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Jack Mugan
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Bits and Pieces….Odds and Ends

September 13, 2014 · in Aviation · · 23 · 1.7K

Soon after retirement I found myself hanging out at at local hobby shop, the kind that had hundreds of models hanging from the ceiling. The owner and I thought it would be cool to have plane being shot down with a real ten foot trail of smoke hanging over the checkout area. When it was complete it became a customer favorite. Later the shop closed and I relocated to Florida along with the model sans the ten feet of smoke. Rather than throw the model away I made a stand for it and found a place in a corner of my work area. Fast forward a few years and a new idea crossed my mind that I should add another plane to complete the scene. The FW-190 was in 48th scale so I thought a 72nd scale would work out just right. In an effort to add more interest, I added a pilot bust that was meant for an RC aircraft, and then finished it off with an old decal I've had for years of the USAAF shoulder patch. Fortunately I had two decals because the first one blew apart on contact with the water. A quick trip to the print shop and a new decal was produced. This was a fun little project with components that were acquired over a 14 year period.

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

23 responses

  1. Imagination + creativity + skill = one very nice scene! I like the way you modeled the fire and smoke and is the prop-in-motion three bunches of wire to simulate blurriness? Great use of an old kit married to a new purpose. I really like it.

  2. Thanks Alan. The prop on the FW is actually horse hair. I continue looking for different ways to get the right effect like we see in aviation paintings. I'm not happy with the PE prop blur effect or the clear disc solution. I just keep experimenting as I go along or maybe stick to jets.

  3. I have only seen the PE prop blur in pictures online and you are right, it doesn't quite work. Interesting idea you tried out and gives a good effect.

  4. Jack, that shows skill. To represent fire and smoke takes skill, something you are not short in.
    And I agree with you, the clear disc don`t cut it really.

  5. Brilliant piece of work, Jack...that-a-way to "think outside the box". See? And I thought retirement meant trying to remember what day it was.
    As for the prop blur thing, maybe go ahead and try the clear disc thing, BUT...airbrush a couple of real light black lines radiating out from the center. Might work. Doesn't take long to find out. 🙂
    Bang-up job paintin' that bust, too!

    • I have done that Craig, you can't remove the thickness of the disc material. I did get a electric motor set up for a P-47B with a sound chip, and that works great, including the start up and shut down sequence.

  6. Fantastic display of you talents. Very creative.
    California Steve

  7. Very cool perspective. One of the best "spinning " props i've seen is a clear disk with just clear flat sprayed for "blades", and a hint of tip color.

  8. Great display of both creative vision & skill Jack. Not everyone can visualize a scene & bring it to life.
    As far as a spinning prop there is a builder up here in the Midwest who makes his pros spin quite realistically with no run out.He told me how he did it but I couldn't keep up. I'd swear he said something about cell phone vibrators.

  9. that's quite fabulous

  10. SPECTACULAR! The Fw trailing fire and the pilot bailing out is pure modeling genius.

  11. Awesome in every sense of the word, Jack.

  12. Looks great Jack. I knew it would be good, but it looks even better than I imagined. Nick work, indeed !

  13. Great idea and well done executed !

  14. What a cool story. I love hearing (reading?) these types of things. Much as I enjoy seeing and reading about beautifully-built models, something with more of a personal backstory like this is even more enjoyable. Great repurposing (if that's a word).

    And regarding the spinning prop conversation - I would definitely like to hear any other thoughts on the matter. I'm just starting my first diorama in many years, and am toying around with how to go about representing it. The clear disk with hints of blades sprayed on in flat is one I have read about, and I have just obtained some of the p/e propblur things to do a little compare and contrast. I'm not sure either is perfect, but outside of a small motor (which I'm not doing), I'm definitely looking for alternatives.

    • Well Paul, I have thought about this issue for years, and have just about reached the conclusion that leaving the prop hub and removing the blades isn't a bad alternative. I tried cutting back the blades on the P-38 for this project and it doesn't look too bad to me, but more experimentation is probably required.

  15. Great way to display your excellent models Jack. I like how you've mixed the scales and illustrated the spinning props. Very well done.

  16. Great imagination there, Jack, pulled off to great effect, and the smoke is the best I've seen.

  17. Very imaginative display Jack. Enjoyed the story about how it all evolved.
    I think your horse hair prop on the Fw-190 is perfect. It really looks like a propeller "stuttering" as the engine tears itself apart.

  18. Jack,
    Belated praise and I love this. This is artistic and tells story. I would have loved to walk into that hobby shop an seen this display. It would have made the visit something special. Sadly so many shops are now closed. Excellent piece

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