Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Showcase: Cyber-Hobby USS Michigan (SSBN-727)

1/350 USS Michigan; accompanied by a Veteran Models 1/350 SH-60 Seahawk (painted as a USCG MH-60 Jayhawk), Mark 48 torpedo, UGM-96 Trident I ballistic missile, and a custom display stand. Painted for a USN veteran who served aboard her.

The model was roughly 19" long and did not fit into my photo tent so the lighting is not nearly as good as I would like but it will do I suppose.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WIP: Cyber-Hobby USS Michigan (SSBN-727), Part 3

The hull of the Michigan is finally complete! Unfortunately, it took two tries... the first time around, I had some leakage in the masking and I found that I didn't bring the red portion of the hull up far enough and there was lots of uneven areas where the two colors met. I ended having to completely repaint the red, reapply the masking tape, making sure to burnish the edge down, and fixed all of the black. I found that the choice of NATO Black was perfect for the top half of the boat; it gives the look of being realistically "black" but not full-on deep black, which would look funny at this scale.
After a color test, I ended up using pure Rubber Black for the no-skid surface on the top of the boat. It turned out even better than I expected and is really subtle under normal lighting. The screw was painted with an undercoat of VMA Burnt Umber and then VMC Brass. The communication masts and periscope for the sail are drying after being painted with a mix of Ocean Gray 2 (XF-82) and Flat White (XF-2). The end result for the color is a pretty close match to haze gray, the color of surface ships. The color call-outs in the instructions call for the masts is light gull grey but I think the haze grey color I used looks nice. After they dry, I'll paint the black parts and the camouflage and attach them to the sail. The only thing left is to paint the black on the exterior of the missile hatches and add the decals (luckily, there are very few of them!).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

WIP: Cyber-Hobby USS Michigan (SSBN-727), Part 2.5

The brass name plaque I ordered came in the mail today and I think I picked the perfect size to go along with the display base. My special addition to the base will go to the left of the name plaque and the MH-60 Jayhawk will be secured to the right of the plaque.

As I often do when I work overnight, I was poking around various modeling forums and I came across this thread on Scale Model Addict. In it, a modeler is making the USS Maryland (SSBN-738) for someone that served aboard her. In building her, they chose to remove the recessed panel lines that run the length of the boat in order to make it more accurate to the real-life version. I went back and looked at various pictures of the Michigan and other Ohio-class submarines and found this to be correct, as can be seen here:
I've decided that I will also do this to my boat, which actually solves a concern I had with some of the panel lines on the model that I was unhappy with. My initial plan is to use Vallejo Plastic Putty to fill the panel lines and then gently sand them smooth. The putty is acrylic-based and isn't the most durable option available, but is the easiest to work with. If it doesn't turn out well, I'll use Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer which is lacquer based; it's effective but more difficult to work with.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

WIP: Cyber-Hobby USS Michigan (SSBN-727), Part 2

Missile hatches before sanding/primer
The Michigan is more or less complete in regards to construction. However, I have moved on to the laborious process of priming and sanding to make sure the seam running the length of the hull is completely invisible. So far, this has taken at least four prime-then-sand cycles to complete. Another unexpected surprise was a massive gap on every single closed missile hatch. I have see other modeler's builds of this boat and none of them had mentioned this in their write-ups so I'm not sure if this is a typical issue with this kit or only mine. Regardless, I made short work of them with some Vallejo Plastic Putty and some light sanding. After a couple blasts of primer, they were barely noticeable. I would like to get some paint on her sometime this week but I think there is another couple of rounds of sanding left to go before I begin that.

It's as small as it looks...
While one of my numerous coats of primer was drying, I moved on to pain the tiny helicopter that is supplied with the kit. My client specifically requested the helicopter to be painted as a United States Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk. After priming the helicopter, I gave it a base coat of Tamiya Flat White (XF-1) and then painted the orange markings with Vallejo Model Air Orange. I finally tracked down some 1/350 USGC decals after months of searching and while I don't have them in hand yet, I'm hoping they will work for this tiny model.

The plastic supports are temporary.
The display stand is made from a pinewood plaque and the supports (which I haven't made yet) will be made from pinewood 1"x2" board. I will stain the stand gunstock which should compliment the model nicely. I also ordered a brass nameplate for along with another surprise which I'm sure my client will enjoy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

WIP: Cyber-Hobby USS Michigan (SSBN-727)

After much sanding, the two haves of the Michigan are now smooth. The panel lines need to be scribed and it will be ready for primer (hopefully no more sanding...) and then some paint. The missile tubes will be white and the hull will be varying shades of black/grey to show the no-slip surfaces and other details. I have a bunch of black and dark grey paints so it will most likely be a combination of Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1), NATO Black (XF-69), Rubber Black (XF-85) with using Light Grey (XF-66) or Neutral Grey (XF-53). The hull below the waterline is red so I will use Hull Red (XF-9) highlighted with Flat Red (XF-7).

Friday, April 3, 2015

Model Kit Review: Bandai 1/12 R2-D2 & R5-D4


You're a feisty little one!
R2-D2, the plucky little astromech droid, along with his counterpart C-3PO, is undoubtedly one of the most important characters in the Star Wars saga. Played by the British actor Kenny Baker and voiced by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, R2-D2 played a defining role in the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. From helping to destroy the first Death Star, accompanying Luke on his Jedi training on Dagobah, aiding Chewbacca, Leia, and Lando during their escape from Cloud City, and once again saving Luke, Han, and Leia from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Artoo cemented his status as one of the most famous robots in cinema history.