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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 25

IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION

 

 

 

After the disasters related last week, I was hopefully getting back onto an even keel. The Revell 1/144 C17A Globemaster in Qatar livery was now finished and it was time to pay some attention to the 'cloud' diorama base. Those of you who have read my previous ramblings on this model will be aware that I had planned this build in flying mode and had built into the fuselage a balsa box section that fitted snugly around a hardwood spar. I had made the balsa box section long enough to be cut in half, one half for the fuselage and one to be used as the receiving end of the spar on the diorama base.

 

 

I had roughly worked out the angle of flight after take off with the flaps and slats in operation, and made a ramp from polystyrene. The balsa box was epoxied to the ramp and the whole was encased in balsa sheet. The idea was to show the aircraft breaking through low cloud (clag) on it's delivery flight in the summer of 2009. I found a suitable sized piece of fibre board in my local DIY shop offcut box and then made a 'tray' of this with sides of polystyrene. I needed to fill the tray with some 'cloudlike' substance to cover the 'receiving ramp' and chose an application of builder's expanding foam for this job. Yes, it does really expand quite well as you will see from the pictures!! It looked like a huge loaf. I had left a piece of spare hardwood spar in the base 'orifice' to keep foreign matter out.

 

 

Once dry, I carved the excess away with a saw edged bread knife (don't tell my wife) and then applied a couple of screed coats of Polyfilla Finishing Skim which comes in a ready mixed tub. I left it for a couple of days to really dry out and then re-filled any small cracks that had appeared. Using Halfords rattle can primers, I pre-shaded some black in very light patches then overcoated this with white, just to give some slight variation of tone.

 

 

I decided that the finish was OK-ish, but that it looked a bit too much like a smooth snow piste. I had some railway modeller's powdered snow left from my original Fieseler Storch snow diorama, so I decided to apply this. Using Klear as an adhesive, I brushed the Klear over the surface and then, using a kitchen strainer (don't tell my wife again), I sprinkled the snow 'flakes' over the wet Klear. The result is better and more cloudlike. Perhaps I should have used cotton wool, it would have been a lot easier!

 

 

The C17 has been a joy to build and I think the F-Dcal Qatar livery decals really suit this airframe and it is the only C17 ever built in civilian colours. While watching the TV news coverage of the Haiti earthquake disaster, I noticed that this very aircraft, 'MAB', was used to bring in much needed relief.

 

 

While the building of the base was going on, I returned to the 1/48 Academy Spitfire Mk XIVe with the resin nose conversion. (see last weeks 'disaster') It was now back to pre-disaster state with a coat of Alclad grey primer on the top surfaces. The under surfaces were hopefully OK as they were still snugly protected by good old Tamiya masking tape - what would we do without this stuff? I decided to do a tad of pre-shading and sprayed some very thinned matt black Humbrol enamel onto some of the seams and panel lines. Once dry, a very thinned coat of camouflage colour, White Ensign Models Ocean Grey (ACRN07) was applied through my Iwata TR1 airbrush, trying to gauge when the right amount had just about covered the pre-shading. I erred on the side of safety, and when I inspected it the next day, I decided that another very thin coat would be just right. I love these WEM enamels, they spray on beautifully when thinned to my preference of approx 30:70 paint:thinners. I use Humbrol enamel thinners.

 

 

As I always like to have something modelling wise on the go, (while waiting 24 hours for the enamels to cure thoroughly, for instance) I dug out a kit that I had had for some time. It was a fairly old 1/32 Hasegawa P51D Mustang purchased through a modelling forum 'For Sale' section. The reason for choosing this model at this time, was that I had bought myself a present of a very expensive resin kit while I was in the States at the latter part of 2009, the Paul Fisher 1/32 Sea Fury Trainer T20. This aircraft is finished in Aluminium and I want to do it justice. Therefore, as the version of the P51D I was building was in an Aluminium finish as well, what better way to learn than to use the P51D as a 'test bed' for a completely Aluminium finshed airframe - something that I hadn't done before.

 

 

I have built more modern Hasegawa kits before and these had been great in their fit. This one was a tad different and I had to resort to slithers of plasticard to fill some gaps around the engine covers and port wing root leading edge. I have actually jumped the gun here because, as usual, the build began with the engine and the cockpit assembly. As I had decided that the engine wasn't to be on show - I just glued the engine together without bothering to paint it. The kit enables you to show the engine if you so wish as there is a representation of the fuselage 'engine room' framework.

 

 

There are no decals for the instrument panel, but the instruments came up satisfactorily after a base coat of matt black with some aluminium dry brushing and cocktail stick applications of colour. A pilot is provided, but I chose not to show him. Instead, I purchased from Graham, a set of Radu Brinzan US seat belts which I reckon to be the most realistic belts on the market. I also added some wiring from the battery and electrical apparatus behind the pilot's seat and once everything had been sprayed, I dry brushed some more aluminium to bring items to life and then washed the whole with very thinned black oil paint.

 

 

More next week.

 

Peter Buckingham.

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