Completed: Fine Molds 1/48th Scale X-Wing “Red 4”

Posted April 29th, 2013 by Devin and filed in Modeling

Finished this back in January, but it took a while to get the photos shot and processed.  Lots of fun building this one.

USS Chickasaw Part 9: Stern-O-Plasty

Posted March 31st, 2013 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Ironclads and Gunboats, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

I’d planned on the joining of the upper and lower hulls on Chickasaw to be an ordeal, but it wasn’t as bad in some respects as I’d expected, but was worse in other respects.  While Chickasaw doesn’t have the full “raft over a lower hull” arrangement of the original Monitor or her follow-on Passaic class ironclads, it does exist.  While building the lower hull, I exerted too Continue Reading »

U.S.S. Luzon Completed

Posted March 22nd, 2013 by Devin and filed in Modeling

uss_luzonI finished this one late last summer, but I haven’t been much in a photography mood as of late (I still have two other completions to photograph as well).

Something unusual.  Overall a fun little kit, but I have to admit that at times I wasn’t having fun at all with some of the smaller bits and more than once Luzon nearly went sailing across a sea of profanities into the from room’s brick wall.

I’ve got a few more of these Niko resin kits from various eras (Great White Fleet, WWII British, and U.S. Cold War missile cruisers), and I’ll surely build something else from them in the future.

More photos and the full story on the build can be seen HERE.

Giving it the sidelong glance

Posted January 11th, 2013 by Devin and filed in Modeling, Review, Writing

I recently acquired a copy of Ken Rand’s “The 10% Solution” and ran a couple of pieces of writing through the process.  The premise is simple: nearly everyone can run through a piece of work and cut it by 10%,  in the process making it sharper, more concise, and easier to understand.

The first revelation is that I had no idea how often I use “of” in my writing.  I mean a lot.  A whole bunch of “ofs”.  That and the always prevelant “and”, “was”, and “were” jumped out at me as I ran through the process in the book.  The interesting bit came when the process didn’t simply result in deleting words, but recasting entire sentences and paragraphs when those issues are called to attention, and how the resulting product is so much the better.

I’ve always taken the “walk away” approach to writing and other projects — Continue Reading »

USS Chickasaw Part 8: Final Sheeting

Posted November 9th, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

With power out for nearly a week and subsequent clean-up from Sandy, I haven’t done much modeling lately.  Yesterday evening I scheduled time to work on the remaining sheeting for Chickasaw, and today I trimmed and sanded the result.  A little filling and sanding is left, but then I believe I can prime the two hull halves, do a final check for blemishes, and then assemble the two and begin scribing.

USS Chickasaw Part 7: Cutting Holes

Posted October 21st, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

The sheeting continues, but with the sheet for the main deck, it gets tricky.  Holes for the turrets, the pilot house, and the stack have to be cut.  Initially I drove myself nuts for a day or two trying to figure out the center of the circles, then realized that the camber of the deck makes the circles not entirely of the perfectly-round variety.  An email to Dean, the designer, resulted in a template the the centers marked.  I glued that to styrene, and away I went…


USS Chickasaw Part 6: Sheeting

Posted September 11th, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

Little slow on the build lately.  Work got busy, came down with a cold, and my writing has taken an uptick lately as I work on some novel edits.  Another delay came from spending time in testing glues with styrene sheeting and the plywood/putty surface.  Gorilla Glue, surprisingly, didn’t work at all.  Plastic pulled off like it had been stuck on with Scotch tape.  The Gorilla Super Glue Impact-Tough (formulated with rubber particles for elasticity), worked the trick, though, and it holding like nobody’s business.  Progress photos below.  I hope to have everything sheeted and ready to prime and scribe within a week or so.

USS Chickasaw Part 5: Filling In

Posted August 27th, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

Once the ribs were filled in as much as I could with scrap wood, I switched to epoxy putty, Aves Apoxie Sculpt to be precise.  I used this at the extreme bow where shaping is crucial.  Apoxie Sculpt sands a lot like resin once set up, but a little more dense.  It sands well, takes an edge like crazy (I’m convinced you could make a knife blade with this stuff and get it razor sharp), and is great for shaping and detailing.  Once that was done, it was on to the wood putty.

I took delivery of styrene over the weekend, all the way down to .005″.  Not much thicker than paper.  It’s going to be fun figuring out what type of adhesive to attach this stuff with!

USS Chickasaw: Part 4 Testing Methods

Posted August 21st, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

One of the more interesting and enjoyable, and often frustrating, parts of trying something new is figuring out exactly how to do it.  Since I’ve got Chickasaw framed up, Dean and I have discussed it and I realized that I do not need to sheet the open structures.  The model was designed to have the voids filled and then detailed.  This is possibly a hold-over strategy from when we were going to have this cut out of styrene (neither of us can remember at this point!) and it would have worked well with that approach, but for plywood it doesn’t.  I need a layer of styrene to work with for scribing, detailing, etc.  Therefore, I’m going ahead with filling the open structures and I have ordered some .005 and .010 thick styrene from Evergreen to use for sheeting; that’s as thin as they make it.

So I need to test how to best fill the openings.  My initial thoughts were expanding foam.  A quick Google search of R/C and other modeling sites returned phrases like “exploded the rib assembly” and “still expanding after two weeks!” and talked me out of that real quick.  Below are some of my test pieces that I built from scrap to do some experiments:

USS Chickasaw: Part 3

Posted August 14th, 2012 by Devin and filed in Civil War, Modeling, USS Chickasaw

I’ve all the framing done and the major sheeting applied.  I have had issues with wood warping, as annotated below, but I’ve mostly been able to work around it.  This is still going together very well, and even though this is the first wood model I’ve built… well, ever… it’s enjoyable.

The final photos show the mockup with the 3D printed turrets.  I’m still deciding if I want to use these as-is for this build, or if I want to try my hand at casting them in resin.