Monday, October 19, 2009

The Eggs and Us

As promised, here are some shots of the other entries to the Mount Mansfield Modelers Egg-stravaganza.

They are presented in the order that they appeared on the table, from left to right (minus mine, btw). Keep in mind that base of these models were eggs that were identical except for color.

First was the pun (and I did groan out loud, but the creator expected it), I give you The Nest Egg:

This requires a bit of explanation. It represents the first solar-powered anti-gravity fighter-bomber in the post-war British inventory (the upper hull has to be transparent for the solar panels to work, see?)

Next came the WW1 entry. The rudder is movable, the wings are doped fabric, the canopy opens and closes and the prop is battery-powered. UPDATE: This beauty took second place

This yellow beauty was created by the guy who's idea this whole thing was (he also generously supplied the eggs. Check out those fabulous eyelashes around those cool windows and the tongue dashboard!

Finally was the Spruce Goose-Egg. Everything was scratchbuilt except or the engines and props. Look how smooth and perfect the boat hull is; it was made with from scratch with plastic cardstock. The outboard pontoons were carved from wood then molded on a vacuum-form machine.

listening to while posting: Sweet Enemy chilling out on the floor of my studio with the cat. She just got back from a long drive to Portsmouth and is telling me about all the art framing stuff she learned how to do.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Egg and I, Epilogue

Well, I just got back from the Mount Mansfield Modelers meeting and the egg contest was tonight. Man was I nervous! I hadn't felt that nervous since my last Aikido test. Sheesh. First I was worried that it would break in transit, or that I wouldn't be able to assemble it, or it would break on the display table.

Why was I worried about breaking? Earlier in the week, the nose gear fell off three times, each time I was certain it was on for good. However, it made it to the meeting and it stayed whole.

There were seven entries and competition was fierce! Fantastic, fantastic works. Of course I forgot to bring my camera, but I'll try to snag some from another member. The two standouts were a Spruce Goose Egg with the wings, tail and boat-hull nose all scratchbuilt and perfectly shaped and a "Jokker" (A WW1 nut, he couldn't decide whether to build a Junkers or a Fokker) It was a monoplane with movable rudder, full cockpit, doped-fabric-over-wood-frame wings and a battery powered propeller. On the line were two trophies built by the MMM's chairman (a gold and silver egg trophy for first and second place).

There were two rounds of judging; one for first place and one after for second place. I voted for the Jokker both times, but it was tough to decide!

As I said, I didn't get any shots at the show, so here are some shots I just took of the completed Snowflea on the dining room table.

So, how did the Snowflea fare against the other outstanding entries?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Egg and I, part three

Nearly done! Here's the test-assembled fuselage. Despite my best efforts, the clear canopy has become dirty. I have to figure out how to clean it without messing with the paint. Grr.

I applied decals. Even though you can't see them, the "28" is not the only decal. I've got a bunch of random things like grounding points, RESCUE arrows and other little things on the lower half. Sorry no pic, couldn't get one to work.

Here you can almost see the expansive cockpit. It is, as you may guess, hard to take a shot of a clear dome without the light reflecting in the middle of it.

Here's the aft section. The ringed hole is the mount for the engine nacelle shaft.

I can't remember if the contest is THIS Thursday or NEXT Thursday. I'm building as though it were this Thursday, so I'll post some completed pics before then.

Listening to while posting: "Gebrauchmusik II" by Adrian Legg

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Egg and I, part two

Still working on the egg. I got the first coat of paint on, but found that I REALLY need a moisture trap for my airbrush. I never noticed it because I'd been doing most of my modeling in the winter with a wood stove roaring in the next room.

Here's the fuselage. I faked some panel lines (with pencil and pre-shading) because I found the egg plastic did not like being scribed. Or, also possible, I'm a horrible scriber. The color is actually red, but I couldn't for the life of me get rid of the PINK color of the photo. The black thing on top is a radome.

Side view:

Front view (the thing on the front is the door. I'd planned on actually building a door and full interior but the crappiness of the plastic stopped that idea):

Here's the engine nacelle. Again, it isn't that pink.

This is the rear. The black bits are cut-outs where the propeller blades will go:

This is the intake. It features the only cannibalized part on the entire model so far (a spare bogie from some tank or another):

The propeller blades were going to be problematic from the start. I thought I'd try simple and made some out of wood strips. The result was... not good:

So, I tried again in plastic. Stuck, I hit the web and found a picture of a new Hamilton-Sundstrand prop and tried to copy that. Here's an in-progress pic. The tough thing is getting the four blades to be even closely related to each other. Next time, I'm doing one and then casting the rest out of resin:

The cockpit is turning out well, I added the instrument panel:

Here's a shot of the instruments. I designed up a set of instruments in Adobe Illustrator and, since I didn't have any decal paper yet, so I used sticker paper. The effect is not bad. The only problem is you can't move the stickers around like you can with decals.

Another view:

A close up, looking forward through the cabin door, showing the raised bits (fire suppression t-handle, throttles and some buttons). After I looked at this shot, I realized I had to re-position some of the instrument clusters as they are a bit askew:

That's all for now. I'm coating it in future and plan on assembling the engine soon. The contest is two weeks from today. I hope I at least get a nod or two from the old hands.

Sweet Enemy bought me a wicked cool Japanese model for my birthday. Oh, it is sweet. I can hardly wait to build it. But, since it is from SE, and it's hard to find, I'm putting it at the bottom of my stash so that my skills will be up to it when I get to it. Hopefully.

Listening to while posting: Scherzo: Allegro & Finale by Beethoven (played by the London Symphony Orchestra)

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's been a while part one: The Egg and I

I may not have been posting, but I've been doing stuff. My local modeling club (the No Website Club, it seems) is having a contest. Back in May, one of the guys bought a bunch of ostrich-sized plastic eggs. Split longitudinally, half the egg is clear and half is opaque. Anyone who wanted to enter took an egg. There are only two rules:

1) if you take an egg, you have to make something.
2) a significant portion of the clear part must be left clear.

I took the challenge, but when I got home I realized that, since I have only been modeling again for less than a year, I have no stash of leftover parts. This meant that I would be having to scratchbuild the entire thing. Talk about biting off more than you could chew.

I dug and dug into my brain and came up with the idea of this thing. I've been into Forties and Fifties radio Sci-Fi for a while and thought about making some sort of exploration vehicle that an Golden Age-style exploration ship would drop onto a planet. Not having any wheels, I decided on an exploration vehicle for arctic-climate worlds and that meant skis:

the Heiden-Brinker SS-3b "Snowflea" is based on the Lotus Ice Vehicle a real vehicle made by the luxury car company.

A bit ambitious, but I pressed on. I drew some nearly-scale (1/48) plans (floor plan, furnishings and structure) and started in. My first test was to make a leg out of sheet styrene. It worked so well, I made all three.

Then I actually began working on the interior of the hull and the cockpit floor, but I have no images of that in progress. It was really hard for two reasons. First, constructing vertical bulkheads to fit the curve of the egg was nearly impossible (as I can't really get a good cross-section of it without cutting it apart). Secondly, the plastic of the egg is awful. It is very soft and no adhesive I have works, not model glue, not CA glue, not white glue; I don't want to try anything harder as it might melt the whole thing into a pile of slag. So, I'm doing a lot of wedging. to keep it structurally sound.

I then made four seats. This was extra-tough. Making one of something is easy, making four is hard. If I do something like this again, I'm going to make one and cast the rest in resin. As it is, each chair is more similar than identical. Ah, well. This wasn't going to win any contests anyway. Here's the cockpit:

And the cockpit next to the hull with the hull interior. You can see the beam that crosses the entire hull. This is the main support for the left and right main skis. Since I couldn't glue hinges to the side, I had to make it structurally sound by putting the solid beam through:

And the cockpit installed on the hull:

The engine is proving difficult. I tried cutting a smaller plastic egg, but cutting a perfectly circular hole for the inlet was impossible (and with the crappy egg plastic, I couldn't keep anything glued in anyway). I happened to find some cheapo wooden eggs with a flat bottom at a craft store. Sweet enemy's father drilled a hole in the bottom for me and I was on my way:

One part I'm proud of is the 'ice brake'. The Lotus has this and I replicated it as simply as I could:

I've begun painting it, but ran into a snag that is a lack of water trap for my compressor. Nothing like having your airbrush spitting water all over your work to slow down the process.

Well, the sun just came out, so I'm going outside, darn it!

listening to while posting: "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service

Friday, April 17, 2009

post meeting update

I met with the Mount Mansfield Modelers, my local modeling group, for the third time now. Interesting group. A mix of car and plane guys, of newbies and old hands. Two of the old hands are plane guys, one of them works in 1/72 scale and can really cram detail into a cockpit you can barely see! My goal, I think, is to impress the two old hands.

I brought the T-6 in it's unfinished state and spoke of the foolishness of working on two models at once (quite humorously, all of the guys after me, including the two old hands, admitted to working on two models at once! lol)

Here's the Texan:

Not, too bad. The landing light lenses are REALLY thick. I'm not sure what to do about that.

Here's the nose. I do like that engine.

The tailwheel broke off and disappeared entirely. Luckily, I had two tiny wheels in my Box-O-Parts. I have no idea where the came from, but the were the perfect size. I'm glad I had two, because my scratchbuild looks better than the original.

I could only present the chassis and cockpit of the Cobra as a paint test showed that something was very wrong with the paint I was using. It went on super orange-skinned. The old hands thought it might have been too cold and recommended soaking the can in warm water before spraying.

What I brought was well-received, even by the car guy who wires his engines in the proper firing order. He's really into making the bodies look good, so I doubt my skills will measure up to his standards. The 1/72 scale plane guy liked my seatbelts, but I know for a fact he puts in seatbelts that were hardly bigger than my buckles.

Here's the cockpit. The second shot is just to show off my scratchbuilt fire extingisher!

Listening to while posting: "Light the Match" by Mirah

Saturday, April 11, 2009

dual model update

I had to strip some parts of the Texan: the engine cowling and the tail. I had painted the cowling and a bit by the tail blue to replicate this scheme:

What happened was that some of the blue got chipped AND some of the Rub N' Buff got all caked up near the tail. So, I stripped the entire tail and cowling with Simple Green and then re-pre-shaded it (heh). A bit of the Rub N' Buff came off as well so I had to re-spray with flat (matte) white. You see, Rub N' Buff needs a slightly gritty surface to catch on. It just slides off of gloss paint or bare plastic. I've actually already Rub N' Buffed the fuselage and I'm going to be painting the tail yellow tonight and the blue bits tomorrow.

The Cobra's coming along. Sort of. I worked on finishing the engine last night. I bent up eight pieces of wire for spark plug wires individually, then installed them with Cyanacrylate glue. Here's my 'wiring diagram' so I can match my individually bent pieces to their proper places:

and here's the finished product. Tamiya silver certainly does photograph better than it looks in person. I mean, it looks pretty good in person, but looks extra good photographed. I also "scratch built' the oil filter. If you can call cutting and sanding a piece of sprue scratchbuilding. I can't believe they didn't include an oil filter on this car.

I also built a 'trunk' for the Cobra. It's not functional, it's just a sort of blocker made out of cardboard. What it does is simulate where a trunk might be and blocks light. You see, when the wheels were put on for a test, I found that without this blocker, you could see all the way through the wells in a non-realistic way. So, I took some cardboard and white glue and made this:

And, because I'm an aircraft guy, I had to put seatbelts in the cockpit. They're scratchbuilt with masking tape straps and wire and wine-bottle-cork-metal latches and buckles. I'm not all that sold on my buckles, but It was a first:

in workbench note, here's my Special Box. It's an ancient wooden box that I placed foam in the bottom of and use to put any very fragile built pieces or figures that I really don't want to get hurt of chipped. Occupying it now are the Cobra engine and the engine to the Texan. Mostly engines go in here, but some larger fragile assemblies like the landing gear for the Wildcat.

Another workbench note. I have learned a valuable lesson with these two models: ONLY DO ONE MODEL AT A TIME! I thought I could hack it and work on one while stuff on the other is drying, but it doesn't work. I've split my brain and both models have suffered.

listening to while posting: "I'm From L.A." by Go Betty Go