I thought starting two new projects while having three underway (okay, actually there’s like twelve, but three active) was bad. Then yesterday I added a third new project. But hear me out.
1971 Plymouth Duster
I haven’t spent much time on the models for months. Actually I hadn’t spent any for months, then did a little more in recent weeks. Then a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t help myself and started a kitbash of a 1971 Plymouth Duster street machine into my my first car, Mother’s 1971 Plymouth Duster. I’ve never built a car model before, so this was all new. And it’s been so, so much fun changing the kit to match what I remember.
This weekend I finished the interior, complete with new front bench seat with headrests (the kit was buckets), combo black vinyl and Halloween plaid. The dash got a redo, with the round instrumentation panel replaced with a scratched-up version with the right dials, no clutch, and of course the aftermarket A/C.
Unfortunately that’s as far as I can take it right now. The wheels are going to require major surgery to fit the new MawMaw whitewall tires – I did one so it’s doable, but a lot of work. Then the 3D printed hubcaps came in Saturday (they’re the clear items on the left) and they’re way too large. Hopefully the guy can reprint scaled down a bit, but that’ll take time. Both may be related to the same thing – the Duster kit has oversize hot rod wheels and tires – as do most surviving Dusters – and Mother’s had these little normal whitewalls. So it’s just going to take a little longer to get the wheels right.
And the aftermarket decals may not be here for a while (have to have those little Duster decals, you know – but there are also some Plymoth plates I need). So while it’s been fun, it’s time to shelve this one till I can get the additional parts I need.
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) – 1/700 scratchbuild
After a few days off I got going against last night with the FDR. I did the calculations for the sponsons supporting the main deck and started adding that on the straighter sections of the hull. Then after taking a deep breath I cut the “cheek” facings for the forecastle, and started adding the wire edging they’ll need for a crisp knuckle line. I’m staying clear of the stern until I finish puttying it to the right shape. I then added partial hangar and forecastle deck walls so the ship can be flipped upside down to work on the hull (as it’s shown now). As you can tell, it’s a fun collection of shapes – like nothing I’ve ever built before.
Tonight I extended the sponsons port and starboard, and started plating in the hull from amidships halfway to the break of the forecastle. Vertical plating is new for me, but it makes sense with the very low freeboard, and is working really well. I’ll give it an initial sanding tomorrow before I start puttying. And keep extending it forward, of course.
F8F-2 Bearcat – 1/72 Monogram
I picked up this very old (1975 repop – originally released in 1967) Monogram kit a few months ago hoping to learn a little more about the aircraft with the build. I started it yesterday thinking it would be a quick build so I could complete “something” for the first time since 2021. The decals were shot, so I ordered some new ones, planning on completing it in its original appearance, without the dreaded red stripe added to the national insignia (there was even a set for this appearance with the old Felix the Cat insignia!). Unfortunately that went by the wayside yesterday.
It turns out that the Monogram kit is an F8F-2, and the Felix is a F8F-1. My Squadron book explained the differences, and while they aren’t insurmountable, the kit was already showing itself to be really primitive, so I decided it wasn’t worth a kitbash to backdate it – I just wanted something I could finish. So I switched to the 1949 “103” F8F-2 shown at bottom right. And guess what – despite what the decal set says, this was from VF-61 stationed on the … wait for it, FDR in 1949. There’s even a photo of 103 on deck.
Although the model is pretty poor, and the paint and glosscoat is not cooperating, I have fallen under the spell of the little Bearcat. I always thought it was a big, unwieldy plane – like a P-47, say. On the contrary, it was the coupe version of the Hellcat – smaller and lighter, but with the same powerplant. Neil Armstrong said that he preferred the F8F to the F-51 (formerly the P-51) as a test pilot, and why he thought that was the question I always wished I could have asked him. (Unlike questions about flying a lunar module, landing on the moon, or walking on the moon, I figured that was one I could potentially understand the answer to).
Anyway, I can already tell I’ll be on the lookout for a better kit to replace this one on my shelf, but it’s good at what I picked it for – giving me a quick and easy build, and an excuse to learn something about an aircraft I previously knew nothing about.
So a good weekend relaxing with the models. And learning a few new things. And by the end of tomorrow I’ll probably be back down to one new active project, with the Duster in the build closet and the Bearcat on the shelf.