NB: This page has been updated with new photos. The previous photos were not up to an acceptable standard. They were a fialed experiment with handholding the camera. I got the tripod out for these. Much sharper and much better depth of field.
It has been six weeks since I commenced this model, and it is finally completed. Not that it took month and a half. Other activities took much of the time.
This is my third Arma kit. Some of the parts are very tiny and very easy to lose, so caution is necessary. The detail of the parts is exceptional. As mentioned in my previous post, I was fortunate to order the kit prior to its release, so Arma included some 3D printed parts which included the most detailed 1/72 scale seat (with belts molded in) I have ever had the pleasure of using.
Arma supplies three steel ball bearings to weight the nose so the model will not be a tail-sitter. As I was getting to the end and attaching all the small bits and pieces, I came to a place where I had only the prop and the cockpit doors to attach. And the model was sitting on its tail! I was not pleased. But once I glued the prop and the doors on, it sat on its tricycle landing gear. That is great engineering on Arma’s part to weight the model so precisely.
I liked the unusual color scheme for an Airacobra stationed on Makin Island in the Gilberts. The color was unusual; however, I could not find a match for it anywhere. I settled for Vallejo Model Air 71.143 UK Light Stone.
These Arma kits are a real pleasure to build and display. The finished models have exceptional presence on the display shelf.
This subject came up after a friend read my last post.
How do I clean up after using Vallejo Air paint in my airbrush?
I put 2 or 3 fluid cups full of Lysol Clean and Fresh through the airbrush, pull the needle and wipe it and the interior of the fluid cup out with a lacquer thinner soaked Q-tip, reinsert the needle, put 2 fluid cups worth of lacquer thinner through it and I am done. This method works for me.
If I am airbrushing lacquer based paint, e.g., Hataka Orange Line or Tamiya Lacquer, I use only “hardware store” lacquer thinner. I will fill the fluid cup with lacquer thinner and put a Q-tip in the cup. Then I use the Q-tip to loosen all the paint on the inside of the cup, which always dissolves in the thinner. I spray that out, followed my two more cups filled with thinner. I pull the needles and wipe it off, then spray a final cup full of thinner through the airbrush and I am done.
For Tamiya Acrylics, I follow the above procedure except I use nothing but 91% rubbing alcohol as a solvent.
These methods work for me, they involve no extremely powerful solvents and no abrasives of any kind. Your mileage may vary.
There are many modelers out there who have spoken ill of Vallejo Model Air (hereinafter “VMA”), to put it politely. More often I hear, less politely, that the stuff sucks.
How is this? I never have had a problem spraying VMA.
Either a Badger 105 Patriot with an “F” tip or a Grex XGi with a a 0.3 mm nozzle. My compressor is a $90 one from the Wuhan Compressor Factory. The gauge on it says the pressure I like is between 15 and 20 psi (but who knows if it really is?). It is my second one. The other one wore out. They both serve and served my needs.
My Location – Arizona
I live in the southeast corner of The East Valley, which is the vast suburban expanse of Phoenix extending east to the Superstition Mountains. It is also known as the Sonoran Desert.
It is dry out here. In high summer, it is not unusual to have humidity as low as 8%, and people start commenting on how humid it is when the humidity skyrockets to 30% around monsoon season. It is just amazing how fast things dry here. For instance, I can wash one of my baseball hats and leave it soaking wet on the patio (in the shade) and it will be dry as a bone is less than an hour.
When I lived in New England, I had issues in the summer with the air hose getting moisture in it now and then, and I had to remember to empty the moisture collection attachment on the compressor. Not out here.
I buy Vallejo Airbrush Thinner (71.161) in the 200 ml. size. I also use Liquitex Flo-Aid. I mix 6 parts of Vallejo thinner with 1 part of Flo-Aid.
Then I put about 4 parts of my thinner and 6 parts of VMA in my airbrush, and off I go. Mostly I am making 1/72 and 1/48 aircraft and 1/35 armor. That is, I am not spraying huge models. But even though I live is an arid climate, I get little or no buildup of paint on the exposed needle. If I do, I have a Q-tip dipped in lacquer thinner handy to clean it right off.
I prime almost everything with either Tamiya Surface Primer (rattle can) or Badger Stynylrez which I airbrush as above described. I mask for the most part with Tamiya tape, and I have no trouble with the VMA lifting.
I run a few bowls of Lysol Clean and Fresh multi-surface cleaner through the airbrush followed by hardware store lacquer thinner. I usually pull the needle and wipe it with a bit of paper towel with lacquer thinner on it.
A Final Point
I really like the eye dropper bottles VMA comes in. But the only reasonable way to store these bottles in a drawer is standing ip. And then finding the color I want is a nuisance. I found a solution. Each bottle get a drop of the paint it contains. So, if I am looking for a green, I only pull the bottle with the green mark on the cap to look at the label to confirm which color I have pulled, and so forth. It is very handy.
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Thank you for reading and visiting my blog. It has been a few weeks since I posted anything, but the Holiday Season tends to get in the way, does it not? Happy 2023 to everyone!
The last few evenings I have been able to have a couple of building sessions and have made a start on this excellent kit. I am opting for the color scheme of some Makin Island Airacobras. They were a type of tan on top and azure blue underneath. It will be different.
As you can see by that quarter, it is small. It is a typical Arma product, i.e., very well designed and executed. The fit is flawless. The detail is excellent. Like I have said before, Arma kits are 1/48 scale kits produced in 1/72 scale. (The little round piece is the propeller mount that is sandwiched in the nose.) This is my best guess on “Bell Green”. Who really knows? There was no FS number.
Since I pre-ordered the kit directly from Arma, they included a 3D printed pilot seat as a bonus. This was my first experience with a 3D printed part. Cutting it loose was so much easier than many resin parts. There are many attachment points, but being plastic, they are easily dealt with. These parts are certainly the wave of the future.
It is Christmas Eve and the festivities are soon to get underway. Merry Christmas to all!
The F86 is one of the iconic symbols of American aviation during the Korean War. Future astronaut , Marine Major John Glenn, flew one during the conflict when Marine pilots were on detached service with the USAF.
And, they soldiered on for many years in the service of other countries. I took this photo in the late 1960’s in Korea at Kimpo. I was flying out on a very old Constellation flown by Flying Tiger Airlines in route to Taiwan when we were halted at the end of the runway waiting for traffic to clear. This fellow suddenly appeared and obviously possessed a greater priority for take off. I snapped this photo. Notice that there are Sidewinder launch rails under the wings near the fuselage. The aircraft appeared to be well used.
I have been disappointed by some Academy 1/72 scale kits, and I am always disappointed by their decals – except this kit which was a “Special Edition”. The decals for this kit were printed by Cartograph and were excellent. The are three markings: The Huff, John Glenn’s Mig Mad Marine and one other.
I am not sure about the origin of this kit. The scalemates.com chart was not clear, but I think it originated in the 1980’s. It appears to be a molding of that vintage.
None the less, it is nice kit that goes together quickly with no huge issues. I built this kit as part of my interest in Korean War aviation.
This will be my last completed model for 2022. The Arma Hobby P-39Q Airacobra is on the workbench now. However, Christmas guests will be arriving soon, and I will be taking a break from the workbench.
A few months ago I pre-ordered the Kotare Supermarine Spitfire MkI hoping it would be here by now. I have just received email informing me that production is being delayed due to supply chain issues (ask me if I was surprised), and it looks like a month or two more. I immediately emailed Kotare and said I understood, let the order stand and I will wait for it to arrive when ready. Imagine a Wingnut Wings kit of a WWII fighter, especially the aircraft that saved the West from a new dark age. (I don’t think I am overstating that.)
The Flory Wash (Brown) was used to weather the model, and the results are very nice.
I recently discovered an Ammo by Mig product – “Matt Lucky Varnish”, A.Mig-2051, that worked very well. It requires no thinning and can be cleaned up with water and alcohol. I found that misting it on the model at about 15 PSI works the best. It dries quickly to a very flat finish. It looks about like Testors Dull Cote when it dries. I have used Dull Cote for years, and I am glad there is a contemporary product that will substitute for it now that it is out-of-production.
I am pleased to add this important armor vehicle to my collection.
The markings are from Star Decals (35-C 1251) for an ARVN M41 of the 11th ARC, Dong Ha in April 1972. I wonder if it is a gate guard somewhere or scrapped or still on duty with the NVA. Who knows? April 1972 was three years from the end of the war, so it may not have even made it that far.
My plan is to use Flory Wash from the UK on this model. I had some success with Flory Wash on a 1/48th scale Sherman, so I have high hopes for it here. It is a clay based wash with easy water cleanup.
Weathering will commence as soon as I post this entry.
This kit shows its age. My theory is that as molds age in use, their alignment deteriorates and you are confronted with little ridges on all the parts. However, there are nowhere near the number of parts you would encounter on a new modern kit, so the issue is not a big one. Over several evenings, the parts were cut off the sprues, prepared and put in place.
My practice is to prime all my models. There are many modelers who would say this is a waste of time and material. I suppose it is a matter of taste. Why do I do it? On armor models, I am using various preparations to weather the model. Some are solvent based. I think the primer helps protect the paint finish by keeping it in place while weathering chemicals are being applied. On aircraft models, I am so frequently masking camouflage and stripes of one sort and another with masking tape that I regard priming as a necessity. I like to work with acrylic paints for colors. Without priming, they are easily removed by masking tape being pulled off. So, I prime models.
Here are some primer products I have used.
Vallejo Surface Primer comes in many colors, and I really liked it when I first started using it. It is an acrylic-polyurethane. However, over time I have been frustrated by the fact it can be the devil to clean out of my airbrush. Maybe that is my issue, and not theirs. I have tried everything, but it seems that sessions with this paint are marked with frequent needle build-up problems topped off with a full field strip of the airbrush for a thorough cleaning with lacquer thinner.
Stynylrez by Badger is also an acrylic-polyurethane preparation, and it has acted as the Vallejo Surface Primer described above, i.e., airbrush cleaning challenges.
Let me hasten to add that both these primers do their job very well when applied. I have never had paint lift when masking tape is removed, and the finishes have been protected during weathering procedures.
My issues with these products may be due to my own lack of using proper procedures. If I can be corrected, I would be grateful.
The final product I have used, and I really count on, is Mr. Finishing Surface 1500 thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. I thin the primer until it is as thin as 2% milk, and I apply several thin coats. It goes on beautifully, and totally does the job. Paint resists masking lift offs, etc. It come is black, white and grey. It is lacquer based, and cleanup is a snap using regular hardware store thinner.
Mr. Color Leveling Thinner has been described by Dave Knights on the Plastic Model Mojo Podcast as “unicorn tears”, i.e., a liquid with magical properties. And he is totally correct. Paints thinned with this thinner form a perfect finish and resist running and dripping if you overspray. As a bonus, Mr. Color Leveling Thinner works with alcohol based acrylic paints such as Tamiya’s.
The only drawback is that it is a lacquer type product, so there will be some odor using it. But unlike old enamel based paints, that odor goes away very quickly.
The tracks were primed and painted with a mix of Tamiya Acrylics I use as a track base coat. This base coat is the invention of Andy Klein of Andy’s Hobby HQ fame: 5 parts XF68 (Flat NATO Brown), 4 parts XF64 (Red Brown) and 1 part XF7 (Flat Red). This base coat provides the perfect first step in weathering tracks as it covers up the color of the material the track was molded in and provides a nice base for weathering.
Next step – I’ll try to make olive drab look interesting.
Almost as soon as WWII ended, the U.S.Army was looking at a replacement for the M24 Chaffee Light Tank, which had served well in the European war, and later in the Korean War.
Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Walker Bulldog’s history, and there are many others just a Google search away.
Here a few things I found interesting.
The tank did not prove to be up to what the U. S. Army wanted, i.e., a small, easily transported, light tank with a gun that could kill any tank it encountered. Various issues got in the way. The stereoscopic sight was not successful, the turret rotation system was not what was wanted and there were some engine issues. The tank was eventually given to allies such as the nascent German and Japanese reconstituted militaries in the 1950’s.
While there have been some claims that early models of the Walker Bulldog were taken to Korea for combat testing, there is a lack of evidence that ever happened.
As the war in Vietnam boiled over, the U. S. gave many of these tanks to the ARVN’s (Army of Viet Nam). It proved a great hit with the Vietnamese whose small stature fit comfortably in this tank which had proven to be cramped for American soldiers. Since armored formations slugging it out was not a feature of the Vietnam War, there is not much history left behind of even ARVN use. From what I read, these tanks were widely used as patrol vehicles as well as infantry support.
And, finally, the U. S. Army was falling in love with the M551 Sheridan which was under development in the 1960’s and had a main gun/rocket launcher that could destroy anything on tracks, and it was deployed to Vietnam along with the M48 Patton tanks.
The frank fact seems to be that while the Walker Bulldog served in combat with some of the countries the U. S. sold the tanks to, there is no evidence it ever served in combat with the U. S. Armed Forces.
The kit was first produced by Tamiya in 1973. A half century ago, it was battery powered like almost all the Tamiya 1/35 scale armor kits. The sprues are marked “1973”. The hull bottom is marked “1973 2019”. I think that Tamiya reworked the hull bottom to get rid of most of the battery power necessities, probably c. 2019. There are few parts compared to modern kits, but I submit adequate detail. I do wish Tamiya had provided some clear lenses for the driver’s viewing ports. The figures supplied were WWII American Infantry and a generic commander. An ARVN commander or driver would have been nice, but one cannot have everything.
Sadly, the Walker Bulldog was less than successful, but still an important tank at the beginning of the Cold War. And it contributed to successfully preventing the expansion of communism during the Cold War, as did the millions of Americans who served the country in our Armed Forces during that not stressless period.
And now to the workbench to get the build under way.
We all have one. Older modelers like myself have kits that date back to the Reagan Administration and before. Some stashes get totally out of control. (I knew a guy in Maine who literally left a barn full of kits to be dealt with.) And some of us finally give up the pretense that we are going to build them, and we admit we have become kit collectors in addition to being modelers.
Why do we buy all these kits anyway? I actually had an intent to build everything I purchased, but then new things come along or older kits grab my attention anew, and that new kit starts to move into some dusty corner of my storage area.
Then someday we come to the realization that we have an actual life expectancy, and maybe it is time to thin down the stash and part with that kit you have had since Blue Bloods was in Season 1.
In a previous post, I discussed selling on eBay. In years past, that has worked fairly well for me. Not so much anymore. I wanted a more sweeping and immediate thinning of the stash that did not involve dumping a bunch of kits off at Goodwill.
Here in Arizona, there is only one real model show a year. That is Modelzona in Mesa on the first Saturday in November by IPMS-Phoenix. I was perusing the latest email from Rare-Plane Detective (one of my favorite vendors) and there was an announcement they would be attending Modelzona!
I sat down and examined my kit inventory list. In one ear, I could hear a little voice saying “Don’t be hasty. That is a really nice kit. You will regret selling it.” In the other ear I heard “Are you kidding? The chances you will build that kit are remote to nonexistent. You bought it before Y2K and you haven’t touched it since. Let it go.”
After much soul searching, I completed a list that was fairly long and listed the kits I knew darn well I was not going to build myself. I emailed the list to Rare-Plane Detective with a price I was looking for and we reached an agreement. Remember if you are trying to sell kits to a retailer, he cannot give you the same price that the kit might be worth at retail. He would not be in business very long if he did that. Think of it this way: you are selling a whole lot of kits at once without that hassle of an on-line auction or finding some venue where you can try to sell them individually to buyers. How much is your time worth to you?
I am so pleased. RPD teated me very well, and I am totally pleased with the transaction. The owner, Jeff, is a great guy to deal with. It was a very lucky break for me they were coming to town and I could fill the RAV4 with kits and drive right up there.
The most surprising thing to me is the sense of liberation I have felt reducing the stash to those kits I am really interested in.
Now, I am like that person who goes on a fad diet and loses a lot of weight, then they have to fight – often unsuccessfully – to keep it off.
It remains to be seen if I have the necessary self-control!