Midweek May Musings – The state we find ourselves in, modelling in the modern era……

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As I sit here with a little bit of time on my hands contemplating this wonderful hobby of mine that has kept me both entertained and frustrated in equal measure for the best part of 20 odd years. I marvel at the wonderfully talented modellers whose work grace the many magazines that I look at and buy, the many internet forums I visit and the various social media platforms I use, however within this wonderful hobby we have factions of modellers that just drive me up the wall and I seem to see posts from this particular type of modeller on nearly a daily basis. Now there are those that just live and breathe to just moan moan and then moan some more, then there are those that are just lazy and are constantly posting on forums and social media asking for advice on an array of subjects that if they could be bothered to search the internet for would find the answers to their questions quite easily but instead they cannot be bothered and spend the time posting on forums and social media enquiring what tin or paint they should use to paint the latest project they are working on.

Please do not get me wrong we all have to start somewhere and I can appreciate that getting advice on projects and help with ‘does anybody know if there is a kit in 1/32 scale of an obscure aircraft flown by the Ugandan air force in the 1960’s in existence as I  have been searching the outer reaches of the internet for 7 days straight and have now got square eyes’, that is where I believe the internet forum and social media comes into it’s own and not can anyone tell me what colour paint I need for a German Tiger in panzer grey, this is the type of modeller that just drives me up the wall, and look what it does to me, it turns me into a moaning modeller who then feels the need to vent his frustration right here for you all to see. Now I have posted on forums and social media to ask for advice myself when I am lost and confused as to where I may find a certain metal gun barrel or etch brass set and I have also used it to ask for peoples opinion on something model related which I did quite recently when I was refurbishing my workroom, that’s what I feel these internet platforms are very useful for and not for ‘do Tamiya do a Sherman Tank in 1/35 scale’.

It does not take much time to research these things yourself, I often wonder how these type of modellers would have coped in the 60’s/70’s and 80’s when there was no internet and you needed to get up off your backside to go to the model shop to buy the kit the glue the paint and then get yourself down to the bookshop or the library and maybe even a museum if you were lucky enough to live near one to do your own research instead of relying on others who have already done the leg work to get your information. Maybe it is modern life that is drawing these lazy types out of the woodwork after all you can get virtually everything these days at the touch of a button or two, when I was younger if you wanted a fish and chip dinner from the local take away you had to go to the shop and collect it, these days you press a few buttons and voila within a half hour or so it’s being delivered to your door by someone on a moped, the same can be said for our hobby. We are in a golden age of modelling and we see all manner of kits books magazines paints tools weathering materials and the like being released to us nearly every week and we no longer have to venture outside the front door to go and collect them all we have to do is press a few buttons and within a few days they are being delivered to the door and all we have to do is unpack and use. Which brings me onto something else, are we just a little bit too spoilt by all these state of the art kits and finishing products, whatever happened to the art of actually modelling, through my eyes modern modelling is not about what you can do with the box of plastic and any spare bits you have in the spares box or the bits you can form from spare plastic and stretched sprue it is all about the painting and the finish.

Painting is the final stage in the journey that started when you open the box and start gluing it together however I feel that with all these fantastic kits a fear factor has crept in, the fear to venture outside our comfort zones and try something different, when I got back into modelling in the early 90’s we never had all these finishing products that we see now and from so many different manufacturers too, when I go to shows to pick up some paint I never know where to start, it really must be so intimidating for someone getting into or returning to the hobby. I have tried some of the newer paints and to be honest it has been a bit hit and miss and I often find myself returning back to what I know and have learnt over the years, I think my biggest problem is I have quite large gaps between projects and being quite old I often forget the lessons I have learnt so find it easier to return to what I have remembered. So is modelling in 2018 better than it was 20 years ago? generally I think so obviously it has it’s negative points and feel that the true art of modelling is diminishing, how many of the younger modellers still fell the need to scratch build anything especially with the amount of products available to us, who still mixes their own washes and filters these days, I am not sure I have ever made my own, it is far easier to buy an off the shelf product, even me with 25 plus years experience are guilty of the odd bout of laziness but at least I do all my own research and just for the record does anybody know if Tamiya do a Sherman in 1/35 and if they do what colour grey should I paint it ??…..

The Average Modeller

 

There is light at the end of the damn tunnel……

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As is the norm these days you start a project that seems quite straight forward at the beginning yet keeps you bogged down with problem after problem after problem and when all seems lost and you are on your knees ready to give up then bang it all goes together in the end like a dream and you sit wondering why you put yourself through all that angst and stress when you are sitting back marvelling at all your handy work, sound familiar?, it does for me and that is exactly what I found myself doing last Saturday night as I added the finishing touches to what I can only describe as a tour de force or better known to me as the refurbishment of my work room. I wish that I could find the exact words to describe how I felt halfway through the project as I removed box after box after box of unbuilt kits from shelves on the wall, some kits I had even forgotten I had bought they had been loitering on the shelf that long, stacking them up to one side so that I could make room for the racking ensemble that I had planned creating a mountainous range of boxes that made it hard to manoeuvre in my 9 meter by 2 meter box room come workroom to the point where I needed to spill out onto the landing and the bedroom next door.

Now I have made no secret of my inability to see a large percentage of my projects through to the end so much so that I have a rather large pile of kits that I have started and not yet got round to finishing, however having started this mammoth task I felt that a bucking of the trend was required and felt the need to ignore any feelings of giving up and see it through to the end. Now thankfully snow arrived in the nick of time which enabled my to spend 3 days putting up shelves tidying, putting stuff away and generally pottering about which gave me the impetus I needed to finally see how the plan in my head and the several hastily drawn sketches I had was going to come to fruition. When I turned out the light on that Saturday evening in early march the room was finally looking how it had looked in my minds eye at the beginning of the year, all I needed to do was order my piece of worktop some timber to support it and voila it was nearly job done, I saw myself in the coming weeks finally sitting at my new workbench and to kickstart my modelling year, however my local Wickes had other ideas as they were unable to deliver my order until last Friday…… but hey, what was another 3 weeks to wait as in all fairness I had been using my cobbled together workroom for the last 14 years so a little more time waiting would not do me any harm.

Well as the Friday arrived and I received the text to say my delivery was en-route I could not envisage the issues that were to befall me over the following few days. Firstly 3 meters of worktop are not light and they are not moved very easily on your own, secondly I am a bit rubbish with a tape measure and thirdly the walls in my house are not very straight. Having set aside my entire Saturday morning/afternoon to add the final piece of the puzzle I started by doing my best to cock things up and make life a bit harder for myself however slowly but surely things were strangely going to plan and before very long I was ready to add the final piece, the actual workbench. Now after all the planning, the heartache the pain the frustrations and all the hard work it was coming down to the last piece of the puzzle and after spending what seemed like forever measuring measuring and measuring again I was ready to make the final cut of the day. My day job as a school site manager sometimes is a right pain in the backside however it also has some perks one of these is that the school has 2 nice halls at my disposal and although I do not take advantage of this very much they came in very handy as where else could I store and then cut 3 meters of worktop. I am never confident when using a power saw and I am never ever over confident either since I had a little accident with an electric mitre saw about 10 years ago which resulted in me having a really deep cut to my left wrist and a rather unenviable trip to my local A&E as every cloud has a silver lining it was just half a dozen stitches and it could have been a whole lot worse and I could be sitting here now blogging as the one handed modeller. After what seemed like a lifetime measuring and marking the worktop I was ready to put power saw to wood and make that final cut and of course once it was cut there was no going back and being a cautious kind of guy I had to make sure everything was just right before I powered up the saw then voila a few seconds later the worktop was cut and I found myself tidying up. Now I was at the point to make the short trip from school to workroom and slide my workbench into place and my job would be finished……. however I had not taken into consideration the fact that the worktop was just over 2 meters long bloody heavy and my workroom is filled to the brim with shelves and racking full of models and books. I should have not feared however as the lovely and ever suffering Kerry came to the rescue right at the point when I was ready to call it a day suggesting that if we moved the racking that sits behind the bench on the right hand side we would have that little bit of extra room we need to manoeuvre the bench into place. Now I am not the type not to mention the impact someone has had on a project and I would like to take all the glory myself however once again that particular accolade must go to Kerry as she once more stepped up to the plate heroically and saved the day.

I do like a moral to a story and of course this story will be no different, the moral to this particular story has to be never be afraid to ask for help as you never know that one piece of advice could be the one thing that you just cannot see yourself as you are too closely involved to see the wood for the trees and brings the project to a close. An hour or so later I had screwed the workbench into place and rearranged everything that had been moved about during the day, popped the moved racking and its contents into place and I could close the door satisfied that it was a good days work well done. Since then I have spent a few hours here and there pottering around trying to clear a few storage boxes of stuff from the floor and just generally getting stuff ready to make a start on my first modelling project of the year and that’s another problem for me to solve, should I complete a shelf queen, build the radio control car Kerry bought me for my birthday or should I make a start on one of my planned projects for this years scale model world who knows anyway if I let on I would have nothing to blog about in the weeks to come for now I am happy to apply the final touches to what is now a 95% finished work space that I am happy and proud of and I can’t wait to get in there and start modelling again.

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The Average Modeller

Here we go again, frustration after frustration after frustration……

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Well it has been a whole year since I started this blog and I have to admit it is not always easy to find things to write about and sometimes you have to wait for the right subject matter to rear it’s head and then BANG!!!! you have it. Over the last month and a half there have been quite a few opportunities to write about one particular subject however there are only a set number of times you can write about the moaning and complaining modellers within our hobby and boy do they like to moan, it gets to a point sometimes when you just have to stay away from the various forums and social media platforms just to keep sane because sometimes enough is just enough, and to be honest I’d had enough.

On to more positive thoughts, at the start of the new year I decided that my workroom was no longer working in it’s current state, the desk was oversized, I wasn’t using the rooms natural light as I had moved the desk away from the window (don’t ask), it was overcrowded with boxes of non modelling related stuff spare doors for my kitchen cupboards and nearly 20 years of buying models and not really building, well finishing them is more to the point so in a bout of new year enthusiasm I decided the time had come to sort it all out, so with pad pencil and tape measure in hand I ventured into the workroom to devise my plan. The room itself is a not very big and is what is commonly known as the box room so when you fill it to almost bursting point with stuff it is hard to work out where to start however with my enthusiasm unabated I started measuring and fermenting my plans.

I thought I would start by dismantling the desk a big old Ikea number which would then free up some space to move stuff around which in theory sounded like a great plan however the reality was not how I had envisaged it, when I moved the desk from it’s original place in the house my workroom was relatively empty now it was chock full to the rafters and manoeuvring stuff about so I could undo the bolts that held the higher level shelving ensemble together was no mean feat, neither was doing the same to get to the 4 or so bolts that held the 2 ‘legs’ on, once I had managed this and removed the offending remnants of the desk I thought I would have a lovely big space to work in, sadly I had not taken into account  what I was going to do with the stuff that had lived on, underneath or on the high shelving that made up the Ikea desk. This is where the frustrations started to creep in, I had envisaged a reasonably complex project yet short in terms of time yet every time I entered the room more and more issues were screaming out for my attention, however now that I had started I needed to persevere and see it through to the end otherwise my once lovely workroom would just become a glorified cupboard.

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Once the desk was gone I needed to think about what to do with my endless, (well it seems endless and you stand and look at it) selection of unbuilt, and part built kits that sit quietly on a selection of Ikea shelving of varying lengths and widths adorning the rooms 4 walls,  you could say my workroom had become more of a bad advert for Ikea than a modelling room however I needed a solution to what to do with this large dare I say it ‘collection’ of kits something with a bit more flexibility than wall mounted shelves.  After I had spent 5 or so minutes searching the internet and Amazon in particular looking at the possible solutions to my conundrum I settled on some nice easy to assemble (and the first 2 were, more on that later) 5 tier racking, I thought I would be able to get the stash on these no problem, oh! how wrong was I. The racking arrived a few days later and I felt a little bit closer to reaching my goal. Another frustration in this self inflicted headache I mean project of mine was the factor of time, it was taking so long just to achieve the smallest amount of gain, firstly the problem of working in a room that still has it’s entire contents still in residence is a major stumbling block and as you need to virtually empty the room before you do any work  and as this takes a good hour or so, you can only really do this at weekends, which also creates its own set of frustrations because you spend a great deal of time doing the workroom and very little time doing very little else, which I am sure pleases the ever suffering and very understanding Kerry because I guess while I am doing this I am not bothering her or breaking airbrushes and swearing about it.

Having bought, built, and put the racking in place, filled them up with some boxes full of magazines on the bottom to add some weight, two things were becoming quite clear, 1 I had far too many models, and 2 with the racks in place I was short of space for my planned workbench so it was back to the drawing board, and yet another solution was required. On the other side of the room I have a bookcase, now as I have come to work out this is no ordinary bookcase, it is a bookcase on a par with the Tardis or Mary Poppins’ handbag. When I first moved into my workroom back in 2003 I removed the horrible and ugly set of spotlights with the plan of putting a strip light in and things being what they are I never got round to it and as the light switch is virtually flush I covered it over with said bookcase, now with the light back on the agenda I felt I needed to move the bookcase over and free up the light switch, to do this I needed to empty it, once emptied I needed to move and refill it, and yes you guessed it I ended up with at least a shelf full of books with no home, I really do love how things evolve over time and once you alter them it all goes a bit awry and are altered forever. So now the book case had moved I realised that I needed another bookcase to pick up the slack so once again the tape measure came out and it dawned upon me that I needed either a very thin bookcase, or a new one to fill the space entirely and then it came to me in a flash of light, well maybe not as spectacular, if I bought another set or two of racking I could turn one into a bookcase, and being bigger than the old bookcase would take my books, some magazines and I would still have space for some more, the other racking could pick up the rest of the stash, and although now they have been ordered, delivered, built (yet not as easy as the first 2, I think these ones had either been danced upon by Elephants or somebody somewhere hates me because they fought me and Kerry all the way and took to being built very very reluctantly). With the room rejigged and filled with books on one wall  the surplus stash on the other and although the bookcase needs some reorganising it looks ok and will take a bit of getting used too, the surplus stash is still looking rather surplus albeit a bit less in number and I still have a few more hurdles to overcome until the room looks a bit more how I envisage it.

It has been over a week since I last did anything with my work in progress and I have had time to think about a few of the issues facing me in the cold light of day, these are quite simple 1, I have far too many kits that I have completed that have got broken over time and they need to go, 2, I have far too many kits that I have part built and lost interest in or have parts that have either got broken or lost, and 3, I have far too many kits, far too many for me to build especially at my current build rate and far too many I will never build so I need to go through them and sell them on, the cull is underway my friends.  As for the room itself, I have a list of things that I still need to do before I can think of installing my workbench, I need to clear the floor of kits for starters so I need to put back up a couple of shelves to take the slack, rearrange the racking to maximise the space, purchase a spray booth (I have my eye on what I need) and that will enable me to paint in doors once again so no more freezing my legs off in the build up to Telford, and I can get back to modelling again in a room that is more user friendly and exactly how I want it. Will it have been worth it? I think so, the room has evolved over the last 15 years into in unusable mish mash which has made it difficult  to model in so at least once it is done I can get back to enjoying the hobby once more because to be honest I haven’t been recently and I have begun to miss how much enjoyment I used to get out of it, it’s a glorious hobby and it is there to be enjoyed.

The Average Modeller

As one year ends and another begins you realise some things just remain the same…….

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As I sit here 3 weeks or so into the new year and having had the time to reflect upon the past year which was a relative success for me albeit a bit up and down,  I have to admit it did have its positives as it saw me grab the bull by the horns and start this blog it also gave me the chance to finish off 5 models over the course of the year (well the last 4  months at least), a definite year to remember and my best in living memory the trick now I suppose is try and emulate last years offering by getting back to the bench and do some modelling, however that will have to wait for now for 2 reasons, one I have decided to refurbish my mish mash of a workroom and secondly I need to finish this blog post, the workroom refurb is for anther time although I have started it and if you are interested on how I am getting on you can follow it on my Average Modeller Facebook page (Jason theaveragemodeller) just look me up.

Having got myself a little bit more involved in the hobby last year away from the workbench and the building of models for fun and myself it has enlightened me as to how we have changed as modellers and although that is not a bad thing yet it is not all positive. We see new kits books and painting/finishing products being released on almost a weekly basis, we see the model manufacturers sharing pre release CAD and sprue shots, and for the most part all I read are moans and complaints, why I do not know we have never had it so  good. I watched with interest a week or so ago as Airfix, that great British modelling institution announce their new releases for the coming year, to be honest I do not know why they bothered with the amount of moaning that I read on social media, it was off the scale, all I was reading was why they releasing that, I’m not going to buy it, it’s in the wrong scale, why are they giving us those decal options, who wants it in that scale, where are all the this, where are all the that, to be honest some of the remarks were just embarrassing to read, sometimes I think we need to take a good long, hard look at ourselves, this is a golden age of modelling and although I am not against the voicing of opinions some of it was just moaning for the sake of moaning  and was a tad embarrassing.

I will be honest what Airfix release each year does  not have a great bearing on what I choose to buy and build as they are mainly an aircraft manufacturer and I build armour (although I do have some aircraft kits in the stash) however since Hornby took over and they started releasing new tooled kits I have watched with interest what they have been coming out with ever since plus as most modellers from my generation started off building Airfix kits there is a bit of nostalgia added too, throw in the fact they are British and have a bit of the underdog attached to their chequered history and my interest is most definitely piqued. At Scale model world 2015 they had a 1/72 Phantom FG1 displayed on their stand which caught my attention and although I may not part with my hard earned cash for one I do look forward to seeing them on club stands and on the competition tables during the coming year. Fast forward to this year and the announcement of a Hawker Hunter in 1/48 and my interest has been grabbed firmly with both hands, I love the Hunter it is such a great looking aircraft and I will be adding one to my build list when it is released later in the year.

Once Christmas is over and we are rooted firmly in the new year I view with interest the lists of kits many of us modellers pray and dream are released that year, the plethora of different vehicles and aircraft that grace social media blog and forum posts is great to see and although many will not see the light of day this year a great many will and I look forward to these being announced, I also look forward to the Nuremberg toy fair at the end of this month and the shows that follow throughout the year and I still find  myself getting excited as these new kits are announced and I feel that is how it should be. Myself, I do not have long wish lists and I suppose that is why I do not feel the disappointment that others feel when my particular holy grail kit is not released I am just satisfied with what the manufacturers choose to send our way and after all if I do not want to buy or build what they choose to release I will not be disappointed as there is more enough kits out in the  market place and in my stash to keep me busy this year and beyond. What would I like to see this year? I would like to see a little less moaning about what the manufacturers decide to release for us in the coming year and the RAF museum London to turn their Buccaneer around so I can get a decent snap of it, however I guess some things are out of my control and human nature being what it is, it is our prerogative to vent our frustrations and in the modern age of the internet it gives everyone a voice even if it is just for the sake of it so I guess some things will always remain the same.

The Average Modeller.

 

 

 

Autumnal Telford, a wonderful weekend and here’s to the future……

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As I sit here a fortnight after the main event reflecting on all the fun the jokes the laughs the purchasing the walking the chatting the standing the eating the drinking and the wonderful models on show and on top of that it was all done in great company I can positively say it was a great scale model world 2017, I know there have been some negative comments concerning some peoples behaviour in the competition and the awful news that a model belonging to Chris Meddings had gone missing from the competition area which is something  I think virtually everyone finds unacceptable and something that definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth however the show from  a personal point of view was great. The couple of weeks leading up to the show not so as it was full of the usual angst and stress as I did my best to cock up the 4 models that gradually became 2 that I wanted to finish for my club stand, my gloriously planned and badly executed Tamiya mid production Tiger 1 sadly got left behind partially painted in it’s box with it’s set of Friul metal tracks that I ran out of time to finish and maybe it was a project too far but hey you live and learn and the last few months have definitely been a learning curve for myself.  Shooting back a couple of months as the summer ended and my thoughts turned to the autumn model shows culminating in scale model world a fortnight ago I somehow managed to drag myself kicking and screaming back to the workbench and completed no less than 5 models a definite upturn in my modelling fortunes and this year has definitely turned out to be my most productive in living memory harking back those early days of build/paint/decal/finish within a couple of days of buying the kit.

Once we packed the car and  made the early morning journey up the M6 via the M25 and M40 arriving in a chilly Telford in early afternoon, after a quick sortie around the shops we carefully carried our box of models from the hotel and negotiated the short but sweaty 20 minute walk up to the International Centre, it was maybe not our best decision to carry the box that distance however it was the subject of several jokes and a lot of laughs across the weekend so all was not lost and once we had passed our box of models over to fellow Bulldog and amazing modeller Keith Forsyth grabbed our wrist bands for the weekend  it was once again back off for a bit of shopping before it was a swift return to the hotel for dinner and some rest and recuperation. Now Scale model world for me starts with a brisk early morning walk from the Telford central Premier Inn via McDonalds the cash machine and then joining the longish queue which was outside in the cold this year which makes a change then just waiting to get through the door and into the warm and great atmosphere that always welcomes us every November. Queuing outside this year wasn’t too much hardship as it wasn’t raining, it wasn’t too cold and we had a chat with Simon from IPMS Stafford which helped speed up the wait and once the doors opened it did not take us too long to get in find our club set up our models and our SMW was under way.

Some modellers go to scale model world to sit on a stand display their models and chat to people as they happen past, others go to socialise and others go to pick up modelling projects for the forthcoming year, for me and the ever suffering partner in crime Kerry it is a a balance of many things that come together to make a wonderful weekend. This includes some down time for the 2 of us away from work and normal life, time spent in great company loads of laughs and jokes and of course the opportunity to look at some great models display some of our own and the chance to pick up some projects for the forthcoming winter months to boot, not that I need any new projects however the chance to grab a few new kits is always an opportunity not to be missed and after all the traders are there to sell we are there to buy and of course it would be rude not too. The weekend sadly seems to just fly past, we often over the two day just go and sit in the catering area next to the kit swap and recharge our batteries having a drink and a bite to eat soaking up the atmosphere and trying not to check the time, which is hard not to do especially on the Sunday.  I read somewhere since our return that scale model world is the modellers Christmas and that is a sentiment I can relate too, the big build up the excitement the night before and all the lovely gifts you have at the end of it. As all good things must come to an end the weekend is over in what seems to be a blink of an eye one minute you are setting up your models for the weekend and before you know it you are packing them away then it’s back to the car and the long drive home.

After a quick toilet and food stop lots of driving we once again found ourselves back home and some time to reflect on what was a great weekend a decent cuppa and the opportunity to collate the purchases and the obligatory photo to see how much we actually bought. For me this year was not just about how much I had bought more of a case of buying what I went for and for the first time in the 9 years I have been attending I did exactly that, a few small projects and some bits for one I have had in my mind for quite a while. In the 10 or so days since we returned home my modelling time has been short and that has been ok, in the few weeks leading up to SMW it was a frantic oh! my god I have so much to do and so little time to do it in and I had been spending every spare minute finishing stuff off in blind panic and frantic hope, so a return to a more relaxed mode of modelling has been good.

Now the dust has settled on SMW and life has returned to some sort of normality I can reflect on the weekend with a fair bit of satisfaction with great memories and a return to my normal modelling habits and with just one model show left this year I can also reflect upon a good modelling year for me, the start of my blog and the fact that I have actually finished 5 models, 5 can you believe it. On my return from Telford last year I was suffering from a bit of burnout yet was satisfied that I had actually finished a model and it was sitting pride of place in the display cabinet, this year I have returned without any burnout and am now looking forward to getting back to the bench on a more regular basis, I have already built one kit since my return albeit a snap fix tank from the Meng world wartoons range never the less it is built and waiting paint which is not something that has been the norm down the years however it has been a welcome change to that norm. The first part of the year was a real toil for me whilst I struggled with lack of motivation and a really difficult time trying to regain that modelling mojo that had for some reason buggered off and left me. The one positive light was this blog which kept me sane and involved in the hobby whilst I waited for my missing mojo to finish it’s holiday, it returned in earnest over the summer and propelled me to get some projects over that much vaunted and sort after finish line. The future?, well I have some projects I want to finish, some I want to start and of course in the back of the mind are the builds for my club stand for next years scale model world, how many days is it?, that’s ok I have over 300 and that should be enough, and as for now?, I am happy modelling at a relaxed speed and not under any pressure to get things finished and I am once again happy to be blogging away.

The Average Modeller.

 

Here we go again 2 weeks to Telford and I have so so much to do, and oh no not again, airbrush problems arghh!!!!!

Fleet Air Arm Museum 155

As  I sit here with just under 2 weeks to go until the big day, in fact in 2 weeks time I will hopefully be sitting somewhere reflecting on a wonderful weekend spent in great company at the biggest and best model show in the world. Two weeks is probably a long time to some however in my case it may as well be minutes as the panic of the fast approaching trip to the midlands sets in and my frantic behaviour ridden modelling time reaches fever pitch and I get really really close to completely losing my mind. As this last week approached I was looking forward to finally adding the finishing touches to my collection of models that yours truly had planned to be ready for the club stand, I had a whole weekend to finish the building and prepare myself for the inevitable bouts of pulling my hair out as I painted them and got them ready to be boxed up for our trip to Telford. Saturday arrived and I cracked on finishing off my mid production Tiger 1 with some etch brass Zimmerit and getting a good solid coat of red primer on so that I could make a start on painting it either Sunday or the modelling evening I had planned for later that week, the airbrushes were gotten ready with a nice clean in preparation for the next days spraying. Now I do not know about you but I have a great trust in how I feel about something and as the cleaning of the airbrushes commenced I had a feeling that something was not quite right however I put it down to tiredness as I put the 2 brushes away ready for the morning and indulged in some relaxing TV viewing.

As Sunday morning arrived I set out my day priming a few things for the long suffering partner in crime and added the finishing touches to the priming of the Tiger, before that I decided to check the airbrush that had bothered me the night before and low and behold that nagging feeling I had was a bent needle tip, see you should always trust your instincts, not too much of an issue as I have 2 other brushes I can use 3 at a push. The rest of the day was littered with stop start use of the airbrush and problems with air pressure, nozzle blockages and the like and I found myself spending more time cleaning the damn things than actually using them. Now I am not going to lie my issues with my airbrushes are a constant irritant, it is not some errant issue with them but it is me, they are used sporadically and as my modelling mojo fluctuates so does their use. Over the years I had definitely been going with the school of thought that anybody can pick up and use an airbrush to a decent standard however recently it has come quite evident to me that this is not the case and you do need to practice practice and practice some more, I do not see myself as an artist or with any kind of eye for art in fact it was never a strong point of mine in school even though many members of my family are very artistic yet that particular gene pool seems to have skipped me by. As my weekend slowly dragged itself to a frustrating close I found myself with one less airbrush to use and no closer to getting anything remotely finished.

After having the issue with airbrush 1 and the weekends frustrations I decided to put the 2 nozzles I possess for airbrush 2 in a bottle of airbrush cleaner and leave them soaking over night no disaster there I thought to myself and I was right, that in itself was not the disaster, what I did next was where the disaster manifested itself, I shook them in the jar not once but many times trying to clean out the stubborn remnants of paint in the nozzle tips, bad idea the tips do not like being shook and low and behold when I removed them from the jar I had bent the tips on both of them, if ever there was a time when my level of stupidness astounded me, it was now, how could I have been so stupid shaking the 2 nozzles around like I was shaking a pair of maracas, after bending the needle of airbrush 1, bending the nozzle ends of airbrush 2, what other calamities could befall my ever failing collection of airbrushes, have no fear more was to come. Speeding ahead just 24 hours and with just 1 airbrush left, my new Iwata HP-CH what else could go wrong?…..

For Telford I have numerous kits in varying forms of completion which includes the mid production Tiger 1 that was mentioned earlier and a 1/48 scale T34, so with the little tank, paint, and airbrush in hand I went off to the shed to commence my evenings painting, after a few minutes the choice of colour for my highlights seemed a bit too bright so I decided to put that aside and move on to painting the Tiger, so off I went to clean the green paint out the airbrush and get ready for some nice coats of desert yellow or dunkelgelb to those who care. Whilst cleaning my airbrush I decided to run a small  cleaning brush through the nozzle cap which although it cleared out some paint remnants it had also put a slight burr on the edge of the hole and a slight split near the top which of course was unbeknown to me, so back off to the shed it was with a bottle of  Mig Dunkelgelb and my airbrush to spray the first coats of paint over my lovely red primer what could possibly go wrong? as I sprayed the first line of paint the airbrush did not sound right, it was spluttering, thinking it may be a bit clogged I sprayed some away from the model and then had another go, nope still spluttering I also noticed the paint was just sitting on the primer and not really covering it, not to be put off I went and picked up my very little used Iwata TR2, now this is an airbrush that I have never really got to grips with but now was it’s moment of glory. Sadly it was to be a false dawn as the paint I sprayed from it just sat on the model and looked awful, so after laying the airbrush down I ran the 3 parts of my Tiger under the tap and washed the remnants of the paint off now this is one of the many good points of using acrylic paints, it is water based, so with paint removed I put the parts in the airing cupboard to dry off until it’s next date with paint.

After cleaning my airbrushes, putting them away and calming my nerves with a pizza I bit the bullet and spent rather a large amount of money with the Airbrush Company replacing all the parts I had managed to bend break or damage over the last couple of days and sat down for a bout of detail painting which oddly I found quite calming and very therapeutic. Is there a moral to this story?, possibly however we are not finished yet. Not only had I had suffered self inflicted airbrush disasters there was also the fact that there were issues with the Mig paint that had been used and that is where the internet and specifically You tube comes in handy and one video later I was fully  understanding as to why it did not take, you have to use the Mig paint differently than say Tamiya Vallejo AK or Gunze Sangyo and that is for another time, so I ordered some Vallejo and AK interactive paint to speed up that particular job.

So here we are less than 2 weeks until we pack up and make the longish trek to Shropshire with me being maybe a little closer to being ready than I was a week ago but not as far forward as I would have hoped and definitely would liked to have been. I have now got less time to get those projects over the line yet it is doable however I am now up against it and under more pressure than ever, last year I was still matt varnishing my Tamiya MKIV on the Thursday night and drying it with a hair dryer, I do not plan to be doing that this year, a Thursday night of a take away and relaxation would be wonderful so the countdown is on. Now the moral to this particular tail is this, my mum used to say to me as a child you should not put anything in your ear sharper than your elbow wise words indeed yet the same can be said about airbrushes, they are precision tools with delicate easily damaged parts and they need to be handled and cleaned with care (please take note Jason), I am now going to change how I clean my collection of airbrushes thanks to my friend and club mate Keith Forsyth and we will see how I get on with that, the clock for Telford is definitely ticking and I have so so so much to do…..

The Average Modeller

When it is all going well and then it is all going terrible wrong…..

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After getting over my shock of actually finishing some models ready for the Farnborough model show back in mid September modelling had sadly taken a back seat as life, work and other responsibilities had unfortunately gotten in the way. Last Tuesday I managed to return to the bench and look forward to the ominous spectre that is scale model world lurking somewhere in the very near future, whilst sitting in my chair I happened to notice my IPMS membership card hanging on the back of my work room door and as I picked it up to take a look you can imagine my horror when I discovered that somehow over the period since Farnborough it had somehow gotten wet and the usual clear information on it’s front had become a touch obscured, however after a quick email to Cliff Bassett IPMS UK membership secretary polarity was returned as he put my mind at rest as he told me that all should be ok as the relevant info was still legible, it never hurts to check these things especially with little over a month to go I did not fancy the indignation and disappointment of being told,  sorry you cannot come in.

I am not going to lie I have felt a little under pressure of late with that fast approaching trip to Telford and the need to get some things over the finish line, this weekend for me was a great opportunity to get my reluctant backside to the bench and try and sneak some things ever closer to that most sort after place, the finish line and with no football to ruin my day it was off to the workroom. To set the scene, I have been working on a Tamiya Tiger 1 mid production for a Tiger build challenge within the members of my model club with the idea of them being ready for our club stand at Telford, now for reasons only known to me instead of going for a simple out of the box build with maybe a Tamiya early or initial production Tiger I opted for a Mid production variant with the addition of some resin Zimmerit, some etch brass grills, a turned aluminium barrel and some metal tracks. Now being one that usually shy’s away from etch brass and resin it will come as no surprise that I was avoiding starting the project like the plague, unfortunately with time not really being on my side I had to bite the bullet and just get on with it. I thought with this build my approach would be slightly different as I was having to deal with some after market products and get it over the finish line and reasonably quickly, so I decided to actually follow the instructions and add the aftermarket as I went along, all was going ok until it came to the adding of the etch grills and of course the need to use super glue, now me and super glue have a sketchy past, occasionally everything goes according to plan, and other times everything goes to hell and back again and this tends to escalate quite quickly. Now I tend to avoid etch brass as it bends far too easily and some of the pieces of etch are so small they are very easily lost, pinging off into the atmosphere never ever to be found again plus there is the need to attach it with super glue. Surprisingly I only encountered a few issues attaching the four etch grills with only one needing an extra blob of glue to convince it to stay where I put it.

With the upper hull looking the part it was now time to turn my attention to the resin zimmerit, I have never used resin zimmerit before successfully, I had dabbled with an old Verlinden set some years ago this set from Atak was a lot different and I have to say this is very very thin resin, after deciding to tackle the lower chassis first I cut out the thin resin and glued it on, I am not going to lie it went on ok however I was having trouble with the glue drying too quick, I persevered though, the second part went on ok although I was still having trouble with the glue going off too quickly. Now if I had known then what was to happen later I would have stopped there and sourced myself some slower curing super glue, now as is the norm I changed tact, I went from using super glue to using some Gorilla white glue, sadly this did not quite go to plan and once again I  reached for the super glue. Feeling really pleased with how the lower hull was looking I moved onto the upper sides and once again the earlier issues were rearing there ugly head however I managed to get the complete lower hull finished within a couple of hours and sat back feeling really pleased with my work, not something I can honestly say I do very often.

With the lower hull complete I reluctantly moved my attention to the turret, now I perhaps should have started with the turret but being notoriously adept at avoiding things I do not want to do, I left it to last. They say hindsight is a wonderful thing and if it was possible to turn the clock back I would however without the benefit of either of these I turned my attention back to the turret and oh how I wish I had not, after carefully cleaning up the 2 thin resin turret sides I decided to apply my super glue, and this is where I went from complete success to an absolute disaster in one fell swoop. I had been using a micro brush to apply my super glue and my common sense was telling me that I should stick with this (no pun intended) however I did not follow the common sense route and decided to apply the glue straight from the pot and this is where my self made disaster manifested itself, now had the resin sheet gone on straight the issue of a bit too much glue could have been dealt with however it was not to be. The resin went on at a peculiar angle prompting a quick panicked response from me and within seconds I had a chunk of split and broken resin sheet stuck to the fingers of my left hand and super glue everywhere, luckily I keep a tidy and orderly bench otherwise the carnage would have been a whole lot worse. After a not so careful assessment of the carnage and a rant at my long suffering partner in crime Kerry I decided that the best and only course of action was to cut my losses and throw it in the bin, once carefully put in the bin I cleaned myself, the bathroom and my workbench up and after a short burst of exasperated huffing and puffing I retrieved it from the bin, setting aside the lower hull, upper hull gun mantlet and the spare unused resin parts I did my best to clean up the turret and the overglued zimmerit however it was becoming quite clear to me that I needed a new turret and some other kind of zimmerit to complete the project. As luck would have it I had a Tiger 1 turret that was going spare as part of an old project that I had long abandoned, all I needed to do is source some replacement  Zimmerit which I did via ebay and voila the day was saved.

The moral of this particular tale?, practice practice and more practice, I could not of envisaged the disaster that was going to unfold Saturday afternoon and as it was my first time using resin zimmerit coupled with my dodgy past with super glue the chances of it going wrong were probably high anyway, would I use resin zim again, probably yes after all if you never step out of your comfort zone, or never give anything new a try how are you ever going to know if you can do it or not, it is good to step out of it once in a while and after all we should have high aspirations and try and be better than our last project even though this is not always the case, we should at least try.

The Average Modeller