Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Piece Tomahawk

I'm really flying on this kit.  Will need some seam work on the wing roots, but fit is better than expected after the dry fit.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tomahawk Rolls On

Still no Hellcat or Zero progress, but the Tomahawk now has horizontal stabs, a seat with belts (masking tape with Sharpie belts...I'm high tech...), and is about ready to join up.  Then the dreaded seam work...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Airfix Tomahawk

While progress is still being made on the Eduard Hellcat...man, it is hard to clean up the fuselage seam without destroying the beautiful scallops, I have also added an Airfix Tomahawk to the mix.  So far the fuselage and wings have been assembled as separate components and the cockpit has been painted and washed.  The fit of the nose parts wasn't stunning, but the rest of it has fit well.  Now I just need to apply the decal instrument panel, make up some seatbelts and assemble the two subassemblies.

Right this minute I'm leaning toward a 414 Squadron Tomahawk, but don't count 400 Squadron out quite yet...  (Not to mention, the date of this post makes me think about an OD/NG USAAF aircraft...)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cleveland Model Show in 1/72 Part 2

The final set of 1/72 photos from the show.

Coming at ya.

A nice birdcage Corsair.

A collection of VF-17 Corsairs.

Camo F-100F.

An old Revell Fokker.

The DSS Midway display.

Previously seen on this blog...Rick Green's Nieuport.

The DSS Jet, Thrust, and Rock'n'Roll collection.

A nice 1/72 Russian T something.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cleveland Model Show in 1/72 Part 1

On November 4, 2012, once again, IPMS/John Glenn and IPMS/Western Reserve joined forces to put on the Cleveland Model Show.  Billed as "Quite Possibly the Last Model Show You Will Ever Attend" attendance was robust and almost 400 models were on the table.  In my opinion, the vendors were rather poor and all I managed to find of interest was an Eduard 1/144 Spitfire IX dual combo.

Here are a few of the 1/72 models on display.

A beautiful Hasegawa B-26 Marauder.

This F-16 had a really well done Have Glass paint scheme.

Fouga goes up.

A Hurricane in blue.

Rick Green's Fujimi Judy.

Tom Griffin's Sword Spitfire Vc.

A nice Hobby Boss MiG-15

Smith's Eduard Hellcat

Dragon YF-23.

"Critical Mass" Sea Fury racer.

A F-4E Phantom.

A well done Matchbox Skynight in a little diorama.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More Modeling Progress

The Eduard Hellcat is together. Please ignore that giant glue fingerprint on the wing...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 2012 Issue of RCN News Magazine

This issue's modeling column features a report on the iHobby Expo in Cleveland.  You can download the magazine and/or buy your print copies here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Title: Landfall
Author: Nevil Shute

I am a big fan of old English paperbacks, especially Ian Fleming and Nevil Shute novels.  Something about them is just timeless.  Landfall is a good example of a Nevil Shute book, combining a war story and a romance.  Here we have Jerry Chambers, a hapless RAF Anson pilot who is involved in a friendly fire incident while courting Mona Stevens, a barmaid.  After sinking the British sub, he skips town to join Bomber Command, ending the romance, only to redeem himself later in the book while involved in secret testing flying a Vickers Wellington.  And that friendly fire incident?  There might have been a mistake there, and Mona helps solve that mystery using gossip and hearsay heard at the bar.

Outside of his overuse of the word, presently, Shute is an enjoyable writer and the banter between the couple is both amusing and at at times dated.  (Though some of their dialogue must have been possibly scandalous for 1940...)  Of course the class issues, so omnipresent in England at the time, also sound incredibly dated.

Shute writes well about the boredom of Coastal Command and Bomber Command ops, but the most shocking part of the story revolves around Mona's father's view of Jerry after he kept her out too late one night.  He opines "It made a difference, certainly, that the young man had build a (model) galleon.  If it had been anyone else, he have been really angry."  Wow, for the first time in recorded dating history, a father of a woman thinks that her suitor being a modeler is a good thing...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cocooned Canadian Spitfire?

In September I posted a link to an interesting photo of Spitfire TZ138 with the RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE) flight. Looking through other photos by that poster, I came across this interesting image the other night.  Captioned as a Seafire in the UK, I can't help but wonder if it is actually Spitfire 24 VN332 in Canada.  It sure isn't a Seafire...no tail hook...and while I have never heard of a Sea Fury being cocooned in Canada, WEE Flight did have a couple on strength.  Can anyone identify the location?  Unfortunately, it appears the writing on the side of the aircraft is a warning not to smoke around the aircraft, rather than what would have been much more helpful - a "This is WEE Flight Spitfire VN332" statement.  Couldn't these guys have thought about us researchers all these years later?  VN332 was later sold to the US becoming N7929A.  It was painted in a civilian scheme before crashing in New Jersey in 1953 killing the pilot.

Now the big question?  Do I dare finish my new Airfix Spitfire 22 like this?  At least I wouldn't need to worry about canopy masking!

P.S.:  Here is a copy of a really interesting RCAF report on the cold weather testing of TZ138.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

September 2012 Issue of the RCN News Magazine is Out

This issue's modeling column features a report on the IPMS/USA Nationals in Florida.  You can download the magazine and/or buy your print copies here and can visit the magazine website here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

iHobby Expo

Thanks to my writing gig with RCN News Magazine, I got a chance to attend the iHobby Expo today in Cleveland.  The event had been taking place in Chicago, but for some reason they decided to relocate it to the IX Center near CLE.  Never having attended a trade show for the hobby, I had no idea what to expect, but I assumed the major U.S. hobby companies would be in attendance.  From the modeling side, MRC, Stevens International, Pegasus Hobbies, Moebius Models, MMD/Squadron and Airfix had displays, while the tool companies were well represented with Vajello, Iwata, Grex, Alclad, Excell, Xuron, and Alpha Abrasives on hand.  I was absolutely shocked that neither Revell-Monogram, Tamiya USA, Bager, nor Testors were in attendance, especially as Testor's parent is headquartered just down the road in Medina. However, plastic modeling was only a small segment of the show and much space was devoted to other hobby pursuits.

I spent an enjoyable half hour speaking to the Airfix rep, and while he could not disclose next year's new releases he did state that us 1/72 airplane guys will be happy.  (He said the 2013 lineup will be announced on January 1, 2013 on the Airfix.com site.)  Airfix are quite proud of their 1/48 Operation Herrick releases and had some built up examples of the Lynx helicopter and vehicles on display.  They also had the test shots of their 1/48 Merlin and the new 1/72 P-51D.  MRC had a completed example of the new Italeri Sunderland Mk. I.  (I know the RCAF didn't fly this mark, but I want one.)  Being a 007 fan, Italeri's Skyfall tie-in 1/72 Merlin will also find its way into the closet of no hope.  I was also intrigued by the new devil scale Academy F-4 Phantom, not because I want the kit, but because it appears that the ghost of Matchbox is back, with the kit being molded in three colours.  The photo below shows the kit built up out of the box with no paint.  Stevens had some new Trumpeter and Kinentic kits on display and test shots of the Kinetic 1/32 CT-155 Hawk.  I did have a short discussion with a Steven's rep who actually said that the Kinentic kits are at a more affordable price point than Trumpeter; coming in more in the $50 to $80 range rather than the $100 range.  Wow, that sounds really out of touch, especially as the Kinetic kits can often be sourced at one-third to one-half of the US list price offshore.

Overall, I'm not sure how to judge the show or the state of the hobby.  (Though it sure appears that the importers, besides Airfix, believe bigger and pricer is better and 1/72 isn't really a serious scale.)  I wonder if having the event in Cleveland kept some of the companies from attending, because, well, it is Cleveland...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Actual Modeling

With fall hitting the Americas, it is time to get back to modeling.  I currently have the Airfix A6M2 Zero and the Eduard Hellcat on the bench.

The Zero is a nice kit that, unfortunately, has been lapped by the brand new Tamiya A6M2 Zero.  I found it to be a rather easy kit to build, and the price is right, but many commentators have exaggerated about the panel lines.  Sure they aren't Hasegawa fine, but they do not detract from the model.  The Zero actually has a chance to be completed thanks to my generous girlfriend who bought me some Eduard masks that you can just barely make out on the right side of the photo.  This way, I won't be hung up for months trying to work up the nerve to mask the canopy.

The Eduard Hellcat is the Weekend Edition, so no extras, but also a pretty nice price.  I had a hard time with the wing fit, hence why I chose to glue in the wings before joining the fuselage.  This allowed me to apply a goodly amount of force to get them to seat properly which was still needed even after copious sanding.  Oddly, I have not seen this problem mentioned in any review.  While many love the panel lines on the Eduard kit, I find them too fine and much too easy to erase with sanding.  Guess I'm just out of touch with most of the online modeling world.

Heck, maybe I'll even finish something this fall or winter...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cool Spitfire photo

So who knew that the RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE) flight stripped the paint off of Spitfire XIV TZ138 during its time in Canada?  I sure didn't until today.  Then I saw this photo.  Very cool.  One small point is that the Meteor is Meteor IV RA421, not Meteor III EE311 which was written off in June 1946 in Ontario.  And why does the Prentice look pink?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RCAF Sabres Video

Here is a neat little video of some RCAF Sabre Squadron high jinx in Europe.  Look at those poor USAF F-86s zapped by 412 and 416 Squadrons.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

fündekals The "Spook" Mosquito

Another new fündekals sheet also has Canadian content, even if it wears U.S. markings.  The USAAF actually bought a few Canadian built Mosquitos, called them F-8s, and the "Spook" was the most famous of these Mosquitos.  This is a slightly more complicated sheet than is usual with fündekals as it includes the usual serials, insignia, and nose art, but also stencils. Again everything is perfectly printed and the colours are spot on and you are directed to www.fundekals.com to download an instruction sheet for decal placement and scheme information.  In this case, the instruction sheet is the highlight of the set.  Spanning eight pages, it may be the best monograph ever published on the "Spook."  And hey, who doesn't want to build a Mosquito in the dayfighter scheme with U.S. insignia with the red surrounds?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Avro Arrow Strikes Back

When I first read this story yesterday, I had only one though.  How had I slept through almost a whole year; because the only possible explanation is that it is April 1, 2013, right?  Guess not. Some think this is a viable option.  (Here is another story with some nice F-35 v. Arrow graphics. It must be true, a little chart in the newspaper said so!)

Ok, whatever...which I believe is also the Canadian Government's official position.

But I do have that old tool Hobbycraft Arrow lying around.  Hum...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Ice Pilots

Title: The Ice Pilots
Author: Michael Vlessides
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

I'll admit it, watching Ice Pilots NWT is a guilty pleasure of mine and this book is an equally guilty supplement.  Less a history of Buffalo Airways, it is more of a combination of company stories, tales of other northern bush pilots, the author's experiences at Buffalo Airways, and, oddly, his own experience with the North.  The book is easy to digest and fun, but made me wish for more depth.  While the author's experiences at Buffalo seem germane to the title; especially his interactions with Joe McBryan, his history with the North really doesn't matter to anyone but himself.  Additionally, his little history vigenetes of other bush pilots come off as oddly placed as some have no context to the story at all.  But the book does provide good insight into the behind the scenes (or is it screen) operations at Buffalo and there are some interesting interviews with Mikey McBryan that show more depth than viewers of the TV show might expect.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

FHC Battle of Britain Day

A couple of weeks ago (Saturday August 25, 2012 to be precise), I attended the Flying Heritage Collection Battle of Britain Fly Day.  The photos can be found here.  (Sorry, I'm too lazy to upload them to the blog.)  Aircraft participating included ex-RCAF Hurricane XIIa BW881/N54FH painted as Hurricane XII 5429/L of 135 "Bulldog" Squadron RCAF, Spitfire Vc AR614/N614VC in wartime RAF Czech Squadron markings, and Spitfire IXe SL633/N633VS in post war Czech Air Force markings.  (A historical side note:  Spitfire AR614 also has a Canadian connection.  It was imported to Canada in the early 1960s by Lynn Garrison for the Air Museum of Canada.  It later moved on to Don Campbell of Kapuskasing, Ontario and was registered as C-FDUY, before returning to the UK for restoration in the early 1990s.)  The two interlopers are a Paine Field firetruck and a Japanese Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA828J) on a shakedown flight.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Canadian Subject Contest

I got an email earlier today from the new IPMS Canada National Director Bob Migliardi asking me to post some information about a joint IPMS Canada and Modeling Madness "Best Canadian" Subject contest.  It sounds like a fun thing, so...

For more information see:




Deadline for entry is October 15, 2012.

What should I build?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

fündekals Hank Zary 403 Squadron Spitfire

fündekals are back with three new decal sheets, but there is no question which one caught my eye.  Hank Zary was an American ace flying with the RCAF who ended his career as CO of 403 Squadron.  This new sheet has markings for Zary's Spitfire XVI TB752 in late 1945, but before the aircraft was tarted up post war.  The sheet has roundels, fin flashes, serials, codes, nose art, and the aircraft name.  (Interestingly two versions of the name are included, one for the closed cockpit door and one for the open cockpit door.)  Everything is perfectly printed and the roundel colours are spot on.  You are directed to www.fundekals.com to download an instruction sheet for decal placement and scheme information.  As I said in my previous review of one of their Spitfire sheets, I really like this idea of single subject affordable decal sheets and there is no question that the download instruction sheet is the wave of the future.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Smith Gets on the Eduard Hellcat Bandwagon

I knew I shouldn't have given Smith my spare Eduard F6F-3 Hellcat.  This is about a week and a half in.

I quit!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Photos from the IPMS Nationals in Orlando

I have spent the last few days in Florida enjoying the IPMS/USA Nationals.  A few photos can be found on my Flickr page here.  There are only thirteen now, but more will be added soon.  As expected, I concentrated on 1/72 subjects.

Friday, August 10, 2012

On the Radio

This post is being written from a balcony at the Disney Contemporary Hotel while attending the IPMS/USA Nationals.  Photos will follow, but before I left town I recorded an interview for the Plastic Scale Modeling Hour.  We talked about what will happen to your  kits and models when you die (aka estate planning for the hobbyist) and you can download the interview here.  I will admit I have not listened to the episode and am slightly afraid.  What I thought was a preliminary discussion was actually the interview...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rick Green's Green Nieuport

A few photos I took last night of Rick Green's just finished Eduard Nieuport Ni-23 finished in Belgian markings.  Rick really enjoyed this kit.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life is Rough on South Lake Union

A couple of photos of Kenmore Air de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Turbo Otters taken this afternoon at the South Lake Union base.  It was a beautiful day in Seattle.