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.
Construction on my Dinah and X-32 builds have become a fizzle since my power session on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to that spearheaded effort, I am able to say that I am making progress.
The X-32 is coming along nicely with little difficulties impeding the process. My next step is to glue the two fuselage halves together. I don’t foresee too much time filling or sanding this kit. It should be ready for paint by the end of the week.
The Dinah has been a surprise build. It offers decent detail and assembly has been great. The only issue is a good size gap on the underside when you join the fuselage halves. Other than that minor fix, I have had no fitting issues. I expect this kit to take me into the weekend and hopefully be finished early next week. My goal is to spend a lot more time on these two this week. We’ll see how life goes.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I have wasted no time in transitioning into my next builds. I have picked two kits that couldn’t be any more dissimilar from each other. On the bench for this build is Tamiya’s Boeing X-32 JSF and ARII Models Ki-46-3 (Dinah) Interceptor.
The X-32 looks good on the sprues. There aren’t too many pieces to this kit so it should be a quick build. The Dinah is a little bare but looks decent otherwise. This is my first build from ARII Models so we’ll see how this turns out. Also, this is my first build of a Japanese airplane so I’ve been doing my homework getting all the colors accurate.
I spent about two hours this morning power building. I was able to make a lot of progress getting all the pre-painting finished up. I’ll get into assembly tomorrow. I plan on these kits taking a relatively short time to get through. By the way things went this morning, these will be fun to build.
The final element of my Battle of Britain build is the Spitfire Mk. I. Like the Messerchmitt, construction of the Spitfire went just as well. At least with this one I didn’t break or ruin anything. The wing fitting was a little off but it didn’t take much to correct. This build, along with the Messerschmitt, was enjoyable. Both kits could be completed within a few days time. The only downside, to me, was the lack of an open canopy along with some cockpit detail.
It’s time for my family’s annual Thanksgiving getaway and along for the trip are my Bf109 and Spitfire. We’re on our way to Frankenmuth, MI as I write this. The plan is to decal both planes tonight in the hotel room. With all the attractions around there, I might not be awake enough to fulfill my hope.
The construction of these two kits was a joy. Zero stress builds. Painting the Spitfire was a breeze. However, the Bf109 was a tedious affair. I didn’t realize all the masking I would have to do to accomplish the paint scheme. I spent a total of five sessions with the airbrush. This was my introduction into the blotchy squiggle German camouflage. I dialed down the psi and sprayed the paint with the airbrush almost touching the kit. Overall, I’m happy with both kits. This was a comforting build after the headaches of the last build. For $4.99, I got my money’s worth.
For my next two builds, I’ve chosen to stay with the WWII theme. I picked up Hasegawa’s limited edition Spitfire Mk. I & Messerschmitt Bf109E “Battle of Britain” kit a while back for the bargain price of $4.99. Like a few of my other builds, I had no future plans for this kit. Thanks to my WWII era initiative, they have drastically moved up in the pecking order.
Upon opening the box, you’ll find both kits in separate bags. Each kit is moulded in typical hasegawa fashion. There was some minor flashing on the Bf109. Nothing major, just a little unexpected. Everything else looks great. Cockpit detail is bare. The canopies come in the closed position making cockpit detail unnecessary. I added seat belts anyway. So far, these kits have been a pleasure to build. In a twenty-four hour period, the Bf-109E’s fuselage was complete and the wings were adhered with one round of filler into the roots. Somehow I managed to brake the tail wheel off leading me to add some protection to the wing cannons. I cut thin strips of cardboard and taped them over the guns to keep my clumsy hands from causing any more damage.
In that same time frame, I was able to get the fuselage together on the Spitfire. This build is most definitely going to be a quick one. I’ve taken two days away from the build and I am eager to get going again. If all goes as planned, these two historic fighters should be on the shelf by the weekend.
Fujimi’s MiG-21 has provided some much needed balance during my two current builds. It was nothing short of a spectacular model. While I complained about Airfix, Fujimi didn’t leave me disappointed.
Construction went in the normal fashion. Cockpit detail was as expected. I added my usual details, of course. I included ejection handles and the canopy actuator, along with some tagging along the fuselage wall. The fuselage seamed together nicely. As a bonus, there was no need to fill and sand the spine due to the electronic hump. The wings couldn’t have had a better fit. There was no need for any filler whatsoever. All the other prep work went normal.
The painting process proved to be the hardest part of the build. I sprayed the underside with Model Masters Duck Egg Blue. Unfortunately I thinned it a bit too much resulting in a few runs. I was able to correct it without having to reshoot the plane. I used 600 grit sand paper to knock the runs down followed by 1000 grit. For the other two colors I used Model Masters Dark Tan and Dark Earth. Overall a great build. Fujimi continues to set the standard in quality model kits.
My favorite quote from the iconic Walt Disney is “keep moving forward”. If there is a lesson to be learned from my F-51D build, it’s to keep on building. Although my complaining was warranted, I stuck with it and found the silver lining in this kit. It took a great deal of disappointment to find that Airfix did do well on some accounts. The Mustang made it through it’s turmoil and is ready for paint.
After the gap issues in the fuselage, it was a domino effect in the fitting of the wings. After some sanding and trimming, I was able to get a snug fit. I filled the gaps, sprayed and masked the anti-glare shield on the nose, and here we sit ready for the airbrush. Painting should go way smoother than construction. If all goes well, I should be done mid-week.
Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot seem to catch a break with Airfix. The cockpit went together well, but that’s about the easiest part with any kit. The fuselage halves had a great dry fit. The cockpit fit well into the grooves on the fuselage. When I joined the two fuselage halves together, it wasn’t so good. It seems as though the cockpit is too wide. I tried sanding a little off to no avail. After deciding to bite the bullet and take on my date with filling and sanding, I angrily bonded them together. I took some quality time yesterday to correct all the gap issues. Thanks to Tamiya’s wonderful filler, it wasn’t as awful as I thought. One round of the process and I should be ok. On a positive note, the wing halves went together beautifully. We’ll see how they want to fit with the plane though.
In the midst of all the Airfix drama, Fujimi has been a safe haven. The MiG-21 has gone flawlessly. I haven’t had any issues so far and I don’t foresee any to come. I was able to get the underside painted last night and I should be able to get the first color of the camouflage on tonight. I hope to be finished this weekend, then I can focus my attention on the F-51.
In an effort to give myself some new choices in what I build, I rotated my inventory. Usually the space above my laundry room cabinets has been for overflow kits that I purchase then end up building. It’s a lazy way of choosing without having to dig through hundreds of kits. I finally grew tired of picking through the same kits every few weeks so I decided to put them all in storage and start anew.
There are eight full containers plus some other hiding places that I had to rifle through to pick and choose. This task was a little time consuming, yet absolutely entertaining. I found a plethora of kits to keep my attention for a long time to come. I easily substituted the old kits where I took the new kits from. I was amazingly able to check some kits off my “want list” due to me forgetting that I owned them already. This project was long overdue. I tried to pick a diverse spectrum of kits and I believe I accomplished that goal. There will be some interesting picks to come.