The themed double build that turned into a slightly off theme triple build ended with a spectacular…fizzle.
To recap, the build started with Eduard’s FW 190A-5 and Italeri’s JU 87B-2 Stuka. The 190 was completed with some hair-pulling due to decal silvering. Similarly frustrating, some parts issues with the Stuka put it on pause, so I started and completed a Hobby Boss Mig 3. And then, things fell quiet for a few weeks while I waited on replacement canopy parts to arrive from Italy.
And then, more waiting.
In fact, I waited so long that I decided to just try to repair the short-shot pilot’s canopy (having already fixed the destroyed-on-sprue bomb trapeze). And, I did. It took about a week of piddling around with superglue, abrasives and bondo, but I finally got it to a place where I felt I could mask and paint the part. That I did, and like Pontious Pilote, I washed my hands of the whole ordeal. I wasn’t terribly happy with Italeri’s customer service, but I wasn’t terribly upset at the kit. In fact, I think it turned out well despite of the effort it took to get some of the kit parts to usable form.
And then after all of that effort…the canopy parts finally arrived to great pomp and circumstance. Frankly, I might use the replacement canopy, but don’t hold me to it.
So, without further ado here are the completed builds (Stuka; 190; Mig 3).
move forward or make progress, especially when circumstances make this slow or difficult.
Finally progress on the Stuka.
In fact, I’ve made some pretty significant movement towards the goal of finishing this beast up. In the time it has taken me to get this far on the Stuka, I have finished Trumpeter’s Mig-3, and Eduard’s FW 190A-5. As I have mentioned ad nauseum, part of the foot-dragging on the Stuka build has been wading through some broken part issues. Figuring those out has taken some of the wind from the proverbial sails.
As she stands right now, all of the parts issues have been addressed (no telling how long it will take me to get a replacement canopy from Italeri), and the model is almost ready for the gloss clear. I am actually very happy with the way things are coming along with the paint.
The paint, minus the primer, are all from Vallejo’s model air Luftwaffe set (RLM 02, RLM 04, RLM 65, RLM 70, RLM 71). I still think I prefer Model Master enamels, but these were not bad to shoot, dry quickly, and are easy to clean up. The downside is that they don’t seem to be as durable. I’ve read horror stories of Vallejo paints peeling under masks, but that isn’t a problem I have faced.
I’ve grown to prefer the so-called black basing method over pre-shading, but it takes significantly longer. Using this method I literally paint each panel individually. This technique gives some nice subtle variation between the panesls that I find comparable to models that I’ve seen using pre and post shading methods.
For both accuracy and speed, I used LF Models pre cut vinyl masks for the camoflage. I’ve used these on several builds and really like them. Admittedly they are less helpful with the straight lines of Luftwaffe splinter camouflage than RAF schemes found on the Spitfire, Tempest, or Mossie. Total paint time is somewhere in the 4 hour range, not including drying time between colors or masking.
I think I am on schedule to finish this kit this weekend (replacement canopy notwithstanding). That’s a good thing as my wife is about to pop. For her sake, I hope it happens soon. She looks very uncomfortable.
Once baby day arrives I will take a couple of weeks away from the bench to get situated with a new child, but then I have a couple of builds in que for the fall. I committed myself to the Multi-Engine (bomber) Group Build on Facebook’s Military Model Graveyard. For that I have Monogram’s 1/48 Heinkel HE 111 – H4/6 lined up, with Eduard’s PE, and other goodies. I have to submit my build in early January. I’ve also committed myself to a Reddit s/modelmakersStrike Fighters groupbuild. For that, I’m doing Revell’s F-15E Strike Eagle with enough ordinance to single handedly win a war. It has a tentative start date of November 1st through February 1st. Join me there!
With the 190 finished, and the Mig-3 added, this should probably be called the “Great Patriotic War” double build instead.
My original plan was to do the Stuka in a scheme flown from France in mid 1940, but I am considering changing that to one from flom Russia in July of 1941. At least that way my pedantic mind can tolerate the thematic shift in the titular double build. Yes, that sentence is truly as awful as it seems, and no I am not changing it.
On to the updates.
Having lost a weekend to a haze of BBQ, booze, friends and football (and being officially part of the largest football game-ever- [per Guinness]), I haven’t made huge steps on the Stuka. What I have done is to fix the bomb trapeze as best as I could with styrene rod. I’ve also painted the interior color of the canopy frames. This revealed that I still have a little bit of work to do on some of the seams where the engine cowling meets the fuselage. I also decided to attach all of the antenna, flap actuators, and counter-weights. I would normally wait until the build is almost done for this step, but Italeri had a conspicuous lack of positive location for these parts. I wanted to make sure I had a good glue bond. Attaching them pre-paint is the only way to guarantee that bond will be sufficient, and to easily clean up any mistakes with the glue. The down side is that now I have lots of easy to knock-off bits that I will have to work around during painting. Fingers crossed.
I have made some progress here. The aircraft has been primed with the blue underside painted. The remaining parts for the Mig are in different states of prep, but most all have been primed and or painted.
Painting a two tone spinner is always a challenge. This time I masked the line between the red and white with a thin strip of bare metal foil. Getting the foil to adhere to a compound curve is much easier than any other sort of tape I have tried. And, the line is nice and sharp (for the most part). While I wait for the blue underbelly to cure, I am going to finish up the landing gear and wheels. Then, I will make some masks for the upper-white v. lower-blue demarcation line. To date I have been very impressed with Vallejo model air white paint, but I have never used it on this much of a model. Let’s see how it works.
This has been a rather forgettable few days for me in the hobby. Several more precious hours vanished with not much to show. Well, I do have something to show but it’s just transactions out of my bank account and into the pockets of various ebay merchants and Spruebrothers.com.
Italeri, I’m giving you the stank eye.
This is the second kit in a row that has come with malformed and broken parts. For those of you with statistics backgrounds, I believe that means 100% of the Italeri kits that I own have parts issues. The first is Italeri’s 1/72nd C-130 that I am building for a friend. One of the fuselage halves was cracked almost all of the way through. The Stuka has
a short shot canopy, and a broken bomb trapeze. The C-130 issue is in the process of being resolved, but Italeri couldn’t ship the part to me directly. I had to go through a U.S. distributer and was told that it would take roughly 12 weeks for the parts to arrive. That was about 6 weeks ago. This time Italeri would deal with me directly, but that’s probably because they just told me that they didn’t have the bomb trapeze (Sprue B) but would be happy to sell me the clear sprue. I ordered a vacu-formed canopy, but it is for the Airfix Stuka. I will probably bite the bullet and simply order the correct parts from Italeri. At this point, why not?
On a positive note, the delivery bearing the canopy masks I ordered from the Czech Republic arrived. Apparently they were rerouted to orbit Saturn before they found their way to my doorstep. At this point, the Stuka is mostly masked and almost ready for priming. I simply have to find a way to make the broken trapeze regenerate it’s missing section. We will see how that works out.
To be clear, these part problems aren’t fatal to the build singularly, they are just disappointing. I had wanted to do an out of the box build for a local competition and scratch building parts would disqualify the build. Taken as a whole, it is apparent that Italeri’s quality control is flawed, as is their customer service. There are better kits on the market at these price points, with both better quality and more responsive service. As such, Italeri just isn’t competitive in my eyes and these will be the last Italeri kits I build if other options are available.
Trumpeter, you get the stank eye too.
This is truly a pretty nice kit. The problem is that I dropped and lost the clear landing light cover that goes in the wing after I scratched a little landing light detail. I tried to contact Trumpeter directly, but my Chinese is rusty and so are Trumpeter’s web design skills. After some Googling I found a U.S. distributer of Trumpeter kits. I contacted them and asked if I could purchase a replacement clear sprue. They kindly declined stating that unless I could prove I purchased the kit from them indirectly, they wouldn’t help me. I bought the kit through an unnamed auction site, so I have neither a receipt or proof that I bought it from a retailer that purchased it from them. Ugh.
I bought another kit for donor parts. Yes, I probably could have made the landing light from acrylic or otherwise, but that could create a bigger time issue than simply ordering the parts. Time I don’t have, a little pocket change for an extra kit, I do.
The next burp is completely my fault. I bought Eduard’s beautiful landing flap detail set, and it arrived. I dove in to the metal oragami only to find that as I had not modified portions of the wing prior to this point in construction that the flaps just didn’t fit. I cut, trimmed, modified and filed the parts until I had nothing discernable left. This is certainly par for the course, as I’ve recently developed a pretty terrible case of the modeling shanks.The end result is that I simply glued the kit flaps in the up position, spread around a little Perfect Plastic Putty, and called it a day.
I actually really like this kit, and would build it again (good thing as I will have a duplicate kit to build). As it stands now, once I get the donor kit, drop in the landing light lens, I can begin priming.
It looks like the next update will have both the Stuka and the Mig in the paint booth getting a good coat of primer. In the meantime, I am off for a weekend out of town with old friends, and some football.
I am pleased with the end result, but exceedingly frustrated with the decal situation. As I still haven’t firmly diagnosed the problem, and I replaced my Microsol and Microset with new bottles, I’m still going to blame Eduard’s decals. I refuse to believe I was at fault, because I am a man.
Regardless the Butcher Bird fills a hole in the miniature airforce and looks nice next to Eduard’s new tool Bf 109G-6. And, they both look great juxtaposed against the allies premier fighters from the European theater such as the Tempest, Spitfire and Mustang.
The Stuka is moving slow as molasses. Italeri confounds me. The fit is surprisingly good, as is the detail. But, the parts need more cleaning up than I would’ve expected and some are broken. Not only is the bomb trapeze broken on the sprue and unusable, but I just discovered that the pilot’s sliding canopy is malformed. I believe it would be called a “short shot” when the plastic didn’t fill the mold as appears to be the case. That means I am going to have to wait on replacement parts to be shipped from Italy. Who knows how long that will take. Italeri is batting 1000 with broken and malformed parts. Granted, I only have two of their kits, but the 1/72 C-130 that I will be building for a friend had the fuselage cracked in half upon delivery.
Anyway, since the last update nothing much has happened. The gaps have been puttied and sanded, panel lines have been re-scribed, the horizontal tail has been installed with some other miscellaneous bits, and the next big step is masking and priming. It’s a lot of hurrying up to wait.
As time still slips away towards the baby-hiatus, and with the FW finished, I decided to fill the opening in my schedule with a quick build. I threw around some ideas, including building Hobby Boss’s ME 262, but I ultimately broke into Trumpeter’s 1/48 Mig-3. Something about the winter camo seemed like it would be an interesting addition to the collection, and a departure from the Luftwaffe’s famous three tone mottle and splinter camoflage.
This has been a fantastic experience to date. The parts fit together well. Detail is good minus the rather stark instrument panel in the cockpit. Eduard’s zoom photo-etch fixed that issue with great results. It took a day to paint and assemble the cockpit, and another day to assemble the wings and the fuselage. I drilled out the wing root intakes and added some brash mesh for interest, other than that and Eduard’s zoom PE this has been a simple assembly. Color me very impressed with this Trumpeter kit. If it is an indication of things to come with the 1/32 P-38 I have in the stash, it will be a joy. Good thing, because there are about a million parts to assemble in that kit.
EDIT: As the Stuka is progressing so slowly, and the Mig 3 so quickly, I’m thinking of doing a “Great Patriotic War” double build. If I do, Ill be adding Accurate Miniatures Yak 1-b. I’ll built it straight from the box, with Montex masks.
As a general rule, before I sand and fill seams on a model I like to get as many of the clear parts on as possible. Specifically, I like to get windscreens masked and installed. The benefit of this is manifold to me, but specifically this allows me to blend in any seams where the clear parts meet the aircraft while I am working the usual fuselage and wing seams. And, as an added benefit, the masked and attached windscreens and canopies tend to protect the delicate cockpits from dust intrusion or from having pieces knocked off while the model is handled with less care during the sanding and filling part of a build.
I say all of that to explain the stasis of the Stuka. I’m still waiting on my masks to arrive from somewhere near the former Iron Curtain (note: it took the crew of Apollo 11 less time to travel to the moon, work, travel back to earth, be quarantined, and then participate in a ticker tape parade, than it does to get mail from many parts of the civilized world). I can make my own masks, you say? Poppycock! Horsefeathers! I could walk to work (uphill both ways, mind you) but that would just feel like regression as a species.
I did receive the replacement exhausts, and after priming them black, I laid down a thin coat of Alclad aluminum, then a dry brush with Model Master rust. This is usually my go to method for exhaust stacks, varying the amount of aluminum or rust over the black primer as a way to get different effects.
After the exhaust were installed, it was time to put the cowling on the Stuka (Pro-tip: the following will take all three of your hands). After some dry fitting (pro-tip2: put the cowling around the engine before you mount the whole engine/mount/cowling assembly to the firewall – also known as ”follow the directions.”), I decided the thing to do was to line up the three piece cowling assembly, tape it together, and use Tamiya Extra Thin cement to fuse that unit as a whole, but leave it floating around the engine but not attached to the fuselage. Once it was reasonably dry, the wrestling match began. Using some force I could align the cowling with the fuselage with minimal gaps to the firewall and fuselage. My standard go-to, Tamiya Extra Thin wouldn’t bond this joint quickly enough so I had to break out the big guns: I unsheathed the glue-looper and thin CA glue and prepared for battle. Good luck figuring out how to hold the model, apply pressure to the cowling, and use a glue looper simultaneously. I would tell you how I did it, but I don’t want to ruin the fun.
In sum, I think I won the wrestling match. While the fit and engineering isn’t as good as a Tamiya, Hasegawa, or recent Eduard, it’s nothing to be scared of. Not yet, at least.
The Butcher Bird.
So close. All that is left is the prop and some minor chipping with a Prisma Color pencil. After some troubles early on, and much grumbling by yours truly, Eduard’s kit has been redeemed somewhat in my eyes. Aside from a minor issue with the decals, again, I don’t have much to say negative about this kit. The decal issue is perplexing. For the second kit in a row, Eduard’s decals have silvered on me somewhat. I was extra cautious this time, given my disappointment with the 109’s stencils, and still had a similar issue. This time, the stencil decals weren’t manufactured by Eduard, but were made in Italy (which likely means Cartograf). Either I’ve gotten into a bad habit that is causing this, one that I haven’t diagnosed yet, or Eduard’s decals are problematic (they are a bit old), or my MicroSet and MicroSol have gone bad. I don’t know, but I ordered new bottles of the latter just to be sure. The next update will hopefully be pictures of the finished model.
Progress on both the Stuka and FW 190 has been steady though not rapid. And, most of the progress has been on building sub-assemblies that will not be seen in any meaningful way.
Eduard’s FW-190 has a rather complicated little engine. Each of the parts needed attention as there was a surprising amount of flash. After spending an evening carefully cleaning the parts, painting, assembling, and weathering, I installed the engine into the kit fuselage. All of that hard work was rewarded by the realization that none of it will ever be seen again. And by none, I mean it. It isn’t even like a huge double-wasp on a P-47 where taking time to detail the front of the engine with ignition leads will pay off with a satisfying level of realism. The 190 has a fan that sits behind the prop hub, and between that and the gear box, all of the pretty engine detail sits significantly behind the cowling and is all but obscured.
I might need to walk back some of my criticisms of Eduard’s 190 a bit, as well. It seems after arguing with the kit for a couple of weeks, it took a little more than a few swipes with some perfect plastic putty and the seams were filled. A light sanding with a 1000 grit sanding sponge and she is mostly ready to prime and paint.
The cowling on the specific 190 I am building is black and white striped with yellow on the bottom. Instead of priming the whole aircraft, masking and painting the cowling, then re-priming to cover the overspray, I decided to just paint and mask the cowl first. After that is dry, I will mask the cowling and prime the whole model. I can probably have it painted this weekend.
Italeri’s Stuka had a much less complicated engine. But Like the 190, once the cowl is closed, much of it will be invisible. How much? I’m not exactly sure, but there are some large openings for vents and the radiator that will allow some portion of the engine to be seen. As I didn’t know how much, I figured it was best to paint and weather the whole thing just in case. And, there wasn’t a significant time penalty involved in doing it all, compared to doing just parts of it. Italeri even included little rubber hoses which I think are a nice touch. Displaying the engine compartment open would require much more detail to the engine and fire wall, something I wont be doing anyway, but the hoses are neat nonetheless.
Before I can close up the engine cowling on the Stuka, I have to put the exhaust on the engine. I began to prep the exhausts for painting, but broke them while trying to drill out the openings. Ugh. The solution is just to order some resin replacement parts, and the good news is that I won’t have to drill any of them out. Speaking of that, the Stuka’s bomb trapeze was broken on the sprue and the part that had broken off was missing. The only option I have is to try to make my own, or order a replacement part from Italeri. No telling how long either will take. I can’t really move ahead with the build until I get the canopy masks and exhaust anyway, so the Stuka will be slowing down a bit. This doesn’t upset me, as the 190 is at my favorite point in the build – paint.
As time ticks down until the due date of my second child in early October, I feel a desperate need to get in as much building as possible. I doubt I will have much bench time after “she-the sequal” arrives, at least until we get things smoothed out. Speaking of, Sun Tzu aptly states that you should only engage in combat if you have the advantage. For the foreseeable future, it will be me and two dogs versus three women. This distribution of mamallian force *might* have given me the advantage 5,000 years ago, but my modern pawed calvary consists of two neutured animals (maybe three, depending on who you ask). To be fair, my side would win decisively if finding someplace quiet to take a nap, being grumpy, or looking for a snack was the key to victory.
Seeing that I really want to get some builds completed before my Family Medical Leave absence from the hobby, and seeing that I have recently transititoned from the Allies to the Axis powers when I built Eduard’s stellar new tool BF 109G6, I decided to stick with this theme to balance out my stable of allied airpower. My goal is to add the major Luftwaffe aircraft to the world war 2 collection, and after a 109 the 190 was an obvious choice. The real question was what to build as the third. After batting around a JU 87, HE 111, BF 110, or even an ME 262, I settled on the Stuka. With a BF 109, an FW 190, and a JU 87 I will have the staples of the Luftwaffe represented. Once I get the latter two completed, I feel like I can be satisfied with a few months of poop diapers and spit up rags.
I dug into the stash and pulled out Eduard’s 1/48 FW 190A-5 and Italeri’s 1/48 JU 87 B-2. The 190 is a striking aircraft with smooth lines and a fierce reputation. I decided to dig into that first. Perhaps it is the comparison to Eduard’s 2016 achievement exhibited by the 109G-6, but the step down in quality was shocking. As a general rule, I love Eduard, even their earlier kits (the X-1 and the Tempest stand out as a solid finished product that I am proud to display, but a build that left much to be desired in a world populated by shake and bake). If given the choice between anything and a Eduard Profipack, I’ll choose Eduard most every time. But, going from one of the finest examples of plastic I’ve ever built, to one that the internet has given the dreaded label of “fiddly” ,”tricky”, or even “difficult” was jarring.
Between travelling and a lack of motivation it has taken me a couple of weeks to just get the 190’s wings together, and the cockpit primed. Compare that to the Stuka. I started on it yesterday and already have the cockpit in the fuselage, and the wings mounted to the cockpit. The Stuka will take some minor sanding and clean up, but it’s well out in front of the 190.
Italeri also decided to include some impressive little photo etch parts in this kit. If they would have just thrown some masks in the box, it would fall somewhere between the quality of Eduard’s Aerocobra and Hellcat profipacks- solid but not exceptional, better than many, but with room to improve. For the first time in a long time I am going to build a model without the crutch of Eduard’s pre-painted PE for the cockpit. After I quit hyperventilating, I actually think I’m okay without Eduard PE.
One thing that really stands out is the size of these two aircraft. The 190 is larger than a Mustang or BF-109, but smaller than a Thunderbolt or Hellcat. The Stuka is, well…bigger than I imagined. Check out the difference in wing area. I pulled a 1/48 Dauntless out of the stash and compared the wings of that aircraft, a more apples to apples comparison, and found the Stuka was still about 1/5th bigger.
If I can get more time tomorrow, I plan on returning to the 190. I think with another day like today, I could get it caught up to the Stuka.
EDIT: I was right. Another six hours at the bench today, and the FW 190A-5 is caught up with the Stuka (nose is taped on for a test fit).
In May of 2015 I reentered the hobby after an absence of nearly 20 years. Things have changed significantly.
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s I built dozens of old Revell and Monogram kits. I thought that Testor’s kits were a luxory-a comparative Mercedez to the Fords that I could buy at my local Wal Mart. My pinnacle achievement was winning first place in the junior category of the New Orleans chapter of IPMS in about 1992. Beyond that build, Monogram’s “High-Tech” P-47D, long since destroyed with no proof it ever existed, I had little patience or desire to do anything other than throw some plastic together, then slather it in paint so it might loosely resemble some machine I was temporarily interested in. I built on the weekend, at my dad’s workbench, in the sweltering garage. More often than not, I ended up abandoning a project in frustration and moving on to something else. It was rare that I truly finished the kit and was proud enough of it to display it. About the time I started high school, I lost interest. Then came college. Then love, marriage, starting a business, more college, a child. Before I knew it, a couple decades had passed without a thought to a hobby that had taken up so much of my youth.
I can’t exactly remember why, but around Christmas of 2014 I decided I wanted to build a model again. My parents gifted me some cash and I spent some of it on Tamiya’s 1/48 Corsair, some tools, brushes, glue, and the list of paints that were called for in the instructions. I was amazed at the quality of that Tamiya kit. I was floored when I found all of the how-to videos, reference materials, and hobby shops that are available online. I went a little over the top. I bought Eduard’s photo etch, resin parts, masks, and spent about two months working on it between studying for finals and working. For graduation from law school, my parents bought me an Iwata Ninja air compressor and an HP-CS airbrush. The Corsair fell together, and I began the journey of learning to airbrush. I soaked up every youTube video I could find. I completed the Corsair just in time for father’s day, and gifted it to my father. He seemed pleased. He also made the mistake of saying that he wanted me to build him a little air force.
My next build was Academy’s P-38. It was a far more challenging than the Corsair but turned out reasonably well given the reputation that precedes the kit. It was my first time scribing panel lines I had sanded away, and preshading. I was still barely getting the hang of the airbrush and weathering seemed totally unecessary. At this point, I was hooked…again.
Almost a year and a half since I opened the box on Tamiya’s Birdcage Corsair, only a handful of days have gone by without a model on my workbench. I’m certain my wife has regretted whatever it was that triggered my re-entrance into the hobby. Similarly, I’m certain that my father regrets asking me to build him a little air force. As my time disappears into hours on the bench, or online researching some detail of an aircraft, my parent’s house fills up with aviation in miniature.
Needless to say, I sincerely enjoy my rediscovered childhood. The years have taught me the patience I never had. With a little more cash on hand than I had in the 1980s, and with access to a universe of techniques and message boards, I can see the quality of each of my builds improve. I’ve even won a few awards at some local and regional shows. Positive reinforcement doesn’t help an addiction.