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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 27




Thos of you who have been following my ramblings over the past few months will know that modelling has been a steep learning curve for one who came to the hobby at, how shall I describe it? Let me say 'mature'.


I have had ups and downs at various times and, like with most things in life, when you think you have cracked it, something comes along to kick you up the backside and you realise you have only just scratched the surface.


Since Christmas 2009, I have finished just one model, the 1/144 Revell C17A Globemaster. At the same time I had two other models on the go and I think that this was a big mistake on my part. On the one hand, it is good to have plenty of modelling tasks to do, but on the other, there is a danger of losing your concentration (quite easy in my case) and thereby allowing errors to creep in. So it was with the 1/48 Academy Spitfire with a resin nose job and the 1/32 Hasegawa (early kit) of the P51-D Mustang. If you have read the recent episodes of this coloumn you will know what I mean.


My next operation on the P51 was to apply some other shades of Alclad aluminium paint. I had sprayed the main airframe with White Aluminium, so I masked up various panels, hatches and control surfaces (Graham will be pleased with the amount of Tamiya masking tape used in this exercise!) and sprayed Duralumin and Dark Aluminium. It really does make a very nice subtle difference, albeit a lot of this subtlety will be lost under the invasion stripes!



These two kits seem to be taking forever to complete but I am persevering and I think, to quote that well used cliché, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I have been engaged for the past week on the tasks of decaling both models. What I had intended to do with the P51D was to use a set of Montex masks to paint the US insignia, letters and numbers. In the end, having not thought out the painting process correctly (I refer you to Para 2 above and the third sentence!) I had to use a combination of Montext masks for the aircraft recognition numbers and letters and the kit Hasegawa decals for the four 'stars and bars'.



The Montext Masks were really good for the letters and numbers which, once fully masked, were sprayed with Tamiya Nato Black acrylic which is not so 'in your face' as a straight Matt Black. For the decals, as always, I used a soft brush, a piece of damp kitchen roll paper, some Micro Sol and where necessary, some Mr Mark Softer for some of the thicker Hasegawa decals. They all settled down nicely and after a day of curing, all the panel lines and details had appeared OK.


As for the Academy Spitfire, I used the kit decals and although the main ones went on perfectly, I did have problems with some of the small 'gangly' ones folding over on themselves and it was a case of carefully lifting them off the aircraft with the soft brush, putting them back into the water, swirling them around to straighten them out and then to try and gently lift them onto a largish piece of use decal backing sheet. It was like trying to catch slippery eels sometimes and the decaling took an absolute age. Patience is the name of the game and they eventually went on OK. The next day they settled really well and look very nice indeed.



I love putting decals on the props as this, to me, makes the front end come alive and the P51 was no different. Having sprayed the spinner the relevant red colour, this was masked and blade tips were sprayed white as a base for the yellow. When completed, the blades were sprayed with good old Nato Black. Once everything was dry, a few licks of Klear with a small brush and the decals went on the next day.



I just cannot get on with spraying Klear (or Future, if you are an American reader). I don't know what it is but I just cannot seem to get the right finish. I know it is me, but I just cannot seem to get the hang of it. I spoke to modelling expert and author, Tony O'Toole, for his advice. Tony works miracles with the 'hairy stick' and produces all of his wonderful models that you see from time to time in magazine articles just by using the good old paint brush. After speaking to Tony, I used a wide soft artists brush and hand painted a few coats of Klear on both models. It looks OK and unless I can find the answer to my airbrushing hang up with Klear (perhaps another acrylic gloss finish is the answer) this will be the way to go.



Once 'Kleared' I began the dirtying sequence of the P51 by mixing a very diluted Tamiya Smoke to make some shadows, some 'oil' staining and of course, the exhaust residue on the side of the fuselage. I also sprayed some more White Aluminium very sparingly and very lightly over the black invasion stripes to 'wear' them. You will also notice that the white invasion stripes do not look all that white - they do in museum examples of the real thing of course, but from the wartime pics I have seen, the majority of very used aircraft were quite thinly painted and not very well done at that.


Lots more weathering to do of course, but another annoying thing about this kit reared it's ugly head the other night. I had sprayed the undercarriage legs White Aluminium some time back and these were the only parts of the kit I didn't dry fit before painting (I again refer to Para 2 sentence 3 above!!). Sod's Law came into play as the undercarriage legs are oversized and don't fit into their orifices in the wheel wells. Damn! It wasn't just coats of paint causing the problem either, it was oversized plastic. A session with a fine small file soon rectified the problem but it did mean some touch up spraying with the Alclad again. Hey Ho!


More next week.

Peter Buckingham.