Workbench update: Two done, two close to paint, four a long way off

Here’s an update on a few projects mentioned here in the blog over the last year or so: DSC_0375North American P-51D Mustang

This one was completed at the end of January in time for the Petaluma contest – and it came out pretty well. I won’t belabor the construction, since I wrote an article for the IPMS/Journal about it, but it’s the Tamiya Mustang with an Obscureco wing with dropped flaps, an Aires interior and wheels, and a vacuformed canopy. The plane is finished as Roscoe Brown’s “Bunny”/”Miss Kentucky State,” and the figure of Roscoe was made with a CMK body and a Prieser head. This model had plenty of frustrations, but it came out pretty well. Sparrowhawk glamor 4 Sparrowhawk glamour 1 Curtis F9C-2 Sparrowhawk

I never wrote about this here – I tried to get it done on deadline back in September and didn’t quite make it (it was finished in December). Another Journal article subject, I’ll give you the basics: Pegasus kit, with an Engines n’ Things R-975, scratch-built interior, skyhook, landing gear, and struts. The decals came from Starfighter and the CMR resin kit (which is pretty awful too). The rigging is made from acupuncture needles, cut to length and added to pre-cut holes. It won the Ralph Patino Award at the Silicon Valley Classic for the best model built from the worst kit! DSC_0273 Fairey Firefly Mk. V

Not exactly stalled – I did cut open the observer’s cockpit a couple of weeks ago – but not much closer to completion than it’s been for months. I suspect this will be one of the next two models I finish. DSC_0400 Republic P-47D-30 Thunderbolt

Here’s Gene Martin’s Thunderbolt, inching closer to completion. The red, black and olive drab parts of the model are done and masked, but my first pass of metallizer revealed some sloppy joints at the wing, so I had to sand it out and rescribe the panel lines. I am really looking forward to getting this one done using the Barracuda Studios decals. DSC_0404 Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior

Well, the fuselage is done and it rests on the workbench like a beached whale, appropriately enough.     DSC_0386 Martin B-26-1-MA Marauder

The wheels are done, the torpedo is finished, and the next step is the daunting reconstruction of the tail gun position. It can be done – but it’s a lot of work. I’ll have to scavenge the propeller spinners from an Airfix P-61, because the Lone Star Models spinners are totally unusable (different diameters? Really?). Lots of work ahead, but nothing revolutionary. DSC_0401DSC_0402 Mikoyan MiG-15

This one snuck into the build sequence because I needed something to do “brute force” modeling on while I was traveling. I never got that far, because cutting open the speed brakes and, in the process, converting a MiG-15 bis into a MiG-15, took a lot of cutting, drilling, filing, and cursing. I’m not sure I’d recommend the Brassin brakes – the instructions leave a lot to the imagination, and for surgery like this, instructions are important. The Brassin cockpit is nice, though, and that’s installed and painted. I was hoping to have this little machine glued together and ready for paint quickly, but taking my time on it will not hurt. The basic kit is rather nice and I suspect it’ll get finished pretty quickly. Convair F-106 Delta Dart I’ve stopped, hoping that Meng will make a new one.

The next Journal: great for talking Egyptian cars into IJN battleships and watching “Knightrider” in space

This week, we’re throwing together the next issue of the IPMS/USA Journal – and by throwing, I mean working hard, fast and seemingly out of control. However, with the team of people we have, especially John Heck, it’s more like a deliberate juggling act than a slapdash rush to meet a deadline.

This issue features part one of a two-parter on building U.S. manned launch vehicles in 1:200, a build of the Moebius Models Mummy, the Hasegawa 1:350 Mutsu, a remarkable lighted build of the Knightrider K.I.T.T. and a story about a major model project at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. If that’s not variety I don’t know what is.
If you aren’t an IPMS/USA member, you’ll miss out on this issue, the July-August issue (which will drop around the time of the nationals, I suspect). You should get over to the IPMS/USA website and join if you aren’t a member. Trust me on that.

I’ve been twiddling about on the P-40 this week, hoping to get some decals on her shortly. Elizabeth is having knee surgery on Friday, so I may be busy/not busy for several days. I’d really like to have the model done for the Region 9 contest on July 25, but I don’t want to jinx myself. Also, Keith Bunyan is visiting from New Zealand next week, providing a welcome distraction from models but also presenting a distraction from models, if you know what I mean, so the contest may be out of the question unless I get a good session of building in tonight.

Also, one other item: my wife’s aunt Peggy sent two boxes of items that belonged to her husband, Maj. Hank Salisbury, USMC. One was filled with books, Pacific invasion maps (with Japanese artillery, airfields and buildings marked on them!), a USMC first-aid kit packed with its original contents, and a silk map of Japan, Korea, China and the Soviet Union. The other box had this:


This is what 53 Comet metal ship ID models look like. They’re not all Comet – several are from other manufacturers – but they all date from World War II. The notables in this collection are five unusual 1:300-scale destroyers, the carriers Yorktown, Independence and Ranger, the battlecruiser Alaska, Japanese cruisers Mogami, Aoba and Takao, and battleships Texas and Massachusetts. I’d like to find a home for them in a museum, but I may bring them to Friday night’s Silicon Valley Scale Modelers’ meeting. They’re pretty accurate, and they survived many years as toys for Hank’s kids, so they’re obviously battleship tough!

The most expensive decal sheet I ever bought

Well, I just bit the bullet and paid (well, Obscureco paid!) for a little present for all my friends in the IPMS, and my friends in the 362nd Fighter Group Association by extension. The gift: a decal sheet covering one P-47D in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales, which will be inserted into one of the next two issues of the IPMS/USA Journal (depending on logistics) following the delivery of the nationals issue (which is at the printers and headed out to the public as I type). The full story will be revealed at the time when the Journal arrives with the decal in it; let me just drop a few teasers about it:

1. The nose art was painted by George Rarey, but was not one of the items the late Damon Rarey had on his wonderful and now sadly defunct website tribute to his father. In fact, when I showed him the photo of the aircraft in question, Damon exclaimed, “My father never painted any girlie art!!!” But, says the pilot, indeed he did.

2. George did a study for this pilot – but the original idea was scrapped.

3. The pilot of this plane hadn’t seen a photo of his aircraft for 62 years until I sent him a scan of the photo after I interviewed him; I asked if, by chance, was “________” his airplane, and one thing led to another. A few months later, at the 362nd Fighter Group reunion in Portland, Oregon, I presented him with a set of profiles of his plane done by IPMS’s own Jack Morris, who did the decal artwork.

That’s all I’m going to say, beyond this: My goal is to demonstrate to other modeling companies the value of doing decals for the Journal. If twice or three times a year a nice sheet is included, it will add a lot of value to the publication and, for the sponsors, allow them to build their relationships with the 4500 most ardent scale modelers in the country. The beautiful thing is that several vendors I’ve spoken to informally have thought the idea was great. So, if you aren’t a member and like P-47s, it’s time to head over to the IPMS/USA website and get yourself current…