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  1. I agree with @thegoodsgt. Day-to-day it doesn't feel like it's getting easier, but just keep doing it. After I scribed an entire Revell-Monogram F/A-18C I dreaded the thought of replacing a whole set of lines. But having gotten a lot better at it on smaller jobs (restoring lost lines, some scratchbuilding) I'm about ready to tackle a whole airframe again.
  2. I ran an experiment using the Micromesh sanding pads, and some Novus #2 and #3 polish with a motor tool. The results aren't bad. I deliberately scuffed a piece of clear styrene (an old Monogram SB2C canopy) with some 600 grit sandpaper. Next, I used the entire Micromesh set, followed by the liquid polishes. Although the canopy polished to a shine and was reasonably clear, it still had some noticeable scratching. I also tried some Tamiya polishes, and they seemed to work about the same as the Novus stuff. I suspected that I should have started with some of the finer grits in the Micromesh set, such as 2400 mentioned by @AlienFrogModeller. I'll test again on that basis. I've dipped canopies in Future in the past, with success. But I'd like to see if I can do without that step, for various reasons, and I suspect it's possible.
  3. I'm interested in improving my processes for polishing clear parts. For example, after having scraped and sanded a mold seam from a jet canopy, I'd like to polish it back to a clear, high shine. I'm seeing folks do this with motor tools, and I have one of Dremel's cordless units that goes to really low RPMs. But I should probably do this with some sort of polishing cream or compound. Anyone have favorites?
  4. I'm considering building an early, Cold War AH-64 using Monogram's old 1/48th scale kit. But this time around I'd rather not try to clean up Monogram's doughy, sink-marked AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. After some quick investigation, I think this Eduard kit can successfully represent early AGM-114s. Although it looks like I might have to use the Monogram rack and rails. Thoughts? Warnings? Advice?
  5. I have it. I imagine I could cut up bigger cutting mats to replace the little mat on the Chopper II, but I've never had occasion to replace the original. Yes, it uses stock single-edge razor blades. With a fresh blade I've cut up to 1/4" or maybe bigger pieces, but I don't get perfectly perpendicular cuts. I've gotten bigger materials closer to square with a few swipes of file. It saves time over using a knife or razor saw. Where it's most useful to me is quickly cutting larger styrene rods or strips for 1/35 diorama projects, which don't require super-precision. Also handy are the metal angle guides that come with it.
  6. After having a bottle go bad I, too, store mine away from a direct light source. I've had it/used it for over a year now, and so far so good. I don't like products that require special care, but I do like MM's poly as it seems to add strength to finishes.
  7. That GI Joe's "Pit" was located under the U.S. Army Chaplain's Assistant School was ironic and fun. That Fort Wadsworth was a real installation on Staten Island is genuinely surprising. I would have guessed that in the true spirit of the United States Army, GI Joe would be exiled to stationed somewhere south, west, very remote, too humid or too dry, with plenty of poisonous snakes or fire ants. Instead, the Joes pay $5.70 for a cup of coffee.
  8. Reviving this project, although I don't have much spare time, so this will (still) be slow. I built up a bunch of sub-assemblies, and began painting. Most parts are primed, but I'm finishing the cockpit parts before assembling the nose. I wanted some heavy armament of some kind, and wasn't satisfied with various ordinance options from kits. So I cobbled up a set of simple missiles of some sort. They consist of Evergreen styrene shapes with some rocket pod aerodynamic caps from a 1/48 Hasegawa weapons set. I'm building the kit wheels up, with a pair of pilots, so I need a base on which to mount the flying plane. From Amazon, I got some cheap electronics hobby boxes and screws, to build something akin to an avionics module. To add some weight, I epoxied in a bunch of leftover cheap hardware and some BBs. (You buy a light fixture, shelving brackets, or even a TV mount, and they give you soft-metal screws. If it has to be sturdy, I replace those.) I made a base like this before, on a previous project, but the finished base was a bit too big and sort of upstages the model airplane. So I'm using a smaller box this time.
  9. Most of us aren't practicing handwashing, social distancing, and other tactics directed by medical practitioners to save ourselves from dying. We're doing it because: We have friends and family in higher-risk categories, and we don't want to lose them, or see them suffer a life-changing medical emergency. We don't wish to see our healthcare systems overwhelmed with cases, such that people can't undergo proper treatment for COVID 19 or other, unrelated medical problems. This isn't hysteria because if we aren't personally at risk of dying from COVID 19 complications, for people we know COVID 19 is a greater risk than common strains of flu. That is, we care about other people. As for the hoarding? If it's irrational, it is a self-perpetuating cycle where things seem more disastrous, and then because of panic, become so. When I was at the supermarket this morning, I saw as many people just trying to do their weekly shopping, but whom were scared and depressed at seeing the aftermath of panic. I exchanged jokes with those I could, and with employees. ("Notice how nobody hoards vegetables, or low-sodium options, even those that last for weeks?") I also think that, with so many Americans' retirement income dependent on publicly-traded investments over which they have zero influence, the stock markets' behaviors have as much to do with peoples' hysterical behavior. That, too, might be considered a public health problem. All that said, it is pretty awesome to have a hobby that can withstand "social distancing," although the phrase is a bit misplaced, when one considers how lively message boards such as this one can be.
  10. My work was on PRCo, Pittsburgh's version. But when it came time to bribe the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission, Philadelphia's crew outdid everyone else. Truly an A-level act.
  11. "More base for ya face," as Mike D comments.
  12. Younger people have no idea what that means. They will think you mean some commuter train in the Philly area that was discontinued for lack of ridership. Plus, the reason Pactra worked so well was probably due to some ingredient like lead or mercury. Man, those paints in the twentieth century were awesome. They stayed on, took a beating, and made you smile when you breathed the fumes. But like x-ray machines in shoe stores, radium in wristwatches, cigarettes, strategic bombing, Lake Erie, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Chernobyl, you really gotta to chuckle at their toxicological blasé.
  13. Maybe the environmental and health regulatory issues matter, but Ammo, AK, and others sell what we call "enamel" products, available around the world. These aren't paints in the traditional sense, but instead are things like washes, textured mixes, and even thicker "oil" paints. They even sell thinners for these. Perhaps they will now produce traditional paints if Testors, or its parent, appears to be disinvesting. And of course, if they're a worthwhile market for them. Apart from the fact that acrylics have gotten much better in the past 30 years (I remember the old days,) I think these enamel products are related to why acrylics are now used by so many people: if you want to use these weathering products, you can do so with greater confidence and fewer steps applying them over water- or alcohol-based paints that are resistant to things like mineral or white spirits. Regarding toxicity, lacquers and acrylic-lacquers have proliferated. Testors half-heartedly produced some lacquer colors, and I don't know if even these few are available anymore. I found their lacquer primer to be too aggressive for plastic; Mr. Surfacer is a better product. But you can surely kill yourself breathing Mr. Color fumes just as effectively as MM Enamel. If Testors finally goes away, I'll miss their enamels, and their acrylics, too. But I won't be surprised. Perhaps if they had produced more innovative products, or made more aggressive efforts to reach audiences other than people like me, they'd be in better shape. As I suggested above, I feel the same way about Revell USA. They essentially ignored the growth of Armor modeling, which was a huge pass. I love me some World War II planes, to be sure, but maybe supplying me with a PV-1 Ventura was less of a good business move, when Japanese companies seem to be making global money on science fiction subjects that younger people dig. Gosh, what if Revell had continued their experiment with Halo, and made a line of kits from video game franchises like Mass Effect, or Fallout? And then Testors could have produced dedicated paint and weathering sets specifically labeled for these games, too! Like Bandai's Star Wars line, they may have introduced the hobby to people who didn't know it existed.
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