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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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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

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Free Book Updates!

While we all love the tactile immediacy of physical books, there’s no denying that digital eBooks have some advantages. Many of these advantages are obvious, but a less obvious one that we make a feature of here at KLP is the ability to update our books and release newer versions. It could be that we missed a typo, or some other error that escaped our attention during the proofing phase—a consequence of what is known in the publishing business as Muphry’s Law. Unlike with traditional print publications, these kinds of errors are trivial to fix and incorporate into an updated edition.

But the best part of all, is that for existing purchasers, these updates are FREE!

A less mundane reason we sometimes update our titles is to take the opportunity to include more content. Sometimes this is due to the natural evolution of our format, with new sections added, or design changes that we can implement in our back catalogue. At other times, we’re able to add new information, photos or other elements that extend the existing content of the book.

Of course, print publishers occasionally do this kind of thing too, but the key difference is that we can release our updated books immediately, rather than years later. But the best part of all, is that for existing purchasers, these updates are FREE! Yes, that’s right: free lifetime updates for any book you’ve purchased. Imagine a print publisher doing that!

Here’s How it Works

Whenever we publish an update to any of our books, we’ll announce it here, as well as our Facebook page, so it’s useful to subscribe to our updates via email if you haven’t already:

In order to be able to download an updated version of a particular book, you need to have purchased it while logged in to your account. The reason for this is that the purchase is then recorded in the Downloads section of your profile, and is made available to you to download at any time. This doesn’t happen if you purchased the book as a guest—even if you already have an account.

Note that you don’t have to go looking for a specific version to download; there will always only ever be one version of each book available, and it will always be the latest. So, when a book gets updated, it replaces the previous version on the website, and when you download it again, it will be the updated version. The orange badges you see on the updated versions on our website are for marketing purposes only, and do not appear on the cover of the published books. In order to verify the version you have, check the Copyright page for the version number and date:

What If I Purchased as a Guest?

If you didn’t have an account at the time of the original purchase, or you forgot to log in prior to purchasing, then you won’t yet have access to a newly-updated book. This is relatively easy to fix, thankfully, but does require a bit of manual handling. Firstly, if you don’t have an account, create one! The benefits by now should be obvious.

Whether you’ve just created your account, or a particular purchase is not showing in your existing account, the next step is to contact me and let me know which book (or books) are affected, and the email address of your account, and I can then manually assign those guest purchases to your account. The next time you log in, they will magically appear in the Downloads section of your profile. Voilà!

It’s worth remembering that this facility is always available, so if you ever lose your existing copy of a book, or need it on a new device, you can simply re-download it at your leisure. And just to be clear: all new purchasers always get the latest version!

Look out for more updated books soon!

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Purchasing & Downloading Our Books

While the vast majority of purchases from our website go off without a hitch, I do receive the occasional email from customers experiencing issues. As it happens, these issues tend to fall into a couple of common areas, which are easily solved or avoided, so let’s take a look at them.

Purchasing

This is a relatively straightforward process, and the feedback I’ve had about it suggests that there are no real issues with the checkout process. Prices are in Australian dollars, and payment is made via PayPal—you can even checkout using PayPal as a guest, meaning that you don’t need to have a PayPal account to use it.

Downloading

Once the order is placed and payment is made, you should receive an order confirmation email that contains your order details, plus a link to download your purchase. This appears to be the main area where things can go wrong, with customers either not receiving this email, or not realising its significance and deleting it. And don’t forget to check your junk or spam email folder!

If this happens to you, contact me and I can generate another order confirmation email for you. Of course, this only works if you inadvertently deleted the original email; if in fact you didn’t receive it at all for some reason, then it’s likely you may not receive the second one either. This is where the solution below comes in.

Create an Account

Most of our customers use the guest checkout option (as a guest of the site, as distinct from using the guest payment facility with PayPal), which is quick and easy to do. And while this is convenient, creating a dedicated customer account has several advantages.

Firstly, once you’ve created the account, subsequent purchases are actually faster, as you’re no longer asked to supply your details if you make a purchase while logged in.

More importantly, however, is that you then have access to your purchase and download history, and this means that you can log in to your account and download any book you’ve previously purchased from the Downloads section of your account. Not only does this solve the issue of not having received the order confirmation email, but it also means you can log in to your account from a different computer or device to the one that contains the email, and still download the book.

If you’ve already purchased books from the site without a customer account, and then decide to create one, once you’ve done so, I can associate those purchases with your new account, and they will then become part of your purchase history. Please note that this doesn’t happen automatically, so if you’re in that position, contact me with the details and I can make the associations.

Of course, not everyone is interested in creating an account, so if all else fails, contact me and I can get the file to you directly by other means. This should be a last resort, however, and I strongly encourage everyone to create a customer account in order to gain some added control over your purchases, and avoid potential problems into the future!

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Another Honour for Brick!

Over the weekend of November 11 & 12, The Australian Capital Territory Scale Modelers’ Society (ACTSMS) held the ScaleACT model show and competition. By all accounts, it was a great show, but one particular incident had special significance for KLP Publishing.

The subject of our first title (Building Brick’s Sabre in 1/32 Scale), Kevin Bricknell, was again awarded the honour of a tribute build of an aircraft he flew during his career. This time, it was his PC-9, and the modeller was Andrew Doppel.

Congratulations to Brick for another well-deserved tribute, and also to Andrew Doppel for creating such a fine model. Thanks also to Andrew for permission to use his photos.

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Why Digital?

I’m often asked about why we don’t offer print versions of our books, so I thought I’d take some time to answer this question, and to fully explain our decision to focus on digital books.

Having owned, reviewed, or otherwise been exposed to a great many modelling guides over the years, I began to notice that many of them shared the same set of unavoidable shortcomings. These were largely due to the limitations of the print format, and not necessarily any fault of the good people involved in their production.

The print process for books and magazines is complex and expensive, and necessarily entails a high level of risk—no publisher or author wants to get lumbered with a warehouse full of unsold books and a substantial financial loss. In print, pages cost money, and none more so than the glossy, heavily illustrated variety. Therefore, one of the overarching constraints of the print medium is the need to keep the page count to a financially-viable maximum, and this often manifests itself in text and images that are too small, and cramped layouts that can be difficult to follow at times.

It seemed to me that the best way to solve these issues would be to avoid print altogether.

Our Manifesto

The decision to go with a digital format opens up a range of possibilities and options not readily available in print, and collectively they drive our content first ethos. Rather than treat digital publishing as a poor cousin of print publishing, we decided to exploit the inherent advantages of the medium to the benefit of the reader.

To that end, our primary guiding principle is let the content determine the page count. Our books are as long (or as short) as they need to be to convey the relevant content appropriately, and if additional content surfaces, we can add that in too, without fear of breaking some arbitrary page count limit. In effect, there is no page limit.

The freedom to design books of any page length allows us to use larger font sizes, and to display images at the maximum size allowable. This approach requires more pages for a given amount of content, but we’ve already seen that this is not a problem.

Build photos are not tiny thumbnails, and a single image may in fact occupy up to half the available space on a page:

Walkaround images, where included, are displayed as large as possible, and a single photograph may even occupy an entire page:

Finished gallery images are not cluttered with competing text and graphics:

One of our titles, Building Mac’s Birddog in 1/32 Scale, features a 53-page walkaround of the O-1 Birddog, while our book Building the Wingnut Wings AEG G.IV Late in 1/32 Scale contains a 27-page tutorial on painting wood-grain effects on propellors. Neither of these sections would have been viable in a printed book, and would have needed to be substantially reduced. Not to mention our Spitfire book, Building Race #80 in 1/18 Scale, which tops out at 565 pages!

But, I Like Physical Books!

Yeah, we understand that, and we do too! We’re not proposing that printed books are redundant, or that you have to pledge your allegiance to one camp or the other. We simply feel that the nature of the content we plan to publish is better served in a digital format, and conversely, is not viable in the print medium. Some of our planned titles will cover specialised or niche modelling topics, and would be completely untenable as printed books. We wish that there were a workable compromise for this impasse, and if we find one, we will certainly explore it!

In the meantime, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, either here in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Cheers!