Five months for this?

I’m not certain it took five months, but it was around that long. Not working continuously, of course.

A photo of a model F-101B Voodoo jet fighter. It is grey with US Air Force insignia prominent on the nose. A navy blue triangle containing stars is on the tail, indicating that this plane belongs to the Minnesota Air National Guard. A Lego minifig of Batman looks on. The plane is twice as tall as Batman.
Lego Batman contemplates a possible replacement for the Batplane.

I don’t feel like going into too much detail right now. It’s the Revell 1/72 F-101B Voodoo, this version was made in 1992. Decals are from Experts-Choice (which is the company that makes Bare Metal Foil). The kit decals were out of register, which means the red stripe in the insignia was noticeably off-center.

A top view of the same model, showing the swept wings and opened canopy. The light grey walkways on the wings can be clearly seen, as can some discoloration of the aluminum-colored jet engine exhausts.
Fun fact – the XF-88, which was the prototype for the F-101 Voodoo, was one of the inspirations for at least one version of the comic book version of the Batplane.

The only other aftermarket part is the pitot tube, from Master Models. (Is a decal sheet considered a part? Most contests allow aftermarket decals in basic kit build categories, but not brass or resin bits.) I used a canopy and wheel mask from KV models, but that’s definitely not a part.

Right rear view of the same plane. The blue triangle on the tail can now be seen to contain stars in the shape of the Big Dipper. The canopy is propped open and the wing flaps are dropped. Some zinc chromate green primer can be seen inside one of the flaps.
The exhaust weathering didn’t come out quite the way I wanted, but the very light preshading of the panel lines is about what I wanted.

The instructions, which I found somewhat vague, have you install the finished cockpit tub up through the missile bay after the fuselage halves are glued together. I broke parts off doing this which had to be reattached from above once the tub was in place. The front landing gear well was also rather fiddly, as you have to build a box with the gear strut sandwiched between the sides. The main gear attachment points were simple butt joints that I suspect will cause me problems in the future.

A closeup from behind of the cockpit. Not much can be seen, but the pilot's instrument panel is partially visible. Warning stencils are on the side of the fuselage below the cockpit. No decal film can be seen around the stencils or insignia because I did a good job of it this time, so there!
The cockpit, which I advise you to install before gluing the fuselage closed.

Otherwise a pretty decent build. The aftermarket bits — pitot, mask, and decals — all worked well for me. Paint is mostly Model Master Enamel, with Alclad for the exhausts.

One of the first kits I ever built was the old Monogram box-scale F-101, probably the 1970 or 1973 boxing, molded in blue plastic. So when I saw this at a show, I had to pick it up. (Well, okay, I didn’t have to, but I did anyway.)

A right rear three-quarters view from above. Nothing new to see here.
One last photo.

Done, but not Good

Has it really been seven months since we’ve posted here? Not that anyone can tell, what with approximately one visitor to the site in that whole time.

So, that Klingon D-7 took a trip to the IPMS Nationals in Omaha back in July, where it was deservedly ignored. Sometime after that, it got accidentally knocked off a shelf and the boom popped off. Since it was only held on with CA glue, it was a clean break and easily repaired.

In the meantime, I finished this Eduard 1/48 Sopwith Camel:

Harley can fix it. She’s got the right tool.

This is the old 2003 boxing, not the new one from 2021. I received it as a gift in 2011, so it’s only been in the stash for a bit more than ten years. It represents the plane of Cat. Ronald Sykes, DFC, in 1918.

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Klingon D-7 Battlecruiser (post-surgery build)

This was mostly built during recovery from surgery, and I’ll get my excuse out of the way up front – I can’t focus my eyes very well at close distances. That’s why I chose to work on something that doesn’t have very much fine detail on it.

The only bit in focus is the paint booger.

This is the Polar Lights 1/1000 ‘Romulan Battle Cruiser’, POL897/12. Of course you all know that this ship is basically a Klingon D-7, because as I understand it, the original Romulan Bird of Prey model was lost/misplaced/destroyed/unavailable after the first season. (The remastered version of ‘The Enterprise Incident’ uses a computer-generated BoP in place of one of the D-7s, but we won’t go there.)

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Some Thoughts on Vallejo Surface Primer

A lot of people online seem to really hate this stuff. Others report that it works fine. I’m somewhere in between, so just to confuse things, here is my experience with using it, but no real conclusions.

The item in question

Stuff I like:

  • Easy to spray. Put it in a large-nozzle airbrush, crank it up to 20psi, and hose it on. Thinning (with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner) is not needed, but you can dilute it down a bit if you like.
  • Water cleanup (mostly.) A bit of thinner makes it clean up easier.
  • Dries to a very smooth surface.
  • Available in lots of colors. (Skeleton Bone, Ultramarine, 4BO Green, White, etc.)
  • Can be mixed with Vallejo Model Air/Model Color and presumably other acrylics.
  • Can be brushed on with good results.
  • Dries pretty rapidly.
  • Can be lightly dry-sanded to remove runs and goobers.

Stuff I don’t like:

  • Dries on the airbrush needle tip something awful. Adding flow improver doesn’t seem to help much.
  • Tends to pool at inside corners, and pull away from outside corners.
  • Needs a fairly high pressure and large nozzle to spray, which could be an issue if you’re trying to paint detail. (But then, why are you using a primer for that anyway?)
  • Doesn’t adhere very well to bare plastic, even after pre-washing. It sticks great to Tamiya spray can primer, but if it’s already primed. . .
  • Doesn’t like being wet-sanded. Tends to come off in sheets.
  • Hard to clean if left to dry on a paintbrush.


None, as I stated up top. I’ve been using this most recently because it was the right color. I won’t go so far as to throw it out, and for small spot-fills using a brush it’s pretty good. It’s thinner than the grey Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer in the square bottle, and sometimes that’s the consistency you need. I just haven’t been able to get consistent results using it as a primer for plastic.

It’s possible that the formula may have been updated since I bought this bottle several years ago. And as always, your results may differ from mine.


Due to some upcoming projects by the Biological Research and Freaks of Nature department, we expect there will be no updates for a few weeks. (Last time they tried something like this — whatever ‘this’ is — we had Animal Control in here for two months trying to get rid of all the frogs.) So here’s a couple of photos to document current progress.

My neck in a vise. (note: get new caption writer.)

Tenor uke neck, in progress, some rough carving done on one side. Hard to see here, but he neck does taper from the 14th fret down to the nut. (when viewed from above.) Nut width is planned to be about 1-7/16″.

D7 ready for paint

The Polar Lights 1/1000 Romulan Battle Cruiser, which also includes alternate parts and decals for a Klingon D7. This will be a Klingon version. Lots of discussion as to what the ‘correct’ colors are. Plan is to use three tones of grey, unless it looks bad, in which case I’ll do something else. The color coat should cover those white specks on top of the hangar bay with no trouble.

Not gone, just really slow

Starting a tenor, Spanish cedar neck. The plan is to use the Hana Lima ‘Ia plans (since they worked well last time) with a Spanish heel. I have some Engelman spruce for the soundboard, and East Indian rosewood for everything else. But for now, I just have a mess of glue.

Scarf joint ready for smoothing
Heel stack glueup

I thought I had a photo of the scarf joint glueup, but I can’t seem to find it now. It wasn’t important anyway. Scarf joint was cut on the table saw using an angle jig, and smoothed with a block plane. It still needs to be thinned down a little bit.


I finished putting drawers in the workbench back in November, but neglected to post anything about it at the time.

Oh, I do not like this new WordPress editor. Ah; found the old one. That’s better. I prefer to see the controls available to me, thank you very much.

I guess this is done, since I’ve been using it for six months and it’s covered in junk.