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About Model_Monkey

  • Birthday 10/13/1963

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    3D printing.

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  1. Excellent point. Teak is a tropical hardwood native to Southeast Asia prized for its strength, durability and resistance to rot and water damage. This makes teak a much better wood than pine for marine purposes. For these reasons, pre-war-built US Navy ship decks were often planked with teak. But during World War Two, the most productive teak sources were in Burma, Thailand and Indonesia, which were in Japanese-controlled territory. That made teak nearly impossible for US shipyards to obtain during the war. But the need for wood deck planking was intense, so, an easily available and plentiful substitute was chosen: pine. Not an ideal solution at all, but necessary during the war. Today, unlike the 1940s, large commercially cultivated teak sources include locations in Central America (Costa Rica), South America and Africa. But even today, most teak still comes from Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and India. Freshly cut teak smells like leather. This is an easy way to identify teak.
  2. Not all 3D printing technologies are the same and only a few are suitable for producing scale models with smooth surfaces. Some tech produce very smooth surfaces. Others not so much. The good: 3D printers using UV light-based technologies such as SLA, MSLA or DLP typically produce very smooth surfaces with no or very subtle visible print lines. Those technologies use UV light to harden liquid resin in a tank. These technologies are generally very desirable for scale models. The model battleship turret below is produced in a Formlabs "Form 2" SLA printer. There are no visible print lines. The bad: 3D printers that make models using a process called SLS, such as those that extrude molten nylon through a nozzle, are known for creating very prominent layer lines. Layers are deep and often spoil fine detail. Being nylon, it is very difficult to smooth those surfaces. Therefore, SLS is generally not considered suitable for scale, static-display models where surface smoothness and fine detail are important. The fixable: 3D printers using a tech called FDM produce models with rough surfaces but surface smoothness may be fixable. FDM is similar to SLS but can produce models made of strong ABS plastic and other attractive materials rather than nylon. FDM printing is also generally faster than SLA-type printers. Rough FDM-produced surfaces can be smoothed using various techniques including applying layers of primer, then smoothing the primer. See Bob MDC's post above. 3D printers making models using a process called material jetting can produce pretty rough surfaces but surface roughness can be smoothed using tools like an air eraser while protecting most detail. Shapeways "Fine Detail Plastic" is made using this process. Air erasers look and work like an airbrush, but cost a lot less, and emit common household baking soda as a non-toxic grit to smooth surfaces. Hope this helps.
  3. Hi Tony, Great question. Rather than a complete package, I'll be offering the models individually for several reasons. Generally, the market responds best to an "a la carte" approach to aftermarket. References indicate that there were many Beaufighter variations, all equally popular, so it seems most flexible to let the modeler choose which features he or she needs for his or her kit. The early station will be available to buy this week, probably by the weekend. Just a few tweaks to be made and then I'll need a couple of days to create an assembly and painting guide. Once that's all done, I'll get to work completing the late station which is mostly finished. Cheers!
  4. Lots of great photos of USS Lexington CV-16 here: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/16.htm Yes, as correctly pointed out above, USS Lexington CV-16 is an Essex class aircraft carrier, named for the lost Lexington class aircraft carrier USS Lexington CV-2 sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, 1942. Essex class Lexington CV-16 survived the war and was extensively modified afterwards, gaining an angled deck, some hull widening, and a heavily modified island. She is preserved as a museum at Corpus Christy, Texas. "Flight Deck Stain Norfolk 250" was a stain applied to the wooden wearing surface of US Navy aircraft carrier flight decks from 1941 to June, 1943 when it was superseded with "Flight Deck Stain #21". When new, "Flight Deck Stain #21" was a deep blue-gray color nearly as dark and blue as "Navy Blue 5-N" paint, which is easier to find as a hobby paint. Flight deck stain became faded and worn very quickly by normal flight deck activities, sea, weather, and brutal Pacific sunlight. Here's how "Flight Deck Stain #21" looked on sistership USS Yorktown CV-10 as seen in 1943: In mid 1944, flight decks were ordered to be stained with "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised", which nearly perfectly matched "Deck Blue 20B" paint, a very deep blue color when new, also easier to find as a hobby paint. In other words, the 1944 revised paint was darker and bluer than the original stain #21. But this stain, too, faded and wore quickly leaving the natural wood colors of the planking exposed. Below is a photo of worn and faded "Flight Deck Stain #21 Revised" on sistership USS Randolph CV-15 in 1945. Note that the steel tie down strips were painted "Deck Blue 20-B" (stain doesn't work on metal). The "Deck Blue 20-B" paint on steel was much more resistant to wear than the stain on wood and retained its blue color far longer. Also note that the wood flight deck planking on Essex class aircraft carriers was pine, not teak. Most sources of teak were well behind Japanese lines during World War Two making it nearly impossible for US shipyards to obtain. So plain old, easily sourced and very plentiful American pine became the go-to wood substitute for flight deck surfaces during the war. Also note that Essex class flight decks were in fact steel with a wood wearing surface. It is often erroneously reported or implied that Essex class flight decks were completely made of wood which is false. Only the wearing surface was wood. A wood wearing surface had three distinct advantages: it was much cooler under a hot sun, it is easily repaired, and it absorbs and retains splinters from shell, bomb and bullet hits rather than allowing them to bounce around causing further harm. You can read more about flight deck colors in an article by noted naval historian and researcher Alan Raven here: https://www.shipcamouflage.com/5_4.htm Hope this helps. Cheers!
  5. Test prints of the radar equipment, operator's seat, and seat stand are successful. These features would very difficult to build from scratch with accuracy for most modelers. Compare the size of the 5 radar components to the size of the seat. The real gear was big, bulky, heavy and took up a lot of space. Next test prints are the Hispano-Suiza 20 mm cannons and heater duct. Then the model will be ready for sale.
  6. Work continues on the 1/32 scale Bristol Beaufighter early nightfighter radar operator's station. Test prints of the Hispano-Suiza 20 mm cannon ammunition drums and spare drum racks were successful. The Beaufighter was fit with four 20 mm cannons, making it a very hard-hitting aircraft. Early Beaufighter cannons were fed from portable ammunition drums. The real ammunition drums held up to 60 rounds of 20 mm explosive ammunition. The rear of the drum was perforated with small holes which permitted a person to see how many rounds were loaded in the drum at a glance. Unlike drums fit to cannons inside wings like those of the Spitfire, Hurricane, Typhoon, etc., the Beaufighter's drums had a handle so that the cannons could be rearmed by the radar operator in flight. The model accurately captures the perforations and handle. The bottom of the real racks stood away from the Beaufighter's fuselage sides just a bit. The models accurately capture this feature, too. The model will come with 12 drums, 4 for the cannons and 8 for the racks.
  7. Truly lovely. Makes me want to have a vegemite sandwich.
  8. As an aftermarket vendor, you need all of the products I offer. Cute puppies all over the world will drop dead if you don't buy them. If you buy them twice, puppies all over the world will magically become even cuter. If a competitor offers the same products I do, you don't need his products. Those products have no saving effect on puppies internationally, or their cuteness. Competitors' products may turn you into a newt. You might not get better. If you do get better, you will be angry and bitter about the experience of having been a newt. Competitor's customer testimonial below. Note how angry and bitter they are, and a bit confused. And unwashed. All avoidable. As a seasonal bonus, in December, if you buy more than a hundred dollars worth of product, a bell will ring and an angle gets his wings.
  9. Hi Rob, I hope to design a thimble nose. It will be a while before I can get to that project. I regret to say that there are no plans for the tail fillet/strake/extension seen on some late Beaus. After the Beaufighter observer stations are done, the next project in the queue is a cockpit for the classic Bandai 1/24 scale Shiden Kai.
  10. Hi Iain! Good news, yes, I do intend to release early dihedral tailplanes. That model is a big design project is in the queue. It will awhile before it is ready but hopefully this year. It will appear again in the catalog once the design is done. Thanks for all the great and encouraging comments, everyone! They are very helpful.
  11. Thanks for the kind comments! Click here for test print photos of the large parts. Teaser: This project, and Model Monkey generally, was badly impacted by Covid-related supply chain issues and serious international shipping disruption significantly delaying it and many other projects, too. But we're in the home stretch, now. Thanks for your patience! This is the first of two observer stations to be released over the next few weeks. This is the early radar operator's station, with drum-fed cannons, spare ammo drums and racks, and AI Mk.IV radar equipment. The next release will be a late observer's station, with bin-fed cannons, reinforced seat stand, and other detail differences. The parts you see in the photo above are generally common to both early and late variants. The two prongs and small lip you see at the front of the floor help mate this model with a detailed cockpit and intra-spar equipment bay available now. Regarding a correction for the Revell kit's cannon ports, that would be a problematic design and I am not sure that 3D-printing is the best solution. The cannon ports on the Revell kit are located on a very large part that includes the lower forward fuselage and lower wing and engine nacelles. A direct replacement part would be very costly because of its size and very difficult to design and print in a way that will fit the Revell kit well. The part is so large that a corrected 3D-printed version of it might not even fit within the build-space of any of the three 3D-printers I have. A smaller part intended to replace just a portion of the large Revell part would require some challenging kit surgery by the modeler to install it, perhaps too challenging for most modelers. Products that require major kit surgery tend to sell very poorly, sometimes even not at all. The market prefers products that are as close to drop-fit, replacements for inaccurate kit parts as possible. So unless there is very significant market demand, I regret that I am going to pass on a cannon port correction part. I do regret that I am not able to correct all of the Revell kit's deficiencies. But the kit does have some excellent merits and hopefully, the two Model Monkey cockpits, dihedral tailplanes, and torpedo that are available now, and the two new observer's stations to be released very soon, will go far towards improving the popular, classic Revell kit. Cheers and thanks again!
  12. Test prints look good so far. Here are the big parts. These parts are intended to be inserted within the Revell kit's fuselage. Test printing the smaller bits (seat, weapons, ammo drums and racks, radar equipment) is next.
  13. Hi Pete, I hope so. I'd like to offer a Sperry bump, too. No promises, however; much work to do on the observer stations before I could get to it. Cheers!
  14. Good news: we're very close to releasing our first of two Bristol Beaufighter observer's stations intended for the classic Revell 1/32 scale Bristol Beaufighter model kit. This first release represents the early radar-equipped NF Mk.I and NF Mk.II nightfighter station. This early radar operator's station is equipped with drum-fed Hispano-Suiza 20 mm cannons and Airborne Interception (AI) Mk.IV radar. The next release represents the late observer's station for Mk.VI day fighters, TF Mk.X maritime strike aircraft and Australian Mk.21 Beaufighters. The late station was equipped with bin-fed cannons, a reinforced seat stand for the observer and some other detail and instrumentation differences. Final early radar operator's station detailing and design tweaks are being completed this week. Test prints are scheduled for the weekend. Below are some renderings of the early design with drum-fed cannons. The first two renderings show the radar operator's station paired with the pilot's cockpit and intra-spar equipment bay ahead of the observer's station. Together, they form a very large model. The cockpit and equipment bay will be sold separately. Cockpits for early and late Beaufighters, dihedral tailplanes, radar equipment, and a torpedo are available now. Some of what you see below will change a bit.
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