Imperfection rewarded

I decided late last week to take a chance and enter a model in a local hobby store’s annual contest. And while I know this Airbus A320┬áhas flaws, I’m really proud of it, and thrilled to see that despite these flaws, it still warranted a third place. I don’t build for awards, and so this feels a little unusual putting something up for critique like this, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while.

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Mind-baffling thought of the day

There is a point at the edge of the universe where one side would be lit by the entirety of the universe – every star, every galaxy, every planet, every atom ever in existence – while the other side faces complete and utterly infinite and empty blackness. And that blackness is unlike anything found anywhere else. Black, to us, is an absence of color, but out there, black would mean an absence of anything.

Happy accident for the F150 build

I painted the AMT/ERTL F-150 engine in the specified black for the transmission and aluminum for the block. I opted to get a can of Model Master Metalizer Aluminum Plate, which is buffable to a high shine but which I was going to leave “raw” to look more like real aluminum. I haven’t found a spray aluminum that comes close to what the Metalizer can do. It’s pricy but the result is pretty realistic. The happy accident came when I made the “mistake” of removing the black parts after having unmasked the transmission. I should have known but forgot that my fingers would be coated in loose aluminum from the masking tape I’d used. Normally this would be a disaster. In this case, however, I found aluminum dust coating the high spots on the transmission and found that it looked much more realistic than just straight flat black.  I gave all of the black parts a light finger-brushing and then hit the “fins” on the valve covers and pulleys of the fan belt much more heavily. I couldn’t have purposely painted these parts any better. But I’m stopping here for the day while I’m ahead. I know what happens when I try to push on at this point: overreaching and eventually a frustrating (usually) minor disaster. 

Ghost of the Grand Banks

Titanic, one of my great interests from way back in the 80s – when it was discovered 13,000 feet under the sea – may no longer exist in twenty years thanks to a previously unknown bacteria that is quickly eating away at it. Sad as this makes me, it also motivates me to begin building the huge kit that I recently bought (an update to a kit I’d built back then, then chopped apart and modified to create a sunken diorama.) But first I have some amazing add-on parts sets to get which will result in a far more accurate replica of this great ship than I’d normally be capable of. Usually I prefer making my own solutions for missing detail but this is a special case. 

New project: F-150 Styleside

I began working on the jaw-dropping 600+ part 1/35 scale Caterpillar D7 from Miniart about a week ago, and after a day spent breaking stunningly small levers and losing other nearly invisibly-small parts, I packed it up. I can’t say I’ve ever had a kit give me a headache, but this one truly did. True to the company name, it’s a miniature piece of art, but there are only so many sesame-seed sized parts I can strain to connect before I have to give in. I’m not done forever, but I needed something more simple. Enter AMT/ERTL’s 1997 Ford F-150. Continue reading →