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Tim Reynaga

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About Tim Reynaga

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  1. I’ve always loved GHQ’s ‘Micronaut’ line of 1/2400 scale warships. Intended to be used as wargame counters, these models are simple to assemble and ridiculously tiny, but the detail on them is first rate! This one is one of the Japanese navy’s ill-fated light aircraft carriers, the IJN Ryujo.
  2. I’ve always loved GHQ’s ‘Micronaut’ line of 1/2400 scale warships. Intended to be used as wargame counters, these models are simple to assemble and ridiculously tiny, but the detail on them is first rate! This one is one of the Japanese navy’s ill-fated light aircraft carriers, the IJN Ryujo. I started by cleaning up an old Nichimo 1/200 U-Boat stand. Taking a sheet of high quality artist’s drawing paper intended for watercolors, I traced and cut out an outline of the ship. After gently rolling the paper over a pen to create a lightly undulating “sea”, I lightly attached it to the base with dots of cyanoacrylate (super glue). Once I was happy with the positioning, the whole paper got a soaking with the cyano. This fixed it securely in place and made it rock hard. Then I trimmed the paper and sanded the sides smooth to integrate the sea seamlessly onto the base. The sea base was painted with a coat of Tamiya Royal Blue (X-3) acrylic with enamel paints for the wake. The sides were then shot with Tamiya Desert Yellow (XF-59) acrylic followed with a streaky coating of Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna artist’s oil (with just a touch of Burnt Umber) to simulate the look of a wood base. Now back to the ship! To depict the Ryujo as she appeared at the time of her loss at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24, 1942, the model was painted in Tamiya Kure Naval Arsenal Gray acrylic (XF-75). Then I applied the decal to the previously glossed flight deck. The end result is quite effective – and SO much easier than painting all this would have been! To complete the paint job, I added small details on the boats and funnels followed by a thin dark gray oil wash over the gray acrylic to outline details and deepen recesses. The ship was then attached to the ocean base with Soft Gel Medium, a clear viscous polymer used by artists as a thickener for acrylic paints. It works great as an adhesive, too. As with all Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers, the Ryujo carried multiple masts to support communication antenna wires. These masts rotated down to horizontal during combat or flight operations. Matching the dimensions of a scaled down drawing of the vessel, I cut the three smaller units from brass wire and attached them to the ship with polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. To replicate the main mast’s lattice structure, I repurposed a type 13 radar from a 1/700 scale Japanese destroyer photoetch set, cutting the piece down and attaching it to a wire cut to the appropriate length along with a yard and antennae spreaders. As a final step, I installed copper wire rigging taken from an old coil. This stuff is about as fine as human hair, but even so it is fairly heavy for 1/2400 scale. I added just a representative sampling of the ship’s rig to keep from overwhelming the little model. The tiny IJN Battle Ensign is a Peddinghaus decal from their 1/1250 scale “Marineflaggen Japan” set. And done!
  3. The Ark also came with six nicely molded Fairey Fulmar aircraft. I intended to paint them with a camouflage pattern of Tamiya XF-81 Dark Green 2 (RAF) and XF-77 IJN Grey (Sasebo Arsenal), but unfortunately the contrast between these colors was so subtle that it completely disappeared in this small scale. I substituted the Dark Green 2 with a less correct, but higher contrast, XF-22 RLM Grey to make the schemes more visible. Canopies were painted Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey. The markings are from a Gold Medal Models international naval aircraft insignia decal set in 1/700 scale. Even though oversized for 1/1200, the markings are still pretty small; I figure they look reasonable on the little Fulmars. With the ship painted and her airgroup aboard, my diminutive Ark Royal stands ready to help hunt down the mighty Bismarck!
  4. Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal – Airfix 1/1200 This one is a small but nice snap-together kit from 1976 that was designed to go together quickly. This is another quick build, so I plan to forgo any improvements to this one and simply bang it together as God and Airfix intended! Airfix cleverly depicted the hangar and other decks visible behind the Ark’s outer skin with snap-in inserts. The insert boat and hangar decks go aboard quickly, and they impart a pleasing sense of depth and complexity to these areas. Snap! On goes the flight deck. The little Ark’s island was a sraightforward assembly; only six parts, including a lower section which was already molded as part of the flight deck piece. Cleanup of the small parts was simple but fiddly. A homemade sanding stick helped! The only glitch was a set of visible locator pins inside the funnel halves, but these were easily removed. Although the well engineered parts do snap securely together, I’ve been cementing everything in place anyway for a more positive fit. The mast consisted of two parts which fit together well – that is after I figured out that the instructions had incorrectly shown the mast mounted backwards so that the little mounting pips for the support legs faced the wrong way! Still, I appreciate this little kit more and more as I work with it: the parts are so small I hadn’t even noticed the faint depressions at the front of the bridge until I saw this enlarged image. Bridge windows! Some of the nicest moldings were the eight tiny radio antennas. Though only 12mm in length, they show Airfix’s game attempt to depict the lattice structure of the originals. Here’s Airfix’s 1976 HMS Ark Royal finished out of the box with no alterations other than parts clean up. Out of production since the 1970s, Airfix has finally re-released this kit, along with a 1/1200 Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, Hood, Sufolk, and Tribal class destroyers as a combined “Sink the Bismarck” set. Very cool. Having finished the little Ark Royal with an out-of-the-box unpainted build, I liked the kit so much I went and bought the new Airfix “Sink the Bismarck” set to get the 1/1200 Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, Hood, Suffolk, and destroyers to go with it. Upon opening the box I was surprised to find a flight deck stripe decal for the Ark – a nice plus not in the original 1976 release I built! This was so cool I went ahead and shot the Ark with a coat of Model Master Acryl 4755 Dark Gull Gray (approximate for 507B) and again with a darker mix of Dark Gull Gray and 4752 Gunship Gray to highlight the catapults and lifts. After coat of Future to gloss the surface, the flight deck stripe went down with no problem. Even the clear decal film within the circle aft disappeared completely under a second coat. Sweet. I love it when companies add value to re-releases with little upgrades like this. Go Airfix! After the gloss coat was dry I reinstalled the masts and gave the ship a thin wash of Grumbacher Raw Umber artist’s oil with a bit of Titanium White & Ivory black added to grey it down. The mixture was also applied to weather the hull sides (unfortunately, I may have gone a little too subtle earlier with the catapult and lift color contrasts, since they almost disappear under the oil wash...) Airfix had provided faint depressions to represent the bridge windows, but I added a decal to make them more visible. This was a cut down set of victory markings from a 1/72 German fighter aircraft - you never know when those odds and ends you keep in the scrap box will come in handy! This is a great little kit, highly underrated.
  5. Most recently released by Revell Germany, this small scale Yamato was originally produced the Italian company Casadio as one of their pre-assembled "Miniships" way back in the early 1970s. Over the years It has been reissued many times as an unassembled kit by Revell UK and Almark in England, Revell/West Germany, ESCI in Italy, Sablon in France, and by both Model Power and MPC in the United States. The same plastic has also been marketed as the Musashi. Apparently the only differences among the various releases have been in the instructions and box art. This toy/model from the early 1970s is a very simplified, snap-together affair designed for quick building. When I built it as a kid back then I was among those for whom the kit was apparently designed: wargamers and young modelers (even though it was snap-together, the instructions recommended kid-friendly NOTOX plastic glue... I can still remember the weird lemon scent of that stuff!) At the time I liked the snap together design, but the poor fit of the parts was annoying. And the model is very basic: while the one piece hull is recognizably a Yamato, the shape is vague and toylike. The complex main guns and funnel are reduced to single parts, and the prominent mainmast is missing entirely. Aircraft are only generalized single float monoplane representations, in any case wrong; if they are meant to be Aichi E13A "Jakes", they should have twin floats, if Mitsubishi F1M "Petes" they should be biplanes. The 127mm type 89 guns are only vaguely correct, and the numerous 25mm triples are molded directly to the decks and turrets. Still, the kit has its good points. First of all, at a mere 27 parts the ship goes together quickly, and although basic, I remember that the completed model does resemble the Yamato. The bridge windows are neatly represented as recessed squares, and two alternate main turrets are provided so you can depict the ship at an earlier point in her career before she got the extra antiaircraft guns on the turret tops, or perhaps as the Musashi. Examining the parts this time around, I was struck by the crudeness of the molding with its chunky shapes, flash, goofy pits and bumps... but oh, well. At least the simplified kit wouldn’t tempt me to go nuts superdetailing it! Refering to the overall general arrangement drawing from Janusz Skulski’s Anatomy of the Ship - The Battleship Yamato, the model rides a little high, so I sanded about 2mm from the hull bottom. The hull shape is mostly ok otherwise ...except the bow. After gluing the deck down I added a plastic shim and sanded things into a little better shape. There is adequate representation of planking on the main deck, but the second deck was also shown planked – this particular deck was actually steel, so I sanded the area smooth. A bigger problem was the configuration of the antiaircraft guns. The model is pretty accurate for Yamato (or Musashi) in October, 1944 (Battle of Leyte Gulf) with all those 25mm singles on the main deck. Unfortunately, it also has the six additional 25mm triples along the deck edge amidships which were added to Yamato only later when the single mounts were removed, so the model as is wouldn’t be accurate for either time frame. The simplest fix would have been to remove the center six 25mm triple mounts and go for a Leyte Gulf Yamato, but I liked the powerful look of those triples all lined up on the deck edge. Keeping these meant going for a Yamato in her final 1945 configuration. The 1945 Yamato would require eight more 25mm triple mounts, so I bought a second kit to raid for parts. After trimming off all those 25mm singles (24 of them!), I added the eight 25mm triples from the spare kit in the appropriate places to make an April, 1945 Yamato. ] It was a lot more alteration than I had originally intended, but the mini battlewagon’s air defense is now more accurate for 1945! The main 18 inch guns, though reasonable, were too long compared with my references. Cutting the ends down was the obvious solution, but then the steps in the barrels would have ended up too far forward. Doh! To solve this I removed the barrels, drilled holes in the turret faces and reinstalled the rifles with much of their length pushed inside the turrets. This left guns of the correct exterior length with the steps where they should be. After that I drilled out the tips of the 18 inch barrels with my X-acto and added Milliput blast bags. Also, I improved the aft fire control station (part #12) by combining it with the forward fire control optic array (part #13 with the radars removed) from the spare kit. One of the strengths of this little snap-together kit is the combat bridge windows which are clearly defined, even see-through from the sides in places. I left the kit tower pretty much as is except for a simple wind baffle over the combat bridge using a part from a wrecked 1/350 Tamiya Musashi as a guide. I also replaced the solid kit radars with simple photoetch parts. These were re-purposed floater net baskets from a Gold Medal Models 1/700 scale WW2 USN Cruiser/Destroyer Fittings set. I wanted to avoid scratchbuilding for this quick battleship project, but a shortcoming of this kit is the absence of any representation of the Yamato’s distinctive mainmast. That mast was just too prominent a feature to ignore, so I went ahead and built one up using Detail Associates (part 2505) .015 inch diameter brass wire. This makes for a scale mast about 1½ scale feet thick in 1/1200. Since the complex-looking mast assembly measures a mere ¾ of an inch in height, I made only a simplified representation of it. This model is certainly no masterpiece of the kit maker's art, but it was superior to comparable Pyro and Lindberg offerings of the time, and it is still way less expensive than the various pre-assembled wargaming and collector models out there. I spent less than ten bucks for it, so taken for what it is, this little Yamato isn’t a bad kit at all.
  6. This kit is the 1/72 scale Airfix Messerschmitt Bf-109E from 1975. This poor fitting, rivet studded little beauty is rarely built these days, but I thought I’d give it a go. The overall dimensions look ok on this one, but some of the fit is not very good with huge gaps at the back of the canopy and a front windscreen that just sits too low. Assembly of this basic bird was a snap. Cockpit is just a featureless floor, seat, and instrument panel with raised discs for dials. Paint is Grau RLM 02 with a black panel. The only thing I added was a set of simple seatbelts made from Tamiya tape. Camouflage colors are Model Master enamels; Dunkelgrün RLM 71/ Grau RLM 02 splinter and Hellblau RLM 65. The decals in the 1975 kit weren’t all that sharp, and they were stuck fast to that 40 year old “protective” waxed paper they came with anyway. I had to try something else. The new tool Airfix 109E in my stash came with alternate German and Bulgarian insignia, so I raided that kit’s markings for Franz von Werra’s Battle of Britain aircraft. I don't agree 100% with the 1965 Profile Publications rendering (the colors and pattern of the wings camouflage and the red on the spinner, for example), but the painting is still inspirational! As for that canopy; detail on the kit part is vague and it doesn’t fit well. Also, von Werra’s aircraft was a Bf-109E-4, but the old Airfix kit is a Bf-109E-3, so the canopy was a slightly different design too. I opted to use a Hasegawa E-4 canopy from the scrap box instead. Fit was not quite perfect, but plastic shims fix things up well enough. After applying the RLM 65 Hellblau undersides and fuselage sides, I added von Werra’s distinctive white markings on the wingtips, tail, and nose. A brushed-on coat of Future glossed things up, then I added the markings. Unlike their decals from the 1970s, the decals that come with the new tool Airfix kits are first rate! With the installation of the more delicate kit exterior details and a coat of semi-gloss (5 parts Future to 2 parts Tamiya Flat Base), Airfix’s Old School 109 rivet monster is done!
  7. Thanks Big X! It felt strange to fit the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder wires from the stabilizers to the fuselage but no antenna wire from the tail to the mast; Spitfire P8088 carried a mast without an external wire since the VHF type TR133 radio had its wire inside mast with no wire externally. Anyway, I thought the IFF wires on the model were so inconspicuous against the grass base as to be almost unnoticeable - so thanks for noticing!
  8. Here’s a fun change of pace — Monster Scenes 1/13 scale “Feral Cat”! This creature's twisted story is told in a small comic that came with the kit: At only nine parts (the body halves, haunches, a 2-part head, ears, and tail) the cat assembled quickly. The kit was designed with a twist-on head that could be swapped with a companion piece (a Saber Tooth Rabbit no less!), but this feature left an obvious seam at the neck. I cemented everything in place and faired in the gaps with Milliput two-part epoxy putty. There was a little putty left after filling the cat’s joints, so I used it to make an extra artifact to place inside the nasty cat’s cage for additional “atmosphere”: I painted the cage black, and the cat received a coat of Tamiya rattle-can gray primer. Painting the Feral Cat started with a brushed-on base coat of Tamiya Buff (XF-57) acrylic over the Tamiya primer. The complex markings of my own cat Katya provided inspiration: A rough pattern of Tamiya Linoleum Deck Brown (XF-79) stripes went over the cat’s tan base, which was partially overlapped with stripes of Tamiya Hull Red (XF-9). Then the face, chest, and feet were highlighted with lightened Tamiya Deck Tan (XF-55). As I waited for the stripes to dry, the accessories got their finish. The poop is Tamiya Buff acrylic with a Raw Umber oil stain to darken it, and the cage key was painted with black acrylic drybrushed with Testors Metallic Gold 1144 enamel. With the addition of green eyes (Tamiya XF-5 Flat Green with XF-3 Flat Yellow) and a wash of Grumbacher Raw Umber artist’s oil overall, the Feral Cat is painted. After a final coat of Testors Lusterless lacquer spray to knock down the shine, I applied dabs of Future gloss acrylic to put the malevolent gleam back into his eyes. The cat’s cage was airbrushed with Tamiya IJN Sasebo Arsenal Grey (XF-77). To vary the surface a bit I also misted it with some darker Tamiya German Grey (XF-63) in a light cloud pattern. After wetting the entire cage with paint thinner, I applied exaggerated rust effects using Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, and Burnt Sienna Winsor & Newton artist’s oils. Dr. Deadly may have been an evil genius, but he clearly wasn’t much for maintenance! Awaiting his fate in Dr. Deadly’s dank laboratory, our caged cat is definitely NOT happy – ...but perhaps a poorly secured door will be his chance at freedom...! And the feral feline is once again on the loose..!
  9. TuanNA, what a beautiful build! Tamiya has updated their classic kit (the original molds date back to the late 1970s) - and you have made the most of it. Outstanding work! As for the anchors, beefy is right - they are upside down - but this is an easy fix! The significance of their gold color is the Retention Excellence Award (previously known as the Golden Anchor Award) which is an award given by the United States Department of the Navy for sustaining superior levels of military retention (re-enlistment and retention of crew by the ship). Navy ships are authorized to paint their anchors gold as a symbol of earning the award.
  10. The 1/700 scale No. 13 Class subchaser is one of those kits that gets around; it was sold originally by Green Max in Japan, then by Skywave, and most recently by Tamiya. I built this one when Skywave released it way back in the early 1980s before I bought my first airbrush, so everything was painted by hand. It was also before photoetch parts became avilable, so the railings were made from wire and the doors from sheet plastic.
  11. This is AWESOME! There's tons to look at, and those figures are flawlessly rendered. The Thulsa Doom figure looks just like James Earl Jones... Gorgeous work, a pleasure to look at. Well done!
  12. Thank you all for your kind comments! It really was a very basic build... As for the canopies, I didn't use any innovative techniques to fix them up, just a traditional combination of sheet plastic shims, cyanoacrylate filler, and sanding with progressively finer grit papers. Final polishing was done with an old t-shirt.
  13. I don't do a lot of aircraft, but with all the buzz about the new high quality Airfix 1/72 airplane kits I just had to give one of my favorite aircraft, the P-39 Airacobra, a try. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the new red box and saw before me not one of the recent Airfix wunderkits, but what is obviously a repop of their old 1960s molding! This ancient kit is a bit of a challenge to build as the fit isn’t very good - the top of the aft canopy is too short to reach the frame, and the forward windscreen doesn’t reach back quite far enough. Not only that, true to its 1960s vintage, it is covered in heavy rivets! Still, it looks like a Bellochka… I decided to just have fun and build it as is. Initial assembly completed, it’s time to do a little filling. Since I was building my Airacobra as in Soviet service, the underwing .50 cal gun pods wouldn’t be used. Unfortunately, Airfix chose to mount the pod parts in deep troughs cut into the wings. I filled these in with cyanoacrylate (super glue) and sanded them smooth. The old girl takes a lot of shimming and filling, but in the end the sleek lines of the ‘Cobra come through… At least the decals on the recent re-release are of excellent quality! Airfix’s P-39Q is a typical kit of its era, but it's definitely not the best 1/72 Airacobra available today. The upgraded decals provided with the current issue are an improvement, but this venerable kit should really be retired. Still, I had fun with it!
  14. Excellent build! I especially liked the stowage, which really brings AFVs to life. One detail that caught my eye was the dull aluminum "Igloo" cooler - my parents had one just like it when I was growing up in the 1960s!
  15. Wow, that is one absolutely beautiful build! I have a partially built 1/48 Martin-Handasyde under my work bench which I now may never touch again - your 1/72 masterpiece puts it to shame. Stunning work indeed!
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