Eduard Yak-3 – Painting

With main construction finished (see Eduard Yak-3 – Cockpit and Main Assembly) and the major fuselage seams filled and sanded, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff – painting!

For the Yak and the Zvezda La-5, I decided to test out a new paint – White Ensign Colourcoat enamel. White Ensign’s paints have a formidable reputation for both quality and color accuracy, and their Soviet VVS (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily – literally “Military Air Forces”) colors are generally regarded as the most accurate reproductions of the various colors worn by Soviet aircraft during World War II.

After priming the Yak, I kicked things off by painting the underside in AMT-7 Blue, a very vibrant pastel blue reminiscent of those signature Tiffany boxes.

I was immediately taken with the White Ensign enamels. They thinned down very well, sprayed wonderfully, and cleaned up with ease. I think after bouncing around between Model Master, Tamiya, Lifecolor and Vallejo, I’ve finally found my paint of choice.

After the AMT-7 cured, it was masked and the topside was painted AMT-11 Blue-Grey.

After another day to cure, I moved on to the AMT-12 Dark Grey. Since the Soviets used a soft-edged camoflage scheme, I decided to use Play-Doh to mask the edges.

Everything went great. Until it didn’t.

The Play-Doh just grabbed right onto the paint and wouldn’t let go. I tried rubbing. Scraping. Using bigger globs of Play-Doh to pick up the smaller ones. Nothing worked.

The Yak came very close to a one way flight across the garage, but I decided to try one last thing – wet sanding. Not exactly ideal around still-drying enamel paint, but hey, nothing to lose, right?

Amazingly, the water softened the Play-Doh to the point that it could be wiped off with a paper towel. Once everything was cleaned up, I went back and cleaned up the camoflage freehand.

Overall, it came out not a well as I hoped, but better than I expected after the Play-Doh disaster.

Next up – a clear coat, then decals and weathering!

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