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...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

117: Show and Tell

January's theme was "Unmanned", but that certainly didn't mean that it would be "Unattended".  With six completed models and four in progress builds, this turned out to be quite a popular theme. 

So popular in fact that Chuck Connor wowed the club with his superb rendition of the Academy 1:35 RQ-7B UAV as operated by the US Army.  Chuck noted that other than a hypodermic tube for the pitot the rest of the kit was built OOB, although he did point out that should he build it again, he would probably replace the tail booms and landing gear with some other material as they were very flimsy.  The model was painted entirely with Vallejo acrylics and then done up with the kit supplied Cartograph decals.  Nice to see that Chuck still remembers which end of the paint brush goes into the jar!  Can't wait to see more Chuck!

Next up is the Accurate Miniatures RQ-1 Predator built by Andy White.  Andy built this popular little model OOB with markings for a unit out of Creech AFB.

Dave Fuller also brought along his rendition of the RQ-1 Predator built OOB with Wolfpak Decals markings for an example flown by the 178th RS, 119th WG "Happy Hooligans" from the North Dakota ANG.

Accompanying the RQ-1 were two MQ-9 Reapers built from the 1:72 Skunkmodels kit.  Both were also built OOB with the markings being a combination of the kit supplied decals for the example flown by the US Customs and Border Patrol as well as Caracal Models decals for the Royal Air Force example belonging to RAF 38 Sqn.

Rounding out the theme builds for the month was Tim "I've Got a Spitfire for That" Holland with his Frog 1:72ish Spitfire FMK XIVe and V-1 buzz bomb display.  Tim says that while the V-1 is quite a nice kit, the Spitfire is "crap".  Specifically, it is too small (about 1:75) and has numerous inaccuracies. 

Along with the theme build, Tim also brought along a few of the models he is working on for the Battle of the Atlantic display the club is doing for the museum, all in 1:700 scale.  Dominating the scene is the Tamiya HMS Prince of Wales which Tim reports as having too many pieces that required way too much work.  Good thing it wasn't a Dragon kit!  Also in the photo are two U-boat models built by Tamiya (Type VII) and Hobbyboss (Type IX) as well as numerous 1:700 aircraft converted from wargaming minatures.  They were unsurprisingly, easier to build than the Prince of Wales.

Moving on to dry land, we have a very nice Italeri 1:35 Italian armoured car built by "Doc" Haugh.  If I am reading my decoder ring correctly, according to Doc's information sheet, it is a "Sahariana" which was built OOB, and was a "nice kit" with "no vices" (the kit, not the real thing).

Dan Yakel also brought along a very nice looking WWII armor model in his Tamiya 1:35 T-34/85.  Dan added an aluminum barrel and bed spring armor.  The kit rubber band tracks were replaced by ones taken from a Dragon kit to give them the proper "sagged" look.

Nick Kessel brings us back into the wild blue with his 1:48 Hasegawa F-14A Tomcat.  Nick built this model for the museum's "Tophatter's" history display, and sourced the 80th Anniversary markings from Fightertown.  A Wolfpack "Bombcat" update set and Hasegawa AIM-9Ms and GBU-24 round out the build.  Nick says he certainly plans on building more of the Hasegawa F-14's, and I can't wait to see them.  You can never have enough F-14's!

If you've been following the newsletter lately, I'm sure you have been following along as Nate Swift's SM.79 Sparviero has progressed along.  Nate's model started out as the 1:72 Italeri kit to which he added Eduard PE interior and exterior details as well as new resin cowls by Quickboost.  Nate applied a beautiful airbrushed finish to complete this stunning model.

Another finished build that we have been following along with is the 1:48 Mi-24 Hind F built by Jim Rotramel.  Jim started with the Monogram kit and added various Cobra Company resin sets to detail the cockpit, weapons, ECM, as well as the Hind "F" gun mod.  Jim also performed extensive modifications to the kit to lengthen the tail boom to the correct dimensions.

Rounding out the completed show and tell builds were these three very nice models done by Joe Hegedus.  Beginning in 1:72 scale we have the Trumpeter Westland Wyvern S.4 which was built completely OOB.  The model is as nice as the real thing is ugly.

Also in 1:72 scale is this nice example of "Heinemann's Hotrod".  Joe started with Fujimi's excellent A-4C Skyhawk kit and added Hasegawa TERs and Zuni pods along with decals for the VA-76 MiG-Killer from the 2011 IPMS Nationals decal sheet.

Joe also brought another A-4, this time in 1:48.  Starting with the Hasegawa TA-4J VT-7 Bicentennial kit, Joe added True Details resin ejection seats in an otherwise OOB build.

That's all for now folks.  Next month's theme is "The Need for Speed" and we should have some great models to showcase.

117: Progress Report

At a very well attended meeting after Christmas and New Year, it is apparant that quite a few people spent their vacations finishing old builds as well as starting new ones.  There were eight in progress builds alone.

Starting off with three models, we  have a selection of various subjects built by Dan Yakel, all in 1:35 scale.  First up is Dan's M4A32 Jumbo Sherman.  Dan is using a Tank Workshop turret, transmission cover, and aluminum barrel to convert the Tamiya kit.

Next we have the Dragon SU-100P which Dan is converting to a SU-122P using an Aluminum barrel, resin mantlet, Verlinden engine compartment with lots of copper wire and PE detailing.

Switching to an Axis subject, Dan also brought along his Dragon Jagdpanther.  While waiting for PE parts for the hull, Dan managed to fight his way through the very complex suspension assembly.

Andy White brought along his current project, a 1:32 Tamiya P-51D Mustang.  The engine and interior work look fantastic and really need to be seen in person.  Can't wait to see the finished product!

January's theme was "Unmanned", and there were quite a few theme builds, including these four that are still "In Progress".

First we have Steve Workman's Accurate Miniatures 1:72 Predator UAV that Steve plans on building Out Of the Box (OOB).

Jim Rotramel also brought along a 1:72 MQ-1B Predator, albeit from the later Platz boxing.  This has also been an OOB build that only needs decals and Hellfire missiles to be finished.

Accompanying Jim's MQ-1B was this MQ-9 Reaper built from the Skunkmodels 1:72 kit.  Like the Predator, this model only needs decals, Hellfire missiles, and GBU-12s.

Dave Fuller rounded out the in progress builds with his Academy 1:35 RQ-7 drone.

Remember guys, August is Amnesty month!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

117: Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Odds and ends, tips and tricks, miscellaneous musings.


What’s in it for me?

“It’s a fun hobby.” “It helps me relax.” It’s a great stress relief.” If you ask a modeler why he is a modeler you’ll probably get one of those answers, or something along that line. Despite the wide variety of personalities (or lack of personality) and backgrounds that make up the population of the scale modeling world, we all do it for basically the same reason. Now, if you take fifty modelers and ask each of them what their favorite modeling activity is, you’ll get a hundred different answers.

            There are many aspects to the scale modeling hobby, lots of genres in a variety of scales. There are disciplines that our little group does not address, like model railroading and RC. We do have some members who engage in those activities and we certainly don’t hold that against them, even if they are into RC cars. Right, Jon?

            Some modelers specialize in a particular genre and scale, like 1/72 aircraft, 1/35 armor, or 1/24 cars. Then there are modelers who live in the moment and will build something just because it looks cool or unusual, regardless of the scale or category. Some modelers enjoy the research aspect of the hobby and can cite the most arcane historical details of their current project. Some modelers aren’t satisfied until every last panel line is exactly right and will tell another modeler when they aren’t. Others build out of the box and when the glaring, egregious errors are pointed out they shrug and say, “It looks like a (insert subject here) to me”.

            Then there is the build process itself. Going from opening the box to putting a finished model on the table is a long, sometimes endless process. Just like the modeling hobby, the model building process is multifaceted. There is the initial cleaning up and assembly of the parts. Parts are joined to form sub-assemblies, which in turn are joined together in the final assembly steps. You may or may not add aftermarket or scratch built details along the way. Usually seams need to be filled and cleaned up. Parts and assemblies need to be prepared for paint and then painted, and decals are applied. Then comes the application of washes, dry brushing, filters, and pigments to achieve the desired weathering effects. Again, if you ask fifty modelers what is their favorite part of the build you’ll get a hundred different answers.

            Some model clubs are specialized. I belong to a model car club and some of our members belong to RC flying clubs. There are armor model clubs, figure model clubs, and railroad model clubs. I think that one of the neat things about our club is that it is not specialized. The variety of modeling experience and expertise leads to some spirited discussions at our meetings. It also leads to some interesting comments that we can learn from. For example, I never realized that a modeler who would scratch build details for a 1/144 scale aircraft cockpit would need “… to have his head examined”, or that building link-to-link tracks for a tank is “… the definition of insanity.” What I have learned from such comments is that everyone has an opinion and people will frequently have differing opinions. It’s a matter of choice.

            Which brings us to the overarching reason that every one of us is a modeler. It’s a matter of personal choice, actually an iterative series of choices. First one decides to be a modeler, then decides what kind of models to build and how to build them. Of course those decisions change as one evolves, learns, and grows as a modeler. So, what is the answer to the question that brought on this musing? I’ve always been a proponent of Socratic pedagogy, so I’m going to answer the question with a question:
What do you want?

            (NOTE: If you don’t know what “Socratic pedagogy” is, look it up. But be careful, you might learn something!)