Showing posts from January, 2013

League Assignment - Arrrrr! Pirates!

Cool and Collected, a blog about feeding our obsession with collecting toys, action figures, comic books, and the like, has been running a weekly effort to help boost inter-bloggersphere relationships and readership. Each week, an assignment is posted, and each week participants must blog about that topic.
This is the first time I have joined in the fun.

Most people will likely say that scale modeling and collecting, indeed action figure collecting, are completely different subjects. Well, that all depends on what you do with the action figure after you've collected it, I would say. Never the less, I am a modeler at heart and most modelers will agree that they have some sort of collection of plastic kits that we so humorously refer to as a "stash". Mine is modest but growing, and is complimented by a growing collection of action figures.
The relationship between modeling and action figures ties together when you see how one can use those large scale figures to create some…

Sweet 16 - Episode IX

Let the painting begin!
Ah, I was finally able to sit down and get a brief paint session under my belt. After a hectic year in 2012, with me being away at basic training and technical school, this is the first time I've picked up my Paasche VL in over a year. Ironically enough, the last model I painted with the beloved airbrush was a 1/48 F-16C, also from Academy. So, I've come full circle, but I'm a bit rusty yet.
The F-16 doesn't have the flashiest paint scheme, and its fairly easy to accomplish with little masking. I've never been real picky about my colors. If it looks about right, well then, it looks about right. My time in the military so far has shown me that no two vehicles or aircraft weather the same, and no two are necessarily the same color.  I started by painting the whole thing dark gray. I don't pre-shade, I post-shade. The dark gray is followed up by highlighting each panel with white. It looks stark but its far easier than shading each panel li…

Sweet 16 - Episode VIII

Well, as a father of three, often the amount of time I get on the bench isn't ideal. With a baby who is slowly learning the benefits of sleeping all the way through the night, I am often times pulled away from my project to make a bottle, or relocate her misplaced pacifier. Each night I can guarantee that I will be interrupted at some point during the evening's paint session. Because of this, I have been hesitant to start painting. There is nothing worse having to stop half way through a base coat, or while attempting a pre-shade. So, I've been waiting it out. Hopefully she'll establish a schedule that doesn't include waking up between the hours of 9 PM and 12 AM.

Never the less, I am able to get a little bit of work done on the F-16. And by little bit, I'm not kidding. I masked the canopy in preparation for airbrushing. See, I wasn't lying. That's about as little progress as you can make in almost a week's worth of time.
I use Magic Masker, made b…

Model Maniacs - Popsicle Stick AT-ST

If you'll remember, back in December of 2012, I did an article on how diverse the hobby of scale modeling can be. Prior to starting this blog, I never put much thought into all the clever ways a person can build a model, and all the resources they can use to do it. So, I think I'll start a new monthly article called Model Maniacs, covering the works of talented modelers who think outside of the pun intended.

I bumped into this month's highlight while perusing a website called Instructables. Basically, it allows people to share step-by-step instructions of how they created something, from new shelving units to black light Nerf guns. Or in this case, AT-ST's made out of Popsicle sticks. Kind of the Pinterest for the do-it-yourself crowd.

The artist, who goes by the handle Popsicle_mini-models, gives you complete instructions on how to create the little Scout Walkers you see there. This would make for a great craft to do with your kids, assuming they have the at…

Nearly 40 Years of Fighting Falcons

You know, I don't like being beat to the punch, nor do I like being late, especially for an anniversary. And when that date just so happens to be for a subject as dear to my heart as the F-16, it really grinds my gears. Couple that with the fact that I'm building a model F-16 and I might as well be sleeping in the dog house tonight...
What can I say? Happy belated anniversary to you, you beautiful little fighter.

The first YF-16 rolled off the production line in December of 1973, but it did not make its first flight until January 20th, 1974. In a somewhat interesting turn of events, it took to its wings for the first time completely by accident. Apparently, during a high speed taxi test, a problem with roll-control oscillation caused the starboard stabilator to scrape the ground, steering the plane off course. The savvy pilot opted to take off rather than risk further damage to the aircraft. The YF-16's first flight would end six minutes later with a successful landing. T…

Fend Off Zombies With Dark World Creations

I'm a huge zombie movie fan. I'm counting down the days before I can sit in front of my television and let the world of The Walking Dead consume an hour of my life every Sunday for the next several weeks. Never mind the Super Bowl, bring on the undead!
Every one should have their own plan for surviving the impending zombie apocalypse. Mine will involve lots of guns to clear any path I need through the hordes of my decayed, flesh eating neighbors. Do I need more specifics? No. I believe when it comes to zombies, the answer is peace through superior fire power, and since I haven't seen a zombie successfully use a weapon the odds are currently in my favor.

Sweet 16 - Episode VII

Landing Gear Detail
The F-16 is coming together at a steady pace now. There was only a little bit more detail to add prior to letting the paint fly.

If you'll recall in Episode IV, I mentioned that I would be adding some of the hydraulic lines to spruce up the wheel wells. The F-16's landing gear bays are chocked full of stuff that I find it quite a wonder that any thing fits in there at all. I didn't find it necessary to replicate all the plumbing that is present on the real aircraft, but I felt the need to create at least a little bit more visual interest. This was done with a little bit of copper wire and super glue.

The copper wire does a fine job at 1:72 scale representing brake lines and other assorted hoses and cables.

Simple enough, really. A little patience is necessary, as bending and fitting the wire can be a pain. However, I think the end results fits my purposes. Now, the only glue left will be used to attach the bombs and stores to the hard points after painti…

Sweet 16 - Episode VI

Weapons and Stores
Ah, weapons. As a new Aircraft Armament Systems apprentice in the United States Air Force, this marks the first time I have modeled a subject that I am personally familiar with. I have actually had direct contact with each munition and each store that will be represented on this little F-16. I find it neat, but then again, I'm not that hard to please...its the little things, you know?

How Do Others View Our Hobby?

And how do you view your hobby?
"Another word for creativity is courage."
Modeling has played a huge roll in life for a long time now. Though I've been modeling seriously for about ten years now, the joy of the hobby was ingrained in me by my father some two decades ago. Whenever some one asks me what my interests are, how I pass time, or what my favorite hobby is - the answer is unequivocally modeling.
Its hard not to tell some one that I build plastic models and not for a second, in the back of my mind, wonder what exactly it is that they are thinking. I have no problem admitting that this hobby is some what archaic, and guys like us are misconstrued as geeky history buffs who watch reruns of Wings on the Discovery Channel while painting that tank just the right shade of green...well, okay, that isn't far from the truth. I've certainly been met with my fair share of playful ridicule, from friends and strangers alike. So, whenever some one asks me what I like to …

Sweet 16 - Episode V

To follow up yesterday's post is another quick update on Academy's little F-16. The Viper is now pretty much all built, except for additional details that I'll add later. Of course, there are still the obvious things missing, like the weapons and avionics pods which will be covered in the next episode. You may also notice that I have left the wheels off. I tend to do that to make painting a bit easier. They be one of the last items attached.
So lets begin with a few pictures...

Sweet 16 - Episode IV

So a little more progress has been made on the F-16. One thing about modeling is that it can be very tedious. Combine that with having a busy work day, coming home to three crazy kids, and having only about two to three hours of dedicated hobby time available means it can take a little while to finish a model! By my standards this is actually going pretty fast.
In this episode, I was able to finish up the main components of the landing gear and gear wells. Though there is still much scratch work to be done, like the addition of hydraulic lines and other cables, primary construction is complete.
Let me start off by saying that there were a lot of very tiny pieces that go into the gear assembly. With so many fiddly bits in this scale I was surprised the carpet monster didn't pay me another visit. Perhaps it is still digesting the parts from last week...
Any how, the pics are simple but show the nice detail of the kit...

Tamiya Releasing Updated USS Missouri

The battleship was an iconic war machine. Its prominent place in military and naval history secured by it's actions in World War II. Despite its successes in the second world war, many pundits believed the battleship had seen its last conflict. With the rise of aircraft carriers and the dominance of air power displayed so greatly in that war, the battleship was seen as obsolete. Never the less, each Iowa class battleship born out of World War II would see action in Korea, and several of them would assist military operations well into the latter stages of the 20th century.
One of these such battleships was the USS Missouri. Earning 11 battle stars in her career, she saw action in World War II and Korea before being decommissioned. However, like her sister ships, she would be recommissioned in the 1980's to counteract the threat of a growing Soviet navy. Fitted with new electronics and upgraded weapons, such as the Tomahawk cruise missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile, the Miss…

The Top 10 Worst Plastic Army Men of All Time

I was inspired by the post I made Friday to expand a little bit on my childhood passion for those ubiquitous little green army men. I remember having tons of them, of all different colors, sizes, and poses and I could spend hours setting them all up and then spend hours knocking them all down in mock combat.
I've always been passionate about army men. In grade school, while other children fawned over Woody and Buzz, my favorite characters in Disney-Pixar's Toy Story were the true heroes...the army men. In high school, I avoided doing homework by playing Sarge's Heroes on my N64.

I know, I're probably thinking what does any of this have to do with scale modeling? Well, though not directly related to scale modeling, I believe that army men played a role in developing my passion for military modeling and dioramas. I would bet that most modelers, especially those in the United States would say the same. After all, to some degree, aren't we modelers still …

Master Box Ltd. - Great Figures for Dioramas

As a kid I used to spend many long hours playing war with my little green army men. It was always American GIs versus German infantry, or Marines versus the onrushing Japanese, or when manufactures started getting away from previous nationalist tendencies, Green versus Tan. I had my favorite soldiers, of course, and the other less favored were either left in the bucket or killed at the forefront of battle. 
To remain in the ranks of my good graces, a toy soldier had to ready for combat. This meant they had to be firing a rifle, manning a machine gun, heaving a grenade, or shouldering a bazooka - not dilly dallying behind a mine sweeper. If the soldier wasn't fixing to shoot something, he was fixing to be shot. That was my credo, any way, and I played by it.

Now that I've graduated to plastic models and military dioramas, suffice it to say my belief hasn't changed much. I prefer scenes full of action and drama. Not to say I can't appreciate a peaceful wartime display,…

Sweet 16 - Episode III

Well, after yesterday's dramatic episode, I'm glad to report that last night's effort was less traumatizing. Makes for a more boring blog entry, but so be it.

Of course, once I fixed the problem of losing parts E18, the intake came together alright. Like I said before, I is incredibly over engineered in my opinion, taking seven pieces to complete the over all assembly. Even so, the fit was decent, and I'll just have several miniscule gaps to fill up.
You can see the nose wheel well has some detail but I will be adding more in the future.

 With the intake in place, it was time to close her up. The fuselage is molded in two halves, upper and lower, rather than left and right halves that are typical of World War II aircraft kits. Again, the fit was not troubling and to ensure nothing moved and the glue set correctly, I taped her up tight. Try to get outta that one!

I always seem to forget how truly tiny the F-16 is. With a wing span of only 32 feet, in 1:72 scale its sma…

Sweet 16 - Episode II

"El Diablo cazador de modelos"
There comes a time in every modeler's life when they must confront adversity - stubborn fit, corroded decals, small budget. But, to me, there is no greater source of frustration than losing a kit part. Throughout my modeling career I have been fortunate to have never lost a piece - damaged them, yes, but never lost for good. That is, until last night. Yes, last night will be forever remembered as the night the devil came for my model.
Every modeler knows the carpet monster that haunts their nightmares. Like the Yeti, or the Chupacabra, it remains elusive and terrifying. It strikes when you least expect it, swiftly carrying small parts into its lair, seldom to be seen again. I had thought it myth until today.

My run-in with the beast occurred late in the evening. The sun had set, the lamps in the house casting ominous shadows across the floor. I was growing tired, and Academy's over engineered air intake was not helping matters. Test fit…

Video Review - Humbrol's Weathering Powders

If you're constantly wondering how to produce a nice weathered look using chalks, or pigments, or powders, or whatever the go-to terminology of the day is, then you may want to check out Humbrol's new video.
Humbrol has a line of weathering powders which allow the modeler to create realistic weathering effects by replicating mud, dirt, and rust, among other things, that tend to cling to the side of vehicles. It is a nice video with visuals supported by step-by-step commentary. It is also backed up by some smooth instrumentals which make for a more pleasurable viewing experience. Though the video shows these techniques on a locomotive, the same procedures are relevant for modelers of all subjects looking for the same results. It is a simple but effective video. At only 6 minutes and 42 seconds long, it certainly won't cut into your day.

If you'd like to see it for yourself, check it out on Humbrol's Youtube Channel.

Sweet 16 - Episode I

It has begun! Glue is now being applied to plastic. 
I have always thought that the cockpit has to be one of the nicest looking features of any finished model aircraft. It is an area that contains a great concentration of detail, and viewers expect to see all the various features in the pilot's office. If a kit's cockpit detail is sparse it can be pretty tricky adding odds and ends to fill the void. I mean, just look at what is packed into a real cockpit of an F-16.
 Mmm hmmm, that is a lot of stuff. Fortunately, there are manufacturers out there who understand our concern and have taken it upon themselves to create cockpits that are accurate enough to mistake for the real thing...if you were a really tiny pilot that is. I generally do not lay down the cash for such opulent additions because I'm cheap. Instead, I either scratch build or rely on purchasing a kit of half decent quality. In this case, it is the latter. Academy saw fit to make this kit nice enough for regular …