Thursday, July 26, 2012

A pair of Wildcats

Our club's theme for July is "Salute the General", any model of a General Motors subject. My initial plan was to model the FM-2 Wildcat using the MPM kit, but once the Museum project kicked in I had to find something less challenging. Since Iwasn't doing 1 FM-2, I decided to do 2 FM-1's.

A quick scan confirmed I had some F4F-4 kits that I could easily convert to the FM-1, and since I wanted an otherwise quick build, I decided they would be out of the box. That also influenced me to choose the Academy kits as they were simple, looked like Wildcats, and would (hopefully) give me some quick satisfaction given their small parts count. I was not disappointed!
The subjects
Since I had two of the Academy kits in my stash, I decided to knock them both out. Painting of the engine and interiors would be identical and other than the exterior colors both would require the same steps, but times two. I checked my decal stash and found, to my dismay, that I had NO decals for the FM-1!  Lots of decals for F4F-4 and FM-2 and their FAA equivalents, but not my chosen aircraft. 

Some quick searches on eBay and my references and I realized for a small sum I could get the Frog decals for the F242 Wildcat kit and it would have decals for two aircraft. But on page 34 of Squadrons Wildcat In Action had a nice photo of a FM-1 in the Atlantic ASW scheme with a red surround to the star and bar. Granted that red is an interpretation and it could just as easily be fresh insignia blue...  The caption says it's an aircraft from VC-55 on USS Block Island (CVE-21) while she was working up for her first ASW deployment. A quick check for those red bordered insignia in the stash...yep!  How about that big black 14 on the sides?...yep!  So now I've got a model that ties in with all that Battle of the Atlantic work I'm doing. 

Back to that set of Frog decals. Since I decided to make a US Atlantic theater subject I decided to use the FAA set. Turns out the markings are for JV429/8N of 881 Squadron while embarked on HMS Pursuer. This particular aircraft was flown by Sub Lieutenant Brander on February 1944 in which he shot down a He 177 Grief bomber. It was also part of the April 1944 raid on KM Tirpitz.  Hopefully the decals are useable. 

The models

The Academy F4F-4 kit has been around for a long time now. When it first came out it had some great exterior detail. Unfortunately it suffers from being a bit portly and the engine is just a couple of rows of cylinders. The prop is hideous and detracts terribly. Importantly though is the fact that you can pick these up at swap meets for about $2 US. While Quickboost can be your friend with fixes for the prop and engine, and you can find cockpit and landing gear sets to fill the cavern, by the time you invest in the aftermarket you can get the Hasegawa kit which is much better in shape and detail.

The interior is US interior green. I painted a black circle on the headrest to give the impression of a cushion, and painted the pistol grip area of the control stick black. Otherwise there is no detail and the thick canopy hides it well.   The engine is painted anthracite gray overall, with the crank casing neutral gray and the firewall interior green. At this point all my painting was with model master enamels. 
I filled the outer machine gun panel lines and the leading edge hole, carefully wet sanded primed and refilled. The only externally distinguishing feature of the FM-1 as compared to the F4F-4 is the former only had four guns to the latter's six. Initially the FM-1 was meant to simply be a massed produced copy of the F4F-4, but the US Navy and Marines wanted the longer firing time that came with 4 guns versus 6 so that change was incorporated. 
Construction was (not so) straight forward. My two kits were from different production runs. The earlier kit fit well and went together okay but the "newer" kit had fit issues due to misalignment of the pins and the parts just didn't fit well. In both cases the fuselage halves are not the same depth, so I chose to have the step on the underside. More filling and sanding. 

Once together I primed both using a white primer and touched up all the seems. Once ready I masked the canopies and installed them. Interior green went on first followed by the color coats for both kits. 
A word on colors for Eastern Aircraft built Wildcats and Avengers.  From scouring the forums it appears the consensus is they used the ANA colors for all manufacturing runs. I decided that was close enough, given model paint variability so decided to check my paint rack for acrylics that matched. 
For the USN version I used Tamiya XF-54 Dark Gray. It looked about right for ANA 6xx Dark Gull Gray and the IPMS Stockholm cross reference recommends it. The undersides and sides were just left in the white primer. 

For JV249 I used Tamiya XF-24 for ANA 603 Sea Gray (equivalent to Extra Dark Sea Grey), Acryl ANA 613 Olive Drab (Dark Slate Grey) and XF-21 Sky for ANA 610 Sky. These ANA colors were the Temperate Sea Scheme equivalents for Lend Lease aircraft. 
The landing gear is flat black and the tires are Gunze Tire Black. I took a piece of soft cotton cloth from an old t-shirt and with some spittle gently rubbed the surfaces to polish the finish and smooth out the paint. 

After a day to cure fully I sprayed a coat of Future as prep for the decals. All went down nicely using a bit of thinned Future as a setting solution. I then mixed up some enamel medium gray to pick out the deeper panel lines on the white, darkened it up a bit for the Dark Gull Gray and Sky, and nearly black for the FAA upper surfaces. After a few minutes to dry I cleaned up the excess with a cotton swab and let it all cure for another day. I then mixed a bit of Acryl Flat Clear with Future to seal it all in with a satin sheen. 

Not my best work but very satisfying. When my skills are a bit better I plan to do both subjects again, but using the Hasegawa F4F-4 as the basis. 
Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Liberty Ship

No Battle of the Atlantic display would be complete without some sort of merchant ship to represent the thousands that not only served but were lost during the 6 years of the battle. Thousands of merchant sailors served the Allied cause and were exposed to many of the same dangers as soldiers, sailors and airmen of the militaries, but their sacrifices are sometimes forgotten simply because they did not carry arms. The US Merchant Marine alone lost 9,521 men aboard 1,543 ships during the period December 1941 to May 1945. Britain, Canada, France, Russia and other countries lost even more as they served longer. For no other reason, if you build ships, put at least one merchant ship in your collection for these men. 

Surprisingly, there aren't that many kits out there in 1/700 scale of merchant ships, but of course the ubiquitous Liberty Ship is available from two manufacturers: Pit Road and Trumpeter. If you're willing to build in resin, you can get a few more choices, but they are expensive. 

The Subject

Since our display is to cover PQ 18 my first worry was whether that particular convoy even had any Liberty Ships in her group. To my relief I discovered that of the 40 merchants, there were 8 liberty ships. These were:
  • SS Esek Hopkins
  • SS Oliver Ellsworth -- Sunk by U-408
  • SS Patrick Henry
  • SS St. Olaf
  • SS John Penn -- Sunk in air attack
  • SS Nathanael Greene
  • SS Virginia Dare
  • SS William Moultrie

I don't have any good references for Liberty Ships but I wanted the model to be somewhat representative, not specific. There were 2,751 built during the war, and while all were similar, some had some unique features such as gun configurations, lifeboats, and other minor changes. 
Initially I had wanted to paint my Liberty Ship in one of the disruptive or dazzle paint schemes you see in so many photos and videos. Interestingly, most Liberty Ships were painted one color: USN Ocean Gray. To speed construction everything was painted the same color with the exception of the Charlie Noble (galley smoke stack) and the top of the main boiler stack. 
To be fair some ships were camouflaged, but that is rare and unless you're modeling a specific ship (I wasn't) that was camouflaged, it should be Ocean Gray. 

The Model

As mentioned earlier, there are two kits of the Liberty Ship. Pit Road did a model in the 1970's listed as an AK class ship or a Liberty Ship, depending on the boxing. Tamiya and Skywave also released the kit. It's a bit rare and a bit expensive, and as I understand it reflects typical Pit Road quality, which is quite good for the vintage. 

Trumpeter's Liberty Ship is the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a working Liberty Ship that tours the US ports and is currently berthed in San Francisco. The kit is also boxed as the SS John W. Brown, the other surviving Liberty Ship berthed at Baltimore and while the parts are the same, there are obviously two different configurations and some variation that can be built.  
Construction was quite easy, and I have to say this is a great kit for first getting into ship modeling in this scale. Detail is excellent, fit is superb and the parts count, while high for  this aircraft modeler, is not bad. I didn't quite follow the sequence, I made everything that I could as a subassembly, painted it and then glued it onto the hull. A small amount of filler was needed along the deck - hull seam.

The instructions would have you paint her in modern colors, as she is currently restored.  That's only accurate for a post war Liberty Ship, not her wartime service. Since I have a couple of bottles of Model Master RAF Ocean Grey enamel, and that color is too blue as the RAF color, I decided to use it as USN Ocean Gray. This latter color is quite a dark blue with a gray tinge to it, according to online sources. Since in 1/700 scale I would normally lighten the color by about 30%, I decided the Model Master color could be okay. 
I'm quite happy with the color as it really looks "scale" to my eye based on available color photos of ships painted in USN Ocean Gray. And there are lots of them available. 
Painting was almost too easy, I just sprayed it all over.  Then I picked out the Charlie Noble and stack in black. The canvas covers under the battens were olive drab, as was ALL canvas during the war, I've been told, so I chose a random bottle and picked out the canvas  I attempted a wash but it didn't look right, so I cleaned it off. 
Again, as a first kit it's great, I'll definitely get another for my shelf. 
Thanks for reading.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Making your own Tamiya Thinner

I found this link on Hyperscale last year when the whole Tamiya paint availability scare was at a frenzy (well, on line it seemed like a frenzy).  I was getting low on thinner so wanted to see if somebody had figured out what the stuff was made of.
I found four choices to work from:
  1. Denatured Alcohol.  32 oz = $ 17 at your local hardware store.
  2. 91% Isopropyl Alcohol with a few drops of retarder.  16 oz = $3.99.
  3. mix 5 parts 70% Isopropyl Alcohol with 2 parts 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to achieve 91%; plus a few drops of retarder (why mix if you find it straight?)
  4. 32 oz 91% + 16 oz 70% + 10 oz lacquer thinner + 2 drops of retarder.
All of these came from the same poster, Mike Witous, on Hyperscale.  A fifth option is to use lacquer thinner straight; some modelers swear by it.
I did a sample paint of all 5 using a new jar of XF-24 Dark Gray, plus a control shot using the remnants of my Tamiya X-20A.
All 4 options were comparable to the X-20A, with #4 actually coming out a bit better in terms of flow control and using straight lacquer thinner the worst.  
  1. DA: Okay in a pinch and not appreciably different than using the cheaper 91%.
  2. 91%: Okay in a pinch but not quite as good as X-20A.
  3. 91% Mix:  I didn’t mix it...
  4. Recipe: I was actually able to get a tight line and coverage was good, better than X-20A.
  5. Lacquer:  Too “hot” in that the paint obviously started breaking down in the cup.  While it works, it seemed to require some finesse to keep the paint from drying before it hit the plastic.
So for about $25 you can make 58 oz of Tamiya Thinner; if you buy the 3/4 oz jars at $2 do the math!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Battle of the Atlantic

The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum Association requested the Southern Maryland Scale Modelers build a number of ship and aircraft models for display to help tell the story of Naval Aviation as part of the World War II Battle of the Atlantic.
The Battle of the Atlantic raged for the entire period of the war in Europe – September 1939 until May 1945.  Initially the German strategy was one of commerce raiding using her modern fleet of battleships, battlecruisers and cruisers, a strategy that lasted until May 1941 with the sinking of the Bismarck west of the Bay of Biscay.  Due to the significant loss of prestige that accompanied the Bismarck sinking, Germany shifted its focus to submarine warfare against England’s lifelines for the remainder of the war.
Initially 30 operational U-Boats operated alone, but as the force grew they worked as teams, or packs, in concert with Luftwaffe Fw-200 Condor aircraft in a surveillance mode that transmitted the location of merchants in the Eastern Atlantic.  The only real counter to this airborne threat was a ship-based fighter; the UK first added catapults to merchants that sent Hurricane fighters up to meet the Fw-200, the pilots ditching alongside when the sortie was completed.  This was rather successful, with 7 aircraft shot down to the loss of only one pilot.  Eventually the UK realized they needed a carrier as escort, so converted a merchant by adding a flight deck and half a dozen Sea Hurricanes.  This effectively was the prototype of the US Bogue class of Escort Carriers (CVE) which were also based on merchant hulls.
England and the British Commonwealth bore the brunt of the battle until 1942 when the US entered the war and was able to bolster the British fleet with additional escorts and aircraft.  England agreed to conduct the battle east of the 40 degrees W longitude whereas the US agreed to take the seas west of 40 degrees.  The two countries did not however agree on tactics:  the UK wanted to continue a defensive battle, providing escorts to ever increasing convoys to the UK and to Russia; the US wanted to take the battle directly to the U-Boats using hunter-killer groups consisting of ships and aircraft.
Ultimately the two countries agreed to a combined strategy with the US providing additional Escort Carriers (CVE) and aircraft via lend-lease to the UK while the US created hunter-killer groups centered on Escort Carriers (CVE) of the Bogue and later classes.  The CVE carried TBM-3 Avengers (hunters/killers) and FM-1/2 Wildcats (killers) to find the U-Boats before they became a threat to commerce.  Ultimately both strategies worked in concert to effectively eliminate the U-Boat as a real threat by late 1944.
The Story
To effectively tell the story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the Southern Maryland Scale Modelers have chosen three (3) vignettes that will depict the main elements of the battle:
  • Commerce raiders from 1939 to 1941 as depicted by the Battle of the Denmark Straight (May 1941).
    • This is the battle between the KM BISMARCK & KM PRINZ EUGEN and the HMS HOOD & HMS PRINCE OF WALES.  It followed the breakout of BISMARCK from Norway in May 1941 on her maiden cruise to raid commerce as had earlier German capital ships such as KM ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE (sunk at River Plate), and KM GNEISENAU.
    • The battle occurred West of Iceland, between Iceland and Greenland.  HOOD was sunk quickly with the loss of all but 3 lives, PRINCE OF WALES was damaged as well as BISMARCK, however BISMARCK retired after HOOD sank because her mission was raiding commerce, not fighting the British Fleet.
    • History tells us that ultimately, BISMARCK eluded the British for a few days until spotted by a US built Catalina flying boat.  Attacks from Swordfish embarked on HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS ARK ROYAL eventually damaged BISMARCK sufficiently for the British battleships to close on her and destroy her with naval gunfire.  The crew of BISMARCK scuttled the ship so as to ensure the British would not capture her, although it was the British intent to sink her at that time.  Most of the BISMARCK crew was lost.
    • This was the last major sortie of a German capital ship into the Atlantic on a commerce raiding mission.  Germany threatened commerce raiding for the remainder of the war (KM TIRPITZ), effectively tying up the British Home Fleet.
  • Convoy escorts of US Lend-Lease materiel as depicted by the battle surrounding Convoy PQ18 from Scotland to Russia, near Norway (September 1942)
    • This battle was a turning point for the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic as it marked the first use of Escort Carriers (CVE) to protect the convoy against a concerted effort by the German U-Boat and Luftwaffe forces to destroy the convoy.
    • PQ18 had 1 CVE, 1 cruiser, 19 destroyers, 2 anti-aircraft destroyers, 4 corvettes escorting 40 merchants from Scotland to Arkhangelsk, supported by 9 US built Catalinas, 32 Hampdens and 3 PR Spitfires. The Germans had 12 U-boats, battleship SCHEER, cruisers HIPPER and KOLN with 4 destroyers supported by 42 He-111 torpedo bombers and 35 Ju-88 dive bombers from bases in Norway.
    • While many of the merchant ships were sunk, so too were U-Boats sunk, and ultimately the Allied convoy tactic was proven as losses declined with each subsequent convoy.
  • Hunter-Killer Group as depcted by the capture of U-505 by US Task Group 22.3 on 4 June 1944.
    • This represents the pinnacle of the Hunter-Killer tactic when TG 22.3, consisting of the USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60), supported by 5 destroyer escorts found and attacked U-505 in the South Atlantic.
    • U-505 was “booby trapped” to be scuttled by her crew, but the US boarding party was able to defuse the charges before they blew.  The officer-in-charge of the boarding party was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism.
    • U-505 exists today, preserved in a museum in Chicago
Sources: Various books and the Internet.
The Display
Each vignette will be in constant 1/700 scale.  The base of the display will be a 4 foot by 8 foot board with blue ocean painted and land masses added to depict the edges of the North Atlantic from just north of Norway to just south of the Equator.
Of necessity, no more than about 20 ships will be displayed due to space limitations.
Vignette 1:  – Battle of the Denmark Straight, May 1941
  • KM Bismarck
  • KM Prinz Eugen
  • HMS Hood
  • HMS Prince of Wales
  • Catalina aircraft from Iceland on search patrol
Note: All other ships and aircraft in vicinity did not engage.
Vignette 2: Depicting PQ18 near Norway during September 1942
  • HMS Avenger with Sea Hurricanes & Swordfish (note, Avenger is somewhat similar to Bogue class)
  • 6 Merchant Vessels
  • 3 Destroyers – UK E & O classes
  • 2 Type VII U-Boats
  • German Luftwaffe Fw200 and Ju88 aircraft on either patrol or attack
  • UK Coastal Command Halifax, Fortress and Catalina aircraft from UK on search patrol
Note: PQ18 had 1 CVE, 1 cruiser, 19 destroyers, 2 AA destroyers, 4 corvettes escorting 40 merchants from Scotland to Arkhangelsk, supported by 9 Catalinas, 32 Hampdons and 3 PR Spitfires. The Germans had 12 U-boats, battleship Scheer, cruisers Hipper and Koln with 4 destroyers supported by 42 He-111 torpedo bombers and 35 Ju-88 dive bombers. 
Vignette 3:  Depicting capture of U-505 by TG 22.3 on 4 June 1944
  • USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60) with US Wildcats & Avengers (note, Casablanca class is very similar to Bogue class)
  • 2 Destroyers – US Edsall class
  • U-505 Type IX class
Note: Chatalein (DE-149), Pillsbury (DE-133), Pope (DE-134), Flaherty (DE-135), and Jenks (DE-665) were also part of TG 22.3

Separate 1/72 Scale Aircraft Display
The display is limited to a 2 ½ by 5 foot size.
FAA Sea Hurricane II
FAA Swordfish I
FAA Walrus ASR
FM-1 Wildcat/Martlet (either USN or FAA)
USN TBM-3 Avenger
Coastal Command Catalina
Coastal Command Halifax GR II
Luftwaffe Fw200 Condor
Note: More aircraft if space permits

Airfix Spitfires

Airfix released 23 Spitfires in 4 scales over the last 57 years and their objective is to release one of each mark, in 72nd scale anyway. As the premier kitmaker foe Britain youd think their kits of their most iconic aircraft would be the best there is.   Unfortunately, some have been pretty horrible as either kits, Spitfires or both. Most are accurate, albeit detail is usually sparse (in the smaller scales anyway) and if one gets past the construction issues a fine Spitfire can be had. 
In two parts I'll cover all 23 to date, in this first part I'll cover the lone 100th & the 72nd scale kits. Next month I'll cover the 48th & their 24th scale kits.  Most of my information on dates and kit numbers are taken from The Airfix Tribute Forum. 
100th Scale
Okay, technically not Airfix, in 2007 they released under the Airfix label the Doyusha tooling of a Mark Vb as kit number T1002.  Considered “pretty good” they typically come pre-painted and sometimes are released with a motorized prop. 
72nd Scale
pastedGraphic.pdfAirfix began their aircraft models with a release of the BT-K in 1955. Based on the Aurora kit, it was scaled down to 72nd.  It is a very basic kit; its shape is definitely a Spitfire albeit not the most accurate; it is more for the beginner or nostalgic modeler. Only available until 1959 when it was replaced by their first Mark IX and is a collector's item today. The kit number was 1316, which is the same number for their Mark IX. 
Not to be confused with their first true Mark I, released in 1979 as kit number 01065, and re-released in 2003 in the BT-K bag. 
pastedGraphic_1.pdfIn 1959 Airfix released a Mark IX to replace the BT-K Spitfire. Also not very accurate it had markings for Wing Commander Johnnie E. Johnson's Mark IX. Originally kit number 1316, from 1988-2007 it was listed as 02081 and is generally available. Referred to as "the JEJ kit" it only looks like a Spitfire if it's the only one on the shelf. 
Airfix released a Mark Vb in 1975.  Still regarded as very accurate in shape and exterior detail. Of note, the raised detail is considered by purists to be the most accurate representation of the lapped joints along the panel lines. However Modelers in general prefer engraved panel lines, even if the most crisply done are actually over scale.  Still available as kit number 02046
pastedGraphic_2.pdfA Mark Vc was later released in 2005 by adding a sprue to the basic Vb kit representing the revised wing armament. The new kit number is 02040.  Unfortunately the wing is overly thick and suffers engraved panel lines not in keeping with the Vb kit. The good news is a tropical filter is provided as well as parts to modify the fuselage to a Seafire, which were added in 2009 for an Airfix Club FAA release. The decals are also quite good. It's apparent the Vc sprue is just a scaling down of their so-so 48th scale Spitfire/Seafire kit as it can also be made into a Vb, Vc or Seafire Ib, IIc or III; suffering from the same faults as the 72nd boxing.
pastedGraphic_3.pdfIf one can find an Aeroclub c wing, which is quite good and was specifically designed as a replacement part for this kit, a very accurate Vc, or Seafire IIc can be made. 
As mentioned earlier, in 1979 Airfix released a new Mark I, much better in shape than their earlier BT-K. This new kit was very similar in quality to their Vb kit.  The Mark I and their Vb were the basis for all aftermarket products to upgrade, convert or super detail an early Spitfire for the next 20 years. Originally listed as kit number 01065, renumbered a few times but mostly as a variation of 01071, don't be confused by the recent (2010) A01071A that is a new tooling.
pastedGraphic_4.pdfAfter Hornby bought Airfix they pledged to keep the label.  Eventually they released a new, modern tooling of the Mark I in a new red box. Very accurate in shape it also sported a highly detailed cockpit. It's only drawback is overly wide and deep panel lines; it seemed Hornby hired the Matchbox engraver!  This kit is available in both a starter's kit as well as the original and is considered more accurate even than Tamiya's Mark I. Kit number A01071A.  Also included in sets 55100, 50128, 50135, and 50143. 
A company called 3D-Kits shortly thereafter released a double sprue set containing an improved seat, control column, Coffman starter bulge and DH prop to allow conversion of either this new Mark I, the older Mark I or even the Tamiya Mark I to a Mark IIa. Also included were decals for 4 machines. 
In 2011 Airfix released this kit with an additional sprue containing parts to model an early Mark I (2 bladed Watts prop, flat canopy, pole antenna) as well as a Mark IIa (Coffman starter bulge and DH prop). Although no decals are in the box for it, the Rotol prop and enlarged oil cooler are on the sprue to allow the modeler to make a Mark Va. Unfortunate for 3D-Kits who now offer just the decals. Kit number A02010.
3D-Kits does offer a nice conversion for this kit to make the Mark IIa LR (long range). Just a simple conformal fuel tank for one wing, it includes decals. 
pastedGraphic_5.pdfIn 2009, Airfix released a Mark IXc to replace their 1959 tooling. Long needed in 72nd was an accurate kit and Airfix did not disappoint, however it was not as good, overall, as their recent Mark I. No cockpit to speak of, very similar to their toolings from the 1970's with a recliner for a seat and a plastic semicircle for the instrument panel, not even a decal!  Sporting similar deep panel lines, they weren't quite as bad as the Mark I. Parts were in the box to make an early or late Mark IXc and even a post-war mark, however only the wheels for a late Mark IXc were included (4 spokes). The prop is a bit anemic but is passable and the decals are very good.
pastedGraphic_6.pdfAlso in 2009 a PR Mark XIX variant was released, their first Griffon engined kit in 72nd scale.  Kit number 02017, it is very similar to the Mark IXc in detail, it does suffer from being too short by about 4 scale inches (it's the length of a late Merlin Spitfire, not a Griffon). Still a very nice kit to build, it's a toss up whether to improve this inexpensive kit or to pay top dollar for the difficult to find Fujimi XIX that also must be converted, albeit from a F Mark XIV. 
Not yet available in the US, Airfix announced a F Mark 22 for release for 2012, I'm still looking for a reboxing of their Mark I/IIa/Va as Wing Commander Douglas Bader's Va he was in when he was shot down and taken prisoner in 1941.


Six months since my last posting!  Too long, but I've been distracted by work.  You know it, that thing that lets me pursue this hobby.  And also some leisure activities that, to some degree, are related to modeling.

I HAVE been modeling, though.  Just not posting.  In February my local club was approached by the local museum to build two displays of models relating to the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II.  One is a 4x8 foot display of ships and aircraft -- so we all agreed on 1/700 scale; and the other is a 3x6 foot display of just aircraft -- we all agreed 1/72 scale would be the best trade of detail and range.  So I agreed to build a few ships and aircraft and part of the distraction was taking a leading role in the organization.  Not that I mind; I've met some interesting folks at the museum and I've met a nice person to do the cabinet making.

Show season started in March and of course, we MUST go to those.  First there was Richmond, then the NoVA Classic.  Then, while on vacation to London I was lucky enough to be there while the Hendon show was on, so I got to attend that.

My other hobby, sailing, got into gear in March as well.  "Frostbite" races followed by the Spring/Summer racing series, and I'm also an instructor so that takes time from modeling.

I also had a bit of AMS kick in come May.  I couldn't spend more than a few minutes with my models before I just had to do something else.  I bought a few things, updated the inventory and planned a bit, but cutting, gluing and painting were elusive.  I did start some projects, and actually finished a couple since my last I need to post those results.

Aircraft on the bench (all 72nd scale):

  • Spitfire PR Mk XIII -- This is a conversion of the Airfix Spitfire Mk I/IIa kit.
  • Spitfire Mk Va -- Another conversion of the Airfix Spitfire Mk I/IIa kit.
  • P-40B/C/Tomahawk I/Ia -- I actually have 5 kits in various stages of build.  Two are the new Airfix kit, two are the old Academy kit and the third is the Trumpeter kit -- all for comparison to the Airfix kit.
  • Spitfire F Mk XVIII -- MPM kit.  Stalled, but I don't remember why.
  • Swordfish I -- The new Airfix kit.  This is for the Battle of the Atlantic display.  
  • Fw200C Condor -- Revell kit I inherited from a member who typically builds armor and who wanted to try and contribute to the Battle of the Atlantic display.  It was almost ready for paint, but some ugly seams needed to be fixed first.  Finally has it's RLM 73 on.
  • Wildcat FM-1/Martlet V -- Two Academy kits that I'm doing OOB to get me out of my rut.  They are working!
Ships on the bench (all 700th scale):
  • HMS Prince of Wales -- Tamiya kit for the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • E & V class destroyers -- Battle of the Atlantic.
  • HMS King George V -- Also a Tamiya kit, but for my shelf.  I'm trying my hand a photo etch.
Completions since January:
  • 1/700 Liberty Ship -- For the Battle of the Atlantic display.  Trumpeter kit.  Nice and easy intro to ships.
  • 1/700 U-Boat -- Type VIIc for Battle of the Atlantic.  Tamiya kit.  Very few parts, very small.
  • 1/72 P-51H -- CMR kit.  I didn't do the kit justice, but I'll write it up anyway.
  • 1/72 Mosquito PR XVI -- Matchbox kit.  Came out better than I'd hoped.
Now, where did I put those pictures?

Thanks for reading.