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Showing posts from 2014

Castaway

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Here is my latest project. The principal character in the vignette is an old T-69 turret, the manufacturer of which I have long since forgotten. I had built the whole kit a LONG time ago but had recently found its presence unworthy and therefore I stripped everything useful off of it, including the turret.
Having seen a picture of an Angolan T-55 nearly submerged on a beach I thought it would make a great first project in terms of getting back into the hobby after two months, as well as finding a use for an old build. So I used the photo as inspiration to reignite the flames of creativity after being dormant for two months in Korea.
Any how, it's rather simple. Take a look at the pics and vice sure to comment!

Surviving Vacation

Every now and then we modelers are forced to take a break for a week or two, sometimes more if we're that unfortunate, to indulge in such luxuries as sunshine and fresh air. Yes, we climb out of our holes, shower, spray ourselves with whatever cologne smells most similar to Testor's Dull Coat, pack our bags and head for parts unknown.
It can be quite daunting, the thought of not touching a kit for days on end. Traumatic, even, for the weaker minded. But as I said, it's a burden we all must bear.
For the past two months I had been absent from the workshop. Did you notice? Unlikely. Any way, I had to spend two months in South Korea on a short deployment with my Guard unit. I could not have been further from my workbench lest you launched me into space.
While such a separation would have killed a lesser man, I found ways to fight against the urge to throw myself into a jet intake. Short of actually packing up your latest Trumpeter kit and tools, these tips will help you thr…

Trumpeter 1/72 Merkava Finished

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Man, I haven't been here in a while. But to make up for my absence at least I have brought some photos for you to look at.
This is Trumpeter's little Merkava. Not a bad kit but nothing flashy either. It lacks tow cables and the pioneer tools are molded on which gives it a toy like appearance.
However, I over looked the short comings thanks to its great fit and engineering. The running gear and tracks are one piece which made assembly a breeze. The base is simple, as most of my bases are. Here's how it looks.
Thanks for reading!

SCU: While You Are Out

We all know the importance and allure of a good workbench. You can scarce go a day without seeing a picture of a fellow modeler's workspace, displayed proudly, on whatever social media circles you tend to hang out.
We are proud of our workstations. After all, that is where all the magic happens. Like a mechanic is at home in his garage, so are we most comfortable at the bench or wherever it is you model. However, the hobby extends well beyond the hours we spend actually putting glue to plastic. For me, modeling does not start and end at the workbench. The true is same for you considering you're reading this blog. That's why this week I want to know:
How do you stay in the hobby when you're away from the bench? This can be as simple as gathering references online to the more obscure like rummaging through your neighbor's flower bed for diorama materials.Don't forget, post the link to your response in the comment section below!
Remember the rules! Be courteous and …

Sprue Cutters Union is Back!

After a long break I am pleased to say that the Sprue Cutters Union will be returning in May. Before you start dusting off the lap tops you should know that the format for the new SCU has changed.
I will no longer be presenting topics on a weekly basis. I simply don't have the time for that any more. Instead, each topic will be given at the beginning of the month and each participant will have nearly a month to respond.
Ideally, each new topic will be laid out on the first weekend of the month and all responses should be submitted by the last Friday of the same month. Hopefully, having several weeks to reply will bolster participation.Any way, the same rules apply. Be sure to copy the links of other participant's responses in your own posts. This way we generate readership to all!
I hope you're all ready to jump back into this. I will do my best to maintain the SCU as long as my schedule allows. Look for the first topic to appear this weekend! I'm certainly looking f…

A Blogger On The Go!

After my post late yesterday evening, you all should know I'm a super busy dude who has had the majority of his model time taken away by work. Alas, don't cry for me for being employed is generally important especially in regards to providing for my family and other essential things like buying new kits.
Any way, that being said, I don't often find myself behind a computer screen any more - ain't got time for that...So how will I continue to blog?
Well the 21st century has brought about a great many innovative tools and devices to make our lives a bit easier. You know, things like internal combustion engines, or Dragon's DS tracks. Or for the sake of this post, the smart phone. Yes, I installed the Blogger app on my mobile device which means I can now blog from places far removed from my home's LAN line like convention centers, the doctor's office or my in-law's toilet seat.
Granted, the bells and whistles aren't as flashy but it gets the job don…

Where Have I Been?

Well, that is a good question and if you're a concerned reader lamenting my absence I have come to put you at ease.
Back in mid February I was away for several weeks, tending to the duties that come up from time to time for military personnel such as myself.
Not long after, I started a new job. While this fresh opportunity was something I had been pursuing for years, it also meant less bench time. A lot less.
Prior to this new working arrangement I had the capability of working on hobby related ventures nearly every night for about two hours a piece. Now, I'm lucky to get a seat at my workbench three nights a week. I have to wake up far too early in the morning for me to spend all hours of the night airbrushing, gluing, or searching for lost parts.
And blogging?
That has clearly suffered as well. Quite frankly, I'd rather spend what time I do have on actual modeling than simply writing about it. At least for now.
So what does this all mean?
I would like to carry on thi…

Get Motivated With Martin!

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Meet the man behind the models...
When I first started this monthly Scale Spotlight, I told myself that I would be remiss to not include Martin Philpott within my first several interviews. I first started following Martin's work back when Scale Plastic and Rail had an online forum that wasn't scale specific. He and I started our blogs at nearly the same time and we have virtually been running side-by-side, supporting each other's work from the beginning. You will find his Facebook page, Martin's Scale Models, inspirational and informative. It is a fine supplement to his blog which bears the same name and same great content. He is a genuinely talented modeler, but you will find more than just his own work highlighted on his webpages. Martin has been more than happy to share the works of other modelers in his Friday Five feature which showcases the top five models he has seen around the internet that week. His passion for WWI era aircraft shows through as you can be sur…

How Far Would You Go?

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Modelers are fairly eccentric people. We spend hours at a time sitting alone in a secluded room away from our families to painstakingly recreate an aircraft or vehicle in small scale. Our hobby is a lot like work yet we don't get paid for it. Maybe that is why some of us enter our models into contests - to seek some sort of award for the blood, sweat, and tears we have spilled along the way. Of course, I'm sure some of us attend these geeky gatherings to mingle with others of our kind, swap stories, see some really decent models, and of course, spend our life savings in the vendor rooms.
Whether they are called shows, contests, or conventions, they take place in one fashion or another throughout the year globally. If you are a modeler, chances are you have access to a model-related get together some where in your region. It may be only a local club but it is better than nothing. If you don't happen to live within close proximity to an annual show then you may have to put …

Symmetry in Modeling

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Giving your model an unbalanced look... When it comes time to arm our aircraft, I would say that most modelers prefer to go all out, hanging the available munitions and stores from every hard point they can find, within reason any way. This is perfectly acceptable, especially if the load you are using fits within the confines of reality. I think we can all agree that an aircraft armed to the teeth is far more interesting than one carrying merely a bomb or two. It appears more menacing and it gives the model a sense of symmetry. Ever heard the saying, less is more? Yes, well it can also apply to this aspect of aircraft modeling. Just because you have Hasegawa's Modern Aircraft Weapon Set doesn't mean you have to use every munition in the box. Give your model a completely different look by limiting the types or positions of the stores that you attach to it. I will show you how with a few references from real life aircraft. Follow along...

Sprue Cutters Union 28: Pack Your Bags

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days, you'll know that the Winter Olympics have kicked off in Sochi, Russia. I live in the United States, and I can't imagine what it would be like to pack up and travel for thousands of miles to compete for a coveted Olympic medal. Considering I am not a world class athlete, and I abhor extreme temperatures, it is unlikely that I will ever do so. At any rate, I decided to use the Olympics as this week's inspiration. As you well know, one of my top interests is modeling as I am sure it is yours as well. So, this week I want to know...


- How far are you willing to travel for this hobby? - There are hundreds of national and international shows that take place every year. Whether you are there to contest for gold, browse the amazing entries, or score sick deals at the vendor tables, there is always something there for the hobbyist to enjoy. Do you make a long distance trip every year to, say, Telford? Or are you cont…

Photographing Your Model

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Show us your photo studio... Obviously, if you want people to actually see your work online, you're going to eventually have to take pictures of your models. Last week, I wanted to see how the various Union members addressed the problem of miniature photography. As usual, the responses run the gamut of possibilities. But, whether you have money to spare for a high end upgrade or you're a penny pincher like myself who does everything on a budget, I am sure you'll find some useful tips and tricks to work for you. Check it out!
Yet Another Plastic Modeller Motorspot Modeller Miniature and Model Painting Doogs' Models Bill Weckel The Eternal Wargamer The Garage Gamers
Unfortunately, I did not have the time to write a post. Just as well, there would not have been much to learn from my meager set up. This post will be just as beneficial to me as it will be to the rest of you. Hopefully, we all learned a little something about how to better present our models!
Don't Forget!All …

AMARC A-10: The Fuselage

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The Warthog loses some weight... The project has begun. The first thing to do is to ensure the kit fuselage matches the shape of the A-10 in the photographs. I'm only using just about the foremost third of the Warthog, so everything aft must be taken off. When I first thought to do this, I figured one simple just straight down would suffice, but if you notice in the picture, the fuselage is not simply sheared along one vertical line...



...so, quickly this project was becoming a bit more complex. Not to be deterred, I marked out an approximation of where I thought the cut should be made on the kit fuselage with a No. 2 pencil...

AMARC A-10 Build Preview

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How to avoid the problem areas of a bad kit... Not long ago, I went through my stash and weeded out all the bad apples. I wound up purging about seven unwanted kits that were either of two low a quality for me to endure or just too large a scale for me to fit on my shelves. One such kit was Monogram's A-10. Its not a very nice kit which makes it hard for me to believe that some one would actually sell it on eBay for $37. Years before I decided to part with it, I had attempted to assemble it and immediately noticed it was unsatisfactory in terms of fit. It quickly became a shelf queen until more recently when I stripped it of all its useful parts and bid the rest good bye.
Though I finally thought I was rid of this beast for good, it reared its ugly head once more. This time, a friend of mine who has since abandoned the hobby gave it to me along with some other older kits. I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, although I was well aware of the weaknesses inherent in th…

Sprue Cutters Union 27: Photo Finish

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Now that I run a blog and maintain a Facebook page and just about every other social media outlet I can think of, it has become all too clear to me that my photography is less than stellar. When I was just uploading images to display on various forums the quality of those images was never an issue. As I fall deeper into this rabbit hole as a modeler/blogger, I am realizing it may be time for me to start caring. Just as any other topic we have addressed so far, it is safe to say that I am sure there are others just like me who work with the bare minimum - jury rigging some backdrops and inadequate lighting to produce a range of out-of-focus, off colored photographs. On the other hand, there are those who I'm sure I could learn from. That's why this week I want you to...

- Show us your photo studio! - Don't be afraid. We are not all professional photographers, so don't be shy in showing us what you've got set up, as I assure you, it is better than what I put forth! W…

1/48 Mi-24 Hind Diorama "Hind Sight" - Finished!

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Background This was one of those projects that I never fully invested in. What was going to start out as just a simple helicopter build turned into a more complex diorama than I had intended. This was all brought on by a rather disgusting kit, thanks to Revell and their tendency to skimp on buildability. Rather than spend more time correcting the model, I decided to create a scene depicting the Mi-24 as crashed in some sort of fictitious World War III urban scenario of UK vs East Germany. Thus, I had to purchase some 1/48 Airfix British troops to add some humanity to it as I didn't want it to be just another abandoned piece of hardware from the former Soviet Union. This did not excite me, considering I am not much of a figure painter, especially in such a small scale. Add to this to the fact that this project seemed to drag on a bit longer than I would have liked and you can see how I am glad this is finally over.
Never the less, though it wasn't what I had in mind from the s…

All You Need to Know About Glue

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Confused about glue? We're here to help! Choosing the right adhesive is probably the single most important decision you can make as a modeler, next to deciding on the proper airbrush. It may be the most significant decision of your entire life. Well, maybe that is an exaggeration, but the right glue will certainly have a positive impact on your hobby. Don't take my word for it, read for yourself...
Fill 'n Sand
The Garage Gamer
Yet Another Plastic Modeller
Miniature and Model Painting Doogs' Models Scale Model Ink Motorsport Modeller Mattblackgod's World The Eternal Wargamer The Combat Workshop
After reading all of that you should now have a Masters in hobby glue, and should have the confidence to decide on a glue that will work for you. Now all you have to do is go out there and buy it!
Don't Forget!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, a…

A Sticky Situation

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A Brief Guide to a Healthy Glue Relationship I have said it before but it bears repeating - glue is the most important tool a modeler should have at their disposal. After all, what else is going to hold the model together? Choosing the right glue shouldn't be a chore, so I'm hoping this post, as well as the posts from my fellow Unionites, will assist any one looking to find that perfect adhesive.
Glues can be like women - some may too clingy, while others may smell good but are simply after your money. The relationship between you and your glue must be beneficial. Do not settle on a glue. Find one that you are comfortable working with and make sure it pulls, or should I say holds, its own weight. Sticking with an adhesive just because its something you are familiar with is no excuse either (I'm looking at you, dad...) The way your glue behaves should make your life easier, not harder.

It's the Little Things

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How Small Detail Can Have Huge Impact If there is one thing I like better than building a diorama, it is looking at a diorama some one else has made. I love a diorama that invites me in to soak up all the detail. Each aspect of the story line is clear, subtly directing my eyes about the scene, picking up little nuances here and there. While building my current Hind diorama, I wanted to add a little something more to it, so it was just concrete, dirt and rubble. So I scratch built a telephone pole. That is not a mind blowing addition, but it alters the silhouette and gives the viewer one additional item to look at.  A great diorama causes me to think man, I never would have thought to add that. Even better dioramas are the ones you can come back to again, and see something you had not noticed in prior views. Like this one:

I did not build this, and I am not aware of the creator. Never the less, the scene is fantastic from the building, to the ground work, to the vehicles to all the mi…

Sprue Cutters Union 26: Glue

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Probably the most important tool a modeler has on their workbench is glue. After all, the kit is not going together without it. The hazards that glue pose to a modeler are well known, so much so that some one named their Facebook page after one common super glue dilemma. Most of us understand that it takes some finesse and dexterity to ensure the glue hits the right spot and you're not left wasting time sanding away a sticky finger print or two. Or worse. That is why I want to know...


- What glue(s) do you use, and how do you apply them? - This is similar to the paint topic we addressed a while back and just as simple. Considering the extensive selection of adhesives on the market, you just have to let us in on your preferences. Try to tell us what situations you will use particular glues in, and if you have any nifty tricks for application. And remember, safety first! Avoid the fumes...
How this works:Listen up noobs, all it takes is a passion for this hobby and a blog to go along…

Do You Have the Time?

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When do you find time to model? Most people would look at our hobby and say we have far too much time on our hands. Based on last weeks' responses to the question of time management, I would think most of us would disagree with that assessment. Time is probably the cheapest, however, most elusive tool in a modeler's inventory. Check out the responses...
Fill 'n Sand
Miniature and Model Painting
Doogs' Models Motorsport Modeller Mattblackgod's World The Eternal Wargamer Yet Another Plastic Modeller Greg's Models The Combat Workshop
One thing is for sure, no matter how much or how little time we get, it is all time worth spent! Thanks for reading and keep a look out for this week's topic!
Don't Forget!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!

The Dilemma of a Terrible Kit

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Bill Watterson, the genius behind the ageless comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, seemed know full well the frustrating experiences inherent in the hobby that we so love. While I can't say for sure that he is a fellow modeler, the theme appears time and again in his work on that classic strip. He captured the image of a frustrated modeler brilliantly in just four small frames. Whether Mr. Watterson was himself a builder of model airplanes or not, we can all agree that we have at least experienced the same exasperation of an uncooperative kit as Calvin has encountered here. I know I have.

Of course, Calvin is younger and less refined than most of us, but that doesn't mean we haven't at least thought of taking a hammer to an obstinate kit. We have all reached this crossroads at some point, and the question becomes, do we carry on, pouring more time and energy into a terrible kit? Or do we reach for the hammer and trash bin? I have built some crappy kits in my day considering the…

How To Make a Telephone Pole

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For my crashed Hind scene, I wanted to add some urban flare, and give it a sense of civilization. A simple way to do that was to create my own telephone pole. It will also give some height to the diorama and give it a more dynamic silhouette.
Any way, here is an easy way to make your own telephone pole! Hope it helps...

First you need something to create the pole itself. For this I used the shaft of an old paint brush -


Then I sanded off all the red paint to reveal the more realistic wood underneath -


Next, something is needed to create the little cross beam that hold the wires. So I grabbed a tongue depressor but any wood of similar thickness would suffice. Cut a small piece out -



That should do.
Then I was wondering how to replicate the insulators that sit on top of the telephone pole. Luckily, I had a bag full of tiny electronic parts, like circuit boards and wires taken from an old digital camera -



The resistors found on a circuit board make perfect insulators -


Just trim the lea…

Time is of the Essence

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When do you find the time to model? Modeling is a hobby, not a full time job. As unfortunate as that is, it also means I have to actually find time to work on a kit given that I have to participate less desirable activities like work to pay the bills and put more kits food on the table. Being married with three children, providing for them usually takes precedence over my menial pass-time. Since I am usually away from home for eight hours a day, I put a premium on the time I get to spend with the wife and kids when I get back. This means there is no time to touch a kit until after they have gone to bed.

Sprue Cutters Union 25: Time Management

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Although I would love to build models for a living and become rich and famous doing this thing that I love, for now it is a simple hobby that I enjoy in my free time. I am sure many of us are busy with work, family, and our every day lives that interfere with how much model time we get. This week's topic comes as a suggestion from Fill 'n Sand...


- How do you find time for the hobby? - Are you a lucky modeler who can stack several hours together to get work done, or do you have to work in increments of less time, gluing parts together here and there. How do you manage the free time you do have to give some much needed attention to the project on your work bench? Of course, you could also mention how you find the time to answer these Union questions too...Just sayin'.
How this works:Listen up noobs, 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 Spr…

Warning: Contents May Cause Irritation

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What do other modelers do to get under your skin? This week, the Union focused on what pet peeves we possess. More specifically, what do fellow modelers do to really agitate us. While I didn't respond to this task, some other great bloggers stepped up to the plate and addressed this as tactfully as possible. Take a look...
Motorsport Modeller Mattblackgod's World Miniature and Model Painting Yet Another Plastic Modeller The Eternal Wargamer Plastic Models - New to the Union!
Not too controversial or offensive I hope! Then again, perhaps its some advice to take with us in the future! Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed reading each post...Sprue Cutters Union is becoming the window to the modeler's soul! Thanks for reading and keep your eyes open for the next topic!
Don't Forget!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 pas…