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Monday, March 21, 2016

Airfix Shorts Tucano T1 (Remembrance Day)

Starting today's completion came about as I was prepping for my return to active modelling duty post-surgery in January. I knew I was going to start with the two remaining Eurofighter single seaters as soon as possible, and was studying the decal sheet to look for any pitfalls that would trip up the inattentive modeller (ie, me). I came across the option for a Shorts Tucano T1; a rather garish scheme of poppies that was put together as a tribute on Remembrance Day (equivalent to Veterans Day to us Yanks). And garish is right up my street, so I made a stash  dive to see what I had in the way of Tucano kits.

I found an Airfix kit that, if I remember correctly, came out at around the same time as the Concorde and TSR-2. These are all pre-Hornby kits, and it shows. Nothing really terrible, but the fit in detail and engineering between these and the current crop of Airfix releases is gargantuan. I took a leisurely attitude to this model, working on it when the mood struck and ignoring it the rest of the time. Eventually I got to the painting point - which wasn't a trial because the aircraft comes in overall Black.

And here my troubles began. And can't remember the last time I had as much trouble with a single small part as I did with the Tucano prop. This was a combination of its size - tiny - and its paint scheme - complex. There are five colors, if the spinner is included, on a piece about 3/4" wide. And most of those colors require masking. Black, White, Red, Yellow, and a Panzer Grey that I typically use for basic prop color. The front of the prop was Black and White. The rear was Panzer Grey with Yellow tips. And of course the Red hub. I tried masking and spraying, hand painting some repairs, managed to break off two of the blades due to fumbling, and even two layers of paint becomes an eyesore on something that small. At length I got to the point I seem to arrive at with many models, when the returns for continuing diminish dramatically and it is time to finish and move on. So I did.

It is still an interesting scheme. The lower "Lest We Forget" was tricky since it crossed over the landing gear doors, but came out ok in the end. Most of the decals came from Xtradecal 72216, though I tried using the supplied kit markings for a couple of small stencils. This was not a success; this was before Airfix started working with Cartograf, and the markings were thick, didn't care about setting solution, and milky to boot.

As an aside, I discovered that Tucanos have a surprising number of paint schemes, many of which have been done on 1:72 sheets by Alley Cat, Airdecal, Combat, Model Alliance, and of course Xtradecal. They come in Jubilee markings, desert colors, Battle of Britain markings, Roundel Blue overall, and Red/White training markings (including the one with a toucan on the tail, which I have already built). And the RAF likes to paint one up for the airshow season, so the unusual color schemes will probably keep coming. If I can figure out the proper approach to painting those damn props, I may have to make some more in the future.

This is completed model #449 (#13 for the year), finished in March of 2016. 

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