The F-15 & F-16 are coming along very slowly as of late. The little detail projects have become tedious and a massive time killer. The F-15’s external stores have been conquered but upon attaching the rack for the Litening Pod, the same issue arose as with the other racks. I feel like Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in the movie “The Martian”. At the end he says that “if you solve enough problems, you get to come home”. That sums up this build for final assembly. The new problem will get filled today and shaped up tomorrow.
While all the annoying wrinkles are being ironed out, I worked on something simple to ease my mind. Both airplanes’ exhaust cans were addressed this morning. The F-16’s saw some assembly get finished up before being attached to the fuselage. The F-15 just got a little weathering. It’s all about little victories at this point.
Instead of continually complaining about how I can’t get out to the airbrush to get some much needed painting completed, I will embrace the opportunity to use the extra time to devote towards the Harrier and Wildcat builds. They remain the only positive on the workbench for now. I hope the weekend will bring better results but I have plenty of work to keep me occupied with the Wildcat and Harrier.
The Wildcat is extremely sparse in the cockpit department so it was basically just skipping that step and attaching the fuselage halves together. It looks like it will sand well and I think I can make it without any filler. Fingers crossed! The wings were also assembled and await the sanding of the leading edges. The wings look worse than the fuselage so that is kind of encouraging.
The Harrier is coming along nicely as well. The main fuselage was assembled a few days ago while I worked on the cockpit/nose section. I finished up the cockpit last night and installed it this morning. The seams look promising on this one as well so I’m hoping for an easy sand and onto wing assembly. The weekend looks extremely open for progress and I plan on size in every bit of it.
Painting the Bv-141 and Fw-190 have begun with great success. The break in the cold weather was a welcome treat allowing me a good window to get them started. The Bv-141 only needed RLM 02 so it is finished with paint. The plan is to start decals tonight and weather it tomorrow. That isn’t a tall order by any means so I am hoping for a Friday finish.
The Fw-190 will take a little more time with a couple more colors still needed. I just bought an Airwaves photo-etched stencil for the mottling that I am going to try on this build. But first I need to paint the red band on the waist. I will get that masked tonight and hopefully painted tomorrow. My best bet is to shoot for the weekend to wrap this build up.
The Polikarpov and Macchi haven’t moved since preliminary paint. Well, I started detail work on the seats by painting the cushions. Not a whole lot of progress but it’ll add up. Cockpit work will be on the agenda for tonight. I don’t plan on getting a lot done as I have to go back in to work tonight for a double. If I can get the seat belts finished and instrument panels detailed then it’ll have been a good night.
The past few days have been interesting here to say the least. I learned a valuable lesson on the benefits of priming with the Lancaster build. The freezing temperatures gave way to mid 40’s temperatures so I took advantage of the situation and headed out to the airbrush. My lesson soon followed after I sprayed the tan on. Between the top turret and canopy, there was a curvy ridge that I missed during my last sanding session. I was pretty confident in my work so I regretfully opted not to put any primer on to double check myself. Bad move.
Little blemishes I can deal with from time to time. This was beyond the range of little and had to be addressed. So out came the sand paper again to remove the ridge. I made sure to prime it this time and all was well. One minor misstep in the process threw me off. Back out to the airbrush I went to redo the tan. The second time around was much quicker with just a small area to touch up. RAF Dark Green was the final color to be applied and I’m liking the results. Today will maybe be a decal day depending on how much time I have. I would expect it to be finished by the weekend at least.
The Fw-190 hasn’t moved since my last post. The BV-141’s cockpit has been the point of focus the past few days. The clear parts have been installed to give me a better understanding of what needs filling and sanded down. The port side wing has been installed as well as the small section of wing between the fuselage and cockpit. I filled some small gaps but overall the wings had a great fit. There will be quite a bit more sanding to accomplish in the next few days but I’m feeling great about my progress.
The original plan for this build entailed making a bare metal British B-26 variant. I fully intended on depicting that aircraft until this past Christmas Eve when we received the news that my wife’s grandmother had passed away. Although it was expected for some time, it certainly wasn’t any easier to accept. I really don’t think it ever is. After a stroke about three years prior, we were all preparing for this day. We have had our ups and downs throughout that time span, but she stayed rock strong until the end. I felt that the B-26 would be the perfect canvas to adorn her nickname. Millie. I tried to print up a decal for the nose art but it just didn’t look right after I applied it. I scrapped it and just hand painted the name on.
For those of you that have been following this particular build, you are well versed in the fight that it gave me. I find it a perfect build to dedicate to her. Although I only had the chance to know her for the past twelve years, she certainly has made a lasting impression on my life. To imagine the events in her 91 years is vastly intriguing. The most touching aspect was her appreciation and love towards her family. My wife was one of eleven grandchildren and my kids are two out of eighteen great-grandchildren. She enjoyed them every time she saw them. Most times having crackers or cookies for them to snack on.
Mildred’s life was long and, in my opinion, filled with admirable accomplishments and experiences. Be it making quilts for every grandchild or just having a meaningful conversation, she lived her life with absolute purpose. Almost a century of life is a long time to sustain such attributes. So every time I look at my B-26, I will remember how tough of a build it became for me. Most importantly, I will remember Mildred. Here’s to you Nana!
The B-26 is starting to get me excited being so close to final assembly. The decals were applied yesterday and weathering was addressed this afternoon. Decal wise, they were the quality expected after the time I had with this kit. If I were ever to attempt this kit again (I do have another one), I would certainly get a sheet of after market decals. They were very delicate and brittle. They did form well to the kit but some of the edges curled while they were drying. I had to touch up spots where they flaked off. Luckily it was just flat black instead of a more unique color. For the edges that were curled, I used a little dab of Elmers Glue to secure them down. Tomorrow is the big day for final assembly.
The Lancaster had high hopes to get back out to the airbrush today but the temperature dropped down to 6 degrees so I decided to stay in by the fire. The masking was done last night and I just wish I had taken it out and painted it then. Oh well. I’m off tomorrow so I may try to get out there in the early afternoon.
Sticking to my plan of just a few builds instead of over doing it with six has become hard to stay focused on. I need to lock up my stash until I am fully able to start new builds. I feel that I have become a slower model builder the more that I add to the workbench. I do like to always have something to work on, but it’s getting frustrating watching kits sit longer than they should. With that said, I think I have the perfect plan. I have, in fact, added two more builds to the mix. The catch is that they will not be started until the Fw-190 and BV-141 have their wings. I think that can be a pretty solid rule that will creat a better dynamic here at Amateur Airplanes. This will provide kits getting finished at a more relaxed and faster pace. Not that speed is important but I don’t want to work on a kit for four weeks when I can have it done in two. In no way will my new plan hamper any quality. That is the most important cog to this scenario. I want to be more efficient and basically less frustrated with myself. When it comes down to it, it’s me biting off more than I can chew.
The new kits that I added are actually fairly new to my inventory. New kits don’t tend to make quick appearances here but these two are interesting in their own right. First, I will start with Hasegawa’s 1/72 Polikarpov I-153. This is just a cool little airplane. It reminds me of a bi-plane version of the Brewster Buffalo. These “lesser known” aircraft are fun to build in many ways to me. The build part is of course fun, but the research and learning part is most important to me. Aviation in general is the real passion here and I just like to learn about the aircraft that I am building.
This little kit looks great in the box with a good looking cockpit. As you can see, there are only two parts trees so this will be a quick one. The paint scheme and decals are what I am really excited to work with. Finland isn’t a well represented country on my shelves so it’ll be nice to add this build.
The next kit is from a country that I tend to neglect as well. Italeri’s 1/72 Macchi MC.205 Veltro is a perfect edition to represent Italy. After building the Saetta last year, I have kept a stern lookout for other Macchi aircraft. This one was found at a great price a little while ago so I grabbed it. This is a little more extensive than the I-153 with three parts trees. They look great with good detail and I can’t wait to get moving. The paint scheme is still undecided. I am leaning towards the all grey scheme but I’m not 100%. There is plenty of time to decide that.
Full advantage was taken of the 48 degree day here. I made my way out to the airbrush this evening to get a little paint flowing. I started the night off with the Lancaster. This is going to be a fairly easy paint job with flat black covering the majority of the aircraft. I will get it masked tomorrow and hopefully get out to the airbrush again.
Next up was the B-26 and my sons P-40. They both were easy straight forward applications. This was my sons inaugural attempt with the airbrush and he did a pretty good job. He didn’t quite grasp the difference in paint flow. He had it wide open and I guided the airplane for him while he sprayed. This was a great experience for us both. I’m thinking we can wrap it up this weekend.
The forecast for the next two days calls for a high of 39 degrees here. That is my window to get out to the airbrush and finally be able to move forward. Surprisingly, the Lancaster is on the schedule to get airbrushed. I have worked quite a bit to get it to this point and I am very excited to be in this position.
The wing roots were filled before I went to bed last night and sanded this afternoon. I also installed the canopy yesterday and went ahead and filled the gaps today. I gave it a quick sand after I got home from church tonight then primed it. So far, all looks well. If I don’t see any issues tomorrow, it will join the B-26 and P-40 out at the airbrush for lots of black.
The Fw-190 and BV-141 have made their way to their respective workboards and will make it out during the brief thaw of winter for preliminary paint. I would like to have the cockpits finished by the weekend if possible. That might be a stretch considering there are two builds going through final paint that will need decals and weathering. We’ll see how that goes. For now I will just do whatever I can to further the builds.