Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

Today I decided to take the documentation of my hobby to a new level by adding a HD webcam to my workbench. I originally wanted to take an ordinary camera (2 to 3 mega pixel range) and have it take photos at regular intervals to basically "catch me in the action". I figured that I was already taking plenty of photos as the projects progress, why not have me in them as well... Unfortunately I could not find a camera that could do the job.

Webcams did come to mind early on but the resolution was too low (VGA quality which is not even 1 mega pixel). A few days ago I found out about the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema which can shoot 720p video and up to 4.7 mega pixel photos, much more then what I had been looking for. And it also just so happens that it was on special and I had a gift card making it an easier purchase to justify to my wife since it wouldn't cost a penny!!! The retail price at Future shop is $99 and I got it for $63, that what I call a good deal!

So after testing it on my computer I drilled a small hole in my office which is next door to my workshop and passed the USB cable through, then clamped it to the shelf above my workbench. I then realized after a few adjustments that since the camera will never move I could eventually make a stop motion movie of me building a scale model from A to Z (future project).

Below are photos of how it is setup in my workshop.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fuselage Complete

Just completed cutting and gluing the ribs to the fuselage of the aircraft. In all I am surprised at how quick it is to build and fun. The fuselage has taken a total of 4 hours and 27 minutes to complete.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Triplane Body Assembly

This evening I started to assemble the body of the triplane with a new type of glue that I have never used before called "UHU hart". I was told that this was excellent glue to use on balsa wood since it dries quick and clear. The glue is from Germany and there is no English/French writing on it (instruction on the tube are in German, Greek and two other languages that I do not recognize) and I was a bit sceptical (especially at $10 for a 35ml tube) but just as the guy at the hobby shop stated it works very very well (no buyer remorse).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fokker DR-1 Triplane

My son Casey who is 3½ will be getting a new room soon with a transportation theme (cars, trucks and planes) and I thought what better then a large plane suspended from his ceiling. Unfortunately plastic models are too small and so I opted for a balsa wood kit which to be honest I have never built before or even considered building.

I chose the Fokker DR-1 Triplane for several reasons:
  1. This particular kit is laser cut so the parts just fall out unlike tranditional balsa kits.

  2. It was on special for $30 instead of $50!

  3. A Red Baron Triplane, what could be more classic!

So over the next few months I will be working with new materials and hopefully turning my favorite hobby into a fasination for my son!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finished the V-1!

Tonight I finished the V-1 and am happy to have another project completed under my belt. I've tried several new techniques which have taught me valuable lessons for future projects. For the first time I experimented with spraying a clear coat and figured out how to mount a flying model on a stand. Overall it was a simple model which allowed me to improve many skills/techniques, the Tamiya V-1 took 7 hours and 11 minutes to build.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mounting the V-1 (third attempt)

When I cam to remove the alligator clips placed on October 31st the movement was too much despite being very delicate with the model and it snapped the glue bond again! After doing some research I decided to drill into the V-1 and insert the plastic rod into it with some krazy glue. Unlike my previous attempts I decided to glue the rod straight instead of at an angle since the V-1 was designed to fly straight and level due to its gyroscopes.

Despite my hesitations of drilling a hole into a nice model, it worked very well and is sturdy. Looking on forums and web sites no one was really clear on how to mount an aircraft with an acrylic rod, drilling a hole appears to be the best method.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mounting the V-1 (first and second attempt)

With the V-1 complete I proceeded on gluing the plastic rod to the model with krazy glue. I tilted it at an angle and once dry I glued the plastic rod to the picture frame. Everything was going well until I started to manipulate the frame once the glue had dried; the V-1 snapped from the rod and fortunately unlike its real counterpart did not explode on impact. Sustaining no damage from the fall I glued a second time. Since the plastic rod was firmly glued to the base and that I had the V-1 at an angle, it was very hard to keep it in the correct position. I had to resort to using alligator clips and large Popsicle sticks as shown in the photo.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Thin Black Line

After removing the 3M painter’s tape and leaving the Tamiya masking tape on the red section of the hull, I masked the grey area with more Tamiya tape. I then preceded to hand paint the black line with Tamiya XF-1 “Flat Black”. Looking at the photo below I am very pleased with the results!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Painting the Hull Grey

I used 3M painter’s masking tape on top of the Tamiya tape to cover large areas of the red hull as well as the inner hanger area/doors in preparation to airbrushing the rest of the hull grey.

Below is the freshly airbrushed hull where I used Tamiya XF-19 “Sky Grey” acrylic paint with X-20A Tamiya thinner.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hull Red

With the hull painted with Model Master Acrylic “Insignia Red” (Flat) FS331136, I masked the hull with Tamiya tape to proceed with the next step in painting the remainder of the hull grey. Unfortunately I masked it too high and had to start redo it because I did not leave enough space for the black line that will be painted between the red and grey sections.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I decided to use a picture frame as the base for the V-1 and used Adobe Photoshop to turn a color photo of an English landscape into a sepia/grainy photo which may have looked like a real photo from the Second World War. I placed my order at Wal-Mart to get it printer (only 19 cents) and now all I need to do is find a nice picture frame.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was my 30th birthday and it was celebrated with family today in Trois-Rivieres. My wife had asked me what kind of cake I wanted and having seen some photos of aircraft carrier cakes while doing research about the U.S.S. Midway I had asked for one. I was a bit doubtful that I would get my request but my lovely wife actually went ahead and had her friend make one for me. It looked great and tasted good too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Photo Eteched Nets

I completed replacing the plastic nets on the deck of the Midway with photo etched ones. It looks nice but I have had a few incidences where I had to re-glue them due to mishandling, I have learned to be careful when manipulating the deck piece.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Photo Eteched Nets

Today I started to replace the plastic nets with photo etched ones, its tricky working with photo etched parts since they are so thin but they sure look nice!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finally Finished Drilling!

Having started back on May 25th its taken several months but I have finally completed drilling the holes into the deck of the Midway. Working between 5 to 15 minutes at a time over a period of 82 days (or almost 12 weeks) I drilled 2092 holes taking a total of 7 hours and 4 minutes (yes I timed it with my watch). The work was long but I believe that the results were worth it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Airbrushing a V-1 Belly

This evening I took took out my airbrush for the first time this year and airbrushed the belly of the V-1 Tamiya XF-23 Light Blue. The instructions indicated using Tamiya AS-5 but this is a pre-mix spray can which costs almost as much as the model and the XF-23 was a very close match.

Monday, June 22, 2009

V-1 Assembly

I decided to put together the V-1 scale model which consisted of only 7 parts (this must be the smallest scale model I every built) and quickly realized that the seams between the two halves of the body where not flush. I ended up spending about an hour sanding the seams smooth but the model looks very nice. I also decided to cut off the spinner at the tip of the V-1 for fear that I would break it while manipulating the model, hope it won't be too hard to align properly when reattaching it.
In the photo above the air intake looks crooked , this is normal as has been placed temporarily so that it can be airbrushed. Also the yellow rod at the end of the exhaust is a temporary aid for painting purposes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Jig is Up!

I wanted to recreate the holes which criss cross and cover the flight deck just as I did with the hangar deck back in October 2008. These holes have a cross in them and are used to attach aircraft and equipment securely to the deck.

I used Adobe Photoshop and printed out a template with the criss cross pattern on a transparent sheet of paper used to print labels. Whats nice is that the paper has a low tack so it is easy to remove afterwords. I decided to use this system for following reasons:
  • The jig system worked well for a straight linear part line a hangar deck but not for a Y deck of a carrier.
  • The carrier deck has details that I do not want to drill into which I cannot see properly with a jig.
  • The alignment of the jig as it was being displaced on the deck to drill a new set of holes was difficult and not precise.
I have worked for about 40+ minutes so far with the new system and the alignment is excellent. Unfortunetly I estimate that I will have several hours of drilling before all is complete.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Modeling Workbench

FineScale Modeller April 2009 editor made a request to its readers to submit photos of there workbench for a future article. Hopefully my picture will make the cut...

Saturday, February 14, 2009


While on a one week vacation in Cuba I was enjoying the annual Great Scale Modeler 2009 on the white sand beaches of Cayo Santa Maria at the hotel "Melia las Dunas".

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

F-4S Phantom

Today I completed the last of the fighter squadrons with this set if six F-4S Phantoms. Compared to the other two squadrons the Phantoms had a lot more masking during the paint job due to the black and gray stripes. I also drilled out the exhaust to add extra details.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

EA-6B Prowler Refueling Probes

Just like the A-6E Intruders I installed refueling probes on the pair of AE-6B Prowlers. Unfortunetly I dropped one on the floor and the probe is painted light gray. It just so happens that I painted my workshop floor light gray as well back in November of 2008 and considering its small size I never found it again (surprise surprise).Fortunately using a bit of extra metal from the photo etched set I was able to recreate another one.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A-6E Intruder Refueling Probes

I recently realized that on the photo etched USN SUPERCARRIER set by Gold Medal Models I had ordered back in May of 2008 contained refueling probes for both the A-6E Intruders and the EA-6B Prowlers. I had previously attempted to create theses probes myself with small wires and bits of plastic without success (it is a very small part to create!). When I saw the parts located underneath the helicopter blades I immediately got to work painting and installing them on the nose of the aircraft which was not an easy task but I am pleased with the extra level of detail it provides.