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Monday, May 9, 2011

A non-productive airbrush session

You know, one of the iron-clad rules in this hobby should be that if you think things are going off the rails, they probably are, and you should stop whatever you are doing until such time as you can pay proper attention to the task at hand. It was a rule that I violated tonight.

I generally have to be in a pretty positive mood to break out the airbrush. I have a long history of problems with the thing, almost all self-induced, and need to be on top of my game to get a decent result out of it. One of critical things about painting with an airbrush is learning the nuances of paint thinning. It has to be just right; too thin and it runs, too thick and it develops into orange-peel. After doing this for 25 years, you’d think I had learned all those nuances.

First it was time to paint the white undercarriage of the two Hawks. I thinned the Xtracolour paint too much and ended up with runs all over and no coverage. So I added more paint to try and up the ratio (military axiom: do not reinforce failure), but it still wouldn’t cover sufficiently. Quite a mess to clean, sand and respray when it dries. Since no decals will be in these areas, I may just break out the Model Master flat white and paint by hand, at least for the gear. One of the Hawks is in red plastic, so coverage was going to be difficult in any case. Bah!

But that should have been my catastrophe for the night, right? Unfortunately not. I didn’t thin the RLM79 paint for the Ju-88 or the second darker green for the F-111 enough (overcompensating?), with the resulting rough surface effect. The cure for that is to wait until it dries, buff it down with high-grit sandpaper so that you don’t break through to the plastic below, and shoot on a second very thin coat to fill in the surface. That is my general procedure anyway, but usually these two colors shoot on well enough to require only minimal cleanup. This will be a serious job. And that is assuming that I can reach all the areas that need it with the sandpaper.

On a more positive note, I’ve decided what my next mini-project will be once the next gen fighters (F-22, T-50, and J-10) are completed. It will be a Cold War British set of Xtrakit Swift, AZ Models Attacker, and HobbyBoss Seahawk. All three models are in the stack and waiting for some space to clear out on the bench.

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