Saturday, 20 September 2014

Why DO I do this?...

This is what I sometimes make passing mention of:-

I make masters for model aircraft companies as well as slot cars and railways.  This particular client got some part started masters in a deal when he bought a small company.  This box of wrong, mis-shapen mouldings, vac-formings and "dabbles" is what I was given to base the correct pattern on. This is a Pilatus PC12 turbo -jet "executive" jobby in 1/72nd scale.

This involved taking the best of the bad jobs and cutting them so viciously that they became unrecognisable and then rebuilding them with Milliput, including the entire cockpit area on both sides.
Then they had to be re-fixed with superglue and Milli until they matched the plans.  Then they had to be ground out and scraped internally till they looked reasonably smooth and even (an on-going process).  In order that I could give the fuselage a decent section I had to cut recesses in one half and add tongues in the other which register perfectly.  Who remembers "locate and cement" on early Airfix instructions?  Well it was the crap fit of those early kits that made me give up kits for life. I was 8 years old and vowed never to waste another penny of my hard earned pocket money on a kit.  I have kept to that in the intervening 54 years, too.  But irony, or is it paradox, of ironoxes, I end up making the patterns for other peoples' kits.  At least I can make sure they fit!

Here's work so far:-
Any line you can see on these is where I have either filled, removed, shortened, reduced, extended or totally restructured what I was sent.
The fin section is all new as there wasn't anything in that junk box of previous bits to use or modify.
There were no wing roots or fairings at all.  These are entirely Milliput.  The portholes were either not there, filled or in the wrong place and there were no cockpit sections whatever. These are entirely Milliput in sections, cooked on top of my tower unit where it gets a bit on the warm side.  The black is Milliput black, which I have had to take to because the dealer had no yellow/green, that most of the model is so far.  But fear Milli is very good, sets hard and sticks better than yellow/green. Just takes some getting used to when the lighter stuff has always been there.  The black is a little more expensive, but just better.  BTW, the white stuff is crumbly, chalking crap. It's no finer than green or black, so don't waste your money on it.

Now here's a right old mixture.

Here we have previous resin wings and weird kicked up separate tips, extended with Ureol on the roots, including black Milli, styrene on the tips (there were too skinny) and epoxy one-shot filler, borrowed from German contracts in the 90s to fill digs and scratches.  The wings were at least half an inch too short AND different from each other.  The tailplane was a good half inch too narrow, so it needed adding to, but is so thin it's very difficult to keep a line of superglue holding.

Here we have the insides showing. The best way to smooth all that is to grind up a suitable bit of thin steel and scrape it to shape.  Files just don't remove enough, or have the shapes needed. Although a small good quality gouge can help start it.

So there we are. Not all masters begin with a block of Ureol or wood.  Some time IS saved, but less and less it seems as the work goes on.
Wait till you see the Leopard Bizjet he's given me!

OH, BTW....ignore the previous post.  The mystery message box didn't come up this time.  Clearly my picture files were there all the time!  I went to an older file and downloaded an R1 hydro pic. perfectly (another interest!).  When I went back to "pictures" it worked fine.  Damned pootahs.


  1. Out of interest, do you think it might have been quicker to simply start over from scratch? I know I'm terrible at throwing away shoddy stuff I've done (hobby stuff or at work) to start over, but I will often throw away old stuff at work that someone else started and which needs improving to redo it from scratch as it will be quicker than trying to patch the old stuff.

    Glad to see Blogger is playing ball as well!

  2. Mark, it can be quicker, but where some awkward shapes have been done partly already it's best to stick with what you have. To start again would mean buying in material and making some awkward shapes from scratch on this one and it proved to be better to add and correct. Now here I must say, at risk of blowing the old trumpet, that I am very quick with modifications. That's just years, really and slot car experience, where many are clients saying "can you turn this big arched Rover P6 back into a road car", for instance. Then you'd be shocked what I can do with the disc sander and bandsaw while the coffee cools down! My method being attack, attack....finesse. It's the finessing that'll take the time!

  3. HOW can you do it would be more near the target here! Your mastery of the ever-pesky milliput is nothing short of amazing. I love the stuff, having just done some chimneys with it, but I find it needs an awful lot of concentration and lip-biting on my part. Looking forward to seeing how you get on!

  4. Thanks, Iain. I don't know about you, but I sense a slight change in the formulation of Milliput yellow/green lately. It seems a bit granular when in the raw stick phase and is a little more difficult to spread thin, but with the golden rule of "keep your digits wet" it's still invaluable stuff. I've made all my figure masters in Milliput and some car masters have been almost half made of it. Are you a lip biter? My lad is a tongue poker!