Wednesday 28 January 2015

A trip to the LHS

A trip to the LHS is 40 minutes (and 40 back), so not lightly undertaken. But when your current build is halted due to an olive drab deficiency, you find ways to make it work. Hence a work-related trip to a client was worth a 15-minute detour to the hobbyshop.

Imagine my frustration when the only empty row in the entire Vallejo Model Air stand was .... do I need a drumroll? ... Olive drab. Son-of-a-....!

It was in stock in their óther shop (1 hour, again in the wrong direction), but luckily I remembered that Vallejo also has smaller primer bottles in several colours, Olive drab being one of them. Those were in stock!

Primer is thicker than the normal paint, because of god knows which additives to make it stick better to plastic, but I did not intend to wait any longer. Fingers crossed its the same colour or close enough.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Patriot Radar - Part 2 (rubber)

I've had these 2 bottles of Vallejo Panzer Aces for a long time : Dark and Light rubber. I'm sure I used the dark one before, but I've not quite had an opportunity to really try them out.

The dark rubber looks really great as a base colour. Light rubber is supposed to serve the highlights, but I found the contrast a bit too stark (left tire in picture below), so I mixed the dark and light bottles up a bit. I think I settled around 4:1 light to dark rubber.

Under the flash of a camera, contrast is always more apparent than when viewed normally, but even when I mounted the test-wheels under the truck, the lightest version was really too light,.

I've now done all 18 wheels with the darker mix. The contrast is still high, but less so underneath the assembled model and I'm pretty sure some light weathering will further tone down the difference.

I'm gonna go stare into the distance now, because the hour it took me to paint all wheels has caused some serious eye-strain. It was very TIRE-some. (Bazinga!)

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Patriot radar - Part 1

I already announced that this kit would end up on the workbench very soon and indeed it has. The buildup is insanely quick, as there are only 73 parts. The larger parts are cleverly moulded in large single pieces. Some mould seams require cleaning up, but it's not that difficult and definitely worth the little extra effort.

One of the axle guides had broken off, but it's a sturdy piece, easily glued and repaired.

Big seams along many pieces, most prominently along the roof of the trailer. Easily fixed with putty and some sanding sticks.

After the small tragedy with paint lifting on one of the Vipers, I won't be fooled again into thinking you do not need to properly clean your parts. Some warm, soapy water and a good scrub should remove most mould release agents and greasy fingerprints. The pieces are left to air-dry on the stove overnight.

Halfway the painting stage, I ran out of Olive drab. Since the nearest hobby shop is about 45 minutes out in the wrong direction, it could take a few weeks before work can continue, which is a big bummer, as I had really intended this to be a quick build.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Patriot Radar unboxing

So, as predicted earlier, I couldn't wait to tackle this new box, as I really like how it looks and I'm anxious to see it in progress on the workbench.

This is Arii Plastic Models (now "Micro Ace") 1/48 scale "Patriot Ladar MPQ53" from 1991. During Operation Desert Storm, it was a necessary component in defense against enemy missiles (or even airplanes), for acquiring targets and directing US Patriot missiles to take down the larger Scud missiles.

The kit is 1 in a line of 4, namely the Patriot missile launcher, Patriot Radar, Patriot Controller and Antenna Mast. A friend from IPMS has the Antenna kit, but the Launcher model is bound to look a lot cooler. Should the build prove agreeable and eBay yields affordable results, I might be tempted to find and make all 4.

The box contains 4 sprue frames and the cabin top.

Detail on the parts is acceptable, but no more. A cabin interior is not available, except for one plate, which I assume is meant to represent 4 headrests? Luckily, the provided clear part for the windows is tinted black, limiting the view inside.

The decals have totally yellowed. An old trick is to put them in the sun for a few weeks (tape them to a window or something), which *should* remove some of the yellowing. This trick did not work for me on the Starfury decals, but I'll try it again anyway. It probably works better in summer anyway, as I can't even remember seeing the sun the past weeks.

A nice touch, the axles are provided as steel parts. Wheel alignment should be easier like this and no warping will occur.

Building instructions are in Japanese (I assume?) and English. 13 easy steps guide you through the build, on to the decal guide and some limited colour instructions. It's best to find reference photos to realistically pick out details that will NOT just be olive drab.

A small booklet is included, with some information on how the 4 different vehicles work together for the Patriot missile defense.

Trading at IPMS New Year's party

IPMS Ghent's traditional New Year's party is always fun and potentially very rewarding, Snacks, drinks, stories, a few works-in-progress and .. gifts!

Everyone is asked to bring a €5 gift and put it on the pile. Many of these gifts actually value around €15 but it's better to give a never-to-be-built box to someone who might actually do something with it.
I brought a Revell Tornado from my stash, since I'm very unlikely to ever build it. It was part of a second-hand batch I bought a few years ago. I'm not into airplanes anymore, especially not modern fighters. The Harrier, F-16 and C-130 in the stash are much more likely to get built.

About halfway of the evening, everyone can go and pick a random gift. Since not everyone builds just anything, a lot of trading goes on after the unwrapping. I initially got a helicopter (forgot which one), which wasn't bad, but I traded it for a Patriot Ladar MPQ53 from Arii plastic models. I have nothing in 1/48, but it just appealed to me. It might hit the workbench very soon actually.


Nobody seems to actually call this thing a Ladar (which stands for LAser Detection And Ranging), bit googling "Patriot Radar" will yield many images. The truck in the kit seems a bit weird, but I'm thinking it'll look very nicely on the shelf.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Viper - Part 6

The 2 Vipers are reaching the end of the painting stage at roughly the same time. For the Mark VII that meant 2 coats of black primer, followed by the blue-grey base-coat (see previous post). For the Mark II it was some basic pre-shading, then about 15-20 layers of white primer.

I'm now at the point where I inspect the 2 models to detect blemishes (like dust particles in the paint, which need to be sanded away) or parts needing touch-ups. After that they will receive a clear coat to protect the base coat and prepare for decals.

I found minor seam-imperfections on both models. On the Mark VII, I fixed it by sanding away the paint, using extra filler and repainting. On the Mark II, I do not want to redo all those layers and the problem happens to be on top of the nose, where it will be hidden by the red stripe. That settles it for using decals or not. I had half planned to paint the stripes, but going to give the decals a try.

Friday 2 January 2015

Sprue Cutters Union : Old dog, new tricks

2015 has come and with it the long-anticipated rebirth if the Sprue Cutters' Union. In short, a bunch of modelling related blogs writing about the same topic once a month. (More info about the union here.)

- What New Products/Techniques Will You Purchase/Attempt This Year? -

I'm not sure about trying new techniques the coming year. How about we get a proper handle on our current techniques first?
2014 hasn't been an extremely active year at the bench, so this year I would like to simply start by trying to be more active and producing a higher quality of models then up until now.

Being scared to "ruin" a model with a new technique is a bad excuse, but one I'm prone to using too often. Ruining a model only costs you the price of the model and a bunch of hours. Those hours are not truly wasted of you learned something, right?

Let's make this my 2015 resolution : dare to try more.

Fighting monochromaticity

Pre-shading, post-shading, black basing, ... whatever you want to call it or in whichever order you apply your layers, I will be trying to add a lot more colour variation in my work. I gave it a first try on the Chinook, but obliterated much of the shading with subsequent layers of paint. I'm now trying to do it a lot more careful on the Viper Mark VII.

Oil paint

Filters, washes, streaking, ... many people swear by oil paints, because they can be manipulated (or removed) for hours and hours, as opposed to quick-drying acrylic paints. I was finally persuaded to try it and bought a bunch of oils from Mig Productions. I experimented lightly with it on one of the castle walls, but it's time to suck it up and attack a real model.


Also something I've dabbled with in past and current models. My first try was relatively nice, the second model turned into a disaster which I'm still recovering from (i.e. hesitant to re-tackle). I will give this a new go in the coming months.

Even though the year has just started, some of my fellow bloggers have already jumped on board the SCU carousel with their contribution: