Being a model citizen

A place where I can exercise my alter ego: model builder and modelmaker. Expect photos, scans, articles and links in the coming weeks

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Erwin Rommel, 1/18 scale

Tamiya's 1/18 scale Erwin Rommel figure. Other than accenting undercuts on the uniform with scribing by an X-acto knife and a Dremel tool, the figure is stock. Painting was done with enamels brushed on in translucent layers. Details (epaulettes, insignia, medals, buttons, piping) were done with a combination of enamels, metallics and acrylics. The boots were painted with enamels and 'shined' with applications of Future acrylic floor polish.

The base is a cheap craft plaque painted gloss black and topped with sheet styrene scribed and painted to resemble an antique tiled floor. The railing is a combination of dollhouse basswood molding, spruce strip and plastic strip and sheet.

In-progress: Spitfire Mk. XII, 1/48 scale

One thing I can say after almost four decades in modeling - few companies have come out with a good, solid Spitfire kit series. Some companies have had their successes - ICM with their Mk VIII/IX's, Tamiya's Mk I/V series - but damned few have taken the lead in any sort of comprehensive series of Spits.
So, if you're going to make any of the one-off versions of the Spitfire, it's pretty much an exercise in kit-bashing or scratchbuilding. And thus is the case with my Spitfire Mk XII.
If you're a modeler or a historian, the Mk XII is significant on various levels. It was the first Griffon-powered version to go into service, and it was the basis for the first Griffon-powered Seafire variant, the Mk XV. It also introduced and the 'teardrop' rudder and helped combat the Luftwaffe's 'tip and run' fighter-bomber campaign over England.

My Mk XII - like the real one - is a conglomeration of components from different Spitfire kits. The nose and spinner were taken from a Hobbycraft Searfire XV kit and grafted onto the fuselage and wings of an old Otaki Spitfire VIII. The rocker covers on the nose were adapted from an Airfix Seafire 46/47 kit, and the upper wing cannon breech blisters were taken from the folding wing panels in the Seafire 46 kit.
The landing gear and wheels were taken from an Airfix Spitfire Mk V, and the canopy is an Aeroclub vacuformed unit.
The carburetor scoop under the nose was carved from a styrene block and detailed with a scratchbuilt intake ice guard made of styrene and brass mesh.

Only in the 1990's did most mainstream Spitfire kit manufacturers finally depict correctly the 'gulled' secion where the lower wing meets the rear fuselage. Since the Otaki Spitfire is flat in that area, it took some sawing, bending and epoxy putty to create the correct contour. Also, the Spitfire XII used the series' earlier assymetrical underwing cooler arrangement, so I had to scratchbuild a tubular oil cooler (white plastic area under wing).

Overall, the effect is rather pleasing considering that the XII was basically a one-off hot rod to kill FW 190s.

M41 Walker Bulldog

One of my long-time favorites because it probably made mass appearances in some of the 'Godzilla' movies, the Tamiya M41 Walker Bulldog kit is long in the tooth because of its 30-plus year old lineage. A few new, more accurate and better detailed Walker Bulldog kits have appeared on the market in the intervening years, but the Tamiya kit has one big advantage - it's cheap and easily had.

This was finished over a two-year period (much of the delay career-related) and gave me plenty of opportunity to put up or shut up about three decades of acquired skills.

She started out as an about 60-part kit. The last time I checked my work log on her, she stood around 240 pieces.

She's a crude kit because she was designed to be a motorized toy. After filling in all the hull holes for motors, switches and mounting screws, I began filling in hollow fender areas to avoid a see-through look in the hull. Every turret grab-handle and equipment tiedown look was replaced with brass or aluminum wire. The turret topside machine gun was replaced with a better-detailed item from another kit and a completely scratchbuilt cradle and mounting pintle. A new 'canvas' blast bag around the main gun was made with tailored pieces of Kleenex applied over a plastic and wire frame.

The driver's periscope shrouds were scratchbuilt, as were the little 'pogo' posts for supporting his opened hatch.

The tool rack on the front fender was built from plastic strip and architectural modeling stock along with a hand-carved axe and mattock and tied-down straps from rubber strip and brass wire buckles.

That's some of the work.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc

I built Monogram's old Hurricane multi-version kit in 1996 with a few refinements - sanding off panel lines and rivets, reworking main gear doors, creating new decals on the computer and photocopier, handpainting the nose crest from a photo of an Indian Air Force Hurricane IIc.

Gloster Gladiator

This model is 21 years old: Heller's 1/72 scale Gloster Gladiator with full rigging.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

F7U-3 Cutlass

I built this for a former employer who worked on the Chance Vought production line for the F7U Cutlass in the 1950s.

This is basically a stock Fujimi 1/72 Cutlass kit with minor weathering and pencil accent of the kit panel lines.

The display base is a scribed, painted piece of styrene sheet, and the entire rig was mounted in a clear display case.

PT 109, the semi-hard way

This is a heavily-reworked Revell 1/72 Elco PT Boat, in the markings of - what else? - Lt.j.g. John F. Kennedy's PT 109.

Except for the main hull, deck and deckhouses, everything has been either modified or scratchbuilt. The 37 mm deck gun - well documented in words and marginally so in photos - is a reworked Hasegawa anti-tank gun mounted on scratchbuilt lumber and with thread tiedowns.

Torpedo tubes were reworked from the original four-piece assemblies into roughly 30-piece tubes each.

The .50 cal. MG mounts were also rebuilt with ammo chutes, detailed gun breeches and assorted other details.

Scratchbuilt depth charge racks, detailed engine mufflers and a correct paint scheme and correct (rough) deckhouse boat numbers round out the model.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And another . . .

The Revell 1/28 scale Fokker Dr. 1 first came into the world three years before I was born. This is the fourth one I've built in 36 years. It's old, but it's familiar and the detail and construction are still pretty comparible to much younger kits.
Suffice it to say, though, that a lot of the parts needed refinement and a few needed outright replacement. But given what's in the box and the quality time one can get building it, it's still a bargain.

Below are photos of the real Dr. 1 on which this model is based.

And a few detail shots of the model

Another resume' addition

This is my 1/16 Wehrmacht infantryman in late-war winter gear, from the Tamiya kit.
More on this piece here.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Establishing a little credibility . . .

I've been building since I was 8. The piece above (a Tamiya Spitfire Mk. Vb) was built in 2002. More on this piece here.

Testing - under construction

Eventually this blog will represent my alter ego - model builder and modelmaker - and will reflect that not only in some small sample of my own work but posts on other modelling-related topics.