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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 41

IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION - GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS

 

 

I find that a break of a week or so to my modelling activities always leads to a slow start getting back into a modelling 'routine'. I don't know why this is, but it always seems to happen.

 

 

On the bench I have the Paul Fisher resin 1/32 Sea Fury trainer which I am preparing to be represented in the West German colours of the DLB - red with yellowy/orange wing tips, rudder and spinner. They were used as target towing tugs in the 1970's and I thought this colour scheme would certainly be different accompanied as it is with a wind generated winch on the starboard side of the fuselage. Paul provides the basic winch with the kit, but I have fabricated other small items out of Albion Alloys brass rod and tube for the towing paraphanalia and also for the single wire 'loop' around the tailplane and fin for the surfaces protection in case of a tow line mishap.

 

 

At the moment, the model is masked up for the painting process. The whole airframe had been sprayed with Halfords White Plastic Primer, which goes on beautifully by the way, and some gentle pre-shading was done along the panel lines with thinned flat black. I then masked the majority of the aircraft leaving the fin, wing tips and the two thin yellow lines on the port side that lead from the footholds to the cockpits - yes, there are two separate cockpits on this trainer.

 

 

My paint of preference is White Ensign Models enamels (WEM) and I have sprayed four very thin (70/30 paint/thinners) coats of ACRN 21 RAF/FAA Yellow onto the tips, rudder et al before achieving the colour saturation I required. If necessary, I can always do a further coat or two if the final presentation requires it. I do rub down with Micromesh 1200 between each coat using very soapy water as a lubricant. The down side on using enamels is the curing time. I allow at least 24 hours before 'attacking' again.

 

 

The tips, rudder and the two lines were then themselves masked and, as I type this article, the first thinned (as above) coat of ACLE 04 'Rot' RAL 3000-840R has been applied to the airframe and the bits and pieces which will be attached later, namely the top surface of the flaps, drop tanks, wheel well covers and canopy frames.

 

 

In the meantime, there have been other things going on as well. The next major job on the table will be our web host Graham's Revell 1/32 Euro Fighter Typhoon. The parts have all been washed and are ready to be battled with. I have two of Eduard's finest PE packages to enhance the cockpit and I am awaiting news of a Revell add-on package which is also for the cockpit. If I haven't heard anything about it's availablity within the next week, then I will proceed without it.

 

 

However, as I always like to have other things on the go at the same time (not always a good decision in my book!) I have been playing with three very small kits. By very small I mean one at 1/144 and two at 1/200. I am a sucker for these small kits having built a charming 1/200 Cloudbreak Models Percival Mew Gull last year which is more the size of a tie pin!

 

 

The kits I am building at the moment are Cloudbreak Models 1/200 De Havilland Rapide, Shed Models 1/200 TSR2 and Miniwing's 1/144 Grumman 'Mohawk'. The first two are white metal kits and the latter is resin and all are beautifully made. If you have never considered anything this small before, I would strongly recommend trying at least one. With my normal modelling being in the 1/48 and 1/32 sizes, I am unable to display them due to limited space, but with 1/144 it would be possible for me to have about 30 on display on the small shelf just above this computer screen! Some of the detail the latest digital equipment is able to machine onto the model masters is amazing and it seems to be improving all the time.

 

 

With the white metal models, there is a certain amount of surface preparation with emery boards and wet and dry Micromesh and then assembly of the parts commences using cyanoacrylate glue and/or JB Weld 'Kwik' which is a sandable two part tube mix.

 

 

When I bought the De Havilland Rapide from Wojtek (pronounced Voytek!) Benzinski at Cloudbreak Models stand at the Southern Expo this year, a Medway Club comedian said, "Of course, it has to be rigged!" and I am looking at just that possibility. I know that Tim Upson-Smith has done a magazine article on his beautiful Rapide rigged with stretched sprue, so it is going to be quite a challenge. We shall see. I have fitted the lower wing assembly and the majority of the struts, so it is decision time on the rigging very shortly.

 

 

The Rapide looks positively dinky against the TSR2 which is a very solid lump of metal when the parts are assembled. The castings are beautiful and polish up to a gleaming finish which will be such a shame to cover it with paint! I have drilled out the requisite holes and trial fitted the fin and undercarriage legs (also in metal - a ncessity when you feel the weight!) plus the wheel well covers. What a futuristic and beautiful looking aircraft this was. No wonder Airfix had a hit on it's hands when it produced their plastic version last year.

 

 

In respect of the Miniwing Grumman 'Mohawk', this is another well engineered kit with lovely detail. The trailing edges of the wings are so sharp you could almost shave with them. The kit has gone together very well and although I had intended to add some wire strengtheners to the wing butt joints, I found it unnecessary with plenty of surface available for the supergluse to 'bite'. The cockpit consists of just two seats and an instrument panel with decals for the panel and the seat belts. I have added two 'joysticks' from thin gauge brass rod with miniscule dobs of PVA glue painted white on the top ends for handles. I have busied up the bulkhead with small decals from my spares box and some plasticard.

 

 

The canopy is vacuform which is required to be cut from it's surround, but you do get two canopies in case of accidents - well done Miniwing, I wish more manufacturers would do the same. Initially I decided to do the 'standard' canopy and masked and painted it accordingly, but looking at a picture of a full sized canopy with an entry panel in the open position made me try to relicate the same with the spare canopy by carefully 'scalpelling' the panel from the canopy. It worked, so I am about to spray the canopy frames on the second canopy soon. It will look different.

 

 

The finish of the airframe is all over Olive Drab for which I used Tamiya acrylic with a touch of white just to lighten it up a bit. Once dry, this was masked and the leading edges of the wings and tailplane together with the top half of the engines were sprayed with NATO Black as were the six propeller blades once the tips had been painted yellow.

 

 

I have found that the downside to these 1/144 and 1/200 kits I have experienced so far are the quality of the decals. Cartograph of Italy they ain't! Mind you, I haven't had the opportunity of trying one of the Japanese or German Revell kits yet - I wonder if their decals are better?

 

 

Busy, busy, busy. More next week.

 

 

Peter.

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