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...

Friday, March 15, 2013

118: Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Odds and ends, tips and tricks, miscellaneous musings.

Be my guest!

This edition of Spare Parts features a guest columnist, our own Collin Tatusko. Though we've missed him at the meetings lately Collin has been a busy modeler, as you shall see. He describes some of his recent projects and shares a bit of philosophy along the way.

If you would like to submit an item for publication on our blog, here is how to get it done. Send me an email with the text for the article in an attached MS Word file. If there are pictures to be included, send them a separate jpeg file attachments. Please do not embed the pictures in the Word file. It’s easy, as Collin will tell you. With that, I’ll cede the rest of this month’s bandwidth to Collin.


The Distracted Driver Modeler

With the excitement of a kid tearing open presents on Christmas Day or a honey badger taking down a 7-foot king cobra, we dive into a new model on our bench with zest.  Parts are laid out, instructions are read (well not really), paints are collected and a search for photos on the Internet and your extensive wall of books has yielded reference material beyond compare.  Parts are snipped, sanding commences, and the build begins!!  Part fit is checked and rechecked and out comes the glue.  The model takes shape quickly.  Cockpit complete, fuselage assembled and wings attached.  It actually starts to look like a model. 

Then comes the speed bump in the road.  Sanding seams and rescribing.  Well I will get to that, but first let me look on the Internet and see what’s new.  Wow, look at all the new resin, and these glorious new decals sheets for kits I don’t even have.  Oh wait, lets spend an evening reading posts that don’t even deal with modeling.  Distractions.  Before you know it, you haven’t touched your model in a week.  It sits down in your model cave crying like a puppy for its mother.  But you don’t hear it because look at the sale happening at Sprue Bothers, and the discount you don’t even understand at Squadron. 

Sooner or later you realize you have neglected your “puppy” for long enough and enter your cave.  You say you are sorry and start to get your “mojo” back and pick up where you left off.  It lasts for a few days and then “can you pick up XYZ this afternoon?"  Or you have to travel out of town for work, or “I really need to run more because of my cholesterol”.  Life = Distraction.  Once again you leave your “puppy” on the bench waiting. 

Time goes by, and you get your motivation up again and enter the cave to find your “puppy” still there, wagging it’s tail ready for you to start where you left off.  Maybe you finish it this time around, maybe not.  The cycle repeats. 

There are some good things about all of this, in my humble opinion. First, the puppy will always be wagging its tail when you return no matter how long you leave it in an unfinished state in the cave among its friends such as the sanders, the cup of paintbrushes or half a bottle of Tenex.  Second, being a distracted modeler has actually helped my modeling skills.  You see, one of my problems with modeling is rushing things, especially toward the end of a build.  This on and off relationship I have with my hobby actually allows me to take my time and step away, not rushing important steps like rushing and creating a rain drop runny coat of Future, or blotching the decals because I just got sick of all those F-4 Phantom stencils.  “Git-R-Done” is limited.  So I guess this is my way of saying that life distractions can actually help our appreciation of the hobby, and improve our skill in the process.

So with that said, what has Collin been up to?

I have missed coming down to SOMD meetings, but work and life make it difficult to get down there.  The beauty of living in DC is that I don’t have to deal with traffic (I’m already in the city unlike folks driving in and out for work).  But what can take an hour and 15 minutes to drive (no traffic like when I come to Pax in the morning) turns into a 2-3 hour trek in outgoing traffic (in the evening, 295 South is a parking lot).  Work meetings in Pax River on the same day as SOMD Thursdays have become rare, and Thursday nights are “date night’ with the Mrs. We all know how we must pay respect to that.  So getting down there has been tough.  I may be a rough and tough guy, but I will say without reservation that I miss the meetings. 

So what have I been working on?

1/72 Hasegawa KA-3B “Electric” Skywarrior.  Great kit.  Good detail, and a very quick build.  You will have the fuselage and wings together before you know it. The fit is really good.  I actually cut off the front part of the jet pods, and filled in that inside seam.  I then reattached and it looked pretty decent.  Some online builds talk about leaving the engine pods off to facilitate painting.  The leading edge merge of the wing and engine pod isn’t that great, so I went ahead and attached the pod during initial construction.  Careful painting and a heck of a lot of masking went into the markings (the tail black flash was all masked).  I used some old aftermarket decals and put together a relatively accurate set of markings.  Overall, a fun and out of my comfort zone build for me. 

One day I ordered decals for an orange and gray USN F-4 Phantom, but mistakenly ordered 1/72 instead of 1/48.  Bummer.  So what did Collin do? He just “had” to buy the dual boxing of the Hasegawa F-4B-N/J kit so he could use those decals. What a grand plan!  Well I pulled out one of those kits and went to town.  I just wanted something to put in my new display case at Pax River. It's in the large conference room in Bldg 304. Check it out if you're in the area. So I didn’t do anything crazy in the cockpit except paint it up and dress up one ejection seat with thin wine foil seat belts.  This particular test bird didn’t have a rear ejection seat.  Kit is good with very fine detail.  I lost some of that detail around the intake area due to some ham-fisted sanding and rushing things.  I painted her up and pulled out the international orange.  Overall a quick build for me, I just did some pre-shading on this one with no weathering wash…Joe is rubbing off on me. 
Hurricane Sandy was a perfect excuse to head to the Man-Cave, and out came an impulse build of the Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Razorback.  I will be blunt:  if you don’t buy this kit you are missing out on a treat.  An AWESOME kit right out of the box.  Fit was great.  Detail was great…I mean this kit was a dream.  I had the kit built and ready for paint in a week.  Out came the airbrush and I wanted to try my shaky hand at a freestyle/feathered demarcation.  I used my H&S airbrushed to do this kit, and I think it came out OK.  Some guy online gave me grief but Oh Well.  The decals are aftermarket including the checkerboard cowling.  I was scared about that cowling.  I painted the cowling yellow and gloss coated.  After that was dry I laid out the two halves of the checkerboard and let them lay still for a few minutes.  I then used an attack plan of Tamiya X-20A thinner and MicroSol to get them to lie down.  I coated the checkerboards and then ran out of the model room praying that when I came in the next day I didn’t have to “Collin-ize” something.   I didn’t have to worry.  The decals laid down perfectly overnight, what you see in the pictures is what actually happened.  I was blown away and very happy.  Overall, on of the most fun I have had in a while building a kit. If anyone hates Thunderbolts and is looking to get rid of their Tamiya kits, you know my number! 
On the desk now is the ubiquitous Hasegawa 1/48 A-7E Corsair II.  I just love this aircraft.  Built for one purpose…to take ordnance and break the bad guy’s toys.  Fighters have their place, but attack is where it’s at.  This is a very detailed kit with a lot of tricky things.  Of course there is the intake that I painstaking took the time to smooth out.  That came out really well for my first attempt.  The wing join area to the fuselage leaves some sanding and filling to do.  This was my first real attempt at taking time to rescribe panel lines and lost fasteners.  With pre-shading done and the base colors on, I am very pleased with how it’s turning out.  One new item I tried for the first time painting is Mr. Color Leveling Thinner.  This stuff is the BOMB!!!  I mean pure liquid gold.  I mixed up my base enamel white and commenced my normal fill in the panel and paint over the pre-shade area, the white turned out smooth and without a blemish.  I mean no pebble effect or anything.  I was blown away.  I used the same technique for the Gull Gray for the upper surfaces (using my new Badger SOTOR 20/20 airbrush to get the tight freehand demarcation line).  Again, the gray came out fantastic.  This thinner isn’t cheap, and I am only using it for my base color coats to conserve this precious resource….so I still went out this week and bought the last two remaining bottles that Amazon offered.  I’m seriously considering a multi-color camouflage scheme for my next build to push the airbrush/thinner combo.  Loadout will be 10x MK-82 on outboard TERs, 1 x Shrike, 2 x MK-20 ROCKEYE.  I pulled this loadout from the Osprey series about this aircraft in Vietnam.  Here she is:
I hope to make the meeting the end of the month.  I have a ton of books and decals for anyone to have.  Whitey already claimed the U-2R model I don’t want anymore.  And I have those remaining tubes of Tamiya light curing putty for those who purchased them.