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.
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.)
This was a very enjoyable kit and renewed my faith in HobbyBoss products.
One thing I learned in researching this project is that the first jet fighters (and the F-80 was America’s first active duty fighter) were real gas guzzlers! Of course, the F-80C “Saggin’ Dragon” was first based at Misawa AFB in Japan and was flying missions the length of the Korean Peninsula requiring some extra fuel load. Plus, it was often carrying a ton of bombs, not a light package for a single jet fighter.
The large tip tanks were dubbed “Misawa tanks” as they were produced locally from a field expedient design. They were unique to the F-80.
When it came time for weathering, I only weathered the wheel wells. This was not a matter of “end of the project laziness” (something I could rightly be accused of a time or two in the past). It was from looking at the photos of the F-80 fighters serving in Korea. There were no prominent panel lines, exhaust stains, etc. The surface of the aircraft appeared to be flat dull aluminum. I looked at mine which had been sprayed with Vallejo Satin Varnish (70.522), and I thought it looked quite like the actual aircraft.
In three years of war in Korea (1950 to 1953), the United States Armed Forces suffered 33,651 battle deaths, tens of thousands of wounded and thousands more who died of accident or disease serving there. The totals rival those of the ten year long Vietnam War. Yet, calling the Korean War the Forgotten War is accurate. I think it is time for me to do some studying and remembering.
I really like this model, and it will be the first of several Korean War models I intend to build next.
A short entry today. I masked and painted over the past few days.
I am glad I cut some stencils, because I think trying to get that decal to conform with the forward fuselage may have bested me. And, I think it would have been too long anyway.
My chosen color was Vallejo Model Air Glossy Sea Blue (71.300). The brighter blue on the painting diagram looked nice, but in photos I have seen the color appeared to be darker. Also, I theorized that available paint stocks would have been darker like Insignia Blue which is very close or the same as Glossy Sea Blue.
I think I will apply decals next and then a top coat to protect them. After that, some weathering will be in order.
Work has continued the past few weeks. I am somewhat in awe of many of the model builders I follow who have such high production rates. My life keeps getting in the way of modeling. But progress is being made.
At some point, I think HobbyBoss contemplated including interior detail with this model but dropped the idea. For instance, the rear fuselage section could have been built either connected or separated from the forward fuselage. The engine was in three pieces. The compressor and a two piece tailpipe with detail on the outside of the tailpipe, never to be seen once it was put in place.
I believe the old Monogram kit had a removable tail section with a more complete engine.
By the way, the outside of the engine compressor had to be sanded down quite a bit to make it fit inside the rear fuselage.
Attaching the wing came next. And here there were some fit problems not caused by me. None of these comments are meant to denigrate this kit. I am enjoying building it. And, I regard fit issues as part of the hobby and merely present me with problems to be solved. It is all good.
The first issue was the poor fit where the front of the wing meets the fuselage. This was solved by cutting a small piece of plastic card to be cemented to the fuselage to change to angle of the leading edge of the wing so that the bottom of the wing piece would be flush.
The shim solved that issue. Which left the second issue, the gap between the top of the wing panels and the fuselage. This was easily solved with some putty.
We have reached the stage where I have to make some decisions on how to paint the model. The scheme I chose was the one on the box top.
The decals provide the dragon and the Navy blue stripe as two separate decals. Not having total faith in how well the decal will conform to the model, and also how I would match the exact color of the decal with the nose section I would have to paint separately?
I decided that the best way to tackle this one was to paint the nose blue, apply masking and then paint the silver over it. What could possibly go wrong? That remains to be seen.
I scanned the decals and printed them at 100%. Using the copy as a stencil, I cut some templates from Tamiya tape. While I was at it, I cut some templates for the antiglare panel and the tail stripes.
And, I painted the wheel and flap wells along with the dive brake recesses interior green and have started masking them.
All in all, I am pleased with the kit so far. I am glad that HobbyBoss chose to kit this important aircraft from the Forgotten War in my favorite scale.
Now, I am onto an aircraft, a model of which I have wanted to build for years. I had two choices. One was the Monogram kit. Frankly I like Monogram kits and have built several in recent years. But I selected the HobbyBoss 1/48 scale Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star. I believe it may still be in production; I picked it up from Rare-Plane Detective at the IPMS Nats in Las Vegas last year. The kit is out of stock at SprueBrothers, and they do not have the provision for you to leave your email address for notification when it is back in stock. Perhaps our Asian friends are injecting plastic into other molds. Who Knows? Read about the kit on Scalemates here.
While I have built a number of Takom armor kits (which I think are generally excellent). The only Chinese aircraft kit I have built is a Trumpeter 1/48 scale MiG-3. It was a good kit, but I have been turned off by some others I have looked at. The HobbyBoss Hellcat looks like a Hellcat that had been mistakenly built by Brewster on the Buffalo assembly line. Tamiya, Eduard, Airfix and Monogram kits have always attracted me more, I guess.
None the less, I chose this one over the Monogram kit, and so far I am glad I did.
Here are the basic cockpit parts. The seat was assembled from six parts. The detail is passable. When I compared the instrument panel with a photo of the restored F-80C at the USAF Museum it was spot on. My painting may not have done it justice.
The seatbelt fret included with the kit is pretty nice. I sprayed it with Tamiya Grey Surface Primer which states on the can that it will prime metal. It does, but it also scrapes easily. I brush painted the belts Khaki with Vallejo Model Color, and later brush painted the buckles and such with Vallejo Model Air Silver. PE is not my friend, but I managed to get them attached to the seat with some CA
Taking a break from working on the cockpit, I decanted some spray paint to be used via airbrush later.
Good old Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminum. I have done this before. All you need is an articulated plastic straw, some mounting putty (such as Loctite Fun-Tak or similar), and some newspaper or drop cloth to protect the work area in the event of some overspray (which I have not experienced). Oh, yes, a latex or vinyl glove for the hand holding the stray to the spray can nozzle. There may be a little leakage.
You can also wrap some masking tape around the assembly to further seal it. My experience is that this paint does not come out of the can with great force. It sprays into the bend in the straw, settles against the straw’s inner surface and drips into the bottle. Do not fill the bottle to the top. Fill the bottle leaving 1/3 to 1/4 of the space unused.
The paint will be loaded with what I understand is the propellant that was mixed with it to propel the paint out of the can. This gas must be allowed to evaporate out of the paint. If you put a wooden stir stick in the bottle right after decanting the paint, you will see a sudden burst of small bubbles, like foam, quickly rise to the surface. If you had filled the bottle, you would have an overflow.
My theory (please remember I am a lawyer, not a chemical engineer) is that there is a reaction with the stick that causes the propellant to gas out of the paint. I stir it a little, and then I put the cap on loosely so it is not air tight. I come back an hour or so later, and stir it again. There will be more – but fewer – bubbles. I have found that repeating this twice more seems to take care of that gas, and then I fully secure the bottle.
This paint airbrushes like a dream. Tamiya Lacquer Thinner lets you adjust the viscosity to the consistency you want, if needed.
By the way, you might skip all this if you simply buy the new Tamiya lacquer in a bottle, as I think it is very similar to the rattle can paint. However, I have some Tamiya rattle cans I intend to use up.
Returning to the workbench, I painted and assembled the cockpit module. Everything fit together as designed. I was assisted by photos of the F-80C restored by the USAF itself for their museum. The problem with cockpit photos is that you are often looking at a cockpit with modern avionics installed and military equipment removed, not to mention one or two less than color accurate repaint jobs. That is why the Air Force Museum restorations (or the Smithsonian) are to be relied on, in my view.
One final observation. The bulkhead in front of the cockpit has a cabinet/rack molded into it for electronic equipment, probably the radar, radio, etc. However, it is sealed into the nose of the model never to be seen again. It is as if the mold designer was getting ready to do a detailed nose bay perhaps with guns, ammo and other items. And, someone told him to go no further.
The same applies to that item on the left, which represents the front end of the jet engine. It is not very detailed, but it does not matter. It will be sealed in when the tail is attached. Unlike the Monogram model, which is designed to have the tail removed and even comes with a wheeled cart to mount it on, this kit is not designed to be finished in two large pieces.
Could it be that this model started out as a bit more ambitious a replica? Maybe, but I am glad it was marketed in the form it was. Thank you for visiting. Time to get back to the workbench.
House quests having left and neglected matters having been caught up on, I was able to spend some time completing this model.
Arguably one of the most famous airplanes that fought in the European Theater, Col. James H. Howard’s North American P-51B Mustang “Ding Hao!” Col. Howard, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, was one of the relatively rare pilots who had the opportunity to down enemy aircraft in both the Pacific and European Theaters. On the nose was painted a phrase he had picked up while flying with the Flying Tigers — “Ding Hao!” — fittingly, it roughly translates as “Top Good” or “The Best”.
Now that I have had the entire experience of building and completing this kit, I am convinced that if Arma had made this exact kit in 1/48 scale, it would also have been a real winner. The engineering and the level of detail would have propelled this model to the forefront of P-51B/C models. The Accurate Miniature models would have been left looking at retirement after decades of service to the grateful modeling community.
On this project, I used the following Vallejo Model Air colors: Interior Green (71.010), US Olive Drab (71.043), Black (71.057) and US Interior Yellow (71.107).
I used Tamiya Lacquer Flat Silver (LP38), which is now my substitute for the no-longer-available Model Master Steel.
Mr. Finishing Surfacer 150 Gray thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner was used as a primer.
Hataka Orange Line (Lacquer) was used for the overall colors, and were Olive Drab 41 (Early) (C004) and Neutral Grey (FS36173)(C265). These were thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. The combination of this thinner and these paints must be experienced to be appreciated. If Hataka was generally available here in the U.S.A., I would use it almost for everything, but alas it isn’t. At least yet. Hopefully it will be available soon in all of its many colors.
Finally, another product relatively new to me is Ammo Lucky Varnish-Mat (A.Mig-2051), which is acrylic resin, applies very easily and dries rapidly to a very flat finish. And, you can touch up with it using a brush.
I said in the recent past that I liked an occasional 1/72 scale project as they can be completed quickly. Well, not here. Arma kits in 1/72 scale take as long as the average 1/48 model.
And the result is a really nice model with tremendous presence on your display shelf.
I selected the color scheme depicted on the kit box top – “Ding Hoa!” The main colors will be Olive Drab and Neutral Grey, both of which will be Hataka Orange Line (Lacquer) colors. Hataka lacquers airbrush like a dream when thinned with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner. The thinner prevents paint drying on the airbrush tip and allows the application of the paint wet and not drying before it touches the model (a problem with some paints).
The white stripes were applied first with Stynylrez white primer. I find that stripes like this are best applied first as this minimizes the amount of masking one has to do. If I paint the stripes last, I find myself doing a lot of masking to protect the rest of the model finish from overspray.
Lastly, I like to paint canopies separate from the model. It is easy enough to fill the cockpit with damp tissue or some other filler to protect it. No matter how hard I try, somehow on some models some overspray gets on the inside of the canopy. It is like a dust setttling and sticking there. I find doing them separately yields a much clearer canopy, at least it does for me.
The grandchildren are arriving next week, and my hobby room is needed for an adult guest room, so I may not be able to complete this project until they depart.
I was thinking of starting a recently acquired Tamiya Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IXc in 1/32scale. However, I would first like to add an aircraft from the Korean War, i.e., the Forgotten War, and a Hobby Boss F-80C Shoting Star I have will fill the bill nicely.
It is high time to start adding some Korean War aircraft, and I was able to purchase from Sprue Brothers the excellent 2022 IPMS Convention decal sheet “MIG Kills of the Forgotten War”. If you have any interest in the Korean War, grab these before they are gone. You get two F-86 one F-80, one Twin Mustang and two F9F Panthers, and they are presented in 1/48 scale and 1/72 scale. To top it off, they are printed by Cartograph.
In January, I wrote about Arma kits in a post. Shortly after that, I purchased this kit. This is nothing less than a 1/48th scale kit molded in 1/72 scale. Much has already been written and said about this kit by better modelers than I. At a local hobby shop, the proprietor told me that he could not keep the kits in stock. And from the attention this kit is receiving on the Internet and in the scale model press, it is clearly a real winner.
With all the zillions of Mustang kits out there one would think that more than a few would be the B or C model Mustangs. Most of what I see are re-pops of the Accurate Miniature kits and of course the Tamiya kit. These are all good kits, but they are in 1/48 scale.
There have been a number of P-51B/C kits in 1/72 scale, to wit: Academy (new in 1999), Airfix (new in 1978), Hasegawa (new in 1992) and Monogram (new in 1967). There were also some European kits during this period.
Not to criticize any of these past efforts (there is always someone who really loves any particular kit), but these older kits seem to have receded from the prominence they may have enjoyed in their heyday. At any rate, it is clear that Arma Hobby hit another homerun by bringing the modeling world a new, state-of-the-art 1/72 scale P-51B/C Mustang.
This kit is an Arma “Expert Set”, which means it comes with photo etch details, painting masks and six marking options. No need for aftermarket extras here.
This is where I am in construction at this time:
As you can see, I am not far from the paint shop. Like my Arma Hobby PZKL P11c, I am really enjoying this build.