Ebbro 1/20 JPS Lotus 72E

Eric Larson once described himself to me as a ‘meticulous modeller’ and my experience of his beautiful models, over a number of years, reinforces that as a fair description. It’s therefore, with much pleasure that I introduce his latest creation – a subject for which the necessity to indeed be ‘meticulous’, is a given, the iconic JPS Lotus.

Hand in hand with that, it was Eric that first drew my attention to the resurgent Airfix Model World magazine and he has been a contributor since the re-launch of the title. It was Eric’s involvement that first made me consider an application to join the ranks so, ‘thanks Eric!’

This then, in Eric’s own words:

“I’m primarily an aircraft modeler but for literally decades a 1970’s era Lotus Formula 1 car in the John Player Special livery has been on my modeling bucket list.

A couple months ago I decided it was finally time to check that one off the list and chose the Ebbro 1/20 JPS Lotus 72E as my subject. This particular kit was a limited “deluxe” edition that included an extra decal sheet for the JPS sponsor markings and finer pin striping.

Gunze Mr. Color Gloss Black thinned with Mr. Leveling Thinner was the primary paint with several coats of MC Super Clear used to seal the decals. Gentle polishing with Novus #2 and a coat of Meguiar’s Mirror Glaze wax finished the job.”

Wild times…

Having a dedicated modelling space away from the house, that has power and room to accommodate an overweight bench jockey like me, is a privilege I never tire of and given that it was some ten years or more since the bunker first went ‘live’, I guess moi had become a little blasé about just flicking a switch and bringing the place to life.

That confidence in the reliability of the set up edged down a notch when the circuit breaker started to trip off unexpectedly. Initially, it was so infrequent I just hit the reset and all would be fine but gradually and later with increasing regularity, the breaker cut in until finally the shed became a ghost ship at the end of a green sea, becalmed, dark and silent.

A cursory inspection of the little wiring I could access, that wasn’t in conduit underground looked intact and suspicion fell on the circuit breaker, that was duly changed as a precaution but still the modelling house remained stubbornly ‘off-line’. For most kit ticklers, this turn of events would be an irritating inconvenience but I was (am) finishing off a project build for AMW, that was in addition to my agreed schedule, so the clock was (is) ticking and this injected an increasing need to sort things quickly.

Not being an electrician, I was pretty much out of ideas and resigned to chopping the cabling and pulling it through, so as to renew the whole run when yesterday, quite by chance, I was stood by the rose arch that opens to the rest of the garden. It was dusk and my mind continued to wander over the baffling loss of juice to the shed when I became aware of a gentle rustle in the foliage to my left, by the boundary fence, some six feet up. The climbing rose is mature and has been joined by a potato vine that together give fine cover for the birds we routinely feed. Remaining stock still, I waited for the bird to reveal itself, at least momentarily, before it inevitably broke cover and flew next door. But no bird did. Instead, I caught a glimpse of a svelte Wood Mouse, as it slipped between a gap in the fencing.

A light clicked on in my head. The first one since the bunker had lapsed into a sulk and I opened the outhouse door and started emptying out the accumulated bric-a-brac that obscured the cabling that fed into the underground trunking. The three foot run had been sunk beneath spare block paving left over when the patio had been laid. Carefully I retrieved it and sure enough, a six inch section had been chewed comprehensively, leaving the earth wire and neutral exposed. Thankfully, it was the only damage and enough slack remained in the cable to allow the vandalised section to be chopped out and reconnected with an inline junction box. A re-route of the power line now sits in suitable trunking and it was a welcome sight indeed, to see the bunker’s lights come on this morning at the first time of asking, returning the scene of my plastic crimes to normal service.

It’s not often that the natural world and the hobby collide in such a way and I bear no grudge against the tiny creatures that temporarily halted my modelling juggernaut with focussed use of their nippy little incisors. Modelling with the bunker door open, to the sound of birds contesting the various feeders we keep stocked throughout the year is pure pleasure, as is the sound of foxes on the shed roof at night, just a couple of feet away, as they make their way into and out of the garden. Then there are the critters that live in the modelling house with me – spiders mostly and of these, the False Widow is the largest and it was an interesting moment a couple of weeks ago, when the biggest female I’d ever seen walked purposefully across my chest, as I was committed to a painting task. Her babies also have a habit of abseiling down from the main light units on threads and crawling over my head. I just brush them off and get back to it but I imagine some folks would prefer a hat…

Until next time.

Wood Mouse



Bad Wolf


Wingnut Wings 1/32 Sopwith 2F.1 ‘Ship’s Camel’

The boss asked for a trial of Drooling Bulldog’s new lacquer paint on this one. Normally I steer well clear of testing anything in a ‘live fire’ project, when completion times are at stake but on this occasion I’m glad I made the exception as (and I never thought I’d see the day I’d come to this conclusion) it’s better than Tamiya and Gunze; not just a little but by a country mile.

Glossy, silky, silky smooth, there’s literally no trace of ‘grain’. The astonishingly fine pigment is ruthlessly non-clumping and the Camel’s flanks, being flat, came up like mirrors. Adherence is another key performance marker and laid over my carefully degreased surfaces, it endured all the masking thrown at it. Happy days.

As for the Wingnut kit, it’s superb as you’d expect and great fun. Happy, happy days.

Until next time.





Whether to weather…whatever the weather…

When it comes to the life blood of modelling, there are a number of components that keep the body of the hobby afloat and flourishing and being a lifelong Ninja black belt master of the inscrutable art of ‘The Absolutely Bleedin’ Obvious’, one can confidently name kits, paints, tools and references as the ‘four pillars of modelling chi’. These are, if you will, the essential hardware segments of the equation but there’s also a ‘software’ element that travels with it and its influence and scope is such that it surrounds, envelops and permeates throughout that hardware, very much like the atmosphere around our Earth. You and I know it as ‘opinion’.

We all have them. Some of us voice them, some of us choose not to, sometimes they’re expressed well, concisely and eloquently; sometimes not. Either way however, is really nothing more to my mind than the shop window and while I enjoy opinions, whether they comprise a conversational hearty meal or a light snack, it’s not just in terms of what was said but rather by the revealing sub-text indicators, that point to the individual’s own unspoken character and personal agenda.

A great example of all this occurred on Facebook recently. A prominent ‘name’ in the hobby overtly criticised the use of weathering on a particular (and popular) subject. The style and extent of others output was deemed incorrect, out of place, poorly conceived and to the detriment of the subject. The ‘name’ then did as predicted and proclaimed in the next breath that they recognised that the modellers behind the offending builds were ‘free to do as they please’.

The purpose of this apparently disarming foot note to the preceding critique reminded me of the habit the national news has, in ending half an hour of reported crime, murder and economic gloom with a short VT piece recounting some act or other of goodness or story designed to restore faith that one way or another ‘all will be well’. I’ve had it described to me as ‘the little bit of cotton wool that wipes the bottom end of the news’. That sums up the unwritten intent behind the foot note perfectly which, far from genuinely conveying ‘freedom’ to enjoy your modelling as you choose, tacitly stipulates that the ‘name’ has autonomy in deciding standards and what is and what isn’t acceptable. This was then borne out by the obedient admirers of said ‘name’ who duly fell into line and badged their support with suitably expressed condemnation for the errant modellers, while polishing the ‘name’s’ ego to a bright shine. The relief among them that the ‘name’ was there to tell them how to think, what to think and when to think it, was palpable.

Not every high profile modelling ‘name’ engages in this kind of behaviour or projects such a visible need for self-aggrandisement and it’s these gentle souls I happily pay attention to, as their involvement in the hobby is benign, positive and genuinely all encompassing. It’s those (thankfully) few who worship fervently at the alter of modelling celebrity that make me smile, especially when I read Pinocchio-esque asides in their own writings of being ‘one of the crowd’ or ‘just an ordinary modeller like you’.

Have fun. Do it your way. Be happy and when it comes to those modelling egos, remember the scene in ‘Enter The Dragon’ when Bruce Lee points to the sky, before slapping his student across the back of the head, as he says (paraphrased) ‘Concentrate on the finger and you will miss all the wonders of the firmament’…and that’s all you need to know…

Until next time.



Bad Wolf