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      Ongoing DDoS Attack causing Forum Slowness   26/04/17

      In case you have missed the announcement, the reason that the forum has been slow at times since the minor version update the other day is due to a Denial of Service attack, brute force attack on our email, and judging by the lag with our FTP response, that too.  If you're feeling like you're experiencing a glitch in the Matrix, you're not wrong.  This is the same MO as the attack in September 2016 that occurred when we transitioned to the new version 4 of the software.  We're currently working with US and UK cyber-crime departments, who specialise in this sort of thing, and we're hopeful that we'll be able to track them down this time by using the accumulated evidence already held.    We are pretty certain that it's a continuation of the same attack last year, only at a reduced intensity to deter people from using the site "because it's terribly slow", rather than taking it down completely, and we're also sure of the motivations of those responsible.  Spite.   Please bear with us in the interim, and wish us luck in dealing with these.... "people".

Jim Kiker

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About Jim Kiker

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  1. Hi Crane, Fernando, and all, Writing from the western side of the Atlantic, several things come to mind. In the IPMS world, U.S. judges generally are knowledgeable at the higher levels, but remember that for us, whomever shows up at a show may act as a judge or a trainee at least but may know very little about specific markings. Our IPMS rules put "accuracy" 'way down the list of things to judge against such as no seams, no glue marks, good basic finishing, and so on; this was done specifically because judges cannot know all there is to know about every aircraft (or any other set of vehicles that number in the thousands). However, this does not stop the occasional judge looking at a specific model and ruling it out (or trying to) because it's the wrong shade of Olive Drab. That is human nature to a large degree, and difficult to police at the more local shows. Finally, in the U.S. only the Out of the Box categories require the instruction sheet to accompany the model. Basically I think that there are soft limits to what the modeler can do and still have a "mainstream" semi-accurate representation of that magic "moment in history." However, in my view the fact that Olive Drab varies a great deal should not mean that you may freely use chartreuse or teal just because you like them, IF you want a relatively close approximation to a real vehicle. My one personal gripe with some what-ifers or more artistic modelers is that often times the artistic models are not designated as, shall I say, a non-accurate scheme; when other less experienced modelers see that sort of model, they often conclude that "that's the way that vehicle looked, so I'll make mine like that." For example, think of the Spanish school of finishing in which every panel line is shaded/washed and the center of every skin panel is lightened. It is artistic and it certainly breaks up the expanse of a single color; however not very many operational aircraft ever really look like that. It is artistic and surely technically challenging, just not so true to most real subjects. In the end we each model as we see fit and that's cool; just be sure to let others know if you are doing a what-if or filling in the gaps of what is known so that others will not inadvertently be led astray with their modeling. My two quatloos; cheers all!
  2. Hi all, For those of you who have chosen to reply, I thank you for all the kind words and I'm glad you are enjoying this thread! For Gimme, I have a couple of buddies who did not care to be referred to as Model Geeks. They are both big fans of American football, so I asked a few questions. Do you know the players? "Yes." Do you keep up with all the statistics? "Yes." Do you belong to a formal tailgating group? "Of course!" I see, I said; you guys are football geeks! They started to get a little steamed, then cooled down; they had to admit that they are indeed football and modeling geeks. Personally, I am happy to admit I'm a model geek; everyone is a geek about something. So mate, no need to feel old and sad. Embrace your inner geek and seek happiness where it lies. As for the Y-wing, it is certainly true that no two movie model Y-wings were exactly the same, although for the most part they are actually pretty close for anyone who is not a Star Wars fan geek. Remember too that no one who worked on those models or the movie itself knew that it would go Nova when released. At that point, it became time to cash in with merchandise, media, models, and eventually, nostalgia. That led to the novels, the cross sections books, and tons of other things. They had to create new answers to the "why do the ships look like that?" questions. And that, in my opinion, gives some modelers fits and others freedom. There were something like five studio filming Y-wing models plus a few purpose-built pyrotechnic ships designed to be blown up. A generation of modelers continue to figure out what pieces from what kits were used on each of those models and then recreate a particular Y-wing in studio scale. I have to admire the time and effort and money that takes, but I have always wanted a smaller, less expensive version. That said, I have to admit I've poured a lot of time and effort into my Y-wing, so maybe it's not so different after all. To each his own! Cheers all, Jim
  3. Well it's about time! From where I was a few weeks ago to today has taken much longer than I thought it would, but it does represent another milestone- Lights! Backtracking just a tiny bit, I got the crew's poses, equipment, and straps sorted out. Since I took their picture below, I've added a light brown coat of paint to serve as a primer for the color coats. I left off the right arms so I can get to their equipment and straps a little easier and will add them a bit later. And now on to the lights! While I had checked the basic ship wiring earlier on, I wasn't sure I would get it all correct to hook up to the stand. As you can see below, that first test worked fine. The stand is a basic box made from PVC, made by one of my model geek buddies. The stand itself is brass tubing and is capped off with a 1/8" RCA plug. Wiring runs into the base and is connected to a switch and then to an AA battery pack and a port for a wall wort (a DC converter, much like our cell phones come with). From either feed I get six volts, and the switch has an "Off" position to make set-up and take-down of the model a simple lift off affair. Finally, I have working lights! The first next thing I've done is mount the engine exhausts into the rear end of the engine nacelles. Once I connected the lights to their reflectors and that connected to the exhaust housings, the wires were carefully pulled to the front to help the engines into place. Popping the model onto her stand and flipping the switch, I get this: Needless to say, I'm very pleased with the engine lights. I'm now working on both the maneuvering vectrals and on the cockpit/crew. I'd like to tip my hat to my buddy Boz for volunteering to do the soldering; I am learning how to do it but he did the work, and between the two of us we figured out where the initial glitches were. Getting the lights on certainly gave me a recharge keep the build going, so stay tuned for the final installments. Cheers all, Jim
  4. Hi all, One thing I have noticed over time is that some modelers attempt to weather GSB with a lighter blue; this usually results in a less than authentic looking lighter blue model; as Dana has pointed out, the photos generally show more of a faded or chalky appearance. I also note from many pictures that the GSB paint often seemed to weather slightly lighter than the stars and bars markings on the upper wing and fuselage. And finally, I note that many modelers want to add overall light washes in the panel lines, which can easily lead to the toy-like appearance we work hard not to get to. So what to do? With the basic GSB paint you are using, whatever it's source, I would spray a little silver paint along the leading edges of the wings, tails and vertical fin, and along the wing roots first; this will allow you smooth/scrape off the GSB later to reveal 'bare metal'. Next, after laying on my GSB and letting it cure, I would take a small amount of the base paint, add just enough lighter gray to see it begin to lighten, and spray a light coat of it over the upper surfaces of the model. A thin coat without a definite edge is what I'd shoot for. Next, I would take a medium gray and apply a filter over the upper surfaces. Filter, meaning a small drop of the gray mixed into an airbrush cup of thinner and sprayed on in quick passes. I'm shooting to get just a slight change in the tone of the upper surface blue; if I can really see the contrast between before and after, it's too much. When I think I could use one more pass, I've learned to stop! Now I can apply the usual clear gloss to prep for decals (that is my normal process; you're may vary). If I haven't made too much of a change in the paint when I over-coated the decals with clear to seal them in, I can add a tiny amount of the mid-light gray into the clear and use it as a second filter to lighten the upper surfaces and the markings markings; I'll use straight clear to overcoat the lower surfaces. Washes: I am not a fan of using the same wash for all the various panel lines; it does not look realistic in my view. Even on dark surfaces, the major panel line joints such as along the removable panels, the engine cowlings, and the control surfaces, will create shadows and appear darker than the surface colors. I use artist's oils and Naptha (lighter fluid) for my washes, but whatever medium you use, I recommend starting with Payne's Gray (a dark bluish gray) and only add a little straight black. When applied, I want this wash to be darker than the base paint but not necessarily straight black. This wash only goes into those main panel lines where there are control surfaces, removable panels, or access hatches. The places where one panel butts up against another but are not normally removable get a different wash. I prefer a "general" wash over GSB to be just a little bit lighter that the base paint. I prefer to start with the Payne's Gray and lighten it up with white or a light tan, just until I can see that it's just barely lighter than the top layer of paint, NOT a light gray or a light tan. For a final finish, I go for a semi-flat clear overcoat over the whole model, and a really flat clear finish lightly laid on the upper surfaces. One huge caveat: Do NOT try all this directly on your current project! Practice a bit first on some scrap (I prefer excess model parts to sheet plastic since they are three dimensional) and see how the look of the GSB changes with different amounts of lighter tones laid over it. In my case, I am such a slow builder that I often practice my most tried and true finishes on some scrap plastic kit bits before bringing in my current model for the real painting sessions. There are no silver bullets to be found here, just lots of practice and a fair bit of prior research and some experimenting to find a combination that gets me close to what I see in the pictures. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing how you make out! HTH, Jim
  5. Hi all and for Jamie, I have the Tamiya kit in 1/48 scale and have plans to finish her as Mk Ic from 1942. I have an older set of resin horizontal tails for the early flat configuration. I do not have my information handy, but I am interested in your offer of resin correction pieces. Do you reckon I can make use of the appropriate version that you are thinking about? Thanks, Jim P.S. The model is a beaut!
  6. Hi Brad, Check out this link to a discussion here on Britmodeller: I quite like the Mustang in the reconnaissance role in overall PRU Blue. You would need to add the camera ports but in 1/48 scale I think they have been covered by aftermarket parts. Definitely different! HTH, Jim
  7. Hi Caerbannog, Very nice work and a very pretty model! Regarding the inner landing gear doors, like the D's, the B and C Mustang's doors will also generally bleed down and drop open. This was common on the Merlin powered Mustangs. The gear doors opened and closed with the gear cycling on Allison engine variants, so on those Mustangs the doors were normally up when the aircraft was parked. HTH, Jim
  8. Hi all, Just a note to say that this is not another update; I had some duplicate text and pictures that somehow got added in. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who have replied and know that I appreciate the good vibes! Cheers, Jim
  9. Good evening all, Time once again for an update, and it feels like a significant one to me! With the rear end of the fuselage complete and painted/finished, it's nearly to the point where I cannot hold the model and work on it, so I will be getting all the lighting and power connections soldered up very soon and use the stand to hold the model during the final push to completion. In the meantime, I painted and installed most of the external "repair" pipes that are so common on the Y-wing. Using 1/16" copper rod, I had bent up and fitted two pipes running for and aft along the upper edge of the fuselage (one to each side), and one on each side on the upper wings. Taking note of the various colors, I eliminated straight copper, brown, rust, and orange, all colors I've seen on various models that ultimately didn't suit me. I went back to the pictures of the studio model that was given to Alan Ladd, and was pleasantly surprised- those external pipes are a pale golden metallic color. Enough to be visible yet not be the first thing an observer will notice- just up my alley. The pipes got a couple of coats of gray primer, then a light coat of Alclad Pale Burnt Metal, and two coats of clear gloss acrylic to keep the paint from being easily chipped. In the first picture below, the fuselage pipes have been installed, while the wing pieces are displayed out front along with an extra piece of copper rod to show off the finish. As more pieces go on, the assembly sequence looms larger and larger; after this photo above was taken, I mounted the two wing pipes into position and made the next big step- I attached the two engine pods permanently on the wing spars. Here is the result: The R2 unit and the wheeled thingie up between the engine oil pans at the top of the rear fuselage are just sitting in place, but they do reveal that almost all of the interior fuselage equipment is now in place. I could not resist taping on one of the engine domes; I think they turned out rather well. I have planned for some time to have a couple of obvious repairs involving those pipes. The first one you can see above just to the right of the R2 unit's socket; a section of damaged pipe was neatly cut out and capped off, and the slightly browner pipe available in the repair shop that day has been angled down into the main line. Meantime, in the next shot the fuselage pipes are more visible. Finally, here is the other local repair job. A stray blaster bolt sliced the right hand wing pipe and damaged the surface beneath. Maintenance repaired the hole in the wing skin with a metal patch and sealed it with the local brew of patching compound, then repaired a section of pipe with a handy piece of pipe and sealed off the ends; at least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Well, that's all for now. Once I get the lighting sorted out, I'll get the engine exhaust assemblies mounted, construct the maneuvering vectrals, and then it is on to the cockpit! Cheers, Jim
  10. Hi all, On the other hand, railway engines are many feet long, depending upon your orientation! :-) Cheers, Jim
  11. Hi Brother, I rather like where you're going with this; I mainly build aircraft and like many, love the Spitfire. As to your questions, I think that a medium-dark gray green would do well for washing in some shadows. Brown would work but I think it might tend to just look like dirt rather than shadows. On your second question, I would say "maybe," IF you have a lot of experience with doing washes, etc. The main reason I do clear coats before and after washes is to create a barrier between the paint and the wash. What is the barrier for? It prevents the wash from lifting the paint. The only time you can comfortably not use a wash is if the wash medium is different from the base paint. For example, I use solvent based paints and washes. If I throw a heavy wash of thinned artist's oils over my base paint, the wash will eat into the paint and in extreme cases pull it loose and make one big mess. One solution, then, is to use a clear gloss acrylic coat over the paint. Acrylics are not solvent based (in general), so it forms a barrier to the artist's oils. I can do washes in oil without worrying about it messing up the base paint. If you use acrylic paints and washes, the reverse is true and a clear coat of solvent-based paint can be used. On the other hand, you should be able to use something like the artist's oils over a base acrylic paint with no problem at all. All that said, I highly recommend trying your paint and washes on a piece of test plastic or a left-over kit piece first. Then you'll know for sure if you need the clear coats or not. Most of the time, if I just jump into a technique on my current model project, I screw it up. Far easier to test on something else, figure out how it will work, and then using it on a model is much easier and a lot less hassle. More often than not, speed in the process leads me into deep trouble. HTH, Jim
  12. Hi all, Well that took longer than expected! I think I'm about done now with the boxed-in rear fuselage. Last time around, the basic building work was done. First up then, is a picture of the area with basic paint on. I use solvent-based paints, so after the base coat I added a clear gloss acrylic coat. That formed a barrier for the oil washes that were to follow. As you can tell, I've been having problems with my camera; this shot is a bit too blue in tone so I may try to figure out a way to neutralize this later on. Once the clear gloss cured, I mixed some Payne's gray and white artist's oils to a mid blue-gray shade, say RAF Ocean Grey, and applied it in the edges of the side doors, the smaller "inspection" doors, and the detail on the rear sloping plate. Then I added a bit of pastels, mixed colors on a sanding stick, and applied that. I also ran a dark gray artist's pencil along all the edges of the plates to simulate paint wear. I then applied a layer of clear acrylic flat to seal in the weathering effects. That looks like this: If you look carefully, you can just see some of the initial weathering. I was also making changes for taking pictures and this was the initial result. I have two desk lamps and I replaced the bulbs- I had two different temperature bulbs which I replaced with bright white LED's. Then I reset the custom white balance which made a huge difference in how things look. I also changed the background color. More importantly, I figured out that my initial shading was just too subtle for the subject. I went back and used pastels to outline all the crevices, the side and inspection doors, and the rear plate details, applying the pastels and rubbing them down with a Q-tip (ear bud), and then hit everything with another coat of really flat clear acrylic. And here is the result: If you look around the edges of the doors and the raised details, you can see some dark staining plus some streaks from goodness knows where. The good news is, I've about figured out my new lighting setup and the colors here are pretty close to what my eyes see. I expect to see better color rendering as I go through the remainder of the project. Thanks for hanging in- I'm working on the rear vectrals, also the base and stand, and then it's on to the cockpit. More to come! Cheers, Jim
  13. Good evening all, Time for a small-ish update. Before I forget, thanks for the comment, Mark; much appreciated! Lately I have been working on the upper rear end of the fuselage. If you look at the last shot from my previous posting, you can see the right side plating in place. All of this plating is made from .030" Evergreen plastic sheet. In the picture below, I have added the left side sloped plating, then fitted the back plate. Drawings notwithstanding, I cut the first rear sloped piece a bit too small and had to cut out another. I've also added a square plastic piece to give me some gluing surface for the top piece and give some support as well. All of these "plating" pieces were cut slightly oversize and sanded back as needed. The top piece and stubby cylinder that sits at the back edge of the rear plate are sitting behind the fuselage. The next step was to complete the plating, fill and sand all the joints, add that little cylinder bit, and make some additional surface details. You will note that since the wiring comes together in this area, the upper plating is solid; once I had positioned and glued up that stubby cylinder, I was able to figure out how to cut a section from the same size tube to make the fairing underneath the cylinder piece. I used some thick Mr. Surfacer in the joint and swabbed the excess away with ear buds dipped in alcohol; this left very little sanding to be done. I added two .010" thick pieces in front of the cylinder to represent access hatches. Two pieces of half-round plastic stock were added to represent what I would call stiffeners on the rear plate. Some time back I acquired a 1/72 scale King Tiger tank kit and robbed the vertical rear plate to use on this build. I had to add a strip of .030" plastic around the edges to get it close to the correct size, then another layer of .030" sheet for the outer projecting cover. The plate itself was painted, gloss clear coated, washed with oils, grimed up with pastels, and the whole thing (except the outer edges) clear flat coated. I actually mounted this piece before gluing on the rear sloped plate; this gave me a shelf to help place the plate properly. I'll tape it off before painting the rear end. If you look on the side plate, you will see a little shape sticking up; on the movie models these were 1/35 scale shovels; to me they looked like scoops more than anything else. Given that, I found a couple of excess resin teardrop shapes from my spares, trimmed them off a square surround of plastic, reshaped them, trimmed the front straight and filed a slight undercut into the front edges. Voila! Almost-instant scoops. Here is a top view of the work. I took this shot with only one light to minimize the glare from the white plastic so it is a bit dark, but the details are more visible. Having lived with this project for so long, I see more and more that on the movie models there are a lot of extra bits sitting on the outside of the model. Granted, they do not have to make sense, but since I am treating this as a model of a real vehicle, I find I want to keep the outside surfaces a little less cluttered. For those of you viewing this thread who are also Y-wing fans, I am interested to know if you prefer this "cleaner" approach or the more conventional look of additional layers of bits added on. Well, that is all I have done lately. More to come! Cheers, Jim
  14. Hi Antti, I tip my hat to you and those who have helped gather the available information and set up the timeline of markings; I do not think I will have much to add to that. Meantime, I am sure you have seen this site before: . I went looking and on that site I was reminded that Flt Lt Powles did fly a few low level sorties, but generally used a borrowed FR XVIII; it was available and better suited to the low level requirements. As to your open questions, I can only make a few educated guesses so take them as just that. We will need more photographic evidence than is currently available to nail it all down. My "take," then, is this. I would suspect that PS852 and PS 854 were likely marked in the same way so that they both progressed through the series of markings you have identified (and I would think at about the same time as well). I think that the spinners were repainted in MSG at the same time as the MSG/PRU Blue repainting was done. The all white spinner must have come at some later date, perhaps in the spring of 1952. Since the red and white spinners are known to have been in place after they passed out of RAF hands, that would put the red addition beginning sometime in 1954. As for the black anti-glare panel on PS852 in the overall PRU Blue, I've not seen other Spits or other PRU Blue a/c with that black panel in period pictures; so I would doubt that but I would have no problem being proven wrong. Also, I note that the black anti-glare panel on PS852 and PS854 when they were in the MSG/PRU Blue scheme has a higher demarcation line on the fuselage than when they sported the red and white spinners. Regarding the underwing serials, I have no specific knowledge for the date, but I do note that PR type a/c in England got large underwing serials in black in the immediate post-war time frame, and there are pictures of PR Spits showing smaller black underwing serials as early as 1948. My own conclusion is that the aircraft serving in the Far East would likely have had the same in the 1950-1953 time frame. Hey, we need a real Boffin here, not just an amateur! :-) And I have to admit, the MSG/PRU Blue scheme on PS852/4 with the black antiglare panel and white spinner from mid 1952 is my favorite scheme on the Spitfire! Hope this helps, Jim
  15. Hi Antti and all, Nice build of the PR XIX you have there, and it's good to see so much background information on the markings of an old friend, PS852. I'd like to add a few of small points if I may. First, it is true that for a couple of days one of the two PRXIX's at Kai Tek was painted with a mix of blue and red, making an interesting purple shade. Note, however, that Mr. Powles had requested a repaint as both a/c were rather tatty by that time but no PRU Blue was available. Needless to say that the station commander nearly had a fit when he saw it and the appropriate paint was swiftly procured, which was after all was what Flt Lt. Powles wanted. Next, it is quite correct to note that the spinners on these a/c were painted white and red; on the other hand, my information is that the spinners were all white at the time of Mr. Powles' record dive incident. That is why my old build was painted in that fashion. Although my memory may be faulty I think all, or nearly all, of the secret flights that were performed were done at high altitude. This was done to make detection and intercept a difficult task for the Chinese airmen. As is so often the case, the trickiest part of building a specific aircraft is figuring out the exact time and place. I was fortunate enough to speak with Mr. Powles and create a model that reflected a specific day in his service in Hong Kong. A remarkable man in many ways! Cheers, Jim