Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Plan

This weekend I had to decide whether to fish or cut bait. Would I give up on modeling or actually finish something? No more death spiral, no more manic modeling behavior, no more half finished projects. With these thoughts in mind, I decided to make some changes. First up, all part-started kits were boxed up and banished to the basement. Next off all illegal kits (1/48, 1/32, and cars) were moved to some empty cupboards in the living room. All the 1/72 kits were returned to the closet of no hope and once certain selections were made, the closet was sealed. Why these drastic measures? Well first off I have to make progress. Modelers ADD and the lack of progress is killing my desire to model. Secondly, I noticed that I don’t have examples of my favorite aircraft in my display case. What is the point of modeling if you can’t look at miniatures of your favorite things? So I easily selected four of my favorites and pulled out nice kits of each. Right now sitting on my desk I have the following:

  • Academy’s F4U to be done up as Hammy Gray’s FG-1D
  • Academy’s T-6 to be done as a Harvard IV
  • Revell AG’s Hurricane IIB probably to be done as a RCAF MSFU Sea Hurricane
  • Hasegawa’s Spitfire IX to be finished as a 416 Squ. bird
However, we have one problem...that is only four. In honor of one of my favorite movies/books “High Fidelity” shouldn’t it be Top 5? But that is a problem...how can I choose between the Sea Fury and the Avenger? So I decided that Top 6 was ok...movie homage aside...and added that part started Trumpeter Sea Fury and a yet to be decided Avenger...either an Academy TBF or that part started TBM to do a RCN aircraft to the stack. Somehow a Minicraft CF-18 snuck onto the stack when I wasn’t looking, but that’s ok, we need a jet don’t we. All other kits were sealed behind police “Do Not Cross” tape. Any entry into the closet of no hope will be dealt with by the death penalty. The plan is to start with the Corsair in the next day or two and try to build it in three weeks to a month. Once it is done, I will start the next project and move down the line, one at a time. Don’t drag them out, don’t obsess, and actually finish sometime. This time I feel I actually have a chance to succeed...as...well....all the other kits are gone...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Modeler’s ADD

Readers of this blog and my modeling friends are probably aware that I suffer from terminal Modeler’s Attention Deficit Disorder. I never finish anything and I’m always starting new projects and not following through. Add to this a demanding job and little time for modeling, and, well, as you can see from some of the posts here, I start things with the best intentions and they never get done. Some kits never make it past the cockpit stage, some get to the point where filling and sanding is needed, some get really close, only needing small parts, and still don’t get done. Right now on my bench I have three or four kits I could finish in a weekend if I put my mind to it, but I’ve lost interest in all of them, and I spend more time thinking and dreaming of what to start next. I always feel that the next started kit will be the one that will break through the haze and I’ll finish it. Sadly that doesn’t happen. On February 2, I started an Academy F-84E as a quick get it done build. Here we are almost at the end of the month and I’ve yet to finish the cockpit. In fact I haven’t sat down at the modeling bench in almost two weeks. Arg.

From here on out I will try to focus and only build one thing at a time. I wish I could get to the bench a little very day, but I’m afraid that isn’t realistic right now. I also wish to curb the amount of models I start. One friend has suggested I try to finish up the backlog of almost done models. That is a great idea, which I have mentioned before, but I’m not sure how to motivate myself to finish up kits that I have no interest in. My wife thinks I should stop talking about what I’m going to do and just do it. Harsh, but true.

So any other suggestions? Help? Should I just check myself into an institution or start taking Gunze Mr. Modeler’s Ritalin?

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Kits from Nürnberg

Rumor, innuendo, and even some facts are emerging from the Nürnberg Toy and Hobby Fair in Germany. A few new kit announcements that have caught my eye and got me excited are:

  • Academy 1/72 Lightning F.6 and F/A-18C Hornet
  • Airfix 1/72 new tool Spitfire IX, Hawk, and Canberra family
  • CMR 1/72 single seat Venom family
  • MPM Meteor T.7
  • Revell reissues of the Matchbox 1/72 Lysander and Twin Otter and the old Revell 1/72 Sopwith Triplane
  • Special Hobby 1/72 Sea Harrier FRS Mk. 2
And in the wrong scales the Revell 1/32 Super Cub and the Revell 1/144 CC-177.

If I get around to buying all these new kits when they are released, they should keep me busy for the next 15 years.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

AV-8 Harrier In Action

The Squadron In Action series is almost an iconic modeler's reference. They get many good reviews from modelers and the modeling press, but I've found the series uneven. There are some good books, and some lacking books. Being a closet Harrier fan, I was intrigued to hear that a new Harrier In Action was due. Squadron had done an In Action book on the Harrier back in the 80s when the Sea Harrier had found fame in the Falklands and the AV-8B was just a colourful prototype. Much has happened since then.

I got a copy of the new book and was suitably impressed by the cover art. Sadly, that is about the best part of the book. Apparently this In Action is part of a new color series and a good portion of the book is in colour. As expected, the book starts off with a cursory introduction and some photos of early VTOL types. Next up are the typical development drawings and then on page summaries of the P.1127 and Kestrel. The Gr. 1 gets two pages, the GR.3, Gr.5, Gr.7, and Gr.9 each get one page, but the British twin seat harriers get two pages. The Sea Harrier FRS.1 gets two pages and Sea Harrier FA.2 gets a whole three pages. The British Harrier section of the book ends with one page on the T.4N and T.8. Early AV-8 Harriers don't fair much better with the AV-8A and AV-8C each getting two pages and the TAV-8A and TAV-8B sharing one page. As you might expect by now, a major portion of the book is dedicated to the AV-8B. To end there is a three page section on Indian Navy Harriers, two pages on Spanish Harriers, two pages on Italian Harriers and a page on the Royal Thai Navy Harrier. Inexplicable the last two pages of the book are dedicated to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Hum, is that an AV-8 Harrier now? The four page center section of the book has usual colour profiles of various Harriers.

So now that we know the breakdown of the book, what about the content? Well first off the whole book is not colour. Most of the photos are in colour, but for some reason not all are. I can understand that the author needed to use black and white P.1127 photos, but black and white Sea Harrier and AV-8B photos? Photo reproduction is also very poor at times. Some of the photos are crystal clear, but many are very very muddy and dark. What went wrong here? Additionally the content itself leaves you scratching your head. For example there is a photo on page 35 of two VMA-214 Harriers captioned as "These two AV-8B(NA) Harrier..." but one is a AV-8B(NA) and one is a AV-8B Harrier II Plus. An incorrect basic identification doesn't bode well for other facts in the book. Other bad choices have been made as well. For example, one of the three GR.5 photos is a pictures of ZD412 after is ran off the runway. How is this photo helpful to anyone? The Sea Harrier combat in the Falklands is only mentioned in passing. Some of the drawings included are quite poor as well. On page 16 of my copy the drawings illustrating the T.2 second seat installation fade in and one. I can't tell if this is on purpose or poor reproduction. In addition, the drawing for the AV-8B noses on page 41 illustrates the AV-8B and AV-8B (NA) with the dual row blow in doors of the AV-8B prototype and FSD aircraft but correctly shows the AV-8B Harrier II Plus with the standard AV-8B doors. Did some not pay attention to the photos when creating the drawings? (This same mistake is also on the page with the Development drawings.)

Was there anything in the book I liked? While as I said the cover art is nice, and I didn't realize that the Indian Navy had purchased a couple of surplus RAF T.4s for their fleet, but that was about it. I do not recommend this book for anyone. The incorrect facts, poor drawings, and poor photo reproduction mean this isn't even a good primer or introduction to the Harrier. In fact it isn't even as good a Harrier book as the original Harrier In Action published over 20 years ago. Stay away.