Sunday, January 19, 2020

Shapeways 1/72 CU-161 Sperwer

The SAGEM CU-161 Sperwer (Dutch for sparrowhawk) was a small UAV used by the RCAF in Afghanistan. Nicknamed the "flying ski-doo" based upon the resemblance of the sound of the engine to a snowmobile, they entered service with the RCAF in 2003, and were retired in 2009, after flying over 1,300 missions. As the CU-161 was the first Canadian Forces UAV to be used in combat, I wanted to add one to the collection.

Knowing that no plastic or resin kit existed of the type, I was excited to find one listed on Shapeways.  Excitement was dulled upon receipt of the item.  The general shape and size looked good, but the print was poor and not up to the standard of previous pieces I'd ordered by Shapeways.  Ragged edges, and rough surfaces overwhelmed the part.  (Maybe I chose the wrong type of material to have the item printed in?)  I had no idea how to proceed.

I tossed some Mr. Surfacer on the part, and it only looked worse. In the drawer it went.  Near the end of the year, Roy Sutherland posted about a 3D printed sci-fi figure that he was asked to paint for a friend.  His description of the print sort of sounded like my little Sperwer.  His solution was something like 10 coats of primer.  Sure worth a try.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I Can't Wait...

Always the modeling highlight of the PNW model scene.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Happy Birthday MiG

Since today is the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the MiG-17 (January 14, 1950), it seemed like a great excuse to start the new Airfix MiG-17. If you want to see what is in the box, check out Dr. Miller's review at Model Paint Solutions.

More as the build progresses...

Monday, January 13, 2020

New Modeling Podcast

Friend of the blog David M. Knights and his fellow Kentucky colleague in crime Mike Baskette have started a new scale modeling podcast. Check it out at

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Mission Models Clear Primer

In order to get the best performance from water based acrylic paints a primer is needed to guarantee the paint bonds to styrene. But this is a pain in the butt and I’m lazy. Ugh, I need a primer coat, then colour?  Bummer, dude! Ok, it works for exterior surfaces as one needs to check seams, but for cockpit interiors it seems like an unnecessary extra step. So my long term modeling dream was an acrylic primer in interior colours…aka USAAF and USN Interior Greens, British Interior Grey Green, etc. But no, we got primer in grey, white, and black. Ok, sometimes tan and pink, but that isn’t much help!

Enter Mission Models Clear Primer. The first question I heard was “Why a clear primer? How can you see the seams you missed?” Ah, but think outside the box. What if clear primer was compatible with the other Mission Models acrylics? What if you could tint the clear primer to get any colour you wanted? Oh, yes, yes you can…and now we finally have interior colours in a primer.

As a test, I combined 50% Mission Clear Primer (MMS-007) with 50% RAF Interior Green (MMP-079). A rather thick mixture resulted, which was cut 50% primer with 50% Mission Models Thinner/Reducer (MMA-002). Shot at 12-15% PSI out of a Harder & Steenbeck Ultra airbrush, the paint leveled perfectly and dried to a nice semi-gloss finish.  (And I get to skip another step, no need for a clear gloss before washes are applied.)

Rumor has it, you can mix the clear primer with the Mission metallics and make the metallics even more robust, but I haven’t tried it yet. (Next time.)

I hate hyperbole, but Mission Models Clear Primer might just be a game changer. Not only can you mix any primer colour you want and skip painting two different colours, but it appears to make the Mission Models colours even more durable. So they’ll never equal the durability of lacquers, but the health benefits of less toxic paint and no nasty smells might just convince me.