Scottish National Scale Model Show 2018

It’s the SNSMS this weekend so I’m here with the club. Hopefully I will be able to get some decent photos this year and make a photo gallery!

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HMS Astute Reporting for Paint!

Main Hull of the 1:700 HMS Astute ready for paint
Main Hull of the 1:700 HMS Astute ready for paint

I haven’t forgotten about this kit, I finally have the hull seam somewhere near like respectable, well its close enough anyway. So here we have the main hull assembly and the prop ready and waiting for a coat of ever so boring Vallejo Black!

Book Review: Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator

Cover of Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator by Wing Commander David Herriot
Cover of Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator by Wing Commander David Herriot

This book is a great tale of life in service during throughout a major part of the cold war. The author manages to take you along with him on his journey from early life in Glasgow to his deployments in service in the Royal Air Force, and along with all the hard work came many amusing incidents that really shows the great comradery between colleagues that seemed ever present no matter where the author found himself stationed.

Whilst operational stories are always interesting to aviation enthusiasts, the authors stories of how these crews let off steam and really did live the work hard, play hard lifestyle are not only often funny, but I thought it showed a real human side to the RAF during a time when almost everything they did in training and practice sorties was ultimately aimed at preparing for having to go beyond the Iron Curtain in one way or another.

For me I ended up finding it was these anecdotes of lighter moments that really made the book, not to detract from the rest of it mind you, but they really seemed to make the book go beyond merely an operational history for the author to make it feel almost feel like an old friend or relative was recounting stories from years past over a drink or two. If you have any kind of interest in the RAF, or those that serve then this is definitely worth a read.

As always thanks go to Pen and Sword books for the copy to review, you can find the book for sale on their site for which a link can be found in the links section of this sites menu.

Hasegawa Tritool, File Set Professional Type

Hasegawa Tritool File Set Professional Type
Selection of Files included in the Hasegawa Tritool File set, Professional Type

I decided to treat myself to some new files for modelling as my old ones are looking a little worse for wear so I had a nose about online and I found this Hasegawa set on one of my favourite Japanese vendors on Amazon for a great price so promptly placed the order.

The files arrived in good time as always with this vendor and here they are. I am not sure what makes these the professional type, the vendor did also have the standard type but as there was only around a pound saving I ordered these ones. Nothing to get excited about really is it but still I couldn’t wait to give them ago.

As you can see there’s a good selection of file profiles included in the packet and they are all fantastically sharp, so much so I have found it extremely easy to remove more material than you intended!

At first I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have some kind of handle or comfort grip on them but I have to say having used them a bit I do understand why. The lack of a bulky comfort grip handle means it’s much easier to get the files into difficult to reach positions and helps in keeping the cutting face parallel to the material you are filing. The knurled section on the handles provides more than enough purchase to keep them secure in your grip and avoid slippage.

All in all very pleased with such a simple tool and if and when these do require replaced, which I cant see happening for a very long time, I would definitely want to replace them with like for like.

Drone done

Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley
Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley
Completed D-21 Sitting on it’s trolley

It’s been a while since I have done a completion photoset! Well this isn’t really a true completion as it’s only part of the kit really but as I think it’s the first one this year (shocking I know!!) I am counting it. Having said that we are going to be in for a few completions very soon.

I present to you the Lockheed D-21B High Speed Unmanned Reconnaissance Drone as launched from the underwing of B-52’s during the cold war.

You can’t really see any of the trolley she is sitting in the photos but to be honest I was more interested in making the most of the fleeting sunshine to try and make the natural metal finish look as good as I could.

Drone moves to paint

Main assembly on the D-21 completed
Main assembly on the D-21 completed
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal
First coat on the D-21 using AK Extreme Metal

Well there wasn’t much construction to the drone itself as you can imagine, so I have put down my first coat of paint on her. For the paint on this I am going to be using AK Xtreme metals and the first one down is the White Aluminum. I will be picking panels out individually in alternative shades to try and get a convincing natural metal finish on this. We will see how it actually ends up looking though!

Nose job

Fitting the nose to the SR-71 Blackbird
Installation of the nose on the SR-71 Blackbird
Main assembly of the SR-71 is complete with only the intake cones and the vertical stabilisers remaining
Main assembly of the SR-71 is complete with only the intake cones and the vertical stabilisers remaining

Well with the addition of the nose and engine nacelles the main phase of construction is pretty much complete. I will fit the Intake cones once I have managed to sand the inside of the cowlings as there was a liberal application of Mr. Dissolved Putty on their internal seams.

The join between the nose and the fuselage isn’t the best and it will be interesting trying to blend the join without damaging the raised detail. I might actually leave the vertical stabilisers off until after paint and decals are applied purely to ease access.

I have to say, considering the kits issues I am having a lot of fun with this one, they are coming to me as interesting problems to be solved rather than headaches. It’s a pleasant change to have so much mojo!

D-21, The Speedster Drone


Whilst the fuselage is all clamped up I thought I would tackle the Lockheed D-21 drone included in the kit.

For those that don’t know the D-21 was an unmanned drone that was originally designed to be launched from the back of the M-21, a variant of the original Lockheed A-12 photo reconnaissance aircraft from which the SR-71 was derived. The D-21 was developed as a response to policies bought in by Eisenhower after the downing of Gary Powers. The original D-21/M-21 combination was designed so as the drone would be launched at Mach 3, complete a pre-programmed overflight of Russia or China then eject its recon package for retrieval before the drone was to self destruct, however this combination was short lived after an accident during launch of a drone lead to the loss of a crew member.

After this the drone program was modified to the D-21B which was to be launched from under the wing of a B-52. It is this D-21B that is actually included in the kit and whilst its inclusion with an SR-71 is slightly erroneous this they are know to be displayed together in museums and the two aircraft are linked.

The model looks fairly simple and is victim to some more of old Revell’s superb sprue gates as the photos show. Still it will make an interesting addition to the shelf and will look nice along side the completed SR-71, there is also the inclusion of the drones trolley to display it upon which is a nice touch.

Two big pieces of plastic get stuck together


Ok first of all sorry for the blurry photo, but here’s the cockpit installed into the fuselage and two of the largest pieces of 1/72 scale plastic I have ever seen have been fitted together.

The fit between the two halves is not great, there are some fairly big gaps in the seam but fortunately the seam is on the underside so even after I take remedial action it won’t easily be seen anyway. It appears that Mr. Dissolved Putty is going to be my friend on this one.

Blackbirds office


Well the cockpits for the SR-71 provided no issues at all and look pretty decent even if I do say so myself. There was a nice amount of raised detail to pick out so I didn’t feel the need for any aftermarket. Time to get it installed!