Monthly Archives: June 2011

Glad you asked: 1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear. Working landing gear in general

Among the not so surprising list of searches that brought people to my blog, yesterdays list (below) included one dear indeed to my heart: “1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear”

Ah yes, the great divide. Are we building scale models or toys? I come down firmly on the “toys” side, although many fine people I know personally are probably closer to scale modelers. I have to admit that almost any working feature of a model, particularly from a plastic kit, is going to compromise accuracy to some extent. Turning and propellers, wheels, maybe not so much. Opening doors, hatches? Mmmm, tricky. Retractable landing gear? Almost never truely ‘in scale’, but it HAS been done.

Personal experiences with working, retractable, landing gear:

1/32 Revell Supermarine Spitfire Mk I. Moving control surfaces and sliding canopy too.

1/32 Monogram North American P-51D Mustang. In “Phantom Mustang” or P-51 or F-51 form, this kit has retractable main gear and a tail wheel that are all actuated by turning a wheel on the belly. For the Phantom kit, an electric motor and gear train does the work. For the non-Phantom releases, the gear fixed to the plane becomes a knob to turn. Also comes with sliding canopy and bomb releases (again, under the belly for the controls in the pylon that the Phantom kit mounts on.)

1/32 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M Riesen “type Zero” fighter. Tiny super-strong magnets are said to hold the moving pieces in place, and there’s a hidden socket for a crank to operate the gear… or so I have read.

1/32 Revell Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat. Not only retractable, the complex multi-link F3F and F4F setup that brought the wheels up to sit flush with the lower sides of the fuselage. I keep meaning to buy one of these and see how well it works…

1/32 planes that do NOT have working retractable landing gear:

1/32 Revell Hawker Hurricane I or “II” (its not a II and would take much effort- buy a 2 hand copy of the original Mk I kit if you want one of these…)

1/32 Revell Hawker/BAe Harrier / AV-8A. If I’d been in charge… but I wasn’t. Not retractible. The Airfix 1/24 kits has retractible gear, but other issues.

1/32 Revell Bristol Beaufighter. Alas, this would be a good place for a home-made setup, dead easy, but not the way they made the kit. Very much tooled to a price, with just about nothing in the fuselage (and no way to see it…) Still how cool is it to have this?!

Yesterday’s search terms.

x-4 bantam cockpit 2
light gull grey acrilico 2
islader 1/72 2
polly scale paints 2
tamiya u.s. interior green mix 2
thinning vallejo 26.526 1
mosquito de interior 1
how to dull the finish of a plastic model? 1
trislander 1
paint striper for plastic models 1
eclipse tptp vs netbeans profiler 1
water based model paint 1
bac 707 gray 1
hawk 75 cutaway 1
how long does it take to build plastic models 1
diluting water based paint for glaze 1
how to mix model paints 1
hobby shops in san francisco 1
“…the place god calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” -frederick buechner 1
xf-56 1
tamiya spray paint solvents 1
future floor wax remover 1
building plastic model links 1
r/c car store in bay area 1
mosquito fuselage 1
elo easy lift off 1
sbd-5 camouflage 1
mosquito instrument panel 1
polly scale model railroads paints 1
airplanes painted black 1
who bought out hobby enterprises model airplane kits 1
deionized water acrylic paints 1
rc cars in bayarea 1
1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear 1

There’s always something more to learn… or remember!

Some Mac OS-X tidbits I picked up or recalled. I realize this seems somewhat dim of me…

1) Closing the window is NOT the same as quitting the application. For one thing, the application is still running, as you can see from the Mac’s menu bar. Also see the Activity Monitor, or ps -ef in a terminal window.

This small detail saw me fumbling through the latest iTunes update- I’ve got a dialog box asking me to exit the app and i’m thinking, “Gee, I closed the window, what does it want?” Well, of course, what it wants is for me to select “iTunes” in the menu bar, once I get the menu into iTunes mode, and slide the pointer down to select “Quit iTunes”… how is it I forgot that? Well, I remember again!

2) Force your Mac to boot from the cd/dvd? Hold down “C” while (re)booting. Similar to forcing a system to disgorge the cd/dvd by holding down the mouse. Of course, you can also set the boot disk via System Preferences, Startup Disk, to the Super Drive.

a timeless and beautiful thing: the National / Avery 43648 notebook

run a search on “computation book green 43648” or click on

I have about a dozen of my notebooks from the last 20 years, and I’ve gone through another dozen or dozen and a half at work. The majority are this delightful notebook. You have to reduce to 93% if you want a clean 8 1/2 X 11 photocopy of one page. Two facing pages can be copied onto a 17 X 11 double sheet. Both pencil and pen sketches work just fine. The quad-rule makes for easy graphics, lists, tables, histograms and bar-graphs. The little black and white cover composition books used in schools I attended have too-small pages, not enough paper on a facing pair to capture a whole idea. Sorry, but that’s my experience. I tried, it just didn’t work for me.