Part I | Part II| Part III
It’s been some time since this blog has visited the long in-progress Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a. In Part I, I walked through some early test-fitting and the build-up of the cockpit.
Part II is usually all about the construction, but honestly, the 262 built rather fast and uneventfully. So rather than focus on that, I’m going to use Part II to cover both the construction and the first phase of painting – up through the bare metal finish.
Like I said, the Me 262 builds up fast. After some painting in the gear bays (bare metal main bay, RLM 02 nose bay) and the engine nacelles, things got glued together pretty fast.
Collapsed Gear Interlude
One nifty aspect of this build is the 262’s collapsed main landing gear. It gives the plane a certain off-kilter dynamic that adds a surprising degree of visual interest.
But how to pull it off?
Simple, really. The main gears mount into two beefy sockets, keyed so you can’t get them mixed up. I simply took the sprue cutters and snipped off the inboard side of the port socket so the strut would fit, but could be angled in. Viola. It’s now adjustable, so once it goes onto the base I can apply some 15-minute epoxy, set it and forget it.
While the 262 goes together easily enough, there are a few areas where the fit just isn’t the greatest. And there’s nothing you can really do about it but fill and sand.
So that’s what I did. For what seems like forever.
After sanding and priming with Mr. Surfacer 1200, I found a lot of areas needed some additional attention. Joy.
Have I mentioned that filling and sanding is my favorite part of this hobby?
After more work with the sanding stick, I finally called it enough. The real 262 is a pretty rough looking beast in the flesh, so these imperfections are actually reasonably authentic. Or…I’ll just tell myself that.
Base & Buff
Once everything was sorted on the sanding side, I broke out the Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black. Since I’m going bare metal on this one, the black base is a standard go-to to give depth to the metal finish.
This was then sanded with low-grit sandpaper (2000 and up) and polished with my trusty cloth buffing wheel until it was glass smooth.
Bare Metal, Take 1 – Gunze Super Metallics
My original plan was to use Gunze’s excellent Super Metallics – specifically Super Fine Silver and Super Stainless. So I thinned some SFS with Mr. Leveling Thinner and let fly.
The Super Fine Silver is just beautiful. I could definitely see using it for something like an F-86 Sabre or an early MiG-21. Something where you want that polished “screw camoflage, I want them to find me” look.
I was even prepared to like it on the 262, but then I sprayed the supposedly darker Super Stainless and it dried lighter than the surrounding Super Fine Silver.
Thinking maybe I didn’t want that kind of shine anyway…these bare metal Messerschmitts weren’t exactly polished…I switched over to tried and true Alclad, using a combination of Aluminum, Dark Aluminum and Magnesium to break things up somewhat.
This is what I continue to love about Alclad. The shades make it easy to add tonal differences on the fly.
Stay tuned for Part 3 and the next stage of painting up the 262 – the putty lines!