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Graham In Oz

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About Graham In Oz

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  • Birthday 07/01/1962

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    Armidale, New South Wales

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  1. Aww, you'll have me blushing! Thanks for the kind remarks. I guess one thing I'm not short of is perseverance - a legacy of many years of software development For a supposedly 'simple' build it threw up some surprises. Oh well, all part of the relearning. I've never used Alclad myself, though many people swear by them. The AK metals are supposed to give almost identical results, but are a lot more user-friendly - at least that's what the various YouTube videos I watched on the topic claim. I think my problems with them were probably down to overthinking it, and applying too many layers. I tried a quick spray on a half-built Harrier to try out different paints before committing to the TriStar, and those came out really perfectly - but I didn't endlessly fiddle with it. Lesson there I think. On the other hand, I'm quite pleased with the engines in the end - of all the natural metal on the model, they look the most realistic. The intake lips are a bit thick, but thinning them down and shaping them was difficult due to the internals of the engine being in place. If there was a way to fit the core and fan of the engine after closing the nacelle halves, It would have been much easier to have at it with a file, etc. If I were the kit manufacturer, I'd have gone for a moulding where the intake ring was a single piece that fitted to the rest of the engine. Overall I think the Eastern kit isn't bad, if you can manage the lack of locating pins and so forth. Detailing is very good overall, though perhaps the panel lines could be subtler. I'm not quite at the level for filling the lot and redoing them from scratch. The front undercarriage leg is rather chunky and not very true to the real thing, and the main wheel bogies are also on the crude side - but there was enough material to rework them somewhat to suggest brakes and other details, plus the PE hydraulic lines and compression linkage add a lot of realism. To be honest at this scale it's a moot point - you need a magnifying glass to see anything. I think I'll do the Britannia next. Strictly OOB this time. It may have to wait for warmer weather though. In the meantime, I'm going to be working on the wife to buy a display case for the loungeroom, otherwise I literally have nowhere to put any of the finished models anyway! The other thing about this build was that it has greatly expanded my toolkit and materials - I should be set up to build anything a lot more quickly next time. Thanks to everyone for your very kind feedback and encouragement, it has really helped me push on when things looked like they were not worth the trouble.
  2. OK, I'm calling it finished. To be honest it's not as good as I really hoped - I guess my talent is not really in line with my ambition just yet. There are lots of little things that make it less than 100%, and overall it's not quite up there with the models that inspired me from @Skodadriver and @phil1, but for my first one in 41 years, I'm trying to look on the bright side! I plan to do some proper photography in due course for RFI, but here's a quick few shots of the finished thing on the kitchen table taken on my phone, for those kind enough to have followed along with the build and encouraged me through one or two little problems. I still need to make a display stand, and the 'TriStar' decal on the port side got damaged, so I need to redo that (I have the spare from the old brittle sheet). There may need to be a few final tweaks to the weathering also - what I have so far may need toning down a tad, especially on the upper wing surfaces - need to live with it for a bit see what I think. Another admission is that the final detailing of all the little antennas, pitot tubes and so on defeated me. The PE parts were just too fiddly for my eyesight and patience, given that they were about 2mm long and ½ mm wide, and needed CA glue which quite frankly I absolutely loathe. Does anybody like working with that stuff? Is there an alternative? I may yet give it another go if I can find the patience! Thanks for looking!
  3. Thanks for the compliment, but quite honestly I reckon a real expert would have recovered it without having to redo the paintjob almost from scratch!
  4. Finally some progress! The new decals went on without any real problems, so I think I'm on the final straight now. From the disaster of this: To this: My plan was to stop there, and complete the decaling on the finished model - only the colour stripe really needed the wings and tailplane absent for careful application, but since I was set up for it and it was all going so well, I decided to continue with all of the fuselage decals. So I'm pretty happy with the results. Thanks again to Ray at 26 Decals for the replacement sheet - I can report that they were like night and day compared to the first sheet, and were flexible and obedient! If anyone else is contemplating building this livery, definitely make sure you get the modern sheet straight from the source, (STS44279 and NOT STS4499). This also uses the windows and cockpit from Authentic Airliners. There are still numerous small detail decals to add to this, but I'll save those for the final reveal, which shouldn't be too far off now! Thanks for looking.
  5. Very quick update - new decals have arrived. They seem to be superior in every way to the first edition sheets, not only in terms of print quality and flexibility, but also in detail rendering. I'm going to attempt to use the colour stripe once again, though in the repainting of the fuselage I left a white stripe there that could be used to paint the colour stripe. One of the other things that's holding me up at the moment is the weather - it's winter here in Australia and I do my modelling in the garage, an unheated space. It's f-f-f-freezing! Anyone who thinks Australia doesn't get cold is quite wrong! (plus I'm at 1000m ASL on top of the range, so we're getting -5° nights ATM). But I should have an update in a day or so all being well.
  6. Hi Rob, Well... I haven't posted since then because I don't want to be that guy who's always moaning about something or other! I'd rather wait until I have something positive... But since you ask, yes I'm waiting on the new decals sheet, but I had to rub back the paint all the way to the primer to remove the aborted attempt. Masking and respraying the whole thing takes quite a bit of time, especially with extended drying times and having to fit it all in around work and so on. On removing the masking tape I pulled away a small bit of paint where I hadn't rubbed it back quite enough, so that'll need sorting. So at the moment it's 2 steps forward, 1 back. Hopefully will have some progress soon. Really, there's very little left to do - just the undercarriage, final paint, decals and glue all the big bits together. Thinking about next projects - I have a Britannia and a Boeing 720 to do (both Roden) with 26 Decals' Monarch livery for both. Beyond that, not sure. If I'm going to be building models, I want to have some sort of coherent plan for era, scale, etc rather than just build randomly. The 'Luton '73' thing is one strand (hence the Monarch planes) but I also quite fancy doing some British military aircraft of the 50s and 60s. Also British airliners of the same era, so a VC10 would definitely be on the list at some point.
  7. I had a lovely reply from Ray at 26, offering a FOC replacement sheet. Turns out that it has been reprinted by a different manufacturer more recently, and the set I have is the older one. It could have sat around in a store for 10 years, which maybe why it's so brittle. I still may repaint the colours, but I'll await the updated sheet and see whether it's more forgiving first. Ray also said that the white background is overprinted twice on the newer sheet and is definitely opaque! So things maybe don't look so bad - it's a new day Also, great customer service Ray!
  8. I've also been very impressed with the community spirit here, and I'll definitely press on. Thanks for all your support! It may be a few days before I can face up to the reality of so many steps backward though. (And it's worse than it seems - after failing to remove the decals, I was forced to take the 3000 grit sponge to them which has removed large areas of the paint that was there. One thing I could not fault is the adhesion of the darn things! Effectively it means starting over with the fuselage painting.) I've sent a polite note to Ray at 26 - not so much casting aspersions as trying to find if there's a better way to handle them they'd recommend. Since I want to do a few more models with 26 decals, I'm hoping the problem is confined to this one set and not endemic to the printing process or my own technique (or lack of).
  9. Decaling - a total disaster. OK, I'm going to call it as I find it. I know 26 Decals have an excellent reputation, and I'm effectively a beginner, but despite taking every care that a person reasonably could, these decals are not fit for purpose. They are, of necessity, large. And they must conform to a whole heap of compound curves. But they are so incredibly brittle that the slightest need to conform breaks them up. Long cracks appear at even the gentlest touch. I'm using Microset and Microsol to help apply and conform the decals, but these are not helping. There is literally zero flexibility in the substrate of the decals - they have no chance to stretch by even the slightest amount to conform. It's not as if I'm forcing them - I was extremely patient and took my time, waiting for the softener to take effect, and applying the gentlest of pressure using a cotton bud and a soft paint brush. Nope, cracks all the way. The brittleness is unlikely to be an issue with small decals, but these large ones are unusable. It makes me wonder if 26 ever actually checked these on a built up kit to see how usable they were - I can't believe they'd be happy to sell a product this troublesome to a modeller. The opacity is not sufficient to fully cover the paint line after all. That isn't a fault I'm laying at 26's door - I should have considered that. If this was the only issue, I could live with it. But they have other faults - the shape of the stripe at the nose end is wrong when compared to reference images, and the join between the tail decal and the rear fuselage decal has inconsistencies in the width of the white line either side of the colour, so they don't quite line up without a visible join. And the colour of the tail piece doesn't exactly match the fuselage pieces (they are printed on different sheets). So I'm going to have to paint the full colour scheme after all. It's a shame, because it was the discovery of the existence of these decals that led me to build the thing in the first place. That's if I can remove them without damaging the paint. Thoroughly demoralised at this point.
  10. Wings: No real dramas here, just painting, masking, masking again and painting. The orange gloss ended up a bit orange-peeley but it rubbed back with no problems and I managed not to go all the way through to the underlying white layer (which I ended up spraying over the grey as it was too dark). Then it was time to finally assemble the flaps and build the secondary flaps. These proved to be quite tricky as I hadn't really thought about how I was going to fix them in until it was all assembled and painted. The final result looks good from the top but isn't quite true to life from below, since there's no opening where air flows around the secondary flap. In fact there's no real detail here and almost impossible to find reference images for it - almost all walkarounds of aircraft on the ground have the flaps fully raised. So there's scope for doing something in there but I'm not really sure what. For now that's the wings more or less finished other than a gloss coat, decals, and weathering. I haven't decided how far to go with weathering yet - these aircraft were brand new in Court service and the airline didn't last long enough to see them deteriorate much. Even the preshading might be a bit excessive. Next main job is decaling. Thanks for looking!
  11. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! With so much praise for these paints I was expecting them to be foolproof, but so far not the case (at least for this fool). No, the tape was only on for a few minutes, over paint that had dried for 24 hours. Gum residue was present, but the effect on the paint was not just that, it seemed to cause it to 'bunch up' and become lumpy. It's hard to describe! Still, the polishing approach might be the way forward, when I come to paint those areas of the wings and tailplane that are natural polished aluminium. They should be easier since there's not the same necessity for masking.
  12. Engines. Well, a frustrating day but came good in the end I think. I'm using AK Interactive's 'Xtreme Metal' paints for natural metal finishes. Everyone online praises these to the skies, noting in particular that masking tape can be applied over the finish and it won't pull it away. Well, that's not my experience. Not only does Tamiya tape (detacked on the back of my hand to reduce adhesion) pull the aluminium finish away, it reacts with it in a strange manner, causing the paint to appear to detach from the base coat. In fact the paint doesn't seem to want to properly adhere to the base coat, even though I'm using AK's own 'black base', supposedly intended for these finishes. I must be doing something wrong, but I don't know what. I left the base to dry for 24 hours and the aluminium to dry also for 24 hours, so they should be 100% dry. Maybe that's wrong, and it's better to overspray it when the base is only touch dry, so that there's more adhesion between layers. The other factor could be that where I'm spraying is quite cold - probably less than 15°C. Grasping at straws - I really don't know what's happening. Anyway, after a few goes at it, removing the masking tape produced this sort of result, which I was unhappy with: This shows the weird effect I'm getting. The front part of the cowl was perfectly smooth, but then masked to paint the middle part with a slightly different tone. After removing the tape, the front part ends up with this horrible finish that's sort of 'lumpy'. The middle part, being just sprayed, is perfect. But to respray the front and rear parts, the middle part has to be masked, so then the crappy finish ends up there. If anyone can put their finger on what the issue is here, I'd be grateful for your advice. I did remask and respray the front and rear parts of the cowl, and sure enough the middle part ended up 'lumpy'. Not only that but the resprayed areas ended up all bloomed and not smooth and shiny at all, despite reprepping it by rubbing back to the base coat with 3000 grit. This is when I was ready to scream, and in frustration, and figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to attempt to polish the paint lightly using a cotton pad on my Dremel. To my surprise this converted the nasty paint job into a truly realistic looking natural metal finish, even though it was starting to allow the black base to just begin to show through. (The photos once again probably don't do the effect justice). I decided at that point to repeat the process on the other engine and call them done (other than the RR decals). The final result is, by a fluke, as good as I could have hoped. While I'm happy enough as it turns out, I would have preferred to have got there on purpose rather than by accident! So if anyone has any tips regarding painting metal finishes, I'm love to hear 'em. Thanks for looking!
  13. Update: Wings and Engines. While I'm waiting for gloss clearcoat to arrive, I've put together the engines and solved the issue of the leading edge slats. I kept the amount of modification to the kit wings down to a minimum and the results are not too bad, though not perfect. I think once fully assembled and painted they'll look pretty good though. I removed just enough material from the upper leading edge surface to suggest a recessed area without going right through the plastic. I then sawed a series of slots to take the vertical elements of the slats. It's hard to be sure if these are really in the right places - that's where the kit had scribed lines, but some reference images suggest there may be more. Still, that's what I went with. After that, I scratched up the slats themselves in the manner outlined in the earlier post using a piece of thin flat and a half-round strip. In the end I didn't need the EPO and the resulting recess formed a very natural place to attach them to the wings. With some crafty painting, these should look pretty realistic. The slat is a bit wide towards the wingtip, but by the time I realised this it was a bit too late to fix. I've made a start on the painting with priming and a bit of preshading, though I think to get the colour density sufficient, the preshading will end up disappearing - I should have gone with a white base coat instead of grey. So much for that. I also built up the engines. The only tricky aspect to these were the fact that the main fan is replaced by a PE part which was a bit fiddly, but not too bad. The spinner from the kit part is sawn off and attached to the PE to make the complete fan. The worst thing about it was that it was slightly too large a diameter, so the nacelle halves didn't want to close. I ended up scraping a recess around the inside edge of each half to take the fan, but the plastic being so thin I could only do it up to a point. Forcing the halves to close slightly concaved the fan, as well as forcing it to sit at a slightly unrealistic angle within the engine. Hopefully neither of these things will be noticeable, but it was a small point of irritation - why couldn't they have made the PE fan to actually fit? Having got the nacelles to close, some EPO was needed to fix up a small dent in the front casing where the halves met (normal putty wouldn't stick in such a small area). After filing and sanding these back to shape, it was on to painting. Should have these finished tomorrow... Thanks for looking!
  14. Hah, well I guess under the circumstances your feelings about the plane are understandable. Personally, I've never flown on one, though probably have been on nearly every other type since its time and some from before, like the DC-8, 1-11 and Trident. As a pimply schoolboy it was the fab colours that inspired me! Court went bust in '74 at much the same time as Nixon bit the dust - my memories of the two events are linked, along with the ominous 'News At Ten' signature tune and Gordon Honeycombe's grave tidings. Those colours graced the skies over Hertfordshire for a scant 18 months. The TriStar always looked 'right' though, in a way that the DC-10 just didn't, somehow. Apologies to DC-10 fans out there. Learning more about the aircraft as part of this build hasn't made me change my opinion on that score - it's a pity it wasn't the commercial success it deserved to be. Eastern also do a TriStar 500 if you wanted to model the RAF version. While the engineering of the kits are a bit on the crude side, the overall moulding quality and detailing is pretty good. You can find them on eBay and they are much cheaper than an old stock Airfix version. D'oh! Now you point it out, putting the demarcation right on the line makes total sense - why didn't I think of that? Now I'm at the mercy of the decal's opacity (unless I repaint, which I'm somewhat disinclined to do). I will also use the photocopy idea, it may turn out that the line isn't right at the nose end, where the decal tapers to a point (or should do - actually the 26 Decals sheet has a small error in this area and doesn't come to a point. Decided to live with that.) I've had to put the decal application on short hold however, because I was trying to get hold of some Future to apply a clear coat. My efforts in that area have failed (some friends were tasked to bring some back from the US but forgot), and Amazon Australia have it listed at $212 a bottle!!!!! What is it made from, gold leaf wrapped in rocking horse poo? So plan B is to use Humbrol gloss clear, but it'll take a week to come. So in the meantime it's back to the wings... By the way, thanks everyone for all your kind comments and encouragement - it's nice to get off to such a welcome (re)start. As for next projects, I may do a few more 'Luton 73' era airliners - I have a Monarch Britannia and 720 waiting in the wings, but these will be OOB compared to this one.
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