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Metal Stuff | Hawkeye's Squawkbox/The Plastic Scale Modeling Hour

Metal Stuff

If you build model ships you can find a great deal of detail parts that are cast out of metal. If you build aircraft not so much so. Yes, there area  couple of companies producing cast metal landing gear which give the modeler a stronger and more accurate option for a heavy plastic beast of a model. But there are so many other things that could be cast in metal.

How many tail sitters have you built? I’ve built a few in my day and wouldn’t it be sweet if the nose, spinner and props were cast brass? Example, a P-39 Airacobra. The nose area leaves little room for adding weight such as steel shot, especially if you detail the nose gear bay, cannons and machine guns found in the nose. Wouldn’t it be sweet if the nose wheel, cannon, guns, prop, spinner and prop gearbox was brass! That would probably eliminate the need for adding fishing sinkers, BBs or shot to counterbalance the model being a tailsitter.

I don’t expect the mainstream model manufacturers to jump on this, but those in the aftermarket could. When building a large 1:72 or 1:48 scale bomber which requires a great deal of weight to keep it from sitting on its rump, cast the engines, nacelles and other components forward of the main gear legs in metal.

There have been times when I have cut out a bulkhead, firewall or other structure only to replace it with something I fabricated that was much heavier to act as a counter weight to better balance the model on its gear. Something about sticking a crate, tail stand (unless the aircraft used one in reality… like a KC-135 uses) or stool to prevent it from sitting on its tail doesn’t cut it for me…does it for you? When you see a built up model on the box cover that has that piece to prop up its tail…that to me that was so ridiculous. I guess it was better than including information in the instruction sheet to add X amount of weight to the front of the model or even include the weigh inside the box. Thank you Tamiya you at least figured it out!

I tend not to like installing those clear plastic rods included in the kit so I am asking the aftermarket as well as the kit manufacturers to consider adding more metal stuff! It could be a selling feature with benefits to the model and modeler.

Comments

  1. Talk about simple; when kits go for three-figure price tags you would think a counter-weight would be included. I hate having to guesstimate how many BB’s to epoxy or superglue into every nook and cranny just to see if it will sit on its gear. And then you have to worry about that extra weight so much that you STILL go out and purchase metal landing gear “just in case”. Manufacturers should listen to their customers!

  2. Two comments:
    1) I use lead caming (I do stained glass and have a lot of left over lead-it comes in various thickness and can be bent with little effort).
    2) I like the idea of metal landing gears. In the model railroad industry (of which is a primary love of mine) there are many manufactures that have brass lost wax castings for add-ons to locomotives and cars. The model aircraft industry would benefit from this.

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