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Iwata HP-TH review

Iwata HP-TH

 

Full disclosure, I love Iwata. I purchased my first, the HP-BC2 for use with makeup EFX 33 years ago on the fourth floor of the original Pearl Paint in Manhattan. It was well over $300 (my first car around the same time was $200). I remember it was the fourth floor because I had to take a freight elevator to get to this exotic land of airbrushes, where no one but photo retouchers ever ventured, where a hunched, old man peddled wisdom. I still use that very same brush today and didn't feel to the need to get another until about two years ago when I wanted to try a gravity feed for quicker color changes (Iwata HP-AH)

Recent discussions regarding proper spray coverage for primer and large colors prompted the need for a larger pattern brush. After looking at the ABs mentioned in Paul Budzik's videos, even the lowest priced, the Iwata Kustom 9200 was out of reach for me in the low $400s. I couldn't justify that cost for something that would mostly be used for primers and clear coats.

I was wrong, both on the price and usage capabilities.

I've been buying a lot of stuff from Japan over the years, from books, cooking utensils and supplies to model kits, and there's one strange phenomena regarding what is exported and what is sold in Japan. A great example is a 1/16 Tamiya RC tank kit. The kits released in the Home Island market includes a Futaba transmitter, receiver, battery and charger. Same kit released for anywhere else has a transmitter shaped void in the packing, along with the teasing pages in the directions on how to setup the radio you're not getting.

Turns out Iwata does the same thing. There are the Japan market releases and there are the rest of us. In the US, The Hi-Line Professional TH is released as the Kustom K9200 TH. It includes a grip style moisture trap and beautiful aluminum case. In Japan, the exact same brush is released as the HP-TH in a simple cardboard box without the moisture trap.

The rise of Japanese shops selling to overseas customers has broken open many options, not just for wet stones and Nori, but a lot of other good things. I just bought a Hasegawa Scribber for $12 shipped as well as a Fujimi Claude for $8.80. This Iwata HP-TH was $154 on Amazon, in my hands in two days.

Okay, on to the brush:

As mentioned, you get a simple cardboard box:

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Inside you get the body, two air caps (circular and flat patterns), a sizeable color cup with lid, a small tube of Superlube, instructions (Japanese) and a Iwata bumper sticker.

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Modeling for Competition: Picking the Kit

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Ok you’re saying I’ll build any dang kit I want to! Yes you can, but you might want to consider a few things before you do such as. I’m new to the hobby and competition where do I start? What kit is best for me? What kit is going to allow me to compete and master my basic the skills? These will be some of the things we will explore and discuss in this topic.

There are literally dozens of kit manufacturers out there. Anything from cast resin, injection molded plastic, metal to wood and paper. There are multiple levels of difficulty. Different levels of accuracy and kit quality is all over the place. So where to begin?

I think the biggest frustration for modelers just starting out is the kit that is more than they can handle. There is nothing more disappointing then doing a poor job on a model simply because it was just too much for you. I’ll let you in a little secret that has happened to every modeler so don’t throw in the towel just yet. The object of this hobby is to build, but things will be more satisfying when you build to your skill level. Eh that is as long as you don’t stay there. Yes we always want to get better at our hobby. Well then what are we looking for. If you are just starting out in the hobby or considering your first contest you need to look for a kit that is well molded and has well-engineered parts, have a moderate number of parts, has strait forward instructions, and has reasonable level of accuracy.

Why a kit that is well molded and engineered? Keeping in mind that IPMS judges are looking for good basic skills a model whose parts fit well, have minimum sink marks, very little flash, and a minimum of seam lines will get you closer to your goal. In other words the less we have to clean up the parts the better. Now I’m going to make the car guys mad, but car kits are notorious for have these kinds of problems. Poor fit, flash, sink marks, mismatched parts (big seams) which make them not for the beginner. To be fair most car kits out there are re-pops of kits made 50 years ago and tooling does wear out or was not very good in the first place. Just remember the better the fit the better the model will be and the less work you need to do as a beginner.

Why worry about the number of parts? Now days a model can come with as many as a 1000 parts which can boggle the mind of the most experienced modeler. Photo etch, optional parts, metal parts, etc. etc…….all very cool I’m sure, but could be very frustrating to the beginner. The more parts you have the more chance for error. Does this mean you should do only “Snaptites” no, just don’t get in over your head. A simpler kit has just as much chance of making the first cut as one with all the bells and whistles.

Aren’t all instructions the same? No they’re not! The quality of instructions is as varied as kits themselves. Tamiya instructions are generally good. Dragons can be very complicated and sometimes just plain wrong. Many are very vague on where parts should go or are poorly printed. Car kit instructions……..well you better know something about cars. Just ask my daughter. If the instructions are bad that could lead to a poorly built model. Glue is very unforgiving if you need to correct a mistake.

All kits are accurate right? Sorry, but no. Again keeping in mind the IPMS rules judges expect the modeler to correct contours and obvious errors in a kit. Some kits have been poorly researched and can contain errors regarding shapes and fittings that would require correction that could be daunting for the beginner. So selecting a kit that is fairly accurate could make the difference in competition and save a lot of frustration.

I have focused on the beginner, but I think this can apply to everyone. We all want to build a good model. The beginner can be a successful builder and the advanced modeler can spend less time correcting construction errors and concentrate on super detailing. Selecting the right kit can make the difference between enjoying the hobby and being frustrated.

Ok for those who have decided to the join the group build that goes along with this series here is your “homework”. Select a kit and start a thread! All campaign rules apply i.e. we need to see pictures of the kit not yet started along with the time and date. Once selected you must complete that kit. Don’t start the kit until told to. You must follow through to the end no matter the difficulty. Hopefully we can work through those as we go. Are you ready…..GO!

Terry

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Skoda PA-II Turtle

New from Takom is the Skoda PA-II Turtle in 1/35th scale.

Box Top

The Škoda PA-II (Panzerwagen II) was developed by Škoda, based on the feedback on their PA-I. The design featured rounded armor plate - a rare sight at the time, which earned it the nickname Tortoise with the troops.
An up-armed prototype, the PA-II dělový (cannon) was made, armed with a 75 mm gun.
Production started in 1923, with 12 units ordered. It was never accepted into official service, in stead, Vienna's police force purchased three vehicles in 1927, and the remaining nine vehicles were purchased by the Czech police force in 1937. The Germans took over the PA-IIs when they annexed Czechoslovakia in 1939, and used them as armored radio vehicles.
  Sourceis "Tanks in WWII"
Another good reference is here.

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Modeling for Competition: Know the Rules

MODELING FOR COMPETITION

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The first step in winning any game is to know the rules. Most modeling societies have rules for competition. The two we are most familiar are IPMS and AMPS and both groups having their philosophies. IPMS rules cover all modeling genres with a focus on basic construction and overall complexity in a head to head competition. AMPS on the other hand is more focused on armor and figures with each model judged by a point system used by a panel of judges to determine rank. Either way it is important to know how your model will be judged. You need to learn to use the rules to your advantage. Most contests have different categories of models and levels of experience. For example if you are still building models strait out of the box then it may be wise to be prepared to enter that category at a IPMS show where the instruction sheet is required. AMPS have different levels of experience basic, intermediate, and advanced each having different rules. You don’t want to get in over your head so know the rules. At any contest be sure and look at the categories and see which one best fits your model and if you have a question ask the folks at the registration table I’m sure the will be happy to help. Remember it is no sin to compete in a category at your level.

Let’s take a look at the IPMS judging process…

“Throughout the judging process, the first and most important things for judges to consider are the basics. Typically, the judges' first cut will identify models that exhibit flaws in basic construction and finishing such as open seams or gaps, misaligned parts, glue marks, or poorly applied paint. Often, it is this ranking of the models on the basics that will determine the final outcome in the category being judged. Only when these basics don't allow for a clear-cut ranking do the judges begin to look deeper.“

Just from this statement alone we can see that our first step is to master the basics of assembly and painting. If you can do this you will be on your way to better modeling and over the first hurdle in competition. Let’s go on.

“Beyond the basics, another tremendously important consideration is consistency. A model should exhibit the same standard of building throughout. Thus, an aircraft model in which the builder has superdetailed the cockpit but not the wheel wells would lack a consistent level of detail.”

The next step up is detailing. If you are going to go beyond what is in the kit box it is important to finish the model. If you can see it detail it.

“Models are three-dimensional, scale representations of three-dimensional, full-size articles. For that reason, models will be judged in three dimensions. Because the bottom of the model is just as important as the top, judges will handle models to the degree required to judge the entire model consistently.”

Be prepared for your model to be looked at from every direction with flash lights and any other appliance necessary to inspect it from every angle. So don’t think you will get away with bad seams under your model. If you can see it so can a judge.

"Weathering" is inherently neither good nor bad. When comparing a model with a weathered finish to a model with a pristine finish, the judges will concern themselves with the degree of success achieved by each builder in depicting the intended finish.”

This is literally the last thing an IPMS judge looks at. You may have a beautifully weathered model, but if your basics are bad none of that will matter.

Now let’s look at the specific IPMS judging criteria for each model type.

BASIC CONSTRUCTION OF AIRCRAFT:

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).

DETAILS:

1. Thick parts should be thinned to scale or replaced; e.g., wing trailing edges and similar surfaces, ordnance fins, landing gear doors, edges of open panels, etc.

2. Wheel wells, intakes, scoops, etc. should be blocked off to prevent a “see-through” effect.

3. Gun barrels, exhaust stacks, intakes, vents, and similar openings should be opened.

4. Details added to the model should be in scale or as close to scale as possible.

5. External stores should be built to the same level of quality as the model to which they are attached. Stores/weapons combinations on a model should represent only those combinations actually carried by the real aircraft.

6. Aftermarket parts (photo-etched, white metal, resin, etc.) should integrate well with the basic model. Photo-etched parts that require forming should be precisely shaped and any surfaces that require building up to a thicker cross-section should be smooth and uniform.

PAINTING AND FINISHING:

1. The model’s surface, once painted, should show no signs of the construction process (glue, file, or sanding marks; fingerprints; obvious discontinuities between kit plastic and filler materials; etc.).

2. Finish should be even and smooth. If irregularities in the actual aircraft’s finish are being duplicated, documentation of such irregularities is required.

A. No brush marks, lint, brush hairs, etc.

B. No “orange-peel” or “eggshell” effect; no “powdering” in areas such as fillets or wing roots.

C. No random differences in sheen of finish caused by misapplication of final clear coats.

3. Paint edges that are supposed to be sharp should be sharp (no ragged edges caused by poor masking). Edges that are supposed to be soft or feathered should be in scale and without overspray.

4. Framing on clear parts should have crisp, uniform edges.

5. Weathering, if present, should show concern for scale (e.g., size of chipped areas), be in accordance with the conditions in which the real aircraft was operating, and be consistent throughout the model (a factoryfresh interior would be unlikely on a 100-mission aircraft).

6. Decals:

A. Aligned properly. (If the real aircraft had a markings anomaly; e.g., an inverted U.S. insignia, the model builder should provide documentation to show that he is deliberately duplicating someone else’s error, not inadvertently making one of his own.)

B. Some modern aircraft use decals rather than paint for standard markings. If the real aircraft suffers from problems with decal application, such anomalies should be documented if duplicated on the model.

7. Colors.

Paint colors, even from the same manufacturer and mixed to the same specs, can vary from batch to batch. Different operating environments can change colors in different ways. All paints fade from the effects of weather and sunlight, and viewing distance alone can alter the look of virtually any color. Poor initial application and subsequent maintenance compound these problems. Therefore, aside from gross inaccuracies such as a light green “Red Arrows” aircraft, color shades should not be used to determine a model’s accuracy or lack thereof. Again, models with unusual colors should be supported by confirming documentation.

As you can see IPMS basic construction is very detailed. If you can accomplish this you will have a very good model. Also if you are in a close contest the slightest error could cut you out of contention. So examine your model closely. If you can see it so can a judge. Now let’s look at armor and military vehicles.

BASIC CONSTRUCTION ARMOR AND MILITARY VEHICLES:

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, Vdrive, 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.

DETAILS:

1. Parts that are thick, over-scale, or coarse should be thinned, modified, or replaced.

2. Weld marks should be simulated where applicable.

3. Extra parts should be added if practical, with references used to confirm their existence on the actual vehicle. Such parts should be as close to scale as possible.

A. Add (especially on conversion or scratch-built models) the small detail parts (rivets, nuts and bolts, etc.) usually found in standard injectionmolded kits.

B. Add tarps, bedrolls, chains, fuel cans, etc., but be sure to also add some method by which such items are attached to the vehicle (hook, rope, tie down). Jerrycans are not attached to real tanks with superglue.

C. Aftermarket parts (photo-etched, white metal, resin, etc.) should integrate well with the basic model. Photo-etched parts that require forming should be precisely shaped, and any surfaces that require building up to a thicker cross-section should be smooth and uniform.

4. Molded-on parts such as axes and shovels should be undercut or removed completely and replaced. This is especially true of molded screen, which should be replaced with real screen.

5. Track “sag” on tracked vehicles should be duplicated where appropriate.

6. Windshield wipers should be added where appropriate.

7. Headlights and tail lights should be drilled out and have lenses added.

8. Cable and electrical lines should be added to lights and smoke dischargers.

9. Valve stems should be added to tires.

10. Instrument faces on dashboards should have detail picked out and lenses added.

11. Gas and brake pedals should be added to openwheeled vehicles.

12. Road wheel interiors should be detailed (this is especially necessary on the Hetzer).

13. Molded grab handles and hatch levers should be replaced with wire or stretched sprue.

14. Underside of model, if viewable, should be given the same attention to detail as the top; e.g., motor holes filled, paint applied, weathering on the inside of the road wheels consistent with that on the outside. If the vehicle being modeled was weathered, normal wear and tear to the bottom of the hull from riding over the usual rocks, brush, and other obstacles should be visible on the model.

PAINTING AND FINISHING:

1. The model’s surface, once painted, should show no signs of the construction process (glue, file, or sanding marks; fingerprints; obvious discontinuities between kit plastic and filler materials; etc.).

2. Finish should be even and smooth, unless irregularities in the actual vehicle’s finish are being duplicated. Exceptions such as zimmerit or non-slip surfaces should be documented.

A. No brush marks, lint, brush hairs, etc.

B. No “orange-peel” or “eggshell” effect; no “powdering” in recessed areas.

C. No random differences in sheen of finish caused by misapplication of final clear coats.

3. Paint edges that are supposed to be sharp should be sharp (no ragged edges caused by poor masking). Edges that are supposed to be soft or feathered should be in scale and without overspray.

4. Weathering, if present, should show concern for scale (e.g., size of chipped areas), be consistent throughout the model, and be in accordance with the conditions in which the real vehicle was operating. Be careful to distinguish some of the purposefully “heavy-handed” paint schemes from over-zealous weathering. Extreme examples should be documented. Weathering should not be used to attempt to hide flaws in construction or finishing.

5. Decals:

A. Aligned properly. (If the real vehicle had a markings anomaly, the modeler should provide documentation to show that he is deliberately duplicating someone else’s error, not inadvertently making one of his own.)

B. No silvering or bubbling of decal film. Decal film should be eliminated or hidden to make the markings appear painted on.

6. Colors: Paint colors, even from the same manufacturer and mixed to the same specs, can vary from batch to batch. Different operating environments can change colors in different ways. All paints fade from the effects of weather and sunlight, and viewing distance alone can alter the look of virtually any color. Poor initial application and subsequent maintenance compound these problems. Therefore, color shade should not be used to determine a model’s accuracy. Models with unusual colors or color schemes should be accompanied by documentation.

Again very detailed, but you can see that a lot of the same rules apply to both aircraft and armor. The same will be true with anything else judged at an IPMS contest. If you use these rules to check your own work you will see improvement in your models. Remember if you can see it so can a judge.

Now let’s look at AMPS. They have different skill levels with specific rules for each:

The AMPS system uses five competitive levels which groups modelers with similar skills. The criteria for these five skill levels are:

JUNIOR - modelers age 17 or younger who do not wish to compete in one of the other categories. Modelers who are 17 or younger are free to compete in other skill levels but are not compelled to do so.

BASIC – modelers new to the hobby or with basic modeling skills. The BASIC level is the introductory level to the AMPS system. Modelers at this level generally build their models with minimal tweaks, and often have never competed before or are new to the hobby. It allows members who are developing their modeling skills to be evaluated and encouraged through the feedback provided by the AMPS judging system. As with all other entrants, BASIC Level entrants are encouraged to volunteer for judging.

INTERMEDIATE – modelers with average to above average skill. Modelers at this level generally make some modifications or conversion to their work or use commercial upgrades. INTERMEDIATE modelers may have been promoted from BASIC, won awards at other shows, or chose to enter at this level from the start. An INTERMEDIATE modeler is someone to whom some or all of the following apply:

Adds photo-etched and/or resin details
Uses aftermarket conversion kits
Scratchbuilds details and makes modifications to accurize kits
Uses reference material for ideas and accurizing
Improves models by cross-kitting
Builds full resin kits
Displays models on complementary bases or with figures

ADVANCED – modelers with more highly-developed skills, whose entries are heavily reworked, accurized, or include non-commercial parts or modifications. The evaluations of this class are more strenuous. An ADVANCED modeler does most of the things expected of INTERMEDIATE level modelers plus some or all of the following:

Scratchbuilds, using references
Casts own replacement parts
Builds and paints at a high skill level
Presents models on elaborate bases, sometimes with accompanying information
Uses materials and space artistically.

MASTERS - modelers who have won ‘Judges’ Best of Show’ at the AMPS International Convention. These modelers consistently demonstrate themselves to be the very best in all aspects of armor model building.

AMPS also have rules for advancement to the different skill levels. This will prevent people from “camping out” in a skill level just to get a higher award.

Advancement of Skill Levels. Advancement of skill levels occurs when a modeler achieves a Gold medal in their current level in an AMPS International Convention. BASIC level modeler advances to the INTERMEDIATE level upon winning a Gold Medal in the BASIC level of competition and INTERMEDIATE level modeler moves to the ADVANCED level upon winning a Gold Medal in the INTERMEDIATE level of competition. ADVANCED level modelers can reach the MASTERS level by earning the "Judges' Best of Show" award at the AMPS International Convention.

When a modeler first enters an AMPS International competition and is unsure of his status, the Chief Judge or his designated representative will examine the model entry to ascertain the displayed skill level of the modeler. Based on this examination, the Chief Judge or his representative will suggest a skill level. While this recommendation should be heeded, the modeler is free to enter at any of the three main skill levels (BASIC, INTERMEDIATE, or ADVANCED) desired as long as he meets the conditions for that skill level.

AMPS awards are determined by a point system:

For the JUNIOR Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 26.0 to 30.0
Silver Medal -- a score of 21.0 to 25.5
Bronze Medal -- a score of 16.0 to 20.5

For the BASIC Level:

Gold Medal – a score of 26.0 to 30.0
Silver Medal -- a score of 21.0 to 25.5
Bronze Medal -- a score of 16.0 to 20.5

For the INTERMEDIATE Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 27.0 to 30.0
Silver Medal -- a score of 23.0 to 26.5
Bronze Medal -- a score of 19.0 to 22.5.

For the ADVANCED Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 28.0 to 30.0
Silver Medal -- a score of 25.0 to 27.5
Bronze Medal -- a score of 22.0 to 24.5.

For the MASTERS Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 29.0 and above.

Judging Criteria:

Each judge, upon assessing the model, assigns it a score of up to 10 points, including half points (but no fractions smaller than half points), in accordance with the judging criteria. These scores should reflect the individual judge's assessments of the model and not an agreed upon or 'team' score. The Table Captain adds up the individual scores, dropping the lowest, to get the entry's final score. This number is used to determine if an award is merited. Accuracy is important, so the Chief Judge or an Assistant Chief Judge is responsible for double-checking all math before the scores are entered into the computer. The breakdown of how points are awarded is:

Construction Group – 5.0 points
Basic hull, turret, and body work: 2.0 points
Running gear/drive train, including tracks/wheels: 2.0 points
Hull, chassis, and turret detailing: 1.0 point
Finish/Weathering Group – 4.0 points
Finish and markings application: 1.5 points
Weathering: 1.5 points
Finish continuity: 1.0 point
Degree of Difficulty Group – 1.0 point
Degree of difficulty: 1.0 point

Total possible score 10.0 points
Optional research bonus – 0.5 point

Now here is what the AMPS judging team are looking for.

Individual Model Judging Criteria:

Construction Group (5.0 Points)

Basic hull, turret, and body work (2.0 points). The judges will look at how the hull parts go together; this includes the top of the hull, bottom, hull rear, glacis plate, hatches, grilles, etc. Of equal importance will be how turret halves meet, alignment of hatches to mounts, etc. Judges will look at the parts of the vehicle that make up the hull and turret only. They will look closely to ensure that seams are clean, kit weld marks are not sanded off, any filling that is required is clean, etc.

For ordnance the judges will look at the barrel, equilibrators, breech, recoil system, recoil sled, or in the case of non-artillery the upper operating portion of the equipment, radar dish, light, etc. The judges are looking at the operating portion of the equipment only. As with the above, look closely to insure that seams are clean, kit weld marks are not sanded off, any filling that is required is clean, etc.

Running gear/drive train including tracks/wheels (2.0 points). The judges will look at how the suspension and running gear is assembled. Do the tracks/tires sit on the ground and are the tires/roadwheels aligned? Are the major attached suspension components installed cleanly? Is there a problem with toe-in/toe-out?

For ordnance the judges will look at the towing chassis to include trails or yoke, towing base, wheels, or on a trailer the base towing section and tires. If a trailer/weapon includes a separate set of towing limber (like the 155mm Long Tom or towed 8 inch howitzer), this is also judged under this group. As with the above, do the tires sit on the ground and are the tires/road wheels aligned? Is there a problem with toe-in/toe-out?

Hull, chassis and turret detailing (1.0 point). The judges will look at how the modeler has corrected, modified, or enhanced the model, using detailing parts regardless of the source. (Note: Detailing parts can be provided from the kit or from aftermarket or alternate sources). These parts can include but not limited to, pioneer tools, tow cables, tool boxes, grab handles, lights and cables, towing clevises, weapons, tarps, photo–etched or resin accessories, weld seams, rivets and bolts, barrels and track. These detailing parts must be properly cleaned, aligned and installed without glue marks. It is incumbent upon the modeler to provide the judges with a description of their extra work. The format or style of this information is not to be judged. Only the information is important and only as far as it presents the detail work done by the modeler. Judges are not expected to know things the modeler does not tell them.

Finish/Weathering Group (4.0 points)

Finish and markings application (1.5 points). The judges will look at how the modeler has applied paint and/or markings. Paint should be applied in a smooth, even coat with no drips, splotches or uneven areas. Markings and decals, if applied, should be viewed for edges lifting, silvering etc. Hand-applied painted markings should be viewed "in scale," i.e., the marking must not be too heavy-handed or thickly applied.

Judges Note: The absence of markings shall not result in a penalty or "point shifting" in the Finish/Weathering Group. Markings are simply part of the model's finish. Issues regarding the accuracy of markings are properly considered as part of the Research and Reference Bonus evaluation.

Weathering (1.5 points). The judges will look at how the vehicle is weathered. The term ‘weathering’ does not necessarily mean action-related mud, peeling paint, and the like, but refers to treatment beyond the basic finish required to achieve the desired effect. For example, a factory-new vehicle would still have a certain amount of rust on the tracks, or wear on the track teeth. Judges cannot hold it against a modeler if he chooses not to show wear on a shovel. The judges should score the model as the modeler presents it. A model shown as new should be viewed and scored as such.

Judges Note: What is important in judging weathering is how the modeler has improved the finish of the model. No technique is mandatory; it is the final effect that counts. The use of washes, powders, drybrushing and paint chipping might be perfect for a vehicle, but if these weathering techniques do not improve the finish of the model, points should not be awarded. A model with no washes or drybrushing could still obtain points depending on possible subtleties in the applied paint.

Finish continuity (1.0 point). The judges will look at how the modeler has blended the finish and weathering together to create a visually balanced and homogenous arrangement. Examples that do NOT show a sensible and logically finished model would include a vehicle with muddy roadwheels and clean track or mud on the track and suspension with a clean hull. Finish continuity does not mean a vehicle must be equally weathered over its entire surface, but it does mean the vehicle must be logically weathered. A full point awarded here means the modeler has considered reality, consistency and presentation.

Degree of Difficulty Group (1.0 point)

Degree of Difficulty (1.0 point). Degree of Difficulty is a combination of complexity, extent of the work, and the amount of labor required of the modeler to create a realistic scale model of the original. These three elements are not required to be equal for a technique or task to be difficult. This allows room for such things as extensive parts counts to be assessed as difficult as well as tasks such as building working PE hinges and tool clasps. This also allows for finishing tasks such as multi-color camouflage paint jobs and using stencils to paint markings. Some work might not be very complex, but the extent and amount of labor involved makes them difficult. On the other hand, some tasks might not involve very much labor but are very complex and are also difficult. Judges should evaluate the difficulty of all the techniques used by the modeler not how well any of these techniques are applied. How well these techniques are applied is covered under the Construction and Finish/Weathering Groups. Judges should also consider the skill level of the modeler in assigning a Degree of Difficulty score. For example, some tasks are more difficult for a lower skill level modeler to perform.

It is the responsibility of the modeler to provide the judges with a description of the kit(s) and various techniques they used to create a realistic scale model of the original. This is where photos of the work "in progress" would help the modeler document the degree of difficulty involved in building the model. Judges are not obligated to provide a score for this element if the modeler does not provide a description of their work or only indicates the model is built out of the box.

Judges Note: Judging for Degree of Difficulty is a big part of what separates AMPS judging from all other systems. Judges should look at what the modeler started with, what he finished with and what he did to get there.

Optional Research Bonus (0.5 point)

There is an additional bonus of 0.5 points for Research, which may be awarded by the judging team. To obtain this 0.5 point bonus, the modeler must document to the judging team the link between the research they performed and the finished model. This documentation need not be extensive (two pages or less), but must address, at a minimum, the following areas:

Description of Research: The modeler should provide a short description of the research they performed to build the model. The modeler must describe in his presentation how or why his model looks, either directly or indirectly, like the vehicles mentioned in the research. The model could look like the research by applying some of the following: similar paint schemes, markings, weathering, stowage, field modifications, or by using technical drawings to create the model displayed. The modeler can use pictures as part of this description.

Research References: The modeler should list the research references they used while building the model.

If the modeler provides a brag book or other description of how they constructed the model, without providing a description of their research in the format above, they will not be awarded the 0.5 point bonus. The link between the research and the model is established by replication and presentation of one, all or some of the following on the model being judged: paint schemes, markings, stowage, weathering, historical context, descriptions of similar vehicles or the use of technical drawings to create the model– based upon the research documentation provided.

As with IMPS rules you will see some similar construction requirements. AMPS only focus is on armor/ground vehicles and they have similar criteria for dioramas and figures.

You can clearly see that knowing the rules gives us some tools for approaching how we build and what is important for competition. All of this looks intimidating, but you may find you already do a lot of the things listed here. Many just seem like common sense, but the competition standards make us focus on the work we are doing instead of just blowing off a mistake expecting a judge somewhere to do the same. If you can see it so can a judge. The less they see the better your chances.

Next installment: Kit selection

Comments and observations are welcome.

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Nuts and Bolts Vol 34

Nuts and Bolts Vol 34 Sd.Kfz.7 - 8 ton Zugkraftwagen Krauss-Maffei and variants has just been released.

  • by Vinnie Branigan, Dr. Nicolaus Hettler
  • published on May 31, 2015
  • soft cover
  • German & English texts
  • 184 pages
  • 334 photos (169 historic, 32 model, 133 modern)
  • 80 blueprints
  • 20 camouflage schemes, tactical markings, table of organization (KStN)

Read more: Nuts and Bolts Vol 34

Discuss this article in the forums (7 replies).

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