With the landing gear ready, it was time to shift focus to the cockpit. So far, I have meticulously removed all the relevant parts from the sprues and cleaned them up, including all the intricate components that make up the cockpit's equipment. In the next step, I used these parts to assemble sub-components like the pilot and gunner seats, left and right consoles, and various other elements.
Cockpit Assembly and Painting
To elevate the interior even further, I incorporated photo-etched (PE) parts from Eduard. It's worth noting that at this stage of the build, I only applied PE parts that were not pre-painted. This phase involved several steps.
First, I prepared certain surfaces by carefully sanding off any protruding elements. Next, I attended to the PE parts themselves, bending and folding them as needed. In the final step, I adhered the photo-etched elements according to the instructions. It's interesting to note that not all PE parts were a perfect fit for the cockpit. For instance, one had to be positioned between the gunner's seat and the left console, but there simply wasn't enough space for it. Another would have gone on the aft right side of the cockpit, but it would have protruded significantly beyond the cabin glazing line. Additionally, I couldn't find any references to such equipment in any photos, so it ended up in the spare parts box.
With the previous steps completed, I cleaned the cockpit parts with IPA to prepare them for the first coat of paint, or rather primer. I used Black Surface Finisher 1500 from MR Hobby. For the base color, I selected RLM66 from AK Interactive. To introduce contrast and break the monotony of a single dark color, I employed a shading technique.
First, I added a touch of black to the base color and airbrushed the lower portions of the cabin crew, as well as the undersides of protruding elements. Then, I mixed in a bit of white with the base color and airbrushed the higher parts of the cockpit and the top surfaces of protruding equipment. I airbrushed at a specific angle to ensure that the paint reached only the required areas. To complete the base painting process, I protected everything with a layer of gloss clear coat.
Upon closer inspection of Ju88 cockpit photos, it became apparent that some of the cabin floor was made of wood or at least covered with it. Therefore, I decided to recreate this wood texture. I focused on the most noticeable areas, which are - to the right of the pilot's seat and between radio-operator seat and back bulkhead. First, I masked the surrounding areas with tape and then airbrushed the surface with XF-59 Desert Yellow Matt. After a few hours, I applied two different colors of oil paints (Smoke and Faded Dark from Abteilung) to achieve a wood grain effect. To bring it all together and add vibrancy to the colors, I airbrushed a layer of X-26 Clear Orange and then removed the masking tape.
I then proceeded with the pre-colored photo-etched parts, adhering them according to the instructions. I excluded the smallest ones that could be easily damaged or lost during the handling of the cockpit parts, saving them for a later stage in the cabin-building process.
In the next stage, I painted the small cockpit elements and equipment using various acrylic colors. To mimic leather, I mixed H47 Red Brown and H37 Wood Brown. Some small elements and the ribs of the cockpit sides were painted with the base color, mixed with a small amount of white to create a lighter shade, making these details stand out. The same color was also applied randomly (mainly on larger surfaces) using the sponge technique to break up the monotony of a single color in the cabin.
To address deeper scratches, I used A.MIG-0194 Matte Aluminum and a very fine brush, especially on the edges of different parts of the cockpit.
I initiated the weathering process with the application of Light Brown wash from Modelers World. This acted as a general wash, applied to the entire surfaces of the cockpit, bringing everything together and introducing an initial layer of dirt. Once the first layer had dried, I applied PLW Orange Brown to certain elements. To protect the work, I added a layer of clear flat H103.
Next, I used weathering pencils to simulate further scratches and then employed H102 to restore a bit of shine. Continuing, I worked on the pilot and radio-operator seats, which were already assembled, painted, and preliminarily weathered. To enhance realism, I decided to create back pads and seat cushions. I accomplished this by using a two-part epoxy putty. After mixing it, I used a modeling spatula and water to shape it properly. Additionally, I created an opening for the harness in the back pad of the pilot's seat. After letting it harden overnight, I painted them the same way as the other leather elements in the cockpit.
For the harness, I utilized high-quality textile seat-belts from HGW. These belts, made from microfiber and featuring PE buckles, provided a realistic appearance. While assembling them required patience and time, the effort was well worth it. To achieve a truly realistic look, weathering was essential. I used various oil paints, including White, Starship Bay Sludge, and Dark Mud from the Oilbrusher series. To further enhance realism, I painted all the buckles with Matte Aluminum acrylic paint.
The main instrument panel was created by using the original plastic parts as a base, with a photo-etched part added on top. The reflector sight was assembled with the addition of PE elements, painted accordingly, and attached to the main instruments panel. Then, I added all the smallest PE elements (mostly levers) and painted them with acrylics as instructed.
I proceeded with additional weathering steps, starting with oil shading using Dark Mud and White from the Oilbrushers series. I added more dirt and grime using Grime streaking brushes and various pigments. Pigments were concentrated in specific areas on the floor, especially around the rudder and seats, followed by the application of a Dirt oil wash on top.
To recreate the cables and wires that I noticed in different photos of the crew cabin, I used lead wires of various sizes from Plusmodel. I painted them using Ammo acrylic Rubber & Tires paint and then attached them to the floor and rudder, where they were clearly visible in the photos. These wires, being made from lead, were easy to shape as needed. Additionally, I recreated some of the wires on the starboard side of the cockpit, painting them with XF-8 color. Finally, I airbrushed everything with a layer of semi-gloss lacquer.
Now it was time to assemble everything together. I began by attaching the port side of the fuselage to the cockpit component. Next, I inserted the back bulkhead and glued the main instrument panel to the port side of the fuselage. The starboard side was left open because there were a few more elements to be inserted inside the fuselage before it could be closed. This approach would make it easier to perform the final weathering touches with the cockpit still accessible.
The main cockpit components have been completed, marking a significant milestone in the project. However, work is far from finished. There are still some photo-etched (PE) elements to be affixed to the glazing, as well as the addition of the gunner's lower gondola, ammunition belts, and machine guns. All of these tasks will be addressed in the upcoming stages of the model-building process.
Until next update shows up please enjoy below gallery of the finished cockpit. As always if you have any questions or feedback please leave the comment - for sure I will answer. Cheers!