Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another AMT Airship: the USS Akron!

In 1976, about a year after they released their famous Hindenburg model, AMT produced another airship kit, the USS Akron/Macon. For me, this is another one of those strange omissions from my youth. I loved airships--especially the U.S. Navy ones. So why didn't I buy this kit back in '76? I have no idea other than I was probably too distracted by other airplane kits and simply didn't have enough money to finance all my wants and desires. To finally build this model all these years later was extremely rewarding and at the same time frustrating. While it looks like AMT tried to make some improvements over the Hindenburg, some of the same glaring errors exist on the Akron/Macon. For instance the exterior surface still has that over-exaggerated phony texture that just doesn't translate well to a model of this scale. The struts and braces for the props and control surfaces are way too thick. The extra bracing for the main fins are to be totally discarded and scratch built if one wishes to replicate this later modification to the real airships. I chose to model an early Akron without the bracing. All-in-all though, it does come out to make a very nice model which goes well as a companion to the Hindenburg. She will remain in my collection permanently.

Italeri Soviet Air Force La-5N

Just before Christmas 2013 I finished this Italeri Lavochkin La-5N Soviet WWII fighter. I originally built one of these over a weekend at my friend Phil's house sometime in early 1977. It was not long after I finished it I got my first airbrush on my 13th birthday. I always thought this was kind of an ugly airplane, and I really don't remember why I bought it the first time other than it was probably cheap at Peterson's hobby shop, or that it was Russian and cool. At any rate, I had fun building it again, because it is an excellent little kit - very detailed and crisply molded. By 1975 when this model came out, Italeri was producing excellent quality model kits in 1/72 scale. To this day, the La-5 remains the only Italeri model kit I've ever built. I do plan on building more however such as their outstanding C-119 Flying Boxcar and YF-12A to name a couple.
The rebuild seen here was painted with Testors Model Master Russian Underside Blue (hand-painted) and Testors Dark Green on top from a spray can. The metal panels around the exhaust is metal foil applied with Micro adhesive. I didn't bother to detail the interior since it can't really be seen through the tiny canopy piece.