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One Kit Is Never Enough Part 2

One Kit is Never Enough Part 2
Perhaps a brief explanation of the title of this column is the best way to start this, my second column for Graham. The title came about from a conversation with a friend of mine who owns a model shop a few miles from where I live. This took place in the summer of ’09 when I was unemployed. Jason got a call from a lady whose husband had passed away and she wanted to sell his kit collection. Apparently this gentleman had 8,000 unbuilt kits in the loft and from what I understand was a collector and not a builder. This combined with posts on the internet about the size of a modellers stash got me thinking about why we buy more kits than we can hope to build in our lifetime.
I have seen photos of stashes that leave me flabbergasted at the amount of kits people buy. Not ten, not twenty, but hundreds and hundreds of kits sitting in a loft, or storage closet. I am even guilty of this, however my stash is much slimmed down since I traded nearly all of my German WWII kits. I have about 50 AFV kits in my stash, maybe ten aircraft kits and five resin kits, so a grand total of 65 kits. Even this modest amount of kits is too many, to be honest. However, I justify that by saying that in the future I may not be able to afford new kits, as my unemployment for seven months in ’09 proved.
That however does not explain 8,000 unbuilt kits or the scale of other peoples stash.
Do any of us need a stash of kits that is more than ten?
The only time I think that is justifiable is when a kit is on limited release or we see it at a price we cannot refuse. Recently I bought an F-16 kit from Graham because it was £16.59. Italeri are not noted for their accuracy when it comes to the F-16, however the F-16 is a favourite jet of mine so I just could not refuse. When the kit arrived I could not believe how good it looked for such a low price, I hope this enjoyment extends to the build as well.
So why do we buy more kits than we can hope to build?
Is it the “rainy day” syndrome or the “gatherer hunter” syndrome?
I will leave it up to others to provide the answer to that, I just enjoy building the kits I have and like it that I have a choice of what to build next.
Mind you, trying to decide what to build next is a whole other matter and the complexities of that decision would baffle a NASA scientist and maybe give Steven Hawking a run for his money.

We modellers are a strange breed that would try the patience of a saint!


Musings on a Paint Scheme.


How many hours do we as modellers spend trying to work out what the correct shade of paint is for the next build? From the posts I see on the various internet sites, and the requests I get in work, it would seem the most difficult part of any project is trying to find a shade of paint that we think is correct. But the fun does not stop there. Once the correct colour is decided on we then have to decide whether we are going to use acrylics or enamels. Then which brand are we going to use? How to thin it, how much thinner to add. Should we add some gloss to the mix? The questions seem almost endless and we have not even started to talk about a “delivery” method yet. Should it be a paint brush, rattle can or airbrush?



The last one is the easiest for me to answer, an airbrush. The biggest improvement in my painting came when I started to use an airbrush. Immediately I got better results than I ever did with a paint brush, and that was on my first try. For some reason though, I hear a lot of modellers saying they are “scared” of airbrushing, a sort of techno fear if you like. There really is nothing to be worried about though, as long as you stick to some basic rules. Always use the manufacturers recommended thinners, always thin the paint to the consistency of milk, always try your paint mixture out on an old kit, or “paint” mule before you start on your model. Always spray on thin coats, never try to cover the entire model in one go. Spray a layer of gloss varnish after every colour. This will allow you to remove any mistakes without damaging the paint under the varnish.



The other area of concern for many seems to be to do with the cleaning of the airbrush. Now this can be tricky, especially if you have an airbrush with a screw in nozzle. Usually the thread is so fine it is very easy to cross thread the nozzle or even break the thread off. Trust me on this, this happens a lot more than you would expect. One solution to this is to buy an airbrush with a self centring nozzle, thus avoiding any “thread” issues. One technique that I use when cleaning out the airbrush is the “blow-back” technique. This is very simply and does work very well. Put some cleaner in the cup of the airbrush, place your finger over the end of the nozzle, and then depress the trigger. Do not pull back on the trigger; all you want here is air. The air will cause the cleaner to bubble back and fill all of the nozzle and bowl allowing a “scouring” effect that will easily loosen any paint. When you are happy spray the remainder of the cleaner into a pot and wipe around the bowl with a piece of kitchen towel. You may need to repeat this one or two times depending on how dried on the paint is. But if you do this before each colour change you should avoid any problems with dried on paint.



The airbrushing is more a case of practice, the more you use it the better you will get, that above all else is what will improve the painting phase of any model. Colour choice is a bigger pain. For many years I used Tamiya’s Dark Yellow on my German WWII AFV’s and was never that happy with the way they looked. One day I got hold of some Xtracrylics Africa Corps Sand Yellow and this looked much more as I would imagine the dunkelgelb to look. It also allowed a greater scope for weathering and did not lose the colour and fade out to white, something the Tamiya paint seemed to do. I had no colour pictures to back up my use of this colour, but to me it looked right, and I feel that is what is important. A few years after I had been using this colour I saw a colour photo in MiS of some Sdkfz 251’s parked up at the end of the war. The dunkelgelb on more than one of the halftracks looked almost exactly as I imagined it. Although on closer examination of the photograph I also saw that on other halftracks the dunkelgelb looked more like Tamiya’s colour. However none of them looked like the Xtracrylics or Vallejo dunkelgelb.



This confusion in colours is evident today in both the IDF(Israeli Defence Force) and the Countries that use NATO Green. Where I used to work we had a maintenance contract with the MOD and part of that was the repainting after repair/servicing. The colour of paint we had, which was NATO Green, looked nothing like the Tamiya colour and was closer to Vallejo’s Dark Green. However, Tamiya’s Nato Black is very similar to the real thing as is their NATO Brown, strange how they got two out of three right.



The IDF though is another matter altogether. I have seen IDF models painted green, painted brown, even buff, and all of them could have been right, however they are not. I am fortunate enough to be able to exchange e-mails with a retired Colonel in the IDF and he has told me, and stated in his books, that IDF AFV’s have always been painted in Sinai Grey. The only exceptions to this would have been those AFV’s the Israeli’s acquired just after WWII. These might well have been green/olive drab, but that was simply because repainting them was not high on the list of things to do when you have a country to establish. So what is the closest match for Sinai Grey? I have been told it is Humbrol 84, although being enamel i have never used this myself. Instead I use either the LifeColor 67-73 Sinai Grey or the Xtracrylics Sinai Grey, both acrylics.



Now these are not an exact match, but with the amount of filters, washes etc that modeller’s use, these do provide a very good place to start. On nearly all of my IDF models it is those two colours that I have used and I am very happy to continue to do so. The weathering process is one that will change the tone of the colour anyway, especially if you use filters. To me that is the critical stage as the filter will alter the tone of the base coat quite dramatically. The more filters used the more you can change the tone of the base coat.




Hopefully the above will be of some use to anyone that suffers the same confusion I have about what paint to use.

Until next time.

Ethlian Middleton.