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November 20, 2012

As I have started to get back into this hobby, I have quickly compiled a sizable stash from my old collection of kits plus some new kit purchases (Wingnut Wings in particular).  I have also been able to grab some hard to find kits that I have always wanted from Ebay and a few that I will sell to other folks that I know are looking for the same kits OR just to make a few bucks since they were such a good deal.  Unexpectedly, I have won multiple kit raffles (at my local IPMS club, Maraudercon, online–thanks Doogs, etc…).  At Maraudercon, I was given numerous kits by collectors/modelers who are just trying to clean out their stash.  I could not believe the numbers of models some folks stated that had at home…in the 1000’s!

As I have gotten back into modeling I have really honed in a couple genres/categories/brands that interest me the most.  Wingnut Wings has been the catalyst for my restart primarily due to the build quality and level of detail of the kits.  Don’t get me wrong though, WW1 avaition including paint schemes, aircraft designs, and the related history is addictive as well.  Tamiya aircraft kits also interest me due to their build and fit quality, although this does not apply to all of their kits including their older generation kits and their rebox kits from other brands.  Their new 1/32 kits are stellar if not almost appearing overly complex to build.  Dragon/DML/Cyber Hobby aircraft kits are just peculiar.   They offer very unique subjects, primarily WWII German, in various scales with a high level of detail.  Many of the kits have fit or instruction issues, but the best modelers have braved this and created extraordinary builds.  They entered the scene rapidly, near the end of my youth modeling experience, and faded away almost as fast to recently be reborn as Cyber Hobby.  In some ways, I wonder if their prices and somewhat obscure subjects, particularly in aircraft, out weighed the level of detail their kits offered.  It would be interesting to see the sales numbers for the different scales and individual kits sold by each manufacturer.  I imagine it would prove that there really can’t be too many P-51’s, P-47’s, FW-190’s, BF-109’s, etc… I am certainly not complaining about their interesting modeling subjects and have many in my stash and wish list.  I would guess that the draw for Dragon/DML/Cyber Hobby armor kits is their real mainstay.   With that said, I have played with a few armor kits in 1/35 and 1/76 over the years and they are very appealing and to me more forgiving to build versus aircraft.  I am more drawn to the 1/76 armor now.  I think it has to do with something so big/powerful in real life being represented in such a small scale with detail.  I have tried one naval kit in my life, U.S.S. Arizona, that I bought at Pearl Harbor when I was ~8 years old.  I think it was my first kit ever and I put it together rather successfully as it was no easy kit from what I can remember.  I used no paint, which I didn’t discover until I was ~10-11 years old.  At some point I sent that boat to depths with firecrackers, BB gun, or during some other adventure.  I saw some very detailed 1/700 kits at Maraudercon and may try one at some point.

Reviewing this, I can really summarize what draws me in this hobby more than anything.  Hands down it is good build/fit quality followed closely by level of detail.  Certainly not everyone will agree with me on this.

The Realization:

At the present moment, I have 94 kits and it will soon be 96 when the WNW Fokker D.VII is released.  That is a ton of kits and when considering the scale and complexity of some, I doubt I will complete them all.  I will certainly be attempting to do so though.  With that said, I am realizing that space for storage of kits, kits in process, and display of completed builds will be become critical down the road.  I have set some rules to control my quantity of kits.  I believe this could also help with those really hard kits when other wants are on the horizon.  The ultimate goal would be to get the number of kits in stash to below 10 or 20 kits.  The above excerpt is my guideline for these rules listed below:

  • No greater than 150 unfinished kits
  • No greater than 15 unfinished 1/72 aircraft kits
  • No greater than 50 unfinished 1/48 aircraft kits
  • No greater than 10 unfinished 1/32 aircraft kits (excluding WNW)
  • No greater than 5 unfinished1/76 armor kits
  • No greater than 3 unfinished 1/35 armor kits
  • No greater than 1 unfinished 1/144 aircraft kit
  • No greater than 1 unfinished naval kit of any scale

Wingnut Wings New Release

November 13, 2012

Stop the press! A new Wingnut Wings release.

Wingnut Wings just released kit #32008 Sopwith Triplane.  This kit will likely be a must have for any WW1 aviation or Wingnut Wings enthusiast.  It has some interesting decal options including the German captured N5429 flown by Kurt Wusthoff.

Also, it is likely that kit #32011 Fokker D.VII is pending sale.  The photographs were updated with a full color image and the listing now states “Coming Soon”.  This is THE KIT I think everyone has been waiting for from Wingnut Wings since they announced it a couple of years ago.  If you want this kit, then you should be checking their site this week.

These may be some of my first in-box reviews over the coming holidays.

Maraudercon 2012

November 11, 2012

I attended Maraudercon 2012 today.  It had an excellent turnout of competition participants and vendors.

There were definitely numerous standouts to my eyes in 1/48 propeller aircraft, 1/32 propeller aircraft, and 1/32 WW1.  I was surprised that there were only three Wingnut Wings kits: W.29, LVG, and E.III.  The E.III was impressive to see so quickly after the release date.  All three were built OOB or close to it and all were solid builds.  I stood and reviewed the 30+ planes in 1/48 single and dual engine propeller categories for an extended period.  I would hate to judge that category.  My favorite aircraft builds were the three 1/32 Hasegawa 109’s.  I just could not stop looking at them…The paint and weathering on all of them was well done, but I think I am just drawn to the lines of the late model 109.  I can’t wait to build my Hasegawa 109 G-6 and may have to pick up some of the other versions.  I didn’t spend too much time reviewing the other categories, but there were certainly some excellent armor models, automobiles, dioramas, etc…  To my surprise, the 3+ kits in the 1/72-1/76 armor category caught my eye.  I have at least one piece of armor in that category that I started 20+ years ago.  I am anxious to see if I can resurrect what I started so long ago.

As an afterthought, I am interested in how my tastes have changed from the time I started modeling as a kid until now as I rekindle my modeling efforts.  I used to live and breath 1/72 and only built only WWII aircraft.  I am just not drawn to 1/72 scale and associated level of detail like I used to be.  The kits in 1/32 and 1/48 scales, both WWI and WWII, are just incredible these days.  Today’s event even raised my interest in some post WWII/modern aircraft.

The most valuable thing I did today was shadow some judges and act as an apprentice judge (they were light on volunteers).  I quickly realized several things about competition that I had not really thought about before.

First of all, there are 2-3 reasons to compete: 1) Pay for someone else’s opinion and feedback, 2) Measure yourself against others 3) Pride in placing.  One must not forget the most important reason though–Make sure you have fun in building/finishing a kit.  I am not sure I would have realized that when I was younger.

Second, in general the judges follow an outside-in process in evaluating competing models.  I understand and agree with this approach as it places emphasis on the basics first.  This includes (for aircraft):

  1. Symmetry in wings, stabilizers, landing gear, wheels, propellers, flaps, canopy, rigging, cannon, tubes, ailerons (typically opposite hanging position), bombs, etc…
  2. Do the seam lines show? Are there any part gaps? Were panel lines sanded away and not rescribed?  Are there any signs/smudges of glue?
  3. Is the paint applied correctly (no orange peel/dust, smudges, missed spots, gross pattern issues)?
  4. Is there any decal silvering?
  5. If weathering was applied, is it applied throughout? Is it over done?
  6. Are there exterior detail features that standout and show skill/effort beyond normal?
  7. If the judges make it this far, are there interior detail features that standout and show skill/effort beyond normal?

In general the judges I shadowed were able to quickly able to filter the categories to the top 3-5 models with items 1 and 2 above.  If needed they would go to items 3 and 4.  This was an important lesson for me.  If your model makes it to that point, the judges have to painfully start picking out any flaw or issue.  You are at their mercy at this point and each judge may have a differing opinion.

Summary for competition building:

  1. You don’t have to detail a model.  Out of the box (OOB) will generally be judged against detailed models in the same category, but also have the chance to win OOB for that category.
  2. The competition rules will generally not allow sweeping of categories, so keep that in mind when choosing what to put in a competition.  If you put more than one model in a category, only your best one will be judged against the builder’s models in that category.
  3. Check you symmetry during dry fitting and after gluing.
  4. Keep a silver marker and flashlight at your bench to check your seam lines and gaps.
  5. Test your paint mixtures.
  6. Don’t forget to lay gloss/future for your decals and test them on a dummy model if you can.
  7. You don’t have to apply weathering but if you do, don’t over do it and make sure it is applied throughout.
  8. If you do decide to add detail, focus on the exterior as the judges rarely look in the cockpit.
  9. Create a legible flyer/bulleted list for your model detailing unique things you did that you want the judges to see and more importantly make sure to cover items that they may perceive as flaws.  This would include intentional gaps and seams plus irregular positions of flaps, ailerons, armament  landing gear, etc…

Of course each modeler has to decide what is critical for their build at hand if they plan to compete.  I do think that these pointers and techniques will become easier to understand/implement as you become more experienced.  I certainly have a ton more to learn.

Finally, I will definitely attend future events.  When visiting vendors, I noticed incredible deals and several hard to find kits.  As the event progressed many of the vendors seemed to become more flexible with prices as the likely did not want to have to repack and drive everything back home.  Do not hesitate to haggle, but make sure to give respect as everyone has different levels of investment.  I walked away with some incredible deals and some great connections for the future.

First Post

November 7, 2012
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My first post! A lot more to do regarding the site, but certainly not bad for starters. Comments welcome.