1/32 Trumpeter P-47D “French Jug”, Part VI – The Long Goodnight

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

When we last left the Jug, the French markings had been applied and the paint lift from the masks had been corrected.

So let’s move into the long, arduous process of finishing this bastard off.

Gloss coat and stencils

I’ve had an absolute bear of a time with gloss clear coats of late. Future never seems to work for me. Vallejo’s gloss varnish has worked well in the past, and also nearly ruined builds. Gunze Super Clear eats the underlying paint, and Tamiya discontinued the only gloss I’ve ever truly liked, TS-13.

After many test sprays with many different glosses, I finally found a Krylon clear gloss varnish that worked quite well when decanted and shot through the airbrush.

With a good gloss coat, the Trumpeter stencils went down quite well, with no silvering.

Once they cured, they were sealed, and then the fun began…

Salt Fading

This is the same salt process I’ve used on several recent builds. Spray the entire aircraft with warm water cut with a dash of dish soap to kill off the surface tension, then grind salt all over it and dry it with a hair dryer. Once it’s set, spray it with a very thin gray/tan mix, wash the salt off, re-salt it, and spray it again with a thin, grimy brown/black mix.

After the rinse off, the “first time you see it, it’s terrifying” salt fogging showed up. And was quickly knocked down with a misting of Gunze Semi-Gloss.

With the salt weathering done, the next item on the plate was oil dot fading.

Oil Dot Fading

The idea behind oil dot fading is a simple one. It provides localized color modulation that can add visual depth and interest to monochromatic slabs (and it can also, oddly, help unify polychromatic camoflage schemes).

Start the process by dabbing tiny dots of oil paint all over the place in a randomized pattern. I’ve found that a toothpick works well for this task. Then, dip a smallish, round brush into thinner (I prefer Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner), wick most of it away on a paper towel, and start working the oil in. It’ll look hideous at this stage, but it’s supposed to.

I found it worked best to start with the lighter oils – transparent white and yellow ochre – and then move on to the darks once the lights were worked in.

After the initial work-in, I took out an Aqualon Wisp brush, again dampened with thinner, and pulled back along the direction of airflow (and on the fuselage, gravity) to create some streaking.

Everything was then blended together with a broad, flat, dry brush.

The end result is a subtle color modulation.

Final Weathering and Assembly

After giving the oil a night to set up, I hit the Jug with Flory Dark Dirt wash. As usual applied in sludge-fashion, then wiped off with damp paper towels.

This left a TON of paper towel lint all over the aircraft. A dryer sheet was used to wipe it off and neutralize static cling. Then I applied Alclad’s clear flat to deaden everything down.

From here I was able to start adding chipping effects with my trusty Prismacolor silver pencil, as well as a few oil and grease stains courtesy of MIG Oil & Grease Stains.

Next up came the landing gear, using SAC metal struts and Barracuda’s excellent new 1/32 block tread wheels, plus the gear doors, nav lights and pitot tube.

Finally, the thing was put on its feet, the blast tubes were (finally) installed, and after 118 long days on the bench, the French Jug was done.

Thank you so much if you’ve followed along this far…this was certainly a torturous, but highly educational, build!

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

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

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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

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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

OnTheBenchAH-1W

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

Helicopters.

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

OnTheBenchMiG-21BFC

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.

Well.

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

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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