16th July 2015
On with the masking…
The paint job for this one is going to be pretty much your bog standard 1960’s RAF Grey/Green Camo with high speed silver undersides. So the masking will be pretty straight forward with nothing too fancy going on.
The first thing to mask were the intakes, these have been previously sprayed with silver metaliser, so I don’t want any grey or green getting in there.
The easiest way to mask the intakes was to use slivers of Tamiya tape to mask the hard edges, and then fill in the remainder using my trusty Maskol.
Next up was the canopy.
Although the canopy is a good fit there was a small gap where it meets the fuselage, this got a light going over with Perfect Plastic Putty (PPP). Once again, the best technique here is to work a small amount into the gap with a spatula (I use a small artists palette knife as it is nice and flexible). I work on one side at a time because the PPP dries so fast, so once the PPP has been applied I quickly wipe off the excess with a slightly moist cotton bud (too wet and you just pull the PPP back out of the gap).
Here you can see the feint white seam of PPP running around the base of the canopy.
Onto the canopy masking…
You might be able to see in the photo that the corners of the glass in the canopy have a slight radius to them, they are not sharp corners. I want to achieve a nice radius on the corners of the panes of glass, for which I had a cunning plan…
For masking canopies I have never gotten on very well with the technique of applying a large piece of tape to the canopy and cutting it in-situ with a sharp blade. I either slip and scribe a panel line through the canopy, don’t slip but bunch up the masking tape and end up with a wrinkled edge, or don’t slip and don’t wrinkle the tape but manage to cut the tape in completely the wrong place. I think this technique is good if you’re working on a modern fighter jet canopy where there is very little canopy framing, and the frames are long well defined lines. But for anything slightly older (especially those German WW2 bombers whose canopies resembled green-houses) there has to be an easier way.
The method I’ve been enjoying recently is to mask up a canopy by cutting small pieces of Tamiya tape and applying them as a patchwork to the glass.
This lead me onto a cunning way to cut very fine radii (or curveses) in masking tape.
I had a few attempts at cutting the curves with scissors, but this just didn’t work out at all. Then I tried free-handing the curves with a sharp blade. Again, no go.
Then I tried using a LionRoar scribing template as a guide for a fresh new No.11 scalpel blade and it worked like a charm!
Here you can see a bit of masking tape stuck to my cutting mat, with the template in place and ready to guide the blade…
And here we are with the first bit of tape stuck into the corner of the pane of glass where I wanted to mask the fine radius.
Two more radii later and that’s the corners of one pane of glass masked.
Here’s the remaining tight corners masked.
For the front glass panel there are some larger radii to mask. As it happens I had some nice looking curves available in my scribing template, here’s a likely candidate lined up ready for cutting.
As it turned out the cut shape didn’t exactly fit the canopy panel, so I cut it in half and decided to mask the top part of the front glass panel in two bits.
Here’s the first half masked, the masking tape fits the curve exactly.
I cut the same shape again and cut it in half to create the other half of the top radius.
Next job was to mask the lower curve of the front glass panel. Again, a simple job to select a suitable curve on the scribing template and use it as a guide for the scalpel blade.
Next the sides are masked in with thin strips of Tamiya tape which were cut with a straight edge and a scalpel.
By cutting the strips quite narrow (about 1.5mm) they can be easily curved to match the curvature of the canopy frame.
The same process was used to mask the canopy frame on the side windows. Once the sides have been masked it’s a simple process to fill in the middles with bits of tape.
The centres of the panes could have also been masked with Maskol, but Maskol can be a bit fragile so for this one I decided to use tape as it is less likely to be disturbed by manual handling.
Here’s the aftermath of all that cutting and masking…
And the freshly masked canopy…
After the canopy was masked it was time to get a coat of primer (Tamiya flat black) over the canopy to check the fit around the edges.
I was happy with the results. There is a slight scratch at the bottom of the front frame, but am going to leave that in there as wear and tear.
Next job will be to prime the entire fuselage, but one thing I will avoid is getting any light grey primer over the canopy frame. The last thing I want when I unmask the canopy at the end is to have a seam of light grey visible around the edge of the canopy frame. Keeping it black will avoid this.
I also try to keep the paint thin over the canopy frame otherwise it can look a bit clunky when you unmask the canopy and have about 1mm thick of paint built up on the canopy frame.
After all that preparation, the primer coat is done and dusted in a matter of minutes. For this I used Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey, simply because I have a few pots of it.
With the primer on you can really see the nice detail that Revell managed to get into the bodywork…
Next up – pre-shading.
This was Tamiya Flat Black sprayed at low pressure and close up along the panel lines and riveted joints. I’ve also applied some softer shading to large panel edges and a few random blemishes here and there.
It might look a bit of a nightmare at the moment, but when the top coats go on it’s easy to choose how much pre-shading gets left showing. Ranging from none at all – to quite a lot.
With the priming complete and the pre-shading finished (note that the underside is not pre-shaded as it will be sprayed with Alclad 2 Aluminium and pre-shading won’t show through it), it was time to have a good eyeball around the model to check for any outstanding problems.
It all looked good, all that prep work paid off!
But a quick scan through the instructions highlighted a few small parts that needed to be fitted…
First up were some small ducts at behind the front wheel well.
Also the mounting bracket for the air brake needed to go on.
Incidentally, when they originally built the Hunter it didn’t have an airbrake. They decided to retro-fit one as it wasn’t a good idea to have a fighter/ground attack aircraft that wasn’t able to slow itself down and stabilise itself. All kinds of positions were tried for airbrake attachment including having an airbrake attached laterally to each side of the rear fuselage. In the end it was determined that fitting the airbrake underneath provided the right balance and after trying various distances forward and backwards the optimum position was found that did not induce any nose up / nose down effects when deployed.
Also fitted at this stage is a rear bumper.
Onto the top coat for the bottom (if that makes sense)…
The underside on this vintage of Hunter would have been what’s known as “High Speed Silver”. This was a 50/50 mixture of aluminium and cellulose dope which gave the distinctive silver finish.
For this I decided to use Alclad 2 Light Aluminium. The reason I didn’t use Aluminium is that I don’t possess any. That and the fact that that I wanted to do the underside quite bright so that it can be dulled down with weathering.
To apply the Alclad I fitted my airbrush (Harder & Steenbeck Evolution) with a 0.4mm needle and set the pressure to about 12 PSI. I usually spray with a 0.2mm needle, moving up to the 0.4 will allow for the paint to go down faster on a big model like this, and will also allow for a finer spray pattern. Well that’s the theory 😉
Here’s the underside after the Alclad has been applied. [NOTE: I later came to regret my decision to use Light Aluminium Alclad – but more about that in a future update!]
Alclad 2 dries quite tough, but just to be sure I gave it a coat of Klear to protect it during the next masking phase, and to prevent any scratches caused by fingernails when unmasking (my usual party piece).
Next update: masking up and applying the camo 🙂