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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Return to the paint shed

It was time to nut up or shut up, so I went back into the paint room Friday to try and fix the problems I had at my last session. Things generally went well, thankfully.

First up was a matte topcoat on a recently completed Minicraft B-24. One of the Ploesti raiders, it is in desert tan and neutral grey, and will feature on the blog shortly.

I was able to do some serious buffing on the Ju-88 and F-111C, enough to take down the rough surface from the last airbrushing session. This time I put on a surface coat, which means that the color is already applied, so the idea is to get a nice gloss, or at least semigloss, finish when you are done. I always use Xtracolour enamels, which are gloss out of the tin. Typically, you get there by lightly spraying on a highly thinned paint in quick passes, trying not to overstay your welcome so that you get too much paint piling up, or in the worst case, paint runs. I’m glad to say that the job appears to have worked. Next up is to freehand the RLM80 mottling on the Ju-88 and mask for the tan camo on the F-111. 

In the following photo, you can see that I’ve got the masking on the F-111. With five colors, getting all of the masking tape and paper towels off is going to be like unwrapping a mummy.

Since I seemed to be in a groove, I went ahead and applied the Alclad Jet Exhaust coat to the cans and vector nozzles of the next gen fighter group (F-22, T-50, J-10). No problems there. Next I will mask parts off and paint a lighter color (some variant of aluminum no doubt) for the rest of the cans. Then it will be time to start the camo colors.

And what is that lurking in the back of the model assembly line? I put together the main bits of a Minicraft B-50 that I have had for a million years (aka when the kit first came out). This all started when I decided to do a Boeing Washington for my RAF heavy bomber group, but noticed that I had a B-50 already started. So it came first in the queue, though I still have the B-29 out and in the model room to start once I get the inspiration. Though I don’t think anyone has ever done actual decals for a Washington, it’s really only roundels and serial numbers, so I plan to cobble that together from Modeldecal sheets. The only unusual part will be determining the color of the nosewheel door, which was about the only distinguishing feature on the Washington. I have a sideview of one with a red/white door, so I think that’s what I’ll go with.

The ultimate problem that this will bring up is display space. In my garage I have filled up three display cabinets (about 6’ wide and 3’ tall, with three shelves) and at least six self-built box things (made with shelving, fibreboard, and topped by a 36”x36” piece of glass) and am very close to maxing out the available square footage. There are probably things I can do in the meantime (like add a shelf each to the big display cabinets), but the ultimate solution will be the 6’ tall, 5’ wide, 18” deep display cabinet that I’ve picked out from a local retail supplier. But given the price ($1500) and my current income (zilch) it will definitely be a future purchase. But when it does get installed upstairs in the newly designated model room, I will be a happy (though non-productive, since by definition I’ll be back working fulltime) modeller.

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