Saturday, October 30, 2010
Heaven knows what this really is. It was sold as an "Off Road Adventure Set" and it amounts to a pickup truck, two motorcycles and a motorcycle trailer. The truck is an odd hybrid of what looks like a Datsun cab coupled with an American shortbed stepside pickup. There's a V8 under the hood and it came with gaudy exhausts that resembled Funny Car exhaust, but they found their discrete way into the trash can.
This is a Round 2 reissue of something much older. I'm not normally a tremendous fan of this style of racing, but the cars are fun to model. I built this mainly because I drove a Pinto in the Dark Ages (the late 1970s) and the thought of someone actually racing one strikes me as being pretty funny. Of course, mine didn't have a Ford 426 engine; mine had an oil leak that made noise.
This is Fujimi's Lancia Stratos, surely one of my favorite rally cars of all time. It dates from a time before the WRC, back when there were still Group B cars.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Airbrush: The patron saint of frustration.
Anorak: A British term used pejoratively to refer to someone who knows more about any given subject than you do. There are equivalent American terms, but they're often much nastier.
Luft '46: A genre of modeling dealing with German "paper project" airplanes in the closing stages of World War Two. It's like science fiction, only with Experten.
Balsa wood: Slightly solidified air with grain.
Cement: That which you pour around Vinnie the Knife's ankles before tossing him in the river. Also, a substance often used to emboss personalized thumbprints into high-gloss finishes on model cars.
Compressor: The thing under your bench that kicks on and startles the crap out of you while you're trying to paint something very small.
Decal: Markings for a model printed on water-release film. Also, when they break, little scale models of plate tectonics in action, complete with transverse and thrust faults.
Debonder: What Dr. No should have invested in instead of that giant laser.
Basswood: I had that once, and it was good with a little butter sauce.
Experten: A guy who seems to know more about German aircraft or armor (or both) than seems possible - or advisable.
Resin: The stuff you get on your hands when you work with green wood. Also said to be detail parts made for specific models, but I wouldn't know.
White metal: A soft metal alloy used in making model parts which, paradoxically, isn't white. I think it used to contain lead, but for safety reasons the lead has been replaced with plutonium or something.
Photo-etch: The main constituent of the junk that accumulates in my carpet.
Swab: A guy who was in the navy, but it's best not to call him that unless you also were in the navy. Also, a device specially designed to leave hairs behind on your model.
Super-glue: A type of glue especially handy for fixing broken fingernails, bonding cat hair to canopies, and perfecting the Vulcan salute.
Scratchbuilt: What you call your model, even if it isn't.
Scribe: A guy who writes things down. Also, a variety of pointed tool useful for getting glue out from under your fingernails.
Out Of The Box: Building a model kit in such a way that you don't add anything to the kit; you only use what's in the box. "Almost Out Of The Box" refers to the same thing, except that you had to make a replacement for a missing part out of a piece of macaroni.
Sinkhole: What you realize you're in when it occurs to you that you just dropped 45% of your weekly income at the hobby shop.
Round: A type of figure with round body parts, as opposed to a flat. Rounds can sometimes be too flat, so can a flat sometimes be too round?
Decal solvent: A convenient means of getting rid of excess decals.
Bloat: The consequences of eating one too many tamales. Also, when you start out building 1/144th scale airplanes and next thing you know you've got a 1/32nd scale F4E Phantom on your bench.
Multimedia: Movies on your computer. Also, a justification for a 50% price increase.
Airfix: A famous and prolific British model kit manufacturer. It's also sort of a mindset, where absolute accuracy and perfect engraving are sort of secondary to just building the damn model for the sheer joy of it. To "Airfix" a model is to build it as though you're a 12 year old boy, haven't yet discovered girls or mortgages, and life is an endless holiday.
Ejector pin mark: a round molding blemish on your model that only becomes visible when you enter it in a show.
ZImmerit: A texture applied to German tanks during World War Two, designed to keep magnetic hollow-charge mines and decals from sticking.
Vinyl: An obsolete recording medium much treasured by hipsters. Also, a material used to make large-scale figures, AFV tracks and car tires, as difficult to work with as a fashion diva.
Weathering: The process of distressing a painted model so the crappy paint job isn't so apparent.
Epoxy: A kind of slow-setting two-part glue especially useful for bonding scraps of paper to the cat's feet.
Wet Sand: A granular substance often found inside my swim trunks.
Instructions: The things I can never find.
Spray Booth: Only a heel would call it a cardboard box.
RMS: A subset of modeling focusing on Rockets, Missiles and Spacecraft. Every time a new Pzkw-V Panther kit is announced instead of a new spacecraft model, it also stands for "Really Must Scream."
Aftermarket: The glow of satisfaction that comes after a highly successful trip to the grocery store. Also, see Sinkhole.
Panther: Oh God, not another one.
Canopy: Where I store my extra fingerprints.
Futuristic: Not quite science fiction, but not quite real either. Sometimes, confusingly, refers to things from the past when the present WAS the future.
Future: What comes later. Also, a variety of floor wax often used in modeling, since it works better than the stuff specially made for modeling.
RLM: Technically the ReichsLuftMinisterium or something like that, but nowadays used mainly to refer to the many drab colors used by the Luftwaffe by number. You know you're getting dangerously close to being an Experten when you meet your girlfriend for lunch and say "Your fingernails look especially nice in RLM-23!"
Diorama: A large vignette.
Vignette: A small diorama.
Silvering: Aging gracefully.
Parts Box: To a modeler what the morgue was to Dr. Frankenstein.
Figure: The scale people that come in various kits, especially armor kits, intended to keep us humble.
Vulcan Neck Pinch: What your wife gives you when you start to say things like "You know, that 1/72nd scale Gato submarine would look cool in the living room!"
Conversion: The act of finishing a model in a form other than original, often undertaken after you've lost enough parts you can't finish it the way it was originally made.
Dry Transfer: When you rub your fingertip wet with glue on any dry surface. I often use my shorts for this purpose.
Fisheye: A round imperfection in a coat of paint, proof that one shouldn't eat fried chicken at the workbench.
Preshadowing: When writers of horror novels use lightning or storms to presage difficulties ahead. Also, when painters of models apply dark shades to panel lines on models to presage difficulties ahead.
Ballectomy: When your round-handled knife rolls off the workbench and lands in your lap.
Kitbash: Combining two or more kits to make a single new model. Often used to make science fiction or what-if models, such as dropping a blown 392 Hemi into the engine compartment of a Tiger I.
Straightedge: A social current in punk rock. Also, a device designed to instill a sense of lazy complacency just before your scriber wanders all over the wing of your 1/24th scale Mosquito.
Panel line: That which I ignore.
Filler: Something, usually potatoes, designed to ease the pressure on the meat budget. Also, a substance applied to seams on models that sticks everywhere but where it's supposed to.
Lozenge: A camouflage pattern printed on the fabric of many German airplanes in World War One. More effective than Pokemon at inducing seizures.
Spray can: Bottled, pressurized frustration.
Reissue: Proof that nostalgia is more powerful than common sense.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone: A kind of solvent cement sometimes used in building models. It affects the nervous system in such a way that it makes the modeler say "Well, I didn't really need that part anyway."
Wash: It must be Saturday, because the clothes are in it.
Pin Vise: Not to be confused with "pin vice", which is a disturbing form of iniquity.
Pin wash: Something you use when your pins get filthy.
Rivet-Counter: A guy who can always find something wrong with your model. Yet, ironically, rivet-counters never seem to actually build any models of their own.
Dot Filter: I don't know what this is, but it sounds like something in MS-DOS 4.01.
Knife: A sharp device often employed when it turns out you have too much blood in your system.
Drybrush: When you realize your hair is a disaster and you try to brush it into some kind of order in the parking lot before going in to work. Also, the first step in deciding to repaint a model.
Scale: That which keeps all your models from being the same size.
Link And Length: Two guys in a TV cop show. Also, a molding technique for AFV tracks designed to make chemotherapy seem pleasant in comparison.
Cutter: A kind of horse and/or cowboy adept at getting a single cow out of a herd of same. Also, a device useful for catapulting small parts into the lower stratosphere.
Sprue: the plastic frame that holds the part that should be there, but isn't.
What-If: The business of putting unusual decals on a model, such as an F-14 Tomcat in Luftwaffe service, or a MiG-21 with British roundels. Chiefly the result of losing the kit's original decal sheet.
Superdetailed: The work of modelers who are way better than I am.
Tweezer: Humorous nickname for a guy with unfortunate facial hair. Also, a tool useful for dropping things.
Chrome: (Also Chrome Plating) The process of making plastic parts look cheap and toy-like, while also making them hard to work with.
Flocking: A social habit seen in birds, golfers and occasionally fans of death metal. Also, a powdery fibrous material useful for simulating carpet in model cars. I'll start using it when it comes complete with scale french fries and loose change.
Curbside: Where you leave old furniture in the hope that it will simply go away. Also a kind of car model with no engine detail because the intake manifold part went missing.
Forceps: Don't Bogart that photo-etch, man.
Loft Insulation: British term for your collection of unbuilt kits. In my locale, the collection could also be called "roadrunner habitat" as the horrid carnivorous miniature dinosaurs tend to take up residence therein. Also known to house guests as "what is all that junk".
Glue: Strong stuff.
Wax: A substance used in a last-ditch struggle to remove a dead moth from the freshly painted hood of a car model. Also, a popular and effective karate training aid.
Use The Force, Luke: The voice I hear in my head when I begin to think I can scribe a panel line without a guide or straightedge.
Humbrol: To messily spill paint or cement on your workbench, as in "Man, I just Humbroled a whole cup of coffee right into my decal box!" Comes from Humbrol paints, which are superb paints disgraced by dreadful cans ("those are tinlets, bub").
Pour Stub: The thick chunk of excess resin connected to your resin parts. Really just a thinly veiled excuse to invest in cool new power tools.
Slammer: A kind of car model subjected to drastic modification with a large hammer.
Wish List: A mental list of models that the modeler wishes someone would make. Judging from what the kit manufacturers actually release, most wish lists must read like "If it's German, I'll take it!"
Siberia: The vague depression that haunted modelers in the 1980s when it was almost impossible to find models of Soviet aircraft or armor, and the announcement of a new MiG-21 could cause the same wild, breathless excitement as the prospect of a date with Joan Jett.
Razor saw: A convenient means of shortening one's fingers.
Miter box: Where one keeps one's miters.
Paintbrush: Zen. With a handle.
Sheperd Paine: A really first-rate modeler who was hired to build dioramas for Monogram back in the 1970s. The Sheperd Paine inserts in Monogram kits of that day completely changed the way I viewed scale modeling, and I suspect I'm not alone.
Thinner: A Stephen King novel. Also, what many of us wish we were. Also also, a liquid useful for not quite cleaning a paintbrush.
Ferrule: The business end of a paint brush, the part that falls off just as you're about to paint a button on a Napoleonic Hussar's uniform.
Skewer: To accidentally poke yourself. Also a sharp bamboo stick intended for kitchen use, but which turns to be a multipurpose tool with about six thousand uses, none of which involve food.
Rat Droppings: The small rounded lumps of hardened epoxy putty left over from whatever you're working on. If you miscalculate and mix up too much epoxy putty and have a lot left over, you may be said to be in possession of a righteous turd.
Ploop: The ugly sound a tube of old-style model glue makes as it emits a giant blob of goo right in the middle of your Thunderbolt's canopy.
Work: That which both enables me to model, and prevents me from modeling. If I could ever come to terms with this paradox, I'd probably be a much wiser person.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Grant has sand shields, a common fitting in British service, so that means you have to sort of paint the undercarriage and tracks before installing the sand shields. I thought I would do the Churchill's tracks at the same time. Only now, the tracks are disintegrating. It seems that every morning, I go out to the workbench and find that the tracks have broken in a new spot. So I super-glue the broken tracks to the various wheels anew, touch up the paint, and the cycle repeats over and over. The Grant's tracks are largely hidden by the sand shields, but the Churchill had no fenders and the whole top run of track is clearly visible, and the more I glue and fret and snarl, the worse it all gets.