Monday, January 30, 2017

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt “Eileen”, 1/72 scale, Academy Kit 2105

This kit has been in my stash for a year or two.  I like the Academy 1/72nd scale WWII fighter kits.  Recently, I obtained some Vallejo Acrylic Metal Color paints, and I thought this model would be a good project to test them on.

Grey Surface Primer followed by Gloss Black Surface Primer.  I used the grey first as I was not sure about masking over the gloss black.  Would it hold the paint?  I was sure it would, but I decided to not take a chance.  It worked perfectly.  I picked out some wing panes in  darker shade.  I am very pleased.  Here are the Vallejo colors I used:

The radio antenna too close to the canopy, so it cannot be posed as open all the way.   I decided to not move the antenna back, fill the hole, repaint, etc., so I closed the canopy.  I had done some detailing of the cockpit, but not much, so there was no big loss.  Trying to over-detail cockpits in 1/72nd scale is a challenge and often not seen later anyway.

The decals are terrible.  I had been able to use the decals that came with the Academy 1/72 scale Hawker Tempest V I made a couple of years ago.  They silvered some, but could be worked with.

Not so the decals in this kit which were the worst I have ever tried to work with.  The decals are thick, they rip and shatter easily when handled, and they are impervious to Microsol and Microset.  They do not “snuggle down” over surface details at all.

I am not alone in being disappointed in Academy decals.  I was reading a review of their B-29A kit, and that modeler was tearing his hair out after dedicating a lot of work to the kit and them finding out the decals were atrocious.

The featured marking for this kit is an aircraft with a checkered cowl.  There is no way that would work. 

I saw this kit on a list of kits recommended for a new modeler.  I hope not!  I used ever trick I could think of, including trimming the shattering decals on the tail surface with a fine file after application.Now, if you nave some nice aftermarket decals for a Bubbletop, then this would be a great kit to use them on.

Here are some more photos of the finished model:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

M24 Chaffee, 1/35 Scale, Italeri Kit No. 6431

I always liked the look of this little tank.  It was the only piece of WWII armored equipment I saw being used when I was in the U. S. Army.  When I was in Vietnam, the ARVN’s had some they were still using, and why not?  They made excellent infantry support light tanks on a battlefield with not that much enemy opposition in terms of armor.  RPGs, yes.  Other tanks, no.

The Chaffee mounted a 75mm cannon, one (1) .50 cal. M2 machine gun and two (2) .30 cal. Browning machine guns.  The Chaffee replaced the aging M5 Stuart tanks and entered service in December 1944 in Northern Europe and Italy where they arrived too late to have much of an impact on the war.  Later, they served in the Korean War and with the French in the First Indochina War.  A few, by personal observation, were still around for the Second Indochina War (the war we call the Vietnam War).  The tank was named after General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. who helped develop the use of armor in the U. S. Army.

The kit, according to the listing on  was new in 1986.  I thought it was newer when I bought the kit.  This is a fault I have, i.e., failing to check before I buy a kit.   I probably would have gone ahead anyway, as I wanted the model, and I have had good luck with Italeri kits.

The positives for the kit are:  generally nicely detailed parts (considering the mold’s age), not enough flash worth mentioning (a plus again considering the age of the molds), and a nice selection of decals and alternate parts for several Chaffee's serving in WWII and the Korean War.

The negatives are:  the vinyl tracks are fairly stiff and a small challenge to mount on the model, the radio antennas are a little thick (and I was too lazy to snip them off and substitute some stretched sprue antennas), and no figure(s) included. 

I hate to stick pilot figures in my aircraft, because the available figures may not fit well and the kit ones look awful most of the time.  I am spoiled by Tamiya 1/35th scale armor figures, which are generally good, and wish all armor kits had one.  I do consider them a nice extra, but not a necessity to be included in a kit, so I am not dinging Italeri for not including one.

I painted the model with Vallejo Model Air Olive Drab.  I decided to not use Vallejo Surface Primer on this model, but I wanted to experiment on this model.  I was not planning any masking, so I was not concerned with masking tape pulling up paint.  When I use Vallejo Surface Primer as a base coat for Vallejo Air paint, I can mask away to my heart’s content.  Nothing will pull up the top coat when I remove the masking tape.  I have had a lot of experience with the surface primer and swear by it as a necessity for a model requiring masking.

Here, the only problem I have was some paint coming off as I mounted the tracks.  Where the tracks had to be pushed over the road wheels, some paint was scratched off.  Minor touching up with a brush handled that.  Frankly, I do not expect any acrylic paint to adhere to bare plastic well enough to stand up to any masking tape or other abuse.

I weathered this model with various Vallejo and home-mixed washes.  Mostly I was using European Dust Wash (76.523).  I applied that with a round brush followed by a flat brush t even it out and remove the excess.  Then, I let it dry and then brushed more on some of the raised features.  The model was sprayed with the light coat of Testor’s Dullcote first, and then again when I was done.  Finally, some Tamiya Weathering Master powder was brushed on the road wheels.  I am happy with the effect.

All in all, I am happy with the outcome.

With Tamiya Sherman "Easy Eight" to show size comparison.