Saturday, November 21, 2015

FlightPose Adjustable Stand Review

The majority of aircraft models we see are finished with their landing gear down. Considering an aircraft does spend most of its lifetime planted firmly on the ground, this makes sense. Furthermore, it is not often that a kit is accommodating enough to allow for a wheels up configuration. It takes more time ensuring the landing gear doors fit correctly, and should they not, fill and sand the ensuing gaps and seams. Then, of course, there is the issue of creating a base and stand to support the flying model. For the intrepid modeler who does wish to display an aircraft in flight, the solution to the issue of support can be found in a FlightPose adjustable stand.

A few months ago, I purchased one for the Revell 1/72 F-22 I built for a friend. It was my first experience with FlightPose, and a good one, so when I decided to model my latest project - Hasegawa's 1/72 F-105B - with it's wheels up, I naturally opted for one of these stands for my own use.
Since I have found them so useful for my own work, I felt obliged to spread the word should other modelers feel compelled to build an in-flight aircraft. So, lets take a look at what FlightPose has to offer.

The Website...

You can order your own stands straight from the website, aptly named The home page gives visitors a product description and images displaying various model aircraft that are using the stands. The Catalog lists the products that are available which include only three different lengths of clear rod - 2.5 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches - and their prices. At $9.99 for each, regardless of length, its a pretty good deal. The website also gives potential buyers the option to buy one of each length for $27.99. Checking out is a simple process, made easier by the fact that they accept PayPal, a benefit that I have already described as essential for online hobby shops.
Should you lose them, or if perhaps your set does not include them, the website also provides assembly instructions.

In the Box...

Stands of every available length come in the same size packaging. Each package is marked with the appropriate rod length at the top right hand corner. Clearly visible and secure in the plastic blisters are all the parts necessary to assemble your FlightPose stand. Each package contains three rods, three screws, a cover plate and the base plate. A set of folded instructions are also inside.
The back of the package shows the product supporting an aircraft, details the features of the stand, as well as its alternative uses such as for holding the model while applying decals or painting. Also of note is that it is not recommended for items over two keep it light!


Though the website says it takes a mere few seconds to assemble, the whole stand comes together in about a minute. Modelers are used to needing a multitude of tools to get the job done, but this process will only require a Philips head screwdriver. That's right, no glue necessary. The rods have rounded ends that fit in sockets on the base plate. A cover plate is screwed down over the top of the ball and socket keeping the rods secure but allowing them to move if some adjusting is needed. That is it.
Once its together, all you have to do is adjust the positioning of the rods to accommodate the aircraft you wish to display. The rubber tips on the end of the rods will help keep the model from slipping off once in place.

Final Thoughts...

FlightPose stands are a great solution for modelers who wish to display their models in flight. I have purchased two of them this year for a pair of 1/72 scale models. While it is a simple and cost effective way to accomplish a cool look, there are times when I think maybe the stand is a bit too large for smaller scales. Though we have the option to purchase rods in various lengths, I wonder if it would be beneficial to smaller scales to have rods that vary in width as well so as to not be so imposing compared to the model they are meant to hold. Never the less, the stands are more than capable of holding 1/48 and 1/32 scale options and will not look nearly so out of place.
Should you be looking to replicate the allure of flight with your next model, I recommend giving a FlightPose stand serious consideration.
Thanks for reading!

Also see Fox Thre3 Custom Models video review, and a video review from The Museum Modeler.

Monday, November 2, 2015

October SCU Roll Call

October was a very successful month for the Sprue Cutters Union. An unprecedented seventeen bloggers contributed to this month's topic! See what they all had to say about what they feel is the most important part of modeling...

Blog Roll

Here's to another great month and a bunch of great responses! Watch this space for November's topic, or keep an eye on Facebook for updates!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Rant About Weathering

Weathering is an essential aspect of model making. There have been volumes written about proper techniques and materials needed to master tonal variation, washes, filters, chipping, stains, steaks and so on. There are even magazines and Facebook pages dedicated to giving your model that realistic used and abused look.
But is it realistic? While weathering is popular it is also fairly divisive. Not everyone believes in a worn finish and prefers a clean aircraft to a dirty one. That's fine and dandy. Clean aircraft exist just as much as filthy ones. They aren't as fun to model or as attractive to behold, but hey, it's your thing not mine. 
A little friendly disagreement ain't so bad. We're all grown ups, and I can tolerate another person's preferences (however erroneous) as the next guy. What I can't tolerate are absolutes, like when a modeler says "a jet would never get that dirty", or "you've over-weathered it". People like this attack the realism of weathering and base it on, what, a trip or two to the Smithsonian? A time they went to an air show? I don't know.
It's this type of thinking that bothers me more than straight up rivet counting. For as annoying as it may be to be told my model has the wrong avionics bay vent opening in panel 3306 on the right-hand strake for the version aircraft I am building, at least that assertion is based in reality and not in the clouds. I can work with that. Telling me I've over done my pigments? That doesn't help me.

Look! A Weathered Aircraft! 

I've used this photo time and again as the hallmark for a dirty, beat up modern fighter in the US inventory. It's got everything:

Chipping, grime, panel lines, faded paint, mismatched panel colors, it's just outstanding. Not to mention, this jet isn't even configured for combat. While I could feel comfortable resting my case here, there is bound to be a knuckle head or two who would say this photo is bunk, an exception to the rule. An abomination. So I'll go on. 

A typical USAF squadron is made up of about 18 aircraft. The vast majority of them will be outside while the remaining aircraft will spend some time indoors going through Phase maintenance, fuel system repairs or, if they're lucky, just chilling in a shelter instead of the flight line.
The jets that are outdoors are naturally exposed to whatever elements the season brings - baking hot sun, freezing rain, snow, humidity, high winds, you name it. The sun will fade their paint, the moisture will corrode their screws, and the dust will chip their finish.
 Once a jet is finished with it's maintenance in a cosy hangar, it's back to the harsh environment of the flight line to get dirty just like all the others. That's the thing. A weathered jet is no exception - it's the rule. To have ONLY a single jet amid an entire squadron that is in the kind of shape pictured above is unlikely. You can rest assured, if one F-16 looks like that, they all do, at least to a considerable degree.

But the crew chief would never...

Insisting that a crew chief would never let his aircraft attain such a level of filth is ridiculous. I can't help but think that the guys who make that statement have never experienced operations on an active flight line before. 
The aircraft maintainers have more to worry about than the simple cosmetics and aesthetics of the jets they are charged to keep. They are busy checking oil and hydraulics, filling tires with nitrogen, changing LOX bottles, launching and recovering the aircraft, fitting in additional maintenance as well as catching a bite to eat at some point. A jet can fly dirty. A jet can't fly with a flat tire. It's all about priorities and cleanliness is not up there on the list. 
So yes, in short, a crew chief would...

So, Where Does This Belief Come From? 

I don't want to delve into the psychology that makes these people tick. I would assume that the majority of folks like this have an aversion to weathering because they just don't know any better. They've founded their opinions and perpetuated this myth through their perceptions which are probably based on what they've seen at air shows, or museums. Another possibility is that they just simply can't do it. Weathering isn't easy, especially in its extreme. When a large chunk of the modeling community is capable of pulling off some incredible looks but you can't, well, some resentment toward the technique or the trend may arise whether they acknowledge it or not. As they say, those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't do either, criticize. 

Whatever the case may be, modern aircraft do, in fact, weather and get down right disgusting. Don't let some one tell you that you've over done it because if there is one photo reference backing you up, there are dozens more aircraft in the same squadron that look the same. Fight the good fight. Keep on weathering.