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Ralph Clements
43 articles

First Model Plane in 40+ years…..

April 26, 2014 · in Aviation · · 28 · 2.1K

HI from a new old guy...
I guess the last model I built was around 1972...I saw this when my daughter had me take her to the crafts store for school project supplies..whoa! I didn't know they had these! A limited selection but still Revell is a name I remember...

Next day, armed with wifely approval and a downloaded 50% off coupon I went back and bought it. The kit is basically like I remember but browsing some internet sites on the subject I see lots of things have changed - just having internet sites on the subject being a big one - thanks to those who provide this site and contribute to it. This scale J "Jaunty Jo' is quite humble compared to the models I see here but they are insprirational and led me to consider a few things to use that aren't so complicated as an air-brush...maybe one day on that.

But I took a stab at weathering - which I never even thought of as a kid -that will take practice..I tried my best to weight the front so it wouldn't be a tail dragger, but failed - there are two dimes in front of the control panel and about 10 12d finishing nails in the wings, still I had to make a little tail stand out of sprue for it as I didn't want to use the little step stool that came with it. Very few spots to hide weights in this thing.

Meanwhile I had so much fun reliving what I had so much fun at so long ago, I have started another model, a P-51D Mustang which I am trying to make like the one I see in a couple of very old, dim, grainy and small photos that were taken by my father on Iwo jima in 1945 when he was stationed at the airfield there as a radioman (I think).
Thanks for letting me post and share these photos of my first model in 40+ years -

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. Not too shabby for being the first model to knock 40 years of rust off the old skill set! Nice to hear you tried something you haven't done before (weathering) right off the bat! As for adding weight to keep it from tailsitting, skip the coins and nails. Nothin' works better than good old lead! If you want it to be REAL easy look up Terry Dean weights on Google. He molds them to fit in hidden areas of the fuselage and they're pretty cheap. (Two small blocks fit into the nose on each side of the wheel wells of my B-29. It isn't a lot of weight, but just enough!)

    Welcome to the site Ralph!

  2. Well I'll be damned! For your first build in 40 years (and without an airbrush), your B-25 turned out better than fine. Never thought about using currency as a nose weight, still I think you would be better off using those little lead fishing weights mixed with some epoxy. Anyway, welcome back to the hobby and welcome to the imodeler fold.

  3. Welcome back to the madnes...errr...hobby, Ralph! There are many things that have changed, but all the basics are still the same and so is the goal - to have fun. Remember, there is a fine line between hobby and insanity...:-)

    Good looking B-25!

  4. Well thanks folks! Having a site like this helps and encourages one like me because there are not any people in my close circle who would really be interested or who could share tips and tricks.

    Josh, of the many things I learned building this, a big one was:
    Maybe I should have chosen a simpler model to 'knock the rust of the old skill set with!

    • Ah, there is the rub, Ralph. it is a rare thing to run into a fellow scale modeler unless you join an IPMS chapter or modelling website. Scale modeling is pretty much a solitary hobby and those of us who indulge in it are often misunderstood. I know of people who think that scale modeling is a frivolous pursuit. Gee, I dunno, trying to get a small white ball into a hole in the ground with a metal stick while wearing a shirt with an alligator on the left tit seems pretty frivolous to me, but who am I to say? Anyway, stick with it and find a local chapter of the IPMS. Nuff said.

      • I agree - I tried golf - hah! thats expensive, frustrating and even though I like the outdoors, when your done you don't have much to show for it. My other hobby is astrophotography - talk about a solitary pursuit...but I like the quiet and concentration involved out under a clear starry sky - so building models is like that, except it can be done in day time or when its cloudy...if you can make time - thanks for your insight. What is IPMS?

        • The IPMS is the International Plastic Model Society (though sometimes I think IPMS stands for the International P**s & Moan Society). And yes, it is international. Google IPMS and you will find that there are chapters all over. Chances are good that there is a chapter very close to you. Most chapters meet monthly and it is a great way to meet other modelers, learn about building techniques, and how to improve upon your builds. Plus, it is a fun night out that will not get you jailed or in hot water with the spouse.

        • Well done Ralph. A good clean model and a nice way to enter back into the hobby.Keep modelling and stay happy 🙂

    • No way! The B-25 is a fun kit without too many fit issues! (And a lot of fun stuff to detail inside, even if you never see it again!) If you're gonna go, go big! You did great! (Is the craft store you mentioned Hobby Lobby? I only get 40% coupons you lucky guy!) Really though, with the money I've saved there, I consider a couple of my kits free gifts, as I've saved enough to buy them outright!

  5. Nice work, Ralph. Pretty soon you'll have all of the modern goodies, and fear not the airbrush-it's a game changer and definitely NOT black magic. In respect to nose weights, I've found that lead air rifle pellets-crushed with pliers-work well in tight spaces. Larger lead sinkers can be sheared and shaped easily with model railroad track cutters for a better fit. Try Formula 560 Canopy Glue to bed them in.

  6. Ralph,

    Wow, that's the event that deserves to be celebrated. As others said, for the first model after 40 years the result is very impressive!

    Your choice of subject reminds me of my own return to modeling after a break that lasted somewhere between 1978-1992. My first picks were the old Heller/Airfix kits that I remembered to be "good" in the years past. It took me a while to realize just how much the kit industry have developed in just 15 years. Therefore my tip for your next model is: don't do like myself, treat yourself directly to a Tamiya kit (or Hasegawa for that matter). You will be exhilarated 🙂

    Welcome onboard at iModeler.

  7. Great B-25. Nice work Ralph, look forward to seeing your P-51 too.

  8. Welcome aboard Ralph, I think the other lads have said it all.
    Nice work on your first build by the way.

  9. Welcome back to the sport! That's a good-looking comeback indeed. Would not want to be in front of that one!

  10. I've seen a lot worse from folks who've taken LESS "time off" (myself leaps to mind). Nothing to be ashamed of here, my friend. Stick with it and don't be afraid to ask advice here on this forum and others. Doesn't look like you'll have much trouble at all "catching up", though. Welcome to the site.

  11. Welcome back to modeling & welcome aboard to iModeler. I think you will find that this is a helpful group. All you have to do is ask a question & pick the answer or answers that you want to try.
    Your first build back shows you have the eye & patience to enjoy building.

  12. Hi Ralph and welcome. I returned to modelling as well and have only a few albums here to share. I learned a lot on the internet as well and found sites like iModeler to be a great encouragement also. I poke along with brush and spray can and haven't started airbrushing either. Your B-25 kit looks great, Keep experimenting with weathering. I have done some and it makes a big difference. Welcome aboard and have fun building.

  13. Thanks all for making me feel welcome, compliments on my plane and encouragement!
    Josh: we don't have Hobby Lobby stores in this part of the world, its "Michael's" although since buying this kit there I have found a local owned hobby shop that has a better kit selection and many more supplies

  14. your story is very similar to mine except I stopped in the middle 80's and just started again in 2013. I have used an airbrush (paasche h-1 I believe) and it is amazing what you can do with one. Welcome back!

  15. Ralph, is "this part of the world" Canada by any chance? I checked out your astrophotography link also. Nice photos and another great hobby.

    • No Alan, it would be the western, narrow pointy end of Virginia - and also thanks to you for the comment on my images - others on that site have some astounding ones, my technology for that is fairly primitive. I am glad to hear there are others who do not use an air brush but still enjoy building models. I would love to have one, but from what I read about them it seems fairly intimidating, having to wear a mask, have a booth, by a compressor etc. I'll keep pondering that but try to do as good as I can with a rattle can and brush in the mean time. I just like painting and gluing the parts together!

  16. Ralph, welcome back to model building, and welcome to iModeler. I can appreciate your pleasure in finding that Revell is still in business after all those years. I feel the same way, and while the uber kits from Hasegawa and Tamiya are not to be denied, it is nice to be able to get a decent kit for a fraction of their cost. You did a great job on the B-25, and even have running engines! I have an old Monogram P-51 that does the same thing. I would say don't be intimidated by the airbrush, but if you don't feel ready, don't worry, continue with what feels comfortable. When you do feel tempted, the Paasche H single action airbrush is the one to start with in my opinion. And you may never need anything fancier. I have 3 airbrushes, 2 double action (Paasche and Iwata), and the Paasche H, which I use all the time. Once you try it, and get a little familiar with how to use it, you will be hooked! It really does make painting easier. Looking forward to seeing your future posts, and thanks!

  17. Welcome back to modelliing, and to iModeler, Ralph. Your plane looks pretty good to me, and the most important thing is that you enjoyed it. Please try some more and post them here so that we can enjoy them as well. Your photographs are good too, maybe your other interest helps with your camera skills

  18. Well done Sir! The B-25 is a beautiful bird, and you have done a beautiful job!

  19. Nice clean build, your skills are just being "re-discovered". This is a GREAT website for modelers of all stripes, you'll find an answer to your building questions and be able to "show off" your workmanship as they progress. Welcome.

  20. I'm in the same boat (or plane) - just restarted building also. I think your model looks great and you're brave for tackling one with so much glasswork in to kick off with!

    • Thanks and I appreciate your compliment. The glass work was one thing that did go as planned and came out like I intended but was quite time consuming.

      (I appreciate the other compliments from Ramon, Mike, George robert and others too -

  21. Ralph,

    I belatedly add my welcome to iModeler. Since I came to this site I feel I have made so many acquaintances and have been exposed to some incredible and very skilled modelers. On this site you will be associated with modelers throughout the world. I find it fascinating that I come to think I know everyone personally but in fact don't really know what part of the world most are in. You will enhance your skills by being associated with this collaboration of genius modelers.

    Your B-25 is no slouch considering the 40 year hiatus from modeling. Monograms are great choices and build up to beautiful models as attested by yours. Very nicely done

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