20th December 2014
Well this build is turning into quite the advent calendar on the countdown to the 25th.
Next job was to get the cockpit ready for action. In the process of sorting out the bodywork with the canopy off, the black areas of the cockpit had got a bit scuffed up. A quick blow over with Tamiya Nato Black soon tidied that up…
After that a quick dry brush with some Tamiya German Grey and then some Citadel Necron Compound (Silver to you and me) and the cockpit area is ready to finished off.
Here we are with our heroes ready for action… The poles have been removed from their behinds, and a soothing coat of Revell Contacta adhesive applied before sitting them in their office…
And another shot from the other side…
Time to fit the canopy…
The canopy is probably the worst part of this kit, due to the way Academy have moulded it.
On the real Tomcat, the clear part of the rear canopy is attached to a chunky metal bottom frame (as it typical for many military jets of the era). Rather than implementing this in the model, Academy decided to have the bottom frame attached to the fuselage, and the canopy attached onto the frame. The problems are twofold:
1. You can’t set the rear canopy in the open position unless you perform some surgery on the bottom frame. You’d need to cut it away from the rear section to allow it to hinge open.
2. The clear part of the canopy is too narrow and only just sits on the lower frame.
You can just about see problem (2) in the photo below. If you look at the lower right corner of the canopy (as you look at the photo) you can see the edge of the clear part doesn’t quite make it onto the bottom frame leaving a small gap.
In the photo below I’ve got the rear canopy PVA glued in place with a few blobs of white tack to hold it precisely in position so that it doesn’t fall inside the fuselage.
While that dries, onto the masking of the front canopy section.
These days, for fiddly canopy masking, I prefer to mask them by cutting 1mm wide strips of Tamiya tape and masking along the edges of the canopy frame, curving the tape to fit as I go.
I’ve had a few problems in the past with being able to see the frame lines to cut along when using the technique of masking over the whole area and then cutting out the frame parts in-situ. And if you slip when cutting it’s too easy to accidentally scribe a panel line across a pane of glass.
Besides, given that the canopy below is 1/72 I’d never have been able to cut that accurately if I tried to cut the curves out of the tape on the canopy.
And then mask off the middle bits with Humbrol Maskol…
With various canopy bits drying, it’s time to get on with the weapons and fiddly bits.
Here’s the various missiles, pylons, drop tanks and arrestor hook, pre-shaded and ready for some colour.
BTW I had a bit of a problem with the pre-shading going all speckly. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, afterall it’s only pre-shading, so put it down to a dirty airbrush and moved on. Later in the build I found out why the pre-shading was speckly – all will be revealed in due course!
For the attachment end of the arrestor hook I sprayed it with Tamiya Sky Grey XF-19, which is going the be the main colour of the finished bird. The grey bit was then protected with Maskol before applying the white coat…
Here are the painted bits…
The drop tanks are done in Tamiya Sky Grey with a bit of bleaching.
The other parts are plain old Tamiya Flat White, with the heads of the Phoenix missiles (the big ones) having been blown over with Sky Grey.
Looking at Top Gun, none of the Tomcats carried Phoenix missiles in the film, but since Academy included a decent set of them I decided to fit them in the name of artistic license and of making the finished Tomcat look cool.
As you well know, the film Top Gun uses more artistic license than the Magic Roundabout, so my conscience is clear here 😉
Next up I touched up the intakes and fitted the outer missile pylons. I reckon it’ll be neater to fit them now so they get painted with the whole fuselage rather than try to fit them at the end.
Moving back to the arrestor hook, Academy supply a decal to achieve the black stripes that are found on the real thing. Given that the likelihood of an Academy decal settling down on this shape is about the same as the likelihood as me being voted President of the Stow-on-the-Wold Womens Institute strategic baking think tank (I don’t live in Stow-on-the-Wold), I decided it’d be easier to mask the stripes and paint them.
The stripes were masked with strips of cut off Tamiya tape, using a piece of the same tape to act as a space when setting them out to get them nice and even.
Finally a blob of my favourite Maskol on each end to quickly mask off the ends.
With the canopy glue dried, time to give it a blow over with some Tamiya Flat Black.
Damn, that speckling is back! Never mind, it’s all going to get covered up…
Damn it’s shiny too… Must be the thin-ness of the paint.
Nope, it’s speckly and shiny because the Tamiya Flat Black XF-1 I’ve been using is actually Tamiya Gloss Black X-1!
Bah, more haste less speed, next time I will need to read the label 😉 Never mind, it’ll all get covered over as I said 🙂
The arrestor hook also got a coat of ambiguous black, and after unmasking looks like a load of old humbug. Which is exactly what I was aiming for…
Racing towards getting some paint down, next job was to mask the insides of the intakes. A bit of fiddly Tamiya tape and some foam sorted that job out…
An acrylic rod in place to act as a painting handle and we’re ready for some primer…
And here she is after a nice coat of Tamiya Sky Grey (XF-19), which will also be the main colour I’m using.
And another shot of the undersides…
With the primer on there’s only a few minor seams to take care of, which is fantastic as it means I should be good to get the pre-shading and top coat on today and hopefully get the paintwork finished and Klear coated by the end of this evening, ready for decaling tomorrow.