Sunday 30 August 2015

AC130H - Good vs. bad tape jobs

There are 2 important things to remember when using masking tape. If you forget these, you will end up with paint creeping underneath the tape, possibly ruining an up-to-than immaculate paintjob. Touching up with a paintbrush afterwards does not always yield invisible results and you end up with a blemish that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Well, maybe not THAT long, but we'd like to avoid them anyway.

During my current build, I didn't always pay enough attention. So here it goes again, as a reminder.

1. Burnishing

Basically, you'll want to pay extra attention alongside the edge of the tape and press it down really firm against the surface. When the surface is flat, that's usually easy to accomplish. When going around corners or raised/lowered surface detail, it can be (a lot) harder.
You can use your finger, or specially shaped (metal) tools with rounded tips in various sizes. (or a simple q-tip, but those tend to leave little cotton strands behind, if it's the cheap kind)

For the red stripe in the interior, I completely forget to pay attention and the result is seen in the picture below it. Luckily, because it's inside the model, you will never see where I had to touch up with a brush.

The cockpit canopy however, is a high-visibility detail, so I paid extra attention. As I cut the tape in place on the canopy itself, the knife provided all the needed pressure for making sure the tape was firmly pressed against the plastic. But still I wasn't going to risk anything, leading me to the next tip.

2. Varnishing

It's not like this is a little-known secret, but I've met no small number of (beginning) modellers that considered this easy tip a real eye-opener.

Not only for clear parts - but especially true in this case - it pays to start painting around the masking tape with a layer of (matte) varnish. Make sure you're spraying the clear coat from all directions, at roughly a 45-degree angle against the edge of the tape (low pressure, not too close, we do not want to blow away the tape). This way, a tiny ridge is built up against the tape and even IF paint creeps underneath, at least it's transparent.

A side-benefit on clear parts like this, is that the varnish acts a bit as a primer, easing the application of the next coat of paint. You do not want to use black primer, because when you remove the tape afterwards, you will see a small - but clearly visible - line of the black paint underneath the blue-grey.

Above, a picture taken from the inside of the canopy, proving no paint has crept under the tape.

As an extra illustration, I used the same method when painting the blue stripe on the Mustang. It prevents a lot of swearing and repainting.

Saturday 29 August 2015

AC130H - Closing time

Again a quick progress report, before we attempt to close the hull and start the gruesome process of trying to eliminate those ugly seams that will scar the top of the model. I'm gonna be less fussy about the seam on the belly, as I will not allow people to pick it up and turn it over :-).

The engine's housings didn't fit very neatly, but after some careful sanding, it's starting to look better. Again, the top is better than the bottom. The way they fit against the wing also leaves much to be desired, but - as is quickly become a pattern in this build - I paid attention so the topside sits almost flush with the wing, sacrificing the fit at the bottom. If you can't make it perfect, focus on the parts with the highest visibility. You'd be amazed how many car or armour models have unfinished bellies and interiors.

The interior details have been painted and in the next report, we should have a closed up model.

For some reason, the building instructions have switched the positions of the 50-mm cannon and 105-mm Howitzer, even though they do not fit through the openings like that and no existing plane has that configuration. Not the only place where the instructions are showing shortcomings.


Tuesday 25 August 2015

Sprue Cutters Union #35 - Eye for detail

Damnit, almost missed this month's topic. I haven't missed an assignment in 2 years (Yes, the Union has been going strong for over TWO years already) and I'll be damned if I miss this one. I'll start paying attention on the beginning of the month.

- Do you bother with details that will not be seen in the finished product or do you pour your heart and soul into each nook and cranny of the build? -

Putting effort and what precious little time I have into making something nobody will ever see? Noooo, nope, nah-ah!!

If I make something, I want to show it off. I'm lucky to be an IPMS member, so all finished models are seen, commented upn, looked at in detail and peered over by 15-20 people before they go into a display cabinet at home. Who else will see these models? The occasional friend that can be persuaded to come and have a look (and fake an interest, if it's a real friend). And of course: the photo's on this blog and Facebook, so that's at least 20 (!!) more people.

I mean, there's nothing wrong if someone ELSE wants to superdetail something that will NEVER be seen, or only a tiny little bit, but to me it's just a waste of time. "Knowing it's there" doesn't cut it for me.

Even if it IS visible, but only barely - like a really big cockpit or the interior of a cargo plane - I will not go all-out, because with the lack of light, all the little details are nigh invisible anyway.

On my current build (well, one of them) I'm experimenting with low-detail, high-contrast interior. Using lighter colours than I should, and using high-contrasting colours for picking out details, I hope it will give the right impression, when it's all closed up and you're looking into the model through the rear hatch.

Sunday 9 August 2015

AC130H progress

I've added all the necessary pieces to the interior - except for the guns - so I could start the painting process with a layer of grey primer. I've learned from previous kits not to fuss too much over the interior. I'm going to leave the loading ramp open, so you can see inside, but it's gonna be hard to see much detail in there.

I chose the grey primer, instead of the darker grey recommended, so it might trick the viewer's eye into seeing as much as possible. I'll be using flashy colour accents to further enhance this effect.

Part E42 (ammo storage rack for the big canon) is a bit of a let-down once in place (left picture below), but a minimal effort with sheet styrene helps a lot.

I can't close it up yet (not looking forward to it either, as the seams seem promising :-)), but trying to see if it's a tailsitter or not, and we can indeed confirm it to be just that.
It requires about the weight of one of my bigger clamps to rectify, so I'll just have to figure out what will be heavy enough, but small enough to fit in the nose. I often see modellers that use (lead) fishing weights, but I have no such thing in possession, so I'll just see if I can find a heavy (short) screw or something from my toolbox.

The instructions state plain light grey for the overall plane, but I've seen pictures of more interesting 2-tone versions. Not sure if the H-variant exists in those colours, or just the more recent U-variant, but I'm gonna go with it anyway.
Some experimenting with available Vallejo colours yielded the combination I'm gonna use : 005 (Intermediate blue) and 046 (Pale blue grey).