P-47 Razorback Double-Build, Pt. 1 – Cockpits and Engines

Intro | PART 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Cockpits, Engines and Blast Tubes, Oh My

One thing about the Tamiya Jug. While it’s a fantastic kit, it asks for quite a bit of work before you start to feel like you’re making progress. Cockpit bits have to be primed, and while we’re at it, why not the engine, gear bays and doors, and so on. The kit is so dense with small subassemblies that could be primed and painted upfront that it’s hard to know when to say enough!

The Revellogram kit – just the opposite. Continue reading

HGW Microtextile Seatbelts

There seem to be certain aspects of modeling where perfection remains ever-elusive. The perfect paint. The perfect putty. The perfect method for masking canopies.

And…specific to aircraft…the perfect seatbelts.

There’s thin strips of tape with wire buckles. There’s lead foil. There’s photo-etch, which can be excellent, especially with Eduard-style color photo-etch. But photo-etch is stiff and difficult to pose realistically.

About a month ago, I read about these new seatbelts from HGW. They use photo-etch buckles and other hardware, but the belts themselves are made out of a “microtextile” that behaves much more like the real thing.

Since they cost roughly the same as Eduard’s PE belts, I decided to grab a few to give them a try. Stay tuned for a review, but so far, these things look very promising.

NOTE: These pictures were taken with an iPhone under less-than-optimal conditions and a lot of the fine detail is wiped out, particularly on the belts. They look awesome in person, easily on par with Eduard’s best, with stitch lines and the like.

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So, what do you think? Do these look awesome or what?

Razorback Giveaway!

After the smashing success of November’s giveaway, I just can’t wait another 11 months to host a second. So here we go!

Now…this giveaway will be smaller and less epic than the annual giveaway…and drawing straight from my stash. Why? Because I’ve run out of storage space, I have too many models I want to build, and rather than leaving ones I won’t get to for some time to sit on shelves unattended, I figured why not set them free to, um, sit on someone else’s shelves unattended?

First up…copies of the two Jugs I’m building at this very moment!

1/48 Tamiya P-47D Razorback – This kit is a beauty in just about every way. As I work through my second Tamiya Jug I’m more convinced than ever that this is one of the best 1/48 kits in existence. Period.

1/48 Monogram P-47D Razorback – One of the best of Monogram’s venerable old molds. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Tamiya kit, but it’s simple, solid, and goes together well. In the hand of someone not afraid to get their hands dirty and cut styrene, it could be turned into quite the stunner.

How’s This Going to Work?

Here’s the deal. The giveaway is live the moment this post goes up. It will run through January 31st, and on February 1st I will plug the entrants into a random picker to determine the winners.

To enter, I want to change things up a bit. As a kid, the models were all about the machine. Now that I’m a bit older, I find myself drawn more and more to the men who flew them and kept them in the air. The humanity and the story behind the aircraft are a passion all their own…so to enter this giveaway:

1 – Leave a comment naming your favorite P-47 pilot, and why. 

2 – Be sure to enter a valid e-mail where I can contact you, if you win.

And…that’s that! Let the fun begin, and best of luck to all who enter!

January Housekeeping

Hey everyone. Wanted to take a break from usually scheduled programming to address three things.

First – the single-post Build Logs are going away.

I’m sorry guys. I really am. I know the single-post builds were a requested item, and I really liked the idea in theory, but in implementation it’s quickly become something of an anchor. The reasons are twofold.

First, in terms of length, the build logs get very unwieldy very fast. Both in the writing and in the reading.

Second, and more the dealbreaker for me, is that WordPress doesn’t allow you to “draft” an update to a live post. In layman’s terms, when I go to update a build log, I have to do it in one go. There’s no “sentence here, paragraph there” approach. Which, between work and kids, makes it pretty much non-workable. There is a workaround of maintaining the posts in Word, then copying and pasting, but I have several HTML elements I have to keep in the air with the build log posts, and those don’t seem to transfer very well. And…the onus of having to update at once, or maintain this separate thing in Word …has just killed my output. Know how many posts I’ve started in 2012?

One.

That’s going to change.

The single-post logs may be going away, but I am planning to make moving between posts a lot more painless. Stay tuned. I’ll probably be converting the Fiat G.55 build log in the next few days.

Second – January 2012 is on track to be this blog’s best month ever.

19 days into the month, this site has racked up nearly 7,900 visits. Yeah, paltry compared to plenty of other sites, but not bad at all for a small hobby blog that was stretching to pull in 1,900 views a year ago. This month has also seen a long-standing single busiest day record shattered.

So thank you, for continuing to visit despite my lack of fresh posts!

Third – get ready for some more giveaways!

The Fall Giveaway was such a smashing success that I don’t think I can wait a year to host another! I’m still trying to work through the structure…not as blow-out as the Fall Giveaway…but stay tuned for details. And share any ideas you have on entry requirements. Last time around it was posting a comment relating your favorite build, and why. What this time? Any suggestions from the audience?

First kits up? Copies of the Jugs I’m building – two 1/48 P-47 Razorbacks, one Monogram, one Tamiya…

On the Bench: Pacific Coast Models 1/32 Fiat G.55 Centauro

The Fiat G.55 Centauro

The Fiat G.55 was one of the last – and best – fighters build and operated by Italy during World War II. On a one-on-one basis, the high-altitude interceptor tangled effectively with Allied P-47s, P-51s and Spitfires, packing a potent Daimler DB605 inline engine and substantial hitting power by way of three 20mm cannons and two 12.7mm machine guns. Extremely popular with Regia Aeronautica pilots, it suffered the same drawback as most late-war Axis fighters – production runs. Only around 300 were built, hardly sufficient to make a dent against the Allied war industry.

Like most Italian machines, however, the G.55 is a looker, with gorgeous lines and often striking camoflage. Including the scheme I’m planning to tackle:

The Pacific Coast Models Kit

Pacific Coast Models serves a very welcome niche in the 1/32 market, producing limited run kits of subjects often ignored by the more established companies. They were boxing the Spitfire Mk.IX before Tamiya’s came along, for example, and my first experience with them was through their Griffon-engined Spitfire Mk.XIV, which is a rather prominent late-war variant notably missing from Tamiya’s VIII, IX and XVI stable.

While I haven’t built the Spit XIV yet, I was blown away by what I found in the box. Very well-molded styrene that, if not up to Tamiya’s latest stuff, could certainly hold its own against Hobby Boss or Airfix’s latest kits. Detail bits – the cockpit, wheels, and so on – are done is gorgeous resin that’s as good as any I’ve ever seen, and supplemented by custom Eduard PE sets. Top it all off with Cartograf-printed decals and, well, the kits are interesting and a hell of a bargain.

The G.55 is in some ways more interesting than the Spitfire XIV, with, for example a resin instrument panel and, I kid you not, color photo-etch gauges. Individual ones.

Why the Fiat?

I’ve wanted to build an Italian fighter or two for some time, and the kickoff of an Italian Group Build on the FSM forums finally got me off my duff. Simple as that!