Call yourself a modelbuilder and you’re automatically admitting to one thing. Having more model kits stacked on the shelves in your shop…or closet…or garage…or storeroom… or hidden where your better half can’t find them…than you’ll ever live long enough to build. And if that ain’t bad enough, you can’t go a month without buying a few more. With so many of us ordering from discount mail order shops, the UPS truck with it’s 8-cylinder engine has become the modeler’s version of Santa Claus and his 8 tiny reindeer! With manufacturers of all sizes worldwide cranking out new kits at a prodigious rate, it has literally become Christmas in July…and August…and September…and…..
All of the above leaves serious modelers with a couple of rather interesting questions. First of all, where the heck are we gonna find room for all these finished models? Especially those of us with a passion for the larger scales but not enough money to buy or build a house big enough to hold everything.
Finally, the ultimate question. Considering that, more often than not, the finished model takes up less space than the boxes they come in, are we more interested in adding another quality model to our collection….or getting rid of the boxes?
Last month I asked for your participation in a survey. Enough of you did to calculate percentages and reach some conclusions. So without further ado, the survey said……
Scaleworld averages 1,000 hits/visitors per month.
Primary Interest: Aircraft..86%, Cars..4%, Naval...4%, Armor…4%
Secondary Interest: Armor...28%, Aircraft…23%, Ships…19%, Science Fiction…14%, Cars…14%, Figures…9%, Trains…5%, Card Models…5%
Primary Scale: 1/48…54%, 1/72…27%, 1/32…9%, 1/250…4%, 1/35…4%
Secondary Scale: 1/72…18%, 1/144…13%, 1/35…13%, 1/32…13%, 1/48…9%, 1/43…4%, 1/350…4%, 1/1200…4%, Any…4%
Primary Painting Method: Airbrush…82%, Conventional Brush…13%, Spray Can…4%
Primary Paint Brand: Model Master…31%, Gunze Sanyo…27%, Testors…13%, PolyScale…13%, Aeromaster…9%, Tamiya…13%, Humbrol…9%, Floquil…4%, Warbird…4%, Whatever…4%
Preferred Paint Type: Acrylic…59%, Enamel…54%, Lacquer…5%, Whatever…5%
Do you buy/use aftermarket/detail parts: Yes…95%, No…5%
Like most about Scaleworld: Frank opinions, diversity, positive tone, high standards, professionalism
Like least about Scaleworld: Wants more 1/72, 1/144 airliners, limit to 1/48 only, More aircraft, etc.
(Note: Subjects described in Scaleworld are determined by review products submitted by the manufacturers. Manufacturers are invited and encouraged to send products for review to: Richard Marmo, Scaleworld, 416 Chicago, Ft. Worth, Texas 76103.)
LUNAR MODELS (http://www.lunarmodels.com) has released a dandy little kit (SF100) of The Time Tunnel. Based on the TV show by the same name that aired in the early 1960s, this kit brings back a lot of memories. Anyone with an interest in science fiction will want to get their hands on one of these. Particularly those of us who not only remember the show but tried not to miss an episode.
Carrying a price tag of $179.95 plus $10 shipping, the sturdy, top flap corrugated box is stuffed with high quality resin castings. Scale isn’t given, but based on the three included figures, I’d estimate it to be very close to 1/48. Major parts are swathed in bubble wrap, while two ziploc bags hold the smaller, delicate pieces. You’ll also find a page of general instructions for resin kits along with a three page set (including three color photos) that’s designed specifically for The Time Tunnel. Incidentally, the patterns were done by Rick Wyatt & Mike Evans.
The main part of the Tunnel is produced in two pieces, with both being large and heavy. This is an advantage and disadvantage. On one hand it makes assembly easy…two parts and you’re done with the tunnel. Conversely, painting is gonna be more than a little fun. Remember that the tunnel was made up of alternating black and white rings. As a result, painting the interior rings will be a….challenge.
Remaining parts include the base that incorporates an Operation Tick Tock symbol and The Time Tunnel raised lettering. Computer consoles, desks, chairs and three figures are contained in three bags. Surface detail is excellent with an absolute minimum of flaws.
As far as I know, The Time Tunnel isn’t showing up in reruns anywhere. This makes you wonder just how accurate the color information is. Well, you can relax. Based on my own memories and a friend who was also a faithful fan of the show, the colors provided appear to be dead on. If you like science fiction in general and The Time Tunnel in particular, all I can say is buy it, build it and enjoy!
Star Wars afficianados will welcome a couple of new kits from AMT/Ertl (http://www.ertltoys.com). First up is a 1/32 kit of the Trade Federation Tank as seen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, you’ve still seen the Tank. Remember the commercial that featured Col. Sanders and the girl from Pizza Hut about to be run down by a tank that was looming over them? Just as it appeared all was lost, the tank’s hatch popped open to reveal the Taco Bell Chihuahua as he said "Look what I found!"
While the kit doesn’t give you a Chihuahua, what you do get is a large model comprised of some 60-odd parts, all molded in gray styrene. There are no decals, mainly because as depicted in the movie it carried no markings. Instructions are the familiar international style. Surface detail is engraved, turret traverses and both the main gun and sponson mounted secondary guns will elevate and depress. Since the Trade Federation exists in another Galaxy far, far away, you won’t find any treads or road wheels. This is a ground effects AFV, which explains the short display base that's intended to support the finished model slightly off the ground Wonder how long it’s going to be before someone mounts it on a piece of clear rod and includes it in a diorama? Hmm-m-m? Cost is $16.99.
The second Star Wars release is a 1/6 STAP with Battle Droid. This is a fascinating little machine (and at 1/6 scale it ain’t that little). It’s basically a jet-powered mechanical horse with a pair of guns mounted on top, the whole contraption being ridden almost like a bicycle by a battle droid. And short of watching the movie again, about the only place you’re likely to find a photo of it is on the Official Star Wars Web Site (http://www.starwars.com).
Containing nearly 80 gray styrene parts, the finished model winds up being some 10 or 12 inches tall. While dryfitting indicates that you won’t have any serious problems with contruction, do keep in mind that there are quite a few moving parts in this kit. Not only is the Droid fully articulated, the gun housing on the STAP is also movable. Again, there are no decals and the instructions are the usual international style. A chrome metal wire is provided in order to suspend the STAP above the short base pylon. As with the Trade Federation Tank, the STAP with Battle Droid offers some very interesting diorama possibilities for those who want to put some effort into it. Priced at $16.99.
Those of you with a fondness for kits based on gone but fondly remembered TV shows will be happy to hear that AMT/Ertl has repopped a kit of the Space: 1999 Alpha Moonbase. As many of you recall, that series was based on the premise of Earth’s moon breaking out of it’s orbit, subsequently becoming a lonely wanderer thru space, all while carrying the human inhabitants of a moonbase with it. A little weak on science, but interesting.
At any rate, the kit was originally produced by MPC. Repopped by AMT/Ertl, you get a two-piece vacuform base that depicts the Lunar surface. You’ll need to reinforce the underside of it because of the .010 - .012 thick plastic used. The rest of the kit is molded from the familiar AMT/Ertl style gray styrene and is accompanied by familiar international style instructions.
Most of your effort will go into the construction of the large above ground structure that housed the main control center. Chairs, consoles, a spiral staircase and eight figures in various poses help flesh out the interior. No scale is given, but based on the height of the figures the scale has to be somewhere around 1/87. Since the majority of the base was underground, you’re also given the parts needed to replicate the portions of the structures that just barely appear above ground. Cost is $16.75.
If you have yet to add a model of the original Alien to your collection, here’s your chance. Another AMT/Ertl repop of an MPC kit, this is the original Alien from the 1979 movie of the same name. Again, scale isn’t given but the finished figure stands some nine inches tall and carries a price of $12.00.
Except for the front and back halves of the body, all parts are contained on four sprues of gray styrene. Everything is contained in a single bag….with one exception. That is the clear elongated skull dome, which is simply tossed loose into the box along with the standard style instructions. Arms will pivot at the shoulders, head rotates and the tongue has tabs mounted in a slot so that it can extend and retract in the mouth. Yippee.
Truck models have been few and far between of late…and that’s a shame because even modelers with no use at all for car kits are frequently attracted to trucks. Especially the big rigs. If you’re one of those with a fondness for big rigs, take a look at this effort from AMT/Ertl.
If you’ve ever built a 1/25 scale big rig, you know what you’re getting into. This kit of the GMC General, which is a conventional design, contains in excess of 300 parts with most of them being molded in gray styrene and chrome. Two bags hold all the gray parts and two more shelter the chrome sprues. Thrown in loose are the clear parts, the translucent red and translucent orange lens sprues, ten vinyl tires, a small decal sheet and their usual instructions.
Although the kit does give you the option of leaving the rear window glass out in order to provide direct access to the sleeper, as well as an aerodynamic fairing that can be mounted atop the cab, this is basically an out-of-the-box project. But it doesn’t have to be. Truck enthusiasts will have a field day with this one. Price is a most reasonable $24.75.
Live in Texas and it won’t take long before you find out that pick-up trucks are as common as dirt. You’ve got everything from ordinary, run-of-the-mill work trucks to low riders, show trucks and high-dollar trucks whose up-scale owners only drive between their highrise condominiums and the country club. And don’t forget those that look like… and probably are… refugees from your local junkyard (excuse me…automotive recycling center).
Since I tend to prefer stock appearances, these next two offerings from AMT/Ertl leave me with mixed feelings. Both are pick-ups, one being the ’60 Chevy Street Machine and the other a ’57 Chevy Stepside. Each is 1/25 scale, have over a 100 parts per kit, sell for $11.00 apiece and are part of their Hot Trucks line.
What this means is that both are stock trucks…with a few exceptions. The ’60 Chevy, which has the Fleetside body, has a custom grille and bumper, dual exhausts, fuel injection intake, custom chrome wheels, custom steering wheel and wide, low profile tires. It also has a lowered front end. So what’s the problem? No options that allow you to build it totally stock. Of course, AMT/Ertl does offer a separate kit of a stock ’60 Chevy Fleetside. The ’57 Stepside kit takes exactly the same approach. But the difference is that no separate stock kit is available.
As far as the kits themselves are concerned, both are exactly what you have come to expect from AMT/Ertl car kits. All of the gray styrene parts are contained in a single bag, except for the truck cab. Chrome parts have their own bag. Clear parts, vinyl tires, truck cab, decals and instructions are tossed in loose. If pick-ups are your thing, you’ll want these.
In the same vein as the pick-ups is another 1/25 scale AMT/Ertl kit, this one a ’62Pontiac Catalina Custom. Set up as a lowrider with bullet grille, custom interior, clear steering wheel and hard white plastic inserts for the vinyl tires, it carries a price of $11.00. There’s a complete engine that could easily be super-detailed and a positionable hood that even includes scale hood hinges.
The now-standard gray styrene parts are all in one bag, chrome parts in a second and the white tire inserts in a third. Clear and transparent red parts, along with tires, decals and instructions are left loose in the box as you’ve come to expect.
Shifting gears slightly, the next kit from AMT/Ertl is a replica of the AMC ’75 Matador stock car in Coca-Cola colors. Scale is the usual 1/25. Price is $16.75.
The kit is set up strictly as a replica of the Coca-Cola stock car, so what you see is what you get. This includes a complete racing interior with roll cage, full engine that can be super-detailed and a removable hood. Correct markings are replicated on the decal sheet.
As usual, the gray styrene parts have their own bag and chrome parts have another. Front and rear glass (no side glass, as is accurate for stock cars), tires, metal axles, decal sheet and instructions remain loose in the box. If Coca-Cola’s for you, so is this kit.
Prefer your cars in a slightly larger scale? Then take a look at this 1/16 scale ’57 Ford Thunderbird that AMT/Ertl offers. It’s definitely impressive with a body length of 11 inches and over 125 parts. It does carry a significantly higher price than the 1/25 kits at $23.25, but it’s certainly reasonable for what you get.
All of the main parts are molded in (what else?) gray styrene and contained in three bags. There’s two bags of chrome parts as well. Everything else in loose in the box, including clear parts and transparent red lenses, white plastic whitewall rings, two different diameters of vinyl tubing, license plate decals, metal axles, two sets of vinyl tires and the instructions.
Numerous custom parts are included so that you can go that route if you choose. For example, there are extra parts for the engine, roll bar, additional interior components and a set of custom wheels/tires. However, this time around, those of you who want to produce a strictly stock T-Bird right off the assembly line will have everything you need to do the job right.
Doors and hood are operable. You also can install the convertible hardtop or not. It’s your choice.
Instructions are still basically the international variety but with improvements. Parts are identified by name as to what they are in real life, plug wire configuration is clearly defined and there’s a chart that correlates the interior colors with exteriors.
All in all, a very nice model deserving of a place of honor in your collection. Even better, think about creating a diorama or vignette to really do it justice.
Do you have a son or daughter who wants to build a car model but has never so much as opened a kit box? If so, then AMT/Ertl has the kits for you. They’re 1/25 scale, cost $9.50 each and are called Snapfast Slammers.
I have three of them (a total of six are available). Basically, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen’em all. The only thing that changes is the specific subject. Subjects for the three I have are the Road Block Cop Car, Street Fury and Super Coupe.
All kits are pre-finished (pre-decorated, as the box says), with blacked out windows and no interior. Vinyl tires are exaggerated in that they’re wide and fat in the rear, small and thin in the front. This results in a distinct nose down attitude. You only have to snap in the windows and follow that with the belly pan (if they don’t come out of the box already installed) to have the basic car done. After that, it’s simply a matter of adding a few chrome pieces, slip the tires over the wheels, drive the axles into one wheel, slip the axles thru their housings, add the other wheel/tire and you’re done. It literally takes longer to describe than to do.
As a final touch, you’ll also a couple of small, temporary tattoos in each box. Instructions indicate that they remove easily with alcohol or baby oil.
If the Road Block Cop Car (based on a Chevy Caprice) doesn’t race your motor, there’s also the Street Fury (based on the early Plymouth Fury with tail fins) and the Super Coupe (essentially a chopped hot rod).
Tired of the usual selection of 1/25 scale car models but you still want to build a car model? Then take a look at a recent offering from REVELL (www.Revell-Monogram.com). If you’ve ever heard of sprint car racing, this kit’ll get your attention.
Offered in 1/24 scale, the Sammy Swindell Channellock Sprint Car will definitely get people’s attention. It looks kinda like a shortened, bulky Indy car with a roll cage and a couple of huge wings crammed so close together that you’d swear they can’t work…but they do.
The kit, which sells for $12.25, has 101 parts…which is a heckuva lot to cram into such a small vehicle. Most of the parts are molded in white styrene and contained in a single bag. Then there’s three sprue of chrome parts that are left loose in the box along with a large sheet of decals, vinyl tires and instructions. And in case you’ve got the idea that I overlooked something, there are no clear parts in this kit. Not even a miniscule windshield.
Instructions are well laid out, even though they use the drawing/number international style. Revell goes the extra distance by identifying parts by their real life name. They also devote one entire page to proper decal placement. Even better, a small 3-view of the driver figure helps you detail the driver that’s included in the kit.
Don’t get the idea that, just because this is a small kit, that it’s gonna be a quick build. Or even a box shaker. For starters, this is a level 3 kit, which means you ain’t gonna throw it together overnight. More importantly, it’s the type of kit that you want to kick back with and enjoy. Don’t rush it.
With it’s roots firmly planted in Hitler’s Third Reich of the late 1930s, the plain jane, utilitarian Volkswagen Beetle took the American automotive scene by storm during the 50s, 60s and even 70s. At one time it was almost impossible to drive anywhere without passing at least a few of the little beasts. With an appearance that could charitably be described as most unattractive, what was it that made them so popular? Try reliable, easy to maintain and economical.
REVELL has produced a 1/25 scale kit of the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet (Convertible), or ragtop in American vernacular. Whatever you call it, it’s a dandy.
And the kit’s only tagged at $11.00 as well.
So what do you get for your eleven bucks? A box packed with 103 parts. All of the major components are molded in white styrene and contained in a single bag. There’s a single sprue of chrome parts and another of clear that are loose in the box, along with four vinyl tires, decal sheet and instructions. What I can’t tell you is the specific model year and REVELL is no help here. Diehard Beetle buffs could probably pin it down but I’d be lucky to get within 10 years!
The hood opens to reveal a flat four engine that would be quite receptive to additional detailing and optional parts are included to have the top either up or down. Decals include a set of Texas plates (they must’ve been thinking of me).
Whether you build it just off the assembly line or as a rust bucket limping down the road, this kit offers a lot of potential.
One thing you don’t see too often are Indy cars, so the arrival of a 1/25 scale Castrol Reynard does make you perk your ears up. Carrying the markings as driven by Alex Barron in 1998, this kit will even get the attention of aircraft modelers…mainly because of the eagle face the car wore. If you like nose art, you’ll like this car.
With only 56 pieces, this isn’t a particularly complicated kit, especially when you consider that the parts count includes alternate front and rear wings depending on whether you want the road course or speedway version. Everything’s molded in white styrene. Except for the vinyl tires, decals and instructions, all parts are nestled in two bags.
In spite of the relatively small number of parts, it’ll still take you awhile to build this critter. Much of the reason for this is the extended session you’ll spend with the decals.
Still, an excellent kit with markings that are definitely different. And a reasonable price of $12.25.
If 1/25 scale semis are too big for you, then check out this Cartoon Network Race Rig in 1/32 scale from REVELL. It’s actually a Ford Aerostar cab with Featherlite trailer that’s used to transport all of the racing team’s gear around the NASCAR circuit.
When I tell you it’s part of the Snaptite line, the first reaction of the more experienced modeler is a rather derisive snort. If I’ve just described you, try to reserve judgement for a few moments. More than a few Snaptite kits can hold their own with their glue kit brethren. This one makes a pretty fair effort.
Parts are molded in white, silver-gray and black styrene with everything being bagged. The only things that aren’t are the trailer body and insert, mainly due to their size. Of course decals and instruction are loose in the box.
Haven’t tried to build this puppy, but on the parts breakdown, it’s going to go together quite well. Add cement and a touch of putty here and there, along with some advanced modeling skills, and you can elevate the finished result by a considerable degree.
There are a couple of peculiarities. For example, a rather strange combination of hard styrene tires for the cab and soft vinyl for the trailer. Also the cab tires are hollow on the backside. Course you can’t see the backside when the model’s finished, but…..
As is true with most SnapTite style kits, the decals aren’t decals. They are, instead, self-adhesive stickers. While they’re about as thin as they can possibly be and give surprisingly good results, they do have a rather interesting quirk. You only get one shot. Where you stick’em is where they stay, so get it right the first time. The problem with this kit is that the graphics sticker runs almost the entire length of the trailer. Definitely a challenge to get it right!
Still, you can do a lot with this kit. Even stright from the box it’s impressive. With a little TLC, who knows how far you can take it. And compared to what a 1/25 tractor/trailer combo will set you back, the $31.75 tab is easy to take as well.
No matter what kind of model you work on, most of us eventually wind up using some kind of visual aid. I’d venture to say that at least 8 out of 10 of us eventually acquire an OptiVisor. Nothing wrong with that. It works quite well and I use one.However, we always wind up trying to find a way to put some light on the subject. Of course, the time honored way is to have a light on our bench, get the model close to it and then move in with our OptiVisor til everything’s in focus…or we run into the lamp because there’s not enough room for the model, lamp, OptiVisor and us in the same location. But what if there was another way?
Consider, then, the Light Head Magnifying Glass, available from THE TOOL MAN (http://www.hobbytools.com) for $44.95. As the slightly fractured english title (it’s made in Taiwan) indicates, it’s a headband mounted magnifying visor with a light built into it.
I’ve had mine for several weeks (got it at the Supercon in Arlington, Texas) and am delighted with it.
Rather than a solid visor with a lens mounted into it that then drops down in front of your face, this item has a pair of lenses…one in front of the other…set up in such a way that one or both can be flipped up out of the way. In this way you have the convenience of two different magnifications available to you without having to physically change the lenses. You also have a wider field of view because your peripheral vision isn’t restricted.
In order to get light on the subject, a housing is mounted just above the lens. It’s powered by a pair of AAA batteries and is mounted just above the lens. Light can be directed to the exact point needed by tilting it down or to each side.
The price includes a set of four lenses of varying diopter power. All you have to do is play around with them for awhile to find out which ones are best suited to your needs. Then go pick up a set of batteries, install’em and you’re off to the races. Because of the ability to put light exactly where you want it, this lighted magnifier is ideal for detail work on cockpits and figures…particularly faces.
You really need to visit THE TOOL MAN’s web site to see what he has. There’s far more than I can even begin to talk about here. But as long as we are talking about him, let’s take a look at some different kinds of files.
First up is a 12 piece mini needle file set. Round, oval, two corner, three corner, flat on one side and half round on the other, etc. Besides that, they’re very small…allowing you to get into some of those tight spots that you can’t reach with a sharply folded piece of sandpaper. All 12 for $5.95.
Next is a 10 piece set of rifflers. If you’ve never done woodworking, you’ve probably never heard of rifflers. Rifflers are essentially double-ended files with the abrasive ends either bent or curved. Because cross-sections of the various rifflers range from round to flat, combined with the bends and curves, it’s to get into areas and file contours that aren’t possible to do any other way. Granted, it’s a specialized tool, but when you need’em, nothing else will do. Price is $6.95.
Last of the bunch is a set of exotic little tools called Broaches. A six piece Broach set will cost you $16.95, but what you can do with’em.
Broaches are essentially long, square section reamers. Each blade..or shaft…has a soft grip that makes it easy to rotate. If you have a hole that you need to enlarge slightly (but not enough that you can use the next larger drill bit), find the appropriate size Broach, insert it gently into the hole and carefully rotate (checking frequently) til you have enlarged the hole to the needed size. Most of us use the tip of a #11 blade which leaves you with a tapered hole. The only thing I know of that’ll do a similar job as a Broach is dental files that are used for root canals. And they’re both hard to get and tricky to use.
Broaches are a lot more predictable. Buy a set.
See y’all next month.