Sunday, 19 February 2017

Crossroads.




Hello again!

I'm in somewhat of a philosophical mood as my passion for scale modelling is changing direction. I have a lot going on in my head right now and I thought I'd share my own personal view of why I am heading in a different direction.


Firstly, I have been reading in many blogs and web pages about a suddenly high rise of negative attitudes to modellers and the subjects they build and write about.

I know I have my own strong opinions on certain things but I would never slate another modeller for building or painting in a certain way. I read and enjoy other pages to learn from other fellow modellers, sure I might not enjoy one article more than another.......That does not entitle me or anyone else to troll someone else's work. I find this negativity repugnant and it has certainly put me off participating on forums that I once enjoyed and contributed to. Life if too short! The petty squabbling and tit for tat posting I see on forums who are either too PC or too far gone are not my scene anymore. 

My page has a small following, so what I write here will not change anything but I feel the need to address my thoughts here and perhaps answer a few questions from the small number of fellow modellers who are my friends. 


I am not producing as many models as I used to? 




This is because I have a busy life. Family first. Work next. Both take up most of my time so time in the studio is few and far between. I think most serious modellers can appreciate this.

I'm building more 1/35 subjects? 

Yes, I am! I cannot call myself an exclusive aircraft builder anymore as I am enjoying a new lease of life in the 1/35th scale world. There is so much for me to learn, experience and enjoy. My current LRDG project is evidence for my new enthusiasm. 




Quitting forums for good?

No. Not quite. I will still post on the few forums I am still a member of. But only to see and enjoy the work of other modellers. I will post my completed works as I like to see what the feedback is like. I am done with posting links to my WIP's as certain forums get all bent out of shape when I do that. Shame. 
Yes, all right then. It would be nice to post all the WIP stuff on a forum. But when nobody engages with me I am minded not to bother........So now I don't.





Models Shows. What's your problem?

 I do not have a problem with model shows. I have a problem with one certain show and as such I do not attend it anymore. Therefore, there's no more problem! I don't want to talk about it anymore. 'Nuff said!






Publishing reviews and being honest about them? Maybe too honest?

Yeah.......Now here's a can of worms right? Remember I mentioned negative attitudes earlier? Many of the modellers I respect publish their own take on a kit and get trolled for it. Why? Because some small minded little pricks can't handle  opinions! When I review something it is a straight up, uncensored, personal opinion based on my own experience. This is to give my audience a chance to get my take on what is good or bad about the model I am writing about. That's all. 

What about all those completed builds? Where are they going?

If you are a regular reader you may recall that I have run out of display space in my studio. I have to make room for new builds one way or another. 
So what are my options? 
* I can sell some of them to make room. Maybe?
* I can break them up for spares? 
* I can give some away to friends. (Done that already. They only want the ones I want to keep myself!) 

I have come to a decision to try selling a couple of builds in the future on an auction site. I don't expect much in terms of money, or sales! But I would like to "test the water" if I have any success, I will try to sell some more. In case you are wondering, no I won't be advertising my works as "pro built" I am not a pro-builder and I am not God's gift to modelling! I'd just like my work to end up with someone that might enjoy it for what it is. I plan to write about my experience in doing this in a later post. 

Reducing the stash? ....It had to happen! 





Oh man I hate this! I have so many great kits! But as in the topic above, I haven't enough room for them. I will make a pile of kits to go and price them up. Not happy about it, but its time. It's a ball ache, I hate it.




What's next?

My blog and FB page will still be much the same, a few tweaks here and there. I want to get a bigger audience for this blog so I need to perhaps build better models eh? I don't get a lot of feedback  but my blogger stats tell me that more and more people are finding this page and reading the articles. If that's you THANK YOU! 

Well, this is enough of me and my musings for now. Its good to get a few things off my chest in a modelling sense!  Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, Take care and Happy Modelling!

Darren.







Saturday, 11 February 2017

Dude! Where's your Camel? LRDG Diorama WIP Part 4.



Hello again!

This update is my latest report on the progress of my Long Range Desert Patrol diorama. 

So a little extra time at the bench last evening allowed me to spray a matt coat over my Chevy truck and to see how it looks on it's base. I am quite pleased with it and the new (well, new to me!) weathering techniques I used in an attempt to bring out those details on the finished model.  

Here you can see the finished truck on the display base......







I plan to add a 1/35 camel to this diorama and this one from a 1/35 Masterbox set was perfect. I have started the painting process on this piece and thus far it has gone pretty well. I have used a mix of acrylics to paint the camels body and a mix of acrylics and oils to decorate the saddle which will have a rider mounted to it. 

This is how far I am with this piece so far......




Finally, I return to my two first figures who I affectionately refer to as "Chas & Dave" In order to add some more detail I gave the figures an enamel wash which worked well on one figure but not on the other. So I repainted the chap with the binoculars to tone down his weathering. I also did some more work to the face as I was not happy with my first effort. I still have more to do here, however I feel I am on the right path now. 




I hope you are enjoying these updates, feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

Happy modelling! 


Darren.  


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Halfway there now! LRDG Diorama WIP Part III

Hello!

I have been back at the bench to continue work on my LRDG Diorama and I must say I am enjoying this project immensely! 

Work has continued at a steady pace with my concentration back on the Chevy and its stowage and weapons. This particular version of this Tamiya kit comes with a good amount of packs, boxes and weapons to equip the vehicle and make it look mission ready.

I have painted the stowage with acrylics then brought out the details with an enamel wash and some drybrushing. This is a tad time consuming, but for me the end result is worth the work. 

I added some extra details by mounting a metal bar and scratch built PE brackets to hang some stowage on the left side of the truck, the packs used here were moulded hollow, it is a good idea to add some filler to them to bulk them out and add a little realism. 

I have also begun the weathering process on the vehicle by spraying a gloss coat all over and once dry, I hand painted all the details with oils and enamel washes. This again enhanced the details and brought our Chevy truck to life. 
I added some of my sand paste mix around the lower edges of the vehicle and also to the wheels to give the impression of sand that has been collected by the truck on its journey. This is the first time I have used a paste to do this and I was quite pleased with outcome! 

I also commenced painting on the figures which as always is a huge challenge for this modeller, wish me luck with that bit! I want to do well so much time and concentration will be needed-As well as huge magnifying lenses! 

Enough waffle from me! Check out these pics to see how I have done so far! 










Sunday, 22 January 2017

Back to Base! LRDG diorama WIP Part II



Hello! 

This weekend has blessed me with some time to myself and I have enjoyed some downtime in the studio. It has been cold in my part of the world, so the heating is on full blast and I have been cracking on with my desert diorama depicting the Long Range Desert Group.

I had previously made up my display base and applied groundwork to simulate sand. However, after looking at similar builds of the same subject I came to the conclusion that I needed to improve my groundwork for this diorama. 

After viewing an excellent tutorial from scalewarmachines.com which demonstrated the use of Vallejo Sand textured paste I decided I would try this method myself to see if I could improve the realism of my diorama. 

You can see the video here: 


Here is how I got on......













Sunday, 8 January 2017

LRDG Diorama Part 1.


Hello!

This new project has been begging to be built for quite some time now and I am delighted to have eventually broke sprue on the wonderful 1/35 Tamiya British LRDG Command Car.

As regular readers will know, I have always been fascinated with desert warfare especially that of the British Long Range Desert Group. This unit was the origin of the British Special Forces and their tactics and guile are still taught today in the modern army. 

The LRDG were small squadrons of heavily armed and self sufficient raiding parties that would drive across the desert far behind enemy lines in order to attack enemy positions and cause as much havoc to them as possible. 

Their main mode of transport were modified Chevrolet trucks and Willys Jeeps. The men who operated in them were volunteers selected from every section from the British Army and of course their exploits are now the stuff of special forces legend. 

This kit was a gift from a good friend who knows of my interest in LRDG and he could not have chosen a better kit! 

What we find in the box is the 1/35 Tamiya Chevy truck with the addition of weapons, figures and stowage from the original issue of the kit, plus the welcome addition of some very well sculpted Master Box figures and equipment. 
Essentially, what we have here is a diorama in a box. What's not to like? 

So, lets get into this build and see what's what.


The build begins with the chassis assembly, this is the frame, engine, transmission and wheels. The only point to pick up on at this stage is that Tamiya's original instructions printed an incorrect diagram of the brake drum/axle rotation. Make sure you dry fit this step first!  One other thing-This kit's tyres are moulded in rubber with a superb tyre tread but a very annoying seam. I found scraping the seam away with a scalpel was the most effective way to remove it.


Next follows the forward body which allows us to attach the seat, stowed rifles and other accessories. The curved headlight casings need to be fitted carefully in order not to leave any gaps.  

 The rear cargo area can be assembled with the radio hatch open or closed. I have chosen the open position as the instrument panel has raised detail that I will be able to dry brush later on in the build. 
 Here we have all three sub assemblies fitted together. It beginning to look the part now!
 While the chevy's glue was drying I set about building a display base for my diorama. This is a wooden base with filler and scenic material mixed up to make a textured ground surface. When dry, the groundwork was airbrushed with my own mix of sand paint and the plinth was sprayed gloss black. I think this makes for a visually interesting contrast. 

My next job was to begin painting the vehicle in its desert scheme. For this model I wanted to try out the sand and blue camouflage used in North Africa.
I mixed my own sand shade from Tamiya acrylics desert yellow/flat yellow/flat white.
The blue was straight from Tamiya's light blue which is just a touch darker than RLM 76. I airbrushed the blue camo freehand without masks. 



As the paint cures, I will begin work on the figures and stowage for the vehicle.
This will take some time.......






Monday, 2 January 2017

The New year Revolution!




Hello and Happy New Year!

So what's in store for this blog and my bench this year? 


Well, there will be no list of kits that I am going to build for the year. Whenever I do that, it never works out and I end up building something else entirely! 


One thing I will do is have a good clear out in the studio as I have too much stuff in there! 


I have boxes of modelling magazines stacked on the floor taking up space, hundreds of kits in my stash with no hope of ever being built in my lifetime, so some of it has to go! 


Yes, I will have to consign old, unloved kits to ebay oblivion! I don't want to do it but it needs to be done. So next weekend I will be having a sort through my stash.

I don't know about you, but looking through the stash often brings back memories and provides renewed inspiration for long forgotten subjects, which make me talk myself into "Well I'll keep that one." This is my trouble, I love my older kits! I have to choose between more kits and less space or less kits and more space. Decisions, decisions........

Then there is the problem of display space. My shelves are full of completed builds and some will have to go. I am not sure about how I will choose what has to go as I love them all. The good and the bad! 

I don't know what the answer will be. Should I give some away? Sell a few? Would anyone want one? Will I end up breaking them for spares? 

Speaking of spares, I have four deep draws of them! I can't fit anything else in there either!

So I guess the theme here is out with the old and in with the new. 

I never thought I would want to take anything out of the studio, I never imagined that I would run out of space! But there we are. Times change, people move on. 

Hence, a New Year Revolution! 

I want this blog to be better in both content and presentation so I will have to produce better models as well as articles. With that in mind I am going to pick a project to start this month and I intend to write an informative and entertaining "Step by Step" build article. 

As far as modelling goes there are some skills that I need to work on. I am still learning all the time and I really want to produce a quality diorama this year. I enjoyed my "Generation Kill" diorama so much that I want to do more. So my figure painting, detailing and weathering require improvement! 

As I said before, no kit list. But, I can promise warbirds, armour, that diorama and maybe little bit of sci-fi too. An eclectic mix of models that I'll enjoy building and all being well, that you may enjoy seeing. 

Happy Modelling!

Darren.

Monday, 26 December 2016

2016: The Scale Model Hangar review of the year.


Hello! 

As 2016 draws to its end I would like to sit back and mull over the past year and see what it and I brought to my hobby. It has been eventful! 

This blog has taken off and has a regular following, my Facebook hub has become a great place to see and marvel at the work of scale model artists from around the world and I renovated my workshop. Now aptly known as The Scale Model Hangar! 

The workshop was the biggest project of the year. Exactly one year today the terrible flooding that hit the UK took its toll on my modelling space. In this instance flooding the ground all around the base of the workshop which is located in the woodland garden. It was not until my summer leave this year that I had time to carry out repairs and renovations. I could not have done this without the help of my family and friends who took time off work and brought tools, expertise and great humour to a hard going but excellent couple of days that helped me restore my workshop to good health once again. 

To all of you, THANK YOU! 

Once again my sanctuary was warm and dry. Here are a few pics of the Hangar sat at the back of the garden that I hope will convey why I love spending time there so much. It really is a most special place.






And so, I was able to get back to the bench and start anew! This year saw me improve my figure painting, my airbrush control and I also I was able to try out some new technique's! I hope to continue improving and build better, more realistic looking models. I also want to publish better quality work in progress articles, this takes time and planning so I will get a good photo-setup sorted. I already have many projects planned for the coming year and I want to share them with you, so stick around OK? 

Looking back upon 2016, here are the projects that I completed. A varied mix of subjects as you will see! I hope you enjoy them and if you would like to see more, you can find each article right here on this blog. 


First to see the finish line was this lovely 1/48 Airfix Seafire Mk.F.XVII. A nice straightforward build with aftermarket decals from Freightdog models.



Next up was this wonderful kit that was a gift from my mate Frank. He knew I was dying to get hold of Hasegawa's Bf-109 G-10 in JG 300 markings! Thanks to his great kindness and generosity I was able to realise my dream! 

I titled this piece "The Eagle and the Wolf"




Following on, Tamiya's 1/48 P-47D Bubbletop. This was a nice straight from the box build. I had these markings in a box for years and wanted to emulate the work of a truly inspiring modeller who is sadly no longer with us. 



Feel the Force! After watching The Force Awakens I just had to build some new T-70 X-Wings! These snap together kits from Revell answered the call. Repainted and modified, these were great fun to work on!



Next up, a special one for me. I had wanted to build this particular aircraft for many years and at last I was able to. This 1/48 Accurate Miniatures Fleet Air Arm Avenger was one of the most rewarding builds of the year.




2 BRAVO: Generation Kill diorama. I loved the book, I loved the series. I had to build this! A lot of work but also a lot of fun to do. 






Imperial Sandtrooper: This 1/12 Bandai figure was sheer joy to build and weather! If you have not tried one of these kits then you should! If Bandai did 1/48 aircraft, they would the competition out of business! 



More figure modelling! This time a 120mm resin sculpt of a US Navy SEAL "American Sniper" I am proud of this one as I worked hard to develop and improve my figure painting skills.



Too BIG and Too HEAVY! Monogram's 1/48 P-47N-1-RE Thunderbolt. This is a kit I built at the beginning of my modelling career, many years ago! The first attempt did not go so well! So this is my second attempt at this stunning warbird and this time I am much happier with the result!



Callsign Warrior: 1/35 USMC AH-1W COBRA

I love this one! I enjoyed this so much! MRC kit, Two Bobs decals, crew figures AM and scatched, plus a little modding here and there! This one put a huge smile on my face!




Academy 1/48 Mig-21. My weathering experiment! I learned a lot that I can carry through to my future builds.




So there you go! Eleven build this year! A great new workspace and lots of fun!

Thanks to all of my model building friends for sharing this hobby with me!

Special thanks to Eric and Frank who share this journey with me and always have my back. 

I hope 2017 brings all of us good health, peace, love and happiness. And of course more models!

Take care and Happy Modelling! 

Darren.