Clearing out the Backlog

In an effort to maintain some balance and clear out the backlog of projects gathering dust in my workroom I finished up a couple of pieces that Ive mentioned on these pages before. First off is the pair of Israeli F-16A’s from GHQ. The models are the same high quality you can expect from GHQ but I’m not completely satisfied with my color mixes, or for that matter the application. At arm’s length their fine, at least for gaming purposes. I need to use an airbrush in the future.

1/285 Scale Israeli F-16A's. Models by GHQ

1/285 Scale Israeli F-16A’s. Models by GHQ

 

I’ve also finished the pair of Korean War USAF F-86’s also from GHQ.

1/285 scale F-86's. Models by Raiden Miniatures.

1/285 scale USAF F-86’s. Models by Raiden Miniatures.

 

Still on the workbench are a gaggle of aircraft from GHQ and Raiden Miniatures, now a part of I-94 Enterprises. Most of these will go towards my AIW collection. Not appearing in these photos are a pair of GHQ AH-7 Lynx still waiting to be primed.

 

1/285 Scale SU-7. Model by Raiden Miniatures.

1/285 Scale SU-7. Model by Raiden Miniatures.

 

1/285 Scale Mig-21. Model by Raiden Miniatures.

1/285 Scale Mig-21. Model by Raiden Miniatures.

 

1/285 Scale F-15C. Model by GHQ.

1/285 Scale F-15C. Model by GHQ.

Bringing Balance

I thought I might take a moment and shift away from naval matters for a while and go back to micro armor. In this case it is really about aircraft for micro armor. I painted up a couple of F-16s from GHQ in Israeli Air Force colors. If you recall one of my first posts was a pair of Super Mysteres and Skyhawks from Raiden Miniatures painted in IAF colors as well. I really liked the colors I mixed for those planes so I was a bit disheartened to see that the paints had dried out completely. Off to my local hobby shop, the Newport Hobby House, to get some new paints. They had most of what I was looking for but the pale green just didn’t come out pale enough to match the previous aircraft. I’m not going to strip them and start over but I will adjust the color before I paint the F-15s and additional Skyhawks I have sitting around. Anyway, here are the F-16s.

!/285 Scale F-16As in Early IAF Camouflage Pattern. Models by GHQ.

1/285 Scale F-16As in Early IAF Camouflage Pattern. Models by GHQ.

 

I’m definitely going to have to tinker around with the colors some more. While I was doing the research for the Skyhawks I came across an interesting modification done by the IAF to help defeat SA-7 and other IR homing missiles. They attached an exhaust extension to the engine tailpipe which caused the missiles homing in on the heat plume to proximity detonate too far away from the fuselage to cause much damage. I have a pair of aircraft that will be modded shortly. Here’s a picture from a plastic kit.

Modified A-4 Skyhawk Tailpipe.

Modified A-4 Skyhawk Tailpipe.

 

On to the F-15s!

In The News…

This week I’m taking a step back from my own work to highlight some recent news in the hobby industry.  Admittedly it is a bit of a cop out but with Carnivale last weekend there wasn’t much time to do more.

First up is I-94 Enterprises, one of go to favorites for storage boxes and 1/285 scale aircraft.  You may recall that I’ve previously mentioned that Dave WInfree purchased Raiden MIniatures.  Their latest news release states that they’ve brought several models back into production. Most interesting to me are the Grumman F9F Cougar and the Gloster Javelin.  While neither aircraft saw real combat there were ‘what-if’ scenarios that could have resulted in combat engagements for the Javelin and they’re both cool looking aircraft.  During the early 1960’s Javelins were stationed in Singapore to support Commonwealth forces in the ‘Konfrontasi’ between the British Commonwealth and Indonesia over the creation of Malaysia.  Indonesia operated mostly Soviet aircraft designs it could be an interesting scenario for fans of early cold war kit.

Next item is an announcement from author and game designer Larry Bond. Here is their announcement:

Larry Bond and Chris Carlson are pleased to announce the formation of the Admiralty Trilogy Group, LLC, a Virginia limited liability corporation. The Admiralty Trilogy Group (ATG) are the exclusive publishers of the award-winning Admiralty Trilogy wargame system, games that span naval combat in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These include:
· Harpoon (1955 and later, up to current day)
· Command at Sea (1925 through World War II and up to 1955)
· Fear God and Dread Nought (1905 through World War I and up to 1925)
The new company will publish wargames in digital format, using the Internet to deliver quality products through the Wargame Vault. We have over twenty titles available for sale, and will be expaning the list in the coming days.
Our biannual newsletter, the Naval SITREP, will continue publication. Issues 14 (April 1998) through 47 (October 2014) are available for sale at The Wargame Vault. Content in earlier issues will be condensed and published in an upcoming product. Current subscriptions with Clash of Arms will be honored, but will not be renewed. Instead of a $21.00 subscription for three issues ($28 overseas), each new issue will be posed on The Wargame Vault for $3.00.
In addition to the Trilogy product line previously published by Clash of Arms, Inc., The AT Group will be expanding and improving the game system with new naval and land-based rules sets, all designed to work with the current system and enhance your gaming experience.
The AT Group can be reached either at our email, AdTrGroup@aol.com, or on our Facebook page.
Our webpage, AdmiraltyTrilogy.com, will be up soon. We hope you will come and visit.

For the uninitiated Larry is the techno-thriller author who is also the creator of the Harpoon naval wargame system.  While sometimes maligned by gamers as ‘too technical’ or ‘too complicated’ for casual gaming the system was used extensively,at least in the 80’s and 90’s, within the U.S. Navy to teach basic naval warfare concepts to officer candidates.  What began as a modern naval combat system has expanded and evolved through the other games of the Admiralty Trilogy to encompass all naval warfare from about 1900 to the present.  The Admiralty Trilogy staff have been ‘unifying’ all the underlying equations for damage, construction etc. across the entire spectrum.  Does it matter to the average gamer that the data sheet for their HMS Agamemnon battleship of 1906 is calculated on the same basis as their HMS Agamemnon minelayer of 1940 or their HMS Agamemnon nuclear powered submarine of the present day? Probably not.  For me however it is significant.  After all, haven’t you ever wanted to game out the Final Countdown attack where the Nimitz class carrier travels back to Dec 1941 and must decide whether to intercept the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.

Of Flight Stands and Rare Earth Magnets

In my continuing quest to clear the decks of all the old, lingering, unfinished projects I’m going to show you how I make flight stands for 1/285 scale aircraft.  In the past I have used flight stands from various manufacturers and each has it own unique limitations.  Of those commercially available my least favorite are the AC Bases from CinC.

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The one pictured here is the medium base but the others are similar.  These stands feature a criss-cross pewter base and a pewter support.  These pieces are not strong enough to stand up to more than static display of your miniatures.  Even careful transportation and gaming use will cause these to bend and unfortunately your aircraft will crash.

The next rung up the ladder of quality is the Aircraft Stand (catalog # AC40) from GHQ.

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These stands have a thin steel wire which is inserted into a criss-cross pewter base.  Much like the product from CinC, in my experience the pewter support legs are not strong enough to stand up to gaming and transporting.  Additionally, the tolerances of the hole where the wire inserts into the base makes getting the wire to sit vertically is a challenge.  Large or heavy models will also tend to distort the hole in the pewter base over time.  On the plus side the thin steel wire is both strong and unobtrusive on the gaming table.  The miniatures look less like models on sticks than with the CinC option.

My favorite bases are the Flight Bases from Ral Partha although these can be a challenge to find.  These stands use a hexagonal pewter base and a thin steel wire as the support.  One of the cons of these stands is the hexagonal base can be too small for large heavy models making them prone to tipping.  The examples I have date from 2000 so there may be newer products available.  Here is what they look like in the package.

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In the past I used one stand per aircraft but today’s project will allow me to make a number of flight stands that will be interchangeable with all the aircraft in my collection.  I could accomplish this by not gluing the aircraft to the existing bases but where is the fun in that?  So, break out the tools its time to get to work!

In concept the new bases will have a support which will have a rare earth magnet glued to the end.  For the uninitiated the rare earth magnets are those tiny but powerful magnets that can be very difficult to separate.  The magnets on the end of the flight base will couple with a magnet on the belly of the miniature holding it in place while gaming but allowing you to separate them for storage and use fewer bases overall – at least that’s the plan.

To start with I decided to use nails of the same diameter of my magnets to act as the support for the aircraft stand.  Any steel nails will work fine I choose these in two lengths to represent helicopters and fast movers flying slightly higher.

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In order to accept a magnet on the end the pointed tip of the nail has to be removed.  My Dremel tool with cutoff wheel made short work of the nails.  Wear safety glasses!  Here’s the nail after tip removal.

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The next step is to prepare the base to accept the nail.  As mentioned above the Ral Partha bases are made to accept thin steel wire so the base has to be drilled out to the diameter of the nail.

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Most machine made nails are not quite perfectly flush where the shaft and nailhead meet for this reason the underside of the pewter base needs a slight countersink drilled out to accommodate the nail head.  Alternatively, you could machine down the shaft of the nail but since pewter is softer than steel I stick with reworking the base.  Here is the slight counter sink drilled out on this base.Image

Apply glue to the shaft of the nail at the nailhead juncture and slide it in place in the base.  Set aside to dry.  I prefer to use gel style CA or crazy glue.  The gel style has a slightly longer set time which allows me to correct placement errors.  It also works quite well as a gap filler.

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Once the glue on the nail/base has set the rare earth magnets can be attached to the tip of the nail.  Again, I use gel style CA glue for this.  Set aside to cure.

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Tip: Glue one magnet to the tip of the nail but keep a second magnet attached to the first to make sure the polarity is aligned. Mark the top surface of the second magnet a a reference mark.  This marked surface will be glued to the belly of the model.  If you drop the second magnet while attempting to glue it to the aircraft the mark will tell you which side to glue to the aircraft.

Here is the Egyptian MiG-21 that will be my test case.  I’ll have to remove a bit of the belly fairing on this model to attach the magnet.  Take the second magnet from the flight stand that was prepared earlier and glue the side with the reference mark to the belly of the aircraft.  If this model wasn’t already painted I would have drilled a hole in the belly of the aircraft to recess the magnet.  I didn’t do that here because I didn’t want to scratch the paint or decals.

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And here it is with magnet glued in place.

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And a couple views of the MiG on its stand.  The MiG-21 in these pictures is from Raiden Miniatures.  The decals are from I-94 Enterprises.

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All that remains is to paint the stand.  I managed to make eight of these in a little over an hour not including the time taken up by photography.  With this type of flight stand you’ll only have to make as many stands as you expect to have on the game table at one time.  Just make sure all the magnets that are glued to the aircraft have the correct polarity alignment with the magnets on the stands.

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