13 April 2014

What's On The Workbench? #1

What's on the workbench?

Due the (chaotic) way I approach my modelling it means that I'm usually working on numerous things and completing only a few of them. Of course they're the ones this blog tends to focus on and the others, they get left behind. This means that as far as the blog has been concerned it sometimes appears that I'm doing nothing at times!

With that in mind I've decided to take a look at some of currently in-progress models that I'm working on and maybe this'll be a more regular feature of this blog.

First up is a purchase from last week's Shropshire scale model show, Tamiya's 1:100 scale MiG-21.

I been a bit undecided about this range since building the MiG-17, however I saw several of these kits for sale at £3 each and thought I'd have another try. So far I have to say the MiG-21 looks a better kit than the MiG-17. The main purpose of this build will be, at a later date, practising shading and weathering a model with a metallic finish.

Next is Tamiya's 1:48 Citroen 11CV, a classic car of the WWII era.

I've been thinking of branching out in quarter scale vehicles for a while but wasn't good enough with an airbrush to paint them. I'd picked this kit up from a local model shop's closing down sale many months ago and stashed it away since then. Rather than going full on into tank building I thought this would be a good starting point for me to familiarise myself with vehicles in this scale, with the added bonus of already enjoying figure painting at this scale.

As to be expected it's the usual level of detail I've come to expect from Tamiya. I hope I can do it some justice when it comes to painting it, my growing confidence when using an airbrush means that this is certainly more likely than it was when I first bought this kit!

Finally, a base. I really like seeing models on display bases and so thought I'd try creating an airfield base. I've used one Trumpeters display cases in this case.

I've added very fine sand onto a layer of PVA glue and now I'm waiting a few days for it to dry before attempting to add a coat of paint to seal it (and then finally drybrushing it). The PSP plates are from Brengun (1:72 scale) and hopefully they'll figure somewhere in the display.

So that's what's on my workbench! Until the next time.

07 April 2014

Shropshire Scale Model Show 2014

Yesterday I took a break from the modelling desk and decided to visit the Royal Air Force Museum at RAF Cosford as it was hosting the 2014 Shropshire Scale Model Show.

This was the first scale model that I've attended in many years and so expectation was high. How was it?

The surroundings were very apt, as the various stands and displays were set up around the numerous aircraft on display. The museum alone is worth a visit, especially impressive is the Cold War hall featuring several MiGs, a Vulcan, Victor and a Lightning to name but a few.

The show consisted of numerous groups, mostly IPMS affiliated groups and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) displaying a wide range of aircraft and other models, all to a very high standard. It was really interesting to see such a collection and to be able to meet and chat with a few of the people responsible, although some seemed more approachable than others.

So many good models, it's so hard to pick a favourite!

MiG-15 - Britmodeller.com

The Luftwaffe in many shapes and sizes - IPMS Cleveland
Ilyushin Il-28 - IPMS Swindon
Mil Mi-10 - IPMS Swindon
MiGs - IPMS Mercia

Eileen - IPMS Leicestershire

P-51B - IPMS Staffordshire Moorlands

Porsche 917K - North Somerset Modellers
If had to pick a favourite, and it's a very tough choice, it would be the Porsche 917K by the North Somerset Modellers. Why? Because it's a beautifully built model of one of the few cars that interests me! But really, all of the above and many more were just fantastic.

The only thing to mention was the trade aspect which I found to be a little disappointing. I expected better of the retail companies I'd previously used and many of the other sellers were selling off overpriced "vintage" kits. While I'm sure a few gems were to be found it wasn't really for me. The novelty of searching through cardboard boxes full of dusty old kits soon wore off and I decided to focus more on the model displays. One mans junk may be another treasure but I can do that via eBay from the comfort of my own home...

On the plus side I did find a few specialist companies selling detail parts and figures and a few local, (to the venue), model shops who seemed to have thought a bit more about what to offer so I didn't come home empty handed!

All in all it was a good day in a great museum setting. I look forward to doing it again some time.

04 April 2014

Even More Miniatures In Detail!

As I was between projects I decided to focus on extending the Miniatures In Detail brand.

First up, there's now a Facebook page. Don't worry, the intention behind this is not to replace this blog! It'll be used for quick links to content and events, typically for very short posts which aren't really suitable for the more in-depth content of this blog.

Those of you that use Facebook will no doubt be aware of the multitude of Scale Model pages, that mostly seem to post up photos of other peoples work. I don't intend following this route as I believe modellers should be given credit for their work and so I intend to put you in contact with other modellers by linking to them and their pages as well.

Some of you may have also noticed the bloglovin button on the right side menu. I've found bloglovin to be a very useful tool for following blogs of all formats. If you choose to use it, then all you need to do is click the button to follow me!

Next up is my Pinterest page. I originally found Pinterest to be a very useful tool for collecting links to inspirational projects and to reference material. I was surprised how popular my personal page has become in such a short space of time and so I'm more than happy to share my findings.

You can find your way to either of these pages by clicking the links in this post or by the link on the menu bar at the top of this page. I hope to see you there!

01 April 2014

Citizens Of The Imperium - Inquisitor in 28mm Scale

It's been a while since I last posted because I'm taking a short break, this is partly because I'm hoping to visit a model show soon. Rather than start another project I thought I'd wait and see what I inevitably buy while I'm there and then start a new project afterwards. In the meantime I was looking for something else to occupy my time.

This break gave me a chance to think about miniature painting again, and while I was thinking I was reminded of the Games Workshop specialist game, Inquisitor, that was released just over 10 years ago. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it was a 54mm scale role-playing game featuring small groups of characters. For me that was exactly why it appealed, the focus was on character models and I'd always enjoyed painting characters in 28mm scale. Of course small groups of figures meant this was never going to be commercially appealing to the Games Workshop and sadly the game disappeared after a short run, the models lasted longer but are now no longer produced. I held on to many of my models for years but eventually I decided sell almost all of them and re-invest in scale models.

I imagine now you're wondering what was I thinking about? Well I was thinking about painting character models in 28mm scale, in-between scale model projects. My first thought was to paint simple Warhammer 40K themed characters, citizens of the Imperium if you like. This train of thought eventually led me to thinking about converting 28mm Inquisitor themed models. The 40K universe has (or had, I'm not so up to date on it these days) such a rich background, for me it was typified in the works of John Blanche and the Inquisitor themed Eisenhorn and Ravenor series of novels by Dan Abnett. Further research led me to discover that there's an active community of 28mm Inquisitor players out there. While I'm not look at playing any more, just painting, it was very interesting to see that the game lives on in this form and people have long had this idea before I got round to thinking about it.

Of course when I was at my painting and converting peak you used to be able to buy individual sprues and parts from the Games Workshop. These days you can't and the cost of buying a box set just for a few parts makes converting prohibitively expensive. This was one of the main reasons I stopped buying Games Workshop products.

So, ordinarily that would mean I'd have to rely heavily on my ever dwindling (and mostly Warhammer Fantasy) spares box. There was a time when I would only use Games Workshop parts or sculpt them myself, partly because I had aspirations of entering the Golden Demon and the use of any third party parts would lead to a disqualification. But since then things have moved on, there are plenty of good quality third party parts out there and I intended to use them in the future. If the Games Workshop can no longer deliver what I need then I'll go elsewhere, and as I said, my spares are getting less and less.

So how did I pass my time? This is a first attempt, a young Eisenhorn as featured in the Dan Abnett novel, Xenos.

The model was actually made from Games Workshop parts and green-stuff. A mix of parts including, the head of a classic 90's plastic Chaos Warrior Champions, a body from the Empire militia set, a pair of Imperial Guard legs and a bit more sculpting than I was comfortable with if I'm honest.

Overall I'm quite pleased with this one, hopefully the first of many. What do you think?

22 March 2014

Completed Review - Tamiya F-51D Mustang, built as a late WW2 P-51D, (60754) - Part 2

Scale: 1:72, RRP - £12.99

I'm going to cut to the chase with this review. Since the beginning of this blog I've been trying to reach a level of building that I'm happy with, and from that point continue to improve. The Airfix A6M2b Zero came close, but this build was the one where I finally reached my goal.

For those of you joining part way through this build I elected to backdate the Korean War F-51D to a late Second World War P-51D, one flown by the late Charles Weaver of the 357th Fighter Group, named "Passion Wagon." The reason for this was I had bought this kit second hand and some (but not all as it happens) of the decals had perished.

In an earlier post I alluded to my belief that sometimes it's worth paying more because you get a better kit and this kit proved to be a prime example. The fit is near perfect, even when I replaced the cockpit with a resin one and had to cut and use original parts alongside it. There's just a touch more class about a Tamiya kit, reflected throughout the whole product. Detailed instructions, poly-caps for the propellers (and a spare set for the alternative propeller) are just some of the things that come to mind.

In addition to this the decal options were varied and although the main reason for me backdating this model to a late WW2 P-51D was a set of perished decals I still found myself able to use some of the originals (not bad for a 10+ years old perished set)! I should add that I was fairly impressed with the Kitsworld decals but I'll follow this post with another about them.

The only additions I felt it was necessary to add were a small bit of clear plastic to the gun-sight and a few leftover photo-etch parts from my Academy P-51B build. The photo-etch seatbelts included in the CMK set I consider a must compared to the decal ones included in the kit, but this kit does pre-date such additions. I'll add wires and the rear view mirror at a later date as I'm planning on mounting this model in a case at some point in the future and those parts are a bit delicate.

So onto the photos:

The only part of my build that I'm dissatisfied with is my filing just in front of the wind-shield (somewhat more noticeable in the photos above than it is to the naked eye). If I can eliminate such mistakes from my future builds I'll be more than happy. But for now I'm hoping this build is the one that leads me onto better things.

Overall Build Score: 4.5 out of 5, for a kit that's more than 10 years old this is still a class above the rest. A perfectly reasonable price for such a clean fitting, precision kit that you'll find a pleasure to build.

14 March 2014

Completed Review – Hobby-Boss MiG-3 Easy Kit (80229)

Scale: 1:72, RRP - £5.99

The MiG-3 has been on my wish list for a while now. I had originally intended to build the Zvezda kit, based on the fact that Zvezda are Russian and so they surely must be able to produce a reasonable kit of a Russian icon. How wrong I was!

The Zvezda kit is actually a rebox of the frankly awful Revell kit which looks more like an abominable mix of a MiG-3 and Dewitine D.520. So this left me with the other option in 1:72 scale, Hobby-Boss's Easy Kit version.

I'm a bit sceptical when it come to "Easy Kits". While I appreciate the idea behind them is to get people into building models I do think the concept is somewhat flawed. Assembling a kit is only half the story and in my opinion painting a kit is always the more difficult part of any build. All I see easy kits as being is a quicker option of beginners reaching a point where they abandon a model because no-one provides them with an "Easy Paint" option to accompany the build.

Putting aside my thoughts on the easy kit part I was well aware that this kit was well regarded in the modelling community and so I was determined to see why.

On opening the box I found two large solid parts, the fuselage and the wings, a sprue of smaller parts and a clear sprue. The shape looked good, like a MiG-3 which was encouraging, even if the smaller parts did look a little soft on details and the plastic felt a little flimsy. Decal options were for two aircraft, one winter scheme, one summer scheme (although it should noted there's no way the red arrow decal will fit over the exhausts on the winter option).

To build it was a case of clip the fuselage to the wings, add a piece below the engine and you're just about there! Glue isn't necessarily needed for the larger parts but this isn't a snap fit kit either. There is, to my surprise two canopy options, one open, one closed. However the cockpit is a bit lacking in detail, if you're a scratch-builder then you'll probably feel the need to do something more with it. In my case I opted for the closed version so just chose to add some masking tape seatbelts and left it at that.

Total build time, including cutting and glueing...48 seconds!
From then on it was simply a case of finishing of the model prior to painting. Landing gear was a little on the weak side and I decided to leave off the rockets and only attach the launchers to the wing. All was fairly straight forward, living up to the easy build. Detail wise it's almost spot on, they even included the asymmetrical oiler coolers on each side of the engine! The only accuracy issues that I really noticed were a few missing panel lines and the doors to the tail wheel (there should be a leather cover rather than the doors).

As for painting I touched on that in a previous post, including my first airbrushed canopy. As it happens this model was actually serving as a tester for my new airbrush and so I picked a colour scheme similar to that of the P-51D I was working on. For the top colours I used several coats comprising of Tamiya's XF-62 (Dark Green) and XF-51 (Khaki Drab) and mixes of the two. For the underside I didn't really have any paints to hand that reflected a light VVS blue and so I used AS-7, Grey, which probably isn't as accurate as it could be.

Finally the decals, they were surprisingly good. There are two complete sets so the leftovers are going in the spares box, a man can never have enough good quality spare red stars!

The final result:

So I have say this kit far exceeded my expectations. Bearing in mind this is an easy kit and so I have to judge it on that basis Hobby-Boss have managed not only to produce an easy kit, but one that is more accurate than it's mainstream competitors. For this they have to be commended. Out of the box this is more than passable kit, and it's one with plenty of potential for extra detailing (albeit scratch-building).

I will hopefully revisit this kit at a later date as I practice working on panel lines, but for now it's done.

Overall Build Score: 3 out of 5, a complete surprise! Expensive for an easy kit but accurate beyond any of it's (non-easy kit) competitors. Either a good simple build or a more than worthy foundation for detailed build.

08 March 2014

Incomplete Review - Academy P-51B Mustang, Old Crow, (#1667 or #12464) - Part 2

Scale: 1:72, RRP - £6.99

I know what you're probably thinking. "Incomplete", this isn't going to be a good review, but stay with me.

The non-completion of this kit is more due to my own mistakes, all of which were avoidable, rather than the kit itself. I'd made the rather stupid mistake of using the wrong glue for the rear windows which had caused them to fog and to be honest I was never happy with the replacements that I'd made. Also as I was building Tamiya's F-51D at the same time and it was progressing better than this build I've decided to call it a day with this one.

Despite my personal failure with this kit I do have some positive thoughts about it. For a start it's the most accurate P-51B that I've come across. I also have a limited edition 1:72 scale Hasegawa RAF Mustang combo kit (2 aircraft in one kit) which retails at around the £30 mark, (so £15 per aircraft) and they have the wrong wings, those of a P-51D! As a result my Hasegawa kit is probably heading off to eBay some time soon...

When it comes to decals and marking options I think the 3 options are good range. Two USAAF options, one with the standard hood, one with the domed Malcolm hood and an RAF option, again with the Malcolm hood. For a budget kit this an excellent selection. The only issue is, as always, the decals are a little on the thick side.

Detail wise, it's a little lacking in places but the shape is correct and with the availability of 3rd party accessories it can be as simple or as detailed as you like. The Eduard photo etch set (SS250) which I used is highly recommended.

The only real let down were the ever present Academy fit issues, the cockpits never seem to fit easily on all the kits I've tried and I'm sure the wings for this kit wouldn't have fitted if you tried to fit them as the instructions say.

But overall I have say, I like this kit. If I didn't have so many other kits to build at this I would just buy another one and start again.

Overall Build Score: 3 out of 5, for a budget kit it's an excellent representation of the P-51B with a good choice of decals and alternative canopies. As long as you are prepared to deal with some fit issues!

02 March 2014

WIP - Academy's P-51B Mustang & Tamiya's F-51D Mustang

Carrying on from where I left off I realise that my Christmas Mustangs project is rapidly becoming an Easter Mustangs project.

So here's some work in progress shots, both kits are painted and ready for decals. Since getting my new airbrush I've managed to actually paint the white stripes on the wings of the Tamiya model while the Academy one was painted with my old airbrush.

Academy's P-51B
Academy's P-51B
Tamiya's F-51D (as a P-51D)

Tamiya's F-51D (as a P-51D)
Actually; I couldn't resist starting on the decals for the Tamiya kit before writing this post...