06 Oct 14 A picture heavy blog update tonight I think, and a 'how to' paragraph too. Things have been busy at SMC, not all for good reasons.  The roof leaking is still a problem and which ever solution we pick to rectify the problem is going to be expensive, so I guess the real question is which one will be the most time effective as the winter is now on its way and I only have a single  day each week to get to grips with it. Materials for phase one have been sourced so once these few wet days clear i'll have to stop any modelling for a bit and knuckle down. The only saving grace is a ladder isn't required to reach the repair, I'm not to good with heights! Work in the shop (in addition to repairs and requests) has centred on the fund raising window display that will run till remembrance day. It's aim is to generate funds for the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) by voting for your favourite model in the window. Your 50p vote is entered into a draw and every penny collected will go to the ABF, so please have a look when passing the shop next and even better pop in for a ticket. 

The retirement gift that was a high speed build last month has been passed along.  I was happy with what was achieved as I relied on a small number of pictures. If I'd been able to do a walk around of the actual vehicle with a camera than some details would not have been over looked. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on myself, after all the vehicle would never have existed as a model if I didn't attempt this scratch build. A 1/50 scale diecast was sourced from a Spanish manufacturer that gave the cab and a 6  wheeled chassis. The first job was to remove the box body and angle grind of the rear wheel unit. A compromise had to be made with the cab as it was of a larger more powerful DAF but as this was to such a tight schedule and nothing off the shelf was available it had to suffice. The rear tanker and associated suction equipment was done from scratch using PVC Pipe, plastic card, PE and guitar strings. Home made decals were produced on my computer and were troublesome as they would not react to setting solution and in-fact started to 'run' colour. Careful hand painting saved the day and a nice wooden plinth was created with engraved plate to finish.

Straight after that a 2 foot high hare arrived wanting to be transformed with paint to look like a Bronze cast. Currently a cat awaits it's turn. Thankfully repairs and servicing questions have allowed me to tackle some modelling. Having to check the reliability of an airbrush allowed me to get some paint on the MPC Alien figure that I converted some years ago. Once again a kit that stalled for some un-remembered reason, I wanted to try out some paint effects to get the figure to look as it appears on film. (The real suit looks very drab when unlit by studio lights.) I'm happy to say the airbrush worked perfectly and was returned to the customer after being cleaned with my own model having stage one pre-shading done. The application of transparent colours is next.

The last pictures relate to Tamiya's simple and long standing 1/35 scale Panther. A Slight draw back on opening the shop on Sundays is that the number of people through the door is low so I thought I'd crack open this simple model as I'd be building it while stood at the till. Simple as it is I couldn't help but to add some upgrades that were cheap and wouldn't break the building flow. Plastic tracks from ICM will replace the rubber bands from Tamiya but the biggest change to it's appearance is the adding of Zimmerit, the anti-magnetic past that gives a very pronounced texture to the tanks hull surfaces. That will be the subject of my how to but I'm out of time so you will have to look forward to that next time. Here though is a picture of progress along with a final snap of the BAe Hawk that until recently occupied our large shop display case. It has been retired and a display of W Britain's figures now takes it's place.

18 Sept 14 As I lamented about what model related ramblings could I submit to the pages of this Blog if I haven’t actually done any modelling ,I realised I was no longer ‘seeing the trees for the wood’ as it is in fact the huge amount of model making I have been undertaking recently that prevents any personal kit building. I can therefore start with the good news that the Emhar 1/35 Male WWI tank is complete.  It required a scratch built diorama base before being handed over to Salisbury Museum and that too is done and well in time for its required date.  As seems part of the course for me, each new model I start, whether for a commission or for my own enjoyment, leads to many hours of research.  This is usually enjoyable, though it can be surprising how much time is eaten up looking at photos in books or on line and comparing data. With the Mk IV Male I needed to check a few key areas, the rails over the top of the tank being the main feature causing doubt, as well as the smaller Lewis gun mounts.  From bass broom bristles a fascine was made and an ICM WWI German officer was converted slightly to fit the scene.


 

I say ‘causing doubt’ as I had read on an internet forum that the rails were pointing outwards when they should face inwards.  It was only after cutting them off that I carried out concerted research and found the rails appeared to be mounted in many different ways including in the style included in the Emhar kit. The loudest voice on a forum isn’t always the one to trust. While researching I came across this picture below which I’d love to know more about, I don’t even know who to credit it to.  What the dollies that have some sort of rollers on alongside are for is very intriguing.

18 August 14  I think it is well know that my personal hobby interest is plastic kit modelling, but I have to admit after 4 years of model shop ownership I can certainly see why railways have so much of a following and what makes railway modelling so attractive.

   The models themselves are exquisite and I recently found myself purchasing a tiny Hoe scale German engine despite not having even a foot of model railway to run it on (excluding the shop demo track).  I think all modellers regardless of specific interest can appreciate fine detail and scale fidelity and most modern locomotives exhibit that. With railways though I think it is also a affinity to the real thing, something else I witnessed recently too.  My wife surprised me with a 3 day breakaway with friends, leaving the shop in my son’s capable hands for a day.

   Our group ended up in the midlands, not somewhere I’d have chosen, but it turned out to be a great location. While none of our group would have openly admitted to being rail buffs, we decided to buy an all day rover ticket for the Severn Valley Railway (SVR).  I cannot recommend the place enough, and a one day visit is not nearly enough time to soak up the atmosphere and visit the various stops.  It also appears that by some kind of model train osmosis I must be getting an increased awareness of the various types of engine to have seen service as I was able to identify with confidence the Ivatt and Standard 4MT on the SVR.  While in the area we also visited the National Arboretum, once again an impressive location that needs more than a few hours to do it justice. 


   The down side to this recent spate of visiting has been a lack of time for personal modelling therefore the MUTT diorama has not progressed at all. Commissions continue at a pace though with my latest piece proceeding well.  As it is a surprise retirement gift I will have to delay putting up any pictures just in case the person it is intended for happens to visit this site (a random act of coincidence I agree, but you never know).  The piece involves converting a 1/50 scale diecast vehicle and scratchbuilding a new rear.  The conversion has involved the use of an angle grinder to cut through the diecast chassis, I was surprised to learn how difficult to hacksaw diecast metal is.  The rear is basically a tank cylinder that I had hoped an 00 wagon could provide for but alas this was to small so PVC 40mm pipe and extrusions have been used.   While PVC is not difficult to cut and shape it does react to sanding differently to normal styrene, being much coarser and it has been harder to return it to a smooth finish.  Rubbing Delue material 'Perfect Plastic putty' into the surface with my finger then finishing the putty with wet and dry paper and lots of water has helped.  With only 2 weeks left till the deadline I will need to remain focused so the MUTT will probably wait for a bit longer, so till next, happy modelling.


24 July 14   As my previous Blog entry concerned Chinese price increases and the reasons behind manufactures having to follow suit I thought i’d open this blog with a little more info that might be of interest when reflecting on the reason a model reaches a certain price point.   The picture below shows in exploded form an A1 Tornado Locomotive from Bachmann Branchline.   This highly accurate 1/76 (00) model is made up of 334 parts all hand assembled.   The paint finish is perfectly in register and precisely applied. As well as a delicate model this Tornado is also a highly engineered working model containing an electric motor, gears and various working cranks and pistons.   I would assume that the majority of readers will be model makers so will understand the skill required to assemble a model from parts of differing material with minimum tolerances and to a set timetable, it is therefore not hard to realise where some of the money goes in the manufacture of these electric locomotives.


My own model making thankfully does not have to fit into a tight schedule unlike the Chinese assembly line. My rate of construction varies between extremes.    I have a brand new model and diorama underway which has in fact progressed up till now at a fast pace.   The diorama base which led to the remainder of the model was actually begun to use up a damaged wooden base and some left over GNR plaster parts from the Cottage diorama set.    I added a Wriggly tin roof from vac formed sheet styrene and left over bridge parts.   After basic painting I liked what had been done but felt the dilapidated building looked too modern for a WWII diorama.   I wanted something a bit more modern but only had a few suitable modern vehicles in my loft stash and only one small enough for this base.   The TOW Armed MUTT.   This led to some enjoyable research which in turn has led to this, a 1981 REFORGER Ex in Germany with US troops on exercise.   As well as ensuring the vehicle is marked and kitted out with equipment suited for Exercise such as inert ammunition, blank attachments to M16’s and identifying markings, I want to also try and attempt a wet and dank look familiar to anyone who has participated in an autumn military exercise.  The cam has been applied by airbrush although as the picture shows, my airbrush was playing up a bit and the spray pattern wasn’t quite as tight as I wanted to get with flecks of overspray visible.   I will tidy this up by infilling with green again before hand painting the black markings.

 26 June 14 

Price rises are topical at the moment. Bachmann, the well known model railway manufacturer, confronted the dramatic change with a well reasoned explanation to the model railway press which has filtered down through magazines such as ‘Model Rail’. But it is not just the model railway business that is seeing a rise in prices. On my most recent ordering form I noted 1/35 scale tanks were now routinely past £50.00 with AFV club’s IDF Centurion and Valentine with trailer both retailing at £52.99. Even Trumpeter, a model producer always associated with good value has announced their IS-4 at £54.99. The value is still there- Metal gun barrel, Photo etch and separate tracks as standard, but once a kit passes £50.00 it is no longer a whimsical hobby purchase for an overcast Saturday afternoon.

 

So why the changes?  The most significant event has been a change in China’s labour laws meaning that the basic labour wage will need to increase by 100% over the next 5 years. This will affect the final cost of everything made for export as well as items produced for the home market. There has also been tax increases on both the factories where our hobby products are made and to transportation costs.

 

New emerging technology employers in China are in need of manpower so existing companies cannot just implement these changes and offer the ‘going rate’. To keep hold of employees and not have them poached by companies offering bigger pay cheques is a challenge that can only be met by offering more money, and that can only be furnished by raising the price on the end product.

 

As so much of what we purchase in the UK is ‘made in China’ this will affect a wide range of products, not just hobby items.  It will certainly affect hobby shops, but how they chose to pass that increase on will vary.  

 

What does this mean for Salisbury Model Centre (SMC) and its customers? While Bachmann have laid their cards on the table, these problems will affect the price of anything being made in China so quieter manufacturers will also have to increase their prices to stay profitable. Hornby have already introduced measures that effect retailers, ensuring we have targeted quotas with financial penalties if targets are not achieved.  SMC has decided to maintain prices at the Suggested Retail Price (SRP), and still offer discounts on loco’s as before though there will no longer be parity between Bachmann and Hornby loco discounts. This can only continue if turnover is decent and we can meet our yearly target.

 

Some retailers have accepted that meeting the target is not likely or shouldn’t be planned for so have increased their prices above SRP, they have been put in a difficult position, though I think that is the wrong choice.

 

So it will be business as normal despite higher prices with regard to Model Railways, if the latest Class 47 is wanted there is no other alternative. As loco’s are already a high end item any purchase will have already been deliberated over £20.00 extra will probably not make a difference either way (and we of course will endeavour to improve on the RRP by up to 15% less).  Kits present a different matter.  I notice a higher proportion of model sales are for presents, as a next project to while away the time or because the subject is of interest.  It is rare that we have someone after ‘the latest kit’ just because it is the latest thing out, and those who do want the latest releases have normally purchased from overseas Ebay well before it arrives in the UK. Therefore the shop will tread a line between new kits that are prohibitively expensive and sit on the shelf just to be looked at and back filling with older but less high priced kits, aiming to have a wide selection based on price, quality and interesting subject matter.

Customer orders will of course still be attended to in the normal way so there is no reason to not get the item you really want if it is a new release, though with the constant over subscribing of new Bachmann and Hornby items advance ordering is almost the only option these days.

 

06 June 14 There is a lot to be said about having a week off, and my recent 5 day break to Belgium really did the family some good.  I’ve been before but as a family it was a first. I sneakily kept an eye out for model shops but think modelling is less high profile in Belgium. In the UK you’ll often find kits in toy shops or even general stores as well as the dedicated hobby shop.  Not so in Belgium, the only place for kits was the dedicated hobby shop and after visiting 4 large towns in the north only found one on the road out from Brugge.  It was a lovely shop, twice the size of Salisbury Model Centre with a Mecanno Eiffel tower inside the entrance, but dominated by R/C with only 2 shelves of Plastic kits and very little HO railway. I spent very little (less than £2.00) and the wife was in disbelief as I usually always find something to purchase when visiting model shops.



 It was back with a high speed bump though as we returned late Friday and Saturday was IPMS Salisbury’s Annual Model Show.  As always I attended wearing a number of hats,  shop owner, Competition Organiser, model enthusiast, and Junior Sponsor.   Sadly the number of Juniors was dramatically down this year,  but I think this an anomaly as the number of youngsters who visit the shop and are avid modellers seems as high as ever.  Further reporting of the show can be viewed on the IPMS Club page tab above. Pictured here though was a particular favourite of mine, Dick Francis’s 1/25 Scratch built Chieftain ARRV, a gold winner in its category.


My personal modelling is currently running at zero, partly due to a surge in commission work. A very short notice request for a presentation came in on Wednesday, with the models required by Saturday.  6 Shermans in 1/72 scale in 2.5 days.  Well I like a bit of pressure so....  I have 1 and a half days left to go and am progressing well.  For jobs like this the first thing to do is identify what is the best use of time, therefore all bulk spray painting is done in the morning before work starts so it has all day to dry. Repeat assemblies are tackled in batches all at the same time and stored together – nothing is worse than finding an errant hull that was missed while the other 5 were painted.  

 

20 May 14 Sometimes it seems very difficult to put on screen an entry for my 'Blog'. The actual writing is easy enough but trying to keep the subject light and model orientated is the hard part. Shop news and trade related info often makes an interesting subject but can easily lapse into a cynical view.  Not using a Blog for rants takes a lot of self discipline, no wonder there are reams of blogs on line that do nothing but deliver a tirade of negativity. 

Well I'm glad to say that I have two projects recently completed, on top of the Stuka winter diorama completed at the end of April. I guess my first moan would be linked to that. As any modeller reading will agree, completing a kit and adding it to a dio takes along time. My intention from the start was to highlight some products used to simulate snow and ice and upload a 'Youtube' video to support this. Well I guess I've taken to long as coincidently AK interactive recently released their latest edition of 'weathering' all about snow and ice. I can see the 'Youtube' comments now once mine is posted in the wake of this magazine... More annoying was the sudden news that my refuse collector has done a runner along with a lot of money.  I don't know how many traders in Salisbury have been left with out a rubbish collection service after paying in advance.  Aside from the monetary loss its one of those things that soon becomes a pain as recycling soon builds up and the stock room fills with flat packed cardboard.


So what about some positives then?  Well the commission of the RN Seaking was completed and handed over to its incredibly happy new owner. I also took a look at a model that has spent over 12 months boxed up and wondered why it never was finished?  A 'what if' based on possible German technology, in reality it was inspired by a friend's challenge. As I was helping him dispose of an old tumble dryer at the dump in Amesbury, the screen filter fell from the tumble dryer door. A fellow modeller, he knows of my Sci-fi leanings and wondered if I'd be 'man' enough to make something from the filter?


Removing the outer mesh and overly thick supports left me with a circular mesh filter that looked 'Radar' dish enough. It was perhaps a bit on the big side but this was supposed to be emerging technology not modern miniaturisation. A Tamiya Sd.Kfz 7 and a Revell Armoured railwagon were mated together to produce the carrier and in true Gerry Anderson fashion an Airfix Pontoon bridge provided some plastic to finish the model off.

I've decide to check through a few other boxes to see what partly finished models are hiding and re-assess them as this project only took another 4 hours to be finished.  To coincide with the MPC re-release of Alien I've dug out my heavily reworked Alien figure that was started in 2006. Lets see where this goes....

11 May 14 Pic of this blog is a sneak preview of Revell's new tooling of the Spitfire in 1/32 Scale. Like the 1/32 He111 and Lynx before, it has been delayed as it was expected October 2013. The Heinkel 111 was delayed due to poor health by the master maker, the Lynx due to difficulties in signing off the markings of the Royal Navy version. I'm unsure to what reason the Spitfire is delayed but it looks to be worth the wait.  The recent bank holidays has seen a number of projects finished, and a few new ones started. I also got up to Milton Keynes with IPMS Salisbury for ModelKraft. I took a number of pictures ( all able to be viewed here) which was just as well as I only spent a short while at the event.  A long standing friend who lives in MK decided to ask for help with his house move when he knew that I and my Land Rover were in the area. I'm sure it gave me some Karma points but did result in no model purchasing at the show. A rare thing indeed.


25 April 14  So did I make my self set dead line as declared in previous posts? Yes I did as long as I get 2 lone decals on before Sunday ( easy!). In fact the Easter break was very productive with scale modelling as well as 1 to 1 modelling on my daughters car- sanding, filling, sanding, masking, priming and painting just like an Airfix kit. But for now ready for the club stand on Sunday my 1/48 Ju87 Diorama. I hope you like it.



07 April 14 A longer gap since my last post, I'm afraid that updating the site has gotten a little bit more of an effort as Yahoo and Flikr have made changes to some of their services. Why does every internet 'improvement' result in a more difficult procedure for doing the same thing as before? For me the time taken uploading photos has increased. It may only be a couple of more clicks of the mouse per picture but once you start to multiply the clicks then a 10 min task has become 30 min. Yahoo and BT's split also means changing accounts, all boring stuff but admin that must take place just to continue as before.  Anyway, onto more modelling related matters. The big admin headlines since the last update has got to be the shop's new carpet. Finally we've manage to replace the horrid grey and black one that was in place when I took over. Not perhaps of major concern to customers but I am pleased. As well as being nicer to look at (I see it for hours each day), it makes the shop look far more open and is a clear signal that despite things being as difficult as ever with the economic climate, we are dedicated to moving forward with the business however slowly that might be. Perhaps of more interest is that we are having an Easter sale too. Pretty simple terms, £10.00 off every item in the sale window. For some things it might not seem much, but it's a saving non-the-less. For other items its an additional amount on top of already applied discounts and for other less expensive items £10.00 translates to 25% off so I hope it makes a few people happy.


The completion of a long running commission is currently making me happy. I handed over a CHARRV resin model last week. It took some time to complete, nearly 18 months as it had some special requirements from the customer and explains why it left me in black primer. Also completed in the same week but after a lot shorter turn round was a repair and mounting of a wooden WWI Male tank. This had an interesting history having been made by a works apprentice as a gift for a RAC Colonel. Being some 50 decades old I'm unsure of the exact reason it was constructed but it required some TLC after being 'found' recently. My main effort in the short term now is for a personal project as I declared in my last post that the JU87 diorama would be ready by the 13th. Well I hope I've not set myself up for a fall as little seems to have changed on the actual base. However I can report to having repainted a Luftwaffe service trolley, modified some 1/48 Luftwaffe crew into cold weather uniform and started to paint them and put together the reindeer sleigh with bomb. I think a couple of long nights might be called for this week...


06 Mar 14 Some kits are a chore to build, the initial enthusiasm wanes and it becomes an effort to finish, if indeed you do. The offending kit might 'temporarily' be put aside then forgotten as other more attractive projects take over. Other times kits are avoided as they seem like to much work or unappealing in their presentation, even poorly reported on by word of mouth or the dreaded 'Internet forums' where many a good kit is slammed by the informed who never actually built the thing.  Occasionally it is nice to buck the trend.  The Stuka JU87 that was pictured below in an earlier thread was intended to be a 'working' model, designed to show off some shop products so the model itself was not important.  I had always shy'd clear of the Airfix 1/48 model as it seemed to lack some finesse and I always assumed if I wanted a decent Stuka in '48 I'd build the Hasegawa one. Well I have really gotten into the modelling groove with this one and find the whole diorama is evolving into something pretty special.  I have so enjoyed working on the Stuka that I realise now I need to look back as during the outset I didn't make any effort to fix missing parts or repair clumsy mistakes as the aircraft was of secondary importance. I will have a few days away from it first as I usually find the moment I elevate a model from being a bit of fun to a special project is when I start to make all my mistakes.  Once I replace the broken and missing aileron weights, crew steps and drop tanks as well as painting the over looked dive brakes, i'll take some fresh pics.  I hope to have the whole diorama done for 13th April as I will be attending the REME Museum show with the local IPMS Salisbury Club.  Now I've committed myself online I'd best get on with it...

25 Feb 14 I must apologise for the lack of text to accompany by picture post on the 18th. Time as always got away from me. The reason for the post was to show in more detail the workings of PECO's newly advertised 'Smart Switch' Servo operated point switches and accompanied circuitry. These will soon be stocked in Salisbury Model Centre, and while seemingly expensive as a single outlay ( just shy of £65.00) the system will control 4 servos which can be used for point control or anything you desire to have rotational movement such as a level crossing gate.  The circuit board will allow one of nine speed to be programed into each servo.  The PECO website and its Railway title 'Railway Modeller Magazine' feature more detail.  But this post is not meant to be an advertisement, (regular visitors know I try and keep this blog devoted to the hobby and leave the rest of the site for sales and stuff) but a pre-empt of my own desire to get the PECO Smart Switch set up into a small layout. 

Primarily it will allow me the opportunity to understand the system and therefore be better placed to sell it and offer advice. But also it has rekindled the prospect of a small HOe layout I have kicked around in my head for a few years.  I should be cautious here, many modeller will recognise this symptom.... Already working on a project when a new device, new kit or piece of interesting research arrives that suddenly takes priority as enthusiasm takes over.  For me I have my friend Brian to blame as he has a habit of E-mailing me odd and interesting Jpegs of Second World War activities. The odder the vehicle, rarer the location or curious the situation, the more time is wasted on further research, discussion and then roughing out a plan to model the Jpeg in question. It is amazing how many models get built in my mind, a shame the real world is less productive.

Regarding productivity I should post here a few pictures sent in by a customer who is working on the Polar Lights massive 1/350 Star Trek Enterprise. I always like to know what customers are working on so it was great to see the level of detail being but into this model. Ultimately it will have a full lighting rig added but for now each area is a project in its own right with the shuttle bay and arboretum pictured here.


 

18 Feb 14

09 Feb 14.  The extremely poor weather has kept the shop quiet, I don't blame people for putting off shopping trips into Salisbury when its blowing a gale or bucketing it down. A quiet shop does allow some model work to be carried out and electric train repairs. It also allows investigation of those niggling little problems that bad weather highlights.  The replacement window fitted last year after vandalisation is letting in water, only a tiny amount but when the wind adds to the pressure it soon mounts up.  Not a big job but one that will need to wait till the summer. The leaking stock room is worse than ever with 2 buckets deployed, that will need the flat roof looked at as soon as there is a change in the weather. Hopefully this won't delay the new carpet that I have wanted to get down through the shop since 2010 when we took over. Regulars will know I've wanted to replace the floor since taking over as the existing one is over a decade and a half old, but it keeps being pushed back as other more important things take priority. I'm really keen to make it happen this year.

Modelling wise, things are looking good, the Ju87 Stuka that will be a centre piece to a diorama using Deluxe materials took a jump forward almost inadvertently as I had carried out a repair of a customers trigger operated airbrush and wanted to test it before declaring it fixed.  After running it through with thinners I decided to put some paint through it and see how it handled.  Having never operated a trigger airbrush it took a little while to get used to it but I was able to get a fine pattern so took advantage and added the winter white wash to the Stuka.  A real win, win as I was able to prove the airbrush was back to A1 condition ( and one pleased customer) and the winter scheme reinvigorated my efforts on the Ju87. The model is the Heller/ Airfix 1/48 offering but with some white metal and etch upgrades.  I was always put off this kit due to its age but as I wanted a Russian front example and the Heller kit included unspatted modifications I thought I'd just use it as a demo for other things.  In truth this has turned out much better than I expected, in fact I regret not spending a bit more time on the initial build as a couple of joints could have been improved.

25 Jan 14 I have been doing a lot of small modelling commissions recently while still working through the more involved Cyberhobby Seaking. All have been with short deadlines, a Christmas present based on an old ‘70’s photograph from which a lady customer wanted me to make a 3D model, a really nice idea, and the answer to that old question ‘What do you get your parents when they have everything they need?’ The picture below was taken on a mobile phone camera so not the best quality and is 1/76 scale. I was informed that the caravan was cream and white and Holidays taken in a black Capri, these details set the scene for the 70’s.    

Next was a request for a very quick build of some figures for the Stonehenge Visitor centre to go alongside a model of Stonehenge to give a visual sense of scale. The model had been requested as a central piece for the visitors centre and been some time in construction. Installed recently as work was completed at the site, the staff soon realised that the figures were missing and there was little time to go back to the original builders to correct the problem. On hearing this I couldn’t help but offer to convert some RAF figures into suitable poses and civilian dress. 10 days allowed me to convert and paint this little group.


The final build was even quicker and was done while standing up. A local college student approached the shop requiring some aircraft prop model for use in his green screen film project. Unfortunately his ideas far outweighed his student budget but as I have been away from modelling over Christmas I fancied a quick simple build and put forward a cost cutting plan using a very cheap model from my own loft stash. I have enjoyed making this 1/72 Mig 29 so much it has outweighed what is wrong with the model and hopefully the picture proves it doesn’t hurt every now and then just to build something basic and not labour over PE seat belts and umpteen sanding and filling sessions.  The kits basic outline is good, and the marking options interesting, Germany after unification, Iraq and Indian Airforce. Russian missiles are well represented too. But that’s about it on the positives, overly simple cockpit with no joystick or floor, poorly represented engine exhaust cans,  huge raised panel lines, no provision for wheels up, and the undercarriage doors do not even match the openings. The model can only be built in parked or taxiing mode as the intake doors are shown closed and if omitted lots of work will be need to improve the intakes and provide something inside the empty fuselage.

This model was built and painted with decals added in 3 days, spray cans were employed heavily to save time and the pattern achieved with torn up masking tape laid gently on the body. Vallejo and Citadel acrylics filled in the details. All built, painted and decaled while stood up behind the till during a very quiet week in January with spraying done before locking up and going home so it was ready the next day.

 

22 Jan 14On Sunday the 19th I had to take a trip to London so thought i’d take an early train and include a visit to the ‘Model Engineer Exhibition’ at Alexander palace.  The types of modelling on display are wide ranging and there is a high degree of skill and manual dexterity shown in the models that are really miniature feats of engineering, though modelling of the nature more akin to Salisbury Model centre was also present not to mention Lego too.  

In its most traditional form model engineering was represented with traction engines, steam locomotives and large scale boats. Some of the engines were to ¼ scale and ridden upon by the operator so requiring the same level of construction and safety checks that their full size counterparts would need.  The boats were propelled by various means but nearly all were fitted out with radio control (R/C). The normally small scale of 1/72 was applied to a giant model of H.M.S Warspite resulting in a massive radio controlled ship that was to big for me to photograph properly.  Other R/C on display were aircraft in various scales and forms from small perfectly shaped Spitfires to sailplanes and sports model helicopters being flown energetically upside down in a cordoned area of the hall. Trucks and other heavy duty wheeled vehicles had a large dedicated arena with roads, bridges, parking stops and soil heaps to toil in.

  The London IPMS was represented by clubs from IPMS Hornchurch, West Middlesex scale model club and IPMS Barnet, all showing a variety of plastic kits and also in scales more suited to shop customers were a few 00 railway layouts with the added twist of being all run on live steam.  The real charm of the Engineer show is the wide range of demonstrations being given.  I couldn’t get close to the turbine lecture showing model turbines being used to power 10 foot long class 47’s or golf cart size model helicopters.  Also packed was the robot wars area with its mini arena.  A lot of robot competitors were on display along with some sad looking BBC veteran Robots. The level of engineering shown in these ‘home made’ robots is amazing with a lot of skill and ingenuity visible.  At various times of the day the Robot arena came alive as a group of robots battled it out in a large Perspex box while heavy rock music played across the hall much to the older generations’ disgust.   A pictorial report with captions will follow in due course. 

10 Jan 14.  Happy New Year. Time to do some tidying of the SMC shop site and the Local IPMS pages.  So tonight a few hours have been devoted to web chores (it always surprises me how much time is eaten up when working on the computer). 2013's blogs have been archived and some current trade news is in preparation. It will take another few hours tomorrow night to get all the new info up so keep checking in.  Whilst I have had the shop open for a few days after Christmas and back at full time opening since 3rd Jan, many suppliers have spent the first week from 3rd till 10th doing stock takes so shipping will only start in earnest on Monday 13th.  The weather has also effected some of the routine deliveries with boxes stuck in warehouses due to the floods.  The driving rain has also found its way through the stock room roof so a couple of buckets have been deployed, and once we have a break in the weather I'll have to get access to the roof and track down the problem.

Will that leave anytime for modelling this month?  Well I hope so, one of my two new year resolutions is to make some time to enjoy the hobby other wise it rather undermines the whole reason I took on a Hobby shop.  The subject of modelling resolutions also  featured at the first meeting at the local IPMS club and I vowed to finally complete a old Esci 1/35 M1 Abrams Tank that I started when 17, that was 27 years ago!  The kit looks pretty basic now compared to modern detailed offerings from Dragon and Tamiya but it deserves to be finished it one shape or another.