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Tim Reynaga

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About Tim Reynaga

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  1. The kit came with decals for two different USAAF Mustangs, but I opted instead to use aftermarket markings from Draw Decal. The model will depict “Twilight Tear,” an aircraft of the 8th Air Force’s 78th Fighter Group, 83rd Fighter Squadron flown by 1st Lieutenant Hubert Davis out of Duxford, England, in 1945. The Draw Decal markings look great!
  2. The assembled Mustang now has its coat of Tamiya rattle-can AS-12 Bare Metal Silver. A really cool feature of this 2018 Minicraft release is an optional pre-painted canopy. Unfortunately, I rubbed off some of the paint while blending the windscreen with the fuselage, so I still ended up masking and painting it along with the rest of the aircraft.
  3. She is lovely, isn't she? The old girl's panel lines are surprisingly sharp for a kit of the 1970s. She's not perfect, though. The intercooler and rectangular coolant matrix were just square depressions in the lower fuselage halves; I made simple sheet plastic improvements. The kit comes with alternate parts for either wheels-down or flying configuration; the wheels-up option leaves some nice extra parts...
  4. The little Mustang’s outline is accurate and the model goes together with a minimum of fuss, but small size means a number of simplifications. One of these is the cockpit, which is just a flat recessed area completely devoid of detail. To address this, Minicraft took the unusual approach of including a decal to represent the interior. Placed over a green & black painted cockpit tub, the decal is surprisingly effective – especially under the thick canopy.
  5. I’ve always loved the P-51D Mustang! This one is the diminutive 1/144 scale bird from Minicraft. This 2018 release is actually a reissue of the 1974 Crown kit, which has been sold variously over the years by Revell, Academy, Trumpeter, Mini Hobby Models, and now Minicraft Models. This little beauty has certainly been around! Minicraft has added some value, though, with a new clear display stand, a pre-painted canopy, and some excellent Cartograf decals. The small size, low parts count, and pre-painted canopy will make this a fast build.
  6. With the installation of the landing gear, the little Sabre is done!
  7. Fuselage too short… didn't realize that. It is still a good looking kit, though. By the way, although hard to see when closed up under the canopy, Trumpeter provided a surprisingly good cockpit with a stick, instrument panel, and a very nice ejection seat (I added the tape seatbelts).
  8. How interesting, I didn't catch that. Using the kit box art and instructions for reference can be risky - I followed Trumpeter's instruction sheet and placed the national markings on the wing in the wrong orientation, for example. I should have noticed - they got it right on the box art! Oh, well. Ejection seat, canopy, and 200 gallon Misawa wing tanks added.
  9. Trumpeter’s little rendition looks to be a quick build. The 1/144 model is covered in engraved detail – all of it a little heavy, but it should look ok under paint. Trumpeter’s F-86 goes together well except for the fit of the windscreen – which is terrible! However, with some miniscule shimming, trimming, and polishing it is still useable. I’ll have to trim it yet more to get the sliding portion to fit properly against it... Trumpeter’s F-86 kit interior is actually surprisingly nice with a stick, seat, and instrument panel. Unfortunately, the ADF antenna that sits behind the cockpit is attached to the fuselage; on the real aircraft this is part of the canopy assembly, so it pretty much forces the modeler to do the kit with the canopy closed unless you want to do some scratchbuilding. Trumpeter also omitted the cockpit side consoles. I decided to go conservative on this one and just leave it closed up! The Sabre is a simple paint job: bare metal silver overall, for which I used Tamiya Bare-Metal Silver (AS-12) rattle-can spray. The only variations were the panels around the gun openings, which I masked off and sprayed with darker Model Master Stainless Steel Buffing Metalizer spray. Maybe I should have been a little bolder – the bare metal looks good, but with the masks removed the contrast between the two shades is barely noticeable! One of the better aspects of Trumpeter’s F-86F is the extensive markings sheet provided. As always, Trumpeter’s decals performed flawlessly! The one reservation I had about them was the color of the yellow bands. Though reasonable, they seem more lemon-yellow than the orange-yellow seen in most contemporary photographs. Still, I found a few pics that appear to show a yellower shade, so who knows... perhaps there was some variation? Anyway, I thought Trumpeter’s bands matched these pretty well. Speed brakes. I appreciate how Trumpeter provided pre-cut national markings with perfect fit to the fuselage and brakes.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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