As main painting on “Magic Carpet” and “The Bug” wrapped up, I got the go-ahead from Mrs. Doogs to head down to ModelFiesta in San Antonio in mid-February. This of course kicked off a race against time to get “Magic Carpet” wrapped up in time for it to make the trip and not win any medals.
Kicked down in priority, “The Bug” nonetheless coasted alongside, since the work going on with one was often going on with the other and didn’t involve much extra effort.
A Tale of Two Clear Coats
Once principal painting was wrapped up, the first order of business was laying down clear coats in preparation for the decals.
“Magic Carpet” was treated to Alclad’s Klear Kote Gloss. Pretty much my favorite. It sprays well, goes down smooth and thin, and dries relatively fast. No issues of any kinds.
For “The Bug”, I used Vallejo’s Gloss Varnish. I used it before, on my Panzer III Ausf. L, without issue, but this time around it beaded, pooled, and generally behaved poorly. Better still, after cleaning out the airbrush, I left it with the needle and nozzle removed…and there was apparently enough of the stuff somewhere in there that it completely gummed up the needle bearing and paint channel. And it was a pain to remove. This is why I stick to things that can be broken down later by solvents.
I’ve been excited to build “Magic Carpet” for several reasons – one of which was the chance to finally try out Zotz decals. I wasn’t terribly impressed. While better than the Tamiya kit decals, they were still thick and not fans of melting into panel lines. Fortunately, they didn’t exhibit ridiculous silvering.
The stencils were another disappointment. I’d intended to use a sheet of dry transfers from HobbyDecal, but could not get them to adhere. I guess I need a dedicated burning tool and not just a #2 pencil…whatever the case, ugh. The Zotz stencils were little better, with so-so sharpness and thick film. The gun numbers on the wings were also wrong, with both labelled “4 3 2 1” where one should have gone “1 2 3 4”. In the end, I sourced about half my stencils from the Tamiya sheet.
The last time I used Revellogram decals, they trashed the build. I’m happy to report these decals worked out far better, though also fell far short of perfection.
Handling-wise, Revell’s decals were the exact opposite of Tamiya’s. They are quite thin, hold fast to the surface, and do so so well that they then have a hard time “slipping” to melt into and over surface detail. Color register is also off, with the yellow tail codes resembling Grey Poupon more than Insignia Yellow. The national insignia had issues with white slivers around the edges, and most disappointing of all, the cowl decorations were far too large for the actual cowl flaps. I ended up removing them to mask and paint later.
Ultimately, both came through the decal stage relatively okay. Neither as great as I’d have hoped, but I guess not everything can be Cartograf or Wingnut Wings quality…
*At this point,the post diverges to focus first on “Magic Carpet”, and then on “The Bug”, as the rush to get the former completed for ModelFiesta shoved the latter into standby for some time.
Weathering – Magic Carpet
Under time crunch, I kept the weathering on “Magic Carpet” to a minimum. The decals were sealed with Alclad clears, then an overcoat of Alclad Klear Kote Light Sheen was applied. This was followed by Promodeller Dark Dirt wash, which was sludged on, then wiped off in the direction of airflow. With the light sheen coat, some of the wash got caught up in the surface, adding a nice worn patina, particularly to the wing surfaces.
Final Details – Magic Carpet
With the wash completed, the Tamiya kit raced into the home stretch. The bomb pylons, undercarriage, .50 caliber blast tubes, pitot tube, prop and canopy were all attached. I had to battle the armor glass base plate to get the windscreen to sit right, and getting it and the main canopy to play nice in the closed position (the canopy looks awkward posed open) took some coercion. Making the Ultracast tires play nice with the landing struts also proved a bit dicey. Everything else just fell together.
And with that – “Magic Carpet” cleared the bench!
And just in time, too! The next morning I took it down to San Antonio for Model Fiesta 31, where it took 1st place in its category!
Weathering – The Bug
After wrapping up “Magic Carpet”, I thought I had exhausted my capacity to work on Jugs. Then I got back to the bench and just couldn’t leave the Revellogram hanging so far along.
Before moving on to weathering, however, I had to attend to the cowl flaps, since the kit decals were out of all size and proportion. With a coat of Alclad Light Sheen to seal and protect the decals around the cowl flaps, I took the extra precaution of covering them with bits of paper,then masking the area around the cowl flaps. Once everything was masked, the cowl flaps were treated to some Tamiya XF-1 Flat White.
When dry, these were masked off for the red triangles. Due to the arrangement, I had to mask and paint these in two stages, using Tamiya Flat Red with a touch of Hull Red and Red Brown to more-or-less match the red of the, um, bugmouth.
After the cowl flaps were done, I oversprayed the decals, cowl ring, ID stripes and cowl flaps with a thin filter of Gunze Olive Drab to mute them down. This was followed by some good old Testors Dullcote.
Next came a sludge wash of Promodeler Dark Dirt. Not ideal for a kit with raised lines, perhaps, but over a dull coat, the wash digs in and dirties up everything quite well, and there are enough recessed lines to make it worthwhile. The wash was wiped off with damp paper towels, then all the little white fibers left by the paper towels were removed with a dusting brush.
Wing edges, the cowl, prop blades and certain panel lines and high-traffic areas were chipped with a silver Prismacolor pencil. While various items dried, the landing gear went on, canopy got unmasked, and so on.
Next came the final details. The 500-lb bombs were painted yellow, stripes masked off, then painted olive drab. The bombs and bazooka rockets were then attached to the wings, along with the centerline paper drop tank.
I tried weathering the armament with MIG’s rain marks, but something went off, and they ended up resembling spots rather than streaks. So I hit the rocket tubes with MIG Allied Faded Green pigment, and the bombs with Russian Earth (as well as the tires). With that, “The Bug” was done.
Both Jugs proved fun and satisfying in their own ways, and the merits of each are pretty apparent when build side-by-side.
On whole, though, I have to give the nod to the Tamiya Razorback, which is quite possibly the best 1/48 kit ever boxed.