November 26, 2013

November 2013 Meeting

     A lucky thirteen modelers converged at The Ranch in Loveland, despite a major accident on I-25 that brought traffic to a standstill, to talk styrene and styrene accessories at the HPM November meeting.
     A final reminder was issued regarding the HPM 2013 Christmas Party, to be held December 17th at 6pm at Golden Corral in Loveland. Be there or be square. Or more square than you already are, anyway. There will be lots of fun to be had.
    Pablo confirmed the old club website URL will be shut down as it's not used anymore.
    In bigger news, club elections were held to determine the club officers for the 2014 calendar year. Results are below:

     President: Tony Wallace
     Vice President: Jeff Brown (re-elected)
     Treasurer: Randy Robinson (re-elected, and Randy, we're sorry ;)   )
     Secretary: Chris Nugent (re-elected)

    Lets be sure to give these guys our congratulations and thanks for leading HPM into 2014.

    And, let's give a big round of applause to Michael Adams for his outstanding service as President for 2013. Thanks, Michael!

    Finally, we get to the part of the meeting everyone loves most, and that's the Bring & Brag! Check out the pics below to see what everyone brought this month.

Chris brought a Tamiya 1/48 P-51 in markings for the 332nd Fighter Group.

New Scott's 1/48 ZSU-23 AA gun.

Pablo brought this Tamiya 1/48 F4U-1D Corsair. 

Gary's 30mm Guard/Gun tower with communications array.

Chip brought Kittyhawk's 1/48 Saab Gripen. Rumor has it Chip sobbed quite a bit over this kit.

Tomasz' gorgeous 1/72 BF-109E by Airfix.

As a bonus, Chris brought in this submarine escape device. Dubbed the Steinke Hood, after its inventor, Joseph Steinke, it was an upgrade from the crude Momsen lung used in WW2 submarines. The Steinke hood was used in all US Navy subs during the Cold War, and discontinued in the mid '90's.

'Til next time, High Plains Modelers bids you adieu. Peace out!

October 2013 Meeting

    The HPM secretary could not attend the October meeting, so we don't have any pics of the models from that meeting. We DO have a small summary of the goings on, which are below:
     On the agenda, the club conducted a debrief on the October show, "Not The Nationals". Although we did see a drop in attendance for this show since Nats was only a few months ago, we still had a good turnout and the vendors tables were packed. A possible change to the show next year may be an added section on the registration forms for modelers to receive feedback on their model by the judges.
      In an auction of kits donated to the club at the October show, members of HPM opened their wallets and raised a little over $400 for the club. Nice job, guys!
    The HPM Christmas Party is scheduled for December 17th at 6pm at our usual haunt. Members know the drill and I'm sure everyone is looking forward to a good time.
    Another item on the October agenda covered abandoning the old HPM URL, as it's no longer needed. This would save us some cash. The club decided to go ahead with this.
    That's all for October. Stay tuned for the usual shenanigans coming up in the November meeting notes!

November 1, 2013

Harbor Freight Airbrush Product Review

     Recently my Badger 360 suffered a failure - the seals inside failed causing paint to flow backwards through the brush and out of the trigger. While that brush is on its way back to Badger for repairs, I decided I needed a backup airbrush to get me by. Since finances are tight, and having heard that Harbor Freight Tools, a source of mostly cheap, Chinese imitation equipment sold airbrushes, I stopped by to take a look. I ended up buying the product you see here for $10.99. What was I getting into? We'll see.
     The brush came packaged well enough. A standard cardboard box with clear window holds a thin molded plastic container in which the airbrush and associated parts rest. There is a small instruction manual and a limited 1-year warranty card. Along with the airbrush itself, you get 1 small and 1 large paint jar. These are glass with plastic lids. The small jar's lid incorporates the siphon feed tube, but a big downside to this set is the lids are not interchangeable. The mouth of the large jar is bigger than the small jar's. In addition to the jars you get a five foot plastic air  hose, a standard 1/4-18 adaptor for the hose, and an adaptor that fits the airbrush propellant cans such as made by Testors. Finally, you get a small wrench to aid disassembly of the airbrush needle and its associated parts.
     For $10.99, how is the quality? It's about what you'd expect. Machining is rough and threaded components are slightly tricky while screwing them on. The rear handle, like the body, is plastic and hollow, and a press-fit into the body. I don't expect the air hose to last long, due to it being a simple plastic hose. If it doesn't get brittle with age and crack, crimping or pinching while I use it will probably shorten its life. I'm not sure the O-rings in the needle assembly will tolerate stronger chemicals such as lacquer thinner, so I plan to avoid those in this brush.
    How does it spray? The box claims you can get a pattern from 2" down to 1/4". The smallest line I could get with it was around 1/2", and that's being generous. That being said, once I got my air pressure dialed in, spraying was relatively easy. The nozzle adjustment which varies the size of the pattern is pretty coarse, so just a minute turn of the knob can have a sizeable effect on your pattern. You're not likely to get fine detail work out of this brush. However, as you can see in the pic, it's fine for general coverage and  for pre-shading panel lines, as long as those panel lines are in larger scales. I'm thinking at 1/72 or smaller a pre-shade will be challenging.
    Considering this is an interim tool to just get me by until my main airbrush is fixed, for the price and performance, I'm happy. Another advantage is that if this airbrush fails for whatever reason, a new one can be purchased very cheaply. Harbor Freight also sells a deluxe version, which is a little nicer, for around $25. Unfortunately that one was not in stock when I was at the store. After January I plan on buying a Badger 105 Patriot with the fine needle conversion kit, for use as my secondary and backup airbrush.
     Here are some pics:
The box, and what's inside the box.

The air line and its fittings.

Airbrush, disassembled.

Slightly different view.

As soon as my air pressure was dialed in, general patterns came out okay.

Practice run on some panel line pre-shading.