Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Works in progress........

Hello!

This week actually given me some time in the studio and I have been busy with a new project. This being the old 1/48 Academy Mig-21 MF.  I choose this kit from my stash as I wanted a change of pace and something fun that I could build straight out of the box.


Despite it's age, this is quite a good kit. The two let downs are the cockpit and the decals. The office lacks sidewall detail and the bang seat could have been better. That aside, the rest of this kit has good stuff inside the box. Exterior details and underwing stores are well done and will hopefully enable me to bring out some interesting elements to this build. 

So far I have only one modification, that is a couple of sidewall consoles in the cockpit scratch built form plastic card. All the other detail id from the kit and has been enhanced with careful painting with oils. 

As of tonight I have the markings on and glossed ready for weathering. Here is how the build looks now......






I know a few of you have asked "What happened to the B-17 that you were working on?
Well, even though it was a people's choice build I have had to put it down as this kit was making me miserable! I made a couple of mistakes early on in the build that have had a huge effect on the fit of exterior parts further down the road. So until I figure out how to move forward with this one I will shelve it for another day......


I have also begun to work on a Tamiya 1/48 F-16C. This is a highly detailed but complex kit so it may well take me a while. I hope I do better with this one! 


That's all for now! Take care and Happy Modelling! 

Darren.





Friday, 18 November 2016

Annual State of the Hobby Address.





My fellow modellers,

These are changing times in our scale modelling world.  As a group of hobbyist's we often stand apart......


We are a body of people who on the whole build models for pleasure and over time most of us become more interested in growing as a modeller or artist. We strive to improve our ability to build, paint, detail and weather our models to our own mind's eye idea of perfection. We never achieve perfection of course and there is always someone out there who will point out something wrong or inaccurate with your work. It's usually one's self but the rivet counters are always only too happy to help!


Of course there are others who simply want to build and that's it. No gimmicks, they just want to behold the simple pleasure of braking parts from a sprue and gluing them together to make something. Oh what a simpler, happy age that was.........


Over recent years I have seen incredible changes in our hobby and for the most part I would put forward the case that they have been to the benefit of the scale modeller. 

With the internet we have massive image and information resources, dedicated web sites to the hobby and of course all of those forums, facebook pages and excuse me, blogs.

I have recently seen online a growing divide between certain groups within our hobby.  I had a sense of it in remarks read on forums and words spoken at model shows are far back as three years ago but now I see and hear it even more and it is becoming in my opinion, a problem for the hobby as a whole.


Where is our hobby now?


The Model shop? The Local Hobby Store? When is the last time you went to one? 

The shops have to charge more than the web store to pay for their business overheads and in so doing price themselves out of the market. We have all seen the local model store shut down and we remember it through rose tinted lenses. It was a great place to hang out, buy stuff and learn from others. I do still miss that. I miss going to Phil's shop on a Saturday morning and chatting over his latest commission build or new kits in stock over a cup of coffee. It was a real pleasure part of the hobby. It was sharing our hobby.


WARNING: RANT INCOMING! 


I rarely attend model shows these days either. I used to visit almost all of the important ones on the calendar  and throughly enjoy them but over the years I have developed an intense dislike for what I call the "Modelling Elite" By this I mean the small number of  grumpy, anti-social, know it all's I seem to encounter at shows. Why are people like that? You know, if I come over to your display table and say Hi and I'm interested in your work it would be nice if you'd actually engage me in conversation. You don't want to share your thoughts and idea's or even just be polite? Why show up in the first place? Is there some sort of rivet counters special handshake I am not aware of?


I tell you, the number of times I have been at Telford and politely asked someone "How did you get that paint effect?" or "Hey-That's brilliant weathering! Would you mind telling how you did that?" And they look at me like something that they just stepped in and make it obvious that they do not wish to be bothered. That sucks. You know what else? It puts me off the show experience too. 


I know the "Modelling Elite" are few in number but I am tired of meeting them online and at shows. They are one of the major things that is wrong with our hobby now. When they begin to start tearing into someone's work or opinion online and being obnoxious and negative it's there for all to see. When newcomers to our hobby see this it puts them off joining in, asking questions and sharing their work. No wonder there are so few people coming into the hobby now! 


If you are new to the hobby, don't let these fools get you down! They are like that because they having nothing else in their sad lives to look forward to! There are some great online modelling communities out there and you are bound to find one that is right for you. 


So we have the Industry bubble, the Rivet Counters, the Modelling Elite and then the rest of us. 


The Industry is doing some great things right now, producing high-end kits with great detailing and engineering. There is a lot of competition out there and each manufacturer wants your cash to buy their latest offering. 


The number of new painting and weathering products has become overwhelmingly generous! You can buy a separate wash for your lading gear now? How many types of glue? The list goes on......


Hey! Don't get me wrong here! I use many of these new fangled washy, sticky things myself and they are great! Companies like Mig Ammo and AK Interactive are changing the way we paint and finish our models. 
Tamiya, Eduard, Meng , Bandai and AMK are consistently raising the bar when it come to quality of kit engineering and production, this is all good for us. For us who are still in the hobby that is. 

This hobby is so strong at the moment but will it be so ten years down the line? I am not so sure. There are no cheap new kits coming onto the market and those that are at the lower end of the price bracket are often not well received. Never before has the saying "You get what you pay for" been so relevant. If this hobby is to survive, it needs newcomers. So let's see some cheaper, good quality introductory kits out there please. Give the novice modeller a great kit at a great price. 


The Rivet Counters and the Modelling Elite are the ones who will run this hobby into the ground and they are too pre-occupied with their own B/S to see it. They have put me off a lot of forums and there are only a select few I visit now, more often than not just to share a latest work and see what the feedback is like. Then there are certain forum moderators who really think they are better than the rest of us and they ban and suspend their own members at will in some bizarre power trip that does not impress anyone. If that's you, get over yourself!  It's only a hobby! And those of you who spend hours arguing over a certain shade of gray or blue paint-Get a life already! This hobby does not need uptight, winging ,  expert rivet counters! 



Then there are the rest of us. The folks who actually build and paint model kits and enjoy it. You my friends are what is really great about this hobby. I see your posts on forums, marvel at your models and I take pleasure and enjoyment from the sharing of our great hobby. There are so many of us out there enjoying what must surely be the golden age of scale modelling. I hope the likes of us can improve the state of our hobby to pass it on, in good health to the next generation. 


As always I wish you well and Happy Modelling.

Darren.








Saturday, 29 October 2016

CALLSIGN: WARRIOR





Hello! 

This weekend sees the completion of my 1/35 scale AH-1W USMC Cobra. 

The kit is the Italeri reboxing of the now well known MRC tooling. What one finds in the box is a large scale rotary wing war machine begging to be built! It comes with a basic but well moulded cockpit, the I/P panels are especially well done and deserve careful painting.
The airframe surface has the right mix of rivets and panel lines to give a realistic look to the fuselage and the weapons load out includes Hellfire missiles, Mk.40 rocket pods and the M197 gatling cannon. 

I have not had a lot of success with helicopter builds in the past so I wanted to make a big effort with this model as it was given to me by a good friend who is sadly no longer with us. If you have followed my work in progress posts on this build you will know that the only aftermarket item's on the build were the superb Two Bobs decal sheet "Whiskey's in the Mix" and the lovely resin gunner figure. 

For my build I chose a US Marine Corps Cobra from HML/ A-167 known as the  "Warriors". The low vis grey tactical paint scheme with the huge cobra painted along its side caught my attention instantly. 

I have detail painted all the instruments in the cockpit, closed up the bulkheads and added wiring and various scratch built details in the cockpit area. I fancied bringing my model to life with a crew so I purchased a 1/35 resin D-Toys USMC Cobra gunner figure that is designed for this kit. I could not find a modern day USMC pilot to keep him company so I made my own from spare figure parts found from past projects. I made the seat harness's from tape and PE brass buckles. Not a bad effort I thought! 
To help the exterior look I also drilled out the M197 cannon barrels as well as making hatch handles for the canopy doors. 

Here are some progress photo's from the build:







The build itself was quite straightforward once I got the cockpit details finished and had the canopy parts attached masked up for the painting phase. I chose to use Tamiya acrylics for this. The Two Bobs decals were excellent and went down with no trouble at all. Obviously, it should be said that the Cobra nose art is a one piece decal and it should be treated carefully. I elected to cut the decal into halves to aid ease of application. 

Weathering was a tricky task as many USMC Cobra's for this time became heavily weathered during operations however photo's of this particular airframe show the fuselage to only lightly weathered, so I went with this look as my main reference:



I enjoyed the weathering process here as I had another opportunity to use AK Interactive's Aircraft Panel Washes. I used these washes and some thinned oil paints to achieve the look of a used in service airframe. Once I was happy with what I had, the entire model was sealed in Vallejo Air matt varnish. I removed all the masks and after the tricky business of attaching the open canopy doors, I was at long last finished. The finished model was mounted on a custom cut MDF base from Just Bases.co.uk 

I enjoyed this project immensely! I hope you enjoy the finished model as much I do!

Happy Modelling!

Darren.






















Monday, 17 October 2016

Cobra: Work in progress.

Hello!

I don't know about everyone else, but I am so busy these days that time in the studio is at a premium. Nonetheless, I have managed to steal an hour or two over the weekend to continue with my 1/35 USMC AH-1W Cobra.

First up, I have finished the nose gun. I did consider purchasing an aftermarket part for this, however with some very careful drilling of the gun barrels and some metallic paint, in this case Mr.Hobby Burnt Iron dry brushed with Tamiya Aluminium, I feel that the kit part stands up to scrutiny.



I have also finished painting the underwing rocket pods, these were painted and weathered in my usual fashion with some text added using white oil paint.


 Next came the tricky bit.......adding these beautiful Two Bobs Decals. If any of you build this kit using these markings in the future please do not add the landing skids to the airframe until the snake decal has been added! Believe me, your life will be easier! 
Still, after a struggle, I have got the snake decal on both sides of the airframe and it is beginning to conform to the airframe surface with generous helpings of Micro-sol decal solution.......



Hopefully, I'll have this bad boy finished soon! Take care and Happy Modelling!

Darren.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Trials and Tribulations......







Hello and welcome!

I have been rather pressed of late and as such my modelling time has been severely curtailed! Life happens and we all have our responsibilities so this week's post will not have any big news.

However I have managed to steal some hobby time here and there so I will show you where I am up to with my current projects......... 


First up, my Airfix 1/48 Spitfire Mk.Vb. I am sorry to tell you that this kit has fought me at every step. I am not enjoying this one at all and I have given serious consideration to giving up on it altogether! If it hasn't been one thing it's another so I after some thought I am going to save the 249 Sqn markings in the box and use them on a Tamiya Mk.Vb Tropical kit. 
In the meantime I will struggle on with the Airfix kit and try to make the best  of it. 

The fit of this kit is bad and I will not be buying another one anytime soon. I'm sorry Airfix, I really wanted to say good things about this kit. I'm gutted. 

Here is how the build looks as of this evening...........




Next and far more enjoyable is my 1/35 MRC AH-1H Cobra. This kit is coming along at a slow, but pleasant pace and I have now managed to fit the canopy frame after sewing up the fuselage halves. It looks a bit of a mess right now, but once I get the paint on over all that pre-shading it should begin to look like a Cobra!



So like I said earlier-not much doing right now but stay tuned as hopefully I will be able to get some more time at the bench and make some more progress. 

Until next time, take care and Happy Modelling!

Darren.






Sunday, 18 September 2016

Work In Progress: USMC AH-1W COBRA.





Hello!

I have worked hard on the interior for my 1/35th Cobra this weekend. Watching DVD's of Generation Kill is great inspiration for any USMC build! Armed with new inspiration I have managed to finish the figures for the crew and add a few details to the cockpit area.

The figure in front is the D-Toys resin figure. The one behind is scratch built by myself from figure parts in the spares box. I thought I did a fair job on that-you be the judge! 

 I added home made seat harness's, blocked off the pilots bulkhead and added some wiring to the new boxes on the pilots I/P. 
As usual, both instrument panels were hand painted by me as described in my previous posts. It has taken so many hours to get this part of the build completed that to me, it feels like a model in it's own right! 










I hope you like what I've done with this one! Take care and Happy Modelling!





Work In Progress: Spitfire Mk.Vb.

Hello!

I have a thing about Spitfire's........I just can't help it! I love 'em! So it will be of no surprise to you that I have gone and bought another one! 




This is the new tool Airfix 1/48 Spitfire Mk.Vb, I have heard mixed reviews about this kit, what really grabbed my attention was the box art that portrays a RAF 249 Squadron Spit with Malta campaign markings. I love Malta Spits, so for me this was a no brainer! 

So with a weekend off work and my Dad taxi duties over with, I settled down in the studio with some hot, sweet, black coffee, some good tunes and Airfix's finest.......