First entry of 2022 – Roadmap, info and friends gallery

Dear all,

This is the first entry of the year for me, and I wanted to take the opportunity to overview a bit which will be the main path for the next twelve months.

I hope you had a very nice start of the year, for me unfortunately it has been a bit bumpy, having to deal with personal difficulties that add to my stress and mood as well as trying to overcome problems with my work, but I guess this is probably something that has also happened to you before and something we often go through.

I have taken the last few weeks to remodel my workplace and modify some of the tools that I have for the production of the resin parts as well as the photo etched parts. Changes that could bring me a not so exposed-to chemical environment as well as a more practical workflow.

I am currently struggling with the temperatures, my printers do not work well at 20ºC – 68F and thus recently I had to throw away hours of work and material.
Changing them from place is not an option, so I am looking at methods to keep the room warmer within the possibilities of the room which is located at the top part of the house.

A powerful electric stove is currently being used, but that cannot be the ultimate remedy due the increase in the costs of electricity (which keeps rising) and thus I am studying a modification for the printers to keep their chambers (and the resin) at a more stable and warmer temperature, that means a PTC heater controlled by a digital thermostat.

That is a part of what I am dealing with to solve issues, another part is to adjust settings so that delicate things could actually get built without issues. This has to do with the speed at which a part of the printer moves, slowing it down reduces the risk, but also increases the time of production significantly, an extra hour to the usual time with the lowest settings I am trying, may be able to reduce time a bit if results are fine at the lowest setting.

20º-68F is not very cold for us humans, but now that we have colder temps, it is making this delicate work very much difficult to accomplish sometimes.

Before I depress you with more of my waffling, I would like to inform you that the restocking of the new towbar pushbacks, towbars and catering trucks will be in about a couple weeks, as I am trying to finalize their packaging and their PE parts. If temperatures permit, will also make a few more units for the pushbacks. Will say a restocking date in just a few days.

Work has also started with the production of the next group, which will include the Belt loader TUG660, the AST-1 pushback, the FMC15i loader and the TLD ABS1740 stairs truck. Going by groups will be my choice at the moment, because that is how I want to restock items, since several are out of stock, then I want these to be at the same time back in stock, so that customers who may wish to purchase another item, they can have the chance to do so and not to wait for another restocking date/shipping fee.

The quick overview for the next 12 months:

I have learned many new techniques that are allowing me to make more intricate and shape-complex work, thus there is in the works a comprehensive 1/144 antennae pack with several ELT’s, VHF’s, ADF’s, ADS’s, TCAS II, Satcoms, UHF’s, Glideslopes, marker beacons and GPS antennas (pitot tubes also on my list).
Also, in the works (and pretty much advanced at this moment and tested successfully) the B747-400 wingtip with winglets, may also do a wingtip with the HF antenna for the -100/-200/-300 variants. Other sharklets to be produced will be for the A320/A321 and A350-900.
These were done in the past, but the new techniques I learned allows me to make them this time with engraved lines.

These are little projects that I will be working on and possibly several other more as I progress alongside the “big” projects for this year.

My two center pillar projects for this year are going to be:
B747-8F/-400F cargo deck detail set
, as you may have read before, it will be a full open cargo operation scenario, nose door, side cargo door, cargo hold doors, everything open (well, probably except the bulk cargo door) and surely L1 door will be open as well. Detail of the main deck as well as the cargo holds.
This will be produced for the Revell B747-8i and B747-8F kits as well as for the Zvezda B747-8i kit.
On the way, and picking up where I left with the B747-400 winglets, I will also be working on conversion parts to produce the -400 model from the -8 model kits, that means the -400 engines and some other details, if that comes out well, I may work on the classic engines as well, and a modification of the wingbody fairing for them which is different than the -400 model.

1/12 B737 cabin project, what can I say about it? It will basically be the whole B737 cabin in 1/12 scale from the start of the sidewalls onward. Not saying it will be completed this year, but it will now be a regular project I will be working on.

There are some other “smaller” projects that I would like to make on the way and probably to have a bit of a change and fresh air from the big two projects, some of these will be the Komatsu towbar pushabcks, pushback personnel as well as some more crew stuff.

The upcoming releases will be the B787-9 cargo holds, both forward and rear as well as the F396 pushback model that I previewed on the last entry. The F70 is also in the plans and will be started soon. I am hoping to release these new items soon. I mentioned in the past that it would be at the end of the month, but I need to first figure out the solution for these cold temperatures and see if adjusting the settings will definitely be of help. Fortunately issues happen only in certain parts and not all of them, so that should not prevent me from releasing these new models soon.

Things sometimes seem quite easy, but more often than not, they aren’t. The AST-1 body mold gave up the other day, so I need to make a new mold for it. There is always things that get in the way, but little by little these will be overcomed, it’s part of the work.

These are my main focuses for the year, but there is also another project that may take me longer and that I haven’t mentioned before yet.

As you know, some time ago I had my silk screen detail decals printed by a company (For the A320/A321 family as well as for the A350-900/-1000). There is a reason for the delay of their release besides the work on the illustrations/instructions, and that is that I am also working on my silk screening setup.

Having seen those silk screened decals has increased the interest in me, that perhaps some liveries could be made in silk screen and so I am trying to do this myself, which in a way a part of the process does not differ much than of the photo etched process, in fact, you need to expose to UV everytime you make PE, but you expose only once with silk screening for every color (until the design cannot be used anymore after a long time).

That is all I can say about it, because I am not even sure I will be able to produce such type of decals, if I can’t, that would lead me to switch back to laser/livery and silk screen/details, which will be the case for some liveries, but some others I would very much wish to have them silk screened.
This I kind of leave it as my “outside of work” hobby, because it will probably take me quite a lot to be able to produce them, if I ever can.

Last but not least, I want to share some photos that arrived to me from my fellow modeler friends. I have to say that it brightens my day everytime I see these models I dedicated so much time to, to be painted/assembled and portrayed by friends and modelers from different parts of the world.

For such, I dedicated a new category in the blog, where I will be adding more photos and galleries from anyone of you who wants to share their work with the rest of us.

This is a diorama my friend Miroslav from Czech Republic is working on:

Another ramp from India, this time in 1/200, of my friend Shivam:

Lastly, a ramp from France, of my friend Ludovic, who is currently working on this project:

I will be publishing more photos, and if any of you wish to share theirs, please do contact me and I will be more than happy to put them in the new gallery.

That is all for now, work continues, it never stops, whether it is an improvement or a solution of a new problem, production and the creation of newer things.

Wish you are all safe, wish you all that this year can be the year we can start to leave Covid behind, the year we can start to see a light at the end of the tunnel even the tunnel may have its own curves, we shall not give up, take good care of those that are around us, be kind and be nice.

Best wishes,
Guillem

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