My Workstation

He is a quick video of my work area as it sits right now.

Spaces like this are always a work in progress and mine will most likely be be fine tuned as time goes by.



New Video… Tamiya Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D

Well, it is time to start the next model. This time, the old Tamiya Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D. The copyright date on the box art and decal sheet is 1977 and the molded date on the inside of the lower hull is 1975. For many, that is considered quite old. For me… not so much. I was in fifth grade in ’75. Yikes.

I will be featuring this model on my YouTube channel, since I want to use the building of this kit as a sort of primer for beginning modelers. It won’t be so much a step by step process, as much as a starting point on the various stages of the build.

In this first installment, I talk about the kit and what I plan to accomplish in the series.

Here is the video, and feel free to comment here or on the channel, and subscribe if you like.

Tamiya Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf D… My Next Project

My next project will be the Panzer IV Ausf D from Tamiya. This is one of the older kits from Tamiya, and the date molded on the lower hull is 1975.

This particular kit has been reviewed countless times, and many have noted that since this kit was first molded, at a time when motorized models were popular, the allowances for motors, batteries, and switches rendered the dimensions of the model to non-scale proportions. Because of this, some modelers pooh-pooh this kit as inaccurate, and not really worth the time and effort, especially considering that there are much more detailed and accurate representations of this particular subject. In addition to that, the details are considered simple, somewhat “soft,” or lacking altogether.

However, because of its age, this kit has a number of pluses.

First, it is pretty inexpensive. I got this one at a local hobby shop for $21.xx, out the door. It can be found for about the same online via online dealers, or EBay.

Second, due to the lack of lots of small detail, and a lower parts count (compared to more recent kit releases,) and Tamiya’s ability to manufacture kits that fit like they are supposed to, beginners can build this kit into a nice representation of the Panzer IV. The instructions are easy to follow, and the parts, even though they are coming from molds that are quite old, are free from flash and heavy mold lines. This makes clean up and assembly that mush easier.

Third, for a modeller that may be a bit more experienced, but wants to try some new techniques, or perhaps some scratchbuilding, this kit is a great candidate. The low price and general quality of the kit parts would allow a person to try out some new stuff without too much worry of money wasted if things go bad.

As for me, I plan on building this one pretty much out of the box. I want to feature this build on my YouTube channel and focus on newer kit builders. This will also be the first time I have finished a WWII German vehicle in grey. All of my German vehicle builds in the past have been in the usual dark yellow and/or camo schemes.

For now, I plan on focusing most of my build log on my channel, but I will have links on this blog for those that wish to follow.

Here are a couple of photos: The box art; and the box contents.

Stay tuned…



YouTube… And We’re Off!

The first video on my new YouTube channel is up.This video is not very long and basically lays out what I am planning to do. I want to keep it interesting, so it won’t be all opening boxes and talking about what’s in it. I will be doing that, but only on kits I am going to be building right away. There is nothing worse than having someone open a box, show all the groovy stuff inside, and then never see a build come out of it!

I’ll also talk about my experiences with products and tools. I’ll be talking a little bit about myself and my involvement in the hobby of model building, along with some of my background.

I used my Kodak Playsport to record the video at 720p (so the video quality should be decent,) and used Windows Live Movie Maker to put it together.

So, check it out. Feel free to leave comments here, or on the YouTube channel. And by all means, subscribe.

Academy M3 Stuart “Honey”… Complete!

Well, at long last, the Honey is complete. I know I said that I wanted to have it completed by last weekend, but I really got into the weathering aspect of this one.

First, I would like to make a few comments about the kit itself. This is the first Academy armor kit I have built. Overall, I would have to say that this kit was a very fun kit to build. There were no fit issues at all. Flash and mold seams weren’t bad… a few places here and there, but nothing a modeller with a basic skill set couldn’t handle with ease.

I know there is usually lots of discussion (and disagreement) pertaining to tracks… individual link vs. “rubberband” style tracks. This kit comes with both. The rubberband tracks (actually vinyl,) are very well detailed. They are molded very cleanly and there were only a few little mold dots on the inside of the tracks. these were easily removed with a hobby knife.

The individual track links are really nice. They are nicely detailed, and the only thing that needs to be cleaned up on the individual parts, are the sprue attachment points. Each track consists of the track pads and end connectors. Each pad has three points that attach to the sprue, and the end connectors have two points of attachment. That would be a lot of cleanup. The nice thing though, is that the way they assemble, they are totally flexible and stay together without cement, which means that they would be very easy to install on the tank, then cement could be applied.

All that said, I opted to use the vinyl tracks. They are very well detailed (as good as the individual track parts) and much easier to use. If this were a German vehicle that has tracks that usually sagged in real life, I might have considered using the individuals. But since US tanks had “live” tracks that were under tension at all times, thereby lacking sag, I went the easier route…vinyl.

The one weak spot on the vinyl tracks are the attachment points. There are two very small pins on one end of the track that go through two tiny holes on the other end of the track. What is supposed to happen, is once the pins are through the holes, a heated screwdriver, knife, or whatever, is heated then pressed on the protruding pins to join the two ends together. I found that this created a weak joint that looked deformed when under tension. So, I reverted to the old tried and true method of using needle and thread to reinforce the joint. Since there are dust skirts on this particular vehicle, the thread (hardly noticeable at all) would be hidden.

For this kit, I used Vallejo primer and paint. I have been very pleased with Vallejo’s primer, Model Air, and Model Color paints. They have all worked exactly as expected right out of the bottle, and have performed beautifully out of the airbrush, or off paint brushes. The only non-Vallejo products I used, were Testor’s Dullcoat Lacquer and Windsor Newton oils for the washes.

The worst part of this kit, however, were the decals. They are very thick and don’t conform to surface detail at all. Using my usual application process, I determined that any decals that were going where there were surface irregularities (i.e., rivets) would be unusable. Fortunately, I was able to duplicate the decal design with paint and airbrush.

As I stated in my first post about this kit, I wanted to try some new, or different techniques. I tend to under-weather my models for fear of messing them up, but figured I would give it a go this time.

For this model, I finally cracked and got some artist’s oils for the wash. I normally use thinned Testor’s Model Master enamels, but have heard for years (beginning with good, old Shepard Paine) that artist’s oils are superior. After using them, I have to agree.

Another technique I have never used, is chipping. Hard to believe, I know, but I finally did it. I have to say with all modesty, that the results turned out better than I had hoped.

I hope everyone has enjoyed following along as I built this kit. I had a great time working on this one, and am very pleased with the results considering my foray into new things.

So, without further adieu, here are some photos. Feel free to comment, and stay tuned for the next project.