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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 24

IN SEARCH OF PERFECTION - "S**T HAPPENS" AND "EVENTS DEAR BOY"!

 

 

I think it was Donald Rumsfeld, the ex US Secretary of Defence (Defense if you are from the US!), who is quoted as saying that "S**t happens"! Or, if you are British like me, it was our ex Prime Minister Harold MacMillen who, when asked by a journalist what was most likely to blow a government off course, replied very wisely, "Events dear boy"!

 

 

Well, stuff has certainly happened. If you read last weeks column, I was talking about painting the modified, resin nosed, 1/48 injection moulded Academy Spitfire Mk. XIVe. I had given it an Alclad grey primer coat and then masked the top half to apply the medium sea grey undersides. When I had gently pulled the Tamiya masking tape away from the resin nose, some very small areas of grey Alclad had also come away - just from the resin nose, not from the plastic. This was worrying, so I mentioned it to some very experienced Medway Model Club members at our club night. The general consensus appeared to be this was a classic case of resin mould release agent still being in the resin, even though I had washed everything with detergent and the nose had been seriously rubbed down wet with Micro Mesh. I was told the best way to get rid of the nasty stuff was to soak the parts in Isoproprinol which, allegedly, draws out the release agent as it evaporates.

 

 

I closely inspected the affected part and thought that I could get away with it by repairing damaged paintwork areas. I pressed on and decided that I would do some pre-shading of certain areas and for this I chose my single action Badger 200 airbrush. What I hadn't remembered, was that prior to going on holiday in November, I had throughly cleaned the brush and 'laid it up' using a small amount of brush lubricating oil on the internal mechanism. What I didn't do was put a label on saying what I had done! Of course, as soon as I tried to spray the model a small amount of residual oil hit the fuselage. Oh joy! S**t happens alright! Events dear boy! What an idiot. What a comedy of errors.

 

 

Well, this, of course, was the catalyst for me to 'undo' all the upper paintwork and remove the Alclad primer with a mixture of enamel thinners and then finally Ronsonol lighter fuel to get back to the original plastic and resin. Just to round off a great day, when I was removing the Alclad, I gripped the underside of the fuselage a bit too hard and accidentally snapped off one of the main gear legs!!! Donald Rumsfeld and Harold MacMillen I salute you!

 

 

I was determined this wasn't going to beat me. A quick drilling of the oleo leg stub still attached to the wing and also the broken piece, enabled me to superglue a small length of thin gauge wire as a joiner and the leg was back on. Job done. Next day, after the airframe had dried out, I sprayed another coat of Alclad grey primer and I was back to square one.

 

 

It was now time to continue on the Revell 1/144 C17A which had received it's lower half fuselage in white gloss enamel and the upper half in grey gloss enamel. I had used Humbrol numbers 22 and 44 respectively, and heavily thinned to a ratio of approximately 30/70 paint/thinners. Four coats of white went on the bottom half and I was fortunate to get away with just two coats of grey on the top half. Each coat had been rubbed down with 12000 grade Micro Mesh used in soapy water. After the last session of rubbing down, the airframe was placed on newspaper on top of my domestic boiler which get's nicely warm, to thoroughly dry out. The end result was one shiny C17 awaiting it's first decals.

 

 

As soon as F-Dcal had released the Qatar Amiri Air Force decal set for the C17A, I was hooked. Qatar had ordered two C17A's, one in standard military grey, and the other in Qatar Airways colours! This was the first C17 that McDonald Douglas/Boeing had ever produced in civilian colours, and in my eyes, it looks absolutely stunning. If you go onto www.airliners.net and type in 'Qatar C17' you will see what I mean.

 

 

You have to use the F-Dcal set in conjunction with the kit decals and the whole operation took three days of painstaking work. The hardest job was the large tail fin decal which involves compound courves around the fuselage sides and bottom. I found the best way to do this was to cut the compound curve parts into sections. It was very fiddly but the outcome was'nt too bad. I have to say that the F-Dcal decals are superb. The word 'Qatar' along the fuselage sides is a 'solid' decal. Having put some of their smaller decals on the fuselage from this sheet, I was quite confident that the decal material between the letters would disappear, and I wasn't wrong. I am glad that I didn't cut the individual letters out. I was using just ordinary water, an artist's brush and a 'smidge' of Microsol.

 

 

From my experience of the previous C17, another fiddly kit decal job are the long black wing top and fuselage top lines, trying to ensure the lines are straight. Unfortunately the kit decal material does not match the transparency of the F-Dcal sheet, so much trimming to eradicate spare material results in very 'gangly' black lines to handle, but lots of water seems to do the trick in persuading them to behave.

 

 

The last two jobs to complete the C17 were fitting the two lower under cockpit windows, and the 8 small winglets to the engine casings - two for each engine. I had left both these jobs until the end for fear of breakages in the case of the winglets, and accidentally pushing in the relatively unsupported windows. The winglets went on easily with gel superglue and the windows were very carefully fixed in place with Micro Kristal Clear.

 

 

It was now time to think about the diorama base.

 

 

More next week.

 

Peter Buckingham.

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