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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 31




It was bite the bullet time to do 'the business' on the cockpit surround woodwork. Using the technique I explained last week, I was reasonably happy with the result. When the Tamiya Clear Orange, which had been applied to the cockpit 'decking' had dried, I painted the leather 'cushion' surrounding the cockpit opening with Tamiya 'leather' (XF52) and later used Tamiya Clear Red (X27) to give it some depth of colour. My attention then turned to the propeller. I again gave it a coat of Tamiya 'light wood' (XF59) and when dry, using a very fine pencil, I faintly pencilled in my impression of laminations and then painted the darkest of the Lifecolor Weathered Wood shades (UA713) within the pencil lines with my finest brush. This was later rubbed down with Micromesh 12000 and very soapy water followed by a sprayed mixture of Clear Orange and Clear Red. It was far too shiny and would need to be toned down later. While the airbrush was in use for the base coat of the propeller, I sprayed the same colour (XF59) on all of the wing and cabane struts as per the kit instructions.




I had to start thinking about bringing the fuselage sides together to enclose the cockpit module. In a dry fitting exercise, I noticed that the cockpit module fitted snugly into it's slots in the fuselage internal sides with ease, so I decided not to glue it into position, but leave it loose and therefore enable me some 'wriggle room' (if needed) when it came to fitting the front of the fuselage together. This, of course, is contrary to the Wingnut instructions! Using Tamiya Extra Thin cement, I went along the seams about an inch at a time to get that nice ooze of plastic appearing which eventually sands off to leave no join marks. I failed on a 1/4inch section and had to resort to Tamiya Putty as a filler. The fuselage was then taped tightly for security and to allow time for the glue to cure.



While the fuselage was settling down, it was time to prepare the wings, tailplane, fin and rudder. Hardly any cleaning up was required after removal from the sprues and when the fuselage was fully cured, I gave all the pieces a light coat of Alclad Grey Primer. Good job I did because it revealed another very short length of seam on the fuselage base which I had initially missed. Everything was then given a thorough rub down with Micromesh 12000 and soapy water and put to one side to dry prior to a major masking exercise.


I departed from the kit instructions (so much for 'by the book'!) and decided not to use the kit decals for the rudder and elevator markings of red, white and blue stripes. I have never been happy using these types of decals in the past so I decided to spray the colours. I sprayed the surfaces overall white matt first, taped up the required measurement taken from the decals and then sprayed the blue stripes and eventually, the red.



Photographic evidence has revealed that where the doped fabric is stretched over ribs and fusleage framework, these are shown as lighter marks. Although this can be done after a the initial painting, I decided to do it before by cutting very thin (approx. 2mm) strips of Tamiya tape to cover the ribs, riblets and fuselage framework. Patience is the name of the game.





Once this was done, I mixed darker shades of both base airframe colours ( Lower: XF55 = Clear Doped Linen and Upper: XF62 = Proprietary Khaki) and sprayed the darker tones on the centres of sections and panels. Bearing in mind that this was my first build of a WWI aircraft, this was indeed a worrying time!





Left overnight to cure, I mixed up very diluted amounts of the lower surfaces base colour (XF55) and then sprayed the fuselage bottom, sides and undersides of the wings and tailplane trying to judge the depth of colour until I felt it was about right. Difficult when the paint is still damp though. When dry, this was then masked and the upper surfaces of the fuselage and wings were sprayed with the Tamiya equivalent of Proprietary Khaki (XF62). I decided to leave both well alone for 24 hours and then make a decision as to whether the colour depth was sufficient once fully dried out.






Having examined the paintwork in daylight the next day, I decided to leave the colour depth exactly 'as is' and then set to with another bowl of soapy water and my very well used 12000 Micromesh gently rubbing all the newly painted surfaces before applying some Klear with a wide soft brush to protect the surfaces during the assembly stage. It was then just a case of removing all the masking from the cockpit area, spot gluing the cockpit 'tub' with cyano into it's correct position and then gluing the front of the fuselage and the cockpit 'decking' to the fuselage sides. This assembly was then lightly taped up with Tamiya tape for security while I prepared and sprayed the final bits and pieces such as the wing struts, undercarriage struts and all of the flying surface control horns (of which there are nine) with some in a different colour - it is important to check and re-check the manual.




It is a compliment to the manufacturers that the control horns are so cleanly moulded - they almost look like photo etched metal. I had, however, previously used the tiniest of drills to slightly open the holes in the horns so that my control wires would eventually be an easy fit later on. Could this be more forward thinking? Whatever next!




It was now time to turn my attention to the wheels, tyres and undercarriage framework. The call out for the strut assembly is Tamiya NATO black while the cross member carrying the axle is in the colour of the upper fuselage and wings - Proprietary Khaki, or Tamiya XF62 with the axle in 'steel'. I was very impressed with the 'tyres' which are moulded onto the rear sections of the wheels. The tyres are embossed with name of 'Palmer Cord Tyres' and even has the size as well. As per the instructions these were sprayed NATO Black with the central covers in Clear Doped Linen. Once the black had dried, I dry brushed Tamiya Flat White over the tyre lettering to make it stand out and after touching up any stray white, the wheels were given a brushed coat of Klear which made the lettering really pop out. Before gluing the outer wheel centres, the wheels were placed onto the axles and two plastic clips clicked into position leaving the wheels to be free running. The outer casings were then glued into position ensuring that the inpsection hole allowed a view of the tyre valve and a couple of 'spokes' that had been dry brushed black. You can hardly see these things but they are there!
The decal sheet also has the Palmer Cord Tyres as a decal for those not wishing to go the dry brushing route, but you would have to sand off the embossed letters I guess.




It was superglue time again placing the control horns into their respective locations and they all fitted into their holes beautifully - making sure that the right ones went into the correct locations of course, but easily mistaken. Small amounts of CA were 'wicked' around the horn locations with a piece of very thin wire. One other small job that required action was the masking and spraying of the small clear windshield as fitted to the type using the Lewis gun. Again thin strips of Tamiya tape around the framework filled in a with larger pieces and then a quick spray of Alclad White Aluminium did the job.




I was now running out of jobs to do. All the modules had now been built and I had brushed a couple of coats of Klear onto the surfaces that were going to receive the decals. It was fast becoming the time to start the rigging and I am pondering over various ways of tackling this job. I am definitely not going to rush into this critical part of the build.



More next week.



Peter Buckingham