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About billybigbananas

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  • Birthday 06/21/1973

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    Chard, Somerset UK
  1. That's a really excellent job - looks just right.
  2. Ah, Nostalgia.... Remember the 90's? When you could go out with just a £50 note in your pocket - see Oasis or Blur at the Camden Underworld, have a couple of pints & a bag of chips, buy a 1/72 Hasegawa model kit and still have the bus fare home? No, me neither - but this model kit was certainly one I bought in the 90's, one of the numerous reboxings of the Prowler that have gone by over the years. I also at some point picked up an Eduard etch set for it, although (probably due to my incompetence) I just couldn't get on with it. In fact anyone wanting to see some modelling excellence may want to leave now, lest they tear out their own eyes at the hash I managed to make of things along the way..... Everything started brightly enough - I wanted to do an open cockpit, so I used the Eduard parts plus a little bit of scratch build to liven up the cockpit. It won't win any awards, but I was pretty pleased with it. After opening up the required hole and assembling the rather smart Eduard avionics bay, when it came to test fit it with the cockpit, I just couldn't for the life of me get everything to sit nicely so after "you're going in the bin" moment #1, I reached for the filler and plastic card to refill the hole I'd so lovingly cut out. I then made up the cockpit, again using the Eduard bits and everything was going swimmingly until I tried to join the fuselage halves and yes, you've guessed it, the flippin' etched front instrument panel wouldn't fit no matter how much I fiddled with it. So with - crushing inevitability - I gave up my hopes of finally being able to do an open cockpit model that didn't look complete pants. "Welcome back to closed cockpits anonymous Mr Bananas - we knew you'd be back." So, after using the internationally recognised technique of 'bending some bits until it all goes in', it was on with the canopy. The main body went together without any major problems, it's a really nice kit to work with & eveything fitted well. Bit of filler around the wing roots & the engines but nothing troublesome. So, back on track & time for painting Except guess what? Didn't have the right paint. Thought I did but when I checked my big paint basket - I'm a rattlecan (ab)user - The shade I needed for the top surfaces wasn't there. It also wasn't available from any of my usual online retailers so I was a bit stuck. Here's a PROTIP : Buy stuff at model shows when you see it, then you won't have to spend half a day on the internet working out whether it's worth paying £40 to have a tinlet of paint shipped from Ulan Bator. In retrospect I should have just sprayed the whole thing in the lower surface colour (it's a two tone grey scheme but the difference is pretty imperceptible unless you're really looking closely), however hindsights a wonderful thing. So out came a tin of Humbrol enamel and my half inch decorator's brush and on it went, slap, slap. slap. For a brush finish it didn't come out too bad actually. The underside got the spray treatment, couple of coats of Quickshine to seal things and it was onto the decals. The decals were a mix of the original sheet from 1987 and a smaller 1993 sheet with the markings for this particular bird. Decal technology must have improved a good deal in 6 years. The originals were pretty hard work - clung to the backing paper for dear life then wrinkled up alarmingly on the application of microsol - there's a fair few that had to be coaxed back into one piece. The 1993 ones were far better, and really nice markings to boot. I don't do a lot of overall grey stuff but this looks pretty smart. After a couple more clear coats I then had to do some weathering. The brush job had filled a lot of the panel lines with paint, so I decided to create some visual interest by giving it a reasonably weathered look. I'm by no means an expert at this, but I'm fairly happy with the results I achieved with some washes and ground up pastels. I found that a little bit of brown (not really visible in the photos) pastel dust really made for some interesting highlights. Happy with that, and sensing the finishing line, it was now that the problems started again. Canopy masking is really not my strong point. I'm better at using etch sets than I am canopy masking, and look how well that turned out..... So off came the masking tape and yup, there were the bleeds to greet me with a cheery wave. It's not like the prowler has a teeny tiny glazed section either, more like a greenhouse with some pilots inside it. Lovely ragged edges on the front cockpit framing as well. "You're going in the bin!" moment #2. Sigh. Out came the cocktail stick, the white spirit soaked cotton buds and the swearing. Closely followed by the scuffed up canopy, the masking tape, the paintbrush and more swearing. It still looks rough as arseholes, but we'll chalk it up to experience and move on shall we? Nothing to see here.... Fed up now I decided to get the undercarriage on. Can't go far wrong there, right? Wrong wrong wrong. Now on most undercarriages the compression links face backwards, yes? Not on this one bud. It appears that Mr Gruman, after returning from a heavy session at the pub one lunchtime, decreed that all A6's and their variants should have their compression links facing forwards. "Just do it!" he is reported to have yelled at terrified designers "I'll make those damn modellers pay, oh yes!" before retiring to his office to sketch the B2 Spirit. No one knows why he hated modellers so, but he must have because I'll bet I'm not the first one to attach the main legs the wrong way round. An error that only became apparant as I tried to attatch the retraction arms and finding they wouldn't fit. And then snapping one of the legs off as I tried to swap them round. "You're going in the bin!!!!" moment #3 .........deep breath, leave it alone for a couple of days, come back and have a look. A better modeller would throw it away, no doubt. It's rough, the canopy is rubbish, the legs are on the wrong way round. but.... It has character, it certainly looks like a prowler, If I squint a bit I can imagine it swooping in to land on a crowded carrier. And there's a little bit of me invested in there somewhere. I superglued the leg back on, added all the dangly bits and put it on the back of the display shelf. Thanks for reading. Phill
  3. That's a really lovely job - ticks all my boxes. I'd love to have a go at that scheme although the thought of getting the decals to line up/sit down like you've done makes me nervous!
  4. After some deliberation I went for LAG for both - this site is well worth a look at : As for the cockpit, you're a better man than I - mine got painted black and quickly buttoned up!
  5. Disturbingly realistic! Great job, looks so good in that scheme.
  6. Wow, frankly I think just the boarding ladder would defeat me....
  7. That's outstanding.
  8. Wonderful model - you should be chuffed to say the least!
  9. I used Tamiya PS-24 flourescent orange from a rattle can (they're on sale at modelzone at the moment), over Tamiya "Fine Surface" white primer, also from a can & a really good product - very smooth. The nose wheel is glued down, thought I'd got enough weight in there - but no! Probably should have mentioned above that the kit is the 1/72 Academy F86E and the decals are from "Very Colourful Sabres" by Euro Decals.
  10. Questions asked by my daughter on her way to the fridge, past my modelling bench. It's orange because it was one of the trials aircraft used in the 1954 closed circuit speed record attempt. And it's on a base because I couldn't fit enough weight in the nose to avoid a tail sitter...... One day I'll get it right!
  11. That's great, don't see very many Mexican types on here!
  12. Super! I've always liked the Super Etendard, it's got real character about it. I've often wondered, is the Academy kit that I've seen about a reboxing of the Heller one, or from somewhere else?
  13. Outstanding! Perhaps I should take a 20 year break....
  14. Wow, I thought I worked in a mess - but that's staggering!