1/48 Hobby Boss Me 262A-1a/U4 Part IV – Finish Out


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

With the main scheme laid down, I moved on to gloss “Wilma Jeanne” ahead of decal work and immediately ran into problems.

I’ve never been able to find a clear gloss that I without reservation love. And yes, I’ve tried almost all of them. Tamiya X-22 doesn’t get the job done. Gunze C46 and GX100 clears eat through underlying paint. Vallejo and Future aren’t consistent enough to trust. Alclad’s Aqua Clear is the same, and their Gloss Klear Kote takes approximately 1.8 years to dry.

Ultimately, I used Tamiya X-22 as the least-bad option. The result? Silvering on the wing stencils and wingwalk lines! Sweet!

Now, I didn’t apply all of the decals at this point.

My thinking? The U4 obviously had an existence before the U.S. forces overran Augsburg, and it would already be somewhat weathered before the captured markings were applied.

Thus…on to weathering!

Salt Weathering

I’ve done salt weathering a few times now, notably on my Dewoitine D.520, and it seemed a perfect technique to bring out of the 262.

With a spray bottle, I soaked the build in warm water cut with just a bit of dish soap to kill the surface tension and let it flow across the entire plane. I then applied salt from one of those salt grinders that allows you to control the coarseness.

The warm water partially dissolves the salt crystals for a nice, random pattern.

Once the salt dried, I used a very, very thin mix of Gunze RLM 02 and Offwhite as a filter. Whatever paint you use, be sure to test it first. Fogging or clouding isn’t a concern, since it vanishes under the next clear coat, but some paints (I’m looking at you, Tamiya) seem to absorb the salt and end up with permanent discolorations. I’ve found that Model Master enamels an Gunze lacquers work well.

I found the effect a bit too pronounced for my liking, so I went back with a filter of RLM 81, again heavily thinned, and blended the weathering back into the main scheme.

Next, I sprayed the olive drab used to cover up the German insignia and swastikas.

Then applied the “Wilma Jeanne” nose script and USAAF insigina (taken from a P-38 decal sheet) shot a protective coat of Gunze Semi-Gloss Clear, then got to work on the Flory Dark Dirt wash. The stuff beaded like crazy at first ,but as it dried I was able to spread it more and more.

After wiping the Flory wash away with damp paper towels, then removing the paper towel lint, I moved on to the final stuff – the Alclad Matte clear coat, the landing gear, canopy, oil stains and minor chipping, installing the big 50mm gun, and stringing up the aerial wire. If that all sounds rushed – it was. This all happened in the night or two before ModelFiesta.

But with those last steps, the Me 262 was finished.

Part I | Part II | PART III | Part IV

1/32 Trumpeter P-47D “French Jug”, Part V – Masks + Pain


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | PART V

In Part IV, the French Jug got its stripes (and its Olive Drab):

Now, it’s time for the main markings.

When I first set out to build a French Jug, I had my sights set on a completely different P-47 that I was going to tackle in 1/48. Then I came across C9*I and was smitten. But…there are no markings available for C9*I, so I contacted Joe at Scale Precision Paint Masks. After some back and forth, we determined that the mission stencils were just too small to reproduce as paint masks, so I opted to upscale to 1/32.

That seems like forever ago, but now it’s finally time to break out the masks and go to work…

Step 1: Apply Masks

Applying vinyl paint masks is rather easy. Just lift them from their backing and place them on the model. The difficulty comes in getting them aligned just so, but you can lift and replace them over and over again. Once the mask is in place, burnish the edges down to prevent paint from bleeding under. Though…if you’re spraying that much paint at the mask edges, you’re doing something wrong anyway.

Step 2: Paint

Once everything is masked off, it’s time to paint! In this first stage of the masking process, I had to paint the fuselage and tail codes, as well as the yellow outer rings of the French roundels. So I started with a highly thinned Gunze C69 Offwhite, followed by C4 Yellow. Everything was looking awesome until I went to remove the masks.

Step 3: RAGE

That’s right. Paint lift. Frustrating, crazy paint lift all over the place. And not just paint. The Mr Surfacer 1200 primer lifted off the plastic.

I’ve had some minor problems with Mr. Surfacer 1200 and lifting from plastic before, something that’s never happened once with Model Master gray enamel primer or another, less obvious primer – Tamiya’s AS-12 Bare Metal Silver.

I will be using either of those on future builds.

Step 4: Masks, Round Two

While I formulated a plan to deal with the paint lift, I went ahead and started working on the rest of the roundels, since until they’re done I’m stuck anyway.

The red went down well enough, except for the lower starboard insignia, which suffered even more lift.

Step 5: Masks, Round Three

While laying down the masks for the red portions of the roundels, I realized that the cowl text “Sch HURTIN” was oversized, and after a few back-and-forths with Joe at Scale Precision had a corrected smaller version sent my way, as well as some new ultra-low-tack masks for the roundels.

The letters in the cowl text were tiny and a bit of a frustration to work loose from the outline mask, but once they were, everything sprayed down beautifully.

The low-tack roundel masks also went down quite well – no lifting this time – but they proved to be ridiculously low-tack. As in, a post-it note was enough to lift them. Still, they got the job done.

Step 6: Masks, Round Four

The last step in masking the roundels was the blue dot that sits at the center. Nothin’ to it.

With the roundels finally completed, I could shift my focus to cleaning up the paint lift.

Step 7: Repair the Damaged Roundel

Most of the paint lifting occurred around, rather than on, the roundels. Not so the roundel on the underside of the starboard wing. Here, the lifting was particularly nasty.

To fix things up, I first masked off the white and blue inner circles, and shot some white and then yellow.

I then took masked the yellow outer ring and shot the red.

It’s not perfect, but eh…after the weathering this thing is going to get I doubt it will be a big deal.

Step 8: Fixing the Lift

The low-tack replacement masks were a godsend here. Honestly, as I mentioned above, they’re a bit too low-tack, but they absolutely eliminated any risk of paint lift.

Once I had everything masked, I hit the lift areas with some Gunze C2 Black.

Then some Alclad Aluminum.

The original idea I had was to use some liquid frisket to mask off some of the Alclad to simulate chipping, but, to use the scientific terminology, it looked like ass. So I just painted over with olive drab (and neutral gray on the bottom).

And with that, the arduous masking experience finally wrapped up. Now I can focus on the stencils, weathering, and final put-together of this Jug that’s taken so friggin’ long to come together. Stay tuned.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | PART V

On the Bench: 1/35 AH-1W Supercobra


I’ve had some weird modeling urges of late. Jets. Ships.


Well, when I scored a backup 1/35 MRC/Academy AH-1W at ModelFiesta for a paltry $15, I decided, what the hell, it’s time to put one of these to the test.

To be honest, I have little-to-no idea what I’m doing. The extent of my helicopter expertise is having watched Airwolf as a kid and having seen Firebirds and Blue Thunder loads of times. Oh, and I played that Comanche helicopter sim (which was awesome). I can name most chopper models to a reasonable degree of accuracy and the AH-1W Supercobra is hands down my favorite of the lot, even if it is based on a 50-year-old platform, but don’t be expecting any “the kit cockpit is missing this whirlydobber, so I scratched it out of the Force” nonsense. I’ve got Eduard’s PE set and I’ve got an Osprey book, but I’m not planning to invest any more time or cash into research.

I will, however, be attempting to build this scheme.

It’ll probably take printing some custom decals, and lots of swearing. Stay tuned!

On the Bench: Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF Dual Build


When I ordered Eduard’s MiG-21MF “Bunny Fighter” last fall, I remember wondering (and probably snarking about it somewhere) who in their right mind would build the garish “Bunny Fighter” scheme.

As it turns out…me.

My Bunny Fighter happened to arrive as I was outside with the kids, and when my son saw the box art, he became obsessed with “the carrot plane”. I knew then that my goose was cooked.

Now, I couldn’t bring myself to throw all the goodies Eduard included at said Bunny Fighter. I mean…they shipped this thing with a full Brassin cockpit, gear bay, wheels, color photo etch, the whole nine yards. No way I’m putting all that into a build that my son will probably find a way to destroy in short order (at four going on five, “look but don’t touch” is a very slippery concept).

So I did what any good modeler would do. I picked up ANOTHER MiG-21MF, this time the weekend Edition.

The original plan went something like this: I’d build the Bunny Fighter “Weekend Edition”-style, learn off it, then throw all the resin and PE and other awesomeness at the Weekend Edition kit.


When I started poking through the Bunny Fighter’s instructions, I quickly realized I needed to yank out the Weekend Edition manual to make sense of how to pull off the simpler build.

And then, just to keep things straight, I decided it would be easier to build the things in parallel. So…there are now two MiG-21s on the bench. The first will be built in the garish Bunny Fighter scheme, but without all the resin and photo etch.

And the Weekend Edition will be built to the nines, utilizing the resin, photo etch and other goodies from the Bunny Fighter kit, as well as Eduard’s recently released bronze gear struts.

Oh, and Master’s sick-looking pitot tube:

For the scheme, I’ll be yanking one of the Bunny Fighter’s alternate options, a bare-metal Czech Air Force MiG-21MF from 1991.

I’ll probably let the Bunny Fighter run a bit ahead so I can still “go to school” on it, but not too far ahead.

Stay tuned for some quarter-scale MiG goodness…

1/48 Hobby Boss Me 262A-1a/U4 Part III – Paint


Part I | Part II | PART III | Part IV

The 262’s turn at the airbrush came at a frustrating time for me. On the one hand, I’ve been increasingly falling in love with Gunze paints and their excellent spraying characteristics. On the other hand, issues with paint peeling have massively undermined my trust in Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1200 as a primer medium.

But the 262 moved toward paint just far enough ahead of ModelFiesta that I knew, if I really moved, I could probably have it ready to go for the show. That meant no waiting for my other primer of choice, Model Master enamel, to cure. So…Mr. Surfacer it was.

As per usual, Mr. Surfacer 1200 yielded a wondrously smooth finish with a slight amount of wet sanding and a few passes of the Dremel buffing wheel. I then moved on to the black base coat, using my ample restock of Gunze C2 black.

The underside of the 262 called for RLM 76. My first attempt, using the Gunze color, was less than successful. I don’t know if it’s a bad pot of paint or what, but it did a weird sort of vanishing act, so that after a few minutes sitting it looked like ass, with bits of black showing through.

So I pulled out my Tamiya paints and made a bastard RLM 76 mix which went down MUCH better. You can see the difference in the picture below. The starboard wing (the one on the right) is the Tamiya RLM 76, and the port wing, main fuselage underside aft of the landing gear bays, and a few other areas are still in Gunze RLM 76.

Suffice to say, I finished out the underside in the Tamiya mix.

After the snafu with the RLM 76, the upper surfaces went by fairly quickly. For these I used Gunze RLM 81 and RLM 83, freehanded using my recently-acquired Iwata Custom Micron CM-B (which is flat-out amazing). The 81 and 83 displayed none of the bizarre behavior I got from the 76, and before I knew it, I was out the other side of the main paint scheme.

Next up, decals, weathering, and angst over gloss coats.

Part I | Part II | PART III | Part IV

1/48 Hobby Boss Me 262A-1a/U4 Part II – Construction


Part I | PART II | Part III | Part IV

Sometimes kits just fall together. I normally associate them with Tamiya, Wingnut Wings and a few other select manufacturers.

Trumpeter – and by extension Hobby Boss – have never really fit into that hallowed league, at least in my experience. The two early Wildcats I built for the kids way back in 2010 were beset by an idiotic wing/fuselage join, awful lower fuselage fit, and canopies that were too tall to be posed closed, but too thick to be posed open. And the Trumpeter P-47…well…it’s been a slog.

I have to say, though, this Me 262 has forced me to reevaluate what Hobby Boss is capable of. There are still a few minor issues, but by and large, this kit is easily as good as almost anything Tamiya has put out in the last ten years.

So I’m not going to go into a detailed, blow-by-blow overview of the build. It’d be pointless. Instead I’m just going to focus on the areas that might need some attention.

The biggest issue with the kit is the way the wings go together. Instead of the usual top-bottom sandwich, toward the trailing edge the upper and lower wings fit together on this weird seam that bisects the control surfaces.

This…shouldn’t be there. On the real 262, there’s a very fine rivet line that runs in roughly the same spot, but a rivet line is not the same as a giant trench. So this needs filling.

The only other real sticking point is the join between the engine pods and the wing. There is a prominent line at the rear that needs to be filled, and some very slight ridging along the front that will need some aggressive sanding and filling action.

Apart from these areas, Hobby Boss’ Me 262 goes together like butter.

I’m not really sure what else to add, save that I wish they’d done this kit with separated leading edge slats. The real 262 had spring-loaded slats that would stay open at lower speeds (and parked, duh), and only close when air resistance overcame the spring force and pushed them closed. This is something that Trumpeter gets right in their 1/32 rendition, but that Hobby Boss and Tamiya both overlook in the 1/48 kit.

Up next – painting the 262!

Part I | PART II | Part III | Part IV

1/32 Trumpeter P-47D “French Jug”, Part IV – Paint


Part I | Part II | Part III | PART IV | Part V


After first starting this kit waaaay back at the start of November, three months later, it’s finally ready for paint. And with the wife and kids out of town for the weekend, I decided to buckle down and get it done in hopes of just maybe having this build wrapped in time for ModelFiesta on February 16th.


To my mind, the best primer is still a tossup between Model Master gray enamel primer (bottle not rattlecan) and Mr. Surfacer 1200. Of course, enamel requires more curing time, and with a weekend to work in, I wanted to move fast. So Mr. Surfacer it was, smoothed down nicely by high-grit polishing sandpaper and micromesh.

Are You Yeller?

Next came the various stripes. C9*I was festooned with a yellow tail band, yellow wing bands, and yellow wingtips. So, counterintuitively, I started with Gunze C2 Black.

This made a very nice base for a haphazard white that would underpin the yellow. I used my go-to white, Gunze C69 Offwhite. The stuff sprays beautifully and isn’t quite as vibrant as other whites.

This was topped with some Gunze Yellow. Sure it looks kinda patchy here, but that’s intentional.

The reason is simple. If you look at just one color, your eyes are fairly sensitive to micro changes in contrast. But when you add additional colors around it – like olive drab – and break the surface up with markings and whatnot, your eyes lose that sensitivity, so even a really patchy yellow looks way more cohesive at the end of the painting. You’ll see!

After giving the yellow a night to cure, I masked it off with Tamiya tape. 10mm for the tail band, and 15-ish millimeters for the wing bands.


Then, lacking my go-to Gunze Black (I’d run out), I opted for the darkest gray I had on hand, Gunze Engine Gray, and used some Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black to pre-shade panel and rivet lines.

Next I turned to RLM 70 Black Green and RAF Dark Green to add some streak-shading and disrupt things. This was done with my Grex Genesis XN by streaking the airbrush close to the surface in rapid sweeps.

After the shading I tackled the underside with Gunze Neutral Gray.

And then moved on to the upper surfaces, which were sprayed with Gunze C12 Olive Drab.

As mentioned above, the addition of multiple colors really crushes down the local contrast of each one…those yellows don’t look anywhere near as patchy with the olive drab flanking to either side (nor does the olive drab look as patchy…).

And that, as they say, is that for the main painting of this big Jug. But the airbrush isn’t done yet. In the next section, I’ll be using paint masks to tackle the major markings of C9*I.

Part I | Part II | PART III | Part IV | Part V