Monday, September 30, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #11: Your Hang Outs

Modeling isn't really a social hobby on a personal level. I only know a handful (and that's being liberal) of modelers personally, that I see on a regular basis. Maybe some of you are different, and know tons of people who share your hobby and meet with on a constant basis to play "show and tell" with your latest creations, I don't know. I can only get social with most modelers by way of the computer, or by driving hundreds of miles to different conventions throughout the year.
Whether you have droves of hobby buddies, or not, one thing is certain...we love to mingle. It may be online, or in person, but we constantly love to connect with each other, and with the hobby. 

- Where do you gather? -

This could be taken lots of different ways so I'll let you have fun with it, but really my aim here is to know how involved we all are socially with the hobby. Clearly, we're all online, jocking each others blogs and pages and such. But aside from your own sites, where do you hang out? Do you have a forum of choice? Perhaps several, if you're anything like me...Do you attend a lot of shows? If so, where?

Certainly don't limit yourself to those several questions. Let us know where you go to exchange ideas and merriment with your fellow modeler!

 Remember, all it takes is a passion for this hobby and a blog to go along with it! All you have to do is write a post in response to this topic by Sunday and you can be a member of the Sprue Cutters Union. Take a look at the Sprue Cutters Union page for more detail. Once you've written your post, either email me the link or drop the link in the comment section below.
The goal is to send new readers to our sites, so don't forget to include the links to other modelers' responses when you get an opportunity.
Spread the word.
Join the Union!

Testor's 1/48 A-6A Intruder - Part II


Construction Complete:
After a long weekend drilling with the military, I was able to get some bench time last night to finish up some of the final build details before painting. There wasn't much left, as my dad took care of most of it, but this kit needed some sprucing up, as it lacks a lot of detail in certain areas.
I started with the Multiple Ejector Racks. These racks can carry up to six bombs, each munition weighing up to 500 pounds. The kit parts were bare, just a simple length of plastic with locator pins for each bomb. You can see a real MER has a bit more going for it...


I just wanted to bulk it up a bit to make it more presentable. So, I used some plastic card to represent the side bomb racks and some wire to represent the firing leads you see in the picture above...


Its not breath taking but it will do. Once completed, I had some MERs that looked a lot better than when they started.
I intend on loading three 2000 pound bombs on the jet, one at the center line station, and one at each inboard station. The pylon only had two locator holes to allow the locator pins on the bombs to fit. I couldn't let that go as it simply doesn't look right. Weapons pylons have sway braces to keep the bomb from, well, swaying during flight. So I grabbed a bunch of them from the old Monogram A-10 kit that I will never finish and boom, instant improvement!



A little sanding is all that is needed to ensure the bomb fits properly and the sway pads are snug.
Beyond that, I altered the Mk 84's slightly, trimming off the nose cone in favor of a nose fuze. To me it looks better, and its a look I'm more familiar with. The point looks too toy like. Hopefully, it will look even better when painted.

That sums it up. From here I'll begin painting so it'll get exciting, at least for me!
Thanks for reading!

State of the Union: Our Spending Habits


Its not that hard to spend a lot of money if you're not a careful modeler. Even if you pinch your pennies like a faithful Scrooge it is still easy to get carried away. There are so many places to score affordable models its hard not to be tempted. That's why last week's look into our spending habits was so interesting. Honestly, I had expected some different answers, but for the most part the Union seems quite frugal and grounded. But don't take my word for it!

Bill Weckel - New to the Union!
The Combat Workshop

Please give a warm welcome to Bill Weckel, the latest blogs to join the Union! Hope to see more in the future! Keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all members, to help grow our respective audiences, don't forget to add the links from your fellow contributors onto your post.
If you want to join the Union, all you need is a blog and a passion for the hobby! Spread the word! Join the Union!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #10: My Spending Habits


A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so I could just leave you with the image above and call it good, however, that isn't my style.
I've gone through many different interests over the span of my life, and most of them have required a decent amount of monetary input. My ability to participate in any activity is inversely proportional to how much money I must put into it - the higher the cost, the less involved I am. With three young children and a wife to take care of on my sole income, there are far more important things that I need to afford over a plastic model or some paints.

That said, I don't spend much on this hobby. I've built up a decent sized stash, enough to keep me busy for at least the next year or two, so I don't need to continually purchase another kit whenever I finish one. When I do get a new model, it arrives as a gift for my birthday, Christmas, Father's Day, anniversary or other such holiday or special occasion where exchanging gifts is expected. Moreover, if given the opportunity, hobby related material is generally what I ask for in these instances. So, I'm not going hungry by any means if you're worried.
If in the rare instance I have some spare cash burning a hole in my pocket, I may get out to the hobby shop or Michael's store to purchase a cheap kit or something else I may need. The glorious thing about shopping at Michael's, which makes up for its poor selection, is that I am always accompanied by a forty-percent off coupon. Most of my kits are inexpensive Revell-ograms or out dated kits from Fujimi and what not. They fit perfectly in my budget, though I sacrifice certain luxuries like detail and fit. That's just something I have to accept.

I'm perfectly content with most kits out-of-the-box, even most that I've acquired from Michael's. If I had the money to spend, by all means, I might purchase some aftermarket goodies. But in my current state, I never do. I have never, to this day, purchased any aftermarket additions to any model I have built with the exception of several decal sheets. However, when it comes to cockpits, tracks, interiors, wheels, etc, what I get in the box is what I work with. I just can't justify the expense.

My wife is very much aware of what the hobby costs. Justifying the expense means proving to her that what I'm purchasing is absolutely necessary. Adding another kit to the stack of models that will just collect dust for the next several months is not, in her mind, a justifiable expenditure. But that is understandable to me, like I said, there are far more important things out there. However, she is more likely to excuse the purchase of some paint, which is used on a consistent basis, and only costs several dollars a jar and lasts for a long time. So, I'm more inclined to buy supplies rather than kits.

There are times I wish I had more of a budget to devote to the hobby but most of the time I'm content with what I've got. I'm not the kind of guy that needs that next great kit, but even if I did need it, I couldn't afford it any way. Though modeling is a huge part of my life now, I'd like to think that I have my priorities arranged in a manner that pleases everyone in the house. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - a happy wife is a happy modeler.

______________________________________________________

Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributors' posts within your own response. If you liked this post, then perhaps you'll enjoy what some other modelers have to say about this topic!

_____________________________________________________

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week's assignment and you're in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Testor's 1/48 A-6A - Part I


Intro:
The A-6 Intruder is a fairly unsightly fellow, somewhat out of proportion. With the intakes so close to the nose, it resembles a chipmunk that has stuffed its cheeks with nuts. Its been given several nicknames, none of which are overly flattering, like "Double Ugly", or "Iron Tadpole". Despite its appearance, the A-6 packs a heavy punch and saw service from 1963 to 1997 when it finally retired. Having spent some of my youth in Washington State, I recall seeing this homely aircraft on numerous occasions, flying out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Being the first warplane I had ever seen in flight, it struck a chord with me that has resonated ever since. Plus, it drops bombs like whoa!
My father grew up during the Vietnam War era when the Intruder first came into service. He virtually grew up along side the aircraft, reading about its exploits in the news as well as through fiction like Flight of the Intruder. So, for those reasons both my father and I developed an affinity for the A-6.

If you don't know this from following my blog yet, then I should tell you that my father and I have a deal when it comes to modeling. Although he got me involved in the hobby, he isn't as active in it any more as I am. Now, he prefers to build them, or as much of them as possible, and send them to me to finish with paints, decals, weathering, etc. Its a fun exchange and we both win - he gets to build without the added time and money expense, and I get to paint (my favorite) without having to build.

The Kit:
It can best be described as old.
It was boxed by Testor's/Fujimi several decades ago but despite its age, builds into a pretty nice model.


It was purchased for several dollars from a vendor table at a show up in Wayne, New Jersey. As far as my dad was concerned, it was worth every penny. It went together well, only noting one or two fit problems before passing it off to me.
The only disadvantage to this deal we share is that it can be difficult to correct any issues in fit. There are some seams that can be filled and sanded, but several "steps" caused by slight misalignment is a more difficult problem to resolve. Never the less, for an older kit he did a very good job.
This is where it stands, waiting for me to take over...


Looking at this picture, it appears as though there isn't much room for the wing tanks to fit along side the main landing gear doors. I wonder if I'll have to alter that a bit...


He did some fine work on the 'pit, creating his own RBF tags and ejection seat handles. You can see I accidentally knocked one of the handles off the seat back so I'll need to replace that...


The A-6 Intruder

History time!
The A-6A was Grumman's answer to the request for an all-weather carrier based aircraft to replace the A-1 Skyraider. Crewed by two, both men sat side by side behind an unusual double pane windscreen - part of what gives the Intruder its unique appearance. Having a crew of two, each having separate responsibilities, facilitated execution of low-level attacks in all kinds of weather conditions.
A total of 480 A variants were produced that boasted the advanced Digital Integrated Attack/Navigation Equipment which was the most promising navigational and attack system of its time. It utilized multiple radar systems and ballistics computers to ensure a high degree of accuracy on target.
The aircraft entered squadron service in February 1963 and became the principle medium attack aircraft for both the US Navy and the US Marine Corps well into the 1990's.
The A-6 soon saw action in Vietnam, utilizing its immense payload of 18,000 pounds with deadly efficiency. However, in eight years of fighting in Vietnam, 84 Intruders were lost, 68 of which were combat losses, highlighting the fact that its low-level approach to striking ground targets made it vulnerable to all kinds of anti-aircraft weapons.
The Intruder would go on to support operations in Lebanon, Libya and Desert Storm where it would participate in over 4,700 combat sorties.

I've decided to build the model sporting colors of VA-85, the "Black Falcons". During Vietnam, four of the squadron's commanding officers were shot down flying A-6's, three of whom were killed. The unit would go on to perform well in the first Gulf War, dropping 850 tons of ordnance over the span of 585 combat sorties.

The kit provides a decent amount of weapons, including a center line 2000 pound bomb, and a good mixture of 250 pound to 500 pound bombs. Also included are two Bullpup missiles. I am going to do my best to put as much ordnance on the model as possible, because really, who doesn't love the look of a fully loaded Intruder?


Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #10: Spending Habits

This hobby is as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it. If you're a new comer to the hobby, or a starving artist pinching pennies, you can get away with spending around ten dollars on a kit. Look in the right hobby shops, flea markets, or online stores and you can find some half decent kits for a lower cost.
Never the less, on a tight budget you can run out of options fairly quick. On the other hand, if money is no object and the size of your bank account matches the ferocity of your obsession then its not unusual for a project to reach over a hundred dollars (in some cases, that's just the kit price!)


- What are your spending habits? -

This isn't intended to be a personal question regarding how much money you make. I simply want to know the complexities of your kit buying process. Does this hobby indeed have its limits? Or are you bound by nothing when it comes to purchasing that next kit? When you see that next great kit, do you make it rain or do you say I'll wait for it to hit the weekend sale at Squadron? Does your spouse factor into this process?

So many possibilities...Have fun!

Remember, all it takes is a passion for this hobby and a blog to go along with it! All you have to do is write a post in response to this topic by Sunday and you can be a member of the Sprue Cutters Union. Take a look at the Sprue Cutters Union page for more detail. Once you've written your post, either email me the link or drop the link in the comment section below.
The goal is to send new readers to our sites, so don't forget to include the links to other modelers' responses when you get an opportunity.
Spread the word.
Join the Union!

State of the Union: Your Paints


Paint may be one of the most essential tools in a modeler's arsenal, so last week I had the Union describe exactly what paints they prefer while at the workbench. If you have any questions about paints, than this would be a good post to follow. But don't take my word for it...

A Scale Canadian
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
Jay's Scale Model Adventures
The Eternal Wargamer
Migrant's Wanderings
Scale Model Workbench
D. Knight's Weblog
Mattblackgod's World
Scale Modeling My Way
Motorsport Modeller
The Combat Workshop

Please give a warm welcome to Motorsport Modeller, Scale Modeling My Way, and Jay's Scale Model Adventures, the latest blogs to join the Union! Hope to see more in the future! Keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all members, to help grow our respective audiences, don't forget to add the links from your fellow contributors onto your post.
If you want to join the Union, all you need is a blog and a passion for the hobby! Spread the word! Join the Union!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Revell PT 117 - Finished!


I posted the "finished" blog post for this project several weeks ago but didn't include glamour shots as I normally do because I had fully intended to create an ocean base to display the PT Boat. I had a change of plans as I simply don't have the resources (in time, money, and material) to create a water feature as large as this would require. So, I ended up fashioning a wooden base to stand the boat on instead. Its a some what stylish compromise that allows me to return this model to my father without taking up much more time.
Without further ado...

Finished:







And there you have it. Time to move on to the next project!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #9: My Paints



Your model only looks as good as your finished paint job. Its the icing on the cake if you will. There are a bazillion options for modelers to choose from these days in regards to brands, medium, and color that its really no surprise to hear modelers say they have used several different paints through the course of their lifetime, if not the course of a single model.
There is an advantage and disadvantage to most paints on the market, but ultimately it is up to the modeler to decide what works best for them and in what situation. This week's Union topic requires that I spill the beans about my paint preferences. Here you go...

When I first started modeling, I had only one brand of paint at my work bench. It was cheap, and readily available at the local Michael's Arts and Crafts shop just a few minutes drive away. Most modelers should be familiar with it, and I'm sure most modelers have used the little bottles at some point in their hobby careers. The paint was Testor's Enamel and came in the tiniest of jars that would become impossible to open after several uses. But they were easy to brush paint (I didn't have an airbrush) and were plentiful, so I continued to buy and use them. I still have a few bottles hanging around on a shelf but they haven't been opened in who knows how long. To be honest, I'm not sure why I still keep them as they're just taking up space. But most modelers are "hoarders" in some way so I guess I'll chalk it up to that. I just can't get rid of them.

When I started getting more serious about the hobby, it was time to consider a more serious paint option. Having been pleased with the enamels, I stayed that route but opted for a larger container in Model Master enamels. I found that this didn't coagulate as quickly as Testor's enamels and the bottles were fairly easy to open. The ability to brush painted them remained the same. They weren't as easily obtained but purchasing them gave me an excuse to drive 40 minutes to the nearest true hobby shop, not the local Michael's. Like the smaller counterpart above, I still have a few of these on my paint shelf. They don't come out often, mostly to paint the jar lid bases that I use for small vignettes but that is about it. I guess I'm saving them for an emergency. Who knows...

Again, my ascension to serious modeler led me to change paints. This time I got away from enamels and went straight to acrylics. Vallejo paints are great for figure painting, and other small details. They dry fairly quickly and brush paint superbly for an acrylic paint. They have a wide range of colors and the bottles keep paint waste to a minimum.
I've been using this brand for several years now, mostly for painting figures or details in a cockpit or something similar. They thin nicely with water and clean up in isopropyl alcohol. Unlike the enamels, Vallejo paints come off my shelf on a regular basis throughout the course of a project. Never the less, they are not what I airbrush with...



For airbrushing, I prefer Tamiya acrylics. They are fairly durable, cheap and available at my local hobby shop. They come in a vast array of colors and shoot nicely through my Passche VL when thinned with alcohol or Future floor polish. I use them strictly for airbrushing as they simply don't brush paint well at all. 






A model isn't complete without a wash. For that I pull out the artist oils. Being oil based, they dry slowly and are therefore workable for quite some time. They can be thinned with Testor's paint thinner and work well for pin washes or a wash with a wide brush. 
They are versatile for weathering, useful as filters, rain or dirt streaks, or even mud depending on how you apply them. I'll even use them for dry brushing. I don't have a particular brand loyalty when it comes to these paints, as long as they are oils they work for me!




So, that'll do it. Pretty simple assignment, and nothing particularly mind blowing as I'm sure a lot of other modelers use the same paints I do on a regular basis. Don't believe me? Well have a look at what the other Union members had to say! Thanks for reading!

______________________________________________________

Part of being in the Union means you must include links to fellow contributors' posts within your own response. If you liked this post, then perhaps you'll enjoy what some other modelers have to say about this topic!

Jay's Scale Model Adventures - New to the Union!
_____________________________________________________

Want to join the Sprue Cutters Union? Its simple. If you model and have a blog that is all you need to start. Just write a post in response to the weekly topic, copy the link in the comments section for that week's assignment and you're in! Check out more detail about joining the Sprue Cutters Union.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Star Wars Judgement Day - Finished!


Water Feature:
Before completely finishing up, I had one more detail to add to the little base. I made a large pipe out of a pen shaft and wanted to have some sort of fluid spilling from it. To replicate the flowing water I just used hot glue applied with a hot glue gun. It dries fairly clear and sets quickly, making a small amount of water easy to place. Then I mixed some yellow-green Vallejo acrylics and poured it into a small cup of Woodland Scenic's Realistic Water and dumped that onto the base below the spilling water...



All that was left was to paint the base, which I did with a rust brown Master Model enamel. And the look was completed...

Finished:








I'm pleased with it and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Now then, back to the PT Boat...wish me luck!
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Star Wars Judgement Day - Part II


Painting:
After construction, naturally its time to paint. I gathered up my airbrush and Tamiya acrylics and I set out to work. I'd never painted an urban environment filled with so much debris with an airbrush before, so I was curious how I was going to pull it off. Over spray was expected, and did occur, but was easily corrected and blended into the scene.
I started as I normally would for an aircraft or vehicle, flat black...


Then, the upper surfaces get treated with white to create some highlights and shadows...


A thin layer of neutral gray creates the mid tone base...


Then some hull red gets sprayed over the metal parts and bricks...


I masked several elements with salt and sprayed a lighter brown over the hull red. Once the salt was removed, I have some worn looking metal...




I used a paint brush to blend in all the over spray...


Finally, some washes of burnt umber sinks nicely into the recesses, especially in the cork. Then some chalk pigments create a bright rusted look. I wanted some color in this base, and the orange really makes it pop...



Here are the glamour photos of the finished base. I'm extremely happy with it...



Next up, the small water feature. Should be fun!
Thanks for reading!

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