Tonight I struggled with my latest project, a Hobby Boss 1/72 Rafale M. I've intended to take it to the IPMS Nats in August, and although I'm not a trophy hound by any measure, I'd like it to look good, and I generally try to make every model better than the last. But this thing is kicking my butt. Here's the list of things that have gone wrong:
- I used the seat belts from Eduard's photoetch set, but the seat looked terrible after I painted it. I've since decided that I'll make my own seat belts from now on as I think they look much more realistic than PE.
- I carelessly joined the two halves of one of the external fuel tanks, which resulted in a significant step that required more filling and sanding than it should have.
- There's no intake trunking of any sort, but by the time I realized that I'd already assembled the fuselage.
- The intake-to-fuselage join is very bad and required a great deal of finagling to get right. Yet more sanding awaits.
Speaking of the intakes, I glued them to the fuselage before I added a nose landing gear bay / lower fuselage part, which also will require a lot of filling and sanding. In place, the intakes will obstruct my ability to adequately address that seam.
- I think the main landing gear should be attached to the landing gear bays prior to joining the upper and lower wing assemblies. I didn't do that. I'm sure I can make them fit, but will the result be fragile? Don't know. Maybe.
- I was planning to display the model on a mirror, so detail in the main landing gear bays was important. It would've been easier to do that prior to attaching the bays to the lower wing halves.
Here's my honest self-assessment. What this mess comes down to is poor planning on my part. I need to get better at "seeing" the model coming together, visualizing how the parts join and adjust the detailing and assembly processes accordingly.
Yes, the project can be salvaged, but it won't live up to my expectations, and that saps a great deal of my enthusiasm for it. I'm asking myself if I should continue to struggle with it or set it aside and buy a new Rafale M. I'm leaning toward the latter; time is precious and I tend to think we shouldn't waste it doing something that's not enjoyable.