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Squadron Leader
Posts: 1,239
Reply with quote  #1 

So, I thought I’d have a go at posting my first serious kit build since I left the RAF back in ’85.  I did do the Airfix ‘Dogfight Double’ Spitfire vs Me-109 that my son surprised me with for my birthday about five years ago, but I didn’t have any proper tools, just a handful of Humbrol paint pots, some brushes and a little tube of plastic putty.  What I did learn from those two was just how rusty I was, but I’m digressing.

As for this time, I have to keep telling myself this is my first build in over half a lifetime.  I KNOW it won’t be perfect, I KNOW I will make mistakes.  I must try not to be too hard on myself, and treat it all as experience, a learning curve.

My first subject is the Eduard 1/48 Dual Combo Grumman Hellcat Mk.1/Mk.2.  I chose it as I was following the step-by-step video by Bobby and so I thought I’ll follow as closely as possible.  It may not be particularly original or creative to mimic someone else’s work, but for me it made sense, as I am just getting my feet again after a long absence.  And beside, I’m not copying exactly, as I have chosen the option with the invasion stripes.

I’ll not bother with any in-box reviews this time, I’ll just post my thoughts as I go.

So to begin.


The kit itself caught me out, because when I picked up the box at Hannants, I thought ‘Dual Combo’ meant it came with all the photo-etch, resin and canopy masks included, rather than sold separately.  I was only partly correct.  The box does contain all those extras I mentioned, but everything is duplicated, including all the sprues, giving me all the parts needed to build two complete Hellcats.  Bonus happy-face!

My first encounter with photo-etch.  Wonderful stuff, super-detailed but my God is it fiddly! 


Cockpit coming together.  Paint is Hannant’s XA1117 interior green, with Mig’s tan for yellow/green filter, followed by Mig’s dark green/grey pin wash.  I finished off giving the harness a dab of Florey models grime wash.  Must admit, I’m really pleased so far.

cockpit.jpg  cockpit2.jpg 

May have to brush up on my photography skills.  These shots make the side panels look like something from the haunted mansion!  Details are picked out with Citadel paints, Abbadon black, Ceramite white, and for the tiny gun button on the control column, Mephiston red.

cockpit3.jpg  cockpit4.jpg  cockpit5.jpg 

My bottle of Citadel Dry Necron compound wasn’t as dry as perhaps it should be.  My dry brushing didn’t quite come out the way I meant it to.  Oh well…

IMG_6924.jpg  IMG_6925.jpg 

Uh-oh, I think I was supposed to fit this part before gluing the fuselage halves together.  Fortunately, I got around it by cutting off the tab and sticking the duct to a cocktail stick with Blu-Tac, then carefully wriggling it into place.



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Senior Aircraftman
Posts: 21
Reply with quote  #2 
looking bloody good so far. and when it comes to originality i wouldn't bother,  i bet most people with an internet connection look at other builds for ideas and tips, i started just over 2 years ago i think i've probably done one build (1/32 F-15E) without looking at anothers work for ideas.
nice save on the little nose tab, i did the exact same thing on both my builds [frown][frown][frown]
but great start [smile]

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Posts: 1,239
Reply with quote  #3 

My first real gripes with the kit.  Locating pins and sockets are almost non-existent, those that there are, are miniscule.  This made lining the two sides up a little more difficult than perhaps it should have been.  Also, when gluing in the cockpit, I used the two raised right-angle locators on the fuselage sides, but found this set the whole assembly a couple of mm too far back, leaving the instrument panel with a gap between it and the fuselage coaming, and the back headrest half way along the rear side-view windows.  I had to remove the assembly and file out the forward locating angle to get it all to sit in the right place.  Test-fitting first would have prevented a few moments of unneeded stress, but it didn’t turn out to be so big of a problem after all.


Next the engine.  I started by spraying the cylinder banks with Mr metal aluminium, then picked out the pushrod tubes with Citadel black.  A dousing with Citadel Nuln oil finished that piece.



The front case I painted with Vallejo PRU blue, as it seemed a good match for the case on the engine below.



Then came some Citadel cry Necron, and the details picked out with AK Interactive engine oil.  At this stage I realised the P.E. ignition loom was supposed to have been fitted between the front case and the cylinder banks.  Bugger.  No matter how I tried I could not get the harness to slip around or over the front.  The only way to get it where it was supposed to be was cut it in half.  This I did, but getting the two halves to sit in the right place was a real pain, and by now all the delicate little filaments of plug leads looked like a hedgehog that had been dragged through a hedge backwards!  The chances of getting each wire to go to the correct point on its cylinder were somewhere between slim and none, so I asked myself; ‘Who’s actually going to see this?’  I’m not going to enter it into any shows or competitions, and there’s no way any of my friends are going to point out ‘Hey, you got that lead going to the wrong plug!’  So I took the attitude, Sod it! And just thumbed all the leads roughly backwards and forgot all about super-gluing them into place!  Yes, I know, that’s not the attitude, but I promise I’ll do better next time!


Now it’s time to start bringing the bigger pieces together.

Damn.  We used to call this an autograph.  A real amateurish mistake, caused by me being caught out by just how fast Tamiya Extra Thin Cement flows, and how quickly it pops out where you least expect it.  Fortunately, a little attention with some Florey fine and extra-fine sanding sticks took care of it.


Another problem then reared its ugly head.  The aileron on the starboard wing fitted perfectly, being flush on both the upper and lower surfaces.


But the port aileron stuck up proud by about a mm. 


This would mean a judicious amount of filing and sanding, obliterating any surface detail. 

Forsooth, is this a fighter I see before me?






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Squadron Leader
Posts: 1,239
Reply with quote  #4 

Back to that troublesome aileron.  I masked up around it with Tamiya tape, then went at it with a vengeance and a course sanding stick.  Took some time, but I eventually got it looking flush with the wing’s upper surface, though as expected, the surface detail was sacrificed.


Out with the dividers, and a quick measure up to ensure symmetry, then the panel line cutter was brought into play.  (Another tool that wasn’t around during my first tour!) 


I did, however, lose the fabric surface detail, and the best I could do was leave it slightly rough, finishing with just a medium sanding stick.  It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough.

IMG_6958.jpg  IMG_6959.jpg  IMG_6960.jpg 

Next the undercarriage.  Now the kit comes with resin wheels as an alternative to the plastic ones.  However, unlike the plastic ones, the resin hubs, left of picture, do not have the spokes separately moulded, leaving me with a choice.


Get out the mini-drill, and carefully clean out the resin ones, or carefully trim the flange on the plastic one and make up some hybrid wheels.  Given what I have learned about how resin loves to kill you, if you breath it in, I opted for the plastic ones.  As mentioned, they are designed to fit inside the two plastic halves, so the flange had to be trimmed.  Also, they were too thick to sit snugly in the resin wheel, so needed to be sanded down to reduce their thickness.


I think this is perhaps one example of where plastic scores over resin.


Next the oleo's, and after spraying them with Mr Metal Aluminium I decided to pep them up with some scratch-built brake lines, made from a section of plastic rod out of an assorted packet I got from, somewhere, I forget where.  This I super-glued in a couple of spots, then painted flat black.

IMG_6977.jpg  IMG_6978.jpg 

According to the instructions the wheel wells are supposed to be Sky type S, but almost every RAF aircraft I have seen, at IWM Duxford or the RAF museum at Hendon has the wells interior green, so this is what I went with.  Incidentally I mixed up a little too much green, so rather than waste it I practised my airbrushing a little, and used it up on the underneath!


I picked out some of the pipes and grunions with aluminium, then gave it a coat of grime wash followed by black pin wash.

For the wheels I painted the hubs in Sky type S and the tyres rubber black.  I picked out the treads in airfield dust, (Yes, I know it’s a carrier fighter, but my kit, my rules!) then pin washed the hubs.


Then I weathered the oleo's with some black pin wash followed with AK Interactive’s landing gear wash and a dab of gear streaking grease.

IMG_6983.jpg  IMG_6984.jpg 

Now I just have to pluck up the courage to actually attempt a proper spray job!


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Squadron Leader
Posts: 1,239
Reply with quote  #5 
Never finished this thread!  Been busy building, and chatting on other forums, (I have no loyalty!!)  So here's the rest of the build.

So, I cannot avoid it any longer, I have to bite the bullet and try and put down some paint where it matters, on the outside.

So far, so good.  I managed to prime it all without too many dramas. 



The colour is lighter on the underneath because I mixed up a batch of primer to practise with, but it was too pale to show against the plasti-card I was practising on, so I made it 50/50 primer and black. 


Once I was reasonably happy I could do it I attacked the upper surface and used that batch up, before mixing another cupful with just the primer for the underside, which would be paler anyway.  Other than mixing it too thin to begin with, so it coated like water with the pigment settling in the panel lines, and then leaving a thumbprint on the wingtip, I think that stage turned out sort of okay.  Both paint and primer are Vallejo.

Oh dear.  Pre-shading didn’t turn out at all well.  This is something I will need to practise, a heck of a lot. 


It doesn’t help that I could never draw a straight line even with a ruler.  I know the experts on the videos say to keep it random?  Well, that’s pretty damn random.  Half the time I missed the panel lines completely. 


I used a blue for the underside, as I have seen others that used black, but that seemed too much, to me at least.


Maybe I should just re-prime it and start again, but I don’t think my next effort would be any better.  Looks like a herd of Zebra had an argument with a bunch of spiders.

Okay, so my pre-shading isn’t the best.  No matter, time to press on.

Next I masked off the area for the invasion stripes.  I did this because the white may have trouble covering over the camo, and I wanted the pre-shading, rough as it is, to show through the white.


It was getting late in the evening by the time I had finished, probably a little too late for the compressor.  Got to think of the neighbours.  So I decided to try out one of my new tools, an Archimedes drill.  Worked really well.



Next morning I was up bright and early and tackled the first proper airbrushing, the underneath.

Look!  Can you see the sky?!



I have to admit, after all the despondency of the pre-shading, that doesn’t look all that bad.

Next the light slate grey upper surface, which is really more of a green if you ask me.  Went down okay, no real dramas except for a fingerprint. (Again!)



Then came masking up for the next colour, the extra dark sea grey.

Panzer putty.  Man, this stuff is weird.  It’s like it has a life of its own.  Put a piece down somewhere and it’s moved off on it’s own!


Hmm, doesn’t seem to be a big contrast between the two colours.  I think the pre-shading has made the first colour almost as dark as the second.  Oh well…



Now to mask up for the invasion stripes.  Basically it’s a mirror of all the previous masking.  Since watching another video build of the Airfix 1/24 Typhoon, I realise I would have done better not to have bothered masking off the stripes area, as in reality the camo would have shown through the roughly painted stripes.  Lesson learned.

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb!


Paint was Vallejo insignia white with a few drops of light slate grey to take out some of the brilliance.


Gave a nice, grubby, faded look.  For the black I started with black, then added a few drops of dark blue and grey till it sort of looked about right.  Then came the moment of truth, the big reveal.

At first glance it looked pretty decent.


Closer inspection, however, showed the paint had very slightly crept under the tape, despite me pressing down firmly and rubbing the panel lines with a cocktail stick.  Hopefully the wash will cover most of it.


Of more concern was that the tape had pulled off a few patches of paint.  This I could do without.


On the underneath there’s a patch between the exhaust ducts and just to the rear of the last white stripe.  I’ll have to figure out how to patch these areas up without making a total hash of it.


Now for the red nose portion of the engine cowling.

Don’t know why I didn’t use this method of masking before, saves loads of tape!


Had to improvise here, as I didn’t have any Vallejo red.   I used Citadel Mephiston red heavily thinned with Tamiya X-20A, which worked a treat.


Tomorrow I’ll repair those patches and then give it an overall coat of Klear.

After very carefully masking off the damaged areas, and gingerly touching in the patches with the airbrush, things didn’t look so bad, so on with the build.

For the propeller I used an old trick I learned during my first tour with the hobby.  I started by laying down several heavy coats of aluminium paint, then a couple of thin coats of black.  Once it had all dried I carefully stroked it a few times with a medium sanding stick, taking off a little of the black to reveal the metal paint underneath.


Oh, the hub was masked off by using a pair of compasses to gently scratch out a tiny circle of masking tape, then placed over the hub.


I always did enjoy decaling.  This, to me, is where the kit starts to come alive, when it gets its face on!

My first use of Micro-set and Micro-sol.  Damn, I wish this stuff had been around thirty years ago, it’s bloody amazing stuff!



Not so keen on all these stencils though.  Never really built many large scale kits before, though I do remember those I did also made my eyes go squiffy with the tiny writing, trying to make sure I got it the right way up!



Just a little something I knocked up ready for when I open my display cabinet to the public!


Laying on the weathering.  Panel line wash by Mig Ammo, dark green grey for the top and blue dirt underneath.  Must admit the effect is very pleasing.


Chipping is Citadel Leadbelcher and Runefang Steel, applied using a mix of torn up sponge and dry brush.  Not too pleased with it, it doesn’t look very natural to me.  I’ll have to investigate other methods of application.


Airbrushing the exhaust stains terrified me!  My airbrushing skills are still embryonic, and I was keenly aware of just how big a disaster it could turn into at this late stage.  I did the very minimum, for fear of ruining it.

Some smoke oil-brushing for the cordite stains on the wings and some further streaking from hinge points, and that’s it, all covered in a final coat of W&N matt UV varnish. 


Just the final bits and bobs left to do!





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