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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 23

IN SEARCH OF PERFECTION - SHALL I GIVE UP NOW?

 

 

As I write this column it is almost Christmas Eve and I am now approaching two years experience of this fascinating - some would say obsession - of making scale plastic models. I have learnt much during the past two years and have enjoyed every minute, although some of those minutes were conducted in blue air. This hobby really is addictive and I can, if I really try, understand the desire for some to have all of the latest tasty kits that continually appear on the scene. I have read about modellers with stashes of kits acting as additional loft lagging and I heard of one chap who had hundreds (one estimate was four thousand!) stacked away in the roof space along with other boxed up modelling paraphanalia. To each their own of course, but all that money! I wonder if the amount of stash material will now reduce proportionally with the higher prices of kits.

 

 

 

I digress. I am in the middle of two builds; the 1/144 Revell C17A Globemaster (my second version of this kit) and the 1/48 Academy Spitfire Mk.XIVe complete with a mixture of resin detailing sets from DACO and KMC. My aim was to get them both to the Alclad grey primer stage. The C17 is now ready and I have just completed the final attachment of the smaller bits and pieces on the Spitfire such as the metal tail wheel from DACO, the tail wheel well doors, main undercarriage legs with covers and radiator flaps. Tamiya tape has masked off the cockpit, the main gear wheel wells and the demarcation between the upper and lower paint schemes. So, apart from a quick wipe over the whole airframe with Ronsonol lighter fuel (a tip from Ted Taylor) which gets rid of 'greasy' finger prints, we are just about ready to go. Unfortunately, I have no idea when I will be able to get the spraying done as I will have to be very diplomatic over the festive holidays and choose my modelling time with discretion.

 

 

However, I managed to sneak away and start the spraying. The Alclad, as usual went on beautifully and after leaving to dry overnight, I lightly rubbed down the airframes with 12000 grade Micro Mesh and very soapy water. I am a fan of White Ensign Models (WEM) enamels and chose those for the Spitfire from their Colourcoats Aircraft Colours.

 

 

With the C17 it was difficult to find the right 'grey' for the new Qatar colours. It is even more difficult when you are colourblind to a certain degree. However, with a little help from my friends, I managed to find a 'near as dammit' grey from the Humbrol gloss enamel range - number 40 along with their standard gloss white - 22 for the under fuselage colour.

 

 

I decided to give the C17 a flat white undercoat in addition to the grey Alclad, and for this I used a WEM enamel (03) and again flatted this down with 12000 Micro Mesh and soapy water the next day. I love enamels but you do have to be patient! While I had the flat white in the brush, I sprayed the tips of the propellors and the nose cone. The tips as a base for the yellow to be applied later and the nose cone for the eventual white nose cone finish of this marque.

 

 

It was now the turn of the Humbrol white gloss to hit the Revell C17 plastic via my Iwata TR1. I like the paints to go on very thinned and keep applying coats until the desired effect is achieved. I would hazard a guess that the ratio is approximately 30/70 paint/thinners. The C17 under fuselage received three coats of white gloss over a number of days, again gently rubbing down with Micro Mesh (wet) between coats. Having the wooden spar sticking out of the tail end of the C17 has been an added bonus for handling this model during the painting stage. For those readers picking up on this for the first time, I am hoping to display the C17 in flying mode hence the wooden spar sticking out of the back end. (Please see previous columns for the full explanation).

 

One minor problem I had when masking up the C17 prior to the painting process was that I noticed one of the engines had become very unstable. So unstable, that I thought the best thing to do was gently prise it away from the wing to be re-superglued at a later stage.

 

The Spitfire had a couple of coats of WEM Medium Sea Grey (RN04) with the rubbing down process taking place again 24 hours later and I was very pleased with the result. I left the paint to dry for a few days before removing the masking tape and I was concerned to notice that some very small sections of the Aclad had lifted from the masked part of the resin nose. The 'normal' plastic was OK, it was just the resin section. I have investigated further so more on this later.

 

The C17 was then reverse masked, that is the new gloss white was masked so that I could get on and spray the light grey Humbrol 40 gloss. Once the masking was done, it was then time to re-glue the engine onto it's location with gel superglue and it went on very nicely thank you very much! It was almost like déjas vu because I had an accident with the previous C17 I built and the same engine was knocked off! Anyway, the paint was mixed using my patented method of diluting the enamel with Humbrol enamel thinners to a ratio of about 30/70 paint/thinners and, as this was going to be a much larger spray than the white just the bottom of the fuselage, I mixed up a full to the brim cup of paint for my Iwata TR1 airbrush, and this proved to be just the right amount. It is quite tricky spraying something as complicated as a four engined giant with slats and flaps extended - it is very easy to miss little bits. In fact when the paint was dry, I noticed two or three small areas I missed after my first passes but hopefully these would be rectified on the second and/or third coats.

 

More next week.

 

Peter Buckingham

 

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