The Southern Maryland Scale Modelers meet every third Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm at High Tide Games, 22599 MacArthur Blvd, California, Maryland, (San Souci Plaza, between McKay's and Mission BBQ).

We are also meeting online via Zoom most Thursdays at 7pm -- an email is sent to members with meeting info.

Everyone is welcome, all we ask is that you bring a project, finished or not, theme or non-theme to share during our Show-N-Tell discussion. Okay, you don't really have to bring a project...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November's Theme: "Your First Model"

By Tim Holland

Most of us remember our first model.  Some of us only remember the type, or the circumstances, but not always THE model.  A rare few of us actually still HAVE that first model.

November's club meeting focused on what that first model was, and if you could identify it, build it again.  A car showed up, mostly aircraft, but mainly just stories.  Stories about what that first kit was and how we came to have it.  How we built it (you use the whole tube for the kit, right?).  How we painted it (curing time between colors, why?).  And the ultimate demise of the model, whether from fire crackers, BB guns or just rocks.

My own story begin at age 5-ish.  Dad brought home two models of airliners.  He made them both and I got one while my younger sister got the other.  We flew those around the house together until they were demolished or we bored of them, probably just a few hours later.  But I remember watching Dad build it with lots of anticipation on my part.  And I remember the landing gear coming off shortly after my hands got on it, but it still flew just like the real thing!

The next model I remember is a silver jet.  I remember building it myself and the stickers didn't work so well; and there was no paint.  I remember being 8 or 9 and during some warm days that jet met its fate in an imaginary firey crash near those green army men the jet was attacking.  But what was that model?

By the time I was 10, I had a number of ship, car and airplane models.  The ship models floated (somewhat) in my Nana's pond and the airplane models attacked.  It was that summer I lost interest in cars and started my focus on 1/72 scale.  Revell had released a double kit of the F4F Wildcat and A6M Zero.  Constant scale meant my models looked more real next to each other!  By Christmas I had nearly all their 1/72 scale aircraft hanging from my ceiling...but I digress.

I still have that Revell Zero.  It comes out at Christmas and takes a place of honor on the tree.  So I decided to find the Wildcat and another Zero and try my hand at those kits 40+ years later...but fate intervened.

While scanning photos from old albums I came across this photo of a smiling new 8 year old holding his new GI Joe and waiting for the "go!" to dive into those birthday cupcakes.  Look at what's in the lower left corner:  A Hawk Gloster Javelin.  Could it be?  I searched eBay and for $7 one in the same boxing was en route.  A week later I opened the box to find silver plastic and a very familiar feel!  I had found my "first" model!

The Subject

Who knows?!  This is a sleek, modern, fast delta winged jet.  "Javelin" -- It has a name that sounds fast and dangerous.  Nothing like it flies over Arkansas and with TWO jets I bet it makes lots of noise.  It's got these missiles for shooting things up and all these other bits that go under the wings, but who needs them?  If I make it ready to fly without that stuff it won't break off and I can actually shoot the missiles at things like ships, tanks, green army men and other airplanes (where is that B-17?).

And it's BIG.  Almost too big for that little boy's hands.  But if he uses enough glue it'll be solid and perfect with his Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. 

The Javelin was an all-weather interceptor for the RAF, operating throughout the '60's.  It was a contemporary of the McDonnell-Douglas F3H Demon and F-101 Voodoo with comparable performance and capabilities.

The Model

Hawk produced this kit in the '60's.  It is typical for the day with lots of raised detail, rivets the size of tennis balls and even the national markings are represented by raised detail.  The cockpit is non-existant, with a pilot that sits on a plank, even though it is called a seat.  The landing gear doors are molded shut, however separate doors are provided to display the model with the gear down.  There is no intake or exhaust detail, one can look down one end and see through to the other.

One site infers Hawk made identification models for the US, of which the Javelin was one, and after that contract expired they used the molds and sold the kits to the public.

The kit is considered inaccurate for a production Javelin.  At best it represents one of the prototypes that flew with just the forward seat.  The nose, canopy, wings, exhausts, intakes are all wrong.  But who cares?  This was a fun model for a kid; and as an identification model, it's close enough to a Javelin in appearance to pass.

I didn't use all my skills on this one, I wanted conversation piece to go with that photo.  I DID paint it this time, as is obvious in the photos.  I filled the seams, the top and bottom halves of the fuselage don't fit well.  The outer wing panels left noticeable gaps on the wings, but instead of filling and sanding all that detail away, I drizzled some Future and other thin glues into it to make it better (good enough anyway).  I had to fair the canopy in; I used strip styrene to raise the rear portion so it had a better profile.  Otherwise it would have had a 1/8th inch step behind it and I wanted to limit sanding.

Decals were yellowed but they worked just fine with Micro-Sol.  The white turned out to be the same shade as Floquil Antique White, so I touched up the fin flash where each side didn't quite meet.  A final coat of Future mixed with Acryl Clear Flat toned down the sheen just a bit.  I put it on its stand and voila!  My first model.

Thanks for reading...

114: October 2012 Progress Report

A few kits still in work...

This Hasegawa 72nd scale Fw-190A-5 will represent an example sent to Japan for evaluation. The Allied Code Name was "Fred". Steve Workman is cleaning up the step under the out wing panels and will replace the prop/spinner with parts from the Revell of Germany kit.

Tim Holland's Hobby Boss Easy Build 72nd scale P-47D wasn't so easy. He's struggling with filling a very visible seam on what will eventually be a Mexican Air Force P-47D from the 1950's.

This Hasegawa 48th scale F-14A Tomcat is by Nick Kessel>. It is still in the paint booth and represents the 80th Anniversary scheme for VF-14.

Another Hobby Boss P-47, this time in 48th scale and by Steve Lucianetti.

This is a Tamiya 24th scale Ford Escort rally car by Dave Fuller. OOB

Dave also is working on a 24th scale Batbod by Moebius, also OOB.

And Dave's other project is a Trumpeter F3H Demon for the Museum VF-14 project.

Gerry Whiteside is making good progress on his 72nd scale Curtiss SBC-3 Helldiver for the Museum's Tophatters display.

This Italeri 72nd scale Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 is getting the treatment! Nate Switft is adding the Eduard etch set and tackling that always tough Italian paint scheme. Looking great!

We close the month with Joe Hegedus' 96th scale Revell/Monogram USS Constitution. Wow!

Thanks for reading...

114: October 2012 Show-N-Tell

The October theme was "Rice or Beans".  Any Japanese or Mexican subject, or both.

We start with Joe Hegedus' entry: A Japanese Ki-61 Hein or "Tony".  

Next up is a 48th scale Tamiya A6M-2b Zero by Nate Swift (sorry about the focus).  Tamiya kit (the cheap one), Eduard color PE for Hasegawa Zero, scribed fuselage panel lines, markings for Saburo Sakai’s Zero, Rabual, late summer 1942.

And finally in the  theme category are a pair of Japanese aircraft from Ken Kelly.  As usual, Ken brush painted both with Acrylics.

Fujimi Judy...

...and Fujimi Val.

And now for the non-theme models:

John Bray completed his diorama depicting the German retreat in the desert ahead of Rommel's forces.  Camels, motorcycles, tanks, a tracked vehicle and soldiers; John sure knows how to bring life to basic "tan".  

Close up of the Tommies trying to recover the German motorcycle with sidecar.

And a closeup of the Grant tank.

Gerry Whiteside is making some good progress on the Top Hatters' models for the Museum Display.  Here's the Monogram 72nd scale Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk.

And Austin brings in another Halo model.

Joe Hegedus says the Porsche 924 is the hottest Porsche made -- at least in looks!

The Monogram 48th scale Convair F-102 Dagger is by Andy White and represents an aircraft from the Vermont ANG, 154th FIW located at Burlington Airport.  Andy drooped the flaperons and used custom decals from Starfighter Decals.

Thanks for reading...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

114: October 2012 Miniature Minutes

The October 2012 meeting of the Southern Maryland Scale Modelers convened at 7pm at the Patuxent River Museum on 15th November. Chuck was taking care of more important duties as Dad and Grandfather, so Tim attempted to organize us...not too many models nor members for some reason and everyone was quiet. I guess Chuck brings the life with him. Or maybe it's his schoolteacher demeanor that brings out the unruly student in the rest of us!

We discussed MarauderCon, a few folks were planning to enter in the competition. Good luck and we hope to hear about the hardware.

Those of us with models present bragged about them, and those that didn't certainly chimed in!

The meeting adjourned and a few of us headed off for steak and barbecue.

114: Under Construction

A new look.

Chuck and I talked at length about updating Small World so that it is modern, easier to read, easier to author and publish, and can reach a wider audience. We think the blog achieves that.

We published October's Small World (#113) as an experiment and quietly racked up over 30 page views within the first 24 hours - from all over the world!  We definitely are going to reach a wider audience.

While blogs aren't new, the tools for publishing a blog have matured to the point that publishing is  easy, almost too easy. Lots of blogs out there are just blather, more Twitter or Facebook replacements (or repeats) than a sharing of relevant information useful to many but produced by a few. Okay, one can argue that tweets and FB posts are the same thing...but we won't be posting in Small World which entre at Shrimpfest we prefer...

Chuck and I updated a post in a few seconds; created one in just a few minutes. The challenge, as always, is content, but the blog format is easy. Readers can access the blog many ways: traditional "bookmark and check in", email alert, RSS feed, or even via mobile devices. Updates to our readers are automatic, the next step beyond DropBox, and there is no requirement on their part to have special software.  When we author/post, you get an alert that new content is there (if you sign up, that's on you!).

Regular Small World content will always be preceded by its issue number, this is Issue 114: November 2012. Other articles, like not-so-regular reviews, tips and articles YOU write, will get posted as they come in. As always, if you submit an article, provide the text in one file and the pictures separately. If you want the photos in a certain place, please note in the body of the text where. We can take just about any format these days, but if you are still using Worstar 3...

We hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

113: Under Construction

“I’ll be back.”

Your 4th editor has to step down.  I’m taking a job in the UK, land of Spitfires, Hurricanes, and other British subjects that interest me greatly.  It is temporary so I will return to Southern Maryland when the assignment is completed.  Probably sometime in 2014.

So this is my last newsletter unless/until some future date in which I get the honor of publishing  your newsletter for you.  

I’m handing the quill over to Chuck and Dave.  I’m looking forward to that monthly installment but I’m not sure they have barbecue in Cumbria.

I hope to keep up with the themes better than this year, and possibly contribute an article or two after I visit a museum or show -- oh yeah -- Telford!

-- Tim Holland

113: September 2012 Progress Report

Collin Tatusko is making progress on his Fisher 1/32nd scale F9F-5 Panther.

Steve Workman is making lots of corrections and upgrades to an HO scale Robin Rails/Bev-Bel Pullman Standard PS-1 50 foot box car.

Steve is adding styrene sheet to the corners to produce straight side sills on the ends. Filled the original kit locating holes for the ladders/brake gear and replacing the damaged underframe with a new under frame of scribed styrene sheet and Intermountain aftermarket parts and Athern Gensis 70 ton roller bearing trucks.

Steve is building this Richmond, Fredericsburg and Potomac Railroad box car to replicate #2305 that is in the Virginia Transportation Museum.

Vince Mankowski’s other works are this Scratchbuilt 1/144th scale PZL P.11c Jedenastka that he’s making as a master for resin casting and production.

And in parallel Vince is making this Fox One resin 1/144th scale Westland Lysander Mk I. Which was going to be his theme build.

And finally, these are Tim Kelly’s two Trumpeter 1/700th scale Liberty Ships for the Museum’s Battle of the Atlantic display. They just need paint and Dave Fuller has agreed to do that while Tim is recuperating.

Thanks for reading...

113: September 2012 Miniature Minutes

The September 2012 meeting of the Southern Maryland Scale Modelers convened at 7:00 PM at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum on September 20th.  

A good showing and plenty of people as well.  We talked about possible themes for the upcoming year and below is the list for 2013:

January - Unmanned: Drone, RPV, guided missile, etc..

February - Need for Speed: A racing vehicle, high performance street machine, speed record attempt vehicle, or Mach 2+ aircraft.

March - The Final Frontier: Real Space or Science Fiction.

April - Friend and Foe: A pair of subjects which represent enemies, adversaries, or competitors.

May - Aggressor: A subject which plays the role of a bad guy.

June - Happy Anniversary: Any subject in observance or commemoration of the anniversary of a significant event or milestone. Also the 13th birthday of our club!

July - Down Under: Australia/New Zealand.

August - Amnesty: Any project which didn’t make the deadline for a pervious theme month.

September - Korean War.

October - BTSK: Airfix 1/72 scale BAE Hawk.

November - Failures: Shoulda worked, but...

December - Christmas Party.

Review - Comparing Tomahawks

By Tim Holland

The May 2012 Theme was to build any subject with a shark or shark mouth motif or related to a shark in some way.  Examples are a Blackburn Shark (been there, done that), any various aircraft with a shark mouth, SS-174 USS SHARK, a P-3 Orion of VP-6 "Blue Sharks" get the picture.

I wanted to make that FAA Seafire IIc with the shark mouth, or even the RAAF Spitfire VIII but decided to step out of my Spitfire phase and do a traditional P-40.  Okay, not too traditional as I did NOT do the typical AVG bird.  I've got 3 AVG Tomahawks already, two of which are not very good but one which I'm quite happy with (Hobby Boss kit). 

I browsed through my decals and found two I wanted to do, both 112 Squadron RAF, Egypt, 1941.  But which one?  How about both!

As I collected some info and decided on paints, I received two new 72nd scale Airfix Hawk 81A-2 kits (kit# A01003).  In the box is the right plastic bits to make either a Tomahawk I, IIa or IIb; or the P-40-CU, P-40B or P-40C.  There was only one P-40A, modified for reconnaissance.

The Tomahawk I represents the 140 H81A-1, which is generally similar to the P-40-CU.  Ordered by France with French guns, and other internal systems; this lot was taken over by Britain when France fell in 1940.  The major external differences are a single gun in each wing and the fuselage gun barrels protruded further.  British serials AH741 to AH880 apply.

The Tomahawk IIa is the British equivalent of the P-40B.  British serials AH881 to AH990.  

The Tomahawk IIb is the British equivalent of the P-40C.  The external difference is the ability to carry an external fuel tank or bomb.  British serials AH991 to AH999, AK100 to AK570, AM370 to AM519 and AN218 to AN517.

I suspect there may be other external differences, like radio masts and antenna wires, but I have not found a reference to indicate what those may be.  If I do I'll update this portion.  None of the photos I have of British Tomahawks show different antenna configurations, so at this point I assume they are the same.

In my stash I had 2 of the venerable Academy kits of the same subject.  I decided to build one of the new Airfix and the old Academy; and do them side-by-side for a comparison.

The subjects
112 Squadron RAF is generally credited with initiating the shark mouth motif on the P-40 line.  The Luftwaffe actually had a Gruppe of Bf-110's during Dunkirk that was sooner, and I think I have some photos of a Bf-109D from 1939 with a shark mouth.

112 Squadron got their Tomahawks in July 1941 in Egypt.  They came to them painted in the then-standard scheme called the Temperate Land Scheme of Dark Green and Dark Earth over Sky undersides.  After a few weeks of operations the squadron repainted the Tomahawks in the Desert Scheme of Middle Stone and Dark Earth over Azure.  For identification the aircraft had red spinners and no fuselage bands on either scheme.

Both subjects have the shark mouth motif, as well as some other squadron identifications on them. 

The colors of Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky as used on Tomahawks is the subject of debate.  I am quite happy with the colors described by Nick Millman on his blog; generally there is agreement that Curtiss used Dupont paints 71-013 for Dark Green, 71-065 (or possibly 71-009!) for Dark Earth and 71-021 for Sky.  Ultimately I chose paints that appear very close to these colors as depicted on Nick's blog.  I will not enter into any debates on what color Dupont 71-021 is, some believe it to be a bluish gray, others a greenish gray.  It's your model, paint it they way you want it.

Between Britmodeler, my books and some other forums I read occasionally, the Desert Scheme for these aircraft was achieved by simply overpainting the Dark Green with Middle Stone and the undersurface with Azure Blue.  As these are standard RAF colors, I used paints which approximate the reference chips I have, but left the Dark Earth color the original 71-065.

The models
Simply put, the Airfix kit is a dream compared to the Academy kit.  Okay, the Academy kit is crude and a very easy build.  If it's the only early P-40 on your shelf it'll look the part, but set it next to the new Airfix, Trumpeter or even the Hobby Boss kits, it looks toy-ish and crude.  Best used as a pallet or as a toy for your young modelers-to-be.

What's wrong with the Academy?  The prop spinner is too large, making the prop look small (it isn't).  The nose is over thick as is the fuselage in general.  The tail is thick and too deep.  There is no detail in the cockpit or wheel wells, the guns and pitot are just stubs and the canopy is all wrong.  But other than that, it sort of looks like an early P-40.  I remember first seeing it back in the 80's when it was first released and thinking, "Finally!  An early P-40 I can put in my display."  There was a reason I didn't build a second one until now...

The Airfix kit is beautiful.  Not only does it look the part, but it has good detail in the cockpit, the wheel wells are accurately displayed, the nose, wings, fuselage and tail are all delicate and well detailed, providing both that rugged look of the early P-40 in a more scale-like appearance.

Okay, enough gushing...the parts are very delicate.  I broke a few trying to remove them from the sprues and used my razor saw at that.  The plastic is soft, so care must be taken while working with it.

For the Airfix kit I decided to model Tomahawk IIb, AK367/C, 112 Squadron, RAF, Sidi Heneish, Egypt, Summer 1941.  The scheme is Dark Green, Dark Earth and Sky, as delivered by Curtiss.  The paints I used to mimic what I believe these colors to look like were: 

  • Dark Green -- Dupont 71-013, Model Master 1764
  • Dark Earth -- Dupont 71-065, Tamiya XF-52
  • Sky -- Dupont 71-021, Humbrol 23

I used the decals from BarracudaCals sheet 72005.  They laid down great with just Micro-Sol and floated well on water so working with the decals was easy.  After the decals had dried fully I put a final coat of Future mixed 10:1 with Model Master Acryl Flat Clear.  Just a drop in my airbrush cup with the Future is enough to give a satin finish; any more and it takes on a very flat sheen.

For the Academy kit, I modeled a Tomahawk IIb, AN413/K, 112 Squadron, Egypt, October 1941.  According to the decal sheet I used, it was piloted by Pilot Officer Jack Bartle, an Australian.  The scheme is the Desert Scheme of Dark Earth, Middle Stone over Azure Blue; another source indicated these aircraft were repainted locally so the Dark Earth was the original Dupont color.  The paints I used to mimic these colors were:

  • Dark Earth -- Dupont 71-065, Tamiya XF52
  • Middle Stone -- Gunze HobbyColor H71
  • Azure Blue -- Model Master Azure Blue with a few drops of Deep Red added
I used Sky Decals P-40 sheet 72 058.  Again using just Micro-Sol they went down well, however the decals are sized for either the Trumpeter or HobbyBoss kits as they have a smaller and better shaped nose.  The shark mouth decal is too small for the Academy kit.  I also made a slight mistake with the fin flash but some minor paint touch up will fix that.  Overcoated with my Future/Acryl mix for a satin sheen.  I'll replace this one someday with an Airfix kit.

For the money, they Airfix kit is the way to go.  While you can pick up an Academy kit for less than $5 at shows, the Airfix kit is only another dollar online and makes into a much better model.  If you were to buy or scratch the necessary upgrades to make it look as nice as the Airfix, the Academy would cost much more.

I also have a Trumpeter and HobbyBoss Tomahawk II.  The Trumpeter is over engineered, consisting of too many parts.  It does build up nicely, but takes putty to clean up the nose seams as it's made up of 2 additional parts to get the guns and intakes right.  Airfix did this right.  It's 2-3 times as costly as Airfix so I don't recommend it.  

The Hobbyboss is the Easy Build kit, and it WAS easy.  It's "not quite right" with a panel raised and a bit of detail off.  About the same price as Airfix and it alone can replace your stash of Academy P-40's.

Thanks for reading.

113: September 2012 Show-N-Tell

The Theme for September was “Between the Wars”.  Any subject dating from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II.

Jonathan Wright brought in some of the great Monogram 1/72nd scale biplanes.  Two F4B-4 Boeing fighters and a Curtiss P-6E.  All out of the box but with Starfighter Decals and aileron push rods made of wire.

This nice 1/48th scale Hobby Boss Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat is by Joe Hegedus and sports yellow section markings added to an otherwise out of the box subject.

The next two subjects are by Tim Holland.  First a P-40C based in Hawaii during 1941, before the attacks.  It’s a 1/72nd scale Academy P-40B/C kit, out of the box but with Starfighter Decals.

This next subject is a 1/72nd scale Heller Polikarpov I-15 in Spanish Republican markings during 1936-37.  Kit is out of the box with Aviation USK decals.

Jim Rotramel updated and repaired this 1/520th scale AMT USS AKRON model from the museum’s collection.  He fixed some items that were out of scale and added a scratchbuilt Curtiss F9C Sparrowawk.  Wow, that’s tiny!

Moving into the non-theme subjects, Jim Rotramel also brought a no-scale Mawl “Freddie Flameout” kit.  These were first released in 1963 and Jim says he’s finally building one, even though he wanted to as a kid!

This 1/72nd scale Hobby Boss P-51B is by Steve Lucianetti and is finished with Eagle Strike Decals for a 26 FS / 51 FG mount in China, 1944.

Vince Mankowski gets the “Profligate Modeler” award.  Four subjects (plus another 2 in progress) and all could fit under the wing of Collin’s Skyraider!  All are out fo the box.

1/72nd scale Dragon King Tiger with Henschel Turret and Zimmerit.  Vince won this one at the July raffle and finished in a Blegium Ambush scheme of RLM-81A Braunviolett - RLM82 Dunkelgrun - RLM 79 Sandgelb.  

Kiwi resin 1/144th scale A-4M Skyhawk.

Dragon 1/144th scale EA-18G Growler.

Dragon 1/144th scale F/A-18E Super Hornet.

“Holy Cow! -- Go out and buy this kit!!”  Collin Tatusko says the Tamiya 1/48th scale A-1H Skyraider, “is a great fitting kit -- builds itself.”  Collin used the kit decals with his Tamiya acrylic thinner as decal setting solution method.

Collin also made this Hasegawa 1/48th scale F-4B Phantom for the VF-14 Museum Group Build.  Out of the box and Collin says that while an old kit with raised detail it still builds up nice.  He recommends patience with all the small wing decals.

Dan Yakel took a break from work and brought in these three armor subjects from World War II.  All 1/35th scale.

Academy Achilles, Holland, 1945.  Aluminum barrel, spare bed rolls, tarp, green tinted gauze, weathering using Testors enamels.  Scale wire on the cable spool and push broom bristle for the antenna.

Tamiya T-34/85, Berlin, 1945.  Aluminum barrel, Tamiya hull with DML tracks.  Resin engine compartment, PE engine deck screen, DML ice cleats, aftermarket bed spring armor, DML hand bars and Revell hand saw.  “Franken-Tank”

Tamiya Matilda III, Desert War (early).  Aluminum barrel, otherwise out of the box.  Painted medium green, 2 coats of flat clear, 2 coats of middle stone, weathered with Testors enamels.

Rounding out the completed models is Joe Hegedus’  Italeri 1/72nd F6F-3 Hellcat.  Joe replaced the prop from a Hasegawa F4U-1D, Tank, canopy and decals came from a hasegawa F6F kit, he replace the main wheels and fixed the angle of the main landing gear struts.  He didn’t bother to fix the engine...

Thanks for reading.