Friday, January 27, 2017

Moving Forward.

 I approach this weekend with disappointment at the fact that I will not be attending the Train show in Springfield, Mass. that started today. I enjoy viewing all of the efforts made by those members of the 1/87 Vehicle Club that have decided to display there and wish this year was not the exception. But more, I will miss seeing the modelers themselves, many of whom have become my good friends. My hope and prayers go out that all have a safe and enjoyable time.

Among them is a man I have mentioned here before that offers modelers a wonderful selection of resin cast model kits by the name of Don Mills. For several years now Don has listed on his web site a Kenworth Narrownose tractor that has been labeled "coming soon". Well soon has come to pass and he did not disappoint in this kit. My good friend Joe Enriquez has been showing me his efforts to turn this model into a class act for quite some time now and I applaud his work that contributed to the Don Mills kit.

I made some changes to the kit that are not readily apparent but bear mentioning here. Because of the crispness and quality of Ratcliffe Model castings, I decided to utilize his suspensions front and rear as well as the wheels. The wheels and tires are also slightly larger than the ones that come with the kit. Added aslo are quarter fenders and mudflaps in cast metal from Alloy Forms. In the photo below you will notice a photo etched crossover deck that comes from the very impressive collection of photo etched details of Pitstop87. A visor has been fashioned from sheet brass.

Lastly is a photo etched heat shield on the muffler from Masterbilt models. A big thanks to Bob Johnson for it. It has been mentioned some time ago by another modeler that builds bright shiny models that I, and those like me that weather our models, are doing so to cover mistakes and flaws. In other words that we don't do meticulously clean vehicles because we can't.  For him I offer up the last photo here to show the results of my airbrush talents before weathering.  I weather simply to provide what I believe validates them and when photographed in a scale setting gives a sense of reality. 

Another model worked on recently has been the Wiking Peterbilt. This particular model came in a wrecker configuration But I always thought needed a good wrecker unit than the one it comes with. So I decided to utilize the fantastic Holmes unit that comes with several of the Athearn trucks. It was a simple matter really of cutting the molded fixtures from the Wiking bed, applying a photo etched diamond plate deck and mounting the Holmes. I re-cabled the Holmes unit to be more prototypical, put Dennis Aust wheels on it and added stainless mirrors to the rig. The headlights were change from the quad units to single lens and the rear of the Athearn bed was fitted.

Do have a good remainder to this winter, thanks for looking!

Friday, December 2, 2016


After quite some time now, it looks like the modeling bug has returned. Bringing the miniature world of 1/87 scale to life is not something I have completely abandoned.

In this newest of postings, I'd like to show a few things that kick started my journey back. Venturing back into the archives here would produce quite a few of the Roco Zis-5 piece that I have explained the details of, most important of which is that it is the same, exact truck as the Autocar Dispatch of the early 1930's.  The first of these that I show today is a tanker. The tanker body is a resin casting from a company in Eastern Europe that created it specifically for the Roco model. Added to the tanker body was the utility cabinet on the back from Jordan Miniatures and a hanging bucket. I need to inform any that have admired the Jordan line that unfortunately the owner has passed away. And what makes this terrible news to the modeler is that is was his wish that his casting molds be destroyed. Prayers go out to his family.

I follow this with another Autocar Dispatch and again, I have enlisted a Jordan part, that of the stake bed. A very highly detailed piece and I'm sorry not to have many more of them left. Not a lot more to say about this model except for the working truck weathering. 

Next is a wholly Jordan piece in the Ford Model TT in a tanker. The tanker body coming from the Jordan Ford Model AA (possibly my favorite Jordan).

Lastly, I would like to show what is without any doubt my absolute favorite model kit. This Mack FK came in cast resin kit form from Ralph Ratcliffe Models. William there has produced super high quality model parts in both fit and finish to give the 1/87 community an outstanding piece. All that was added to the kit was a winch, also from Ratcliffe models. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

So thank you for taking the time to look, I hope you enjoyed. 
To close, I would like to express my thanks to my very best friend and the person with whom I am sharing my work and leisure. The wonderful and lovely Debra. Thank you for your company and encouragement!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

1930's pieces

Not a lot to show in this post. Had much on my mind and a lot to do this summer. But taking time to build is good therapy for the mind. It takes us away from the harsh reality of life and puts us in a place where we can create unencumbered by the distractions we face constantly. It also gives a sense of accomplishment. The ability to create something in miniature that reflects real life.


The yellow dumper here is the 1936 Chevy, a resin kit from Sylvan Scale. I assembled the model itself as per instructions, added a clear acrylic windshield, new wheels from Jordan and the wooden scuff boards on the bed.  This is actually, the first time I have used the chipping technique with hairspray. I have always used Future Floor Finish with Windex but the hairspray gives a much more controllable chipping. I will be doing more this way in the future (or should I say without Future?)

   The next is an addendum to my fire house diorama.  This is the Busch 1932 Model AA that I have made into an ambulance. Changes are basically just the paint and decals with the addition of a siren (Ratcliffe Models).  I'm going to add the AA to my firehouse diorama and along with the '34 Ford pumper will make a package deal to take to the big show in Springfield this year.

   So as I said, not a lot to look at here this time around. I am slowly getting back on my feet after another kick in the teeth from life but I'm standing. Next we'll try to put one foot in front of the other and see how that goes. Please hug all that mean anything to you.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Playing with the camera again

I'm wondering where life would have taken me had all of this technology been available way back when. For that matter, where would folks like Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell be if they could have accessed everything we have literally at our fingertips today.  I'll leave the speculation on those fellas to some Hollywood producer for a future cinematic endeavor. But for me, I'm pretty sure I'd have taken a different path. Retrospect is a weird thing. I know that had I not been a smoker all my adult life I'd be some $80 thousand richer given some rather casual calculating. (And wouldn't get winded walking up the hill from the harbor.) As long as thinking about "what if's" doesn't get to be a preoccupation, I suppose it's OK but as I get older, it seems I do it more often than I used to. Perhaps it's a subconscious realization that there's way more time used up behind me than there is ahead. I do recognize that very few of the more important choices I've made would be different if it were possible to know what I know now.  I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go through this life without my wife and kids. All that said brings me to what captures my interest today. One of my fascinations today focuses on this hobby of course. And without a doubt, the ability to capture what we do in pictures has become a particularly enjoyable effort. Not much in the way of new models this posting but a few photos that I thought made for some realistic images. Of course given the era many of the photos would have been taken, most are black and white.

When I made the change into the new computer last winter, I needed to update a lot of the software I had in order for it to work. Much of it had the expected improvements and doodads that weren't on the older versions. My graphics program is rather rudimentary by the standards I see offered by much on the market today but was inexpensive and actually does a lot more than I even know how to use.  Now in addition to not knowing what the settings on the camera do,  I don't know what the photo editing software does either. So what I present to you was achieved by sheer luck and repeated attempts.

Making a model appear like the real thing is, as I have repeatedly said before, what model building is all about, for me at least. Presenting a miniature rendition of real life is the goal.  This manipulation of photographs is a terrific technique to help us to get to the goal.  I don't want to hide anything that would belay the fact that something is a model. But more, I want to enhance those things that fool the eye into thinking a piece is real. Oh, there's always that speck of dust that sticks out like a cherry on a cream pie in this scale. I will often remove the speck and take another photo. But sometimes it's just as easy to wipe it from the memory of the image.

Then there's that serendipitous occasion when something quite unexpected happens as in the case of the photo of the Ford Model TT grain truck. It appears that I have a resident spider that put his web in my barn interior.  The web here is so small and delicate that I didn't see it when taking the photo and was really quite delighted to see it when I began to crop the photos on the computer screen. How many old barns have I seen this in over the years?

OK, I do have one new model at least to show. This is an addition to the fleet of Mack quarry trucks I've done for a customer. As with the rest of them, it comes from Ratcliffe Models. The tractor is the M65, slightly modified from the kit. The large capacity belly dump trailer is a limited edition resin piece. It now is the largest 1/87 scale model I've ever built.

As the weather warms, I expect a little drop off on production here but we'll still be working on models. In fact I have a project that may prove to be very interesting in the works. I have been approached by a prominent 1/87 kit manufacturer to do a video. I have no idea how this will turn out. I usually let the models speak for themselves. Will need a haircut before filming. Take time to reach out to your loved ones and have a good one!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Firehouse project

I've been sitting on a disassembled Railway Design Associates plastic building for some time. I built it several years ago but tore it apart shortly after using half of it for the stucco building you see in a lot of my photos. For the other half, I have used styrene clapboard sides with Tichy windows and doors to make this firehouse. The first floor is styrene boxcar siding to give a wooden floor look. And the second floor and roof are just sheet styrene. The roof has black paper strips applied for a finish.

Everything was sprayed black, inside and out. Then the brick front and rear were sprayed with an acrylic craft paint mixture of Terra Cotta and Crimson Red. The side walls were done in a blue and the windows and doors were hand painted a slightly lighter blue color.  The ivy is 'old man's beard' a lichen growing here, that was sprayed dark brown and while wet, laid on a piece of glass flat and tea leaves were sprinkled over it.  Once dry it was touched up with a little green paint and glued to the wall.

   The engine here is a 1934 Ford built from the '34 Ford bus from Jordan. The chassis was glued in upside down and the body was scratch built. The windscreen is from a model T and the hose reel and fittings on the pumper sides are scratch built.  The top photo shows the completed station.

   One more Roco Zis 5 turned Autocar here for this wrecker. A scratch built bed and wrecker unit make up this truck.

   One last pic for this post is a Model T touring car from Jordan, pretty much as it is intended to be built. I did take some liberties on the colors. I doubt if many were this colorful.

    With that one, this Memorial Day, I will leave you all so you may give the thanks deserved by all those that have donned a uniform in the service of our country.