Getting an Education…

I have been spending some quality time going through some master modeler pieces- like Shep Paine and Bob Letterman online, as well as taking visual notes. I recently picked up a large set of The Weather Magazine(s) from a flea market and have also been reading through these as I have become an admirer of Mig’s since meeting him at AMPS around 6 years ago or so. Pairing these with the work of all the excellent modelers here and in other forums I frequent, I have been trying to redefine my philosophy and how I go about what I do in the Sheep’s Pen. Maybe it’s all the time doing research as a field biologist and now going on 20 years teaching- but I really enjoy delving in and learning as much as I can.

What I have found more than anything is that I really have some ADD (not official) when it comes to modeling. I don’t have any specific genre I associate myself with anymore- although I do try to stick with 1/48 aircraft- but also enjoy 1/35 armor (WWII to start, but modern more so than ever now), autos, and figures when one suits my fancy. I also tend to get tunnel vision when I am in a build- always focusing on what’s next and the finish line…but have been realizing that when I consider one “finished”, I look back and think about what I missed or could’ve done better.

With Mig’s magazines, there are things I don’t ever even think on when I build- like zenithial lighting, or how filters can be used effectively. Reading these techniques now, I really want to start playing around and modifying my approach. My fear is I will get stuck or bogged down and lose interest- hence the ADD reference. I live in a pretty awesome place- but one that is a pretty vast wasteland when it comes to things like model shows and clubs. The nearest one is in Albany and a good distance away- so I am pretty much solo- so entering a show is not even on my radar…plus the desire to do so is not really there. Other than sharing with all of you, and/or the occasional model I build for someone else, I am really the only one who sees my work. Nevertheless, the drive to improve is still there- I just need to slow it down and intensify my focus I guess.

I’ve picked up a few of Mig’s AMMO line to try out, and plan on reading and researching more- but was just bouncing my thoughts off on you all. I plan on putting this into my blog as well but I was just wondering if anyone else shares my scatteredness…

On a side note– these Oilbrusher products of AMMO’s sort of bewilder me…I mean it kind of seems like buying the 50/50 antifreeze….sure it’s ready to go- but aren’t you just paying more for a thinned down product? I suppose it works for those who don’t know much about oils- but I just don’t know…

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Build Review for Italeri 1/48 AH-64D Longbow Apache

First off- much thanks to Italeri for the sample to review.


The kit is nicely packaged- and includes the decal sheet, one clear sprue, and three gray sprues. Sprue A contains the main fuselage halves, tail,  and the engine exhaust covers, as well as the cockpit floor.

Sprue B contains the majority of the parts for the rotor, interior with an excellent instrument panel, and external ordinance.

Sprue D contains more of the same- exterior fuselage covers, and a lot of the more fiddly parts:

Clear parts seem nicely detailed-

Decal sheet contains stencils, decals for the interior panels, and 5 possible schemes- one for the Royal Army Air Corps in the UK, a US Army scheme, a Japanese Ground Self Defense Force Training School, a United Arab Emirates AF, and a French version.

The instructions seem straightforward and come with a separate guide for the 5 schemes and for painting and stenciling the ordinance.


As in most cases, construction begins with the interior– and a nice little bit of detail in there using the kit decals…

Basic assembly of the fuselage was fine until I got to the sponsons. They were supposed to fit over the wing stubs but I had a heckuva time getting it to move over smoothly, losing one of the small protuberances in the process. Not sure if I just misinterpreted the instructions or if they just weren’t as clear as they could be, but it did give me fits.

Also, the way the gear legs are attached early on exposes them to what happened to me with one of them breaking off. I was able to doctor it back into place, but care is most definitely needed in this stage of the build.

Also had to clamp to get the fuselage together with no seam issues…

With all that done, we moved on to decaling…some silvering occurred in the process…but they snugged down quite nicely otherwise.


After a flat coat, I was able to finish attaching all the small bits and the rotor.

Overall impression of the kit– it was quite a fun build of something I don’t normally take on. It sure does look the part though and despite the stumbling about on my part, the kit is really quite excellent. Great job by Italeri and I look forward to more kits in quarter scale by them in the future!



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Build Review for Hasagawa 1/24 Jaguar XJ-S H.E. TWR

Before we begin, I’d like to thank Hobbico for the review copy and if you’d like one for yourself, please visit:



One can’t deny the beauty of an iconic car such as the Jaguar. Hasegawa has reissued their Jaguar XJ-S kit, which is represented here as car number 1 from the Tom Walkinshaw racing team. The scheme pictured on the box is the only one represented in the box but it looks to be excellent…molded in styrene, there are three white parts trees, in addition to the main body shell. There is also two trees of grayish parts (softer and more flexible), two trees of chrome parts, one of clear parts, a fret of PE, and a set of vinyl tires.



The instruction booklet seems to have been left alone, as it definitely looks like it came out of an older kit-


Clears parts, PE, and materials for belts and the like:

Decals for the one scheme:

Main body– no flash that I can see- just my phone camera…

Chrome trees:

The gray sprues contain parts for what looks like an exceptional V-12 engine, plus the undercarriage, exhaust, springs, and lower chassis…

Lastly the white sprues…first is the smallest with the hood and dash:

The interior floor and panel, brake drums, and roll cage-

And the seat, suspension, undercarriage, and various details for the inside and engine area…


The build starts with the most excellent engine- which is a masterful recreation and a fun little kit on it’s own.

Work then shifts to the driver’s seat and interior…one little snag involves the directions- they mention a decal for the driver seat belt uprights, but there are none included in the kit.

And after adding the engine we see everything fits quite nicely…

Before adding the clear parts and the body to the chassis, I began the paint and decal stages. I used Tamiya British Green in a spray can for the color. The lines of the body made it a bit difficult to get a good seal on the masking no matter how I tried- no fault of the kit- just with the sleek Jaguar lines. Decals went down quite nicely…

Everything fit together without a hitch….

I didn’t do too much with the weathering as this was a track vehicle…and so final construction ended with adding the small details such as antenna and mirrors…

Quite happy with the build overall- definitely need some more work on my paint skills, but Hasagawa did an excellent job on this iconic car and I thoroughly enjoyed building this speedster.

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Build Review for Italeri 1/48 Macchi MC.205 Veltro

First off, my thanks for the review copy of the kit goes to Italeri– click on the link to head right to the kit for purchase.

Right– so let’s start with a good look at what you get inside!

img_20170613_163022599-1024x576I found the clear parts to be very crisply detailed.



Parts details of the dark grey sprues were very nice with no noticeable flash to speak of. First off- a shot of the fuselage halves, elevators, tail wheel, and gun cover. img_20170613_163629792-1024x576 Next are the top wing halves, cockpit side panels, instrument panel, seat, radiator, and various small details…


Bottom wing, and landing gear details….


Prop hub, air and sand filters, cowling, and guns-


Gear wheels, exhaust stacks, and prop blades…there are two of these.


The markings options include six different Italian schemes that represent a two to three year span of the war. They also thought to include smoke ring decals for those of us less talented to pull off airbrushing them! I’ve included one shot of the color guide….


We start out where we usually do– in the cockpit…



I used the kit decals to detail the panel…things set down quite nicely with some Micro Sol…


Here we are at the paint stage after the kit went so smoothly together-




Paint & Markings…

I used Italeri paints for the final finish– they come in a nice dropper bottle similar to the Vallejo Model Air paints…although cleanup was a bit of a task- but overall I was happy with the results…which you can see here as I started applying the smoke rings with some Micro Sol…


I did run into a little trouble with the fuselage band, something I would normally paint on. I did try shifting it around to get a better fit, but it had already pretty much set and I didn’t want to mess with it further…


And my finished model– ready to start out the Regia Aeronautica portion of my collection:



I thoroughly enjoyed the build and sincerely hope Italeri has some further releases to expand the sorely needed Regia Aeronautica side of WWII aircraft.

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Build Review for Hasagawa’s 1/24 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 Rally (1991 Monte Carlo/Swedish)

img_20170325_103419679_hdr-800x450First off– many thanks to for the review copy- and this link will take you to the car if you’d like to purchase it!

Rally Cars

I have to say my exposure to rally car racing has been pretty limited up to this point– other than occasional You Tube videos and playing racing games with my son on Playstation.  From what I have gathered, rallying is a form of motorsport that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. In the examples from the kit, both the Monte Carlo Rally and Rally Sweden events are some of the most challenging races in the world and drivers tend to face incredibly different sorts of challenges. In the Monte Carlo setting, the main problem is the tortuous, twisting tracks and the extreme variability of road conditions. For Rally Sweden, the treacherous snow cover makes racing extremely difficult. For one car to pull off top ten finishes in both races, it would have to be an exceptional ride.

What’s in the kit

This kit from Hasegawa includes two sets of decals–one to mark it as the winner of the 1991 Swedish Rally driven by Kenneth Eriksson, and another to mark it as car #8 from the 1991 Monte Carlo Rally, driven by Timo Salonen!  There are a number of plastic sprues in the kit, as well as set of PE, clear sprue, materials for belts and flaps, and exceptional decals.  Here is a preview of what you’ll find:


The Build

The build begins with the interior- very nice details await you inside.  Hasagawa has provided some materials to cut the seat and shoulder belts– and the accompanying PE buckles add some nice detail.  Decals are included for the seats and belts, as well as the dashboard.


Before putting the body onto the frame and interior, I decided to make things easier by painting and decaling ahead of time.  I used Tamiya spray cans for the paint.


Frame and interior snuggled up inside the main body with no issues…


It was up to this point where I considered the build complete and put it aside to write the blog post up.  Last week, however, I came across a rally race on NBC and proceeded to lose the next hour or so.  These things really aren’t so clear and shiny by any means.  So after a slurry of Mig European pigments and Dark Wash- here is the end result that I am quite pleased with:


Hasagawa has found a new fan as I peruse the online sites for more of these rally cars!



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Build Review for the Revell 1/48 Stuka Ju-87G-1 Tank Buster


Ok–thanks to my friends at Scale Plastic Aircraft Modeler and Revell, I got a chance to review the new reboxing of the Revell tank-busting Stuka.  First up, let’s delve into the sprue shots…I find them to be quite nice- very little flash and subtle sink marks that can be easily hidden or filled. First one up are the fuselage halves, instrument panel, gun, and the like.100_8363

The sidewall detail is there– it’s a bit scarce, but with the right bit of extra work it will pop…and the aforementioned sink marks to be filled.


The instrument panel is quite nicely detailed and can be detailed or one can use the decal provided.


Moving on, we have the wing tops, cockpit floor, and prop. 100_8369


Following this are parts for the gear spats, gear wheels, rudder, wing cannons, and figures.

A closeup of the radiator, air coolers, and struts for the horizontal stabilizers.


Sadly I forgot to take a pic of the bottom wing half- but it is of similar detail to the tops.  Here are the clear parts- quite subtle but with easy demarcations to use to mask…and just hints of flash:


Last up are the decals– set for just one scheme.  As per typical Revell kits, there is the lack of hakenkreuz but that can be easily rememdied using aftermarket decals.  The decals are quite easy to work with…and as can be seen- on the instrument panel, they make the detail pop.

Now onto the model assembly- I took some pics after some prespraying and before filling…

And after affixing the prop and getting ready to close things up…100_8402

The wing assembly requires just a tab bit of filler but otherwise fit like a charm…


And some pics of the painting stages…

And the final product-

Overall, I found this to be quite a nice straightforward build.  Built out of the box, it brings back memories of building as a kid when you just slapped together a kit and paint and flew it in your backyard.  I left everything as is- no drilling the cannon barrels out, no aftermarket decals, no extra weathering, just a model.  I had a blast and Revell did quite a nice job of recreating the famous gull-wing aerodynamics of a Stuka airframe.

Pros:  Good fit, very little flash, instructions straightforward and easy to follow.

Cons: Some sink marks on the cockpit side panels, interior detail very subtle, figures look a bit rough


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Thoughts on the Summer

I used to get annoyed when people would find out I was a teacher and would as a general rule come out with the same sort of remark about how it must be nice to have your summers off.  I used to try to defend myself saying how much work I did for those 40 weeks I did work– both at school and at home…and how I didn’t get paid for the summer…and on and on.  Truth is– I kind of embrace it now.  Yes- it is nice.  I get to really spend some quality time with my kids and we tend to grow pretty close.  Money gets lean about this time of year…but heck– I am a teacher…I have never really ever been rolling in it anyways…so whatever.  Fact is– I did try doing the summer school thing one year with the kids, but with the child care and commuting costs- well I never actually made anything…and someone else was with my kids.  I’ll probably explore some sort of summer employment in a few years when my kids no longer want me around, but for now I am more interested in being the person they spend all their time with while they still want me around.


My first summer alone with the kids…

I think we’ve come a long way too…..


So in less than two weeks when we three are back in school and life with soccer, scouts, horseback riding, firewood gathering, and the myriad of other things that come with the end of summer and beginning of fall start to materialize- we can look back on these couple months with longing– but I like to think that what happens next is kind of exciting as well.  It’s been a great summer…and while the things to do list is slow to shorten, these next few days together as a family will be busy but awesome between Abby riding in the Schagticoke Fair and us getting all the last minute back-to-school things done.  Now if you’ll excuse me– time to start checking a couple other thing-to-do items off…

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