Creating a cockpit

In this world of photo-etch and resin enhancements for model kits, I have not tried to do any scratch building for years.  Instead, the strategy has been to hone my painting and highlighting skills to create wonderful renditions of scale interiors.  As discussed in my last post I started down that path with my current build, a UH-1D Huey by purchasing a UH-1B etch set.  They are not compatible with the “D” model so off to real modeling we go.


I used the “B” set etch instrument panel as a form from which to start making an interior.  Armed with my micro drills and trusty Waldron punch set I am creating the instrument panel.

I am also experimenting with adding small switches or handles.  I poke a small hole in the plastic then add a small radius wire with super glue and clip off with sharp scissors when set.

I also added a scratch a pair of rudder pedals when the kit’s set went flying from the tweezers and lost to the garage monster.

A lesson in Hueys

Started my next kit today.  Actually a set of kits of Antarctic helicopters.  I’ve always wanted to build the old Revell SO4S with its orange plastic because of the overall international orange scheme but alas I’m too cheap to pay the collector’s prices.

But a few years back an Irish company Max Decals released a set of 1/72 scale decals covering a multitude of Antarctic color schemes for various helicopters.  It has been a while since I have built a copter and so why not build three; and UH-1D, and H-34, and an H-19.

I am starting with the UH-1D.  I was able to buy an old AMT kit which is exactly the same as the Italeri kit, to finish in the international orange colors of VX-6.

I also purchased an Eduard etched set for these kits.  Trouble was the set for the 1/72 Huey is for a UH-1B.  Same thing right, D vs. B?

Well no.  So I spent an afternoon googling images of the two versions and contemplating whether to use the Eduard set on the D.  Here are notable differences;

  • The B has a single window side door, the D two windows (longer door)
  • The B has a totally different engine housing
  • The B kit has armored seats- not needed on the D antarctic version.

I compared the parts on the B etch and figured I could only use a few items like the instruments panel and seatbelts.  And so I decided that I’d put away the etch for eBay or another day and do the unthinkable – scratch build the interior.  It has been awhile since I have scratched a 1/72 scale kit cockpit.  This should be fun!

Slap’em Jack’em P-38

I’m not sure I got that quote right from the movie Airplane.  But ever since my son (who’s now 30) and I modeled together (and watched the movie about 10 times) the phrase has been used to imply we just slapped a model together without a thought to sanding, filling, filing, and all those other things that get in the way of just getting to a completed model.

Dang, it was refreshing to just build this Monogram P-38.  As I set up in a previous post I dusted off an old friend and put it her together like I would have done in my youth.  I sure am lucky that styrene has a long shelf life than me.

The build went well.  There are a number of parts that don’t quite fit together well but still the engineering given its timeframe was beautiful.  And it looks like a P-38.


The kit needed a ton of weight in the front of the booms and under the gun bay in order to stay on all three.

After years of using Alclad for my NMF paint jobs, I went with Model Master Aluminum and was very impressed with it’s cover and color.  It went over all of those teeny tiny rivets wonderfully.

The decals while usable didn’t stick too well and didn’t respond well to decal setting solutions.  The star and bar under the wing I tried first had color bleeding after I tried to get it to settle so I basically did what any 12-year-old model builder would do, slapped em on and didn’t worry about it.

The kit is on the shelves and I’m happy with the time spent.  Next on the docket are a 1/72 H-19, H-34, and UH-1D, all in antarctic markings.  Any advice on a good source of international orange would be helpful.