Tuesday 31 August 2010

SARO Princess 1/72 scale Vac-Form Kit - Part 2 Construction Begins

Jim Lund has sent another batch of photo's of his build of Mike Herrill's new 1/72 scale vac-formed kit of the SARO Princess for us to see. Jim say's:

"Hard labor! Here am I grinding down the hull halves on the sanding board. The thick and sturdy .060 vacuum formed styrene is a big plus for this very large model".
"I've marked out the panels and windows. Thank goodness the windows are round, as an electric rotary drill bit can be used....less than 5 minutes work. Pictured above the hull are the bulkheads, cut out of .060 styrene stock provided in the kit. The central wing supporting bulkhead is cut from 3/4 inch balsa".
"Here is the Hull now glued, with both halves taped together and curing".
"The lovely Princess, showing off her voluptuous figure the glue having dried. Instrument panels and crew seats have been fitted. The tiny porthole windows would not show interior detail, so no passenger compartment details were installed".
"The Princess shows off her fine chine lines. Mike Herrill has done a beautiful job of pattern making and vac-forming, as can be seen by the perfect match of the hull halves. Also shown in this picture is the wing spar, cut from a wooden yardstick. Now I'm starting work on the wings, shown on the lower left.  More to come next week....."

There will be more to come as Jim continues with this fantastic kit. I must admit looking at it, she really does look great. You have to remember that Jim is a time-served, long standing, master craftsman when it comes to model flying boat building, however the ease to which this kit is going together should bring it well within the reach of reasonably experienced vac-form builders, as it appears to be extremely well engineered.

And, given that there is now no shortage of reference material - all you could possibly want is right here on SEAWINGS - then that just leaves the painting and decaling to sort out. It will be interesting to see how Jim deals with that in the coming weeks. Keep going Jim, she looks great!!


Wednesday 11 August 2010

New-Build 1:1 scale Glass-Fibre Grumman 'Widgeon'

Just received an interesting communication from long-time SEAWINGS correspondent Dave Fletcher (a.k.a. 'The Volmer Guy'). He owns his own Volmer amphibian that is featured in the walk-round section of the SEAWINGS main site, so knows a good thing when he see's it! It reads: "I saw this new production Amphibian, Gweduck c/n 001 at the EAA Arlington Fly-in and air show. It looks like a Widgeon from a distance, but close up it has a fibreglass hull and opposite-handed Lycoming engines. Sorry about the quality of the photo, but it was dusk at the time".

What a 'looker'....! I don't know anymore about it other than what you have just read but if these are in series production I would love to know more about them. Any info 'out there' that anyone can send in, to the usual e-mail address?

I wonder how it handles compared to the original? As ever, thanks Dave.


Tuesday 10 August 2010

SARO Princess in a 1/72nd scale kit - a reality! Honest..!!

Well, I never thought I would be writing these words - ever...! So, I shall say this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, there exists a 1/72nd scale kit of the SARO Princess flying boat. There, I said it, at last.....Wow.
Actually, it's a vac-form kit from the USA and here is the proof:

Flying Boat modelmaker extrodinaire Jim Lund, also from the USA, has just sent me these two pictures he took of his latest project and I must admit I would love one myself! What a project to get your teeth into over the coming winter and what a size this will be when finished. Some say that the good o'l days for vac-forms are over but I'm not one that transcribes to that theory. I love vac-forms as they often allowed me to construct scale models of flying boats, some of which are only now being kitted and that's over 20 years later than when I built the first one by this method! So, they have their place in our modeling world.

Also, they allow me to get much deeper into the details of the craft I was building at the time as I had to do the research myself as often the instructions were simply to vague; that led to more research of the actual craft and around it all went in an ever decreasing circle until the model was built. So, I for one welcome the chance to pit my modeling skills against a massive vac-form kit such as this, complete with all the vagaries it offers the modeler such as size, dimensions, accuracy, detail, scratchbuilding etc - fantastic value for money I'd say. As Jim say's: "What you see is what you get. No props, resin or white metal and no decals. I welcome this kit because I only build in 1/72, and its an important flying boat needed in my collection. An experienced vacform builder will have a wonderful time with this kit. I hope to have mine completed sometime this year".

"You also get a set of 1/72 plans. You do not get the magazine in the picture"!

Price $75 U.S. Plus post and packing. Contact Mike Herrill at email address mandmherrill@verizon.net  Bear in mind that that is the price in the USA - for the UK & Europe it will cost more. Contact Mike for details direct.


Saturday 7 August 2010

Coming soon on SEAWINGS...!

Here's a few of the items that I'm currently working on to up-load shortly:

Lake LA-250 Renegade

Recently, I was very, very fortunate to be in the 'right place at the right time' (which makes a nice change for me!) and came face-to-face with the only Lake Renegade amphibian that I have ever seen, but not only that it is also the only one on the current German Register!

The owner, Dr. Andreas Schall very kindly let me walk all around it and shoot pictures to make a complete walk-round gallery - all of this in nearly 36deg full sunshine. Boy, was it a hot day! But, Dr. Schall was a star! He put up with all my requests to "could you open this panel" and " can you shut the cockpit door, please" and even came up with a couple of suggestions himself - all-in-all, an enjoyable 45 minutes in his company. Then, it was a dash into the shade which just happened to be the port wing of the Plane Sailing, Duxford based PBY Catalina sitting right alongside it! There, I finally met with David Legg, correspondent to SEAWINGS on the Catalina par excellence!

You know, it can be a very 'lonely' sort-of task sitting here running the SEAWINGS site in its different guises such as the forum, and I do get an awful lot of e-mails from my correspondents all over the World that tie us all together which is nice but that is all it is - e-mails.

But it is SO nice when one finally gets to meet one of them, whichever one, something that has not happened that often in the past 10 years, and so meeting David as part of the Catalina crew was just like meeting an old friend again after many years away. What a thoroughly nice bloke! We had a long chat together under the Cat's wing and for me it was a highlight of the day, coming directly after crawling all over the Renegade. For the rest of the day I was smiling! Thanks, David.

Grumman G-21G 'Aelutian Goose'

Next up I'm working on this beauty; the 'new' Grumman G-21G Goose from Triple S Aviation based in Dubai and thanks to Landon Studer the company's General Manager and Managing Director Saad Muhialdin, SEAWINGS was granted unlimited access and trust me, I made full use of that!

The excitement I feel when I get near to a flying boat (oh, and before you say it, I know it's technically an amphibian, but I class them all as flying boats in my world) is brilliant! To just be able to walk around one, see one, be near it and just gaze at it, for me, is all I ask...........then, to be invited to actually go aboard it, well, I can tell you a tear welled up! I was given the whole machine, for as long as I wanted it, go all over it, externally and internally, and then.......the pinnacle; top sit in the Pilot's seat - WoW and double Wow!!

There I was with a grin that would have had to be surgically removed sitting in the Pilot's seat - I mean, ME! Woooooo.....!

So, I just had to do her justice, and a huge photographic walk-round ensued, soon to be on SEAWINGS.

Grumman Widgeon - N17481 - Harvey Flying Services Kodiak Alaska - WR 2009

Sometimes, something special comes my way and this craft is no exception, for she is a working flying boat (amphib) - one of the very few nowadays -  and in one of the hardest areas of them all, Alaska.

Steve Harvey contacted me about joining the SEAWINGS Flying Boat Forum.

Whilst we were communicating, I asked him that if he had the time would he be kind enough to take some photographs of his craft, enough so that modelers could produce a scale model in these markings if they so desired. The result is another cracking walk-round to be up-loaded. Thanks, Steve.

And Finally...........

Whilst we are on the subject of flying boat enthusiasts enjoying themselves, AND getting to sit in the Pilot's seat of certain craft, one of the longest-time correspondents of SEAWINGS over most of its lifetime so far, is Alex Norton from Canada.

Alex often sends in material for me to publish on the site and has been a prolific contributor since the very early days. Again, we have never met but have this e-mail based relationship that I always enjoy, until now.................... 

Now he has gone TOO FAR....!

Alex e-mailed me the other day. Been on a bit of a road trip, he said. Visited a few museums, he said. Then he sent these pictures.........

This is Alex in the cockpit seat of the Martin Mars at Sprout Lake......

and this is Alex in the cockpit seat of the Spruce Goose.......

Alex, your KILLING ME!!  Stop it now!

You are single-handedly doing everything that I have ever wanted to do - and all in the same trip!

Good grief, can't you leave anything for me to do! :)

Seriously, what a trip - Oh, how I wish it was me I am so jealous! What a memory to take away with you forever.

Alex, good on yer, and well done. Having done those, where are you gonna go next?

Till next time, Regards, SEAWINGS

Savoia-Marchetti S.55 - pictures & plans on SEAWINGS

Following on from the superb walk-round sent in by my good friend Fabrizio D'Isanto of the remaining hull section of the Savoia-Marchetti S.55X flying boat, I remembered that I had some more information in my archives, so dug it out today.

Not much, just a few decent pictures and a set of genuine original hand-drawn plans dating from the 1930's but enough to provide a reasonable amount of information for anyone building the only 1/72nd scale plastic kit available from SuperModel - although somewhere in the recesses of my mind I seem to recall that it has been re-released and re-boxed again - by Italeri(?) - anyway, it is the only one and not a bad kit at that, so this information will certainly help.

Which incidentally brings me to a point that is often raised with myself namely the oft asked question, "How do you determine what you are going to up-load onto the SEAWINGS website at any given time?" Well, the above is an example of one way - sitting here quietly working away when an e-mail arrives and it contains a photographic walk-round donated by a correspondent of a complete flying boat, or plans, or contemporary photo's found by someone 'in the loft' - you'd be surprised how often that one occurs - and I get 'all fired up' as the subject matter is quite exciting and I feel I have to share them with all the viewers straight away!

It is made all the more easier for me if the images are already formatted, ready to up-load virtually without doing anything else to them, in other words 'as supplied'. Having them arrive in a 'ready to go' state saves me hours of work. For those that do not operate any form of website, and particularly one that is image heavy like SEAWINGS, the preparation of images is probably the single most time consuming act of them all, other than perhaps having to completely re-write (type) someone else's 10 page article(!)

Size is also an important consideration(!)....images to be viewed have to be worth it, by that I mean it's no good with todays sophisticated monitors and especially ones that are 15", 17" or 19" big, sitting there trying to focus on a tiny image in the middle of the screen. You would cry if I told you what I have had to reject as the scanning is far too small to be of use to myself or the site. It never fails to surprise me that this is the one area where most people fail, even though they are donating with the best will in the world. The days of the 6" x 4" image print are long-gone on a computer monitor.

Today's modern digital cameras are capable of taking a picture that, if printed out full size (as it were) would be around 2 feet square in actual physical size. So, with a multitude of images coming into me, most of my time is spent getting them ready for viewing. Apart from re-sizing them, there's always the removal of the white borders on older black & white prints, removing blemishes and general touching up if they are in poor condition and in general a host of things that can take place before they are ready to go. No one ever sees this bit.

There are a number of computer programmes that I use for all of this and have got quite good at it over the years but the point is, it still has to be done.

That then leaves the layout of the pages and the insertion of images into the articles and the general site building work, finishing in the actual up-loading itself.

Anyway, what comes into me can start me off into checking what else I have to go with it. I try, albeit poorly sometimes - to up-load pictures with plans or manuals figuring that the scale modeler needs all he can get in one go to do justice to his/her model and it would be a bad show on my part to up-load the pictures then 3 months later add the plans just as they have finished it!

For the most part though, the main way that I choose what to up-load next is to consult the 'bible' - I have over the past 10 years built up a spreadsheet which is 1,000's entries long and it is a record of everything that I have collected electronically and where it is located in the pc archive - my flying boat archive - which incidentally, I have been told by the few that have seen it and know a lot more than I do (which is not difficult!) that it is the largest private archive in the UK (!). So, I 'trawl' through this looking at all th entries and simply choose what I fancy! Simple as that!

I try to mix it up a bit, modern and contemporary. different types and the like to give a good selection over a period of time. I also try to up-load items that are relevant, say to new kit releases in particular.

However, I must admit that the fun for me is perusing this huge listing and selecting my favourites; at anyone time I usually have a dozen up-loads that I'm working on and each one of them is exciting for me.

Mind you, I often get requests by e-mail asking if I have anything on a particular flying boat type and I'm always happy to oblige if I have it by up-loading whatever I have. So, please ask if there is anything YOU want to see. If I have it, then I'll share it with you.

So, there you have it; the answer to the question is really me picking what I want with others asking from time-to-time.

Considering the facination I have with the flying boat, I reckon that is one of my life's real pleasures and long may it continue!


Wednesday 4 August 2010

Welcome to the new SEAWINGS Blog....!

This blog has been set-up as the place where all the musings of SEAWINGS can go - call it 'Rumour Control' if you like; the place where I can tell you about new kits in the pipeline, or a quick look at some images that I have received, in-fact just about anything connected with flying boats.

The reason for this starting this blog is simply that the main SEAWINGS site is first and foremost a reference website and I don't want it to become clogged with text; each time I do an up-date I have been concerned that there isn't enough space on the What's New page to really list things, or mention what's happening around the site. I get asked often 'why so long between up-dates', well now I have somewhere to tell you what's coming up and why it takes so long, or whatever.

Also, The SEAWINGS Flying Boat Forum isn't the right place for what I want to do here; that too is a reference site in the main. Currently, there are 163 registered members (it's free if YOU want to join!) and I know that SEAWINGS gets many more visitors a day than visit the forum. That's ok, I don't have a problem with that as I know (because they have told me) that they are people that don't wish to join or contribute but here now they can if they want to - just by posting on the blog.

So, here is where you will find out what I'm thinking of up-loading in the next few weeks, what's been sent in to me in the way of reference material, and anything else I can think of.

Your contribution is warmly welcomed! 

More later............