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About billn53

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    Obsessed Member
  • Birthday 15/12/1953

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    Huntsville AL, USA

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  1. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    A major milestone achieved today: First paint! Well, only on the wing, but it's still progress. Before I get into the details, I want to say straight out that I'm having doubts about the AK Xtreme Metal paints. I've heard good things about them, but I've never used them before. As you will learn, my first experience isn't 100-percent satisfactory. On with the show! My first task was to prep the wing and rear control surfaces for the metallic layers with a base coat of black. For this, I used AK's "Black Base" from the Xtreme Metal range: First problem -- the paint didn't want to get in to the "valleys" of the corrugated surface: Second issue -- The Xtreme Metal paints are pre-thinned for airbrushing. That means, a little bit does NOT go a long way. I used over half of the 30 ml bottle just for the wing! Better order some more... After the base coat was completely dry, I proceeded to mask off the leading edge, which I will keep black. I fully expected the corrugations to cause masking problems, so I used my "go to" tape for difficult jobs, Tamiya's masking tape for curves, which is a white vinyl product instead of the traditional paper-based tape. I used the tip of my needle forceps to coax the tape into the corrugations: Masking tape for curves does NOT want to naturally follow a straight line, and this turned out to be most difficult "straight line" masking job I've ever done. But, eventually, the job was finished: I also masked off the outer leading edge, and a few other minor places, and sprayed them with Xtreme Metal Dark Aluminum. My desire is to duplicate the different shades of metal as seen in this photo: Which led to the third problem: My paint, in a couple of locations and for no apparent reason, didn't want to level. This resulted in uneven coverage, which can be quite obvious with metallic paints. The biggest problem was with the outer panel on the left wing (compare with the corresponding panel on the right wing, above): As I said, there's no apparent rhyme or reason for why this happened in only certain areas. The right wing looks absolutely fine in comparison, and the entire wing was pre-painted with black base. Some things will always remain a mystery, I suppose Tomorrow's plan is to finish painting the wing using AK's "Matte Aluminum". I'll be crossing my fingers that all goes well with that!
  2. Ok my! That is so very well done. And photographed nicely as well.
  3. billn53

    Ford Trimotor nav light color?

    Thanks to everyone for the quick answers! Blue it shall be. - Bill
  4. billn53

    Ford Trimotor nav light color?

    I'm building Airfix's Ford Tri-motor (WIP here: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235045006-back-to-the-mountains-of-madness/&page=1 ) and have a quick question: Starboard wingtip light circa 1930 -- green or blue? Thanks! -Bill
  5. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    Continuing to work on the wing sub-assembly . . . This evening I finished up what should be the last details for the wing, prior to painting. First, the easy part -- scratching up and installing the "handles" for the wing's luggage doors: My patience was tested with replicating the navigation lights on the Tri-motor's rudder and wingtips. Very fiddly work it was, and I spent more time than I would have liked rescuing flyaway parts from the carpet monster. Here is what the nav lights look like on the actual aircraft: And my attempt at the same: After I paint the wing, I will use UV-activated acrylic to create the nav lights' lenses. Speaking of painting, the postman delivered more AK Xtreme Metals paints today, so I should be firing up my airbrush in the very near future! There's still much to be done (I've been putting off the engine pods, they will be a bear), but I'm beginning to think I just might get this Tri-motor finished in time for 2019!
  6. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    My plan, as much as I have one, is to treat the wing as a separate sub-assembly, completing it as much as possible before installing it on the fuselage. Today's progress report focuses on the landing lights in the wing leading edge. This is what I'm trying to model: The kit's representation leaves much to be desired. First step was to grind out a dish-shaped cavity for the light: I also will replace the kit's lenses with larger, but shallower, lenses made from UV-activated acrylic "glue". I placed appropriately-sized drops of the acrylic on a clean sheet of glass, zapped them with my UV flashlight, and lifted them off with a new razor blade. The resulting lenses look much better than the kit's (shown at the top of the photo below). Before adding the lenses, I will install miniature light bulbs in the dishes ground out in step 1. For these, I have some choices. I could use aftermarket lenses (relatively expensive on a per-light basis): Alternatively, I could go the budget route, which will require a bit more effort but should end up looking just as nice: That's it for right now. More later...
  7. Holy moly! I'm impressed by how well the "gloop method" is working out. I had my doubts but now I'm a believer.
  8. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    Thanks Matti! But, finishing the plane only gets me halfway to my goal. Then I'll be able to tackle the rest of my planned diorama. Fortunately, no more business trips for the rest of the year, and my company closes down between Christmas and New Years. So, plenty of time for building
  9. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    @Matti -- Per your recommendation, I've ordered off a larger gooseneck scraper plus a burnisher tool from Amazon. Today's progress report follows.... I have all of the various control horns finished. In addition to those on the nose (which I previously posted), today I focused on the horns for the control surfaces themselves (elevator, rudder, and ailerons). These I made from 0.005" brass shim. Here's an example of the elevator / rudder horns: The control horns for the ailerons are built in a similar fashion, except that I made separate items for the upper and lower horns: It may not seem like I've accomplished much today, but it took me a good three hours of work (not to mention potential harm to my eyesight)
  10. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    I just noticed that the double-ended horn for the elevator is too high up on the fuselage. I placed it where Airfix would have it, but it needs to be lower to match the actual aircraft. Also, where it is now might get in the way of the rudder cable.
  11. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    Thanks for the advice. I'll order the larger scraper and look into a sharpening tool.
  12. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    Yes, EZ Line is probably a better choice, fortunately I have some in my supply cabinet.
  13. Regardless of the kit's issues, when built up it can't help but be impressive. Great job on yours, I wish I had the room for one of my own!
  14. billn53

    Back to the Mountains of Madness

    It's cold and rainy all weekend, so I've stayed home and continued experimenting on building the control horns I will need. This evening I explored using styrene strip for the larger control horns beneath the cockpit. Here's my "best effort" thus far for the elevator horn: I also used styrene strip for the rudder control horn on the nose. The below pic shows both nose horns dry-fitted to the fuselage: Not too shabby, although I had to make the rudder control horn wider than its real-life counterpart so that I could drill a hole (#80 bit, my smallest) for the control cable (I intend to use invisible thread for those). Tomorrow I'll try building horns for the rudder/elevator/ailerons, probably from very thin brass sheet. If that works out, I might re-do the rudder control horn on the nose from brass, as well. Stay tuned!