Monday, January 26, 2015

5 kits you should not build

This week is the Nuremberg Toy Fair, and we're going to be hearing about a number of new kits that will be released this year (and probably, beyond, if history is any indicator). Even though I'm always most excited about the kits that are not pre-announced, events like Nuremberg are always a source of great anticipation and excitement.

I was recently thinking that at the rate new kits are coming to the market, there are a few models that I'd be very hesitant to build right now, because the subjects are strong candidates for new tool kits. Here are five models that immediately come to mind.

The U-2 is an incredibly important aircraft in the history of American aviation, yet the Hawk kit (the basis for Testor's boxing) was released about 40 years ago. Trumpeter has announced a new TR-1, so I have to believe that an old-school U-2 can't be far behind.

Here's another Hawk mold that goes back a million years and is due for 21st century treatment. With wide international usage, multiple paint schemes, and a 1/32 scale kit from Kitty Hawk, I predict a new kit within the next two years.

Kitty Hawk believed the SH-2F Seasprite would be a viable subject in 1/48 scale, so maybe we're likely to see a new kit of this workhorse in 1/72 scale. I'm looking at you, Hobby Boss!

Cripes, another Testors/Italeri kit ripe for replacement! Their M107/M110 is beginning to show its age, and it's easy to see all the good things that the folks at Meng could do with this gun.

Fifteen or twenty years ago Eastern Express's line of Soviet armor was intriguing if only because it was the only game in town for some of the more obscure types, but I have to believe that Hobby Boss will soon take the lead in producing a kit of the tiny ASU-57. It would be a natural addition to their expansive line of small Soviet armor.

If you're interested in this week's Nuremberg announcements, keep an eye on Prime Portal.Webmaster Don Busack announced on Facebook that he'll be posting photos this week.

Friday, January 9, 2015

My favorite box art

There was a discussion over on ARC recently about the worst box art ever, and there were  nominations that really turned my stomach. The Academy 1/144 F-111 would be at the top of my list. Of course that got me thinking about my favorite box art.

For what it's worth (which is very little, I know), my favorite box art is for this boxing of the Heller F6F Hellcat.

I had a friend years ago who was an exceptional aviation artist. Sadly he lost his life before he would see professional success, but he told me about his approach to choosing a vantage point from which to draw aircraft. His intent was to capture an aircraft's character, which was the angle or attribute that makes a particular aircraft distinctive, different from all the others. You can imagine any number of examples. If you were to draw or paint an F-8 Crusader you'd probably want to show its unique wing. The F-16 looks its best when all buttoned up and sleek. The B-2 Spirit is all about its being nothing but wing. You get the idea.

It's with that mindset that I've enjoyed box art over the years, and that's why Heller's F6F has always remained at the front of my mind. It shows the Hellcat at its best angle. You can see its chunky fuselage, the sight gull wing design. The plane is weathered, has character. The pilot is even looking at you.

The F6F isn't anywhere near the top of my list of favorite airplanes, but I love this box art. What's your favorite?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Old dog, new tricks

It's 2015, and the Sprue Cutter's Union is back baby! This time around Jon has kindly promised only a monthly topic, presumably so we bloggers have time to actually build models and not just write about them. Thank you, Jon! This month's topic, Old Dog, New Tricks, or, what new products and/or techniques will you purchase or attempt this year?

My friends know my biggest weakness. My basic assembly skills are mediocre at best. I'm not as diligent as I should be. I'm sloppy. I can do better.

It's with this self-awareness that I begin this new year as a scale modeler. I need to double-down and focus on the basic assembly and seam filling skills that many of you have mastered. I struggle with it, and I feel like it's holding me back, particularly at contests. (Not that I'm a trophy hog, which is one of those things we all need to forget about in 2015.)

My friends also know I'm not a big fan of the off-the-shelf finishing and weathering solutions that many of my Sprue Cutting colleagues have written about. But if there's one product I intend to try this year it's the building and painting stand that I bought at the IPMS Nats last year. I'm not sure it provides the precision alignment that I need, but I hope it helps me yp better assemble my aircraft.

Here are other Sprue Cutters who've written about their upcoming tricks.

Doogs Models
The Museum Modeler
Yet Another Plastic Modeler
Kermit's Bench
Motorsport Modeller
Shutter Ace
Eternal Wargamer

Friday, January 2, 2015

5 things to stop giving a shit about in 2015

Last January I offered 5 New Years resolutions for you. How did you do?

Well it's a New Year, so for those inclined to making resolutions, here are 5 things you need to stop giving a shit about in 2015.

1. Contest trophies

Although contests can motivate you to improve our skills, there are many reasons to enter contests beyond the quest for gold. Worry less about winning and more about enjoying the process.

2. When your favorite new release will hit the shelves

I'm as eager as anyone else for many of the upcoming kits to hit the LHS, but it's time you stop the incessant chatter asking, "When is the Tamigawa Boss Fruitbat Mk. IVb going to be released?" Patience is a virtue, they say, so step away from the computer and go build a model.

3. The underside of your model

Unless you choose to display your models on mirrors, don't obsess over getting the seams, details, and weathering perfect on the undersides of your models. You almost never see it, so "cheating" a little can significantly speed up your builds.

4. Why Britmodeller is down

This isn't just about Britmodeller, but any web site that goes offline. It happens. Don't panic. Just check back a day (or even a week) later. Trust me, if a web site shuts down permanently you'll know.

5. Decals for F-35 RAM panels

We need to stop asking for RAM panels for the F-35 kits that are on the market and tackle the tedious task of masking them ourselves. If that's too much work for you, there are hundreds of other models that are easier to paint. It's okay to declare some kits beyond your skill level (as I did with the WNW Felixstowe).