Here we go again……..

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(picture courtesy of http://www.92sqdn.brushhouse.co.uk/planes.html.)

This Blog post is dedicated to the memory of Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC.

Since my last musings bench time has been at a premium as work and just life in general just seem to have gotten in the way, as much as I try and eek out some time here and there I just end up coming up empty, the usual amount of frustrations boil up and when I finally get a small window of opportunity to get some bench time in I just end up sitting there non-plussed and devoid of inspiration and with a few builds on the go I just never know where to start. Year in year out I seem to repeat the same mistakes and as we approach the middle of the year I once again look at my modelling output over the last 6 months with disdain and disappointment as I have been my usual unproductive self at the workbench. However, having said that I have refurbished the work space which should aid me with my builds for the second half of the year and I think it is a job well done and something I am very happy with.

Now we are approaching what is normally my most productive of times the summer, I am looking forward to finishing work in a week, kicking back and cracking on with my builds for Scale Model World in November, I really must stop this cycle of the mad rush to get stuff across the line for Telford, return from Telford do nothing until the following summer and then build and paint in a frenzy up to….. well you can guess the rest, it’s a cycle that sadly I repeat every year and it really needs to stop. It starts with the best of intentions as the build up to Telford can be somewhat intense and it is nice to take a breather once it is all over, I unfortunately take that to the extreme and rest on my laurels from the first week of Novemeber until I relise it is only 100 or so days until Telford and I enter a time of extreme panic and then everything is rush rush rush until I run out of time. I cannot deny it and even with the best of intentions I am a lazy modeller who sadly never learns his lesson.

Now as I sit penning this my first blog post for over a month with the sun shinning outside, the workbench calling and a plethora of other tasks vying for my attention and a quick realisation that scale model world 2018 starts in just over 100 days and with a slight cold feeling starting to manifest itself at the base of my spine slowly spreading upwards and that awful feeling of doubt that falls over me with the knowledge that I have just a few short months to get started on my 3 projects that I have long planned to have ready for my club stand which includes the building of an Eduard WWI Biplane with etch brass and more rigging than I care to think about, and the steady feeling of why oh why do I allow myself to be dragged into yet another hair brain ‘let’s build this for the club stand it’s a great idea’ from my fellow club member Keith Forsyth although to be fair last years Tiger 1 build was my idea so just perhaps we are even on that score.

The issue I have with myself now is mustering the motivating to get the 3 kits I want to build for Telford started built painted weathered and so on, now having had minor surgery on my head in the last week which has rendered me useless and unable to bend my head forward which has stopped me blogging and kept me away from the workbench, not that I would have spent much time there in the build up to the end of work for the school holidays however in theory a week off work could have meant a week at the bench instead it has been spent laying on the sofa trawling my way through anything and everything Star Wars. So now school is out, a week of light duties at work on the horizon and with 2 weeks holiday to come I need to make a concerted effort to get the 3 Telford builds well on the way and ready for paint at the start of September, am I being over optimistic, maybe and maybe not. Over the last few years I have got a great amount of enjoyment out of spending the summer evenings at the kitchen table modelling away to my hearts content, headphones on listening to some of my favourite songs completely oblivious to the goings on around me as I get something resembling a project built and ready for paint.

So here I am with exactly 111 days until the doors open at the international centre Telford and in between now and then I have to build paint and weather 3 models and to some that is a simple task, to me that seems like a huge mountain to climb, what I  need to do is face each project separately and tick them off one by one. Usually as we break into the latter part of the year we have the normal autumn shows to attend and build for however this year we are doing something different and passing on the Farnborough show so that we can attend Euro Miniature Expo in Folkestone and The UK garage kit show in Crewe, a couple of shows that caters more for what the long suffering Kerry likes to do and a bit less for me, which is fine as I have Scale Model World to build for look forward to and save up for. Now it’s time to sort out how I am ever going to complete these 3 models for Telford, stop procrastinating and just get on with the bloody things, although I may start tomorrow!!!!.

The Average Modeller.

A return to the bench, the return of the usual frustrations and what’s next?

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After many months spent away from the bench whilst I refurbished the old workroom in all honesty I have not done much modelling since just before Telford last November this is due to many reasons and not just the fact that I had dismantled my desk and thrown it away. So over the last couple of weekends I have made a welcome return to the bench for a bit of light modelling in the shape of a Tamiya radio controlled car that the ever suffering Kerry  bought me for my birthday earlier in the year, it has been nearly 30 years since I last built a radio control car and it has been a nice deviation from the usual stuff that I build and although not straight forward it has been very enjoyable and I am looking forward to getting it finished and have it tearing up and down the car park of the school where I work. This return to the workbench after close to 6 months away has been really enjoyable and to be honest and not before time. When I  decided to refurb my workspace at the start of the year the thought that it would take me the best part of the first third of the year had not entered my mind, I just thought it would take me a few weeks however these things never go to plan and took me a bit longer than I had planned and hoped.

My modelling year has not really got started and this has been for numerous reasons work of course, this is an unwelcome distraction that at times really gets in the way and eats into my modelling time like nothing else although it is not all negative as it enables me to buy all the models and supplies my heart desires. The household chores and finding the time to keep on top of these also gets in the way and keeps me away from both the workbench and my blog. The yearly model shows we attend has been stop and start we always kick off the year with our local show run by The North Surrey military modelling group in early Feb followed by southern expo in what is usually sunny Essex however we were a no show due in no small part to a downfall of snow which meant we had to miss it. Polarity was restored with our April trip to what is one of our favourite shows of the year in a very sunny Milton Keynes where the only downside was that it was bloody hot and for some reason known only to those who look after the premises that hosts it the heating was still on in some parts of the building and made it very uncomfortable especially upstairs where it was roasting, and we finished our shows for the first part of the year with a trip down to the coast and a day by the sea and the Lancing model show. We now have quite a gap between shows as we have nothing until September where we have a choice of 3 shows, IPMS Farnborough, Euro model expo and a trip to Crewe for the UK garage kit show followed by nothing in October and of course Telford in November  topped off very nicely with the London model show in Early December.

My Blog has been a bit like the other aspects of my modelling and has been very stop and start this year which has been in no small part due to a lack of time, I have come to realise as I get older that I have less and less time to spend on the things that I enjoy doing like modelling. When I started my blog early last year it was born out of the frustrations that I am sure are shared with a fair percentage of us modellers, a lack of time opportunity inspiration and of course the modelling mojo because when that goes it’s a devils own job to get it back. Mine was missing for a good part of last year and I was ever so glad when it made a reappearance in about late spring, the other issue I have with my blog is subject matter there are times when I have loads of things to write about and others there is nothing at all and sometimes I start writing about a certain subject and as I write it feels a bit disjointed and I just abandon the post and it just sits in the half written unpublished section on wordpress until I either have the time to re-write it or have the heart to just delete it completely, there are currently 13 such part written posts just waiting to either be finished or deleted permanently.

The future?, I am planning on a return to the workbench this weekend and hopefully a bit next week as I have a week off from work due to the half term holiday, you see working in a school does have its perks and a holiday on average every 5 or 6 weeks is definitely one of them. I currently have nothing on the bench so now there is the opportunity to either complete one from my pile of shame start one of the builds for Telford or I can crack on with a small project for a 1/48 scale British Armour group build on Facebook that I have signed up for which is a bit strange as the tank I will be building I bought for a British armour campaign on Armorama many many moons ago, I think that will be my starter. This project will also incorporate the use of some of the new AK interactive Real Colours which I plan on using as my first review blog post so watch this space. I thought as each project nips or rather labours across my workbench that it would give me the opportunity to try out new products which I will review here, I am not saying that every blog post will be a review however it will make a pleasant change to the usual musings yet have no fear my usual bleating will still appear from time to time. So that takes care of the present and the near future and here’s to a more productive second half of 2018.

The Average Modeller

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

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.

 

 

 

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

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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