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Friday, March 24, 2017

Painting in the rain (Lightning, Hawk, Hurricane, Yak-130)

It was back to the painting booth tonight. I may have mentioned this, but my paint table is along one wall of the garage. I usually just open the garage door while painting to let the fumes disburse and keep the air nice and fresh. This has its downside in the Great Northwest, given that winter can be uncomfortably cold and summer uncomfortably warm. Now that we are nearing the end of March, the daily temps are fairly moderate, and as long as you are not planning a picnic outside, the rain is not a hindrance. In fact it is relaxing as I’m doing a process that doesn’t always go well. Quite a little squall went through while I was working. 

First job was to put the surface coat on the Oxford Blue tail and spine of the Lightning F2A and the overall paint job on the Hawk demonstrator. This amounts to thinning the paint after buffing down the already painted surfaces. It all went quite well, with the areas ending up nicely gloss and smooth. Next comes more masking for the NMF coat on the Lightning and attaching the gear to the Hawk. Alas, even thinned blue paint tends to get all over everything. I ended up looking like a Smurf. 

Second was to put a red tail on an AModel Yak-130. This will be in prototype colors, the first boxing that AModel put out. This one has spent some time on the Shelf of Shame, so it is nice to get it into the production stream again. Next comes the rather complex job of masking for the blue detailing. Not sure what paint I’m going to use for that. Most pictures look almost like an ashy grey-blue, not unlike the color on WW2 French roundels. I’ll have to see what I have in stock that comes close.

Finally, the only sour note of the evening. I had to put some RLM74/75 mottles on the fuselage sides and rudder of a captured German Hurricane. I knew the chances of success were minimal. I don’t have a pressure regulator on the current compressor, so I can’t just turn down the pressure and get those fine pencil-thin paint lines that we all see on the net. They tend to end up looking like exactly what they are: small bursts of paint, either too thin or thick, entirely out of scale. I do have a new compressor picked out with all the appropriate options, but it is competing with a lot of other capital priorities in 2017 (new fencing, a new heater, summer vacation, a new microwave, and the fridge is upwards of 15 years old now). Thus, it is what it is; meh. 

Still, I am glad to be able to get on with painting and accept the results, which has been a challenge over the years. This is key to amping up the production rate in the last half of 2017. 


  1. looks fine! I always think its the paint thickness rather then the air pressure that determines how mottles turn out...

  2. The more I thought about it, the more I concur that I should have thinned the paint less. I fell into my usual of habit for thinning it for overall camo coverage on a broader surface, when this application called for a bit thicker paint to hold it together while the mottle was formed. A lesson learned for the future.