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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 2





Tamiya kits do go together very well and my starter kit of the Spit was no exception. However, I was learning and soon discovered the carpet monster is alive and well! (where do all those fiddly bits go?) I managed to restrict the unpainted fuselage and wings to just two glue finger prints and I managed to knock off the port cannon with no trouble at all. I was on a roll!


The problem facing me now was finishing. There are some terrific modellers out there who work wonders with paint brushes and I admire their skills. I did art classes a few years ago and still have my sable brushes so I decided to use those with suitably thinned acrylics. When the final masking was removed, I did initially feel a bit of ‘magic’ but when examined more closely, it just didn’t look ‘right’ even though application of the decals did bring some life to the model. I was not satisfied.


It had to be airbrushing in the future, but how could I learn and at what expense? More hours of research on the web - types of airbrushes, types of compressors, enamels v acrylics, types of thinners - it’s a minefield out there. Help!


I then discovered the ‘Airbrushing for Beginners’ course organised by The Airbrush Company Ltd at their premises in Sussex. They provide all the superb Iwata equipment and the teacher was Robin Carpenter of Cammett Ltd, a modeller of repute and an ex full size aircraft painter! It was great - just the right balance of information and practical work. We covered subjects like brush maintenance, compressor types and control, paint consistency, Alclad finishes, and then hands on spraying. Robin is an excellent teacher and I drove home feeling I had learned a great deal and that the course had been well worth the effort.


I particularly liked the control of the Iwata ‘gun trigger’ TR1 but the cost was a tad prohibitive for my pocket (I do try and keep to a reasonable modelling budget that ensures domestic equanimity!) and I didn’t want to jump in at the deep end spending mega bucks only to give it all up after a short time if it didn’t go well. Catch 22!


This needed more considered thought and research. I’m sure the Fieseler breathes a sigh of relief sometimes!


The airbrushing beginner’s course run by The Airbrush Company was great, but I was still undecided on which airbrushing route to take. The Iwata brushes used on the course were fantastic but in the back of my mind I needed to know more about the alternatives.


By the time two 1/72 Tamiya Mosquitos had been completed ready for painting, I had borrowed a double action airbrush. This brush did not have a trigger but a press down and pull back button. I did a couple of dummy runs on pieces of card and decided to bite the bullet. Disaster! Too much paint was getting onto the model - I didn’t seem to be able to co-ordinate my finger action. Although I managed to save the models, my confidence was shot and the finish was pretty poor. I was Mr Grumpy!


You just can’t visit The Royal Air Force Museum at Colindale without calling in at Hannants model shop next door. A modeller’s paradise - everything you need under one roof - if only it wasn’t 70 miles from my home. I have found their website really useful for tracing kits, decals and accessories. I wandered around the shop admiring the exhibition standard models in the glass cases. How do these guys build so neatly and finish them with what I can only describe as an ‘economy of paint’ which in turn gives a scale effect. When I was doing art classes some years ago, the difference between, say, a Turner watercolour and an effort by me was that my version was ‘muddy’! My models were the ‘muddy’ equivalent.


It was here that I bumped into ace modeller, Ted Taylor. Ted has been modelling all his life and is now in his sixties. He uses a single action Badger 200 and showed me how to use one. What a relief - because of the simplicity, it was relatively easy to use. This was the route for me to take, but as Ted says, ‘There is no substitute for practice, practice, practice’ whatever tool you use!


The Airbrush Company’s beginner’s course had been invaluable, and as my 12 month ‘apprenticeship’ continues, I hope to re-visit the Iwata TR1 which, for minute detailing is the brush of choice of many professional modellers.


The Storch is still in it’s box, but not shaking with so much fear!


More next week.


Peter Buckingham.


Part 3