Hello one and all,
Where has this son of a bitch been? Well, California has been hit with a rather significant deluge of rain and storms as of late and the result have been chaotic. Epic flooding, dams overflowing, levees breaking, parts of cities submerged and freeways closed: a real shit show. Work has been rather busy and the weather has been just demoralizing. It is in this turbulence that I decided to take a small break from modeling as I was feeling rather worn out.
So what have I been doing with myself, now that I had such a void in my life? Reading (I finished Moby Dick, so that should tell you how much reading I’ve been doing), researching (modeling techniques and best practices), goal setting (for models, work, life, finance), piping (Old Joe Krantz is becoming my favorite blend), resting (5 to 6 hours a night just wasn’t cutting it), and flight simming (lots and lots of DCS). All of this has been in an attempt to rejuvenate my creative juices and get back at the hobby. It has worked more or less, I am ready to start things up again, but when it rains, I can’t really airbrush, so I have been doing some building. But we will cover that shortly.
I have set forth some modeling goals this year:
-Build a diorama (intimidated, but shouldn’t be too bad. I think choosing what-to-do will be much more challenging than the process)
– Build/paint (a) figure(s). (shouldn’t be bad. I started my Warhammer figures long ago)
-Build an aircraft model (Nervous and intimidated, but eager to learn. Plasmo is a great resource.)
Not a crazy list of goals, but good for this budding modeler. Needless to say, there will be some variety introduced to this blog in terms of subject matter. I am hoping to get faster and churn out some more volume, but we shall see.
I have also decided that with Russia more or less in the news every damn day, that I would try to make all of my subjects Soviet/Russian for this year. I really like Soviet/Russian designed weapons/vehicles/aircraft so this will be a good excuse to work on these. Year of the Bear or some such nonsense.
General (Belated) News
Finally finished the 1/48 Tamiya M4 Sherman Early (in the second week of January) and presented it to my boss. He quite liked it and I consider it a success (mostly). But will talk about that in a bit and why I didn’t post the reveal photos till now.
I also purchased some new sanding sticks/sanders to try out. I basically acquired the whole line of sanders from Flory Models in the U.K. After a bit of a learning curve (let the sander do the work for you), I am quite pleased with these handy sanders. They take a lot of the effort out of sanding and are very robust and handy. Particularity useful are the foam backed sanders which are excellent on curved surfaces. Highly recommend.
Now it is time for a potential crow eating moment. I know in the past I have come out strongly in support of Winsor and Newton Acrylic varnishes. I still feel these are great, especially the flat and satin varnishes. However, in the past few builds I am noticing increasing issues with the gloss varnish. It would appear (even with proper curing time), that the gloss varnish is every weak and vulnerable to decal setting solutions. I mainly only use Microset and Microsol, but sometimes use Walther’s. Micosol and Microset aren’t known for being very “hot” products and are fairly gentle. However, even these fluids seem to etch into this gloss coating quite easily and all sorts of nasty things happen (white ring of dislodged varnish around decals, melting, etc.). So I have decided to give Future Floor Polish a try. Now, I know I have bad mouthed it in the past, but I feel that seeing as so many modelers have success with it, it is worth a try. As my future builds move into the painting and decal phases, you will see this in action and hopefully the field testing proves this product to be a superior replacement. So, mi culpa, mi culpa, mi culpa.
Carryover Projects Status (stati? statuses?)
The Tamiya from Hell and Belated Christmas Gift to my Boss
When we last left off, I had just had a decal disaster and finally had the model ready for some light weathering. Anyway, I powered through and got the model completed and presented it to my boss.
The night I had finished the model, I was was taking photographs, but felt rather demoralized. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I proceeded to post it on Facebook to a modeling group that I belong to and some prick decided to criticize the rear reflectors. That took my already unexplained off-feeling and magnified it into a depressive state. I felt like I had failed some how. Anyway, I took the model into work and presented to my boss who was rather speechless and very happy with it. A few days later I still kept dwelling on what had gone wrong. I kept looking at the photos taken and finally concluded I didn’t like the tone of the dust that I had used. It was too “cold” and not “warm” enough. Overall the model came out fine, but that little detail stuck in my mind like a glass splinter.
Anyway, I believe I learned a lesson: having deadlines with art is troubling. I think I put too much pressure on this whole project. I doubt I will ever try to set hard deadlines again and just let things happen organically (this is a hobby after all).
Let the photos speak for themselves though. Here is the finished model:
Overall, it represents an early Sherman with light weathering (as if it had just come off the boat and traveled a bit on dirt roads. Ultimately, I think I prefer working in the 1/35 scale.
No progress made. Requires painting, which I won’t risk in this shitty weather.
Trumpeter KV-1 Simplified Turret 1942 1/35
I acquired this kit off of a model exchange group on Facebook for a very good price. The KV-1 is an interesting, beefy Soviet tank and I have been eyeing building one for sometime. I selected Trumpeter as all the reviews pointed to a low part count and straight forward build. This would be my first kit by Trumpeter.
Now, I have checked with another fellow modeler who just completed this kit and said it went together without issues and was free of flash/ejector pins or anything crazy. I can safely say this is not the experience I have had with this kit. I really think that the midnight crew at the Trumpeter factory were boozing hard when they pumped out my particular kit. It is as if they ripped this son of a bitch out the ejection molds prematurely. Flash, flash, flash and more flash. Huge ejector pin marks. Ejector pin marks on textured surface detail (this really pisses me off) and lots of bad mold seams. Marred and spider webby plastic on surfaces. Divots, dings, and gouges were present in copious numbers as well.
Now despite this rather awful mess, the kit has gone together fairly well. These issues are not deal breakers (so far) but rather minor annoyances. So far I have made some decent progress overall, but I do find myself stymied with part clean up quite often. The instructions are pretty clear but some of the engineering is questionable at best. I particularly think the sprue attachment points are poorly thought out and unnecessarily chunky.
I don’t want this particular example to ruin my perception of Trumpeter and I will be willing to give other kits a go in the future. I quite like their details and the simplicity of the build. Let’s just say Trumpeter is the often drunk, sloppier cousin of Tamiya.
Here’s some select examples of the shit I have run into:
Tamiya SU-76M 1/35
Part way through the Trumpeter build I hit a few moments of great frustration and had to set aside the kit. I needed a morale boost, especially after a rough build with the 1/48 Sherman. I decided that I would try out a newer Tamiya kit. I selected the SU-76M because it is a cool subject, new tooling, and comes with figures (that checks off one of my yearly goals). This kit has received great reviews and upon opening the box and checking out the sprues I was thoroughly impressed with the surface detail, as well as the figures.
I started building the kit last night and everything was going well until I got to some of the bigger parts that assemble the hull. Ejector pin marks, ejector pin marks as far as the eye can see. Now I was a little disappointed, considering this is a Tamiya kit, but I guess something can’t be avoided (or can they?). I’d rather deal with ejector pin marks than a bad fit and tons of flash. So we shall see how this build progresses. That being said, if you are looking to avoid ejector pins and all that, probably want to avoid this one for now, as their are plenty. But all in all, I hope this turns into a fun build once this little issue is taken care of.
Well, that’s everything for now. Just waiting for work to slow down, the weather to clear up, and my spirits to be lifted and we shall be righteously back at it.
Thanks for taking a read and putting up with my little hiatus. See you next time.