Monday, September 17, 2018

On The Madness Of Rearranging Bits Of Plastic #3

Total Fail. This one has beaten me. Utterly. I barely found the resolve to even put it all back nicely into the box. The decaling was a disaster. Bubbles and chips. Melted spots. Terrible. I thought about smashing it or blowing it up. Childish, but I could move on.
I thought I could just pull this out and finish it up. This is a kit off my main line, you know for fun. No fancy reference. Like a snack in between meals. I do a lot of snacking. One might say it ruins your meal. Rots your teeth. I like Good & Plenty. Really. Why are they always sold out, then?

Good night Irene.

I'm giving up hobbies. When I feel the urge scrape a seam line I'll have some Good & Plenty instead. At Walgreens they are $1 for a big box (if you buy four and use your rewards card). Someone once asked me if the pink ones tasted different from the white ones. This is an absurd question, then I realized I was talking to a young person, where such a distinction would matter. After all, why bother to dye half of every production run pink if there was no reason? I gave the young person one and they popped it in their mouth. There was a count of about the time it takes to say "Red Dye #2" and they made a sick face and literally spit it out. YES, THAT'S CORRECT, NO MORE BUILDING. Gonna watch Walker Texas Ranger and eat Sugar Babies and Dots. Do the colors of the Dots match some sort of flavor? Is that why there isn't blue ones? I am listing EVERYTHING on Ebay right now. $1 each. Chuck it all. No more drilling holes for Grandt bolts. No more watch dial glue, no more future, no fancy panel scrapers, no Mr. Color, no saving foil from wine bottles or chocolate candy bars. I AM COMPLETELY DONE. I'll fix the front gate and clean the garage. When I see an un-built model I'll kick it across the alley. Where the neighbors dog can whiz on it. That's right. I'm taking it all down to the river, putting them in a bag with a brick. People will start asking me what I'm doing after a while again, because my answer won't be "I'M BUILDING AN IL-2M THAT I"M CUTTING THE STRAIGHT WINGS OFF TO MAKE THE ARROW VERSION". I am done. No more. Hobbies bad. I will build no more forever.

Another fun model kit.
...This came today. Only 70 parts. There is an all red civilian version. I could build this for fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

On The Madness Of Rearranging Bits Of Plastic #2

Total Fail building the Belkits Peugeot 207 2000

Were you thinking the next post would show the Italeri F-104 getting built? Maybe a few of you fell for the "ol' gonna just build it out of the box in a few weeks routine". Well, welcome to the real world of modeling in which a whole lot of things have a very uniquely formed logic of there own. So, let's conveniently forget about that 104 and switch over to "I started this a while back, I bet I can get it finished". In this case it's a 1/24 Belkits Peugeot 207 S2000 Rally car. I have built lots of different kinds of kits over the years and become more skilled. Well, this kit is kicking my ass:

This is the chassis and interior, so far so good. Not much different than an armor or airplane kit, lots of different colored junk and some weathering. The interior of the car has a nice level of detail.

Here is the body shell, it's white, easy-peasy, primer, buff and paint. Just like painting a KV-1 or a F-104. Well, no. This is the second round of white after the first round of kit decals were an exercise in failure. Putting on decals are easy, right? I was pretty dissapointed, because I assumed I was build "a masterpiece" worthy of ooohs and aaaahs from other modelers. Again, a reminder that modeling can be many things and the potential oooohs and aaaahs are just one small part of it. Failure is a reminder to think about the present. It's a reminder that the hobby is a process. It's a reminder that you will be terrible at things and that being terrible is OK.

Here is a nice picture of the real car. The Colorado Decals I got are too dark. Maybe it's the blue walls of this room messing with my mind. Maybe because the kit is crashing and burning I need a scapegoat. 

I used Tamiya spray on the rims. I left the tires on the rims and you can see that the paint has liquefied and turned into sludge. Really? 

Behind me is the F-104. I hear it calling..."I promise not to melt if you build me". Shhhh! Maybe I should be working on our club group build for Chattanooga. Or go on Ebay. This is the cruelest hobby I've ever had.

On the Peugeot I sliced off the windshield washer jets, marked them and drilled tiny holes for new ones. It makes perfect sense to nail a detail the size of a pin head rather than figure out how to get the decals on right.

Second round of white (that took a while to fix) and next set of decals. Look at the tears, bubbling, areas where the blue is melted off from scrubbing....not to mention the bubbles and misalignment's. Yes, not a winner. Why do I keep going? At the last nationals I talked to some car builders and they explained that they used a hair dryer to get the decals to snuggle down. Their cars looked perfect! Why even bother?

Here lies part of the answer. Putting things into piles. Making sure all my foil from wine bottles is perfectly organised. Listening to the OST of Conan. Gluing bits of things to other things to make different things.

Until next time!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Building Italeri's 1/32 F-104 G/S Starfighter: Part 1

That's right for all my professed love of Japanese WW2 aircraft, trucks of all eras and sci fi I am building a jet plane. What's up with that is right.

Downstairs, in the basement is my Hobby Room. Many modelers use the term "bunker" for their areas of meditation. The walls and ceiling of mine are rag rolled a sort of blue, which my wife likened to being submerged in a swimming pool (in a bad way, I think).  I had a lot of people tell me that the walls should be white, so as to not throw off my painting. I'm sure everyone has noticed that my models tend to be less blue. Who know's how many medals it has cost me to paint down in the swimming pool.

Here are my notes so far. #1) What is the level of building? I bought this on a total whim. My intention was "to build for fun", so no after market, no rebuilding landing gear struts or ejection seats. No, no, no. #2) Pick version. I thumbed through the instructions...a lot of Italian aircraft. Duh, I guess. One German and a couple of Canadian. OK, let's do the German one...maybe Canadian. I couldn't keep myself off the compy though. Oh look, there is one with Hinomaru's...  It is like being in a swimming pool sometimes. I vill do scheme C, za German von. "Two peanuts were walking down the strasse..."

#3) Remove parts. Using an old Testors Xuron cutter and the nicer Tamiya one, the good plastic is cut from the bad plastic. I go through and remove the parts that are extra and not for my version. This is a form of simplification to foster the Illusion Of Progress. Model building is like theater, if it doesn't look like something is happening, it is less fun. By getting rid of the unnecessary parts and grouping existing ones it makes it easier to break the project into smaller parts.

What a nice areoplane ! #4) Tape it together to figure out how to build, what is seen and what is easy to change. I only clean up the parts enough to get it together. By checking what can actually be seen you can eliminate the tedious clean up. Also, some parts are more visible than others and require more care. Things on the top and details that always draw scrutiny should get the red carpet treatment. In this case, the cockpit, intakes...probably the landing gear and exhaust nozzle. This is an older kit, so there are lots of panels that can be positioned open to see the cool guttyworks. I'm not a big fan of this, so all those panels need to be blended back into the surface to as to not call attention to themselves. The overall surface finish on the model is pleasing.

Really, building models is an excuse to listen to crap like this: the OST of Conan. It's so bad it's good. Mostly. It is interesting how listening to music has changed. As a youth I had my parents hand me down Hi-Fi and records. Then came cassette tapes, CD's. I skipped over the i-pod, but did digital music services. I digitized CD's onto my hard drive (seems like ages ago), then started Pandora. These days it's You Tube. 

Make sure you understand the instructions. I thought "For Version" meant the real life version, which mine is a "G" for the German one. That is not what those mean, the letters correspond to the version as  noted on the schemes, so the German one is version C, not G. Idiot!

To be continued...

Saturday, September 1, 2018

On The Madness Of Rearranging Bits Of Plastic #1

New Nats Category: “Unfinished Models”

A small sample of "Works in Progress"
How cool would it be if at the Nationals there was a category for “Unfinished Kits”. Think about how the judging guidelines get really bent. Does a knock out mark or a fingerprint, count against the model? Is it judged on this moment of the build or what you imagine this kits future to be? Would it be held against you if too much of your model were painted? 

It is a shame that there would never be such a category. We all know it’s the end product that matters. Imagine the discussions these entries would spark. Admit it, we all love to see the model with all the work exposed. The winner(s) would have to be selected using a more subjective criteria. Hard to imagine something like this would ever happen.

What a colossally missed opportunity. The idea that we cannot point to hard evidence as to why one  incomplete model within this category is deemed superior to another would make a lot of people's heads melt. Forums would light up like the readouts at Three Mile Island and trolls would have to be hooked up intravenously because they would not have time to to eat.

OK, so what? Sans a verified winner of the category we would get actual discussion among the entrants, viewers and the public. There would be questions. Conversations about technique. As I recall, Tatlin’s Tower was never built and Michelangelo's Pieta never completed. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon hung in progress for years inspiring debates that shaped modern art for decades. The overriding emphasis of the IPMS to overvalue “one way to be good at model building” is unfortunate.
This all popped into my head when I decided to pull out all of my “works in progress”. After I had filled up most of my workspace, it dawned on me that I had only scratched the surface. 

I have many. Too many. Or do I? Does it matter? Does Jay Leno lament that he can’t drive every car he owns? The prevailing thought is that unless a kit is completed it is wasted. There are no pics to upload onto “” or win an event. What if the goal was to not finish them? What if I dumped all the parts into a casserole dish and melted them together in the oven, does that count as finished? Or buying an almost finished kit and gluing on the last piece?  (By the way, I did put one of my tanks in the oven as a kid).

I used to let having all these un-built kits bother me. They showed that I didn’t have follow thru. That I was weak. Lay on top of this that they all need to be “winners”. That’s a lot of pressure. The more unfinished projects there were, the more behind I thought I was in the great race to completion. What a ridiculous race I allowed myself to be duped into!

Here’s where I think I’m at now. I build any way I want. Maybe just cut parts off the trees and organise them. Leave them in bags and resell on Ebay. Put it away and finish 8 years later. Or never. A hobby, by definition is something you do for fun. So, I don’t beat myself up over having too many unfinished hobby projects anymore. 

Belkits 1/24 Peugeot 207 S2000
Right now I’m focused on working on a Belkits Peugeot 207 S2000 Rally car. Last year I thought it would be a nice quick build, no researching widgets or scratch-building parts...something to build for fun. Everything went along just fine until I started putting the many, many large decals on the body. Total fail. It was refreshing to fail so spectacularly. I put it away. I found a new decal scheme from Coloradodecals based on a white bodied car. I’ve been tinkering on it for a few weeks, mainly because RL has been jam packed with work deadlines and travel. Among other things. 

Right after I took that picture, the mail carrier left a box on the porch, I had a 15% coupon on Ebay and snapped up Itelari’s 1/32 F-104. What’s up with that? I have already decided to “build it for fun” and have all the parts off the sprues and staged for assembly. Without thinking I went online to research other schemes and thought it would be cool to do a Japanese one....

Ready for.....STORAGE!!! WHOA BABY!
A few things regarding On The Madness Of Rearranging Bits Of Plastic:

On this blog you will mostly see two types of content. The first type is the usual stuff such as building tips, pictures of completed kits and reviews. The second type is less common, it’s the stuff that often pops up in forums or in a few editorial channels (like Dem Brudders in the Journal). As a long time Hobbyist my involvement is way more than just buying and building kits. OTMORBOP addresses the part of the iceberg below the surface of the water. There is so much more to the hobby experience than debating the exact shade of J3 Hairyokushoku or critiquing the shape of a particular manufactures rendition of a M-10’s turret.

Hopefully the stuff I write here will resonate with others. Constructive feedback is welcomed. If your a troll...hopefully your worth a lot of XP because baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Until next time.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Heat Bending Small Diameter Plastic Rod Stock

OMG, what a long crazy title. Well, it's after the Nat's, I've finally calmed down, so here is an update. Oh wait, let's identify the problem:

Heat bending thin stock wacks the plastic and all you get is trash. What is needed is a way to limit the amount of heat to get a perfect bend.

I took a sheet of thick brass and used a small band saw in my garage and cut a short slot. The sheet is positioned over a candle.

The slot reduces the overall heat and focuses the rest in a small area.

Roll the stock over the slot.

This will become a replacement bracket for a mirror on a rally car.

More updates will follow. After I go move my in-laws bed. Ug. Cheers.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Tupolev Tu-95 & Tu-142: A Quick Look at the New Book

I just got this off Amazon, this not a proper review, but a peek inside for those of you who love this aircraft. It was around $50 and its got around 550 pages and weighs a lot. 

This one probably won't be around long, so if your into this kinda know what to do.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dune Factory Crawler Concept Model

A lot going on behind all the scenes, work especially and a big gaming event in which I needed to prepare a lot of new material. I know you are not interested in my paltry excuses, you are here to see models:

I am a big DUNE fan, I recall seeing the 1984 movie three times in the theater...undoubtedly a unique achievement. It wasn't until Waterworld came out that people stopped making fun of me (regarding Dune). I have done some other Dune fanboy things I'm not proud of (and shall not reveal, as they are killing words). And, of course, my last name also is the same of Fransesca, who played Paul's concubine mother. I digress. Did I say I had a stillsuit? Ok, good.

I know, shut up already! This model was built as a sketch, a maquette, or study. I sent these along to Agence Claude Girard which represents Denis Villeneuve in hopes to muscle my way into doing some concepting for the upcoming Dune film. 

No phone calls yet, if anyone out there knows Mr. Villeneuve, pass this along. My understanding is that for this new interpretation Mr. Villeneuve will steer far away from the 1984 offering. A wise choice.

The model: It's around 1/200th scale, or around 100 meters in length. In the book they are described as "Factory Crawlers". I read through the book and kept careful notes on characters and tech. Herbert does an amazing job with so little, almost nothing in the book is described by more than a few sentences. Amazing.

This model is made from faom core, paper and wood dowels. I used Illy to create the track and parasol shield patterns.

My sketches are OK, I'd rather build up in 3D. This is the drawing I started from, you can the things I kept and the things that were transformed by going from 2D to 3D. One major change is the elimination of the spice removal proboscis. In the lower part of the drawing you see the carryall that would come down to evac the factory once a worm is spotted. I have the thopter tech here using rotors, not sure I'm in love with that.

The factory is like a big dumb bug, I imagine the tracks to be quite flexible, as shown here. This would also allow it to traverse the deserts of Arrakis.

I don't think the factory crawlers are Fremen, more likely a combination of local Imperial and Ixian construction. Due to the harsh conditions and expense to get any sort of replacement parts, it seemed to me everything should be designed to be as practical as possible. In our world the Russians are the masters of this. Flat surfaces that can be easily repaired, or folded down to use as a repair stands. Off the shelf parts for transmissions, wheels and hinges. On Arrakis being able to make field repairs would be a necessity.

Here are some pics during construction.

You can see how 3D materials affect the design process. Plus you can't cheat as much, like in a drawing.

The segmentation is meant to allow for flexibility (like a steamboat pulling itself over a snag) and cooling. The frame becomes an accessible hard point in which other units can be easily attached.

Notice on the top there is a large slipper tank. I imagined this is where the melange would go, in the event of a close call with a worm, the carryall could collect the spice tank sans crawler.

Here the parasols start to get positioned on the frame. They would be movable and basically shield the factory from the sun. This would also allow for the factory to have an ungainly appearance, depending on the parasols positions relative to the sun. I tried to capture this in the pics of the finished model.

The stark patterning is also purposeful. The alternating black and white ares act as a heat engine and create paths of air movement along the panels for cooling. Like the stripes on a zebra and a Crookes radiometer. It also makes it look more like a beetle.

A quick shot to show scale. Maybe this will turn into a real model. Thinking on it.