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Mike Delano

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Posts posted by Mike Delano

  1. This is a topic thats needed discussion for a while now. I joined the review team a while back and for the most part really enjoy doing it. I say for the most part because the aspect of it I don't like is photographing the projects. I have a Nikon D70 with a separate flash so I dont think the camera is the issue. My problems appear as depth of field issues because I dont have enough exposure time or the correct apparature setting? I do not have a tri pod which looks to be essential in this process. As for the RAW issue, I don't intend to start doing that but I would guess you can still shoot great pictures without using that format? The review moderator asks for lots of close up detail and I just can't capture that without the aforementioned depth of field problem. Any advice would be appreciated.


    If you have a separate flash (what model number is it?) then you shouldn't have a DOF issue - I use a 60mm Micro (Nikon's euphamism for 'macro') Nikkor for my shots and I usually have it stopped all the way down to f/32 - usually at 1/200 sec - that paired with an SB800 flash with diffuser - with this set up, I don't even really need a tripod, though I do use it anyway. I've never had any real problems with my D80. I guess it'd help to know what lens and flash you're using to start some troubleshooting...

  2. If you are shooting models on the table, rather than transporting them to a setup like the one above, I highly recommend this diffuser. Works great.



    I would also recommend a Gary Fong Lighsphere II diffuser - I've had great results with them, especially in weird lighting situations. at about 35.00, they're relatively cheap versus the benefit you get from using them. They can be kind of tricky to keep them on the flash head though.

  3. On Dragon's MDFC forum site, there was an "in house" character code named Blogger Hiroshi that would regularly bash the DML competition (Bugler/Trumpeter, Lizard/Tamiya, etc) and also Terry's (aka Fosters) reviews of DML kits. Well, about 1-2 months ago, Terry decided not to review DMLs kits and Hiroshi was not happy. Not sure of the issue between Terry & this Brian Balkwill clown.



    EDIT: This just in from our on-the-street correspondants-


    Here's a link to Brian Balkwill's blog - it appears that Terry Ashley, or I should say Jon Bailey, wrote a less than raving review to one of his DVDs & then Brian found out Terry didn't write it & started a flame war. Ho-hum



    The funniest part of that blog is that he actually took the time to do a Hitler subtitle video from "Downfall"

  4. My own experience is with Tamiya Acrylics - for acrylics, Tamiya is all I use and I always have to thin them a little bit If I need to use a brush. Whenever I use them without doing so, If I happen to go back over an already painted area, the paint on the brush will pull a little bit back up from the model surface. I know some people use water, some use Tamiya thinner, and some use 91% isopropyl. In the rare instances I brush acrylics, I have always gotten the best results by loading a little bit of lacquer thinner onto the brush before I load the paint.

  5. Well, what originally started out as a conversion of the PL 1/350 Enterprise A kit to a Refit Era U.S.S. Kelvin has since become a different animal...


    The Constellation class was first introduced in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The distinguishing feature of this particular ship was that it had 4 nacelles. This one has always been one of my favorite kit bashed studio models used in the various Star Trek series...


    I think this conversion will prove to be a bit more challenging than a Kelvin conversion and will require significantly more scratch building - I wish there were 1/350 conversion parts out there for the Constellation - I was quite surprised that there weren't when I went out searching for them.


    I haven't dont a whole lot of work yet on it - I began the decal design in Adobe Illustrator. I think for this conversion, I'll use the 'NX' prefix designating the U.S.S. Constellation as the first of its class. This will allow me a little bit of accuracy leeway in terms of the components I'll have to scratch build. I've also done a little bit of body work - I carved the impuls decks out of two upper saucer halves and made the necessary changes to the lower sensor domes. The Constellation studio model was scratch built using two Enterprise A style upper saucer halves surrounded by an enlarged outer ring. The saucer halves arent a problem, but the outer ring will need to be scratch built - I anticipate that being a nightmare in making the proper measurements to make sure the chamfered edge is the proper angle. According to various internet sources, the original studio model was built using parts from an old XB-70 Valkyrie (I really dont want to have to cannibalize my Revell special edition Valkyrie kit) model among others...


    Decals for the upper saucer registry and nameplate:




    Cleaned up Impulse decks and lower sensor domes. On the studio model, two impulse decks were used and mounted perpendicular to the axis of the saucer.




    Lower sensor dome. The beveled edges were cut away.




    Saucer modifications... The upper saucers will be mounted to each other using Plastruct tube of the same diameter as the mounting guides. The outer ring will then be constructed around that. The saucer half with the larger 'pie piece' cut out of it will be the lower saucer half on the completed model.







  6. Well, after my 1000 scale TOS Kelvin conversion, I decided to take up a slightly more ambitions conversion project - turinging the 1/350 Polar Lights Enterprise A into what a refitted TOS kelvin might have looked like.


    I've started drawig up a few diagrams on how I'm planning on doing this and have also started some of the conversion process such as removing the nacelle roots from the secondary hull assembly, making modifications to the neck, and I've started building a platform on whhich to build the superstructure and neck above the saucer section. I'm still not exactly sure how I want to do that part, so I'll probably wing it as I go...


    Keep in mond, the following photos for the most part are just mockups of what the configuration will resemble...


    The below 3 pictures show how I removed the nacelle roots using a drill - very quick and easy process...










    Below was my initial thoughts on mounting the neck and the secondary hull above the saucer, but the contours just wouldn't allow it...





    Below is the beginnings of building up a superstructure at the rear of the saucer to mount the secondary hull with Plastruct square tube. This will eventually be covered with sheet contoured stryrene and the connecting neck...

    Not sure how I will handle the impulse deck at this point, but I'm leaning towards integrating only the rear portion and covering up entirely the portion visible on the top of the saucer.







  7. DS Track is great - I wish Dragon would sell more of their DS Track sets separately. And yes - thinner will 'dissolve' the seam lines - I use Ambroid Pro Weld and it works wonders. Just make sure you use it in small amounts as opposed to one liberal stroke of thinner. For 1/72 DS track, you'll probably ant to use a smaller brush (I usually put my Pro Weld in an empty Tamiya Thin Cement bottle I kept - smaller bottle, smaller brush).

  8. Don't know about that, but I think their spray can paint is lacquer based.



    Ralph is correct - Tamiya makes a nice lacquer thinner, actually and it works great with their acrylics - but it comes out to be more expensive than Mr. Color Thinner in the end. Their spray cans are also lacquer based as well.


    As far as I can tell, Tamiya thinner and Isopropyl are nearly identical - whenever I do thin their acrylics with something other than lacquer thinner, I just use 91% isopropyl unless it's a gloss color. In that case, I do use Tamiya thinner as regular isopropyl seems to flatten out the gloss a bit.

  9. Just curious - what is everyone else working on these days in the Sci Fi realm?


    Over the break, I was toying around in my head what my next project is going to be - since I now have an extra 1/350 Enterprise A in the closet, I think I am going to begin a 'Refit Era' conversion to a Kelvin type ship - essentially, it answers the question 'What would a TOS style U.S.S. Kelvin look like had it gone through a refit proces similar to the Enterprise?'


    I never realized until now how perfect this 1/350 kit is for conversions or 'kitbashing' - I'm surprised I haven't seen any conversions done in this scale.....

  10. Thanks Jack - that was my first go at a winter whitewash. I just used thinned down Tamiya flat white. I wish there had been some PE with that kit, but I do realize whole object of those Orange Box releases is a stripped down kit to reduce cost

  11. Thanks guys - believe it or not, I think I'm going to try this project a 3rd time - I'm not entirely happy with it and since I'm a neurotic perfectionist (so the wife says) and I still have about 3 of these 1/1000 polar lights kits in the closet, I'll give it another shot. Additionally, I've created my custom decal sets, so I believe I'll use those this next go round. I wont bore everyone with the drag out build progress this time, though...

  12. I also recommend resizing photos aimed for online use. I resize my images to 1000 pixels wide or deep at 72dpi. This allows you to make the most out of the limited, free storage offered by most hosting sites while maintaining really nice image quality. You do resize, dontcha? Today's digital cameras produce files that are much, much larger than necessary for quality online reproduction. Resize in Photoshop or any of the other image editing programs that can do that sort of thing....


    I would recommend a program called "VSO Image Resizer" - you can get a fre version of the software (15 or so bucks to buy the full version - which is worth it). It's very useful piece of software. If you pull a significant number of images from the camera, you can resize them all at once. It gives you quite a few options to work with.

  13. Just out of curiosity, has anyone had any experiences (negative, positive, or otherwise) with Dragon's 'Dragon Care' customer service? I recently purchased the Panther D Premium Edition kit (Kit No. 6299) and it was missing Parts Tree "B" (I cannot complete the kit because of this missing tree as it contains the sponsons, hatches, and OVE among other items...) I've emailed Dragon through their Dragon Care site with no response and am just wondering if they will replace missing parts trees - or am I just SOL on this one?

  14. Well, I'm almost done (Finally!) - I got a little bit more decal work done this afternoon - still a few more decals to go and some touch up work - once that's done, I'll get the bussard collector and deflector dish assembly attached and I'll give it a once over with another coat of Future followed by a dullcoat. I'll be glad once this thing is done...















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