And Here’s Another “Lost Project”…

I’m just trying to clear some of the "junk" off my desk. Already got the egg plane out of there. Next order of business is the HobbyBoss 1/72 F4F-4 Wildcat plane. Based on my own careful records–okay, I just looked at the date on the most recent posted picture–the last time I worked on this was October of last year. I abandoned it when I realized that there was no way I was going to get it done in time for the Club same-kit contest (that’d be a contest where all the participants are all doing a 1/72 HobbyBoss Wildcat–in case that wasn’t obvious.
 
Fortunately(?), it was abandoned very close to completion. I was at the point where there were about four pieces left to add–including the canopy–and it had been lacquered and ready to apply some line washes to. So… While watching a bit of "Ocean’s Eleven" (the remake) via Netflix on the Xbox, I did a little more work. Now there’s only two pieces left to add, some painting, and those line washes. With luck, this one will look good enough to throw in the contest in May. With even more luck, I’ll try to get at least one more model done before mid-May.

1/72 Wildcat: Not Done

That’s right… I cruised right by the contest deadline. Mostly because I was working on that P.K.A.F.S. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though… I was trying to work on both of them at the same time–which probably resulted in twice as many models looking half as good as they could.
 
At any rate, I made it pretty far. Despite my original, somewhat negative, impressions of this HobbyBoss kit, it’s grown on me. Construction couldn’t be simpler. Painting’s been a breeze so far, and the decals are of decent quality (they snug down tight, even before the decal setting solution is used).
 
It’s still got a bit of a ways to go. I still need to go over it with washes, touch up at least one area with paint, do some slight weathering, hit it with even more Dullcote, and then add the canopy onto the top.
 
The unexpected thing is that I want to finish it. This model has really grabbed my attention to the point where I think I like it and i’m looking forward to seeing it done. It’s no Tamiya 1/72 kit. It’s not even quite up to Hasegawa levels, but it is looking pretty good.
 
So, even though I missed the contest and I’m only building this thing for myself now, I will finish building it. This won’t end up sitting incomplete in a box on the shelf.

Putting Lipstick on the Pig: The HobbyBoss 1/72 F4F-4 Wildcat

Every year, our local IPMS chapter tries to have a little contest. We usually shoot to have it done in three months and it usually turns into six. In 2006, it was a 1/32 post-apocalyptic car challenge, in 2007, it was the 1/72 F4U Corsair challenge, and this year? This year, we’re all doing a 1/72 Wildcat. Specifically, a 1/72 HobbyBoss Wildcat. No problem there–they make four different Wildcats, all of which are widely available at local hobby shops (and online) and all retail for under $10. To sweeten the deal, one of the members ordered an aftermarket set of decals/markings for 1/72 Wildcats so we all wouldn’t be sitting there staring at the same paint schemes.
 
Great idea–these things always start out with a fairly decent amount of enthusiasm. And here we are… Several monts later and nine days away from the contest. And… The propeller is painted… It’s a start! HobbyBoss 1/72 WWII aircraft are notoroiously simple in construction: One-piece fuselage, simplified cowling, etc. It keeps the parts count under 25 pieces. I think I could probably knock this thing out in 6-8 hours of work. The problem is motivation.
 
I just came off that Heinrich build and I’m looking for something fun. This Wildcat, while easy, doesn’t exactly fit the bill. Fortunately, I’ve got some items coming in the mail today that may give me the motivation I’m looking for. More about that soon…

First Impressions: P-47 Thunderbolt EGG PLANE

 
There’s progress being made on the Heinrich build–in fact, I think the end is in sight. I don’t, however, have any pictures to back up that statement. And I think that any progress I do show needs to have some progress behind it. Before I left this morning, I actually rested the torso on the legs so it was free-standing. The legs still need quite a bit of work before they’re done, though. So with all that un-progress being thrown about, I’ll just hold off till I can actually show something.

I think it’s probably a stretch calling this "Real World: Scale Aircraft", but it’s certainly based on a real enough plane. It’s just a slightly distorted proportion. Okay, it’s a very distorted proportion, but that’s what makes it cute.

 
The parts count on these kits are very, very low. Like, "HobbyBoss" 1/72 aircraft, but with even less cockpit detail. For that matter, surface and engine detail are very under-stated, as well. There are no wheel wells, and the only engraved lines present are for the control surfaces. These kits aren’t supposed to be accurate representations of their real-world counterparts, in case you couldn’t tell. The wings (on this kit) are a single piece for each wing, although their F4U Corsair egg plane actually has top and bottom wing pieces. In short, these are very simplified representations (remember: "cute"). They were also originally molded some 20 years ago–which is why some other kits have raised panel lines and other things you don’t see so often in modern kits.
 
I’ve actually had a chance to start in on this kit. My original goal was to crank this out in time for a contest, but–due to car trouble and other obligations–I’m probably done with contests for 2008. The progress I’ve made so far has been a little shaky. Parts fit has been reasonably good, but parts alignment hasn’t been so good. The only real parts that need to match up well are the fuselage halves and… They don’t line up very well at all. Plan on spending some time with putty and sandpaper with this kit in order to get the fuselage presentable–even in its intentionally distorted state. I think once I get past that, this kit should fly together without any additional difficulties. The kit contains markings for two aircraft in two very different paint schemes, so there is some choice to be had with the kit. For that matter, the decals look very nice and shouldn’t present any problems. And, unlike the HobbyBoss 1/72 aircraft, stripe decals are included, where appropriate.
 
I’d still recommend this to anyone looking for a break from the usual. I think this will be a cute little conversation piece once it’s finished. My daughter already likes it, and I haven’t even put any paint to it. In terms of skill level–aside from the issue with the fuselage–I think just about any modeler can take a shot at one of these. It’s cute, it’s small, and it’s relatively easy.
 
And no, they don’t come with the little cartoon figures on the box cover.

For a look at some other Egg Planes, check out the following previews on ModelingMadness.com:

More Polikarpov Art

I’m still not finished working on the new room, but I should be in a few more days. In the interim, I’ll write down a little bit about my latest build: A winter-equipped (skis instead of wheels) Polikarpov I-16, in 1/72 scale. The kit started out as the Hasegawa Finnish Air Force I-16, but I really didn’t like the colors or the markings on that one, so I did some poking around to try to find something different. Specifically, I wanted to find a scheme–that I could hand-paint, and use the decals I had on-hand–for an I-16 with skis. It took a lot of poking around and searching, but I eventually ended up with about a half-dozen candidates. From those, I decided on one I found over on a site called "Modeling the Aircraft of the Soviet VVS 1917-1950". As luck would have it, it’s also the only one I found with a reference photo–albeit it was of a wrecked aircraft.
 
On that site, I couldn’t really find a lot of information about the aircraft in question, other than it was flown during the winter of 1940-1941. Apparently, there were a couple more photos, but I couldn’t find them online. Basically, the unit flying these aircraft (at least, in these colors) was unknown and therefore the pilots were also unknown. All we really know is that they were I-16 Type 10’s, flown in those colors. Alright. It’s enough to go on to complete a model.
 
So, with no modeling workspace to speak of, and only a week to complete, I started building. Specifically, I started building it late at night, on the living room floor, while watching a live feed of "Big Brother" on Showtime 2. At least it wasn’t overly distracting. For the painting, I moved on to hand-painting it at the breakfast bar in the kitchen.
 
The build was very straightforward. Thanks to the use of Tamiya Extra-Thin Cement, I didn’t need to do any seam-filling. Just sanding some join-points. The only complicated part of the build were the ski landing gear. Lots of little pieces that didn’t want to line up. I snapped a piece in half, but it’s well-hidden in the final build. Construction was finished somewhere around a Thursday–after starting it three days previous. Once it was assembled I noticed that I didn’t have the skis aligned with one another. As a result, it sat a little bit crooked. Noticeably so. And with no time to fix it, I decided to "hide" this error by displaying it on a round mirror as a base. This worked surprisingly well.
 
From there, it was on to painting. This resulted in a last-minute run to the hobby store, as the glossy white didn’t lay right, but the flat white did. After that, I just painted it pretty-well as you see it in the reference pictures. The only discrepancy was where the black ended unerneath the fuselage. The profile picture shows it extending back to the rear of the wings, whereas the black and white picture seems to suggest that it ends almost directly behind the wheel well. I opted to follow the photograph.
 
The decals were interesting, as they were pulled from several different sources, but they ultimately match the profile picture, with the exception of the number. My build is #2, whereas the profile is #12. As the other photograph (which I haven’t seen) also shows aircraft numbers 3, 6, and 9; I think I’m probably okay with my 2.
 
It’s already been through one contest (took 1st in its category), and I’ll probably put it through the regional contest in May. Between now and then, I’ll need to do some touching up. And I’ll try to get some pictures up. Until then, at least I’ve written down what I did so far.

NOTE: I’ve taken the precaution of temporarily disabling comments on blog entries or photos. This is in response to something happening elsewhere across the "interweb". Not that I’ve had a lot of comments, anyways, but the ones I’ve had are deeply appreciated (I’m looking at you two, kchusker and bratty). If (and it’s a great big "if") you want to comment on a blog entry, send me a message–which you can do straight through my li’l ol’ Space here–and I’ll modify the blog entry to include it. Thanks.

The P-39 Nightmare

Tuesday night, I went out and bought some fishing weights, so I was finally able to move forward on the P-39N. Of course, for every two steps forward, I felt like I was making nine steps back.
 
First, the weights… I bought some small weights. Small enough where I (correctly) figured out that it was going to take three of them to hold the plane in balance, and not have it falling back on its tail. That’s where the nightmare began. I’ll spare the gory details (because there’s over an hour’s worth, probably) and just say that I mashed and squashed the heck out of those fishing weights before managing to get one of them directly under the pilot’s seat and two of them shoved in the nose section.
 
While trying to do that, I got a lot of CA glue in a lot of places I didn’t want to, managed to remove a significant amount of paint with the CA remover, and scratched off even more paint with an Xacto knife (don’t ask). But wait… It does get worse. Looking at that picture, the bottom half there, with the wings, the rear and front fuselage undersides? Yeah… Snapped that in two. Right between the wings and the front fuselage. It’s not important how it happened, other than to say that–in some places–the fit isn’t as great as it could be.
 
I was ready to throw the whole thing away. I’d even dug out my "Plan B" aircraft from one of the boxes of models packed away for the move. Just for one last look at my failure, I put the whole thing back together. To my complete and utter shock, I could barely tell where the break was. Once I get paint on it, I don’t think the casual, untrained eye will spot it at all. So… I carefully put the whole thing back together, applied more CA, applied more CA remover to clean up the excess CA, and called it a night on that one. The best news is that now it does finally sit on its landing gear. Such a great deal of work for such a tiny plane. There had to be an easier solution. If there isn’t, I can’t recommend this kit to anyone. In fact, it’s probably enough to turn me off of P-39’s entirely.
 
For now, I’m going to continue onward with this plane, but it may yet end up in the trash bin.

New Project: Gulayev’s P-39N

That’s right… I’ve started another one–a P-39N in 1/72 scale. This is the HobbyBoss offering, which is pretty interesting. The kit is only $8.99 at the local hobby store, but I won mine in a raffle drawing. At that price, you don’t expect a lot, and this one… Well… It’s interesting. The fuselage is basically one piece–something I’m not used to seeing in aircraft kits, but it sure simplifies things for seam lines. Construction is really straightforward and simple, and the quality of the model seems to be better than what I’d expect at that price. In short, I’ve been impressed with this thing. I do, however, need to figure out how to get some weight into the nose, as the P-39 is ass-heavy and tends to tip that way.
 
Rather than go with the included markings and painting instructions, I’m opting to utilize a set of Eduard markings that I’ve had lying around forever. As such, I’m decorating the plane after Nikolai Gulayev’s P-39N. He was a Soviet pilot who made 57 air victories ("kills") by the end of the war. One of the highest tallies of the Soviet pilots–or any pilot, for that matter. Although the P-39 was not a popular plane with the western allies (slow climb rate, sometimes quirky handling, due to its center of gravity), the Soviets put this American-built plane to great use, under the Lend-Lease Program.
 
There’s enough of a history. My big stumbling block right now is trying to figure out how to get some extra weight in the nose so it doesn’t fall back on two wheels, with the tail sitting on the ground. Once I figure that out, I’ll get on to applying the markings and washes, hopefully in the next couple of days.