How To: Get Started (or Restarted) Building Models

If there’s one common trait I’ve noticed among many modelers, it’s that most of us built models as kids, then drifted away to go about the business of growing up and starting a life, a career, a family. Years later, something brings us back. Maybe it’s seeing the latest FineScale Modeler on the magazine rack, the yearning to do something with your hands, or just the old itch returning. Or maybe you’re just picking it up for the first time.

Either way, ramping up in this hobby can be a daunting thing. The internet and the global marketplace have opened up a veritable sea of tools, paints, and options. And don’t even get me started on the wondrous variety of kits, aftermarket accessories, and knowledge to be had. In many ways, the hobby is truly in a golden age right now, but if you’re just dipping your toe (back) into the water, it can all be a little bit overwhelming.

With this how-to, it’s my aim to cut through to the heart of the matter – what do you need to accumulate to give it a go? Continue reading

Review: 1/48 Hobby Boss P-47D Thunderbolt

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is my favorite aircraft, hands down, so when I first read that Hobby Boss would be releasing a new kit into the already-crowded arena of 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolts, my ears perked up.

In my opinion, the two best 1/48 Jugs exist at opposite ends of the spectrum. At the high end, you have the Tamiya kit; a marvel of detail and engineering, and probably one of the very best kits ever released in the scale. At the other end, you have the old Monogram mold. Crude by comparison, but a fast and easy build with solid fit and a low, low price.

The way I see it, the other 1/48 P-47s – such as those from Academy and Hasegawa – exist in a murky middle ground of “why bother?”. They aren’t as good as the slightly pricier Tamiya, or as simple (or cheap) as the old Monogram.

That is the perspective I have in mind as I approach this new “Easy Assembly” P-47 from Hobby Boss. There’s little chance of it knocking the Tamiya off the throne of awesome, but could it possibly give the Revell-Monogram kit a run as the lower-tier value option?

Let’s find out.


Review: 1/48 Eduard P-38J Lightning Limited Edition

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a rare thing in the modeling world – an absolutely iconic design that nobody has really managed to nail…yet. The three principal efforts – those of Monogram (these days repopped by Revell), Academy and Hasegawa – are all compromised in their own ways. The Monogram was absolutely cutting edge when it was released long ago, but it’s showing its age, with non-existent gear bays, gimmicky features that interfere with fit, some missed details like the upkink in the underside wingtips, and shallow detail in the cockpit. The Academy improves upon the Monogram in terms of shape and detail, but not to a great degree, and is plagued by boom alignment issues, a fickle canopy, and other build-up headaches. Likewise, the Hasegawa has a reputation as a pain of a build. The fact that the old Monogram is still a totally viable option – even with price taken out of the equation – speaks volumes.

In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before someone unleashes a new 1/48 Lightning upon the modeling world and blows these three kits out of the water. The only question that remains: who will take the plunge?

While we wait, Eduard has given us a promising new entry in the form of a limited release P-38J. The plastic is Academy, but it’s what Eduard brings to the table that makes this package special – hefty amounts of resin, photo etch, canopy masks and one rather extensive decal sheet.

Do Eduard’s power-ups make this one worth your time? Let’s find out…


Stealth Mode

Earlier today, I received the following comment in my Dewoitine D.520 build thread over on the Scale Plastic & Rail Forums:

Wow!  I’ve learned more about shading and weathering, reading this, than everything I’ve seen in my whole modeling experience.  I am going to improve my models 100% by using these ideas.

Wow indeed! That’s exactly why I do this. There’s so much great stuff out there on this series of tubes that is the internet, that my tutorials and build logs are basically my way of giving back. The internet has elevated my builds far beyond where I ever thought I’d be…and if I can help spark that same inspiration in someone else, awesome!

Which is why it pains me to announce that the build logs will be going under the radar for awhile. My next two builds are a step outside my norm. They aren’t for me – they’re for other people. And I want to play them close to the vest so that I can give those people the first views of their completed aircraft all at once. And since I know for a fact that both of those people read this blog, well…

Now…I will still be writing the build logs. I’m just going to keep them unpublished until the time is right. Probably sometime in October and then in December, respectively.

In the meantime, there’s going to be plenty else going on here…

Reviews. I have at least five upcoming reviews for Scale Plastic & Rail that I will also be linking to here, and probably more. Plus I might review a kit or two from the old stash.

Techniques. I’m hoping to continue work on my tutorial slideshows. Look for more of those.

The Epic Gloss Coat Showdown. A good gloss is like a good henchman – hard to find. I’m sick of it. So I’m going to get a whole bunch of them together and pit them all against each other. To quote a redneck from the great documentary “Hands on a Hard Body”, I guess we’ll just have to see what transgresses.

The Second Annual Fall Giveaway. You will want to be around for this one. Last year the giveaways were a 1/32 Hasegawa P-47 and Bronco’s 1/35 Bishop SPG. So this isn’t like a free pair of tweezers or crappy 1/72 repop. Stay tuned for details, and the giveaway proper probably sometime in early-ish November.

So…that’s it for now. Apologies in advance for hiding the build logs for the time being. Hopefully the wait will be more than worth it.