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Dear modellers,

Recent surgery has given me an opportunity to “get back into modelling”, something I last did, well, some 30 years ago. Along with the military stuff, I have fond memories of building airliners, notably Airfix’s Trident (BEA livery), a BAC 111 (British Caldonian) and a VC10 (BOAC). So, I thought I’d try one now……Revell’s Airbus A319, in British Airways livery, mainly because these beasties flit over my house every hour on their way into Heathrow.

I would like to make “a good go of it” but perusing this forum has left me quite overwhelmed in terms of the tools, techniques and tricks you guys use to make your models represent the real thing. The quality I have to say here is pretty awesome. Long gone it seems are the days of the simple brush and the Quality Street tin full of Humbrol enamels!

Therefore, what I’d like to ask is, in respect to airliner modelling per se, what would be your top five tips for a “returnee”?

Many thanks

flexi

ps. it looks like passenger windows are going to be a challenge - what happened to those clear plastic strip windows?

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There are no techniques that are "reserved" for airliners in particular. All your basic model building skills for military subjects will be useful; after all, you're gluing pieces of plastic together to make them appear to be one piece no matter what the final colour scheme is :)

You'll want to do some practise in preparing the model for a nice gloss coat but don't fall into the trap of making it slick and glossy like a car; airliners just aren't that slick. Check out the pictures on airliners.net or jetphoto.net to see what real working airplanes look like.

If you're rebuilding your toolbox, you'll want a razor knife (with lots of spare blades), sandpaper of many different grades, needle files, tweezers, rubber bands, bulldog clamps and clothes pins, liquid glue (not that tube stuff) with a small brush to apply it, and filler putty. Superglue is also useful. Getting farther into the bank account, an airbrush and compressor are excellent investments. Take the time to learn how to use it properly, and how to mix the different types of paint you'll find yourself using.

Here's a good website which takes you through the basics. If you like dead trees, there are a couple recent books on the subject you may wish to pick up.

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Hi Flexi, welcome back to the hobby buddy! Most people fill their windows now and sand flat with some wet and dry. The world of airline modelling as moved on a lot from 30 years ago. Loads of aftermarket goodies and greater kits now as well buddy. Can't wait to see your 319 come alive

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I would like to make “a good go of it” but perusing this forum has left me quite overwhelmed in terms of the tools, techniques and tricks you guys use to make your models represent the real thing. The quality I have to say here is pretty awesome. Long gone it seems are the days of the simple brush and the Quality Street tin full of Humbrol enamels!

Therefore, what I’d like to ask is, in respect to airliner modelling per se, what would be your top five tips for a “returnee”?

Ok my top five tips as a Britmodeller wannabe...

1) Don't be overwhelmed by this forum! The overall standard here can be incredibly impossibly high however compare the forum member numbers with the actual builders who post their work here and the low ratio tells you something very significant. If you post a build here you are special.

2) Nothing wrong with Humbrol enamels in a Quality Street tin. I keep mine in a plastic shoe box :winkgrin: Might move on to Vallejo or Tamiya paints one day, when I feel ready. Just do what works for you.

3) Do try some of the techniques and tricks but just one or two at a time, don't overdo it. So who came up with the idea of Blu-Tack to mask camouflage patterns? A revelation! :yahoo: Thanks fella!

4) An airbrush and a compressor is definitely worth investing in. Nothing wrong with a 'hairy brush' at all but a reasonable (and low cost) airbrush such as a Harder & Steenbeck Ultra in my case is worth investing in. Be prepared for a steep learning curve however when you apply that perfect Humbrol gloss it is so satisfying!

5) Lastly, identify what you were and are good at and concentrate on that. Back in the 70's my holy grail was using metallic foil to simulate Natural Metal finishes as did many modellers and I was quite good at that. In more recent years I have experimented and this Revell F-89C http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234913306-revell-148th-f-89c-scorpion/?hl=%2Bf-89c+%2Bscorpion was a huge achievement for me.

"Airliner modelling per se" I have no idea however this is what has worked for me.

Good luck and welcome!

Michael

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Welcome back!

A good (and cheap and easy) way to glaze windows is to use a dab of PVA glue on the end of a cocktail stick... let it dry and you'll have perfectly clear windows.

Tom

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Welcome to the wonderful world of model airliners.

My top tip is to find your own style and enjoy building to a standard which suits you. There are some awesome modellers around here and by all means aspire to their standards but whatever you do don't let it take the fun out of modelling.

My second tip is to invest in the book Building and Detailing Scale Commercial Aircraft by Mark Stanton, Easyjet captain, airliner modeller and member of this forum. It has a slightly unusual layout in that it reads like a series of projects rather than a conventional "how to" book but it's full of tips, techniques, useful advice and practical, hands-on modelling experience. Amazon are currently selling it for the slightly odd price of £12.91

My third tip is to treat this site as a resource. The search facility is very good but if you can't find what you need just post your question in the appropriate bit of the civil aviation forum (i.e. "Classic" or "Modern") and somebody will almost certainly come up with the answer.

To deal with one of your specific points, you mention cabin windows being a challenge. Many of us, myself included, always fill the windows and use decals. With some kits, notably Minicraft, you don't really have an option unless you want to drill and cut out every window by hand. There are pros and cons to window decals but ultimately it's a matter of taste and personally I think the pros win hands down, basically because I'm lazy. Using decals saves doing boring things like filling individual windows which airlines have plugged or relocating windows which are in the wrong place and it also eliminates insanity-inducing tasks like trying to reproduce the silver window frames which are often very noticeable.

HTH

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Thanks everyone for the guidance, much appreciated!

The kit arrived this morning and having a quick look I'm surprised by the mount of "flash" there is (and how small the kit is!). Need to go and buy a rat tailed file me thinks.

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one other thbing worth mentioning when it comes to paint is that Halfords do a nice line in spray colours

gloss appliance white is the most used (for obvious reasons)

and they do have a bliue which is close enough for BA's current scheme tho' I can't remember what it's called

...somebody here will know...

if you go the halfords route, use sparingly and don't hold the can close to the model - spray from aboput a foot or so away

with a quick 'swoosh' across the kit.

Takes a bit of practice but it's worthwhile -

There will still be a bubbly orange-peel effect so get rid of this with micromesh - a musthave...go get some!

Use as directed and your pait job will be beautifully smooth

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Halfords plastic primer is also very good even if you plan to finish your model with airbrushed Humbrol, Xtracolor or whatever. Spray it as Kev1n advises, leave it to dry for a day or so then rub down with French polisher's wire wool and you should have a superb surface for your chosen finishing coat. I totally endorse the recommendation for Micromesh but it's fairly expensive and I usually keep it for finishing the top coat.

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Welcome to Britmodeller Flexi :)

My advice:

1. Have fun - enjoy your modelling above all else

2. some good advice above. I've learned loads since joining here in 2009 as there's many great modellers willing to share their knowledge

The big difference in how I build now compared to being a kid is that I plan before I start a build and in doing so try to plan in a technique that's new (to me) where I think it could be useful. That way, you can ask for help in advance.

I reckon a large percentage on here have come back to the hobby after a long break, so you're already at home :)

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Thanks guys for the Halfords spray can tip - will definitely give them a try.

Also, is there a Halfords spray can colour you would recommend for the light grey (for painting the underneath of the wings, flaps and trailing edges)? The instructions that came with the kit suggest a mix of 95% light grey (Revell colour 371) and 5% greyish green (Revell color 362), which seems a bit of a chore!

Thanks

flexi

Edited by flexi
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Essential tools:

• sanding sticks (nail files might perhaps be cheaper, they look similar I think, also used for polishing the plastic as a final effort)

• masking tape (e.g Tamyia masking tape)

• airbrush and compressor (still haven't gotten myself this yet and it is annoying)

When/if cutting loose photo etched parts, don't use a scissor or anything like that for cutting loose the parts, the plate will bend and curl up.

Use a scalpel blade to cut loose the photo etched parts, and then use a designated file to file the parts clean while holding the parts with some FLAT pliers (jewelry pliers I think it says in my hobby shop, pink handle).

Nowadays, the plastic kits sold in stores might be of greatly differing quality, because of how really old kits are resold today in some fancy new package. Might be a good idea to look for news regarding new releases.

I was happy buying this Sovremenny class destroyer 1:350 kit from Trumpeter recently. It has lots of photo etched parts and iirc is a "new-tooling" release from 2011 unless I am mistaken. Trumpeter also sell a WW2 British destroyer "Eskimo", but it lacks most of the railings (only photo etched parts for some parts of that boat, don't know why the rest was missing).

Edited by Decoman
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Things are progressing with this beastie but I've reached a bit of a stumbing block and that is...what is the best way to hide the fine join line between the engine halves, once cemented together? If I use filler I'm worried I might be left with a bit of a bulge, even after sanding. Any advice?

Thanks

Stuart

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I guess you're refering to the join inside the intake. My personal way is to apply the minimum amount of filler to the join using the pointy end of a small cable tie. To file it smooth when dry, I use an old style 'Bic' biro pen top. I stick a small piece of wet 'n' dry to the outer side of the clip part (that holds it in your top pocket) and use that to file it down. I have a few that I use with different grades of w'n'd to end with the finest. Once painted, the joint can't be seen.

Dave

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Flexi,

I built a Revell A319 some years back and it is a fantastic kit and goes together well. Mine was the Austrian Airlines boxing, which came with window decals.

I have now acquired a Revell A320 which uses some sprues common to the A319, so I am hoping it will be as good to build as the A319 was.

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