18th May 2014
It’s been a few weeks since my last update, the SHAR build has been demanding a lot of my modelling time so the Vipers Pit has fallen a bit behind… Still not as behind as the Vulcan build (8 years and counting *ahem*) 😀
In the last update I got the front of house finished i.e. the front coaming, instrument panel and HUD.
This time I’ve moved back to see if I can get the seat itself nearer completion.
The seat for this kit is like a small kit in it’s own right and has been quite tricky to build because it has open areas that need a bit of thought. When you’re painting an aeroplane it’s generally a sealed unit – the inside is on the inside and the outside is on the outside and never the twain shall meet. With the Aces II Ejection Seat, the inside is open at the back, but the inside needs to be finished before you can do the outside. So you’re working with a mini kit that’s half finished and half unfinished – you have to be careful what you do to the outside of the seat because the inside is still open (and finished).
Anyway, I digress…
On the model I had a real dilemma regarding the area circled in red below…
In reality this is some kind of zip up, or poppered up pouch that contains items unknown. Well unknown to me, it could contain sandwiches for all I know :-$
Clearly on the model this area bears more resemblance to sheet aluminium than canvas (or whatever the modern synthetic equivalent is), so my dilemma was do I try to do something about it, or just do as the instructions say and paint the area with a Tan colour (which is the wrong colour anyway)…
Here’s one of the photos I’ve been using as a reference showing the sandwich pouch. If you refer back to the previous photo you can see how naff the Italeri rendition of this part of the kit really is!
It’s no good, the area in question will be right in your face when the model is complete so it deserves a bit of a stab at some home improvements.
I fancied my chances at creating something acceptable using Milliput, which lends itself brilliantly to these kind of organic, non-mechanical structures. So in preparation of that I gave the area a good sand and carved in some organic-ness using a coarse sanding stick…
By the way, the same setup exists on the other side of the seat so it’s a rinse and repeat for that side too.
To help constrain the Milliput I glued a styrene strip around the rear edge of the pouch. This will serve as a guideline and also an easy way of levelling off the putty.
I used standard (yellow) Milliput for this, just mix together equal volumes of each of the two sticks of putty and squidge it on there.
Here’s the putty after being roughly moulded into shape. I used a very small oil painting palette knife as a spatula (because it was all I had other than an electrical screwdriver) . It worked really well for the job and has earned it’s place in my modelling toolkit now.
Dipping the spatula in water helps to stop it sticking as the putty is very sticky, and also helps with blending it in.
When I got the putty in roughly the right shape, I pressed a pattern into it using a piece of stocking stretched over my finger. Sadly the stocking was an empty one, but at least it meant I could focus on my modelling without distraction.
The texture is Ok, but next time I’ll see if I can find a material with a better weave to it to get a closer match to the real thing. No matter, the texture that’s on there will make it look nice and organic…
Next was to carve some seams into the putty using the edge of the spatula to resemble stitched seams. Now when I say carve, I mean like carving butter – Milliput is extremely workable when first mixed and stays workable albeit getting ever stiffer for about 40 minutes after first mixing.
At this stage I left it over night to solidify, and in the morning it got a coat of Tamiya XF-66 (the same colour as the seat) and I gave a pre-shading with XF-1 flat black.
Here it is masked up prior to applying the top coat. Before I painted the top part (I believe this pouch is where the pilot stores his Pyjamas), I also pre-shaded the top so as to give a bit of interest to the final colour.
And after unmasking…
The photos here don’t capture the colours very well. The pre-shading is visible in the real thing (just) and I also added some post-shading highlights by lightening the green paint with a drop of white.
When I do the final reveal photos under some decent lighting it should all become clear 🙂
So there I was, just about to light my pipe, stand back, and admire my handy-work when I decided to drop the seat into its rails in the tub and see how it looks.
I’d been merrily sculpting away, totally oblivious to the fact that the seat might ever have to fit somewhere.
Circled in red below is where the sandwich pouch meets the seat rail and prevents the seat from slipping down into place in the tub :'(
And from the side…
I took a quick selfie to capture the angst of the moment…
After dinner (a few rusks always helps to focus the mind) I gave it a good coat of looking at, and decided that it’d be easiest to carefully cut some grooves where the seat rails interfere using a mini needle file.
Same for the other side and the seat now slide all the way down as intended 😀
From the rear it all looks pretty good, maybe a slight kick out on the left hand rail but close enough that no-one will ever notice.
Touching the damage back in, I first sprayed the damaged area with black and re-did some of the pre-shading I was about to cover up.
Then a light touch in of the original colour (which was Tamiya Olive Drab (XF-74) with a touch of Flat Green (XF-5).
Now that peace had been restored once more, some of the detail on the Pyjama pouch was picked out with a fine brush and Humbrol Enamels. In case you don’t know I love Enamels for brush painting – they stay wet for long enough to take your time with the job in hand, cover first time and self level beautifully.
Lastly for the top part of the seat are the headrests. These vary in colour depending on which reference photos you look at, but from what I can see they appear to be some sort of rubber.
I’m going with dark grey for these so they got a coat of Tamiya Dark Grey (XF-24) with a slight post-shade with Dark Sea Gray (XF-54). Yes, Dark Sea Gray is a lot lighter than Dark Grey – go figure as they say!?
And finally for this update here’s a shot of the upper part of the seat complete with headrests, sandwich pouch, pyjama pouch and the starboard side pouch (I believe the starboard side pouch is the baccy pouch).
Next update – more work on the seat, giving it a coat of Klear, adding some decals, weathering it up an little and adding the rest of the seat accessories.