Meeting Changes due to Covid-19

The Arlington Heights Public Library has been closed (and reopened, and closed again, and opened again…) due to the Illinois state efforts to manage the pandemic.  At the moment, the library itself is open with restrictions – see for details – but all meeting rooms are closed.  McKinstry club meetings will be cancelled until the library reopens and allows meetings to take place in their facilities.  The 2020 meetings after February were cancelled, and no new room reservations can be made until the library begins accepting reservations again.

The planned theme and program schedules will be restarted in the current order once meetings resume.  So the March theme (twin-booms) and the program (Dave Kopielski showing how to illuminate models using LEDs and fiber optics) will be on tap for the next meeting.

The meeting information on the website will be updated as the situation changes to reflect our best guess when we’ll be able to get together again.

In the meantime, the Tick has finished newsletters covering all the meetings through February 2020, and those are available on the Newsletter Archive page of this website.

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Repairing, Cleaning, and Polishing Clear Parts

Repairing, Cleaning, and polishing clear parts and canopies.

by Dave Kopielski

I have had a few requests on how I get my canopies so clear looking. Many times the clear parts in kits can get scuffed in shipping if they are not protected or come loose. Also some jet canopies or bubble top aircraft can have a seam from the injection molding process that runs down the centerline of the canopy.

Some folks like to dip the canopies and clear parts in Pledge Future. I prefer to polish them and feel they look better and much clearer.  To start with, many vehicles today have a clear plastic cover over the headlights. Over time and driving in the elements the plastic gets foggy and starts to yellow. There are many products on the market to clean them up. These products also help us modelers as well. I have tried many products and found and that works very well on the clear styrene plastic used on the models we build. The product I use is made by Meguire’s, a company that makes many products to keep your vehicle clean, shiny and protected. The product they make is called PlastX. It is a cleaner and polish for plastic parts.

So the first part I have a clear nose for a 1/48 Monogram B-17G. The kit was bought at a goodwill store and has all the sprues loose in the box. This has caused some scuffs on the nose. The first step is to take a small dish and put a couple of drops of the PlastX on it. Then using a cotton swab I dip in the PlastX and in a circular motion I scrub and polish the affected areas then I polish the rest of the nose inside and out. After a few moments I let it dry a few minutes then use a microfiber cloth and polish and wipe clean the part.  Here are the photos of before and after.

Before polishing

Before polishing

After polishing

After polishing

For removing the seams on canopies the first step is sanding down the seam with 600 grit sandpaper. Only sand a small strip where the seam is. Once the seam is gone, the next step is to use 1000 grit sandpaper and sand in a slightly wider area than you did in the previous step. Then the next step is to wet sand with 2000 grit sandpaper in a wider section. The reason is this prevents any distortion where you removed the seam. Then as similar to removing scuffs, the PlastX is applied with a cotton swab.

The area that was sanded is cleaned and polished for a minute or two and then a quick polish of the inside and out of the canopy is done. Let dry a few minutes then polish with a microfiber cloth.

While it is difficult to see in the photos, the canopy looks clearer and has more shine to it. I typically run a quick polish over clear parts even if there is no visible scuffs as once polished they much are clearer and shine better. 

Canopy seam

Canopy seam

Seam removed

Seam removed

Polished canopy

Polished canopy

Polished canopy

Finally, once the canopy is masked and ready for paint you will need to take a cotton swap dipped in thinner or rubbing alcohol and go over the areas you will be painting. This will clean off and residue that may have built up on the frame details on the canopy. Otherwise the paint may not adhere very well.

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Invasion Stripes

Invasion Stripes

How to paint D-Day markings on your Thunderbolt

by Ed Mate

The first step is to determine where the stripes go. There is an “official” placement, but if you can check photos, you may find your subject has some differences from the official guide.

The photo of Silver Lady shows standard fuselage stripes and the wing stripes appear to be 20 inches wide, but the wing stripes are outboard of the official placement. Moving the inboard stripe to the outside and adjusting the black & white pattern to maintain two black stripes in the middle appears about correct. Note the black stripe spanning across the aileron and flap just like the outboard white stripe should.

I started with some tape strips cut to a scale 20″ wide and placed the first piece where the black stripe straddles the aileron & flap. More strips of tape placed side by side lays out the stripes on the top of the wing. Scrap tape is placed outside the five 20″ tape strips and then the 20″ tape strips are removed. Repeat on each wing on top and bottom.

The fuselage is a little trickier. It turns out that starting the rear stripe just ahead of the tail wheel well has the forward edge of the white stripe on a vertical panel line. (Thank you for little miracles.) I used some short pieces of tape cut to a scale 18″ wide to help locate the rearmost vertical line. Place the front edge of the 18″ tape pieces on the panel line in several places around the fuselage. A narrow piece of tape cut on a curve (about 200 mm radius) is placed abutting the rear edges of the 18″ strips of tape. The curvature of the narrow tape will appear vertical on the fuselage due to the tapering of the shape towards the rear. By keeping the tape narrow, some flexibility is available so the curvature doesn’t have to be perfect. With the rear most vertical edge established, I measured a scale 90″ inches (5 x 18″) forward and marked several spots with short pieces of tape. Another narrow curved piece of tape is wrapped around the fuselage abutting the short pieces to establish the forward vertical edge of the stripes. Add wider pieces of tape to prevent overspray on to the other parts of the model. Also, determine if the landing gear doors were painted and prepare them to be painted if needed. Also take a close look at the intercooler doors on the fuselage to see how they were painted – they often do not match the stripes well. Notice Silver Lady’s intercooler bay is painted black, but the bottom of the door is not completely painted black.

Here is my model (Tamiya kit) with the fields for the invasion stripes exposed and the edges masked to prevent overspray on the areas outside of the fields. You might also notice the small piece of tape covering the spot inside the field on the left wing. That is where the bar for the national insignia ends up. There is a similar piece on the bottom of the right wing. Be sure to mask for the insignias so that there will only be one color under the decal – otherwise it is likely the line of color change will be seen.

Paint the exposed fields white. I used some dark grey preshading on the panel lines to help break up the stark solid white. You might also note that I painted the stripes before painting the rest of the model. That is a modeler’s choice – the technique works either way. I prefer to limit the amount of masking I do over natural metal silver finishes so I painted the stripes first.

Mask the white stripes. Relocate the strips of tape that were cut 20″ wide and place them back on the model. The outboard and inboard white stripes are masked by placing the strips against the edges of the tape that determines the field. Another 20″ strip placed against the edges of those stripes should generate an open spot in the middle that is filled with the last 20″ strip of tape. Lift the two strips of tape where the black will be painted. Repeat for other wing and the bottoms. Again, the fuselage is a little trickier. The 18″ short bits of tape are used to find the edges of the stripes just like the rear edge of the field was found. Narrow curved pieces of tape are placed on the model along the edges of the pieces. Once the edges of the white stripes are masked, the centers are filled in with scraps of tape.

Don’t forget to mask for the national insignia! I create the tape mask for the insignia by photo copying the decals to be used on the model. I place the photo copy over a piece of tape and cut through both just inside the outside edges of the insignia.

When you layout the fuselage stripes, you’re going to find out that Tamiya placed the right fuselage side intercooler bay about 0.015″ forward of the one on the left side. The good news is that the insignia breaks up the edge of the black stripe passing by so it will be hard to notice unless you’re looking for it.

Paint the black stripes. I used black ever so slightly lightened with grey and then post shaded the panel lines with pure black to help break up the stark black much like the preshade was used for the white.

Don’t forget to paint the gear doors at the same time.

Now mask the black stripes and remove the tape outside of the edges of the field so that the rest of the model can be painted using your usual techniques.

I find painting basic shapes like stripes much easier than applying very large decals that can wrinkle, silver, blister, etc. Invasion stripes are not really that difficult, but some patience is needed – it might take two hours to get the tape in the correct location, then just 10 minutes to spray the paint.

Final results on the completed model.


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Superdetail Conversion – Trumpeter 1/350 Nimitz to Carl Vinson

Superdetailing the Carl Vinson in 1/350 scale

by Dave Kopielski

I started with the Nimitz model and converted it to the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 as she was at the start of the 1983 world cruise (her maiden deployment).  All differences as well as the hangar bay details were scratch built. I purchased extra aircraft sets to fill ship with all 86 aircraft. The decals for the hangar bay and aircraft were made by me. The ship is also illuminated with over 500 feet of fiber optic lines and 40 LED’s.  Photoetch sets were used on the ship and for all the aircraft. The ship is also accented with resin CIWS and deck tractors, 3-D printed hangar doorways and Tilly Crash tractor.

A total of 777 hours were spent building.

Additional pictures can be found at the following locations.

On the IPMS-USA website –

On Facebook (build pics, no login required) –

On Flickr (high resolution images) –

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