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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Republic P-47 bubbletop

While as a Profoundly Average modeller, I don’t lay claim to any model of mine as being perfect, it’s not always that I make a total pig’s ear of a silk purse kit. However, that did happen with today’s completion (and utterly appropriate for the April Fool's Day entry).

It’s a Tamiya kit, so you know the engineering and fit is excellent. However, excellent fit cannot prevent a small part from twanging away for Parts Unknown (the home town of many masked wrestlers). In this case it was starboard the wing leading edge gun insert. It’s not a big part, but it is pretty crucial. I considered calling Tamiya America for a replacement part, but realized I would probably have to buy the entire A sprue and add shipping, which didn’t look like an attractive idea. I did get the bright idea of scanning the database on to see if anyone had done a detail set that might have included the part. Quickboost had a set for the inserts plus individual gun barrels with hollowed ends. So on my next order I picked one up.

The rest of construction was a breeze, at least until the time came for overall paint. As I mentioned in a prior entry, Alclad did it to me again, though I suspect that this time I am to blame for the results rather than an incorrect mixed paint formula. Usually when I do an aircraft with a NMF (natural metal finish) it is all metal with no other colors on the exterior. But this particular P-47 had not only a yellow cowl and canopy surround, but a red tail tip and the standard Olive Drab anti-glare panel. There was some significant overspray, but I didn’t give it a thought until I shot the Alclad.

And that is where I went wrong. Alclad will perform differently depending on the primer coat you use. Typically I don’t prime at all, and unless the model’s finish manages to pick up the little sworls from the plastic injection process that isn’t a big problem. But this time the overspray acted as a primer, and caused some really serious variances in surface shine. Where there was overspray on the surface, the Alclad looked entirely too shiny, and where there was no overspray, it was much duller and more natural looking. To me, the shiny surface (not unlike the Bare Metal Foil technique, which I also think looks unnatural) looks toylike, and takes you out of the moment and reminds you that you are looking at a model.

Given my experience with trying to repair the problematic surface of the B-47 – covered previously – I decided that I had had enough with this one and applied the decals. By the time I had issues with the remaining dangly bits (resin guns and plastic pitot) I was thoroughly ready to get this one into the display case. I put on a heavy matte coat to try and dull down the bright surface, with mixed results. The new rule is: no overspray when using Alclad. Mask everything other that the target painted area.

The decals, which performed well, were from the EagleCals 72104 set. It is “Chief Seattle”, flown by Joe Murphy for the 379th FS, 362nd FG, 9th AF. EagleCals has a pretty lengthy writeup on the aircraft, including details of a confrontation with 40 FW-190s over Bastogne in late 1944.

This is completed aircraft #384, finished in March of 2012 (#9 for the year).

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