Housekeeping and Random Updates

I’ve been making some excellent progress at the bench over the past few days, but I don’t have anything in a state that really warrants a build report at the moment, so instead, I figured a random update and housekeeping post would be the order of the day.

The Job Situation

My last day with my soon-to-be-former employer is tomorrow, and to be honest I’m ready for it to be over. The two weeks have been a fantastic runway to really get the job hunt off the ground, but they’ve also made spending any time in the office a chore. I can’t help but feel like a marked man walking around there, and to be honest, I haven’t been in once this week, choosing instead to field phone interviews and pursue jobs from the deck of Mozarts, a coffee shop in Austin located right on Lake Austin (i.e. the Colorado River with dams).

The job hunt itself is going remarkably well. I’m currently in play for five different opportunities across four different companies. But nothing’s guaranteed, and the process is a slow one. I’d be shocked if I start somewhere new before the end of August. Fortunately, contact work and severance should help tide me over.

Site Stats

I don’t know what’s done it, but the site has seen a traffic explosion this month. With a few days left to go, it’s already up 20% over June, and average daily views are up by a full third. Long term growth is even more staggering. From April-June, traffic is up a whopping 70% over January-March.

1/48 Tamiya P-51

The 1/48 Mustang is in stasis for a little while, as I’ve ordered some custom vinyl masks from Gator’s Masks for the 352nd’s distinctive blue cowl. My plan is to use a similar mask on Tamiya’s new 1/32 Mustang, but I want to use the 1/48 as a testbed first.

1/32 Tamiya Spitfire Mk.VIII

The Spitfire continues to be quite possibly the single best kit I’ve ever built. The fit on this thing is just extraordinary. Unfortunately, due to its complexity (the engine assembly alone contains more parts than Tamiya’s entire 1/48 P-51…), significant progress still feels like a drop in the bucket.

At the moment, the Merlin is well into weathering, the firewall, engine mounts, interior cowl panels and such have received their coat of RAF interior green, and the main airframe has been puttied and sanded smooth. It honestly shouldn’t have needed putty, and I have only my oafish wielding of the Touch-n-Flow to blame. The canopy pieces have also been prepped, the seam removed from the Malcolm hood, and all are now ready for masking. I’m planning to paint the canopy frames this evening, and hopefully move on to priming the airframe tomorrow (if it doesn’t rain…).

Since a build report is likely another week off, at best, here’s how she’s looking right now.

1/35 Cyber-Hobby Panzer III Ausf.L

I’m sure much to Keith’s chagrin, I’ve been bitten hard by the aircraft bug in the last week or so, and the poor Vorpanzer has sat, half-built, in its box. With the Spit going full bore, it will probably remain there awhile longer, though having the Mustang out of commission for a bit means it’ll probably find its way back to the bench before too long.

1/32 Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Yesterday afternoon, my boy came running back from the front of the house exclaiming “brown truck, brown truck!”. We went outside and I let him take the box from the UPS guy. Contained within – Tamiya’s new 1/32 P-51.

Oh. My. God.

As masterful as Tamiya’s big Spitfires may be, the Mustang tops them. That’s obvious just from glancing through the box. From little things – like the exhaust stacks attaching to the sprue trees by their stub ends, versus their outer surfaces – to big changes like incorporating the engine framing into the fuselage to absolutely ensure proper alignment and cowl panel fit – this kit shows that Tamiya is not at all resting on its laurels.

I cannot wait to build it.

New Additions to the Stash

Being laid off probably makes the present a really bad time to add to the stash. Maybe it’s a mark of my confidence in the future, or maybe I just can’t help myself, but I came home with two new kits yesterday.

First up, Tamiya’s 1/48 Fairey Swordfish Mk.II. I’ve wanted one of these since forever, but geez is it expensive. Around $60, even online. And Hobby Lobby’s $80 pricing has always been laughable. Well, they had it marked down to $29 yesterday, so, yoink!

Next, and I blame this entirely on a thread on the FSM forums, Academy’s 1/48 P-47N. Now, I generally hold a low opinion of Academy kits, but that’s also pretty unfairly based solely on their not-very-good P-38. It’s not bad, per se, but it feels lazy in the execution, and that’s not the kind of thing I like to reward with money. But their P-47N, at least at first glance, appears to have more in common with their Nieuport 17. Nobody would confuse it for a Tamiya Jug, just as nobody would confuse the Nieuport for a Wingnut kit, but both are solid, competent, intelligently engineered efforts. I was particularly struck by the gun alignment, which is properly parallel with the ground, not with the leading edge of the wing. And the fact that the blast tubes are separate pieces means I can use some spare (and superior) Tamiya tubes rather than those supplied with the kit.

Well, that’s about all for now. Look for more fun as the big Spit moves into the painting stages!

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