First off professionally. To be honest, its been a slog. At the moment I work in Navy Command, doing my bit to run the Royal Navy. Its a desk job, my first ever one, and I miss the flying terribly. I did manage to get airborne a few times, once each in the Hawk and Avenger and a couple of times in the Grob Tutor. Hopefully, desk allowing I'll manage to re-qualify on the Grob and I can do a little more, here's hoping. I've got a meeting with my career manager later this month as I will be changing jobs, but I've already been tipped off that it will be back to flying and back to teaching. Trouble is where? I have a few ideas on that, we'll see.....
Sub optimal modelling
Now the modelling. I'll start off with a few negatives, the main one this blog. I am shocked; just 2 postings all year which that is not good enough, no way, and I apologise. To be honest my computer down in Portsmouth (I work away in the week) packed up so its hard to update the blog as weekends at home are very precious. That said, once I start my next project I'll be serialising it on here so hopefully there should be lots of updates!
Output. 15 for the year. That's not bad but I could have done more and I will have to next year, especially as I'll be coming home and the modelling will take a step back. Not least because I don't have a cave in the new place! I think I maybe relegated to the garage, brrrrrrr!
Book. As some of you maybe aware, I am writing a couple of books. I was hoping to get one done and dusted by Christmas but alas it was not to be. There are a variety of reasons for this, one of which is that one of the publishers also produces a magazine and regularly asks me to contribute which pushes the book down the priority. However, I have just a couple to do which I want to get finished as soon as I can which will mean I can get writing! The sooner its in the can, the sooner it will get released which is very exciting. That will free me up to concentrate on the other book whilst still contributing to the magazines, if I can get that one done by this time next year too I'll be chuffed to bits!
Magazines. The Weathering Magazine has gone from strength to strength and I am very proud to be involved. Ammo of Mig is a great company, I love the guys' attitude to the business and the hobby as a whole and I especially love the magazine. They have just published a new magazine called The Weathering Aircraft magazine. It's modus operandi is the same as its older brother in that there is a theme each issue, the inaugural theme being panel lines. My F-15J aggressor was featured with my Egg Plane MiG-15 in the next issue which will focus on chipping.
That's my Tamiya F-16 on the cover. Akatskia like it too!!!!!
I also renewed my contributions to Model Airplane Magazine. In my opinion, (humble that it is :-D ) this is the best monthly modelling magazine out there and I am also proud to be involved again. There will be more from me in there in 2016.
My Trumpeter Su-9 Fishpot featured on the cover of the July issue.
Weathering. I continue to refine my modelling and in the area I am most passionate about, weathering. We all make models for our own enjoyment and really it is up to us how we finish our models but for me, I strive to make my models as realistic as possible. Of course, by their nature compromises have to be made owing to scale but the references are always to hand and I am constantly referring to them trying to reproduce in miniature what I can see on the full size machine. If people want to draw dark lines all over their panel lines so the model looks like a tartan blanket then that's up to them, I hate that but all I can do is try my best to do what I like to do. My aim with the books and magazine articles is not to dictate how models should be finished, no way. What I want to do is simply explain how I achieve my results and the methods I used to get there and if people like my models and appreciate the articles then that is a real thrill. And that leads me back to my first sentence in this paragraph, I continue to refine my modelling. Some people are happy with where they are, they have no desire to improve or get better, they plod along enjoying themselves applying the same method on their models with no real thought or logic. That's fine, but its not me. I want to get better, to improve, to learn, to progress. I am not always successful, but then you have to fail sometimes if you want to improve as you'll always be trying to push your skill level up. I may not be entirely happy with my latest model, but I know that the next one will be better!
First off you'll note that I said I finished 15 models. Below are 13 models. The discrepancy is because one of the book publishers doesn't want the models appearing on the web prior to publication which I totally understand. So, you'll have to be patient!
Here we go then, in no particular order;
Eduard Spitfire VIII 1:48. This was built with the addition of Barracuda Studios' resin update set. That set is simply superb! The base kit is phenomenal, one of the best I've made but that little upgrade did do much to busy up that cockpit, honestly, if you have this kit then you MUST buy the Barracuda set. it also has Brassin exhausts and Master barrels brass replacements The markings are all sprayed using Mal Mayfield's superb Miracle Masks. I won't lie, that shark mouth was insanely fiddly but I think you'll agree the result is well worth it.
The second Spitfire was also painted using Miracle Masks although built straight from the box with the exception of the Master brass barrels (another essential). I wanted to see just how it would look buttoned up with no enhancements.
And here we go again, another Eduard Spitfire. This time I used the Master barrels, Barracuda's one piece resin cowling and the Brassin cockpit. To be honest, I wouldn't bother with this, I'd just use the Barracuda set and drill out the lightning holes.
This is the Eduard MiG-15 in 1:72. It has the resin cockpit and jet pipe although with the former I did struggle to get it to fit properly, hence the FOD guard in the nose! Its had a full riveting job which wasn't too onerous in this scale. this appeared in the Heavy metal edition of The Weathering Magazine.
I love the abandoned look and another natural metal job was this Trumpeter Su-9 Fishpot; a brute of an aeroplane. This kit was a game of two halves; lovely exterior detail but pants cockpit! There is a resin replacement due soon apparently! This one appeared in MAI in July.
Another MiG-15, this one though a bit different though I think you'll agree! It's Hasegawa's egg plane! this one had a Retrokit resin cockpit, new jet pipe donated from a 1:72 F-4 and a full rivet job. I used the kit decals which actually were very nice. This one will appear in issue 2 of The Weathering Aircraft magazine due soon.
Staying with the abandoned theme, the Airfix Gnat in 1:48. I love this model, its such a great little kit and I built it straight from the box. This aeroplane didn't end up like this (I'm assuming), I found lots of phots on the internet of various Gnats and other classic trainers from the period in this state and based this model on them.
And now for something completely different. I built the Revell 1:32 hawk as a desk top model for my boss at work. Well, it was for him to present to the Captain of RNAS Culdrose as a leaving gift as he had a model of every type flying from the air station apart from a hawk! This again featured Miracle Masks. At risk of appearing a total bum licker, I also made the new tool 1:72 Revel kit for my boss (a shcking kit for a new tool 2015 release, nice detail and good fit but flash absolutely everywhere, ugh!)!
Now for a couple of 1:48 Great Wall Hobby kits. The first is actually my favourite of 2015 and that's the MiG-29 9-12. I found a few phots of a Bangladesh Air force aircraft undergoing refurbishment in Ukraine. The paint had been partially stripped back to the bare metal and primer. It was such a cool looking thing I just had to do it. this model had all the Eduard photo etch thrown at it! I loved this model so much I've managed to get the latest version for MAI so stay tuned for that.
Next up was the F-15J (converted from the C (although ignore the incorrect bullet fairing on the top of the fin!)). Again I vomited Eduard photo etch all over this one! She appeared in the first issue of The Aircraft Weathering magazine.
Now for the little F-16. This was the Tamiya kit although I did a cut and shut job on the tail, grafting the Revell brake chute housing on. Its not 100% as pointed out by a few folk on the web although I don't care, this was a canvas for weathering and she appeared in The Weathering Magazine. This was my first go with Akan paints (thanks Andy), they are great which is a relief as they'll be used on a few projects in 2016! In fact I don't generally care about accuracy, not really. Only when it's really obvious like that HK Models Mosquito, the nose of which looks like a cartoon, horrid!
And last up was my final model of 2015, Trumpeter's new tool MiG-21UM in 1:48. This has the same level of exterior detail as the Su-9 although the cockpit is superb. That didn't stop me chucking sheets and sheets of PE at it though! Look out for this one in MAI sometime soon.
So, that was 2015. But what's next? Well, I am currently building the Hobby Boss F-14 although this will be a really cool What-If. And when I say really cool I mean sub zero! The fit so far is pants, but some of that is my fault as I elected to close the slats and flaps, I'm ploughing though however! After that I have an even cooler project, in fact I'm really excited about it, never have I been that keen to start a model. I intend to serialise this one in the blog so hopefully we can go on the journey together.
Big picture wise I've got the books to finish, articles for magazines to do plus do my bit to help run the Navy from my desk in HQ so it's going to be busy but I really can't wait to see what the year brings. I may even get to go flying!
I hope you all had a great Pagan Roman Winter Solstice and I hope you all have a fantastic 2016. Happy New Year.