Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The start of a campaign. Airfix, please give us a new tool 1/48th scale Hawker Tempest Mk.V!

Same quality as the Sea Vixen please with the option for a Mk.II to follow.

OK... I've taken the plunge!

I've looked through the pile of all my in-progress projects... I've made my decision as to what I'm going to finish!

But it wasn't easy...

First cut was to see if any of them needed something extra in order to complete them. That would be unusual for me, I tend to pick up stacks of add-on bits for most of the models I own, resin details, etched fittings, bits and pieces I make from sheet plastic card and stuff I have lying around, but occasionally a project gets started and only then do I find I'm lacking something I want in order to do a good job of the finished article, so a few of the pile were set aside for that reason...

Next, the amount of work involved.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the building process, I guess thats my mechanical and engineering side coming out, I like fitting and fettling the parts of a kit until it fits the way I want it too. I hate wodging a pile of filler putty into a gap in a model 'cos it doesn't fit right, its plastic, work the part until it fits properly, not really rocket-science!

All the same I made a decision not to pick up a project that called for major surgery or re-working of parts or lots of fitting. That would bog me down and my work and lifestyle would soon take over again, I wouldn't have the time to devote to the job.

The other thing I decided was to try to cross over the sub-genres I dabble in as much as I could, I make model aircraft in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale, some armour and soft-skins in 1/48th and 1/35th and ships in 1/350th and 1/700th, I've also got a few sci-fi kits of various scales tucked away as well and I've always made and painted miniature figures, from 1/48th resin WWII to 120mm white-metal figurines.

The one theme underlying it all is that it represents the forces of the British Empire or Commonwealth, almost exclusively, I have a few (very few) kits outside that theme, mainly of types that have piqued my interest, I have a 1/32nd Stuka and a 1/48th Dornier in the cupboard, mainly because I got them dirt cheap but also because they are both interesting subjects. I also recently acquired my first Messerschmitt in nearly 40 years! Dragons superb new Bf109-E4! I had to buy it really, its such a nice kit!

All that said 1/48th looks to be the favourite, I have a nearly-complete model airplane, and some figures, and to top it all a military vehicle to include in a simple diorama!

The plane, a Tamiya Beaufighter Mk.VI that I've converted into an early Mk.I nightfighter, has only been sitting there for 15 years so far, its time has come ;-) All it needs is a new 'towel-rail' antenna added to the underside of the fuselage, that will be its third one, the first was too long and the second was along the centreline which would stop the crew hatches from opening! D'oh!

The figures are a rather neat pair of cast resin RAF aircrew from CMK, both are one-piece and short of a scrub to clean off any mould release and a coat of grey primer are as ready to paint as might be expected!

The vehicle is an Accurate Armour Standard Tilly acting as a crew bus, it still needs a driver but I have an idea about that! I built it some months ago intending to finish it as part of a 1/48th armour diorama but that proved a little ambitious!

Here is the Tilly...

The intent of the diorama is to portray a scene at dusk of the Beau's crew being dropped off at dispersals to prepare for the nights sortie.

And you gentle reader will be the judge of how successful I am!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Adler Tag - Summer 2010...

Another reason I decided to start this blog was because last year my small collection of finished models suffered a mortal blow!

With the kind of cunning only a cat can muster my neighbours otherwise lazy pet moggy managed to get into my home, either through a window or by tunnelling under the defence perimiter!

Once the invasion was complete said cat made a beeline for the bookshelf that doubles as my display shelves, not a lot of room for many models but as I'm a slow builder the space isn't an issue... I'm guessing the cat thought the models were defenceless prey, and thats just how he treated them!

The shelf of 1/48th scale RAF fighters looked like the results of Eagle Day (Adler-Tag, the Luftwaffe assault on the RAF, August 1940... You got Google, go and look it up for yourselves!), absolute carnage, all 6 models destroyed by claws and paws and sharp teeth, the only models that survived were some pre-painted Japanese sci-fi subjects and even they didn't go unscathed! I guess the manufacturers paint didn't taste so good!

One of my favourite models was this Tamiya 1/48th scale Spit Mk.I in Adolf 'Sailor' Malans markings at the height or the Battle-of-Britian...

...along with 4 other Spits, a Hurricane, a Typhoon, 2 Mosquitos and a Beaufighter... A resin figurine I had painted some years ago had been gnawed down to a stump and a couple of the smaller (mouse-sized?) military vehicles were in a very poor state!

By the time I got home from work the culprit had long since made his escape, all I had left to do was curse and swear as colourfully as I could while I swept the sorry remains into a black plastic bin-bag, all that work and time gone, at the paws of an indifferent furry beserker...

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big cat person, I like cats, more than I like dogs, never been attacked by a cat, dogs have a pop at me quite regularly when I'm out on my bike!

Being such a lover of cats I felt this was a doubly low blow, I know the neighbours cat, I've petted and stroked it, fed it for a few days while my neighbour was away, I even know its name! But dammit if all that didn't amount to diddly-squat once kitty had my model collection in his sights!

I looked at the empty shelves all night... The empty shelves and the pile of 'in-progress' projects stacked under my workbench...

And after a while I took a deep breath and decided to treat the whole sorry episode as a bit of a palette-cleanser, like a good Chablis...

As pleased as I was with my small collection they had been built over a period of years, some of the older ones weren't as good as the more recent models I've built, over the years my skills have improved and I am far happier with the results of my efforts now than I was then.

Nope, no point crying over spilt milk, the stash is beckoning, there are models on my bench that deserve to be resurrected and built, its just a case of deciding what to deal with first, I'll let you know next time...

As for the cat, I was pleased to get a tiny radio-controlled indoor helicopter as a Xmas pressie this year, its taken some months to master it properly but now that I have I can assure you, the cat is beginning to learn the true meaning of 'blitzkrieg'...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Right then, my stash!

I mentioned my workbench and collection of plastic kits, known to modelmakers as 'the stash', well here are some pics!

The pile above have now migrated from the top of the workbench to the stash cupboard...

But this lot live under the bench as they are what I laughingly call my 'in-progress' projects! Some of them haven't been touched in years!

On to the 'stash' proper...

Now before you start raising eyebrows and making pointed remarks about how I need to get laid more often, understand something, I only have maybe 70-odd kits here, collected in the last 15 years since I resumed this childhood hobby.

That made me pause for a moment... I never, ever, ever, had a 'stash' of unbuilt kits when I was a kid, I started making model airplanes when I was 6 and my Dad gave me an Airfix Supermarine S6.B to make, and in the intervening years of childhood until I discovered women and alcohol and good books I must have made every damned kit Airfix ever produced!

Every birthday and Christmas was the same, more kits, glue, paint, more kits, more glue, more paint, I was voracious! My Dad had to put up 6 12ft by 2 ft shelves in my bedroom to accommodate them all! Mum was happy to have cars and figures and airliners on display around the house, she drew the line at anything military, I remember building the Airfix Saturn V and for a while it got pride of place in the lounge 'cos we'd all sat around at 3 in the morning in July 1969 watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon!

But what has just occurred to me now that I think back is that I never had a cupboard full of kits when I was a kid, only now is my collection of styrene larger than I can cope with in my lifespan!

The reason for this is simple, back then I made everything I was given or bought, straightaway, I didn't wait, I didn't stop until it was glued and painted and decalled and sat on the shelf with is 1/72nd scale brethren...

Nowadays the hoarding instinct is more prevalent, if I gotta have the kit I gotta have the kit, it doesn't matter that my plans for its eventual finish and display may take several years to come to fruition... I gotta have the kit!

And of course nowadays the market is inundated with new kit releases! Sometimes its hard to resist!

I know of guys on some of the modelling forums with 'stashes' running into thousands... Sometimes I envy them, sometimes I pity them!..

Friday, 22 April 2011

In for a penny...

Why a blog? And why a blog about modelmaking?.. It's not like I don't have about a gazillion other things to do in my life,

I'm sole-proprietor of a small web/software design company, but that sounds awfully grand! Basically the 'company' is me and a PC and my mobile, and my wits!

I try to keep fit at the gym, but I'm a long-time smoker so I really dunno if I'm winning that game or not!

My modelmaking is a break from working for a crust and working up a sweat, when I get the time for it!

Which leads me to my opening description for this blog, if I don't commit to making some progress with some of the plastic and resin and brass and god-knows what else is on my workbench, the stash (a collective term for far too many plastic kits 'stash'ed away in closets and attics) will outlast me by several hundreds of years!..

So, a blog, to give me the impetus to do shit at my workbench and actually finish a project, laying it out here for people to comment on...

Along the way I'll say what I think about new kits, aftermarket, the modelling media and the state of the hobby in general, some of it may not be pretty but if you don't like what I'm saying then you can always go read someone elses blog!

Best I get off the damned PC now and make a start!