2011, The Year of Indecision

Last day of the year, and it was a difficult one. A few things happened in real life this year which were less than pleasant. I won’t go into detail, but I will point out how the models I was working on while going through these events strongly remind me of what I felt at the time. So much so, that I began considering putting these kits out to pasture.

While going through these builds I began to look back on my modeling output for this year. I completed 18 kits; 11 1/72 scale aircraft, one 1/72 scale tank, two 1/35 scale tanks, and four 1/48 scale aircraft. There were at least a dozen other projects which I had either started this year, or continued to work on but didn’t finish. Among these were my two oldest in-progress builds: a Hasegawa B-26 I began in the fall of 2007, and an Esci F-5B first dabbled with in 2005. The B-26 is close to being done, the F-5, not so much.

Besides spitfires, of which I completed three, and almost finished a fourth, the common theme for this year was indecision. I bounced around from one project to another, unable to focus on any particular one. Modeling stops being fun when this happens, and often times, the kits suffer as a result. I ended up destroying two in-progress models, and canning a completed project mere months after it was done. Two of the four 48th scale planes will probably be scrapped for parts as well.

While I can’t foresee what 2012 will be like, I know one thing I can do to make it more fun is to not get so bogged down by multiple projects on the go. No more than two at at a time. Consider it a resolution.

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Back From the Dead?

Dear Readers (both of you),

The Classic Kit Junkie has been inactive for some time, this due primarily to a lack of classic kit building on my part. When I started this blog, I thought I was going to use it as a regular journal of my builds and to catalog my finished models. I have neither the time or dedication to keep a running journal as such. Does this mean the site is going away? No, not entirely. What it does mean is that the site will be refocused.

Over the next several days I will be completely redesigning the look and layout of the site. Also, henceforth, the site will no longer be a log of all my modeling activities. I don’t feel like writing about and photographing all I do, and nobody cares anyhow. Instead, the site will focus on what its name implies: old models. I will continue to post reviews of old (or recently re-released old) kits when I pick them up, and I will occasionally post articles about the builds, and other assorted musings. While it is true that web forums like UAMF and Revellations deal with classic modeling rather adequately, the forum format does not always lend itself to article length writing.

If you would like to contribute an article to the blog, please contact me by email at koziarskir@gmail.com

See you all soon.

Shout Outs

A very quick update; this one regarding updates to the link section. I’ve got to direct folks to two sites I recently discovered which are worth a look for anybody interested in small scale modeling. 72nd Aircraft is a fantastic modeling forum populated by some of the most talented modelers I’ve seen on the web. What some of these guys do with 72nd scale boggles the mind. The forum does not seem to have as much traffic as it deserves, so sign up and start posting.

The second is a blog called 72 land. The fellow there makes some beautiful models, and its worth a good look.

Check them both out

Heller’s 1:72 Tempest

Heller were/are great! During the 1970s and into the 1980s, Heller released some terrific model aircraft, ships and armor. Their 1/72 aircraft in particular, are noteworthy. First and foremost, they produced a nice line of aircraft of the 1920s ans 1930s, and planes of the Polish, French, and Swedish airforces. All of which I find fascinating. This particular model lives up to the Heller hype. Its a simple kit, but captures the lines of the Tempest quite well.

There is not much to say about the build, as it was fairly simple. I quickly assembled and painted the rather spartan cockpit, not worrying much about the lack of detail, as the opening is quite small. I then slapped together the fuselage and really well moulded chin radiator elements. Next I glued the upper wings to the wing roots (I do this, as it is a great way of avoiding poorly fitting wings), and then glued on the lower wing. There were a few gaps to fill between the lower wing and the fuselage and back of the chin. Nothing complicated though. The tail planes went on, and that was it for the main components. At that point I decided to remove the moulded in cannons and replace them with short lengths of styrene rods with the ends drilled hollow. They’re a wee bit over scale, but they still look better than the plastic nubs in the kit.

At this stage I masked off the canopy in preparation for painting. The windscreen needed some sanding around its bottom to fit properly. Things need to be carefully aligned, as it is easy to get the canopy off-center. I did that once or twice, and ended up losing the gun sight in the cleaning up process. Once masked, I painted the model using Polly Scale paints. I tried something new with the leading edge stripes. In order to achieve a warmer tone on the yellow, I undercoated them with red (rather than my usual white). I must say, it worked better than expected, and I’ll be doing this henceforth.

Following painting I applied a coat of Future, and then the kit supplied decals for a machine flown by Wing Commander Evan Mackie (RNZAF) at the end of the war. The decals went on fine, and settled down with some Micro Sol and Micro Set. Do note however, that while the instructions do not mention it, there is a score-board decal (#30 I believe) which should go in front of the cockpit. Mackie had over a dozen victories, five of them in the Tempest. I only learned this after finishing the model, and throwing the “extra” decals away.

Initially I planned on building this kit with its gear down, but this is where I ran into trouble. When Heller first released this kit, they did not engineer the gear support trusses particularly well. When installing them, you end up with two butt-joints and in my attempt, I had the trusses at very peculiar and jaunty angles that just looked wrong. In my attempt to fix things, I somehow managed to squeeze one of the parts with my tweezers in such a way that it shot across the room, and into the small part vortex which exists someplace between my work desk, and the star Wolf-359. I couldn’t be arsed to monkey around with fashioning a new one, so I just closed up the gear doors. They fit surprisingly well in this configuration, and only needed some minor sanding to sit flush with the curve of the wing.

A quick repaint did the trick. I press-ganged a pilot from Airfix’s Mig-15 into the roll of WC Mackie by shaving down his upper arms so he would fit into the tight cockpit. His addition further masked the lack of details inside. The prop, exhausts, stirrup, and pitot were added at this stage, and a gash was cut into the belly of the plane with a hot knife. This so it could be positioned on a clear stand of dubious origin.

The final step was the painting of the wing tip formation lights, and the replacement of the aerial mast with a whip antenna which was a feature of Mackie’s aircraft. The formation lights are poorly moulded in one of the wings, so they need to be masked off prior to painting. Otherwise, no sweat.

And thats all there was to it. A simple, relatively pain free build. The kit is no doubt less detailed than the Academy offering, but it looks nice nevertheless. I’m excited to say that Heller are beginning a program of rereleasing some of their classics this year. I don’t know what is slated for reissue first, but I really hope to see some of those French and Polish aircraft on the shelves again.

Viva La Heller!!