Sparmax ps-35C unboxing review dn models dual action airbrush

Sparmax SP-35C – Unboxing and Review

SP-35C is a dual-action, gravity-feed airbrush, part of the SP-35 series by Sparmax. Within those, three more options are available: SP-35, SP-35B and SP-35F. SP-35C is the one that we are going to take a look at today, but have in mind, that they are very close overall. For example, in appearance and for the untrained eye, they all look-alike. As for performance, SP series are almost 100% equal. SP-35C is suitable for many applications, among which beauty industry, body-art, nail-art, auto-art and of course – scale modeling or hobby applications. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at this Sparmax airbrush: Little history: Sparmax history dates back from the late 70s, but they became more popular with the last two decades. For our hobby, Sparmax gained fame through cheap and reliable products, which modelers started using as spare airbrushes, but quickly got adapted to those and started using as main tool. Sparmax manufactures for other companies, but with that experience and clever management, they introduced products under their own brand, which are now famous and have a standard of their own. Package: This particular airbrush comes in a nice elliptical box, which at first glance give you the impression of a product, designed and dedicated to the beauty industry. In a matter of fact, not exactly the case here. Although they /makeup & nail artists/ are not new to using airbrushes, they are newcomers to that business when compared to scale modelers.   The elliptical box is wrapped in black cardboard packaging, with short description of the contents, including info about the SP-35 and SP-35B too, in case you need to be sure which one is inside of it. On the box there is a sticker with the slogan: “pro beauty”, which again hints that beauty workers will be probably more than pleased with that airbrush. From what I experienced while testing it, I can testify, that I was too. Inside of the plastic ellipse, we have the airbrush, instructions, a cleaning brush, a crown cap, wrench and a single-action converter-adapter. The Airbrush: The airbrush is nicely engraved and allows easy maintenance. The add-ons are very useful, especially if you buy this as an initial airbrush, since they can broaden your perspective of use. Especially the single-action adaptor. That turns your airbrush into whole new animal, bringing all of its advantages to light. The needle/nozzle combination is 0.35mm. The tests show, that this is perfectly suitable for precision work but can handle bigger applications too. A bit more on that later on in the article. The way that airbrush works shows that it is very well crafted and everything is done with accuracy. Despite the somewhat big-ish size of .35mm, this SP-35C can draw thin lines with ease. The quality of the craftsmanship within the front end of the airbrush – the way that the needle is centered, the nozzle sealing the fitting and so on, allows troubleless work with exquisite results. That is the reason why there is a preset handle that comes with SP-35C. The other SP-airbrushes does not feature one like that. However SP-35C has it, and this is very important for precision work, when you need to limit your paint flow through limiting the trigger movement backwards. With the nozzle of .35mm and finesse as a goal – this is a must. Especially for mottling or complex WWII camouflage lines. The other thing that is pretty standard is the connection size, which is 1/8. Very few companies still produce smaller fittings and in my opinion they are long overdue with that. 1/8 is the standard for decades, so this here isn’t news. Although other sizes can find solution in adapters - both to the compressor end or the airbrush leg - still 1/8 is the preferable size for all. You will not want to buy and change different hoses every time you switch between airbrushes, right?! The paint cup: The one thing is not the usual in size, is the cup. It is a bit smaller than what we get with such nozzle sized airbrushes. With SP-35C we have 2ml cup which is fixed and equipped with a cap. Here, somewhat controversial to the nozzle size of .35mm, we have a set-up for detail work, especially in scale modeling. For proving a point of that last sentence, we have the tail-stoppper, the smooth trigger and the balance of the airbursh as an evidence. The 2ml size won’t be enough if you work on 32nd scale aircraft, especially if you are doing varnish or primer. Will be too small for single paint applications too. But that takes us back to the main idea of the gun – despite the size of the nozzle, this is a high-precision airbrush, which eventually will impress primarily the beauty market. But not only. Fortunately, for 48th sale or 35th /in armor/, the size of the color cup will be enough, and the only disadvantage that you might have is that you will need to use the better part of its contents when spraying larger surfaces. This is where the cap comes, to protect you from spilling and preserve the diluter, in case you are using IPA which evaporates pretty quickly. With a full cup, accidents can happen! I speak from bitter experience. Tests have shown: While testing it, SP-35C demonstrated smooth trigger action, constant paint flow and most importantly, does not tire the hand. Although with small cup, spraying all of the paint away will take some time and the ergonomic qualities here help. Some airbrushes have stiffer triggers or are being designed slightly off-balance. Not with this Sparmax. Here, straight and thin lines are a breeze and painting over larger areas can be done due to the nozzle size. The crown cap also helps in that manner. Overall, after 15 minutes of work, I felt like I was just warming up. Pretty nice in my opinion. SP-35C sits in your hand pretty nicely and the materials that it is made of, allow you to feel confident and then clean it easily after spray session. Nothing close to the airbrushes that have plastic parts over them. Besides looking better and more expensive, this appearance is way more practical too. So, now let’s wrap it up: Advantages: This airbrush combines interesting features in one set-up. Those are the mid-size of the nozzle, alongside with small paint cup and fine tune add-ons. Latter one being the pre-set handle and the crown cap, both very important for precision work. The way that the SP-35C is crafted gives you steady paint flow and no unwanted surprises while painting. Lines are consistent, fine and with the smooth trigger action the airbrush holds pretty nicely. Everything is sealed and centered properly. It makes it suitable for complex camouflages, mottling and pre- and post-shading usage. Disadvantages: The small color cup which is not changeable might be a problem if you use this for bigger applications in scale modeling – ships, 32nd and 24th scale planes and for general work. By general, I mean priming and varnishing, as well as single-tone camo schemes. SP-35C is a rather precise gun, but with bigger nozzle. Conclusion: If you are into modeling and you are not all about size of the plastic, you will be very well suited with this airbrush. The cup size is enough for 48th scale applications, /not if you do Trumpeter’s U-boat in that scale!/, as well as 35th and smaller. The best feature of this airbrush is that it is well crafted and obviously manufactured with a lot of experience. There is steady trigger-action as well as steady paint flow, which limits the possibility for unwanted surprises. More or less it is a sniper rifle, nevertheless the .35mm nozzle. For the modest price that Sparmax wants, this SP-35C is undoubtedly - a bargain. That, with the brush, crown cap, single-action converter makes SP-35C very tempting offer on the market. In that range there are hardly any competitive airbrushes and the ones available either have higher prices or obscured origin and quality. Highly recommended!

How to avoid typical issues with decals like silvering

How to avoid typical issues with decals? In a word: masks! From silvering and misaligned decals, to very thick and fragile old decals – you can really get rid of these issues just by using masks. Of course, not every decal can be replaced with a mask and it is not always possible. So, how about reducing the time for cutting, soaking and gluing the decals? With the pre-cut masks, you have more time to take good care of the choice of paint type, color and brand. The pre-cut masks can be used a number of times if handled properly and if stored justly, so even if you make two exactly the same models – you can use just one set of masks instead of buying more decals. To choose when to use masks instead of decals is usually easy and it is mostly related to the desire of avoiding the usual issues that can appear when using decals. For instance, let`s take a look at a couple common mistakes or issues that may appear when using decals:
  • Problems with very old decals. They are usually very thin or very thick, but not normal. Some very old decals might be yellowish or some kind of discoloration might be clearly noticeable. The decals in the very old kits are much more vulnerable to cracks and even they can easily break apart if not handled carefully.
  • Applying the wrong decal setting solution or applying it in a wrong way. Some decals require a minute or two for soaking in a softening solution, but other decals require more time. So, you may want to use a stronger setting solution and thus risk to damage the decal. Other decal setting solutions can cause an unwanted effect to the base coat of paint or lacquer.
  • Silvering is a common problem with just about all the decals, except for the best decals from the highest quality. If you don`t use any kind of setting solution – then, the unwanted silvering effect may appear easier.
  • Very difficult or impossible alignment. This could happen with the very long and spacious decals, which require to apply water or decal setting solution onto quite a larger surface of the model. In this case, the big decal could easily touch a dry painted surface and stick to it quite persistently. Aligning such a decal to its exact place could be quite a time-consuming exercise.
These are only the main issues with the decals, which could easily be avoided just by using masks. There are numerous options to replace a huge big decal with a mask, for example – you could make your own template with masking tape. Some kits have sheets with pre-cut masks included in them, such as the Eduard`s Limited Edition kits. Some online stores sell only masks as optional upgrades for a variety of models. Or else, try the DN-models masks, which offer a wide choice of applications – from typical canopy masks to paint only the frames, to masks for big and difficult camouflage patterns. Cover 2s19 splinter camo (site)2
The application of the masks is easy and sometimes quite trickier, than using a simple decal, but the final effect will be much more realistic. It`s just how the vehicles are painted in the real world – by applying coats of paint over templates or masks. Also, the choice of paint could be trickier, but if you do it properly – you could get an even better effect than with the normal decals.

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Great painting, awesome weathering, bright colors, perfect shapes – all these are key elements for a more realistic looking scale mode. Maybe the only better thing is to make something strange with your model, for example to embed lights, glue the flaps and the ailerons in an angled position, or else – make them movable! That last thing is what it is all about when it comes to using magnets for scale modeling. magnets
There are magnets with different shapes and sizes, and some of the smallest ones can reach a thickness of only 1 mm. Thanks to these magnets, you could make some details in your plastic model to move and rotate, for example, moveable flaps, slats and elevators. The small magnets can be used just about everywhere in the plastic model, even if you want to make detachable ordnance like drop tanks, bombs and missiles. This will change completely the appearance of your finished scale model and if you really use magnets in as many places as possible – your model could transform itself into 2 or 3 models in 1.

Different applications of the magnets:

  • Magnet attracted by another magnet. This opt gives the strongest force of attraction and according to the strengths of the different magnets – the total force accumulates and can reach up to 1 kg. This specific application is required for places, where a lot of force is needed to slightly bent the detail and ensure the best possible fit.
  • Metal surface attracted by a magnet. This is a slightly less powerful solution, but in some cases it is all that`s enough to make one part attract to another part safely and sufficiently. The size of the metal surface is from another importance for the total strength of attraction. This opt is recommended for smaller details like attaching only weapon pylons to the underwing mounting holes.
  • Magnets with space between. According to the size of the magnets – they can provide a great force of attraction, but only a small amount of it is needed to ensure the proper fit. Another case is when the detail has to be attracted by the magnet and to move freely in the same time, such as the doors of a landing wheel bay. In this case, the magnets can be used in the opposite poles to hold the door closed when the landing wheel is retracted, or vice-versa – the magnets can be glued in a way to repel each other, which will help the doors stay open.

How to conceal the magnets for an even greater augmented reality?

There are numerous ways to hide the magnets by embedding into the plastic, by painting the magnets with the same color as the surrounding area, and more. Take a look at a couple more ways to conceal a magnet in a scale model:
  • Add wires, cables or other extra details over the magnets. This means that you will prevent the magnets from a direct contact and thus the attraction force will be smaller, however, it would be impossible to identify the shapes of a magnet if it is hidden under other details.
  • Changing the texture of the magnets. Even a small piece of masking tape will be enough to change the glossy texture of a magnet and to make it almost invisible.
  • A proper weathering. From glue traces around or even over the magnet, to using simple drybrushing techniques – there are plenty of ways to hide the magnet by weathering the area.
Of course, the use of magnets in scale modeling has its own challenges and cons, but let`s face it – the magnets are the key for augmented reality.
Building, Painting and Weathering - Panzer III Ausf.D from MiniArt

Building, Painting and Weathering – Panzer III Ausf.D from MiniArt

Built by Nushi Nikitova, this is one of the few Panzer kits completed by a lady modeler. It has more than 1000 parts, and requires experience to be built properly. The video features the whole process from start to finish, and I will let You be the judge of the results. Panzer III is one of the most successful tanks of WWII. MiniArt kits dedicated to Panzer III series feature pre-production vehicles, built in small numbers. Of those, Panzer III Ausf.D is the last produced. From then on, all Panzer III models were built in large numbers and featured different suspension with few wheels per side. In the video, the kit is built with simple methods and using materials and tools that are relatively inexpensive. The idea is to show that any budget can satisfy your modeling needs, especially if one is dedicated to the hobby. Panzer III Ausf.D features single-tone camouflage. Only few Panzer III Ausf.D were produced in two tone camo. That adds to the idea of building simple. However, building simple does not mean building with low quality. Single tone camouflages, especially German gray camouflages can be very tricky paint jobs. Finishing is done with easy to find materials, some of which can be done at home. If you follow the process through, you will be able to receive similar /if not better/ results. Have fun watching! More than words can say:

Zvezda BMPT Build

So after considerable amount of times postponing this project, I decided to start the build of it and get it done as soon as possible. I’ve started building Zvezda kit as a starter, because from what I saw opening the box, this one is the easier one to be built. The other that I will be building will be Meng Model BMPT, since the Trumpeter one is not yet released. The good news is, that there is a slight chance Trumpi making a slight turn to a BMPT-72, or Terminator 2, which is based on T-72, instead of T-90. That will give me even more to work with. So back to the Zvezda. I haven’t built a Russian kit from ages, not only because I am not a big fan, but also because they haven’t showed up for it with...anything. Well, that is changed now, with their T-90 line, which was warmly welcomed and includes this BMPT kit as well. Going through the parts of it, I can tell that there are just about enough. There aren’t many unusual complications compared to Meng, but on the other side, there are some letdowns. Like for example the plastic meshes, which are photo-etched in Meng’s set. Or the plastic material, which is clearly lower quality. With that said, I must note, that Zvezda kit is ages ahead of everything they have done so far. It is well engineered, well organized within the sprues and have some small shortcuts, like for example, the pre-sagged track lines. Onto the build - overall, it takes about 6-7 hours, maybe a little more, depending on how much energy one is putting into cleaning and fitting the parts. Compared to a Tamiya kit, every one of which is pretty much 5-5.5 hours built, this kit is not bad. And I am not trying to make it look bad, just the contrary. The Terminator is a complex vehicle, with a lot of parts over the upper hull, and its turret is made from various weapons systems, which means more detailing. Again, Zvezda somehow pull that off too, making it very neatly - a movable turret, with twin machine guns moving up and down. The alignment is easily done, and amazingly, movement is free and trouble-less. The fit of everything is tight, but yes, it works just fine! The suspension is not very complex, and I truly believe that is the way to go. Why? Well, because that is a armored vehicle with tracks, which means it goes dirty places, and it makes a total mess out of its belly. Besides, nobody, and I mean nobody checks the bottoms of the tanks at the shows. Even if they don’t have a vignette base or just a wooden pad - still, nobody checks. A movable tracks and suspension, which are extras we can find in Meng’s kit are a bit useless. They can come handy if you place the vehicle over curvy terrain on a diorama, but that is doable with a bit of extra work with a fixed suspensions as well. Zvezda’s biggest advantage according to my personal preferences is the fact that you have a track length consistent of several parts, like under 10 of them. There are two main lengths - upper with sags and lower, which sits beneath the wheels. The rest is pretty much several links that go over the idlers and sprockets and couple of more straight lines. This is a great time saver, especially when you don’t enjoy dealing with track links, like myself. One thing that I don’t liked in the kit was the transparent parts, which are a bit outdated as a quality. They are easily cracked, and do not allow just any glue around them. On the other side of that is the fact that again - we are dealing with armored vehicle, which ones inside of a muddy conditions, and everything becomes a mess more or less. So some dirt over the transparent parts won’t hurt anybody. The whole build took me more than a few days, because even not that much as working hours, some parts are fiddly and they need a break in between their treatment and assembly. Plastic looks a bit messy in the end of the build, but that is only because it’s quality is a bit of low level. However, once everything is primed, it appears even and without any problems at all. I was actually very surprised with the final appearance of the vehicle. Because it has very curvy surface with all that boxes and technical access panels, I needed to go with two hands of two primers. First I did it with Mr. Surfacer 1000, which covered the most of it, and then I did a go around with Surfacer 1200, which filled even the smallest stuff over it. In the end I got a nice looking vehicle, and I bet nobody, or at least very few people can recognize that this is Zvezda beneath the Surfacer. Even if you can tell, it looks great! The painting of the camouflage is another whole story, so this is for some other article, but a built of this kit was a lot of fun! The kit itself is a cheap one, so I highly recommend it to anybody interested in armor. Even though it is not a company very popular among modelers, Zvezda did the job perfectly, and they deserve a praise. More on that BMPT story to follow soon…. You can get the Zvezda kit here: BMPT Terminator
full video series building stalinetz tractor trumpeter

Step-by-Step building of a Stalinetz

Stalinetz from Trumpeter - full video build. The Series: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 IMG_1630 Stalinetz from Trumpeter is one of the most popular kits of the brand in 35th scale. The kit has been built by many masters, just to show how many possibilities are embedded in this small and simple vehicle. Michael Rinaldi managed to release a book dedicated to Stalinetz. The cabbed and the open roof versions of the Stalinetz are equally popular among modelers. Both offer great deal of options, however the cabbed is less popular. That is why all the builds mentioned above are of the open roof version of the stalinetz. The reason for making this video is basically the same - show how much can be done with a simple kit. Especially one that is not a military vehicle per se. Stalinetz was a tractor that was built in thousands and was used for various purposes. From agricultural, through military and building in the far north. In the video you will see few tips and trick that can help you develop your own ideas. Especially in terms of scratch building. You will find few weathering tricks as well as some painting guidance. In addition to that, all the tools and materials used are purposely chosen to be on the cheap side of things. That way the video will be suitable for every modeler out there. From the beginner to the master. Video is divided into three parts you can see above. Stalinetz deserves a lot of attention and in order to maximize the experience, each part is focused on a different stage of the process. Have fun watching!  

1/35 Disc Camo Masks Part 1

There are a lot of fans of Wehrmacht projects that never saw the light of day. 1946 would've been a year full of innovations and interesting designs. Many of those secret and unreleased projects have been released by the modeling companies. They created them using drawings, pictures, sketches and so on. Accurate or not, those models are out there and along with them, many options for camouflages and additional aftermarket appears. Disc camouflage was popular with Nazi vehicles before the end of the war, not to mention what would have been during 1946. It can be seen on STUGs, Hetzers, Panthers. A friend of mine, owner of TI Hobbies, decided to make a model that features such camouflage. We discussed the option of DN Models to put out a mask set for disc camouflage with two different patterns. Equal size roundels and different size roundels. In this article /divided into two parts/ we will make a follow-through of the process of painting a model using type 1 of those masks. "Type 1" are the masks with equal size roundels. The model used is Trumpeter E-75 Flakpanzer:
The mask set features enough masks to complete the whole model without worries, plus additional spots in case they are needed for repairs or for different patterns. In addition to that, masks can be re-used if carefully removed from the model. They leave no glue or stains over the paint, nor peel it off.
It is more interesting to follow the process of masking the model and painting over the covered areas. Then to see the end results. It is quite stunning!
Completed and painted model just before masking
Three tone camo to make it look more interesting after round camouflage is applied
In part 1 we will show you how the turret job worked out for us. In part 2 - the rest of the tank. As you can see from the pictures above, the tank looks great even without disc camouflage, so imagine the end result. So, here is the masked turret:
Then, painted with yellow paint, as eventually Germans did during the war. Yellow was based color for most of their tanks, so its logical to have more of that and use it in cases like that. Here is the painted turret, just before removing of the masks:
The masks were left on the tank overnight to let the paint cure properly, and to make sure that our test will give the best results possible. That means not to damage the paint upon removal, even after some time have passed after masking and painting. This might seem not so important to some, but a lot of the modelers out there are busy and have no time to stay on the bench for a long time day after day until they finish their project. Anyway, here is the result on the next day:
This is actually the FIRST photo of mask removal. And the first success of our testing process.
The turret without the masks.
As you can see, the results are pretty satisfying! Of course, the model is far from completion. But in part 2 we will show you the completed turret, and with a little luck - one fine built and interesting model!
Stay tuned for it, coming soon!
For more info about the turret results, check out the video of it:
Special thanx to TI Hobbies! Amazing job - as usual!