Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Monday, June 19, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part III

The wings are the last piece to assemble in the instructions. If you build as directed you are just about done because you would have been adding the skin as the last part of each sub assembly, something I decided to wait on. Be aware there are some fragility here until you skin them. The wings are constructed from two pieces  (each) of MDF so they are quite heavy. I'm looking at the wing spars that hold this assembly together and I have my doubts, hopefully the cardboard skin will hold everything together, and it should.

There is a piece mislabeled here as well. The long spar that joins the two wing halves together is noted as #1 on the diagram and as L in the instructions. The assembly is pretty straight forward, just be sure that all the slots line up between the upper and lower surfaces of the wings so that the spars will fit correctly.  Test fit, test fit test fit!

After the wings I went to work on the undercarriage. This is another point where are there are some very small pieces and it won't take much to break them. A little judicious filing will make things much easier. This is another spot in the instructions where a part is labeled incorrectly. The diagram shows the Front Frame as part #1 and the instructions refer to it as Q. Its not a big issue since there is nothing even remotely similar to it.  The one issue I ran into is that the two wheels are each constructed of four parts. On the frame those parts are on there are only three pieces for each wheel. I don't know what I did with the two part "V"s that make up the outside portion of the wheel. I was throwing away frames as I finished them and I thought I was making sure that I snagged any misc pieces from those but as it sits they are definitely missing. Odds are no one is going to notice anyway so I'm not going to go crazy over it.

Now that I have everything together I'm ready to move on to applying the "skin"

Here are all the pieces for the wing except the long spar (L)

Here is the upper wing with the ribs in place and the lower wing ready to be glued together. be sure that your engraved sides of the wing are facing away from each other! This is a big surface so clamping the two wing halves together is required (in my opinion, long time readers should know how I feel about clamping at this point).

The lower wing, engraved side

The upper wing, engraved side, ribs attached.

Everything glued together, I got a little sloppy with the glue here, but it will be covered by the cardboard "skin"

Wings assembled

Spars added. The wing is ready for the "skin" now.

The under carriage. Note that I only have three pieces for each wheel, not sure what happened to the fourth piece. The two triangles are the support struts for the tailplane.

The under carriage assembled. Note that the spot where the front frame and the undercarriage frame come together at the wheel is a weak point because the MDF is thin. I broke this joint on one side trying to force the wheels on to the tab. Sanding the tab slightly will make it easier to fit the wheels on and help keep you from breaking the joint there.

Two unknown pieces that were on one of the frames that I held on to. I have no idea where these goes or what their purpose is. I have gone over the instructions and I don't believe I missed anything in the assembly process.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part II

I fired up the airbrush and did a quick application of paint to what will be the inside of the glider skin. I also painted the cockpit and the interior floor, door ramp and bulkheads with the same color. Most of the pictures I saw actually had a two tone scheme on the inside but I just didn't want to go that far with this one. I'm actually questioning why I even bought this one, it may never even end up on the table. It certainly doesn't appear in any of the Kampfgruppe Von Lucke scenarios from the Two Fat Lardies Pint Sized Campaign. Still its been kind of a fun build up to this point.

Here I painted the "inside" of the cardboard used for the glider skin using AMMO US APC Interior Green thinned down with a bit of white. I'll have to watch for overspray around all those open windows though. Masking is going to be a bit tricky, or I may just have to brush paint the fuselage.

Here are the finished glider components with their coating of interior green. There are a lot of variations on the interior color so, much like camouflage colors, its hard to be wrong.

I decided that I would leave off the skin and do that at the very end just so I could be more methodical with it. I don't see anything in the assembly sequence that would cause a problem by doing that and right now it just makes everything easier to handle. 

After the airbrush work I started in on the next sequence; the tail. I had some issues with this assembly. First off on my kit the fit on all the parts was incredibly tight, to tight to make it easy to assemble. To make it easier I would highly recommend filing the slots a bit before trying to assemble the ribs to the tail core (S) and tail assembly (U). You will be much happier at the end.

While I followed the assembly sequence as written I would recommend that you don't. The tail core piece (S) is easier to get properly placed by using the ribs (V, W & X) than by using the end bulkhead (U) as stated in the sequence.

Watch for the point where the rudder attaches to the rest of the tail piece (T). I didn't even realize that I had snapped it off while I struggled getting the end bulkhead (U) into place (the fit is much to tight). Also the end bulkhead (U) actually has a top! On the tail piece (T) the upper tab and lower tab that the bulkhead attaches to are different sizes and correspond to different sized slots on the bulkhead. I had it upside down the first time and snapped it in half trying to take it off, which is about the same time the rudder snapped off.

Also attach the tailplane brackets (Z) to the tailplane before you attach it to the rudder. The fit is incredibly tight and at first I thoughyt they might not actually be the right size to fit into the slot on the tailplane. If you haven't broken off the rudder yet, you could well do it trying to get these in place.

I won't try and attach the rudder back into position until after I have put on the cardboard skin. I suspect the skin will be easier to put with it out of the way and I won't risk breaking it a second time. In the end it might need to be pinned in place.

Here is the action sequence:
Here are the components for the tail assembly

By trying to follow the sequence I broke off the rudder and snapped the end bulkhead in half. A little judicious filing of the tabs and slots would have kept this from happening

Plan B, attach the ribs first which gets the tail core into the proper position

You can see the tabs on the tail core sticking through the final rib assembly (the ribs are all two pieces). Those tabs are different sizes.

Since I had conveniently snapped the bulkhead in half, I lined them up so you can see that, indeed, the slos are actually different sizes and not by very much. There is no indication of direction in the instructions.

Now I have everything in place.

This should be a single assembly at this point but for me it has become two. All the parts for the tail have incrediably tight fits including the wing support brackets on the tailplane. I would attach those brackets before attaching the tailplane tot the rudder, especially if you haven't already broken the rudder off.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider from Sarissa Precision - Part I

I received this kit as part of the pre-order bundle for the new plastic box set of plastic British Paras. I had already seen some comments on LAF about if it would be better to scratch build one or build the kit or how accurate it really is. My concern is how it goes together and how it looks alongside the miniatures. I'm less concerned, oddly enough for me, with the historical accuracy. Unless I'm going to be fighting Pegasus Bridge a lot this is going to be a fairly rare addition to the terrain on the battlefield so I just want it to look good and be identifiable by the participants and anyone that happens to walk by.

As old hands will know I'm a bit of a stickler for instructions. While I can usually figure things out there is no need to make it more difficult than it needs to be and good instructions go along way in helping us get things to the table. As I read through the first bit which involves assembling the front portion of the superstructure there are a couple of spots where parts are mis-identify, not a huge deal if you are paying attention but it can be initially quite confusing for the written direction to indicate one letter or number and the diagram with the description shows different letters and/or numbers. In this case the upper spine is labeled M in the diagram and in the written portion is listed as part K but in the section prior part K has already been noted as being the floor. Also the two end bulkheads are noted as being part 3 in the instructions but are shown as B on the diagram. The wheel housings are also identified as part M in both the instructions and the diagram but M is already identified as the upper spine. You just have to pay attention, but it would be nice if a little editing had been applied to the instruction pages before they were printed up.

Something very important to watch for is the configuration of Frame 1 when glued to Frame 2. There are two of these assemblies and you must make sure that the Frame 2 portions are facing each other when you glue them to Frame 1. This forms the door and it won't work very well if you manage to get them on the wrong sides! When you glue Frame 1 to Frame 2 make sure that they are lined up properly as well or there will be trouble when you glue them to the floor (K).

At this point, except for the door ramp I have avoided using any of the cardboard wraparounds that will form the skin of the glider. I want to paint the interior first. I have seen several variations so I'm just going to go with a very light interior green. Although there is a version with the upper 2/3rs being the interior green and the bottom 1/3 (or so) being a dark green. This will just be a quick job with the airbrush just so you can see something when everything is opened up.

Oh and if you are going to label the parts on the diagram and talk about those labels in the instructions you could at least repeat those letters and numbers right on the sprues!

Here we go with a few pictures (okay, a lot of pictures):
This is the sprue that contains the primary fuselage parts The only two I haven't used at this point, which keeps me from throwing it away are the two rocker shaped pieces at the bottom center. Starting at the top is the upper spine (M). On the next row from left to right End Bulkhead (B or 3), Frame 2, there are two pieces here the other portion is the door side (N) , then Frame 1, and another Frame 1. On the third row is Frame 1, center bar (O), Frame 2/Door Side (N), another Frame 1 and then the final End Bulkhead (B or 3).
Next row is Floor K. Under that is the bottom spine (L). Under that are the 2 Wheel Housings (M) after that are the two unidentified (as of yet) rocker pieces.

The parts I started with. I cheated here and I'm already gluing the Frame 1 to Frame 2 under those little metal weights. Note that there are still two Frame 1s that will fit into the back two slots on the floor. The ones I'm gluing together here will go into the front two slots

And here we have the pair of Frame 1 and Frame 2 combinations glued in place to the floor. Important to note here that the Frame 2 pieces have to face each other when you glue them to the Frame 1s. Your door won't work otherwise! Its also a rather tight fit on the door side of the floor to get the frames in place. Be careful and don't break anything and don't remove those two nubs that appear to be in the way. Removing the nubs will mean you will be gluing your door into place rather than having a nice operating version.
And from the bottom.

All the frames glued to the floor.

Adding the top spine (allegedly part M). This is thin MDF and is easily broken. Be gentle when pushing tabs and slots together you don't need anything snapping at this stage. In particular the fit up front at the door frames can be very tight especially if you didn't make sure everything was nice and square when you glued those frames together.

And here with the bottom spine in place as well as the two end bulkheads. Its important to make sure everything is pretty square (or circular as the case may be) at this point. Oh and the fragility of the MDF is important here too, don't get in a rush and force things together.

A view from the bottom

Order is important here as you assembly the door. The two side pieces (N) must be in place (not glued, or it won't pivot) before the center bar (O) is glued between them. I found it easier to glue the center bar to one side and then get everything into the correct position.

Watch for excess glue or you might be permanently gluing your door shut!

Add the cardboard piece for the ramp, again watch for excess glue.

And everything swung into place.

The parts to form the cockpit

All these pieces fit together very tightly, I probably didn't even need glue. Note that one half of the back wall is already in place.

Sliding in and gluing the other half of the cockpit back wall

Adding the side braces of the cockpit. This fit is not quite so tight so I made sure to apply glue where the side frame meets the back bulkhead on the top and the bottom.

The back bulkhead being glued into place. The outer skin will attach to this portion of the bulkhead.

The second half of the back bulkhead glued in place. This piece will be exposed as it forms the plug that allows you to attach it to the fuselage.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

World War II Project - Buildings - Railway Station - Part III

So with the basic shell finished its time to start on the brick. I'll start with the foundation as I'm just gluing the bumpy brick paper I acquired off of eBay directly to it. The decorative brick on the walls is a bit trickier. For this part I want the brick to standout from the wall, so I'm using 1/16" basswood as the base for the brickwork. I'm cutting this to match what is engraved on the building and then I'll wrap the paper around the resulting form and glue it to the walls. I'm also cutting pieces to fill some of the gaps that exist on the building to fill things in better and I'll continue the brick sheet around those corners. The window arches required a slightly different treatment, the arch makes things "interesting".

The night's work didn't amount to very much. The bumpy brick paper in this case actually is on contact paper. I didn't push to far after I attached it to the foundation to see how it would hold up. If it detaches from the MDF I'll figure out how to pull off the backing and attach it with glue instead.

A strip cut to fit the height of the foundation.

Looking pretty good at this point. There is a seam in the middle of this back wall where I had to bring two strips together but I was able to line the brick up pretty well so its hard to pick out. I like the surface texture and the look a lot! Hopefully the contact paper works and I can move on to the decorative brick trim on the building itself.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

World War II Project - Books - Geronimo! US Airborne Uniforms

This book arrived a couple of days ago and I just finally had a chance to crack it open. Similar to the King & Country book for the British Airborne, this one includes extensive detail of both re-enactors and WWII troops with all their uniforms and equipment. 

There is not a lot of verbiage in this book but it is filled with lots of color and black and white pictures with extensive captions. A lot of the uniforms pictured are original and there is often a picture of the paratrooper that wore it. There are some really nice full color pictures of the 82nd in North Africa that show paratroopers and glider troops in full kit preparing for the Sicily drop. 

The book is broken up into nine chapters:
Dress Uniforms,
Jump Jackets and Pants
Marine Corps Airborne
Troop Carrier and Airborne Engineers
Airborne Comparisons

This is an excellent resource and shows numerous styles and variations of equipment and how it was worn. Having chapters dedicated to specific items makes it really easy to use. The Airborne Comparisons chapter shows British Paras and German Fallshirmjagers and some of their equipment just as a quick comparison to the American Para equipment.

Its an excellent book and I would highly recommend it if you are getting your American paratroopers ready for the table.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chester the Rooster - WIP - Part II

A garage sale and some seriously warm Colorado weather allowed me to pull Chester out of the garage. Its been a while since he has seen the light of day but I'm ready to really get some serious work done on him.

The first task was what will hopefully be the final sanding. I got a little sloppy in places with the wood putty the last time around and that caused me to spend more time sanding than I would like. I also broke out the carving tools and carefully re-emphasized a couple areas where I had lost the detail either through priming or sanding.

The romance side, sanding complete

The money side, sanding complete
After a quick dusting off with the garage compressor I applied the third coat of primer. I stippled most of this on to try and remove the brushstrokes from the broader flat areas like the saddle and the saddle blankets. 

I was happy enough with the current progress to go ahead and order some of the paints I needed. I'll be using a technique that I haven't tried before to, hopefully, get rich bolder colors but its expensive. The primary paint will be artist tube oil colors but by themselves, and without using additives, they take a long time to dry and I want to be a bit quicker to the finish than that. Based on the recommendation of a professional carousel horse painter I'll be mixing the tube colors with enamel paints to be both thin them out and to create a faster drying and harder coat of paint. Hopefully it will work out as advertised. All in all each color will run about $40 a pop, so I didn't get everything. I'll be focusing on the head and neck first so those are the paints I'll be starting with; naples yellow, primary yellow, red magenta, ivory black and burnt sienna.

The money side primer on and drying, one last sanding light sanding session to go, nothing coarser than 400 grit

The romance side, primer on and drying. I'll let this dry for a couple of days before the sanding and painting start.

Monday, June 12, 2017

World War II Project - Buildings - Railway Station - Part II

I'm trying to get this building off the workbench a little faster than the last one. I did a lot of dry fitting of parts and as the pictures will show I still managed to make a mistake, that's about par for the course around here. 

I ended up with 1/16 and 3/32 inch thick basswood for the brickwork. After taking a serious look at the dry fitting of the parts I decided it was safe to do most of the assembly first before I needed to do the brickwork. 

I spend the bulk of the evening painting the interior with an air brush. Since this is not a focal point and after the amount of time I spent on the interior of the Dormer House I decided to take some short cuts. I first painted the interior edges with a dark reddish brown paint. I followed that up with a more or less dingy white leaving a soft vague edge against the brown. I then took pure white and did the center of the wall. It makes for a nice effect and will give the interior a finished look without a lot of work. If it was a destroyed building where the interior was visible most of the time I would have taken a different approach. Here the inside is only going to be seen when troops are in place.

After I finished the inside painting (well mostly apparently I did miss doing the white on one wall), I went ahead and assembled the walls. I was prepared for some pretty tight fits at this point as even a thin layer of paint is usually enough to hamper how the parts fit together when dealing with a laser cut kit. Since I was prepared for this I didn't actually break anything gluing it together this time.

Here is a look at the fruit of the evenings labors:

Now that's a nice joint. Of course its going to be covered by some brick paper

The first indication that I have put something together wrong, a gap where there should not be one. I didn't slot a wall into the right slot on the other end. Easily fixed at this point fortunately. At the other end is a step and the piece has two slots, I inserted it into the wrong slot and so came up with this gap. However, had there been a  slot somewhere on the basepiece and a tab on this wall I could have avoided the error and the supporting structure would have been a bit more sturdy. In the long run I fixed it and can move on.

The foundation is finished. I then dry fitted everything else together just to check on clearances and if I needed to do the decorative brickwork now or if it could wait. Waiting will work in this case.
I remembered to prime the walls this time. MDF just soaks up paint so primer is very important.

The edging layer of dark reddish brown

The dirty white mid tone concentrated to the center

And the pure white added after that.

The center section glued together. Note the white thumbprint. It doesn't seem to matter how careful I am I still manage to get paint someplace it shouldn't be.

The wings glued together and ready to be attached to the center.

Glues up quite nicely

And the other side

And a quick check to make sure it actually fits on the foundation. There is a large waiting platform piece that will cover the area between the foundation wall and the building itself, its not a mistake this time!

I'll need to stop assembly at this point to do the brickwork on the exterior. I want to do the exterior brick, the interior floors and the chimney at the same time.