Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Badger Stynylrez Test #1

I like Mr. Surfacer, I do.  No one can prep a model like he can. Hell, if it weren't for him, many of my models would never have been finished.

Sadly, Mr. Surfacer is... smelly. Yep, you invite him into a small apartment and he stinks up the place. The rest of the family living in the small apartment asks that Mr. Surfacer never gets invited over again. So that leaves me trying to coax a spray can to put out on the balcony, and, well, that never leads to anything good.

I’ve tried other primers. Vallejo primers come in many different shades, look nice and being acrylic, they don't smell. But they also don't sand. What the hell do you do with a primer you can't sand? Maybe it isn’t a problem for a perfect builder, but I'm far from perfect. Alclad primer is interesting because it needs no thinning, but it is still a smelly lacquer. Tamiya Fine Surface Primer and Mr. Surfacer seem indistinguishable unless you want to paint white. Mr. Finishing Surfacer, especially in black, is pretty neat, but he is just as smelly as his less finished friend.

So…my clandestine relationship with Mr. Surfacer continued. I'd invite him over during the day in hopes that his smell would be gone by the time the rest of the family arrived home. I even deluded myself that the girls wouldn’t notice.  But notice they did.

So you can imagine how excited I was to read about the new Badger Stynylrez. The net said it was an acrylic primer with no odor that was easy to spray and sandable. Is this even possible, I wondered. Could my dreams come true? Or was it all marketing puffery? (The net’s never wrong, right?)

With so many choruses from so many corners, I decided to give it a try for myself. A set of three 4 ounce bottles was ordered from Amazon. White, black, and grey. The package arrived yesterday, so tonight it was time for an experiment. How would this stuff spray?

I decided to try it out on the Battle of the Barrister's Hurricane which had been primed with Mr. Finishing Surfacer Black. Of course, the primer highlighted errors where I had tried to remove the spurious fabric around the ammo bay doors.  Out came the sanding sticks and pads to make the corrections. Feeling pretty smooth, it was time to check again with another coat of primer.

The instructions make it clear that the primer should be applied at 30 PSI. That seems high, but I'm a follower. So I dialed in the pressure and added a few drops to the colour cup of the Iwata Eclipse. I misted on a light coat and then followed up with a heavier coat for coverage. I had no issues with the paint flowing through the brush and the the grey covered the black primer with no issues. Cleaning the airbrush was easy with some water. The finish looks pretty good, though not glass smooth. The best news is that neither female occupant of the apartment noticed any smell at all.

So far, so good, but the real test will come tomorrow. Can I sand out the still lingering issues around the ammo bay doors?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The New Compressor is Here!

Once the 707 killed my Sparmax compressor, I struggled with what type of air source to purchase. After doing some research online and discussing the topic with a couple of modelers (and being the cheap ass I am), I decided to try the Master Airbrush Model TC-40T compressor, for sale at slightly over $100 on Amazon. It arrived last week and, as our daughter's stuffed dog (aka THE "I'm so cool I don't even need a name" DOG) must approve all changes in our household, he had to take a look.

So far, I like it. There is some debate in the house as to whether it is slightly louder or softer than the Sparmax but there is no question I can safely spray at night without waking Claren. Not to mention, the built-in tank is a very nice touch and that alone is quite an upgrade over the Sparmax.

Friday, March 18, 2016

March Madness

AKA...Things that Made Me Mad in March

Ever built a model so bad it killed your compressor? Yep, the 1/144 Minicraft 707 is that bad.

I bought the Minicraft 707 many years ago as I wanted a CC-137 in my collection and there is no way in hell I'd ever finish the Heller 1/72 707.  I lusted after it for many years, but after buying it mostly used it as a dog gate; the box is that big.

Anyway, with the Minicraft version and J-Bot decals in hand, I was eager to dig in after I was asked to build it for the Northwest Scale Modelers display case.

The Minicraft 707 is well known for having shape issues with the nose. Out of the box it really doesn't look right, so I ordered a Contrail replacement nose piece off eBay. I admit I tried to be ok with the kit nose, but it just looked off. At this point in the project, I still thought it had promise.  I attempted to modify the kit nose, but in the end I just tore it out and used the resin nose.  The Contrail part has a much better shape, but it doesn't really fit.  That's what filler is for, right?  So I filled, sanded, and primed.  There were flaws.  I filled, sanded, and primed again.  *&%#!, more flaws.  Again and again I repeated this cycle, as any remaining excitement ebbed away.  This was slowly becoming a masochistic experience, without any of the supposed pleasure.  I wanted this damn thing off my bench.

Of course, a deadline loomed large on the horizon.  If this hadn't been for a display, it would have taken a nosedive out of my highrise's window and died a pitiful death.  It would have been a justifiable homicide, too. But I persevered. At this point most of the panel lines were gone, not that they were much of a loss. The panel lines aren't to scale and like the rest of the kit, pretty crude. The wing and horizontal stabilizer fit was...meh. But I had a model that looked pretty smooth, so I primed it again. Mr. Surfacer are not my friend. More flaws. F' you Minicraft! With only days to go, I pressed on. I did the best I could and was about to add the first coat of white when my compressor just stopped.  At first I thought it was a fuse. Nope. Maybe it just needed a nap. Nope. Turns out the 707 is so bad, it sapped my compressor's will to live.

I had no choice but to use spray cans. The closest hobby shop didn't have any Tamiya white primer, so I had to settle for Humbrol Gloss White. The first coat when down nice and glossy, but I missed a few areas on the bottom. So a few hours later I added a second coat and...disaster. The 707's surface now resembled the moon. F' you spray can! I was able to Micromesh the surface and make it less moonlike, but my fate was sealed: I was going to finish this thing, but it was going to suck.

I assembled the engines and was glad that I no longer cared how anything looked. Good thing, as the engines are horrible - they have flat intakes!  I started to apply the J-Bot decals and they were transparent.  %$#*.  "What can I do to get this thing in the case?!" No way was I going to attempt the cheat line.  I dug out some Leading Edge roundels and applied them. Of course, because this model was cursed, the fuselage roundels wrinkled up and never flattened out. I was done.

So there ends the tale of the worst model I've finished since I was ten years old. But it ended up in the Boeing Centennial display.  Maybe a few MoF visitors will look at it.   I just hope they don't look too closely!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

424 Squadron Mustang in 1/72

I've only wanted to build an RCAF 424 Squadron Mustang 4 with the tiger badge since about 1982. In 2016, I finally made it happen. This is the Airfix kit mostly out of the box with Leading Edge decals.

424 Squadron was an Auxiliary Fighter Squadron that flew from Hamilton, Ontario, post World War Two. The tiger badge on the side was adapted from the CFL Hamilton Tigercats logo. Gunze Mr. Colour H8 Silver for the natural metal and Tamiya Flat Aluminum for the rudder. The spinner is Gunze Chrome. This is my least favorite of the new tool Airfix kits that I've built, but it's still pretty nice and a great value. (The black and white photo is courtesy of the Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Prototype 727 at the MoF

I missed the last flight of the first 727 (N7001U) last Wednesday, but I did get a chance to take a photo of it at the Museum the next evening. It is interesting how much attention this project generated.  As a kid, very few airplanes were more boring than 727s, but in 2016 I was disappointed I couldn't see one fly.  The old jetliners have disappeared quickly and become much beloved.

Modeler's Note: Many years ago Kendall Model Company issued a Boeing 727-200.  My understanding is that the less said about it the better.