Stolen Mojo

Hello my beloved audience!

Let’s start this post with a simple definition:

stymie
sty·mie
ˈstīmē
verb informal
past tense: stymied; past participle: stymied
prevent or hinder the progress of.
“the changes must not be allowed to stymie new medical treatments”
“he has not finished any models because he is stymied by his own frustration”

That about sums it up. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a single kit build with any marked progress since January. You may have noticed I have flip-flopped on builds or build ideas. You may have noticed that I claimed that I was going to finally finish something (I’m looking at you, Tiger I). But where are the results?

Well, there hasn’t been any.

I have been stuck in a rather unpleasant modeling funk. I’ll start kits and then things just go to shite. Endless issues, bad weather delays, exhaustion, and pure frustration seem to have plagued me since the start of this year. Work and life have also been quite busy. Therefore, very little progress has been made.

It feels like I have lost my modelling mojo!

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“I’ve got your mojo right here, asshole!”

This all feels very similar to writer’s block and seems equally as hard to break. But by God, I am determined to end it. Sometimes you have to look at the origin of the issue to get down to the real reason behind a particular problem.

So what is my problem?

Well, I am a very slow builder.

And why is that?

I have only built a handful of models.

How does one improve?

Build more models.

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I have decided to go back to basics and work on some Tamiya kits that offer just the right amount of challenge (learning and growth of skills) and also confidence building.

Now why haven’t I finished the Tiger I? Well, weather has been a big factor. We just had the wetness winter on record in the West Coast of the United States. It would appear this biblical deluge has ended. Which means it that is time to clean out the garage (my painting space) as it filled with dust, dirt, and wolf hair. Once completed, it will be time to get back in the saddle and finish this kit once and for all.

So what does that all mean?

It means that as of this point on, I am fully dedicated to finishing the Tiger I (sorry for the wait, Brian) and to completing the Tamiya kit that I am currently working on.

No more excuses or letting the hobby stymie my progress. Time to win! And win big league, we shall.

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You tell ’em, Donald.

Tiger I

Painting to commence as soon as I clean out the garage. I will finish this son of a bitch.

Tamiya JS-2

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Tamiya’s box art is some of my favorite in the industry. Timeless.

When I was visiting with Andy at Andy’s Hobby Headquarters a few weeks ago, I asked him for a kit recommendation. The Tamiya JS-2 was one he highly recommended. So I decided to take the plunge and follow his sage advise.

Let me first say that this kit has been a pleasure to build so far. The mould quality is excellent and detail is high (not Dragon high, but still pretty darn good). Sections sort of the kit just kind of click together and there have been no real surprises or curve-balls. Just good old honest modeling. But, this kit is in no ways perfect and has just enough “challenges” to make it a kit to learn from.

For example: the kit is divided in half and has a noticeable gap that runs through a heavily textured weld in the front. A perfect time to learn about using epoxy putty. The cast texture on the kit is decent, but could use more presence, so out comes the Mr. Surfacer 500. There are quite a few ejector pin marks and seams to fill on the underside of the fenders/sponsons. Perfect time to practice filling in a not very visible spot.

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Note the big seam gap running through the weld/cast texture dead center. Not that big of a deal, I say! A learning experience!

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Note all the putty. Gaps and ejector pin marks aplenty on the bottom of the sponsons/fenders. Unlikely it will be seen, but hey, let’s not take any chances.

Another thing that bugs me is the presence of ejector pin marks on all the link and length track links provided. This is a huge time suck and I wish manufacturers would try to avoid this practice. The kit does come with the rubber band tracks, but I would rather not use them.

Again, I will climb up on my tobacco box and shout “ALL MANUFACTURERS NEED TO PROVIDE WORKABLE CLICK-TOGETHER TRACKS AS A STANDARD FEATURE!”

Thanks.

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Note all the pin marks on every single track. Come on Tamiya, you are better than this shit.

I haven’t had any moments so far that have filled me with frustration or given me a desire to stop building. This is a quality kit of a BIG tank and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

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I did goof on one thing though, or rather, RB Models did. I decided to go with an aftermarket metal barrel for this kit, as the gun is very prominent. I have used RB Models barrels in the past and was very impressed. However, they seemed to drop the ball on 122mm gun barrel for this tank. The muzzle brake on the real tank has a distinct reinforcement to the baffles of the brake, a noticeable weld bead and cast texture. RB Models provides none of weld or cast details with their muzzle brake. However, their competitor, Aber, provides all of that detail in a one piece muzzle brake with their metal barrel. Rather disappointing. However, I am going to do my best to replicate these missing details on the RB Models barrel, using epoxy putty and Mr. Surfacer 500. I am hoping to get it fairly close. So, if you ever pick this kit up, opt for the Aber barrel or stick to the stock barrel that comes with the kit.

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The actual muzzle brake on the JS-2. The JS-2 had a 122mm D-25T cannon. Ammunition was bulky and used a separate shell and powder charge.  (Image courtesy of www.Berlin-1945.com)

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This is the RB Models muzzle brake. Note the amount of assembly and lack of fine detail. A big miss from an other wise amazing company.

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This is the muzzle brake available from Aber. Beautiful cast texture and weld bead. Impressive. (Image courtesy of www.armorama.com)

I also attempted a new technique for getting a rolled steel/light cast texture. Instead of using Mr. Surfacer 500 that I typically use for my cast texturing, I decided to use the styrene cement technique. Basically, you get an old brush (semi-stiff bristles will help) and dip it lightly in a thin styrene cement (like Tamiya Extra thin) and start dabbing it in a small area where you want the rolled steel/light cast texture. The cement starts to eat at the plastic and your stippling with the brush adds a believable texture. This takes some practice to get your technique down. Too little stippling and you won’t get much of a result. Too much and you get an aggressive texture and wispy spider web-like threads going everywhere. You can lightly sand back areas and re-apply to continue improving or building up the surface texture. I found that this worked quite well.

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I found the texture to be convincing and am eager to see how it looks with paint on it.

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I used this technique on the suspension arms as well, due to having to sand down texture areas that had sprue attachment points. A nifty little method to employ.

Overall, I am really enjoying this dive into Tamiya.

Here are some more pictures of my current progress (note, this tank has many of the details not added yet) :

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The build is broken into three well fitting sections. This makes working on sub-assemblies easier.

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Application of Mr. Surfacer 500 went well. Looking forward to seeing the additional cast texture under paint.

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Impressive looking tank, even in its half-finished state.

And that’s a look at what is currently going on.

As I stated earlier, I am ready to push forward and start pumping out some builds. Hopefully the year has enough time left to hit some of my personal modeling goals for 2017.

Thanks for reading! More to come!

*Bonus round from my trip to Arizona! Heckler and Koch G36c full-auto!

30 rounds of 5.56mm in two seconds.

If you have never shot full-auto, I highly suggest that you do. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do in life.

If you are ever in Phoenix, Arizona, check out Scottsdale Gun Club!

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2 thoughts on “Stolen Mojo

    • I had only shot 9mm submachine guns in the past (HK MP5, MP40 and IMI UZI). You definitely notice a larger presence in power and report from the 5.56mm. Muzzle climb and recoil weren’t too bad, but they were magnified a bit because the G36c is an extremely light weight rifle. That being said, it was a glorious. 3 to 5 round burst were controllable. Dumping the full mag was exhilarating and I didn’t want it to end.

      Like

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