Fear the Reaper

If we are talking about Skunk Models MQ-9 Reaper, then don’t fear it. If you blink, you might miss it. This has been a fantastical build. I would be generous in saying that my total time invested has exceeded two hours. This could be be built, sanded, and painted in close to a day, and that’s not a bad thing. Being a drone, the lack of a cockpit decreases build time quite a bit. I was apprehensive at first about the parts being too soft of a plastic but they turned out to be great to work with. The only filler used was on one seam of one bomb. In fact, this is the first time that the plane has been completed before the ordinance and landing gear. Aside from that, as it sits, all that is needed is the weathering. I was able to get the airbrushing completed yesterday and I spent this morning applying the decals. I would expect to be finished tonight or tomorrow.

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TBM-3 Avenger

Motivated by the progress of the Zero builds, I finished my TBM-3 Avenger. Another great Academy kit. The instructions could have been a bit more involved, but I was able to get the job done. I’m always a stickler for an open canopy as well. Aside from that, I really can’t give an honest complaint.
Assembly went well. Joining the fuselage halves was tricky with all the interior parts that need to join with the opposite side. After you accomplish that, it’s calm waters with the rest.
I chose to go with the late WWII paint scheme of Sea Blue. I also ditched the provided decals and used a set of Micro Scale decals. This was a great kit. I enjoyed building all the way with this one.

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A6M5c Zero

My workbench has been a frenzy with activity lately. With the completion last weekend of the American Zero, the desire to finish the Japanese Zero increased.
Academy did a great job with this kit. Simple, yet still able to keep my attention, these Zeros were a fun twist to my normal builds. Assembly went well with no hiccups. All around, they were both smooth builds.
Painting bare metal is not my favorite to do, but I am pleased with the results. I used Model Masters Chrome Silver for the overall color. I also picked a few random panels to contrast the shiny chrome. I used Testors Silver for that effect. I used the pencil weathering method on this one to make all the panel lines stand out more without making the plane look dirty. My spare decals came in handy on this build. Luckily there wern’t too many decals needed.
The Japanese Zero was painted with Model Masters Japanese Army Light Gray. I used my normal pastel weathering for this one to show its use in the war. The decals were a bit tough to work with. Tearing was the main issue. I was glad to have two sets of decals so I could afford a few mistakes.

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A New Start

Successfully, I have kept my pace from the weekend and continued my progress tonight. I was able to get the final color on the Avenger. Also, I airbrushed the Zero’s yellow waist band and applied the decals. Both Builds should be done in the next couple of days.
While those kits sat idle for dry time, I went ahead and started a new build. I actually could have come close to finishing it tonight. My next two builds are both drones. I began Skunk Models MQ-9 Reaper tonight to get a head start. I never expected to get as far as I did. This is my first attempt with Skunk Models. So far so good. The kit looks well detailed but the plastic is a bit on the soft side. It’s a minor issue that I can get over. The Reaper should be complete within a few days.
The other drone I’ll be building is Platz’s X-47B. Upon review, it looks like a simple build. I think (hope) this one will be the same as the Reaper.

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Stearman PT-13D Kaydet

This weekend sprouted many sessions at the workbench. I was able to finish two builds and get close to finishing the other two kits. The first to be cleared for takeoff is the Stearman.
My timeline for this build was pathetic. Given the small amount of pieces along with the total size of the kit, this should have been done last week. Regardless, here I am with the Stearman complete.
The build itself went quite well. Very little sanding was needed along with zero filler. The painting actually took longer to complete than the build itself.
The recall paint scheme came out better than I expected. I was a little worried the blue would bleed through the mask and make a huge mess. Thankfully, pulling the mask off revealed crisp blue stripes.
I went in a different direction with the weathering on this one. A recall plane would stay relatively clean so I wanted to show cleanliness with a little bit of weathering. Instead of using pastels, I used a #2 pencil on the panel lines to give a minor amount of wear.
Another new technique for me was the rigging. I’ve tried to pull this off before with horrid results. This time I approached the preparation in a different way. In the past, when I gave it a shot, I tried to use black thread for rigging. It has always ended up with me getting frustrated because the thread wouldn’t be tight enough without pulling the opposite end loose. This time, I stretched a foot long thread, taped at both ends to a pair of spray cans. I coated it with super glue and let it dry. When it’s ready, you’ll have plenty of stiff rigging to use. This time was much easier using this method. Also, it adds a great detail to the kit.

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Full Steam Ahead

This set of builds has become like a slowly melting icicle. The week brought almost nothing to the table. I was, however, able to get a tiny bit completed and I think this weekend will blossom great results.
The Stearman finally received its stripes this morning. I couldn’t find the exact color in my research, so I used Tamiya Sea Blue. It’ll be close enough. I’ll pull the mask off later today and do some slight detail work before I apply the decals.
The Avenger is my success story of the week. The fuselage halves were put together Thursday night. Last night saw the seams get sanded and primed. This turkey will get its wings on this afternoon and any gaps that need to be filled will get taken care of as well.
Painting on the Zeros is at an in-between stage. The Japanese Zero will get painted this afternoon. The American Zero will get a little more detail to its finish. I sprayed the entire plane with Testors Silver this morning for two reasons. One, it acts as a good primer for bare metal finishes. The silver shows all the imperfections in the plastic, such as scratches from sanding, that could ruin your final appearance. Second, I want to break up the finish with some different variations of silver. I’ll mask off a few random panels before I airbrush the final coat of paint, giving the Zero a little contrast.

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