Tamiya Spitfire Mk.VIII Build Report 4: Decals and Details

With the Spitfire painted, things have been coming together rather quickly.

There are a ton of small parts to contend with in this kit, but by this point in the process, they’ve mostly been attached somewhere. But after paint, I added several more that had been waiting their turn. The fuel gap, .303 machine gun fairings, and tailwheel all went on at this point. I also attached the set of turned-brass Master Hispano 20mm cannons I picked up for the build. They’re a bit spendy, and honestly they don’t stand out the way metal barrels on a P-47 do, but they’re still very prominent.

With the various fiddly bits installed, I hit the Spitfire with a coat of Alclad II Aqua Klear Gloss, which sprayed like crap and which I had to wet sand back to non-crappiness. Frustrated at my ongoing lack of finding a clear gloss that I don’t hate, I pulled out a rattlecan of Tamiya clear and glossed it up the old fashioned way.

The Decals

Tamiya’s decals have a reputation for being rather thick and reluctant to melt down into the surface detail. Sadly…this is also true of their big, pricey 1/32 kits.

So I snagged Barracudacals’ excellent Mk.VIII decal sheet.

I’ve only used Barracudacals’ stuff once before – on my Mosquito NF.II – and came away rather impressed. Their Spitfire decals are of the same quality – very thin, pretty strong, absolutely no silvering. My only complaint is that, good god, unless you land the insignia decals dead-frigging-exactly where you want them to go, get ready to do battle as you try to slide those suckers where they need to go.

The stencils are mostly Tamiya, which sucks. Especially as I realized WHEN I WAS DONE that the Barracudacals sheet included about 80% of the stencils that I used.

Still – Leland Molland’s Spitfire is pretty sparse on the markings – but what’s there does look pretty slick.

Wash

Once the decals were on and sealed with a second mist of Tamiya rattlecan gloss, I hit the entire plane with a sludge of ProModeler/Flory Dark Dirt Wash. This was then mostly removed using damp paper towels (wiped in circular motions thanks to a forum tip!), leaving behind some nice and dark (but not too dark) panel lines and the impression of some very hard living.

Matte

Despite my problems with the Alclad Aqua Klear, I went back to Alclad to dull everything down, with a light coat of their Matte Klear Kote. Unlike the acrylic aqua, this stuff is mineral-spirit based, and goes on amazingly, stunningly well. Easily the best flat coat I’ve ever sprayed through an airbrush. The matte is also a great finish. Almost flat, but not quite.

The prop spinner was sprayed with the slightly glossier Light Sheen Klear Kote.

As this dried, I prepared and attached the landing gear (which goes in with screws and magnets!), removed the masking from the clear parts, and began some of the weathering work (a bit of silver chipping here and there, mainly).

There’s still some work to be done – staining mostly. But the big Spit is definitely most of the way there!

Stay tuned.

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