МИГ-25 / MIG-25 – Assembly

Took a while, but the assembly of the MIG is basically complete, anything that’s not attached in the pictures is probably getting painted separate. Overall the build has been very challenging and slow. This simple kit that I was expecting to throw together in a few days has dragged on forever because of horrendous quality and design.

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Not a lot of detail in the cockpit, not even a decal, most of what you see are just paint blots that I added to give a little visual interest. The main cockpit tub did not fit well into the nose piece even after I cut off quite a bit of material to reduce the width. Having to make something fit by using the hobby knife speaks about the quality of the kit. As you can see, there was still quite a gap that had to be seriously filled and sanded.

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I got a lot of anxiety once I saw the instructions on how the fuselage is supposed to be put together, look at all the parts. The instructions are not very clear either, there are no locating pins or any kind of lip to help with alignment.

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At one point I kind of gave up stressing out over the fit and just went for it. At the end it worked out alright, but just like the cockpit tub, I had to remove a lot of material to hide the issues.

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I didn’t get as many issues with the wings as I was expecting, they went together pretty well. While those were on the go, I went ahead and cleaned up flash from all of the ordinance provided. The fuel tank was a bit of a pain in the butt. It required  quite a bit of filler and the one centre mount did not have a any locator pins to help with the attachment and kept falling in, it’s the running theme for this kit.

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I don’t seem to have any pictures of the air intakes in pieces, but they were very problematic. First, there was the individual assembly of the intakes and then the fit with the rest of the body. Even after I removed a lot of material to help with the fit (cutting of a few millimeters), there were still major gaps. I thought it looked close enough eventually and instead of continuing to cut, I used a styrene sheet to to fill the gaps.

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I’ve been very impressed how well this technique works for filling large gaps. First, pick the right thickness of the styrene sheet and the cut of a piece long enough to fill the gap. The small patch you’ve created, goes into the gap and get’s cemented in. When it’s dry, cut off the excess and it’s done. I highly recommend this technique compared to using filler, it’s super fast and produces nice results.

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The bird is now all ready for paint. I’ve left off the landing gear and landing bay doors. I just see those things getting in the way and breaking off. I hope all the work so far is going to be worth the effort and tears. I look forward to painting to be much enjoyable. I have a new Iwata Neo to test out!

 

МиГ-25 / MiG-25 – New Build

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I’m continuing working through my existing inventory of kits. I think I have three more left and then I’m heading straight to the hobby store to replenish the stash. When deciding on what to build next I looked back on what I recently worked on. In order of oldest to newest, I have finished a helicopter, car, tank, apc. So, it made my choice pretty easy – a jet.

This is another one of the kits that I managed to bring back with me from my visit to Russia last year. It was worth a cool 410 rubles or approximately $12 US. Which is a good deal any day in my book and it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of my favorite jets of all time.

Its a 1/72 scale kit and is pretty basic as far as parts go. Although, after I gave it a quick look, it has pretty good surface detail with recessed instead of raised panel lines. I don’t know about what to expect from ICM as company, haven’t built one of their kits before. I’m looking forward to this being a quick and enjoyable project…hopefully. After my BTR build, I’m definitely looking for something that will go together without to much frustration on my part. Here we go!

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БТР-80! – PART 3 – Complete

I find it interesting how some parts of the projects seem to drag on and when you think there’s still such a long way to go, you all of sudden find yourself standing on the finish line.

The model was covered with a clear satin layer of Rustoleum spray can, which I personally consider more semi-gloss, in preparation for decals (which didn’t help with silvering like I was hoping). I did quick dark brown pin wash on the recessed panel lines, a bit of clean up with a flat brush/q-tip followed. I had to go through the exercise of drilling new mounting holes on all the road wheels. It turned out that one of the pieces in the suspensions assembly was installed upside down causing the wheels to no longer fit under the wheel wells. However,with my minor adjustments, it worked out pretty good as you can see.

The last step was to add a few decals and cover everything with micro-flat coating. I only used the the numbers decals as these are the only marking that I saw on my reference pictures. They worked pretty well, even though I had my initial concerns about the quality and yellowing. Finished!

In summary then, I’d like to wrap up my experience with the kit. Something I haven’t really been doing with my other kits.

The Good

  • Cheap kit, I think I got it for something like 10$ in St. Petersburg
  • Great finished Product. I think the 3 color camo works really well with it.
  • Experience with a new vendor, interesting to try something new.
  • Good amount of detail on the kit once assembled and painted.
  • Loads of reference material available online. I definitely got side tracked researching and browsing.

The Bad

  • Generally unimpressed with the quality of the kit, very heavy, lots of injector pin marks/channels and large locator pin marks for railings. Did not enjoy the assembly/clean up processes
  • Poor instruction layout and a few unnecessarily complicated assemblies with little parts were frustrating
  • Not many decal options for the kit, only used 2
  • No Clear Parts for telescope ports, front lights, or tail lights.
  • I wish there were more optional parts included with the kit

I’m glad I’m finished and am glad that it ended on a positive note. I get to move on with some enthusiasm for the next build. I don’t think I would ever build another one of these particular kits to avoid the same frustration even though it’s probably a good bang for your buck. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t build another BTR, on the contrary, but I would try a different vendor. I would also definitely try some of the newer kits by Zvezda, from what I’ve seen their new products have superb detail and quality – head and shoulders above what I had to work with here.

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БТР-80! – PART 2 – Paint and New Technique

Majority of the base painting is complete. It was a complete reversal of my attitude towards the build. It went smoothly, was trouble free, and I loved it. There was a bit of filling that had to be done, but I didn’t stress over the major gaps that I mentioned in the previous post, since unless you’re looking at it from the bottom, you will never notice it.

I did a base of grey Vallejo primer, which made the application of my first color camo color (Model Masters + Testors Yellow) super easy. I got good coverage and only had to do two light coats.

Next Things got interesting, it tried out a new masking technique I saw on youtube (I’ll post a link in the comments), it involves sticky tack and a plastic bag, I used plastic wrap for mine. I did both the green (testors flat green + black) and flat black in this manner. It’s super quick and gives you a lot of control and creativity over the camo design. I would suggest this to everyone to tryout at least once.

Now, I’ve got the wheels left to do, which I already masked off and the decals. I might do a bit of light weathering, but as I said from the beginning, that was not my objective for this project.  I’m a bit concerned about the decals, because they look like they’re a bit yellowed and have a lot of carrier film, but am not sure how that will turn out. Sorry, it’s not the best picture of decal sheet, but let me know if you think it’s worth it trying them. I will appreciate the feedback. Maybe a basic stencil might be better for writing the unit #?

БТР-80! – Part 1 – Assembly :'(

I was really excited at the start of this build, but got bogged down in the assembly and parts clean up. All my excitement for the subject matter and kit manufacturer got brought down by the poor sprue quality and poor (in my opinion) instructions.

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I ended up screwing up the suspension assembly shown above. Part B9 was installed upside which does not leave enough room to mount the road wheels. Nothing I can do at this point but try to make it work.

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Really did not enjoy how this kit had duplicate sprue and instructions showing parts times two (x2) without showing a picture of the other side. The side door in my opinion had too many parts for what it was worth. Considering that things were not fitting well to begin with, throw in a bunch of cumbersome, flimsy, small parts and the result speaks for it self. The side door area is the one area with the biggest gaps….

 Please feel free to let me know if these instruction in deed look poor based on your experience or I’m just being picky. I’m curious to get a little feedback since this was a real struggle.

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Nonetheless, I made a due with what I had and yesterday finally finished the assembly. I won’t dwell on it much more, but I really did not enjoy the process thus far even though the kit itself is looking pretty nice and has nice detail.

Well let me know what you think. I’m going to do some gap filling and sanding and then it off to paint. Like I said in the build write up before, I’m going to be looking to do a 3 tone paint job, like the on the left in the picture below. I might even try to free hand instead of masking but not convinced yet.

Camo Options

T-55 ENIGMA PART 4.1 – FINISHED! (Actually)

After posting the “final” post of the project, I was not entirely happy with how the pictures turned out. So last night I went back to the lab to make a few minor adjustments to the model.

  • Blacked out the front headlights, like it is on the box art
  • Filled in the viewing ports with Elmer’s White glue, since no clear parts are provided with the kit
  • Added soot to the cannon and side exhaust (really please with this effect :D)
  • Darkened the tracks, I thought they just looked too bright and colorful. (*view here to compare*)

I tried taking a few pictures under natural light to see if I get a better result.

T-55 Enigma Part 4 – Finished!

Finally got a few minutes to run down and snap a couple of pictures for the completed build of the T-55 Enigma. I has been a quick over all build. The kit fit was exceptional and most of my time was spent on painting.

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I’ve started a little log that I keep by the work bench to keep track of my progress and time I spend on a project. With this particular one, painting took me 16 hrs from starting to prime to end product. This time around I used a lot of dry brushing to achieve my rust effect with a combination of Testors Rust, Flat Brown and Dark Brown, This was also the first model where I got a chance to use Pledge Floor Wax (Future) to seal in the individual layers. I think it works well, but is a bit too shinny, perhaps better left for the aircraft.

Although I love how the model turned out, I found it particular difficult to photograph. Setting up the lighting was a real struggle, at certain angles the Future would cause lots of glare. The colors also came out really bright and vibrant on the pictures making the rusty spots look more orange then they are in real life.

The shape of the tank is also not really photogenic either. The added armor structure on the enigma made it look front heavy and asymmetrical. I had a tough time picking what angles to shoot it from.

If you have tips on what you do when encounter this kind of issue, i would love to hear it!

I don’t want to sound to negative though! Just want to share my experience and be share some of the things I encountered. This was a fun build – I had a blast and am really pleased with the result. With out further delays, here it is: