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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short paint session (Eurofighter, DC-3)

Once again proving that a paint session does not need to be a drawn out event, I got a quick half hour in the garage to apply some color that was holding up two projects.

First came the Alclad White Aluminum for the metal fuselage portions of the latest Eurofighther. The exhaust cans themselves have already been finished. Next on this one will be lot of masking tape removal (and paint repair if required) and then attaching the landing gear and doors.

Second was a surface coat of Dark Aluminum for the Arctic Rose DC-3. I was of two minds on this for a while, and then decided that at least the wings needed a stronger and more consistent coat.

And that was it. I could have painted some cockpits while I was at it but decided I had better declare victory and bug out while the going was good.

As you’ll notice from the photo below, I’ve already partially stripped both aircraft of their masking. The DC-3 looks fine so far, but some of the Eurofighter is a bit rough. The biggest problem was a light grey I used to do the nosecone and leading edges of tail and canards. This is the same paint that caused issues with paint seeping under the canopy of the J8M1 Shusui. Maybe it was a problem with the paint itself and not the masking? Further experimentation will be required.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Paint session (DC-3, Eurofighter, Skyvan bits)

I finally got around to a paint session, though I probably should have waited. I was really run down today, and that in my case often leads to impatience and sloppy work. At least one of the jobs will likely need to be redone, or at least touched up.

First came an overall Matte coat on the Academy Kubelwagen. Once I demask the windshield, this one will be complete.

Next came a surface coat of Barley Grey on the latest anniversary Eurofighter. This seemed to do its job and it should be ready for additional work once the paint cures.

I also did a number of items with various Alclad paints. The DC-3 (undersurfaces, wings, parts of the horizontal tail) was not entirely satisfactory, using Dark Aluminum. I thought I had purged the paint room of those bad batches of Alclad that I unknowingly bought a few years back, but I apparently missed this one. It didn’t cover terribly well, and will likely need another coat to get everything up to a consistent surface color and texture. That is very rare for Alclad, in my experience, but once you get a bad bottle, trouble always follows.

I also painted (using another Alclad, White Aluminum) the props and engine covers of the Skyvan that is in construction now. Just trying to get a jump on work that will need to be done once the major assembly is complete. I also painted the exhaust cans of the Eurofighter. Next, I used Engine Manifold to highlight and put some contrast on the exhausts of both the Eurofighter and the Skyvan exhausts. It really does make a qualitative difference to take this extra step.

I often use Testors spray cans to put the first coat of grey onto cockpit areas (in this case, the Meng F-102, Ffrom TWA Delta, and the Italeri Eurofighter, first of the Italian AF specials). But I discovered after about 2 seconds of spraying that I was out of both greys I typically use. Looks like it’s back to airbrushing, but that will be a project for another day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Construction (Skyvan, F-102, Delta)

One milestone was passed today on the 72 Land production line. The “Arctic Rose” DC-3 has actually been masked up for its final trip to the paint booth. This has been a long journey which I believe began in about 2015. Paint trips for Black, White, Red (with masking steps in between) plus a couple of repair sessions have occurred so far. Next will be the Aluminum surfaces – mostly lower fuselage and wings. Then I will add the landing gear and head for decals.

I’ve also had a chance to buff out the wings/fuselage on the latest Eurofighter, so it will get a surface coat of Barley Grey.

The construction on the Airfix Skyvan has been a long and winding road as well. But at least I have the fuselage together, windows added, all transparencies masked, and one wing attached. It should be too long until the second wing goes together. There are a lot of parts on this not particularly large aircraft. Tail surfaces need to be done too.

Two cockpits for new aircraft have entered the production queue. I received the Italeri boxing of the single-seat Eurofighter which includes four Italian Air Force squadron specials. Plus I have another commemorative scheme from the 4+ book on Eurofighters. Not to mention at least four Luftwaffe Eurofighter specials. Current air forces do love to paint these up. And the RAF specials for 2018 haven’t been announced yet.

The Meng Convair F-102 and the Ffrom Northrop Delta TWA have also gotten their cockpits together and are awaiting paint. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Hasegawa Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui

Not too long ago, an Me-163B made it into the completed column. It was a French postwar glider version in red and silver livery. Travelling with that model during most of its construction phase, the Hasegawa Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui almost made it into 2017, but instead becomes the second completed project in 2018.

This is one of those kits that were molded by someone else but marketed by Hasegawa. The company was named NC1, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen another kit with that name on it; certainly not in 1:72. But there was nothing wrong with the molding. One curious aspect was that the clear parts take up most of the box, since they include a huge stand. I was planning to have mine on the ground, so discarded this.

Assembly was trouble-free. In fact, most of the issue with this one happened during the painting stage. I started out with an MRP yellow, though it was nowhere near orange enough.

An aside: never assume the lighter MRP colors will cover on their own. You’ll be much better off if you prime in first and then just color the primer with the paint. They are mixed very thin. It’s not a problem with most dark colors that I’ve tried, but this yellow began to pool and run badly and still didn’t cover well.

Eventually, I found a Gunze lacquer acrylic that was an acceptable tone. But this paint really didn’t react very well with the canopy masking. The one thing you want with canopy framing is that it be sharp and have no overflow. This became very grainy (how much of this was the priming I don’t know) and crept under the tape in a couple of places. I did all I could with toothpicks and WD40 on a cotton bud to try and get the canopy polished up, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the look.

It is what it is, and I’m trying to take steps to burnish the canopy masking right before painting to see if I can solve the problem. Still, it looks fine with the other 7 Me-163 variants I’ve already finished.

This is completed aircraft #485 (2 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 0 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in January of 2018.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Paint session (Eurofighter, Kubelwagen, XP-79)

It was painting time this evening. I work in the garage with the door open, so I spent some of the time watching a fairly strong downpour. Pretty typical for the winter months here in the Great Northwest.

The primary object of the paint session was to get the Barley Grey coat onto the latest RAF Eurofighter. It wasn’t the smoothest surface I’ve ever shot, so will need a bit of judicious buffing and another light surface coat. With all the masking currently on this thing, there might be some touchup that will need to be done as well.

I also painted the Afrika Korps Dunkelgelb onto the Academy Kubelwagen. At the same time I shot the fabric top in MRP Middle Stone. The Kubel will have a few things that need to be detail painted – tires, seats, dashboard, lights – before I can move on to the decal stage. Before that, you’ll note from the photo below that I decided what to do with the RLM80 squiggles on the body of the vehicle. They are much smaller than the mottling you would find on an aircraft, so I just brush painted them with some sharp new brushes I acquired last week. I really didn’t think sending it through the airbrush, given my inability to control the air pressure, would look very good. Even with good pressure control, that mottling is very small.

One comment about my ongoing experiment with MRP Paints. These things are mixed extremely thin. I don’t think I mix the paint this thin when I’m working with regular enamel paints. This means three things. 1) Don’t be impatient (like me). 2) Spray from a distance or you are almost guaranteed to get pooling and runs. 3) Start with light coats and build up the color saturation gradually.

The last item on tonight’s menu was a matte overcoat for the RS Models XP-79. This now gives me two more completed models awaiting their photography session. So I guess I had better get myself into gear!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

AZ Models DeHav DHC-1 Chipmunk

The first model to be completed in 2018 is the DeHavilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk. This is one of AZ Models’ recent series of Chipmunks with a resin nose replicating the Lycoming engine. The real attraction to me was one set of markings that came in the box: a club aircraft painted in British Airways colors. I will take just about any opportunity to put commercial markings on a 1:72 scale model. AZ has done this before and will hopefully continue the trend as the opportunity arises.

Fit was not great. Lots of fettling and amendment to just about every piece. The Lycoming nose, as I mentioned, was resin, thereby requiring superglue. That’s never my favorite medium. The canopy provided some drama as well. It didn’t fit well, and after sanding a bit here and there, I decided to get a clamp out and put some pressure on until the glue cured. Alas, the only clamp I had that would fit was a big one, and it turned out that it put too much pressure on. If you look closely, there are many little spider-cracks on the forward part of the clear bit. Ah well, another lesson learned.

Plus, this project exhibited some of the problems I’ve had with kabuki tape lately. I did get a set for the DHC-1, though it was a Peewit set (72102), not Eduard, who doesn’t make a set for this kit. But it appears to be the same tape medium. The problem was that it generally started to pull away from the plastic, and did not make a very good seal. Hence, when the model was painted, some color went to places it was not supposed to. I seem to have been having this problem with just plain Tamiya tape as well recently. Change in formula? Just inattention on my part? Whatever the case, I have begun to re-burnish the edges down right before I move things into the paint room. I did clean up the clear bits with the usual WD40 on a Q-tip. 

If I had it to do over, I would have moved the fuselage line between White and Blue higher up on the fuselage. And I would have found a smaller clamp.

This is completed aircraft #484 (1 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 0 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in January of 2018.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Construction (Eurofighter, XP-79, Kubelwagen)

With the completions in the last weeks of 2017 and first weeks of 2018, my workbench has started to clear out a bit. There are a couple of long-term masking jobs (DC-3 “Arctic Rose”, a postwar Lancaster, and an Ear Falls Airways Norseman), but masking has been such a pain lately that if I have anything else I can do, I’ll usually just avoid it. I do have four or five kits just beginning the construction process (B-45, Miles Aerovan, Trent Meteor, the first of the Italian AF special Eurofighters, and maybe a TWA Northrop Delta), but spent some time this week in getting ready for another paint session.

The main thing was final construction and decaling on the RS Models XP-79. I thought the canopy was the most grief I was going to have to endure on this model, but then I got to the landing gear and doors. Four gears, with wheels, and each gear door is in two separate pieces. It was a fairly simple kit before I got to that part. Still, it is now ready for a matte overcoat.

The newest-tool Revell Eurofighter has been going through multiple paint passes. There was white for tail and wheel wells/gear. There was red for the details on the tail and canards. There was a medium grey for the leading edges of tail and canards. And, now that I have gotten the last masking done, including the wheel wells, it is ready for its last overall coat: Barley Grey. Not including the overall matte and the detailing of the exhausts, of course.

The other item that will be heading to the paint room is an Academy Kubelwagen. It is a tiny little bugger, with a clear windshield that needed masking on both sides. I have so far managed to keep from knocking off the rear view mirrors (unlike the DUKW), but then I think that damage happened in the painting process, so I’m not out of the woods yet. This will be getting an overall coat of Afrika Korps Desert Sand. Then paint the tires and get the decals added.