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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 32




(On the stocks at the moment: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup. Just waiting to determine the best way to do the rigging. My thoughts need more cups of tea on this one! See previous articles on this and the 1/48 Academy Spitfire MkXIVe which was awaiting seat belts).



As I write this article I am reflecting on last weekend (March 20/21) and the Southern Expo show held at Hornchurch, Essex. This was the very first show I attended a couple of years back and the one that really got me interested in trying to improve my standard of modelling. It is a very well run event which attracts clubs and traders from all over the UK and so impressed was I by my first visit, I also attended last year and got to meet the guys of The Medway Modelling Club who always have a stand at this show. They were all very friendly and helpful answering all my questions on build details and painting procedures. They invited me to come along to their club meetings at Gillingham which is not too far from my home, and to cut a long story very short, I joined the club, and this year I was part of the 'team' on the club stand.




I love model shows. It never ceases to amaze me the number of modellers, attached to their respective club stands, who bring their 'stash for sale' to these shows and seem to do a roaring trade with many, sometimes rare, kits changing hands at very reasonable prices. Of course there are also many trade stands with all the latest kits and accessories and from what I could see, most traders were leaving with smiles on their faces after two days of constant selling. I did manage to find a set of seat belts for my 1/48 Academy Spitfire and I have to put my hands up and admit to the purchase of two motorcycle kits from the clubmen stash sales, one of which was for the princely sum of £5. This was an Aoshima kit of the very sweet road going version of the racing Honda 50cc, known as the Dream 50. I have built one motorcycle before, the Italeri 500cc racing Manx Norton, which is one of my favourites. Having had full sized motorcycles from the age of 16, I just luv'em.



As the Southern Expo was held over two days, there was plenty of time to wander around the club stands talking to some of the brilliant modellers about their models. Those of you who have been following these articles will know that I have a 'thing' about the use of 'Klear' as we call it here in the UK, or 'Future' if you are from the States. I just cannot get on with it through the airbrush. I was sure that it was me as thousands of others seem to have no problems with it all. The only way I can use it is by brush and then it is not that good and (in my view) tends to spoil the paint finish I had been trying so hard to achieve in the first place! I was talking to two guys who had produced brilliant models on display from a Sufflok club (name escapes me, I'm sorry) but they agreed with me, and they had been modelling for many years! I am not alone. It transpired that one of them (never did find out about the other man) used Tamiya X 22 clear varnish instead. Must give it a try.



Getting back to the Honda 50, the only (only?) problem about building 'older' motorcycles is that they have spoked wheels and kit plastic spokes moulded with the rims and hubs are never reproduced to scale. I spent hours with needle files thinning down the Manx Norton spokes and vowed never to do that again. After talking to a motorcycle modeller at the Hendon Show last year, I learnt that he 're-spoked' his wheels by using nickel wire and this seemed a very good idea to me - time consuming, yes, but still a good idea as the result is very scalelike. Those of you who have been reading my recent articles will know that I have been using some rod and tube from Albion Alloys, especially their 0.2 nickel wire! I have now found another use for this great product.




There was no excuse now not to start the Honda 50 (while I was still considering the best way to rig the Sopwith Pup, of course). Some of you might think it was 'cold feet' about the Pup and you would probably be right. I would like to think that I am being very wise and considering all options! In this respect, I also bought the Eduard PE fret of WWI rigging stretchers and accessories, together with something else I found at the Show, a reel of E Z Line which comes from the USA and is available in various colours and thicknesses. It is similar to Lycra thread but not flat like Lycra. It is round and stretches 700% according to the label. I bought the 'Fine' version in black from the Little Cars trade stand and it certainly stretches to what resembles scale rigging.




I digress again. Back to the Honda 50. After photo-copying the original kit wheels to provide me with a picture of the spoke pattern, there I was with another mug of tea (still considering the rigging of the Pup) wielding my Xuron sprue cutters and releasing the hubs from the wheels of the Honda 50. I left the spoke nipples on the rims to be drilled later on for the reception of the 0.2 nickel rod replacement spokes. Once the plastic spokes had been cut away, it required a scalpel to carefully shave off the moulded on spoke ends from the hubs. There are 18 spokes per hub side and therefore a total of 72 in all. Armed with a very sharp mini drill each spoke nipple was drilled to accept the 0.2 rod making sure that 'as near as dammit' the holes were angled roughly in the direction of it's location on the hub.




It seems a lot of work but once all the new spokes have been superglued into position, the 'new' wheels look so much better. Once I was satisfied with the 'lacing' I again turned to my bag of goodies from the show and fitted the MDC 1/48 RAF seat belts to the Academy Spitfire once they had been painted. After all the trials and tribulations with this model - job done.





More next week.



Peter Buckingham