Oh Yea Gimme That Big Ship “1/200th Scale USS Arizona”

So you say you like it big! Well who doesn’t? Show of hands, Yea you in the back row, out of the model room right now mister. 
We are going to be talking about that huge Trumpeter Kit in 1/200th scale. Yea you may think a model in that scale would be small, but not when we are looking at a ship that was a Pennsylvania-class battle ship. “Toot Toot and that ain’t No Train”. She was a US Navy war horse built in the mid 1910s and was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of “super-dreadnought” battleships. Old BB-39, thirty one thousand tons of heavy man made steel, with twelve fourteen inch cannons, max range twenty one thousand yards. Now that’s no monkey in a barrel, and if he is in that barrel his butt is going on a twelve mile trip one way.

Now on to the Geek-Feed ….—…. yep that’s Morse code for Gimme DA Details! 
Kit represents 1941 fit and incorporates excellent 2-piece optional full or waterline hull. Multi-part main deck with engraved plank detail, highly detailed upperworks and a full complement of highly detailed ship’s boats, 2 clear-molded Vought Kingfisher floatplanes and a barrel of monkeys to shoot, OK I lied about the monkeys. 
Fine deck fittings, full secondary and anti-aircraft batteries plus option to build main turrets with pivoting guns or with molded blast bags. Also includes nylon line for rigging cranes, metal parts (turned main battery gun barrels, anchor chain, propeller shafts, upper/lower hull joining screws and rods for main gun pivot axes). 
Plus 3-sheets of photo-etch parts (including railings for all deck levels and signal yards). Color painting guide with profiles and overhead plan view – decals for hull marks, jack, ensign, admiral’s pennant, signal flags and aircraft markings. Completed model is approximately 36.5″ long. 
Now on top of all that great cornucopia of plastic bliss, you ask “MURPH is there more detailed widgets we can add to this extraordinary replica?” I tell you my fellow glueholics.
YES! 
KA Models produces the USS Arizona Deluxe Pack. With the addition of this pack that includes precision, laser cut scale plank textured, self adhesive deck veneers and an extensive photo-etch details, you’ll be rocking a very upscale model. 
Just remember old Murphs “Rule of Thumb” the more you add the more it cost, and the add on pack will set you back as much as the ship kit. 

So if your in the mood for one “BIG” Ship model this old sweetheart will fill the bill. You’ll be seeing more of this one in the future, I’m going to fire up the barrel monkeys and go for a cruise.

Cheers Murph… 

     

Building the BDSRy – Part 2 Painting Bricks

IMAG0488
Brick wall with dark base oat to highlight the the seams.

Now that we have our brick retaining wall created, it’s time to start painting and weathering our brick walls.  Murph has started by preshading in a dark base coat along the brick seams.  This will cause the detail of the wall to “pop” once the final coat is applied.

IMAG0489
A light gray coat applied to the green foam.

With the base coat in place, Murph lightly starts to apply the lighter gray coat to cover the green foam.  A light touch here is the key.

 

IMAG0490
Final coat applied to cover bare spots and to also lightly cover the seams to make the darker undercoat pop.

Once the paint has dried, a second coat will be applied to cover any spots missed, and also to cover more of the darker seam lines.  To highlight the individual stone brick in the wall, add a small amount of white paint to the base coat gray. Lightly paint the inside of the stones. Finally, over paint with the base gray.   The final look is a nicely finished brick retaining wall.

Here you can see a nice before and after comparison of the foam wall in the various stages of painting. The finished look is on top and you can see how the seam details really emerge and the bricks look rough and weathered.
IMAG0492

Building the BDSRy – Part 1 Getting Started

BDRWY_3Welcome to the first in a series of posts about the building of the Big Dog Scenic Railway.  This is the O scale railway that circles the shop.  We have spent the last couple of months laying track around the store interior, and now we are ready to begin laying down the scenic elements that will create a finished look.  We will also create various “scenes” along the right-of-way (towns, villages, industries, etc.).  As we make progress with our various building steps we will document our methods and materials and present them in this post.  Follow along as the BDSRy takes shape!

Rough cut shapes
Rough cut shapes

Our first project is to create retaining walls along the right-of-way to hide the risers we needed to use to control track elevation.  We are using Pactiv 1″ thick extruded polystyrene insulated sheet.  This comes in 4′ x 8′ foot sheets and is super lightweight.  It is easily carved and shaped to represent just about any material you like.  It is light and easily transported.  Many modelers use it on top of their layout base as it also deadens sound and presents a great land form that can be carved for ditches, lakes, ponds, etc.  It can also be stacked and cut and sanded to shape for mountains and hillsides.  We will get into some of those details as we progress along the BDSRy.

Stanaley Surform Tool
Stanaley Surform Tool

Step one was to cut some rough outline pieces to begin forming our retaining walls.  After the rough cut, we then needed to shape it to a more finished form.  A Stanley Surform tool is ideal for sanding the styrene to a desired form.  Warning! – sanding is messy and best done in an area that can be easily cleaned.  Not the best activity to do while watching the Super Bowl!!

IMAG0482
Butch uses the blunt edge of a hobby knife to scribe lines into the foam. Then he makes cuts to shape the wall to the slope of our track.

After the shape is created, you can fine-tune it with a more detailed cut.  We did two methods here – a brick retaining wall and a stone retaining wall.  For the brick wall, you can use a blunt instrument (screwdriver, back edge of a knife, etc.) to create the brick lines.  Once the lines were created, we then cut the wall to fit the slope of our incline.  We did the same for the stone retaining wall, except that we carved and gouged rock faces instead of scribing lines.

Carved rock wall with rock debris and experimental paint job.In this photo you can see how we carved the rock face, then experimented with some additional rock details and tested a small patch with paint.  The paint came out a little more brown than we liked so we will change the shade to something with more gray in it to more closely resemble granite. We glued extra chunks of foam to some of the carved areas to give the wall more 3D texture.

Continued in part 2.

LaTrax Alias Review

LaTrax Alias High Performance Quad-Rotor Heli Review

by Butch

The LaTrax Alias is a high-performance quad-rotor heli that has taken The Smoke Stack Hobby Shop by storm.  In short order it has become one of the most popular flying machines we offer.

alias

Out of the box it is very easy to setup and actually quite stable, requiring very little time spent in trimming the flight characteristics.  It comes in four vibrant colors (red, orange, blue, and green), each with its own set of matching bright LED navigation lights.  You can even purchase new lenses and bodies if you want to change out your quad to another color! It is a nice size, measuring 9.25″ on the rotor diagonals.

3.7v 650mAh LiPo

The Alias offers better than average flight times (10-12 min.) using a 3.7v  650 mAh LiPo battery and boasts automatic flips initiated right from the radio.  Flips can be done in any axis and in any direction.  Multi flips are even possible but must be programmed into the radio to initiate. The heart and soul of the Alias is the auto-leveling, six-axis flight system that features easy, fast, and expert modes.  You can literally throw the Alias away from you, then punch the throttle and watch this nimble quad immediately assume straight and level flight.

The Alias is one of the most durable multi rotor helis we have seen.  In the event of flight damage, it is also quite easy to work on.  If you need to repair a motor or blade , be careful to take your time and identify the correct part as both motors and blades are directional – meaning they are meant to spin clockwise or counter-clockwise.  If you are flying in the winter months, take extra care as the plastic becomes more brittle in the colder temperatures and is more susceptible to damage.

Alias radio

The radio provides visual indicators of trim level and flight mode as well as audible alerts to a low-battery condition.  The Alias also has a bright LED battery indicator that will blink to warn to warn of a low battery condition as well.

The LaTrax Alias has proven to be a well-mannered, versatile multi-rotor heli that has quickly become a shop favorite with both staff and customers,  It is right at home with both beginners and expert flyers. We highly recommend it and give it a 5 star rating.

5-star

Stack Talk – Vol. 2 Issue 1

NEWS

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The new year is here and along with that calendar change we are introducing some changes of our own.  We will now be producing this newsletter exclusively via our web site.  You will be able to find and browse all the back issues here as well.  From these pages we will be able to pass on to you all the latest news and events that are of interest to our patrons.  We also hope to expand the breadth of articles that we can bring to you each month.  This new format will allow us to add much more content than we were able to in previous issues.  And you can still shop our online selections by clicking on SHOP in the top menu.

Many of you are familiar with our rewards program.  Those of you who have shopped our retail location are familiar with the refrains of “Have you joined our rewards program?”, or “Are you in our loyalty program?”, or even the confusing “Are you in our system?” questions thrown at you at check-out time.  Well, we decided we needed a more consistent and polished approach to our program.  So we have decided to call it Smokey Bucks©.  It works exactly the same as before, except you now earn Smokey Bucks© on every purchase that you can redeem for merchandise or services.

The recent cold spell has caused many of us to turn to indoor pursuits.  And here at The Smoke Stack we have done the same.  Track laying on the ’round-the-shop railroad is now complete and we are moving on to adding scenery.  We have many great ideas on how to add visual excitement to the railway and we plan on documenting everything we do step-by-step and showing you the process in these pages.  And the ’round-the-shop railway has officially been named the Big Dog Scenic Railway (BDSRy).

BDRWY_3

 ARRIVALS

In N scale railroading we have quite a few new, affordable pre-built structures from Imex, including the Quonset Hut, the Diner, and the Fire Station.

quonset
Quonset Hut

diner
Diner

firehouse
Fire Station

For the modelers we have some nice new kits from Minicraft, including the Cessna 172 in 1/48 scale, the U.S. Navy PB4Y-1 in 1/72 scale, the XF5F Skyrocket in 1/48 scale, and from AMT the Chevy Rescue Van in 1/25 scale.

b9 rescue XF5F PB4Y-1 Cessnamars

 

 

All Things R/C

LaTrax Alias High Performance Quad-Rotor Heli Review

by Butch

The LaTrax Alias is a high-performance quad-rotor heli that has taken The Smoke Stack Hobby Shop by storm.  In short order it has become one of the most popular flying machines we offer.

alias
Available in 4 vibrant colors

Out of the box it is very easy to setup and actually quite stable, requiring very little time spent in trimming the flight characteristics.  It comes in four vibrant colors (red, orange, blue, and green), each with its own set of matching bright LED navigation lights.  You can even purchase new lenses and bodies if you want to change out your quad to another color!

3.7v 650mAh LiPo
3.7v 650mAh LiPo

The Alias offers better than average flight times (8-10 min.) using a 3.7v  650 mAh LiPo battery and boasts automatic flips initiated right from the radio.  Flips can be done in any axis and in any direction.  Multi flips are even possible but must be programmed into the radio to initiate.

The Alias is one of the most durable multi rotor helis we have seen.  In the event of flight damage, it is also quite easy to work on.  If you need to repair a motor or blade , be careful to take your time and identify the correct part as both motors and blades are directional – meaning they are meant to spin clockwise or counter-clockwise.  If you are flying in the winter months, take extra care as the plastic becomes more brittle in the colder temperatures and is more susceptible to damage.

Alias radio
Alias radio

The radio provides visual indicators of trim level and flight mode as well as audible alerts to a low-battery condition.  The Alias also has a bright LED battery indicator that will blink to warn to warn of a low battery condition as well.

The LaTrax Alias has proven to be a well-mannered, versatile multi-rotor heli that has quickly become a shop favorite with both staff and customers,  It is right at home with both beginners and expert flyers. We highly recommend it and give it a 5 star rating.

5-star

All Things Trains

BDRWY_3Welcome to the first in a series of posts about the building of the Big Dog Scenic Railway.  This is the O scale railway that circles the shop.  We have spent the last couple of months laying track around the store interior, and now we are ready to begin laying down the scenic elements that will create a finished look.  We will also create various “scenes” along the right-of-way (towns, villages, industries, etc.).  As we make progress with our various building steps we will document our methods and materials and present them in this post.  Follow along as the BDSRy takes shape!

Our first project is to create retaining walls along the right-of-way to hide the risers we needed to use to control track elevation.  We are using Pactiv 1″ thick extruded polystyrene insulated sheet.  This comes in 4′ x 8′ foot sheets and is super lightweight.  It is easily carved and shaped to represent just about any material you like.  It is light and easily transported.  Many modelers use it on top of their layout base as it also deadens sound and presents a great land form that can be carved for ditches, lakes, ponds, etc.  It can also be stacked and cut and sanded to shape for mountains and hillsides.  We will get into some of those details as we progress along the BDSRy.

IMAG0486
Stanley Surform Tool

Our first step was to cut some rough outline pieces to begin forming our retaining walls.  After the rough cut, we then needed to shape it to a more finished form.  A Stanley Surform tool is ideal for sanding the styrene to a desired form.  Warning! – sanding is messy and best done in an area that can be easily cleaned.  Not the best activity to do while watching the Super Bowl!!

IMAG0483
Rough cut shapes

After the shape is created, you can fine-tune it with a more detailed cut.  We did two methods here – a brick retaining wall and a stone retaining wall.  For the brick wall, you can use a blunt instrument (screwdriver, back edge of a knife, etc.) to create the brick lines.  Once the lines were created, we then cut the wall to fit the slope of our incline.  We did the same for the stone retaining wall, except that we carved and gouged rock faces instead of scribing lines.

IMAG0482
Here we have carved the horizontal and vertical lines, and are now cutting it to fit the incline.
Carved rock wall with rock debris and experimental paint job.
Carved rock wall with rock debris and experimental paint job.

In this photo you can see how we carved the rock face, then experimented with some additional rock details and tested a small patch with paint.  The paint came out a little more brown than we liked so we will change the shade to something with more gray in it to more closely resemble granite.

Alpine Miniatures “Charge of the Marine”

Some days you have to change it up, figure painting is one hell of a way to change. Scale model figures can make or break a great model. The art of figure painting is an art form in itself, one that can take years to prefect. “I have yet to perfect it” but in recent months i have dedicated myself to the task, and with practice i have been improving.
I enjoy figure painting for what it offers, with patience it teaches me to look at modeling in different ways. Shading, tone, and trying to perfect the realism to bring the model figure to life.

This figure of a World War Two Marine in a desperate charge, is by Alpine Miniatures. Molded in 1/16 scale and cast in resin, it is one of the best i have had the pleasure of building.

 

Hope you enjoy the Charge of the Marine. 
Cheers Murph…