1/144 Belt loader finished – Airbus new sharklets

Hello all,

Unusual time for me to give an update as I usually write on the weekends, but I wanted to give an overview on how are things and the latest model I tested/build/completed.

Prior this, I wanted to comment a few points:

  • Very soon I will change the livery decals from the 8 micron film to the “standard” 13 micron decal film. The reasons are; 1) availability; to me it is a bit harder to find this type of paper within my reach, meaning, to have it readily available anytime I need. The second reason is that it may result harder for some modelers to use it on bigger decals. I have been testing the standard 13 micron decal and to be honest, it still gives very good results on terms of thickness, still thin, but it seems to keep straighter once starting to be removed from the paper base in comparison to the 8 micron film, where it may just be a bit easier to get folded if not being careful.So what about the smaller decals? I have done a precise test since I was building the belt loader and wanted to give it a shot to see how the “standard” 13 micron film behaves on smaller decals of about 3 x 1,5mm, the results were satisfactory, I was very happy with how it worked, still without visible edges, so I thought that all in all and for the purpose of the GSE and airliners, the 13 micron decal film seems to be a better option overall.

Talking about decals, I am redoing the LD3 container decals with the airlines from the previous LD3 due stock reasons, since the decals I have now (from the original batch) will not last forever.

I am also creating  a separate sheet of decals with numerous airline logos in case you wanted to customize the GSE models, so you will find Delta, Emirates, ANA etc logos in different sizes on the same sheet (one carrier/sheet).

Plans to resume the 777-300ER (and so forth) decal sets will continue once I get things done with the GSE.

  • New Airbus sharklets, what about it?
    Some time ago, a good friend of mine contacted me with a 3D model that he created based on the geometry of the Airbus A320. He was very kind enough to send me the file for me to check it out and distribute the finished product to the modelers if in the end I was able to make it in 1/144. I decided to give it a go and modeled my version (working side by side with the original), so that the thickness could be viable in the small scale (it was originally in 1/1 size) and made the dimensions were it connects to the wing as per Zvezda’s A320 model size, so this sharklet is, the best representation (and the closest) I can make of the small Airbus family sharklet.
    Similar process will be carried for the A350 “new” wingtip. Now, I am a bit unaware of model kit news, but I think Zvezda will or did release the A350-1000 which should have the new sharklets, so my intention is to produce the new wingtips for those having the A350-900 kit.I am considering providing airline decals together with these A320 sharklets, which is something similar I did and will continue to do for the A350 sharklets.

 

  • GSE models, the TUG 660 belt loader is completed.
    It is very important for me to test every single model that I set available, the last thing I want is for the customer to find problems while building the models, and to be honest I did have quite a lot of fun building that small little thing!
    Do not forget, you may see here it all big and in detail, but the model it is actually about 4cm long, I tried to give this view on the last photo.

One of the things I find useful on this model is the idea I had on making the anti skid areas as well as the belt are actually a decal. This way there is no need to mask, no need to hold your hand tight to paint those stright marks, so the decals will do its job, save you some time / paint and give better results.
Headlights and tailights are actually photo real, and the PE includes two types of handrails, deployed and undeployed (both versions in the example photos).

Also, not visible in the photos (yet) there will be included a driver figure, baggage seen in the photos will also be included. As usual, the conveyor can be raised or lowered at desired position.

Here are the two finished models I have at the moment, yes still a lot of work to do and yes, not sure I will arrive on time by the end of November, but I am not going to rush to check things, I already started the stock process of some of the models.

 

I really do not want to disappoint anyone for the time it is taking me to do all of this. I want to present things as best as possible, not for the photos but for the customer to enjoy building such tiny kits, these are not 3-piece models, I actually call them kits because the belt loader has no less than 24 resin parts, 8 photo etched parts and decals.

I am continuing making units, but for sure this weekend I wanted to test/complete another item, so I may give a try to the JST-25 tow truck, which I already assembled before, but need to have it painted/decaled.

Thank you all for your patience, I should really give an update to the frontpage of the store… but haven’t had even time to do that yet. I may close the store for a couple-three days prior setting things back in stock, so if you find that, please bear in mind it is due the addition of the new items.

Wish you all have a nice weekend!
Guillem

 

LD3 trolleys, Houchin C690 GPU and figures.

Hello everybody,

As usual on Sundays, I am giving a little update on how are things going with the GSE models.

There have been more tests going on and adjusting simple things such as the size of the hands for the figures and still have to adjust the helmet dimensions for them.

Some models that were already finished gave me a few small issues that had to be corrected. Besides testing these models I also started designing the PE parts for them, I already did a few etchings which was something that I needed to do due a change in the process and results have been satisfactory.

Instructions are also being completed, so far these have been finished for the tow tractor JST-25, the TLD 414 GPU, the baggage carts, LD3 trolleys and I am currently in the middle of the AST-1 instructions (to differentiate it from other AST-1 models, it will be named as per original model name, AST-1 F 600).
On a side note; the JST-25 tow tractor will be available in two versions separately, the one with cab and the other without, reason for this is that the building process is a little different and thus the instructions will be different as well.

This week I am going to do a test on clear resin. This is very important for me because it will change a little bit how the windows can be assembled, my goal is for example in the JST-25 truck, to use the method of masking everything that has to be clear (windows) and painting the cab, then removing the masking tape.

Clear resin will be important if I make more “civilian” vehicles in the future such as utility vans, airport buses or even the “follow me” cars.
I think this clear resin can also be something positive for the 1/200 scale where adding acetate sheets would be very tedious, having a clear part and having to mask from the outside would be the best option in my opinion.

Tests have to be done, UV and clear resin may not be friends, so I will try to apply a blocking UV coat to avoid yellowing, this is something that will be tested later to see if the yellowing is effectively avoided.
I know that test is a word I use a lot these days, but it is the truth… before having anything released to public, I must make sure that things are going to work out well.
The tests I am doing with these models are also going to be very useful for projects I already have started such as the 1/12 scale B737 cabin.

Some photos of the models; note that the tow truck can also pull the LD3 trolleys:


Just placing these models I had an idea on how this scenario may be represented, with the cargo loader side by side loading containers and a worker pushing the container towards the platform of the cargo loader. I am also planning to make the “squared” type trolleys.


The driver of the belt loader has his head lean to the right to make sure the truck is well positioned and may still be seated there as the workers are finishing loading the latest luggage.
It may not be seen in the photo, but the driver actually has his feet on top of the pedals, it was challenging to adjust everything to fit that way.


These are the parts that compose the Houchin C690 ground power unit.

 

I would like to say that if the tests of the current three models I am fixing now come out correct, I will begin with the 1/200 scale versions. I will be releasing these models in November, that is my goal, and although most of the 1/144 models will be ready, I want to wait till having the 1/200 models ready for a global release.

I am being more cautious now with shipping sizes and weights, so for this reason I am testing the packaging with the smaller blisters for the items such as the AST-1 which used to be packed in the bigger blister in the past.
By having the parts cut out from the base, there is a saving in weight and space, thus the smaller blister I currently use is the perfect one for these models.

That is all for now, I hope that next photos can be of all these models together with their PE in place and also a picture of the 1/200 AST-1 pusback.

Wish you all a nice week!
Guillem

 

September is here and lots of changes with it

Hi guys,

It was about time that I gave an update on how are things going.

Finally I can say that the workplace has been set at 95%, you should probably know that it was not as simple as redecorate an actual room, but the workplace I had shared and still shares some other stuff, so in a way it is still a storage room (it is merely 25% storage room now).

For this very same reason, there have been lots of things that had to go, old clothes, old furniture… there was so many stuff lying around that the floor had to be painted in 3 steps. Many trips to the recycle center in order to make room for the equipment and for me to work in a better and cleaner environment.

Speaking of environment, one of the changes that will come in September and that it is currently the second main reason of why there are basically no stock of items at the store is the acid used in the photo etching process.
Reached this point I had some liters/gallons of acid that had to leave because it was already dirty after the use, my surprise was that the two recycle centers I went neither of them accepted such type of residue and did not give me any advice on what to do with it.

They accept car batteries, but I do believe the acid used in those batteries is more hazard than ferric acid. Still, not even the seller replied me on regards recycling this product, so after reading and searching on Internet, I found a way in which I can try to neutralize this acid and impact as less as possible with nature.

Having said that, I will use a cleaner substitute for the ferric acid, which will be copper sulfate. It is a little different process and again, due other changes in the photo etched process, some tests will need to be done to find the right setup, right exposure times, etc. It is always a trial and error process with most of these things.

 

Now on regards the GSE and also the lack of availability of them at the store. I am currently producing a new range of GSE, 99% of items that I made in the past are now computerized, so between times reorganizing the workplace, I also had an intense 3D course.

Items will still be resin made, but the process is now totally different and as I explained with the acid, a lot of tests are currently going on.

So far I can share some photos of some of the tests that I’ve done so far, with two new models substituting the old Tug MA50 and the belt loader. This time the tractor is the TLD JST-25 and the belt loader is the Tug 660. Other models such as the towbarless pushback AST-1, GPU C690 etc are still the same model, and a new GPU of TLD has also been made.

Note the two levers on the lower left hand side of the seat near the wheel.

Keep in mind that what you see, will also be produced in 1/200 and 1/72 scale, so each scale will require some modifications as well as modifications on the photo etched parts. Most of the parts such as rails will already be solid in the 1/72 scale, and some that used to be photo etched in the past for 1/144 scale, will now be solid/round such as the steering wheels, the towing bars etc.

The 1/200 scale will be the smaller scale of the family, thus I will try to keep as many detail as possible, although some will be virtually impossible and photo etched will be used instead.

Because these items and others not shown yet are new, photo etched will be designed specially for them,  thus some extra time will be required, same applies for the decal design which for some, the artwork will be readjusted.

It is a very big effort, these days I am thinking that this is like starting fresh, but I know that if I keep working hard, results will come.

I will continue doing tests every day to obtain the best results I can offer to you guys, this does not only end here, as I plan to do other parts and figures.

Lastly and although I can’t confirm it 100% because I haven’t had the chance to test it yet, a very good friend of mine has provided me with some renderings and models made acording to real Airbus geometry for sharklets, therefore some of the parts that I will include in the catalogue will be true to the real deal. He has been extremely kind to share this with me and give me the approval to put these items at your disposal for the sake of boosting the modeling experience.

I want to thank everybody who supported me during all this time since I begun and that still do, as I said, to me it is like a new start, so many new things to produce these items, of course I take a look back to see how I used to make things and I see I am taking a risk, but with the results I am seeing I think it is worth to take this chance.

 

More tests will continue and as soon as I progess, I will be posting here individual items and write a little bit about them, what the decals will be, which PE I want to make for them, etc.

Thank you all for the support and patience!
Best wishes,
Guillem

Stock units done

Hello everybody,

I am very glad to say that finally the stock units have been completed. During the last two weeks I have been preparing the photo etched parts and items are now ready for the very latest preparation, which simply consists into finish the packaging process.

At some points during all this latest preparations, things have not been easy, personally and with the PE units, but I tried my best to keep working on these items step by step and it is rewarding to see the completed work.

I have also been working on the livery decals which I am hoping they will all be available from the store opening; decals for the A320, A320Neo and A350.

On regards when the store will be open, I can give now a more clear (and assured) time, which will be at the first or second week of the next month. The reason being that I have used up all the materials I have previously aquired to prepare all these units, therefore I need this prudential time to receive more of the raw materials so that I can continue to produce more items upon store opening.
I can find most of the materials I use within my area, however, after several tests, there are some special materials that works best for me that need to be purchased overseas.

The second reason is that I want to do an out of box build of the Airbus A350 featuring the China Airlines Mikado pheasant livery.
It won’t be a personal choice build (although after a long time, it will be a good practice for me) but rather a build that I intend to make in order to show how our livery decals work, to give tips and advices in a PDF file guide I am about to start and to show/explain how our interior window decals look/works.
I calculated that this build will take me more or less the same time I will be awaiting for the material to arrive, so it will not be time wasted.

The two areas I would like to cover in this model build guide are: painting (including 2k clear coating technique) and decaling with tips/ideas along the way, explaining things in a way considering the mistakes I made on my learning and where experience have been obtained from these. It may not be anything new for you, but hopefully it can also serve as an example of our livery decals to which Rob and myself have put a very big effort in.

Stay tuned as during the next week I will be publishing some steps of this A350 build progress! (And I don’t forget all the other projects that I mentioned in previous posts, which will be started once the store is up and running after this long time of preparations).

Best wishes,
Guillem

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