Monogram P-47 – Painting
In the last post, I explored Monogram’s venerable old kit and detailed the main assembly process. This time, it’s all about the paint.
I kicked off the painting by spraying the cowl red, the rudder yellow (over gloss white), and the landing gear bays yellow zinc chromate (Tamiya Yellow Green). These areas and the cockpit were then masked, and the entire kit was painted with Testors Model Master primer.
I’ve been experimenting with a ton of different paints and primers since returning to modeling, but lately I’ve found myself coming back to Model Master. Their primer, especially, goes on smoother than anything else I’ve used. Even Mr. Surfacer 1200.
And since the undersides of this build are getting the natural metal treatment, a smooth surface is very important.
Natural Metal Finish
Col. David Schilling’s P-47 sported one of the most unique paint jobs of any USAAF aircraft of the war – but one that’s subject to considerable controversy to this day. The biggest point of contention is the underside. Some sources indicate the plane was finished in Medium Sea Gray. Others indicate it was left bare metal. There are various theories and photos backing both sides. Personally, I thought the bare metal would look more striking, so I went that option, accuracy be damned.
Continuing my ongoing experiments with NMF options, I decided to give Talon Aluminum another shot. I had problems at once. It hung in the airbrush (Iwata Eclipse HP-CS) and wouldn’t spray at anything less than 3/4 throttle, at which point it gushed out like a firehose. Now, you’re supposed to build up Talon in light, misting coats, but that wasn’t going to happen. After flooding a stabilizer, I dumped it and switched to SnJ spray enamel. This shot better, but still sprayed inconsistently at anything less than 1/2 throttle. Ultimately, though, I got the undersides covered to my satisfaction.
After letting the SnJ cure up for an hour or so, I broke out the polishing powders, which are supposed to kick things up to a pretty high shine. Using mostly Aluminum and sparing amounts of Steel powder, I polished the surfaces panel by panel. On the plus side, the polishing powders + Dremel certainly shined things up. On the negative side, the Dremel’s cotton polishing wheel kicked little cotton fibers and polishing powder everywhere.
Ultimately, the SnJ shined up real nice, but the mess just isn’t worth it. Next time I’ll be breaking out the Alclad lacquers.
It was relatively common for American-built planes destined for RAF service to be painted in “equivalent colors”. It was far less common to see American fighters wearing RAF colors, but the Thunderbolts of the 56th Fighter Group were a rare exception, and many wore the RAF’s standard Ocean Gray/Dark Green typically seen on Spitfires, Tempests and the like.
I started on the topside colors with RAF Ocean Gray Model Master enamel. This was sprayed on, the lightened and blended using the three-layer blend technique.
After giving the Ocean Gray some time to cure, I masked it off with silly putty (no play-doh this time!) and painted the RAF Dark Green, again using the three-layer blend method.
As it dried, I stripped off the putty masks and the Tamiya tape masking the cowl and rudder. Overall, I’d have liked a softer edge to the camoflage, but I’ll take what I got.
In the next installment, it’ll be on to decals, weathering, and final painting and assembly.