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

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Two plastic models, muahahaha!

Last month, I started work on a T-6 Texan. You usually don't see trainer aircraft, but I wanted to do something a little colorful and this was very cheap (US$ 12).

It's a pretty neat model, if a little strange. Strange in that in places, there is fantastic detail, in others, not so much and it's the choices of where the chose to put the detail that makes it strange. The engine for instance. The engine is not bad, but the detail on the cylinder heads is really soft:

The rear of the engine, behind the firewall, there is some pretty crisp detail. The thing is, after installation, you can only view this through a crack about 3mm wide.

The cockpit is very nice, with but a few issues. I re-worked the seats to make them more realistic, added some engine control levers, added the linkage between the two rudder pedal groups, built up the rudder pedal groups to be more realistic, added a crossbar underneath the rear instrument panel and added wires for the radio mics

Of course, once it's installed, you can see virtually none of this. I am such a nerd, but dang it was fun to do:

The figures are rather nice. Also included was a fig of the instructor pilot climbing in. His parachute is nicely cast:

One annoying thing was the lights on the bottom of the airframe. They are a single clear piece with three nubbins that fit in holes in the fuselage. It seems like a nice idea, but it makes seam-filling and painting very annoying. I did discover a new technique in making colored lights. I painted all of the outside of the light that would not be visible the proper color; leaving the 'lens' part clear. So, you see down into the color and it reflects pretty good. This offers a more natural way than just painting the outside of the clear.

Now, model two. At the model group I started attending, most of the guys are car guys. I used to be a car guy when I was 12, but not so much now. However, I thought I'd show them what a plane guy could do, so I bought me a Shelby A/C Cobra. Man. This model has some issues. Flash and mold seams abound; especially troubling were the mold seams directly down the top of the body! Pain in the ass to get rid of. It's also molded in white plastic which makes it hard to see if you've sanded properly. Oh, and tons of chrome pieces. Who wants chrome pieces? They look like ass and as soon as you cut them off the sprue, you've inevitably cut the chrome. So, I've soaked them in Simple Green and removed most of the chrome for painting.

Because I'm me, I've gone and put details where nobody will see them. I spend a great deal of time painting, shading and detailing the suspension. The front, you'll be able to see if you look hard enough, but the rear will be nearly completely invisible once the tires are installed.

Isn't that pretty? Too bad you'll never see it again.

listening to while posting: nothing, as Sweet Enemy is in the next room, in front of the woodstove, wrapped in a blanket with the cat and reading a new Terry Pratchett book (and I don't want to disturb her)