At last, we come to the reason I cracked this kit open in the first place. When I first stumbled upon Me 262A-2a Wk.Nr. 111712, I was intrigued by the unfinished appearance of bare metal covered in a latticework of putty. I’d seen this on other late-war Luftwaffe aircraft, but for some reason, when I saw it on 712, I had an epiphany. I knew how I could recreate the putty effect. And so I tracked down Trumpeter’s kit and got to work.
In Part II, I covered off on main construction and took the 262 through its bare metal finish, leaving it looking like this:
The Secret Sauce
Okay, so how was I going to take the pretty bare metal finish and add putty to it?
Simple. Liquid frisket.
I’ve used this stuff previously in limited applications, like masking the camoflage on tiny MiGs. Enough to get a feel for its properties.
Basically, it’s liquid latex. It can be applied with a brush, but I hope you don’t like that brush, because getting the stuff out of the bristles is rage-inducing. Instead, I’ve found that a toothpick works great.
As a mask, it produces a hard demarkation. When the painting is done, it can either be rubbed off, or lifted with a toothpick and peeled off. The latter tends to wreak havoc with paints that form “films”, such as Vallejo and Gunze, so I’d recommend using this stuff with Tamiya or Model Master instead.
In terms of paint lift, there’s none. At all. While the stuff grabs well, it doesn’t contain any adhesive. It pulls nothing up and leaves nothing behind.
Another characteristic – and the one that made it perfect for this application – is the difficulty of getting this stuff to mask straight lines. Even masking over tape and quickly pulling the tape up can’t quite achieve it. It’s better at imperfect masking – which makes it perfect for the slapped-on putty.
A quick note: I’ve tried a few liquid masking fluids, and this Incredible White Mask stuff that I snagged at Hobby Lobby is far and away my favorite. It applies well and comes up with the least amount of fuss and no need to put the model under a faucet and scrub.
Masking An Entire Damn Plane
The liquid frisket is fairly easy to apply – it’s sort of like a really globby pen – but it takes a lot of time to cover an entire aircraft with it. In this case, it took me nearly five nights at the bench.
If you’re trying this at home, just take it slow, go one square at a time. Again, it’s slow, tedious going, but relatively foolproof.
Painting the Putty
There’s a lot of confusion out there on the internet about the color of the putty the Luftwaffe used. One will often see references to RLM 99, a sort of pale yellow-green. This is incorrect based on the color images I’ve seen. Instead, the putty is generally a light gray, with maybe a very slight green tinge to it. On some areas, you’ll also see RLM 02, RLM 77, a dark green/brown not unlike RLM 81, and good old red oxide primer.
For this 262, I used Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Gray 2 to represent the putty. Thinned it with Mr. Leveling Thinner and sprayed it, along with a bastard RLM 81 mix in a few targeted areas around the nose.
After giving the paint a day to set, I came back and removed all of the liquid frisket, using a toothpick shaped into a sharp wedge to get under the masking and then rubbing it off with a finger.
Ultimately, here are the results. Not too shabby…
That’s a Wrap
And that’s all for Part III and masking and painting the putty lines. Ultimately, I feel like my idea came off swimmingly, and will definitely be using liquid frisket for all putty lines I tackle in the future.
Stay tuned for Part IV, which will cover the rest of the paint job.