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Sunday, February 5, 2012

A reintroduction to the paint room

While waiting for the arrival of the Revell of Germany Halifax to one of my preferred online vendors (it has just arrived this week at Squadron, and should be making an appearance at Sprue Bros very soon), I received a small box from Hannants in the UK. This was mostly intended as a paint reload from their excellent Xtracolour line. But I did take the opportunity to pick up a couple of kits and decal sheets as well. Delivery time was about 14 days from London to Seattle, average for purchases from this vendor.

I picked up an Airfix new-tool Hawk to use with one of the decal sheets. But the star purchase was the new Airfix Swordfish. This thing has gotten rave reviews – almost universally, which is unusual for any kit – and is a delightful little thing. Lots of detail, inside and out. There is a wing fold option, though I can’t say I’m interested in that personally. The decal choices are ok, but Xtradecal has already announced a couple of sheets if you want to put your own stamp on it. As far as the Airfix decals go, I would have preferred that they print the aircraft’s number separate from the dark blue band that surrounds the fuselage. Large decals over the multiple curves of an aircraft fuselage is a veritable sinkhole for problems so I would prefer to paint it. Still, I can probably find appropriate numbers on a Modeldecal sheet, or another similar color scheme on one of the aftermarket sheets. The blue cross on a white field that sits on the top wing will provide some visual interest. No rigging diagram as such in the instructions, but you can infer some data from the drawings and the box art. A quick Google search for photos should give you any more info you need.

I also picked up two Xtradecal sheets for BAe Hawks, 72100 and 72137. I chose 137 for its depiction of the 208 Squadron / 4 FTS 2011 display aircraft from RAF Valley. Simple yet attractive, and I even remember seeing it for the first time in Air Forces Monthly and wondering when the decal was coming out.

72100 was chosen mostly for the rather more elaborate 2009 display aircraft from the same squadron, which is the one with the Union Jack erupting from the sides, as if the paint job had been ripped. It also has the heart-shaped roundel on the underside. I was glad to see that this decal is explicitly sized for the new-tool Airfix Hawk. One of the previous Roundel Hawks that I built had been sized for the Italeri kit (the wheel well size and location differs between the two models) and I had to put an old stash kit to use for that one. Since I bought a Hawk in this shipment (the Red Arrows version, thankfully molded in grey rather than red plastic) I will start work on the 2011 display aircraft shortly.

These two (Swordfish and Hawk) will replace the A-3 in my mojo restoration project. Most current progress on those: the P-47s, Spit 19, F-18A, Vampire and Harrier GR9 all got their first paint last night. I was rather rusty, having not used the airbrush in a couple of months. Painting is probably my least favorite part of the process, due to the high failure rate. Plus, I also got some detail painting in the cockpits. Next job: get the major construction done on these kits.

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