August ended and September started with a very pleasant family holiday in a French Gite (more of which later). I even found a reasonable French Modelling shop ("Modellisme" on the road to Bergerac out of Perigeux). So its back to work and into a busy period, which means relatively little progress with the modelling: or does it...........?
Vosper Perkasa Patrol Boat (Tamiya)
After nearly 10 years of building, I have finally finished it. Ships are not really my thing (busman's holiday etc), hence the delay, but this really is a superb kit. I have completed it as a display model, but all the bits to motorise it are fitted in there, including the motor. All it needs are the shaft/prop exchanged and batteries installed.
Not sure I would ever actually have the nerve to launch it onto the water though! More piccies on the Dark Side page.
General Motors FM1 Martlet/Wildcat V - 1832/846 Sqn HMS TRACKER, Normandy June 5-10 1945
I have also had another go at detailing July's disappointing Martlet. Looking better !
Dassault Mirage 2000D - (Italeri)
The second Mirage of the year. After a very pleasant family holiday in the Dordogne region this summer, it seemed right to do one of the Adl'A's current finest. Italeri's 2K is a nice kit, reflecting the elegant flowing lines of the Mirage 2K, although it represents the early company demonstrator, not a production aircraft and is also somewhat confused as to whether it is a 2000N or 2000D (it lacks the dorsal flare ejectors and has a pitot where it should not).
The kit went together reasonably well, but with the usual (at least in every kit I've done) Mirage kit wing joint problems at the leading edge roots and after undersides. However, the canopy was a real disappointment - it was obviously designed to be built opened and did not fit together at all well; slightly too short for the gap and huge spaces between fwd and aft canopies. I had 2 goes at fitting it together before I was happy (actually I gave up). After the first go I tried polishing with toothpaste (which usually works well), but the paste got through the gaps. I tried using water to wash it off, but that made the Krystal Klear go white, so the whole thing had to come off to remove it and the toothpaste (aarrgh!).
I also removed the kit's nose pitot (only applicable to the 2000N), but the subsequent nose reprofiling wasnt entirely satisfactory (I think the kit radome is actually too long). Oh and I forgot to put lead in the nose (rushing again) so its a (very finely balanced) occasional tail-sitter.
To finish off I used my new bottle of Windsor & Newton artist's acrylic matt varnish - and it is absolutely superb. Sufficiently thin to be nicely self levelling (i.e. no brush marks) it gives an even and consistent finish that is less shiny than the Humbrol Satin Cote, but not as matt as the the Matt Cote. It also avoids the slightly translucent effect that the Humbrol seems to impart to the underlying paint (see the Corsair below). Just what I was after and thoroughly recommended ! Another innovation, the yellow bands on the AS-30L missiles were produced with a fine pointed permanent marker, whic was much easier than painting or decalling a band. Just need a brown and blue one now.
Vought/Goodyear FG-1D Corsair IV, HMS ARBITER, British Pacific Fleet, 1945 - (Hobbyboss)
Hold on, what's that, another one? ..... oh yes, whilst waiting for the Mirage cockpit to dry, I threw together a quick Hobby Boss Corsair, using the left over transfers/decals from the Hasegawa kit. Built in 20 mins (genuinely), painting took another 4 evenings, in-between sorting out the Mirage canopy and wing roots. This is the best of the 3 HobbyBoss kits I have built so far, going together perfectly without the need for any filler at all (even the wing roots). A few minor problems; I am not clear whether the RN Corsairs ever actually carried rockets or twin fuel tanks, and the canopy looks too high (at least alongside my Hasegawa one) but apart from that !!!!
HMS TIGER - (Matchbox 1/700)
Ooops, found this hiding at the back of a shelf. Forgot I even had it. Built earlier this year, HMS TIGER was the first RN ship I ever went onboard (at Leith Docks in the 1970s). From an early stage in my youth I watched her sister ship LION sat in Inverkeithing/St Davids harbour being broken up.
When I joined the RN I found her other sister ship, BLAKE, sitting in Chatham, in reserve. Then, throughout the 1980s I regularly sailed my dinghy around TIGER herself as she sat forlorn on the Portsmouth trots awaiting disposal. Sad. These were REAL warships, even if the ASW hangar conversion was not an altogether successful idea.