Category Archives: Military Models

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

What the People want:


So, for example, here’s what brought people to my blog yesterday:
More editing tomorrow.

— Information pointed to from here:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23
boeing 707 gray 2
hobby store bay area 2
dh mosquito

— Information here for airplanes and other subjects for modelling:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23

— Information here for paint and finishing:
boeing 707 gray 2
how to sand down excess plastic modeling 2
how to thin model master acryl paint 2
remove decals to model aircraft 1
tamiya paint sets 1spraying with water based paint 1
water based paint diluters

— Information here about Bay Area hobby shops
hobby store bay area 2
san francisco rc plane shop 1

“wwii” and “model kit” and “kids” 2
“air international” magazine index 1

dh mosquito cockpit door 1
grumman f7f tigercat/cabin view 1
1
radio shack electric motor rf-500tb-182 1
thinning water based paint for spraying 1
tamiya acrylic remover 1
dh mosquito 1
model paint stripping 1
and dilute acrylic paints for models 1-20 y 1
boac mosquito 1
removing future floor wax 1

I— nformation *not yet*here
italeri c 27 1/72 2
spray paint for pots and pans 1
système de trim wheel en cockpit 1
misquito twin engine bomber three view 1
revell constellation lufthansa blue tamiya colours 1
cockpit/grumman tigercat/images 2

Project status Italeri 1/72 F-104G/S Starfighter


Italeri F104 G ‘S’Here’s the latest- I took this and the Revell TF 104G on vacation with me. I’d made a drawing that cartooned the instrument panel, based on the Verlinden Lock On book primarily. With that sketch in hand, I painted both kit’s cockpits and fiddly bits, and started gluing, I’ve got this 104’s major fuselage assembled, with cockpit and intakes. Needs wings, aft fuselage attached, so forth. Paint too. Here’s the latest photo of it: Italeri F-104G/S its not actually an S, just a G, no Sparrow or Aspide missile, though there is a pylon for it at least. Interior parts cruder than Revell/Monogram/Revell Germany kit, I’ve painted in parallel. Going to build it as an S and to heck with getting the aft fuselage and intake trunk bulky-ness correct. With an AIM-7-ish missile on the pylon and pretty Italian markings it will look great. Big issue is getting something like but not TOO like British Ocean Gray/Mixed Gray and Dark Green for topside- each nation in NATO has its own paint scheme and the fact that they often resemble the Dark Green, Ocean Gray/Medium Sea Gray Day Fighter scheme from WWII European theater doesn’t mean that exact color matches are in stock.

Project status Airfix 1/76 M4 Sherman


Airfix 1/76 M4 Medium – “Sherman” tank
All *kinds* of progress to report-
I’ve removed the not-straight bogie units from both sides of the hull, coincidentally making it easier to mount the tracks. I’ve fixed the broken or bent track return rollers and applied reddish-brown ‘rust’ to the rollers.

I laminated up the ‘bustle’ of the turret and then sanded it to match the plan from Steve Z’s book.

I had to put a ‘skin’ on the left side of the hull because it took a warp after being left in the car one day… There’s a lesson learned. When I was done, it looked and measured the same as the undamaged part on the right side…

Airfix "M4" Medium Tank, Sherman

Some of the bent styrene rod lifting eyes were not as successful as others: the port side forward and one of the aft eyes on the turret were completely bad. So I’m going to redo them.
I’ve drilled out the bad lifting rings. You can see the bad ones in this photo, and I promise, the bogies I removed were NOT straight…

Airfix M4 (Sherman) with improved turret, gun, return rollers and return skids.

Mosquito cockpit photos on the web, links, descriptions


Lets talk about Mosquito cockpit photos on the web:
First, credit where credit is due:

http://www.mossie.org is a GREAT web site and this first group of photos are found there, and taken by Phil Broad, to whom we are all indebted!

http://www.mossie.org/Phil_Broad/Phil_Broad_Collection.htm

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-10.jpg
This color picture looks b&w- only the dark red, wheel-shaped, handle for the landing gear shows that this really is a color picture. The bomb-bay hydraulic control in this cockpit has a white knob, the flap handle is black. THe interior gray-green on the inside of the fuselage shell just looks gray. The hydraulic control levels are bare metal- plated steel, stainless steel or aluminum. The handles on the magneto switches look like bare aluminum.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-11.jpg
Looking down at the rudder pedals. The rudder pedal yokes and foot rests are black. The bare metal (probably plated or polished) twin hand pump for canopy de-icing system is visible, and the handles on the pump rods seem to be something more than just bare metal.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-12.jpg
Engine instruments, ventilator outlet, three knobs probably associated with dimmers, a white paper in a holder (Compass deviation card?)

The inner (right side) engine and propeller knobs are just visible- on this airplane they are shiny black with a large, whilte “P” which I take to mean Propeller (ie “Pitch”)

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-13.jpg
The prop feathering buttons are black and white, diagonal-striped,with small red markers in the middle. At the center-bottom, somewhat out of focus, you can see the Observer’s Oxygen Economizer, a black box- bakelite perhaps. with a light color (paper or aluminum) plate in the middle. The oxygen hose is dark gray or black, with light highlights or possibly a light color on the external spring wrapping. The grab handle above the passage to the nose compartment is light in this picture,

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-14.jpg
Almost everything is black with white details, and interior gray-green. In this view, the color details are the red covers on the two buttons for the IFF self-destruction equipment. and the red handle on the forward (ie left or port) radiator flap control. The destruct buttons are at the front edge of the big electrical box

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-15.jpg
More Observer’s sidewall and black boxes, black and white instruments, black cable wraps, bare metal connectors for the big cables, switch levers, etc. The forward (left/port) radiator flap control lever is red with a dark yellow knob, the aft (right/starboard) radiator flap control has a white lever with a dark yellow knob.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-16.jpg Pilot’s sidewall alongside the pilot’s seat. Mostly gray-green fuselage shell interior, with a black engine and propeller control box, black electrical boxes, black, white and gray wires and cables,, black and dark red placards (anodized?) The smaller black metal bit, aft, is the pilot’s intercom connection, there’s a dark reddish-brown covered receptacle hanging on a small cable from the nest of cables under the black metal piece. The clip at the front edge looks like its for the receptacle.

The larger electrical box is no remote radio channel push button selector.
There may be a dark red/brown center on the electrical control knob mounted just about the pilot’s armrest. I suspect the straight black tube mounted at the top of the sidewall, just below the canopy, is for the Bowden cable that leads from the rudder trim control (above the center of the instrument panel) back to the rudder trim tab

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-17.jpg
Same area as GMOS-16 but from above..Its easier to see what things are and how they work from a higher perspective

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-18.jpg
Looking down onto the engine and propeller control box, control yoke “Carbon Mic” hookup, pitch trim indicator, etc. Part of the engine instruments too. Placards, brackets, gauges, throttle box, levers, cockpit lights, etc, all black. Cockpit sidewall interior gray-green. Dark brown center on knob that’s probably a lighting dimmer.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-19.jpg
Looking aft at observer’s seat (a nice, dark brown shiny upholstery with modern belts, and no armor plate. Not exactly authentic 1940s. All structure interior gray-green, black panel for fuel cocks and engine cutouts. Fuel cock handles are black, cutout buttons are red. Black receptacle for observer’s headphones, hanging on a medium brown cable. Large multi-wire cables along observer’s side wall are covered in a glossy black material.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-20.jpg
Looking straight up at the canopy roof escape hatch- canopy metal framework is all interior gray-green inside, except for the actual hatch, which has a black frame, and the canopy frames that the hatch touches, which are all yellow.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-21.jpg
Low angle of pilot’s seat and sidewall. All seat structure is black, with black or very dark cushions. In this picture the engine supercharger instructions placard looks distinctly brown. Root Beer color. Photo-flash intense light and age are the likely cause.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-22.jpg
In bomb aimer’s station, looking forward, out the nose transparency. Everything is interior gray-green protective paint, except clear windows, a black rubber hose carrying dry air to the sandwich-construction bombardier’s “flat” window.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/images/012%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.jpg

A pretty nicely restored B-35 cockpit. The condition of the trim wheel at the bottom of the column that supports the pilots instruments shows why I think this is a restoration. So its nice and clean and you’d like to hope the colors are mostly original, cleaned up, or touched-up/repainted with originals as references.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/011%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

A nice view up past the pilot’s seat, showing the vacuum system control, details of the seat and its mounting to the bulkhead.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/013%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

Here’s the pilot’s sidewall, showing trim indicator, engine and propeller controls, misc.. stuff.

http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/index.shtml

KA114
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Cockpit%20Box%20B%20KA114.jpg
This is a recently ( 2005) built fuselage in New Zealand, the second they produced. This electrical box looks very much like the photographs of 1940s production Mosquitos. I say we give them credit for getting the colors right, just as they so clearly got the shapes right.

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg
This is a fighter-bomber (F Mk-26, XXVI) fuselage, with a slightly different rudder pedal box than the bomber version.

NZ2308 – a T Mk 43
<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg
This is a refurbished instrument panel, hydraulics, etc, from NZ2308

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg
The left side of this picture shows the bomb switch panels

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg
Original radio transmitter and reciever.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html
Phillip Treweek has hundreds of very, very nice images of historic airplanes- from in flight to in the bilges. Civil and military, new and old. Replica Fokker Dr-1s to F-111s and F/A-18s, major airliners.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html

Philip Treweek’s photos:

NZ2305 F 40 converted to T-43, sold from Oz to NZ
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html

NZ2328 FB6.
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html “>
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html
Not hugely restored, photo looking aft from entrance. Cockpit is partially stripped, partially disassembled. Dirty gray-green. Intercom and related electrical stuff black with grey/beige cables. Fore and aft trim indicator is black. Control stick is black on both sides.area under the glare shield is interior gray green. Fuel cocks and one cutout button visbile, but not vaccuum control or whatever that other selector is. Engine control torque rods visible behind pilot’s seat.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html
looking straight across from entrance at instrument panel, stick, rudder pedals in same stripped/disassembled state as fmead14.html above. It looks un-restored or at least maintained as built, so wooden pieces are interior gray green, as is seat and related structure. Instrument panel faces are black, rudder pedal yokes are aluminum paint. Cable bundle running across behind the instrument panel is in white/cream wrapping, other cables black, gray, dirty silver? Tubing for instruments and controls is dull aluminum or silver paint. The handle of the control stick appears to be bare metal under a black finish which has worn and cracked off.

NZ2336 FB VI
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html
Another un-restored, maintained as built example, and not as dusty or disassembled as NZ2328. Wooden structure is interior gray-green, rudder pedals silver paint, control column black, throttle box black, black levers including parts that stick out the bottom. Relay rods to engine control torque tubes appear to be interior gray-green. Push-button at aft edge of throttle box is either black or missing, I think missing. I’d expected red. Radio control box and compass case are dark gray, Radio box has black over silver id plate, centered, and gray cable that connects to the back. Radio box and throttle box have crinkle finish, semi-matte, unlike control column which is semi-gloss and smooth.

Dark redish brown floor under pilot’s feet, Dark gray leather(?) rubber(?) over moving parts the control column sticks up from, between dark red foot-boards. Elevator control rod from control column to elevator trim mix appears to be aluminum paint. Left most, larger, inner, friction adjust knob has aged to dark orange. Smaller, outer, right hand friction knob is black. Seat height adjustment lever is chipped black finish over natural metal, with bright red pushbutton at the top, push to unlock probably. Glycol de-icing fluid pump handle and body are shiny natural metal, Sanitary tank or possibly first aid kit under seat is interior gray-green over redish primer

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith10.html
Oh, pure gold! Observer’s sidwall, looking back and up from entrance.
Black electrical boxes. Black knobs and bell-shaped bases for… lamp dimmers? Black gauge and control on a black bracket at the lower back corner of the sidewall electrical box. Black electrical gizmo (terminal strip, ??) has receptacle for observer’s intercom. Dirty white cable bundles along sidewall, with darker brown discoloration like caramel stripe in ice-cream. Bare metal connectors where cables meet sidewall box. Gray individual wires in harness the dips down and then rises over entrance hatch. Dark gray oxygen hose. Wide yellow stripe over entrance hatch. Some sort of gray, crinkle finish metal box next to observer’s leg cushion- trailing antenna winch?
.

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith11.html
More gold, looking back at observer’s and pilot’s seats, with original-looking harness. Big radio box on shelf in back. Dark upholstery on observer’s cushions and pilot’s cushions- black or dark brown color. Original???

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith6.html
Inside of crew hatch- interior green, Beware of propellers red letters on white, solid yrllow latch handle, brown leather loop at top of door rib, etc

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith7.html
The compliment to #9, this shows the pilot’s side up to the canopy frame, seat, sidewall, etc. Wooden surfaces all int. gray-green, Prop knobs same orange as larger friction knob, control stick semigloss black, everything screwed to sidewall is black or dark gray. Tube that carries emergency harness release is light gray/translucent

http://www.kiwircraftimages.com/pages/smith8.html
Looking sligfhtly forward to the instruments and controls Interior gray green, black, dark gray.Orange knobs on throttle box, red prop feathering buttons, seat adjustment lever unlock button. Black, white, gray, wires and cables

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/mp00mos7.html
FB Mk VI NZ2336, Box B, various stuff on the Navigator/Observer’s sidewall- this is a GREAT photo- you can see the bare metal over what might be trailing wire antenna, I think I see a crank on it. The whiteish tubing that the various wire bundles are collected in is aging and discoloring, but very clearly a light color, with silver or natural metal connectors where they attach to Box B. There is also a dimmer and an instrument lamp, and a short cable with a 1/4″ female connector for the headphones/mic. AND the twin red buttons to destroy the IFF and/or radar key components (magnetron?)

Spitfire spares

Flickr Mosquito cockpit pix:
DH Mosquito cockpit shot
low angle view of whole instrument pannel. Very clear.

DH Mosquito cockpit shot LH instrument pane
Engine instruments, throttes and propeller control, stick, dimmers, compass.

DH Mosquito looking rearwards from navigator's seat
Navigator’s back armor, 1154 Transmitter/receiver, Direction finding looop hanging inside canopy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904271707/in/set-72157622008359338/
This is a look down toward the rudder pedals, showing the low instrument panel, etc. You can see the wingnut and spool assembly that locks the two rudder pedals together to immobilize the rudder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904282687/in/set-72157622008359338/
Full instrument panel, A fighter-bomber, I’d guess, since there’s the bomb interval stuff on the center pedestal, This is a really nice photo, of a possibly un-restored example.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/sets/72157622008359338/

Lower instrument panel and obvserver’s side. Bomb controls, rudder pedals some kind of drift sight or other complex aparatus.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904298041/in/set-72157622008359338/
Nice view of a fighter version’s pilot’s sidewall, from compass back to the person sitting in the seat

These next two are (C) Andrew Critchell. The watermarks further say lRPS http://www.aviationphoto.co.uk
Dave Hall’s 1:1 scae Mosquito crew compartment replica. This is not an actua Mosquito, as you can see from the former rings in the bombardier’s compartment, and the absence of cables, hoses, rods, levers, etc. I think this is extremely cool and I’d love to experience it. But its like a big RC model or super detailed static scale model. You
can get an idea how the builder(s) think it should look. Not a primary source, but a secondary source for sure.

My de Havilland Mosquito cockpit drawings:


Mosquito Pr/B Mk IV cockpit and nose This is the set of drawings, on Flickr

de Havilland 98 Mosquito B Mk IV Cockpit Port side 12

My Mosquito crew compartments port side drawing

Mosquito Cockpit Stbd, colored - in

My Mosquito crew areas starboard drawing

My Mosquito from seats forward cockpit drawing

My Mosquito cockpit nose-on drawing

/4332165664/in/set-72157623358284910/”>Forward view (as if looking forward from the wing spar)
Aft view (into the nose transparency)

Masking Tape, over a glossy finish, a sticky question.


My experience has been fairly good, using old-school beige masking tape, Scotch “Magic” (flat) transparent tape, 3M blue tape, or the light green 3M high stick tape. I prefer the 3M blue product. Scotch “Magic” tape can do really sharp lines on flat, smooth, surfaces, but it has no ‘stretch’. It won’t go around complex curves, stretch to fill engraved lines, etc. It can be hard to remove too, if you don’t leave an edge up somewhere.

First you need the base glossy paint to be well attached. Clean all the parts on their trees with Luke warm water and dish detergent, hand soap, light scrubbing with a green dish scrubber, light sanding with 600 or finer wet-dry sand paper, your choice. Do what’s worked for you in the past. Lay the paint down lightly and evenly. Keep the model parts warm enough before and after applying paint. Keep the paint warm too.

Having a gloss finish doesn’t require glossy paint. Future floor wax, gloss finish lacquers, gloss acrylic, gloss enamel, what ever’s right, after all the paint colors are in place, gives the thinnest finish.

If you’ve already got the glossy paint down and you’re wondering how to mask over it, there’s still plenty of little details to attend to.

Roughing the area the second color will go on doesn’t hurt- my problem masking is as much about the second coat not sticking on up to the masking line as it is about the first coat pulling off or separating.

Having a clean, fresh, edge with effective adhesive is VERY important. You can get along with the edges of the roll of tape as it comes from the maker IF its fresh and you just unwrapped or opened it. If the roll is a long term resident on your workbench, or the sides/edges are scruffy, its not going to make a clean, tight, line.

I keep my masking tape in a small zip-log bag now, stand it on its ‘tread’ instead of laying it on its ‘sidewall’, in or out of the bag. When I want a really crisp edge, I take a nice length of tape and my sharpest Fiskar scissors and cut the tape, straight, down the middle- this gives two, straight, sharp, edges. If I need a line longer than the length the Fiskar’s blades, I piece it from several pieces of tape, to make the edge, and fill with a second layer. I don’t overlap the joints, I trim the edges to slightly less than 90 degrees and lay the pieces down point-to-point, starting like:

1st color layer…
=====\/=====\/====
area for 2nd color.

Smallish filler pieces to cover the little triangular gaps are good. In general I find that small, narrow, pieces of tape are easier to use over curves (or to make curves!) than wide tape. I usually buy 1″ (25mm) and often cut it in half or thirds or quarters before I apply it. Getting a crisp edge is NOT the same as covering a large area- mark out the edges with narrow strips, then use full-width strips (or paper or plastic) to cover bulk areas. Yes, its hard to get long, straight, lines with narrower strips. Its hard to get long straight lines with big, wide, pieces too. Once its stretched out of shape, you’re better off throwing it away, or cutting it to the straight edge you need. Piecing out a long line in scissors-length pieces against a metal straight edge is possibly easier than applying a 2 foot (60cm) piece of tape…

Once the tape is down, burnish the edge, and any seams. Something smooth. slightly soft and gently curved like a Bic pen cap, orangewood stick, etc, is good. Fingertips work.

If you’re worried about stuff running under the tape (via deeply engraved panel lines, rough surface, whatever) dust a light coat of the base color or a clear to seal the edge of the tape. EASY does it, no blobs. Just enough to seal.

Now lay the second color down, in light, thin coats. More tape and a third color, etc, can follow. Using flat paint and not having to sand-down gloss finish for subsequent coats to stick to is clearly an advantage….

Some people like to lay a thick, wet, coat down and then lift off the masking as soon as the second color will stay in place… Ummm, that isn’t easy to do in thin, light, coats… Slicing along the tape edge with a brand-new knife blade is good, if you’re making a ‘straight’ line, a straight edge to slice along may help. Slice LIGHTLY, don’t go through the 1st color, or down into the base material of the model.

PEEL the tape, gently, slowly, pull AWAY from the masked edge. Peeling off the tape is a big part of getting a good masked edge. But like all human activities, it isn’t really true that there’s one and only chance, or that it can’t be fixed if there are problems. Personally, if I think any of the paint might still be wet (uncured) I shelve it and come back in a day or two.

But don’t heat something with masking tape on it, or leave it on the dashboard of the car on a summer day… Overheated tape stickum is a complete BEAR to remove. Ask me how I know…. After a year or two, the old, beige tape, stickum would vulcanize or cure or whatever you call it- become stiff and hard and require sandpaper to remove. The new, gentler, “blue” tapes are far more forgiving.

After the tape is off, there may be a ridge where a taped line was. Fine or extra fine fingernail sanding sticks, wet, are good for working down the ridge without losing the sharp edge. The stiff sanding stick is easier to control than a floppy sheet of sandpaper, and you only want to affect the stuff that’s sticking up.

Another reason to paint flat paint and gloss it later.

For natural metal finish with solid colors as well, I cover everything that will be bare metal and do the paint first, completely, including masking-ridge-sanding and the gloss coat, then tape off ALL the paint and spray Testor’s Metalizer (from rattle cans) over the bare plastic. So everything gets masked once, at least. (The airbrush-able Metalizer works just as well, and you can mix it and tint it, but I choose to use my time on other things.)

NEVER try to save materials when masking. Use fresh tape, use more tape, remove the tape and start over if you don’t like what you see. The tape is cheap, your time is expensive.

That said, don’t make your life harder than it needs to be. If you’re painting the tips of wings and rudder, mask the EDGES of the tips off, then cut some slits in a paper bag, and use the bag to cover all the model, except for the little bits you want to paint. Its not saving stuff, just making your life easier. Wrapping something completely in tape isn’t much fun, and risks overspray on gaps that require a lot of inspection to check.

Well, that went on too long, but you’ll have a good time doing multicolor paint and paint + natural metal. You can do the gray wings with polished leading edges, flat aluminum panels, satin finish engine intakes and maybe a titanium bit on the engine pylon.

Take a shot, take some pictures, let us know how it goes for you!

And here’s why its a 2 piece main canopy


Here’s the Monogram Mosquoto canopy from above- These bits of tape held it while the Testors Blue Label non toxic liquid cement dried. The reason Monogram molded the bomber (B Mk IV) canopy in two pieces is to accomidate the blisters on either side, right where the aircrew were sitting. See ’em now?

Note also that the front edge of the lower (left/port) front of the windscreen isn’t matched up to the actually fuselage, yet. in this photo.

DSC_0424

Taped main canopy from aft




Taped main canopy from aft, originally uploaded by wbaiv.

Here’s a thin depth of field photo showing the main canopy from aft, little bits of tape holding the halves while the Testors Non Toxic liquid glue dries.

DSC_0425

Building Plastic Models. How-to, tools to use.


This article presents a “short form” and then repeats the short form with a longer discussion of each point. The goal is to put the basic information needed to build a plastic model into your hands as quickly and easily as I can. Please let me know if you used this guide, what you liked, what could be improved, what you didn’t like. And don’t forget to mention how your model building went!

Minimum Tools:
1) Diagonal cutters or fingernail clippers or kitchen scissors or small pruning clippers…

2) Masking tape, the blue, long-use type…

3) Non-toxic plastic model glue (Testor’s blue label). Like the toxic stuff, it dissolves the plastic to form joints. Very strong when dry.

4) At least a coarse fingernail sanding stick, a piece of sandpaper or an emery board… Coarse

5) A paint stirrer, if you’re using paint.

Optional: 6) A really sharp knife for trimming parts…

7) Some “Future” brand floor wax if you’re using clear parts or decals…

8) A container for water to rinse your brushes, if you’re using paint…

9) A small, fine, flat file and rat-tail round file. The file on a nail clipper will work.

What to do:

1) Wash all the plastic parts in warm water with a little bit of dish detergent. Dry gently.

2) Read the instructions all the way through.

3) Brush 2-3 coats of Future over all clear parts

3.1) If you’re going to use paint, you can put the first, second, etc. coat of paint on the parts while they’re still on the trees. Parts that are glued together will need paint removed where the glue should go, and touch-ups along the seams where trimming, sanding, etc, has removed the paint.

4) Start at the beginning of the instructions, build a subassembly, put it aside for the glue to dry, start the next.

4.1) Fit the parts together dry, without glue. Use tape to hold them in place.

4.2) Use the clippers, knife, sanding stick and file to get each part to fit

4.3) Apply glue lightly, where the parts will touch, back from the edge. Big joints benefit from glue on both pieces.

4.4) Fit the parts together, with many small pieces of tape right across the joints.

4.5) Let the glue dry at least a day. If you can smell glue solvent, its not dry yet.

4.6) After the glue is dry, sand, scrape, file, trim, etc before you continue with the subassembly or before paint.

5) To glue the clear parts, sand or scrape off the Future from where the glue should dissolve the plastic, put the pieces together, tape them in place, ‘wick’ the glue between the parts. Easy does it. You can always make a second pass.

6) Do the final painting of parts when a given subassembly of a given color is together. Not before or after assembly, but during assembly.

7) Most of the work in painting is preparation.

8) Get the piece or subassembly as nice as you can before you start painting.

9) Stir the paint until you are sure it’s completely blended. Then stir one more minute.

10) Don’t expect good paint coverage in 1 coat, use many THIN coats. Sand or scrape off unwanted paint, don’t paint over it.

11) You can mix a lot of colors from red, yellow, blue, black, white and flat aluminum.

12) If the paint seems to dry TOO fast, makes lumps, brush marks, or pull off when you add another coat, add a few DROPS of water, or water mixed with rubbing alcohol, and stir thoroughly.

12.1 ALWAYS clean and dry the top of paint jars, so the lid seals neatly and can be opened easilyl.

13) Future floor wax and the water-based paint don’t react to the non-toxic glue. So you can blot-up extra, especially on the outside.

14) Just let the bare plastic be the basic color when you start with painting. Paint the little bits that should be silver, or black, or other colors that stand out. Paint the interior but not the exterior. Paint the engine but not the body, the wheels and tires (on airplanes) but not the wings.

15) If you really must paint the whole thing, use many thin color coats. If you want shiny paint, you can paint with a flat paint that’s easy to use, followed by several coats of Future to make it shiny. Expect it to take a week. Or more.

16) I use and recomend Polly Scale acrylic paint for models. Also Testor’s Model Master Acryl (water based) and Tamiya water/alcohol based paint. Tamiya’s spray paints are pretty neat too, but they’re NOT water based or non-toxic. I leave anything I spray outdoors or at least in the garage for 24 hours.

17) Check your public and school library for “Fine Scale Modeler” (USA) or your local model builder’s magazine. FSM, and the others, also have web-sites. You can find reviews and advice on how to build, paint, and improve many models onine.

18) Internet Modeler and Hyperscale are other general-modeling sites. Modelling Madness tends more toward military airplanes, Airline Modelers Digest (AMD) and Airliner Cafe are specificly for commercial, passenger, aircraft.

19) In the southern San Francisco Bay Area, The Silicon Valley Scale Modelers club meets every 3rd Friday-of-the-month in the Milpitas Library meeting room. 7:00 to 10:30 pm. The Fremont Hornets meet at 7:30pm, Wally Pond Irvington Community Center, 41885 Blacow Road, Fremont, CA, similar hours. New modelers are always welcome at both clubs.

Look online or ask at your local hobby shop for the club in your neighborhood.

———-========== Long Form ==========———-

1) Diagonal cutters or fingernail clippers or kitchen scissors or small pruning clippers or some other small tool for neatly cutting the parts off the trees. Put the flat (bottom) side of cutters against the part, the stuff you want, and let the connection to the tree get mushed by the diagonal part of the cutters. You can use a sharp knife for this but clippers are easier. If you use a knife, cut against a plastic or wood cutting board or the back of an old phone book or something like that- thick, smooth, something the knife can’t either hurt or cut all the way through.

2) At least a coarse fingernail sanding stick to smooth the clipped edges and any ‘flash’ or wrong-shaped areas on the parts. A medium and a fine stick would be good too- start with the coarse, then the medium, then finish with the fine. The colored ones with white foam inside them are waterproof and you can get better results by using them ‘wet’ with a little water from the sink. Experiment on the part trees to see what you can do with them. A piece of sandpaper- 100 to 300 grit, would work if you can’t get fingernail sanders. “Emery boards”, with beige stuff on wooden or cardboard sticks, are NOT waterproof and will fall apart if you wet them, but they work too. Medium Fine

3) Masking tape to hold the parts in place while the glue dries. I prefer the long-life stuff that’s colored blue- you can leave it on for weeks and it doesn’t get ‘funny’, the way the old beige style does. One roll will last for years. A given model needs maybe a foot, or less. Use lots of little pieces right at the seams to hold parts.

4) Non-toxic plastic model glue. Testor’s make a liquid and a gel ‘glue’ that are flamiable, but not toxic… neat trick that. The tubes and bottles have blue labels, to be different from the red-orange label on their toxic, flamable, glue… I’ve been using the non-toxic for years, it works great. It really melts the plastic, but doesn’t give you a headache. Work in good ventilation anyway- open the window, sit outside, leave parts that are drying somewhere that the fumes can escape easily (garage, on the porch, etc.)

5) A paint stirrer. A piece of solid copper wire, a large, long, shiny nail, a small, clean, screwdriver. Something metal that you can put into the paint, stir with (like a wooden stirring stick for house paint) and rinse off in hot water and/or with a scrubber to get ALL the paint off it.

6) A really sharp knife for trimming parts. You can get along with just clippers and sanding sticks, but a knife will make short work of small trimming jobs. It can also be used to carve away extra glue or melted plastic at joints, or scrape adjacent surfaces to a common plane (or curve). A sharply pointed knife can do many jobs you might expect to require a drill- making holes enlarging holes or openings in parts. A kitchen pairing knife that’s been sharpened will do, as will any other small pocket knife that is sharp, or a box cutter, X-acto knife, scalpel, etc. Single-edge razor blades are more trouble than they are worth for plastic models. A small Xacto knife handle and small package of #11 pointed blades is a part of many modeler’s tool kits.

7) Some “Future” brand floor wax- if you don’t use it in your house, maybe one of your friends or neighbors does. Its like magic, two or three coats over ‘flat’ paint and it looks like the part was dipped in glass. SO shiny! It completely protects clear parts from damage by solvent glue, both non-toxic and toxic kinds. And it cleans up with water. Its also a good undercoat for decals, which work best on a glossy surface, and a top coat to seal them. If you want a dull, flat, finish, a barrier coat of Future followed by Testor’s Dullcote from a rattle can will do the trick.

8) A container for water to rinse your brushes in as soon as you finish using them. A plastic deli container, plastic drink container, etc, anything you can rinse out with HOT water and scrub off extra paint will work. Empty jars are good, coffee cups with broken handles, salsa containers from a resturant. A damp paper towel works almost as well.

9) One or more small, fine, files, 4 to 8 inches long. The most useful are a flat one and a round, tapered, rat-tail. The file from a nail-clipper is a start, a but you’ll soon want more than you can do with it. An inexpensive file assortment will last a lifetime. Use a wire brush to clean the faces if they get clogged with plastic.

What to do:

1) Wash all the plastic parts in warm (not hot, like bath water when you’re done) water with a little bit of dish detergent. Use your fingertips to rub soapy water all over all the parts- they’re cleaner and softer than any sponge or brush. Rinse well, pat dry with a towel and then let the parts air dry completely. This will remove any oil or ‘mold release’ that might be on the plastic and allow paint and glue to work best.

2) Read the instructions all the way through, find all the parts, figure out how they fit together. NEVER apply cement unless you’ve put the parts together FIRST and confirmed that you’ve got the right ones and you know the way to assemble them. Ask me how I know this…. For complex stuff, assemble the parts and tape them together. When you’re ready to glue, take off all the tape, stick it on the edge of something, stick it back on as you glue things together.

3) For the clear parts, you don’t have to wait for the parts to dry- Use the wide, flat brush to paint Future floor wax, maybe with a little tap water on the brush to start, lightly and smoothly over all the clear parts. Don’t make big puddles, just a little, light coat, everywhere. When the parts are covered, prop them up somewhere where any excess can drip off and no dust will fall on them. Alone, inside the box the kit came in, is good. When the first coat is dry, 20-60 minutes, put another light coat on. You want complete coverage. When its time to glue on the clear parts, scrape or sand off the Future where you want the glue to work. The Future will serve as a barrier and keep the rest of the clear parts from being damaged by glue. No finger prints, no white clouds, just shiny, clear, parts.

4) Start at the beginning of the instructions and build sub-assemblies. If you’re painting, stop when you get all of a given color together- for example, the cockpit of an airplane or engine block of a car. Put it aside for the glue to dry, and go back and build more. Cut out, trim, fit, glue, tape, let it sit, repeat. Test-fit and Clean-up the sub-assemblies before assembling them further.

4.1) Fit all the major parts together dry, without glue, before you apply glue. Use tape to hold the parts in place, see how it all fits, and where adjustments may be needed. This is when you check that all the tires of a vehicle will touch the ground at the same time, that you’ve got enough wieght in the nose of an airplane, etc.

4.2) Use the clippers, knife, sanding stick and file to get each part to fit, and look right. Remove material slowly, its much harder to add! If you think you need to use the knife, try the file first. If you think you need the file, try the sanding stick. Everything should fit with no effort needed to hold it in place, but only just.

4.3) Apply glue lightly, where the parts will touch, some distance back from the edge if you can. Big joints like body or fuselage or wings benefit from light glue on both pieces. Most small parts are fine with glue on just one before joining. I prefer liquid glue because I can apply less of it, but small amounts are still very sticky, as they disolve the plastic.

4.4) Fit the parts together, with many small pieces of tape right across the joints. If parts fit perfectly, you can tape them tightly in place FIRST and then apply the glue, wicking it along the seam, or apply it from the inside or back-side. Many small parts will stay put without tape or other clamping. It may help to prop the sub-assembly against or on top of the kit box, on paint jars, etc. Long, thin, parts, like landing gear, gear shift levers, etc., dry well while hanging straight down. This may be easier to arrange than taping them firmly in place AND correctly aligned.

4.5) Let the glue dry at least a day. If you can smell the glue solvent, its not dry yet. You CAN check alignment and gently manipulate parts that aren’t right- SMALL adjustments of a few degrees are ok, larges ones may need re-gluing. To hold airplane models in place while horizontal stabilizers, rudders, engine pods, antennae and so forth are drying, I slide one wing between a tight bunch of books on a bookshelf. putting the plane vertical. You can check of alignment of parts that should be 90 degrees apart by holding them directly above a CD case or a book or some other stiff, right-angled, object. Sight along the center lines of the parts- surface to surface angles are affected by any taper in the form of the part, so the correct 90 degrees at the center of two surfaces might be 95 degrees from the surface of one to the surface of the other

4.6) After the glue is dry, sand, scrape, file, trim, etc before you continue with the subassembly or before paint.

5) To glue the clear parts, sand or scrape off the Future from where the glue should dissolve the plastic, put the pieces together, tape them in place, ‘wick’ the glue between the parts. Easy does it. You can always make a second pass.

6) Do the final painting of parts when a given subassembly of a given color is together. Not before or after assembly, but during assembly. You can start painting the parts while on the trees, and do most of it there, but not all. Other than Future on the clear parts, the final paint needs to happen when all the stuff that is going to be one color or related colors put together. So, for example, you can start painting the seats, or the engine block or transmission, on the trees, but then assemble and let the glue dry, THEN do the finaly paint. Paint will prevent the glue from melting the plastic, so you need to remove it from the gluing surface but you don’t want to glue things together that will be different colors if you can paint them separately. If you get paint on the parts that the glue should be on, just wipe it off with a paper towel, and when it dries, scrape it off with the edge of a knife blade or sand it gently with the coarse sanding stick. (or fine, etc.) So paint the steering wheel, gear shift, parking brake, etc, now.

7) Stir the paint until you are sure it’s completely blended. EVERY time. Then stir for at least one more minute. This allows you to build up thin coats, all the same color. If you don’t stir completely, they won’t be the same color.

8) DON’T try to paint anything with one coat. For a good gloss, you’ll need at least 2-3 coats of Future. For a good black over white plastic, 2-4 coats, letting them dry in between. FOr a good white over black, it might take 5-7 coats. For red or yellow, put a coat or two of white under it unless you’re painting over clean, white, plastic. If you get a splotch of paint where you don’t want it, don’t try to hide it with another color. Clean it up NOW, using warm-hot water and a paper towel. If something goes really wrong you can always dunk the model pieces under running, hot water and the old finish will disappear. You can scrub with fingers and a dish scrubber, and detergent. If it dries, you can gently sand (with running water and fine sanding stick) or scrape with a knife.

9) You can mix almost any color from red, yellow, blue, white and black and flat aluminum. Mix small amounts on a plastic container lid, wash the stirrer in the sink with warm water and a scrubber between colors, don’t contaminate one jar with paint from onother. Start with equal (one drop) amounts, use simple formulas you can remember and re-create: 1 drop red, 10 drops white for a pink, for example. Put the drops next to each other rather than on top of each other, and use your big brush to pull in the color you want to get the shade you need. Write down the recipe you like on the plans of the model, right next to the assembly you are painting. Orange = Red and Yellow, Purple = Red and Blue, Green = Blue and Yellow. Olive green = Yellow and Black. Brown = equal parts of Red, Yellow, Blues. Metalic gray is a little black and a little flat aluminum. Lighten to taste with white. Transparent red for tail lights is a little red and a little Future floor wax Transparent orange for turn signals and front markers is a little red, a little yellow, a little Future floor wax. Do your mixing in a disposable pastic container, a deli pint or coffee can lid, ice-tray you bought at the junk store, etc. If the paint dries, you can throw it away. Color and black is a “Tone”. Color and white is a “Tint”. Color with black and white is a colored gray.

10) If the paint seems to dry TOO fast, makes lumps or big brush marks, or applying the second coat seems to pull off the first coat, add a few DROPS of water or water mixed with rubbing alcohol, stir thoroughly, try again. NEVER more than 5 drops at a time. Once you put in too much water, its REALLY hard to get it out! (But you can, if you let the paint settle so the color is at the bottom, then take off a few DROPS of the clear liquid using a brush…)

11) To glue on the clear parts, sand or scrape off the Future floor wax from where the glue should disolve the plastic, put the pieces together, tape them in place, then gently apply the glue and let capilary action ‘wick’ the glue into the spaces between the parts. You can use this same technique for any big seam, but it works best when there’s an ‘inside’ or ‘underside’ (that nobody will see) that you can work from. Some of the glue will stay on the surface of the seam. To make your seams more invisible, apply the glue at the back edge of the parts and let it get squeezed out to the front.

12) Because the Future floor wax (and the water-based paint) don’t react to the glue, you can use a piece of power towel or tissue paper to blot-up extra glue, especially from external parts like door mirrors and other things on the outside of the body.

13) Let the bare plastic color be the body color when you start with paint your kits, don’t try to paint everything to start with. Painting is a lot of work and can be very frustrating. Let yourself enjoy building the kit and get it done. Paint some things with solid colors, enjoy the effect. If you really must paint the body, use many thin brush coats, after thoroughly stirring the paint, followed by several coats of Future, or many, thin, spray can coats… followed by Future. Expect it to take a week to get done.

14) Check your public and school library for “Fine Scale MOdeller” magazine. They also have a web-site and there are hundreds of modelers out on the web. You can probably find reviews of this kit and advice on how to build it. You can certainly find advice on paint.

15) Check your public and school library for “Fine Scale Modeler”, “Model Builder International”, “Modelist Konstructor”, etc, magazines. Many of these also have a web-site. (http://www.finescale.com/fsm/) Web membership is free, and you don’t have to subscribe to the magazine. You can find reviews and advice on how to build, paint, and improve many models in their forums.

16) Internet Modeler (http://www.internetmodeler.com/) and Hyperscale http://hyperscale.com/) are other general-modeling sites. Modelling Madness (http://hyperscale.com/) tends more toward military airplanes, Airline Modelers Digest (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/airlinermodelling ) and Airliner Cafe (http://www.airlinercafe.com/)are specificly for commercial, passenger, aircraft. http://www.rocketfin.com/model_car_links.html is a page full of links to automotive-related modeling sites. Steel Navy (http://www.steelnavy.com/) is for ship modellers, mostly military ships. http://www.combinedfleet.com/kaigun.htm focuses on the Imperial Navy of Japan, ending in 1945.

The Silicon Valley Scale Modelers club meets every 3rd Friday in the Milpitas, CA. Library meeting room. The Fremont Hornets meet at 7:30pm, Wally Pond Irvington Community Center, 41885 Blacow Road, Fremont, CA You can find help and advice at either club, and ask questions of other modelers, or just sit and watch. Both are chartered by the IPMS/USA, the International Plastic Modeler’s Society, which formed in the 1960s in the UK. Most of every meeting is “Model Talk”, where each person talks about the model they are working on, or the one they just finished. Its free, and its fun. There are door prizes for those who bring a model to share, done or not. New modelers, their parents and friends are aways welcome at both clubs.