This has got a lot of story and a few pictures as this is a failure from start to finish. It began at Christmastime 2009 and ended last Sunday...
Our model group had a holiday swap meet last year. Lots of fun. I found what I thought was a gem: A 1994 Eduard Siemens-Schuckert D.III. I asked the guy how much he wanted for it and he said it was free; all he wanted was that when I built it, he could take some photos of it.
I found out that night that it was going for $60 or more, so the next meeting I went and asked if he was sure. He was, so I promised to put it to the top of my stash.
I went home that night ripped it open, giddy with anticipation. Sure it was a short run kit, but it's Eduard, right?. The giddiness quickly turned to disappointment; what an awful model. Flash everywhere! I think the prop blades were 75% flash.
The only saving grace appeared to be the incredibly fine photo-etch. Then the fear set it. Could I hack this thing? I had to, so I cleared my bench, screwed up my courage and began.
Three hours just removing and cleaning the parts. Did I mention flash? Then came the cockpit. The cockpit tub was entirely photoetch and was a bear to work with as Eduard sacrificed structural integrity for scale accuracy. Translation: the cockpit tub pieces were so fine that the completed tub was too fragile to withstand any handling. No problem, I thought, I'll just scratchbuild one out of sheet. It went well as I did have a master to trace from. I also separated all of the control surfaces surfaces while was at it.
/\photoetch (shortly before breaking due to handling)
The fuselage went together pretty well. Lots of filling and sanding, but not bad. Had to carve a bit to get the lower wing to sit, but it seemed to be holding up. Then came the decals. The tops and bottoms of the wings were all losenge camo. Losenge camo decals. Fourteen year old losenge camo decals. They were thin to begin with and now they shattered like glass. As though putting big sheets of decals on a wing (with scalloped trailing edges) wasn't hard enough. For frustrating hours, but it looked... not bad.
Then came the moment of truth: installing the upper wing. I had already completed an Eduard Camel and built a cool (imho) wing jig made of Lego and it worked pretty darn well. I made sure all of the holes for the struts were clear and put the plane in the jig.
Fail. Nothing would sit right and any slight movement would send the cabine struts flying. Grr. Model group buddies recommended epoxy for its stickiness and working time. Tried it.
Same fail, only this time with tiny bits of epoxy marring the paint job.
/\shiny epoxy bits
Also, the incredibly fragile landing gear struts broke and I had to scratchbuild a not-to-scale but strong set. Grr. Screw it, I thought. I'll just build this thing like I was twelve! Who cares! I just wanted it done, so back in the jig it went last Sunday.
An hour I fought with that thing. Epoxy everywhere. Then, inexplicably, the plane decided to start moving in the jig. Grr! So I took a piece of low-tac tape and carefully secured the wing to the jig. The plane moved again, the tape did not and a huge chunk of losenge camo decal from the lower wing came away on the tape. I was so angry, I didn't even thing. I ripped the plane from the jig and threw it hard against the wall.
My only regret is that I lost two tiny pieces to one of the photoetch Spandaus. The worst thing, the real modeling disaster, is that this beat me so hard that it has me totally doubting my skills. So, I grabbed a Revell Texan off of the shelf on Wednesday and started working. I'll do some small scratchbuilding on it and try to get my confidence back.
Wish me luck.