The big bomber build continues! In Part I, I picked up the pieces of a paused build and pushed through main assembly and paint prep. In Part II, it’s time to paint the beast!
September 20-22 – First Priming
Have to admit, these three days kind of blended together for me. I’m pretty sure I skipped the bench once in here, but I also finished the engine assemblies, assembled the cowls, glued down the last bits of the bombardier’s compartment, and primed the wings with Tamiya Surface Primer. The kind from the rattlecan.
September 23 – Black Basecoating
After primering the wings, I went back and sanded them with Micromesh 6000-grit sanding cloth. Similar to Mr. Surfacer 1200, the Tamiya Surface Primer went glass smooth.
So far, so good.
Then I moved on to my go-to black base for Alclad – Tamiya X-1 Black + X-22 Clear cut with Gunze Mr. Leveling Thinner.
Only this time, it kind of sucked. Not anywhere near as bad as the Krylon Fusion disaster I suffered prepping a Tamiya P-51 for natural metal, but not great.
Rather than fight the black, I decided to give it overnight to cure, and hit the various control surfaces with Mr. Surfacer 1200 that was soon sanded smooth. Very smooth.
September 25 – More Black Basecoating
Sanded down the Tamiya X-1 with Micromesh 3200-grit. Smoothed things down wonderfully. Also removed paint in areas. Repainted underside of the wings with Tamiya TS-14 Gloss Black decanted from the rattlecan. Mucho better.
I also took the time to Future the major fuselage clear parts, which barely fit in my large Future dunk jar. Still have the wing light covers and dorsal turret, but those aren’t as critical at this point.
September 26 – Natural Metal Finish
Finally! After what’s felt like forever in the build and prep work, it’s time to lay down the natural metal finish on the lower wing surfaces!
Starting with the nice and smooth Tamiya TS-14 as a base, I loaded my Iwata HP-CS with Alclad II Airframe Aluminum and sprayed it down in light, misting coats.
Airframe Aluminum is one of what Alclad calls their “high-shine” finishes. And while that does mean that yes, it does have a high degree of shine, it also means the finish has a property that makes it valuable as another base for the regular Alclad finishes.
It’s slightly translucent.
That translucency is why Alclad recommends a black base – it’s what gives the high-shines their, well, high shine. It also makes the finish you pull out in the end darker than that of most of the regular finishes. The upshot is that you can use Airframe Aluminum as something of a pre-shade to build variation into the metal finish.
To achieve this, I next loaded some Alclad Duraluminum into my Iwata HP-C+, since I wanted the smaller needle for finer control. This was sprayed on in similar misting coats, but with a certain shyness toward major panel lines. If you go too stark here, the finish can look very dissected and fake, but if you just shy away from the panel lines a bit, the darker finish of the Airframe Aluminum will peak through.
Once that was done, I went back over everything with Airframe Aluminum again to blend the finishes together somewhat. And…here’s the result:
September 29 – Canopy Masking
After losing a few days to rain and a mishap applying Future to the massive clear parts, it’s back to the bench to mask the B-25’s glass.
The B-25 is not an easy ship to mask, and in my opinion the phenomenal Eduard mask set is totally worth the money.
September 30 – Clear Parts and Nose Install
Big step tonight. The forward bombardier’s section and all the glass got installed!
October 1 – Lurching Toward Paint
Moving rapidly toward paint. There are still a few rivets that need to be restored and a few bits that need to be glued on, but by and large the B-25 is ready to go!
First up – a misting of Model Master Interior Green on the glass framing. I kept this light with the intention of going over it with black to darken the interior green that will be seen on the inside.
I also painted the cowl rings with Gunze C69 Offwhite. The cowl rings on “Bottoms Up II” were bisected, with white on the bottom and black up top.
October 2 – Cowl Work and Black Basing
After giving the Gunze Offwhite a chance to cure overnight, I masked it off and painted the upper halves of the cowl rings with Gunze C2 Black.
I also carried the black over to the fuselage – and the glass framing in particular.
October 4 – Problems and Solutions
The decanted TS-14 that worked so amazingly well on the wings went down like absolute crap on the fuselage, with crazy amounts of dusting that lead to an unsightly, grainy finish. I don’t get it. How can something work so amazingly well, and then suck so hard the next week?
Out came the micromesh and some aggressive sanding that ultimately ended up removing a good deal of the lacquer.
Figuring I’d have to repaint anyway, I said “screw it” and pulled out the Dremel and a cloth polishing wheel to see what kind of job it could do. I’ve tried this thing in the past and been less than impressed with the results, but on the black, oh my goodness. It knocked it down to a perfect mirror shine.
I think I’ve found my secret weapon for prepping for Alclad!
With the Dremel waiting in the wings, I resprayed the fuselage with TS-14. It went down like crap again, but…don’t care!
October 5 – Airframe Aluminum on the Fuselage
Picking up from the night before, I pulled out the now-trusty Dremel and polished up the less-than-ideal finish on the fuselage, then moved on to the base coat of Airframe Aluminum.
October 6 – Natural Metal Finish
More adventures with Alclad.
With the base Airframe Aluminum in place, I pulled out my Duraluminum and Aluminum and got to work. The base finish was done with Duraluminum, and selected panels picked out with the slightly brighter Aluminum to break things up. This was then topped with another coat of Airframe Aluminum.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to capture the look with my go-to blue background. But it really pops outside in natural light.
October 7 – Prepping for Olive Drab
With the bare metal work done, I shifted gears to prep for the olive drab upper surfaces. This necessitated installing the leading edge landing lights and light covers and letting them set overnight. While the glue cured, I did some prep work on the tires and went ahead and knocked out the fabric control surfaces.
The fabric ailerons, elevators and rudders weathered differently than the metal skin of the aircraft, and I decided to attack them differently. Rather than starting out with a base of black, I sprayed them with Gunze C127 – Nakajima Cockpit Color. It’s a slightly green-tinted tan reminiscent of German RLM 02. I then taped off the leading edge of the depressions between the formers and misted them with Gunze RLM 80 to darken them up. I left the trim tabs alone, as they are metal-skinned and will get the same treatment as the rest of the surfaces.
With the pre-shading in place, I pulled out some Gunze C12 Olive Drab, thinned it down with Mr. Leveling Thinner, and sprayed the surfaces. For some compare/contrast, I also painted the lower portion of one of the rudders, to show how the undercoats alter the olive drab.
October 8 -Black Basing for Olive Drab
Now that the weather’s finally turning cooler, the constant annoyance of spiders is receding, and so I took a portion of my bench time to clear off the bench, purge a stub number of webs, and clean out some paint jars. Then I turned my attention to the wings. I want a black base for the olive drab, and that necessitates going over the bare metal. After stressing about how to mask the various demarkations, I decided screw it, pulled out the Iwata HP-C+, and freehanded it, with minimal masking in strategic areas to prevent overspray.
October 9 – Black Basing for Olive Drab
The B-25 is a BIG aircraft in 1/32 scale, so painting anything takes time. This night was devoted almost entirely to getting a good black base on the fuselage.
October 10 – Olive Drab Initial Shading
Finally, time to start throwing some olive drab! After shading certain bits with Gunze RLM 70 Black Green, I loaded up the main event, C12 Olive Drab, thinned it heavily with Mr. Leveling Thinner, and got to work with the Iwata HP-C+. Using such a detail brush to cover something as large as the B-25 is tedious, but I’ve found that the fine needle gives, overall, a much better random appearance than just bombing the paint on.
You can see from this first pass that the initial olive drab coat goes on very light, and generally avoids panel and rivet lines. That’ll change later, but it’s all about layers and incrementalism.
In addition to the fuselage, I also got the engine cowls knocked out and unmasked. A nice teaser of sorts for what the final thing will look like.
October 12 – Olive Drab Wing Work
After a night off due to an office party, I resumed the Olive Drab work, this time on the wings. Again, slow going, but this isn’t a kit I’m intending to rush.
October 14 – Main Painting Completed
After a marathon session on Sunday, I wrapped up main paintwork on the B-25’s airframe. There are still a lot of little things to see to – the gear doors, various landing strut details, the guns, etc, but all the big paintwork is now completed.
I think it says a ton for the “thin coats over black” method that I managed to paint this entire beast without burning through an entire bottle of Gunze C12 Olive Drab.
Next up in Part III, I’ll be adding the markings and stencils with a combination of Maketar paint masks and KitsWorld decals.