A final push, an interlude to drag the $*@#*$@#% Christmas tree inside, and at last, Bench Mk.II is ready to go. Mostly.
But let’s move right along. Here’s the finished product.
The benches themselves are brand new – Gladiator Cadet 66″ workbenches scored from Amazon with free shipping. The rolling 5-drawer cart and Craftsman shop stool are also new, as are a few of the Elfa bits hanging on the walls, but the rest has all be scrounged and repurposed from Bench Mk.I.
The left side is going to be devoted to building/decaling/detailing, while the right is going to be the paint station.
I think it’s safe to say this is also the cleanest these surfaces will ever be!
Here we have a close-up of the build station. The main work surface is the same old cutting mat, topped by a brand new piece of 11×14″ glass. Behind it – various glues, solvents, and other goodies. Xactos, tweezers, sprue cutters and pliers in the little plastic drawer thing. Paint brushes on-hand. Paints in the rack to the right. My trusty LED/magnifying lamp made the journey, and the first kit back is waiting eagerly on the bench for some attention!
In the drawer unit under the build station, I’ve placed…
Pigments, oils and other weathering goodies:
Sanding stuff. No more rummaging around in a little plastic bin for just the right sanding stick!
And…at the bottom, aftermarket goodies:
Here’s a close-up of the Elfa paint racks. I’m not done tinkering with these just yet, but they’re close.
Reminiscent of Bench Mk.I but improved in just about every way, this paint station has a lot of carryover, but the extra space makes it easier to spread things out for a more logical layout. Thinners on the shelf to the left. Paints on the three-tier shelving at the back. Airbrushes, cleaning pot and so-on on the right, finally at hand (Bench Mk.I located these on the left side, which was awkward).
The fluorescent shop light has been hung from the same old scrap wood screwed into the same old reclaimed desk hutch.
A close-up of the rigged paint shelf. Two old crappy shelves, scrap wood, and PVC tees. That’s literally all.
And lastly…since the move revealed that my shop compressor’s drain plug had clogged…and that it had accumulated a ton of water within its tank…I don’t exactly trust it for airbrushing duties. So I’ve pulled my old Paasche D500 out of retirement. No regulator. No moisture trap. No auto on-off. But a compressor’s on my Christmas list, so hopefully this is just an interim solution.
No more kits piled on top of kits piled on top of bookcases in the computer room! They now have dedicated shelving around the workbench (with the decals removed and relocated to a filebox inside). Here’s the armor stash:
And most of the aircraft stash:
Last but not least, tucked away behind the paint station, is the photo station. After much frustration trying to find ways to keep posterboard propped up, I found some nifty little adhesive-backed metallic strips. Coupled with some magnets, these effectively lock the posterboard in place.
All that’s left at this point is to get an airline to connect the compressor to my existing regulator/moisture trap, mount said trap, and then I’ll be ready to go. At this point, I’m anticipating starting the Fw 190A-3 as early as tomorrow!
Progress on Bench Mk.II has been hindered somewhat over the past few days thanks to a resurgence of the sinus infection that hit me a few weeks ago, but I’m still planning to have things ready to go by Thanksgiving…and that leads me to a conundrum.
I’m planning to tackle Trumpeter’s 1/32 F4F-3 Wildcat in early December to mark the 70th anniversary of Wake Island…but I’m building it as part of a group build that doesn’t kick off until December 15th…so I need something to play with in the meantime.
I’m thinking, in part, of moving forward with some of the tanks I built to the painting stage while the bench was getting packed up for the move.
But…I’ve also been missing aircraft something fierce, so I’ve been leaning toward pulling something quick out of the stash.
Tamiya’s 1/48 Focke Wulf Fw-190A-3
With a low parts count (I believe this is one of Tamiya’s 2-sprue wonders) and Tamiya’s typical exemplary fit, I figure this one will make an exemplary “back in the saddle” build.
I’m still up in the air when it comes to markings, but I picked up a Kagero Topcolors book at the Austin SMS show in September that’s packed with Fw 190A profiles and corresponding decals, and I seem to remember seeing some interesting -3s in there. More to come as I get this one closer to the bench!
Slowly but surely, Bench Mk.II is coming together.
More shelves are up and the stash is being, er, stashed…
Nearer the bench proper, the paint racks have gone up. These racks, like the shelving, are built from Elfa’s hanging shelf system, and some spice rack baskets. Overall, they’re fantastic, but the thinner paints (Vallejo, Alclad) could certainly benefit from some sort of solid surface to sit on, as they tend to sit a big precariously on the wire.
Then, yesterday, these arrived…
These workbenches are the Gladiator Cadet 6624 – available on Amazon for a fair amount less than many other workbenches out there. Better yet, they’re eligible for Amazon Prime, which means free shipping!
Seriously, if you don’t have Amazon Prime, look into it. We’ve transitioned a ton of purchases – diapers, K-cups, etc – over to Amazon because the savings from lower prices + free 2-day shipping are just ridiculous. It even applies to the occasional kit!
Got the first bench and the drawer cart squared away last night…first impression…this sucker is BIG. At 24″ deep, it’s the same as the old Costco tables, but that’s where any similarity ends. These benches are 66″ wide to those tables’ 48″, and a whopping 39″ high. They’re tall enough that I could probably work comfortably standing up.
Up next – the second bench, a new, taller seating platform, and getting things squared away. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing to do for hanging the fluorescent shop light over the paint bench, so I think I may stick with Bench Mk.I’s “there I fixed it” solution until I get a better sense of what I want to do back there.
When I came back to modeling in July 2010, I put my bench together with two folding tables bought on the cheap and whatever spare bits I could scrounge together. I mean…I made a paint rack out of unused shelves, PVC tees and Diet Dr. Pepper cans! And a light mount out of an unused desk hutch, a few lengths of wood, a bungee cord and some chains jacked from some hanging plant baskets.
With the move, it’s been my intention to rethink some things and put together a better, more functional bench. Bench Mk.II. Read more…
12:12 PM – Placed order with Sprue Brothers.
12:33PM – Received a shipping notification via e-mail.
21 minutes from order to ship. Talk about fast!
The 1st Annual Doogs’ Models Fall Giveaway has come and gone…and it’s time to announce the winners!
Before I do, though, I have to say that this giveaway couldn’t have come at a better time for me, personally. Life, since the last days of October, has been one stress after another…moving, getting a house ready to sell, vomiting children, a daughter in the hospital, a sinus infection…and in the middle of it all, these great stories of your favorite builds. Reading the accounts – even though I haven’t found time to respond to each of them yet – they absolutely made my week.
I will definitely be doing this giveaway again next year…and who knows…maybe I’ll toss in a few smaller ones, here and there.
Okay…on to the winners.
Taking first, and claiming the Hasegawa P-47, is ANDY, whose favorite kit is the Tamiya Fw 190A-8 he polished off just before bringing twin girls home from the hospital!
And…taking second and by default the armor category winner, the Bronco Bishop, is TIM WILDING, whose favorite build is a Tamiya Cromwell that marked a lot of materials and technique firsts and, “most importantly, it was fun to build”…
Tim and Andy, congrats! And if either of you want to send along updates or even build logs of the kits, I’d be happy to toss them up as guest posts!
And thank you to everyone who participated…truly awesome accounts, and I hope you’ll be back for the next giveaway!