Wednesday, 26 June 2013

1/48th Pfalz DIII WIP Pt.2

And here we go with part two of the 1/48th Pfalz DIII work in progress (Click here for PART ONE).

So the rigging begins... I didn't realise how complex the front wing rigging would be, it looked reasonably simple on the instructions provided by Eduard, but when I did a little more research I found the Wingnut Wings website. They produce a Pfalz in 1/32nd and incredibly helpfully post the instruction booklet online. This has a full rigging diagram, so I used that, rather than the one in the kit.

Like with the my SE5a, I went for the old school stretched sprue method. I'm glad I did, because I think I would have gone blind if I'd used the professional modeller methods espoused by Bob at Bob's Buckles (as good as they are!).

Alternatively, here is how I did it. First, clip off a piece of sprue, this one is about four centimetres long, it doesn't matter about the length too much but you'll need enough on either end to hold onto with your fingers. So unless you have sausage fingers this is probably about the right size:

Tools of the trade; I use a lighter to melt the plastic, but you could easily use a candle like a tealight or another source of flame. I was going to use candles myself, but kept forgetting to buy any when I was in town so tried it with a lighter and it worked just fine:

Holding the sprue in one hand and the lighter in the other warm up the centre part of the sprue with the flame (be careful with naked flames, kids!), as soon as the sprue bends in the middle, you're good to go (by the way, my thumb nail looks like that because I closed my thumb in a car door when I was 13 and it's grown back like that ever since, it's not a hoof...):

Then quickly and smoothly pull the two ends of the sprue apart, keeping it as straight as possible, this part needs to be doe pretty quickly before the plastic solidifies again. This is a sprue I stopped pulling too quickly and it ended up thick and bent. No use:

This is better, a long thin straight stretched sprue. This was too long for the photo, but I'm sure you get the idea...This takes a bit of practise to get right, but is worth it when you do. The good thing about this method is you can make the sprue as thick or thin as you need.

Being an archaeologist I have access to tools some others may not, like this pair of electronic callipers (is it a pair? Are they like scissors and only come in pairs? Can you actually buy one scissor? Questions like these keep me awake at night). In my working life these are usually used for measuring the inside of human skulls...  It's been pressed into service to measure the parts I want to fit the rigging to so I get as accurate measurement as possible.

Without callipers I'm not sure the best way to do this part, except by cutting the stretched sprue, dry fitting and cutting it down by eye until you get the correct length needed. In my case I was able to measure along the length of stretched sprue with a ruler and cut it off at the correct point that I needed.

Next is the actual fitting, I use the model box to hold the plane up so I can gain access to it easier. For the glue I use polystyrene cement here as it doesn't set quickly so you get a bit of play with it. Pour a blob out onto a surface (I use some off-cuts of MDF as it is not very porous and won't be melted by the glue like plastic can)  then dip each end of the sprue into the cement. Then using tweezers carefully position the sprue into it's correct place.

I did it in a methodical way, doing the front of the wings first then working on the rear. Another thing to be careful about here is doing the rigging that is in the interior part of the wings first, working from the centre of the wings out. And remember it's always better to dry fit twice, then glue once! Let's not make mistakes here, kids!

So you should have something looking a bit like this next picture. I have started painting the rigging in black, it has just struck me that the wires could have actually been painted before being fitted so it will cut down the work on this part which is delicate and quite tricky (give me a break, I'm on a learning curve here...). Also the glue smears will be painted over to neaten the whole thing up.

I'm pretty pleased with this, being that it is only the second plane I have ever rigged. There is more detail I could add to it, like the turn-buckles at the end of the rigging lines, but that is an experiment for another time, so for now I'm happy:

As this is a display model, I am not sure how sturdy this method of rigging would be for gaming purposes. I think if the kit is smaller there should be less stress on the lines anyway, but I would probably use more glue than I did with this kit. Alternatively, once the polystyrene cement is dry it may be an idea to apply some strong superglue to the joins, which should help hold the lines in place. Anyway, thanks for looking so far, next time you see this model it will be weathered and based, but I'm just waiting on some wood for a base to be delivered, so I'm stuck for the time being...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

1/48th Pfalz DIII WIP

Last year I lost my job and the same weekend I had to move out of the flat I was living in. All in all, it was all a bit of a crap time for me, so to cheer myself up I bought a 1/48th Scale Pfalz DIII by Eduard. It's described on the box as a weekend kit, but has taken nearly a year for me to build...

Just recently I bought and built a 1/72nd SE5a as a tester, as I knew I was going to rig this kit, which is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to get finished. I was just scared of actually rigging the model, but now I have done some prep and a year of research, I'm ready to finish it off. Here are a few pictures of it in progress.

Stupidly I had undercoated it in grey, so not only did the white need a few coats, before it looked white, but the red needed another undercoat of yellow, but after a few days of coating and re-coating, I got it the colour I wanted...

The colour scheme is of Ltn Hans Műller who flew with Jasta 18 in 1918 and ended the war with 12 victories.

I like Pfalz aircraft as they are the 'unknowns' amongst the more famous Fokkers and Albatri and I always try to support the underdog. Anyway, at the model still needs weathering, rigging and basing, so check back soon for the finished thing! Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Frigging in the Rigging

One of the items I picked up at Triples this year was this Roden SE5a kit. I bought it as an experiment in rigging. I have built several World War One aircraft over the years, but have never rigged any of them, as they have been in 1/72nd scale I've never bothered. But last year I bought a Pfalz DIII and a Roland CII, both in 1/48th scale and they will need rigging properly. So I bought this SE5a to try it out on. I used the stretched sprue technique and despite being an imperfect kit, I am pleased with how it turned out.

It is the SE5a flown by Captain S.P. Simpson of No.32 Squadron RFC, in France, May 1918. I now feel more confident about tackling the larger kits, so keep an eye out for when they are completed and thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

198th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

Today is the 198th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, as a teenager I re-fought Waterloo more times than I can remember using 1/72nd scale Esci and Airfix plastic figures. Unfortunately I have no photos of those games, so instead here is a bunch of some of my favourite paintings of the battle:

At the same time the Battle of Wavre was being fought between the French and Prussians, unfortunately I have been unable to locate any pictures of the engagement, so here is the map of the battle instead:

I was working in the Liddle First World War archive recently for material for my dissertation and came across a set of letters and a diary which both mentioned 'Waterloo Day', both from 1915. Then it struck me that the men in the trenches were celebrating the centenary of that battle as they were facing their once allies, the Germans. The fact that it was mentioned in the two sources meant that it must have been a big deal, similar to the coming centenary of the First World War. One of the letters described how the men on the front line had made dummies of the Kaiser and propped them on the parapet so the German snipers could shoot holes in them!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

No, I am your Father!

What better way to celebrate Father's Day than having the classic Father/Son face off in the form of Luke Skywalker verses Darth Vader? Well that's how Dean and I celebrated anyway. He rocked up to mine with his new X-Wing purchases, a Y-Wing, a new TIE Fighter and Darth Vader's TIE Advanced. Again, I was relegated to the Rebels, so I beefed up my forces with the addition of Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter and some Ace Y-Wing Pilot called Horton Salm. With the addition of Astromech droids, proton torpedoes and other fancies, it brought my points to just over 100. Dean's forces consisted of four TIEs and Darth Vader's TIE Advanced. I had a bad feeling about this...

Dean also brought along his new game cloth and associated attire...

He split his attack into a group three TIEs and one with Darth Vader. I kept my ships close together, you know, strength in numbers and all that...

We had a discussion about what Darth Vader would be listening to in battle, I thought it would be Silver Back by High on Fire, Dean guessed it would be Clément Philibert Léo Delibes' Duo Des Fleurs.

The action heated up and the TIEs split formation as my ships got in amongst them, the Y-Wing tailing an Academy pilot.

The slow moving Y-Wing proved a bit of a pain for the faster X-Wings when Luke and Horton nearly collided...

Then Vader got on Bigg's tail... It wasn't looking good...

Biggs escaped, however, and turned his guns on one of the TIEs, but there was a lot of ineffectual firing!

My Y-wing kept a couple of the TIE fighters occupied as Luke and Biggs tried their hardest to destroy the other two, to no avail...

Chasing TIE fighters around called for lots of crazy manoeuvres, which again nearly resulted in collisions.

Things spaced out a bit, whilst Vader desperately tried to get into a position to fire at something!

Biggs was on the tail of a TIE but still couldn't destroy the flimsy ship:

Meanwhile as the Y-Wing was Ionising TIEs left, right and centre, Luke managed to slip in behind Vader, but did little to his fast moving ship.

And Biggs still couldn't bullseye a wamp rat.

And the action moved to the top of the table as the Y-Wing was destroyed by a combination of fire from Vader and the another TIE. Luke was too late to help!

Vader then broke away and turned his attention to Biggs:

Things were looking decidedly dodgy for Luke's chum...

A combination of TIE fire-power destroyed the plucky Biggs.

His last moments before Vader vapourised him...

The Rebels now had to rely on Luke's skill, and given that I'd only just noticed all the things printed on his cards that allowed me to do all kinds of tricks, this game never looked more one sided...

Luke fluffed his chance to destroy Vader...

And a vain attempt to fix his shields gave the Imperials the chance they needed to get in close on Luke:

With three TIEs blatting away there wasn't going to be much chance for Skywalker and there would be no Father's Day presents this year as Luke suddenly exploded into a million pieces then was suddenly silenced... Or something.

It was another enjoyable game of X-Wing, despite losing. I managed to destroy half of Dean's fleet and damage the other half. If only I had noticed all the tricks that were available to Luke earlier things may have turned out differently. I was in at the deep end with the upgrades, but had no bottle of rum to blame it on this time.

Today is also the 198th Anniversary of the Battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, so here's a lovely picture by Lady Butler of a British Square at Quatre Bras:

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