Sunday, November 16, 2008

Airfix "E-Boat"

I have problems sticking to a basic collection, as one may have noticed already, but I do happen to be pretty good at collecting 1/72nd scale torpedo boats. As in all of them, meaning all of the commercially available ones. The newest and arguably the spiffiest is the Revell S-100 Schnellboot, the last and biggest of the torpedo boats the Germans used in World War Two. But not too far down on the spiffy ladder is the old Airfix S-7, rather unhelpfully called an "E-Boat" on the boxtop and requiring reference materials to figure out exactly what kind of Schnellboot it is. Well, it's an S-7, decidedly prewar and almost unarmed compared to the S-100. I bet the guy out ahead of the fairwater on that single MG-34 feels confident...

Anyhow, it's a good kit. I don't know why, but Airfix's 1/72nd scale boat molds just don't seem to degrade over time. The Revell PT-109 is getting pretty ghastly - the figures alone are worthy of the Cryptkeeper's cackle - but the Airfix molds still seem to be in pretty good shape. Did they use better metal? Were they stored in a better environment? Did Airfix just make fewer of them? (Not on my account; I've disposed of three of their "E-Boat" kits over the years, and I do place emphasis on "disposed".)

Anyway, it's a nice kit. It's also relatively easy to paint. After finishing the minimal assembly of the hull and deck and spending several quality evenings sanding out the joints on the lower hull while watching Dr. G Medical Examiner, I spray-painted the whole works flat white. I decided that I would build it as though it were in the first year of the war, that is, very light in color, mast lowered, and no hull numbers. So flat white it was, though I had to take a black felt marker and scribble the word schnellbootweiss on my can of Krylon flat white so I could prove to quibblers that I really HAD painted it the right color.

Then I fixed up a card table by the TV and fetched some craft paint and painted the deck with a dark grey called "Charcoal" to represent the anti-marring coating the Germans used. Charcoal seems to be too dark. Compared to the white hull it's practically flat black. But it's what I had, and I figure once I apply a light grey wash over the ersatz schnellbootweiss it won't look quite so stark. It took about three coats to get good coverage, but that's why they make more than one episode of Dr. G Medical Examiner, isn't it? (I watch a lot of that show, as it turns out.)

It's been fun. And best of all, no grasshoppers.

My workshop is extraordinarily filthy these days. It's full of dust, grasshoppers, spiders, dead leaves, cigarette ashes, hair and God knows what all else. It needs to be thoroughly and vigorously cleaned before I can really contemplate doing much work out there. It needs the leaf blower, but running the leaf blower in the garage is hell on my respiration unless I wear a dust mask, and I seem to be fresh out. Damn!