Time for the fun stuff!
Henry Brown’s “The Hun Hunter ~ Texas” packs what’s probably one of my favorite P-51 schemes. It’s very reminiscent of the common Olive Drab over Neutral Gray, with the twist that the undersides were left in bare metal, and the upper surfaces painted with Dark Green out of RAF stocks.
Natural Metal Finish
First up – the natural metal finish on the underside. Natural metal seems to be a matter of much consternation, so let’s run through the steps.
First…primer. Since I’m going to be using lacquers, I used Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1200 as my primer.
This was followed by Gunze C2 Black. I typically use Tamiya X-1, but I’ve been getting really great results out of Gunze stuff lately, so why not?
The black was polished with some fine-grit micromesh, then I flipped the plane over. P-51 wings were painted in an aluminum lacquer at the factory to protect the filler used on the wing panels (for aerodynamics). To represent this, I decided to try some decanted Tamiya TS-12 Bare Metal Silver.
The TS-12 was chased by Alclad – Airframe Aluminum to be exact. The TS-12 looked like light gray next to the Airframe Aluminum, so I overcoated the one with the other. Alclad’s high-shine metalizers like Airframe Aluminum are semi-translucent, so the base TS-12 created a slightly different look than the Gunze black.
Once the Airframe Aluminum was in place, I moved on to good old Aluminum. This is much more opaque, with the result that the Airframe Aluminum ends up appearing darker. I left it in place along various edges and panel lines. Instant shading!
Unfortunately, I had some issues with the Aluminum. Namely spitting. I have no idea why. Maybe that bottle’s going? Maybe it’s just the heat? Whatever the case, the stuff dries fast, so I buffed it with my t-shirt to smooth things out.
RAF Dark Green
With the underside all metaled up, I masked where necessary and flipped the plane over. Since the whole thing got blacked, there’s no need for preshading, and I just started to fill in the RAF Dark Green, represented by Gunze C330 Dark Green:
Per my recent love of really thin paint, I thinned it down about 3:1 and went to work with the Iwata HP-C+. This coat I intentionally kept very light and very patchy, since I’ll be doing some color variation shading before the final coat goes down.
With a loose base of Gunze C330 Dark Green in place, I started pulling out paints. C2 Black to re-emphasize some panel lines and for some heavy streaking on the wings and fuselage. I chased this with some heavily thinned C15 IJN Green, which is a darker and “bluer” green.
Only after this aggressive shading did I wade back in with C330, taking care to preserve as close to just a hint of the shading as I could. I thinned the Dark Green about 4:1 thinner to paint.
To finish things off, I masked and painted the wing and stabilizer ID stripes with a 50/50 for Gunze C69 Offwhite and C315 White. To mask the wing stripes, I cut some 8mm tape strips, masked the stripe locations, then laid down the real masking to either side and pulled up the stripe-marker strips. Thin + low pressure + small needle kept any ridging from becoming an issue.
Up next – decals