Now on to my other disaster of the week. It’s really in two parts too (these just seem to go on forever sometimes): one that turned out ok and one – well, less so.
The second incarnation of Alclad has been one of the great success stories of the modelling subculture. We all seem to fear the NMF monster, and Alclad has made achieving an excellent finish easier than it has ever been. The stuff really didn’t need a primer coat and generally sprayed on evenly with almost no capacity for errors.
A number of months back I ordered a few more bottles from Hannants to stock up on my Alclad supplies. But when I actually used them, some problems were apparent. It was as if there wasn’t enough pigment (ie metal) in the carrier. The surface was splotchy, the coverage was uneven, every little swirl in the underlying plastic showed through, and I even ran into paint runs because I was unconsciously opening up the airbrush’s paint valve due to the lack of coverage. It seemed to be the worst in two colors: airframe aluminum and dull aluminum. Luckily I was able to buff the model down a bit and reshoot with one of the colors that didn’t seem to be affected, white aluminum. Unfortunately, white aluminum is pretty bright, and is best for accenting individual panels rather than using as an overall color. The crew would have had to have been up all night polishing their Meteor to get it that bright. Still, one works with what one has.
The kit itself was a pleasant surprise. I dearly love MPM and their line of kits; they were one of the first to really take a full leap into the realm of less popular aircraft, producing kits in my scale and to a respectable standard. But you know that there will be some additional fettling that will be required to achieve the same result as you would see out of a Tamiya or Revell box. But their kit of the Gloster Meteor F8 was no more difficult than the DML F3 I recently built. Almost everything fit with a minimum of fuss, almost no filler/surfacer, and (as long as I didn’t let my native impatience get ahold of me) was a generally calm experience all around. Until I got to the paint shop.
Using one of the Xtradecal Meteor F8 sheets, I used the markings for RAF 1 Squadron, with white squadron bars outlined in red. There are a lot of options on the two F8 sheets they have released so far, so I basically just picked a set of markings that I hadn’t used before on any other postwar British fighter. As usual, the decals went on snugly. In general, except for the overly bright shade of the NMF, I was pretty pleased with the model as a whole.
This is completed model #346, finished in February of 2011.
(As an aside, and related to yesterday’s disaster tale, I had another bad experience with AeroSol, this time on Alclad pale gold paint. I was doing an Australian special paint job on a Douglas A-4 which required the gold coloring. When the time came to apply the decals, one part had to try and snuggle down over the Skyhawk’s wing fences. Out came the AeroSol. Which immediately turned that gold paint to a sickly greenish hue wherever it touched. I just assumed it was some weird chemical interaction between Alclad and AeroSol, but now that I’ve got more of a track record I think it was the AeroSol that had gone bad. I’ll find out by buying a new bottle of MicroSol with my next hobby order).
The model that didn’t quite survive as nicely as the Meteor is a Trumpeter Lightning F6. The paint is still pretty splotchy on that one. Overshooting with white aluminum does not seem to have done the trick. I may need to primer this one in grey and then try again. More details when I decide how to proceed.