Back on the Sprue: An O-2 Skymaster Story (Part 3)
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Up until now, this build has felt like a disaster. Part 1 stressed the importance of a thoughtful build sequence and Part 2 exposed my need to explore modeling chemistry. But despite all of my setbacks, the love of modeling kept me going until it was finally time to add the remaining details like windows, propellers, and antennas.
Now join me in wrapping up this build!
Clear parts are always a challenge for the modeler. First they need to be held in place with a special glue that does not adversely affect the plastic. For this I turned to Testors Canopy Glue which has properties that resemble the white glue you may have used in grade school.
Additionally, clear sprues tend to be more brittle than the normal sprues in a kit and any scratches or imperfections in clear plastic are difficult to get rid of.
Lastly, when it comes time to paint, you had better be careful! Any mistakes in painting somehow appear to be magnified. Poorly painted windows and canopies can ruin even the best of models.
Lucky for me, these windows required minimal painting and they fit decently in place. The small gaps that did present themselves were easily dealt with by applying a little more glue.
Once the windows were secured it was time to fix the propellers in place (until now they had only been dry fitted). Now is a good time to offer the following tip: be mindful of any parts that protrude from the main body of the model as these will make handling a lot more difficult.
A final note about the yellow spiral on the propellers. That is not a decal. In fact it has been airbrushed on. I was able to painstakingly create a mask by cutting strips of blue painter's tape nearly 1/16 of an inch wide and trying my best to wrap it around the flat black propeller hub. Once the mask was in place, I airbrushed Tamiya's XF-3 Flat Yellow in multiple light coats until I achieved a sufficient level of color saturation. Time per propeller: more than I care to say.
The last stage in this build was the addition of the antennas. Antennas are made from scrap pieces of sprue that are carefully heated over a flame and stretched. This typically takes a few tries to get a piece of sprue that is thin, long, and uniform. Once I had a piece I was happy with, I painted it black, and used a pin vise to drill holes into the antenna mounts for easier placement.
Skymaster cleared for takeoff!
And with that, my Skymaster was finished! I had built my first model airplane in over a decade! Here she is in all her glory:
There is no other way to say it: this build was not easy. In the short term some of my setbacks were frustrating at best and cringeworthy at worst. However, in the long term, these challenges have forced me to accelerate my reintroduction to the hobby, expand my skills, and heighten my awareness as a modeler. I couldn't have asked for more!
When I look back at this build I am generally happy with the end product. In fact, I am proud of what I have achieved. I am proud that I stuck with the build, adapted to the challenges thrown my way, and came away with a plane that I think looks pretty cool.
So let's watch those propellers spin and listen to the engines roar as this bird takes off into the sunset!
Thanks for reading,
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