Thursday 24 July 2014

Masking & painting - Repeat until done

I decided early in the build not to use the provided decals for the black and red stripes, because I do not trust these big decals to sit well and conform to the needed curves. Also, some of the red was not provided in decal-form, meaning I would be painting some part of it anyway. It is nearly impossible to find the same shade of red in paint as on the decal, so I decided to paint all of it. It would be a good lesson in masking.

After masking for the red zone, I airbrushed matte varnish against the edge of the tape. This is just a little trick to prevent paint from bleeding underneath the tape. You basically fill all the spots that WOULD bleed with transparent varnish. This doesn't work 100% all the time, but reduces the amount of cleanup a lot.

I needed 11 layers of the red paint, before the difference between the underlying grey and green were no longer discernible. In retrospect, I should have started with a light grey layer, so the red would be covering well with fewer layers. To the last layer, I added 50% of gloss varnish, in hopes of achieving a smoother finish. I did the same with the black.

After removing the tape, a few faults can be spotted, that will need to be touched up, but the result is good.
I still make the mistake of spraying too much paint sometimes. It's ever an exercise in patience to spray thin layers and wait until adding the next one. The urge to pull back on the trigger and spray away is hard to resist sometimes. Especially against the edge of the tape, this is dangerous and only results in more cleanup, if only I could resist wanting to go too fast.

Next up :

  • anti-glare in front of the cockpit
  • painting the bottom black, then varnish the whole model
  • stretching sprue for the forward antenna's
  • adding antennas on the side and finding some thread to rig them with
  • adding the wheels so it can finally stand upright without me constantly breaking off the searchlight
  • decals
  • (slight) weathering?

Monday 14 July 2014

Post-shading and blending everything

Airbrushing sessions are going rather well these days and seem to be following each other in rapid succession. Maybe it's the weather, maybe I'm counting the days until we go on vacation (4 more days). Best not to dwell on it, in case we jinx it.

I wanted to do some post-shading, because last time, the green layer went on a little too heavy. With a slightly lightened version of the green, last time's smaller nozzle and some extra thinner to keep it all flowing, I slowly attacked the centers of all (well, most) panels. I soon realized it wasn't light enough, so I added some white. Still not enough, added some more, but the paint started flowing more slowly.
Long story short, by the time the thicker paint had left the nozzle and the easy-flowing mix was spraying again, it was TOO LIGHT and I had to add more green. Grmbl-mbl ... I messed up a few of the panels, but all in all the result is adequate and it was a good lesson in patience for next time.

Next up : blending it all together. The green is too sharp against the grey, so I decided to give another try at misting it all over with a very fine coat of grey. Remembering a tip one of you guys gave in a comment to an earlier (failed) attempt, I used 10 parts thinner to 1 part paint. It sprayed nicely but the result was negligible. 5 parts thinner to 1 part paint and we were slowly building opacity.

Everybody always has the same to say about this technique : "If you think it needs one more pass, STOP!" I can agree wholeheartedly, having just taken it 1 or 2 passes too far. I have no idea how further varnishing and (subtle) weathering will influence the colours.

Oh, and I broke off one of the forward antennae. Easy fix, no biggie.
Below is the before and after. Next step : masking for the red and black area's.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Second colour is down

Masking is done with silly putty, because it easily conforms to the contour of the kit, can be shaped anyway you want and is incredibly easy to remove afterwards. The gaps in between are filled with masking tape. I prefer to use regular painter's tape where possible, because it's a lot cheaper per meter than the Tamiya tape.
Then again, the Tamiya tape is THE best tape for straight lines. Regular tape doesn't burnish down as well and paint is more prone to bleeding under the edge.

After the problems last time painting the panel centers (I'm sure you noticed the huge overspray), I decided to give the smaller nozzles on my Aztek another try. I have been experimenting with them in the past, with mediocre to bad results. They're not intended for acrylics - according to the manual - but how else will I do some finer work?
Past experiments always ended with a non-spraying nozzle, requiring several minutes each time to get it going again. I'm not known for my patience, so those experiments were quickly halted. Many months later, I may try again, as was the case yesterday.
To prevent clogging I thinned the paint really well (even though Vallejo is supposed to be usable unthinned) and gave it a go. It was actually too thin to cover the panel centers up close, because the paint was spidering away, but from a longer distance, it worked remarkable well and kept on spraying for the entire session. A victory in one field, but it does mean there's no recognizable shading in the green area.

I'll try to fix it with some post-shading (i.e. going over the panel centers in a slightly lighter version of the paint) and follow up with a very thin coat of the grey misted all over to blend it all together. This is a widely used method to remove contrast between camouflage colours, but something I haven't been able to pull off yet. I'm feeling confident though, so wish me luck ...

Friday 11 July 2014

Chinook - Time for paint

It took  a long time, but the Chinook-project has reached the painting stage. After getting the canopy in place, I added all the fiddly bits, like antennae, searchlight and stuff I know neither function nor name of.

Some decisions:
  • I left out parts 32 at the tail because I couldn't find it on any reference photo's and they just looked wrong. 
  • I omitted part 23 because it was badly molded and would just look like an ugly lump at the back of the tail.
  • I attached parts 31/38 upside down (also missing on reference photo's), because I'm stupid or blind. The instructions were clear, but I must have had a short circuit in my brain.
Anyway, the only thing left to do was mask up the windows, because after all that work I spent on the interior, I did not want to ruin it with black primer flying through the windows onto my seats.
I settled on cutting pieces of plastic (roughly octogonal) until they fit in the openings and attached them with Maskol (Humbrol's liquid masking stuff), easily removed when painting is done (at least, that's the intention).

Out came the trusty black Vallejo primer for a nice coat of "Don't I look awesome and fierce!?"

I decided to do some panel shading, just because I hadn't really done it before. I always follow the reasoning behind it - breaking up monochrome plastic, accentuating panel lines - but had yet to really try it out. Inspired by several articles/posts/blogs and pushed over the brink by a recent post of Doog's, I tried filling in the panels first, then going over it with a diluted version of the same colour.

I dare say the result so far is looking okay, but we'll know more when the other colours have been added to the model. The colour nuances are actually a lot more visible with the naked eye, not quite getting captured on camera. We'll see how this evolves...

Thursday 3 July 2014

Cockpit repair and some further fiddling

Last time, we ended on a very sour note, with a cockpit looking like this :

A 2mm gap because the canopy is stuck against the control panel
The reason was that I assembled the middle part of the fuselage too far forward and the control panel inside turned out to prevent the canopy from closing.

So, the control panel needed some "adjusting". I have a motor-tool just for this occasion. I ground away about 2mm over the entire width of it, and then the canopy closed easily. I wouldn't say it fit perfectly, as the overall fit of the kit seems to be rather wanting, but it's a hell of a lot better than before.

If you do not own a motor-tool, I can highly recommend one, but if you don't want to spend that kind of money, I recommend metal files, not just sand paper or sanding sticks. You're more likely to ruin a perfectly fine (and surprisingly expensive) sanding stick before you manage to remove enough plastic, especially if it's the harder kind of plastic. I once bought a set of 10 metal files for something like €9 altogether. If used only on plastic, these files will probably outlive me before they show any sign of wear and tear.

Normally, I attach clear parts with MicroScale Kristal Klear, which dries translucent and is ideal for these parts, but it's gluing quality is less and probably inadequate for this big piece. So I used white glue instead (plain old "wood glue"). It dries white, but can be easily handled for several minutes after applying so you can remove any excess with a wet cloth or q-tip.

Tip: avoid the regular cement for clear parts, as well as CA glue, as this last one tends to "fog up" the inside of your canopies.

Lastly, because I didn't like the total lack of detail on the inside of the kit, I decided to add some ribs to "busy it up". It's not accurate by far, but gives a better impression than just bare plastic. Or maybe that's just my opinion.