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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 42

IN SEARCH OF PERFECTION

 

 

 

Last week I mentioned about returning to the modelling fold after a break of about a week due to Antipodean friends visiting us on their Europen Tour.

 

 

I gradually got back into the swing of things by continuing the lengthy painting process on my Paul Fisher kit of the Sea Fury T20 trainer which I am doing in a West German target towing version, all over red with yellow wingtips, spinner and rudder. "Yuk! I hear you say". "Nothing wrong with that", I will retort with the full venom of someone who has trouble recognising colours! Looks great to me.

 

 

The wing tips, spinner and rudder have received their coats (4) of well thinned White Ensign Models enamels yellow ACRN 21 RAF/FAA and (apart from the spinner) are hopefully tucked up securely under Tamiya masking tape. I have managed to put on two very thin coats (70/30 thinners/paint) of White Ensign Models enamels red ACLE 04 'Rot'. Having just typed my thinning ratio again, something triggered in my mind that all was not well with last week's Column which I have just checked and I am afraid to say that I gave the ratio the wrong way around - sorry. I prefer to spray my models with very thin coats of paint until the desired effect is achieved. When I built one of the Revell 1/32 competition gliders for a friend of mine, it finished up with a total of 14 very thin coats of white with no loss of the very little panel detail on the model.

 

 

I attend two model clubs. On the first Tuesday of each month there is the Medway Club meeting at Gillingham, Kent, which is always well attended with up to 50 modellers - monthly competitions, general modelling chat and, of course, Ted's magnificent tea bar. Last Tuesday, and on the second Tuesday of each month, was the East Kent Modeller's Club night in a hangar at Manston Airport which is attended by about ten stalwarts. Out of that ten, we have two National Champions and also a professional modeller, so the chatter is always good value for money. This is more of a natter around a large table with models and kits brought along for appraisal. One subject that came up this time, between the usual jokey banter, was that of the use of cellulose thinners as a medium for thinning enamel paints.

 

 

Now, I have always used Humbrol Enamel thinners for this, and I know many others who use DIY shop White Spirit. One of the down sides to using excellent paints like enamels, is the long curing time and the fact that the paint stays 'active' for quite a while. I always leave my models alone for at least 24 hours before handling again after a spray of enamels. However, two of the expert modellers I mentioned above told me how to go about using cellulose thinners with enamels. White Ensign Models do not recommend the use of Cellulose thinners with their enamels, but I now know of quite a few modellers who do! There are probably many long in the tooth modellers thinking to themselves, "Surely this bloke should have known about this?" Well, I didn't, and I am sure that, as I am a relative newcomer to this hobby, there are thousands more out there like me who didn't know about it either.

 

 

On the following day I decided to try it out on the separate engine cowling of the T20 using the same thinning ratio (70/30 thinners/paint)) with some Rustins cellulose thinners. Bearing in mind I had already used a different thinning medium on the previous two coats, I didn't know how the paint which was already on the model, would react. It should have been alright, but one never knows until one tries it.

 

It was perfect. The paint went onto the cowling in a much smoother fashion and it gave me the impression that it dries on the model almost immediately the moment it touches the surface. No matter how hard I tried, no 'pooling' was experienced. It appeared a slightly (very slightly) rougher surface to the touch when dry, and was definitely more 'matt' compared to my usual painting mixture. I had to leave the modelling for a day because of (yet more!) domestic duties, and when I eventually did my Micromesh 12000 and soapy water rubbing down the following day, the result was very pleasing indeed. I now have three coats of red on the T20 and counting! It is a good job that I am not in any hurry to finish it, because Californian based Paul Fisher has not yet produced the German language stencils, but these are expected in the next few weeks. Earlier if possible please Paul!

 

 

Last week, I also mentioned that I was gathering accessories so that I could make a start on our genial host's kind gift to me of the 1/32 Revell Eurofighter Typhoon. I had bought two Eduard cockpit PE sets and then heard a rumour that Revell themselves were bringing out some accessories for the cockpit. Well, what I discovered they have done is to have Eduard produce, and put the Revell name onto, the identical Eduard cockpit sets that I had just bought! Perhaps they are going to include them in the kit as an add on extra? I can't understand their reasoning on this, but when I compared what I had to the pictures on the web, it was spot on identical! So, no excuses now, I will have to make a start on the Typhoon when I have cleared the decks of the three 'minis' I am building - a Cloudbreak Models white metal 1/200 De Havilland 'Rapide', a Shed Models white metal 1/200 TSR2 and a 1/144 resin Grumman 'Mohawk' by Miniwing.

 

Those of you who read last weeks column would have seen the progress pictures of the minis and I am pleased to say that more progress has been made. I did hint that I had been 'challenged' to fully rig the Rapide! Well, I took up the challenge and the job is completed - having used the smallest drills I could lay my hands on and some very thin gauge nylon fishing line - some 0.08mm diameter 1lb breaking strain line. What I did, was to drill through the top and bottom of the white metal wings adjacent to the fitted struts and then threaded the line through which was secured with superglue. When cured, the wings were then gently filed, rubbed down with Micromesh and then filled with Humbrol filler. I also drilled and rigged the fin and tailplane in the same way, and then very carefully drilled the leading edge of the fin so that I could attach a counterbalance weight as on the original aircraft. I find this small scale amazing. In fact you tend to forget about the very small size when you are working on it!

 

You don't have to be mad here, but it certainly helps.

 

 

I was going to do the RN version which is all over Alclad plus dayglo bands, but I am now looking for a darker paint job as I fear the Alclad may show up some of the drilling work although these have been filled and sanded. I might give it a go just to see how it turns out.

 

 

In respect of the Grumman 'Mohawk', this is almost finished. As I mentioned last week, I did some extra work on the cockpit busying it up a tad, and I also decided to cut the vacuform canopy to show the canopy in an open pose. The canopy is now painted, coated with Klear and has been fitted with Micro Kristal Klear. Pictures on an excellent 'walkaround' site on the web revealed a lateral circular 'aerial' (or what looks like one) on the central fin. Using some of the excellent Albion Alloys 0.02 nickel rod, I made the aerial and fitted it through two very small holes I drilled through the fin. I then drilled, fitted and superglued another small piece of the same rod as a small aerial mast just behind the cockpit on top of the fuselage and then ran some more of that fishing line to the the central fin for an aerial wire. A shorter aerial was fitted from halfway along the starboard fuselage to the central fin again. This was all done after viewing the pictures on the web. Minute dobs of Kristal Klear PVA were added to the ends to replicate the insulators.

 

 

One small problem with this model is that it is a 'tail sitter'. I tried some small pieces of 'tailored' lead in the nose wheel bay but this was not enough. I will have to glue the aircraft onto a small base.

 

 

The third mini in my repertoire is the Shed Models TSR2 which is a very heavy lump of metal once all the parts are epoxied together. There has been much filling, sanding, filling and sanding to get rid of the joint lines and I have just given the model a coat of white Tamiya primer from the spray can. I will giving the whole thing a once over to check on the filling régime when cured.

 

 

It is very easy to get hooked on these small kits!

 

 

More next week.

 

 

Peter

 

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