Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Year End Wrap-up

 This is one year everyone will be happy to see in the rearview mirror.  

Someone said that the modeling hobby was the perfect hobby for a pandemic.  Most of us had an adequate stash of model kits and supplies, and the mail order companies were just a few keystrokes away.  I have heard some reports from brick and mortar stores that this year was one of their best ever.  (I believe that the same was heard from craft, sewing and other similar stores.)

So many activities I participate in were slowed or stopped by various lockdowns and restrictions.  My next favorite activity to modeling is Cowboy Action Shooting.  Trying to shoot in the Arizona summer heat is hard enough, but breathing through a mask makes it nearly impossible to do while lugging two pistols, a lever action rifle and a shotgun.  Further, most matches were cancelled outright or restricted to death by social distancing and other rules.

The biggest model show in Phoenix, which takes place the first Saturday in November, was cancelled .  From what I hear from the podcasts and forums, every model show worldwide was cancelled, including the IPMS/USA nationals in Texas.  I am planning on attending the Las Vegas show in August 2021 and hope that it actually takes place.

With time on our hands, many of us built quite a bit.  I can say for myself that this was my most productive year ever in terms of kits built.  My total was an even dozen.  That shocked me when I counted them up.

Modeling saved my sanity.  It gave me an interesting and productive outlet to stay busy and have fun.

Here they all are in the order I built them:


Monogram AT-6 Texan, 1/48 scale

Tamiya JS-2 Russian Heavy Tank, 1/48 scale

Tamiya Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik, 1/72 scale

Hasegawa P-47D Bubbletop, 1/48 scale

MPM Gloster Meteor Mk I, 1/72 scale

Tamiya M151A1 MUTT "Vietnam War", 1/35 scale

Tamiya British Valentine Mk III Infantry Tank, 1/35 scale

Tamiya U.S. M20 Armored Utility Car, 1/35 scale

Airfix B=-25B Mitchell "Doolittle Raid", 1/72 scale

Airfix Hawker Hurricane  Mk I, 1/72 scale

Revell P-51D-5NA Mustang, 1/32 scale

Hasegawa Hawker Typhoon IB "Car Door", Scale 1/48

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Hasegawa, Hawker Typhoon 1B, 1/48, Kit No. JT183

 The Hawker Typhoon was a very successful RAF fighter.  The early models were the “car door” model depicted by this kit.  They flew many missions into France and the Low Countries attacking airfields, and all sorts of other targets on “rhubarb” missions as they were called.  Pilots disliked the car door arrangement as the door hindered escape from theraircraft.  The later Typhoon models were made with tear drop canopies for better visibility and easier escape should that become necessary.

My model carries the marking of a Typhoon flown by Flt. Sgt. (later Squadron Leader) K.G. “Hyphen” Taylor-Cannon of 486 Sqd. RAF, Tangmere, in December 1942.  The white nose and the yellow wing stripes were a short lived marking directive that was supposed to increase visibility of the aircraft.  Apparently antiaircraft gunners frequently mistook the Typhoon for an Fw190.  The black stripes under the wings were part of the scheme.  Later, the yellow stripes and white nose were deleted and the spaces between the black stripes were painted white.

In a recent modeling magazine, an article author commented that “I sold off all my Hasegawa kits” at some point in time.  He did not say why, but I think it reasonable to infer that they no longer met his requirements as to detail, etc.  Judging from the quality of the model he built and was writing abut, his standards and skills are very, very good.

However, that is not to say that there is no longer a place on the model builder’s workbench for these older Hasegawa kits.  (Even Eduard is producing kits that blend Hasegawa plastic with Eduard accessories and decals in one package.  And Hasegawa has been producing plastic for a number of other manufacturers also.)

A case in point is this Hawker Typhoon kit.  Yes, I used aftermarket decals and an Ultracast resin seat with seatbelts, but the rest is straight out of the box.

The parts fit is good enough to require almost no putty, and most of the that was due to my failure to achieve proper fit in two places.  The canopy was so clear that I decided to use the closed canopy as I could see the cockpit detail through it.

Generally, I was pleasantly surprised with the kit, as I was a few years ago when I built the Hasegawa P-47D’s, which I described at the time in this blog.  There are still a few Hasegawa 1/48th scale kits in my stash, and I look forward to building them.

The surface detail is first-rate.  Newer kits would include more cockpit detail, but that is available with the aftermarket should the builder so desire.  The details were enough for me as I had decided to leave the canopy closed on this model.

I substituted Techmod Decals “Hawker Typhoon Mk 1b” (48045C) for the kit decals, and  I selected a machine from 486 Squadron RAF piloted by Sgt. K.G. Taylor-Cannon based at Tangmere in December 1942.  The decals proved very difficult to use.  They are brittle and would not settle on a concave surface.  In the future, I will think twice about using them.

For the first time, I used one of the Ammo by Mig products I have purchased:  Enamel Wash (A.Mig 1011).  I glossed the model with Vallejo Acrylic Resin Gloss Varnish (70.510) before and after I applied the decals.  Then, I traced the panel lines with the Enamel Wash, waited 10 to 15 minutes, and removed it with Q-tips and a 1/4” angled brush.  Frankly, the product worked better than the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colors I have been using.  I am really pleased.

When researching this project, I ran across some comments on a forum where the "experts" agreed that any model of the "Car Door" Typhoon would have to include the car door as a separate piece since they were not hinged and had to be dismounted from the aircraft to allow for the pilot to enter and exit the fighter.   See the last photo below.  That does not appear to be the case, does it?  I have a number of photos like this in my file, and they were easy to find.  What was not easy to find was information on whether this door could be jettisoned to allow the pilot to bail out of a stricken Typhoon.  I bet it did, as opening the door against the slipstream might have been impossible.  By the way, Hasegawa supplies and alternate canopy and pieces to display the door an the top of the canopy open.

A NOTE ON THE COLORS:  I used Vallejo paints for this project.  The actual paints were selected from Vallejo's publication "WWII British Aircraft Colors RAF-FAA".  The dark green they called for turned out to be more like an olive drab.  Then, the auto white balance on my camera seemed to make it more like a brown.  I see now that Vallejo has been updating the RAF paints with new colors.  I have read that the RAF dark green did at times come out more olive drab.  Not surprising.  When we were spot painting vehicles in the Army, I don't recall anyone running for a Federal Standard chip to make sure we had just the right shade.  Suffice it to say the color is wrong, but I still like the way the model looks.


Some reviews said there were substantial gaps where the wings meet the fuselage.  Mine had a slight gap that was solved with masking tape holding the wings in place while the cement dried.

I used plastic putty (a Chinese knock-off of Crazy Putty) to mark off the camouflage pattern, because the putty makes a nice sharp line as seen on RAF aircraft.

That is a Eduard Zoom instrument panel.  They are very nice, but add to the cost of the project. 

Admittedly, not up to contemporary standards from Tamiya or Eduard, but I submit the detail is adequate, particularly when supplemented with an Ultracast seat.

This wash and the brushes I used did a very nice job on accenting the panel lines and helping to give the surface a used look.  The paint is labeled "enamel" but it smells more like oil paint.

Public domain photo.
As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Comments are always welcome.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Revell, P-51D-5NA Mustang (Early Version), 1/32 Scale, Kit No. 03944

When the Revell P-51D-5NA Mustang (Early Version) was released, I was immediately interested.  I grabbed the P-51D kit when it came out having looked at some reviews, which were glowing, and it was duly added to the stash.  (I had completed the Revell Mk. IIa Spitfire in 1/32nd scale, and it was a really nice kit at a really nice price.  I presented a post on that model in April 2018.)

At the time, Hobbico was going bankrupt, and they owned the American part of Revell, as I recall.  It looked like Revell kits would be somewhat hard to acquire for awhile.  As it turned out, Revell Germany picked up the pieces, and the kits were generally available without much delay.

Having just finished a couple of 1/72nd scale models, I was thinking of something in 1/48th, when I spotted this kit gathering dust.

Assembling a 1/32nd kit is very different form 1/72nd scale or even 1/48th scale.  In the larger scale, there is so much more detail.  Even a simple seat may have a number of parts revealing how it operated and what it really looked like.  Actually, when I am assembling a 1/32nd scale project, I have more of the feeling I am assembling something akin to the real thing.  I really enjoy the build, but I am still faced with finite display space, and the time investment in the project tends to be very long.

After Market:

    EagleCals P-51D EC#139
    Eduard Canopy Masks JX210
    Eduard Interior Details 33186 (for an improved instrument panel)
    Eduard Seatbelts STEEL 33187

Speaking of seats, the truly excellent full color instructions do not tell you which seat to use.  There are two.  I assume that most modelers constructing this kit are doing some of their own research and soon discover which seat to use.  Isn’t the research part of this hobby anyway?

The instrument panel in the Eduard cockpit detail set (#33186) came out very well.  See below.  There are several switches and control handles which were remarkably tiny and a challenge to deal with.  There are a number of such pieces to integrate into the side panels.  This is a process that takes considerable time, at least for me.

The kit instrument panel is perfectly okay, and I assume that the Revell decal instrument panel will settle down easily over the raised detail.  That is how it worked on my Revell Spitfire Mk. IIa.

For me, the dreaded part of this project was the natural metal finish.  I used Vallejo Acrylic Metal Color paints.  I have used them before on 1/48 and 1/72 projects with no problems.  They can be masked, and the finish is relatively durable and able to withstand handling while the kit is finished.

Here, I had problems, all of my own making.  1) I found trying to obtain the gloss undercoat while manipulating this large a model proved difficult and I kept getting overspray issues.  2)  For the first time I used the recommended Vallejo gloss overcoat to seal in the metal color coats.  In a couple of places I laid it on too thick, and it took weeks to dry.  (I wish I had stuck with my usual Microscale Satin.)  3)  The roughness of the finish in a few places caused me to skip a weathering wash, which I had planned.  I was concerned it would look bad if I applied one.  So, the model has a “factory fresh” look.

As I said, none of this is a criticism of Vallejo.  It was all my not-so-good technique.

The EagleCal decals worked perfectly with Tamiya Strong decal setting solution.  The top and bottom of the stabilizer halves and the sides of the rudder each have their own very large decal to produce those stripes, i.e. six big decals in all.  They were a challenge.  Luckily, Vallejo Model Air Red was a good match to help mate everything together.

All in all, this Mustang proved much more of a challenge than I envisioned coming out of the starting gate.    I am looking forward to the next 1/32nd scale project.  I have the Revell 1/32nd scale Bf109G-6 in the stash.  I think I will go for that one adding only some seatbelts and some decals for a different ship.

These new Revell 1/32nd scale models are really quite good.  I am sure they do not have anywhere near the extreme detail or ease of assembly that the Tamiya kits have.  But at a fraction of the Tamiya kit price, they are more than worth it to me.  

Mustang cockpit floors were made of plywood.  Painted or wood grain?  I am not sure.

Right side of cockpit with a few PE bits added.  Revell includes some decals that would do.

Left side of cockpit.

Finished Eduard instrument panel. 

The yellow wing and stabilizer stripes are painted.  The red wing tips are also painted.

The red stripes on the tail surfaces are EagleCals.

I left bombs and drop tanks off for a cleaner look.

A landing light can be seen poking out of the wheel well. 

Happy modeling and comment if you care to.  Thank you for visiting.