And we’re on to the home stretch!
In the last build report, the Jug got all painted up. This time, it’s on to decals, weathering, and the final touches.
For this particular build, I’m using Aeromaster’s Wolf Pack Pt. I, which features two early 56th FG Razorbacks and Col. Schilling’s “Hairless Joe” (it’s the colorful one…).
Many aftermarket sheets tend to contain the bare minimum markings for a subject – nose art, ID numbers and letters, national insignia, and any custom stencils such as pilot and crew names, kill marks, and the like. The Aeromaster sheet refreshingly goes beyond this with a fair complement of stencils, including those for the early Curtiss Electric “toothpick” propeller and the later Hamilton Standard paddle prop.
For the most part, the decals went on quite well. They were thin, but well-registered and pretty tough. The only real problems I encountered were with the massive underwing insignia, which didn’t want to settle into the deeper lines between the wing and aileron, especially on the bare metal side, where I couldn’t bring any powerful solvents to bear.
I used a few of the kit decals as well – chief among them the gun number stencils on the wings. I also attempted to use Tamiya’s decals for the fuselage invasion stripes, with absolutely no luck. They didn’t go down well at all, nor were they even the correct shape. So I decided to do them myself.
Ever since I first cracked into the Monogram P-47 back at the beginning of November, I’ve been dreading the idea of tackling Hairless Joe’s invasion stripes.
Since the Tamiya decals didn’t work out, I had no choice but to mask and paint the invasion stripes. I’m typically not scared of stripes, but the P-47’s fuselage has some odd contours out back. That, and these particular invasion stripes hug the markings and national insignia.
I started by giving the Jug a good coat of Future. Once that cured, I took a deep breath and started masking. I masked the national insignia by cutting a matching circle out of tape using my Olfa Circle Cutter, then used a combination of Tamiya tape, fineline tape, and post-its to mask off the borders and surrounding areas.
I started the invasion stripes by spraying Tamiya X-1 black, then masked the black stripes and sprayed the remaining exposed area Tamiya XF-2 Flat White.
The result isn’t perfect, but it came out pretty well, I think.
World War II aircraft tend to run the gamut when it comes to weathering. There are plenty of examples of aircraft in near-pristine condition, and others ridden so hard that it’s a wonder they didn’t fall apart in the air.
Schilling’s “Hairless Joe” certainly fell nearer to the pristine end of the spectrum. As the personal ship of the 56th Fighter Group’s CO, this P-47 was about as meticulously maintained as was possible during wartime. Pictures definitely show a somewhat worn appearance, but minimal paint fading, chipping or staining. And, like many P-47s, it was often waxed, as the glossy surface could help squeeze an extra 10 miles per hour or so out of the aircraft.
To recreate the slightly worn look, I created a thin wash of Winton & Newton raw umber artist oil and Mona Lisa odorless thinner. This wash was then brushed over the outer surfaces with a wide, flat brush. This “filter” faded the decals and invasion stripes, and gave the aircraft a very subtle brownish tint which resembles the appearance in the reference images.
The same wash was applied slightly heavier to the insides of the gear bays and gear doors. After giving it a few days to cure, I went back with a clear coat of Future cut with a small amount of Tamiya Flat Base to finish things off.
Once the clear coat dried to a nice satin/semi-gloss finish, I moved on to the final details. The pitot tube and Master blast tubes were installed, as well as the centerline pancake drop tank, bomb clamps on the wing pylons, navigation light housings and, of course, the canopy. Everything went together without incident. The windscreen didn’t want to settle into position, but a quick swipe of a sanding stick along the bottom of one corner cleared that up.
Add a quick drybrushing with Model Master Aluminum to represent some minor paint chipping along the cowl and leading edges of the wings, and the build was complete!
Here’s the end result!
I’d originally intended to build this kit (well, the Monogram) as a sort of “check in”, to see how far my modeling skills had come since I last built “Hairless Joe” back in 1993 or so. Well…let’s have a look…
I think it’s fair to say I’ve progressed!
Of the kits I’ve built since returning to modeling in July 2010, I have to say that this one, so far, is my favorite. The kit itself was a joy to build, and the end result is, I think, a small step above anything I’ve done before. I’m looking forward to moving on to a few different projects, but I will definitely be building more Tamiya Jugs in the future.