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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 43





I don't know what it is, or how it has come about, but when I had just started this model making hobby about two and half years ago, I seemed able to fully complete models at the rate of one or, sometimes, two a month - I was more productive in my earlier 'apprenticeship' days.



Now, models seems to hang around in various states of undress (I wish!) for what seems like weeks while I fiddle and fart around trying to do this, and then that, in the ever increasing search for a perfect model, which, of course, never comes along. I was talking to a professional modeller at my Medway Club last meeting, and he put forward the suggestion that the more experienced one gets, the longer each model takes to complete because of more research being carried out, creating or buying extra bits and pieces to make the model more realistic and, sometimes, more complicated painting techniques. In other words striving for that elusive perfection adds time. The closest I have come to my idea of something approaching perfection, that is to say something I could proudly say that this was a bit special for my abilities, is just twice. Once with my Trumpeter 1/32 Swordfish, and the other occasion with the 1/32 Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup. I am stressing here that this is just my view of my models.



Both models were let down at the last hurdle by my inability to overcome a particular finishing task. In respect of the Swordfish, I was pleased to have discovered the problem was not exactly my fault, it was a fault in the kit design, but was something that I should have foreseen and possibly rectified. I originally thought that this particular problem was just me, but since speaking to some very experienced 'master' modellers about their idea of the same problem, we all came to the same conclusion.



This was the wing fold angle built in to the wing root ribs/spars that dictates the angle the folded wing modules go in the direction of the tailplane where a retention hook locks them in position. As kitted, the bottom wing tips end up too far down towards the 'deck' and out of reach of the retention hook. By this stage of the build, it is very difficult to adjust this angle and is something that is required to be dealt with at an earlier stage. Up to that time, the build had been just about perfect - the Trumpeter kit is superb, great fun to build and highly recommended. I iterate that this problem only occurs if you are doing a wing fold version.



How I got around this problem was by 'cheating'. I presented the Swordfish in a diorama situation with the wings being 'lifted' (or lowered, as your eye decides) by two deck hands and the retention hook released. Tony O'Shea, a superb builder and author of things modelling, got over the same problem by managing to file the root rib spars to a very thin '>' shape therefore enabling the slide on wing module to be lifted, but this leaves the attachment very weak. I did this to a certain extent, but was afraid of weakening the rib/spars too much. One thing I was happy about was that the problem was not something I had created.



The second example of coming close to something I was completely satisfied with was, as mentioned above, the Sopwith Pup. I was very happy with the general paintwork, especially the system I used for showing the doped linen covering over the wing ribs and fuselage framework. But it was my 'virginal' rigging of the wings that I was dissatisfied with. It didn't turn out too badly, but in the eye of this beholder, it was something that my school reports stated, if I can still remember the phrase they used, 'Could have tried harder'.



So, this 'eye of the beholder' perfection thing is very elusive. I look at every model at the start of the build and say to myself, "Is this the one?". The model with this in mind at the moment is my version of Paul Fisher's 1/32 wonderful resin kit of the Sea Fury T20. This is the training version with two cockpits which I am preparing in the West German target towing version complete with a propeller driven winch on the side of the fuselage. This build has been going on for some time now and is at present on the red/orange main colour scheme with the yellow/orange tips, spinner and rudder already painted. The whole airframe is awaiting a serious rubbing down with Micrmesh 12000 (wonderful stuff) and very soapy water. Once dry it will be taken outside into the daylight for my wife to give me a decision on how the colours have turned out. The reason for this is my problem with colours which I have boringly mentioned many times before. After three very thin coats of White Ensign enamels red, my wife suggested that it needed a brighter hue to compare it to the photographs. I then changed onto a 3:2 mix of Humbrol 153 matt red and White Ensign Models Zitrongelb ACLE 03. Two more thin coats of this and we are where we are at the moment. I have stripped the Tamiya masking tape from the tips, the rudder and the two very thin yellow lines from the footholds to the cockpit. Micromesh here we come! My wife is at the ready!




I have sent the latest photographs of the T20 to my friend in Germany, Thomas Genth, whose father used to fly these Sea Furies in the 70's. He informed me that (from the colours which are reproduced digitally in the pics I sent him), the yellow looked too yellow and required a more orangey appearance. I will probably need to overspray the whole model with a very fine mist of the red and yellow mix to blend the whole thing together and/or add some more orange to the tips/rudder/spinner.



The trouble with looking at 'old' pictures of the real thing on the web, one never knows what colour variance there was with a) the original colour film used, b) the colour processing techniques that went on the 70's and, c) how the photographs have been reproduced time and time again before their appearance on the web. Under all these circumstances...............I will do my best. I am, at long last, trying to put into practice what my school reports suggested all those years ago - I am trying harder! Honest, sir!



One of the reasons I am taking my time on the Sea Fury T20 is that Paul Fisher is awaiting the arrival of the German language stencils which are unfortunately delayed for a while.



With regard to the Relish Models 'sponsored' Eurofighter, Graham will be pleased to know that this is not forgotten! As I mentioned last week, I have purchased the Eduard cockpit improvement PE sets (now available from Relish Models) and, following my reading of the magazine articles on the initial build of this kit, I have ordered a white metal undercarriage set from Scale Aircraft Conversions in the States, a set of 'weighted' wheels/tyres and a superb PE boarding ladder from Flightpath. The latter two have just dropped onto my doormat. So my promise of building this model straight OOB has been well and truly scuppered.



While all this was going on, I have been playing around with three very small models. The Miniwing resin 1/144 Grumman 'Mohawk' which is now finished complete with an opening 'flap' in the canopy and some aerials, the Cloudbreak Models 1/200 'Rapide' which has been fully rigged (how sad is that?) and received it's first coat of Alclad dull aluminium paint plus the Shed Models 1/200 TSR2 which has now received it's white Tamiya primer coat.



So, there we have it at the moment, quite a bit of modelling activity, but not a lot to show for my efforts. Not detention again ,Sir. Couldn't I just have 'lines' instead.



More next week.