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Phil Smith

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Phil Smith last won the day on March 21 2022

Phil Smith had the most liked content!

About Phil Smith

  • Birthday 06/17/1969

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    Washington, DC area
  • Interests
    Spaceflight, WWII, Cold War

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  1. Good grief - I have neglected to say a proper hello, having just found this post. Great idea to have this! I'm Phil Smith and have been building models for most of my adult life. I think my first serious go of it was a Testor's 1/12 Lamborghini model back in 1993 or so. However, my true passions are spaceflight and Cold War history. I've also been employed in the space industry for over 20 years. I suppose it's natural that I build models of real space subjects and, on occasion, science fiction spacecraft. I built a 1/12 Mercury capsule (Atomic City) some years ago and this marked my first foray into "advanced" model building, where I used a variety of new techniques and employed a significant amount of scratch building. Of course, I also love building scale models of aircraft, and I select these mainly on two criteria: 1) high quality kit and 2) aesthetics (essentially, the aircraft must look interesting). My favorite parts of model building tend to focus on super detailing cockpits and engines, and weathering. To scratch these itches when it comes to spaceflight, I typically need to resort to science fiction as real space subjects leave something to be desired. Refurbishable vehicles (e.g., Space Shuttle Orbiter), or those that return (e.g., Mercury) present obvious opportunities on the real space side. For SF, something like Hasegawa's Millennium Falcon will do nicely. On aircraft, I have a soft spot for WWII and Vietnam War-era subjects. My first serious treatment here is the Tamiya 1/32 P-51K, which I am just about to finish. My next project will be the Moebius 1/48 Aries-1 shuttle from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I have a stash of 1/32 aircraft I want to tackle, including an A-10, F-4C, F-104A, F4U, and A-6E. I'm not sure which of these I will grab next, but I am considering maybe doing two at a time... Nice to "meet" everyone!
  2. Thank you, everyone Will post more photos of progress in days ahead...
  3. Thank you, Paolo. I order these brass elements from Resin2Detail, and they interlock just like the real thing; however, it takes patience. I did bend them and distress them a bit before interlocking to show wear. I found many black and white photos online. Color photos show the PSP as rusty, since the photos were taken decades later. In reality, the panels did not rust for some time due to being a still-magnesium blend to retard corrosion. Still, I will likely add a touch of rust color for interest. Otherwise, I they will be a steal gray color.
  4. With the P-51K completed, I’ve moved on to development of a diorama to display the model in an interesting way. The setting will be an island in the South Pacific, late 1944 to early 1945. I intend to render a sandy environment with shrubs and grasses, a section of Marston matting (large, perforated steel planking used to build/reinforce runways), a jeep with wagon, and a few guys standing around. I found several kits to support this effort: 1/35 Jeep with trailer: Bronco 1/32 figures: ICM "A Photo to Remember" 1/32 Marston Mats: Resin2Detail 1/32 toolbox: Eduard Thus far, the jeep and wagon are completed, a relatively straight-forward build right out of the box.
  5. Thanks everyone. The jeep and figures for the diorama are coming along nicely. I'll post completed photos in the appropriate forum - it seems to me a detailed description for these items is outside the scope of this forum (being neither large or planes)
  6. The aircraft is finally complete, following non-trivial installation of the radio wire. I used very thin wire and a couple of light bulb filaments for detail on both ends. After a few bits of details, I decided to call it done. Next up, finding a bit of wood 16 inches square for a diorama base depicting the aircraft in the Pacific theater. It'll feature sand, shrubs, and Marston matting. I'm also building a 1/35 jeep from Bronco - detailed and fun, but not as good a kit as I just experienced with Tamiya's P-51D/K. Rounding it off will be a set of figures and a toolbox. I also started a 1/32 Trumpeter A-10. Definitely a step down from Tamiya, but that's ok.
  7. These are a few test shots of the nearly finished model. I’m pretty pleased with the result so far, despite a few setbacks and errors. I think it’s safe to say that we all go through ups and downs with an artistic endeavor. Perhaps that is the appeal, beyond the fun of it: to nevertheless succeed at completing a project and doing so in a satisfying way. The Tamiya 1/32 P-51 kit is superbly engineered, meaning that building it was absolute fun. Two things I would criticize and folks have pointed these out before. The canopy has a seam requiring removal and this needs to be done carefully - I inadvertently caused one to crack while removing the seam. Further, painting the frame ended up being a bear, so I would have designed the canopy as a separate part from the frame. The second thing is minor, but I would not include vinyl tires for the landing gear. That’s just goofy. Painting was my least favorite thing about model building until this kit. Thanks in part to folks here on LSP, I learned many things about how to apply paint with an airbrush, how to properly apply gloss and flat coats, how to add decals, and so forth. Before this kit, I “winged it,” so to speak. Also, space subjects, especially those that are fictional, mean one can get away with a simpler approach to painting the exterior. Not so with airplanes, it seems. This aircraft is covered with bare metal and painted aluminum, and I picked this particular aircraft for its colors, meaning it was going to be a fun painting challenge. There are a few things I’d do differently, and that’s the other part of the fun - learning new things and applying the lessons learned to the next project. I will be more careful with painting in the future, for one thing. Though I used Alclad II metallic paints, I did use Bare Metal Foil here and there, and not in a particularly clever way, so I won’t do that again. Chipped paint is a cool effect, one I think I executed well, but next time I intend to layout the colored paint over the metallic paint and, using another product between, actually wear through the upper paint layer to produce the desired effect. Weathering is my favorite thing to do, and maybe I go a bit overboard. But for a WWII aircraft, one can easily get away with that. I used washes for the first time and loved this effect, especially when supplemented with powders and chalks. Next will be to add the aerial antenna running through the canopy to the tail. After a few more touchups, I will build the diorama featuring four guys, a toolbox, a jeep, a sandy surface with shrubs, and Marston mat panels. I look forward to building the jeep, as I’ve never built a ground vehicle before. The four guys will be another new thing for me; the first figure is done and I think the result is satisfactory. So, while the plane is almost done, there is much remaining before the project is actually complete!
  8. Many thanks and an interesting approach I’d not considered before,
  9. A truly exceptional piece of work. Very well done and an inspiration!
  10. I have moved on to final painting and the application of decals. So far, I must say the process has been going well. I have not built many aircraft models, certainly not with the level of care I’ve applied to this particular model. I recall years ago building a model and painting struck me as unpleasant. One has to be patient and take care to understand how different paints work, the best brands, and, above all, let things dry - don’t rush. I had a little issue applying a gloss coat to the model after painting was done, a necessary step in applying decals as you want the surface to be as smooth as possible. I ended up with a minor “orange peel” effect in certain areas, which is unfortunate. I learned this can be due to a variety of things, but I seem to have overcome the problem by increasing airbrush psi and adjusting the gloss-thinner mix in favor of the latter (ratio of 1:1.5 or so). I'm also hoping that another layer of gloss after the decals, followed by a dull coat, will help mitigate some of the problem. I initially used Tamiya X-22 and Mr. Color Leveling Thinner at a 1:1 ratio. That did not produce a smooth surface (the latter product is excellent with colors, however). When I used X-22 with X-20 Thinner, the results were much better. Interesting... I’m using a combination of decals, HGW’s wet transfer decals for stencils and the stars-and-bars and Lifelike Decals for the markings specific to the subject (Mrs. Bonnie). I’ve not used wet transfer decals before, and they seemed to work pretty well. I’ve learned that using a softer or setter is best applied prior to placing the decal (this is, under the decal) as the film above seems not as porous as one might think. By the way, this is precisely what the instructions say. The issue is you need to be very careful because in some cases the setter/softner worked very quickly on the decal, not allowing for much fine tuning. Anyway, a bit of practice and all goes well. Note that on two occasions the removal of the top film 12 hours later did pull up some of the decal and a bit of paint (possibly an area that did not get enough gloss coat). The Lifelike Decals product is excellent - no problems there. Interestingly, the Lifelike Decals, and some other sources, indicate that Mrs. Bonnie featured stars-and-bars with a lighter blue color than typical. I didn’t care for how this lighter blue color looked, so I decided to use the traditional marking with the darker blue. Indeed, there are a handful of color photos of Mrs. Bonnie, and I think the insignia look about the same as those of other aircraft. In any case, I’m taking some artistic license. I also started on a few items that will be included in a diorama, a set of figures and a jeep. The former is from ICM and the latter from Bronco. The jeep is 1/35, but seems ok up against the 1/32 P-51. Regardless, it’s fun to explore painting figures and ground vehicles, both new to me. I can see the finish line, and I'm looking forward to distressing the aircraft a bit as weathering is my favorite part of the process!
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