David Knights' Weblog

August 16, 2022

Berna Clamps

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:28 pm
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I mentioned on the PMM Facebook page that I really like the Berna clamps.  I noted there was a learning curve with them.  Our listeners were split.  Do you use them?  Do you like them?



January 26, 2022

I love these products.

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 1:08 am
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This is my go to building jig.


September 23, 2021

My missing right arm

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:43 pm
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As some of you may have heard, my Badger 150, that I have had for over 25 years, recently broke. The brazing failed where the air valve meets the body of the airbrush.  Now, I own 3 other, vastly finer airbrushes.  This should not have been a problem.  However, I felt an almost immediate need to replace the brush.  I am not sure why.  However, it was like I was missing my right arm.  I’ve used the 150 for so long, not having it available felt like a hole in my modeling world.  My 150 is my workhorse brush.  I use it for clearcoats, metallics, and general spraying where finesse is not required. Knowing I didn’t have that at hand, just felt wrong.  So, I quickly went on eBay and got a used replacement.  When it came in I swapped some parts around and I am back in business.  I know it is weird, but I feel whole again.

April 13, 2021

AA-5 Ash

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 9:57 pm
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One of the kits I am slowly working on is the Trumpeter Tu-128.  Recently I’ve been on hold on the M-30 and Mosquito for various reasons.  So, I decided to turn my attention to the AA-5 (Ash) missiles in the Tu-128 kit.  I figured I could weak point of most 72nd scale kits.)  However, much to my surprise the missiles in the Trumpeter kit are pretty good representations of these missiles.


Really, the only problem that jumped out at me is that the missiles seem to be molded with rear cover protective plates that you only see in place on museum examples of the missile..  The actual in service missile has this removed for operations.  Thus you can see into the rear of the missile to the exhaust.  I decided this would not do.  But, how to simulate the hollowed out exhaust.  Then I remembered that Mike convinced me that it would be a good idea to order some Micro chisel drills on eBay from China.  I did , but this was my first opportunity to use them. (Ignore the stray hair in the shot as I didn’t see it until later and didn’t feel like shooting the photo again.)


I have to say they produced exactly the effect I was looking for.


January 20, 2021

In praise of the H & S Infinity

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:54 pm
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Last year, after the Chattanooga Nats, I purchased an Harder & Steenbeck Infinity airbrush. While I own several very nice airbrushes, what I’d seen of it impressed me to the point of being willing to shell out the not insubstantial cost of the item. I’ve begun using it over the last year, and have really put it to use in starting to color modulate and weather then M-30. To say that I am impressed understates things. This is the finest airbrush I’ve used. I can do things with it that I simply can’t do with other airbrushes.

This brings me to another point. When it comes to getting better at airbrushing; “What is your plan for getting better?” My plan, and I think the only real plan, is to airbrush more. Airbrushing isn’t like riding a bike. If you don’t do it regularly, your skills degrade. One thing I recommend, besides airbrushing regularly, is when you are done with a session, use the paint remaining in the brush to practice, either on a paint mule or a scrap of card. There is no better way to experiment and get better.

I’m coming for you, Mike!


Don’t waste that paint.


October 22, 2020

Micro drills

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:44 am
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Like most modelers, I have a set of micro drills, that runs from 61 thru 80.  However, in working on the Tamiya Mosquito, I found myself needing a slightly larger bit size.  Luckily, my local, well stocked hobby shop has them available individually all the way up to 51.  I got what I needed.  However it raised a question for me.  How large to the numbered bits go up to?  Anyone know?

November 26, 2019

My favorite modeling tools #11: Future

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 2:59 pm
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or as it is now known, Pledge with Future shine.  Future is an acrylic floor wax that has been around for a long time.  In fact, the original bottle of Future I have is well over 20 years old.  In fact, last night I sprayed some Future from that bottle on one of my current projects.  Modelers many, many years ago discovered that Future could be airbrushed easily, that it dried quickly to a rock hard acrylic finish, that any error could be removed with a cloth dampened with Windex and it made a great surface on which to apply decals.  Later as the weathering craze took off, modelers found the added benefit that it made a great barrier over which to apply oil based weathering products.  Is has become trendy lately to decry the use of Future, but I still find it very useful.

November 21, 2019

My favorite Modeling tools #10: Trumpeter seam scraper

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:29 pm
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I don’t know what particularly possessed me to buy this item from my local hobby shop.  For years I’d used the classic #11 Xacto blade for seam scraping and it worked very well.  But I picked this tool up and I must say, I am impressed.  It works well, better than the #11 blade.  It is solid-feeling in your hand and the scraper portion of the tool is hefty enough that it does a good job and you don’t get the flex that you sometimes get with a #11.  Sometimes I buy a tool and rarely use it.  That isn’t the case with this.  It is a tool I use all the time at the bench.  Worth the cost.


September 6, 2019

Random modeling thoughts

Filed under: IPMS,Modeling — dknights @ 4:00 pm
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A few thoughts/observations from the little bit of time I’ve managed to find to do some modeling.

  1. I’ve said before that I love Mr. Surfacer Black from the spray can as my go to primer.  That faith remains unshaken.  I was talking recently with fellow modeler Mike Baskette and he wondered if the black color prevented seeing flaws, thus diminishing its usefulness as a primer.  In my experience it does not.  In fact, under strong light the shiny black finish seems to make flaws jump out more than say they would if the color were gray.
  2. As I have said before, too many modelers are too reticent (oh, look it up) to get rid of old paint, sanding sticks and X-Acto blades.  This leads to frustration and time wasted.  I have become ruthless when it comes to discarding these things in favor of fresh items.  Do it.  You can thank me later.
  3. I love the IPMS/USA Nationals.  I know I’ve said that before.  I am still on the post-Nats high, possibly because this one was the best of the 24 I have attended.  Among other things, the Nats always gets my modeling juices flowing.

August 30, 2019

Random modeling thoughts

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:21 am
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What?  Another post about actual modeling?  No way!  Yes, way!

Wet sanding:  I’ve general just dry sanded when I’ve modeled.  However, after many, many years I have been won over to wet sanding.  It doesn’t take much water, just enough to wet the sandpaper.  It makes a bit more of a mess, but it really makes a difference in regard to the ultimate quality of the finish. Also, in regard to sanding, I love the Flex-i-file and use them constantly, but I find that they work much better for me if I split the sanding tapes laterally in half.  The other key is not to try and make them last too long.  Like X-Acto blades, change often.

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