Thursday, 30 April 2015

Museums At Night - Magical Night-time Festival 13th-16th May

Museums at Night, The UK Festival of After-Hours Events which will explode into life from Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th May 2015 is a biannual UK-wide festival which attracts visitors into museums, galleries and heritage sites by throwing their doors open after hours and putting on magical evening events all over the country, like the sleepover at the William Morris Museum in London and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Who knows whether the dinosaur skeleton might come to life like in the Ben Stiller film Night At The Museum, but anyway, it'll certainly bring history to life.

Anyone in the Great Yarmouth area should take in the exceptional Time and Tide Museum which is Free on the 15th May, and those in Norwich need to explore the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery also Free on the 16th May

See the full list of after-hours openings and events in your area at
Cadw Stargazing at Tintern Abbey

Galleries of Justice Museum - Nottingham
Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Soviet Stalinetz Tractors Which Helped Defeat The Nazis

During World War II the Soviets relied on heavily on tractors. “Stalinets” tractors were produced in 1937-1941 in Chelyabinsk Traktornyy Zavod (ChTZ for short) for industrial and construction works, but they were also often used by the Red Army as a prime mover, pulling heavy artillery and mortars across battlefields.

During this time seven other industrial entities (including most of Leningrad’s Kirov Plant, and 15,000 of its workers.) were either wholly or partially relocated to Chelyabinsk, the resulting enterprise, commonly known as “Танкоград” (‘Tankograd’, or ‘Tank City’), The work force increased to 60,000 workers by 1944, from 25,000 during non-military production; during the conflict the works produced 18,000 tanks, and 48,500 tank diesel engines as well as over 17 million units of ammunition.
The Stalinetz S-65 was the most numerous of the Soviet tracked tractors of WWII with 37,656 being produced at the ChelyabinskiyChTZ and Zavod plants between 1937 and 1941 before ChTZ switched to tank production.
With a combat weight of 11.2t the Stalinetz S-65 was used to tow heavy artillery.

Production included the KV tank from 1941,T-34 tank from 1942, KV-85 tank and JS tanks from 1943, and T-34/85 tank and SU-85 self-propelled field gun from 1944 By 1945 the plant had been awarded the Order of Kutuzov, 1st Class, the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, and other honours for its efforts in helping to defeat Nazi Germany.

Here you can see a  “Stalinets” tractor which sank in the winter of 1942 in the Usoditsa lake of the Zapadnodvinsky district of the Tver region, Russia.
The tractor has now gone for restoration. It was in quite good condition with no rust, the mechanics were faultless, and the tanks had oil and fuel inside. This is a unique machine as there are now only a handful of tractors like this in the museums of the world.

Trumpeter have produced a 1:35 scale model kit of the Russian ChTZ S-65 Artillery Tractor without cab which makes an interesting modelling project. 

The following pictures show a model of the Russian ChTZ S-65 Artillery Tractor as completed by John Tolcher, "The kit is made by Trumpeter, with an engine from LZ Models. The canopy was scratchbuilt as a field modification. The model was painted with Tamiya acrylics and weathered using mostly oil paints and pigments."

See even more photos of Johns project here

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Coming Soon To Hobbies - Harley Davidson, Vosper, LaFrance Fire Truck, Royal Carriage, Mini Sub & More

Just some of the exciting new lines coming to Hobbies
(We will add links and dates as they become available).


Scale: 1:24
Skill Level: Intermediate
Length: 335mm
A beautiful detailed Egyptian style carriage, built for Maria Cristina of Borbone, in 1819 for the Carnival gala in Turin.
The Egyptian Carriage kit includes pre-cut wooden features; machine turned wooden spokes and columns; brass decorations; velvet paper for inside covering; brass chains; gilded metal Egyptian figureheads; plans and detailed building instructions.
Scale: 1:6
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 400mm
The FLH Classic was the top model from the world famous Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company.
A great, easy to work with size, offering you great attention to detail, with many metal parts, working suspension, quality decals and real rubber tyres this is the king of all model kits.


Length: 140 mm, Height: 50 mm, Beam approx: 38 mm
Max. diving depth: 0.8 m

Go on a diving trip with this small, radio-controlled submarine. The model can be operated without any problems in the bath tub, pond or aquarium. Two red searchlights, RC-function: Right-/left control, traction motors on/off, fill/empty diving tank.

  Vosper MTB

Scale: 1:35
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 630mm
On March 1942, a British amphibious attack was undertaken by Royal Navy and Commandos against the large dry dock at Saint Nazaire, in German occupied France.The operation was successfully done and the dry dock was damaged and unusable until the end of the war.
This stunning example of the Vosper MTB 74 has been recreated in amazing detail by Italeri. The model measures an impressive 655mm in length and contains authentic decals and photo etched parts.

  HMS Nelson

Scale: 1:200
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 1082mm Width: 160mm
The HMS Nelson has lots of history attached to her.  At the outbreak of World War II she was serving as flagship of the Home Fleet. She was active in “Operation Torch” landings in French North Africa, the Allied invasion of Sicily, and the Salerno landing. The Japanese surrender of Malaya was signed aboard the HMS NELSON on September 3rd 1945
This large scale plastic model kit contains over 1260 parts with 18 Sprues. One-piece hull, and One-piece deck with accurately detailed guns. Eight photo etched frets for handrails, ladders, and radar parts etc.


Scale: 1:16
Skill Level: Highly Challenging
Length: 438mm, Width: 207mm
The Panzerkampfwagen IV (Pz.Kpfw. IV) Sd Kfz 161, commonly known as the Panzer IV, was a medium tank developed in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and used extensively during World War II.
The model kit is not for the faint hearted with over 2000 parts spread over 74 styrene sprues, upper hull, lower hull, turret and individual track links; plus metal gun barrel, copper cable, springs, six frets of PE and decals making a magnificent realistic model.


Scale: 1:350
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 7203mm, Beam: 101mm
This Aircraft Carrier was commissioned by the US Navy in 1937 and saw service until she was finally sunk in 1942 at the Battle of Midway.
This large scale kit boasts over 800 parts, with full hanger deck details, 5 photo-etch sheets, extensive instructions, full colour painting guide, single piece hull With panelling detail, positional elevators, and includes 3 types of US Navy planes.

TM02506 Trumpeter American LaFRANCE Eagle Fire Pumper 2002
Scale: 1:25
Skill Level: Intermediate
Length: 366mm, Width: 116mm, Height: 122mm
American LaFrance is one of the best known builders of fire fighting apparatus dating back to the 1870s.This kit represents a pump truck designed by American LaFrance for the College Park, Maryland Volunteer Fire Department.
This 326 piece plastic model kit comes with detailed instructions and painting guide. Photo etch parts for all the diamond plating and grills, decals for College Park E121 and additional numbers and letters, highly detailed engine and chassis, moulded in white chrome, ladders included.

MM63502 Merit Tank Transporter
Scale: 1:35
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 464mm, Width: 82.5mm
For US Armour enthusiasts, this Merit International Tank Transporter includes over 790 plastic parts, photo-etched details, and rubber like tyres. The kit includes new injection parts for Diamond T 981 cab structure & doors, canvas roof and top mount for machine gun • Tank sold seperately.

Battle for Berlin

Scale: 1:72
The Battle of Berlin was the last historical military event of World War II on the European theater. From the middle of April 1945 the Red Army launched a massive offensive along the Oder River line with the final goal to capture the German capital. The battle ended on May 2nd, after intense and fierce fighting in the ruins of the capital of the Reich, ending with the surrender of German troops
Diorama set comprises: Berlin House (51 pieces) & Decals Sheet,2 x T-34/85, Pz.Kpfw.PANTHER Aufs.G Tank, PAK 40 AT gun with crew, 32 German elite troops, 32 Russian infantry, and 96 piece Urban Accessories.


mefistofele model

4701 Italeri Mefistofele 21706cc
Scale: 1:12
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 450mm
The one-off racing car "Eldridge", derived from the old Fiat SB4 chassis, became known as Mephistofele for the infernal noise emitted by its powerful aircraft 6-cylinders in-line engine.
This model, which is unique in terms of technology & accuracy, consists of over
500 pieces to be assembled partially with screws. The bonnet opens to view the highly detailed engine and it has working steering.
soviet battleship marat

Zvezda Soviet Battleship Marat
Scale: 1:350
Length: 527mm
Marat was sunk by German Stukas off Kronshtadt on the 23rd September 1939. But the ship was in shallow water and was raised and was used as a floating Battery.

battle of the bulge

6103 Italeri Battle Of The Bulge Diorama Set
Scale: 1:72
Skill Level: Intermediate
Diorama Base measures: 460x330mm
The Battle of the Bulge (December 1944–January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II
The Italeri model kit Includes 50 x German, 50 x Americans, 1 x King Tiger Sd.Kfz.182, 1 x Sherman, plus numerous accessories such as telegraph poles, road signs, sandbags and diorama base.

4702 Italeri Fiat 806 1927 Grand Prix
Scale: 1:12
Skill Level: Advanced
Length:  ?
The Fiat 806 was the worlds first single seater Grand Prix car, driven by Bordino. Racing in the 1927 Grand Prix in atrocious conditions, he easily beat the greatest drivers of his day. After winning its first and only race, the 806 was withdrawn by Fiat and destroyed. Fiat never raced again.

3894 Italeri Peterbilt 378-119 Classic
Scale: 1:24
Skill Level: Advanced
Length: 322mm
The Peterbilt Motor Company, which was founded in 1939, is among the most famous American company in the world for the production of medium and heavy trucks. Produced from 1987 to 2007 the Peterbilt 378-119 Classic embodies the "concept" of the classic American truck with the big hood and the important use of chrome exterior. This model comes with upgraded moulds.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Create a work of art with your scrollsaw and a little imagination

Ask woodworkers or crafters what their favourite scroll saw project is and an overwhelming majority will say Intarsia. Why? Because the craft of Intarsia is fun and easy to learn, requires very few materials, and offers an unlimited range of artistic projects that you’ll proudly display, give as cherished gifts, or even sell at craft fairs.

Intarsia is a woodworking technique using various shapes, sizes, & species of wood which are then fitted together to create a mosaic-like picture that has the illusion of depth. Intarsia is created through the selection of different types of wood, which uses their natural grain pattern and colour to create variations in the pattern, sometimes stain and dyes are used.

Books, such as the Big Book of Intarsia Woodworking or Intarsia Woodworking Projects show inspiring, beautiful designs, created with expert step-by-step instructions along with crisp, colourful photos, detailed patterns, and tips & techniques that guarantee success.

Here are some pages from the Big Book of Intarsia Woodworking which show just some of the inspiring projects from that book, and great examples of what can be achieved.


A great chart showing different woods, their colours and uses for the purposes of Intarsia can be seen on the Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts Magazine website.

 Wood Types and Uses

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Trumpeter Aerosan NKL-16 - Model Making: Learn by Doing. Part One

I'm fairly new to this modelling lark, but its something that i've always had an interest in, and having seen just how good some of these kits can look when they have been painted and made into a diorama setting, I'm always keen to give it a go. I've had a few previous attempts and limited success in the past, but I find I'm learning all the time, and they say 'practise makes perfect'.

First things first, it's important to choose a model to build that you are actually interested in, and want to make. I came across the Trumpeter Soviet NKL-16 Aerosan Kit in Hobbies catalogue, and was intrigued by its appearance. It looked almost unreal, like nothing I had come across before and, with a price under £20, I decided to give it a go.$916-aerosan-plastic-model-kit

The Trumpeter Soviet NKL-16 Aerosan Kit consists of 151 parts on 9 trees, 86 photo etch detail parts and a short piece of copper wire.

First of all I had to look on Google to see just what these amazing vehicles actually looked like in real-life, and I found photos and read descriptions about how they worked.

A further search turned up some dioramas using the aerosan which were hugely inspiring.

It appears the NKL-16 Aerosan was introduced by the Soviet Union during World War II. It was made of plywood and was powered by an aircraft engine.  Various models were built at car factories, and were always being improved. The Aerosans were organized into transport battalions.

You need a place to work. A laptray in front of the telly is probably not going to work successfully, so in my case, it was the dining room table, with a thick, protective tablecovering over it.
I quickly established that I would need a proper cutting surface, so that my knife didn't end up making holes in the table, so I purchased an inexpensive modellers' tool kit containing small cutting mat, hobby knife & spare blades, a sprue cutter ( so much better than hacking parts from the sprue with the knife), and a small file to 'clean up' the piece.

  Tweezers are also 'essential' for handling 'fiddly' smaller parts. 

Light Craft Fluorescent Daylight Compact Table Standing Magnifier Lamp  not only gives clear, shadow-free light which is easy on the eyes,  it gives perfect magnification allowing you to see smaller parts, making them easier to handle, glue, and paint.

Use the correct glue for the materials you are using.
Roket Rapid (Superglue) is perfect for sticking metal photo-etched pieces to plastic ( as well as the more traditional sticking fingers to forehead), but use Revell Contacta for 'plastic to plastic' applications.