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ThomasProbert

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About ThomasProbert

  • Birthday 02/16/1982

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  • Website URL
    http://tpsmodelworld.webs.com/

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Kent, SE England
  • Interests
    Vacforms and scratch-building, civil aircraft modelling.
    Eighth Air Force in WWII

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  1. Evening all, I took advantage of my time away from the classroom last week and finally finished this two-and-a-bit year project: Tigger Models' (the old ID Models' vac kit) of the Short Sunderland in 1/32nd scale. This has been a really rewarding project, and despite a setback when I knocked the completed fuselage with its interior off the table, making a rather messy contact with the kitchen floor, it's been great fun and relatively straightforward - despite its size. Kits like this come as a blank canvass for the builder to work his/her magic - 'bumps ion plastic' is quite apt, but the shapes are reasonably accurate if not a bit primitive (picture borrowed from Tigger's webpage): The kit provides a the correct hull shape for a MkI or MkII, but with some mods the more adventurous builder could easily convert it to a MkIII/V, etc. All panel lines and surface details need to be added and the parts are devoid of any real detail, but the plastic is lovely to work with an scribes/sands beautifully. Due to the size of the parts, home-made interior bulkheads are needed, and any visible parts of the interior need to be made from scratch: Strong wing spars are also essential to keep the structure of the model sound - thick plastic card spars were made and added: The flightdeck interior, bomb room and nose section were all made from scratch and detailed with some aftermarket seatbelts: All the aerials were made from sprue and thin wire - markings were mix of home-made masks and decals: The engines were made from spare HK Models' B-17 cylinders coupled with Revell Beaufighter parts to make a reasonable representation of the Bristol Pegasus. The early-style exhausts were made from Evergreen tube bent slowly over the toaster! Landing lights were home made from some of my daughter's diamante play/craft jewellery (for the lights) and the covers were clear acetate once again heated over the toaster. Rigging for the floats came for EasyLine and reminded me why I'll never build a biplane! The kit's transparencies were used throughout - all turret interiors were scratch built. Beaching gear was also made from scratch with a friend helping out with some 3D printed wheels: Bomb racks were again made from scratch with some rather lovely depth charges coming from Tim Perry - thanks, Tim! I used Xtracolor enamels throughout the build - 6 tins were used in total! I don't like to go too mad with weathering on my models so kept it relatively clean - however you can't build a Sunderland without the distinctive water marks on the hull: A bit of exhaust staining and some fading with post-shading completed the upper surfaces: And for some generic pictures: I'm often asked how big a 1/32nd Sunderland is. I'm sorry to inflict my ugly mug on you but you can see that it is a massive model with yours truly holding it! My model represents a Sunderland MkII of 201 Squadron during 1942 in the lovely temperate sea scheme. Painting white gives me nightmares (especially something of this size) so I took the easier option. W4001 (ZM-V) was only on strength between February to October 1942, before hitting an underwater rock and being written off, thankfully with no loss of life. Thanks for those who took an interest along the way - I'm off for a long lay down in a darkened room to contemplate the next project! Best wishes to all, Tom
  2. You're a brave man putting the canopy on this early in the build - if it were me it would be filled with sanding dust and debris in no time at all
  3. That is a fantastic result on what could have been a tricky operation!
  4. I've put the finishing touches to this 1/32nd scale B-24 over the Bank Holiday weekend and took advantage of some spring sunshine to take some pictures of the completed model outside in natural light. I've been working on this on and off for a year or so, and it has been the ideal project to pick up and do a bit to as and when I felt like it. This model doesn't get the best press but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. You can spend a fortune on after-market improvements if you wish, but other than some seat belts, resin wheels and gun barrels, this is how it comes in the box. The interior is crammed with detail and took a long time to complete - excellent value for your money when you compare it to the price of the other 1/32nd 'heavies' on the market. Fit was excellent throughout and the only filler used was to deal with a small gap along the underside of the nose where, I believe, I hadn't got the interior aligned as perfectly as I could. The turrets, however, are a weak point of the kit. It's been well documented that the rear turret (and forward turret on the J-version) have a very visible seam right down the middle. Aftermarket replacements are currently sold out so instead I used the kit rear turret and painted the mating surfaces black before gluing and this has made the unsightly join a little less conspicuous. For some reason Hobby Boss put heavy framing on the upper turret which doesn't exist on any B-24 turret I've seen, so this was sanded off and the dome given a good polish so it now better represents the Martin turret fitted to this model of Liberator. I didn't want to risk putting the colossal amount of nose weight into this as I was using the kit's plastic landing gear (which is perfectly strong enough to cope with the weight of the 'un-weighted' model) so I made a tail strut as was so often put in place when B-24s are parked on the ground. The kit doesn't come with the most inspiring of schemes for an olive drab B-24, so I did a bit of research on 'Satan's Angels' and painted the model to represent this aircraft as it would have looked in the autumn of 1943 with the group insignia on the tail and the short-lived red surround to the stars and bars. This aircraft was actually written off in a landing accident at Lympne in Kent, when the nose wheel collapsed and it ended up in a ditch on 13th November of that year. I used Kits World national insignia as well as the Profimodeller stencil set. All in all a very enjoyable build, and if you want a large 1/32nd bomber that doesn't break the bank but still gives you plenty of detail, I thoroughly recommend this kit. All the best, Tom Consolidated B-24D Liberator, 'Satan's Angles' of the 328th Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Group, based at Hardwick, Suffolk, Autumn 1943.
  5. Very simple yet effective engineering, Cees - looking good!
  6. Good evening boys and girls The painting process on the big Sunderland is now more or less complete - since the last pictures I've added the upper wing insignias and given the model a couple of coats of flat varnish to kill the high gloss Xtracolor paints provide - great for decaling but not so for a WWII-era flying boat! After that, I made and added the radar aerials for the fuselage sides: As well as the one above the flightdeck: The canopy has been unmasked and the good news is it survived the painting process unscathed: I have made the early-style exhausts from Evergreen tube, bent very carefully over the toaster! They were then sprayed with Humbrol burnt steel and added to the collector rings, which have also been painted according to references: I've started the weathering of the upper surfaces by blowing some various greys back from the exhausts: I've also sprayed on the distinctive water marks on the lower hull using various browns as seen on period photos: And here's where we're at now: The to-do list is certainly getting shorter and I'm now entering the home straight, although there's still a lot to keep me occupied. Jobs still to do are: - cabin glazing - paint/weather/install wheels for the beaching gear - rigging on the floats - make/paint/install radar aerials on the lower outer wings - make and install depth charge racks and depth charges - make turret interiors - paint and install turret transparencies - landing lights on port wing leading edge A good couple of month's work yet, but the end is getting nearer! All the best, Tom
  7. That’s a brilliant model and your years of hard graft have been repaid handsomely. It’s not often you see this beautiful aircraft in 1/32 scale so yours will no doubt attract a lot of attention on the model show circuit! Tom
  8. Thanks for the kind words, everyone - it certainly helps keep the motivation levels up. Thanks for the pictures too, Ian - it’s such a cavernous interior!
  9. Greetings all, I have been confined to the house over the last week and bit due to Covid, but being in isolation does have its perks. After a pretty grim 48hrs I was back to feeling fine so got the airbrush out and started painting this beast. Total painting time was more or less 10 hours and I used three tins of Xtracolor paint for each of the Extra Dark Sea Grey, Slate Grey and Sky - the surface area is HUGE. I still need to do the upper wing insignias but this will have to wait until the weekend as I'm now back to work. You'll have to forgive the horrible phone pictures - these were snapped in the living room under artificial light - but when she's flat-coated I'll get the decent camera out and shoot some pics in natural light. Things are progressing nicely, and the end is appearing on the horizon! All the best, Tom
  10. Well... it's been a while. With a New Year's resolution not to start any more projects until the current ones are finished, the Shackleton has come out of storage for some time on the bench... well... er... the kitchen table. With the Sunderland now in the process of being painted - which I can only do at weekends due to the dark evenings - I thought I'd do some work on this again during the week. The airframe is structurally complete (I can't recall why I ran out of steam, actually) so I've begun the long process of scribing and adding some surface detail. The primer coats are nice and stable now so the scriber takes to this really well - so far, anyway. A few long evenings ahead, and I'll post some more pictures when there's more worth showing Tom
  11. Evening folks, A long overdue update on the Sunderland... The last few weeks have been spent adding some of the finer details to the model as I prepare it for paint. The last major job was to add the cockpit glazing which is always a nerve-wracking experience as I regularly ruin canopies with wayward glue-sodden fingers and a host of other mishaps. However, this time things proceeded smoothly - the canopy itself was an excellent fit and the whole process was remarkably trouble free! First job was to add the previously completed flightdeck details: Then the canopy itself was attached by holding it in place with tape and running Tamiya Extra Thin around the mating surfaces: This was allowed to set for 24 hours and then I carefully masked the areas in need of protecting before blending the clear piece in with Milliput Fine: When complete, the windows were marked out and cut from Tamiya tape before the whole cockpit area got a spray of RAF grey/green to ensure the frames are the correct colour when viewed from inside. I also attached the astrodome and DF loop which was a spare from an HK B-17: With that done, other smaller details were made and added such as the leading edge landing lights on the port wing (these will be fitted and painted after the main paint job is completed), the tip lights were made from clear sprue sanded to shape and the various other access panels were either sribed on or made from thin Evergreen strip: The early Sunderlands were festooned with various aerials for sub-hunting and these have been made from various pieces of sprue and Evergreen - I have fitted those on the top of rear fuselage as they shouldn't get damaged but the remainder will be done after painting: A beautiful set of 3D-printed wheels have also arrived to complete the hone-made beaching gear: So the airframe is now more or less ready for a mammoth session in the paint booth - you'll notice I've already sprayed her flanks in Medium Sea Grey in preparation for masking off the codes on her sides: Speaking of paint - my go-to brand is Xtracolor's enamel range and I'm stocked up and ready to go! I may be a while but I'll be sure to update you when she's in her new dress. All the best, Tom
  12. Howdy all, I've concentrating my recent efforts on the beaching gear for the big Sunderland - I was for a while considering a water diorama but then it occurred to me that I don't have a 5ft by 5ft display area so wheels it is. I love the challenges kits of this nature bring and the research that needs to be done as it always throws up so much information about a particular aircraft. It looks as if there were three distinct types of beaching gear, all with their subtle differences, and that does not include all of the different float, wheel and tyre combinations. The version I photographed at Solent Sky looks to be either very late or post-war, therefore not suitable for an earlier MkII of around 1941 vintage. It seems they were painted differently too - some left in natural metal and others in anti-rust red. Strength is a must on such a large model, and I did consider using a brass core but my soldering skills are not up to the job. Instead, I raised my stash of spare sprue and found some really chunky parts from the HK B-17 kit and used these as a starting point to form the core of the beaching gear. I used a perpendicular junction point as this provided a very strong 90-degree angle for the main strut and axle without having to worry about the joint failing at any time: Over a few sessions I then built up the external structure with plastic card, Evergreen and more sprue and detailed them according to references: The rear beaching gear is a more complex affair and is a sturdy box-like structure with a cradle for the rear of the hull to rest in: Here are the main components ready for a trip to the spray booth: I've decided to go for anti-rust red as it'll add a splash of colour. After the base-coat they have received a light wash and some rust streaks etc - the real things got terribly battered so I may add some more at a later stage: These then slot snugly on to the forward fuselage: And under the rear of the hull: You'll notice a distinct absence of wheels at this stage - a friend is kindly helping me out by designing and printing me a set that will be added in due course. Here's an early screen shot of how they'll look: And now here we are: sitting proudly on it's own three legs and waiting for the next stage of detailing. For some reason, my cat never looks impressed with my models - she must get that from the wife! Until next time, Tom
  13. Afternoon guys and gals, Progress has been slow on this recently as I got to the point where I knew I needed to start to cockpit interior or there was a real danger I would lose steam on this build. I HATE doing cockpits so struggled a bit with motivation to get this done - it's all had to be made from scratch so it's rather tedious. Before I go any further I'll say that don't use this build as a reference for your own Sunderland models as I've used a bit of poetic licence here and there, but hopefully you'll agree it looks the part. The seats and instrument panel (including the radio) were all made from plastic card (Airscale's excellent etched bezels were used too) along with some bits and bobs from the spares box and Millput for the seat cushions. Control columns were made from Evergreen and some paper clips cut and bent to the correct shape. I found some 1/32nd seatbelts which did the job - pictures of MkII pilots' seats were hard to come by but they'll do: Individual parts painted up: And positioned as they will be in the cockpit: When dry-fitted into the flightdeck, all fits as it should: I've also had the airbrush out and given the front turret area and cockpit and window surrounds a squirt of interior green so the glazing can be added when the time comes: I've still got to make the overhead panel that'll go under the roof of the cockpit glazing, but that can wait until another day. I think I'm going to do something more fun next and maybe have a crack at the beaching gear. Take care all, Tom
  14. Hi Clark, I think you may be getting your wires crossed as I decided not to attempt any wing mods - life is too short! I know others have, but I haven't seen one finished yet to decide if it's worth the hassle or not for when I tackle a J-model at some point. All the best, Tom
  15. Now that will be great to see. I don’t think the interior colours would have been any different to the USAAF versions to be honest - as far as I know they were delivered more or less off the shelf and then went to depots for mods. However, there’s no logical reason why the insides would be repainted (those on night ops were different) so I’d stick with the standard colours for the interior.
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