Friday, August 17, 2012

This could really suck

There are many skills in our hobby that are inherently difficult. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the challenges of decaling, but other tasks come to mind as well, such as applying a natural metal finish or masking and painting canopies. One of the lessons I learned far too late in my modeling career is to charge head-on into anything that intimidates me. Worst case scenario: I fail miserably and toss a $15 model into the trash. Big deal. Try, try again as they say.

Thanks to Alclad, a gift from the gods to modelers around the world, I've achieved a degree of confidence with a NMF, and I have a Fujimi Judy in the stash awaiting my attention just for the exercise of masking its ridiculously complex canopy. What next?

The one area that still needs my attention is rigging. (Okay, there's vacuform models, too, but no one really builds those anymore, right?) I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't attempted rigging since I built Airfix's tiny Tigermoth many years ago. It was a half-hearted effort due to Justine Bateman detracting my modeling after I heard a rumor that she didn't wear underwear while filming Family Ties.

Mind you, I'm primarily a jet guy, but I do have a couple of kits in the stash that have intrigued me over the years that require some rigging. I recently acquired the classic Airfix Handley-Page HP 42 after seeing the plane in Imperial Airways livery, and I have a Williams Brothers 1/72 Douglas World Cruiser in my stash that I bought when I started getting serious in the hobby some time around 1985, a plane that I've always thought was particularly rugged.

Douglas World Cruiser

 With that enthusiasm I nervously clicked the Buy It Now button on eBay for an Eduard 1/72 Nieuport 17 with the intention of using it for my first, earnest foray into rigging. Was I foolish for choosing to do this in 1/72nd scale? Perhaps. Okay, yes, but it's my scale and I'm a glutton for punishment. I also picked up Eduard's WW1 photoetch seats at the IPMS Nats.

Ready for rigging

Next I had to find a few articles online about rigging. I found this thread on ARC's forums, this article from John Seaman on Austin Scale Modeler's Society site, and another one on
ww1aircraftmodels.com.

Finally, being a JEEP, (that is, "just enough education to pass" in military slang), I disguised myself as a 19 year-old girl and snuck into a beading supply shop and bought some monofilament thread.

Now I'm ready to begin this new chapter in my hobby. It could really suck. And it could really be great. Some of the best looking aircraft ever manufactured were the early bi-wing types, so if all goes well I may find myself spending less time on jets. Time will tell.

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