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Ralph Nardone

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Everything posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. When the kit was first issued by ESCI back in 1983 (yep, that long ago!), the same issue was noted in a review in FineScale Modeler. As Gil says, carefully bend the seat back cushion until it matches the contour of the seat frame. Gentle heating is the key--perhaps dunking the cushion in hot water (around 170-180 degrees F--not boiling!) and then bending it will do the trick. Ralph
  2. When I first joined IPMS/USA in the mid-1980's, there was a certain arrogant air about the way some members saw the hobby and believed that everyone should think that way or take a hike. Even now, there is a faction of the IPMS/USA membership that needs to get over itself and realize that a plastic model is a plastic model, and we should welcome all modelers, regardless of interest, desire, or ability. A good many people I know who are IPMS/USA members are content to bang a kit together, paint it (or not), apply the decals (or not), and go build another one. They have no interest in adding minute details to the pilot's relief tube or researching the exact shade of a particular color of paint applied to a particular subject 80 years ago, and they'd rather not spend their leisure time compressing their turds into diamonds simply to please a group of people with flashlights. It is a pastime, something they do to feed a need to do something with their hands. They don't view it as art, it is simply a thing they do. Why are they IPMS/USA members? Perhaps they like the social aspects of IPMS/USA. Instead, it seems that certain people want to treat them like second-class citizens, not worthy of the time of day...indeed, coming close to saying that they are not welcome. If all you want are "serious" modelers, the membership numbers will invariably shrink, and before too long it will become an echo chamber... Oh, yeah--it wasn't too terribly long ago that plastic models were indeed classified as toys. In some areas of the world, they still are. R
  3. I just started using AK Real Colors. I thin them with either Tamiya Lacquer Thinner or Mr. Leveling Thinner, and they lay down quite nicely. AK also markets their own "High Compatibility Thinner" for these colors. Ralph
  4. I grew up in South Florida. You could get models and supplies in hobby shops (our main locals were Universal Hobbies, Warrick Custom Hobbies--my home away from home--and Orange Blossom Hobbies, along with about a dozen and a half smaller shops), toy stores (Lionel Playworld had a huge model kit section), discount stores (K-Mart and The Treasury--other than the hobby shops, The Treasury was the only place that had the individual Testors square-bottle flat enamels), department stores (Woolco, Zayre), convenience stores (7-11, Mr. Grocer, and U-Tot-Em--saw my first Monogram Do-335 at the local Mr. Grocer), drug stores (SuperX, Eckerd Drugs), five-and-dime stores (Walgreens, Ben Franklin, and McCrory), hardware stores--they were everywhere. When Skaggs-Albertson's came to the area, it added another outlet for the hobby. For those not in the know, the typical Albertson's of the day would remind you of a Walmart today--half the store was a grocery store/pharmacy, the other half was a discount/department store. My first kits came from Playworld (Revell 1/32nd scale Wildcat, dad and I put it together) and K-Mart (Monogram Snap-Tite "L'il Red Baron"--my first "I built it myself" model). I discovered Scale Modeler magazine at Albertson's, and later, FineScale Modeler at Warrick Custom Hobbies. At the same time I found FSM, I discovered the Pactra Authentic International Colors, Otaki kits, Solvaset, Squadron Green Putty (the original), Plastruct Plastic Weld liquid cement, and Microscale Decals...those were the days when I made the step from just knocking kits together in a few hours to becoming a "serious modeler" (whatever that means)... ๐Ÿ™‚
  5. That's a good point. At our local shows, the judges are instructed that the models are to be evaluated as presented by the entrant, i.e., no picking them up and turning them over to keep the entrant "honest". If you can't see it as the model is presented, then you don't consider it. We also encourage the use of bases. If we have to slide a model across a table, having it on a base is the better option than sliding it on the entry form. Keep in mind that we evaluate one model as an example of a modeler's body of work (as opposed to every model they display) at our shows, and we ask our entrants to place their one model submitted for evaluation towards the front of the table. Cheers! R
  6. It is entirely possible that the judges moved the models--they judged the ones up front first, then moved them to the back so the ones in the back could get evaluated equally to the ones that were up front. You will have to find them and ask. Ralph
  7. Here you go, from the 2023 National Contest Rules: D. Dioramas and Vignettes. In diorama categories, regardless of class, the number of subjects (vehicles or figures) will determine in which category an entry is placed. Entries with a single vehicle and/or no more than five figures will be placed into the Vignette (Small Composition) categories. Entries with two or more vehicles and/or more than five figures will be placed into the Diorama (Large Composition) categories. Dioramas are story-centric, specifically built to tell a story or convey a message. Storyline will be considered equally to construction and finish of the individual subjects, figures, and other presentation components. A technically well-done diorama with a weak story line will be at a disadvantage to one with a strong storyline. Vignettes may also tell a story or may simply depict a โ€˜moment in time/locationโ€™. A previous national contest winner may be used as part of a diorama, so long as it is not the primary focus of the diorama.
  8. You can also use PowerPoint to make placards. If you happen to have Microsoft Publisher, that works, too. Cheers! R
  9. Everything you have stated is true. The modeler who built the Phantom for the article did not remove the stiffener for whatever reason. No harm, no foul, nothing to get excited about... R
  10. Gil: Exactly. To quote the Late, Great Al Superczynski, "Build what YOU want the way YOU want to." And I don't think anybody in this thread has stated otherwise. I think most modelers do this anyway--only a very few of my IRL modeling friends really care what others think of their models, they build for their enjoyment/satisfaction and nobody else's. I was merely pointing out things in case somebody reading *is* that guy who wants to be nut/bolt/rivet accurate. I know a few, and that's their kick. Not for me to say they are right or wrong. Pete: True, and it is especially true of ships--look at the "old" battleships that were damaged at Pearl Harbor--when some of them emerged from repairs and refits, they bore only a slight resemblance to what they were before (added armor, torpedo bulges, masts, armament). As new technology enters the fleet, the old stuff is removed and the new installed in its place. I've said it a million times--there are as many ways to enjoy this hobby as there are people enjoying it. Cheers! R
  11. Usually, they don't. However, some USN/USMC F-4's had a rectangular doubler or patch in the same general area. And late in their service lives, some USMC aircraft did sport the arrowhead-shaped doubler--there is at least one photo on the interwebs showing it. IIRC, the debate was whether the stabilator came from a retired USAF Phantom or not, but no matter where it came from, it was clearly visible. As you say, if a modeler is a stickler for accuracy, always check those references. I've found that there are very few absolutes out in the world, there's always an exception to the rule. R
  12. There are work-arounds to both. The race cars featured on the 2016 Columbia National Convention sheet were there because we asked for approval from the driver and race shop that built the cars. Hint 1: Don't do all the markings for a race car--only do the major markings to supplement the kit sheet. Hint 2: Don't do modern race cars. Find something from the era where the cars weren't festooned with a few dozen contingency logos. And, ASK. It's like getting a date with the head cheerleader--if you never ask, the answer will always be "No". How was Chattanooga able to feature Coca-Cola logos on the 2019 Convention sheet? One of two ways: Either they asked for permission OR they did it hoping to fly under the radar. And for the cop shields? Go to the Nebraska State Patrol website. At the top left corner is a full color badge. Any crook worth the title could rip that image for free. I'm actually surprised that the Wikipedia entry didn't feature a scalable vector image (.svg or .eps)... Also, are there no ships named after Nebraska cities? Does Omaha or Nebraska not have any armored units? All it takes is some imagination to come up with a diversified decal sheet that helps people forget the "International Plane Modelers Society" moniker. R
  13. Yep. Out of the box, they were good kits, and Sheperd Paine showed what could be done to these "blank canvases".
  14. Even if it comes out of a bottle and you thin/reduce it for spraying (or spray it straight), you need to wear the PPE. It doesn't matter if the paint thins with water or acetone, protect your lungs (and the rest of your body). R
  15. Or a respirator, or both. Not a dust mask, not an N95, but a cartridge respirator. Respirators are cheap--big-box home centers sell them for around $35. Buy one. Use it. Your lungs will thank you. Cheers! Ralph
  16. Since my two terms as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in the Columbia chapter are over and I'm back in the peanut gallery, I'm not in a position to officially comment. The Columbia chapter is under new management, so anything is possible... Cheers! R
  17. I used it to point out that the annual version of the rules aren't always ready on 1 January. Nothing else was intended or needed to be read into it. Whatever the reason, we were told that the rules are ready when the NCC says they are.
  18. Beginning of the year at the earliest. If memory serves, the National Rules package for 2016 wasn't complete and ready to post until at least May, maybe later that year--I recall getting a lot of traffic on that subject, as in "When will the rules be released?" Our answer then, as it is now, is "That's the NCC's baby and when they release them, they'll get published". So, Jim is absolutely correct--This is nothing new. R
  19. My thoughts exactly. When I saw the announcement, my first thought was "How long before the Philadelphia Lawyers come forth with all sorts of questions, having over analyzed these new rules for five minutes?" Just making observations...
  20. Columbia did, too. We bid in '12 for '14, lost that bid, then bid in '14 for '16. If you plan it well, there's not much rework to do on the bid package--do a price check, amend the numbers, and present the bid.
  21. A few things that have been touched upon: Smaller cities. Atlanta, Miami, NYC, LA, etc., are pretty much out of anyone's budget. That's why (here in the former East rotation, anyway) we've seen Columbia, Chattanooga, and Hampton Roads host conventions in recent years. Resort cities: Orlando and Vegas had good shows, I'm told, but that comes at a price, especially when IPMS/USA touts it as a "family vacation". How many of you guys had to curtail your vendor room expenditures in those two cities because mom and the kids wanted to go see the sights? As they say, you pays yo' money, you takes yo' chances... Multiple hosts. The first "official" convention hosted by multiple Chapters was Orlando in '99. While they flew under the "IPMS/Florida" banner, it was a collection of members from the various R11 Chapters. That was also in the days before the National office was directly involved on the financial end of the Convention, too... Fast forward to 2016: We (IPMS/Mid-Carolina) co-hosted with the IPMS/Piedmont Scale Modelers. Having a co-host makes it easier, especially if both clubs are small. A few other notes from 2016: We had a small committee of 6 people. Everyone had clearly-defined jobs. The more members you have on the committee, the more confusing things can get. We had heard of some conventions that had 20 and 30 people just on the committee alone, not to mention the work force. Our total work force for the Convention was around 20 people... You have to have buy-in from your Chapter members. Without them, you are sunk. Come game time, you need to have your aces in their places--and, as the commercial says, you need to have "no cussin', no fussin', and no backtalkin'"...everyone should be ready to go, and they should know their jobs. We made a deal with the Columbia Visitors and Convention Bureau before we even thought about bidding. If you work with the municipality, have past numbers handy--get the last three or four financial statements. Why? Because any good CVB will ask "What will this do for us economically?" Be Johnny-on-the-spot with numbers. See what they're willing to do for you--we wangled a deal where the convention center came to us at no charge IF we filled a certain number of room nights at the Convention hotels. (By the way, for you guys that squeeze the nickels until you get buffalo chips, this is the prime reason you should consider staying at the "official" hotel.) So, yeah, cities like Knoxville, Tucson, Charlotte, Greenville (SC), Richmond, etc., might be good choices. And who knows? If someone on your organizing committee in, say, Daytona Beach, San Diego, or Jacksonville, has an "in" with the CVB, you might get lucky... It is the age old thing. You never get anything if you don't ask. What's the worst that can happen? They can tell you "no".
  22. I find that acrylics tend to be tenacious when they start to dry on a metal surface, and the field strip is the best way to keep it clean. I've tried everything else, including different products that are supposed to break down paint, but nothing beats a quick disassembly. After a while, it doesn't take longer than 5 minutes to do. Lacquer and enamel users can get away with spraying thinner until it comes out clean between colors, but should still field strip the airbrush at the end of a session. This might be interesting to you, as well: https://modelpaintsol.com/guides/airbrushing-tips-v4-airbrush-cleaners Cheers! R
  23. You didn't same which model airbrush, or what type. I use a Badger 105 Patriot and a Grex Tritium TG.3. Both are gravity feed dual action airbrushes, the Badger a traditional trigger type; the Grex a pistol-grip type. Cleaning is similar for both... I use acrylics, and between each color I "field strip" the airbrush--remove the needle, tip, and nozzle and clean them thoroughly. I use Iwata's airbrush cleaner for this, followed by a flush with clean water. For stubborn spots, I use alcohol or lacquer thinner. Tamiya's Airbrush Cleaner works well, too. I use twisted paper towels to get into those small spaces, or you can buy dental paper points online--they do the same thing. Some folks use a torch tip cleaner consisting of small brushes. If you can find a pipe cleaner that doesn't have a wire center, you can also use it. IF you use one with a wire, be careful not to scratch anything. Old paintbrushes and toothbrushes come in handy, too. After each cleaning, I use a dab of Iwata's "Superlube" airbrush lubricant. Badger markets theirs as Regdab. Just a dab will do ya. Every year or so, I disassemble the airbrush and inspect for worn seals, etc., and give it a complete cleaning with lacquer thinner. As with building models, the key is to be patient and careful. Be careful not to bend the tip of the needle or deform the nozzle opening. For the most part, threaded parts should be finger snug--no need to He-Man the parts together, even if they do require a wrench or similar tool. And, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Now, on to the disclaimers: Disclaimer #1: Some airbrush manufacturers say you shouldn't use anything containing ammonia to clean their airbrushes--it erodes the plating and will eventually corrode the brass under the plating. However, you can use ammonia to clean--just be sure to give the airbrush a thorough flushing with clean water afterwards . Disclaimer #2: Badger says not to use alcohol--it is a drier, not a cleaner, they say. However, alcohol can do a good job of cleaning--it might take some more effort to remove small spots of dried paint. Badger says you can use ammonia to clean the airbrush--the same comment about a thorough flush with water still stands. Disclaimer #3: Most of them say not to use industrial chemicals to clean their airbrushes. They're speaking about Toluene, Acetone, and MEK, mostly, and they have a point--if you airbrush has any sort of soft seal (synthetic rubber), these chemical can cause them to either soften into goo or become embrittled. Some folks swear by carburetor or brake cleaner, but the same caveats apply. In all honesty, there hasn't been a case of a dirty airbrush that I have encountered that cannot be solved by good, old, hardware store brand lacquer thinner. Cheers! Ralph
  24. Yeah, but there's that pesky "as may be noted in kit instructions" thing, though... ๐Ÿ™‚ I like thermal receipt paper. It is thin and strong. You can make the belt hardware from paper (card stock is ideal) as well. Rolled epoxy putty (my favorite is Aves Apoxie Sculpt) can be used, too, for both belts and hardware. Cheers! Ralph
  25. If you already have an Optivisor, you can either get a different lens or add a loupe... https://doneganoptical.com/product-category/headband/ Cheers! Ralph
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