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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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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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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

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Building the Hasegawa P-51D in 1/32 Scale: Part 4

We ended Part 3 with with the fuselage finally joined, but some nasty gaps and misalignments to deal with. The one that had me most concerned was the mismatched exhaust openings on the port side, but after considering my options for a while, I decided to try the simplest solution, and carve away the excess material at each end:

It’s not perfect, but certainly much improved.

The gap to the rear of the upper engine cowling was easily fixed with some styrene strip and copious amounts of Tamiya Extra Thin liquid cement:

A little bit of Mr. Surfacer 500 and some more sanding, and this nasty gap is gone.

The gaps on either side of the cockpit sidewalls took a bit more effort, but finally yielded to some CA glue and clamping. They look much better now:

I decided that this was a good time to assemble the wings and tailplanes:

I was a little concerned that squeezing the cockpit sides in to fix those nasty sidewall gaps might have had an adverse effect on the wing root joins, but a quick test fit allayed my fears:

Before joining the two sub-assemblies together, however, I decided it would be easier to deal with their respective seams while they were still separate, so I spent some time filling and sanding until I thought they were ready.

I also took the opportunity to attend to the every-so-slightly oval gun ports. They weren’t so bad that they needed to be replaced, but were noticeably out of round, so I grabbed this handy reamer tool by Ustar:

This made short work of the problem, and made the gun ports at least acceptable:

I also managed to join the spinner cone to its base plate:

At this point, I could join the wings to the fuselage!

And true to the test-fitting I did, the resultant gaps were only minor, and while I was happy enough with how the wings and fuselage came together, the small gaps at the wing roots revealed during the test-fitting required just a little bit of extra attention, so I stretched some kit sprue, and forced it into the those gaps with copious amounts of liquid cement:

This is done not so much for gap-filling purposes, but to ensure that there’s sufficient plastic joining the wings to the fuselage in this important area, and this something that styrene does better than pretty much every other choice available to modellers.

And this brings us to the end of Part 4! Wing root seams await, but we’re getting close to final assembly now. Stay tuned for Part 5!

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Building the Hasegawa P-51D in 1/32 Scale: Part 3

The end of Part 2 saw us come up with a solution for securely installing Hasegawa’s wobbly engine into the fuselage. This meant that I could get on with the task of fitting all the requisite internal assemblies into the fuselage and close it up! Always a landmark moment in any aircraft build, but particularly so in this larger scale.

So, in goes the resin cockpit, along with the radiator exit ramp:

Of course, I mis-located the cockpit the first time around, and had to rip it out and reposition it about a millimetre aft.

The cockpit was secured with CA glue, while Tamiya Extra Thin cement did the trick with the radiator exit ramp. You can see in the photo above, however, that I’ve used some styrene strip to help reinforce the join across the top, along with a combination of black kit sprue and black CA to help block the otherwise see-through gaps at the back.

Time to pop the engine in and test fit the fuselage halves!

And with the upper cowl in place:

Now it was time to start the laborious task of joining the fuselage halves. I had to do this in sections, waiting for each section to ‘grip’ before moving on to the next one, and employing all manner of clamps to keep the two halves together:

Despite all this effort, I still managed to induce some fuselage slippage, which didn’t become evident until I glued the upper cowl in place:

That gap is a non-issue, and easily dealt with. The misalignment of the exhaust opening, however, is a different challenge altogether:

It’s fixable, and I’ll be dealing with it in the next update. This is disappointing after all the work I put into trying to avoid this kind of thing, but that’s modelling sometimes!

I’ve also still got some major gaps inside the cockpit to deal with:

Those two little construction conundrums bring us to the end of this update, so stay tuned for Part 4 to see how I deal with them!

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Building the Hasegawa P-51D in 1/32 Scale: Part 2

In Part 1, we got as far as test-fitting the finished Grand Phoenix resin cockpit into the fuselage, with some pretty nasty gaps to be addressed at some point. There are a few other tasks that need to be done prior to joining the fuselage, however, and I’ll need to attend to those first.

One of the issues that plagues a lot of older Mustang kits (in all scales), is the nasty seam line on this exit ramp (I’m not sure what it is, actually) underneath the fuselage:

The common way to fix this is to cut it out and replace it with a single piece of styrene sheet, which is what I’ll be doing:

I also created a small set of shelves out of styrene strip for the new panel to rest on, and will be installing it once the fuselage halves are joined:

My next challenge was dealing with the tail wheel. Hasegawa would have you trap the part inside the fuselage at this stage, and I really can’t stand that approach, so I tried to engineer a solution that would allow me to install the tail wheel at the end. My first approach was a bust, but I eventually settled on gluing a segment of styrene tubing to one of the mounting points in the fuselage:

The attachment lug for the tail wheel, moulded into the starboard fuselage half. I destroyed the one on the port side during my first attempt to solve this problem!

The next step was to modify the tail wheel to suit this new approach, which entailed removing the cross beam meant to seat into the kit mounting points:

I had to drill out the styrene tubing slightly to get a nice fit, but I have no doubt this will work out fine, as long as the tubing holds.

In the end, I had concerns about the overall strength of the tubing’s bond to the fuselage, so later on I added another section to replace the kit lug I destroyed. This should brace against the inside of the fuselage on that side, and provide extra strength and stability. I hope!

The white-on-white is a bit difficult to see, but there’s now a new section of tubing on the port side of the upright piece.

Prior to that, however, there’s still a bit of work to do before I can join the fuselage together, so I started working on the radiator intake and outlet parts. I found among the box of aftermarket products a small, nondescript sheet of photo-etch parts, and it took me ages to work out that it was from the Dragon P-51 kit. It contained some seat belts and a pair of grilles for the radiator duct, so I set about adapting the latter to fit the Hasegawa parts:

And the finished radiator air exit ramp:

The ramp panel was airbrush with Tamiya AS-12, decanted from the spray can. The radiator face was airbrush with Tamiya XF-85 Rubber Black, and then dry-brushed with Mr. Color MC-218 Aluminium. It’s not perfect, but perfectly in keeping with the goals of this build, and certainly much better than what Hasegawa gives you in the box!

I also fitted the kit firewall, mainly in the hopes that it would help support the engine (I don’t think it will), but also to generally stabilise this area of the fuselage when the two halves are joined:

This of course leads to the engine itself. Even though I intend to build this model all closed up (with the possible exception of the sliding canopy), I figured I would need to assemble and install the engine, as it’s required to hold the propeller in place. So I assembled the basic components, trimmed away the mounts for the kit exhausts, and butt-joined the exquisite Moskit units with flexible black CA (AK’s Black Widow product):

The Moskit exhausts are absolutely exquisite, and terrifyingly fragile! Check out those openings…

I wasn’t done the engine yet, however, as test-fitting showed that there was absolutely no positive points of location for the completed assembly with the fuselage itself; it seems that it’s meant to simply hang off the exhaust stacks and prop shaft. I suspect the kit exhaust parts are meant to assist with these, but since I wasn’t using them, it seemed I would have a difficult time locating the engine properly and closing the fuselage around it. After mulling it over for a while, I came up with a solution:

Basically, I found some aluminium tubing that matched the diameter of the prop shaft (2mm OD – I would have preferred brass for strength, but didn’t have any in this size), snipped off the kit part, drilled suitable holes front and back, inserted the tubing right down the guts, and then trimmed it to length. It’s secured with brushable CA at each end. I also drilled a hole into the tank (oil?) in front of the firewall, to accept the tubing out of the rear of the engine, and support that end:

And here’s the obligatory test fit:

It’s still pretty loose in there, and will still require the prop assembly to lock it in place properly. But at least the rear end is taken care of, and it should make joining the fuselage halves much less ambiguous.

But we’ll have to wait until Part 3 to see how I get on with that.

Stay tuned!

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

The venerable Hasegawa 1/32 scale P-51D Mustang has been around since since the 1970s, first hitting the streets in 1972. At the time, it represented the state of the art in injection-moulded plastic kit production. Now of course, it has been eclipsed in all regards, and effectively been made redundant by vastly superior renditions of the P-51D in 1/32 scale.

Nevertheless, after narrowly surviving a major house move, I needed what I thought would be a relatively quick and simple project to instigate my return to the workbench after a long absence. I chose this kit thinking it would fit the bill, and because it also qualified for the The Mighty Eighth Over Europe Group Build on Large Scale Planes. It was also gifted to me by a friend who had long since lost interest in the hobby, and I felt his generosity deserved to be repaid with an actual build of the kit.

As it happens, some years earlier, another friend had sent me his started example of the same kit, himself having abandoned it in favour of the then-new Tamiya release. He was part-way through scratch-building a new cockpit, and had made improvements to numerous other parts. More relevant for my build, however, was the inclusion in the box of a handy selection of aftermarket products, including Moskit exhausts, Grand Phoenix resin cockpit, True Details wheels, and some Eduard photo-etch sets.

So, with an unstarted kit in one hand, and a box full of useful upgrades in the other, I was off to the races!

As is the usual practise, I started with the cockpit, which meant removing the moulded-in detail from the kit fuselage sidewalls, to make room for the resin parts:

My friend had already done some clean-up and minor assembly work with the cockpit components, and unfortunately the seat had become broken at some point:

I tried in vain to glue the two parts back together as is, but in the end, it was easier to cut away the broken areas, and replace them with a single piece of styrene sheet and copious amounts of black CA glue (super glue):

The cockpit tub itself is a single-piece affair, with separate sidewall pieces. My friend had already started adding some additional details to the batteries, but since I was planning to keep this build as simple as possible, I decided against adding anything more.

The instrument panel supplied with the resin set comprises resin, photo-etched, and acetate parts:

The photo-etched component of the instrument panel. Also found on the PE fret are the rudder pedals.
This pre-printed acetate sheet contains the instrument dials, and forms the ‘meat’ in the sandwich between the resin and photo-etched parts. Here, the rear side has been painted white to bring out the otherwise transparent dial detail.

The first order of business was to lay some primer down on the resin parts, ready to accept the final paint coats. I normally use Mr. Surfacer for this job, but I’ve had some of this specialised resin primer from Mr. Hobby lying around for quite some time, and decided to give it a whirl:

I thinned it 50:50 with Mr. Color Levelling Thinner, and splashed it onto the resin components with my trusty Iwata HP-C Plus:

Cockpit sidewalls and instrument panel column.
The mended seat in primer, with the joins happily all but invisible.

Using Mr. Hobby H-58 Interior Green, in combination with some Vallejo colours for detail painting, we arrive quite quickly at a decent-looking set of cockpit components:

The instrument panel turned out especially well, I thought. The yellow line is pieced together from 4 sections of appropriately-coloured decal.

The various cockpit placards came from the Eduard pre-coloured photo-etch set (32 515). I applied some acrylic washes, some light dry-brushing, and a bit of chipping on the seat using a Prismacolor silver pencil. Done! Please don’t quote anything I’ve done for accuracy, however, as my goal here was to simply make it look busy and colourful, though not too far from the truth.

I decided to add a section of styrene strip to each side of the fuselage to aid with locating and supporting the cockpit:

I then gave selected areas of fuselage a coat of Interior Green, and test-fitted the now-finished cockpit:

Hmm, some decent gaps at the sidewalls there! But we’ll have to wait for Part 2 to see how I get on with those.

Stay tuned!

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Whenever I find myself in a bit of a modelling funk, and for whatever reason I can’t seem to drag myself to the workbench, I often find it helpful to just grab a kit that’s outside my comfort zone or usual area of interest, and put it together without worrying too much about accuracy or detail. I call this having a modelling holiday, and as often as not I turn to sci-fi subjects for the answer.

Recently I found myself once again in need of such a modelling holiday, and reached into the stash for the Diamond Select Toys 1/8 scale Deadpool figure. It’s a snap-together kit that’s more of a toy than a sophisticated model, but looks the part when completed.

It was certainly good to be back at the workbench again, but now I think it’s time to build some more aircraft!

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Halcyon 1/9 Alien Figure

Having recently released our newest title (Building the Revell He 219A-7 in 1/32 Scale), I thought I’d take some time out and do some model building of my own! I chose to finish off Halcyon’s 1/9 Alien figure, which comes with a diorama base and alien egg (the ones that squirt nasty little facehuggers at you!). I’d started this build mid-way through 2018, but put it aside due to some uncertainty around how to make the base more interesting. Since 2018 was all work and no play for me, I resolved to be more productive at the workbench in 2019, and dragged this one off the shelf of doom and set about finishing it off.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

The initial colour layer for the diorama base was simply Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black, straight out of the rattle can (the Alien figure received the same treatment). This was followed by a light dusting of clear flat, ready for the next stages.

The solution for making the otherwise all-black diorama base look more interesting turned out to be a smattering of washes and dry-brushing using various shades of green—the most effective of which was U.S. Interior Green (Gunze H58, to be exact).

Heavy streaking and dry-brushing with shades of green, followed by a heavy coat of clear gloss, produced a suitably slimy result.

To finish off the egg, I applied some clear UV-curing gel to the opening, which created a nice sense of slimy ooze, and helped enhance the organic effect I was aiming for.

Don’t stare for too long!

The Alien figure received the same base coat of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black. The highlights were worked in by dry-brushing some Mr. Metal Color Dark Iron, along with some detail work with a 2B graphite pencil. This was followed by a heavy wash of dirty black/brown, achieved by mixing Flory Models Dark Dirt with Black.

I’m pretty happy with the final result, even though this type of modelling is way out of my comfort zone!

We’ve already released one sci-fi title as a free download (Building the Revell X-Wing in 1/48 Scale), so perhaps we should do some more!