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Wings, engine nacelles, tail and miscellaneous: 1/48 Hobby Boss Me-262 A1a.

Body: cheap Chinese toy from the Sealife Centre, Great Yarmouth.

Glues: Zap-a-Gap, PVA.

Fillers: Revell plastic putty, Perfect Plastic Putty, Mr Surfacer, Vallejo putty.

Paints:  Vallejo acrylics.

Weathering: Ammo Mig, Flory.

Finish: Ammo Mig satin.

Base: photo-frame from poundland, blue card, Vallejo acrylics airbrushed in 'swirly' patterns.
Stand: 1.2mm clear plastic card.

I didn’t post the build thread for this madcap idea first for the simple reason I had no idea if I could even pull this off.  I didn’t want to start a thread, then screw it all up and not be able to complete it, for whatever reason.  Even thought it was meant to be a bit of a joke, something light-hearted, I soon realised it was also going to be something of a challenge.  For instance, what adhesive do you use to attach hard styrene plastic to soft, pliable rubber?  Will acrylic paint work on the shark’s body?  What colours do I use?  And besides, who gives away the punchline to a joke at the beginning?!

Fortunately, I did manage it, and so here’s how it happened! 

It all started when I posted this pic on the Flory Models forum a few weeks ago. 

  Shark me 262.jpg 

It was a light-hearted post, about Google-imaging for shark-mouth paint schemes, but it lit a spark in the back of my mind that just wouldn’t let go.  Have you ever had an itch that you just had to scratch? 

So, with military precision, I devised a cunning plan, starting with some driving.  Arriving first at the Sealife centre at Great Yarmouth, I had a quick look around the exhibits, admiring the crabs and rays, then went into the gift shop.  I already knew the dimensions of the average 1/48 Me-262, so it was just a matter of finding a cheap shark toy that came close.

Meet Bruce!


Dimensions were practically perfect.


“We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”


From Sealife it is only about a ten-minute drive to the Lowestoft branch of Hannants, where I picked up one of Hobby Boss’s 1/48 Me-262’s


Next morning, I had a good look at what I had bought, starting with Bruce.

There’s a lot of molding seams to remove, plus some sort of a plug under his chin that’ll need sorting.


Flory sanding sticks made reasonably quick work of the seams.

  20190102_212022.jpg  20190102_212031.jpg 

Shark fin soup, anyone?


Prepped for surgery.  Nurse, the scalpel!


Nope, no fishing boats or bikini-clad bathers in here!



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Next I started on the kit.  For the price, £14.95, it really is an excellent kit, with fantastic surface detail and loads of interior.  Thinking of their 1/32 Liberator, Hobby Boss seem to give excellent value for money with all their kits.  Here there is a well-appointed cockpit and a fully displayable gun bay.  All of it, sadly, to be wasted.

I attached the upper and lower wing halves with no fuss.  Fit is perfect.  The nav lights, though, were just scribed lines, so I cut them out with the plan of making some, using clear PVA glue.




It seems the kit has no option of assembly with the wheels up, because the fit of the doors was pretty poor.  I’m not criticising the kit here, because I may be straying from the designer’s original intentions, but there is a lot of gappage going on.


Turning to the tail, I reasoned that since I would not have the benefit of the molded sockets on the kit’s own fuselage, I would need to devise a stronger and more secure method of attachment.  This I did by using a 1mm drill and a couple of panel pins.  The pins will pass through Bruce’s tail fin, and help keep the tail-planes aligned.



Next I assembled the engine nacelles, according to the instructions.  Paint was Vallejo RLM grey for the front and Mr Metal colour burnt iron for the rear.  Why H.B. bothered with all that nice internal ribbing I have no idea, because once it’s all assembled you can’t see a single scrap of it.


A quick dry fit showed that, proportionally, it was going to work.  Will still need some more trimming, but we’re getting there.



Bruce needed to be offensive, and not in a rude way, so I cut the cannon ports from the kit’s nose panel, then trimmed and filed them to suit.  Man, was that a test of my optivisor!


Once cleaned up they were super-glued to his nose.


Then I wondered about the cockpit, the canopy and who was going to pilot Bruce.  Normally I don’t bother with aircrew, since I can’t paint a figure to save my life, but an idea hit me, and I had to run with it.

The pilot arrives for his pre-flight (dive?) inspection!


Unfortunately, SpongeBob’s head was a bit too fat to fit under the canopy.


So, a bit of surgery and some filling, and now he fits a bit better.  And who would have thought that Citadel’s Caledor blue would be an exact, perfect match for the Bob’s Lego blue?  Incidentally, Citadel paints can be airbrushed if thinned with Tamiya X20A.


Back to Bruce.  He needed a bit of nip and tuck under his chin.  Revell plastic putty worked surprisingly well here.


Bruce would like to remind all the members of the Flory family of the importance of proper dental hygiene!



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Attaching the canopy came next, which raised a bit of a dilemma.  Proportionally, it should sit further forward, to match the real aircraft, but placing it there meant it wouldn’t sit on the hump, which seemed like the logical place from an anatomical point of view.  In the end I opted for the path of least resistance, meaning an easier cut and a lot less filling and blending, and placed it on the hump.  I cut a section from each of the two fuselage halves to make the back of the canopy flow into Bruce’s spine.  Filling is still going to be a bit of a challenge here.

20190112_195733.jpg  20190112_195739.jpg 

The final scene from Jaws came to mind, prompting another idea.  So I fashioned a scuba tank from a shaped piece of runner and a scrap of spare p.e.


Meantime, the kit, such as it is, is about done, with the engine nacelles attached to the wings.  The fit of this kit so far has been excellent, with very little filler needed.



Now I have never felt inclined to build dioramas.  They’re something I greatly admire from others, and love to look at, but not build myself.  However, Bruce couldn’t just sit on his nacelles.  I needed some sort of base, or stand.

So I started with a square of the thin blue card I use for photo backdrops, then chose some Vallejo paints that sort of looked ocean-ish in colour.  Then I went for it with the airbrush, trying to create waves!


I think it worked.  It actually looks better in real life than the photos.

Base was a cheapo photo-frame from Poundland.


The stand came next, first mocked up out of cardboard.


The templates were then used to mark out the shapes on 1.2mm clear card.  These I then randomly airbrushed with Vallejo clear blue on one side, and clear green on the other, matching the random swirls on the base.


Tamiya extra-thin seemed to work at first, but the joints quickly proved to be too weak, so they were reinforced with tiny drops of c.a.  A locating spigot was fashioned out of a short length of clear runner.



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Stand completed, I turned to attaching the canopy.  Surgery was performed, the dorsal fin was removed and put to one side and the canopy grafted into place.

Then a minor disaster.  The canopy cracked across the rear section.  I attempted a repair with c.a. but the damage can be seen.  That’s why I didn’t do any close-up shots of that side of the canopy in the reveal thread.


The next problem was Bruce’s body flexing slightly when being handled, causing the filler to crack.  To overcome this I cut lengths of runner and c.a’d them inside, to reinforce his ribs!


Bob had to go in next, and I had to place him blind, as the canopy was masked, and I couldn’t see exactly where he was in relation to the interior.  As it happened, I wasted all that time on Bob, as I had previously sprayed the interior of the canopy with transparent blue, which apparently isn’t as transparent as I thought.  Bob can’t be seen!  [frown]

Then came the marrying of kit to shark!


Because of Bruce’s portly comportment there was some considerable gaps between his belly and the wings.  To fill these, and add greater strength to the joints, I used sections of runner c.a. in place.

All together now… Da-DUM.  Da-DUM.  Da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM, Da-da-da-DUM!!


Turns out Bruce’s spine doesn’t run down the centre of his body-mass, meaning the cockpit is off-centre.  Oh well.


See that big red and green splodge?  That’s where I had a little episode with superglue attaching me to my work.  Took a lot of sanding to remove the evidence.  No, not my finger!


Then came hours of fun, filling, sanding, filling and sanding!




Next came the tail assembly.  I drilled through Bruce’s fin, (Don’t worry, I gave him an anaesthetic first!) then superglued the tail into place.





Because of the way his fin sits at a jaunty angle, the tail looks kind of awkward…


I’m not sure how this would work aerodynamically!


The dorsal fin, now sewn back into place!



A quick mock-up, to check flight angles.  Feeling quite pleased with myself at this point.




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On to the paint stage, and a coat of Vallejo surface primer.


Pre-shading posed a conundrum.  Pre-shading the wings and tail was straight-forward enough, but how to pre-shade a shark?  I thought the best thing would be to emphasise the natural body contours and things like the gills and fins, with some natural, random spotting.



Next came the choice of colour.  I wanted natural, organic colours, but at the same time something that wouldn’t look out of place on a WWII fighter.  Vallejo’s Russian air range seemed to offer what I needed, so I did the underside/belly with Vallejo 71.414 AEH-9 light grey, and the upper surface with 71.139 A-28M Greyish blue and 71.318 AMT-7 also, confusingly, greyish blue.

I hoped to get a mix of natural-looking colour breaks on the body, while simulating a German splinter pattern for the wings.  Kind of tricky, blending the two!


The kit’s decals went down beautifully, conforming well with Micro-set and Micro-sol.





Because I didn’t have the faintest idea how to weather a shark, I opted to keep the weathering light, and just bring out the panel lines and rivets.  I used Flory grey wash on the undersides, and Ammo Mig dark green-grey wash for the top.




Just the last details left.  Remember the scuba tank, the one from the end of the movie?


A coat of Klear to brighten the eyes.


A coat of Ammo Mig satin varnish sealed everything in, followed by Ammo Mig rigging wire for the antenna.



Had to be done!


And, job done!  For a jokey, fun build, there were quite a few challenges to overcome, and supergluing my finger to the body was not my idea of a good time, but I am well pleased with the final result.  I’m disappointed that SpongeBob can’t be seen, and I had thought about trying to paint some sort of kill tally underneath the canopy, but decided against it, as my tiny detail painting skills were nowhere near up to the task.


Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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