Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt11

•May 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Electronics! Did some work on wiring up the base last night. Drilled the hole for the MC-30 rod, which is a 1/8″ jack on the base and a rod with 2x 1/8″ plugs at either end. Need to paint the tiles before adding the wiring, that 1/8″ jack goes in after that. The big MC-80 plug wires need to be painted black as well.

Also did some weathering and flat coated the beast last night :)

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt9

•May 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Minor updates. Started working on the fuselage part of the cockpit. The instructions call for PE to be added as the braces, but those part numbers aren’t actually in the set so I made some vinyl strips. Before moving forward some paint needed to be added and AKAN makes a Flanker interior color. Personally, I think it’s pretty good but it doesn’t match the Eduard PE color. I’m mostly OK with that…

I also added the cannon barrel with some brass tubing.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt10

•May 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Did some detail dry brushing, a rust wash and gathered the support ships for the dio last night.

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt8

•May 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Did a little work last night while paint was drying on the MC-80. The wheel well detail on the upper fuselage needs to be filed/sanded down to get the new wheel wells to fit. There’s also a fair bit of sanding to come along the seams. Also added the last of the AMUR vents.

Here’s what’s happening with the radome right now. I’ll need to shave some material from one side of the lower fuselage edge and add some to the opposite site. It’ll fit nicely in the end.

Did some more work on the intakes. The fans were dropped in, painted black then dry brushed silver. I’m not too concerned about the sloppy paint as you can’t tell once the intakes are in place.

Lastly, since the intakes have open tops, light bleeds through from the open wheel bays. To correct this I fitted a piece of adhesive vinyl to the top. Works as an effective light block with no impact on the fit.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt9

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Now for the base!! I had previously laid out all the tiles but this weekend I trimmed them and glued them in place. The MC-80 support rod will fit really nicely and the MC-30 rod I have something kind of ingenious planned. Right now it’s primed and ready to paint!!

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt8

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Moving on through the updates! After the main painting was completed I trimmed the fiber optics and began the process of adding panel line decals from my stash. First, a nice coat of Future was applied. The decals are basically a random assortment of lines of different lengths and weights as well as square paneling of tones of gray.

Once everything was mostly buttoned up the engine nozzles were installed and all the lights were tested. It’s looking really good!!

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt7

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

BIG update. This past week was a big push. I’m really working towards having this thing finished by the weekend. Where do I begin??? Let’s start from where I left off: masking. So after the initial base coat was applied (Akan 73156) I applied TONS of little squares of masking tape to replicate paneling.

Next up was the first round of painting. I began with Badger’s camouflage gray with some dumps of pearlescent pigment in the mix, thinned down a little bit. The effect is nice and subtle because the shade is ever so lighter than the Akan color plus the metallic sheen. Additionally, I used a mix of AK rubber black and sea gray to add some darker gray areas as well as “highlight” the tech areas. The 3rd step during this painting process was to apply the rust colors, which is a mix of Vallejo German Orange and AK Sea Gray. I applied this last mix a little more judiciously; the last build had much larger areas of rust/red and deviated from the on-screen look a little too much. I also used some photo etch frets to get some different patterns.

There’s a whole bunch more updates so I’ll break them into new posts :) Stay tuned!

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt7

•May 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Another week has gone by with many minor updates. Finished up the lower wings…and figured I disconnect them while I was working on the wheel bays. They should be easy enough to pop back in place once she goes together. Also finished the riveting process…which wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. Tedious, but not bad. Worked on the canopy hinge by re-adding the PE plate to the new piece of styrene and puttied in place. Lastly, added the spacers to the radome and added to the upper fuselage. There will be a touch of putty and sanding but the shapes match, which is more important.

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt6

•May 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Every small amount of progress keeps adding up. This update shows that I added about half of the AMUR photo etch pieces so far. The front section of the cannon PE plate snapped off (and didn’t fit quite right) but otherwise I’m OK with it. I also cut out a section of the canopy hinge and added the rear pilot instrument panel hood. Also dropped in the airbrake.

Wheel bay progress. These things are a big pain, especially the main wheel bays. The nose gear bay was a breeze however…

Primed the pit, detailed the flaperons, and started adding the spacer to the radome.

Lastly, finished detailing the Alamos and primed them. I used some tubing in the nozzles for a little extra detail. The black primer is great because none of the detail is lost.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt6

•May 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Black primer and base coat applied! I used Mr. Surfacer black 1500 and Akan light gray 73506 (IIRC). Now I’m masking smaller areas in preparation for the rusted spot application. It’s sure shaping up! Planning on finishing this up in the next couple weeks FOR SURE.

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt5

•May 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A few minor updates from the past couple weeks. It’s been a little slow on the modeling front because I’ve been working on installing some art for a big show (see here: BUT I was able to find 10/15 minutes here and there. The easy stuff was getting the Alamos together. The detail is just stunning on these in this scale. I really hope Eduard steps up and releases some 1/72 Brassin sets like this.

The cockpit started getting some attention as well. I almost forgot to cut out the area to accommodate the Fairy Hobby canopy when I put the Aires combing in place! Oops. I also added the photo etch pieces to the fuselage side of the canopy system. And since the cockpit pieces are pretty easy to piece together, I went ahead and did that, too

The new wheels bays from Aires are really great in terms of detail, but they are a mess and a half to get into place. The front of the wheel well section is OK, but the main channels require a LOT of cut outs and alignment. I still need to fill some gaps and add some reinforcement pieces on the inside.

Another set of steps that easy to work on separately are the intakes. Once the rivets were complete I filled the seam with some CA, to be sanded later, and added in all the photo etch from both Eduard and AMUR. The AMUR vents/intakes, etc don’t quite fit over the Academy lines so I had to fill the plastic with Tamiya putty. They will be sanded flush so the vents stick out soon.

That’s all for now! Gotta focus on 2 commissions. :) This will be worked on during the in between/drying stages of the others :P

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt4

•April 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It’s funny, I look back at this past week and think I really haven’t done much on this project, then I look at the pictures! Every little step makes a big difference and I might just be getting to the major building sooner than I realize!

First up, I started riveting! The horizontal and vertical stabilizers were first up and assembled. There were a few lines that needed to be scribed as well as small access panels.

The verticals were a little more complex so I made a new scribing template for the access panels. The lower fins also don’t come with the larger rivet markings so I used Hasegawa’s .75mm rivet punch tool. The ‘stabes are looking the part already.

Since the elevators are going to be drooped, the hinges need some extension work. It’s a little tricky trying to figure out curves and length by just dry fitting all the pieces, so an approximation took effect. Once the fins and fuselage pieces are assembled it should be easier to trim and fit the parts.

Not only are there new lines to be scribed, some need to be removed so I filled them with putty and began sanding smooth. I also started scribing the new lines on the wings. While I was at it I sanded down the ejector pin marks on the inside of the intakes.

So something funny also cropped up and it’s a bit of a hump. The wings are bent on both the top and bottom fuselage pieces. It’s probably my fault for packing the box so tight. I glued some steel rods into the bottom piece and it helped but there’s not enough room for them in the top section. I’ll have to work carefully with some heat from my desk lamp to reshape.

Lastly, Flankerman Ken over at ARC shared that the nose gear door inset shape is wrong, so I’ll be re-sculpting that. I also trimmed all the blocks off the resin pieces….still a huge pile!! That process included cutting apart the pieces I need from the kit pylons.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-30 Frigate DONE

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt3.5

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Closer look at the elevators and pylons. I’m dropping the flaps on this build since you can see they are all dropping on the sitting bird. Also, the pylons all appear to be painted differently.

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt3

•April 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Finally dug into the bits!!! First step was to wash all the resin to make sure the primer will stick so the parts were soaked overnight in a bowl of water with Comet then laid out to dry in the sun. There is a LOT of resin for this build. Like a LOT.

All the parts are really well detailed. The Quickboost flaperons do need rivet work done, something the kit parts actually have. I’m still going to go with the resin parts because the hinge edge has more detail. Eduard included two really well detailed pilot helmets and they’re a nice touch. I think I’ll rest them on the seats. The Aires exhaust nozzles are incredible. There are even raised rivets on the outer layer of feathers! Although comparing them to the walk around images, a couple more minor rivet lines need to be added. One thing Eduard does NOT include in the box is a resin combing, rather they rely on a poorly shaped and detailed photo etch piece. I took a good look at the Wolfpack piece from the stash and compared it to the Aires piece from the single-seater pit and the latter won out. Lastly, I found a reference of Blue 52 with a single Alamo C mounted on the intake pylon, so again Eduard’s Brassin saves the day. AMAZING detail…almost like it’s a mini kit itself…

Speaking of armament, the kit pylons are crap so not only will I be using the ones provided in the Brassin sets (I’m pulling from other Alamo and Archer sets) but I’ll have to mix and match PIECES of the kit pylons because Eduard doesn’t supply matching “pre-pylon” mounts. Regardless, I laid out all the pylon upgrades according to design along with the placement of the Alamos.

The Eduard cockpit parts and Aires nose wheel bay have these blocks on them that need to be cut off. Normally I wouldn’t worry about it but even with the barest of dry fitting it’s apparent space is needed. Radome wise, the shape of the resin part is spot on but alignment with the kit parts is off. Some fix its will need to happen there for sure. As a tool use note, I’ve been using the really thin photo etch saws to cut the resin off the pour stubs, but it’s a bit flimsy so I slid the saw into the blade handle with an old blade as support.

Lastly, I took a good look at all the main plastic parts and examined where new panel lines need to be scribed or old ones filled, where I need to make cuts to fit the resin parts and piled up all the parts that need rivets. I measured the distance on the kit rivets and while they may not be scale accurate, I figured I’d at least match as best I could with the new lines. This is where the trusty RB Productions Rivet-R tool comes in handy, specifically the 1mm rivet wheel set (one for long lines, one for corners). The last couple pics here are the awesome Master metal pitot and the AMUR photo etch grills.

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt9 DONE!

•April 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.48.46 AM

Commission: 1/2256 MC-30 Frigate pt4

•April 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

It’s amazing what a half hour or so of time can yield when focus is present. I brought the kit into the paint booth with some Akan light gray from the Flanker paint set for the base color and a mix of Vallejo German Orange and Tamiya XF-64 for the ‘rust’ spots. I also used a post-it note to spot mask for some of the paneling. The last night I took a few minutes to detail with Tamiya gunmetal, chrome silver with some dry brushing of white and silver. The final step of the evening was a clear coat so it was ready for the MiG neutral wash this morning.

Victor Choi’s 1/48 AT-ST

•April 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

AMAZING mod work.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-30 Frigate pt3

•April 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A bit more of an update on this guy as well. Once it was closed up the drilled out nozzles were added and some putty was put in place. Turns out there was a lot of light bleed so I decided some white glue would close some of the holes and dampen the bleed a bit. I also put a few drops over the LEDs themselves to diffuse the light a bit more. Also, before priming, I decided to add a bunch more details all around the hull, things like antennas, piping, blisters, etc. A good dose of black primer did a pretty good job of managing the light leak but I still had to spot paint. Shaping up!!

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt5

•April 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

BIG update. Lots of work has been done since I last posted this guy. Firstly, everything was wired up and I finished detailing the hangar. Once it was closed up I added all the Shapeways blisters and extended bridges. A few drop tank halves made their way onto the hull as well. Right now she sits with drying putty on the seams.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-30 Frigate pt3

•April 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Fibers and LEDs connected and she’s buttoned up! Some putty was added to fill in the tail LED channel and I still have to drill out the nozzles. SOOOO close to primer!!!

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt9 Final Tease

•April 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

All the detail paint was added, she was clear coated, a few long sessions of decal application, another clear coat, some washes with MiG Productions White and Neutral Gray, then some pastel weathering and chipping, a flat coat, some mask removal and part assembly and she’s done! The last pics are just a teaser until I finish up the base and get it into the photo studio.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt4

•April 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Fibers are now completely threaded, trimmed and joined to the LEDs!! Still need to drill out a little more of the area on the engine back plate to insert the flickering LEDs but oh man it’s close to being buttoned up! Other than that the hangar detail needs to be filled out a little more and the main plug wiring needs to be done. There’s a little bit of soldering in my future :) ALSO the frame for the display base should is being made and should be en route soon! I know the deadline for this has passed but as I stated in my resolutions, taking it slow/not rushing produces better results so I’m trying to be careful as I go and do it right.

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt8

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Major painting complete! A couple rounds of masking and airbrushing and it’s looking the part. The green and brown were straight from the bottle, both Badger colors and the orange was Vallejo bright orange, thinned down a bit. The tape pulled off a couple panels and the static discharge vanes so there is a little bit of fixing. Overall I’m pretty happy with the result and with the right amount of weathering this will be a nice display piece! Next up detail painting and sub-assemblies!

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt2.2

•March 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Decal addendum! I took a closer look at the references and redesigned the decal. Here’s where it is now.Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.25.27 AMAlso, a follower on ARC Forums informed me about some of the craft history

“For info, the SU-27 Ub in first photo, is not the same aircraft, after merged at Kilp-Yavr in 2001, it’s become 54 blue, your plane are ex-54 blue from Afrikanda.

Note that after 2006, the forward part of plane, until the end of the canopy, have been repainted, and the planes have received new red star, like you can see with the photo off Alexey Zemlakoff taken in 2009, before the withdrawal of regiment to Besovets AB.

If you don’t have, this is photo taken near 2003 (I think)
Posted Image

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt2

•March 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Finally opened up the box! I have 2 UB kits stashed into one so I had to parse out everything. Both kits have all the requisite aftermarket, too. I’ll be utilizing the Eduard kit (the other is the Zhengdefu knock-off).

Getting into a little more detail, here are all the aftermarket components I’ll be using, including the Eduard Brassin included in the kit: Eduard Brassin cockpit and seats, Eduard Brassin wheels, Eduard interior and exterior photo etch, Eduard Brassin Archer, Aphid and Alamo missiles*, Eduard mask, Aires exhausts, Aires wheel bays, Quickboost flaperons, Quickboost antenna, Quickboost radome, Master metal pitot, RUST photo etch vents, Master brass static discharge vanes, Fairy Hobby vacuform canopy, and Begemot and Linden Hill decals.

*I’ve only seen one reference of this bird carrying armament and it was 2 Alamos on the intake pylons. It’s a unique arrangement so I’ll only need some of the Brassin sets, but all the pylons will be used.

Lastly, I like to be organized with my stash for the most part. I tend to keep a lot of decals in my file cabinet for easy reference, etc. In some instances I do put decal sheets in the kit boxes. This is one of those times. Lo and behold I discovered not only did I already have the Linden Hills sheet that I was hunting for, but 2 other sets as well. Between the kit decals, the Begemot sets and the newly discovered sets, I’ll be, well….set.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt3

•March 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Fibers almost done! I need to cut out some areas from the wing roots and thread fibers, but it’s so close!! One more session!

SMA BSC 2015 Entry #1: 1/48 Su-27UB Blue 52 pt1

•March 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Really been thinking about this build and I’ve narrowed down some choices:

1) This will be a heavily weathered bird (per this year’s theme)
2) The weathering will be winterized
3) I’ll be doing a full meal deal build, starting from Eduard’s Limited kit
4) It’ll be Blue 52 with some weathering borrowed from Blues 41 and 51.
5) I might build with a snowy base but only enter the model to keep it in the air category (unless the snowy base is permitted, no people or equipment.
6) I have to double check that I have decals to do 52, so I’ll need the numbers, a polar bear, and whatever else is bird specific…I might have to part out some sets. So if anyone has extras let me know!

***UPDATE: Turns out Linden Hill DID make decals for this family of birds!! EXCEPT THEY’VE BEEN SOLD OUT!!! And the sheet doesn’t have ’52’ on it. And the little red/white/gold emblem is slightly different. See the sheet below…

*******UPDATE: I found a friend to trade with who has the set!! I still need to make the new numbers though so I did a little work in Illustrator. See the last images.

I have plenty of reference material already gathered I think…but I can always add more!

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt7

•March 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

First round of camo applied!

1/144 Sukhois in progress: Su-30MKKs and T-50 pt2

•March 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Bases constructed for the landed Flankers! I printed the tarmacs on cardstock but in order to get them to NOT wrinkle I had to add some pressure. Like a 40lb box of books kind of pressure. A little trimming and some paint and they’re ready! Actually, I brushed white glue over the top of them and then when it was dry scored along the tile seams so when the light hits it right, you can see an indentation. I might still flat coat them though. As for the Flankers themselves they still need canopy sanding and polishing. :( I also finally started working on the display support for the in flight bird. The rod needs some reshaping but the effect is there.

Luckily, it was also warm enough this past weekend to get into the spray booth! The T-50 has been ready for paint for a while now. I used my new AKAN paints and I love em! They’re SOOO smooth!! I only used a drop or two of thinner just to make sure the preshading effect didn’t get lost. The bottom side blue is a typical Flanker color but the rhomboid top shape was a mix of black and a darker blue. After the initial shape was added I dropped some of the lighter blue in and post-shaded. Later on I hand brushed the white markings and metal for the engines. The darker tone is Tamiya gunmetal and the aluminum parts are from a Krylon silver leafing pen. Right now it’s clear coated and waiting for decals!

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt2.2

•March 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Minor update….more fiber optics threaded. Almost done with the top half.


Commission: 1/2256 MC-30 Frigate pt1

•March 16, 2015 • 1 Comment

While I had the Dremel out it seemed as good of a time as any to make some wiring channels for the MC-30 that will be part of the MC-80 commission display. The LEDs are on order so I went as far as I could until they arrive. The jack is in place and all the fibers are threaded. Surprisingly, this is a much more quick build than I had anticipated. This will be a nice little fleet display when a couple of transports and frigates fill it out, too.

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt2

•March 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Quite a bit of big stage progress. Finally drilled all the windows out counted 1347, then drilled another batch after routing out a couple small areas…so definitely upwards of 1500. I also back filled the larger window openings with clear resin. A piece of packing tape did the trick to keep it flush. They’ll have a nice shape once I apply a liquid mask before priming etc. I was finally able to get back to my porch to finish drilling out the engines so those were added as well. Right now I’m in the fiber optic threading stage…which will take a few days time just for the glue that holds the fibers in place to dry. Lastly, I’ve also cast enough tiles for a good size display base! As part of a bonus gift I’m also building up an MC-30 frigate to be part of the display (see next post).

Commission: 1/2256 MC-80 cruiser #3 pt1

•February 17, 2015 • 6 Comments

This is one of the commission projects I’ve slowly been working over the past few months. This also makes my 3rd MC-80 so I’ve got the process down. At this point, I have a number of tiles cast for the base, a threaded mount for the support rod (and secured with resin), opened up big windows, and about 120 windows drilled through and another 300+ marked for drilling. The assembly was pretty easy and I figured I’d get that done sooner than later but before that I had to route out some areas where electronics and fiber optics are going to be run. I have yet to drill out the engines and mount them, as well. The big step right now is drilling. Oh man, drilling. I’ve been able to do a little bit here and there but it’s a process that is more physically straining than you may think. Once all the windows are drilled, I’ll file and fill the larger windows and build up the hangar. And once the engines are in place I can being placing electronics (adding power jack + LEDs) and run all the fiber. Fun stuff.

Commission: 1/1000 Klingon Bird of Prey #3 pt1

•February 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Another quick commission project! Easy build. Ready for paint!

1/144 Sukhois in progress: Su-30MKKs and T-50 pt1

•February 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

While I’ve been drilling windows for a commission and waiting to get back into the paint booth, I was buggered into digging into a couple more quick kits: Trumpeter’s new 1/144 Su-30MKK and Pit Road’s 1/144 PAK FA T-50. 144mkk_IMAG5428

The Su-30MKKs are going to be split up, 2 will be each of the Chinese scheme variants while one will be a “what if” Ukranian bird. One of the Chinese birds will be in flight and the other landed along with the Ukrainian scheme. There will also be small bases with tarmacs to round out a little display.144mkk_IMG_8894

The T-50 will be done in the newer ‘Bort 55′ scheme, which suffered a catastrophic fire on the tarmac a year or so ago. It’s an easier scheme to paint free hand and I’m excited to give it a shot. It will also be in the flight position. She built up so quickly she’s already in primer!

All the kits go together really well. The T-50 is practically a snap fit. Trumpeter has maintained it’s ease of build with these new 144 offerings as well. However, there are a couple of outstanding issues that were fixed: a new pitot for all four jets; the Flankers’ pitots were made with a syringe tube and sewing needle (seam filled with super glue and sanded) and the T-50’s was made with a drill bit.

The radomes for each of the Flankers also needed some adjusting. Since they are meant to fit the previous toolings, some trimming on the inner lip is needed. The join with the main fuselage leaves a bit to be desired so some putty and sanding was required there as well. Also, I had to add the little fins that go on the lower outside of the intakes. Easy enough with a little plastic stock. The in-flight bird also needed some putty for the closed gear doors.

I gotta say, Trumpeter stepped it up a notch with the decals for these Flankers. Not only is there now a WHOLE sheet of stencils, they included COCKPIT decals. I know, only some of it is visible in this scale, but it makes a big difference. T-50 has no such luxury.

The trade off is that the T-50 includes 2 pilot figures. Alas, that’s not enough to fill the offices of the Flankers so I picked up some of OzMods modern pilots. Very basic but with a little paint they add some life.

THE biggest pain with Flanker kits is fixing the canopies. These are no exception. There’s a nasty seam that runs down the middle that will need a lot of TLC…but there is also a factory tooling issue where the windscreen isn’t polished all the way to the front edge of the frame. Not sure what to do there…I’ve tried to contact Trumpeter through several channels, including the US distributor and nothing yet.

Either way, these are fun kits and pretty quick to bang out. Since they’re so easy it’s a little therapy session every time I sit down with them. Stay tuned.144mkk_IMG_8922

1/48 Bad-Azz Advanced Cylon Raider pt6 DONE

•January 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

All wrapped up! First carry-over from 2014 complete.

Full Gallery


Onto 2015 Part 4: Personal Goals and Guidelines

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

RESOLUTIONS! Well, really things in general I should consider more carefully this year.

Buy less. Build more. This also means sticking to $0 balance buy vs. sell as much as possible (outside of Cosmos Models sales). Last year I also started a spreadsheet of sold kits vs. built kits vs. bought kits but it only kept a tally and wasn’t a financial spreadsheet. This years will include that info to help stay on track. If I do have to buy something, stick to only NEW kits! There are plenty coming up this year in every theme I build in so I can regulate a little better. Still, being able to say NO is a good urge-control skill that I should be exercising more this year than last. Sometimes shopping online and putting it in a cart is a good method for figuring out a new project cost, but then closing the browser window before starting the checkout process feels really good!

As a follow-up: Build kits I have all aftermarket for before buying more aftermarket. I keep a spreadsheet of my inventory which includes all manner of aftermarket parts. From resin wheels to photo etch parts and even whether or not the kit would benefit from lighting. A fair number of line items are actually in the green, meaning they are ready to go with all the aftermarket items! This is called a “Full Meal Deal” for those unfamiliar. This by no means indicates a priority of projects; I could very well build something out of box (OOB) without any of that stuff (in fact I’d like to build a 1/48 MiG-29 from the Swifts aerobatic team using only aftermarket decals). Point is, there are plenty of projects to choose from before ever purchasing that one piece of photo etch for the landing gear.

Tertiary follow-up: Sell what I really won’t ever get to. Seriously. Every modeler probably has a number of kits in the stash that are just taking up space and will probably never be built. I’ve got a lot of kits. Even if I slow my building pace down (from 113 this year!) to 20 per year, there’s at least 25 years of modeling ahead of me. That being said I have a number of kits, mostly airplanes, that are ziplocked and stored away. Someday I’ll have to photograph and post them for sale. Some I’ve taken to swap meets, etc and passed along but there really needs to be a mass exodus of sorts. I’ll bet I could cut my stash in half this year. It’ll be painful but if I stick to kits I know are readily available on the market it’ll be fine in the long run.

Maintain Rule of Three. Attention span isn’t only a problem with the youths. It’s a frequent ailment of the scale modeler and I am no exception. As of today, I have in progress four commissions, two near completions, five shelf queens, one scratch build and eight master patterns. That is way too many projects to focus on and sometimes I get an urge to start something thinking it will be a quick project and it ends up on the shelf for months at a time. Also, I’ll occasionally get stuck and because other projects are in process, it gets shelved. (Case in point, the Mi-24 Hind build that I intend to motorize.) So, for the New Year, I’m going to do my best to work on ONLY THREE at a given time in earnest. For starters, I should be working on one commission, one shelf queen and one master pattern. Once the shelf queens are taken care of I can swap that category out for personal builds. But if I’m honest with myself, there will be an occasional moment where I’ll scratch an itch and build a TIE Fighter or something similarly easy in the hopes it won’t sidetrack The Three.

Document builds better in photographs and take time with technical notes. In the past I’ve felt pretty good about documenting work. It could always be better though. Sometimes there’s a specific paint mix that will take a few tries to remix, or there is a specific technique to applying photo etch that I’ll forget about. Documenting build steps both photographically and technically not only keeps a record but also doubles as potential article material. As I build more commission work and propagate projects across the internet more, people start to become more interested and ask questions. I by no means aim to create step by step guides, but careful and clear documentation will go a long way for a lot of reasons.

Slow down in the finish! What’s the finishing stage? Well, to me it could start anywhere from applying primer to the final photographs. Painting is the point at which I’ve rushed in the past because it can be the most cause of frustration. Often times I’ll get a project to the point of adding primer and set it aside for weeks or months. If it’s an airplane with complex camouflage, there’s layers of masking and it could take upwards of a day to get it all done. Ah! But see? I catch myself even now! I use acrylics and they tend to dry very quickly. But sometimes more time is needed for things to dry properly and I forget that. My painting also needs to be pushed further. This past year I started experimenting with panel highlighting and black-basing and they’ve proved to be good methods. I can push them even further to get consistent. There will never be a perfect paint application but there is always practice. Secondly, weathering comes out of this. For Sci-fi builds, lots of scoring and thick washes are nice, but it’s a different beast for airplanes. Subtlety is key so I need to pay attention to each step and it’s intensity.

So, with all that being said, what are some specific project targets? For starters, I’d like to build a really nice diorama. Not just make an airfield base or asteroid stand, but really add the details that make it believable. There’s one project I’ve already been gathering materials for: a 1/72 Su-33 on the flight deck of the Admiral Kuznetsov. Just about everything is in hand or on the way so once other projects are complete this will get started.

Otherwise, I can get more creative with the displays. Acrylic rod for vessels in flight, support vessels for capital ships, nice mirrored bases with studio-style mounting, wall mounting mechanisms…Of course the options depend on the build, but there’s definitely room for improvement over the standard black base and rod.

To narrow the specific projects down a bit more, I definitely want to build a 1/48 Flanker and a 1/48 Fulcrum. The Flanker I have in mind is Eduard Limited Su-27UB kit in Ukranian colors (with all manner of aftermarket!). The Fulcrum? Great Wall Hobby’s kit is a perfect out of box choice for a Swifts build. I even have the decals ready! Aside from those two, I have an idea for a kitbash for the Keeper of the Force forum group build and of course there will be a couple SMA BSC builds, which the Flanker or Fulcrum could be a part of. Lastly, I definitely want to build a large scale kit this year. There are a few to choose from in the stash but Tamiya’s Spitfire MkVII has been staring me down for a couple years…

That’s about all I can think of for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to hit all these markers! Wish me luck and happy modeling to everyone this year!

Onto 2015 Part 3: The Future of Cosmos Models

•January 5, 2015 • 5 Comments

Over the past couple of years I’ve been steadily growing this business called Cosmos Models. While it started out with small items, like 1/2256 fighters and smaller ships, the list of products has been expanding into larger products as well as decals! Since I really can’t do the majority of my own casting I rely greatly on the skills of master casters Jimi Glancy (JPG Productions) and Tom Saltysiak (Utar Ships). Not only do they cast products for me, we work closely together to bring new kits to the market under all three of our brands. Each year I make 2-3 new master patterns for both of them and we work out pretty good trade deals. This next year, however, I hope to be able to learn some basic pressure casting and mold making skills for the smaller projects coming across the bench.

In order to maintain the theme of “last year’s carry-overs”, the following is a list of projects that I hope to get off the ground and into the hands of eager modelers this year, in order of priority:

1/1000 Action VI This was project that fulfilled a few different scale projects. Initially designed as a 1/1000 ship, I scaled the CAD file down to 1/2256 and 1/4222 for Utar Ships (and it’s available now). The larger scale kit just needs a bit of cleaning up before I send it to JPG, who will release it under his own label.

Also for JPG, I am working on the YT-2400 Outrider for starters in 1/144 scale. It will be a many piece kit with a good chance of some multi-media elements (brass cannons, etc). Most of the work will be done in CAD and then hand finished. Hopefully it’ll be easy to generate a 1/350 version of the ship, too, to match a number of other ships in that scale. The target is Wonderfest 2015 but who knows what will happen before then… :)

The long worked on and saught after 1/144 Gozanti Cruiser will also hopefully happen this year. Since doing this kit in 1/350 a couple of years ago there’s been some moderate demand for a larger kit. It may seem like it’s only a matter of upscaling the files, but the parts breakdown and detailing are completely different so the whole file almost needs to be re-made from scratch. There are also the complications that the new variant introduced in the Rebels series poses: the size is larger and the shaping is slightly different. Fun. This might be a Wonderfest 2016 release.

Since Tom has been so great at casting a number of my projects, I’ve offered to build him a 1/4222 Victory-class Star Destroyer for his line. It will definitely be a great kit since it’s in scale with so many other offerings. The parts are all laid out and assembly and detailing can commence as soon as other projects are cleared.

3D printed projects have become a good working method for a lot of what I want to do. As of right now, there are several kits already printed but need some cleaning up before they get sent out for casting:

1/1000 IPV-1
1/1000 Interceptor Frigate
1/1000 DP-20c Gunship
1/2256 Vengeance-class Frigate
1/4222 Star Destroyer upgrade set
and here and here

Later on, pending the availability of TIME: 1/144 and 1/350 (maybe 1/270) Ebon Hawk (CAD), 1/2256 Victory II-class Frigate and 1/2256 Interdictor Cruiser. The initial CAD work has been done on the Ebon Hawk and the parts for the Imperial ships have been cut and are ready to be assembled.

Looks like it’ll be another busy year!!

Onto 2015 Part 2: Commission Projects and Goals

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This past year has been really good in terms of commission work. It’s pretty much kept the hobby alive for me! Out of all the projects that come across my bench, these are the most challenging because they deserve the most discerning eye I can muster. If any one of these were a personal build, there would be a number of things that I would probably sell myself short on (or cut corners). But no. These are projects for paying customers so I want to do as good of a job as I can. Sometimes that means taking extra time. It definitely means more planning.

There are a few carry-overs from last that I’d like to finish up as soon as possible:

My second 1/2256 Mon Calamari MC-80 This was a bit of an ambitious project and it’s taken a while to get it this close to complete. The last few steps are drilling a mirror to mount the support rods and soldering up the wiring in the base. That’s it. Sounds simple enough but it turns out drilling into a mirror is way more time consuming than one might think. I spent almost an hour slowly grinding out pilot holes. Now they have to be expanded to 3/8″ to accommodate the rods. This is meant to be a companion piece to the 1/2256 Dreadnaught finished this past spring. Once this is complete I will be shipping these two builds to Germany! As a follow-up build (and as a thank you for the client’s patience) I will be building him a 1/2256 Victory-class Star Destroyer.

Right after that I have another 1/2256 Mon Calamari MC-80! This one will be built in the same manner but the base will not be a mirror; it will be Death Star tiles. I’m looking forward to that. And now since it’s the third MC-80, I think I have a pretty good system down to be able to move it along fairly quickly. As a follow-up, the client has stated that he’d like me to build a 1/2256 Imperial-class Star Destroyer. It will be a huge project but it’s one I’ve wanted to tackle for a while!

Continuing on with the Star Destroyer theme, I am scratch building a 1/7200 Allegiance-class Star Destroyer for a client. It’s fun to scratch build and Imperial ships are some of the easiest designs. You can check out the link to see the work that’s been put into it so far. However, planning ahead I will have some CAD work to do for the turrets and the bridge. Some of that is already done (see the 2015 pt3 post) so once the major assemblies are complete it will be all detail work. Once nice thing about this is that is will not be lit. Phew! But it will still be cool.

Lastly, there’s this deceptively little project: 1/72 A-Wing duo. The plan is to rework one of the kits to more closely resemble Ralph McQuarrie’s design and keep the other close to the studio model. Always up for challenging myself, the support rods will also have small plugs attached. So that means there will LEDs installed in each of these. Not as easy as it sounds…they are (were) solid resin ships so a lot of prep work has been done in terms of drilling and routing. I’m pretty excited about this project, too, so I’d better get to it!

Since there are so many commission projects in various stages of completion sitting in my workspace, I’m going to have to hold off on accepting new large commissions until they are clear. However, a fairly large percentage of the builds done for myself end up being sold. Since they aren’t officially commissioned, the pricing is a bit lower…and I know there are certain things about the builds that I wouldn’t let slide for a client-initiated project. Regardless, I still try to do quality work and if I stick to my goals (see upcoming 2015 pt4) then everything should work out just fine.

Onto 2015 Part 1: Outstanding Personal Projects

•January 5, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As the New Year begins it’s time again to re-evaluate this hobby-turned-side-business!

First off, I’d like to start by establishing some project goals and guidelines. There are always going to be outstanding projects to work on, forever circling my work area so I’d like to get those out of the way. However, they aren’t necessarily a priority so the order of them isn’t important, save for the first two that are on this list and closest to complete:

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF — It’s in the painting phase right now…I spent about 30 minutes masking last night in preparation for the topside camo. At this point it’s so close to done that I just need to finish it.

Bad-Azz 1/48 Advanced Cylon Raider — All that’s left is sanding and painting the base/stand. Instead of my original plan of using a bent acrylic rod for support, I installed a steel rod. In the end, it makes more sense and is far less obtrusive.

Multi-verse Models 1/144 Jawa Sandcrawler — A lot of scratch work has gone into this project so far and it may only be half-way through. This particular project will have to be worked on as time allows. There’s no real deadline for it…just a lot of work!

Scratchbuilt 1/48 Sputnik XII — This project began on a whim and conceptually I think it’s all there. Plenty of detail work still needs to be done as well as finishing up how this thing will be finished. AK Interactive’s True Metals wax rub-n-buff line seems like a good choice for consistency with the craft family.

MPC/Revell 1/48 Mi-24 Hind — As complex as some of my builds get, this one tops them for sure. This has definitely been a shelf queen for some time since the engine placement and gear design really threw me for a loop. Before I even dig back into the building and wiring process, I need to sit back and assess where it is and what’s reasonable. Like the Sandcrawler, this will be another ‘as time dictates’ project.

AMT/MPC 1/4222 Dominator-class Star Destroyer — Eyes bigger than the bench…so to speak. Scale Model Addict’s BiG Spring Contest has always been a lot of fun but every year I start things I cannot finish in time. This project is a low priority but rest assured it will sure be cool when it’s done.

AMT/MPC 1/4222 Imperial-class Star Destroyer Super Build — I got pretty far on this, at least in terms of the direction the project is supposed to go. Instead of purchasing the available upgrade kits, etc, I decided to work on releasing my own upgrade kits for this old pile of plastic. Namely, the bridge, antenna and neck/spine areas are the ones that needed the most work. And the turret areas…I had already picked up Odyssey Slipways nozzles and hangar and they are perfect. The former parts I designed in CAD and had 3D printed. There are some issues with the bridge face that I have to revisit, but more on that later during the Cosmos Models section….

Cosmos Models 1/10k Outbound Flight — Another small project that got waysided. All I need to do is finish the central pod and the rings…deceptively simple…

Stay tuned for the next three parts! Part 2: Commission Projects and Goals, Part 3: The Future of Cosmos Models and Part 4: Personal Goals and Guidelines

2014 in Review

•December 31, 2014 • 1 Comment

Another great year for modeling! My total finished build tally comes out to 115!! However, this is a *bit* misleading. Here’s the breakdown:

11 master patterns, 4 of which had significant work done where the other 7 were small, 1-piece vessels

About 6 builds were carry-overs from 2013.

About 50 of them were really small scale (1/1000 to 1/10k) and thus were just paint jobs.

I did complete more aircraft than ever before. There might have even been a pattern rotation of SW, ST, Jet, Prop…

I released new resin detail sets and decal sheets under the Cosmos Models line.

I had a bang up year with sales from my Cosmos Models line in general and am hoping for another in 2015.

There were a number of commissions that came across my desk this year, too! That definitely made for a positive impact on the year’s budget. :D

And as of today, I have 3 builds that are nearing completion and 4 commissions to complete soon!

Stay tuned for my ‘2015 Ahoy!’

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt6

•December 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Testors light ghost gray on the belly! Thinned down 3:1. I’m still not sure what to use on the top side yet. I’m doing the Egyptian colors and only have approximations figured out so far. As for the belly, I have to go back in with the same color (mentioned above) with a few drops of white for panel highlights.

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt5

•December 22, 2014 • 1 Comment

Now into all the details!!!

Master’s pitot! I’ve long been anxious about adding the fins on these types of pitots, but this one was actually a breeze and the fins are still holding strong.

The canopies got an interior paint job and some placard decals. I also masked the office and loosely taped the canopy in place for the forthcoming paint work.

Before heading into deep waters with all the external photo etch, I decided to finish up the wheels and struts. They still need a little bit of weathering but I like how they came out. I also realize the the oleos might be on the wrong side, too…but based on the actual parts and the placement of the gear doors, I think it’s right. The instructions weren’t so clear…

Before the primer was applied, I placed all the surface panels. It took a couple hours of focused time because a number of them needed to be bent to match the curves of the fuselage. I also had some concern that they stick out too far from the actual surfaces…on the actual aircraft they would be more flush. The trade off is that there is nice detail on those parts and the application of primer and paint will level them off somewhat.

Lastly, primer! Black basing method using Mr. Surfacer’s 1500.

1/48 Bad-Azz Advanced Cylon Raider pt5

•December 15, 2014 • 1 Comment

Finished up the metal look. Last steps are bending the acrylic rods and assembling/painting the base.

MC-75 WIP pt1

•December 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hey ho. I’ve had Calamari on the noggin…the MC-30 was fun and I know as much as we’d like to see an MC-80 in 1/4222, I’ve started working on a design of my own. Parts of it are informed by the MC-80 but some of it also comes from the Cruiser in the Battlefront games, which doesn’t have a designation.

This is basically the rough sketch done up over a couple hours off and on. There are a bunch more little bumps and knobs to add, maybe a couple large bulges here and there. Definitely will add large turrets on either side of the hangars. I’ll probably add a couple small hangars on the belly.

I’m mainly posting this to get some feedback from you guys while I’m still working on the shaping of it. Think of this as kind of a democratic process because I imagine Dac’s shipyards have an organic way of designing. :D

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt4

•December 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’m into the more slowly paced detailing section now…

Finished up the office and ejection seat. 

Added the air scoops, gun pod and detailed the wheel bays a bit more.

Lastly, primed and washed the gear doors and painted the airbrakes. I’m also going to paint the interior of the canopy parts so I polished them with Tamiya’s Finishing polishing compound (they’re really clear and crisp now!) and masked the inside and outside.

Landing gear is next!

1/48 Bad-Azz Advanced Cylon Raider pt4

•December 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It turns out that not sealing the True Metals shortly after application causes it to loose it’s luster. This time around I dabbed some dark aluminum over the entire body of the Raider and polished it up. Once it was dry I sealed it with Tamiya clear coat, which causes it to loose some of the reflectivity as well. It also blended the tone variations a little more so I started going back with the brighter aluminum on the lighter panels. Just as a test, I only applied it to the wing tips, polished (waited 10 minutes or so) then sealed with Future. As it turns out, the Future retains the glossy effect and DOES NOT interact with the wax as the Tamiya clear does so it retains it’s luster.

1/48 and 1/72 Splinter Scheme Wallpaper Decals for sale

•December 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.02.56 PM

Wallpaper decals! This splinter scheme is based on the Czech MiG-21’s but is meant to be used with 1/72 and 1/48 scale X-Wings!! Well, not specifically designed for them, but my intention is to use them on an upcoming 1/48 Stealth X build using the parts designed and sold by Lonnie Sweet. They’re more or less based on the pattern seen on the X-Wing images featured in the Star Wars: Essential Guide to Warfare.

One page should be enough to cover the whole X-Wing in both 1/48 and 1/72 (with extra). I might work up a non-decal tracing template sometime soon but for now it’s up to the builder to cut. Since they have no specified location placement shouldn’t be an issue.

original9rI can also do custom orders of any color of standard X-Wing striping if you want to mix in something different than what any kit provides (as some of you already have).

Pricing is across the board $20 for each sheet. US shipping is included, international add $3.

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Fishbed J Pt3

•November 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This build is really starting to look like a Fishbed now! A little bit of detail work was done before joining the lower wing piece to the fuselage. The wheel bays received a few pieces of photo etch and some canisters, etc were added to the wings. I decided to try something with the landing lights since there was no kit detail to place behind them. I placed some jewels behind and secured them with Micro Gloss and once that dried I dropped some white glue…then when that dried I painted some silver on it. The end result is a light with a reflecting dish behind it.

48mig21mf_IMG_8744  48mig21mf_IMG_875748mig21mf_IMG_8750

One problem with the wing attachment is the seams…not so great. Some filling and sanding should take care of it. I also took some time to spray some parts with primer.

48mig21mf_IMG_8753 48mig21mf_IMG_8754 48mig21mf_IMG_8756 48mig21mf_IMG_8758 48mig21mf_IMG_8759 48mig21mf_IMG_8760

It turns out that a little bit of MiG neutral wash inside the wheel bays gives it the perfect color I’m going for! I still need to pick out the cable color details and add some photo etch pieces, but the wheel bays are essentially done!

48mig21mf_IMG_8764 48mig21mf_IMG_8766 48mig21mf_IMG_8767 48mig21mf_IMG_8768 48mig21mf_IMG_8770 48mig21mf_IMG_8771

And last but not least, with the wing tops attached. Next up, scoops, fins, nose work and more!



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