Hasegawas 1/48 Fw-190A8, Red 19. Lovely box art, reminds me of building models in the late seventies and early eighties at home after school whilst watching The Goodies or Monkey. Good times. I wanted to do this kit justice so was prepared to spend some time with it.
Size comparison with my F-111, to be honest, i wasn't prepared for it to be this small. I decided right then that all of my future WWII aircraft would be 1/32 scale.
First up i wanted to find out as much as i could about the paint scheme. This led me down the RLM rabbit hole, one i had not been down for a fair few years and one that is definitely interesting and informative. It also confirmed my desire for an airbrush and compressor. If i wanted the colours at least close, i needed to mix them myself, plus spraying from a can was becoming too expensive. I ended up working out all of the base colours i needed, spent a couple of days research to decide on a newbies airbrush and compressor and placed my order a couple of days ago. Can't wait for it to all turn up! While i was waiting i dived into the cockpit. First up, the seat, German Grey and then dry brushed with a silver and nuetral grey mix. The seat is a red brown with flesh mix then dry brushed with flat earth.
The kit doesn't include any seat belts or seat belt detail so i decided i would have a crack at making my own. It's a simple enough affair, the biggest problem for me was working in a small scale with old eyes and big fingers. Aluminium foil covered in Tamiya tape and then cut into thin strips makes a belt that is poseable. Painted with a mix of browns to contrast the seat colour and cut to length. I hacked up a HDMI cord wire for the buckles and mounts and used the smaller sheathing wire for the upper seat belt detail. Although it was a fun little experience i would more than likely buy one of the aftermarket etch kits next time as they are priced cheap enough. My finished seat belts ended up a little bit short but still useable.
Next, onto the instrument panel and the cockpit itself. The cockpit was painted german grey, drybrushed and some brushing of the Tamiya soot compound used to dirty it up. The supplied decals are awesome for the panel and fit superbly with some Mark Fit to help them sink down onto the instruments. I used pencil to lightly mark the floor where the pilots feet would wear the paint. With the seat installed she all looked pretty good. I did the side by side with a filter purely because i thought the filtered shot looked cool.
Cockpit trial fit, no chance you will ever see the pedals or most of the detail in there once the cockpit is on. Part of the reason why i will go 1/32. The pit sat nicely so the fuselage was glued left to sit overnight.
The radial BMW is seven or so pieces that you will also only see a minimal amount, the fan at the front basically. I gave the lot a paint up and a drybrush regardless. The fan will get some slight chipping, weathering before she gets sealed in for good.
The outer wing cannon mount has a slot in the lower wing but not the upper so you need to make slot for it. It's a rather annoying little piece to get to fit and i ended up trimming the excess off the mount and removed, sliced off, the mount insert inside the upper wing to make for an easier flusher fit. It will need some filler to neaten it up once i move into the priming stage.
Trial fit of the engine and the four piece cowling, neat enough fit that shouldn't require any extra work. The wings will need to have the uppers fitted first so you can snap them tightly into place, they won't snap in snug with the lowers added as you cannot get your fingers in to push them up. Once they are snapped in they fit very nicely.
It was at this stage when i started thinking about adding flaps. I was sort of stuck at what to do until my brush turned up and was wanting to add more detail. Flaps was the easiest thing i could think of that i could make with some card. I looked up a bunch of different aftermarket flap kits and decided these would be easy enough to replicate. So off came the lower wing flaps.
Once i had sliced them off i couldn't turn back so they had to be done, that was my theory anyway. Looking at the etched flaps i decided it was going to be easy enough to make a ladder out of thin card and then use squared card rod that i could cut triangles out of to get the same shape. I whacked up a quick pre production version.
All i needed to do was make a couple of neater versions and sand down the triangles to the same angle and i was good to go. The top overhang has to be cut and folded over, make sure that it fits neatly into the wing and we got some home made flaps with detail! Flap production was now in full swing.
I've yet to decide on how far down the flaps will hang but probably much the same as the pics above. The flap rib/ladder contraption i made sits flush but is fairly flexible and the reason why it isn't flushed up in the picture above. I also realise i was using the opposite side flaps for the picture as well, damn noob i am sometimes. The upper rib section that goes on the top inside wing was far easier. Very thinly cut strips of card, about 3/4 of a millimetre wide and nine pieces in total finishes out the detail for the flap area. This small add on made me want to also add some more detail to the wheel bay area, which is where i will be looking next.
Airbrush gear turned up! A little Badger 100LG with a .25mm needle and a 1/6 HP Hseng compressor with a 3l tank and a moisture trap. I spent an hour mucking around with pressures and test spraying then mixed my first colour, RLM02, and started spraying.
This all seemed far too easy. By day two i was at this stage.
I was getting splatters and a ton of tip dry. Basically after an initial spray, once i let go of the trigger, the next spray was splattery and terrible. I pulled the whole brush apart, partly to clean and partly to see how it all worked. Moving right along again. I'm still unsure of what makes a really good mix, i'm using 50/50 paint and thinner and then varying between using retarder and not. A basic mix will be this RLM 75: XF2:7 + XF24:3 + XF27:.5. So 10.5 drops of Tamiya Acrylic in total. 10 drops of the X20A Tamiya thinner and then 1 of retarder. Then i double or triple it depending on how much i am painting. My other issue had been that i wasn't fully holding the air all the way down once i pulled back and engaged the paint, once i realised this was happening i have started to become aware of it every time, more air, more air! Next issue was getting the air pressure right. The last coat of paint i applied was my neatest, i dropped the psi down to about 15-18 and don't seem to be getting as much overspray at the edges. Originally i was above 20 and even 30. Lot's of moments of dry tip (dried paint on the needle) causing splatters to shoot out. It never does it on the paper, only when you point it at the model. The airbrush effing knows. So, lot's to tweak and learn. I did think my mixes were looking pretty good colour wise though.
So i was spraying along my first colour camo coat semi happily when this happened...
I pressed back to quickly on the trigger and flooded the area with colour, in a panic i grabbed a paper towel and made it worse when wiping it and then compounded it by wiping thinners over it. Then a thinner and paint spill happened and it all went to the dogs for a bit. I cleaned up the worst of mess and walked away for a bit as it gave me the shinizzles and already being frustrated, the spill topped it off. 1st world problems huh. Attacking it again after a an hour break i cleaned up the whole area and then sat down and sanded the model all over, lightly, i am not losing (memories of the F-111) panel lines on this one if i can help it. There was a fair bit of overspray anyway and some chunks that needed removal so not sanding was never an option. The gun cowl came up good with some 1500 grit and that Vallejo primer underneath just kept on falling off every time i even looked at it. Weird stuff. The very last mix and coat i had done was the grey (RLM75) at the lower psi which feels right for me and gave me some relief that it came out nice and i managed to control it a lot better than any attempt at painting so far. The green in these pics needs another coat still after just being sanded so hopefully will come up ok. I am going to have to do another coat of the light blue colour down the sides as well owing to earlier over spray and sanding since, the tail dots have some issues as well so it needs a light dust of the blue and new dots. Hopefully by tomorrow this thing will not be a wreck, stay tuned!
Even at this stage i was struggling with the brush. You can see in the pics above the tail work is either really quickly sprayed dots or very thin nearly runny blobs with the paint blown out of the middle and towards the edges. Overall i had a basic Luftwaffe camo pattern going on, and the colours were ok but my spraying was rubbish really. I decided i needed to get serious and work it out. I did a few hours of testing, spraying from 15, 20,25,30 and 40 psi with a mix, cleaning in between every psi change and then changing my mix until i had covered from a 50/50 mix to 60/40 , a 70/30 and some others in between. After some conversations over at the Large Scale Planes forum and the Reddit Models sub i ended up finding my groove at 10-12 psi and a roughly 60/40-65/35 mix of thinners/paint. Another piece of advice i picked up was to polish the needle tip.
So now i had a baseline of my paint mixes being in about the 60/40 paint/thinners range at 10-12 psi and doing nice light coats. About three coats for full coverage. Another problem i had was not always keeping the air pushed down when pulling back for paint. The polishing of the needle tip also helped in the dry tip department. So after this it was full steam ahead as the last two days (after the initial good spray) had been a bit confidence shattering. I had also had a go at the hairspray chipping method on the wing roots but had failed at that as well. I had sprayed some matte silver over the undercoat and then decanted the hairspray and sprayed it over top then layed down my first coat of colour. The next step, after drying time, was to let some water soak in and then lightly brush at it. I think my issue was i didn't get enough hairspray down for full coverage as it started to work as the top layer of colour came off in areas but then went right down to the undercoat and plastic as i worked it more. So more drying time and then reprime and recoat that area. This shot shows the left wing root recoated and the top coats on. I missed a bunch of pics in between the undercoat and up to this stage as i had been concentrating on getting my spraying sorted.
To take a break from any actual spraying for a bit i decided to work on the prop and spinner. The spiral decal seemed a challenge and i had seen various ways of painting it. I decided to give the decal a shot first ...it was terrible and ill fitting. After 30 minutes of mucking around i binned it back into the water and went with attempting to mask it myself.
I started out by free handing it as a guide and then masking it. I managed about half of the spiral but could not mask the top so just painted it and hoped for the best.
My plan from here was to clean away the edges and then weather it a bit and basically just work it and see where i ended up. The first weathering attempt was way overdone as you will see.
So i washed the weathering dust off , nearly sanded it all back but instead spent about thirty minutes wandering around with it and a semi heavy duty make up brush just feathering it up and down whilst rotating it. Sounds nasty, but all legit. This smoothed it a bit and whitened the white up and i was about at the stage i was before the weathering. I touched up a few spots with a really weak black mix and a flattened toothpick, and some of the white spots to get some better looking curves (ooo yeah) then attacked it again with the make up brush and just stared at it for ages wondering if it looked better or worse. Not the highlight of my week that's for sure. I've ended up with the pic below and just had to pull up on it, i mean, how much time can you put into a spinner before you really have to question your sanity? I'm just calling it a field repaint by a drunk luftwaffe cook.
I moved back to the plane itself today after having a break and doing the spinner. A mix of dark grey and black for the fuselage aft of the exhaust which will be sooted over later. Hopefully it isn't too dark but really i'm just happy i got paint on without wrecking anything. The rest of the of the paint job is finished at this stage. I blew a light coat of the RLM76 all over the previous coat so i could redo the mottling on the tail and the complete fuselage section. The grey and green upper wings and fuselage has been redone as well. I think the line demarcation is a lot finer the second time around as well as the gun hump area. Overall i'm pleased with it compared to the first attempt and glad i did some question asking and testing. I feel like my airbrush and i are now becoming good buddies.
Things started to move along comfortably now. The undercarriage i hand brushed and weathered with some panel line accent and Tamiya soot. The tyres were sprayed with a very thin mix of black with a touch of rubber black, two coats, and then just brushed with a dry dirty brush to knock back the shine. The rims were undercoated in my RLM02 mix and top coated with the same black mix i used for the tyres with Tamiya rust and water mix to dirty them up. The exhaust manifolds were a brown mix that was covered with a light coat of black and then brushed with the Tamiya soot.
I had the camo colours flipped on one side with the tail so had to repaint. My mix was off by one drop and this was the result, my grey was too green. The offending tail got a respray before final fit.
Weathering for the lower exhaust, this will mostly be hidden by the drop tank mount.
Gloss coat before decal application. I need to mix a better gloss coat in future builds as this was still a bit light on regards gloss v thinners.
These little buggers, not really hard just a bit fiddly. I trimmed them so there was not much clear left around the sides as it overhangs and need trimming once dry. Trimming them first negates that task.
The decals are fairly thick but sat as good as could be expected with some help from the MarkFit. Multiple applications help them soften enough and i'm hoping once i flat it all out that they don't look so popped out. I've also mucked around with one side here with the exhaust soot.
Mildly weathered side vs clean side. Undercarriage and drop tank and mounting are on. Armament in the background drying. Pretty happy with the decals despite the thickness.
The gunsight. Fairly sure i did not get the glass angles correct.. but because they are smaller than a gnats butt i was just happy being able to get them on without gunking the plastic
Wingtip lights. One painted with a coat of MFD green and the other with a very thinned down dab of red. This is just sitting in the tip, they were pushed in nearly flush and were a tight fit so no glue.
Canopy. Happy with how these two pieces turned out. Masking was a pain whereas the unmasking was rewarding. The exact opposite of KISS.
As is usual with my modelling, why do something once when you can do it twice. I had to remask the rear section again to do the top and repaint the rear as it was too thin. All of the small excess in this pic came off super easily with a toothpick which was my biggest worry with the clear pieces. I am wondering now if i have to remask to seal it with the final matt coat or just leave it be and not coat it at all.
Two extra pieces for the gear i nearly forgot about. They really needed to go on when i glued the struts as i imagine they would have given me the exact alignment of the gear without me spending ages setting up a jig of sorts and mark 1 eyeballing it all. Anyway, they were a bit of a bastard to get on post gear gluing but much prodding, tongue alignment in mouth and flexing of plastic parts had them clip in. This pic is pre clipped in waiting for the centre mount to dry, you can see the little eyelet on the gear swinging in the breeze one side and the other one closer to camera extended past the leg cover.
Weathering was an on off ongoing progress as the build got closer to completion. Because i had not applied a good enough gloss coat, i made it hard on myself. I did some slight post shading with a brush and some weathering dust on panel lines and gun port bullet exits and ome very mild panel accent in the undercarriage bay along with some dry brushing. The rest of the plane i kept pretty clean besides the exhaust stains and some dusting on the undercarriage covers. Overall i was pretty happy with how it turned out with the amount of mistakes i made along the way that i mostly managed to fix and end up with a decent result. After much mucking around with the cockpit, deciding on open/closed she is done. Despite all of my stuffing around with waiting until daytime, using two lamps with new bulbs, buying new a new card backdrop the colours are still not quite right when translated to pictures. Anyway, i'm actually pretty proud of this little beast. Some things went wrong in the build and some things went right and of course halfway through the pictures i snapped the tail wheel when moving it and the rear cockpit canopy fell off. More glue required and some wait time for the wheel to heal but it gave me the option to close the cockpit for some shots so that was a bonus. I also noticed i forgot the loop antenna on the bottom fuselage, thus the hole where i still need to fit it. She has her spot on the shelf now and i relegated the F- 111 to my daughters room with her War of the Worlds model and Batman figurines.