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“Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G in 1/35 Scale” Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce that our latest title, Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G Pave Hawk in 1/35 Scale, is now available!

In this 186-page eBook, Pete Fleischmann takes the Kitty Hawk 1/35 scale HH-60G Pave Hawk kit, and combines it with aftermarket parts, resin figures, and some scratch-building, to produce an outstanding airborne rescue vignette, complete with a wounded Afghan solider being winched aboard. Pete takes you through the build process step-by-step, with plenty of useful tips on painting and detailing the model. There’s also a separate 24-page section in the book where he shows you how he produced the figures.

Pete’s build is highly instructive, and will be invaluable to anybody wishing to build the Kitty Hawk Pave Hawk. It’s available from our web store for just 15 Australian dollars.

And as with all our books, should any updates be required, anyone who purchased a prior version gets lifetime free access to all subsequent updated versions! All new purchasers will of course receive the updated version automatically.

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“Building Large Scale Sci-Fi & Fantasty Models” Now on Sale!

Our massive tome on building large scale sci-fi & fantasy models, entitled Building Large Scale Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models oddly enough, turns one tomorrow, so we thought we’d celebrate with a nice 25% discount for the next three days!

In this 473-page eBook, Jason Gares (renowned author, modeller, and host of the recently-retired Video Workbench YouTube channel) compiles a terrific series of articles he originally wrote for the now-defunct Sci-Fi and Fantasy Modeller magazine.

The book’s flagship feature kicks things off with a massive 80-plus page build article on Jason’s fantastic Star Wars vignette, These ARE the Droids You’re Looking For.

The seven articles that follow it cover a terrific range of sci-fi and fantasy modelling, including building and painting figures, making bases, building resin kits, and doing your own resin casting.

So until midnight Monday, you can grab a copy of this great title for just $15 Australian dollars! Now that’s a bargain.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more news and information.

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Building the Hasegawa P-51D in 1/32 Scale: Part 5

It’s been a while since our last update on this build, and sadly, things have been moving rather slowly. I think as modellers we share a tendency to start finding other things to do when a build starts getting tricky, or when it gets to those bits that we just don’t enjoy doing. In the case of this build, I was stalled on needing to create masks for the chequered nose, and baulking at having to deal with the vacuform canopy. So I built a Bandai Snowspeeder instead!

But I’m pleased to report that I’ve finally made enough progress to be worth posting about, so let’s take a look at what I have done. The main focus of my recent efforts has been the propeller, and more specifically, the spinner. The aircraft that I’ve elected to depict, “Butch Baby” of the 357th Fighter Group (44-14798), features a red-and-yellow chequered nose band with a spinner striped in the same colours:

Image sourced from American Air Museum in Britain.

Decals for this aircraft are supplied in Hasegawa’s 1992 boxing of the kit (ST5), but I decided that I’d prefer to paint as many of the markings as possible, with decals being limited to the aircraft name (which I didn’t feel I could replicate neatly with masks), and the occasional airframe stencil. My plan was to take a high-resolution scan of the kit decal sheet, and then using the trace function built into the Silhouette Studio software, produce a cut file that I could send to my Silhouette Portrait cutter to produce a set of vinyl masks. In practise it turned out to be slightly more complicated than that, but we’ll get to that shortly!

In any case, there were no decals for the spinner stripes to scan, so I knew I’d have to do this the old-fashioned way. I started with the easy bit, which was to paint the entire spinner yellow, using Tamiya XF-3 Flat Yellow. But then I had a fancy idea. And that’s where things went a bit wrong!

I thought I’d experiment with a technique I’d used successfully in the past for scribing spinners and other conical objects. This involves taking a blade or scribing tool, and ‘mounting’ it horizontally on some flexible putty (such as Silly Putty, for example), in such a way that the sharp end of the tool meets the part where you want the line. I figured this could work for cutting the central band out of a masked-up canopy too!

Here’s the general arrangement I came up with:

The balsa sheet is to accommodate the central tube moulded into the back of the spinner that protrudes beyond the backplate:

The idea is to simply rotate the spinner against the blade at the required height—starting with the higher of the two cuts—then press the blade handle into the soft putty until you reach the required lower height, and repeat. Using that process gave me this:

Now, you’ve probably already figured out that this didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but it really wasn’t a complete disaster. After applying the red and unmasking, I arrived at this result:

Hmm, not really what I was going for! I did learn some lessons, though, and I’m sure on a repeat try, I would have achieved a much better result. For starters, the knife/putty combination really needed to be on the balsa sheet with the spinner, as I struggled to stop the balsa square from rotating away from the blade. Consequently, I ended up applying the blade force inconsistently, resulting in some areas of tape not cutting properly, while in other areas I actually cut into the spinner.

Overall, though, I concluded this method a fail, and decided to try another approach: one that I’d used before on smaller parts, but not for a multi-coloured object like this spinner. So I stripped it all back to bare plastic by leaving it in a jar of Windex overnight, cleaned up the wounds, and started again.

First, a fresh coat of yellow, this time using SMS RLM04:

This second method involved using a circle template to form the demarcation points, and backfilling the remaining areas with masking putty.

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough hands to snap a photo of the mask in action, but I can at least report complete success:

The red is SMS Red. I did have to touch up a couple of areas, but that was no big deal. Phew!

But of course, I still had to do the prop blades, which were the source of yet more modelling angst. The basic paint job was easy enough: paint the tips yellow (SMS RLM04 again), mask them off, and then paint the rest of the blades black:

The problems came once I’d applied the kit stencil decals. Thick and shiny, I just couldn’t hide the carrier film, despite multiple gloss coats, sanding the edges, and a flat coat:

The blade top right in this photo really shows the thick and shiny carrier film, despite doing “all the right things” to eliminate it.

I could see straight away that the problem wasn’t traditional ‘silvering’: that horrible problem caused by are becoming trapped under the decal. I really had no choice but to repeat my previous treatment process, but with one important change; this time, instead of using a sanding sponge to reduce the thick edges of the carrier film, I used a stiff sanding board of a very mild grit, so that the sanding surface wouldn’t make allowances for the said edge like I suspect the sponge did.

So, some judicious sanding and some heavy gloss coats later, I was pretty convinced I’d solved the problem:

Hmm, shiny!

And the final flat coat to seal the deal, as they say:

Not perfect, but much improved, and certainly good enough for gubment work.

And I think that’s about it for this update! Next time, we’ll take a look at how I get on with the nose chequers, the vacuform windscreen, and the process of painting on the markings.

Until then!

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“Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G Pave Hawk in 1/35 Scale” Reaches First Draft!

I’m pleased to report that Pete Fleischmann‘s Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G Pave Hawk in 1/35 Scale has just reached the first draft stage! While this makes it sound like we’re at some kind of arbitrary halfway point, in reality the refinement process doesn’t take long at all, and the book should be available by the end of the month at the very latest.

Stay tuned for more updates and an official release announcement as they come to hand:

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Bandai Snowspeeder Addendum

Inspired by some other examples I’d seen online, I decided to have a go at filming a quick 360° video of my recently-completed Bandai Snowspeeder build. Turns out my old Hobby Tools (Trumpeter) motorised display turntable was kaput, which forced me to purchase a replacement. I wanted something bigger and better anyway, but after a frustrating few hours of reading (mostly negative) reviews, I managed to find just one on Amazon that seemed to fit the bill. Once duly purchased and delivered, I decided to, well, take it for a spin.

Not good! Garbage, in fact. I quickly determined that the main issue seemed to be that the base of the turntable didn’t sit flat on the table, but instead had quite a significant wobble. After taking a bastard file to two of the four moulded-in plastic feet, I was able to rectify the problem, but unfortunately it made no difference to the level of jitteriness exhibited by the Snowspeeder. It seems there’s just too much instability in the stand, exacerbated by the angle I set it at. I need to do some follow-up testing with other types of models, but I suspect anything with spindly undercarriage will produce similar results. My guess is most cars, AFVs, and figures would be fine.

So, disappointed but not defeated, I shall retreat to the hobby room for some more tinkering.

This video—a relative failure though it is—also represents a soft launch of the KLP Publishing YouTube channel. Even though there’s not a lot happening just yet, it would be fantastic—and much appreciated—if you could give it a “like and subscribe”, as they say. I’m also happy to take any suggestions for content you’d like to see.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for future news and updates!

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Building the Bandai 1/48 Snowspeeder

I took this project on as part of my friend Scott Taylor’s #smschallenge2 on The Scale Modeller’s Supply Facebook group. Scott is the proprietor of The Scale Modellers Supply (SMS), purveyor of the fantastic SMS paints range, among other useful modelling tools and supplies. The challenge was to build a Star Wars kit—any Star Wars kit, and kicked off, appropriately enough, on May the Fourth.

Here’s the kit in question:

If you’ve never seen one of these Bandai Star Wars kits in the flesh, you’re in for a treat the first time that you do. They’re really quite amazing, and can literally be built without any glue. The level of detail, quality of moulding, and overall execution of the package is second to none. There are three runners of light grey plastic, one in black, one in translucent red, and a runner for the clear parts that has been stunningly moulded with the black runner!

Despite being essentially a “snap-together” kit, it features some amazing detail and engineering.
Markings are provided as either standard waterslide decals, or child-friendly self-adhesive stickers.
The instructions are in Japanese for the most part, but an English translation is available.

Getting to first base with this kit is a doddle, though there are traps for the unwary—I did manage to screw up the orientation of a couple of parts, however, which is pretty true to form for me!

Note that I raced ahead and glued the rear cockpit cowl in place too early, which would later cause me a bit of an issue!

One of the more challenging aspects of the build is painting the nicely detailed cockpit. If you’re not feeling up to it, decals (and stickers) are included in the kit to provide console details, but I of course chose the hard way!

I used MRP RLM 66 (MRP-59) as a scale black for the base colour, followed by careful brush painting with various Vallejo Model Color acrylics.
The cockpit side consoles were a real challenge to paint, but turned out OK I think. Thankfully, washes and dry-brushing help enormously!
The cockpit seats were painted with Tamiya Deck Tan, and given a heavy wash with Burnt Umber oil paint.
After painting all those small details, I realised I needed better detailing brushes!
The rear cockpit console. Some of the smallest details were actually painted with a toothpick.
The front cockpit console (left) and rear cockpit screen (right). The latter was first painted silver (Mr. Metal Color MC218 Aluminium), followed by a couple of heavy coats of Tamiya X-23 Clear Blue.

While I had the detail brushes out, I also painted the interior of these equipment bays on what I presume are cannon mounts:

MRP RLM 66 for the base colour, and Vallejo acrylics for the details.

Such is the beautiful simplicity of this kit, that once the cockpit was fully painted, the main fuselage (hull?) parts could be assembled:

The rear cockpit hood being clamped back into position after emergency removal!

Of course, this is where my too-early installation of the rear cockpit hood came back to haunt me, as it blocked the rear console assembly from being slid into place! I ended up having to saw the hood off with a razor saw, insert the rear console assembly, reattach the hood (seen clamped after gluing in the photo above), and then blend in the join with Mr. Surfacer 500. Even Bandai kits aren’t safe from my ham fists!

With careful painting, the cockpit really comes to life.

I took a lot of my cues for this build from a 3-part video series by Jon Bius on YouTube, and he suggests leaving the rear section off the model until the very end, whereas Bandai would have you enclose it between the fuselage halves while joining them.

I had a bit of trouble getting it fully inserted properly at the end, so I’m not sure if I would do it that way again.

Another tip I got from Jon’s build is to use the 2-piece canopy solution (rather than the 2-piece all clear alternative), mask the inner clear piece, and then assemble them temporarily for painting and weathering:

Here are all the major assemblies after a couple of light coats of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500:

I added little tabs from Tamiya tape to the equipment bay covers, so I could use them a masks while painting, but easily pull them off when I was done.

The black areas were painted first with Tamiya Rubber Black. I decided to keep the Mr. Surfacer as the base colour, as it’s pretty close to what I was aiming for anyway, and will make a good base for the subsequent weathering. I also decided to try the kit decals for all the panel variations, rather than mask and paint them.

Kit decals being applied over a coat of Tamiya X-22 Clear Gloss.
I elected to use the kit panel decals, rather than mask and paint them, just to see how they would work out.

While the kit decals were OK, I’d definitely mask and paint them next time. For starters, the printing is surprisingly coarse, with the dot pattern quite visible close up. They’re also quite thick, and I had to deal with some residual tenting issues around raised details. And the last issue, one of my own making, is that I misplaced some of the underside panels, creating gaps and misalignments along the way. I decided not to apply two of them at all in the end, as there was no way they were going down over the raised details in those areas (I did try with one of them).

Now I could start in on the weathering, which started with a panel line wash.

This was actually the second attempt at the panel line wash, as my first attempt with oils (my usual approach) all but wiped right off completely during clean up. I had to fall back to some AK Interactive Panel Liner, and even then, it’s still pretty patchy. Ultimately I deepened some of the panel lines around the nose that weren’t holding on to the wash, and reapplied it with more success.

While I waited for those initial weathering passes to dry off, I decided to start painting the two pilot figures, base-coating with Fire Orange from the new Infinite Colour range from SMS:

This was followed by a heavy wash of Burnt Umber oil paint, and then a couple of hours of detail painting and decalling, to arrive at the result below:

Putting the ‘pain’ back into painting. The cockpit figures don’t look great in close up, but at normal viewing distances, they seem to do the job.

And back to the final phases of the weathering process, rendered mostly with filters of oil paint and some chipping with acrylics:

The cannon assemblies just click into place, but I chose to glue them down for a better overall fit.

With the weathering complete, final assembly could begin. I elected to use the kit’s display stand for simplicity’s sake, so it was painted up in off-white and black, ready for duty:

Time to install the crew figures:

The final tasks were to paint the inside of the plastic canopy part, along with the rear gun, and then assemble and install both. The gun was painted with RLM 66, given a flat coat, and I mounted the finished model on the display stand at a suitably dynamic angle.

I enjoyed this build tremendously, and am already struggling to resist the urge to crack open another Bandai Star Wars kit immediately! If you haven’t built one, I recommend you do so, and as soon as possible!

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v1.9 of “Building the Revell P-51D” Now Available!

Hot on the heels of last month’s v1.8 update, Jan Gabauer’s Building the Revell P-51D-5NA Mustang in 1/32 Scale now gets updated to v1.9!

This update—like most of our updates—is merely the result of some more tweaking and fine-tuning of the text layout, and is therefore in no way an urgent one.

This is a free update for all existing purchasers of the book, while new purchasers will of course always receive the very latest version.

If you purchased this book while logged in to your account, simply re-download it from the Downloads section of your profile on the KLP website. The original download link in your order confirmation email should also work. If you don’t have an account and haven’t kept the original email, create an account and then contact me, and we’ll get it sorted out.

To stay tuned for further news and updates, simply subscribe to our blog via email, and you’ll get all the latest in your in-box as it happens.

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v1.3 of “Building the Wingnut Wings AEG G.IV Late” Now Available!

I’m pleased to announced that the very first title in our Build Guide Series, Building the Wingnut Wings AEG G.IV Late in 1/32 Scale by Karim Bibi, has now been updated to version 1.3!

This update sees a number of annoying hyphenation issues resolved, some new product images added to the text, and the restoration of a lost paragraph! This is a free update for all existing purchasers of the book, while new purchasers will of course always receive the very latest version.

If you purchased this book while logged in to your account, simply re-download it from the Downloads section of your profile on the KLP website. The original download link in your order confirmation email should also work. If you don’t have an account and haven’t kept the original email, create an account and then contact me, and we’ll get it sorted out.

To stay tuned for further news and updates, simply subscribe to our blog via email, and you’ll get all the latest in your in-box as it happens.

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Announcing “Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G Pavehawk in 1/35 Scale”!

I’m pleased to announce that our next title will be Building the Kitty Hawk HH-60G Pavehawk in 1/35 Scale, by Pete Fleischmann. This will be No. 13 in our Build Guide Series, and as the title suggests, will feature Pete’s amazing build of the Kitty Hawk 1/35 HH-60G Pavehawk kit, in a vignette with a complement of equally amazing figures from Live Resin.

Work has begun, and we’re hoping to nail down the first draft by the end of the month. Stay tuned for updates and more information as it comes to hand!

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Fixing a Broken Enterprise

While it’s true that I’m primarily an aircraft modeller, I do like to dabble in sci-fi and fantasy subjects from time to time, and back in 2015, I found myself building the Polar Lights 1/1000 NCC-1701 Enterprise kit from Star Trek. I was never particularly happy with the supplied plastic stand however, and I can remember it breaking off from the kit at least once.

Fast forward to early this year, and I find myself preparing for a major house move, and scratching my chin over how to move all my built models. In checking my little Enterprise build, I noticed that the join of the stand into the hull was once again very tenuous, and definitely would not survive the move. I decided to take pre-emptive action, and carefully severed it from its base, with the idea of remounting it on a new one afterwards.

Here’s the damage after my emergency intervention:


The two plastic pins from the top of the kit’s stand have snapped off and become embedded in their mounting holes. The damage to the finish is from my previous attempt at a repair. Here’s the top of the kit stand:


It’s small and not particularly strong, and the model has been wobbly upon it since the day I finished it. Originally I was going to toss this away and just mount the kit on a new wooden base or plinth, but I didn’t have any nice ones to hand. Instead, the most suitable thing I had in stock was this cheap and slightly nasty MDF craft wood plaque:


I’ve used these things before, and they’re quite a bit of work to make look decent; the routed edges in particular are a super-absorbent PITA. However, I didn’t want this project to be long or complicated, and I was aiming for function over form, so I elected to make do. You can see that I’d already drilled a central mounting hole for the brass tubing I chose as the mounting pole.

The reason the plastic stand came in handy is because I decided to dress up the plain wooden base by mounting said plastic stand atop it. More of that later.

In keeping with my desire to keep things simple, I decided that the whole thing – wooden base, plastic adornment, and brass mounting pole – was going to be painted gloss black (in hindsight I should have chosen satin or even mat, but there you go). So I started with several coats of Rustoleum grey primer straight out of the rattle can, sanding between coats, eventually ending up with this:


Even now you can see that the routed edge is still a little rough, but I didn’t want to spend any longer on it. And I probably won’t be buying any more of this kind base again! (I do have a couple more in my stash, though.)

Setting the base aside, I started working on modifying the plastic stand, firstly by removing the upright section. This left an ugly mess that was going to be nearly impossible to clean up nicely, so I cloned the shape of the central cut-out with Tamiya tape, transferred it to some styrene sheet, cut it out, and glued it over the top of the mess:


In truth it took quite a bit of fettling with some sanding sticks to get the shape to fit properly, and I stopped well short of perfect. I also drilled a hole through it to accept the brass rod, which will obviously be aligned with the hole on the wooden base.

Speaking of the wooden base, I started applying coats of gloss black acrylic lacquer to it:


Looks OK from that angle, but unfortunately after a couple of passes, I started having a lot of trouble with spitting out of the rattle can, which in less favourable light looked like this:


So a couple of rounds of sanding and spraying later, I was able to put the pieces together and get this:


The plastic part was actually a little warped (exacerbating its wobbliness, no doubt), so I used JB Kwik Weld to secure it into position, with some 2KG dumbbells holding it down. Of course, the dumbbells marked the finish, so I had to give it another quick spray of the black!

My final task before mounting the model as to add some felt to the underside of the base, just so it wouldn’t mar any surface it was placed on:


Spray adhesive, press into place, trim with a blade. Pretty simple. The final job was to clean up the old mounting holes in the model, and drill a new one to accept the brass pole:


After taking that photo, I touched up the darker grey, added some JB Kwik Weld to the top of the brass pole, and slid the model into place:


This turned out to be a lot more work than I had planned on, but the result is certainly much more stable than it was before. The shiny black takes fingerprints like nobody’s business, and makes things a bit hard to see, but overall, I’m still pretty happy at having been able to save this model from certain destruction.

And here it is in place on the “sci-fi shelf” of my new display cabinet:


And that’s it! I think from now on I’m just going to replace this type of kit stand as a matter of course. I’ve made a few bases like this in the past, and they always look better than what you get in the kit, as well as being much more sturdy.

Now it’s back to the Mustang