Ancient Airfix 1/72 Fi-156 Storch

Once upon a time many moons ago there was a kid who was excited to use his lawn mowing money to buy a kit from a (now long gone) hobby shop in Chicago called AL’s Hobbies of a 1/72 Fi-156 Storch.  It was really cool in those day to have access to “overseas” kits, as the local stores only carried the Aurora/Monogram/Revell US brand, and this kit was an Airfix kit from Europe.

That kid was me and I have carried this kit in the special kit storage area since those days.

A few years back I was able to buy a copy of this kit, so I could build one and preserve what is probably my second oldest kit in the collection.  This is my experience with a very old kit.

The kit is actually very interesting for the options included.  It has a stand, which was prevalent in those days, and includes the additional parts to build it in flights.  While the aircraft was in flight the oleos of the landing gear fully extended and this is represented in additional parts if you want o build it on the stand.

There is no cockpit other than a couple of seats (if you can call them that, and a few attempts to represent an instrument panel and control stick.  I just blew by these as I figured out that they wouldn’t be seen and I didn’t want to devote a lot of effort to doing scratch-building.  (I’m saving my Eduard set for the Academy Storch).  Airfix did provide these small examples of a pilot and passenger “amputees” to paint up and stick in the seats but I was too lazy to take that on as well.

The kit built up fairly well.  There is some putty needed around the cowling and the clear part fit was very bad, requiring some sanding, fitting, and polishing to get it to a reasonable place.  The engineering wing attachments come off of the roof of the cockpit clear parts so it needs to be pretty secure as well.

Lastly, it is really hard to interpret the landing gear instructions.  It’s good these days to have the internet so I could go and look at some Storch pictures to see how the gear is intended to connect.  There is a tiny hole in the bottom of the fuselage that holds both rear landing gear pins and I needed to drill out a better attachment for the front of the gear legs.


Also, note the hole in the bottom for the stand but the stand connection comes expecting a slot.  I modified the stand to fit.

The kit was painted with Vallejo black acrylics with a bit of gray and blue added and decals were a great Owl set for a black Storch.  Sadly I painted up the kit all black and then discovered when I opened the decals that the top of the wing should have been in standard RLM splinter scheme, not all black.  Oh well!

Modeling is all about history.  It was fun pulling out a bit of my history and building a kit I’ve had owned for over 50 years!

Roden Be 12 Nightfighter

After a taste of WWI with the Fokker Dr1 in the previous post, I decided to step into the world of biplanes with a Be 12 I purchased off of eBay.

It has been an interesting experience.

First, this was the second time I bought a kit off eBay that looked complete until I went to build it many moons after the purchase.  In this case, I observed that part of the landing gear struts was missing.  A previous owner, maybe not even the guy I purchased it from, sought to tear a small hole in the plastic bag and take 1/2 of each of the landing gear struts off.  I can’t imagine what for, but they would have had to cut the back part of each strut off the whole piece to take it.  Odd!

The kit is very detailed and consists of very soft plastic.  Any flexing of one of the soft parts could cause it to fail.  However, the kit had a lot of detail in some of its small parts and comes with a range of bombs and WWI rockets to use.  There were a lot of parts left over and I think Roden must have made these kits for a multiple of variants.

The cockpit is sparse and the instructions overall are very hard to determine just where parts go and what their orientation is.  I would recommend that anyone building this kit to have some form of reference to determine just what some of the parts are for.  Or course, this might just be my ignorance of WWI biplanes and how they operate.

The parts went together mostly well without too many gaps, the nose section being the exception.

You must be careful aligning since there are no pins or guides.  I actually moved to using superglue instead of Tamiya thin cement since the plastic was so soft the thin cement didn’t form a very good welded bond.

The lower wing fits into the fuselage and there are two small plastic sections that separate the fuselage from the lower wing, molded into the part.  One of these continuously failed (broke) and I needed to be very careful moving the fuselage/lower wing unit around as not to cause the lower wing to flex too much and break off.  It didn’t get secured until I finally got the top wing onto the part (more later).  Had I knew this beforehand I would have replaced the plastic connectors with tubing.

After building the kit (leaving the top wing off until last) I painted the top with Testors Marine Green (seemed close enough) and the bottoms with Humbrol linen, and the decals applied after a coat of future.  The decals did not respond at all to setting solutions and in most cases left very clear areas.

An oil dot weathering was then applied (blue, white, tan on top – brown below) and after a good coat of Testors Dullcoat things started looking a lot better.  I was pleased with the way the oil dot weathering diffused the solid green topcoat and the streaking on the linen color looked good.  I was pleased the decals blended more into the surface.

The next step was rigging.  I have built a bunch of sailing ship models all with complex rigging but this was to challenge for me.  I read an online article about drilling a hole through the lowering for each line and after fastening to the top wing, passing the line through the hole and attaching a weight (in my case a clothespin) to it to hold it in place while the drop of glue you put in the hole dries.  I added ALL of the lines to the top with before we put the wing on.

After rigging was set I created a small jig that matched the holes in the top wing with for the struts to the fuselage pattern, added the struts to the jig with a bit of white glue, and glued and aligned the struts and left them to dry.  The upper wing was then added to the fuselage struts, set to dry for a day,  and then the remaining struts to the lower wing were put into place.  All VERY delicately!

Rigging was then finished and some of the rigging holes were touched up.  Final parts like guns were then added and done!

This was a learning build.  I learned that the next biplane I build should have fewer rigging lines! I was amazed at what a complex kit this was and I have a lot of respect for those WWI biplane builders.  But I am very satisfied with how it turned out, especially the paint job.  Now back to those more modern types for a bit!

Eduard Fw-190A-6 with Brassin completed

The Fw-190A-6 kit is complete.  I really enjoyed building my first Eduard Fw-190.  The kit is well engineered.

I purchased this directly from Eduard, it was an Overtree release.  The kit also came with photo-etch for the  A-6 and was a great deal.  The kit didn’t come with decals, I used the  H-Models #48032 Wilde Sau set which was missing the white outline from one of the numbers on one side for the aircraft I selected.   The instructions were found on the Eduard site.

I added their Brassin kit for the front of the aircraft; forward guns and engine.  I have always desired an Fw-190 with open engine hatches and the engine was a jewel and a model in itself.  My only issue (as noted in the previous post) was that the Brassin set I used was “technically” for the A-5 and I had a few issues in getting it to fit.  The bulkhead behind the engine was too narrow and the engine was too far forward requiring some adjustment on the engine mounts to bring it in closer the bulkhead.

It could just be my modeling skills.

Eduard also provides two canopies, one for closed and one for open, which is narrower.  In the real aircraft as the canopy was opened the canopy bent slightly to follow the outline of the fuselage.  I had to use the closed canopy for the open because I stepped on the closed piece getting up from the paint booth.  You can see where it sticks out a bit on the right side of the aircraft picture.

Painted with Vallejo Model Air.  These paints always seem a bit dark to me so I always lighten them up with a bit of white.  Its a bit hard to see the demarcation between the colors.

The set looked very good all painted up and in the kit, and after decaling and weathering I am happy with the completed kit!

This is most likely the final 2019 build.

Twenty-two years in the making!

Pardon the long post.  I had to tell the story!

We all have that one kit we start, put away, take back out, put away again, etc. until they are done.  Mine was a DML Fw-190A-8/R11, the Nachtjager version, and it took 22 years.

I bought this wonderful kit in 1997 at our now-defunct Bridgetown hobbies.  The hobby show closed a number of years back and is now a place to buy weed.  I think it cost me $27.00.  I took it home and with the help of a Verlinden Fw-190 detail set started it right away.

The Verlinden set has a bunch of great details.  Tail and fuselage hatches, wing guns, cockpit details, and a way to cut a hatch on the kit and show what appears to be a partial look at the engine.   I didn’t want to have a partial engine and started a quest to find a 1/48 scale BMW-801 and found one in the CMK variety.  The one thing I would discover later is that the CMK kit does not have exhaust pipes.  (More on this later)

This first part of the kit through building the cockpit, hatches, and adding the wings went pretty quick.  A tip here is that for DML Fw-190s you should glue the top halves of the wings to the fuselage first and then add the lower wing.  It goes together without the need for gap filing much better.

So now I reach my first dilemma which causes me to put the kit away for a while, how do I mount the engine.  The CMK kit provides a wonderful engine ring mount but no supports back to the main body of the aircraft.  Once I got the kit back out I developed my own which are the results of these previous post.

I basically studied drawings of the kit and out of brass tube soldered my own engine mounts.  Thes next 4 links go back to 2013 and my effort to make engine mounts.

Now that I had an engine and I had engine mounts the next dilemma, no exhaust pipes on the CMK kit.  The Fw-190 went on the shelf while I tried to figure out a good source for exhausts or drawings.

Then in the last couple of years, Eduard has released a set of Fw-190 kits that included engines with exhausts.  Purchasing one of these kits to copy the exhausts caused me to get the kit back out and then  I discovered Rexx exhausts for the Fw-190 and sought to procure a set of these.  They were designed to copy the Eduard exhausts and I thought I had my problems all solved.

I was wrong!  As I started working with the engine to place it on the mounts, on the aircraft, so that I could assign the exhaust I begin to sense that either the engine or the aircraft was out of scale; the engine was too big for the front of the DML kit.  Given the original plan was to cut away most of the forward panels on the aircraft I was seeing the engine would not even fit within the few panels I had remaining.


Now, 22 years from the start of the kit, I had to make a command decision.  I would finish the kit without the engine.  But what to do with all of the Verlinden pieces in place and the other panels I had cut open?

I used the back of the CMK engine and made a stump of an engine to go on my engine mounts, then cemented the front of the engine compartment onto the fuselage with the stump in it.  I ran some wires from the fuselage to the stump to represent control wires top make the space under the fuselage guns look a bit busier.

After adding the front of the aircraft back on I proceeded to complete the kit.  It was airbrushed with Vallejo acrylics, weathered with and oil dot weathering, and grubbed up with pastels.

I had to place the DML decals in the window to remove a bit of their yellowing but was totally amazed how well the 20+-year-old decals went on the kit and settled down with a bit of Solvaset.

I am very pleased I got this kit done.  It is a busy kit, lots of things open, and most of it open for many years!

Next I am  going to build the Eduard kit with a Brassin engine set so we will have our Fw-190 with an open BMW-801

Boys in Blue

NEXT!  They always told us not to say that to the next customer waiting at the airport as it made it seem like a fast food place.

But anyhow, Huey is finished its time to move on to the next project while the fire is in the belly.  I’ve been waiting to tryout a set of Vallejo US Navy colors my son bought me for Christmas and am opening up the Tamiya Birdcage Corsair and a bagged Monogram TBD-1.

The plan at this point is to build the TBD-1 out of the box.  I still need to purchase a set of decals for it but I see the Starfighter decals are available in places including eBay

The Corsair will be off of the Owl Decals Marine night fighters.  I have fallen in love with Owl Decals and have used them in a number of previous night fighter projects.  You can find those looking through my earlier blogs.

I’ll build it using the True Details cockpit detail set.

This Corsair kit has a bit of history.  Many years ago my wonderful daughter was 3 years old when she figured out how to get into daddy’s model display.  I know she knew how much I liked the models I built and wanted to play with them too.   It took me a few minutes to realize that what I heard was the sound of breaking styrene.  When I break a model I always say “They started out in pieces, we are just helping them return to their natural state”  I just had help this time

She got the Tamiya Fw-190A3, the Hasegawa F-14, and the Tamiya Corsair.  I have now built another Fw-190, this is the Corsair replacement (after 16 years), and the Tomcat is on the to do pile.  Then there will be harmony again in the styrene world.

I spent most of the weekend working around the house and the time I did get to work on the kits was sawing detail pieces out of resin blocks.  I was reminded that when I  was young I could have put the whole kit together in the time it takes me to prep a set of resin and etch for a kit.


That’s the number of kits I have on the model shelves.

I needed to condense the models on the shelves so that I could get more on them.  They were also sharing the space with a lot of cat fur and dust so I decided to take the slew of them down, clean them and the shelves, and put them back on the shelves.

I took these photos of the lot parked on the dining room table, cleaned waiting for clean shelves.  I was happy didn’t need to toss any of them.

I built these over about 12 years.  I have one in here that is about 25 years old and a complete set of Monogram 1/48 Century Series fighters.

Hasegawa Hurricane Mk. IIc – Night Hurricane – Hairspray chipping method

I built three single seat black aircraft and used them to test paint chipping techniques.  This one is the Hasegawa Hurricane Mk. IIC Night Hurricane and my chipping method of choice was to use hairspray over aluminum Alclad before black paint.

The kit was built straight out of the box and went together well.  The way the wing is engineered to support different versions caused some filling and sanding around the optional parts and where the wing connected to the fuselage.

The cockpit was a pretty good representation of the complexity of the real thing however since the canopy is molded as one piece you won’t see much inside anyway.

The model was then primed with primer from a can (see previous posts) and once dry the kit was sprayed with Alclad primer in areas I planned to chip.  Note I didn’t cover the entire kit with aluminum which forced me to remember where the silver was so later when over sprayed with black paint I knew where to chip.  I also covered parts of the fabric covered areas with the original interior color since I guessed that this area wouldn’t chip silver since it wasn’t metal.


The model was then given a coat of cheap hairspray.  Everything I read online about this method suggests using the cheapest hairspray because it is not generally perfumed – no additives.  This hairspray was bought in the travel section at my local store ( because I’m cheap and didn’t need a big can!)  I decanted the hairspray and put it on with my airbrush.

After the hairspray cured for a couple of days I over coated it with Vallejo ModelAir Black.  You need to use an acrylic (water washable) paint for this to work and once painted you only have a few hours to work before the paint gets hard.  I waited 2 hours and as I found out the black paint was still pretty soft after two hours (this was a surprising but good thing).

IMPORTANT NOTE:  You need to put the paint on in a number of light coats and let them set between coats.  In a few places on the model where I painted a part off the model and tried to put one coat on the paint wound up cracking ever so slightly.  I believe this was because the “wet” of the acrylic melted the hairspray and caused it to flow a bit while the paint was setting.

So where is the silver?  Using my iPad to took pictures of the kit before black so I could remember the areas over-sprayed aluminum thus avoiding over-spraying the whole kit with aluminum and knowing where to chip.

After the paint had set a couple of hours I took a wide soft brush and using water coated a few sections of the black paint.  I was expecting the paint to set for a bit and then I would need to use my implements of destruction I had standing by to take it off.  What surprised me was in putting on more water the paint suddenly started coming off quickly and in big chunks.

So from this point, as I placed water carefully on the black paint, I could use the paint brush to slowly and randomly take paint off the silver areas.  I also used this fiberglass brush my artist daughter gave me to chip away at panel lines since it provided a good wide stiff straight line from which to take paint off.

Overall I’m really pleased with the result and will look forward to tuning the skill.  This also worked really well chipping the propeller and I could see using it in other areas where you might want to highlight two color changes (color over primer).

The one thing to look out for in my case is the paint really melted and came off fast.  Although it didn’t really come off, it just kind of melted and flowed together in different areas.  If I look closely I can see where the paint looks a bit thicker where it bunched up.

Decals were off an OWL Nightfighter Experts (#48014)  sheet.  I love OWL decals, they come off the paper quickly and go on really thin.


What did I learn;

  • Hairspray work very well for chipping
  • Overcoat colors need to have many thin coats as to not melt the hairspray
  • Paint can come off (or maybe move) in big areas if you are not careful


Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. Vb Night Fighter – Salt Chipping Technique

I built three single seat black aircraft and used them to test paint chipping techniques.  This one is the Hasegawa Spitfire Vb Night Fighter and my chipping method of choice was to use salt masking over aluminum Alclad before black paint.

Much like the Bf-109E in the previous post this kit was built straight from the box.  The kit went together well with very little fitting, sanding, and filling required.

This kit like the other two was given a coat of primer straight from the can.  You can see here how rough that turned out to be.  My previous post discusses the primer choices.  You can also see where I didn’t quite sand out the wing root – needed to be fixed.

After priming, areas of Alclad aluminum were sprayed on the kit.  I like using Alcad because it’s thin and it’s tough.

The kit is then coated a small area at a time (preferably where the Alclad is!) with water and Morton Kosher salt is sprinkled on the water.  Wherever the water is the salt sticks.  While still relatively wet the salt can be pushed around with the same brush I used to apply the water.  I applied more heavily in the areas of the wing root as you can see in the shot.

The aircraft is then given a coat of black paint.  I used the same Scalecoat used in the previous post as well as following on with streaking using ever lightened colors of black to produce a weathered look.

The salt is then brushed away with a stiff brush and ta-da paint chipping.  After a coat of Future floor polish, the decals were then applied.  I normally use Solvaset decal solvent on my decals and I really sweated this one out as you can see it wrinkled the marking up and it wasn’t un-wrinkling very fast.  It took a lot of Solvaset to make the decal finally sit down.  I think the Solvaset slightly remelts the Future and the Future sets back up before the decal has worked through the setting process.

I think I could have done a better job at arranging the salt crystals to make it look more organized.  As put on the chipping was rather random except for the wing root area.  But after a blast of Testors dullcoat, the kit actually came out looking quite nice.

What did I learn;

  • The salt method is easy to see where to put the salt on silver.  The next method documented (hairspray)requires you remember where the Alclad is or paint it all Alclad)
  • Organize the salt better, maybe along panel lines.  The salt works pretty good and produces pretty good results (see hairspray in next post!)
  • Find a different way to set Hasegawa decals.  The Solvaset works well on the OWL decals I have been using but might be a bit too strong for the Future/Stock decal mix
  • Drop using Rust-oleum primer

Thanks for your interest!

Hasegawa Bf-109E Night Fighter – Micro-Mask chipping

I built three single seat black aircraft and used them to test paint chipping techniques.  This one is the Hasegawa Bf-109E Night Fighter and my chipping method of choice was to use micro masking solution over aluminum Alclad before black paint.

The kit was built straight from the box.  I’ve built a 1/48 Hasegawa Bf-109E before (previous Hasegawa Bf-109E post) and remembered to be careful at the wing-root fit.  There was still a bit of sanding and filling needed to make things perfect.


I use mostly these sanding sticks I buy really cheap at the local mega-store.  The nail file works great for working the putty as it has many different grits and I often will follow up with a nail polisher that has three really fine grits and can make the plastic and putty shine!

I then primed the kit from a rattle can primer.  I have used the Dupli-Color “Fillable and Sandable” primer out of the can with good success.  At $7 a can it’s a lot cheaper than the primers for scale models.  On this pass, I tried the Rust-oleum and it made for a rough finish on the kit as seen in the earlier photo.  I might try to decant and thin it on another kit but I think I’ll stick to the Dupli-color.

After priming the kit was sprayed with Alclad Aluminum in spots I wanted to show chipping and after drying Micro Mask was applied in chipping patterns over the silver.

The aircraft was then sprayed with black enamel paint from Scalecoats and weathered with increasingly lightened and thinned paint (added gray to black) to produce a streaking effect that can be seen well in the photo.   We are ready to chip!

What turned out very wrong in this test was the Micro Mask was put on so thin it actually leveled under the paint and that made it very difficult to see where I needed to peel it away.  I started using a wooden stick to try to scrape the mask away and it either wouldn’t budge or I couldn’t find it.  What occurred then was I wound up literally scraping the paint off and left deep gouges in the paint where there should have been chipping.


Had this not been a test build I would have attempted to take the paint off and repainted the plane.  Instead, I recovered by over spraying the damaged paint and roughly scrapping it off while still wet.  Not the best looking up close but not too shabby on the model shelf.

The model was finished off with a nice set of OWL decals (I really like their thinness and way they perform) and overshot with Testors Dullcoat.

What did I learn;

  • Put the Micro Mask on thicker.  (I know, tough being a cheapskate!)
  • The weather streaking looks very nice.  I used the same cup of paint in the airbrush and added a touch more gray paint and a drop of thinner before each run of streaking
  • Test fire the primer before you commit to three models!

Single seat nightfighters – back in black

Completed three Hasegawa single seat night fighters, all in black; Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc (#Jt164), Spitfire Mk. Vb (#09315), Bf-109E (#09733)

Each was built out of the box with the exception of OWL decals for the Hurricane and 109.

The Bf-109 used a method of micro-mask to simulate chipping wear.

The Spitfire used a method of salt masking to simulate the chipping.

The Hurricane used a method I had not tried before, hairspray, to achieve the chipping.

I will cover the steps used in chipping separate blogs over the next few days.

All kits went together well, each had its areas of fit issues that required filling and sanding.

All kits were assembled at the same time, sanded and filled, and primed.  As discussed later, I tried a new primer out of the can on these builds and I think it delivered a rough undercoat.

I’ll cover the Bf-109 with masking solution next.  Stay tuned.