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Modeling for Competition: The Details


All modelers have, to some degree, AMS (Advanced Modeler Syndrome) when it comes to model building. This can manifest itself in many ways from adding simple small details all the way to scratch building whole assemblies to correct a dimensional issue. In extreme cases it can cause some modelers to declare that a model is “unbuildable” and prevent them from building at all. While making detailed models is our stock and trade those extreme details may go unnoticed in a competition especially when judges don’t care how many screws are present on panzer IV turret roof. In fact we should not expect them to know the specific nuisances of any model we make. We add those details more for our own pleasure and satisfaction. In this article let’s look at what IPMS and AMPS consider to be “details”. We may find out that our ideas about details are somewhat different from what judges are looking for.

Ok let’s start off with the IPMS rules on “details”

Details for Aircraft:

Read more: Modeling for Competition: The Details

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1/35 Trumpeter ChTZ S-65 Tractor with Cab

Brief Background
WW2 Soviet Tractor - this version was a development of the earlier S-60 version. The s-65 being the most numerous with 37,656 being produced before the ChTZ factory switched to tank production in 1941.

The Kit

- 200 plastic parts (light grey plastic)
- 234 track parts (light brown plastic)
- 5 clear plastic parts
- 8 photo etch parts on 1 sheet
- 1 decal sheet
- Instruction book of 12 pages.

An interesting subject that lends itself to many exciting diorama ideas for WW2 armor modelers, including people who want to 'walk on the wild-side' and modify the kit to depict a wood burning version, or various other configurations.
The kits parts are modeled very crisply with the detail popping out perfectly for painting and highlighting.
Bring on the scratches and Rust!
See the pictures below for a look inside.....

Read more: 1/35 Trumpeter ChTZ S-65 Tractor with Cab

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Academy Sopwith Camel

Academy 1:32 Sopwith Camel


This is an inbox review of the Academy Sopwith Camel.

Historical setting
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917 and was manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Company. Though difficult to handle, to an experienced pilot it provided unmatched maneuverability.
A superlative fighter, the Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the conflict. It also served as a ground-attack aircraft, especially towards the end of the war, by which point it was being outclassed in the air-to-air role by newer German fighters such as the legendary Fokker D7.

The Model

- 3 x sheets of sprue.
- 1 x decal sheet.
- 1 x instruction booklet.

This kit is very small and simple but nicely molded, with a choice of 2 different planes in the decals.
The wing-flaps and rudder are fixed and there is no PE.
The Instructions are simple and easy to follow.
Compared to the detail of a Wingnut kit the Academy offering is greatly simplified but good value at less than half the price, still retaining nice crisp molding with the overall look still pretty cool- it definitely looks like a Sopwith Camel.
Wingnuts are advertising one of these as their current 'under development' so it will be interesting to compare.

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Matho Models

Matho Models

Here comes a review of 3 items from Matho Models, It's a new Belgium company that have some realy nice new releases.

First up is a sheet with road signs, Normandy WWII in scale 1/35.


A very nice touch is that the backside of the signs also have a print, that's something atleast I have found was missing and difficult to add afterwards :good
Price: €7.95


More info:

Next is a set with small rocks and boulders in scale 1/35 (can be used in other scales too).

They are casted in plaster and can be a good help for filling up around ruined houses on a diorama.
Set contains 8 rocks in different sizes.
Price: €5.50


More info:

And the last piece is a set with 2 wooden barrels and a wooden pallet in scale 1/35.
All parts casted in a grey resin with nice details, the wood barrels are fitting both older and new settings but the pallet is more for the modern diorama/truck builders.
Price: €7.95


More info:

Thanks to Matthias at Matho Models for sending me the review samples
Facebook: mathoscalemodels
Twitter: mathomodels

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Modeling for Competition:Basic Contruction






Ok here is where the rubber hits the road! We have decided to get serious. We are getting a handle on competition rules. The kit has been selected. Research of the subject is underway. Now it’s time to start putting the things we are learning into practice.

Competition rules can be a club to beat us up with or they can be a tool for success. Let’s use them as a tool shall we. I look at the IPMS rules as check list of things that need to be done or considered. So let’s look at them again and see where we need to start.


Basic Construction

1. Flash, mold seams, sinks marks, copyright marks, ejector-pin marks, and similar molding flaws eliminated.

2. Seams filled if not present on the actual aircraft.

3. Contour errors corrected.

4. Any detailing removed while correcting errors, filling seams, etc. restored to a level consistent with the rest of the model.

5. Alignment:

A. Wings/tailplanes: same dihedral or anhedral on both sides.
B. Plan view: wings and stabilizers aligned correctly with, and identically on both sides of, centerline.
C. Multiple fins/rudders: fin-to-stabilizer angles correct; aligned with each other in front and side views where appropriate.
D. Engine nacelles/cowlings: lined up correctly in front, side, and plan views.
E. Landing gear: components properly aligned with airframe and with each other in front, side, and plan views.
F. Ordnance items (bombs, rockets, pylons, etc.) aligned correctly with aircraft and with each other.

6. Canopies and other clear areas:

A. Clear and free of crazing caused by adhesives or finishing coats.
B. Gaps between windscreen, canopy, or other clear parts eliminated where applicable.
C. All clear areas scratch-, blemish-, and paint-free.

7. Decals must look painted on if depicting painted markings (conforming to surface contours, no silvering or bubbling, no decal film apparent).

Armor/Military Vehicles

Basic Construction

1. Flash, sink marks, mold marks, ejector-pin marks, provisions for motorization eliminated.

2. Seams filled where applicable, especially on cylindrical parts such as gun barrels, wheels, and auxiliary equipment.

3. Contour errors corrected.

4. Gaps between upper and lower hulls blanked off to prevent a “see-through” effect.

5. Gap/overlap at point where track ends join eliminated.

6. Machine guns, main guns, exhausts, vents, etc. drilled out/opened up.

7. Cylindrical cross-section of gun barrels maintained.

8. Track pattern (cleats) facing in the proper direction on both sides of vehicle.

9. Alignment:

A. Road wheels on tracked vehicles (along with idler, drive, and return rollers, if any) at the same distance from the lower chassis centerline.
B. Road wheels sitting flush on the track.
C. Tracks vertical (not leaning in or out when viewed from the front or back of the vehicle) and parallel (not toed in or out when viewed from top of vehicle).
D. All wheels/tracks sitting firmly on the ground.
E. Vehicle components square and aligned.
F. Gun(s) (on most turreted vehicles) parallel to turret centerline when viewed from above.
G. Items positioned symmetrically on actual vehicle (e.g., headlights and guards, fenders, mud flaps, etc.) positioned symmetrically on model, unless represented as damaged.


Basic Construction

1. Flash, sink marks, mold marks, ejector-pin marks, and similar molding flaws eliminated.

2. Seams filled if not found on the actual vehicle. (This is especially important on the car’s body. Rubberized kit tires usually also have a mold seam that must be removed.)

3. Contour errors corrected.

4. Gaps between body and chassis eliminated as applicable.

5. Detailing removed while accomplishing the above steps restored to a level consistent with the rest of the model.

6. Alignment:

A. Where applicable, external items (e.g., mirrors, exhaust pipes) aligned symmetrically.
B. Internal items (e.g., seats, some engine/drive components) aligned properly.
C. Wheels: All wheels touching the ground and aligned properly when viewed from front or rear of the vehicle. If turned, front wheels should be aligned in the same direction.

7. Windshields and other clear areas:

A. Clear and free of crazing caused by adhesives or finishing coats.
B. Gaps between windshield, windows, or other clear parts eliminated where applicable.
C. All clear areas scratch-, blemish-, and paint-free.

As you can see the “rules” look more like a check list. On aircraft the first four items, armor the first eight, and automotive the first five deal with the preparation of the parts. While the other items really deal with assembly and most of the items listed are self-explanatory except for maybe item one. Now let’s take a moment and talk about item one “Flash, mold seams, sinks marks, copyright marks, ejector-pin marks, and similar molding flaws”.


•Excess plastic at parting line or mating surface of the mold
•Normally very thin and flat protrusion of plastic along an edge of a part


Sink marks

•Surface depression caused by non-uniform material solidification and shrinkage.
•Most often noted at interface between differing wall thicknesses.


Mold seams

•These are created when the two halves of the injection mold come together.


Ejection pin marks

•A rod, pin or sleeve which pushes a molding off of a core or out of a cavity of a mold.
•The pin will leave a mark or depression in the part.



•The Gate is the end of the runner. It is the entrance to the cavity.


Ok now that you have had a crash course in plastic injection molding I hope you will have a better understanding of the areas that may need your attention while preparing your kit parts for assembly.

Basic Construction Tools

1. Knife or scalpel


2. Sprue cutter


3. Sanding sticks


4. Cement/Glue


The tools for modeling are many and varied. Each modeler has their own way of modeling, but I think we can agree that these 4 items are basic to model building. As we go along with the building process we will get to see how each modeler in our class uses their tools to overcome the problems with the kits they have chosen. Hopefully we will learn some new things and master some others.

Basic Construction Steps

1. Study the instructions: instructions are like a roadmap so look the instructions over for anything special that needs to be done.

2. Do the steps in order: The manufacturer has arranged the steps for a reason. If you do things out of order you may regret it later.

3. Dry fit the parts: Check the fit of parts and assemblies before any cement is applied. Glue is not very forgiving.

4. Use a minimal amount of glue: Glue marks are first thing judges look for at a contest. Use just enough glue to get the job done.

5. Take your time: Modeling is not sprint, but rather endurance test. Don’t get in a hurry you might tear something up.

Ok I think we have enough to get started. So open those boxes and start cutting plastic. As usual I want to see pictures and explanations about what you are doing. This will help everyone learn something new. The next installment will be “Details”. From now on we will keep working as the next topics are closely related. Well let’s go!

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