Featuring the models voted Model of the Month by Poole Vikings Model Club members at our monthly meetings. Once the page holds a maximum of twelve models, then the oldest will be replaced by the newest giving a good idea of the contemporary modelling standards being achieved by Club members.
Our Hall of Fame post shows a gallery of single photos of former Models of the Month and other models by our members that have won prizes at our own and other shows.
At our own April Show each year we will try to feature the previous twelve models of the month together on the club stand.
The Model of the Month for December 2017 is by Paul Seeley, an exquisite 54mm vignette based around a Pegaso model of a Celtic Standard Bearer with a boar standard.
Lighting wasn’t good for photography at the meeting, and my usual camera struggled. My iPhone 6 did a little better although it still doesn’t do the model justice. here are some better photos and some words too.
Celtic Standard Bearer
Firstly thank you for all the kind comments and votes. Some of you will be aware that I’m a returnee to figure modelling after a bit of a break (30 odd years!) I’ve noticed a few changes, both in the quality of the kits and the materials used now. Back in the day I painted primarily using oils and good old Humbrol, but seeing the effects being produced using acrylics I’ve been persevering with them over the last 18 months or so and I’m glad I have.
So to the figure, which is a good one produced by Pegaso in white metal several years ago. Mine had sat on the shelf for about a year before I decided it’s time had come. The main problem is the way it has been cast means the arms are separate from the torso and the hands are attached to a rather bendy standard. I wanted to replace the shaft with a piece of piano wire for strength so I needed to cut the hands off, then drill them for the new shaft (without losing any fingers) and then make sure that everything lined up correctly when it was glued together – definitely the trickiest part of the figure.
The figure was assembled using 24 hour Araldite leaving off the arms and sword because they would interfere with painting. It was then primed using grey automotive primer and painting commenced using Vallejo and Andrea acrylics. There is some flexibility with colours on a figure like this bearing in mind the Celts well documented love of design and colour. I tend to start by blocking in the main areas of colour to get a feel of the overall look and work out where the shadows and highlights will appear. Since I tend to be a bit of a messy painter this is easier for me than the traditional approach of painting the face first. Once I’ve decided where the light is coming from I paint in lighter tones and shadow areas (ignoring folds in the cloth till later) and blend these using a very thin glazes of the original colour. I then mix up an even darker and a lighter version of the colour and start working on the creases. I’ve got several small plastic pallets with 6 wells for the paint which I and rather than clean as I go along I just pick up a fresh pallet when I start a new colour. The paint used for the shadows and highlights is very thin and it might take 10 or 15 coats going back and forth to get the transitions smooth. Once I’m happy with the overall colour the patterns are applied with a brush with a fine tip and plenty of light. No secret here, just take your time and correct any mistakes using the background colour. The tricky part is applying highlights and shadows to the stripes and tartan!
Couple of tips for would be figure painters – Firstly I add a tiny amount of one colour to every mix (In this case it was Napoleonic green) and secondly if it all goes wrong don’t panic because Dettol is here. (This can be carefully painted onto an area to remove acrylic paint – just wash it off well under running water and continue as if nothing has happened. On this figure I decided that the blue tartan trousers that he had originally didn’t work so they had to go)
Once the basic figure was painted the remaining parts were added using tiny pins drilled into the joints and a lot of bad language. A couple of extra bangles made from twisted fine wire helped tidy up the wrist joints.
The basic groundwork is Das clay and the broken stump is a twig with roots added in Milliput. Soil was applied using coffee grounds sprinkled onto thinned PVA. Once dry various grass clumps were glued in place and trimmed with scissors to make them less regular in appearance. Small flowers were added using painted chips of balsa wood. Then, using photos for reference, mosses and bits of sponge were used to add some variety to the groundwork. One or two leaves added a few splashes of autumn and broke up the expanse of green. All the groundwork was then painted in acrylics to provide a uniformity of finish and echo the lighting on the figure.
The Model of the Month for November 2017 is a 1/35th diorama entitled Sheffield December 1940 by John Levesley
The lighting on club night was quite poor so I’ve re-shot the model in the garden at dusk. I’ve added a temporary backdrop to help with the model’s photographic presentation
The diorama shows a civilian Firewatcher going on duty in the evening, in the City of Sheffield in December 1940. My Grandfather “Ted” Levesley served as a Firewatcher during the winter of 1940-41 when many British cities suffered massive damage and loss of life from air raids. Sheffield was bombed heavily on both the 12th and the 15th of December 1940.
This diorama is one in a series of 1/35th scale figures, dioramas and vignettes that I’m building. Initially the plan was to build items relating to my two grandfathers and four great uncles who served in the British Army during the 1914-18 war but will now include my grandfather, father, two uncles and one great uncle who served in the armed forces or as civilian volunteers between 1939-45. Finally I will include two ancestors who served in the Third Burma war and the 1815 Waterloo campaign. One of these dioramas, of the Royal Engineers Signal Service in 1917, already features elsewhere on this site.
The stonework is a gypsum plaster Great North Road base, the railings come from a MiniArt staircase kit. The plain plaster stonework moulding was first sprayed with a base coat of glass varnish, then it was acrylic painted with various sandstone shades for the walls and lighter/greyer shades for the pavement. It then received a black ink wash. Once dry I brushed on a Humbrol black weathering powder to reproduce the sooty wall grime.
The three figures come from various sources. The firewatcher climbing the stairs was originally a Miniart tram passenger, modelled climbing onto the tram. I repositioned the right hand, added glasses, a tin helmet and both a soldier’s WW1 khaki haversack serving as a gas mask case and a binocular case from one of the boxes of British figures and soldiers equipment available these days.
The policeman is a Wee Friends resin model, the news vendor a Verlinden resin model with a new head from Hornet (the original head had a very American flat cap) The vendor’s apron advertises the three Sheffield newspapers and the poster a show at Sheffield’s Lyceum theatre. All the figures are painted with acrylics (mainly Vallejo). For flesh tones I use up to four shades of flesh, blended together by using a flow enhancer in the paint on the palette to slow down drying.
The Model of the Month for October 2017 is by Graham Young, a 1/72nd scale ESCI model of a Royal Australian Air Force Huey
Huey wins model of the month for October!
Now that was a surprise, as this was the first model I’ve finished in over a year.
So what about this UH-1H then?
Well it’s Huey number 5 in my collection of Bell’s iconic helo and Vietnam era aircraft.
The model is by Esci and it is probably at least 25 years since it was released, but despite its age stands up well against most contemporary offerings with its finely engraved surface detail and neatly moulded parts. Esci produced some really good 1/72 scale mouldings back then, with their range of F-4 Phantoms setting the trend for things to come. Also they produced the first quality Sea Harrier, still available under the Italeri label.
The only potential drawback with this model is the fuselage seam that runs across the cabin roof with raised anti-slip detail around it. Fortunately I was able to make a good joint here without any extra work! Italeri have overcome this with their more recent Huey B and C offerings by moulding the cabin roof as a separate piece. That’s progress for you! Revell have a Huey D/H in their range, but I’ve not seen it to compare. Is it the old Esci kit I wonder?
The model is pretty much ‘straight from the box’, using the basic ‘gunship’ weaponry included in this boxing. I chose this Royal Australian Air Force version as, in part, it is unusual to see this marque of Huey equipped for this role. US forces mostly used the earlier B and C variants as gunships prior to the arrival of the Cobra, allowing the extra load carrying capacity of the Ds and Hs to be used for transport or medevac tasks. (Esci provided for both of these options in other boxings of the kit).
The RAAF, along with other arms of the Aussie military, played a small but significant part in the Vietnam conflict, deploying number 9 Squadron’s Hueys UH-1Hs to the country. It is reputed that due to the effectiveness of the Aussie ground forces, ably supported by 9 Squadron, the Vietcong preferred to walk around rather than through their area of operations. 9 Squadron’s personnel comprised of both Australian and seconded New Zealand aircrew during its time ‘in country’, training on Royal Australian Navy Huey Bs, where required, before operating in the field.
Although 9 Squadron worked alongside their US Army colleagues, they obviously had need of gunships to support their own ‘slicks’ into hot LZs. Hence an ‘H’ model gunship.
To the kit I added the two M60 door guns – remember AeroClub? – , along with the ammo boxes, side armour and belts for the crew seats, and safety straps for the door gunners from painted lead foil. You may also have seen a couple of personal weapons – M16s – and aircrew helmets as well in the main cabin.
I thought long and hard over how to replicate the ammo belts for the mini-guns and M60s, as there are no after market alternatives. They are after all a crucial part of the weapons fit and are essential to the finished look of the model. I did consider 1/76th scale tank tracks but they were too thick and rigid over the required lengths, so in the end I resorted to ordinary masking tape, folded over and painted grey with silver detail. They could do with being a little thicker I think, but objective achieved none the less.
I masked and sprayed the ‘eyes’ on the nose and hand painted the whiskers around the windscreen – although not as colourful or just plain rude as many US Army Hueys, the nose decoration was the other factor in choosing this subject. This is about as far as the Aussies seemed to go in personalising their helos and was easy to replicate. Xtracolor Faded Olive Drab was used for the overall finish, with a light dusting of exhaust black over the rear fuselage to imply some ware and tear. The final touch was the White conspicuity bands on the upper surface of the main rotor blades, helping to add some more interest to the finished subject.
The Model of the Month for September 2017 is by Clive Hillman, a 1/25th scale (?) derelict British Gas Transit Van with some lovely weathering.
The Model of the Month for August 2017 is a 1/35th Steyr 1500 by Trevor Griffiths.
UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP
Many thanks to those who voted for my model, it has been said that the standard of model making in this club just gets better and better, the ‘bar’ is undoubtedly getting higher.
In 1940 the “schell programme” standardized and improved the productivity of the vehicles, the Steyr Type 1500A/01 was manufactured in Austria and weighed 1.5 tons, it had a 3.5lt v8 air-cooled engine that produced 85hp and could reach 100 km/h, it had a 4 wheel drive system and I believe was used in all theatres of war such as a staff car, radio and even as ambulances.
The kit itself is from Tamiya, the figures are Alpine resin, I think this a lovely little kit and every stash should have one it just goes together so well. I had it in my head from the start that I would make a small diorama that would be a winter scene, I thought if I did a captured vehicle that would be a bit different and the Russian red stars would also add a bit of colour as I tried to keep the rest of the diorama in muted colours and show the Russian ground wet and muddy as best I could.
I used my normal way of painting things with Halfords primer and Tamiya paints, the stowage and figures were hand painted using Vallejo Acrylics, “if it aint broken don’t try to fix it” I did try some new methods during the course of the build which I will explain later.
The groundwork is Tetrion all Purpose filler, the fence is costa coffee sticks, the tree came from the garden trimmed to suit, the stowage, wheels (with winter chains) windscreen cover and the ‘sticks’ on the front are resin from a company called Black Dog, this set was made for the steyr but they do make many others for different vehicles and tanks. The Alpine figures are some of the best on the market, the heads and arms are always a good fit.
The fence was first primed then sprayed with Tamiya desert yellow, given a couple of coats of hairspray then Tamiya flat red, next using an old brush and some water took off some of the red to give the fence a worn look, finally light streaking and dark streaking grime to make it look mouldy were added, the base of the tree was given the light streaking grime to blend it in, the streaking grime are an A K Interactive product.
The wet mud is from AMMO (mig) and is just painted onto the mudguards, wheels and then the base which I had already painted dark brown by hand, it takes about 24hrs to dry and can be made to “sit up” once it starts going off. The snow is from woodland scenic soft flake snow, scenic cement can be sprayed on or brush painted (I brush painted this time) and then the snow sprinkled on after, the leaves I picked up at the Romsey show and are from a company called Basecraft and stuck on with white wood glue.
Reverting back to the steyr I tried something I have never done before that is the mud splatters on the vehicle, I have seen it on youtube so decided to have a go, basically paint is loaded onto a brush and just using the pressure (about 1 bar) from my airbrush hold the brush close to the vehicle/model and spray it on, this was definitely twitchy bum time as I said it was a first for me but luckily it did work and I will be using this method again sometime.
I have tried to explain where I got “things” from and the methods I used, if I’ve not explained it very well and you wish to know more please ask.
Many thanks again. Regards Trevor
The Model of the Month for July 2017 was a 1/35th scale diorama showing members of the Royal Engineers Signal Service in 1917 – by John Levesley
and just to get a period feel
The Royal Engineer Signal Service repairing and re-laying telephone cables amongst the rain, floods and mud of the Battle of Passchendaele between late July and mid November 1917.
The Royal Engineer Signal Service was responsible for telegraph, telephone, signal despatch, and later wireless communications from headquarters down to brigades and for artillery communications down to batteries. Regimental signallers were then responsible for communications within units and from units to brigades. In addition to the telecommunications techniques available in 1914-18, use was made of despatch riders, runners, carrier pigeons, flags and light signals. Horses were used extensively to pull general service wagons and cable laying wagons and dogs were used to both carry messages and lay cables from cable spools strapped to the dog’s back.
My great uncle, Sapper Signaller John Tyas (Jack) Levesley, served with a company of the Royal Engineer Signal Service and received several shrapnel wounds including a badly wounded leg, in the Autumn of 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele. He survived and recovered but never returned to the front line.
The model uses an excellent Great North Road Models casting of a trench and the figures are from the Masterbox set MB35146, entitled British Infantry, Battle of the Somme. Changes to the figures were:
To exchange their weapons for tools (contemporary photos of the RESS in the field show them not carrying many weapons),
In the case of the sappers to remove their boots and puttees and replace them “gumboots short” – actually German field boots but with the creases and soles part-filled with “Perfect Plastic Putty” to look more like “wellies”.
The officer had his swagger stick removed and he has a replacement left arm without an imperious pointing gesture.
Some of the tools come with the figure set, on the equipment sprue, others are from the spares box. One or two tools are either captured German items or French equipment. The cable reels are Bachmann HO model railway cable reels, the heavy cables are solder, the various cases and boxes come from Model Railway sources. The morse telegraphy box and amplifier are each scratch built into a shell of three model railway cases. The hand tools come I think from a Verlinden 1/48th set of etched Luftwaffe tools, the blanket is thin lead sheet, moulded into shape in situ then primed and finally painted with a mixture of grey pigment and fixative.
The trench was painted with a series of brown and grey brown water based washes, with some black washed into the creases and recesses. I then used a variety of Tamiya weathering media either to dry-brush the sandbags or in suspension to reproduce the mud on uniforms, equipment and boots. The muddy trench bottom and puddles is done with “Solid Water”, laid in three very thin layers, each coloured during mixing with pigments. The trench nameplates are produced on a home computer. I’ve rather assumed that the trench had been used by the South Yorkshire battalions of the 62nd West Riding Division, probably the 2/4th (Hallamshire) and 2/5th Battalions of the Yorks and Lancs. Campo Lane is a very old street in Sheffield running through the legal quarter near the Cathedral. Redmires was a large camp west of Sheffield where many local battalions were trained.
The Model of the Month for June 2017 was a pair of Matchbox 1/72nd Noorduyn Norseman of the Norwegian Air Force and the Swedish Air Force — by Alan Jones
photos by Malcolm V Lowe
The aircraft was built by Robert Noorduyn in Canada in 1934 and was designed to operate in the harsh conditions of the Canadian bush. The Mk1,2,3 were built in very small numbers, but the Mk4 was ordered by the Royal Canadian Air Force (79) and then by U.S.Forces (794) where they were known C-64A. The aircraft was able to operate wheels, floats and skis.
Norway obtained 8 ex USAAF in 1945, plus 1 ex-civilian machine in 1952. During 1953/54 15 ex-RCAF aircraft were purchased. The type was retired in 1959. Sweden purchased three to fulfil the light transport/ambulance requirements. The kit is quite accurate but needed quite a lot of detail to be added to get it to an acceptable finish. The Norwegian version was on floats and beaching gear as seen in one of my reference books. The float undersides had to have ‘vanes’ fitted and sanded to make ‘channels’. Then the rudders needed to be moved and reshaped bumpers fitted (Milliput) plus tie-downs and control cables. I purchased a set of beaching wheels and supports from KHEE-KHA Models in Alaska and used some1/72 metal tail wheels, from my stash of bits from the old Aeroclub range, as the jockey wheels. The cabin was fitted out with the kit’s pilots seats and four more plus some cargo nets to the rear of them, from spares box. All internal paint was from Vallejo acrylic range. The aircraft was painted with Humbrol Metalcote aluminium and the floats had anti slip top surfaces from Humbrol with the undersurfaces was Vallejo silver grey. A coat of Klear was brushed on followed by decals from the spares box and then I finished the aircraft with a thinned coat of Humbrol Matt Cote. The floats were left as painted to get a slightly different hue.
Getting the aircraft to sit on its floats was a nightmare for me – it nearly flew out of the window on several occasions. Eventually I got it done, but I had to modify the forward struts of the float attachments to the style used by the Norwegians. This involved cutting away the pole type one in the kit and manufacturing a much more streamlined one. I did one side cut/glued and left for about a week and then repeated the opposite float in the same way – it worked. I found this version quite a long and labourers slog.
The Swedish version was quite a lot easier to build. I did equip the aircraft with two stretchers and seats doctor/nurse plus walking patients. A small bulkhead was placed behind the right hand pilots seat. Again I used Vallejo acrylics for interior. The fuselage needed to have an extra window each side, between the rear door and aft bulkhead. The skis came from KORA Models they were Gladiator skis and modified. These were a wooden base with metal runners and an aluminium dome towards the front section plus an oleo damper (Albion Alloys) and tension wires. The rest of the aircraft was painted with Vallejo white primer and two coats of light orange – I must say I was quite impressed with the ease of coverage and by using a Acrylic Brush I manage to get a great finish. The decals came from Middle North Design, Hobby Centre, Helsingborg, Sweden. The same procedure as the Norwegian version as regards, Klear and Humbrol Matt Cote. I enjoyed the Swedish build.
Overall I think that the Matchbox Norseman makes up, with some additional effort, into quite a nice model.
The Model of the Month for May 2017 was another dead heat between
Dave Lovell’s 1/72nd scale Type 89 Japanese tank
Firstly many thanks to those who voted for my build, when I first got back into modelling like many, 1/35 was the weapon of choice, and I was quite happy for a few years running with the herd. But it rapidly seemed to become same old same old and I was struggling to improve, and I know one shouldn’t be influenced, but as the stuff in magazines got better I felt as if I was in a rut going backwards. Then a few years back at our show I was talking to the late Derek Foley, now most of you will know a man not afraid to voice his opinion. He pulled a model from one of the stalls, and told me that this was what I should be building. It was a little Italian artillery tractor so I had to listen to the history as well. With a look of great interest on my face whilst thinking to myself, bugger off bossy. I told him I would seriously consider it. Any way after a couple of circuits of the show looking at the same old, I’m ashamed to say I sneaked back and purchased said kit. This was a revelation, small badly moulded parts none of which fitted very well but it was great. Built painted finished in a weekend, so thanks to Derek this is how my love affair with 1/72 began. Also with hardly any press, to aspire to, becoming my own judge and critic was a lot less painful. I must also say that from that point on Derek continued to show great interest, and encouragement each month in what I had built. Making it very special to me winning his memorial trophy the last two years.
Sorry for that, on with the job in hand. Now most of what I build has more to do with the box art than the subject and this little kit was no different, manufactured by IBG Models this is a beaut, crisp, clean, zero flash. The moulded detail is fantastic link and length tracks and to finish off a fret of etch this is true shake and bake. It falls together, once built the whole thing was sprayed with Humbrol aerosol primer not cheap but works every time. I’m a great believer in if it works for you don’t change it. Next up I pre shaded with Tamiya NATO Black also squirted it in all the hard to reach places. Next up I used Mr colour IJN Grey there are two shades one slightly paler than the other, the paler one used to fill the centre of panels and hatches then a very light coat of the darker one was sprayed over the whole thing. Mr colour thinners were used throughout. Various filters and washes were used in the weathering and detailing. These being applied and then washed back and removed using a brush lightly aspirated with odourless thinners. Having finished the model I decided the bottom half was not dirty enough so applied some more wash, then not taking to much notice started to remove it with thinners. Yep you guessed, paint thinners thinking that’s strange the paints coming off. Managed to stop before to much damage was done. So in the future I will try and read my labels. Not much more to add, any questions please ask at club. Most of what I do is a bit Heath Robinson but will try my best. Have a safe month all, and see you next time.
Trevor Griffiths 1/48th scale Messerschmitt Bf109e RUSSIAN FRONT 1942
I have usually built tanks or vehicles, but having recently built the Spitfire I decided to have a go at another wing thing, over the years I have seen in photographs and at shows German aircraft in white winter camouflage and thought that’s how I would do mine, the kit is from Tamiya in 1/48th scale. I also decided to get the Eduard etched cockpit detail set plus canopy mask set, although the Tamiya instrument panel is fine I replaced it with the Eduard one, a bit of filing to smooth the surface and a couple of drops of superglue “job done”. I recently bought a book in WH Smith LUFTWAFFE FIGHTERS, it has over 200 colour pictures of 109, 190, 110, ju88, he219, me163 and me 262, not bad for £7.99. I also purchased some decals, more on that later.
The model itself being Tamiya went together very well just a smidge of filler here and there, after first building up the cockpit area it was painted dark grey as, correct me if I am wrong, was all German aircraft, the Eduard seatbelt harness was glued in place, this was then fitted and the two halves of the fuselage fixed together. I don’t need to say anymore suffice to say the rest of the kit went together with no problem. As the aircraft was going to be finished In white rather than use my usual Halford rattle can grey primer I used the white undercoat one, having seen an aircraft in the book I purchased I decided on the one with the yellow nose wingtips and tail.
I began by pre shading the panel lines with Tamiya grey paint xf24, I have seen more and more model makers doing this including on tanks and vehicles etc so I thought I would have a go at this as well, next came xf2 white but allowing enough of the pre shading to still show through, the underside of the aircraft was sprayed with xf23 light blue, masking off the nose wing tips and the band round the fuselage, next came the yellow xf3. I was happy with the finish so the aircraft was then given two fine coats of Humbrol gloss varnish from a can.
The panel lines were then given a wash to enhance them, again I was happy with this so another coat of gloss varnish was sprayed on the model ready for the decals, I used most of the decals for the kit from the box but I did purchase an extra set from Hannants because in the book there was an “yellow 8” 109, I got a set with the number 6 in yellow as this was just what I wanted.
All the decals went “down” very well and when dry were sealed with yet another coat of gloss varnish, eventually the model was given a coat of Mr Hobby matt varnish to tone down everything. All the detail painting was picked out using Vallejo paints before any coats of varnish. The canopy had the masks put in place and sprayed dark grey, when dry the masks removed and fixed to the aircraft, I was very happy with the finished model.
The base is a photo frame, the “wood” is coffee sticks stuck down using super glue, they took a while to cut and glue and were then given a dark wash to stain them, the snow is from woodland scenic held in place by their own recommended glue, I enjoyed making this aircraft and the base and overall was happy with the end result. I may even build another aircraft sometime but for now I think it is back to my beloved tanks.
The Model of the Month for April 2017 is a diorama of an Italeri 1/72nd Messerschmitt Me110 G-4 R/3, NJ.G.1/III Gruppe, Arnhem 1944, by Mike Parker.
photos by Malcolm Lowe
the light levels in our club venue can be pretty awful for photography and Malcolm struggled with the available light levels to get the above shots. Mike Parker has now provided a set of new photos taken at home in natural daylight that show the colour scheme and wiggle pattern more clearly.
On my quest to build and display examples of ‘night fighter’ aircraft in 1:72 scale, I’m always on the lookout for the next example, this the twentieth in my collection. The model was purchased many moons ago, second hand and at a reasonable price. On returning home I place the kit on my ‘pending to build in the not too distant future’ shelf, with a number of others. A couple of years passed and the time finally came to build. The kit, an Italeri Messerschmitt Me110 G-4 R/3 in grey plastic was removed from the polybag and showed some promise. The moulding was generally fine, with some flash particularly on the rather elaborate arrangement of flame eliminating exhaust pipes, common with aircraft converted to this role. Transparencies and decals were adequate, which is more than I could say for the radar aerials; more about this later. All items received a soapy wash and dried thoroughly.
Instructions for the build were clear and concise and the build sequence straightforward. Starting with the cockpit containing enough detail to gain my interest. The radar operator’s panel, needed a little attention, adding a small piece of plasticard to fill a gaping hole, most visible if left unattended. Twin defensive, rearward facing machine guns were put aside to fit later. The fuselage halves mated well. So far so good, or so I thought. Next the simple task was to assemble the wings. I test fitted them, trying desperately to make them fit together, not a hope. The single moulded lower wing section was offered up to the two upper wing sections and they didn’t fit. Endeavouring to fit the main plane to the fuselage, along with the omittance of a port leading edge landing light compounded my frustrations. This was turning from a night fighter into a ‘nightmare’ fighter, but my persistence prevailed. After lots of filling and sanding I progressed onto the engine nacelles. Fortunately the exhaust pipes cleaned up fairly well and added great detail due to their odd configuration. These were to be fitted later. Note: the instruction for this kit illustrates engine sub-assemblies transposed. As for the landing light the need to file out the leading edge and position a small piece of transparent plastic was required, filing it over to follow the profile of the leading edge completed the task.
Filling, sanding and preparing to paint came next. The long ‘greenhouse’ canopy was cleaned and hand painted and adhered to the fuselage. Masked with Tamiya’s ‘bendy’ masking tape and Halford’s grey primer followed. It was at this point I realized I was out of Vallejo Air RLM76 pale blue grey paint; attempts to airbrush the same in Humbrol acrylics proved troublesome. So, with trusty flat brush in hand on went the first coat of Humbrol 247. A completed second was followed by coats of aerosol gloss varnish ready for decal application. Three colour schemes were provided by Italeri, the first two with splinter grey and green camouflage and another with an overall ‘squiggle’ random pattern in grey. I opted for the latter.
I now needed to devise a method of achieving this random pattern effect. After much trial and error I came to the conclusion that my present skill with brush and airbrush would not achieve the desired result. It was time to rely on some of the skills from my days as a technical illustrator. I reasoned that I could use a soft pencil, with a matched grey tone, to apply free hand this complex pattern; or so I thought. Research informed me that this style of camouflage to aircraft of the day was often hastily applied with a vast variety of outcomes, often due to the competence of the paint sprayer and his skill (or lack of) with a spray gun. This finish often covered existing markings and in this case at least only applied to the upper surfaces.
My first attempts proved fruitless, after selecting a suitable soft pencil I practiced on a test piece of prepared plasticard, yet to no avail. It simply didn’t look right. It was then I reasoned that in my own limited experience of spraying aircraft, that only certain coverage can be obtained, due to the practice of how the spray gun is handled. Only certain radial motions, limited by the joints of arm and hand can be achieved. This may seem a little extreme, but once taken on board, the desired effect (after some practice) proved effective and this technique I applied to the model.
The next big task of most night fighter aircraft was the radar aerials. As with many kits the ones supplied do not do the rest of the model credit. Earlier in the build I purchased online some turned brass alternative aerials and proceeded to assemble them. This required some ingenuity, with a strip of card and some cut down icelolly sticks glued together, a suitably little jig came into being. This allowed me to accurately super glue all the elements with precise spacing and alignment. Next the ‘antler’ style frames, ‘out of the box’, were cleaned up and required 0.8mm holes drilled into each of the ends. Finally gluing these to the nose of the model, allowing to set, followed by gluing the brass aerials into the previously drilled holes. Later undercoated and brush painted.
Wheel undercarriage, propellers and exhausts received the appropriate treatment and attachment to the aircraft. Airbrush exhaust staining completed, final coats of flat aerosol varnish applied. Canopy masking carefully removed and other aerials fitted. Elastic thread, stained with a black Sharpie pen (other makes are available), a small hole drilled into both fins and thread adhered with cyanoacrylate. I chose to show the pilot’s cockpit glazing in the open position to allow easier viewing of at least some of the interior. Also not forgetting to retrofit the two rearward facing machine guns.
Next the base, a modified picture frame, reinforced with 6mm MDF insert, filled with wall filler, sealed with watered down PVA glue and painted. Scratch built workbench, complete with paint pot and paint mixing paraphernalia, added interest to this hangar scene. All that remained to do was to add a lone figure, spray gun in hand. A fitting detail in this case and on which to conclude my build.
The Model of the Month for March 2017 is a fabulous 1/48th scale model of a de Havilland Sea Devon by Ian Domeney, built from the Magna Models resin kit.
I’m sure many of you will remember a former Viking Club member, Martyn Gomm. Some of you will also know that he was the creator and producer of Magna Models. Martyn and his wife Lynn have lived for over ten years now in sunny Spain and a few years ago he sent me over a review sample of what was his latest creation, a 1/48 scale De Havilland Sea Devon. Martyn is aware of my love of any Fleet Air Arm aircraft and so I was delighted to take up the offer of a “Free of Charge” kit and the build process started almost immediately.
Magna Models are all resin moulded items with white metal or pewter details and vac-formed transparencies and are produced using what can only be described as cottage industry techniques. The fuselage is in two pieces, split vertically with a rather neat tongue and groove method of trapping the tail fin between the two halves. Each main plane is moulded in a single shot, which considering the amount of resin, has worked very well, there being little or no distortion over the length. The panel lines are nicely understated but clear enough to be emphasised if required.
The little bag of white metal parts contains the propellers, oleos and control columns together with exhausts and undercarriage doors. Just in case of accident, two vac-formed canopies and fairings are included but surprisingly no spare cabin window transparencies.
Completing the parts count are the engine nacelles, tail-plane, wheels, cockpit details and cabin seats. Initial progress on the build was quite swift but came to a grinding halt when I attempted to fit all the vac-formed cabin windows. The fit was less than satisfactory with little opportunity to improve the general effect so I took the somewhat risky decision to remove the entire side of the fuselage at window height and fit a clear plastic insert which could later be masked off to produce the glazing apertures. At this point I put the whole thing in the cupboard for several months whilst I contemplated the next step.
When I eventually summoned the courage to continue, the interior was painted to represent red leather upholstery (more of that later) and the cockpit was fitted out with a degree of scratch built detail and the fuselage halves were joined. I took great care to ensure that the cabin was sealed from any possible ingress of dust from the subsequent sanding operations as there was no way to gain entry to the cabin once the two fuselage halves were bonded together. So far so good. The main planes were then attached together with tail plane horizontal surfaces etc. The model now looked more or less like a miniature Sea Devon when a call from Martyn stopped the build in its tracks. Mr Gomm had decided to give up the manufacture of Magna Models. The partly finished project went back in the cupboard.
A year went by before, during a visit to the Motherland, Martyn asked how I’d gotten on with the Sea Devon? Let’s have another look. Hmm, not so bad. I should be able to get it completed for my own satisfaction without the now unnecessary review. I’d already decided that I would finish the aircraft as an Admiral’s Barge which explains the red leather and gave me the chance to use the remaining contents of a can of Ford Mondeo green aerosol that I’d used previously on a Sea Vampire. Gentle sanding of the airframe revealed dozens of tiny air bubbles just below the surface of the resin so copious quantities of filler were needed before Mr Halford’s own primer was applied overall. The upper and lower demarcation masking was straight forward so finally the trusty green can was exhausted. It was at this time that I was horrified to discover that the inside of the cabin windows were sprinkled with a layer of dust. I don’t know how it got inside and I’m afraid it will remain in place as there is no possible way of getting it out. Back into the cupboard it went. (note for next time…always leave a way into a fuselage….door, window, access panel or something).
A couple of months ago, guilt drove me to extricate the almost finished model from the top shelf and get the decals in place. The kit offerings were good to look at but did not perform well when introduced to water so most came from my own supply. Finally the undercarriage and propellers were added together with various aerials and ancillaries from the spares box.
At last it was complete. De Havilland C Mk20 Sea Devon XJ350 of 781 Sqn based at Lee-on-the-Solent as an Admiral’s Barge during 1961. I was relieved, Martyn was delighted and the club voted it “Model of the Month”
Model of the month for February 2017 is a 1/35th scale ZSU-23-4 of the Syrian Army, built by Allan Parker
ZSU-23-4MZ Shilka (Meng)
Thanks to everyone for voting for my Shilka to be MoM, it is justification for the effort I put in to finish the kit.
I had previously built a version of the Shilka, made by Dragon, but it was poor quality and lacking in detail. At that time photographic reference material was very thin on the ground and my scratch building skill was very limited (not that it is much better now). However, that was all forgotten when Meng decided to release their rendition of the Shilka.
The kit itself is very well moulded and requires almost no clean-up. The instructions are very clear and allow you to build one of four versions of the Shilka, plus you get a fret of photo-etch brass to enrich the finish. The thing that really made me want to make this kit was the fact that you get the complete drivers compartment to construct, plus you get the detailed mouldings for the inside of the ammunition stowage bins. Neither of these enhancements was offered with the Dragon kit.
I started off by studying the instructions and the painting guide. You could build a ZSU-23-4V1, ..M, ..M2 or …MZ. I wanted to build a …MZ and put markings on from a unit of the Libyan Army as I had seen featured on the news in the not too distant past. However, the nearest country I could find that operated the …MZ was from the Syrian Army. Neither of these sets of markings is provided and so I found Star Decals had just what I was looking for. It was important to decide early on which version I was going to build as Meng provide instructions as to precisely which locator holes to open up for use in later build steps to accommodate components specific to the version I wanted to build.
I began the build by putting the driver’s compartment together and painting it as per the instructions. The only reference pictures I could find for this area was a pristine example in a museum. To get the used/abused look, that I wanted to finish with, took a little artistic licence with the dry-brush and washes. I built the lower hull including the running gear and incorporated the driver’s compartment. Because I’d already painted the driver’s compartment and I didn’t want it to get ruined when I airbrushed the rest of the model, I used liquid mask to temporarily stick the driver’s hatch closed.
I constructed and painted the four cannons as a separate unit from the turret so that I could airbrush the hull and turret together before fixing the cannons in place. However, despite my best efforts, I just could not get the cannons to fit properly once the turret had been glued together. Never mind, plan B. Fix the cannons into position; glue the turret top and bottom halves together; mask off the cannons before getting the airbrush out.
I then moved on to the fantastic detail provided for the inside of the ammunition stowage bins. This needed to be shown off but I thought Meng hadn’t provided any extra parts to pose the lids in the open position. I couldn’t just glue the lids vertical and say it was “magic”; I had to work out how the bins were normally held open while the ammunition was being replenished. It was then that I noticed the detail which had been moulded onto the inside of the lids. Meng had actually provided small rods to represent the stays in the stowed position. I immediately chiselled these out and scratch-built the stays, from some plastic rod I had in my bits box, to hold the lids open.
I’ve been building various Trumpeter model kits recently and they seem to love providing track in the form of individual plastic links with separate guide horns for each link. I was pleased to find that Meng, whilst their track was provided as individual plastic links, had the guide horns moulded in. Having said that and despite taking extra care, I couldn’t get the track to look realistic so I resorted to buying white metal track from Sector35. I just love the natural sag from the weight of the white metal links.
The rest of the build seemed to go relatively smoothly up until the point after I’d sprayed the kit in overall desert tan (Humbrol Enamel 237). I was putting the Sector35 track on when it became apparent that the gap between the two guide horns on each link was too narrow for the road wheels to fit which meant there was a gap between the running surface of the track and the wheels where they are supposed to meet. To fix this I ended up shaving about 0.5mm off the bottom inside surface of each wheel. Now the road wheels sit nicely on the running surface of the track, PANIC OVER!!
To finish the model I used a combination of dry-brushing, washes and followed by many hours trying to replicate realistic chips and scratches plus a little rust and some AK Interactive Streaking Grime.
All in all, this has to be the kit I’ve enjoyed making the most.
Model of the Month for January 2017 was a Valom 1/72nd kit of an Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle built as P1383 ‘G’ 297 Squadron at RAF Stoney Cross in the of Autumn 1943 built by Henry Goodall.
Fuelling has just finished as the aircrew arrive to board the aircraft and receive secret papers from a dispatch rider. These will be dropped tonight to the French Resistance together with arms, ammunition and radio equipment. The containers are checked by a corporal and aircrew member, as another airman carried the parachute strops to the aircraft. Before long ‘G’ George will soon be airborne on another dangerous single aircraft night mission.
Henry has sent in a further set of photos of the model
and a description of the model and its build
Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle N, P1383 ‘G’ George, 297 Squadron, Stoney Cross, Autumn 1943
My grateful thanks go to everyone who voted for the Albemarle diorama this month. The inspiration for this build was meeting the daughter of the wireless operator of this aircraft, P1383 ‘G’ George, while on holiday in 2014. His logbook records several equipment drops to the French Resistance in late 1943 from Stoney Cross, in addition to his modest note “All crew awarded DFCs”, as the lead aircraft dropping the first ten 22nd Independent Para. Coy. Pathfinders on the Ranville DZ ‘N’ on D-Day.
I decided on a busy pre-mission diorama, to show off this unusual aircraft, once described as having “no vices and no virtues”. The 1/72 scale Valom kit has many of the common short run kit failings, including no locating pins and holes throughout, poorly fitting engine nacelles and inaccurate fuselage to cockpit canopy, nose canopy, rear fuselage windows and skylight joints.
However, with much dry fitting and patience, building up with filler, superglue and PVA glue etc., I was able to overcome most of these challenges. There is no real cockpit floor locating ledge, so repeated dry fitting was required, and lead sheet, to prevent it being a ‘tail sitter’. The offset dorsal turret lacks seating lugs, so these also have to be created. The decals are for a 297 Squadron aircraft, which operated from Stoney Cross; they seat well with Microsol/Microset. I modified them for the specific aircraft being built; however, obtaining a good style and colour match with Xtradecal WWII Bomber Command decals proved problematic.
Having masked the nose canopy over the navigator’s compartment before painting, I later discovered that the glue had spread to fog part of the windows. A desperate e-mail to Valom produced a positive response; two sets of clear sprues arrived from Václav Lomitzki in the Czech Republic within 4 days, free of charge – what great service!!
The base (DisplaysUK – Christchurch) was augmented with sheet styrene, to enable fixing the model to the base with metal pins. I used Halfords Wet & Dry 240 for the Stoney Cross dispersal, with Gaugemaster autumn grass mat; Lifecolor Tensocrom oil and fuel spills and Paynes Grey/Burnt Sienna oil paint mix (dried puddles) completed the base. The accessories were mainly from the WWII Airfix Bomber Resupply set, the refuelling ladder and chocks by Flightpath, and figures from the Revell RAF Pilots & Ground Crew set. The fragile transverse glider tow apparatus broke easily; I substituted wire.
Painting was airbrushed with Humbrol matt enamels, vehicle camouflage was Lifecolor Panzergrau acrylic over Humbrol Dark Earth. Figures were painted mainly with Lifecolor acrylics, the Mae Wests with matt enamel, their straps and the container parachute strops were thinly cut wine bottle lead foil. The drop containers were sculpted from old sprue and drilled, wooden steps scratch built from sheet styrene and the ‘wheelbarrow’ scratch built from wire, with Flightpath etched wheels. The refuelling tubing was 0.8mm wire, with the spout 0.4mm wire.
Overall, it was a very satisfying build/challenge and will go into the FONFA Museum with copies of pages from Bill Pomfrey’s logook.”