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1/18 scale Instytucie Szybownictwa IS-A Salamandra 53 scratchbuild model

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CHAPTER I - Today, the scratch building died


Spartans refused to improve their long range weapons, because they always wanted to fight close to their opponent. That's why they had short length swords aka “xiphos”. Plutarch mentions in his "Lakonic Sayings" that when sometime an improved version of bow that could launch arrows farther to kill enemies from afar without risking presented to Spartan king Agesilaus, he replied: "Today the prowess died". This saying of the Spartan king Agesilaus came to my mind when I first heard about the 3D printers a few years ago and consider about the potential applications on scale modelling. For those who choose to deal with scratch building, the free access to 3D printer technology and the ability to create complete models or parts of a model using their home PC or laptop and CAD software rather building by hand, marks a new era in scale modelling. It is more than obvious that the time we spent to build from scratch using styrene sheet and X-Acto knife only, had ended and maybe in a few years there will be no more. It looks like "today, the scratch building died"

On the other hand, we (as open minded scale modelers) could consider the 3D printing technology introduction into scale modelling and free access to the average modeller as an evolution in the hobby and a creative tool that helps us to build better and more realistic models. Certainly the new technologies and gadget tools in the hands of talented enthusiasts open new horizons and provide wide potentials on scale model building. If we had refused to take advantage of new tools, new incoming materials & resources offered by technology so far, we would never use airbrushes & air compressors for paint applying, we would never use pigments for weathering effects, we would never use new style micro tools & drilling devices, we would never use internet for know-how sources accessing and we would never exchange opinions through this forum.

Having all the above in mind, I named the CAD & 3D printing as a “new tool in my pocket” (instead of “cheating”) from now on and I’ll try to discover all possible alternative ways that could be used for best results. The modern scale modeller, except being a creative builder & talented painter, should also be familiar with other scientific fields such as:

  • History,
  • Architecture,
  • Aviation engineering,
  • Military tactics,
  • Photography,
  • Article writing, etc, etc, etc.

...so, why not adding the CAD - Computer Aided Design & 3D printing skills?

For those who might rush to say that this project is not a "scratch build", because the model did not actually "built by bare hands", I would answer as follows:

Try to build your next model...

  • Without using pliers, nippers & special scribers or knife blades. Just use fingers only.
  • Without using specialized CA superglue, putty & epoxy products. Just use Mother Nature products only.
  • Without using books or internet resources to get info about how the actual thing looked like. Just guess.
  • Without using any kind of resin or photoetched aftermarket products, without even use styrene card as normaly found in local hobbyshop.
  • Without using an airbrush, an air supply compressor & paint jars found on local hobby shop shelves. Just use Mother Nature products only.
  • Without using stencils or water transfered decals. Make your own decals - without using a photocopier or a printer, ofcourse.
  • Without using the latest products of AK series for weathering, rusting & dusting the finish on your scale model.

What I’m trying here to say is that, just because it seems nearly impossible to imagine our hobby without the above stuff, just because the combination of "tools" plus "talent" plus "creativity" equals great building results, yes I believe that the 3D printing technology is actually in front of us and it will become a precious tool in hands of scale modeler. A new era is already here.

Maybe, it’s about time for Spartan king Agesilaus, to reconsider his views..

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CHAPTER II - Meeting the Salamandra glider


WWS” is an abbreviation of "Wojskowe Warsztaty Szybowcowe" (meaning “Military Gliding Workshops” in Polish language), based in Krakow, Poland. Founded on 1935 by Waclaw Czerwinski who had taken over the management. The MRP-1 Salamandra project, was the first project which was created under his leadership. The Salamandra was a training glider, who had excellent flying characteristics, so that it was decided very quickly to take over in mass production in various workshops throughout Poland. Before the WWII, the Salamandra glider was also built under license in Yugoslavia and after 1943, the "Salamandra" was also produced in Romania. After the WWII, the production started again with a re-engineered version made from the “IS” which is an abbreviation of “Instytucie Szybownictwa (meaning “Gliding Institute” in Polish language), under the name Warszawa IS-A Salamandra. During the 1950ies, the Salamandra glider has been built in China, where a two-seater version was also created. Around 500 Salamandra gliders have been built around the World, up to date.




The glider was also known by nickname "Czuwaj" among the Hungarian Boy Scout Association, which was the Polish version of the standard Boy Scout motto.


The WWS-1 Salamandra glider, also inspired the Finnish Pik-5 design. The Yugoslavian built version was developed by engineer Ivan Šoštarić in 1939 and built by UTVA Panćevo factory as “Šoštarić UTVA Čavka”. After the end of WWII, the Yugoslavian built “Čavka” model was widely used in Greece and became very popular among the glider aviators. Both Athens aeroclub based at Tatoi airfield and Edessa aeroclub based at Panagitsa airfield, used these gliders for young aviator training purposes.



Construction of the Salamandra glider was entirely of wood with fabric covering on wings and tail unit. The fuselage consisted of a plywood covered nacelle for the single seat cockpit, with a wire-braced open strut rear fuselage supporting the cruciform style tail-unit. The high mounted wire braced wings were supported by struts from the bottom of the fuselage to approx 1/5 span. Later versions introduced windscreens and airbrakes in the wings. Wooden skids under the tail and fuselage nacelle comprised the undercariage.







The technical data & general characteristics are:

  • Type designation: Wojskowe Warsztaty Szybowcowe WWS-1 / Instytucie Szybownictwa IS-A Salamandra,
  • Usage: Solo training glider,
  • Crew: 1 pilot,
  • Year of first construction: 1935,
  • Country of production: Poland, Yugoslavia, Romania, China,
  • Length: 21 ft 3 in (6.48 m),
  • Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.30 m),
  • Wing span: 40 ft 11 in (12.48 m.),
  • Wing area: 16.9 m² (182 ft²),
  • Wing profile: Göttingen 378,
  • Aspect ratio: 9.2 / 1,
  • Empty weight: 309 lb (140 kg),
  • Gross weight: 496 lb (225 kg),
  • Maximum speed: 93 mph (150 km/h),
  • Stall speed: 24 mph (38.5 km/h),
  • Maximum glide ratio: 15.2 / 1 at 56 km/h (30 kts / 35 mph),
  • Rate of sink: 159.5 ft/min (0.81 m/s).


On 1967, Joseph Borzęcki converted a Salamandra to a motorized glider, equipped with a VolksWagen car engine 21 kW (28 hp) and named it "Cirrus". That specific motorized glider version, seemed very interesting to build under scale, but unfortunately I found out about it too late - I had already built the cabin and it was to risky to try convert the nose section in order house an engine.


Most noticeable differences with the primary 1935 built WWS-1 model, are the presence of the retractable airbrakes on the upper side of wings and the squared tips of the elevator fins, as seen into following picture.


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CHAPTER III - Converting Mbytes into actual model parts


Before start building a new scale model, I always try to study as much as possible the object of construction. If books, technical manuals and detailed walkaround photos are available, that will help a lot the model building process. To know how it works and how exactly it is made on real aircraft, always helps to build the scale model. During the study that preceded this model construction, I noticed that the WWS-1 / IS-A glider is quite popular among the RC modelers, who use specific patterns to cut balsa wood and prepare their RC model parts. These patterns seem to be identical to the real glider construction frame, as found into a copy of the official technical manual, purchased from Krakow aviation museum.




The building attempt, would not be successful without help from Mr. Ivo Mikač from Czech Republic, who kindly provided me with all info and the 3D plans he had previously create. Because these 3D plans were made for RC modeling purposes, I had to convert & detail them into something that could be much closer to my needs for “static” scale modeling. So, I spent few hours in front of my laptop, to scale down into correct 1/18 size and digitally cut (within a hundredth of a millimeter accuracy) the glider’s compartments into virtual pieces, detail & improve the plans, having always in mind that the later printed parts, should perfectly fit  and finally become a fine scale model.


After converting the 3D plans as required and double check for possible mistakes, I saved it as a digital file and forward it on a 3D printer to start generating the individual parts of the model. Shortly thereafter, the printing proceeding outcome pleased me, while watching the Mbytes, magically converting into actual items. Yeah, that’s what I call “cool gadgets” on scale modeler’s service.


As seen in the following pictures, as soon as the produced parts were cleaned, I checked for broken parts & imperfections. The model now consists of only a few parts, found into three (cabin, wings & tail) basic frame sections. Some additional details such as wings supporting rods, control bars & wires etc made of styrene, will be later added.

  • Cabin with separate rudder pedals & control stick,
  • Left & right wings with separate left & right ailerons,
  • Elevator with separate left & right fins and stabilizer with separate rudder fin.




After my sweetheart wife (aka “4-star General in home” & “family's financial director”) conducted a strict quality control and 3D printing result evaluation, she smiled & proudly signaled green light for further building. After each section was dry fit tested to ensure that anything can be combined together as one piece, the parts forwarded for assembly.



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CHAPTER IV - Attempting to join the basic parts

As soon as the individual scale model’s parts were already produced, cleaned & dry fit tested, I had to assemble everything as one piece, without damaging the frame construction. Just because the Salamandra was entirely constructed of wood, I decided that its much better to assemble all model’s parts first, sand if required and later apply paint and weathering effects as a final touch. During assembling process, everything was secured in place & glued with CA liquid adhesive superglue, which found at local market for 0.16 € per tube (each 12-tubes card, costs 2 € only). It does bonds in only few seconds, reaches extremely strength at room temperature and it is suitable for materials such as wood, rubber, plastic, metal, ceramics, leather, marble, polyethylene, polypropylene, teflon etc. Once I´ve tried this CA superglue on my scale models, I’ve never go back.


Following the 1/18 scale printed diagrams and using a new sharp Nr 11 stainless steel surgical blade and 4x4 mm sectioned styrene rod, it only took about 2 minutes to prepare the basic tail boom frame. The supporting frame consists of two 228 mm long beams that join the front compartment (cabin & wings), with rear part (tail elevator & stabilizer fins).






The only piece that remained without gluing, is the tail rudder fin which will be set in place after paint. The glider model’s wingspan is now fully developed and looking really big as it is spreading lazily all over my working bench - approx 70 cm from one wingtip to the other.


Some tiny gaps between the parts connections, were filled with putty, applied with an old brush. As soon as the joints between the cabin, wings & tail boom parts were securely glued with CA superglue and later filled with putty on tiny gaps, it was carefully sanded with nail files & sanding sponge block, found at the local beauty care shop - the only good moment when following wife on her shopping. They are cheaper than dirt, since each nail file cost € 0.1 (each 10-nail files card, costs € 1 only) and the sanding sponge cost € 0.5 per block.



When it looked OK to me, the whole model was sprayed over with Humbrol acrylic primer to spot any mistakes and placed into a box to wait the final paint applying.

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CHAPTER V - Applying paint, wash & weather effects

As soon as the Humbrol light grey acrylic primer dried, the model washed with liquid soap and warm water to disappear leaving oil traces, fingertips etc. Usually, there are two available options for a scale modeler, to apply paint on a model:
  • Paint the individual parts first and assemble the scale model later, or
  • Assemble the scale model parts first and paint the overall built model later.

While planing this 1/18 scale IS-A Salamandra model building, the 2nd option seemed as more appropriate and would make my job much easier. A really good reason to stick on this option, is the fact that the Salamadra glider's main frame was entirely constructed of wood. Ofcourse, fabric was covering the wings & tail and plywood was covering the cabin’s nacelle as well. But, since I had in mind to build this model as an artistic "cutaway" view, presented on its wooden frame only, I had no reason to avoid an overall wood colour tones painting.


Replicating wood is one of those feared tasks in modeling that many try to avoid at all costs. Having a couple of different methods in mind to simulate wood in scale, but knowing that the following method is much accurate and easier to re-do if something goes wrong, I found good idea to follow some tricks I learned from other builders and changing things that works for me. To simulate the look of rough wood from which was made the glider's frame, I first applied a background colour. I split the areas to be painted in different categories and sprayed four different primary colors on each area. I used the following colors, which seemed to work OK for me, for the basic background. It is important to use an acrylic base colour because it is chemically impervious to the steps that follow.
  • FS31643 "Matt Flesh Carnicino" available by Life Color as LC21 acrylic,
  • FS30400 "German Desert Yellow" available by Life Color as UA084 acrylic,
  • FS30257 "Sand Yellow RLM79VAR" available by Life Color as UA081 acrylic and
  • FS30140 "US Brown Marrone" available by Life Color as UA085 acrylic.


Because the wood composition and quality was not the same everywhere, I also use the Life Color's "Weathered Wood" 6-pack set and repeatedly covered some areas with different shades of very very very diluted & light layers over the previously applied base colours. To do so, I used the following:
  • Life Color UA717 "Wood Cold light base" acrylic,
  • Life Color UA718 "Wood Cold light shade" acrylic,
  • Life Color UA715 "Wood Warm light shade" acrylic,
  • Life Color UA716 "Wood Warm light shade 2" acrylic,
  • Life Color UA714 "Wood Warm light base" acrylic and
  • Life Color UA713 "Wood Warm dark shade" acrylic.


I'm not really sure if it is actually vissible into following pictures, but repeatedly applied very diluted & light layers, resulted more natural look of wood shades, without even aplly any oil colours yet. The first applied base colours, are visible under the later applied layers of the "Weathered Wood" shades, setting a base for the next process.



Studying the available photos I have, whether from my visit to the Polish aviation museum Krakow, Poland or pictures came from individuals who have built IS-A replicas around the World, I noticed that some of the metal parts ie control surfaces rods and cockpit levers, are painted with a green colour, which looks much alike the green that Soviets used to paint their jet fighter cockpits. To be honest, since all the 60 - 70 years old pictures are B&W, I'm not really sure if the actual IS-A gliders had these parts painted green, or if its just a practice by modern replica manufacturers. I decided for artistic reasons only and without being able check this feature authenticity, to paint these levers & rods with mentioned green colour. To do so, I used the FS24115 "Bright Green RLM" available by Life Color as UA055 acrylic and later blend it, to look brighter on middle areas, spraying much diluted FS30257 "Sand Yellow RLM79VAR" available by Life Color as UA081 acrylic, just not to look too dull.


After the green parts painting & lighting, I repeatedly sprayed a very diluted mixture of thinner, Life Color UA717 "Wood Cold light base" acrylic and Life Color UA716 "Wood Warm light shade 2" acrylic at a ratio of 90% - 5% - 5%, over selected areas such as the wings leading edges and a few other points, that should look more enlightened.

  • THE FACT: Nowdays 3D printers are not perfect yet and may leave traces that look like finely ridged surface. Its a result from the resolution of the nozzle laying down the plastic, especially when no acrylic based polymers or V-cured acrylic plastics are used. These special matterials can print fine details, give a smooth & slightly shiny result, but for the moment, cost more.
  • THE BAD NEWS: I did the stupidity to use the cheap matterial, in order to keep low the printing cost. And yes, these 3D printer traces, which before painting did not even appear, are now slightly visible.
  • THE GOOD NEWS: These printer traces, (am I lucky or not?) look like wood grains! Yeap, that suits me a lot, because what I 'm trying to simulate here, is a glider frame made of unpainted, rough & hard wood. Since other scale modelers try to replicate this exact wood texture effect, I've already have it 3D printed in front of me.



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Hi Nick,

Great to see you here. Fantastic choice to show us the possibilities of 3D printing. Here on LSM we are

Very interested in the future of modelling.

Can you tell us what the main important pieces of information in the computerprogram are to successfully get a result

Such as yours?



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[non-building discussion ON] :rolleyes:

Fellow scale modelers, because I am a very new member here, please allow introduce myself. In any case, I wouldn't like the following words to be considered as rudeness or ingratitude, but I would prefer if possible and complies with forum regulations, the fellow modelers answers and responses, be limited to matters relating to the construction methodology or any possible questions or recommendations about techniques have followed until now. My personal belief is that the forums are made for contacting each other and to learn & discuss productively on new techniques that could be useful to our hobby. Believe it or not, I don't like hearing compliment comments - what's the reason after all?. Flattery doesn't make me happy, that's why I never answer to any compliment comments. In no way I would consider myself as a highly skilled craftsman - I am just a moderate level scale modeler with same skills as many other person here. In fact, I'm sure there are much better and more talented scale modelers in this forum, than me. Having under consideration all of the above, I would kindly ask you therefore not to flatter me, because I could possibly get used to it and start behaving like a star - and that, wouldn’t be proper and nice. So, please from now on, do not say "...bravo...", "...congrats..." etc. Please do say "...this is not good...", "...you did it wrong...", "...it does not look nice...", so I could spot the mistakes that might escaped my attention and fix them.

[non-building discussion OFF] :D



Here on LSM we are Very interested in the future of modelling. Can you tell us what the main important pieces of information in the computerprogram are to successfully get a result Such as yours?


Cees, I'm not really sure that I understand clearly what you asked me, but I suppose that your question is about how I started from scratch, until the final result? Or maybe your question is about how did I start dealing with CAD software proccessing? Please explain again if you please, to let me give the correct answer.

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  • Administrators

I go away for a few hours and come back to not one, but THREE stunning scratch built models. I've never seen a 3D printer being used so comprehensively as to tackle a complete skeletal structure. This is just amazing.


I hope you'll treat us to more of this style of construction. You're already on my Christmas card list! ;)

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Cees, I'm not really sure that I understand clearly what you asked me, but I suppose that your question is about how I started from scratch, until the final result? Or maybe your question is about how did I start dealing with CAD software proccessing? Please explain again if you please, to let me give the correct answer.


Hi Nick,


Thanks for the reply.

I fully agree that forums are to learn from, but that doesn't mean we cannot appreciate your work. Your detailed posts are really

Helpful to understand how you work, and we can learn from them. Same as other members can teach you and me other techniques. That is what LSM wants to achieve.


What I (we all here) want to know is how a 3d computer file is made, what information is needed so that it can be used

For 3d printing. Can any image drawn in 3d software be used for printing? What are the rules.


Hope this explains it better.


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What I (we all here) want to know is how a 3d computer file is made, what information is needed so that it can be used For 3d printing. Can any image drawn in 3d software be used for printing? What are the rules.


Yes, now I can understand what you mean. Well, let me tell you how I did get involved with this "3D printing" situation:


  • FIRST STEPS: Since I started building scale models at the age of 7, I always loved to build from zero. Scratchbuilding was so fascinating for me. The last hmmm... many years, I scratch only - OK, maybe not exclusively scratchbuilding, but pretty much. When I first learned about 3D printing technology few years ago, I immediatelly realized that this "tool" was about to become a great change for scale modeling, but never had the right oportunity to start exploring the story behind it. I started my quest on 3D printing world few months before, by studing user's manuals, tutorials & books found through the net or my local book store. I tried my first 3D designing attempts, using the basic CAD software and within a short time evolved, I became better and better every day. Now, I 'm able to operate more sophisticated e-tools & professional CAD software and I can design almost anything. If I was able to do it (with no special CAD studies), anybody can do it! If I managed to learn how to 3D design, improve, reconstruct & print my own models, in only few months period, anybody can also do it - possibly much better than me.


  • SOFTWARE: Someone asked me which CAD software I use. Well, I'm not using one specific software only. Sometimes, creating a CAD file, requires cooperation of several programs. If you start using simple software you can usually buy cheap or even get for free, shortly you will surely become able to use more complicated software & create almost anything you like. For me, the AutoCAD is the Mother of all.


  • HOW SMALL: Another question may arise is about the minimum size of the objects can be produced with nowdays 3D printers. For example, could this new technology be usefull for 1/48, 1/72 or smaller scale model builders? Well, as far as I know (I m not professional on 3D printing) and I hope I'm not wrong, the smallest size a comercial 3D printer can produce, is about 7/10 of a milimeter. So, if you like for example to build a part in 1/72 scale, calculate how thick / wide / long it is in reality, devide it by 72 and if result is more than 7/10 of a milimeter, I believe that yes, it could be 3D printed. Next step, is to create it virtualy as a CAD file.


  • CAD FILES: You may wonder, where CAD files can be found, in order to use for printing. As you undertsand, when someone start his "career" as an amateur CAD designer, he may experiment with other people's CAD files, first. There are thousand of CAD files that can be found on internet for free or you can also buy from professional designers. The bad news are that CAD files are not neccessery 3D printable! I've seen some excellent CAD models that really took my breath away, but unfortunately, the vast majority of them were NOT 3D printable! Just because a talented CAD designer has managed to create a wonderfuli life alike CAD file for use in 3D animation, or a computer graphics based game or else, it doesn't actually means that this specific file can be 3D printed and be generated into a real life object! I will not go into technical details that may be tedious and boring, but this is precisely the greatest difficulty for a designer who creates a file to later become printable under scale. To build from scratch a CAD file that can be later printed as an actual object, with accurate on scale volumetric proportions, is not rocket engineer ofcourse, but its not a piece of cake also.


  • COPYRIGHT: As you understand, any CAD file is copyright of its own designer. If a designer accepts to provide files for free, go ahead. That, in simple words means that if you need any (printable or not printable) CAD file from other designer, you 'll have to ask his kind permission to use it OR buy it! In case that the original CAD designer accept to provide you free OR sell a CAD file, that means that you can ONLY use it for your own purposes only - NOT earn money from selling it. After all, its result of someone's hard work, isn't it?


  • RESOLUTION: The thing is - as previously wrote - that the nowdays 3D printers are not perfect yet and may leave traces that look like finely ridged surface. Its a result from the resolution of the nozzle laying down the plastic, especially when no acrylic based polymers or V-cured acrylic plastics are used. These special matterials can print fine details, give a smooth & slightly shiny result, but for the moment, cost more. A direct analogy would be LASER printing VS offset litho! The early LASER printers did 300 dots per inch and you could see the ridges if you looked closely, but nowadays you would be very hard put to see jagged edges, even with a magnifying glass. I'm sure that in a few years - much earlier than we all think - the 3D products quality will be excellent and perfect mouldings will happen.


  • FUTURE: We are in front of a new era for scale modeling. Anyone can have access to this CAD designing & 3D printing tool. But as you know, each tool may become "useful" or "useless", "necessary" or "nonessential", depending on the hand that operates it. What really concerns me, is not so much the introduction of 3D printers as a usefull application into scale modeling, but the possibility that some of the things we take for granted, might never be the same again. For example, it is very likely that the model kits you buy from your local hobby shop, will not continue exist in their present form any more. Have you ever thought, that future shopping will not include visiting your local hobby shop to pick your favorite model kit from the shelves? Have you ever thought, that it is likely to buy the 3D file online and later print it on our home 3D printer, wearing your 3D printed slippers & drinking your coffe into a 3D printed mug same time? Freaky huh?


  • CONCLUSION: I don't really know if "...today, the prowess died..." as Spartan king Agesilaus said or if "...today, the scratch building died...". Maybe we could say that "...today, the scratch building was re-born...". Actually, scratch building might never disappear as long as there is someone out there, who prefers to get his fingernails dirty with paint & glue, than hitting a keyboard. And he 'll keep doing that even if the machine product will be much more detailed, perfectly accurate on scale & built within few minutes instead of weeks, months or even years. You know why? For the f... joy of creation! For the satisfaction to proudly say "...I built this unique piece...".


So, WTF we modelers actually need...?

  • Need an engine for your model? Print it!
  • Need more? Print more!
  • Need all kit parts? Print all!

Sky is the limit...  :D

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You know what bro? Indeed I like the "sky is the limit" kinda thinking when it comes to 3d printing.

But...is there any opportunity to get rid of the coarse surfaces?

Its all lovely, but not really crisp, compared to a plastic injection.

But, I gotta confess, I never saw one of those pieces in reality, so my judgement may not be profound.

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To apply the wood grain on wide areas covered with plywood, such as the airbrakes, I used wood grain colour from artists oil paints. The higher quality artists grade paints work much better because the pigments are much more finely ground. I believe that “502 Abteilung” by MIG Productions, “Van Gogh” and “Talens” are good brands. The colour of the background coat and the oils may be varied for different kinds of wood. However, be aware that selecting a good colour combination that gives that natural look is tricky. I recommend experimenting on a  test piece first before committing yourself to apply the mixture on your latest wondermodel. I arrived at my blend of "Burnt Sienna", "Yellow Ochre" and "Raw Umber" in a ratio of 25% / 25% / 50% after trying with "Raw Sienna" (too red), "Yellow Ochre" (too orange), and one or two mixed combinations.










Once the base coat has cured, I brushed the oils with a broad, soft brush and spread the paint around until the desired colour density is achieved. Because working in oils is a little bit goes a long way, I started by putting just a little bit of paint on the end of the brush. I kept the brush strokes going in one direction and didn’t really worry about leaving brush strokes - I wanted them there for the wood grain. I tried not to spread it on too thick, or it would make the next step more difficult.




At this point the oils would be workable for several hours. With a broad, soft, clean and completely dry paint brush, I draged over the oil paint, leaving wood grain streaks. I jiggled the brush every now and then to give the grain a bit of variation. As the brush picked up the paint, I wiped it off on a clean, lint free cloth and continue process. “Lint free is the key phrase, as any speck of lint would adhere to the oil paint and destroy the finish. The beauty of this technique is that you can clean the oils off and try again if you goof up. Use a clean cloth and paint thinner (mineral spirits or turpenoid - not lacquer thinner) to wipe clean any mistakes and start over again. For my 1/18 scale Salamandra model, it took me about three or four tries to get the paint density and colour right, but it really was quite painless.




In some parts of the model which should look more bright, I slightly toned up with "Buff" & "Yellow Ochre" mixtures, or even pure “Basic Flesh Tone" and “Sunny Flesh Tone", while some others had to show darker, using "Brown" or "Raw Umber" color and blend naturally. The areas marked with yellow circles supposed to be covered by plywood and the areas marked with purple circles supposed to be more bright and slightly toned up.






As soon as the result was OK for me, I left it alone to dry for few days and then sprayed over selected areas with Tamiya Color X-24 "Clear Yellow" acrylic, because it also helps bring the grain color out more.





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  • 3 weeks later...


CHAPTER VI - Grass field display base construction



When I started this project, I was concerned about the proper display option, on which the model would be placed. For this reason, I asked fellow modelers to advice on how they would do if in my position. Talented & world class scale modelers such as Mr. Rick Lawler from AK interactive team, honored me by sending their kind answers, suggesting what best to do according their opinion - I thank them all. Most of the responses I got, recommended simplicity & austerity with no extra diorama features. Just to place the cutaway shaped model onto a dark colour or black) shiny laminated wooden base, so that nothing would distract viewer’s attention from main subject - the Salamandra cutaway.


Following their advice, I tried some dry fit tests with few spare laminated wooden bases I had, to check how it looked like. I tried different shades of wood and finaly black sheet of plexiglass. Evidently the visual experiment clearly proved that the model got nearly disappeared into the natural wooden base's background, regardless of whether the background was light, medium or dark wood. Since the actual IS-A frame was entirely made of wood, it seemed that placing the model on a wooden base, might not be good idea. Black plexiglass tests, also didn’t looked right to me.








I also received suggestions for mounting the glider on a clear pole which seemed nice idea, but model’s cutaway stucture was too fragile to be securely pinned on a single point. I also tried to digitaly create a virtual model, with the glider placed on a concrete tarmac or shiny black ground, cut on Poland’s map shape - since the IS-A was a typical sample of pre WWII Polish aviation design.








I was almost sure I was going through a non-creative phase and getting ready to pack the model in a box and store it until having some good idea. Unexpectedly, I became obsessed with the idea of placing the glider model on a "grass airfield" dio base. Probably, my opinion had been shaped (aka influenced) by viewing the following two pictures, where the IS-A glider is laying on the Spring green grass.








My goal is to recreate a scene of an aeroclub small airfield, where the old Salamandra is now resting in peace. I ‘ll try to place the glider in such a way that will look like an old time abandoned wreck, with all plywood & fabric lining removed, tilted sideways to rest on the short green grass field, with one wingtip touching the ground and the other on air. Some torn fabric & plywood parts would be also laid nearby, some rusted & cut wires, possibly a couple of Marsden matting / PSP - Pierced Steel Planking plates or maybe a waving windsock etc. could be also present in scene. In general, a picture of terse abandonment, without extreme features that could distract viewer’s attention, keeping the glider as the main protagonist of the story. From an artistic point of view, the abandonment might possibly dictate everything to be into a state of complete wreckage. That would not be the desired result, because it would lead into a diorama scene, where the Salamandra would no longer be the protagonist. My aim is to balance the scene, while filling empty space & keeping the IS-A as the only "model" on display.








I found the idea of a deflated windsock nice, in order to fill some empty space and break the monotony of green, while remaining in scene's background same time. Although a picture of a torn windsock would be more atractive & interesting, I had to keep it simple and not overdo. Using a small amount of Milliput putty, I made a small ball, dust it with talcum powder and pressed it against the working bench with a roller until it becomes as thin as could get. The use of talcum powder is necessary to avoid Milliput sticking on roller or fingers and get easier to handle without tearing to pieces.














While Milliput putty was still soft, I cut it into triangle shape and rolled it up, to form into a right to scale windsock cone. Then, the cone was bended as required to look deflated and simulate cloth’s weight. The result made of epoxy putty (seems like elephant's proboscis or its just my imagination?), left few hours to get fully polymerized and then I cut the tip to achive the correct lenght dimensions. Few epoxy overcast remains that were left, also removed during cutting process. Internal frame added later, using metal wire & styrene rod.



















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I appreciate that you don't want or like flattery but it's impossible to comment without it - what I do have, however, is admiration for your work and also for the manner in which you explain it all in such easy to understand "chapters".  Flattery can be shallow and insincere whereas admiration is deep and genuine.  Mine is a genuine admiration for your work.


I'm certainly looking forward to more and to this new aspect of our modelling world - 3D printing.

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I appreciate that you don't want or like flattery but it's impossible to comment without it - what I do have, however, is admiration for your work and also for the manner in which you explain it all in such easy to understand "chapters".  Flattery can be shallow and insincere whereas admiration is deep and genuine.  Mine is a genuine admiration for your work.


@ Grant,


What I like mostly is someone say "...this is completely wrong...", or "...you shouldn't do that..." or "...I belive you 've done a mistake here...". What I like mostly is someone report to me all my mistakes that I did not spot so far. Few days before, forum member "MikeC" sent me a message, reporting to me a possible mistake in ammunition colouring (click HERE for more). Although it was a false alarm and finally I explained how the actual ammo should be painted (click HERE for my answer) and the meaning of each colour, member "MikeC" gained my truly respect and I thank him, because he did what we all should do. He expressed his opinion free, pointing directly on my mistake, to help me not repeat it again. IMHO, thats what we should all do - spot mistakes, find imperfections and help fellow modeler to become better into his/her next project. On the other hand, applause can help to achieve good public relations between forum members, but cannot help becoming better modelers, because we'll keep repeating same mistakes.

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At present time, the windsock is under painting proccess. I used the FS31302 "Matt Red" available by Life Color as LC06 acrylic, applied with a soft brush, to establish a basic layer and later blend it, to look brighter onto the points supposedly lightened more, by spraying much diluted FS30257 "Sand Yellow RLM79VAR" available by Life Color as UA081 acrylic, just not to look too dull. After the primary painting & lighting stage, I repeatedly sprayed a very diluted mixture of thinner and FS33538 "Yellow RLM 04" available by Life Color as UA140 acrylic, at a ratio of 95% - 5%, over selected areas such as the fabric folding edges and a few other points, that IMHO should look more enlightened






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  • 2 weeks later...

Once the acrylic paint dried, the outcome had tonality differences and looked like been faded by the sun. I had obviously overdone on highlighting the areas and therefore I had to fix this and make the shades softly blend each other. To do so, I mixed artists oil paint "Red" by MIG Productions “502 Abteilung” series and artists white spirit by "Winson & Newton“ in a ratio of 5% / 95% (actually a filter) and sprayed over the windsock. I hope now it looks better than did before.





Meanwhile I found some time to deal with the green grass. Having a couple of different methods in mind to simulate green grass in scale, I found good idea to follow an old fashioned technique! I planted some grass seeds, watered daily and I'm now expecting to grow high grass soon. I’m just kidding of course - watering once every three days, is enough. Kids, don’t try this at home.


Progress has been slow for various reasons, including:

  • I'm slower than a turtle trying to climb a muddy creek bank,
  • I always find errors and later trying to develop ways to make model look more realistic,
  • Mid-July heat & expectation of upcoming vacations, caused laziness that lead building process to slow down,
  • Wife visits my bench, holding a hammer and that could possibly means that it's about time to quit 1/18 model for a while and give full attention on 1/1 model.


Due to all the above reasons (aka excuses), once the windsock painting process complete, I had to stop for a short relaxing brake and puzzle things out. Next update ETA, late August or early September. Summer is typically the time for vacations and a good chance to relax, unwind & recharge batteries. We all need a break once in a while and I am no exception. I hope you can do the same and enjoy some well deserved time off. I will be back soon, picking up where I left off and complete this project. In the meantime, I plan to unplug, disconnect from anything for a few days, enjoy sunny beaches & crystal waters and hopefully have some SCUBA fun with playful dolphins - as happened last summer.









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  • 5 weeks later...

If you followed this WIP during the earlier weeks, you might remember the update few weeks ago, when left home for a much needed vacation to the beach. I am having a difficult time transitioning back from vacation. I had an amazing month living on the beach, playing and soaking in sunshine and honestly I want to still be there instead of writing a new post. It has been less than 24 hours since we arrived home and I can already feel the pull of the day-in-day-out routines. I know that the cat in following picture might looks really silly, but it does capture how truly happy I was on vacation. Transitioning back to reality after vacation, is not easy and I need to get my non-vacation groove back. Any suggestions?


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The whole grass field scene would require a 50x40 cm display base, considering that glider measures approx 70 cm wingspan in 1/18 scale. That could be a problem for my show case in home, which yes, it is big, but not big as an elephant. From the MDC - Model Display Cases store, I bought a 50x40 cm base, made of polished beechwood with MDF core.


Those who have read my previously uploaded projects, might remember that I prefer using plaster powder to build the section that recreates the ground, especially if it is asphalt. However, the 50x40 cm dimensions of the scene dictate plaster quantity more (and therefore heavier) than usual and for this reason I chose to use another material, because my goal was to build a “grass field display base” instead of weightlifting equipment for champs. For this reason, I purchased a 50x40 cm size & 10 mm thick sheet of balsa wood from my local hobby shop, which I cut & shaped around with my cheaper than dirt Black & Decker 400 W / 3000 spm jigsaw bought for 20 € only. The basic idea, is to produce a thick & flat surface which protrudes approx 10 mm beyond the polished beechwood base, on which later green grass & extra stuff will be added where is needed.




Remember that operating a freehand held jigsaw could be a bad idea if not pay attention on job. Sawdust may also cause problems when breath or shallow. A powerful vacuum system to suck away the dust should be used all time to keep the workbench area clean. Using a breathing mask & pair of protection glasses to prevent dust contact with lungs & eyes, is also an important matter that you should seriously take care of. My recommendation is to also wear working gloves - made of kevlar if possible.


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Unlike the regular practice followed in my previous projects, in which I glued static grass & plants directly on ground untill filling the whole area, I decided to change for an easier and more appropriate method, taking into account the increased surface to be covered. To do so, I bought a 50x40 cm size green grass carpet, made by Busch which specializes mostly in train dioramas. The green grass carpet will be glued on the 10 mm thick sheet of balsa wood and will become the main substrate of a dense grass covered ground. Later, I plan to add more static grass & plants, to avoid the monotonous flat football field alike green pattern and make it look closer to reality.


Using scissors, I cut around the Busch's grass carpet, according to contour of the 10 mm thick balsa wood sheet. The grass carpet was secured in place with steel pins and glued onto balsa using water based white glue for wood, which becomes transparent when it dries. Once the process complete and the glue dried, the steel pins which kept the grass carpet nailed on balsa sheet, were carefully removed.




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