Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rising above the Crowd

Here are some WiP shots of my air support.  The Il-2m Sturmovik and the flight stand I've been making for it.
I went to the local craft store which has a wide range of useful goodies, and picked up a Plexiglas disk, some tubing and a length of clear Plexiglas rod.   I glued a short length of tubing down to the disk, and the rod just slots into it with no glue required, so it should transport easily.
I then glued a length of the same tubing into the bottom fuselage of the Sturmovik.  Short enough to fit inside the model, but long enough so that when placed over the top of the clear plastic rod, the plane will sit firmly on top without fear of being accidentally toppled over.  

I glued it in at an angle, so that when the model is placed on top of the stand, it will appear to be diving down, like a mighty socialist falcon, upon the helpless fascist rodents that are to be its prey.

This obviously necessitated some major surgery on the kit, especially the rear seat area of the cockpit.  I had to blank off part of the rear cockpit with plastic card, but it should look okay when done.  Again, these are meant to be gaming models, not IPMS masterpieces.

To weigh down the stand properly, I will first put some old, broken miniatures under the hammer- literally!  The resulting flattened lead lumps will then be epoxied down to the base, which will then be amply covered with epoxy putty and textured.

Note that I gave up on the Airfix Sturmovik.  This is an old Polish kit of the aircraft that I picked up years ago, and promptly ignored as it was too crude for words.  

However, on looking at pictures of the Il-2m, it was pretty obvious that Airfix had gotten the basic wing plan and fuselage contours -completely- wrong.  Although in Airfix's defence, the kit was designed during the height of the Cold War, when any kind of accurate info was extremely scarce.

The Polish kit did much better at capturing the look of the aircraft, so I decided that despite the heavy details, and being moulded from industrial-strength plastic, it would after all be the better bet.  The hard plastic was certainly up to being hacked around when it came to adding the length of tubing.  The surface details are crude- just raised lines for the most part- but are better than the raised rivets that come with the Airfix kit.  And the location slots in the wing roots actually fit the wings!!  

Putting the kit together was a bit of an adventure, due to inadequate instructions and an almost total lack of locating holes.  This wasn't too much of a drawback as those that were there didn't line up with the pins, or else were too small or large to receive them!

I'll use some parts from the Airfix kit, such as bomb racks, rear machine gun and maybe the pilots.  Likewise I'll use the excellent decal sheet from Airfix too- the one that came with the Polish kit being simply dreadful. 
I'm much happier with how it is turning out so far, and it certainly looks much more like the Il-2m than did the Airfix kit, which looked as if it was converted from a Fairy Fulmar! A long way to go yet.


Aside from air power, I've also been beavering away at the T-34/76's.  I completed another Zvezda kit, and started a couple more UM models (these look good when done, but are a lot less fun to work on, as there are so many fiddly parts- many without locating holes).   

In the end I went ahead and added brass wire handles to the turrets.  I was surprised to find that this was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be.  Certainly the models look better for it.  

I've also started on the HQ stand for the 68th Tank Brigade.  A UM T-34/76 with the brigade commander.  He will be surveying the battlefield with his staff.   I think it is going to look really neat when it's done!

Received some more kits this week- transport in the form of Lend-Lease trucks and jeeps!  There are also some more surprises on the horizon, and I'll post on these when I get them. 


For a few weeks the Soviets will have to take back seat to Napoleonics, as I have a few stands of French that I have to get finished so that we can play our first game at the club at the end of September, although as I can use the Russian buildings as well I will continue to work on those.

But it does means slower progress on the armour for a while, but maybe I need the break from modelling as I find my patience getting thinner these last few days.  The summer heat is still oppressive, but hopefully now that September is imminent,  the end of the heat wave may finally be in sight.  Then I can get out the spray primer and airbrush!  I'm anxious to get these guys under a coat of paint.

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