Author Topic: IPMS interview with Master Modeller Ron Kootje  (Read 328 times)

Offline janh

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IPMS interview with Master Modeller Ron Kootje
« on: August 10, 2017, 10:53:58 PM »
Recently Ron was visited in his den by a fellow modeller and IMPS member. the inteview was published in the Dutch IPMS bulletin. this is a translation of the interview Ron has given his consent to publish it here


After years of development the first entirely resin 1:32 airplane model by Aviattic is by now available. MIP (modelbouw in Plastic) travelled to Andijk for an interview with the maker of the master of the beautiful Ansaldo A.1 Balila, Ron Kootje. At home Ron has an intelligently laid out hobby room, besides the workbench and the customary wall of paint bottles there’s also an Proxxon lathe- and milling machine. These are not the standard machines, Ron has equipped them with several adjustments of his own making, as making his own tools is anther hobby of his. Besides these there are vacuum- and pressure chambers for casting resin parts that have found a place in his den. These chambers are custom made to Ron’s needs and preferences. Yes, Ron casts the resin parts for the Balila himself. Once a  batch of parts is ready they’re shipped to the UK where they’re united with the photo-etch frame (designed by Ron, but made by PPD LTD.) and the decals. The manual is available on Aviattic’s site. Ron is a perfectionist: “The fuselage was only satisfactory at the 3rd try, the wings took 6 tries before they were to my liking!”  The masters of several parts, eg. the radiator are 3D prints. The 3D drawings for these are made by his buddy Auke Elsinga.
Ron has been active casting resin for some time. This was triggered by the need for scratch parts a few years back. His build blogs on “Modelbouwers” and the forum of www.aircraftmodels.com soon generated requests for copies of his parts. One thing led to another. A mail from Richard Andrews: “so much for collaboration?” made Ron decide to start working for Aviattic.
 The whole casting process has become quite efficient: “you need to work as efficient as possible or no time is left for anything else. ” The visitors subsequently get a demonstration of the casting of 10 Balila radiators. 10 radiators? Yeah, Ron makes 1 master, then the first 10 casts are screened, the best ones are selected for a production mold. The parts are glued with PVA on a plastic base. Next a box of LEGO is built around that. The blocks are simply made leak proof with tape. An online algorithm provided by the silicon rubber manufacturer helps to calculate the grams of silicone needed and the amount of catalyst to set it for the specific mold, -that is the volume of the Lego box minus the volume of the parts being cast. After about 37 minutes the mixture will set so that’s the time available to cast the mold. So the synthetic rubber is poured into the Lego box. This is put into an vacuum chamber. A 15 mm Lexan plate is used as the lid so you can actually see the air bubbles leaving the synthetic rubber. The last bubbles are removed with compressed air. Afterwards the mold needs to dry for a day and is hardened in an oven at 60◦C. this prevents the mold releasing a fatty substance that makes the first casts unfit for the kit. A mold lasts for about 50 casts.
Next the casting of the resin is demonstrated. In an Excel-spreadsheet Ron has specified how much of the components for each mold is needed. “so you don’t need to recalculate the amount every time you do a pour”. After the 2 components have been mixed in a plastic cup there’s 7 minutes to pour the mix. After the mold has been filled it is put into the vacuum chamber to remove the air pockets and subsequently harden for 37 minutes in the pressure chamber at about 6 bar. Hardening in this way prevents shrinkage and warping.
Ron was introduced into modeling by his mother. She considered him skillful with Lego and gave him his first kit at the age of 8. The Italeri kit of an aircraft carrier went together nicely and soon was followed by more of the same, mostly 1/72 aircraft like an F-16, and WWII aircraft. In 2007 Ron Became an IPMS member through a colleague. In the same period came the venture into 1/32 scale. The Noord-Holland chapter has fond memories of a fantastic Su-27 Flanker made from the Trumpeter kit. The interest in WWI planes was generated by Nico Theunissen, who’s also active on “modelbouwers”. Nowadays all WNW-kits are in stock and built up models are a guarantee gold medal at Telford or the Dutch Euro Scale Modelling.
Ron has a special love for Italian planes.  Kits are scarce so he builds from scratch. A few years back his 1/32 Caproni bomber won gold at the ESM event. The model has been sold: “I plan to build one even  better in the near future”.
To relax Ron from time to time builds something  different. Sometimes it’s a vehicle, preferably from 14-18, or a figure. Recently he has bought the 1/32 F-100 by Trumpeter. “Real fun to make something completely different. The burnt metal discoloration on the aft fuselage is a nice challenge.” Besides that several WNW kits are on the table. And, of course a new master for Aviattic. The subject is still to be revealed. We are in for a string of beautifully made kits by Ron both in kit form ant on the competition tables!
By Peter Booij

« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 11:00:49 PM by janh »

Offline Nigel Jackson

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Re: IPMS interview with Master Modeller Ron Kootje
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 12:17:22 AM »
Thanks for posting the article, jahn. It certainly gives us some insight into the techniques and skills of a hugely talented person who is bringing so much to our hobby. What it doesn't say is that he is a really nice person, too. I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with him a couple of years ago at the Aviattic stand -  where else but at Telford.

Best wishes
Nigel
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 02:36:32 AM by Nigel Jackson »

Offline lcarroll

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Re: IPMS interview with Master Modeller Ron Kootje
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 12:22:16 AM »
   Thanks for posting Janh, it's great to put a face to all of that talent. I can't begin to imagine what's next out of Ron's magic shop!
Cheers,
Lance

Offline Juan

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Re: IPMS interview with Master Modeller Ron Kootje
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 12:28:36 AM »
Interesting read, thanks for posting.