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.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Battle Axe 1/48 Bloch MB.174 A3

I must confess that this kit manufacturer had escaped my notice before I was presented with this project. However I soon discovered that my life was not missing much. Truly one of the worst kits I have ever had the pleasure or doing battle with.

Whilst the basic aircraft exterior is reasonably well represented, all of the smaller parts look like they've come out of a cheap Christmas cracker. Additionally, my customer was after a 175T - the naval version that was used for maritime operations. Fortunately, the particular aircraft required was an early "T" and as such the only significant difference from the 174 is the shape of the stabilisers. These I ended up building from scratch using plastic card and much sanding.

I didn't put a huge amount of effort into enhancing the internals as they are not that visible, restricting myself to filling ejector pin holes and adding a few control levers. Otherwise the kit was built pretty much out of the, er, "bag".

Suffice to say that much filling, sanding, shaping and cursing was involved in putting this together and the end result was never going to be quite up to modern standards but I hope you will agree that the end result at least "looks" like it's intended subject.

Progress photos can be found here.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Repulse

Well my foray into the world of warship modelling is reaching rather grander heights with this beast. HMS Repulse, built in 1916 and finally sunk by the Japanese in 1941, to be built in her final configuration and paint scheme.

The kit, as with all Trumpeter naval kits, is an impressive piece of engineering in itself and goes together beautifully, although as ever with this particular manufacturer you need to watch out for accuracy problems, and there are a few. These are covered well elsewhere online and I won't repeat them here as this is primarily about showing you the finished article.

Of course no self-respecting naval modeller would dream of building anything like this without a little enhancement, so here is a list of the extra goodies brought into play in this build.

  • The very comprehensive and well engineered FlyHawk models photo etch set
  • The Admiralty Modelworks update set that corrects the aft superstructure and also happens to provide some nice resin replacement boats
  • Corrected main turrets from Shapeways
  • Master main gun barrels
  • Infini 20mm Oerlikons
  • Tetra 0.5 Quad guns
  • BigBlueBoy 2pdr pom poms
  • Alliance Modelworks deck vents
  • Artwox wooden decking and anchor chains
  • and various bits and pieces from my spares drawer....

It's been quite a journey but I am thoroughly pleased with the result, so without further ado please enjoy the photos below. You can find build progress photos on FaceBook here.