24th July 2015
As I left it last time, I had just applied a coat of Alclad 2 Light Aluminium to the undersides of the Hunter.
Next job is masking in preparation of applying the top camo coat – *yay*!
For the masking it’s the good old Tamiya tape (which has been heavily de-tacked by applying to my forearm several times to reduce its stickiness), along with some paper kitchen towel to cover the large areas. Kitchen towel is good for this because it is cheaper than Tamiya tape, it’s quicker to apply and also it has zero chance of sticking to the paint below and pulling it up when removed.
Masking the intakes was a bit fiddly, but time well spent.
Lines such as the upper/lower fuselage demarcation line and the leading edge of the wings are going to be focal points of the finished model, so again care was taken here to get it right. There is no point rushing with masking, it’s done when it’s done.
I’m not sure my masking of the inner edge of the wing dog-tooth is authentic, in hind sight the dog tooth inner edge may be all silver. But this will still look Ok.
The trailing edge of the wing root took several bits of tape to achieve the required curve.
Here you can see how far the metallic paint has travelled – you definitely need to mask very aggressively when spraying metallic over existing paint work. It travels for miles!
You can also see that the Alclad has totally obliterated the pre-shading (which is why I didn’t bother pre-shading the undersides). I will go back over the pre-shading before the camo coat goes on…
Here you can see on the rear end that the pre-shading has been re-instated.
Because it’s not possible to pre-shade under metallic (Aclad or Mr Metal Colour) the undersides will be post shaded later.
Because this is a large model (1/32 scale) I’ve decided to go free-hand on the camo. I’m going for a fuzzy edge to the camo (I’ve seen Hunters with fuzzy and sharp camo). Again, because of the large scale I can get away with free-handing the edges, on a smaller scale (1/48 or 1/72) I’d use the white-tack worms technique to get a sharper kind of fuzzy.
Here’s some progress with applying the Grey. For this I’m using Tamiya XF-82 RAF Ocean Grey which has a nice blue tint that nicely matches the colour on a 1960’s Hunter.
It’s tricky applying the grey because it is so close to the colour of the primer – hard to see where you have painted and where you haven’t. It’s almost easier to judge progress by how much of the pre-shading can no longer be seen.
In terms of how much grey to lay down, I spray it very thin (probably about 70% thinners to 30% paint) and layer it up until the pre-shading just starts to disappear.
It’s tricky to judge when to stop, but important to stop *before* the pre-shading is completely lost otherwise there would have been no point applying the pre-shading. I like to build grubby looking aircraft so tend to err on the side of letting the pre-shading show through too much. Always bear in mind that there are still a number of weathering stages to go through so the end result will look very different to how it looks right now. It will also look very different when the green goes on, so better to under-do the grey as more can always be added later.
In the photo below I have finished the grey coat, and have applied a bit of post-shading (bleaching) by adding a drop of white to the grey in the paint cup along with a bit of extra thinners. The whitened mix is applied “randomly” to the middle of panels to create a bit of tonal variation.
Next up is the green coat, for this I’m using Tamiya XF-81 Dark Green 2 (RAF).
Again, it’s a case of layering up the green to the point where the pre-shading just starts to get lost. It helps the finished effect if some of the pre-shading does get lost in the green (and grey for that matter). It’s not a requirement for the pre-shading to show through uniformly, and in fact looks better of the pre-shading fades in and out over the surface of the model.
I’m happy with the strength of the pre-shading here, the green is looking fairly even too. When spraying highly thinned paint you can tend to get blotchy paint coverage so it’s important to keep going over any thin areas until you get a fairly uniform coverage. having said that a certain amount of blotchiness can add to the overall realism of the finished product.
Pre-shading is a bit too strong on the tail fin under the green, I’ll probably give this some more green to knock it back a bit. The pre-shading under the grey looks good though.
Once I was happy with the green I added a drop of white to the remaining green in the airbrush colour cup along with a few drops more of thinners and post-shaded (bleached) the centres of the green panels.
It’s important not to over do the bleaching and to keep it fairly random looking. Having said that though, you can easily knock back the post shading by going back over it with the original green colour if it looks too stark.
I’m happy with the end results so far… At this stage I gave the camo a coat of Klear to protect it from getting scratched prior to the next stage.
When the Klear had dried it was time to unmask the undersides…
As you can see the Light Aluminium looks very light indeed when contrasted with the camo. This wasn’t the look I had in mind originally…
And after unmasking it became clear that I had some serious problems with the Alclad 2 Light Aluminium on the undersides.
The finish looks very glittery and has a slightly rough texture to it, you can see the fleck in the finish in the photo below…
The Alclad went down straight over Tamiya XF-66 grey, but the finish of the primer was very smooth, so that didn’t case the finish problems here. Perhaps it was the way I sprayed it? I haven’t been using Alclad for very long, so I probably got something wrong with the application of it.
Anyway, I’m not happy with the end result – so it’s time for a re-spray.
This is one of those times when you have to decide whether you can “live with it”. It has taken so long to get to this stage that it would be daft to ignore the problem, I know I would regret it in the future. So time to re-mask it up and go for the re-spray…
For the re-spray I came to the decision that the tone of the Light Aluminium Alclad was too white for my liking. it looked fine on its own, but against the camo it was way too light.
Also I didn’t want to risk spraying Alclad and getting the same texture problems that I got last time. I need to hone my Alclad skills quite a bit before I’m confident using it, I have a 1/48 Airfix new tool Lightning in the stash, so that will probably be my apprenticeship into using Alclads for real. So for the re-spray I chose to go back to what I know – Mr Metal Colour buffable metaliser.
I know I can get very fine finishes with almost no fleck using metaliser. The drawback of metaliser is that when you apply a clear coat to it, it loses its metallic shine and ends up looking like silver paint. However in this case this is exactly what I’m looking for – high speed silver is silver paint and not bare metal – ideal 🙂
Having found the Light Aluminium to be way too light I chose Mr Metal Colour Stainless Steel for this attempt.
As you can see below it’s definitely darker and doesn’t have quite as much fleck to it…
After a quick buff it’s looking quite promising…
To be sure that I’d got it right this time I applied a coat of Humbrol Matt Cote (which will be the final finish for the model) so that I could see how the metaliser would dull down.
As you can see below the dulling down of the metaliser is quite dramatic…
The only way to see how the new finish would look was to unmask it and see how it sits against the camo…
Way too dark and grey :'(
Totally over-compensated there *sob*
Third time lucky then…
Another masking session and this time I’m ready to apply a coat of Mr Metal Colour buffable metaliser, but instead of Stainless Steel I chose to use Aluminium this time.
Also I gave the underside a really good wet sand with the blue side of a Flory polishing sponge. This eliminated any texture from the previous finishes to give the next coat a fighting chance of being smooth and texture and fleck free.
Here she is looking nice and shiny after a coat of Mr Metal Colour Aluminium.
And after a bit of buffing, looking really nice. A shame it will be dulled down with a clear coat, but nice to see her looking as shiny as a Sabre.
And the acid test – a good coat of Klear – and see what results…
That’s more like it!
The Klear has turned the lovely metallic finish into a lovely high speed silver finish!
Looking a bit closer, hardly any fleck to the finish and looking nice and smooth!
And after the unmasking ritual I’m happy with the contrast between the camo and the underside…
It’s a bit clean but I can fix that!
Now that things are back on track, it’s time to do a bit of post-shading on the underside prior to decaling.
For the post-shading I used Tamiya X-19 Smoke. It’s tricky to spray because it is so thin you can hardly see how it goes down. Very easy to over-do it, subtlety is the key here.
Here she is with the underside pre-shaded and looking a bit more life-like.
Next job: Touching up here and there and another coat of Klear in anticipation of decaling 🙂