So, it took a lot of nerve-wracking, very careful trimming and sanding, with a great many dry fits, before I managed to get the wing roots to sit snugly into the wing centre section, and I managed it without any horrendous gaps to fill. What I did have, however, was instead of a nice, smooth curve from one to the other, where the removed material sat there is now a slight, but noticeable step. Rather than spending days of filling and sanding, with no guarantee of it turning out any better, I decided I would be better off just living with it. I would say it’s a lesson learned, but as I said, this was a kit issue, and nothing so far as I can tell to do with my assembly.
Then another issue with the kit reared its ugly head. The canopy fit is dog-awful. No idea how to overcome this. I think it will sit in my display cabinet with the canopy slid open!
Never mind, crack on with the assembly. Tails on next. Starting to look like a real fighter. I know much has been romanticised about the elegant beauty of the Spitfire, and yes, it’s a damn fine-looking plane, but for my money the P-40 comes a close second, from a sheer aesthetic point of view.
I have read elsewhere, on other build vids, how some people go to the trouble of drilling out their kit’s exhaust stacks, so I thought I’d have a bash. A bit fiddly and time consuming, but I have to admit it’s one of those little details that is really satisfying, and easily as good as any resin parts.
This, on the other hand, was just bloody annoying! Why did Academy make me assemble a whole prop using three individual blades, to be sandwiched rather awkwardly between a front and rear half of the spinner? Especially as the kit includes a perfectly good complete prop, from, I assume the P-36 kit? What, they couldn’t knock up two spinner halves that could wrap around the one-piece prop?!
So to painting. My pre-shading is definitely getting better, and I think is showing just enough through the Vallejo Azure blue here.
Top coat, with primer, pre-shading and the aluminium/chromate green mottling which will be the chipping.
After laying down the middle stone base colour, I masked up with Panzer Putty, but thought I’d try re-applying the pre-shading. It came through nicely on the middle stone, but would no doubt be lost under the second colour, dark earth.
And the moment of truth, with mixed results. I’m very pleased with the shading, it worked just as I had hoped.
But something is going wrong with my camo masking. I had similar problems with the Dewoitine, with large variations along the demarcation lines. In places it is nicely feathered, but in others it is sharp, and in a lot of places it is like there are two lines, sort of a shadow effect? I may start a thread on this later, to see how you guys do things.
Next came decaling, something I usually enjoy. The kit came with Cartograf decals, so no real worries there.
Unfortunately, as I was applying the fin flashes, I discovered I had a GA wadded up on the end of my thumb. This, after already hitting it with the micro-sol, so it was extra-soft. I don’t know what the neighbour thought, but I’m certain he heard every expletive! I dipped my thumb back in the bowl of water, and using a couple of brushes, gently teased it all back open, then slid it slowly and carefully back into place. It almost worked, but if you look you can see the A is slightly crooked, and the top of the G and one lower corner of the A are damaged. Still, I think I can cover this with a little more chipping.
Stencils. Funny things. They are dead fiddly, and maddeningly frustrating, but they are one of those things that really make a kit stand out. I had already ordered a stencil set from Foxbot. They’re actually for a U.S. P-40E, but who can tell?! The Foxbot set is excellent, with plenty of space around each individual stencil, and all clearly numbered with good placement instructions. It took me all day to complete, crossing each one of the instructions as I went, but once done, is very satisfying.
Another coat of Klear, and tomorrow I can start the weathering.