16. Since I feel more like working on the I-16 right now I decided to stop making life difficult for myself and just go for it!

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I already started work on the wing a while back, so the next step was now to apply a layer of gray in the wheel bay area..
img_20180215_2029532553359717194669541.jpg..and the first cockpit parts.

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I am not sure if I am too happy about this so far though.. The instructions says the chair needs to be all black. I am using a different source though, which is the cockpit view in IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad. Which shows that the chair itself is a dark green (like the outside of the plane) and so I brush painted the chair and the rests.

But looking at the end result, I think I will tear the chair off again, clean it completely and just spray the green on and I will just hand brush the headrest. For the color of the rests I used anthracite which made more sense to me.

IPMS

I did some thinking and I decided that I am not going to renew my IPMS membership right now..

When I became a member I had just spent a couple of hundred euros on modeling stuff, and the 10% discount for stuff alone felt like a good reason for a membership. But the spending spree has stopped so that’s not a good reason any more. I don’t particularly enjoy their magazine, and I don’t have time or energy to spend time on visiting events or meetings.

The money I saved with not paying for another year of membership will go nicely towards buying my next airbrush!

Next blog I will show the end result on the cockpit for the I-16.

PS: my dad’s P-51 is coming along nicely! That Revell kit looks so great and my dad is doing an awesome job. Really curious to see how it looks when the paint is on!
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New year

Yes, it has been a while since last blog!

First off all, a late happy new year to all!

As I covered in my last post, I found another way to spend my time. I went all out as always when I try new things, and have probably spent about 100 hours on the game since I purchased it last month. Of course the first enthusiasm at some point fades a bit and I’ve slowly been finding myself behind the bench a bit more that last week.

The last few weeks

With the holidays and my new hobby, work has been slow the last couple of weeks. A brief overview of what I have been able to achieve.

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Just like the last time I visited my parents, I took a kit with me to get some work done. I went for the new I-16 type by ICM. Very interesting little plane and a fine kit. I’ll be writing more about it in the future no doubt.

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Back to the Zero, I still had that nice job ahead of me.. masking the clear parts. I decided to just go for it. The result wasn’t perfect, but I figured it would still be better than hand brushing.img_20171227_1619258589843279400873556.jpg
Here goes nothing! As long as the clear parts are not messed up with green paint I am happy.
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It won’t be visible on this picture probably.. but in my last blog I noted the color was probably a little too light for the Zero, and I did another layer with a slightly darker tint of green. The good news is this color seems a bit better to me. The bad news is that the darker undertones might have disappeared a bit too much. Then again, they should be subtle so I could still be all right.
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I wanted to redo the black around the cockpit area a bit because I hadn’t focused on it so far, and there was some green residue around.
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Here is the result so far! I am fairly happy with it, although I doubt this will look as pleasing as I had hoped when I started it. Being an older kit it really takes more skill than I have to make it look really interesting, but once again I learned a lot so far and I’ll be focusing on some newer kits for the foreseeable future.

 A present for my dad

When my dad gave me some of his old kits this summer he told me that he basically wouldn’t be buying any new kits, but he was still looking out for a good P51 kit because he really loves the Mustang. In the weeks after that I looked around a bit for what was available in 1/32 scale, but the offerings were either a expensive or seemed to be lacking in quality. My dad’s main brand has always been Revell, so I was very happy to see Revell had a new tool coming up:

P-51D-5NA Mustang (early version)
I initially wanted to build this one myself, and it really is a fantastic looking kit if you’re looking for an affordable Mustang. I went for the I-16 in the end because at the moment the subject interests me more, but this could very well still end up on my shelve at some point. For now, I looked forward to giving this to my dad as a present.

My dad is really happy with the kit and has made some good progress in the last couple of weeks! I gave him some brushes and glue to start off with, and my mom bought all the paint required so he could start again with an acrylic color collection. Not having to use enamels really revived the hobby for me, and I think he will probably feel the same. Finally no more hassle and horrible smells and the result is fine.

Veel plezier, pa!

The future of this blog

I didn’t forget about the blog in the last weeks.. but I have also been thinking about where I want to go with it.

When I started it this summer, I was starting to feel better recovering from my burn-out. I was still sitting at home, trying to find something I could do. Modeling really was a blessing: it allowed me to reboot my engineering brain without any pressure at all. A big part of my work is documenting, and the blog filled in that part. I was able to spend a few hours on building, and do regular updates on basically anything modeling related.

Right now I have my job again to get my fill of engineering and documentation, and doing 3 or 4 updates a few on my models is out of the question. Obviously, after the first build it is probably natural to zoom out a bit a take bigger steps in reporting on the model.. I like gluing part 24 and 25 on part 37, but doing a weekly update rules out that sort of close reporting on my progress. I would annoy you as much as I would annoy myself!

The way I see it now, I will probably keep trying to do a weekly update on my modeling stuff, but I do have some thoughts about not renewing my WordPress subscription. I know, I can also continue with the free plan, but I like the blog as I can deliver it right now and that’s only possible because I spent some money on it.

And I have to admit I have even been thinking about moving to YT once I stop this blog, but I honestly don’t know if it would suit me and if people would be interested. I am happy to see I have more followers than I would ever have expected, and a few more than some of the people I started following last summer. I take that as a complement, because I see even some non-modelers follow my blog and that tells me I am doing something right.

Some more soul searching required the coming weeks!

Groetjes,
Dan

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.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor icm i-16

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

See you at the underside

The first big part of the paint job is done, and I am happy with it so far.

The first task since last weeks blog was putting a final layer of primer after filling some holes in the fuselage.img_20171203_1113356486653764401518978.jpg
After masking off the tail wheel we’re ready to go!
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Tuesday-evening it was time to celebrate Sinterklaas‘ birthday, and the old man got me my first armor kit! This is a very cheap and simple kit, which is perfect to give armor a first try! I left home happy..img_20171205_2012581353775302308177043.jpgBut about an hour after going to bed my girlfriend woke me up with disturbing news.. Unfortunately one of our cats, ‘Dunnie’, died. Not in anyway related to this blog, but he deserves an honorable mention anyway.24862082_1696477010402677_1426992378465481258_n
He was 16 years old, so a very respectable age for a cat.. still, we are very sad to have to say goodbye.

Anyway, back to modelling. I did the first layer on the underside on Monday. I thought the color would be white, but it is actually light gray. In the Revell world, that would be #371, the same color that I’ve had a horrible time with on the Cargolux Boeing 747-8F. This color seems to dry up really quick, and I have had the same problems last week.
img_20171206_1959193763829253490237900.jpgStill, after four layers I am happy with the result:img_20171210_2124487947723463611736065.jpg
I really like this technique. It is a lot of work, but filling in the panels is fun and the uneven result is actually very interesting to look at.

There is something I have to take more care with in the future, and that is probably mainly because the black primer shows less details than the gray Tamiya Surface primer I used on the last builds.img_20171210_2218284190645033664272547.jpg
There are some parts that could have done with some more sanding, but it just didn’t come out with the black primer. I have done more sanding in between the layers, but it wasn’t enough by the looks of it. I might take another try to correct this, or I might take the lessons to the next kit.

Next up: painting the other side of the plane!

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