26th September 2015
Well the Optivisor 2.5x arrived the other day, and I found myself humming the tune that Johnny Nash wrote when he got his first Optivisor – “I can see clearly now, the fog has gone… I can see all ejector pin marks in my way…”
Seeing as most of the work remaining to do on the Viper pit is at the tinier end of the scale I am going to be testing the new optics to the full!
Next job was to start cleaning up some of the smaller parts starting with the rudder pedals.
Here’s a nice pin hole that will need filling…
And at the rear there are a number of ejector pin marks.
The problem (if you can call it that) with this kit is that the rudder pedals are visible from both sides. On a normal kit the rear of the rudder pedals would never be seen, so you could leave them unpainted if you wanted to. But with this one, there is no front to the cockpit and everything is on show.
Putting the Optivisor through it’s paces, I was absolutely amazed how much detail I had been unable to see before. I’m short sighted and have always had really good up close vision. But wearing the optical magnification brought it home to me either how much my vision has deteriorated, or how deluded I was to my hawk like abilities. I’m sticking with deteriorating eyesight – even if it does admit getting older 😉
Here’s the fettled rudder pedals after filling and sanding, and I reckon that even from this photo I can see how much cleaner my detail work is as a result of seeing better.
Seriously, if you don’t have an Optivisor – go and get one! It is absolutely one of the best purchases I have made. About £42 via eBay, but worth its weight in gold!
With the pedals tidied up, they got a coat of heavily thinned Humbrol gloss black enamel to act as a primer for some Alclad 2 Chrome.
Here they are hiding from stray dust specs under an upturned container.
And the pedals after emerging from hiding with the Enamel nice and glossy.
The Alclad 2 Chrome was sprayed at about 15 PSI from around 3-4 inches. This took 4 very thin coats, to the point where the finish stops looing like extremely shiny black, and starts looking like extremely shiny silver. As soon as you see the black disappear it’s time to stop.
The chrome on the pedals was masked up with Tamiya tape, and the pedals (along with a few other parts) got a dry brushing with Citadel Necron Compound (silver to you and me).
I also used a Verithin silver pencil to add some scuffs and scrapes here and there.
This lot will get a coat of Klear and then probably a mild wash to grubby it up a little.
Back to the tub…
A few of the instruments were way too fiddly to mask, so these need to be hand painted.
Once again, the Optivisor made this an absolute breeze. (I promise to stop going on about the Optivisor soon.. I’m not sponsored by them 😉 ).
Now we’re ready for some more decaling.
Here I’ve applied most of the decals to the tub, but the decals for the caution lights panel don’t fit very well.
No problem, I cut up the caution light decals so that they could be applied individually. Not a problem when you have superhuman vision (alright, alright – that was the last one, I promise!).
To place the decals I applied a bit of Solvaset decal setting solution to the panel, and then placed each decal in position. The Solvaset helped to grab each decal as it went down, and it was a simple matter to align each decal using a pointy spike that I usually use for re-scribing.
You may notice that the top row of lights aren’t red… This is because I delayed aligning one of the decals too long and the Solvaset ate it. I though it best to leave out the whole row rather than leave one missing. Less obvious like that.
It was at this stage that I realised that I hadn’t painted and fitted the bezel for the standby magnetic compass, even though I had floated off the decal for it.
Not to worry, the decal was dried off and placed in a poly bag. I will apply it once the missing part has been painted and fitted.
Next up is a whole array of knobs (no we’re not having a cabinet re-shuffle)…
I want to cut these off the sprue and fettle and paint them in one batch, so before I cut them off the sprue I took a photo with my smartphone so I can refer back to it later and see which shaped knob had which number.
These are the last remaining parts to be fettled and painted…
To make it easier (read possible) to sand and paint the knobs, I nipped the end off cocktail sticks and CA glued the knobs onto them.
This also foils the carpet monster because it’s easier to find a cocktail stick that you’ve dropped than a 1mm wide knob.
Here’s the array of impaled devices ready for the next stage. Party Pineapple & Cheese on a stick anyone?
Again we’ve got a few pin holes in some of the gadgets, a bit of Perfect Plastic Putty will fix that. Just smear a blob in the hole, and wipe straight off with a moist cotton bud. No sanding required…
And here’s that same forest of controls having been painted. They will get a coat of Klear before a bit of wash to bring out any details, and in the case of the red items, they need their switches painting silver.
Next up I applied the decals to the centre console…
The radar screen comes with a clear plastic cover, so I applied a blob of PVA glue to the surface of the decal, the clear part being glued in place.
The PVA will turn clear when dry.
And while I had the PVA open I PVA’d the other dials in the tub.
Again, the PVA will dry clear giving them a nice glassy finish.
Moving forwards, of forrards if you’re a Navy type… Here’s one aspect of the kit that the makers didn’t really consider.
The rear of the centre console is fully visible from the front, unless this is taken care of it is going to look a bit pants. So I’m going to board over the centre console and paint the rear of the main instrument panel matt black so it doesn’t show so much.
The rear of the centre console was boarded over with thin plasticard and when dry was sanded flush.
A plain slab of plastic is going to look a bit dull (and will catch your eye) so I decided to add a bit of detail to busy it up a bit.
I thought the idea of having some kind of heatsinks fitted to it might be believable, so a rummage in my parts box found this gadget from some kind of spaceship kit. That looks business-like.
The space-ship component was sprayed with Tamiya Nato Black (XF-69)…
Then had a coat of Flory Black wash…
And then had a good dry brushing with Citadel Necron Compound (Silver to you and me).
Here’s the centre console with a bit of chipping applied (courtesy of a Verithin silver pencil) with the space-ship part (now official F-16 heatsink) applied.
BTW the chipping is where I imagine the pilots legs will have rubbed whilst working the rudder pedals.
And finally for this update, I want to weather up the side consoles a bit. My original thought was to use a grey wash between the panels to look like the tub colour. But looking at reference photos, the gaps between the panels is black.
So for this I’m going to apply a bit of Flory dark dirt in the panel lines just to give them a bit of subtle dirt.
Here the dark dirt wash has been applied to the joins between the individual panels, when that’s dry I will wipe it off and seal it in with some Klear.
Next update: Getting those knobs installed, fitting the rudder pedal assembly and bringing it together for the final weathering.