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Model Building - Rekindling an Old Hobby in My Older Years - What Have I Done!!!


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And now for something completely different!

Having had the luxury of retiring at the age 47, it's been over 11 years now. Flight simming, other PC based gaming passions, researching, and writing have filled the hours nicely in that time and continue to do the same. So, why do I need to revisit a hobby I last engaged in back in the 1970's - you may well ask! Well, I blame my children, both of them.

About seven years ago, my daughter presented me with an Airfix 1:48 scale plastic model kit as a present for my birthday. Of course, she wasn't sure if I would even like it, but unbeknown to her, her choice of subject couldn't have been more perfect - WWII fighters. In this case it was one of the Airfix Dogfight Doubles series and included two models, a Messerschmitt Bf109E-7 and a Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb. I assured my daughter her present was perfect, and that I was going to spend the time and do the models justice. More on that later. Now, my son (a serving member of the RAAF) has been building plastic model aircraft kits (and other kits) for years, even doing some as presentation gifts for departing members from his squadron. His model building skill levels are advanced and, combined with his airbrushing skills, he uses techniques for fine detail and finishes which I can only aspire to. Some four years ago, he started building wooden model ships, and he piqued my interest in a subset of the model building hobby that I had wanted to explore since my teenage years - but that's an entirely separate story. A year ago, my son brought to my attention, the release of a then new Napoleonic era tabletop miniature sailing wargame in 1:700 scale. This subsequently led to the early beginnings of my return to model building and many purchases of kits for the game as well as the separate and larger wooden ship kits ensued. Soon I realised I was at that juncture where I finally needed to invest in a large inventory of paints and, therefore, an airbrush and compressor to undertake my endeavours with the level of quality I aspired to.

Insert a pause here caused by natural procrastination followed by a fellow member and good friend of the Mutley's Hangar Crew indicating he wanted to build a large scale plastic kit of the Avro Lancaster. This led to seeking advice for both of us from my son on airbrush and compressor needs and the final purchase of said equipment.

Now, there is an old boatie cliche, "A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into!". I can assure you that in the 21st century, the same can be said about the hobby of model building. :stars: In a flurry of a week of purchases, including more plastic aircraft model kits...because one project at a time is never enough...I have now embarked upon rekindling that old hobby. On financial commitment alone, I have committed beyond the point of no return, so there is no going back from here. Of course, the Airfix kit my daughter gave me is the priority build, but others are also in the early stages of planning and preparation. Even after a week, I can say it has been a welcome change away from the PC...although, not entirely...because one still must fly. :pilotic:

Join me on my journey as I post build blogs here on the various kits.

Cheers
Andrew

 

 

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I won't say what happened to a lot of my model aeroplanes as a kid, but it involved lighter fluid, an upstairs window, and mysterious burn marks in the lawn . . .

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It's nice to have some background Andrew, I hope you make your son (& daughter) proud!

Like the rest, I am looking forward to the results, I could definitely take this hobby up when I eventually get to retire. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been Building models since 1967 and kind of forgot to stop. In spite of various culls over time I still have well over 2'000 of the things including my very first one, An Airfix Mig-15 that I bought in Paultons Toy Shop in Hounslow in 1967. Yesterday I complete my latest, a Lockheed TR-1/U2S in 1/48 scale with a wingspan of over 26 inches. 

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A 21 yr military career where I was moving every two yrs followed by a 10 yr career as a senior executive was never conducive to model building. Now I have the time and the patience that comes with age to be very meticulous. In fact, my professional life was characterised by exacting standards and attention to detail and I'm finding these skills have transferred to my model building as second nature. Another thing from my professional life which holds true in model building is a variation of an original quote by the German Field Marshall, Erwin Rommel, "Time spent in planning is seldom wasted!". As a result, I can spend hours planning, preparing, trimming, and cleaning up parts before I'm ready to glue or paint them.

Accuracy of the model is also something I like to focus on, at least within the scope of my current skill range. The 1/48 scale Airfix Spitfire Mk.Vb I am currently building is a prime example. The rudder pedals were just wrong as the gap between the two foot blocks was enclosed at the rear. This wasn't just flashing from the mould, the Airfix model was designed that way. Suffice to say, I spent some time drilling and filing out the space on each rudder pedal that was about 2mm square.....and will be barely visible once it is enclosed in the cockpit. This is a simple thing but I would have known it was there if I didn't do something to correct the accuracy.

I hope to be posting the start of the build blog on the 1/48 scale Airfix Spitfire Mk.Vb within the next week.

Cheers
Andrew

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What have I done...or got myself into? :woot: Decisions, decisions, and even more decisions!!! :gaah: I blame myself and my OCD, though I cannot be sure if it is the real version or just the Hollywood version...which up until a few years ago, I never knew there was a difference. :stars:

OK, so the 1:48 scale Airfix kit I received from my daughter somewhat set the baseline for my decisions on scale. My first self imposed rule, therefore, was that I decided 1:48 scale was a good scale for fighters and the old venerable 1:72 scale would be good for bombers or larger aircraft, generally. My logic was that this was a nice compromise between detail and size, the latter of which I knew was going to become a problem with space as my expected new addiction would grow. Furthermore, 1:48 scale seems to have become the default standard these days with the improvement in mould quality and quite an extensive selection of aftermarket kits being available. Any armoured vehicle kits which grabbed my attention would obviously be in 1:35 scale. There would be some exceptions to this as there are some specific  subjects I want to do as special projects in larger scales.

The modeller is spoilt for choice in the 21st Century, with a large range of companies now producing a huge range of model and aftermarket kits on all manner of subjects. I decided to base my aircraft kit choices around Airfix, Eduard, Tamiya, and Trumpeter. These four provide great coverage and choice of my main interest areas in the chosen scales, with a generally good reputation for accuracy, detail, and quality. I decided that Airfix would the focus of my early builds whilst I honed my skills. They are relatively inexpensive and simple to build, whilst still having reasonable detail, and if I make mistakes beyond resurrection, I have lost naught for the experience gained. Eduard and Trumpeter produce some exceptional model kits and have probably become the "go to" kits for high quality and these will be the kits I progress up to.

Advance two weeks in time.

The internet is evil!!! Among other things, it provides a seemingly endless catalogue of model kits, though the current COVID-19 pandemic is certainly impacting on the supply chain and availability. I also discovered that kits come and go relatively quickly depending on production runs and this is particularly so of older and/or popular kits. Consequently, I have now incurred the national debt of a typical, small, 3rd world, African country in purchasing even more model kits on the premise of availability and the "get it whilst I can" approach. This has led to a "stash" or "STABLE" (which stands for STAsh Beyond Life Expectancy) and is something that is common amongst modellers. This I know from my brother, an avid modeller, who has built up a stash which totally fills a 12 foot wide, floor to ceiling wardrobe and then some. After a conversation with him, he revealed he was divesting himself of kits he no longer had an interest in...lucky me!!! That added another 16 kits to my stash and he still has others to identify for offering up.

Remember my first self imposed Rule on scale...yeah, well you can totally forget about that. :rofl:

As a result of purchases and my brother, I now have an extensive stash of 1:24 and 1:32 scale kits, mainly fighters, but including an Airfix 1:24 scale De Havilland Mosquito NF Mk.II/FB Mk.VI (courtesy of my brother), Tamiya 1:32 scale De Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.VI (which I had purchased before talking to my brother) and a Hong Kong Models 1:32 scale Avro Lancaster B Mk.I (for which I have no excuse except, "why not", "I wanted it", and "because I can". :faint: The Hong Kong Models Lancaster is renowned for being the best Lancaster kit on the market. The haul from my brother also included eight WWII armoured vehicles (three tanks, three tank destroyers, and two German half tracks with towed guns), and the Airfix 25th anniversary Apollo - Saturn V kit.

Apparently, they tell me I am into flight simming!!! :blink2:

Cheers
Andrew

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STABLE is a very common problem, I have enough kits to last until my 200th birthday! One of them I cannot build at the momentas I simply don't have the room, It's a 1/72 scale nuclear sub which when finished is almost 5 ft long! 

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