Spruecutters Union#6 – Ain’t gonna do it

Oh yes, another week has passed so it is time again to write another article with this weeks topic:

What would you never ever want to model? 



This weeks topic was a real pain in the behind for me for it took me days to find some stuff i wouldn’t ever ever, not in a million gazillion years want to model… But thanks the gods i found stuff while pondering over the matter during dinner yesterday. (Rigatoni in a meaty marinara sauce if you want to know…)

At first i thought about civvie planes…. Usually they indeed are monotonous and boring to look at….until i thought of a Grumman Goose a la The Expendables… and i do have a special connection with a DHC8-400 in Horizon livery. It always takes me for the last one hour hop to my destination when i am in the States and i just love the low altitude, friendly atmosphere experience. A far cry from the big airline sardine in a can 9 hour big hop.

Ok,… cars maybe? No sorry…. would love to build myself a dusty Afrikakorps Kubelwagen or a rusted up beetle….hippie graffiti VW van…. An old trabant in a east vs west germany wall diorama…

Ships then? Umm,….no i never built myself a modern era warship (Bismarck?…..Fletcher destroyer? sounds cool to me). I did do military sailing ships but never a civvie sailing vessel… still wanna someday do an aged battered fishing cutter or tugboat

Sigh…. well there is sci fi Kermit. Surely you hate that stuff? Well……again, no. I happen to be a huge trekkie fan so sure wouldnt mind a USS Defiant or Klingon D7 cruiser on my bench… I dont even rule out a battle weary X-fighter…

Then What???? What would you not ever model, even if they held a big gun to your head ready to blow you in pieces???

Well…… this for instance:



Yes, them “educational” models such as afforementioned cow or a Da Vinci merry go round monstrosity…. miniature steam engine….. Oh hellllll no! Aint doing it ever!

And with the greatest respect for the skills of my fellow modellers outthere who are into that kinda thing…. but warhammer figures and wargaming stuff and whatnot… it just aint me sorry. Ill fire up my computer if i wanna kill something virtually.



So after all even modelling amphibians have their limits



Dudes and dudettes, welcome back to my little aquatic jar lid experiment.

Last time i showed you what i had in mind for this vignette and how i made a base for the model to sit on. Since then i have been hacking and sawing, claying, puttying and sculpting away and i think i am just about ready for the painting phase.

First off, after the base hardened out i took my chainsaw…



Joking,…. actually i figure sawed this little critter and smoothed the edges with a file and sandpaper….

Then i proceeded CA gluing the proper half (i caught myself trying to file the rear of the sub…..doh) to the base at an angle i thought looked convincing:


Scary bit one completed… so far so good. Next up was modelling the water streaming off the hull, decks and out of the floodholes. Pretty daunting task doing that in clay and putty. To facilitate the drying process and to nip any shrinking in the bud with some putty inbetween i worked in stages not trying to do the whole lot in one big clay lump:



Finally arriving at this:



How is that to you guys? Honestly now….!

Blowing ballast #1, the introduction

For my last model i built a Revell submarine in 1:144 scale. For this intended vignette i will use another submarine by revell, this time the excellently detailed and high value for money 1:350 scale kit. Already built a diorama in the past using the same method of water modelling and also the very same kit but still this one will be a little different…

Being a german type VIIc submarine i will call the finished vignette “Anblasen!” but the correct translation that everybody will understand is “blow ballast!”. We have all seen pictures and maybe even footage of a submarine performing an emergency ascend. Very dramatic and should be challenging for me to depict in plaster, clay and paint.

A while back i found this picture online of an american submarine performing such trials and tests in the 50’s



Pretty cool huh? So thats what i though too and i think it will be very challenging and fun to recreate that. The next few pictures will give an idea of where i am now in the process:





Cute little model isn’t it? Ok, now for the base…. I took a large shallow lid and placed some crumpled up aluminum foil in it. I then proceeded pouring plaster of paris into this mold.



After a day or two this plaster was thoroughly hardened and ready to flip over. The result is that the foil adds a pretty good water rippling effect for the smaller scales such as 1:350 and 1:700.



The next steps will involve me cutting the model in half (yikes!) and making more pronounced waves using clay and putty. Stay tuned as this should get interesting…. I have no clue whatsoever yet how i am going to model all the water flowing out of the floodholes and off the deck but i will figure something out! Suggestions and tips will be highly appreciated at this point…


Sprue Cutters Union #5: Philosophy

This week’s topic i think should prove a very interesting and insightful one for me as i read through my fellow contributor’s posts. If you visit any modelling forum outthere the topic surfaces once in awhile and not uncommonly it is a source of heated debate and even worse. People get banned over the issue as some feel very passionate about it.

In fact, my very first post on this blog was directly related to this weeks topic. Let me quote myself here:

“I truly believe in the “KISS” method, translated as: “Keep It Simple Stupid”. I am really noticing a tendency within the hobby of reasonably new to the scene modellers who think it’s crucial for a good looking model to have all sorts of extra’s like Photo etched metal, resin and you name it crammed into it. While i am not against the use of such items i do strongly believe that it is in no way neccessary.

With a strong arsenal of basic painting and weathering techniques using simple and easy to find tools you should be easily transforming your cheap and basic model into a stunning looking piece of work that will blow a poorly painted model filled with all kinds of aftermarket goodies straight out of the water.

In direct relation to this is my strong aversion to the kind of modeller that is often referred to as “rivet counter”. Such people who admittedly often have great knowledge on a given subject nevertheless totally miss the true meaning of the hobby: Having fun. 

This should be the first and biggest drive of any modeller in my opinion. Once you spend a whole lot of time arguing about the correct location of a bolt on a model and away from the bench you are taking away from the true meaning of the hobby.”

And it says perfectly what i feel is my “philosophy” in the hobby. Having fun is my main drive and if i happen to be super historically correct and have a uber accurate model on my shelf after i finish it i would really like that. But i dont feel accuracy is law and doctrine to me. It’s a nice extra to be able to do it if i can.

Actually, reading back my own words in the quote i caught myself using a phrase like “This should be what a modeller aims for”. Bad Kermie!!

While i stand by my opinion about rivet counters and them missing the true point of having a hobby i will be the last person to judge another modeller for using (or avoiding) aftermarket gear, wanting to aim for accuracy or only building stuff from certain brands or whatever they do that rocks their boat. Just….have…..fun!

And now that you guys have read about my personal view on the matter i would like to add a little.

A couple of weeks back i read a post on Doog’s Models page that ended up really making me think about my approach. He spoke about how a modeller grows by constantly trying to reach outside their comfort zone and avoid complacency. I then started to think and look at what i recently completed that had “new stuff” done to it i did not try before. And shamefully came to the conclusion i kinda didn’t…. I just merrily bought, assembled, painted and weathered kits with the techniques i learned. And needless to say i did have fun doing it in the process.

So i started concluding that, while i stand behind my previous philosophy of having fun, i readjust this view nowadays by also asking myself if i am also challenging myself. Matt really struck a nerve with me by writing what he wrote and i thank him for it because he was right and i was becoming lazy and not growing. Do try the next level!

But first and foremost, always ask yourself the question: “am i having fun with this?” If the answer the question with a solid yes, you can’t possibly be far off from doing wrong.




Hello and welcome back!

Here are the pictures of my finished uboat. After posting some pictures on the facebook page i was encouraged to leave the waterline algea deposits and heavy floodhole rust streaks as they were and in order to depict an over the top weathered submarine. U-23 almost certainly never looked this way but i have to say i do like rustbucket models….


After the paintwork of the previous update i gave the submarine several oil washes with black and raw umber to “age” the grey if you will. I then continued with rust streaks using a mix of browns and reds and finished off with a simulation of algea deposit in swirls along the waterline using a mix of olive green and white oil paints.

As i was was doing this and during the times i let the oils cure a bit i turned my attention to the base on which the submarine sits. Instead of painting it all black or grey or whatever color i made an attempt at wood grain painting using acrylic paint as a base and grain details using more of the oil paint.


After a base layer of ochre i gave the base a generous layer of darker oil paints and let that sit for an hour or so. I then took a brush with rather long stiff hair and started taking some paints off and streaking in the grain. I ended up making a few finer lines with gradually finer brushes and after i was satisfied with the results i let it sit overnight. This morning i gave it a last light coat of enamel clear orange. It really does add to the finished product!

Pretty basic kit and apart from some minor assembly problems it was a fun, low stress model for me at a time i really needed to do one! Hope you guys like her and i also wish to thank each and everyone of you for reading and watching along. You are a great bunch of guys and i appreciate your interest alot!

EDIT: Woops, forgot one of the pics!


SPRUE CUTTERS UNION #4 – Worst Experiences

Topic for this week is self explanatory; what is your worst to date experience in the hobby sofar.

It did not take me long to come up with my answer…. The worst single experience i had since i took up modelling was Revell’s old large scale (1:96 i believe it was) Spanish Galleon.

Let’s see if i can find a picture…..


Thank you google.

So this kit was seducing me from the first time i stepped inside my LHS…. During those days i was primarily building tall ships and sailing vessels and this kit just looked awesome to me. Really large, lots of parts and bristling with interesting history. Oh man did i want it bad….. But it had a pricetag of 80 euro’s and being me i had to take a few mental hurdles to cough up the dough for that…..

As time went by i built a few models… had fun… But everytime i would go back for a new kit or some supplies that same large pretty box would be staring at me.

This kept on going for a year…maybe two. Even talked to the store owner about it on one occasion. He told me that  everyone liked it but it still had been lying there taking up shelf space for years and years he said. Nobody wanted to really buy it. Probably due to the price.

And then the day came when i did buy it. I was doing pretty well financially at the time as i was single and just accepted a permanent contract at my employer at the time. Present to myself: buy that glorious pretty big galleon!!

Long story shortened: The kit turned out to be so old and lying on that shelf for so long the plastic was completely dried out and alot of parts practically disintegrated cutting them off the sprues which in turn disintegrated as well…. tried to glue and fixer upper my way through for awhile but it was no use….. Eventually the kit got reboxed and exiled into storage, gathering more dust over the years.

Just recently during a big spring cleaning i threw it away knowing it has only gotten worse over time and to this day it still pains me. Not only because i had spent so much money (in my terms) on it. It gutted me since i was for a few years so excited about the kit and desiring it more than any other kit.


Check out my collegues’ thoughts on the matter too and give em a like:

The Combat Workshop

David Knight’s weblog


A Scale Canadian

Yet Another Plastic Modeller

Mattblackgod’s World

Martin’s Scale Models

Doogs’ Models

The Dogchuffers Scale Model Workshop

Eternal Wargamer


This time a short update…

The basic painting was completed last night and she is ready for a coat of future to facilitate decalling and weathering afterwards.

Like i said on my facebook page i am going for U-23, commanded by the top ace Kretschmer. This involved a three tone paintjob (conning tower is slightly darker than the upper hull). I started out with a flat black preshading, then sprayed the base color and post shaded by adding a few drops of tan or white to the mixes and finished up with a misting of the base color again to blend it all in.



As this kit doesn’t provide the modeller with nice rivet and panel details like the revell’s own produced type VII’s have i tried to add a bit of a panel impression by streaking a slightly darker grey into the upper hull.

So on with the decalling and adding some wear and tear to this canoe!