Self-Important Ranting and Raving
Hello one and all!
Well these damn holidays are almost done and my long bouts of extended rest mixed with spats of elevated holiday stress are nearly complete. Back to the old simple grind of driving 120 miles back and forth to the office each day and enjoying the upcoming set of extensive work projects that 2017 beckons forth. A new year means a new set of goals. I am hoping 2017 will be as productive at work and with my hobbies at 2016 has been.
I have the rather peculiar circumstance of having a birthday rather close to Christmas. So these times have an added layer of complexity. This year I turned 28. Not quite on the edge of reaching that third decade, but close enough to haunt you in some lucid dream on a cold winter’s night. As each year passes, it feels as if time is shifting into some hidden higher gear and the landscape slips by even faster than the last. Looking back at 2016 feels like a practice in futility. The edges of space, time and reality are blurred to the point where I have a hard time even remembering what I did at this time last year. Things move far too quickly in this era. As someone who works in technology, I see the constant changing and I am not even on the bleeding edge of it all. Maybe this is why I like this hobby? The chance to slow down and focus one’s energy on creating, rather than consuming.
But, having said all that: it has nice to have had a bit of a winter break from work and everyday life. Spend time with loved ones and cozy up with a nice a book.
Things have been going pretty well overall. I gave vastly more than I received this year and feel very happy. I love this time of the year because it is an excuse to give to those around me. Taking the time to find the perfect, meaningful gift is so rewarding. I am finding now as I am getting older that my needs are mostly met. Possessions are very much “nice-to-have” as opposed to “must-have”. I suppose that is a good thing as I need to save up a sizable amount of a house down payment.
I also received the print of the Bismarck from Reinaldo, that I mentioned in the previous post. It looks wonderful and I will hopefully be employing him for a commission piece come 2017. I’m thinking a drawing of the HMS Rodney would be a suitable choice. We shall see! Thanks again, my friend!
As for modelling: I have had to unfortunately take several extended breaks from modelling due to the weather and temperature. Working in a garage exposed to quite a bit of the elements certainly has its disadvantages. These delays have been frustrating as I am trying to be timely with these builds. But, I have found that trying to battle the cold weather, especially when spraying paint or varnishes, is not a wise choice. I end up doing a lot of issue fixing and busy work, trying to undo the damage done by my haste. But, be assured, I am learning from my errors and vowing to ever improve!
Finally, before we get into the meat of why you are actually here, I wanted to show a recent acquisition for a hobby most don’t know that I engage in. I enjoy smoking pipes. Now now, not that Devil’s Lettuce that you are thinking of. Oh no! I enjoy the old timey manly practice of smoking fine tobaccos in a pipe, usually made of briar wood. I mainly never really tell anyone about this because of the stigma applied to cigarette smokers, which pipe smoking is definitely not. Look at me trying to justify this choice to you even when I hardly even know you. Anyway, needless to say, I indulge occasionally, do not inhale, and thoroughly enjoy. I find it to be a supreme source of contemplation, relaxation and a serenity that I can not find else where. One part of piping that I really is interesting to me is the art of pipe carving. Such talented people exist out there than can take a hunk of root wood and turn it into a work of art. Seeing as I had a birthday and Christmas just on horizon, I indulged and ordered a hand-made pipe from Italy. The maker is Ser Jacopo and his team of artisan’s work is incredible. Anyway, feast your eyes on the beauty below.
Ah yes, the glacial Tiger I project. A magnum opus of procrastination, scope creep, unfortunate circumstances and self-doubt. Well, I finally decided to tackle those Friulmodel tracks metal tracks and get them looking ship-shape and proper.
So, I ordered up a bottle of Ammo of MIG Metallic Tracks Burnishing Fluid. Once it arrived I got this great idea to do a step-by-step for all of you on how to do this process properly (I know, please contain your laughter). The bottle had a small description, but the english translation was pretty awful and did not shed any light on the process. So I did a little bit of spot research on how to go about using this product and preparing the tracks. First, you have to degrease and clean the metal tracks so that the burnishing fluid effects all of the metal surfaces. Most people stated that a thorough wash and scrub with soap and warm water would be sufficient for prepping the surface of the tracks. Another account said to use acetone. While in retrospect, the idea of using the acetone first appealed to me, the mess and smell did not. So I opted for soap and water. MISTAKE NUMERO UNO.
It’s funny how the internet works. It is often times when you are search on how to fix a problem or to see if someone else has experienced the same problem you have, that you get the best information. Well, I royally goofed. Spoilers: use VINEGAR or ACETONE, not soap and water. The soap, although works okay, creates a film over the metal which really hinders how well the burnishing fluid works. Anyway, lets take a look at this photo-safari to see how it all went.
First thing is first: always practice good safety habits when working with all these awful chemicals. Wearing a respirator, some eye protection (I wear my glasses), and wear protective gloves when handling products such as the track burnishing fluid. You will thank me later when you do not have mutant children or when your pecker doesn’t randomly drop off in the shower.
How to Burnish Metal Tracks the Wrong and Right Way (with edits!)
So there you have it: don’t use soap when cleaning your metal tracks for burnishing. A lot of swearing, time wasted and anxiety later, they are complete. Next up I will be painting all the road wheels, as I have primed them all now. This will be followed by the painting of the snow camo, detail painting, and varnishing.
We will get this son of a bitch done some day, I promise.
The Tamiya from Hell and Belated Christmas Gift to my Boss
So we last left off with the Tamiya 1/48 Sherman being primed and ready to go. I was feeling pretty good about things. Painting is my favorite part and I was quite ready to tackle this challenge. But alas, we will have our look at the latest of mishaps to hit this project.
I realized rather quickly that my boss would not be around the office to collect this model in time for Christmas. I was revealed! I had more time to work on it. But alas, cold weather and rain hit and my progress was stymied. I did manage to get quite a bit done, until tragedy struck.
Let’s take a look:
Everything was going so well and I was confident I was going to hit my personal deadline for this project. I went ahead and gloss varnished the model so I could apply decals. After a few days the gloss was dry and I was ready to decal away. I do not personally like Tamiya decals, as I find them very thick and a bit fragile. I was hesitant to use them and my apprehension proved warranted.
The Tremendous Tamiya Decal Disaster
I was applying a star decal to the Sherman when I stupidly applied Microset (this is a solution used for setting decals to the model surface) instead of water to the gloss varnished surface. I use Winsor and Newton Acrylic Varnishes and I’m pretty sure the Microset acts like a superglue when applied to these varnishes. The decal was almost in place but one of the arms tore. I attempted to re-wet the decal and slide it off but it had bonded solidly to the surface. It was dug in like an Alabama tick. All attempts to remove it by softening the decal failed. This lead to barbarism: I had to scrape and sand it off. The model looked like total shit. I was in a near catatonic state. The gift model for the big boss, ruined! I then attempted to apply Walthers Solvaset (which is a pretty powerful decal softener) to the decals and it had a bad reaction as well. It was too aggressive for the decals and the gloss finish. Thankfully no real damage was done. I was very concerned that I had totally ruined the model. So I decided to drink heavily and think things over for a day.
Firstly, I have decided not to use Microset or Walthers again any time soon (at least while I use these varnishes) and to only use water and Microsol (this solution softens the decals so they snug down to the surface of the model). Thoroughly disheartened, I began and completed the corrective painting tonight. After a fair bit of sanding, reapplication of primer and primary paint color, I have it looked alright again.
I then hit the decals with matte varnish to flatten them out a bit and try to hide the god awful clear film surrounding the decals. Things are looking decent now. I will attempt to hit the model with satin varnish tomorrow and proceed to weathering. Let me say it again: Tamiya decals are way too thick. They do not snug down nicely, in my opinion. I have only built Tamiya armor kits, so I don’t know about their aircraft decals. Anyway, just be careful, ya hear?
A final look at the Sherman as it stands presently:
And that concludes the current status of things. I will probably make one more post tomorrow showcasing all the builds completed this year, as that seems to be a fashionable thing to do.
Thanks for taking a read and I look forward to building more kits with you in the new year!
Seriously though, if you read every word of these posts, you are my hero. I know I write a bunch of shit and drone on and on, but I need to document my trials and tribulations somewhere. The fact that all of you are interested in what this Canuck has to say really means a lot to me. So thank you, my silent readers. Thank you for always lending an ear to my struggles with maintaining my half-sane state. You are the real heroes.