Going For 50

I have been sitting here at work, flipping through my photos on my iPad. There is a separate album titled “models”. After each build, I put the photographs in this folder and generally forget about them. Looking at all my past builds was a fun reminder of how much I enjoy this hobby. Even with the frustrating builds, this is the greatest hobby (my own opinion, of course).
Reminiscing also brought with it a personal challenge. When I finished the slideshow of aircraft, I decided to go back and count my builds in 2014. My faithful followers might remember that I built twenty-five kits last year. A respectable amount. This year has been bountiful with thirty-three completed builds so far this year. After my current set of builds, I will be at thirty-seven when I get them finished. Thirteen more to reach fifty. And that is my challenge to myself. Fifty builds at the end of 2014. My average is four a month. If I continued that pace, I would be two shy with forty-eight builds. The challenge has been accepted and now it’s time to pick up the tempo. Below is a full list of my 2014 builds.

1. F-8E Crusader
2. Focke Wulf FW-190-D
3. F7F-3P Tigercat
4. A-37B Dragonfly
5. RA-5C Vigilante
6. Lippisch P.13a
7. F-102A Delta Dart
8. F-104C Starfighter
9. Lightning F Mk.6
10. Ju-87 D-5 Stuka
11. MiG-29 Fulcrum
12. T-6G Texan
13. Stearman PT-13D Kaydet
14. A6M5c Zero (Japanese)
15. A6M5c Zero (American)
16. TBM-3 Avenger
17. MQ-9 Reaper
18. Saab J35J Draken
19. Sepecat Jaguar GR.1
20. X-47B
21. A-4E Skyhawk
22. F-16C Fighting Falcon
23. F-16I Sufa
24. F-89J Scorpion
25. F-84E Thunderjet
26. Mirage F.1c
27. F4U-1 Corsair
28. P-39Q Airacobra
29. F2H-3 Banshee
30. SR-71A Blackbird
31. YA-10A Thunderbolt II
32. F11F-1 Tiger
33. A-6E Intruder

Quick Turnaround

After the bad luck I had building the F-11 and YA-10, my fortunes have turned favorably with this group of builds. The P-40 is sitting in pole position with the first stage of paint completed. I was able to get the belly sprayed yesterday afternoon. I will mask it off tonight for final paint. I plan on hand painting the nose art on this kit so there will be a slight setback while I do that. The ease of the build more than compensates for that.
The Tempest is in a close second. The wing roots needed minor filling and sanding. That was completed yesterday with a coat of primer on last night. I will try to get the belly painted tonight, but it doesn’t look hopeful. Again, another smooth build from Academy.
The MiG-15 saw a leap in progress yesterday as well. The cockpit was finished and installed. The fuselage halves are together and awaiting the seams to be sanded. There will be some filling to do, but nothing out of the ordinary. This kit could thaw my heart for Airfix a little.
The F-14 is in the same place as before. With the other three moving along so fluidly, I haven’t had a second to crack it open and start it. Maybe three kits is my limit. I’ll have time when the other kits are painted and drying.

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A-6E Intruder

On February 2, 1991, Lieutenant Commander Barry T. Cooke and Lieutenant Junior Grade Patrick K. Connor were catapulted from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. They were twenty-nine miles north east off the coast of Kuwait City when AAA fire brought them down. Neither Cooke (pilot) or Connor (navigator/bombardier) survived the crash. This build is dedicated to them.
Originally, I wasn’t too enthused about how this kit was going. The canopy issue was not what I needed to deal with at the end. Although it was frustrating, it turned out better than I thought it would. Opening the canopy up required some detail inside the cockpit. I had to scrounge around to find some parts to add and I think it turned out well.
The Starfighter Decals were great to apply. They don’t handle to well to clear matte so I might try some Future next time around. As for weathering, I tried to get this Intruder as filthy as I could. I don’t like clean Intruders. To me, there is just something about a grimy Intruder that peaks my interest. Overall it was an ok build. The finish turned it around for me.

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If Three is a Crowd, What Does Four Make?

The decals are on the Intruder and I gave it a good coat of clear matte. While I am in the dormant stages of the final building, I am working on my new builds. I previously started the Tempest and Warhawk on my camping trip. They are getting pretty far along with both kits getting their wings on last night. They have been great builds so far. It’s nice to burn up my down time from other builds on kits like these.
The third kit in this set is Hasegawa’s 1/72 F-14D “Vandy 1″. Who doesn’t like the black Tomcat? It looks great and I am excited to get deep into this one. Open the box and you will find a quality kit. Included with the model are photo etched parts. I don’t tend to do well with them but I am going to give it a try. The only thing I have done to this kit was open the box up and inspect it. I have quite a ways to go.
I have decided to step up my building quota and add a fourth. I could’t decide between the F-14 and Airfix’s MiG-15. To solve the dilemma, I figured why not build both? So the MiG-15 is my fourth build. I know that I am anti-Airfix but I have built this kit before and I don’t recall it being bad. The cockpit parts are painted and are just waiting to be assembled. My hope is to get that done this evening.

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Flight of the Intruder….Almost

I couldn’t build an Intruder without referencing the great 80’s film “Flight of the Intruder”. I actually watched this movie to get some references on this build. There are great cockpit shots that give you a look at all the bits and pieces inside.
Well, I finally painted the A-6 yesterday afternoon. I sprayed it late last night with clear gloss and now it is all ready for the decals. I chose to ditch the stock decals and go with a set of Starfighter Decals. I am new to this company so we will see how they go. They sure look good on the sheet.
Everything else to this build is finished up except for the canopy. It was all done until I started to dry-fit it. It was almost like it was from a different kit or something. Being this far in, I didn’t want to get too invasive to fix the issue. Instead of risking any damage to the fuselage, I sawed the canopy in half to make it in the open position. The wind screen will need some more work once I get it on the airplane, but it will be a lot less than if I hadn’t have made the cut.
This has been another dragged out build. Thankfully, the end is very near. I am off for the next three days so I see no reason I can’t get done by tomorrow.

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Make Your Own Decals

So there are a few of my followers that want to know how to make their own decals. This post will inform you on how I make my decals when a need arises. In my opinion, I would take stock decals over homemade. Unless you have a high quality printer (I do not), the results won’t be the best. However, even a basic printer will get you by.
So to start off, what decals are you wanting to make/design. For the YA-10, I scanned the entire stock decal sheet to my computer. I made it into a PDF file and printed straight from that. There was no sizing to do whatsoever. If you have a design program, your options increase on your capabilities. You can make your chosen design and scale it down to size. I use the basic Paint program that came with my computer. If I make my own designs, it’s usually limited to some nose art or a bureau number. I haven’t delved too far into this process. You can also find an image or logo online that you want to use and save it as an image to your computer. Open it up in your design program and size it down.
When it comes to sizing, I make multiple images that are different sizes. Print that out on a plain white sheet of paper and decide which size fits best. Hold it up to your kit and compare the various size options. Once you have chosen the right size, it’s time to print on decal paper.
When it comes time to print, there are two decal paper options. Clear paper is just like a stock sheet of decals. When you cut them out, the film is clear. White decal paper is as you would guess….white. Most computers do not print the color white so this would be the option to go with if you have that need. The downside to this selection is that you have to be 100% accurate when cutting your decals out. Any overhang of a missed cut and you will have a white border. So trim well when using this option. I have always gone with clear. Testors makes both options and quite honestly, that is all I have ever seen being sold. I am sure there are other makers out there that work just the same if not better. The Testors paper is smaller than a standard size sheet of paper so you will need to adjust your printer to accept the smaller sheets. Once you have that corrected, go ahead and print your decals out.
This is by far the easiest part of the process. Click print. Or print preview if you want to check out how they will lay out. After I print them out, I let them sit for a day to completely dry. After they are completely dry, I spray them with Testors decal bonder. It is available in a rattle can and also comes in a decal maker kit. Don’t waste your money on the kit unless it’s your only option. The provided cd is useless. I have also heard of clear gloss being used to seal them in but I have not tried it. Use it at your own risk. Once you give it a good spray with the bonder, let them sit another day to dry. After that, you are ready to start using your creation.
That is the gist of what I do for my decals. I am quite positive that there is a better way to do it and I am open to your suggestions. I hope this will help you out or give you the courage to try it. Any questions?

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F11F-1 Tiger

After almost one month, I am finished with the Tiger. This kit certainly should not have taken so long. It fell to circumstance. The move didn’t help its cause, that is for sure. Had it not been for the extensive nose rebuild, this would have been a great build. The resin nose looked great, it just didn’t fit properly. The fatal part about that it is that you don’t find that out until after you cut the stock nose off. Oh well, move on and persevere. Aside from the nose blunder, everything else built real well. I wouldn’t mind trying it without the resin nose. Maybe a Blue Angels version in a few years. I am relieved to have conquered this one. Now I can focus on getting the Intruder finished.

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