Archive collection of Shop Blogs from 2013


15 Dec 13. I hope that all shop customers and website readers have a happy, relaxed and enjoyable Christmas break. As mentioned in the previous entry on the 9th, there is not much time for anything except shop matters and with only Xmas day and Boxing day off before being open again on the 27th, I doubt I'll be doing any modelling over Christmas at all. I can however at least look back to a completed ( of sorts) model that I finished in time for displaying on the Salisbury IPMS club stand at Bugle call in November.  I write 'of sorts' as it is intended to place the model on a Diorama so still a long way to go, but the captured Russian tractor and Pak 40 I'm happy with. The Pak was a very old kit from my loft stash, the instructions had turned brown, some parts warped and the box had a £3.00 price tag from Beatties, a model chain store from the past that seemed to have foreshadowed Modelzone and also went the same way. It was nice to dig something out of the stash and actually make it. Most modellers have a collection of un-built kits and all to often they remain that way as fresh kits come along.  Older kits are often simpler and it can be refreshing to complete something a little quicker than normal. The album of pictures from Bugle call is here and my last build for 2013 is below. Don't forget to check our opening times on the home page for Christmas and New year as the shop will be closed over the new year weekend.

09 Dec 13 December, and as is to be expected, very busy. Modelling, like a number of non shop related tasks has been pushed back till the New Year when time will permit though it hasn't meant a complete cessation of work.  The Sea King commission still moves forward, a base coat has been ghosted on and masking of the numerous windows is about to begin.  This model has been more work than expected, the kit ( by Dragon) is very detailed but the instructions are confusing with items not indicated or are shown incorrectly labelled, additionally the time period of the Sea King I've been asked to model is different to that in the box so rechecking and adding/ removing small details is required.  Luckily the customer provided a lot of reference photos so that has made things easier. 

13 Nov 13 Thank you to all those who expressed appreciation of my Remembrance window display. It seemed very popular as many non-modellers popped into the shop to also say how much they liked it. We had a silence on Sunday and also at 11.00 on Monday the 11th before removing the display that evening ready for the shop Xmas window. Thank you goes out to Richard, Jim and Rick, local modellers who loaned me a number of British military figures and busts to support the display.

 I mentioned in a previous post how reluctant I am to put Christmas decorations up too early, it risks causing 'Xmas fatigue' in my mind. Some shops here in Salisbury have had displays up since the end of September.  It is sad to think that there is still 1/4 of a year to go, and that these same shops will be pulling down the decoration on Christmas eve for sales on Boxing day.  It is nice to enjoy the build up and then take a few days to really enjoy the holiday season with out forcing it down peoples throats.  Well that's my opinion, so I never put any decoration up until remembrance day is over.  

However behind the scenes preparations have been going on for some time and have kept me modelling in a different way- scenery modelling using techniques familiar to railway modellers for a 1/32 slot car display. A MDF half circle former on 2 levels supports display track and terrain created from Mod-roc, static grass, a castle created from carpet inner tubes, Das clay and old toy parts and dressed in Ivy. The final element is a lit up hording using LEDs. Hardly noticeable when the sun is streaming through the shop window but once I'd set myself the challenge I couldn't resist. 

27 Oct 13  Shop matters have kept me busy and while I don't like to start the Christmas effort early, I am having to ensure our background preparation is done now ( no decorations in my shop till after Remembrances Sunday unlike some shops in Salisbury that have had Christmas decorations up since 20 October- far to early in my opinion but we'll save that for another post).

Behind the scenes I am building a large segmented display that will allow 1/32 Slot cars to be placed on show in the window and also have power to show they function correctly before purchase, work continues on a Sea King commission and I'm travelling to collect new Tamiya Radio Control stock.  But just to prove I do occasionally finish a model, the very old Tamiya Panzer II I was working on has been completed. I'd like to say finished but as it is destined for a WWII diorama it will now be put away till the remaining vehicles are completed. Still nice to have one ticked off.

12 Oct 13 Already seen by many of the mums and toddlers who pass by our shop each morning, not only has our broken window been replaced but we have an improved layout running in the shop window.  It is slightly simplified, no ballast for example, as it is used as a test track and has to run continuously with out supervision, and also has to fit in the window space. A simple loop of First radius with a separate 2nd radius loop with 3 points incorporated to allow for a passing loop and siding. This outer track can be switched from Dc to DCC at will to allow me to test both types of loco. Shoe horned between the loops is a circle of N gauge track also for test runs. The whole layout is governed by timers so the trains will start up regardless of if I am busy, it does mean that sometimes the kids watching are disappointed when they stop suddenly too.  While the scenery is not of the highest standard I hope the balance between achieving something in a short time against having a certain quality line has been reached.


04 Oct 13 Thankfully and with out much delay we have had our shop window replaced after it was smashed by drunken revellers. The main effort is now to get a decent railway layout back up and running.  The young passers by, Grand-dads too have missed seeing Thomas the tank engine running and it is easier for me to have a test track available. As standard we run all our engines in front of customers before a sale is completed. It saves disappointment at home and gives both parties confidence.  

While I need the layout back up as soon as possible it will have to be a trade off.  I want it to look good- we are a model shop after all, but I am the first to admit that if I get to bogged down in detail i'll never get it finished, just look at the blog entries on my normal plastic modelling!

23 Sept 13  In my last post I lamented the mess I'd made of the old Panzer II.  Well I think I managed to save it, the picture below is how it currently appears.  It is finished for an early Russian campaign when the Germans still finished vehicles in Grey but once in the field mixed fuel with mud to paint additional camouflage on their tanks and fighting vehicles.   In reality this finish weathered rapidly. The early drive through Russia was also very dusty, and these combinations were how I wished to portray the model. It was difficult making this look in scale and correct and not just a messy finished model. The dust on the wheels and surfaces is Humbrol dust wash, then Lifecolor pigment has been dabbed on. The mud was smeared on first using a spatula carved from a length of sprue, and added again if the dust was a little heavy as I wanted the dust to only appear lightly coating the surfaces. A HB pencil was run along edges of wear such as the cupola.  The hatch and guns need adding as well as some fine details, but it is all but done here. I hope you like it and consider it a good save. The problems I encountered were my own fault- I forgot I had painted this a long time ago in Acrylics and omitted a protective coat of varnish before using the Humbrol washes which are enamel based. As I was using a hard stipple brush for weathering it started to remove the base grey.  I left the model to fully dry for 24 hours, trying to save a model when the paint is wet is a waste of time.  I was able to mix up the grey and with a fine setting on my Neo Airbrush fill in the scratched areas before blending again with pigment powder.  

16 September 13.  Hello, glad to have some time to write, even if it is way past midnight.  I got some modelling done today which was nice even if it was a disaster. I'm trying out the new Humbrol washes that we have in store and made a right mess of an old Tamiya Panzer II.  I have put it to one side to totally dry before looking at it again and deciding how best to save the model.  It was meant to be just a test bed for ideas but I've become so pleased with it that I've now made diorama plans for it so todays' mishap was unwelcome. This has been the first time I have been modelling recently as the follow up to the smashed shop window has taken some time, I hope the insurers will not delay too much longer.

 Previous time has been spent on the new 1/18 Flak 36, 88mm Gun by Merit models.  It is a nice kit that goes together easily but it has some faults.  Some parts are a bit simplified and the instructions have parts that change direction as the build progresses. Thankfully I have some good research material to work with but I was hoping for a quick build. Some parts need backings added as they are moulded hollow,  and in photos most 88s in the antitank role had boxes replacing the telephone reels on the mudguards so that needs tackling too as I intend to display this in the antitank role on a suitably large diorama. On the commission front the 2 landrovers were finished. in 1/76 they are tiny and delicate.

5 September 13. Unfortunately I have been a little pre-occupied of late. Drunken vandals smashed the shop window and caused some damage and that needs to be sorted. I have had a number of deliveries into the store but lack of time has prevented a list being posted in the 'new in store' section. I aim to remedy that in the next few days. Despite the boarded up windows we are open as normal.

8 August 13. I've no idea how many people read my model related ramblings here but I would like to think it is at least a couple, and that my belief that once a statement of intent is declared to others then it helps galvanize action, I hope this theory works on a blog too, or works for me at least. I mentioned I'd like to attempt to light the M48 search light using LEDs last blog entry so have focused my attention on meeting that statement's objective as well as continuing on the 1/76 Landrovers from Airfix ( ex JB Models).  The Landys are near completion and are in the special markings provided in the Airfix modellers club boxing of UK support vehicles. The decal sheets have a mass of markings and each model is going through the sequence of Future followed by Micro-sol applied to the decal once in position before sealing again with Future once the decal is settled and dry. This coat will become the finish, giving a slightly gloss sheen which normally would look out of place on a military landrover however these two marks would receive far more care and be employed in roles away from the front line where a matt DPM finish would be expected.

The search light has been mocked up using 2 high powered LEDs with resistors and a standard clear LED wired directly to a 9v battery. The picture shows how it looks, which isn't too bad. However viewing from the front allows you to determine the 3 lights rather than the effect of one powerful light. I hope to counter this with a slightly opaque clear acetate sheet used as the search light lens. A micro switch will be wired into the set up to engage with a cam on the hull floor so that turning the turret will switch on the light.  Now the big question, how much correcting of the Tamiya kit am I going to do?  There is a lot of information on the net, and it appears some elements of the M48 are not quite as they should be.  I started this model well before I had any inclination to check out the kit's accuracy. It had been in my stash for nearly 20 years so deserves to be built. Therefore corrections will be limited to what can be achieved from this point onward as I really do not want to rip anything apart now. Ride height is to tall but I shall live with that. I have thinned down the light guards by replacing the plastic with strips of Photo-etch. I will add the 3 lightening holes to the drive sprockets. To me the poorest area is the mantlet to turret join. I will glue the gun in place and then fashion a new canvas mantlet cover from milliput and plasticard strips for the clips.

17-21 July 13. After writing my last blog I found myself mulling over two things. 1, why have I let certain project lapse as they still have my interest and 2, I've really only given half the story as there are a lot more part done projects and 'works in progress'. I decided to dig out the Vietnam diorama and collate the remaining parts to perhaps marshal my efforts. That has been the easy part, with the heat we are currently enjoying modelling takes a back seat. Its hard to want to sit indoors hunched over the modelling table, something that has been reflected in the shop too, unfortunately.

Non the less, small jobs with long drying times are good to tackle and this week I have attached a nicely routered wooden MDF base to the Plaster cast revetment that will be home to a Tamiya M48. The MDF needs sealing and I normally do this first and add a stain but on this occasion I want to blend the high sides of the revetment into the base and finish it in a satin black. I will seal, sand and re-seal the whole thing before painting with enamel black.

The cupola has yet to be fitted as the commander figure will need some modifying to fit, and the turret is removable as I've half an idea to fit an high power LED to the search light and power it with a battery in the hull.  The Mule is also part completed needing further stores to be added. AFV club's 90mm shall cases will be weathered to replicate the discoloration of fired rounds and be piled up for collection. While it was generally seen as a disposable war with American GI's throwing everything away once used, actually within bases QM's staff actively reclaimed and returned material. One of the big changes experienced by the US forces as they evaluated their performance during the Vietnam years was battle/ field discipline as discarded ammo and rubbish gave the Vietcong lots of intelligence value as well as being ripe for booby trapping.


June 13. Hello. Well I guess you cannot have a blog unless there are a few entries to read. By way of my first blog submission I thought I’d give an overview on what I’ve been working on and what has stalled. Like most modellers reading this, I suffer from having more than one project on the go as well as the common ‘it’s nearly finished yet I’ve decided to put it away’. Why do we do this?  For me it is usually due to conflict over dining table use and once packed and cleared away the momentum of the project gets lost. That sums up the state of play with this Revell 1/35 Artilleriewagen s.SP.  It is a re-boxing at a more sensible price of Dragon’s rail car kit. This one is the second of these I have built but this one took far more effort as the hull was very warped and ill fitting. It is destined to be placed on a diorama. The original plan was to have this completed for Salisbury IPMS’ in house contest for which we all had 6 months’ notice to build a Revell kit. Well I may have failed to complete in time but I am hopeful that this will eventually be a worthy diorama. My other stalled diorama is much closer to finishing but the final elements require a lot of work and represent a period I’m not used to modelling. I have a large Vietnam diorama built around Tamiya’s M48 and Great North Roads revetment. The figures have been sourced over a long period and all bar one are resin, and these have become the blocking point. I really should grab the bull by the horns and tackle them. Thankfully, while my personal model making is all fits and starts my commissions are coming along well.  I have just completed 4 different Bedford refuelers in 1/76 scale, next up is the landrovers also in 1/76.

These Airfix kits are the old JB models kits and have the complete cab molded in clear plastic which alows the windows to look neat. I used Revell's Color stop {sic} and found it a great product removing easily after painting was completed and dry.