Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Oscar Goes To - Episode I

Welcome to the first episode of this week-long League edition work-in-progress build!
Ordinarily you may think that I would start this one off like I normally do, but I'm going to change it up slightly. Instead of starting this build with the main character, the Ki-43 Oscar, I'm going to start with the base work. I'll save the Oscar for last.
Building a detailed base for your aircraft is a great way to display it. It gives your model context, and some other things to catch the viewer's eye. In this case, I want my Oscar to be in flight, low to the ground, skimming the tree tops of some Pacific island paradise. To realize my plans, I'll have to start making some palm trees. I've never built trees from scratch before, so take what I make here with a grain of salt. To begin, I had to do some research, so I grabbed some images of palm trees...

You can see that they have a particular texture to the trunk, and not all of them stand straight up as a pine or oak would. So, I cut some length of rod off of a spare sprue that I had lying around, and with a candle I carefully heated them up and bent them to the desired shapes...

Now I need to replicate that unique texture. In doing so, I wrapped the sprue with thin copper wire to give it that ribbed appearance, then surrounded that with blue masking tape...

...for the final look...

Now, I've got trunks to work with. The hardest part will be creating palm fronds...a lot of palm fronds. For my first attempt, I will use some rather questionable looking plastic leaves that you can acquire from the reptile section of your local pet store. I removed the plastic spines and replaced it with a length of bendable wire. Then cut the leaves to give them their distinctive shape...

I think it needs a bit of clean up, but its looking good so far. I may experiment with using paper for the fronds. It all depends on how crazy I want to get. I'm not sure how long this is going to take me, but for a few hours tonight, I'll be sweat-shopping a bunch of little palm leaves...
That is all for now! Stay tuned for the next update!

Intro to the Project

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

League Assignment - The Oscar Goes To...

Your Weekly Dose of Pop Culture and Scale Modeling!

Well, the Oscars have come and gone, and as in years past, I have no idea who won one of the prized statues and who went home disappointed. I'm too busy working on this blog to bother. But the hard work will pay off eventually when I'm famous enough to have the resources to hire some one as edgy and funny as Seth McFarlane to do some guest blogging here. But until that day, you're stuck with my pitiful attempt at humor and simple modeling skills.

This post comes in honor of the Oscars (not a celebration of its occurrence, but rather a celebration of it being over). What better way to do that than with an Oscar of my own?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Future of Modeling

My father brought an interesting article to my attention that I think highlights great potential for modeling in the future. Printers that create objects in 3D using plastic are starting to catch on and could be a great asset for hobbyists like you and me, that is, assuming we have the money to throw around.
Since these printers are genuinely capable of printing just about anything using plastic as a medium I shouldn't have to tell you the significance of the possibilities here...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweet 16 - Episode XI

Well, I certainly didn't expect this build to drag out as long as it has. Now I'm up to my arm pits in decals, and I hate decals. I can only sit for so long, soaking decals and meticulously positioning them, and then repositioning them. It drives me nuts. To top it off, I guess I didn't put down a glossy enough coat so I'm dealing with a bit more silvering than I'd like to admit. Ugh. Perhaps the next gloss coat will tone it down a little. I can hope at least...

This quick update is just to show you that I've completed the aircraft specific decals for the 5th Air Force F-16 based out of Misawa, Japan. I happened to like the tail art of this unit, not to mention I have a buddy stationed out there.
The next step will be adding the generic F-16 decals, of which there are many. [sigh] But it must be done. Then markings will be added to the munitions and stores, and finally some touch ups before this is all said and done.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Model Junkie...

The first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one, or so I've heard any way. Though I'm not willing to go that far yet, the notion of perhaps having a bit of an obsession with modeling was introduced to me by my wife the other day.

Modeler Interrupted

Sometimes I wish that building models offered a more lucrative incentive. There would be nothing more pleasurable that to make a living off this hobby. Just imagine, having eight hours a day to sit down and work, uninterrupted. My creativity, and productivity would be at maximum efficiency! I would love to tune out all the distractions and focus on nothing but the kit in front of me. But such as it is, modeling is merely a pass time, and pass times do not put bread on the table. Nor do they fulfill family duties, or other obligations. Therefore, what little time I do have to model is subject to varying degrees of interruption, as life puts the hobby on the back burner - turned down from a boil to a slow simmer...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweet 16 - Episode X

Well, this project is dragging on longer than I would like, however, thanks to a marathon paint session the other night, I'm closing in on the finish line. Using the same painting technique as was used to finish the F-16's underside, I completed the rest of the Falcon.
I use Tamiya Acrylics when airbrushing but as I've mentioned before, I'm not a stickler for absolute color correctness. So, I took some neutral gray and mixed in a few drops of navy blue in the color cup. Looks about right to me.

If that gray looks a bit light to you, don't worry. After a gloss coat of Future that I brushed on by hand, the colors darken a bit...

I'm going to be keeping the canopy closed and will be modeling the F-16 with all it's protective covers installed. In the cockpit, I've recreated several Remove Before Flight streamers using masking tape that I painted red.

Now then, if you attempt to make your own RBF streamers, there is no need to go all accuracy crazy. They can be any shade of red or orange...even a little pink. They are left outside at the mercy of the sun and elements. They fade, and they fray, and are roughly handled by crew chiefs and weapons crews alike.
Hope you're digging it so far. It's almost done and I should think it'll be finished by this week.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Model and a Movie

As a member of the military and a military enthusiast (a bit redundant I suppose) I always appreciate a good war movie. Such films aren't as common on the big screen as they used to be so I'm pretty enthusiastic whenever there is a chance to see one.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to check out Zero Dark Thirty. Originally, I didn't intend to see the movie in the theater but my brother-in-law was kind enough to treat me to it. And I must say I wasn't entirely disappointed. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several months then there really won't be any spoilers - he dies in the end...but you knew that already.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Model Maniacs - Consumed With Victory

The HMS Victory, that is...

As modelers, we so often create scenes depicting a particular moment in history, using vehicles and figures made famous by their courageous achievements, or made infamous by their crushing defeats.
It is not uncommon to recreate the actions of a single day, from the invasion of Normandy in World War II to retaking Hue City during the Vietnam War. But how often do we get the chance to build a model right down to it's exact location in time and space?
A modeler from the UK, Tim Davies, spent ten years of his life doing just that, and that is why he is this month's Model Maniac. The 74 year old gentleman spent a decade doing meticulous research to build his 1/96 scale HMS Victory as it would have appeared at 3:35 PM on January 19th, 1805. In doing so, he captured the moment that Lord Nelson would set sail from Sardinia to chase the French fleet in a naval operation that would culminate in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Though it seems unthinkable, Davies was able to pin-point the location of the real HMS Victory to within ten feet, allowing him to create an accurate display based on photographs he had taken of Sardinia. Not only is the location accurate, so is the ship itself. It is fully rigged, with sails made from draughtman's linen, and at four and a half feet long, it is crewed by 152 little sailors.

The model is very impressive. I do not have the patience for such a feat, so I am always impressed by the dedication it takes to devote ten years of life to just one creation.
I encourage you to follow the link to see more of the model of the HMS Victory for yourself.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some Like it Hoth - Finished!

The Battle of Hoth scenes have always been my favorite sequences in the Star Wars saga. Though Empire Strikes Back is not on the top of my list for favorite episode, I was always fascinated by the little snowspeeder's struggle against the imposing Imperial Walker. 
Since I created a scene for the AT-AT already as my very first post, I figured it made sense to compliment it from the Rebel point of view. These things, as you can see, are fairly easy to make assuming you have some Micro Machines left over, like I do. And they don't take very long to make. 
I won't waste any more time with small talk, so why don't we have a look see...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Some Like it Hoth - Episode II

The week is over, and drill weekend is complete, which means I'm back in action and I can rededicate some time to modeling and this blog! My first step, prior to finishing the F-16 will be to complete this tiny, yet speedy project I began a day or so ago.
So, lets take a look at what we have here, shall we?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Like it Hoth - Episode I

So, this week I have been working long hours on base. Because I have to wake up so early this week, I've been the responsible one by going to bed at a reasonable hour. The problem with this is that it cuts into my already scarce workshop time! Thus, the F-16 has taken a set back, waiting for enough time for me to be able to devote to painting it. To top off this bad news, it was snowing today, and I was out in it.

Being such a Star Wars fan, whenever there is snow mixed with high winds and low visibility, I can't help but think about Empire Strikes Back. If I am forced to venture out into the storm I often say to myself, "your tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker!"
So, today, though my cause was not nearly as noble as Han's was, I never the less found myself out there freezing my, er, tauntauns off. In doing so, I thought of a quick project to complete for this week while the F-16 waits. I prefer being hot to cold, but when it comes to snow, I like it Hoth.