Spring Break Building

It’s spring break time and miraculously I was able to get my vacation to coincide with my kids’ schedule. Getting older isn’t so bad when my seniority at work is starting to benefit me. Anyway, this years vacation brought us to Tennessee and along for the trip came my next four builds. The two Canberras, F-2, and Cougar are at the bare bones stage for now but my goal for the week is to get all the cockpits complete and the fuselage halves together. Not a far fetched idea but I don’t have a great track record of staying on target. There is a plethora of activities to do in this tourist trap so it will more than likely be late night building sessions all week. 

Before I left, I made sure to do a little preliminary painting so I could have a decent head start to the week. Basic detail work on the cockpits will be first to be worked on along with wings and horizontal stabilizer assembly. I may try to get the instrument panel decals on this morning to get a little farther tonight. We’ll see though. 


Macchi MC.205 Veltro

Another reason why I need to build more Italeri kits, the Veltro performed wonderfully. Like the Polikarpov, I had no real issues to complain about. I wish I would have utilized the smoke ring camouflage instead but I still think it came out pretty good. This just gives me an excuse to get another Veltro kit. All in all, a great build. 


Polikarpov I-153

The second build to get finished is the Polikarpov I-153. Hasegawa did a superb job with this kit. From start to finish, this aircraft was a joy to put together. There were no issues to hamper any progress other than my own blunders. 


Focke Wulf Fw-190A8

By far my favorite aircraft from the German Luftwaffe, the Fw-190 is complete. It took what seemed like forever to finish but not all things in the model building world come easily. Except for the build itself. 

Academy has done a wonderful job again. Kits like this are the reason I speak so highly of Academy. It’s a shame I got held up with the painting of it. Regardless of that happenstance, I won’t let it mar a good build. I’m very happy that I didn’t rush the unavoidable and risk ruining the paint job. I think the end result turned out great. I’m relieved and elated to add it to the shelf right next to the B-24(a little on the ironic side). 


Building The Stash

To follow up my recent post about “the stash”, I thought I could elaborate a little more into the decision process into building as well as maintaining an active model inventory. So as I have touched on before, the stash is a vital part of the hobby. No stash equals no immediate future builds. It may be very hard to believe but there was a time where I didn’t have a stash to work with. When I first came back to the hobby, I would order five or so kits at a time and build them all. Once those were finished, I would just start the process all over again. Now there certainly isn’t anything wrong that approach. I was still building models and enjoying it. To get to the point, I cycled through my stash on a regular basis and didn’t give myself enough time to create my stash. As my skills developed, I took more time for each build thus giving more time for kits to get added to my new forming stash. 

Growing my stash proved to be difficult at first but became increasingly easier over time. The usual Christmas and birthday presents would begin to add up and I was also buying more kits that I would not even try in the beginning. A lot of the growth in my stash was a direct result in not airbrushing for the first year or so. I would strictly use rattle cans. If you are in the hobby, you know that not every color needed is available in a spray can. That limited what I could build unless I painted them in the incorrect colors. So needles to say, the door opened up completely when I finally started to utilize my airbrush. The influx of kits that I had already owned that were what I referenced as staple kits were already in place to give me the go ahead to branch out even more. With the vastly important skill of airbrushing now in my toolbox, any kit was fair game.

After establishing the stash and then beginning the growth process of it, all that is left is the maintaining of it. This is actually the best part. The search for certain kits and deals has become an integral part in developing a fine tuned stash. By continually researching specific criteria, it keeps me knowledgeable with prices and availability of hundreds of kits. I am always looking to add kits so I like to know a general number that is fair to obtain a kit for. Also by constantly staying on the hunt, I am aware of what’s in the market if the need ever arises for a specific kit. It may seem like a whole lot of wasted time but I have learned to streamline my efforts and can finish a search in a matter of a few minutes now. 

So, what kind of new kit do I look to add on a regular basis? The real answer is all of them but it does go a little deeper. Right now, I have a main focus on acquiring a few staple airplanes that I keep an eye out for and will grab them when the price is fair. My top staple plane that I need more of right now are P-47’s. The ultimate goal would be to add about three more to the stash. After the staple aircraft, I like to look for wish list kits such as a C-2 Greyhound or a P-61 Black Widow. It’s an ongoing loop here at Amateur Airplanes.

The demand for new kits to my stash has become ever increasing the past couple of years. Every kit that I start is one less kit in the stash. In the last three years, I have built about one hundred and fifty kits. That’s quite a bit to replace. The numbers fluctuate from month to month. There is no number that I need in order to be happy. As long as there’s a distinct variety of aircraft, all is right at the workbench. So here are a few of the newly acquired kits over the past few months. 


Decal Day

Another big step for my current builds occurred over the weekend in the decal applications. I feel like I can finally breathe a little easier knowing that I don’t have to rely on the weather being perfect or having to sand and fill any seams. This is the fun part now. I am at the threshold of final assembly and hope to start finishing them up in the next few days.

The applications for all three kits applied very well. The Polikarpov’s were by far the best. There were no issues with either. Of the three builds so that made for an easy day of work. The next step will be a good coat of clear matte and then I can proceed with the weathering of the three. The Wildcat’s decals have still not arrived so I am thinking it’s time to get another set ordered. Realistically, it probably won’t get finished for another two weeks or so. We leave for vacation on Friday so If I miraculously receive the original set then it can join me in Tennessee. I’m not betting on that scenario so more than likely it will sit until after vacation. 


Righting The Ship

It had to happen eventually. Playing the odds long enough will emit a jackpot every now and then. My jackpot is here with the Fw 190, Macchi, and Polikarpov finished with final paint. After all the moaning and groaning, I am finally here and it feels great. If you remember, the Wildcat is also finished with paint and still awaits the mailman to deliver its decals. They were supposed to be here on the 7th and we are pretty well past that date so I’m sweating it a little. They still show that they are in transit so we’ll see. The rest of the three will get their respective decals applied soon and I can finally wrap them up.