1/32 Ki-84 Hayate, Part III – Weathering

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Part I | Part II| Part III

In Part I, the Frank got built up. In Part II, it got painted.

Now, it’s time to move into weathering and wrap-up.

Salt Weathering

I knew way back when I cracked the box that I wanted to subject this build to salt weathering. This is a process whereby you douse the kit in warm water (with some soap to break surface tension), cover it with salt from a salt grinder, blow it dry with a hairdryer, then go over with a very, very thin coat. The way I learned it and the way I go about it is two coats – the first a lighter grayish/tan. Then, with salt removed and reapplied, a darker, grimy color. Continue reading

Sprue Cutters Union #6 – Preparation

Montgomery_and_Patton_Discuss_Operations_in_Sicily

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

How do you prepare for your next build?

This is a tough one for me, since my preparations are often driven directly by whatever it was that inspired me to take on a certain build.

When Inspiration Strikes

Inspiration for the next build usually strikes when I’m part way through whatever my current build happens to be. And that inspiration can come from a number of different vectors.

Sometimes, it can be the kit itself. Screw it, I’ll figure out the exact scheme and so on later, but I just have to build this exact kit here that I’m holding in my hands. Such was the case with my recent Revell Bf 109G-6, or the Hasegawa Ki-84 I’m finishing up right now.

Sometimes it can be a specific subject. I feel like this happens frequently. I’ll stumble upon a subject I just HAVE TO BUILD, and then back my way into a kit. This was very much the case with my French P-47 and my Swiss Bf 109 and just so happens to be the case with my two upcoming aircraft builds, as well.

Sometimes it’s a need for a break into a different scale or genre. Sometimes it’s dictated by an enticing group build.

Each one of these sets me on a slightly different preparation path, since the initial givens vary,

For the sheer sake of keeping this somewhat manageable, I’m going to proceed from the inspiration = a specific subject angle, since that’s what I’m literally in the middle of right now.

Usually, when I’m inspired by a specific subject, it’s because I’ve either seen a picture of said subject, seen a profile of said subject, or read something about said subject (which leads to a search for pictures…).

Recently, I encountered just such a photo.

oHareHellcat

Cool, huh?

With initially very little information to go on – that this F6F-3 Hellcat with over 200 bullet holes was patched up and flown to the Grumman plant around the end of 1943 – I turned to Google and forums and ultimately discovered it belonged to none other than Butch O’Hare, the first American ace of World War II and the man for whom Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is named. I also unearthed a spread in a wartime paper – The Carrier – providing more details and multiple shots, including views of the port side, detail of the tail, and so on.

Armed with that, I’ve got enough to go on to start preparing a build. So let’s get to it!

Kit Selection

With a subject in hand, landing at a kit is generally easy. To wit, in 1/32 scale, we have two options for the F6F-3 Hellcat – Hasegawa and Trumpeter. Well, I have two Trumpeter F6F-3Ns that can easily be built as -3s, so Trumpeter it is.

Markings

After a kit, the next most important consideration, to my mind, is the markings. Are they available as decals? If so, by a decent brand? If not, are the markings something that could be done up as paint masks? In the case of this Hellcat, I’ll be getting some custom masks cut for the insignias and K-29 codes, and using decals for the rest. I’ll need to figure out how to custom print the Bu.No. on the tail as a decal…but now that I’ve got a laser printer and the number is black, that’s easy.

Aftermarket

Kit and markings sorted. Now it’s time to look into the goodies. Usually for me, this involves studying to kit to get a sense of what needs help and what doesn’t, then looking to see what’s available, then merging the two.

Trumpeter’s Hellcat is, overall, pretty solid in the detail department. It’s got some issues that drive the rivet and millimeter-counters mad, but for some reason minor overall shape problems bug me so much less than bungling the little details. Go figure.

But yes, the Trumpycat doesn’t need much help, so I’ve decided to go with a targeted aftermarket approach:

Seatbelts and canopy masks – these are basically mandatories for all of my aircraft builds. This time out I’m using the Eduard/HGW belts designed for the new Tamiya Corsair (close enough) and Eduard masks (obviously).

Cockpit – There’s a resin cockpit that’s available, but I really hate fighting resin pits, and besides, the cockpit aperture is so small, and the fuselage so rounded, that you don’t really see all that much of it. So instead of resin, I’ve opted for the Eduard interior PE set. It brings some serious detail to the headrest and bulkhead area, as well as the canopy sills and the gunsight.

Engine – I’ve built Trumpeter’s Pratt & Whitney R-2800 before, when I built their P-47. What a mess. If you care about accuracy, it gets enough elements wrong that you’ll want to bang your head against your bench. And if you care about buildability, the exhaust pipes will make you want to bang your head against your bench. So I’m going to try out the R-2800 Quickboost makes for Trumpy’s F4U-1D Corsair. We’ll see if it can fit the Hellcat. If not, oh well, I can suffer the kit engine.

Guns – I have Trumpeter’s F6F-3N. Why the -3N? Because it was selling on Amazon for stupid-cheap. But the -3N only ran four .50 cals, replacing the inboard guns with heavier cannon. So. I need gun barrels. Profimodeller makes a .50 cal set for the Hellcat, so those will absolutely be in the mix.

Wheels – Trumpeter wheels are generally bad. And Roy Sutherland just came out with new Corsair/Hellcat wheels. Yoink!

Paint

Generally at this point I try to make sure I have the right paints to do the job. At this point, I have more or less what I need for the Hellcat’s tricolor scheme, particularly considering how faded out it’s going to be. No action required this time out – but I can’t say the same for my about-to-start Greek F-16 build!

Reference

Sometimes yes, sometimes I just want to wing it. Depends on the mood and the build. With the Hellcat, I’ll be more focused on the weathering and the patches, probably.

Process

As the build gets closer, I always tend to start thinking through my approach. Not the standard cockpit – build – paint – weather workflow, but little things. Can I install the guns at the end, or do I need to put them in before I close up the wing? If I go with the Quickboost engine, how will I manage routing the exhausts? What should I do to replicate those 200+ bullet holes and all the patches?

I’ve found thinking through these issues well in advance usually does a great job of preparing me once I actually encounter them during the build.

And…that’s it! After the prep work, the battle is usually getting through the cockpit. If I can do that and close the fuselage, odds are great that I’ll finish it. If not…

 

1/32 Ki-84 Hayate, Part II – Paint

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Part I | Part II| Part III | Part IV

In Part I, the Frank got built up.

Now, it’s time for paint.

Brain Teaser

From a process perspective, the Ki-84’s scheme is a rather complex one. You have the yellow leading and trailing edges on the wings. The fat red hinomarus surrounded by the white Home Defense squares…all chipping away to reveal bare metal beneath. Just getting my head around how to approach this paint scheme probably took more effort than the actual painting!

Step 1 – Bare Metal Base

I decided early on that I wanted the chipping to be actual chipping, not some faux chipping added after the fact. So I started by priming the Ki-84 in Tamiya AS-12 Bare Metal Silver, overcoated with Alclad metalizers.

Step 2: White, Orange Yellow and Red

Laying down a bit of liquid frisket as a chipping mask, I next sprayed down Gunze C69 Offwhite for the Home Defense bandages and as a base for the yellow leading edge bands. C58 Orange Yellow went down over the white.

Next, the hinomarus were masked using Montex masks and sprayed first with C58 Orange Yellow, then with a 50/50 mix of C3 Red and C108 Character Red. Continue reading

1/32 Ki-84 Hayate, Part I

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Part I | Part II| Part III | Part IV

I’d originally planned to follow up my Bf 109G-4/R6 and Bf 109G-6 double-build with Tamiya’s new Corsair, but by the time I was in a place to consider making a move, approximately 7,490 F4U-1 builds were underway over at Large Scale Planes. Can’t speak for anyone else, but a thing like that has a way of killing my enthusiasm for a project. Nah…I’ll come back to the Corsair in a bit, once all the mindblowing aftermarket stuff has had a chance to work its way out.

In the meantime, I’ve had this urge to tackle a Japanese subject for awhile, and I’ve always like the lines of the Nakajima Ki-84, so…

Aftermarket Roundup!

You know how there are some kits with just tons of aftermarket flying all over the place?

This isn’t one of those kits.

There’s a bit out there. Not much. But a bit. So I got most of it.

  • Eduard interior photo etch
  • Eduard exterior photo etch
  • Quickboost exhausts
  • Montex mask set

Cockpit

Work started with the cockpit. For the most part, Hasegawa did a pretty bang-up job here, and Eduard’s interior detail set picked up the slack where things got a bit weak. I also added some wiring with 0.2mm and 0.3mm lead wire.

Speaking of weak – that’s an apt description for the kit seat. Folded PE replacement is much, much easier on the eyes.

Prior to laying down the cockpit green, I laid down a base of Alclad Duraluminum.

The Alclad was masked selectively with liquid frisket, then painted over with Gunze C128 Nakajima Cockpit Green. Frisket masks were pulled off to reveal the metal beneath…then it was on to detail painting and many successive stages of weathering. End results?

Engine

With the cockpit sorted, I moved on to the Homare engine.

After using my trusty airbrush needle to poke holes in the ignition ring, and the plug locations on the cylinders, I base-painted everything. Cylinders were done in Alclad Magnesium. Crankcase cover in Semi-Matte Aluminum. And the ignition ring in Gunze SM06 Chrome Silver (wonderful stuff!).

Wiring was then added with 0.2mm lead wire (and some assorted other wire where necessary), a stencil borrowed from the Eduard interior set to gussy up the crankcase was added, and everything given a raw umber oil wash. Viola!

Next up for the engine is some oil and grease staining, but need to wait until later in the build to tackle that one.

Main Construction

It’s almost not worth talking about construction with the Ki-84.

Almost.

The Ki-84 falls together for the most part. The fuselage fits phenomenally well, the stabilizers are literally press-fit, etc.

The only challenge is the wings. There is a wing spar/strengthener element, that helps, but the wings on my Hayate left some noticeable gaps at the wingroot when everything was taped together.

I got around this by working inside-out and outside-in. So I tacked the wingroot down just enough to get a proper hold. At the rather flat dihedral they had, the lower wingtips protruded further than the uppers. By lifting the wingtips, however, all was brought into alignment, so I welded the tips, then went back to the wingroot. The rest of the wings went together quite well…but those first welds were a bit of a stumbling point.

With the major airframe construction done, I flipped the Frank over and began playing with Eduard’s exterior set, which includes appliques for the gear bays. The Eduard wiring looms were pretty awful, so I dropped those in favor of lead wire.

While I was at it, I also replaced the oleo scissors with some very finely detailed Eduard PE. BIG improvement there.

From the gear bays, it was literally a hop, skip and jump to being done. Some filling and sanding , and off we go to painting land.

Up next?

Paint! My favorite!

Sprue Cutters Union #6 – “Not Gonna Happen”

NotGonnaHappen

The Combat Workshop recently kicked off an interesting idea called “The Sprue Cutters Union”. Basically, the idea is akin to a group build, only with blog posts instead of builds. Every week, a new topic will be tossed out, and participating blogs will each write their own post on that topic.

This week’s topic:

What models will likely never reach your workbench?

This is really one of those so-easy-it’s-hard questions. When I think about it, there are many types of models that will never come near my bench. And when I really think about it…there are even more.

Civilian Automobiles

The funny thing is that I’m a car nut. Less so now that I’ve got three kids, but I still love cars and still hope to have some old project vehicle at some point once the kids are a bit older. But building models of cars holds absolutely zero interest for me.

Why?

On the one hand, many (most?) car kits are just awful. I know there are some real gems out there, but whenever I think car models, I think of the terrible Revell kits that clog what’s left of the modeling aisle at Hobby Lobby.

revell_mustang_cov

The other reason is that I see cars as something rather attainable compared to most other modeling subjects. For some reason that just kills the allure of modeling them. They’re too…ordinary.

Airliners

I love flying, but I hate commercial air travel. Why the hell would I want to build a 767?

Even when it’s crashing it’s boring

Now. I won’t rule out all civilian aircraft. I could see myself taking on something like an old Staggerwing or a battered Alaskan floatplane. Heck…I’d even be open to at least the possibility of a pre-WWII airliner along the lines of a Ford Trimotor or DC-3. But anything modern just makes me want to take a nap.

Figure Busts

I know! Let’s take all the really nasty bits of figure painting, the faces and eyes and such, and just toss out the rest!

Yeah. That’s a big, fat nope.

Honorably Not Mentioned

Sci-fi. Science fiction subjects aren’t really my bag, either, but outside of modelling, I love me some sci-fi, so I wouldn’t rule out tackling one of those Polar Lights Enterprises, a Space Battleship Yamato, or something similar.

In fact, if anybody ever makes a huge kit of Gypsy Danger, I’ll be more or less screwed.

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Part of being in the Union means we share links to our fellow contributors’ posts. If you liked this post, take a look what some other modellers have to say about this topic:

A Preview of Revell’s New 1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6

Bf109_G6_Box_Foto_Revell

Revell sucks at launching new kits. While other brands have started figuring out how to market new kits on this crazy thing called the internet and others have found proxies to get the word out for them, Revell persists in being terrible at the whole game. Literally up to the day the first boxes started landing with various retailers in Europe, nobody knew for sure when the kit was shipping. There was nothing to build any kind of buzz around. And now that the kit is out in Europe, there’s no word of when it’ll make its way stateside.

It’s sloppy in the extreme. But it doesn’t change the fact that a new-tool Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 is kind of a big deal. For all the moaning out there about “great, another 109…”, there are really only two players when it comes to a 1/32 Gustav – Hasegawa and Trumpeter. Both have their strengths, but both also have very real weaknesses. Revell – particularly with its ability to push competitive kits at better-than-competitive pricepoints – has one hell of an opening.

Scale Plastic and Rail recently threw down what has to be the definitive in-box review of Revell’s new kit, but those of us on staff have decided to go one better, and do a group build review. It’s been a fun, enlightening journey, and I can’t wait until we push Part I live any day now. In the meantime, here’s a quick tease of where my G-6 is at, and a few brief thoughts about the kit.

RevG Bf 109G-6 08-27-2013 6

Overall, Revell’s put together a very commendable effort here. Their 109 packs some fantastic and creative engineering, and in many ways it absolutely blows Hasegawa’s Messerschmitt out of the water. In other ways, however, it seems to backslide with clunky execution or some overly ambitious ideas that just don’t work out all that well. At this stage in the build, I honestly have to call it a wash between the Revell and the Hasegawa. Each is better at some things, and less so at others.

More to come once the group build review starts rolling out – stay tuned!

 

1/32 Bf 109G-4/R6 “Regia Aeronautica” Part II – Painting

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Part I | Part II| Part III | Part IV

With my messed up, false-start-happy modelling year, it feels like it’s been months since I’ve thrown real paint at anything. And it kind of has – the last subject to run full-bore through the paint shop was my Pz.38(t) back in early June. So it’s been two and a half months since I’ve done more with the airbrush than bomb cockpits in RLM 66.

Time to change that.

In Part I, I took the G-4 through the main build phase. Fortunately, cleanup in the form of filling and sanding was relatively minor this time around, and I was mainly slowed down by shifting gears to get Revell’s new 109G-6 to the same point. Since both ships are primarily decked in the standard Luftwaffe RLM 74/75/76 camoflage, I figured it made sense to knock out two birds with one stone.

Primer

I can’t praise Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1500 enough. It sprays on smoother than 1200, and it’s black, which fits nicely with my practice of using black as a base for subsequent layers of paint.

Why use black as a base? Simple. It makes it easier to build depth and tonal variation into the paint job. When you’re painting over gray primer, you have to cover all of the gray, or its obvious. When you’re covering pre-shading, you have a very, very fine line between the pre-shading looking obvious, or getting covered completely. With black, insufficient coverage basically just becomes shading…and it’s far more controllable since you’re not trying to cover-but-not the contrast of pre-shaded panel lines.

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After the primer went down, I realized that I’d left a seam on the cowl that shouldn’t be there. Damnit!

Untitled

It should be noted that this seam is an issue on all Hasegawa F/G/K 109s…and on Revell’s new 109G-6 as well. The kit that gets it right? Trumpeter’s 109. I haven’t built one yet, but after my experiences with the Hasegawa and Revell kits, I’ve decided I need to. Probably I’ll find out that the ideal 109 is one that basically combines the good elements of the three kits!

After a quick pause to fix the seams, I resprayed the cowl, then went ahead and painted the 109’s white wingtips, spinner and fuselage band with Gunze C69 Offwhite.

Untitled

Main Camoflage

This 109, like most Gustavs, wears a standard dayfighter camoflage of RLM 74/75/76. It is, quite possibly, the most common aircraft scheme of all time. So it’s kind of shocking how poorly the paint brands do at replicating it.

Among the brands that I will put through the airbrush – especially for something requiring mottling:

  • Gunze-Sangyo – Gunze manages a pretty damn good RLM 75 Grauviolet (gray-violet). Perhaps a tad dark, but tonally it looks right. Their RLM 76 Lichtblau seems too dark and too vibrant, almost more RLM 65-ish. And their RLM 74 Graugrun (gray-green) is just a mess. I tried to use it, and found I could not distinguish it from the RLM 75 on the aircraft.
  • Tamiya – In Tamiya’s typical fashion, they don’t bother to offer any of the major RLM colors.
  • Model Master – Testors pulls off what is in my opinion the best RLM 76 of the bunch, and a passable RLM 75 (lighter than the Gunze). But their RLM 74 basically just seems like a darker RLM 75, with none of the green tones.

Now, I’m not a paint absolutist by any means, but I have eyes, and I know how a 109 should look. So…I had to resort to mixing my colors.

RLM 76

For RLM 76, I took Gunze RLM 76 and cut it with some white and some light gray. Per my usual practice, I thinned it way down, then started spraying over the black Mr. Surfacer. I start off with light coats, covering only portions of the surface, then go back more broadly and fill things in.

Untitled

Ultimately, I ended up with this:

Bf 109G-4 08-20-2013 3

Strangely, I had a problem with the 76 dusting on the surface, something I’ve never experience with Gunze paints. But a quick visit by some 1200-grit micromesh got that squared away right quick.

RLM 75

Next up…RLM 75. Since I decided to freehand this mother, I switched out to my trusty Iwata HP-C+. Of all the airbrushes I’ve used, none of them does fine freehand work better.

Bf 109G-4 08-20-2013 2

RLM 74

My first stab at the RLM 74 went poorly. As I’ve mentioned up above, I found the Gunze 74 tonally indistinguishable from the 75. So I switched things up and made my own RLM 74 out of Tamiya XF-27 Black Green, XF-24 Dark Gray and XF-69 NATO Black. This had that hint-of-green that I was after and was freehanded onto the wings and upper fuselage.

The mottling on the fuselage sides was done with RLM 74 and 75, both the individual mottles and a more general filtering spray to tone down the contrast between the mottles and the RLM 76.

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Grigio Azzurro Chiaro and Verde Olivio Scuro

When Italy’s Regia Aeronautica received Bf 109s to bolster its fighter fleet, it had a small problem. It wasn’t the Luftwaffe, so it had no use for the German insignia crosses or the swaztikas on the tails. As the USAAF did with their British-loaned Spitfires, the Regia Aeronautica did the logical thing and painted over the German markings. But they didn’t always have access to German colors, and so used their own, mainly grigio azzurro chiaro, their take on underside blue-gray. The specific G-4 I’m building went a step further, mottling the overpainting with verde olivio scuro – dark olive green.

Matching these is a giant pain unless you want to go with White Ensign or Lifecolor. To get to grigio azzurro chiaro, I used Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey cut with just a bit of XF-23 Light Blue. The verde olivio scuro was straight XF-27 Black Green.

The ultimate effect is one of a 109 that’s slightly “off” from the usual…

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Bf 109G-4 08-23-2013 4 photo file_zpsb857e8d6.jpg

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Up Next

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how the G-4 is turning out. Next up…a few housecleaning items like the RLM 02 in the exposed leading edges beneath the slats and the attachment of the radiator flaps, then it’s on the decals and weathering. Stay tuned!