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Friday, May 27, 2011

Another train wreck in the paint room

There is a reason why I am enamored of single-color paint schemes. While I do love my Iwata Eclipse HC-S double-action airbrush, that love does not extend to the antediluvian compressor that I have. It is clearly on its last legs, but for budgetary reasons I haven’t been able to replace it, though I do have its successor wish-listed on The problem is that I have no pressure control with the airbrush. It just blasts out at maximum PSI and my only level of control is the amount of paint I let into the airstream in the airbrush. And I don’t think just buying a standalone regulator would be cost-effective either, knowing a compressor set including one is on the horizon. Thus, the ideal paint job for me is a single color (yah, night-fighters!) or at most one that can be easily masked.

And that brings us to WW2 Luftwaffe mottling. It is an arcane art at the best of times, but we’ve all seen some excellent examples of this on the net. The problem that I ran up against was the desert camo on a Hasegawa Ju-88A4. The RLM78 undersides and RLM79 uppers were all on, and it was time for the RLM80 mottling. But I seem to have stumbled over the thinning again (this time not thinning enough) and it spattered in a very messy (and non-realistic) way. See below.

Now, we of the Profoundly Average school of modelling can accept a lot when it comes to errors. Slight outline inaccuracies, overdone panel lines, even “representative markings”. But when the paint job is that bad it really pulls you out of the moment. I personally have the same problem with brush painted models. It is next to impossible to remove the brush strokes, and whenever I see a photo of one on the net with the brush marks reflecting the picture’s light source it just screams out “toy”. Don’t get the idea that I consider myself above such things – remember, I know where every problem on every model I’ve made is – but it’s just one of those things I don’t personally like. And super-lousy mottling is another one.

So. What to do? Accept it or fix it. That is the answer to all such modelling quandaries. This time I decided to (try and) fix it. I buffed the surface down as smooth as possible and applied another coat of RLM79. As soon as it fully cures I’ll try the RLM80 again. Mix it to be thinner and only allow the tiniest of paint to escape from the airbrush. If you hear a large thump in the next couple of days it might be me pounding my head against the garage floor.

On a more satisfactory note, I finished the painting on the F-111 and unwrapped the mummy. That was a lot of masking tape. Although I’m not terribly pleased about how I masked the Tan, this is one of those things that we Profoundly Average types can live with. Decals next. Also, I got a nice smooth coat of Black on the two Hawk T1s (one for a special scheme and one with a black tail and MSG/Barley Grey camo). And I continue to grind through the rigging for the otherwise complete AZ Models Gloster Gauntlet. Hopefully it will make its premiere here soon.

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