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Friday, February 25, 2011

More snow in the Emerald City

The snow has landed here in the Emerald City. Not like they’ve been getting it in the Midwest and East (and even to the far south of us in the Sierras) but enough to send the drivers of Seattle into a panic. Barely enough to cover the roads right now, but we’re expecting more overnight. It’s a running joke that the Weather Service loves to try and make us panic ahead of time; they had predicted 6-10” out of this storm, when the total is likely to be more like 3”.

So that made the garage a pretty chilly paint room, but I did manage a marathon session. Six colors, which with prep and cleanup takes some time. I tend to plan on at least two coats (in two distinct sessions) when I’m laying down a color. The first is the color coat, meant to go on somewhat more concentrated so that it covers the plastic well. Then I hit the area with some high-grit sandpaper to take down any dust, uneven paint, or orange peel (though I really try to avoid that). Finally, I put on a highly thinned surface coat to bring everything back to gloss. As you can imagine, this makes preshading difficult – since the theory there is that you apply the paint thinly enough to allow the darker shading to show through – but that isn’t a technique that I use anyway. I’m not one for weathering. Besides, the backstory is that this is the world’s largest air museum, so I’m not trying to reproduce military field conditions in any case.

I should point out that even the color coat is not terribly thick. I learned from a longtime modelling cohort that the secret to paint is consistency: lots of stirring beforehand and a significant bit of thinning before you shoot. And I have to say the advice has served me well over the years. Sometimes I get lucky and the first coat doesn’t have enough imperfections to require buffing and reshooting, but more often than not I’m doing two layers.

So what did I accomplish tonight? The RLM78 undersurfaces on the new Airfix Bf-110E, the overall RLM02 coat on a Huma DFS-228, the Black lower surfaces on a Hasegawa F-111C, the overall RLM05 cream coat on a CzechMasters Olympia Meise glider, the Light Aircraft Grey lower surfaces on the Xtrakit Canberra PR9, and some tail and wheel Red on a Sopwith Snipe (for use with the recent Model Alliance Royal Navy sheets). Even with a respirator, that’s a real cloud of paint droplets!

In the last couple of days I’ve finished up a couple, which I’ll bring to the site shortly.

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