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Ralph Nardone

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Posts posted by Ralph Nardone

  1. Seeing as how the Hasegawa AD-5/A-1E was a re-boxed Monogram kit, try looking under the Monogram or Revell labels.

    Here's the Scalemates entry:  https://www.scalemates.com/kits/monogram-pa146-douglas-a-1e-skyraider--147629

    A company called Skale Wings produced a 1/72 Fat Face SPAD a few years ago, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to find.  There were also a few RVHP Resin conversions for the Hasegawa AD-6 kits, too, but again, they are difficult to find.

    Which Hasegawa F-4E?  They made two kits--one in 1973 and another in the 1990's.  By "detailed", what exactly are you looking for?  In either kit, they're plain moldings of the canopies--no hinges, seals, inner frames, etc., etc.  There are several etched brass sets that you can use to add all those details.


  2. Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people. -- David Sarnoff, President of the Radio Corporation of America and the father of modern color television.

    The siren's song of competition in what should be a hobby has clouded a lot of folks' idea of what the hobby itself is all about.  (Hint--it ain't about the awards.)

    We need to stop the illusion that the current IPMS/USA contest format is good for modeling.  It may have been at one time, but I've seen too many cases of how it has turned into a ruthless and cutthroat blood-sport, where the guys who have cracked the code continue to win more and more while less experienced modelers wonder why they cannot "win", too.

    We need to remind ourselves that this is a hobby, and that our shows should be about the models, not the medals (or trophies, or plaques, etc.).  Awards, of course, are nice, but they shouldn't be the raison d’être for building models.

    I'll forgo my usual stump speech for scored contests with skill levels and written feedback, since that would start another thread beating that dead horse some more.



  3. To add to what has been said, don't use a lot of water--it should be more like a stiff dough than anything else.  Add a generous blob of white glue to the mix, and apply it in thin layers.  Depending on the substrate, it may take a few days to dry completely.

    If you want to try something else, try Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty, available from Lowe's and The Home Depot.  It is a dry powder that can be mixed with water to different consistencies.  For general coverage, mix it to the consistency of cookie batter and spread it with a putty knife.  To fill gaps between items that have been cut into a base, mix it to pancake batter consistency and pour it.  Thin mixes tend to take longer to set and tend to shrink, so plan ahead for that.  While it is still wet, sift a bit of the dry powder over it--the dry powder wicks off some of the moisture and also textures the layer.  The texture can be fragile, so another trick is to use pre-mixed grout after the Durham's is dry to add texture--stipple it on with a disposable chip brush.  Once dry, paint... 

    I pimp this often--check out the Fire Support Base RIPCORD diorama at the FSB RIPCORD Association's website.


  4. 8 hours ago, JClark said:

    As for Decals. Some have mentioned that for OOB to be true you have to use the kit decals. Well yes but the reason aftermarket decals are allowed is due to the fact that decals can degrade over time making them unusable. So why penalize the entrant over something beyond their control? The new Quinta studios offering will be addressed and not allowed in OOB. 



    It could be as easy as altering the language from "Decals other than those included with the kit may be used" to "Alternate paint and markings schemes are permitted."

    As for items like the Quinta cockpit details, they may be printed on decal paper, but I see them as the plastic evolution of photoetched parts.  That's just me...



  5. Kapton is used as an electrical insulator.  At one time, it was used for the insulation on aircraft-grade wiring.  It is light, but is not able to withstand abrasions, and once scored it tended to split.  One airplane I re-wired had wiring that looked like beads on a string...


    The tape is available through Amazon and several other sources:


    • Like 1
  6. Durham's is a DIY filler.  The beauty of it is that you can control the consistency of it by mixing in more or less water.  Less water, you get a thick putty; more water, you get a pourable, pancake-batter consistency.  Each has their uses. 

    Back in the day, FineScale Modeler ran a series of articles by Ray Anderson called "The Art of the Diorama" (and later compiled them into a book).  He would use Durham's for his groundwork.  We followed suit on our 1/72 scale Fire Support Base now located at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.  Read about it here (click through the pages for the full story):


  7. I first became aware of Squadron through their ads in the late 1970's in the old Challenge Publications rag "Scale Modeler", and I first ordered from them in 1983.  From 1983 through the mid-1990's, they were my go-to.  Then I started working in a hobby shop (Warrick Custom Hobbies in Plantation, FL) where I could get whatever I wanted by tacking it on to a stock order, and had no use for mail order (or, as became more frequent, online purchasing).  I moved in 2001, and the next time I used Squadron was in 2005--what a marked difference.  Shipping prices were through the roof (not 100% Squadron's fault, to be sure, but...), and their "Specials" were less frequent and could be hit or miss.  After Jerry sold the business, I noted a lot less models on special and a lot more tchotchkes in stock and at a deep discount. 

    To be honest, I believe the decline started with the rise of the internet.  Groups like Stevens International (through their MegaHobby arm) and what we now know as Sprue Brothers embraced the technology, while Squadron resisted.  When they did finally acknowledge that that was the future, their first attempt at a website was dismal, at best.  Then Jerry sold the business, and that guy got in over his head.  Then came Gwinne Gorr from Franklin Mint, but by that time the writing was on the wall. 

    I recall reading somewhere a few months ago (about the same time Jef V. left and started his venture) that Gwynne, too, was out.  I guess that coincides with a change in ownership...

    The funny thing is that MMD never missed a beat--probably because many shops were, up until recently, ordering via phone and fax.  The HobbyTown I worked for only started using electronic ordering after MMD synchronized their system to the HobbyTown SMART software.  Before late 2015 all our orders to MMD were done via phone, simply because it was easier than using their online ordering system.  An added bonus was that you received confirmation of stock as you placed the order...

    If they're simply reorganizing, I will be eager to see what changes they've made.  If they're down for the count, it was a long, fun ride...


    • Like 1
  8. As folks have stated already, cost is a matter of personal perception.  We had a member of IPMS/Flight 19 many years ago who would not, under any circumstances, purchase a kit if it retailed for over $20.  It didn't matter if it was a kit of his favorite subject, $20 was his line in the sand, and that would usually include the paint he needed for the project, too.  Meanwhile, another member would routinely spend at least $100 on any model he built--by the time you totaled up the cost of the kit (and the kits be built were usually at that same $20 point), the aftermarket (and remember, this was the late 1980's--aftermarket was a small sliver of what it is today), the books, the paint, etc., etc., it was close to a C-Note.  

    And the truth was that both modelers would routinely turn out gorgeous models.  The guy who limited himself to $20 would cobble up all sorts of detail from scrap he had lying around the house--and not necessarily plastic scrap.  Paper, wood, wire, thread, you name it, he used it--it was all fair game.  And the guy who pulled out all the stops was as adept at incorporating all the  disparate parts into one gorgeous model.  And they both enjoyed themselves while doing it. 

    To each their own.  As I'm fond of saying during my Model Building 101 seminars, the joy of this hobby is that there is no one "right" way to pursue it.

    • Like 1
  9. On 12/23/2020 at 3:20 AM, noelsmith said:

    OOB is NOT ABOUT ACCURACY!    Many kits are inaccurate, particularly older ones. The whole idea of OOB that seems to be missed by some is that it is purely a test in basic skills in model building a kit as it was intended to be built by the manufacturer. Judges will not be looking at all about how accurate the kit is, just how well.made and painted.

    I never said it was--I merely mentioned that modelers who want to game the OOB rules make that claim--they feel they "need" to include ignition harnesses or deck railings to make their model "accurate".  And I also said that OOB, for an experienced modeler, is automatically a compromise, since the OOB rules box you in on what you can or cannot do to the model, where as the Open categories allow you freedom to do whatever you wish. 

    Honestly, I can think on no plastic modeling organization that (officially) uses accuracy as a yard stick.  Every now and then, I see a claim from IPMS folks along the lines of "well, we use it as a tie-breaker", which I find ludicrous at face value.

    As far as using aftermarket decals goes, it is nothing more than a finishing step--decals are decals, they apply (mostly) the same way.  From what I recall during a long discussion years ago on this very subject, the consensus was that a decal was a decal was a decal.  It doesn't change the manufacturer's configuration of the plastic.

    • Like 1
  10. 2 hours ago, Rusty White said:

    I agree, and to give credit where credit is due, that is as good as the NCC can come up with considering so many variations and new kits coming to market.  I would suggest emailing the appropriate head judge or the Chief Judge (nationals or regional contest) for a more definitive answer.

    The other alternative--one I favor, and one I've discussed on this forum before--is to limit out of box models to being just that--out of the box.  Period.  No added seat belts, rigging, spark plug wires, etc., unless it comes in the kit and is shown on the instruction sheet.  Aftermarket decals should be allowed, but that's as far as it really should go.  

    People then argue along the lines of "well, the model will seem to be lacking if I don't add seat belts" or "it won't be accurate if there are no railings" (that one still confuses me, since, last time I checked, accuracy was not a judging criteria).  My answer?  Entering out of box is a decision the modeler makes.  You have consciously decided to limit what you can and cannot do if you decide to enter OOB.  Don't like the limitations?  Then simply don't restrict yourself by entering OOB--enter the "Open" categories and let the chips fall where they may.  To be sure, I have seen OOB models win categories over a dozen fully detailed models because, as Chris points out, the more stuff you add, the more opportunity there is for mistakes. 

    As far as multi-media "high tech" (aka ProfiPack, etc.) go, the work around is as Ed pointed out--split them into traditional (all plastic) and mixed media.


    • Like 5
  11. You are correct.  According to scalemates.com, Monogram issued the re-worked Aurora kit in 1979.

    I built an ESCI A-7D kit while I was in college back around 1985, and the wings were badly warped.  Try as I may, I could not get them to straighten and stay straight, despite hot water treatments and brass tubing spars.  I actually bashed a friends old Monogram effort (even he described it as a "glue bomb") for the wings.  The final result wasn't too terribly bad.  The model met its demise during a move, IIRC, and I has shifted all my jets to 1/72 scale by then...


  12. 16 hours ago, Stikpusher said:

    Bob, this is the Monogram issue of the kit. It was originally an Aurora mold that Monogram acquired when Aurora folded. Monogram retooled the molds a bit, adding wheel wells, a cockpit, and some other goodies, like they also did with the F-111. I built the Aurora A-7 long ago, but it was given to my kids to play with once they came along years later. Good diversion to keep them from playing with dad’s then recent and current builds... 

    Thats too funny about an Aurora category at contests. Might as well add Lindberg there too... 🤣

    The story goes that Monogram wanted to do more to refine the Aurora molds, but the material that Aurora's tool makers used was quite hard and difficult to re-work.  They did what they could, and given that it wasn't until 1977 that ESCI graced us with a better kit (although many will debate how much better, and they only did the A-7D and A-7E, like Hasegawa did a decade later), and 1987 when Academy/Minicraft gave us another 1/48th scale F-111, the old Aurora kits carried on quite well.

    Nice work, the finish is quite nicely done!


  13. Along with Richard's advice, look at what the other authors do in their articles and take your cues from them.  You'll eventually develop your won style, but in the beginning it helps to have a trail guide, so to speak.  

    Another thing I do--once I think the article is finished, I save it and revisit it the next day.  I usually find that I need to tweak some aspects of the text.  If you have someone else who could give it a read-through, do it.  Two sets of eyes are better than one...



    • Thanks 1
  14. That is one of the USCG's P4Y-2G's, and that SAR nose was peculiar to them.  Nobody I am aware of makes this as an aftermarket canopy set, so you'll have to make a form (buck) and thermoform one.  It isn't as hard as it sounds--the buck can be made from wood or air drying clay.  You'll want the buck to be slightly smaller than the final item.  When you have it shaped, make sure it is smooth and then seal it with a few coats of a clear gloss until it is smooth and shiny.  Make some sort of provision to add a  dowel "handle" on the back side, then securely clamp the handle in a vice.  Take a sheet of clear plastic (PETG is best, but if you want to experiment with water bottles, go ahead) heat it over the stove, then, once the plastic is soft and pliable, pull it down over the buck.  Let the plastic cool, trim to shape, and attach to the model.

    The canopy is also different, but you could probably sand and polish the frames off of the kit canopy to get it to look like the photo.

    Note too that the airplane in the photo is a "Super Privateer" with the R2600 engines and nacelles of a B-25.

    • Like 1
  15. I'll play...

    My models on display.  The Hasegawa Beaufighter illustrates part of my "Model Building 101" seminar, as does the Revell Voodoo.  The other two were long-term projects that finally got off the bench and on to display bases--the Hasegawa F-111F was built as "KARMA-52", the aircraft lost during Operation EL DORADO CANYON, and the ER-2 is Special Hobby's kit.  They're all in 1/72 scale:



    The helicopters--four Hasegawa UH-1H Iriquois, and an Italeri OH-6A Cayuse and CH-47 Chinook (backdated from CH-47D to a CH-47C "Super C") for the Fire Support Base RIPCORD project, then still in progress.  If you want to see the completed project, we have a Facebook page dedicated to the project, and it is also going to be the centerpiece for the Vietnam display at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in Columbia, SC.  The helicopters are a tiny part of the 1/72 scale diorama, and were built by various members of the clubs involved.  I built one Huey and the 'Hook, and painted all of them.  Decals, like most everything else on the project, were bespoke--Jodie Peeler did the artwork, and Michael Portaro of IndyCals printed them.

    (You IPMS/AMPS dual citizens are reading about it in the latest issues of the Boresight.)


    I can't knock anybody who puts together a display featuring the High Hatters.


    Insanity in brass.




    • Like 1

    Our show committee met this past week and made our final decision for the 2020 South Carolina Scale Model Mega Show:

    We have decided to cancel the show this year. 

    There were several underlying factors, but South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster's Executive Order 2020-21 was the prime reason we made this decision.  Contained in the EO is this passage:

    …I am directing additional emergency measures in response to the threat posed by COVID-19, to include temporarily prohibiting restaurants from providing certain food services for on-premises consumption and prohibiting events at government facilities that would convene fifty (50) or more people in a single room, area, or other confined indoor or outdoor space...

    Unfortunately, our show venue, the National Guard Armory on Bluff Road, falls under this restricted occupancy mandate.  Clearly, it would be impossible for us to host a show under this condition.   Additionally, with the continued rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, we see no reasonable possibility that this restriction will be amended or lifted within the next 45 days.  Finding another venue of the same size and cost would, at this late date, be impossible.

    Therefore, with heavy hearts, and in the name of the health and safety of all our modeling friends, we made the decision to cancel this year’s show.

    Vendors and sponsors will be receiving individual notifications shortly.  We appreciate your patronage and cooperation, now and through the years.  We look forward to working with you all again when conditions improve—hopefully, that will be sooner than later. 

    We fully intend to host our show next year in 2021, tentatively scheduled for roughly the same weekend in June.  We hope that you will once again join us.

    Thank you very much for your patience and support for our show. Stay safe and we hope to see you soon.


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