Painting the MSD Vulcan

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I posted photos of the Vulcan bomber I painted a couple of days ago.  I’ve probably painted upward of 500 1/300 scale planes and the Vulcan was the most interesting and challenging of the lot.

Just some quick background, the Avro Vulcan bomber was a massive Cold War era strategic bomber, designed to deliver nuclear weapons against Soviet-era targets.  Introduced in 1956, it served as the RAF’s strategic air deterrent until its retirement in 1984. Perhaps most famously, the plane starred in the James Bond movie, Thunderball in 1965, hijacked for its two nuclear bombs as a Villiers Vindicator.  Two Vulcans got to play Vindicator roles, though neither eclipsed Sean Connery’s typically wonderful performance as 007.

Thunderball Vulcans

Photo of the Bond “Vindicators.”

I bought a Vulcan to fill in as one of the bombers assigned to the Black Buck raids on the Falklands against Argentine ground targets. The raids were largely ineffective, but c’mon, if there’s a Vulcan out there and doing the Falklands, you gotta have it.  Don’t get me started on why I need a Nimrod.

There are two 1/300 Vulcans available. One is from Ros/Heroics, formerly a Skytrex miniature, acquired a few years ago when the latter company slimmed down its ranges. The other is from MSD.  I was a little leary of the Skytrex model.  Plus at 14 pounds plus 40% to ship to the states, I thought I’d pass. I could get the MSD kit from I-94 Enterprises near Chicago, so I went there instead.

The first thing to notice when popping the plane out of the box is its sheer size.  It is unquestionably the largest plane I own, which includes all the WWII strategic bombers.  Because of its delta wing design it is also quite heavy, which posed some additional problems during painting.

Because I choose to use flight stands demanding a “pinned” bomber, it meant finding a center of gravity and drilling in a piece of brass wire. Once drilled in, I primed the large model.  I used a spray primer, but due to the size of the plane I might have brush primed it to get more even coverage.

The paint scheme is relatively easy.  I basecoated the entire upper surface with Ceramcoat Rain Grey, before adding the Vallejo Olive Green camouflage pattern.  It’s important to be patient and use multiple coats.  The surface area is too large to likely get it right in one swipe.  The lower surface is the somewhat darker Vallejo Neutral Gray.  The metal bits are painted with Testors Aluminum. All the scribing is painted with Ceramcoat Charcoal. This, or a reasonable facsimile of this is what the Black Buck Vulcans wore in 1982.  Earlier versions of the plane were a bit different with lighter rather than darker undersides.

Handling the plane during painting is really challenging.  And what do you do with it between painting sessions?  I found myself constantly painting over surfaces, even though I sprayed them with Dullcoat in between sessions.

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MSD Vulcan alongside a Raiden Sea Harrier.

The model itself is quite clean.  It is well formed and accurately scaled.  The huge tail comes separate and probably should be puttied in place, but as with most such tasks I am too lazy.  The detailing is quite clear, but I do have a significant beef that if the upper and lower surfaces of the plane are to be so well detailed, wouldn’t it be nice to have detail on both sides of the tail?

All in all, it was a fun painting task.  Probably a needless addition to the Falklands pile o’planes, but I’d hate to say the project was finished, and not have a Vulcan in the mix.

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Ah-Ha! A plan takes shape

The stuff I’m working on from top left–Indians for the Wabash, about 1/4 done; ten completed Stukas for the Illustrious game; some piles of planes awaiting all kinds of work–Malta-based Hurricane I’s and Macchi 200 Saettas; MSD Vulcan completed and ready to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; nine Italian SM 79 bombers that will take their shot at the Illustrious; four GHG Hurricane IIc’s-nice models.

I am obsessive about knowing what I’m doing.  Most of my wargaming life is built around what games I’m going to host at Enfilade.  Last year, the big deal was the Aztec project I did with David Sullivan.  The year before that it was Lion Rampant.  The year before that it was The Raid on St. Nazaire.

This year is different.  No new big project.  No gazillions of new painted figures to roll out by Memorial Day weekend.  The pressure is officially off.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be doing anything.  I finished my first six Axis planes for the air attack on the HMS Illustrious.  That’s one of the games Dave Schueler and I will be working on for Enfilade 2018.  I’ve already completed the six Fulmars that will be defending the venerable British aircraft carrier.

These are Raiden Ju-87B miniatures.  They are one part castings.  Very nice stuff, with lots of detail (but not too much.) They are painted a combination of Vallejo German Camouflage Green and Vallejo Military Green.  The underside is Vallejo Sky Blue from their RAF Mediterranean and Desert Air Colors set. I have four more Stukas that I will paint up in Regia Aeronautica colors.  Pretty much green with a white cross on the tail.

Expect lots more planes from the late 1940-1942 period from the Med.  I have a ton.  I need a lot of Italian SM-79 trimotor bombers for the Illustrious attacks.  I have a load of Italian Breda light bombers and early fighters, such as the Fiat GR 50 that I’ve had forever and need painting. I also have British defenders, including some Hurricane IIc and P-40E Kittyhawks that will be in stone and sand colors.  They should be fun.

But my really big project is one that I touched on last post, and that is The Battle of the Wabash. This 1791 battle in the Northwest Territories (okay, Indiana) was a horrendous massacre of the American army sent out by the Washington administration to conquer the territories for settlers then congregating on the north bank of the Ohio River.  It didn’t turn out well.  It is often known as St. Clair’s Defeat or St. Clair’s Disaster. The 2,000 man force under Arthur St. Clair’s command lost about 900 or so killed, compared to about 275 of Custer’s command at Little Bighorn.

It’s a big ol’, project.  I will use America Rampant, my conversion of The Men Who Would Be King, to this early wilderness period. The Americans have something in the neighborhood of 26 ten figure units.  The Indians, under Little Turtle, have slightly more at 28.  The Americans actually outnumbered the Indian confederation at the battle, but the batches of militia and outposts that were swamped and destroyed at the battle’s outset won’t be represented. There’s lots of fiddling to be done rules-wise, but I’m a long way off from being ready. Lots of terrain to prepare.  That said, this will be my Enfilade 2019 project, so really 18 months out.

I already have eight or so units of Americans painted.  All the American units have ten figures. Two of them are light dragoons, though I believe only one of them is mounted. The Americans also have six cannon, and I have three of them painted.  I believe I am working on native units eight and nine.  All the natives are twelve figure units. I still have lots of unpainted lead, though there will be some additional figures needed to complete the project.

David Sullivan recently posted about his addiction to Daniel Mersey’s projects.  I find myself in concurrence with his views.  They are simply a fun collection of rules. We might be talking past each other in terms of future and ongoing projects, but I do see myself working with David on an ACW version of America Rampant.  We both have zillions of unpainted figures, so I see no reason not to.  I am diverted by that somewhat shinier project at the moment.  But not having the time pressure to get Wabash done instantly means I can also dork around with side painting activities, including some ACW units.

So here is my list of to-do’s:

  • Air Attack on the HMS Illustrious–unknown number of planes, but there will be plenty painted.
  • Remount Aztecs for 1-2-3 system.  That’s a Christmas Break project.
  • Mad Wet Max–more later as WIP
  • New air stands.  Only need a high and low altitude for Airwar C21 and Airwar 1940. I want lots, however, because the game system can handle many more planes.
  • Lots of painted figures–America Rampant, ACW, AWI and Hundred Years War in what ever I feel like order.

New rules to mess around with

Dave Schueler and I have begun lamenting lack of a fairly simple set of air rules. We love AirWar C21, but they are a set of rules for jets. I bumped into David Manley, the author of AW C21 on Facebook.  We’ve had infrequent contact on The Miniatures Page and elsewhere.  He’s also written Action Stations, Iron and Fire, and other rules that I enjoy. Daveshoe has more contact with David than I.

David mentioned he’d written a set of World War II air rules similar to AW C21 he couldn’t get published.  Eventually he offered to let us be playtesters and sent them as e-mail .pdf’s.  We’ve only begun thumbing throught them, but they seem to offer many of the things we like about the jet age rules–hexless, less sltitude emphasis, relative ease of play and the ability to run many planes. More on our progress in the future.

 

A Plan, half-baked or all baked.

Most of the month of October I spent finishing my Falklands project.  And voila it was so.  Project finished and game run at Museum of Flight. Well, almost mostly done.  There are still some plane types I’d like to have for special scenarios–and because they are just so cool.

Examples, you ask?  Well how about this one.  An Avro Vulcan.  As the Falklands War broke out these behemoths were just on the verge of retirement from the RAF.  But several of the planes made the “Blackbuck” cross-ocean raids on Argentine airfields in the Falklands. I ordered the MSD Vulcan, a mere twenty bucks and costing extra postage because it’s so huge.  Note: an average plane costs between three and six dollars. This is big. I also ordered a S-2 Tracker, the ex-U.S. anti sub planes the Argentines used as AEW aircraft in the war.  I think there is a scenario in that.  The Brits didn’t have an AEW capability which contributed to the siege their ships endured during the war.

Vulcan

The gray painted Avro Vulcan by MSD miniatures is just really big. A pair of Raiden Stukas are behind the big jet bomber. The white plane behind is a Douglas A-3 Skywarrior in resin by Shapeways. No shrimp.

I’ve also painted some helicopters for both sides and have even more and might even pick up a few I don’t have.

While the Falklands were fun, the big question is what next?  I’ve kind of settled on some projects to work on between November and Enfilade in May.

First up is the for sure air project Dave Schueler and I are working on for the convention–the air attack on the Illustrious in January 1941.  I’ve already completed six Fairey Fulmars for the carrier’s air defenses, and now I am beginning work on the dozen Stukas I’ll be painting.  Well, ten for sure, I also have a pair of C in C Stukas, but they come in many tiny pieces, so I may not get far with them. Illustrious is just a stepping stone into a pile of planes for Mediterranean, and I’m looking forward to painting them.  American Kittyhawks, Spitfires, Hurricane II’s, a host of Italian and German planes.  It will be fun.

Stuka 1 (2)

Raiden Stukas in splinter camouflage for the 1941 air attack on the Illustrious.

Also on my to-do list is to take a long look at David Manley’s wonderful adaptation of the idea behind Thunderboats to a bit more of a Mad Max theme. You can read more about it here. I have managed to acquire the Matchbox boats that will make up the little flotilla for this game.  But I haven’t done anything with the boats yet.  They’ll need some modifications and dirtying up and basing, but I’m not likely to get started until January.  Want to keep the Mediterranean and my other big project firmly in view until then.

That other big project is simply a continuation of my old project America Rampant.  I have a whole bunch of unpainted figures for that, primarily American infantry (Old Glory Wayne’s Legion figures) and Indians from the Old Glory French and Indian Wars range.  How many?  I think enough to paint five units of Americans and at least seven more Indian units.

new jersey

Old Glory Wayne’s Legion infantry that will become the first of four companies of New Jersey 6-month levies. St. Clair’s army was dependent on 6-month enlistees from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

I recently finished reading William Hoageland’s Autumn of the Black Snake.  Interesting read on the aftermath of the Battle of the Wasbash and forces leading to the Peace of Greenville. It made me look at some of my other books on the Indian War in the Northwest Territory and got under my skin.  I’d really like to shoot to game The Wabash and Fallen Timbers.  I’ll need some more figures to do it at a unit = 50 figures, but there’s no point investing in more when I still have plenty to paint.

Gaming the Wabash would present numerous problems.  It’s huge for TMWWBK.  Terrain is interesting, with lots of it, and the goal for the Americans would have to be simply survive and retreat off the board if possible. But in a game in which the outnumbered Indians (about 1,400 to about 2,000 U.S. troops) have the clear upper hand, it should make for an interesting team game. More later.  I highly recommend John Winkler’s Osprey account, Wabash for a pretty straightforward account of the battle and an order of battle.  I’m busy working on troops that will be one of the four levy companies from New Jersey.

Music to paint by

Bangles all over the place

It’s been a while since I’ve included a little music info.  I think I’ve noted that the eighties music scene kind of passed me by.  But one band I really enjoyed, even thought their shelf life was short, was The Bangles.  The all-girl-group grew out of the folk and punk scene of LA, and became a staple of MTV in the mid-80’s with songs like “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Eternal Flame.”

But the Bangles were more than their hits.  A listen to their first record All Over the Place gives you an idea of what the band was before their label made Susannah Hoffs leader of the band and set in motion the tensions that would destroy the Bangles after only three albums.

All Over the Place is a record rooted in mid-1960’s pop.  Lots of jangly guitars by Vicki Peterson and Hoffs.  Songwriting and vocal chores are shared among different members of the band. There are plenty of good songs, even if it lacks the hits that will follow on Different Light. “Hero Takes a Fall” and “Live” on side one are particularly good. “Restless” and “He’s Got a Secret” are strong on the B-side.

The record features strong guitar interplay, great lead vocals, and fine supporting harmonies.  It’s fun to listen to, and if it isn’t breathtakingly heavy All Over the Place has a fine pop sensibility, the feature of all great artists from Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra to the Beatles and REM.

 

Museum of Flight 2017

Great Gallery

View out on to the Great Gallery. SR-71 is dead ahead

Sunday marked our 15th year at the Museum of Flight. We hosted seven games and about 35 gamers in what I believe is the best venue anywhere.  I know guys in Houston have gamed on the USS Texas, and that sound cool, and I’m sure there are other great places to game, but this isn’t a one-off, it’s our annual gig, and there simply isn’t anything better than hanging out under the SR-71 on a fall sunny day under the glass roof.

We game under the SR-71. It’s the best game space ever for a small gig like ours.  Not a one-off.  This is where we are EVERY year. 

We divide our time into two game sessions. The morning session featured three great games.  They included Rorke’s Drift in 28mm, hosted by Lawrence Bateman and Damond Crump.  Looked good and the players seemed to have a good time.  The Zulus had successfully overrun the hospital and inflicted a fistful of casualties by the time the session ended.

The second game featured All Quiet on the Martian Front hosted by Dale Mickel.  I was drawn to the massive landship in the game. Very cool stuff.  I think the Martians took it in the shorts in this H.G. Wells inspired game.

The Napoleonic sail game was played across both periods and was hosted by Jeroen Koopman. It was great to see Jeroen-it had been many years. Gorgeous, fully rigged 1/700 miniatures by Triton.  Spectacular.

There were also four games in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery life as I was getting ready to take pictures. Sven Lugar ran an old-fashioned Fletcher Pratt naval game on the 12’ X 5’ table.  It was fun to see the golf tees out marking shell splashes as the players guessed ranges. Scott Murphy ran a Star Wars Armada game with lots of players.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Dave Schueler and I ran our Falklands game.  Dave developed a great system that required the Argentines compose their attack force of specific plane types, while the British decided how they would dispose of their defenses. There were some off-board issues to resolve, and the Argentines had the worst of luck, losing four of their nine raiders before even getting to the board. To complicate matters, they targeted the amphibious assault ship HMS Fearless, which was the farthest target to reach and left them open to attacks from Harrier defenders. The surviving A-4’s and Mirages that made it on to the table were under constant attack by Sidewinders and cannon fire, but two made it to the Fearless, only to have one stick of bombs end up as duds, and one lose control of their external system just as they were in bombing range.  Not a good day to take back the Malvinas.

We’ve moved the museum day to Sunday.  The Museum of Flight hosts a lot of Saturday evening fundraising activities.  We get to game for free. So if there is a time conflict, we end up low on the priority scale. We’d have to leave by 3:00 to play Saturdays, so we’ve moved to Sunday which allows us to stay until 5:00. Not optimal, but I’ll take what I can get.

To all my friends on The Miniatures Page who insisted the Etrich Taube was the prettiest plane of WWI, we’re willing to share views of our reproduction with you.  But you have to come to Seattle. 

I’ve included shots of the three morning games as well as some additional snaps of what one can see in the Great Gallery.  It’s a small fraction of what’s available to view in the Museum. The Museum of Flight is sponsored by what used to be our hometown manufacturer, Boeing, so lots of Boeing products on display.

From upper left–Army version of Boeing F-4B fighter; Reproduction of deadly Gee Bee Z racer, used in the movie “Rocketman’; Reproduction of Boeing Model 40B in U.S. Mail service; XF8U-1 prototype Crusader, last of the gunfighters (now how cool is that?); Boeing 80A-1 in Wien Alaska Air colors, a beautiful biplane tri-motor; reproduction of Stinson Model 0; Chinese manufactured MiG 15  (Shenyang J-5.)

The Big Falklands Finish and Beyond

The Falklands project is done, sort of, kinda.  By that, I mean all the British and Argentine warplanes are done.  I have some more goodies to paint.  I’d like to add helicopters to both sides because they were quite important to the land campaign and who knows how we can add them to some future game.

But the game Dave Schueler and I will be hosting at the Museum of flight in ten days.  I’m glad to have them done.  Altogether it is ten British Harriers, and 35 various Argentine warplanes, so 45 planes in all.

I’ve shown off the Argie Skyhawks, and these are the six Mirage Daggers.  These were purchased from Israel, and are the dumbed down version of the Neshers–modified Mirages Israel parted with in the late 70’s.  These are Raiden Mirage V’s that were fun to paint.  They have three color camouflage using Vallejo German Camo beige as the base color, Vallejo Military Green for the dark green color, and Vallejo U.S. Army Olive Green for the lighter green.  The yellow identification bands are Vallejo Deep Yellow and provide some distinctive markings.  The underside is Vallejo Light Sea Gray, that has a slightly blue cast.

I also re-did a few of the Dave Smith planes.  I added his stack of Sea Harriers to the six Raiden planes I have, and painted the lone Gr.3 Harrier in Falklands colors. I also repainted the Pucara light attack planes in more Falklandsish colors.  That gives me seven.  I also, on a lark, painted one in the red and white colors of a test torpedo bombing variant.  Because, let’s face it, who needs eight turbo-prop attack planes in war colors.

From top left–Single Mirage Dagger by Raiden miniatures.  Two Daggers, just for twice the fun.  Sea Harriers by Heroics and ROS (I suspect,) and four Pucaras in four different schemes.  The red and white Pucara (markings are much more distinguishable from below,) was the test plane for delivering a torpedo. 

So I’ve included pictures.  They’re taken with my new camera.  I bought a Nikon D5600 DSLR.  It’s the camera my yearbook students use, and I want to be able to help them, so I’m trying to become a better photographer. This is the whole ball of wax.

So, what next?  I’m not positive.  I have some mounted archers I began working on in August I’d like to finish.  And when they are done I have a bunch more to do. I’ve also been seduced by the four or so units of American Revolution that are lying unpainted in my drawers.  Needless to say, plenty to keep me busy.  I think I’ll just paint whatever I feel like.

On the subject  of seduction, however, every now and then a figure range becomes available that just grabs me.  I know this isn’t unique to yours truly.  Every now and then an announcement flutters across the boards for The Miniatures Page announcing new releases for 1898 Miniaturas, a miniatures company in Spain.  They have a beautiful and growing collection of figures for the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection.

To be truthful, I’m more interested in the war in the Philippines than Cuba, but in my broader application of “periods” I would be interested in having figures for both, plus the invasion of Puerto Rico and the capture of Guam.

I’m also thinking this is an out-of-of the book game of The Men Who Would Be King, with lots of different scenario possibilities:

  • Spanish vs. Cuban rebels
  • Spanish vs. Con rebels
  • Spanish vs. Americans (Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam)
  • Americans vs. Filipino regulars
  • Americans vs. Filipino guerrillas
  • Americans vs. Moros (don’t think this would make a good game and nobody makes figures . . . yet.)

The 1898 Miniaturas collection continues to grow, but does lack artillery and other required bits.  Tiger Miniatures in Great Britain also does figures for the period. They don’t look as nice, but do offer artillery, machine guns, mule trains and some cool looking Filipino Scouts and Constabulary. Old Glory also offers a range including Moros. Lots of different figures to go around, but the draw was the quality of the figures from the Spanish company.

As the list above shows, there is plenty of painting for years of work.  I know the basics of the war in Cuba, but not much else.  I’m waiting to start buying figures until after do some serious reading on the Philippines, and hopefully at least until my Enfilade deadline.

Museum of Flight next weekend and a report to follow.

 

 

A moment of introspection, and moving on

August was a tough month.  My house was not my home. The contractors controlled two thirds of the house until September 4th, the day before school started.  The only thing I could do was take care of my shrill, wailing dogs who wanted no part of strange men tramping through their territory.

No games, no painting.  I read a lot, and it’s tough to fuss about that.  Forced to move everything out of my den in order to re-carpet, I made some good use of my dislocation.  Before I moved all my gear back to its home, I examined each and every bit of unpainted stuff, as well as some painted projects.  I put together about a quarter moving box of goodies I could part with and sold cheap at Fix Bayonets.

Hundreds of 28mm ACW figures, many unpainted AWI figs, countless (well, I’m sure not going to count them) unpainted HYW figures all said paint me.  Thoughts of another project-the Sudan, Hawkmoon, other notions were gone.  The fact of the matter is, there are lots of things I’d still like to paint.  Perhaps my American Rampant rules can encourage me to do just that.

Left: Tom Bieker and Joe Grossman, right prepare to assault the Chickasaw and Spanish run by Scott Murphy, Scott Williams and Jessica Grossman. Joe’s Americans mauled Scott’s troops in the woods and cornfield before turning on the the Chickasaw right flank to win the game. Bill Vanderpool, background left, was a huge help in running the game.

In speaking of America Rampant, I ran a game at Fix Bayonets last Saturday.  It was fun.  Same scenario I ran in July, but I replaced the Spanish mounted infantry with regulars and added more Indians to the mix.  The Chickasaw got off to a booming start, surprising the Americans in near the woods, but decent American die rolls and lousy Indian die rolls stalled out their advance. The Yankees rubbed out Indian forces on the left and rapidly moved to the right, leaving behind troops to begin the destruction of the Chickasaw village. Fun.  Learned some stuff about rules mechanics.

And David Sullivan had this brilliant suggestion about a version for the Civil War.  I loved the idea.  Lots of unpainted figures, looking for a project.  It’s a truly great idea.

With the contractors gone, I’ve been back at the painting table.  Between sharing the Mariners miseries and Ken Burns The Vietnam War, I’ve been able to get stuff done.  I finished the six Fulmars, the Argentine naval Skyhawks, and a half dozen Sea Harriers. on the table right now are some Argentine Air Force A-4’s

From upper left-Argentine Air Force A-4’s in the sand and brown and green and off-white scheme.  Fleet Air Arm Fulmars in traditional Sky Type S, grey and green. Argentine naval A-4’s with handpainted Armada, and anchor naval ensign replacing national markings. British Sea Harriers with the much-too-large national roundels on the fuselage. Daggers awaiting paint–hopefully this weekend. 

The Air Force version of the little attack planes that inflicted so much damage on the British fleet, are a interesting looking.  There are several paint schemes they appeared in, and I decided to split my half-dozen between two of them.  Three are in the sand and brown paint scheme.  Three are in the off-white and green camouflage.  Both have the turquoise identification flashes to go with the national markings. I’ve now painted about 18 of the Raiden A-4E’s and they are thoroughly enjoyable to work on.  Great stuff.

My completed Falklands forces continue to grow.  The Argie Air Force planes will get me to 12 A-4’s.  I also have six Mirage Daggers to work on.  Then I’ll add some odds and end. I have four more Harrier and four Pucaras to add as reinforcement.  I will also add a few helicopters, which played a big role in the campaign and saw significant action. Sea Kings, Lynx, and a couple of Chinooks. All in all, about 45 aircraft.  Dave Schueler is dusting off his ship models.  We hope to run something at the Museum of Flight in October.

When the Falklands project is finished, I’m going to remount the Aztecs and Spanish.  It’s a big project and I’m hoping I can be done by the end of October.  I’ll paint some too.  Probably a few planes.  I’ve got some Blackburn Skuas I want to paint, along with some F-101 Voodoos, the big Cold War interceptors.  Armed with Genie nuclear missiles, they were intended to destroy Soviet bomber formations.  Don’t quite know what I’ll do with them, but I feel the same need I have for Howlin’ Wolf records.

Smyth Aircraft is open for business

I finally got my den into production line efficiency.  Assembled my desk.  New chair. Cut some spare carpeting to put beneath my desk to catch metal shavings and other dross that will inevitably fall off said desk.  Hooked up my stereo and organized all my records. Even added a handy holder for all my TV remotes (four!!)  All that’s left is to put my artwork up, and I’m probably a couple of weeks away from having that done.

It’s cozy.  Small space and there is lots of stuff in the room.  But it all has a place.  I added a mid-century media center which houses about 200 records (bands and performers C through Hi.) That leaves me more room for expansion, but that’s definitely the end. Maybe another 150 or so.

Saturday (two days ago) I sat down and enjoyed painting through two and half records: Terry Reid’s 1969 self-titled album; Time and Word, by Yes from 1970, and 90125 by Yes from 1983 for a little contrast.  It was simply wonderful.

Last night (Sunday) it was an hour and a half of The Tick on Amazon.  Life was good.

So what am I working on?  It’s planes, silly.   In my previous post I alluded to the Dave Smith bounty of airplanes. This coming on the heels of the George Kettler bounty of airplanes. Dave is a great guy from North Vancouver, home of some of my very favorite people. He decided to part with his considerable collection of 1/300 scale planes, and I bought them.  Over 750 planes in all, from every nation and period you can imagine. Let’s just say I spent hours, including a couple of hours over beer with Dave Schueler trying to figure out what they were. There is a lot of the common, the unusual, the strange and the wonderful.  I’m happy for all of it.

So what am I doing?  I have air projects I’ll be giving time to.  The first, and probably most important is trying to catch up to that Falklands project I started. Though I’ve finished a baker’s dozen planes for the 1983 conflict between Argentina and Great Britain, probably none of them would be involved in a game. The Argentine Canberras weren’t much involved in attacking the British ships.  The Exocet-toting Super Etendards that sank HMS Sheffied and the Atlantic Conveyor weren’t involved in combat.  The turbo-prop Pucaras did see action, but it was ugly.  Nope, what I need to paint are Daggers and Skyhawks.

planes 1

Six Argentine A-4Q’s in Vallejo Lt. Ghost Gray.  Detailing is up next.  Hope to have them done this week. Planes are a mix of Raiden A-4E’s and something else. It’s not important, they’re all on the same team. 

I have six A-4Q’s on my painting table that have received their coats of Ghost Gray paint, but await detailing as Argentine naval attack bombers.  Together with the six Argentine Air Force Skyhawks I’ll paint, they did most of the heavy lifting in the Falklands war. Frankly, they accomplished a lot considering the technology and British pilot skill deployed against them. There are Harriers to paint and whatever other odds and ends I can pull in-some helicopters, maybe a Vulcan

planes 2

Raiden Fairey Fullmars with Fleet Air Arm Markings over Sky Type S.  Illustrious Fullmars didn’t have the typical British tail flash, but instead painted most of the rudder in the British tricolor. 

In addition to that, I’ll begin working on a World War II Mediterranean project.  Got lots of planes for this from Dave Smith, but I have a lot more of my own to paint too. First out of the gate are some Fairey Fulmars, the two seat reconnaissance shipboard fighters the Fleet Air Arm flew 1940-41. They’re big and slow eight-gun fighters that couldn’t tangle with other fighters, but unmolested could be quite nasty against unescorted bombers as happened in the German assault on the HMS Illustrious in January 1941.  Game?  Just sayin’. The Raiden Fullmar is very nice, very detailed with lots of scribing.  Found the long twin canopy to perhaps be a bit overdone and difficult to paint. All in all quite pleased.

Lots to get done, and I’m having a good time doing it.