My initial reactions on having a spray booth

I had been planning on purchasing a spray booth for quite some time.  I finally took the plunge and got it set up in my reorganized hobby room.  (See last post for reorganization)  The booth is portable and sets up pretty easily.  I have the complete venting hose so I can run it outside with only a small window crack, which is important when you are living in Canada and it is winter.

My initial reactions are quite positive.  The things that strike me conclusively are:
  • better air quality  (a major plus!)
  • better visibility with the light attachment
  • less overspray

I have only used it twice, but have felt good about it.  There are some things it doesn’t do.  It doesn’t:
  • improve the way I mix the paint and set the air pressure–improperly mixed paints and incorrect settings cause splotches and poorly atomized paint spray.
  • improve my painting technique–practice makes perfect
  • hide my mistakes–you’ll notice that I didn’t use the macro lens.

I certainly don’t regret my decision.  I have other areas to improve upon, but having the right equipment is not a mistake.

Getting Organized

The first step in getting back to my model hobby is to earnestly get my hobby desk in order.  While that sounds like a good idea, until you have to move about 30 small paint bottles, little by little, you don’t realize that this is a bit of an undertaking.
I have included a before and after shot, just so you can see what I am working with.  It isn’t as brightly lit as I would like…but I shouldn’t complain.  It isn’t like I can’t go buy another lamp.

If you are interested in my thoughts on organization, and want to read more, please check out my other blog.
It isn’t really about hobbies, but some of the better writing I have done lately is there.
More organized

As you can see by the shot, I have made the decision to purchase a spray booth.  From a health perspective, this was a no brainer.  While all of the paints I use say they are “non-toxic” I fear that a phrase like that, translate through lawyers and other legal jargon, really means, “not as toxic as poison, so you can’t sue us, but still not great for your lungs.”  I haven’t used it yet, but hopefully today or tomorrow.

An August Progress Report

I seem to have found myself with a little bit of spare time, so I thought a progress report was in order.
I went to the dollar store (I think this one was called Dollar Tree)  I had never been there before, but I was, pardon the cliché, in the neighbourhood.  I wonder if that applies to big box stores.  I guess what you can say is that I was in the general vicinity after shopping for some airbrush bottles at an art store.
In this new dollar store I was only really thinking about getting something to drink.  Somehow I managed to spend $7, so I guess their master plan worked.  I came out with 2 more jigsaw puzzles.  I don’t really regret it because you can’t really complain about paying $1.25 for a puzzle….. and yes, even though it is a dollar store, there are things that cost more than $1.
I decided to take the systematic approach first.
Step 1)  Get all the edges
Step 2 Separate into 3 piles: Sky, Buildings, and transition from building to sky
Step 3) attach all the pieces that transition from building to sky.
Step 4) fill in the building part
Step 5) scream because now I am left with only sky
I almost decided to quit the puzzle and move onto something else.  I mean, I had the picture done, all that was left was the sky.  That huge, multi-piece blue sky.  My friend who needs a hobby urged me to carry on, so today I finished it.
I also had some time to apply my first airbrush coat to one of the buildings for my train layout.  Never having worked with that paint before I have to say that I made it too thin.  The result wasn’t bad though, and the slight variation should look okay on the building.  This is Design Preservation Models Hayes’ Hardware (N scale).   It isn’t the most complex building, but it has served as a good introduction to this type of modeling.
I will apply the next, slightly thicker coat, tomorrow.
Now you know where things with me stand.

The origin of the species

The model kit  that started it all out was a 1967 Mustang. I am pretty sure I will never get to own the real thing, so a model is the best thing I can ever hope for.  At the time, die cast kits weren’t as popular as they are now, so I had to build my own


I believe it was the Revell kit, but it could have been AMT.  You have to understand, the 1960’s mustangs are part of my top five cars ever (I lump them into one group  because if I didn’t most of my top five would only be one car.)   To this day, I have built the kit more than once.  I still haven’t built it to my satisfaction, and I expect to build a few more of them before I shed this mortal coil.  Back to that first kit.  The art on the kit box depicted it in white with blue stripes.  I bought a can of white spray paint, some black and blue Testor’s paint and I was off.

I’d love to tell you that I produced an award winning model right from the get go.  sadly, that was not the case.  I did a pretty good job on the muffler.  The engine came out fairly well, and the seats were acceptable.  The rest of it was pretty bad.  I think the wheels stuck out too far, and fell off more than once.  As for the paintjob….I wouldn’t recommend spray paint for anyone’s first time out.

The reason I decided to take up building plastic models can be traced to a friend I have had since junior high school.  If he weren’t still a friend, I would probably use the word blame rather than reason. 

I visited his house and upon entering his room discovered, on his desk, his work in progress.  He was probably 60 percent done painting and building a plastic model kit of the DeLorean from Back To The Future.  I was fascinated.  When it was finished, it was truly a work of art.

My friend is a fantastic model builder.  This is probably because he has incredible patience and an eye for detail.  These qualities no doubt help in his job as a creator of computer animation and effects as well as that of father.  He told me that he painted the tiny exposed cables of the DeLorean using a pinhead.  I tried to replicate his technique, but became too frustrated to continue beyond a few minutes.

I watched him build many other models and was always in awe of his skills.  His landspeeder from Return of the Jedi was fantastic.  And amazingly, although he has never used an airbrush, his finished are always streak free.  If only I had paid him to build my mustang, I probably wouldn’t have started this hobby.

My contribution to his development as a modeller is that I often forced him to rebuild his models.  I knocked his Star Wars Imperial Shuttle from it’s hanging space in the ceiling not once, but twice.  I can’t really go into details, but I can say it was the result of aggressive air guitar to Led Zepplin’s Whole Lotta Love, or air drumming to the same group’s When the Levee Breaks.  Teenage exuberance is a remarkable thing.

It would be several years until I started building models myself but I never forgot his work, and sought out his advice.  He gave me lots of useful advice, but he was most insistent on two points.  Never hang my models from the ceiling and never put a stereo in the hobby room.