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Scale Modeling Tips & Tools Monthly, Issue #010-- "Tis The Season
November 15, 2007
November 15, 2007

Make Early Christmas Plans This Year

For hobby enthusiasts of every ilk, the pace starts to quicken a little around Thanksgiving. In another month they may well be the Christmas benefactor of another prized acquisition for their favorite pastime.

Whether it is a new 4-8-8-4 Bigboy, an RC helicopter, a new diorama centerpiece or a new plank-on-frame ship model, hints are being dropped.

Its how we drop those hints that really matters this month. With gasoline pushing $4 a gallon, leave a few of your favorites on the family computer or how about an email discussing your wished for project?

Face it, there will be a lot more shopping from home this winter and it is a good idea to start to let your fingers do the walking a little early.

If you aren't registered for eBay already, now is the time to get familiar with the biggest hobby shop in the world.

It is obviously a buying medium where you have to take care, make sure you know the item you are looking to purchase and knowledgeable about pricing.

On the other hand, it is foolish not to search eBay when you are considering a purchase. So, if your spouse has computer phobia, now is the time to make it easier for all family members.

Get The Jump On Your Christmas Shopping

Make 2007 the year you get your Christmas shopping organized,

Here are nine tips to getting it done right.

1. Make Your list and check it twice

Like any other major campaign, a list will give you a plan for your gift buying. Know who you will be buying for, have some idea of how much you want to spend and a hobby idea for each of your gift recipients.

2. Take your shopping online.

This can save you time, money (particularly with gasoline snuggling up to $4 per gallon),a lot of walking and dealing with crowds.

3. Develop a list of favorites,

Sites that actually help you with your shopping. Look for value adds like your own database of the people on your list, scale conversion charts, color charts and tools needed.

4.Something for Everyone.

Bookmark online sellers that offer something for everyone on your list. If you can find a site that offers everything from beading supplies to model trains, you can save time and money.

5. Free Shipping—

This can save as much as 20% on your Christmas budget. Find the sites that offer it.

6. Free Gifts.

Almost as important are sites that offer you a bonus for reaching specific plateaus in dollars spent.

7. Warrantees and Returns

Check warrantees and return policies, Favorable return policies are important for early shoppers. A generous return policy is favorable to your gift recipient who my want to return in January a gift you bought in November.

8. Lots and lots.

On eBay for instance, you will find many sellers who offer lot buys giving you the ability to buy from 2 to 25 or more in a lot. Good for clubs or other groups.

9. Extras.

Online vendors are beginning to offer gift wrapping that can save you $3-$5 per present. Shipping discounts for multiple buys.

Weathering Tips To Age Your Creation

Almost every form of modeling has its own requirements to take away the new, fresh-out-of-the-box look and one form or another of weathering sooner or later comes into the picture.

Weathering is the term of choice in all instances where the purpose of your effort is making the model look like it has been used. This used condition takes many forms. Its up to you to simulate it. Litter accumulates, dirt and grime gets deposited, exhaust stains, sun fades the hardest of painted surfaces, metal rusts, and almost everything shows use and abuse.

Every time you scan large scale photographs of the real thing you can see the obvious signs of age. Make a mental note of what caused the signs and then determine how you can simulate the same signs. NOTE: that is simulate, not duplicate.

Chalk It To Age It

Start off with pastel chalks like burnt orange, umber, browns and blacks, grays and you will need white.

You will need to reduce the sticks to dust. Use a blade and scrape it across the length of the chalk onto a piece of copy paper.

The handiest storage container I've come across is the week-long pill organizers. Each box is labeled S,M,T,W,T,F,S) Under each letter put enough chalk dust to cover the bottom of the colors you use most often.

Pick up a tall can of Matte finish spray from your craft store (it is more economical than the little Dullcoat cans), and works just as good to cover your chalked weathering.

Getting Mortar Bored

To really look realistic your brick buildings need mortar.

Most manufacturers turn out a pretty accurate scale bricks in their sheets, but that is where the detail ends. Take a look at a real brick wall and you'll find there isn't much duplication. Some are scratched, some are chipped, many have a cross-hatch of gouges or scratches. Simulate these by dry brushing with a black wash (India Ink or black leather polish).

But the final touch mortaring, will have the most profound effect. I learned this from a Ken Sproranza clinic on weathering.

You'll need a bottle of sand-colored water-base paint as well as a dark gray; Both are mixed with denatured alcohol and often for use on the same wall section.

For a cheap, one session applicator, stop by your favorite electronics store and ask them to save you some packing foam (fine, 1-2-inch gray sheets). My favorites are the reverse egg carton looking used to pack sensitive electronic parts.

As needed, I cut off one of the nodules to provide a hand-held sop. Dip it into the paint mixture and rub across the brick surface. The next step is to wipe it from the brick faces, I prefer to use my finger for more finite control.

Fingers work good for this purpose as they don't dip into the mortar lines and swab out mortar and cleanup is real easy.

Going To War

Military vehicles present you with a number of unusual weathering challenges by introducing camouflage for a variety of operating conditions. For instance, today's Iraqi environment means dealing with different colors than say, winter snow operations or the muddy terrain of the Orient or tropics.

If you hang around many modeler groups, you won't be there long in a weathering discussion without hearing the name Tamiya, a company that has come up with master modeling kits and weathering sticks to add realistic weathering effects.

Whether you are thinking Christmas or Weathering, Tamiya is a name to keep in mind:

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