Step Zero – Before I started documenting:
There were some problems with this model, particularly, the female fuselage was warped, but it corrected itself once it was glued on. One minor issue was that the holes for most of the antennae were never fully cleared, so I ran into issues putting them on and ended up scrapping them. I did not want to bother with trying to clear them with an Exacto and risk either hurting myself or the model. The cockpit was painted prior to attaching it to the plane, but I put it in the plane backwards. By the time I realized my mistake, the glue had set and it had to be carefully cut out with an Exacto and reattached. Thankfully, the wings were not on, in which case I would have been screwed. I covered the cockpit with a piece of trimmed masking tape and painted on the light gray base coat, but I am not entirely pleased with it because I think it is a bit too dark.
Step One – Protecting areas with tape:
This step was probably the easiest, I taped up every area I did not want to get paint on with at least one strip of making tape. I would then place more tape on the overhanging sticky parts so there was no open adhesive and they were thick enough not to get caught on a pair of scissors. After that, I trimmed them down with a small pair of scissors.
Step Two – Painting the upper base coat and camo:
After deep cleaning the airbrush numerous times, we had previously made the fatal mistake of trying to spray Vallejo Model Color paints thinned with rubbing alcohol, all blockages were cleared and we used a Vallejo Model Color “Desert”(?) thinned with water for the tan secondary coat. For the pattern color, I used Vallejo Model Color “Flat Earth” with a drop of “Flat Black”, thinned with water. For each dot, I had the nozzle almost completely choked back on the needle and lightly tapped the trigger. I would clean the nozzle of dry tip every 2-3 dots.
Step Three – Weathering and Detailing:
At the point that I did this, I did not know about applying a protective layer before applying the weathering, so I applied it directly on the acrylic. I originally used an oil paint thinned with thinner, but that removed the acrylic on some test pieces that were attached to the sprue. I ended up carefully using highly water thinned “Flat Black” and a “Flat Earth” w/ a drop of “Natural Steel” acrylic paints to weather certain areas. I used Vallejo “Natural Steel” for the engines and the guns and I used “Flat Earth” for the cockpit seat. There was a casting/packaging issue with one of the engine nacelles that lead to it twisting and bending part of the plastic. Rather that trying to fill it or re-bend it to the right shape, I left it as is, filed away some paint, and weathered it to appear slightly damaged. I tried to also make a small hydraulic leak on the bottom by the right gear and one by the right horizontal stabilizer, but I am not fully pleased with it. I used a Vallejo “flat white” to dry brush the cockpit instruments to bring out colors.
Step Five – Finishing the camo and final thoughts:
I had a very hard time attaching the cockpit using “plastic weld” solvent “glue”, as can be seen at the edges of the cockpit. I have since learned that Testors makes model cement for clear parts that should fix most of my issues. I used some of the leftover base coat color and the camo color to touch up areas. I have also since learned several things about weathering, mainly to apply a protective coat, that you use opposing types of paints (you use oils or enamels if your base coat is acrylic), and that you need to be careful when you are removing it so you don’t rub off any paint. I will probably do decals later, but I am waiting to do those for when my hands are more steady and I am more confident in my ability. I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips you could give me.