Well, combined with not yet having a bench up and running, and being coerced into visiting the in -laws for Xmas
(turns out five hours drive is STILL too close!) it’s beginning to look like…. my modelling year is done.
Net result? five models, which is actually not that bad for me, given my usual is 5-8 a year. There were a few false starts, although not nearly as many as in previous years. Toward the middle of the year, my wife and I made the decision that we were going to bring forward our retirement and move interstate to a retirement property we had previously purchased. This of course severely curtailed bench activities as we started to get our house ready for market. We are now in the new house but the modelling bench has not yet come back on line.
Anyway, on to the builds. In order of completion.
The year started out with The Eduard Spitfire I had bought The Few double boxing with full intention of building both. The second having opened cowls and gun bays, but that one became the first of the year to fall. Its back in the box and will be revived at some stage
What can I say about the Eduard Spits that has not already been said? Nothing really. Just. Build. One!
This was my second go around with this kit, having attempted it upon its initial release. From memory, that one never reached completion.
The kit was neither as much fun to build, nor as good as I remembered it, but Im happy with the completed model and its been a favourite on line. I must admit Im very chuffed with how the distressed stripes came out. Am I allowed a bit of self congratulations? Yeah, of course I am.:)
It was then the turn of Fly Models 1/32 Hurricane MkIId One of my favourite aircraft in one of my favourite schemes, what’s not to like? Well the whole kit really!
Beautiful surface detail, but not an enjoyable build. Looking at it on the shelf, Im also not totally convinced by SMS paint’s interpretation of Dark earth and Middle stone to be honest.
So, what’s next after two complicated builds? Well, Hell, lets just lurch into a complicated 1/48 jet!!!
Meng’s F-18E Super Hornet was started as a mate was building the Hobby Boss kit. Mercifully, this build stalled a little whilst I waited for some resin that seemed to be taking its sweet time proceeding through the U.S postal system to arrive.
In the meantime I started the Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-44 Tojo, as I needed a quick build. Or slammer build, if you want to stay hip and cool in the new modelling scene
Did I say quick? That fucking camouflage took me two goes!
That done, back to the Super Hornet, which actually was an enjoyable build, or as enjoyable as modern jets can be with all that pylon and stores palaver to go through.
This is pretty much where the packing up of the bench commenced, the F-18 being rushed behind for a point, as we say in the AFL states. Is there any other kind of footy? (No, there’s not, is the correct answer) which I feel is reflected in the completed model.
I almost got the Airfix Spitfire XIV over the line, but moving day arrived first
Somewhere along the way, a Wingsy kits 1/48 109E1 also died .
Far too many kits were added to the stash. On the other hand, a chunk of built models were sold, so there’s a bit of room in the cabinet.
The first job in the New Year will be to get the bench up and running. There is a decent sized room in our new place that will become mine. Planning has already started, the first step being to sort out modelling accessories and tools I no longer use or cant see me having a use for any more.
I was a little horrified at just how much modelling stuff I had to pack up, as a result my number one goal for next year will be sorting and, where necessary culling them . The decals have already been done, with the surplus decals going up on FB over the next couple of weeks.
Aside from that.
Make More Models.
Im on a transition to retirement, which means 11 months of Long Service Leave. Thanks Ambulance Victoria! Thats gotta get me through about……oh, an eighth of the stash! I’d also like to fiddle around with this site a bit more.
Thanks for looking at at my ramblings throughout the year, both here and the FB page
I need to stop writing these so long after I have finished the model, as its sometimes hard to remember stuff encountered during the construction!
That aside, I found Meng’s kit to be a painless build, construction wise. There were some pesky seams under the LEX that took a while to remove, and there are some spurious panel lines on the rear fuselage sides that need filling. Overall though I would rate it as a well fitting kit that is quite enjoyable to build.
As with any kit, multiple dry runs and careful preparation of the parts to ensure all mating surfaces are clean will reward you with far less problems than the modeller that does not take these steps.
The gun muzzle and fins can be painted separately and then added during final assembly, so good is their fit.
It easily eclipses Hasegawa’s ageing kit (as it should)
However, should you only have the Hobby Boss kit in your stash, I certainly wouldn’t be rushing out and replacing it with the Meng kit. Comparing notes with my mate, there doesn’t seem to be a lot between the two, perhaps a slightly better fit with the Meng kit-maybe!
My plan was to model a clean jet, as this is what most photos of this jet showed, clean as in both condition, and having no stores save a centreline fuel tank fitted. The phase hangar 3d printed pylons were therefore purchased in order to show detailed undersides with all holes slots etc hollowed out unlike the kit pylons that just have no detail on the undersides.
Likewise the resin Flying Leatherneck wingtip launchers. Whilst the kit wingtip launchers actually weren’t bad, if modelled bare, they displayed a nasty centreline seam which would have been difficult to fill.
Initial construction of the model proceeded fairly quickly although progress was held up whilst waiting for the resin to arrive from the United States. Thinking back on the build, no real problems were encountered. As my intention was to fit FOD guards, I left out the intake trunking and compressor fans. The intake FOD Guards are made from Apoxie-Sculp formed over the intake, then left to harden. The afterburner sheet included decals for the FOD guards so it would have been a crime not to use them.
I faffed around endlessly and to no avail trying to come up with home made covers for the nozzles, epoxy putty, glue dampened tissue being two materials that were tried and quickly removed as my efforts looked rubbish. In the end I found Steel Beach resin had done the work for me by releasing a set of covered nozzles for the hasegawa kit. Long OOP, I managed to find a set from a German retailer, even better, they fitted the Meng kit.
Halfway through the build, my wife and I put our house on the market, which resulted in me packing the modelling bench up to project the house in the best way during inspections.
We sold the house, but this then had the effect of me putting a clock on my modelling projects, in an effort to get them done before starting to pack the bench up in November. Experience has shown me that half finished projects that get packed away for house moves never get finished upon unpacking at the new house.
Subsequently. the Super Hornet was finished in a bit of a rush, with not the greatest attention paid to final assembly, or even the weathering really. Just a few token stains appearing on the wings.
The one store it carries, the target seeking pod, has just been tacked on as an afterthought with no decals or weathering. This was a deliberate choice on my part. When the new bench is set up, the ordnance will again be getting the attention it deserves
A mix of gunze and SMS paints were used for the USN greys, they ended up being mixed as I thought the SMS FS36320 was way too light as was their version of FS36375., but thats just my opinion. Some tonal shifts and fading being achieved by post shading on various shades of grey before a final blend coat.
The Afterburner decals performed flawlessly. I chse to paint the yellow trim and squadron codes on the fins using masks cut from scanning the decal sheet into my silhouette cutter. Im slowly getting better at using the software. The yellow border to the black spine was also masked and painted rather than using the decals. Long thin decals and I don’t get on a lot of the time.
The Meng decals, however were a big let down. Only the stencils were used, instead of being legible, they were just formed from random lines and are also the wrong colour being black instead of the contrasting grey. That said, they did perform alright and responded well to micro’s setting solution where used. Most of them were applied to little pools of future as I find this the best method for applying stencils and avoiding silvering.
Yes, I should have just used the afterburner stencils, but wanted to save these for a future Meng F-18F thats in the stash, in fact somehow the stash has ended up with THREE Meng Fs. Im not sure how this happened!
So thats it, my Meng Super Hornet. It was originally started for a FB group build, but it overrun the deadline. Whilst I enjoyed the build, I find modern jets can get a bit draining around the 80% mark, all those pylons, stores, undercarriage componets and aerials make them a fussy build. At least one of those two seaters will get done though, either as a USN jet or a R.A.AF jet
Boeing F-18E Super Hornet. VFA27 Royal Maces. U.S. Navy
USS George Washington 2010.
Please excuse the photography. I was having all sorts of issues getting my speedlights to slave to the camera.
There is not really much to say about the construction off this kit at all, it being virtually viceless
The model was purchased off Facebook along with the hasegawa Val, both fine examples of Hasegawa single engined Japanese WW2 aircraft dating from the early 2000s. Kits that have pretty much stood the test of time well, although some of the details could now be considered a bit clunky.
The only tweak made to the model was to insert a spreader bar of plastic to eliminate a wing root gap.
Aside from this, assembly was trouble free. The model was assembled with super glue in an effort to avoid ghost seams. The fact I still experienced some has left me on the fence about assembling kits with superglue. Certainly with this kit, it led to no advantage.
The intent behind this model was purely as a fun build and to test my airbrush skills whilst I waited for resin bits to arrive for my Meng Super Hornet build. As such, only PE seatbelts were added and I left it as a clean unweathered build. Given the simple shapes of the markings, the opportunity was taken to further learn how to use my silhouette machine. The decal sheet was scanned and the required decals traced out and cut from Oromask 810. This is certainly getting easier, the more I use the machine and software.
Undersides were painted in tamiya LP11 whilst upper surfaces were done using Mr Color nakajima green and a mix of tamiya acrylics to match the gunze colour “propeller colour” which is a dark brown. It took me two goes with my Iwata HP-C, the first being stripped back as the mottle did not look dense enough compared to the kit paint guide.
Yellow ID bands were gunze yellow with a bit of red added. Lastly the black anti glare panel was added before all the bits such as undercarriage, doors, tanks were glued on. Well, not all bits, the telescope sight managed to end up in that alternate universe a lot of plastic kit parts end up in. This necessitated a new one being made from some plastic rod and the windscreen being levered off to fit it. I never managed to get a clean fit on the windscreen again, so left it slightly wonky.
The Hasegawa Tojo was a fun little build. I didn’t get it done in the last week of my holidays as planned due to coming down with Covid, and its certainly not my best work, I mean look at that windscreen for gods sake! As a break from larger and more complicated builds though, it certainly was the required tonic. The big brother of this kit lives in my stash, and I wouldn’t mind doing this one in the box scheme from this kit with those striking blue bands.
Nakajima Ki44-II “tojo” 2nd Company 85th Flight Reg.
Decals: all insignia painted on using kit scheme as templates. Stencils-1 man Army
“I can’t see any more Fly kits in my future”
My love for this particular mark of Hurricane dates back to the mid 70s when the owner of a Perth W.A hobby shop I frequented showed me his rendition of the ancient Monogram 48 scale kit.
It is still clear in my mind (yet I cant remember what I did last week!) as he had added the exhaust streaks and some scuffing around the wing roots. All the raised rivets had been dry brushed and there was not a seam or silvered decal anywhere. At the time I had no idea kits could be made to this standard, where did the seams go, and why were there no brush strokes!!!!
This stalwart of early British fighters, though has sadly been ignored by the main manufacturers when it comes to 32 scale.
There was a early kit released by Revell in the lates 60s, which remained the only game in town until Pacific Coast Models and then Fly released their non mainstream kits.
As a “lo-fi” kit, I think the Fly Models Hurricane rates above the Pacific Coast kit from what I can remember of my PCM kit before I sold it. Out of the box, the Fly kit boasts sublime surface detail on the wings in the form of raised rivets. The fabric effect on the fuselage is not overdone, there are recessed rivets on the leading edge which means it will be easy to reinstate these following sanding and filling sessions. All this complimented by some nice resin and photo etched details. Not mentioned in the instructions, there are also parts to make a MkIV out of the box, with the armoured radiator and (crude) rockets, rails, blast plates and drop tanks being included. These parts will find a new home in my spares box.
There are surprisingly few parts for a 32 scale model, but construction certainly was not simple. Not helping in this was the instruction booklet. There detail on illustrated parts in some cases not matching the detail on the actual parts in some cases. The seat adjustment handle, bulletproof glass, and armoured rear cockpit bulkhead being some examples.
I would advise washing the sprues in soapy water before assembly. Usually I would not do this but found on this particular model, my Tamiya extra thin just did not grab like it does on other plastic. I can only assume this was due to some contaminenat on the plastic, although they did not feel greasy.
The cockpit “cage” was frustrating to clean up and get square, again not aided by vague instructions. I used the compass face included in the Yahu set. Fly would have you glue the seat adjustment lever to the wrong side of the seat, they also have you incorrectly have the seat harness attaching to the rear of the seat. It should in fact run through a slot in the armour plate. Despite the diagram showing an armour plate detailed with bolt heads the PE item in the kit is featureless. I added punched plastic card discs, although mine are overscale. The control column likewise is not the detailed item shown in the instructions but a rather featureless plastic part. I wrapped fine wire around the spade grip. The super detailers amounts you could also add the chain running from the pulley mounted on the column .
The fuselage went together without too much drama, well apart from a seam on the cowling that just would not disappear despite numerous sanding sessions. In the end I scribed a trench along it then filled it with superglue and sanded it down. That did the trick.
If there is one trick to this kit, it is ensuring that you remove COMPLETELY, the casting block on the wheel well roof. My dremel got this job. When I had finished, in some areas the roof was that thin it was almost transparent!
Get this right, and assembly is reasonably straight forward, with the wing centre section fitting to the fuselage reasonably well. I chose to add plastic card tabs to the various wing sections to aid assembly. You want to avoid steps at all costs, sanding will destroy all that lovely raised detail.. To this end I chose to add the top halves of the wings to the wing roots as I wanted a clean join here. This meant, on my kit I had a step on the leading edges, but figured any detail destroyed here would be easier to re instate than the raised rivets around the wing root.
The landing light as a consequence also was not the best fit. Superglue came to the rescue. The tailplanes also required filler along their roots as did almost every trailing edge. No razor sharp trailing edges on this Hurricane!
Fly would have you add three recognition lights underneath. Wartime aircraft seem tp have only the centre one fitted based on photos I looked at, so the two outer lenses were glued in place then faired over with putty. Whilst we are on the bottom of the machine, of you are going to add the pulldown footstep, don’t forget it is linked to the handhold to the rear of the cockpit, so this should also be cut out and the inward folding cover added. I didn’t bother so I won’t add the step either.
The model required several sessions of priming, and then remedial sanding and filling to smooth over several areas. The underside could then be preshaded in SMS PRU Blue before the final colour using SMS Azure Blue. A marbled coat was then applied using lightened Azure Blue. Staying with the undersides, the wheelwells were painted silver and the underside roundels painted using Montex masks from their A type roundel set. Whilst masking the underside demarcation line, something was not looking right. My theory is Fly have engraved the bottom lines of the side cowlings too low. They should be higher up the fuselage sides which would make the bottom cowling also wider as it looks a bit too narrow. I have not compared this to any plans, just eyeballing photos. I probably should have filled and re engraved the lines, but I was on a roll now and not wanting to slow my progress.
Uppersurfaces were painted with SMS Mid Stone and SMS Dark Earth. The SMS rendition of Dark Earth looks a little too dark too me, but it does complement the mid stone nicely. Lightened mixes of each colour were applied in random streaks and mottles, with the fabric rear and control surfaces being painted in paler still shades of the basic colours to represent the different way these would have faded from the metal areas.
Masks for the codes and serials were cut by a mate. Thanks Calum. The roundels again are from Montex masks as was the fin flash. Artillery Models actually sell the decal sheets from each boxing as masks, but don’t waste your money. They are made from a very light tack transparent frisket, and just do not easily transfer from the sheet or even stick to the model.
What is worth the money (well maybe not, as they are very expensive, are the set of stencils from One Man Army out of Belgium. These are masks which you can spray all the stencils through, rather than using decals or dry transfers. Some of these stencils such as the No Step markings are tiny, but the masks are very sharply cut. I was most impressed and will be investing in more of their sets. they can be re used so my set will be re used on Revells forthcoming new tool Hurricane. TIP: buy from Hannants as even with postage to Australia, they are still cheaper than BNA have them for.
Chipping was added using Vallejo white grey and then the whole model sprayed with tamiya semi gloss varnish ready for washes and further weathering to be applied.
For this model, the oil dot filter process was used. Small dots of white, buff and yellow oil paint was applied to the top surfaces and scrubbed in with an old brush. This had the effect of bleaching the upper surfaces. Im not sure Im really happy with the effect although it does give a sun faced effect to the model.
The Artillery Models vac form canopy was cut out and fitted as the kit plastic canopy did not fit over the spine of the aircraft and sat high. Reskit wheels were purchased but they look to be significantly undersized. Looking at photo I think the kit supplied resin wheels are more correct, but their hubs are way too small.
I found the undercarriage difficult to fit as it does not locate positively within the wheelwell. The tailwheel was ri enforced with a bit of brass tubing as I did not trust the kit plastic.
Lastly the kit gun barrels were replaced with brass tubing although I think mine are fairly anaemic looking for 40mm weapons. I may revisit these later.
The Fly Hurricane kit is one Ive been wanting to make for a while, purely as I love the aeroplane, but it certainly tested me, to the point Ive sold the other Fly Hurricane kits I had in the stash. They are just not an enjoyable build experience.
Having this model on the shelf takes me many years back, to a young boy,, standing at the counter of that upstairs Hay St. Mall hobby shop gazing in awe at another hurricane in desert camouflage. And for that reason alone this rates as one of my favourite builds so far.
This is the second time I have tackled the AM Mitchell, the first one ending up in the bin, having never got to the painting stage, so Im very happy to final have a completed AM Mitchell in the cabinet, albeit not the first Mitchell to grace my shelves, having built the old Monogram B-25J about two decades ago.
My memories at the time of the A.M Michell was its fine engraved surface detail comprising rivets and panel lines plus fasteners, and its detailed interior, both features which garnered it praise in the modelling press at the time of its release. Critiques were too narrow cowl openings and a nose transparency which perhaps sloped too much in profile
Fast forward to this year and a third of the way into the build, my over riding thought was “this aint as good a kit as I remember”
The surface detail was in places shallow, rivets and panel lines were definitely not consistent in depth, fit was average, especially the nacelles and intakes, and transparencies were certainly not crystal clear.
The instructions I remembered being clear and informative did not really point out location points of some parts accurately, leaving the builder to guess on a couple of occasions. That said enough alternative parts are included to build a few different modifications of the B-25C/D Mitchell. The instructions helpfully pointing these out for the kit schemes. If you are doing another scheme though, as I was, you’re best off consulting images.
I pretty much left the interior in the aft fuselage out as you will never see it. The kit pilot seats looked a little chunky, so were replaced with the quick boost resin seats, complete with belts. Rather than painting the rear interior yellow Zinc Chromate, I think I should have used a green chromate. The first hint of fit problems came with fitting the bomb bay, the rear bulkhead not matching the contour of the fuselage at all. A not insignificant gap had to be filled with thick plastic strip. This being an original A.M boxing, the brass shim nose weights were included, these being augmented with some small lead shot poured into a couple of crevices. This precaution proving its worth with the completed model still only just balancing on all three points.
Blast panels in front of and behind the upper turret were cut from thin card on my silhouette machine using the templates printed on the instructions. I still think they are a little oversized though. The ventral turret and guns were a sloppy fit, the soft plastic not helping, the glue join breaking several times. In the end I replaced the kit gun breeches with blocks of plastic strip drilled to take the brass barrels, this being a lot more solid.
The real fight came with the wings though. Whilst the nacelles were a reasonable fit to the undersides, they left large gaps and steps on the top of the wing, with the separate carberetter intakes not helping. These parts required multiple goes at filing, sanding and re-scribing. Just when I thought I was winning, I noticed plastic on the undersides of one of the wings seemed to be delaminating, sure enough, I could peel up flakes of plastic. More supergluing, sanding and re-scribing followed. The plastic in my kit ws soft, almost soapy, which led to me managing to also break one of the wing spars, and nose wheel leg off It didn’t so much snap off as just bend and break during my repeated handling of the fuselage. The nose strut was rebuilt with brass tubing. The instructions call for it to be added prior to the fuselage halves being closed up, the narrow wheel well not allowing it to be added later.
The tail plane assembly fit reasonable well, certainly not as bad as some other online modellers seemed to find, putty was still needed though, but only a smear. The leading edge landing light covers also required a fair bit of fairing in. The separate nose part also came in for some judicious sanding on one side to remove a slight step.
The kit wingtip lights and upper fuselage formation lights were all removed and holes drilled to accept aftermarket CMK lights, although these were the last items added. The kit cowlings were opened out slightly by wrapping sandpaper around an appropriately sized bit of dowel. They do not need much sanding to look a little better. I had a set of quick boost engines which look far better than the kit engines, but they need pushrods and ignition wiring adding and I was losing patience with the build, so used the kit engines after all. If you do use the kit engines, you will need to remove a section of the attachment collar, otherwise the crankcases protrude proud of the cowling face. There is a faint scribed line around the collar, which I used as a cut line.
After an uneasy ride, we had arrived at the painting stage
Paint and Decalling
Right from the start, This was going to be finished as a R.A.F 2Tactical Air Force machine with D Day stripes. Two decal sheets from my decal bank contained such subjects, one from Dutch Decals and a much better quality item in terms of colour and printing from Eagle Cals. the plan was in place……until I saw a 2TAF Mitchell on Britmodeller forum that the builder had portrayed with the upper surface stripes removed leaving just traces. I loved the look, and although it was a different SQN we know for a fact that all aircraft had their upper stripes removed by August 1944, although some Mitchells had them reinstated to guard against friendly fire. How to paint traces of D Day stripes though, I considered applying super thin paint, hairspray chipping, micromeshing before deciding on using water soluble Mission Model paints for the stripes. But this is leaping forward many steps. First the basic colours were applied using MRP Neutral grey for the undersides and Mr Color Olive Drab for the upper surfaces. This was then mottled and streaked with the OD tinted with flesh, then tamiya Khaki Drab, and finally Desert yellow in order to build up a multi layered variated Olive Drab colour. Fresh OD was then used for a few select panels to mimic replacement panels.
D Day stripes were then masked out and applied with thin coats of MMP thinned with water. Just like in real life the top stripes were then scrubbed off with a stiff brush moistened with water. Not happy with the first attempt which looked too symmetrical from side to side, I resprayed the stripes before, again scrubbing them off, this time aiming for a fa more irregular look. I left some remnants around panel lines and raised detail. This second attempt looked far better. An overall wash using Mig Dark wash was then applied to the upper surfaces with ABt 502 Paynes Grey being used on the lower neutral grey. I found Abts version of Paynes Grey far bluer than other Paynes Greys I have used, nothing alarming just something to be aware of.
Decals were then applied, the decals, being printed by Microscale , going down fine. Eaglecal providing photos of the actual machine in the instructions. Upon studying these, I realised I had added the flat window instead of the astrodome, and also my chosen machine had the fixed 50 calibre gun in the nose as well as the flex .50. What did I say about studying photos? I need to take my own advice! The spine window came out reasonably easily and was replaced with the astrodome. I decided to leave the nose armament alone, as I could see damage arising with any attempt to remove the nose transparency.
Several thin coats of Dullcote were then applied to get a dead matt finish, before oil leaks were added with several applications of……oil paint! Raw umber mixed with black and starry filth were the colours of choice. One engine had marked breaking to represent a damaged or severely leaking engine.
The transparencies were then unmasked to reveal a stain or crack in one pane of the cockpit. There was no option but to remove it and add the alternative cockpit canopy. As luck would have it, this was the canopy that should have been used in the first place, having the additional framing evident in the photo.
The soft plastic kit aerial posts were replaced with brass wire. The last wall hurdle thrown at me came when I noticed that somehow one of the small dutch orange triangles had superimposed itself over the nose art, I wondered where that triangle had gone!. naturally I managed to tear half the nose art off trying to remove it necessitating ordering a new set of decals from Ultracast in Canada. SIGH!
Whilst the Dutch Decals decal set also carried the same nose art, it was nowhere near as sharp as the Eagle cal sheet. This just left the bomb doors, undercarriage doors and wheels to be added, and she was done.
Im pretty happy to finally have a completed Accurate Miniatures R.A.F B-25 in my cabinet, even if the kit was a chore to build. Like my revell tornadoes, the experience of this build led me to sell all other A.M Mitchells in the stash. One is enough!
The A.M kit has not aged well, and is another of those kits that could do with a new modern tooling, although Im not sure who this would come from, perhaps HKM will downscale their 32 scale J model. The only manufacturer I see doing new tool twins these days would be I.C.M and they may well take years getting back on their feet following Russia’s inhumane invasion
North American B-25 Mitchell II. 320 SQN Royal Air Force.
This is my second build of Eduard’s spitfire, and I found the experience as enjoyable as the first.
Upon examination of the parts the first thing the jumps out at you is the extensive surface detail Eduard’s mould makers have lavished on this kit. The empennage is covered in fine raised rivets whilst the wing rivets are recessed.
Careful study of the instructions and sprues reveals that Eduard have included parts to make any spitfire from the first production machines up to mid 1940 machines. There are unarmored and armoured windscreens, various separate armour plates and gunsights plus seats. Useful to understand all these differences was Wingleaders photo archive on the Spitfire Mk1. The Few boxing allows one to build two Spitfires, one with the later armoured fuel tank and one without, although this was not immediately apparent to me. It was only after careful study of the Wingleader book and the Fundekal instructions that I understood the various differences that I was looking at in photos. That Eduard has included all these optional parts shows how thoroughly they researched the aircraft.
Its a shame they did not include the later undercarriage selection lever as that would then allow you to build any spitfire up to the end of the Battle of Britain, although the later selection lever looks easy enough to scratchbuild, or you could just buy the Tamiya Mk 1. My research unearthed the electric undercarriage selector appeared around the 600th or February 1940 build machines. I could not find a definitive answer.
For this build, I deviated from the instructions a bit in that the cockpit sidewalls were added to the fuselage sides before being painted. The floor, complete with stick, rudder pedals and seat was treated as a separate subassembly. As were the various bulkheads, the rear bulkheads having their lightening holes drilled out. This method made it harder to get a paintbrush to all the little detail areas, and for the second build, the instructions were followed to the letter, which resulted in details being easier to reach with the paintbrush. The cockpit colour used for this build was a coat of SMS RAF interior green with the sidewalls washed with Mig Dark Wash.
With the cockpit completed, the rest of the build proceeds quite quickly. Ensure all mating surfaces of the wheel well parts are sanded at the correct angles to lessen gaps between the parts . Eduard, I feel could have made the fit of the sockets that accept the landing gear legs far more positive. Be careful ensuring you locate these carefully into parts xxx . Any misalignment here will affect the sit of the model later.
I had some gaps at the wing roots that I thought I could close up by running tape spanwise from wingtip to wingtip. While this did close up the gaps, it also introduced other problems such as too great a dihedral and led to some alignment issues. I won’t be doing that again!
A smear of filler was needed around the stabilisers, and we were ready for paint. For this model I had decided to use some Mission Models Paint I had previously purchased. Reading up on peoples experience with this paint revealed modellers have a love hate relationship with it, but if modellers of the stature of Mike Rinaldi swear by it, it can’t be that bad, surely ?
Whilst I managed to get the paint down OK, I had great difficulty getting a fine line with the dark green, despite following MMPs mixing ratios and advised spraying pressure. The paint is also a little fragile with it lifting in several spots. A Peter on my FB page suggested thinning it with future with I will try on my next Spitfire build. The undersides were finished in Tamiya lacquers as per my usual practice.
Like MMP , Eduard’s decals also seem to have polarised modellers. For this build, only their stencils were used. Over a gloss coat, they were applied on little pools of Mr Setter, with the excess being wicked away with a cotton bud. Left to set overnight, I found I could peel away the carrier film off some of the larger designs like the trestle markings and gas patch, without tearing the decal.
The code letters and roundels came from the fundekals sheets and performed absolutely flawlessly, even over the raised rivets on the fuselage. The unusually sized roundel appealed to me, and I wanted to represent a Spitfire from The Phony War period during which the R.A.Fs markings were rapidly evolving.
I should have mentioned prior to laying down the camouflage colours, black was airbrushed along the wings, then masked off to portray the wing walk lines.
Final assembly saw the wheels, propeller resin exhausts and aerial pole mounted, the antenna wire from infinity rigging wire, which despite my best efforts, still bent under the elasticity of the infini thread. I’ll replace the kit part with some brass rod on my next build.
Eduard’s spitfire was a very enjoyable build. To my mind though, the kit contains some unnecessary complications, the undercarriage sockets being one. Fit was for the most part good, with a slight smear being needed on the taipan roots, and most reviewers stating the wing root fit also leaves a slight gap. Ima already working on the second kit from the box and have added the Vb dual boxing to the stash.
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1. Royal Air Force Drem Scotland Jan. 1940
This is not the first time the HobbyBoss Thunderchief has formed part of my stash. It first joined the stash soon after its release, only to be sold off in the Great Stash Slash of 2013. However, its funny the effect of looking at the real aeroplane can have on us as modellers.
What had previously been so many disparate grey parts in a box took on form and large menacing grace when I stood next to several real Thunderchiefs whilst on an Aviation Odyssey to the USA,
I knew I had to build one upon my return home. My mate had a similar feeling upon looking at the F-101B Voodoo, a jet he had previously had no love for either.
Consequently the HB two seat Thud rejoined my ever growing stash, and this year was picked out by a mate for my 2021 build schedule. I should add here, for a kit to only spend 3 years in my stash between being purchased and then built is well above the average!
As with all my builds, I started out watching related youtube videos and pulling all the reference material I had in my library. Republic’s Thunderchief had a very tumultuous start, during which the project was almost cancelled. Republic refined the original design markedly and the Thud went on to deliver sterling service during the Vietnam War before being withdrawn due to crippling losses. This was due to the jet performing a role it was never designed for. All this research helps with motivation for the build.
HobbyBoss’ Thud is one of their earlier releases, I believe it’s scaled down from their 32 scale kit, hence the breakdown is far more complicated than it probably needs to be with an engine, open gun bay and even parts for the nose mounted radar. That said, I do like the display options these details offer the builder.
Ive made a conscious effort lately to plan how I want my finished builds to look. This helps me with purchasing aftermarket parts that may be needed, and on the flip side, deciding what assembly steps and parts can be skipped due to closed panels etc. I’m finding planning like this leads to saved time on the build. With this jet, the canopies and gun bay would be opened to show those details of the jet. The drag chute door behind the fin and the lower speed brake would also be shown open as seen in many period photos. It would also be tooled up with a typical Wild Weasel asymmetrical load out that would have been carried during the Vietnam war. Naturally, it would need to wear the WW tail codes for Wild Weasel.
I was surprised to find I had amassed quite a bit pf AM for the Thud!
Construction Notes I started by making up complete fuselage halves by assembling each fuselage rear to the front half. Doing it this way ensures a neat gap free join. Plastic strip was glued to the rebate where the engine bulkhead would normally be glued to provide more glueing area.
Cockpit HobbyBoss really mucked up here. The kit cockpit side consoles are way too narrow and do not reach the fuselage walls. You will need to add plastic sheet to widen them. What on earth were you thinking HB?
The Thunderchief has a wide very visible cockpit that rewards extra detailing. I chose to use one of the new Quinta cockpit sets specifically for this kit. Well, colour me impressed! This was the first time I had used these sets. The Thud one fit perfectly, correcting the too narrow kit consoles. They are easy tao apply once all the moulded detail had been sanded off the panels and look far more realistic than just flat PE panels. Printed on white vinyl, you may have to touch in the odd visible white edge, but this is nothing hard. the dials are already gloss coated, although I would probably hit the panel with a matt to dull Quinta’s semi gloss finish. These will be my go-to panels for all aircraft that feature highly visible cockpits in future.
Construction Continues For such a complicated looking kit, it went together surprisingly quickly. The separate spoilers were individually added to the top wing before the halves were glued together. Doing it this way ensures you get the best possible flush fit as it allows access to both sides of the wing, which you wouldn’t be able to do if you added the spoilers to the assembled wing halves. I had the Quickboost navigation lights to hand so also added these. Strange decision by Quickboost to mould the complete wing tip in red and green plastic when the actual light is quite small. I can only assume they did it this way so the light is correctly faired in. Be careful to avoid a step though. I also added the completed wings to each fuselage half to better ensure a gap free join. Hobby boss’ kit has the wing strengthening plates moulded on. I could not glean a date though when these were added to the real jet, just that the constant tempo of operations in SVN had lead to fatigue issues, hence the reason they were added. Anyway, I was not going to risk destroying detail by sanding them off. The Gs were late airframes anyway so hopefully they had them fitted.
Eduard PE fascias were added to the gun bay and the plastic vulcan barrels replaced by the incredible brass turned Master Barrels ones, You will go crosseyed trying to assemble them. The Eduard gun bay door with its open gas vents is a massive improvement on the kit part. Should you be building your Thud with the gun bay open, I’d suggest the Eduard set is a must.
Painting and Decorating Aeromasks are a manufacturer unknown to me. I stumbled across them browsing facebook. They offer a very comprehensive range of camouflage mask sets in all scales. Seeing they offered a set for the Thud, I promptly ordered one thinking it would really ease painting the S.E.A scheme.
The sets arrived pretty quickly from America and are indeed fairly comprehensive, even providing masks to paint the demarcation lines on the fuel tanks. Clear instructions leave you in no doubt how to position the masks and in what order to paint the scheme. You are well advised to follow these as the painting order is designed to ease the masking process, not necessarily the painting. Therefore you start with the medium green not the tan as you would imagine. Being the masks are not designed to fit specific kits, you may find some trimming necessary in order to fit the kit you are using.
The masks were placed on little blobs of white tac so as to leave a soft edge. This was only marginally successful so I ended up tracing around most colours with the airbrush freehand to soften edges. Overall, I was happy with the masks and the intricate pattern using them provided, which seemed to match photos. A lot of the jets had their camo field applied as they entered the theatre still in their silver schemes, so there would have been some minor differences from airframe to airframe. The bloke who runs Aeromask used to paint real Thunderchiefs at Hill AFB, so has access to all the official paint schemes. My intention was to portray a battered and faded jet, but again looking at photos revealed not a lot of faded paint on the Wild Weasles, so the faded look was held back apart from the upper surfaces. The Caracal decals performed flawlessly as always. Prior to decalling, an oil wash was applied straight over the lacquer paint. This was then sealed with a gloss coat ready for decalling.
Once decalled a further gloss coat was applied to seal the decals before stains and leaks were added with more oils. The model was then flat coated before proceeding to final assembly. This is now my preferred work flow.
Final assembly reveals the achilles heal of the HB kit. That being the very spindly weak undercarriage legs, upon which the completed model wobbles alarmingly. Against my better judgement white metal legs were purchased, and ultimately discarded, because they were….well….crap plus the main reason the kit legs are spindly is the insubstantial socket HB have moulded for them to sit into. The metal legs weren’t going to fix this, nor could I glue in more substantial sockets. The Thud continues to wobble on its legs.
Weapons were sourced from a hasegawa weapons set. There was a difference in size between the kit missiles and the hasegawa ones . My faith went into the Japanese manufacturers product. A final lack of detail that was not discovered until I went to fit the canopy was that HB had made absolutely no allowances for the modeller to pose them open. Thus actuators had to be scratch built. This was achieved with brass wire and rod The brass pitot tube was push fit into the hole in the nose cone and this mighty Vietnam warrior was finished.
Final Thoughts The Thunderchief makes for an imposing model in the cabinet. Its a decent size in 48 scale, and stands out amongst all those grey jets in its multi hued warpaint. The lovely LF Models ladders provide a nice splash of colour and draw your eye to the cockpits I think the Thud is one of my best efforts yet. the trouble free construction being a bonus I had not expected when first perusing the instructions and parts. An enjoyable build, although one will do me.
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