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.

October 22, 2013

High Plains Con XXIV A Success!

     On Saturday, October 12th, the High Plains Modelers put together their 24th annual High Plains Con Model Show & Contest. Modelers from far and wide gathered at the Ranch in Loveland to show off their skills and compete for prizes that were nearly as fabulous as freshly cooked bacon. Although entries totaled on the low side at 168 models and 36 entrants, our vendors more than made up for it. The selection was nearly as good as any contemporary hobby shop as more than 12 vendors arrived to hawk their wares at extremely friendly prices.
     Within the High Plains Modelers, the following club members won awards:

New Scott
1st in SciFi Spacecraft and Best Spacecraft (Sponsored by CoMMies) for his Fine Molds 1/72 Y-wing.
3rd in 1/72 Armor for his Revell M60A3.

 1st place in 1/48 Softskin with his Tilly and a 2nd place in Spacecraft/Sci-Fi with his Slave I. Jeff’s son Ayrton took 1st in Junior Auto with his Ferrari Enzo, a 1st in Junior Armor with his M3 Lee, and Best Junior for the Ferrari.

Mark S.
2nd place in the Military Vehicle, Soft Skin class, 1/35, for his
US 2-1/2 ton 6x6 cargo truck.

1st Place: JASDF Phantom II (1/48 multi-engine jet)
1st Place: A-4 Collection (Group builds)
3rd Place: P-47 "Flying Penguin" (1/32 Single Engine)
3rd Place: 1/72 Br.86 (Miscellanea)

Third place in Figures for his Frankenstein /w skeleton model.
 1/350 Nautical - 1st Place with his I-400 Japanese submarine; Diorama - 1st Place with his 'Operation Milkman'; Best Diorama sponsored by High Plains with his 'Operation Milkman'; Modern Armor - 2nd Place with his Israeli M50; Heavy Commercial - 2nd Place with his Kenworth 'Honest John' Hauler; Softskins - 3rd Place with his 1/35 15cwt Truck.


Military Multi-Engine Jet, 1/72nd and Smaller, 2nd Place, SR-71 with D-21 Drone
Military Single Engine Jet, 1/48th and Larger, 1st Place, F-86F-30
Military Single Engine Jet, 1/72nd and Smaller, 1st Place, F-100D  

Military Single Engine Jet, 1/72nd and Smaller,  2nd Place, F-8II

Congratulations to all!

     High Plains Modelers would like to thank each and every participant and vendor, and not least of all the crew and volunteers, for helping to make this a great show. Thanks!

     Now let’s ogle some pics! Click each pic for a larger version:

Vendors arrive to set up.

A good looking snowplow, fresh out of the county wash bay.

This Cookie Monster is not PBS approved. ;)

An overview of the show in progress.

Mark Persichetti brought leftover Nationals gear to sell. Unfortunately, he eluded the photographer.

Our esteemed compatriots-in-styrene from Denver, the CoMMiES, arrived with a veritable plethora of goodies.

This tank destroyer vignette was very impressive.

Chuck Yeager's ride. 'Nuff said.

An impressive diorama of a Coast Guard station.

You don't see many TBM's in Atlantic ASW colors, but this one pulled it off nicely.

P-40 Warhawk. A curvy, classic steed of the air.

Achtung! Fockewulf!

An impromptu Build & Bull broke out at one of the tables.

The judges take their job seriously.

That windshield looks way too clean. ;) Give that mainainer a raise!

A tough call on this great looking bike.

The awards ceremony in full swing.

After a long day and a successful show, the High Plains Modelers ride into the sunset.

September 26, 2013

September 2013 Meeting

      In the wake of a massive flood that submerged much of Northern Colorado, and to the accompaniment of the first signs of autumn, the High Plains modelers assembled in the basement of Hobbytown for their September meeting. Our usual location at the Ranch was being used for disaster relief.
     The main topic of the September meeting was the upcoming High Plains Con 2013. Although at first we wondered if our show would need to be rescheduled or canceled, Marc L. came through at the last minute with news that our reservation at the Ranch was A-OK. We're still on track to present a great show Saturday, October 12th, from 10-5 at the Ranch in Loveland. For details you can check out our dedicated show page at where you can download a show flier and find other good info.
    But: on to the models! We didn't have quite as good attendance this month, but fortunately there was still some first class work to be shown off and drooled over.
Chip's 1/144 F6F Hellcat. Mee-ow!

Dave's gorgeous 109. 

New Scott's M3 Stuart, complete with cat whisker antenna. No cats were harmed while procuring this essentail detailing part. 

Gary's landing craft. 

Chris's Yak-28 Forger with fictional Cobra markings

August 29, 2013

High Plains Modelers Distinguish Themselves At IPMS 2013, the Thin-Air Nationals

           During the week of August 14th-17th, the 2013 IPMS Nationals, the “Thin Air Nationals”, was held in High Plains Modelers’ own backyard here in Loveland, Colorado. A huge contest room showcased nearly 3,000 gorgeous models from some 2,500 entrants, in 197 categories. In addition, two very large vendor rooms hosted such outfits as Squadron, Roll Models, Zoukei-Mura, and others in an earnest and largely successful effort at parting modelers from the money in their wallets. Despite some misgivings, the show went off fairly well considering the hosting chapter was based in a city over 100 miles away.
            Members of High Plains Modelers distinguished themselves by a large amount of time and work spent helping the show to succeed. A total of over 77 hours were worked as volunteers, helping in such areas as registration and security. It can’t be overlooked that member Jeff Brown spent at least 60 hours putting together a very professional looking and impressive publication on CD-ROM for the Nats. Paul Linger stayed Saturday night until midnight to help clean out the contest room.  In addition, at least three of our humble organization aided in placing awards on the table. It’s not every day you can say you handed out awards at a Nationals convention. We also had at least three members who were judges in assorted categories and who stayed up very late to get the job done. All of these guys deserve massive kudos for a job well done.
            Five  HPM members came away with a total of eight awards from the show:
            Jeff – 2nd in Triathlon OOB for his TIE fighter, Honda RA272, and Tiger I (Late)
                        2nd in Misc. OOB for his Komatsu bulldozer
            Tomasz – 2nd in 1/48 Multi-engine for his JU-88A4 in desert camo
                             2nd in 1/72 Multi-engine for his JU-88A17 torpedo
            Gary -- 2nd in Hot Rods/Street Rods, 1948 and Older, 1/20th and smaller with his 1941 
                         Chevy truck
                         2nd in Automotive, Heavy, Commercial Vehicles 1/20th and smaller with his Honest John
                         Missile & Mobile Carrier
            Jerry – 2nd in Drag Racers, Purpose Built
            Tony – 1st in Light Commercial Vehicles with his rusted out 1941 Chevy tow truck

            Here are some pics from the show for you to ogle:

The HPM group build won no awards, but at least we're still handsome and charming.

This B-58 Hustler was a great subject to show off the various tones in a natural metal finish.

F-16C with markings out of our very own Buckley AFB. 

Great water modeling under this C.S.S. Palmetto ironclad vessel.

There are no awards in Starfleet for Most Banged Up Starship, but this U.S.S. Constellation looked great.

If you didn't laugh your guts out at this,  you have no soul.

Just a few examples of the outstanding armor modeling on display at the Nats.

Great diorama and water work here. I reckon her husband might be upset when he gets the news.

Another stunning diorama scene.

Our mates to the south, the CoMMiES, handled this Make & Take almost as well as Chuck Norris doing a ballet. And that's saying something. I'm not sure what, though.

Have you ever seen such a league of extroardinary gentlemen? Nay! You have not!

This tractor took Best In Show. For good reason, as what I thought was originally all metal, was actually all plastic! Simply jaw-dropping.

The vendor room showcased just about every modeling product you can think of, including these photo-etch sets for armor.

Just one of the many seminars held during the convention, this one on 3D printing and resin casting.