Tuesday, 6 October 2015

My completed - Tamiya 1/48 Heinkel He-162A-2 'Abandoned'

''In 1945, as our forces advanced into Germany, we often came across abandoned airfields,
plenty of which had operable enemy aircraft still lined-up and ready to fly, others left in
varying states of decay whether through being simply unrepairable, damaged beyond repair by our a ground-strafing aircraft, or vandalised by their own ground crews to stop them falling into our hands - these machines were the perfect war trophies to be dissected by both our military technical experts and the ever-present souvenir hunters alike................''

''It’s late November, 1945, LeckGermany:

The war in Europe ended almost 7 months ago, and abandoned in the corner of a large,
shattered hangar sits a futuristic, if somewhat peculiar-looking fighter aircraft with a BMW jet engine sitting atop its slender fuselage.  She appears harmless now, her 20 mm machine guns long-since removed; she's covered in dust and grime from months of dereliction, her unpainted fuselage dulled, and the grey putty that covers some of her panel lines discoloured.'' 

''Just before the war ended, I clearly remember the ‘on-the-ball’ sergeant that discovered this particular machine was booby-trapped……We never expected her to still be here all these months later - the lieutenant reckons she was 'made safe' back in May and that the stark danger warnings, crudely painted on wood, were left in place by someone with a dark sense of humour or to dissuade would-be souvenir hunters like us.'' 

''Either way, none of us want to have survived the war just to be killed rummaging around this old piece of junk..............''

See part 3 HERE
See part 2 HERE
See part 1 HERE

Monday, 5 October 2015

Progress #3 of my 1/48 Tamiya - Heinkel He 162 A-2

Hello comrades........... Well, she is complete and my Luftwaffe Group Build has also finished as of 30th Sept, 2015.  Within this blog entry I'll get you up to speed with the methods behind the chaos that was this build, and I'm not joking, at times it was chaotic with lots of swearing/cursing! ;)

Okay, first things first - my primed model was pre-shaded with black (no photos of this step, but you know how it works, and if in doubt spray the complete model black as a base coat, which maybe what I'll do from now on).

Photo above:  When last we 'chatted' I was dreading creating a realistic natural metal finish, and for good reason...........the paint job caused me a headache and a half, and then some. The paint I used is very delicate once laid down so masking tape easily removed it, even when coated in Klear and giving it plenty of time to dry. This meant parts of the fuselage had to be masked and re-masked multiple times, and in certain areas sanded down to the bare plastic to avoid getting a 'step' in the paint job.

What I set out to achieve was various shades of the base metal, as though different sheet metal was used for construction, and that these metal panels had weathered to varying degrees - all this was intended to create an interesting model to view in my display case.

I was not using Tamiya paints as seen propping up my 162 in the photo, but was actually using Vallejo Model Metallic Air 'Aluminum' (71062), a very nice if somewhat delicate paint. 

After several attempts at painting bare metal and several frustrating 'rubbing away these attempts' with wet & dry sand paper, I finally managed to create a reasonable finish that depicted various coloured 'aluminum' panels - by the way, this was achieved by simply adding black/grey and white to my aluminum to knock the shades up and down.  

With my natural metal finish completed, I mixed several shades of green to create some colour modulation to the wings, tail and upper fuselage surfaces while simply using some black and white paint to vary the shade of these colours; it's important to test paint your mixes before applying to your actual model. I don't believe there is any hard and fast rule to selecting your colours as long as they resemble the shades used in real life - if we take into account weather conditions, batches of paint from different manufacturers, and general wear and tear, most machines would have varied in appearance to some extent, especially during the late-war period.

I used colours I already had at hand for the wings, tail and upper fuselage surfaces:  

Model Air RLM 2 Light Grey Green 71.044
Model Color  Ger. Cam Bright Green 70.833
Model Air RLM 73 US Dark Green 71016
Model Air RLM 82  Cam Green 71022

In the photo above it is a little clearer to see some pre-shading  and the colour modulation on the upper fuselage and parts of the wings. Also important to remember, especially if chipping paintwork, was which parts were wood - the wings, nose section,  upper fuselage panel/s behind the cockpit, gear doors, parts of the tail section, were all made from wood. 

The underside was mixed with Model Air RLM 76 Pale Grey Blue 71046. You can see my pre-shading a littler clearer on these lighter surfaces.

Photo above: I thought creating the putty effects was going to be a nightmare but it was actually a piece of cake compared to the earlier painting. I used Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Rubber 305 and a small, good quality brush with a sharp tip for this task. When completed the job looked rather neat compared to reference photos (see below).....

.......so I simply rubbed my applied 'putty' with a stiff, short brush and got a rougher finish. 

Next I wired up the BMW engine using fuse and jewelry wire along with reference photos of a real engine.  I didn't attempt to represent every wire on the real engine but instead just enough to make it look a little more authentic. The colours were chose purely to make them stand-out and create some contrast. The engine was then painted black grey and aluminum, after which it was sealed and given a good oil weathering. The final touches were some Europe dust and Vallejo Model Metallic Air 'Aluminum' (71062) dry brushing.

With the engine in place, the aircraft frame itself was sealed with satin varnish and oil weathered in several stages over several days, each time sealing the day's work with varnish to protect the underlying effects. The goal was to produced a well-weathered aircraft that had been sitting abandoned for many months, so would thus be covered in dust, grime, oil and fuel stains pulled back by the air-stream of the jet, but also vertical staining occurring from the machine remaining static for so long (for this I used reference photos of abandoned Russian jets, particularly those in a bare metal finish).

After oil weathering I did some sponge and small brush chipping (again it was important to know which parts would have been metal underneath the paint, and those made from wood on the real aircraft).

Photo above: a brief description of  how and why I weathered the fuselage.

The final reveal HERE 
See part 2 HERE
See part 1 HERE

Friday, 14 August 2015

1/35 MENG M3A3 - (part 2)

Not my normal build, but variety is the spice of life, right? 

I've never built a kit by MENG before but I'm extremely impressed with the presentation, instructions, and the plastic components that I already know will build into a stunning model of the M3A3.

So, let's see...............I started with the laborious task of putting together road wheels................

Road wheels assembled and ready to roll..............(sorry, couldn't resist!)
............... but then jumped ahead to work on the suspension which has been designed to work - an excellent detail. This part of the build went relatively smoothly although my rough handling snapped a trailing arm which needed a super-glue repair.

The instructions ask us to cut off some vision blocks to the rear of the upper hull, and this was a scary prospect, not to mention a dangerous one that could have cost me a finger! Bolt-on armour covers the areas where the vision blocks were massacred........I mean, removed with precision, so don't worry about the gaping rectangular holes removing these blocks will cause (if you have the interior, you will need to remove the interior part of these vision blocks, too).

Every hatch/door opens on this kit, so under the bonnet/hood you'll see the engine (that's if you purchased an engine to go inside), the driver's hatch opens, as does one on the rear deck. You'll also find that the rear ramp lowers and the door inside of it opens, however, to take full advantage of these excellent features you'll need to have purchased the interior set.  If you buy your kit directly from the Far East, along with interior components, it will not be expensive and you'll be glad you did so.  I didn't do any of the above because I don't like painting interiors, although the kit is so nice I sort of wish I had now.

There is is photo-etch supplied with the kit, and quite a bit of it.  So far it's been enjoyable with no microscopic components to bend into complicated shapes, but instead nice thin pieces to represent engine grilles and so forth. 

Anyway, the only thing I can say about this kit is, buy it!  (and this is coming from someone who doesn't normally like modern subjects).

The tracks with this kit are workable and click together with no glue required, so no problems, just the boring task of carefully cutting away the three pieces of sprue as per photo above. Take care with the middle one as it's difficult to get sprue cutters in there; I cut off as much as possible with my cutters and then used a very thin sanding stick which did the job perfectly.  And, 160 links later I had two workable track lengths (thank don't fall apart when handled, unlike others I've made in the past), and curiously, quite a few spare links, which is always nice.....................(I think).

After carefully studying a photo of the real vehicle, I took my trusty craft knife and began to gently score the vertical lines of one of the lower armour panels; I'd previously measured the top of this same panel to leave myself a mounting bracket by scoring horizontally. With the remaining 1/3 of this panel I cut off each corner, as per real vehicle, and sanded it down to make it appear recessed; I then drilled three holes to represent the missing bolts.  On the other busk/'skirt' section I removed two armoured panels leaving no brackets. Various bolt heads were sanded down on both left and right sections of the armoured panels and holes drilled to represent missing bolts.

More soon......................

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tamiya's 1/35 Jagdpanther (part 2)

With so many projects on the go right now there isn't too much progress, but I have at least made some decisions regarding my Jagdpanther and how she will be depicted.............. 

The scenario: at the close of WWII regular German forces are surrendering although hardcore fanatics are retreating to southern Germany and into Austria. Now, at this point I will cut a long story short and just say that these regular German forces turn against the fanatics for prolonging a useless war, and Jagdpanthers, much in demand, are taken directly from the production lines, some barely completed, by the regular German forces to be used against well equipped SS and elite units.  As long as the Jagdpanthers have their main armament and are capable of traveling, they're needed urgently.  

My influence/inspiration came from photos of captured factories at the end of WWII with lines of Jagdpanthers and Panther Gs.

I will let the photos below do the talking..................

See part 3 HERE
See part 1 HERE

Saturday, 1 August 2015

HobbyBoss's Super Pershing Pilot (Part 2)

So where am I with the build?  I've managed to paint and weather the engine (which won't be seen at all) and seal up the lower hull and deck. 

Photo below is a shot of the engine before she was sealed in. 

Photo above: the exhausts were painted with a Vallejo rust colour and while still damp, I added some pastel dust, a mix of oranges and browns. Once dry I'm able to handle the exhausts without any of the pastel powder coming off, but just to make sure I can add a few drops of airbrush cleaner which makes the pastels set hard.

Photo below: And here she is, partially in primer.  

Photo below: With great difficulty I installed some photo-etch on the rear fenders (small rails to place stowage) but without the luxury of a photo-etch bending tool the job was not to my liking, and any attempts to straighten the flimsy-looking rails once fitted meant they just broke loose and damaged my paintwork......so, they had to go!  I am not modelling the one and only machine that saw action at the end of World War Two, so let's just say mine was the second machine that was not publicized.......... ;)

Click on the photos below to enlarge - I'll let the captions do the talking.

Photo below: because the weapon is such a large part on this particular kit, I ordered myself an aluminum barrel from eBay - it's a beauty! 

Okay, so that's it for now.  At the time of writing, my Super Pershing is waiting for a final coat of primer before I begin working on a new painting method.  

More soon, comrades! 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Progress with my 1/48 Tamiya Heinkel He 162 (part 2)

As I mentioned in a previous post, this build is part of the Luftwaffe Group Build that I started over on my YouTube channel.  At the current time there are just ten participants including myself, all in various stages of completion, four of which having been totally completed.  The Luftwaffe GB (1939-45) will continue until the end of September 2015, so anyone with a WWII German aircraft kit is welcome to join. Anyway, enough of this chitter chatter.  

Out of the box the cockpit was reasonably well detailed but I didn't like the decal supplied for seat harnesses, so decided to make my own with Tamiya tape and wire for the buckles - the result is debatable but I think it looks better than the decal - just...........  The ejector seat (one of the first fitted to an aircraft), lacked some details of the real seat, so brass wire was used to add the missing detail.

Below is a photo of when I installed the wings and tail section.  If you click on the photos to enlarge them, you'll see the arrows point to where I needed filler; the air-frame of course needed a small amount of filler where the two fuselage halves join. 

Being a Tamiya kit (circa.1996 I think......) it goes together rather nicely, however, I have plans to have my 162 in a partial natural metal finish, so the fuselage has to be perfectly finished because as you know, silver loves to show up untidy finishes in our builds. Grrrrrrrrr!  So, with an extremely vague, but still apparent seam line on my 162's lower fuselage, I have ordered myself some Mr. Surfacer and will be attempting to make the line disappear, while also filling in some of the panel lines that my Perfect Plastic Putty can't fix. 

But why is this crazy guy removing the panel lines?   Well, the photo below is what I'm aiming to achieve, and I'll readily agree I've probably bitten off way more that I can chew..................

And below is how my 162 stands today looking very clean in primer

Sadly she is still not ready for her aluminum coat and if I'm honest, I'm dreading applying it. As my plan is to depict her abandoned at the end of hostilities, this will give me the opportunity to execute some nice weathering techniques I haven't tried before but, this is not something to think about now.

Until next time, comrade!

See part 3 HERE

Monday, 29 June 2015

Another new build! (PART 1)

I really need to stop starting new kits before finishing current builds. I've lost count on the builds currently in progress, however, I have a good excuse with this one, and that's that I've joined a group build over on YoutTube.  

It's the first time I've attempted such a modern machine, but looking at the quality of this lovely new Meng kit, I'm going to have an enjoyable experience.

(Photo credit - google images)

The photo above is of an M3A3 in Iraq wearing the 'BUSK' armour, and this will be the inspiration for my build.  I would like to break up the desert yellow with NATO camo, and also have some armour skirt sections missing, odd coloured road wheels, and other such points of interest.

See part 2 HERE