The first task with this kit was to create all the missing rivets and make corrections to panel lines and hatches based on the CAD plans from the Top Drawings publication. The build process began by cutting out most, if not all, of the elements that required riveting. Each element was then carefully inspected, and any necessary corrections were made. This involved removing incorrect panel lines or unnecessary hatches using liquid putty and sanding pads. Additionally, missing elements were added using tools like scribers, various tapes, and templates.
Next came the tedious task of riveting, which is especially challenging on larger models like this one. It requires a great deal of patience and time. Accurate CAD plans are crucial for achieving an authentic recreation, and I highly recommend the Top Drawings publications. They provide scale drawings of the most important variants of the given air-frame, as well as selected color profiles.
My process for riveting is as follows:
Select an element and mark the rivet lines using a pencil. To ensure their proper placement, I use an electronic caliper to measure the distance on the scale drawing and then transfer it to the plastic part. For short distances, I hand-paint the lines, while for longer distances, I use cutting templates and various tapes as guides.
Utilize different tools to create the rivets along the marked lines. For shorter distances, I apply them by hand, while on mostly flat surfaces, I use tape as a guide, and on curved surfaces, I use cutting profiles
Remove the pencil markings with a rubber eraser, and then use sanding pads with a low gradation to remove any excess plastic left on the surface after creating the rivets.
In the case of the Ju-88 model by ICM, both the cockpit and aft landing gear needed to be finished and mounted inside before closing up the two halves of the fuselage. Therefore, I decided to also work on the front landing gear.
Moving on to the tires and rims, I removed them from the casting blocks and cleaned them up using sanding sticks and water to minimize the inhalation of resin dust. I then wrapped the sides of the rims with masking tape and attached them to another piece of tape for ease of painting. To simulate weighted wheels, I sanded them to achieve the desired effect. Next, I drilled small holes in each tire using a mini hand drill, allowing me to attach them later to the toothpicks for ease of painting. I used Mr. Surface 1200 for priming.
The rims were airbrushed with RLM 66 and protected with a clear gloss coat. I brush-painted all the details, added paint chips, applied a dark wash, and sealed the work with a satin clear coat.
The tires were painted with XF-85 Rubber Black. After drying, I applied a mixture of two washes to the treads and removed the excess after a few minutes. I used Landing Gear wash on the sides of the tires to simulate the first layer of dust. Finally, I protected everything with a flat varnish to minimize the glossy appearance.
To complete the process, I glued the rims to the tires and drilled deeper holes to allow for attachment to the struts later on. I dry brushed Tire Black color onto the surfaces of the wheels that touch the ground. Next, I sprinkled Earth wash over the entire wheels to simulate mud splashes. Following that, I applied two different colors of pigments around the rims and dabbed them with Earth wash as well. As a final touch, I applied another layer of dust on the sides of the tires and added two different types of pigments to the tread area.
As usual, I purchased resin replacements for the wheels, this time from Reskit. However, upon opening the box, I discovered that the aft wheel was molded together with the landing gear strut! I had to make a choice: either leave it as it was and only use resin wheels for the front, or remove the original wheel from the molding and attach the resin one. Despite the original part looking fine, I opted for the second solution for two reasons: the resin wheel had superior quality, and I wanted to challenge myself.
From the beginning, I knew it would be impossible to remove the wheel from the molding without damaging the original part. Thus, I attempted to do it as gently as possible. First, I removed the side connectors between the mudguard and the strut, and then I started removing the wheel itself. I had to be extremely careful not to damage the mudguard in the process. Initially, I used side cutters to remove as much as I could, and then I used a mini grinder with modeling and polishing materials to recreate the recessed shape of the mudguard. I then had to rebuild the axle on both sides of the fork, using a small diameter rod cut to the proper length and attached with CA glue. Now I could reconstruct the connector between the axle and the end of the mudguard. For the top part (connecting to the mudguard), I used a thin sheet of plastic cut to the proper shape, and the rest was redone with thin wire. Last step before painting was to add all PE parts.
The front landing gear strut elements were removed from the sprues and cleaned up. Next, they were assembled and glued together. However, I noticed a few ejector pin marks on the strut support elements, luckily in an easily accessible area. I filled the small holes with liquid putty and continued by preparing all the required PE parts. Once the putty dried, I sanded it flush and attached the PE parts to the landing gear construction using CA glue. I omitted the PE parts meant to simulate hydraulic lines or brake system cables, as I prefer to create them using thin wires and Albion alloy tubes.
Painting & Weathering
With both the main and aft landing gear assembled, it was time to paint them. I started by priming them using Mr. Surfacer 1200. Once dry, I applied a pre-shading technique using diluted black paint. I focused on highlighting the higher parts of the struts and crevices. Next, I airbrushed the base color RLM 76 and protected the work with a gloss clear coat. After the clear coat dried, I heavily diluted black paint and airbrushed it into the crevices to create more shadow. Using RLM 76 acrylic paint with a touch of white added, I brush-painted all the protruding elements to enhance contrast. The shock absorber cover on the main landing gear was painted Tire Black, and the shock absorbers on the aft landing gear were painted using Liquid Chrome. Paint chips and scratches were meticulously applied with a brush and acrylic paints. Finally, I applied another layer of acrylic gloss clear coat for protection.
Moving on to weathering, I began with applying a general wash using the Brown Black wash from Modellers World. They have created a line of oil-based washes, and I must say I'm quite pleased with the effects. I applied the wash by first wetting the surface with the thinner and then using a brush to apply it. After letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, I blended it in using clean brushes. To accentuate different crevices, I also applied a pin wash using the Landing Gear wash from AK. The shock absorber cover received a layer of Dust oil wash.
The next step involved recreating the braking hoses. For this, I used two different kinds of soft wires (0.2mm and 0.3mm) connected with Albion tubes cut to the proper length. I brush-painted the hoses with Tire Black color and painted the connectors black. Finally, I airbrushed a layer of a mixture of satin and matte clear varnish, except for the shock absorber cover, which received a few layers of matte varnish.
All in all I am very happy with the results so far. Next update will be about crew cockpit, but it will arrive no sooner than September due to vacations period and ad me moving to new apartment. I hope you like this last update and as always if you have any questions please leave the comment or contact me directly.
Below few final shots of struts and wheels together. Cheers!