I last posted an update for this build back in June of 2022, and since then, things have been a little quiet at the workbench. I’m pleased to report, however, that there has been some recent progress, so let’s catch up!
After having finished the propeller, I started the process of painting the main airframe, and this began with the chequered nose. After masking off the exhaust stacks, I used the same SMS RLM04 yellow that I’d used on the spinner to lay down a base coat around the nose:
To create the chequers, I scanned the kit decals, imported them into Silhouette Studio, and using the auto-trace function, turned them into cut files that I could output to my Silhouette Portrait cutter. This was a somewhat fiddly and time-consuming process, but the results were worth the effort. Once cut, I applied the chequers to the model, masking out the yellow squares I wanted to keep:
This was followed by a quick dose of SMS Red, put on without any additional thinning:
And the result:
As expected, the vinyl masks didn’t conform all that well around the chin intake area, leaving things a bit untidy:
After applying the necessary touch-ups, I gave the whole area a gloss coat to protect the paint from subsequent masking. I couldn’t resist a test-fit of the prop while I was at it!
Of course, we’re a long way from the painting stage just yet, as I need to deal with the canopy—and in this case, it involves the Squadron vacuform replacement, which is far superior to the kit part. But it also comes with all the challenges that vacuform canopies present in terms of cutting them free of their backing sheets!
With older kits especially, I generally like to attach windscreen parts prior to the painting stage, so that I can address any fit issues and make them appear as part of the airframe, rather than simply stuck on. Below is the Squadron vacuform windscreen test-fitted to the airframe:
The fit is OK, though it will still need some work. I felt, however, that the part itself was actually too thin for scale, which surprised me somewhat. Here it is in comparison to the kit part:
The kit windscreen, while correspondingly too thick for scale, still presented a more credible appearance to my eye, so—much to my own bemusement—I opted to use it instead of the vac part!
Having made that decision, the next step was to mask it, in preparation not only for the painting stage, but also to protect it from any work that might need to be done to ensure a good fit (filling, sanding, etc). On this occasion, however, my normally reliable, tried-and-true methods for canopy masking all let me down! I usually consider myself pretty adept at this task, but this time around, I had to relent and do something I normally don’t do: buy canopy masks! I opted for the full Montex set, which was pretty much all I could find that included canopy masks designed specifically for this kit:
This has, so far, been the only deviation from my original only what’s in the box mantra for this build. Sometimes, you just have to get out of your own way!
So, the windscreen was duly masked up, and test-fitted onto the airframe:
It was at this point that I realised that I’d completely forgotten about the gunsight! A decent resin example is provided as part of the Grand Phoenix cockpit set, so I painted it up, added the reflector glass from clear acetate packaging material, and installed it in place:
Of course, it turns out that it should be black, not light grey, but by the time I discovered this, the windscreen had been glued in place, and it was too late. That’s model building, sometimes! It still looks OK though, I think:
Note that the interior of the windscreen was sprayed black prior to installation.
So, that’s it for this update. Next time, we’ll finish off canopy work, get the main landing gear finished, and make a start on the paint work.