Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Revell 1/72 Panzerhaubitze 2000 - Preview


The build preview is sort of an in-box review as well as a glimpse at the upcoming project. You can see the detail of the kit and I'll tell you what I plan on doing with it. Enjoy!

Background
Developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann - the same manufacturer of such vehicles as the Leopard I and II as well as the aforementioned Fennek - and Rheinmetall, this howitzer is capable of firing three rounds in nine seconds, and ten rounds in fifty-six. The PzH 2000 is also capable of landing up to five rounds on target at the same time in whats known as Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact.
Though built for the German Army, this 155 mm L52 artillery gun is also employed by Italy, the Netherlands, and Greece and is likely to be picked up by several other NATO countries to replace the older M109s. Since 2006, it has been used quite frequently in Afghanistan where it first saw combat with the Dutch Army against the Taliban in Kandahar Province.

More on the Panzerhaubitze 2000



The Kit
For being the most powerful conventional artillery system deployed within the last several years, its somewhat surprising the PzH 2000 is not better represented in scale. To my knowledge, it has only been manufactured in kit form by Revell and Ace, albeit in the ever popular 1/72 and 1/35 scales. Revell also provides a three piece combo set in 1/72 scale that includes the PzH 2000, an SLT50-3 to transport it, and a Fennek scout car. A virtual diorama in a box which by all means is more interesting than the lone model that I will be working on here.




Monday, November 25, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union 19: Back in Black

This Friday marks the arrival of that great holiday tradition where every one loses a little bit of their sanity and a lot of their common sense while braving the early morning hours, tons of traffic, and ridiculous lines all in the name of saving a little bit of money - otherwise known as Black Friday.
It isn't often you'll find me leaving the relative safety of my home to go out in search of deals at the local Target store. I'm too fond of preserving my humanity to risk losing my temper, or an eye, in the hustle and bustle of the retail jungle. However, it doesn't mean I won't be going online and it certainly doesn't mean there are a few of you out there with a larger set of brass balls than I've got. So, this week I want to know...


- What did you score this Black Friday weekend? -

Given that this is a holiday weekend, participation this week is hardly expected. No, really, you don't have to respond to this if you're far too busy stuffing a turkey or pulling your boot out of some obstinate shopper's behind. Otherwise, take the week off, relax, then come back next week for the 20th Sprue Cutters Union assignment. Also, considering Cyber Monday is, well, next Monday, I'll be extending this topic through December 2 to make sure we can include any cool purchases between now and then.

Oh, and I'm only referring to relevant hobby purchases. I really don't care if you got a 42" television for sixty-five percent off....unless you put it together yourself, then maybe....

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. Feel free to grab the badge!
Spread the word.
Join the Union!

Hasegawa 1/32 Ki-43 Hayabusa - Finished!


I really can not cast a single stone against this kit. Though it is older, its age did not show through as I found its fit and engineering very satisfactory. It may be lacking detail in some areas, like the cockpit, but its made up for in other places like the engine.
I always say, my best model is my next one, and while that is true, I am quite pleased with how this one turned out and is currently the crown jewel on my shelf. It was refreshing to build something that didn't cause me problems, whether self-made or not. I enjoyed painting this one, and weathering it and look forward to whats next.

The finished pics are a bit dark, so this photography thing is going to have to be remedied at some point in the future.





Thanks for having a look-see and I'll catch you on the next build preview!
Thanks for reading!

State of the Union: Inspiration


The Sprue Cutters Union - It's like real life in small scale. 

With all the possibilities modelers have to choose from, last week I asked what inspires our next build. How do we select the kit or diorama that we will work on next? Read the contributions to find out!


Thanks for all the avid participation, and keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all current 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, November 20, 2013

What Am I Hungry For?

Its been a long day. Work is over and dinner time is quickly approaching. You are so hungry but you don't really feel like cooking or eating left overs so you pick up your phone and call a friend. Hey man, you say, let's go get something to eat.
Your friend agrees, and the conversation turns to destination. After suggesting some possible locations, Chinese, or maybe Italian, you settle on a Bar and Grill in town. Meet you there!

You gather your wallet and keys and climb back into your car, all the while contemplating what you will order. You've been there before, and know the menu well. Should I get the Wild West Burger or the Fish Tacos? Decisions, decisions. Your preferences change with each traffic light. When you arrive and step out into the evening air, the crisp aroma of hamburger on a hot grill is hard to resist. Bacon Cheese Burger it is!


Your friend has held a table close to the bar and waves you over as soon as you walk in. The dapper young waitress brings you menus and informs you of the evening's specials. Drinks will be up soon. In the mean time, your pal is pointing out the grilled chicken and pasta dish on the back page. Suddenly, that burger doesn't seem quite as appealing. A steaming hot plate of quesadillas and rice is delivered to the table next to yours. It smells pretty good. Decisions, decisions. Now, you start flipping through the menu, weighing everything against the bacon cheese burger you had your heart set on at first. Suddenly, it hits you. The picture of that tender, juicy sirloin steak and mashed potatoes is impossible to ignore. Plus, its only $15.
That's the one.

As goofy and irrelevant as that sounds, its basically a similar process that I go through in order to select my next project. I like to let all facets of the hobby feed my senses, fuel my inspiration. Now that I run this blog, I like to take into account what subjects readers may suggest. Though I model for myself, its important to consider the audience, and if I can find something that plays into both of our interests, its a win for all of us.

If a certain suggestion doesn't tickle my fancy, perhaps I'll take a look at the menu - the all important stash. Mine is fairly limited so I can say with much certainty that every thing I own I actually intend to build. Perusing the stash allows that one kit to speak to me, much like the selection at a restaurant may steer you towards a particular meal. I may go in having some idea of what I want to build, like armor, but having a look at my options really helps narrow it down.

Any good menu has images of the food available to order. Each item looks fresh and delicious. Enticing. In the same way, if what I have in the stash isn't immediately inspiring, the internet is a good way to get those creative juices flowing. If I have the early stages of a project in mind, nothing is more inspiring than finding pictures of the subject you want to recreate. One of the best things to do in military modeling is to let real life be your guide. Find a cool photo or two and apply it.

Over all, I'm not really a picky eater, or modeler for that matter. For that reason, I may change ideas and prospects several times before finally deciding on the next project. Whatever seems to pique my appetite at that moment will likely find its way on to my workbench.

I'm hungry now...

______________________________________________________

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. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Got Sick Over the Weekend...

F-117 diorama built by an unknown modeler
What happens when some one builds a model of something you are intimately familiar with, and they happen to build it wrong?

The other day I learned a little something about myself, and its that I am not immune to rivet counting. Yes, I had my first experience with the disease and so I thought I'd share how I survived my brush with anal-retentive-itis and how you can avoid it.

The incident took place several days ago as I was surfing the interwebs for pictures of models and model related things. I stumbled upon the picture of the F-117 and ground crew that you see above. Though I am unaware of its source I can tell you that I do not intend to belittle its creator in any way. Quite the opposite. I think its a great piece and makes for a nice display.

To set the story up, I should tell you that I am an aircraft armament systems specialist in the USAF and load munitions on F-16s. In other words, I do exactly what that ground crew is doing in that photo, except not on Stealth Fighters. Never the less, when I happened to see a diorama depicting my job, I stopped and took great notice! It is a fairly obscure occupation, not glorious by any means, and is rarely ever represented in scale - this is the first time I have seen some one model an Air Force load crew.

But the more I looked at it, the more I saw some discrepancies, not with the construction of the models, but the composition. There are some safety issues at play here. In real life, if a munition is being supported by the MJ-1 lift truck, the driver will never leave the vehicle. You can see in the photo that he is standing beside the jammer, rather than seated on it. Also, in real life, if a munition is being supported by the MJ-1, the supervisor will always have positive control of the weapon. So, there should always be at least one hand on the bomb at all times. Finally, with loading operations taking place, the pilot should not be either mounting or dismounting his aircraft.

For one brief moment, in my own mind, I took a perfectly fine looking diorama and whittled it to pieces based on my own experiences - experiences the original builder likely has no way of knowing. Unless you're in this job, or have access to Air Force Technical Orders, its unlikely you would be able to correctly assume where every one should be positioned and how it all should appear.

The point is, this is not real life. Its modeling. Though we build scale representations of real vehicles, and situations, we have no way of knowing, a hundred percent of the time, what is accurate and what is not. When it comes down to it, correct or not, I'd prefer seeing this diorama built with this composition than seeing the F-117 sitting alone on a flight line like so many other aircraft models. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that even in real life the rules are not always adhered to - whether on purpose, or by accident. Anything can happen, and that is what is so great about modeling is that the artist is free to create his own perception of the reality. Are on lookers free to criticize? Certainly. But they should keep in mind that not every one is an expert, and expertise isn't something every modeler is searching for.

I am glad I recognized my illness for what it was, and I'm glad I didn't carry it on any further than my own thoughts. Too often rivet counters live vicariously through other modelers' creations, and they wait for some one to make a mistake so they can appear and show us just how smart they are. The only person you should place expectations on to get it right is yourself. If you want that level of accuracy, than strive to achieve it. If you're more like me and have no problems displaying an aircraft in flight with no pilots, so be it. Modeling should be for every one, not just those who know it all.

Thanks for reading!

PS: This isn't to say criticism can't be served in a tactful manner, and if help is requested, by all means give it. I'm simply saying there is no need to go out of your way to criticize a model for reasons that would be difficult for the builder to have known in the first place. 

Sprue Cutters Union 18: Inspiration

One of the biggest, and most frequent, questions a modeler has to answer is what am I going to work on next? For those of us with a particularly large stash of model kits, the answer can be especially difficult. Then consider that what one does not have in their stash can almost always be found on the market. So, to arrive at a final answer to that question can be quite a hurdle. With so many options, I want to know...


- Where does the inspiration for your next build come from? -

How do you decide what hits your work surface next? This doesn't need much more explanation than that. Just let us know your decision process in choosing your next project. 

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. Feel free to grab the badge!
Spread the word.
Join the Union!

State of the Union: Go Big or Go Home


The Union came out in droves to answer last week's question of whether or not we would be inclined to work on one epic project if we had no time or resources limits to consider. The answers were fairly varied and interesting. Take a look!

Kermit's Bench
Lt. Smashs' Models
Digital Sprue - New to the Union
The Scale Workshop
Miniature and Model Painting
Migrant's Wanderings
Scale Model Workbench
The Eternal Wargamer
Doogs' Models
Mattblackgod's World
Fill 'n Sand
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
Motorsport Modeller
The Combat Workshop

 Please join me in welcoming Digital Sprue to the Union! Thanks for all the avid participation, and keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all current 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!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

1/144 F-14 Tomcat Vignette - Finished!


New decals rejuvenated this stalled project! 

Remember this one? Its a tiny project sat dormant for the past month or so, waiting on the chance for me to purchase decals that would be of better quality than the nasty markings included in the kit. What the model offered were far too thick and didn't blend well, even after several applications of decal set. It did not take much effort to scrape them off with an Xacto blade.
When I finally scrounged up the money, I ordered a set of Fightertown Decals from Sprue Brothers which came promptly after two days. My only issue is that the set was not numbered so it was difficult to match up the decals on the sheet with the markings on the guide. Considering some decals are so small they were impossible to read, I left them off altogether. Never the less, the markings I did add were much better than the alternative and gave me the opportunity to finish a project that was quickly collecting dust.

Here is the final look:




You can see there is no pilot, an issue I mentioned before, but I don't really care. I wanted a clever way to display this little model so I went for it. A pin wash here and there really helped with the weathering. Otherwise, not much else to say. It was a small project, that was quite enjoyable. The kit built up well and I'm ultimately happy with the results.
Thanks for reading!

Go Big or Go Home, Right?

For all you super detail freaks out there...

Would I be willing to focus all of my resources, time and attention on one tremendous project? 

We've all seen the large scale cut-away models displaying all the inner workings, rivets, conduits and controls of a World War II aircraft, or spent long moments pouring over a huge diorama containing grandiose buildings in ruin, many vehicles, and countless figures engaged in mortal combat. I can't help but marvel at these pieces, in terms of their ingenious engineering but also their finely tuned details. While they are most often impressive, they always leave me wondering whether I would ever attempt a project of such incredible magnitude.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union 17: Go Big or Go Home

Time is a valuable thing for a modeler. Just think of how many projects you would be able to finish in one year alone...assuming you're actually working on them and not getting distracted like we so often do. Never the less, I've finished basically one project a month since beginning this blog back in November of last year - a model here and there, a diorama or two, so on and so forth. Nothing huge, nothing impressive. Whenever I see a modeler complete a truly large project, I always wonder what it would take for me to tackle a model so time consuming. That is why this week I'm asking...


- If you had the resources, would you attempt one HUGE project? -

This means if you had the time, money and inspiration, would you devote it all to that one magnum opus that you have been dreaming about your whole life? It doesn't have to be a diorama either. It doesn't even have to be huge in the scale sense of the word. It could be huge in terms of detail - like totally scratch building the interior of a cut-away P-51? Would you knowingly dedicate a years worth of time, or more to ONE SINGLE EPIC PROJECT?

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!

Always on the Lookout


This past weekend, my father-in-law told me he was looking for a credenza to put in his home office. After Googling what, exactly, a credenza is, I told him he might look for one in an antique shop that isn't far from my house. The shop is huge, and contains just about any thing you're looking for, from furniture, to old guitars, to jewelry, to old military memorabilia. To me, its more like a museum, and therefore, I love taking the trip. You never know what you're going to find, especially if you haven't been there in several years.

I gave him directions, but he wanted me to come along in case he needed some muscle to get the credenza in the truck...assuming we actually found one, which I'll admit was a bit presumptuous. Though I could spend hours pouring over the artifacts in the shop, I couldn't guarantee he would find what he was looking for. That is the nature of an antique shop. Never the less, I came along because I wanted to see what I might run into.

State of the Union: Airbrushes and Such


Last week, the Union talked about the most important tools models have in their arsenal - airbrushes. Of course, not every one uses an airbrush so some of the responses covered the use of regular paint brushes and even rattle cans. Check out the posts for yourself!

Yet Another Plastic Modeller
Migrant's Wanderings
Lt. Smash's Models
Fill 'n Sand
Kermit's Bench
Motorsport Modeller
The Eternal Wargamer
The Combat Workshop
Jay's Scale Model Adventures

Not as much participation this week, but still very informative! Keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all current 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, November 6, 2013

Shirt of the Month

Once a month, I create a new shirt design that relies on crowdfunding in order to print and ship. Check these shirts out and if you like one, be sure to order it before the campaign ends!

November's shirt is now available to order! The campaign will run for two weeks, starting today, and will finish November 20th. In order to print, it needs 20 backers before the two weeks has expired. I'm positive that we can reach this goal, so if you want a unique t-shirt that represents your passion, be sure to follow the link and pick one up for yourself!


Thanks for the support!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Airbrush

This week, the Sprue Cutters Union is talking all about airbrushes and other tools vital to the painting process!

When I was growing up, one of my fondest memories was watching my dad paint models. To this day, even the slightest whiff of a Tamiya rattle can, or an open bottle of Testor's enamel will send me back down memory lane. I remember him laying down the newspaper so the over spray wouldn't mar the table top. I can hear the hiss and rattle combination of a spray can hard at work. He'd step aside so I could see the shiny wet olive drab hue bedazzling his latest 1/48 scale aircraft. The smell was over powering, and would linger in the air, but to me it was as good as fresh baked cookies or mom's apple pie. My father never graduated to an airbrush though. Though he raised me to be a modeler, I don't think he took it as seriously as I do now.

Which is why, one of the first big purchases I made for the hobby was an airbrush. Okay, well, it wasn't that big of an expense. I was a poor high school senior so all I could afford was a $30 plastic no-name airbrush from Michael's. No cheap airbrush would be complete without the can of compressed air propellant to operate it. Ever use one of them? Mine had a tendency to frost over like a car's windshield on a cold morning. It wasn't long before the airbrush broke and I returned to painting models the old fashioned way...with paint brushes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #16: Brush Up

The advantage of following the Sprue Cutters Union is that you can quite often come away with some new inspiration or understanding of the hobby, and maybe pick up a tip or two along the way. Not long ago, we wrote all about our paint preferences which was quite informative. This week's topic fits naturally with the subject of paint, because you can't have paint without the brushes...


- What is your preferred airbrush/paint brush manufacturer? -

This doesn't have to be limited to the airbrush only. If you're a user of standard paint brushes or even those dreaded rattle cans, I'd like to hear what you use and perhaps the methods and circumstances in which you employ them. There are so many airbrushes on the market, I think this will provide some insight into the pros and cons of particular systems and maybe help a fellow modeler make a future purchase. So, lets brush up on our airbrush terminology and get writing!

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: We're All Critics


I was a bit worried that last week's topic would not get a good response. I was wrong. I asked what is it that makes a model stand out and here is how the Union responded!

Yet Another Plastic Modeller
The Eternal Wargamer
Motorsport Modeller
Mattblackgod's World
Miniature and Model Painting
Scale Model Soup
Scale Model Workbench
The Combat Workshop
Fill 'n Sand
Martin's Bench Corner
The Scale Workshop - New to the Union
David Knights' Weblog
The Classic Kit Junkie

Give a warm welcome to The Scale Workshop, the latest blog to join the Union! Thanks for the continued participation! Keep an eye out for the next topic!

For all current 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, November 2, 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #15: My Critical Eye

With all the model shows I have attended through the years and all the forums, pages, and blogs I contribute to, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of unique models. Most of us can probably say the same thing. Spend a year on a forum and you'll get an eye full.
So what makes one model stand out from another? What do I consider an outstanding model? In short, it needs to tell a story.



Naturally, we all consider the necessity of a diorama to contextualize the models within it through an identifiable story line. It is how dioramas are categorized and judged. But this topic isn't all about dioramas, is it? Never the less, if you put a model in front of me, I still want it to tell me a story. It won't have a visible story line like a diorama but it will imply a history through its finish. When I say finish, I am referring to the combination of painting and weathering. A model can exude so much character based on how the modeler decides to finish it.

I like my models to look used. They are, after all, representing real machines that should have had some exposure to the elements or the hazards of the battlefield. I'm not saying a great model can't be clean and pristine but they just don't stand out in my mind. An aircraft or tank that looks sufficiently worked tells me more of a story than a model that looks factory fresh.

I think honestly, Steve from Scale Model Soup and I share pretty much the same opinion. Modeling is an art for so than a science. The models that I appreciate the most are the ones that tell a story through how it is painted, not how it is constructed. The aftermarket accessories do not matter to me, nor does necessarily eliminating every seam (though most show judges will care). If you want to catch my eye,  give it some personality.

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!

Yet Another Plastic Modeller
The Eternal Wargamer
Motorsport Modeller
Mattblackgod's World
Miniature and Model Painting
Scale Model Soup
Scale Model Workbench
_____________________________________________________

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.

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