Selling On eBay

I joined eBay in 1999. It became my go to place to find models no-longer-in-production, and it became a great place to periodically thin my stash.  It was really quite enjoyable.

eBay came in handy when we packed up and moved to Arizona in 2014.  We were downsizing.  Tons of stuff we had accumulated over the years in New England had to go.  Anything that was mailable was disposed of via eBay.

Then guess what happened.  You are quite correct, the stash got out of control again!  I consulted with a modeling friend back in New England who has been using eBay to thin out his stash.  (Thanks, Dave, your advice has proven invaluable.)

A lot has changed in the way eBay does business.

PayPal is gone or rather de-coupled from eBay.  They can work everything through your bank account.  It is much handier.

The sale fees have gone up, but what hasn’t?  On the good side, you can list a lot each month and pay no fee until the item sells.  This invites you to keep renewing your listing until the item sells.  A bazillion people a day browse the listings on eBay.  Someone will show up sooner or later to buy most anything.

Shipping rates are through the roof everywhere.  eBay is no exception, as they depend on the USPS.  Twenty years ago, a $3.25 stamp took up to 2 pounds anywhere in the USA.  Now it seems that the cost is at least $10 or much more.  And some of the major Internet retailers are selling on eBay and offer very cheap shipping, probably because they have some bulk shipping deal with UPS.  

Some people offer “free” shipping, but they seem to not understand what “free” means.  On those items I see the sale price loaded by the probable amount of postage.  For example, a kit reasonably selling for $15 with $12 shipping is sold for $27 with “free” shipping.

Everything seems to be offered by “stores”, i.e., people who are simply merchants using eBay as their storefront.  It used to a virtual flea market with individual sellers and just a few merchants.

None of this is a complaint on my part.  The cost is what it is in 2022.  1999 is way back in the rearview mirror.  But the increasing cost of shipping is driving the sale price of kits down as the sellers may have to eat some of that cost to make the sale.  Capitalism at work.

I read/hear some complaining about “eBay bandits” asking way too much and trying to rip off the poor modeler.  Frankly, that is nonsense.  The poor modeler needs to decide what price the kit is worth to him/her.  If the seller wants ten times that amount, ignore the listing and keep looking.  The buyer has no right to demand the item be sold for a certain amount.

One helpful thing eBay does when you are listing something for sale is to tell you where a successful seller started the bidding and what had been the average amount paid for the item in other auctions.  This helps quite a bit to give you a starting point when you are not sure.

If you do sell some items on eBay, huge profits are probably not going to appear.  That is unless you somehow foresaw the collapse of Wingnut Wings and bought many dozens of Sopwith Camel kits just before the end.

The bottom line is that a lot has changed, but eBay still provides us with a way to thin our stashes thereby giving other modelers a chance to enlarge theirs.  And, best of all, you have a little extra money to buy more kits and fill that stash again.  It is all good.

British Crusader Mk.III Cruiser Tank, 1/48 scale (Kit 32555)

Crusader Mk. III (Public Domain Photo)

The Crusader was a result of interwar British amor doctrine that produced tanks known as “cruiser” tanks and “infantry” tanks.  The cruiser tanks were designed as modern armored and mechanized cavalry, while the infantry tanks were designed to support an infantry attack.

The Mk. III Crusader was fitted with a larger gun than its predecessors, i.e., a 57mm or 6 pounder gun.  This larger gun cramping the inside of the turret necessitated the elimination of the gun loader whose duties were taken over by the tank commander.  This seems to have been less than satisfactory when the action started, i.e., the commander being occupied with duties other than commanding during an engagement.

And therein seems to be the story of all the tanks on either side in WWII.  There was a constant race to fit larger and larger guns to tanks to defeat the more heavily armored tanks with every bigger guns being fielded by one’s opponents.

The Crusader served fairly well in the Western Desert, but once that campaign was over they had reached the point where they were not holding their own with German armor.  Many were converted to anti-aircraft carriages, gun tractors and other uses.

I always liked the shape of the tank with the highly angled turret and large road wheels.I also wonder how the crews faired when hit with shots that broke some of those bolts loose and sent them ricocheting around the tank’s interior. That may have been unpleasant.

The kit is typical Tamiya quality.  I wish a figure had been included since my search for a British armor crewman in desert garb proved fruitless.  Armor models need a figure.

Here are the paints and weathering materials used:

Tamiya XF-61 Dark Green

Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black

Alclad Aqua Gloss Clear

Matt Lucky Varnish by Ammo

Track Base Coat (Tamiya Mix)

Vallejo Air 71.080 Rust

Vallejo 71-143 UK Light Stone

Ammo Oilbrusher – Dust A.Mig 3516

Ammo Enamel Wash “Dark Brown for Green Vehicles” A.Mig 1005

Ammo Streaking Effects – Dark Streaking Grime A.Mig 1206

Tamiya Weathering Master Set A

The model was finished with the Dark Green XF-61 that was glossed for decal application and weathering. Next, came the Ammo Wash for Green Vehicles followed by the Ammo Oilbrusher dust color and some Ammo Streaking Effect Wash for Dark Streaking Grime.  Finally, I applied Tamiya Weathering Master Sand color to unify things.  All in all, I am satisfied with the look.

After all, the Crusaders arrived in the Western Desert painted a Bronze Green and went into action.  I tried to duplicate that by starting with a straight-up green tank (see photo below) and then making it look dusty.

While my weathering work does not qualify me as an “elite modeler”, I am getting better at envisioning how to get where I want to go.  Trying to imagine a tank fresh from the garrison and then planning on what layers of dirt and tear descended on it in the field helps me put together a combination of effects producing a realistic whole.  At least that is what I am trying to do with my weathering.  More than any other aspect of model building, weathering calls for extreme patience.

The Hobby Shops Are Dying!

This morning, I was browsing an old edition of FineScale Modeler and read a letter from a reader who was lamenting the closing of a local hobby shop (LHS) near his home.  The sign in the window said “Closing and Everything Must Go”.

The writer was suggesting that the ease of Internet ordering and our desire to use it killed off this small business.  And he was correct, to a degree.

Maybe all of us have contributed to the demise of the local hobby shop.  As a practical matter, specialty retailers of all types are in trouble.  They cannot possibly carry the range of stock that customers might be looking for.  They are small businesses, and therefore cannot take advantage of size to obtain goods at lesser prices.  And their cost of goods plus overhead means they cannot offer goods at a significant discount.

Years ago, I represented an LHS that specialized in R/C kits and accessories, not plastic scale models.  However, the thing that amazed me is the cost of much of what he sold.  His margins were tiny.  I don’t know how he stayed in business.  I bet one has to move a lot of merchandise to make a living in the hobby shop business, and when the customers come in for a few bottles of paint now and then, it is not going to be that profitable.

If I lived near an LHS, I would make sure I would be a frequent customer.  As it is, I am 27 miles from an okay LHS and 58 miles from a really great one.  If a major mail order house will ship me a package for $8.99 and I will know what is in stock, why spend more on gas (not to count wear-and-tear on the car) to go to the hobby shop where I might not find what I need?

Everyone says they enjoy going to a hobby shop and looking at the goods on display.  I am afraid the way things are going, that will be a simple pleasure we will no longer be able to enjoy.

So rather than hobbyists being sent on a guilt trip because we are not at the LHS everyday buying things, I would suggest that part of the solution would be for manufacturers and distributors to remember that it was not they who introduced most people to the hobby.  

It was the LHS.  Maybe they should look at sharpening their pencils and finding price points for their sales to the LHS that will help him/her attract customers and stay in business so that the LHS can bring new modelers into the hobby to buy the manufacturer’s products.

That is not all of the solution, but it might be part of it.

A-26B Invader – Part 4

Interesting Invader facts gleaned from Wikipedia (

1. The invader served in the U.S.A.A.F. during the final months of WWII, then it served and the Korean War with the U.S.A.F. and on to the Vietnam War.  

2. The Invader’s service with the U.S began in late 1944 and finally ended in 1969.

3. While the Invader served with distinction in Europe, it was not accepted with any enthusiasm by units in the Pacific.  General George Kenney, commander of the Far East Air Forces stated, “We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything.”

4. The Invader was intended to replace another Douglas Aircraft Company product – the A-20 Havoc which served throughout WWII with the U.S., the U.S.S.R., England, and the Free French A.F. in many varied roles.

In this final post about this kit/build, I have some photos and comments about the last stages of the project.

First, the argument about whether raised or engraved detail is best has raged on for years.  

I like to build one of the old Monogram kits now and then.  But, I remember when the first Arii/Otaki 1/48 scale WWII fighter became available with engraved detail, I was instantly taken with how much better the surface detail appeared.  It was so much easier to redo any engraved detail that was erased or damaged during filling and sanding.  It was very hard to do that with raised panel lines.  

I may be wrong, but I would guess that crafting the molds that produce engraved panel lines might be more involved that if the panel lines on the finished parts were to be raised.  Even so, raised detail on kits went out with the rotary dial telephone. 

Nonetheless, I enjoy what I think of as a nostalgia build now and then with a Monogram kit.

Below is a picture of some of the putty work in progress needed on this model.  I usually assume that such mismatches are my fault, because they usually are.  Here, I did my best to make the fuselage halves for better, but to no avail.  This cannot be blamed on a recent re-pop using old molds.   This copy of the kit dates back to 1996.  However, it is no big deal.  This is why putty is something that we all have on our workbenches.  

This model was, of course, destined to be a nose-sitter.  It did come with a clear plastic peg and a provision for a hole to be opened just aft of the bomb bay (although this feature was not mentioned in the instructions).  This would have provided a stilt to hold it up on all “threes”.  Monogram on their B-25J Mitchell kit molded the aft crew hatch in the fuselage bottom so it could be left open.  And, they provided a small step ladder that could be placed under the open hatch to prop the model up.  That was an imaginative solution.

I took advantage of the large empty nose cone on this model.  I taped the major component pieces together, and then I taped a plastic medicine cup to the nose and pour lead shot in until it balanced.  I added a little more for good luck.  Then, I mixed up some epoxy, dumped the shot into the nose and poured the epoxy in on top of it.  I mixed it all together with a toothpick, and let it harden.

And, it worked.

I do not pretend to be any great hand at natural metal finishes.  Basically, this is Tamiya Gloss Aluminum (TS-17) decanted from a Tamiya spray can.  The paint airbrushes beautifully, and the finish is apparently impervious to masking tape.  

The exhaust stains on the nacelles, an Invader trademark, are Tamiya Flat Black acrylic with some Tamiya Buff acrylic over-spraying it. 

Finally, although the kit came with markings for “Stinky” and the decals were still usable, I took advantage of the fact my decal stash included Aeromaster 48-160C “WWII Invaders Pt 1” which included “Stinky”.  

I would love to claim that my decal dexterity is so great that I applied Stinky’s face with one big decal over that concave noise.  Of course, that would be less than honest.  Both Aeromaster and Monogram broke the face into six pieces for average modelers like myself.

Thank you for reading this perhaps overly long post, but I wanted to get this project in the books, so to speak.  Here are some photos of the finished project.  

Maybe in a few years I will tackle another Monogram classic model, but meanwhile I shall be looking at the Tamiya, Hasegawa, Takom or miniArt kits in my stash.

All Photos (C) Matt Dyer

Review of F6F Hellcat – Detail & Scale Series Volume 10 by Bert Kinzey & Chris Sakal with art by Rock Roszak

Some of us modelers remember the days before the Internet.  If you wanted research material, generally you bought it.  The “Squadron In Action” series was very popular.  The “Airco-Aircam” series were okay, but these were more life and times depictions of the aircraft’s service life.  And, the Doubleday published “Camouflage and Markings” series contained a lot of very good material on numerous aircraft.  I have a book they published that collated most aircraft used by the RAF Fighter Command in WWII.  They had some very helpful three-views and profiles, together with some rather arcane stuff about various orders and directives issued changing roundel diameters, marking colors, etc.  Very authoritative.

However, in the late 1980’s, along came “Detail & Scale”, a series authored by Bert Kinzey.  This was a true game changer.  Mr. Kinzey gave the modeling world just what it wanted.  There were detailed photos of those items that differentiated one mark of an aircraft from another, and excellent photos of operational aircraft.  True detailed walk arounds of museum examples.  And the cherry on top of the sundae, a complete rundown of the kits available in all scales for the subject of the book.

 If I had any interest at all in the subject, I picked up each new D&S as it was published.  And over the years I have filled in a few gaps in my collection via Amazon used books and eBay.

These books were the best single sources available to the modeler.  They were miles ahead of anything else being published at the time.  I find myself constantly going back to them.

Last week, I was on the Amazon Kindle listings, and I saw one for  the F6F Detail & Scale, and I took a look at it.  I assumed it was the old D&S republished for Kindle.

Once again, I was proven dramatically wrong.  Mr. Kinzey and company have been rewriting these books.

For $19.95 via Prime I had the book in two days.  Basically they have taken the material from the 1987 edition and updated it.  (There was an interim update in 1996 also, which I do not have.)  The 1987 edition has 72 pages, while this one is 104 pages long.

The print editions are published “on demand” which is a concept I have trouble wrapping my head around.  My order was on March 12, 2022.  Printed at the bottom of the last page in the book it says “Made in the USA, Las Vegas NV, 13 March 2022”.  How do they do that?

The book is beautifully printed and bound.  There is a dramatic painting on the front cover in full color by Stuart Shepherd, noted aviation artist, depicting Alex Vraciu in the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”.

Many of the original excellent black and white contemporary photos are still in this edition, along with the interview of Capt. David McCampbell, USN (Ret.), the Navy’s all-time leading ace with 34 confirmed air-to-air kills.  There are also more color photos and beautiful color profiles by Rock Roszak of Hellcats in U.S. and foreign service.

And, as Mr. Kinzey notes in the Introduction, they had the benefit of being able to photograph a number of restored Hellcats which “placed a greater emphasis on historical accuracy than ever before”.  (All too many restored aircraft and cockpits include many pieces of modern equipment and have been repainted in different colors rendering contemporary photos less than useful for modeling purposes.)

Last but not least, there are 16 pages of the best roundup of Hellcat modeling you will find anywhere, from a 1/144 scale AHM F6F-5 to the 1/24 scale Airfix F6F-5 plus a bunch of older kits by manufacturers and in scales you never heard of.  The emphasis is on the kits you can find today that you might want to actually build.  

This section alone is worth the price of the book, and when you go to your stash and get that F6F kit out on the workbench, you will have totally accurate and reliable information to make the model you have been dreaming about.

As I have mentioned before, my mission is to point out products that I think are truly worth having.  I talk about products I bought for my own modeling use and became so pleased with them I want to share my opinion with others.  (You will not find an article here that starts out saying something sucks.  If I think it sucks, I won’t waste time writing about it.)

If you have any interest in the Hellcat, seriously consider getting this book, even if your library includes either of the two previous editions.  I know I will be looking at the other revised Detail & Scale books they are offering.

2022 version (left), 1987 version (right)

The Zen of Model Building

Lately I have read a number of articles by modelers questioning asking why there should be competitive contest.  Apparently in Europe there are a number of model shows where models for display to the other modelers and the public and not as a competitions for awards.

I do not enter contests, not that there is much opportunity where I live, because there is only one contest nearby each year (the non-Covid years that is).

So, if I do not enter contests, why is it that I build models?

Years ago, I did compete some in club and local contests and a few regional ones in New England where there was more modeling activity.  I actually won a few awards, and was pleased with them, but I found the experience unrewarding.

There were too many modelers who took it all so seriously and were really upset if they were not invited to the winner’s circle.  I could not see it.  Frankly, if I got a complement from another modeler, it always felt good, particularly one whose work I respected.

But to get all wound around the axel over some piece of ribbon or a plated plastic trophy?  That did not appeal to me.

So, why do I build models?  I can give you the typical answer, i.e., I am interested in military history, I am interested in aviation and have always been interested in armored vehicles.  I started when “Leave It To Beaver” was in prime time.  I dumped it for cars and girls.  

The typical answer most modelers give.

When you come right down to it, for me the real answer is the “zen of model building”.

A definition of zen is “a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.”  

“Perhaps that is the zen of gardening—you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand.— Irene Virag.”  


When I open  a new kit and start examining the parts and reading the instructions as I plan the build, I do achieve a state of calmness that is difficult to achieve otherwise.  I am taken out of all other concerns and concentrate on doing my best to make a replica that will match my expectations and no one else’s.  I am getting “lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand.”

When I am at my workbench, I am trying to become one with the project at hand, and all I want is a finished model that meets the expectations I had for it when I first opened the box.  I share them with this blog because I hope that my observations will prove helpful to other modelers.  I know their observations have proven most helpful to me, so I hope my efforts here are having the effect of giving back, so to speak.

If entering contests is your thing, that is great.  Enjoy yourself.

The important thing is build models of whatever genre or era.  And no matter what you do with the finished projects, you are contributing to this endlessly interesting hobby.

A-26B Invader – Part 3 – Major Parts Completed

Do you get to a point on a project that you see that end may be in sight?  I think I am at that point with this model.  A lot of masking and painting lies ahead, but I am envisioning a finished model.  

I do love the challenge of working with these old Monogram kits, but my next project will be a  more modern kit.  I have some Takom and Tamiya armor kits in the stash that might be just the thing.  But, I am getting ahead of myself…

I painted the cowlings already because they can be mounted on the model after major painting is done.  The rear part of the cowling has some zinc weights in them that should balance the model on its landing gear.  If not, that gun nose will hold all I need.  I’ll confirm that before final assembly.

Also, I carefully sanded the mating surfaces on each wing for a nice fit, and I think they will be easily mounted/glued in place after painting and decal application.  This will make painting easier, and I won’t have to worry about overspray leaving a pebbly surface on the model.

After priming with Stynylrez, I will apply Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminum.  I have decanted the paint from the spray can.  This is the first time I tried that, and I was surprised how easy it was.  I thought the paint might squirt out of the drinking straw I stuck to the spray can nozzle using some Loctite “Fun-Tak” Mounting Putty as a gasket with some masking tape holding it on.  

But the paint hit the bend in the straw and dribbled right into the jar I had ready.  Afterwards, I just had to occasionally stir the paint to help disperse the propellant gas trapped in it.  I have since applied some of it with an airbrush, and it works perfectly.

There appears to be a radio on the back of that bulkhead in the front of the cockpit. A nice detail for the glass nose version of this kit that will not be seen on this version. I do not spend time on details that will not be seen on the finished model. By the way, as nearly as I can tell from a photo of the aircraft I am modeling, half the cowling was painted olive drab as I have done. (C) Matt Dyer
The more I look at this model, I see how it was derived from the Douglas Company’s successful A-20 Havoc. (C) Matt Dyer

More to come.  Thanks for visiting.

U-2A Dragon Lady in 1/72 Scale – New Kit from Hobby Boss

Hobby Boss cover art.

I heard about this kit last summer, but when I asked some vendors at the IPMS Nats in Las Vegas, nobody knew anything.  It appears to finally be on the way. I looked at eBay, and vendors in China and the UK have it for about $50 plus postage.

One US vendor advertises it as “out of stock” at $47.99.  Now, I understand that we are suffering from inflation that has not been seen for 40 years, but half a C-Note for a 1/72 scale single engine aircraft with a 13” wingspan?

Oh, well. I have always had a special interest in U-2’s, and 1/72 scale is a great size for a replica of the aircraft.  I know I will end up biting the bullet  – or the charge card – when they start being generally available here.

My interest in the U-2 dates back to my Army days.  My unit was convoying from Ft. Hood, Texas out to the Mojave Desert in California for some exercises, and we made an overnight and refueling stop at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson.  We were convoying with 1st AD Division Artillery, and I guess the Air Force guys did not like these strange guys in green uniforms with all those guns driving around their base, so they stuck us off the side of one of the runways for our overnight stay.  We spent a pleasant evening eating C rations and watching U-2’s take off and land.  It was amazing how on take off they shot up on what looked like a 70 degree angle and disappeared way up there.  I have always wondered what it would be like to ride one.

I have no idea if this kit will be good or not, but I am looking forward to finding out.

3D Printed Tools

I ran across some very nice 3D tools at Sean’s Custom Model Tools in Canada.

Sprue/Runner Rack

A very simple design with some rubber bumpers on the bottom to steady it. Two different widths of grooves assure that the sprues will fit. This replaces an old file organizer I had been using, with which the sprues tended to flop around and it could not accomodate sprues with wider parts on them. Here you can set them as needed.
Here I have placed the sprues from a Takom 1/35 scale Stug. kit. There is plenty of room and I could space them so they did not interfere with each other. They are held upright and slide in and out easily.
This is a welcome addition to my workbench, and I highly recommend it.

Paint Stick/Clip Holder

This 3D printed honeycomb is 4″ by 6″. It comes in multiple colors.
Here it is loaded with various parts from my ongoing Monogram A-26B project. Over the years, I have made several blocks from corrugated cardboard, wood with holes drilled and/or foam blocks. Cardboard and foam are light, so if the stick drags on the block when pulled out, the entire block tends to come with it. You end up waving the whole thing around while you try to put the airbrush down and deal with it. Wood can be better, but you cannot have anywhere near the number of holes these 3D items have for infinite adaptability, i.e., you can place the items the exact distance apart you need to make the most use of the space available.
Finally, I found that the cocktail sticks and miscellaneous small rods with alligator clips I favor stand up straight and come out of the holes easily. I bought two because I generally have two projects going at the same time.

Both of these items are making very useful additions to my workbench. I recommend them. These are only two of the interesting itrems Shawn carries, so check them out.

By the way, I do not know Shawn and would not recognize him if I ran into him on the street. From time to time as my blog grows, I will recommend this or that because I find it useful and a quality product.

If I come across something that is crap, I won’t mention it. I want to be positive. I hate those YouTube videos titled “Brand X is JUNK!!!!!!!”. If you watch one, you’ll see that half the time the knucklehead who produced the video (with its heavy metal soundtrack) simply did not understand how to use the product or was not using it for its intended purpose. ‘Nuf said.

A-26B Invader – Part 2 – Cockpit

The parts detail is not bad and can be improved by the addition of some Eduard PE. The landing gear doors and nose wheel well are integral parts of the cockpit assembly.

(C) Matt Dyer

There is only one pilot position in this aircraft. There is a bicycle-type seat to the right of the pilot. According to Wikipedia, this jump seat is for a third crew member who would serve as a navigator and “loader” for the pilot-operated machine guns. Would he have had access to the six guns in the nose? Further research is necessary to flesh out this detail.

Monogram did not put too much effort into this detail. Since it will only be seen from above, it should look okay on the finished model. Vallejo Air 71.010 Interior Green was used. Weathering has yet to be applied.

There are some rather large sink marks on the interior cowl rim that required some putty. (C) Matt Dyer