2nd July 2015
Blimey, where did those past 6 months go!? Honestly, you put your kit to one side and 182.5 days later a whole 6 months has flown by!
At risk of taking another 6 months to get this update finished, I will pick up where I left off (after blowing all the dust off).
Since the previous two updates were mainly about filling and sanding, I thought I’d kick off this update with some filling and sanding. I know it’s not your favourite, but it’s not mine either so if I’m going to have to sit fettling for evenings on end, everyone is going to help me. Or at least have to scroll through it 😉
Last time I was working on the tail pipe section, so it seemed like a good place to pick up from. The tail pipe join seem just didn’t want to go away, so here it is after having had another daubing with styrene sheet dissolved into Mr Cement-S (gloop).
Whilst in this area I noticed a sink mark either side of the fin (circled in red below).
So that also got a dab or two of gloop.
While that lot dries, it’s time to get back to the Sabrina’s (ammo clip collectors)…
Before gluing, I rubbed away the primer underneath where the Sabrina’s sit. This is to make sure the glue gets a good bond with the plastic. To be honest Tamiya extra thin tends to burn through acrylic paint no problem, but I tend to do this out of habit.
Before gluing the Sabrina’s I clamped them down with some F-Clamps (no idea if these clamps ever came back into stock as they were discontinued shortly after I bought my sets), not because they are likely to ping off like Babs Windsor’s at a holiday camp, but because they don’t quite conform to the shape of the fuselage and the clamps help them sit nicely
All too soon it’s time to get back to sanding and filling.
The seams are starting to get there now…
To get a better idea of how much work needs to be done on seams, I give them a polish with a polishing stick as this helps to show up any minor pits and blemishes. I prefer to do as much work like this without spraying on primer as I don’t want to clog up any detail with paint yet, and also you can dry sand plastic but if you dry sand paint it clogs your sanding sticks (you need to sand painted surfaces wet).
Having gone as far as I can without primer, it’s time to spray some primer (Tamiya flat grey) over the seams to show up any problems.
And there were a few…
Here you can see some decent sized pits in the seam. Even though this had several coats of gloop, the pits still managed to survive until this stage.
Same on the other side, though not so bad.
And a small hole at the base of the fin.
For this kind of work Mr Surfacer 500 works brilliantly. It’s a cellulose based filler with the consistency of very thick primer. Or a cellulose based primer with the consistency of fairly thin filler.
Either way it is perfect for filling scratches and pits, though you can’t use it for large problems as it doesn’t build very high and shrinks a lot.
One job to take care of when Mr Surfacer is in town is a mis-scribe on the starboard wing. Here the scribing tool ran out of the groove and caused the panel line to run into a siding. A small dab of Mr Surfacer will fill this precisely.
And back on the tail-pipe a few dabs of Mr Surfacer will deal with the pits and voids.
When using Mr Surfacer I apply a daub as shown below. Leave it for 10-15 minutes so that it shrinks back a bit and then apply another coat. If you don’t do this it will shrink below the surface of the blemish and you’ll need to apply a second coat anyway.
When totally dry (hard enough that you can’t dent it with a fingernail) simply sand it smooth with a fine sanding sponge. Note that this is best wet sanded, simply dip the sanding sponge in water before sanding. This prevents the sanding stick from clogging, make the filler sand faster, and also prevents the risk of the filler chipping as you sand it. Afterall the last thing you want is to fill a hole with surfacer, sand it and end up creating a new hole!
Right. After what truly feels like a marathon session on the sanding sticks it’s time to prepare for primer!
First job is to sort out the canopy.
As you can see below the front canopy section has got some nasty scratches on it (circled in red below).
These were on the inside of the glass, and were removed with 3000 grit Micromesh.
BTW If you have never used Micromesh I strongly recommend you get a pack! Micromesh is a type of polishing cloth used in the Jewellery trade for polishing Jewellery. It’s basically like cloth based wet and dry paper and comes in a range of grits from 1000 up to 12000. The 1000 grit is quite coarse and will take off a lot of meat, whereas the 12000 grit can be used to bring a mirror polish to a surface. You can pick up a variety pack of various grits on eBay for not too much money, and the good news is it lasts for ages as you can wash it in soapy water to unclog it.
Here’s the polished canopy after working from 3000 grit Micromesh up to 12000 grit.
Next up is a coat of sheep dip.
Ok, not sheep dip – just checking that you’re still reading, but a dip of Klear. The Klear I’m using here is the new version known as Pledge Wax in the UK.
Here the Klear has been decanted into a clean container and the canopy is about to be dipped in.
And after dipping the canopy is placed under a cover to protect it from dust while it dries. This is just the packaging from a set of photo etch.
After dipping in Klear, the canopy is given a few days to fully cure. Leaving it overnight would probably be enough time but I wasn’t in any rush.
Next job is to mask up the canopy to paint the interior frame.
Normally I wouldn’t bother with this, but this is a big scale (1/32) and the canopy is going to be open. If I don’t paint the interior frame in matt black there is the danger that when you look inside you will see glossy black interior framing. Not a big deal maybe, but it could be enough to destroy the illusion of scale when photographed later. And remember that the camera takes pictures with much more detail than the eye can see, so if something is going to look a bit naff, it will look a lot naff in a good quality photograph.
Painted and unmasked. Not the finest canopy masking and painting job in the world maybe, but good enough to fool any eye that ventures to peer inside.
Besides, it’s the exterior frame masking that will make or break it 😉
Time to dry fit the front canopy to see how it sits.
Not too bad, but there is a bit of a step on the starboard side and front (circled in red below). This doesn’t look like much, but if left like this it will be almost impossible to deal with once the canopy is glued down and given that the canopy is the focal point of the aircraft any imperfections here will spoil the whole look of the model.
I spent 5 minutes or so carefully sanding the underside of the canopy until it sat more flush with the fuselage – time well spent.
Here’s the front canopy after having been glued in place.
I usually use PVA glue for attaching canopies, but on a few builds have had problems where the PVA ha bobbled out from under the canopy. No matter how carefully I wiped off any excess PVA I’d end up with a ragged rubbery join between the canopy and the fuselage. For that reason I have stared using Tamiya Extra thin glue to attach canopies. I’ve heard of people having problems with fogging of clear parts caused by hot glues, but so far my canopies have been fine. Perhaps coating the canopies in Klear prevents fogging?
Anyway, the front canopy is solidly attached and will be easy to fair in and fill after priming.
With the canopy attached it’s time to mask up the cockpit prior to priming the whole thing.
For this one I couldn’t use the rear canopy as a mask because it overlaps the fuselage at the rear of the cockpit. So instead I’m masking the cockpit with card and tape.
Here a piece of card has been cunningly fashioned into the basis of my masking strategy. Not sure this warrants a strategy, but I’m going to use one anyway!
Next up the easy bits are masked in with Tamiya tape.
And the tricksy bits are masked with Humbrol Maskol.
I have to say Maskol is one of my favourite products. For the right application is has no rival and turns what would otherwise be an awkward job into an absolute piece of cake (or piece of masking ).
That’s it for now folks…
Hopefully my next update will be soon to follow, and will involve getting the canopy masked up and the fuselage primered.
To be honest I’ve spent so many hours prepping the bodywork I’m not expecting to find any nightmares revealed by the primer, so from here we’re onto the fun stuff and progress should be rapid and dramatic.