Sprue Cutters Union #6 – “Not Gonna Happen”

NotGonnaHappen

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What models will likely never reach your workbench?

This is really one of those so-easy-it’s-hard questions. When I think about it, there are many types of models that will never come near my bench. And when I really think about it…there are even more.

Civilian Automobiles

The funny thing is that I’m a car nut. Less so now that I’ve got three kids, but I still love cars and still hope to have some old project vehicle at some point once the kids are a bit older. But building models of cars holds absolutely zero interest for me.

Why?

On the one hand, many (most?) car kits are just awful. I know there are some real gems out there, but whenever I think car models, I think of the terrible Revell kits that clog what’s left of the modeling aisle at Hobby Lobby.

revell_mustang_cov

The other reason is that I see cars as something rather attainable compared to most other modeling subjects. For some reason that just kills the allure of modeling them. They’re too…ordinary.

Airliners

I love flying, but I hate commercial air travel. Why the hell would I want to build a 767?

Even when it’s crashing it’s boring

Now. I won’t rule out all civilian aircraft. I could see myself taking on something like an old Staggerwing or a battered Alaskan floatplane. Heck…I’d even be open to at least the possibility of a pre-WWII airliner along the lines of a Ford Trimotor or DC-3. But anything modern just makes me want to take a nap.

Figure Busts

I know! Let’s take all the really nasty bits of figure painting, the faces and eyes and such, and just toss out the rest!

Yeah. That’s a big, fat nope.

Honorably Not Mentioned

Sci-fi. Science fiction subjects aren’t really my bag, either, but outside of modelling, I love me some sci-fi, so I wouldn’t rule out tackling one of those Polar Lights Enterprises, a Space Battleship Yamato, or something similar.

In fact, if anybody ever makes a huge kit of Gypsy Danger, I’ll be more or less screwed.

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Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic:

A Preview of Revell’s New 1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6

Bf109_G6_Box_Foto_Revell

Revell sucks at launching new kits. While other brands have started figuring out how to market new kits on this crazy thing called the internet and others have found proxies to get the word out for them, Revell persists in being terrible at the whole game. Literally up to the day the first boxes started landing with various retailers in Europe, nobody knew for sure when the kit was shipping. There was nothing to build any kind of buzz around. And now that the kit is out in Europe, there’s no word of when it’ll make its way stateside.

It’s sloppy in the extreme. But it doesn’t change the fact that a new-tool Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 is kind of a big deal. For all the moaning out there about “great, another 109…”, there are really only two players when it comes to a 1/32 Gustav – Hasegawa and Trumpeter. Both have their strengths, but both also have very real weaknesses. Revell – particularly with its ability to push competitive kits at better-than-competitive pricepoints – has one hell of an opening.

Scale Plastic and Rail recently threw down what has to be the definitive in-box review of Revell’s new kit, but those of us on staff have decided to go one better, and do a group build review. It’s been a fun, enlightening journey, and I can’t wait until we push Part I live any day now. In the meantime, here’s a quick tease of where my G-6 is at, and a few brief thoughts about the kit.

RevG Bf 109G-6 08-27-2013 6

Overall, Revell’s put together a very commendable effort here. Their 109 packs some fantastic and creative engineering, and in many ways it absolutely blows Hasegawa’s Messerschmitt out of the water. In other ways, however, it seems to backslide with clunky execution or some overly ambitious ideas that just don’t work out all that well. At this stage in the build, I honestly have to call it a wash between the Revell and the Hasegawa. Each is better at some things, and less so at others.

More to come once the group build review starts rolling out – stay tuned!

 

1/32 Bf 109G-4/R6 “Regia Aeronautica” Part II – Painting

Has_Bf109G-4LogII

Part I | Part II| Part III | Part IV

With my messed up, false-start-happy modelling year, it feels like it’s been months since I’ve thrown real paint at anything. And it kind of has – the last subject to run full-bore through the paint shop was my Pz.38(t) back in early June. So it’s been two and a half months since I’ve done more with the airbrush than bomb cockpits in RLM 66.

Time to change that.

In Part I, I took the G-4 through the main build phase. Fortunately, cleanup in the form of filling and sanding was relatively minor this time around, and I was mainly slowed down by shifting gears to get Revell’s new 109G-6 to the same point. Since both ships are primarily decked in the standard Luftwaffe RLM 74/75/76 camoflage, I figured it made sense to knock out two birds with one stone.

Primer

I can’t praise Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1500 enough. It sprays on smoother than 1200, and it’s black, which fits nicely with my practice of using black as a base for subsequent layers of paint.

Why use black as a base? Simple. It makes it easier to build depth and tonal variation into the paint job. When you’re painting over gray primer, you have to cover all of the gray, or its obvious. When you’re covering pre-shading, you have a very, very fine line between the pre-shading looking obvious, or getting covered completely. With black, insufficient coverage basically just becomes shading…and it’s far more controllable since you’re not trying to cover-but-not the contrast of pre-shaded panel lines.

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After the primer went down, I realized that I’d left a seam on the cowl that shouldn’t be there. Damnit!

Untitled

It should be noted that this seam is an issue on all Hasegawa F/G/K 109s…and on Revell’s new 109G-6 as well. The kit that gets it right? Trumpeter’s 109. I haven’t built one yet, but after my experiences with the Hasegawa and Revell kits, I’ve decided I need to. Probably I’ll find out that the ideal 109 is one that basically combines the good elements of the three kits!

After a quick pause to fix the seams, I resprayed the cowl, then went ahead and painted the 109’s white wingtips, spinner and fuselage band with Gunze C69 Offwhite.

Untitled

Main Camoflage

This 109, like most Gustavs, wears a standard dayfighter camoflage of RLM 74/75/76. It is, quite possibly, the most common aircraft scheme of all time. So it’s kind of shocking how poorly the paint brands do at replicating it.

Among the brands that I will put through the airbrush – especially for something requiring mottling:

  • Gunze-Sangyo – Gunze manages a pretty damn good RLM 75 Grauviolet (gray-violet). Perhaps a tad dark, but tonally it looks right. Their RLM 76 Lichtblau seems too dark and too vibrant, almost more RLM 65-ish. And their RLM 74 Graugrun (gray-green) is just a mess. I tried to use it, and found I could not distinguish it from the RLM 75 on the aircraft.
  • Tamiya – In Tamiya’s typical fashion, they don’t bother to offer any of the major RLM colors.
  • Model Master – Testors pulls off what is in my opinion the best RLM 76 of the bunch, and a passable RLM 75 (lighter than the Gunze). But their RLM 74 basically just seems like a darker RLM 75, with none of the green tones.

Now, I’m not a paint absolutist by any means, but I have eyes, and I know how a 109 should look. So…I had to resort to mixing my colors.

RLM 76

For RLM 76, I took Gunze RLM 76 and cut it with some white and some light gray. Per my usual practice, I thinned it way down, then started spraying over the black Mr. Surfacer. I start off with light coats, covering only portions of the surface, then go back more broadly and fill things in.

Untitled

Ultimately, I ended up with this:

Bf 109G-4 08-20-2013 3

Strangely, I had a problem with the 76 dusting on the surface, something I’ve never experience with Gunze paints. But a quick visit by some 1200-grit micromesh got that squared away right quick.

RLM 75

Next up…RLM 75. Since I decided to freehand this mother, I switched out to my trusty Iwata HP-C+. Of all the airbrushes I’ve used, none of them does fine freehand work better.

Bf 109G-4 08-20-2013 2

RLM 74

My first stab at the RLM 74 went poorly. As I’ve mentioned up above, I found the Gunze 74 tonally indistinguishable from the 75. So I switched things up and made my own RLM 74 out of Tamiya XF-27 Black Green, XF-24 Dark Gray and XF-69 NATO Black. This had that hint-of-green that I was after and was freehanded onto the wings and upper fuselage.

The mottling on the fuselage sides was done with RLM 74 and 75, both the individual mottles and a more general filtering spray to tone down the contrast between the mottles and the RLM 76.

Bf 109G-4 08-22-2013 3 photo file_zpscf93f2dd.jpg

Grigio Azzurro Chiaro and Verde Olivio Scuro

When Italy’s Regia Aeronautica received Bf 109s to bolster its fighter fleet, it had a small problem. It wasn’t the Luftwaffe, so it had no use for the German insignia crosses or the swaztikas on the tails. As the USAAF did with their British-loaned Spitfires, the Regia Aeronautica did the logical thing and painted over the German markings. But they didn’t always have access to German colors, and so used their own, mainly grigio azzurro chiaro, their take on underside blue-gray. The specific G-4 I’m building went a step further, mottling the overpainting with verde olivio scuro – dark olive green.

Matching these is a giant pain unless you want to go with White Ensign or Lifecolor. To get to grigio azzurro chiaro, I used Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey cut with just a bit of XF-23 Light Blue. The verde olivio scuro was straight XF-27 Black Green.

The ultimate effect is one of a 109 that’s slightly “off” from the usual…

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Up Next

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how the G-4 is turning out. Next up…a few housecleaning items like the RLM 02 in the exposed leading edges beneath the slats and the attachment of the radiator flaps, then it’s on the decals and weathering. Stay tuned!

Sprue Cutters Union #5 – Philosophy

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What is your modeling philosophy?

Well. I don’t have a single, unified philosophy of modeling as it were. I DO have philosophies about different aspects of the hobby, however, and this seems as good a place as any to explore them.

Modeling as Meditation – A few years ago, I came across an article on concentration that expressed the idea of western – as opposed to eastern – meditation. Whereas eastern meditation chiefly concerns itself with clearing the mind through intense focus on some internal task such as breathing, western meditation clears the mind through intense focus on a task. To me, this just about perfectly sums up what I get out of modeling. There’s a “zen” to the proceedings that really helps me to decompress.

Invisible Effort is Wasted Effort – I don’t “do” tank interiors. I don’t detail the interiors of bombers unless it’s an interior that’s clearly visible. Likewise, my aftermarket purchases are informed by this philosophy. I will never, for example, buy a resin gear bay set. Unless I’m planning on building an aircraft that will be displayed on its back.

Doogs’ Hierarchy of Needs – Everyone has different things they look for in models. Some are cheapskates. Others are scratchbuilding fiends or rivet counters. Personally, I prefer kits that build well. Then, kits that pack good detail at the, um, detail level. Then, kits with clever engineering (installing exhausts after painting, or using wing spars to force proper dihedral alignment, etc). Accuracy counts for a lot, too, but I’ll take a slightly inaccurate kit that builds like the dickens over a poor-but-accurate kit any day.

FICE – Stands for Fuck It, Close Enough. It’s very easy to go into the weeds in modeling. Obsessing over matching a paint, or correcting too-wide prop blades. Well guess what – nobody cares. Most people who see your model in person will probably be lucky if they can identify the subject, much less get all butthurt about a 109’s cannon bulges being too flat. Contests aren’t an excuse either, since they don’t score kit accuracy problems. Nor will they ding you for only having an 85% color match.

I get it. It’s fun to care. It’s fun to nerd out about some minute aspect of an aircraft or  tank or ship. But care can veer into obsessiveness pretty quickly, and it’s important – to me at least – to know when to step back from the brink.

Go with What Works – Don’t be afraid to experiment with new tools, materials and techniques, but don’t be a slave to some “right” way of doing things, either. Figure out what works for you, and if you can, figure out WHY it works for you so you can articulate it to others.

Don’t Get Trapped by the Build Roster – So I have this problem. About 1/3 of the way through any build, I start getting antsy about the next build. When Group Build opportunities pop up, it gets even worse. Right now, my loosely sketched build roster includes Tamiya’s new Corsair, a Hasegawa Fw 190A-8/R2, two Wingnut Sopwith Pups, Trumpeter’s MiG-3, and on and on. But it never quite works out the way I plan because a third of the way through a build still leaves me with something like a month and a half to change my mind a bazilion more times!

I’m still learning, but I’ve found it’s fun to speculate and plan, but save actually selecting a build until you’re literally ready to start work. What will I build after I wrap up my two 109s? God knows!

 

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Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic:

1/32 Bf 109G-4/R6 “Regia Aeronautica” Part I – Cockpit + Construction

Has_Bf109G-4Log1

Part I | Part II| Part III | Part IV

Over at Large Scale Modeller, several of us on the staff are planning to tackle Revell’s new 1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 as part of a kind of “group build review”. It’s going to be awesome…multiple builders, multiple styles, multiple schemes, varying amounts of aftermarket and scratchwork involved…all around one kit.

BUT.

In the leadup, I decided I’d tackle one of Hasegawa’s venerable G-6 kits as a refresher of sorts, so it would be fresh in my mind leading into the Revell build.

As I looked for markings, I became enamored with a Regia Aeronautica G-4 instead. And…I just happened to have a ProModeller G-4 in the stash. It’s a reboxing of the Hasegawa kit, and about 90% identical to the G-6, so what the hey?

The scheme I’ll be pursuing comes from Chris Busbridge’s excellent Regia Aeronautica decal sheet:

Reggia Aeronautica Bf 109G-4/R6 364*5 Side Profile

The profile’s color register is way off, but the camo is essentially correct. Though the actual aircraft sported the white wingtips common among Italian 109s.

Bf 109 G-4

This second view really shows off the interesting overspray performed on this aircraft. Many Italian 109s were overpainted with grigio azzurro chiaro (light gray blue), but this aircraft was also mottled, probably with verde olivia scuro (dark olive green).
364-5

In terms of aftermarket, I’d intended to keep things light. But Hasegawa’s aversion to detail did me in. So I’ll be packing the following into the build:

  • Eduard interior photo etch
  • Eduard/HGW microtextile belts
  • Quickboost Revi gunsight
  • Quickboost control stick
  • Quickboost exhausts
  • Quickboost gun barrels (wing gun pods only)
  • North Star 109F-style wheels

Prepping the Cockpit

The last time I build a Hasegawa 109, the cockpit detail definitely left me less-than-impressed, so this time around I decided I’d give Eduard’s full interior PE set a go. This necessitated removing the kit’s sidewall detail. A tedious but not particularly difficult task.

Once I had the sidewall detail removed, some CA fixed the PE sidewalls into place.

Eduard cockpit sidewall

Details came next. Some were transfers from the kit parts. Others PE. Others my own wiring work.

I recently picked up some lead wire from UMM-USA.com and was able to use it to great effect. I’m not sure now how I managed to survive wiring chores without such a perfect material to work with.

Additional bits were added with styrene rod. Still a very spartan cockpit, but better than the kit detail.

Bf 109G-4 7-24-13 Update - PE Cockpit

Painting the Cockpit

After priming the cockpit, I shot it with a base coat of gloss black, then a top coat of Tamiya XF-63 German Gray.

Bf 109G-4/R6 7-26-13 - MS1200

Bf 109G-4/R6 7-26-13 - Black Base

Bf 109G-4/R6 7-26-13 - RLM66

The German Gray was then gone-over with a light drybrushing of Model Master Dunkelgrau to accentuate the details. Since the 109 cockpit is so dark, I personally think it pays to overdo it a bit here, otherwise all the detail work will be hidden in the final thing.

The fuel line was painted Vallejo Yellow with Model Master Metalizer Magnesium for the metal bits. The real 109 has a clear section, I guess to verify that the fuel is flowing. Difficult to replicate on the Hasegawa kit, so I  used Tamiya X-19 Smoke to at least provide an illusion. Far from perfect, but good enough.

Once that was done I painted the wiring loom and started added details.

Bf 109G-4 Update 7_27_13 2

Next came the Eduard instrument panel. Rather tedious with all the instrument bezels, but not terribly difficult.

Eduard’s rendition of RLM 66 was also rather too light to match the rest of the cockpit, so I brushed on some Vallejo Dark Gray wash. It did just the trick, and really helped with the “printed” look Eduard’s pre-painted PE can sometimes have.

Bf 109G-4 Update 7_27_13 1

The Little Things

Elsewhere in the cockpit, I began work on the Eduard/HGW harnesses. I’ve used textile belts on my past several 1/32 scale builds, and I’m totally hooked. These things look far and away more realistic than photo etch, and are basically a guaranteed mainstay on most of my future 1/32 projects.

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Once the harnesses were together, they were toned down with a raw umber oil wash, and the cockpit received some additional weathering courtesy of washes and pigments.

Bf 109G-4 Update 7_30_13

Lastly, the Quickboost Revi gunsight was added, bringing the cockpit to completion.

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Construction

Honestly, it feels silly at this point to go into much detail about building up a Hasegawa 109G. These things are simplicity in the extreme, and I didn’t really take anything beyond a straight out of the box approach. Uh, I guess be sure to pre-paint necessary areas in RLM 02 and be careful when you glue down the wings to ensure everything is aligned.

That’s really all there is to it. If you take the straightforward approach, the Hasegawa kit builds beautifully and quickly. In my opinion this will be its saving grace and the thing that keeps it relevant in the face of Revell’s new-tool competition.

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And of course, being an R6 variant, we can’t neglect the wing-mounted gun gondolas! One snazzy/appreciated feature is that the gun barrels can be installed after painting.

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That’s basically it for the main build-up. Stay tuned for priming and painting up next!

Sprue Cutters Union #4 – Worst Experiences

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What is the worst experience you’ve had in this hobby?

Easy. Hyperscale’s forum layout.

Okay, but seriously, the worst experience I’ve had in this hobby has nothing to do with kits or carpet monsters or botched work. It’s other modelers. Specifically:

The Absolutists

You know who they are (and you may even be one of them) – the modelers who claim there is ONE TRUE WAY and that everything else is somehow lesser.

If you spend money on aftermarket you’re a failure because you didn’t scratchbuild your own damn cockpit. If you go with kit parts instead of spending $50 on a resin what’s-it you’re a fool who doesn’t care about accuracy.

If you build the Trumpeter P-109 Messerstang instead of the Hasegawa you may as well start just gluing together pieces of garbage because the rudder is too short and the windscreen is 1mm too wide. On the other hand, if you care too much about accuracy you’re suddenly the dreaded rivet-counter.

Do you like Tamiya kits? Congratulations, you’re an assembler who likes shake-and-bake kits, unlike real modelers who scratchbuild entire sections onto 40-year-old Monogram kits.

Do you drybrush? FOOL. You should be using paint modulation and besides drybrushing isn’t realistic. Like paint modulation? Then you’re a shameless slave to trends.

It sickens me. All of it. Modeling, like the rest of life, is filled with gray areas, and for the most part there aren’t really any rights or wrongs. Why do people insist on making it so binary?

 

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Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic:

Sprue Cutters Union #3 – Favorites

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What is your favorite model kit ever assembled?

That seems like an easy answer…until you try to answer it. Because ultimately, it’s not just the kit. It’s the circumstances around the kit…the build as moment of time, a bookmark in your life.

For me, my favorite build was one of those confluences of kit and circumstance. It began in July 2011.

“Maybe you’ll get laid off and you won’t have to stress about quitting…”

My wife said that, or something very much like it, to me early in July.

I’d switched jobs in May, and while I won’t go into details, it quickly became apparent that it just wasn’t a good fit. I didn’t mesh particularly well with the culture and didn’t find much satisfaction in the work.

It didn’t come as much of a surprise, then, when I got the “hey can we talk for a minute?” in mid-July. Oh, it still came as a gut punch. Being let go, laid off, whatever you want to call it, is always a blow, and a giant stress in the short term, even if it’s ultimately for the best.

In the weeks that followed, I hurled myself into networking and interviewing, deciding to just keep plowing ahead instead of stopping to let the crushing stress of being unemployed with a wife and two kids catch up with me.

And at night, I buried myself in Tamiya’s excellent 1/32 Spitfire Mk.VIII. To this day, it’s probably the finest kit I’ve yet built, from a straight-up engineering perspective (at least until I tackle their new Corsair!). And in the circumstances of being laid off and hunting for a job, well, it was a major factor in keeping me sane and level-headed. After all, here was something I could focus on to the exclusion of all else, something I could control and direct and not have to wait to get back to me in a week.

I can easily name a half dozen other kits that I really, really enjoyed, but ultimately, none of them stand out to me as much as the Spitfire. It’s a masterpiece of a kit, but ultimately, it’s the circumstances surrounding the build that set it apart.

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Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic: