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Hobby Boss 1/48 F4U-7

May 25, 2017 in Aviation

I built this as a tribute to a fellow modeller who passed away last December, one day short of his 26th birthday. He wanted to build this aircraft as it had an interesting history: serving with the French Aeronavale, one of the aircraft in the T.V. series “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, privately owned in Alberta, Canada and finally at the Heritage Aircraft LCC. The Hobbyboss kit is very nice to put together but there are issues. The wings are modelled as fabric when they were metal at this stage. Actuators on the elevators and rudder need removed.

Hobby Boss, 1:48 Scale, IAR-80, Romanian Air Force

May 24, 2017 in Aviation

Hey Folks!

Over the last couple weeks, I have been pretty busy building…actually got a few finished in time for the IPMS/USA Region One Show and Contest.

I found that, overall, this was a decent little model kit. It went together well. Fit and detail being especially nice. I found the instruction sheet to be the kit’s major weakness. Color call outs were almost non existent, and what they did have was definitely open to discussion. I found the panel lines to be shallow too. They would absolutely be difficult to use any washes. Personally, I pulled out the re scribe tool and made some of them a tad deeper
I used the kits decals which seemed to go on fine, although a little translucent. I have not a sheet of aftermarkets decals for this bird…(yet) anyway, so as of now, you have the two options provided in the kit.

I painted the model using Model Master Enamels. RAF Dark Earth over a US Dark Green, (34079?) for the topside surfaces, and a German Lt Blue, RLM 65 on the lower. Cockpit was painted in RLM76. Yes. Another German color, and I went with that because I was tipped off to take a look Chukw’s build of an IAR-80. Being the nut for detail that he is, I figured if anyone would know, it would be Chukw. If he painted his “Pit” Lt Blue, than I was following along!
Anyway, I found it a nice little model that build well, and looks the part too!

Best regards to All

Freddie from LI

Hobby Boss 1/48th F-14A Tomcat

April 25, 2017 in Aviation

Having been brought up on a healthy diet of “Top Gun” and “The Final Countdown”, the F-14 Tomcat to me is *the* icon of modern military aircraft. And some time ago I decided to finally start on the Hobby Boss’ rendition of this very plane.
The kit had been in my stash for almost two years, together with an Aires cockpit and burner cans, Wheeliant wheels and a very nice FCM decal set – alas, I felt a bit intimidated by a topic I wanted to do justice. Only so much space being available in the display cabinet, I knew that this would be the only Turkey for a very long time. And we don’t want to cock that up, do we.

[heading]The Kit[/heading]
The kit itself came out a couple of years ago and finally gave us an alternative to Hasegawa’s F-14. There are some definitive advantages in this kit over the Hase, especially around cockpit detail and weapons options (as in: Hobby Boss gives you weapons, Hasegawa doesn’t). Some issues, however, need to be addressed:

– The kit gives you the option of showing the 20mm gun exposed, panels open. If you want to go for closed panels, you have to do some careful aligning, gluing and rescribing in order to achieve a proper result.
– The air intake lips should not be parallel to the ground, and they are a bit thick. This was fixed by sanding the lips at an angle, thereby introducing a slight upward cant.

– The wings and stabilizers are covered in rivets that need to be filled. Multiple coats of Squadron putty, thinned with acetone, took care of that.
– The slats, when deployed, should protrude at a slight downward angle. Easiest fix is to carefully bend their attachment rods downward a bit.

– If you want to attach the AIM-7 Sparrow missiles to the wing glove pylons, they need to be positioned farther forward. I did that by cutting off the missile fin that goes into the pylon, the missile then can be attached in its proper position.

– The main landing gear struts lack some heavy springs which are quite noticeable – instead, HB gives you a rather generic rod (parts F25/F26). Some thin wire, wrapped around these parts, does the trick.
Apart from these fixes, I used an Aires cockpit set, Aires exhaust nozzles and the Wheeliant wheels set. Fitting the cockpit resulted in the usual sanding mayhem, but it’s worth it. The nozzles, on the other hand, are more or less a drop fit.

I have to admit, I am a s****r for the US Navy’s Tactical Paint Scheme (TPS), therefore I spent quite some time researching colours and testing various manufacturers’ paints. Having used Gunze paints for my plane builds forever, I still wasn’t too impressed with the Gunze Greys (H307, H308 and H337 for FS36320, 36375 and 35237). These colours seem to be too dark and have a weird purple hue to them when compared to a neutral grey card. As TPS doesn’t show too much contrast between paint and markings, these deviations in tone can be rather problematic when applying your decals later on, leading to markings literally disappearing into the paintwork. Ask me how I know…

After testing a couple of different brands I settled on the Lifecolor range – which can be very tricky to get out of your airbrush. Some experimenting later, I finally have it worked out for me. The trick is to thin them with Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner and to keep your air pressure down.

So, after a primer coat of Tamiya XF-19 and some very random preshading, the Lifecolor paints went on without a glitch.
The most fun part with modern Navy planes is recreating the paint touch-ups and anti-corrosion work these birds undergo on a regular basis. To achieve that, I went over the whole airframe with highly diluted paint of a lighter shade, focusing on fasteners and panel lines of inspection hatches.

As I wanted to depict a bird from VF-111 (“The Sundowners”), I picked up a sheet from fcm Decals. Very nice, the decals are thin, the instructions complete. so everything went well – until I applied the last two decals. The large black “Sundowners” decals for the fins would first not adhere to the surface properly, then they wouldn’t react to any setting solution, and in the end they decided to crumple up really bad and produce a general mess. No clue what caused that, my only idea would be the colour used for these decals – all the grey ones behaved very well, it was only these two buggers that just wouldn’t work.

In the end, I had to use the markings for another aircraft from that sheet, which meant stripping and repainting the tail section and all the areas were the other markings specific to that plane had already been applied.

After the usual coat of clear gloss (Tamiya X-22), I initially wanted to apply some salt weathering. I actually did start on the horizontal stabs, but then changed my mind. This method simply doesn’t cut it for me – not enough control over the final output, and too messy. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing models on the net that have been weathered using this technique, it’s just that I like to take my time and work slowly and deliberately. So back to my tried and tested method of oil filters and washes, various sizes of soft brushes and a couple of happy hours stippling away. By stippling the drying wash, reactivating it with small amounts of thinner, I found it easy to create that chuffed and beaten look so typical for Navy planes.

Grumman F9F-3 Panther with Emerson turret BuNo.122562 Patuxent River 1953 1:72

March 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

Hi there
well my job is keeping me busy and due to this I cannot spend that much time with other work, so I hope you’ll understand that I reserve my precious free time for building models. Fortunately I still have some couple of finished articles in my files and if time allows I will post some of them here from time to time.

I first saw a photo of this one of a kind aircraft a couple of years ago and as you can imagine, I was really interested in this strange and exotic machine. Short time later someone posted a photo of this one again and as a result I immediately ordered the Sharkit to recreate this aircraft.

I received the conversion kit within a few days and it looked quite good to me. The kit consists of 3 resin parts, the nose cone and a little plug which goes inside the nose and the gunsight for the cockpit. Additional 4 brass barrels for the machine gun are provided. To whole affair looks be fairly easy to build and shouldn’t take much time. They recommend the Hobby Boss Panther kit in 1:72 for starters.

So far so good but as soon as I got the kit unpacked I decided to convert the conversion to be fully workable. Actually this was easy done. I drilled a large whole inside the plug-part and inserted a small piece of cylindrical hard wood. In this I drilled 4 tiny holes, perhaps the hardest part was to make sure all those holes were perfectly aligned. The nose cone received another axle and a washer plate at the end, Finally all I had to do was to put the whole thing together and attach it to the nose of my meanwhile finished HB Panther which went together beautiful and without a hitch.
Some color, some decals and here it is, a fine model of the one and only Grumman Panther with a fully operational (well at least its rotating and traversing) Emerson turret.

I can only recommend both, the HB Panther as well as the Sharkit conversion for this unusual aircraft.


1/48 HobbyBoss Early F4U-4

March 15, 2017 in Aviation

More often than not I now find myself building a model based on some photo that grabs me. Such is the case with this Corsair build. I used the HobbyBoss F4U-4 with the curved windscreen or as HobbyBoss calls it, the early version. The model is in the markings of VF-4 as seen aboard the USS Tarawa in 1946 as seen in the last photo in this batch. The kit presents a bit of a challenge as some shape corrections are needed. The front landing gear door as well as the area of the wheel well where that door retracted is is the ‘chin grin’ on the bottom of the engine cowling. The landing gear door issue was resolved by hitting the spares stash for a set of doors from the old Hasegawa kit. The wheel well issue was resolved by cutting away a bit of plastic on the bottom of the wing center section and shaping that opening properly. I replaced the kit cowling with the True Details (TD) offering which is a bit better but still doesn’t capture the air scoop look correctly. I used the TD weighted wheels trimmed to remove some of the excess bulge. The cockpit is a mix of kit parts and the TD F4U-4 cockpit set with individual instruments from the Airscale decal sheet. Decals were from ye ole decal stash box. The ‘T’ on the tail is masked and airbrushed. Paint was MM dark sea blue enamel (FS 15042) and all was oversprayed with Testors semi-gloss clear. The thing that really grabbed me on the photo of the real Corsair was the faded fabric covered outer wing panels. GSB paint was quite durable and when it did fade it usually just lost its gloss sheen and dulled out. For whatever reason, the outer wing panel fabric-covered portion did fade. While that’s unusual, the fact that the fabric covered rudder and elevators showed no sign of such even more puzzling. Perhaps they had recently been re-covered or replaced. In any event, I tried to replicate what I saw on the photo. Any comments or observations are welcomed.

Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat in 1/48.

March 10, 2017 in Aviation

Long a favourite of mine, I waited for a better kit than the Academy offering but have not found one. Unfortunately the HB kit seems to suffer from a number of issues which made me stick to what I had in the stash. This one has a resin cowling of the correct shape & the forward fuselage has been modified somewhat as well. I drew heavily on the articles in ‘Tailhook Topics’ for details which proved invaluable. Decals were from the Italieri kit as the Academy set broke up when applied. Paint is Model Master Dark Sea Blue which sprays beautifully but makes photography very difficult because it is so dark & hides the detail (probably for the best!). Anyway, hope you like it.

Corsair A7D – Commission Build

March 6, 2017 in Aviation

A major departure from my usual subjects – I tend to stick to 1/32 WWI aviation, but this 1/72nd A7D was built under commission, as a presentation piece for the pilot who flew the original, pictured below. He was an RAF Test Pilot, on an exchange visit to Edwards Test Pilot School. The Hobbyboss proved to be quite a challenge, with some poor fitting sections – particularly the port wing, which needed about a kilo of filler – or so it seemed at the time. I added an Aires resin cockpit, as the kit part was ordinary to say the least. As you can see the dominant colour was Insignia White. I initially pre-shaded the panel lines, but was not happy with the first coat of white which went over it, so I stripped it back, and started over. I tried the “black-basing” technique, which was almost a disaster. After completely painting in Gunze black, I began building up multiple layers of Gunze white, but was almost at the point where surface detail was beginning to be obscured, without the black base coat being covered. By accident I came across Mr Paints, and tried their version of Insignia white, which worked like a charm. I can’t rate those paints highly enough ! I also had to create my own custom decals, from “Experts Choice” clear decal paper, as those on the original “ED 194” were not commercially available. I also had some invaluable input from a guy who goes by the name of “Old AF Sarge”, who I found on the web. He helped my identify the 2 badges on the intake and the tail, which were “Air Force Systems Command” and “Air Force Flight Test Centre”. He also sent me JPEG images of both, which I was then able to reduce, tidy up (a laborious pixel-by-pixel process), print and apply. I have to say this was the part of the build which I was most dreading, but it actually turned out ok

I handed the finished article over last week (by post – I was petrified of sticking it under the control of the Postman), but it got there in one piece, and the commissioner reported that he was very happy with the finish. “Relieved” is not the word !

Hobby Boss PzKpfw I Ausf. C in 1:35, with Diorama

March 1, 2017 in Armor

Some history:
This kit was launched by Hobby Boss in 2010 and is not the most recent version for the light German tank PzKpfw I (Panzer Kampfwagen) available from this kit manufacturer. The kit is well detailed with numerous small plastic pieces and a photo etch fret bringing joy to the average rivet counters. Upon demand from my 10-year old nephew, I positioned the tank in the setting of a reinforced concrete structure with antitank “shark teeth” barriers as he described the scenery of a well known online war game involving tanks. I taught my nephew how to model the bunker for real using plaster, in 3D (much better than on a 2D computer screen) and he continued adding the grass using a static applicator I built from a high-voltage insect smasher.

I think in this hobby, you better start earlier than late learning some of the basic techniques 🙂 I learned it the hard way…

The build:
This kit is not really for beginners I find. I found time to assemble it and primer it before major refurbishing took place in my house. For almost 5 months, my workbench was unavailable but the result is worth seeing (photos). Now I finally have a place on my own for this great hobby and it feels fantastic! I even constructed an airbrush spray-booth from scratch. If anyone interested in a build description, just drop me an email.

After the build, which was OOB except for the Dio, I painted the tank German grey (enamel) followed by a double layer of flat colorless finish. Then followed a wash using thinned oil paint and some finishing dry brushing. The result is nice but I was surprised by how many hours went in this little project both due to its detail and the surrounding diorama.

The diorama:
The raw outline for the bunker was cut from a cardboard box, after which a generous layer of plaster followed. It was sculpted to shape using a hobby knife. The base is square 10 by 10 inch wood. The coloring of the Dio was done using mixed acrylics after which the grass was added using the static applicator. Caution 1000+ volts from a 9V battery! 😛 The figure is a Tamiya one painted using mixed acrylics.

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy this little project, comments welcome! I spent about 25 hours on this one including researching and on the diorama. More to follow!

Happy modelling!


HobbyBoss Ka-29 “Helix-B”

February 9, 2017 in Aviation

This is the HobbyBoss Kamov Ka-29 “Helix-B”, in 1/72nd scale. The kit exterior is pretty nice, however, there is very little detail inside of the cockpit or the rear transport compartment. I added a little scratchbuilt detail inside the cockpit where things can be seen (I believe that aftermarket is now available to detail the cockpit). Most of the kit is OOB, but I added some scratched intake/exhaust covers, as well as some line to the rotor head. The paint is a homebrew mix of Modelmaster enamel paint, essentially blue and grey mixes. Overall, this was a nice change in scale and subject for me. The HobbyBoss kit of the Ka-29 is simple and easy, but is worth the time and effort to add some detail.
The Ka-29 is one badass shipboard helo that goes to sea with the Russian navy. As can be seen, the Helix-B carries rockets, and 30mm cannons, to enhance its mission as a littoral assault helicopter. The Ka-29 can carry armed assault troops for ship to shore, while fighting its way ashore, as well as providing protection for disembarked troops. This is a serious machine that I wish would come in 1/48th scale.

1/48 Hobby Boss T-34

December 28, 2016 in Armor

This is the first Hobby Boss kit I’ve built, and I was not ready for all the internal detail, complete engine and crew compartment – what a fabulous kit! Unfortunately with what I had planned for it I never built the interior, except for the gun, and once the Tank Commander was added you cant even see that.
I added the 1/48 Tamiya figures and they were pretty good too.
The kit and the figures are straight from the box and no after market items, so was a cheap build for once.
Due to room in my display cabinet becoming very tight I have had to put off making it into a diorama (for now), but already have that planned out in my head for another time.