The Peter Buckingham Column Part 56
IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION – AFTER CHRISTMAS BLUES REMEDY? GET SOME MODELLING DONE!
Now where was I? The Marsh Models Supermarine S6 was completed just in time for the December Medway Modeller’s meeting, so that was done and dusted. It was a surprise to me that it created so much interest. The main comment in my ‘shell like’ was that it was nice to see something a bit more colourful on the table for a change - an obvious (to me) reference to a non-camouflaged aircraft. And of course it had floats which was a tad different.
Christmas and New Year have now come and gone and I have been fortunate to have been able to sneak away into the modelling room to do a bit more to the Paul Fisher T7 Hunter conversion and the Special Hobby Polikarpov I-16 which are both in 1/32 scale.
With regard to the T7 Hunter, this is in mid painting stage and requires much masking as it has a total of five different colours in it’s chosen marking option. So far I have sprayed the outer wing halves (top and bottom) and the aircraft ‘spine’ plus fin and rudder in White Ensign Models Flat White enamel, spraying very diluted mixes to build up the desired finish of ‘not too much in yer face’ white – using Micro Mesh 12000 with soapy water to rub down between coats following a 24 hour curing time. Patience, dear boy, patience!
Next, having taken advice from the Hunter guru and very knowledgeable Bill Clark, a Medway club member and Britmodeller website ‘correspondent’, the under surfaces were sprayed Light Aircraft Grey. As WEM were out of stock of this colour, I went Gunze for their acrylic version thinned with Mr. Color Thinner 400. It sprayed beautifully. Once the desired depth of colour was achieved and cured, this was then masked in readiness for the Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey camouflage which is what I felt made this colour scheme so attractive from the three options given by Paul Fisher in the conversion kit. Bill informed me that it was highly probable that this scheme was a ‘wrap around the leading edge’ version, so I masked accordingly. This is what I like about modelling, there is always someone to seek advice and, since taking up this fascinating hobby, I have found all modellers extremely helpful.
Once the masking was complete, it was time to affix the windshield canopy which I had previously masked (quite bloodily having used brand new scalpel blades on the Tamiya tape!) inside and out. This canopy and the main opening canopy had been painted internally with flat black. Paul Fisher has quite cunningly added some ‘lips’ to the base of the windshield frame which locate into three slots in the fuselage to assist fixing. Clever clogs here managed to trim off one the lips when I was cleaning the resin up! Nothing for it but to carefully drill the frame and insert some good old Albion Alloys rod as a replacement. I don’t know what I would do without this product.
I had decided to wait until the last minute to fix the front windshield because, knowing my penchant for knocking things off benches and generally being very clumsy, this would have happened. After, and quite cleverly for me, remembering to remove the internal masking (!), I secured the canopy with a generous helping of Gator Grip and the assembly was taped for security until cured. Over the next week I slowly built up the joint between the fuselage and the frame with filler before finally finishing off with Mr. Surfacer 1000 sanding down between every application. Once everything was OK, I quickly sprayed some flat black around the canopy joint and did some pre-shading on the panel joints and ‘orifices’. As I type this, the airframe is now ready for the first application of Dark Sea Grey (Gunze H75).
If any of you ever fancy having a go at this Revell/Paul Fisher T7 conversion, I can certainly recommend it. It is such a beautiful aircraft and, in my view Paul’s workmanship is second to none.
Between ‘actions’ on the T7, I was still battling with the diminutive (but 1/32) Polikarpov I-16/10 fitted with skis. My Ukrainian friend Ilya Sobolev had very kindly sent me some scale drawings and a reference book which fortunately had a photograph of the actual winter camouflaged aircraft I was modelling which was a great help. I decided to paint it like the full sized aircraft. In other words, full green upper surfaces on the fuselage(less cowling), wings, tailplane, fin/rudder and then spray very thinned flat white to cover the green fuselage(less cowling) and fin/rudder allowing enough green to show through as per the photograph.
Before spraying the white, I fixed the red star decals into their fuselage and fin/rudder locations and then not too carefully masked the stars to try and show how roughly these aircraft were painted for winter. The option I chose from the kit had obviously had a rudder replaced, because it was sporting a small red star whereas the fin still had half of a large red star attached! I’ll tell you what, even though I was not too enamoured with the quality of the Special Hobby kit, these Russian aircraft certainly grow on you, especially when it comes to painting.
As far as the cowl is concerned, and this is where reference books come into their own, I sprayed this section matt black over Gunze Mr. Metal Color Aluminium which I had used on the Supermarine S6. The reason for this is that you can ‘sand’ off the black to reveal as much aluminium as you want and I think it looks more realistic than putting it on afterwards. It happens that way naturally anyway.
With the ski option offered by the kit, it became obvious from my reference book that there was certain ‘mechanical’ apparatus missing. I managed to fabricate these parts using Albion Alloys rod and tube and the skis now look quite reasonable. Once all the painting had cured, the oleos and skis were fixed to the airframe and the weathering commenced. And you can weather these Russian aircraft to your heart’s content! There are some photographs showing what an awful state these aircraft can get into. Without wishing to offend any armour modellers, I would say that this is the aeronautical equivalent to the tank! Brilliant.
As the January Medway meeting was approaching (as I type this it is tonight) I wanted a base to display the model. I had some lightweight foamboard available and using some Filla Glu 5 minute epoxy, I quickly cobbled together a base with low sides in which to fit some cotton wool which comes conveniently in flattish rolls. This was to be my snow. After spraying the base white from a Halfords rattle can, the ‘snow’ was cut to size, the tracks of Polikarpov skis were measured and snow tracks were cut with scissors. The cotton wool was then glued to the base with PVA, dirtied up with some ink and the I-16 was at home!
Having nearly thrown this model out of the window on more than one occasion, I am glad that I persevered with it and I am quite pleased with the result. It did have one last kick in the tail though! For reasons best known to itself, it decided to have plastic failure on the main starboard ski to oleo attachment. The little b*****d! Filla Glu to the rescue.
More next month.