The Transition

Going from a box of parts to an actual airplane is a rewarding and sometimes grinding achievement. I can’t say that I enjoy the more difficult kits, but I can say that I appreciate the lessons they teach. One of the more important ones is never taking the easier builds for granted. I am currently faced with eight of those kits. All of my current builds have established an efficient flow to themselves. 

The P-38 is going well but due to the detail, I am lagging behind. Revell did a great job with this kit. I have the main fuselage together and I now need to do the weathering and detailing on the engines and the gun bay. It was very difficult to find a place to add the ballast. With the nose section opened up to expose the guns, I couldn’t put them in there like I normally would. I added as much as I could around the cockpit and my fingers are crossed. I will try to sneak a few in the nose cone and maybe some in the wheel well. I still have a few more days on the details before I can get the rest of the fuselage going.

The Skyray has been neglected until yesterday. I finished up all the pre-painting that needed to be done and I will begin on the cockpit today. The detail looks pretty good so I am excited to get moving along.

As for the Harrier, Typhoon, Defiant, Alpha Jet, M.S.406, and D.520, the fuselages have been affixed together and sanded. I spent a good amount of time yesterday knocking the seams down and smoothing them out. I added some filler to the D.520 this morning and primed the other five. I will let the primer dry and then see if I need to address anything else. 

 
 

 

  

Su-22M4R Fitter

My 2015 project build is finally plenary. I can conclusively let my sigh of relief out now and I am putting the angst behind me. I will admit that it came out way better than I had expected it to. Throughout the whole kit, I expected a monster of a finish to the Su-22. I honestly didn’t expect a whole lot out of the final outcome. Given the reality of the story, I think I pulled this one off. It is certainly not my greatest achievment in the quality department, but the fact that I didn’t destroy it over and over again is the ultimate award.

So the build was terrible. I believe that has been established over the past two months. The moulds were the lead-off to my balloon deflating. They are actually great. I assumed from the moulds that this would be a nice kit to build. Every bit of assembly was a fight. The only easy part was the paint and decals. The decals were a good quality. It was a highlight to the build. 

Lessons have been learned from the Su-22. My patience was tested on numerous occasions. The main lesson is to stay clear of Mister Craft kits! Actually, I will get another kit to really see if they are all like that. I would hate to miss out on a good build because of a flop. All in all, I am super thrilled to be finished. I’m not sure how much more I would have put up with before I gave up on it.  

 
  

  

  

   

Always Focused on Building

My main focus of the Su-22 has been addressed today and now sits awaiting its paint to cure. With that task checked off and to the side, I shifted to some major cockpit duty. The Skyray is the lone kit that went untouched this morning. I will, in fact, dedicate some time to it later today. There are a few parts that I overlooked delaying assembly a bit. The rest of the builds are closing in on their fuselages being joined. I applied decals on instrument panels and painted the ones that didn’t come with decals so I will let them sit the rest of the day and install them up tomorrow. Ejection seats, flight sticks, and other various pieces have already been affixed. I will have a busy morning of wedding fuselage halves together.

So with all that in limbo today, I thought I would start my research on my next A-10 build. This aspect of a build has become an integral aspect to my builds. I enjoy learning about what I am building and adding that knowledge to the kit itself. There are two A-10’s that I have in mind and looking through pictures today sparked a third. Two will be built for sure and the one that I researched today is from the 18th Tactical Fighter Squadron stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Upon receiving two A-10A’s in December of 1981, they soon painted one aircraft in an experimental arctic scheme for the upcoming exercise Operation Cool Snow Hog. The point of the exercise was to see if the A-10 could sustain the extremes of Alaska. Unfortunately for the paint scheme, it didn’t take. Fortunately for me, it was documented in text and pictures. I was able to get the basics of the markings and paint colors today. I am still researching what kind of ordinance it carried, if any, during its brief existence. There are no aftermarket decals for this version that I can find so I will have to rummage through my spares and most likely create a few. There is still plenty more research to be done before I commit to the build. Today was the perfect lull to work on a future build.

 
   

Subtle Progress

I have been tackling the paint job on the Su-22 the past few days and I am happy to report that I am close to completion. There are five total colors to the camouflage process and now one remains. Tomorrow will see the final color applied and it’s looking like my Friday finish might be delayed. It all depends on how quick I can get it weathered. Given the circumstances of this particular build, another day or two to take my time and avoid catastrophe is well worth it.

Now on to the rest of the gaggle. As you can see in the picture, I currently have a massive parts forest on my workbench. And that isn’t even including the Skyray. The Defiant and the Typhoon are the furthest along with their fuselage halves joined together. The cockpits consist of a seat so they were pretty simple to fly through. As for the rest of them, they are all in the beginning stages of assembly. I have already painted the tires on all of the builds. Twenty-three tires to be exact. Cockpits are my main concern now. Seat cushions, instrument panels, and flight sticks will be addressed tonight so I can have them ready for assembly tomorrow. After those are done, I will shift my focus on sanding the Typhoon and Defiant. I believe that I can get by without using filler for now. I don’t think I can say that about the wing roots but I will worry about that later.

 
   

Reason to Celebrate

Two months and two days ago, I started the Su-22. Twelve kits have been completed in that time. I am very happy to say that construction is finished and I have received the green light for paint! It seems like I get one or two of these stubborn builds a year. The Su-22 frustrated me on a whole new level. The most frustrating aspect is that it is a good-looking kit. It’s actually a great kit. The fit is the major issue when building this kit. Every piece that is applied will need sanding and filling. Literally. The instructions are spotty too. But that is all behind me now. I am sure that the road of resistance is far from over. Painting should be simple and straight forward. The underside will get airbrushed today to start it off. My hopes are set on a Friday finish.

In my jolly new mood, I have insanely added two more kits to the docket bringing my total to eight. Nine if you include the Su-22. The newcomers are Revell’s 1/72 scale P-38L/M Lightning and Tamiya’s 1/72 scale F4D-1 Skyray. Both kits look great. The P-38 has some fine details to it. The gun bay and engine nacelles are opened up so there will be a lot to see with this one. The paint scheme is undecided for now. The Skyray looks pretty good out of the box. The cockpit has a great start with the details. I will add a few minor touches and that should do it.

Once again, I have an overflowing workbench. My main focus right now is to get the Su-22 up on the shelf. I have already begun cockpits and basic parts to the new builds. I will do a mass painting this afternoon and move on to assembling wing halves and whatever else that is able to be worked on. Needles to say, I will be busy.

 
  

   

A-10A Thunderbolt II & N/AW A-10A Thunderbolt II

Just a few more photos of the two A-10 builds together. I didn’t get a chance to dig out the other ones so it’s just the two. I have already begun researching for a new A-10 build in the near future. There is also Hasegawa’s “C” version that was just released a few months ago that I will build with it. I am thinking a Blacksnakes build for the “C” and a winter camouflage Snow Hog for the other. I have to get some decals for the winter scheme before I can advance. Regardless, there will be two more A-10’s coming down the assembly line very soon.

 
  

  

  

   

Aichi E13A1 Jake

So the outpour of pleasant comments about the Nell made me feel confident that I did an ok job on the Jake too. However, I did make the same boo-boo with the cockpit on the Jake as I did with the Nell. If I have learned anything from you guys, it’s that I am a psycho about it and it’s ok. The Jake’s cockpit is a little better though.

All that aside, I like this one. I used the same salt technique for the Jake and I am just as happy with the effect. Hasegawa did well with this kit. The addition of the catapult was a great way to display this kit. It also provides a little more visual as well as administer some insight as to how these airplanes operated.

The build itself went along as I had hoped. No issues to report. From the clipping of the parts to the final pictures, the Jake was pretty painless. I should have put a little more effort into the cockpit. Lesson learned for the future! I haven’t had three strikes yet so I am still in it.