Remember when they used to say “1/4 inch scale?” Did you ever ask yourself why 1/72 scale wasn’t “1/6 inch scale?”
Today we’ll talk about Hasegawa’s kit of the Grumman Tiger. If you need to get in the mood, here’s a video showing men with stainless-steel balls working on a carrier flight deck at a time when the U.S. Navy lost about one aircrew member a day.
I’m surprised they didn’t kill off one flight deck crewman a day, too.
Speaking of low-reward, high-risk activities, Hasegawa made a kit of the Navy’s very cool F11F Tiger. I decided to build it, using the old Scalemaster decals to make something different from the usual Hasegawa kit markings (that damned grinning shark mouth).
Heh heh. Little did I know.
Building plastic kits is just as “deep” and mysterious as making pottery or trout fishing or writing music or any other activity that is respectable and manly, but it’s not respectable or manly so while the trout fisher or the guitar strummer may wax poetic about his struggles with the inner schweinhund and impress the chicks with his manly urn firing–the plastic kit builder can go impress himself. Nobody else expects to hear about an epiphany arrived-at while sanding a seam, or a deep, Zen insight encountered on the way to a fine-looking decal.
Nossir. Unless the mystical unicorn of an airbrush is involved, you don’t win nothin’ at the county fair from the mystical set by gluing the fuselage together.
But still, we fight the demons of lazy, and hurry, and pandering, and all the rest, who are just as mean and tough, even though the way we approach them is over the seldom-traveled Plains of Plastic. We end up in battle with the same guys, it’s just a different path to travel.
Some models fight you. It’s as if they are possessed. It’s not about a kit being “poor” or “cheap.” Very fine kits can have the virus. A Tamiya or Eduard “superkit” can pick up a demon possession just as easily as an old Airfix.
My Tiger was possessed.
I made my own bed here. I wanted to do this kit BECAUSE it was hard, to paraphrase JFK. I wanted to demonstrate painting a difficult scheme with a brush, and this one is difficult. But the problems were not paint related.
They were decal related. When I bought those Scalemaster decals, they were twenty years old and worked just fine. But after I had stored them for ten more years, they could not longer be removed from the backing.
Twenty-year-old decals? Sure. They work. Thirty year old decals? In this case, they didn’t work.
So I had to use the (blech) kit decals. Oh the shame. Oh for embarrassment.
But it didn’t stop there. As I applied the decals, one of them, somehow, vanished. So I had to make a new one, from “rub on” letters and numbers. It came out a little larger than the “VF-21” on the other side.
But, the work was done. The decal was made.
Then came what I like to call “The Drop.”
I dropped the almost-finished model. Oddly, the only damage was to one of the horizontal tailplanes. Only that single part was broken, but it was broken off and it was very, very gone. Nowhere.
So I made a new one. I cut it out of plastic sheet, shaped it to the “right” shape and glued it on.
Then I put the devil model on the shelf and ignored it.
I’m still ignoring it.