Friday, 1 February 2019

Wingnut Wings 1/32 Jeannin Stahltaube

One of the high points of late 2018 for me was bagging this commission, I absolutely adore Wingnut Wings kits and get to build them far less often than I'd like. The sheer quality of the package and the passionate attention to detail in the documentation is second to none and, of course, the subject matter is never less than fascinating.

This one, in particular, is superb. From the days when aircraft really did look like birds - this has to be one of the most beautiful aircraft designs ever. They certainly don't make them like this anymore.

Anyway, on to the build. These kits are NOT for the fainthearted if you want to do it properly, if only because of the enormous amount of rigging that goes in to them. And in this case, on the inside as well as the outside.

The quality of the parts in this kit makes the modeller go crazy for perfection, even in those parts that won't be seen. Masking up and painting internal ribbing is not something that I would generally bother about but in this case it's definitely worth it. And then installing all the control cables and bracing wires is intensely fiddly but very satisfying when complete.

As ever with WW kits, the engine is a work of art in itself, although my one criticism is that lack of plugs and HT cabling. It seems a glaring omission given the attention to detail applied elsewhere. But a bit of scratch work on my part soon dealt with that.

The engine cowling demands the "fish scale" effect which took a bit of practice and more than one attempt to get right, but is worth persevering with because it looks really special in my humble opinion.

A bit of careful shading on the wing parts transforms solid lumps of plastic into delicate wood and fabric structures, but one bit of this build that does need care is the attaching of the wings to the body. It's a positive fit, but needs 24 hours of glue setting to be secure - so be patient.

Another tricky area is creating the spoked wheels from photo etch. The kit contains alternative plastic moulded wheels for the lazy modeller but I not going to allow myself to give in to that. It was tough, but I got there in the end. And one other warning, the wheel struts are not terribly stable when attached to the fuselage and supporting the model. SAC do produce a metal version which should help, but to be honest I did not like the look of them. So I cheated a little and used thin brass rod as the cross brace rather than the elastic rigging used elsewhere. This has made them much more stable.

Some significant weathering was applied as my customer's request, in particular muddying up the wheels and underside but also a touch of rusty oil around the cowling and some exposed patches of fuselage fabric, along with an overall oil wash to grubby things up a little.

I am, if I say so myself, delighted with the results and am very proud to present this model for your viewing pleasure. Full progress photos can be found here.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Academy 1/72 Boeing B-29A "Superfortress"

It's not exactly an unusual modelling subject, however my customer was after a very specific aircraft for which no third party markings were available. To make matters worse, reference material for this aircraft was very limited.

The aircraft concerned was "Green Hornet", a B-29A as based in Guam in 1945. The only photographs to be found of this machine were not exactly comprehensive, indeed pretty much everything available is contained in a single web page here. But I like a challenge, and so armed with this kit, some Eduard etch, the Metallic Details engine car set, ModelShock resin engines, resin wheels and some lovely brass gun barrels from Master, I set forth.

The main build part of this project was pretty routine and I shall not bother you with it, however I shall mention the excellent Metallic Details engine car set. The set is good, the instructions are not. A bit of guesswork is required in areas. Also, the exhaust sections, whilst gorgeous thinks to behold, do require some major surgery to the kit parts in order to fit. You basically have to chop up the kit nacelles and put them back together around the MD parts. This involves much test fitting, filling and cursing but I got there in the end.

The MD set also contains resin engines but I discarded these in favour of the ModelShock offerings which a much better, especially with the simple addition of some push rods made from fine steel wire. I say simple, it took a couple of hours...

Once the main build and initial metallic finishing was done, we move on to the markings. I decided that the big orange "O" on the tail was best painted on and so this was done with some careful masking. The hardest markings element was the "Green Hornet" nose art itself. The only reference I had was the rather grainy black and white photo on the web page. Agreeing with the customer that some artistic guesswork and talent was going to be required, I cracked out my digital paintbrushes.

I traced the artwork into a wire frame black line picture with a steady hand and mouse, stretched it a little to compensate for the photo angle and then filled in the colours as best I could guess. My working assumption was that the "Green Hornet" would be predominantly green and I challenge anyone to argue that, so this is what I came up with.

The 314th bomb wing "globe" logo for the other side of the cockpit was a little easier, however every aircraft seems to have carried a slightly different version of it so I did my best based on the hues in the black and white photos.

Other markings are minimal and standard so these came from either the kit or my spares drawer. Otherwise everything was finished in my usual manner and I did deliberately make this one a little tatty to coincide with the available photos.

There is something rather pleasing about ending up with a unique model, I am pretty sure this particular aircraft has never been modelled before (if you know differently, please keep it to yourself for now) so please enjoy the end result as I have.

You can find the full progress photo album here.