Miss Virginia Weathering and Final Assembly

Finally, this is the 8th and the last entry on building P-38G in 1:48 scale from Tamiya. Including 7 months of pause from modelling it took me almost a year to finish this model (I started it at the end of January this year). Such a long time span brings even higher sense of accomplishment and joy seeing the model completed in the end, but more on that in the final words of this post.

Now let me focus on the star of the show - Miss Virginia!



Weathering

Base point for weathering was a model which was painted of course and additionally has decals applied and protected with layer of gloss clear coat. Some parts will be painted and weathered separately and attached during final assembly.


General Weathering

Usually I start weathering with application of filters, just to start introducing some slight colour shifts to the camouflage colour and this model was no different. I used two different filters for underbelly - Tan for Yellow Green and Dark Grey for White. I applied them to smaller panels and hatches. For the Olive Drab on the top I used Brown for dark green filter. I repeated the application two or three times depending on where I wanted to show bigger or smaller difference to base colour.

Next stage of weathering was chipping. I used a few different techniques here. I started with mixture of Hataka Neutral Grey and White and applied small chips around panel lines using fine brush and sharpened toothpick and water in case I need to remove a chip which came up to large. Then I used the same colour mixture and used sponge chipping technique to add chips on the certain panels. Next I change the colour to a.MIG RUBBER and TIRES and although I used same techniques as with previous colours, I additionally tried to apply the darker colour inside the already painted chips. I repeated same procedure on the top of the fuselage though with different colour mixture - Hataka Olive Drab + White. Last stage of chipping was application of a.MIG Polished Metal over leading edges of the wings.

Now it was time to apply wash over panel lines. In general I apply it as a pin wash trying to put it in a crevices of panel lines only, but this time I did it differently. I used medium sized brush and just painted the Dark Sea Blue wash over the lines and waited until it was dry to the touch. Then I used cotton swabs to remove the excess in the direction of the airflow. Application in such a way aside of emphasising panel lines and rivets details served as a general filter over the camouflage. The same process was repeated over the top of the fuselage but with Dark Green Grey wash. Next I protected all the work done so far with gloss coat of Tamiya X-22.

To add another layer of general wear and tear of the aircraft I decided to imitated splashes of dirt at the bottom of the fuselage. For that I used two different products: Medium Tan from PLW line and Earth nature effects. For application I used large and stiff brush which I dubbed in the product and then pulled the bristles back which resulted in the small specks of colour on the surface. Next I corrected the mistakes with a clean brush moistened in enamel thinner. After a few minutes when the product was dry to the touch I blended it in with another clean brush. Next I repeated the above steps with second colour, tough in a more limited range on the surface.

Next I wanted to imitate dirt, grime and stains in certain areas on the fuselage. For that I used different washes from PLW line. Around engine nacelles washes were applied in two stages. During first application, first I moistened the surface with an enamel thinner using large brush and next I applied Black Night all around the nacelles, then Shadow of Desert Brown and Orange Brown in more localised way.

Having all the colour on the surface I used another brush to shape and tweak the paint to my liking. As soon as washes were dry I used clear flat brush to soften the effect a bit. Next I used same technique (though repeated twice) and a bit different suit of washes to add filth and dirtiness around the wing root area. After couple of hours when it was perfectly dry I applied another layer of washes from PLW in both areas - this time on dry surface which resulted in a more prominent and hard stains borders. Other surface parts which were treated in similar way are radiators and edges of landing gear bays.


In the next stage I decided to blend in the decals - especially larger ones. First to get a smoother surface I polished them with fine grained polishing pads. Next to get rid of the decals looking cleaner and newer than the rest of camouflage I very lightly over-sprayed them with XF-80 on the bottom and XF-49 on the top. Both paints were heavily diluted (1:10) and airbrushed with a minimal pressure.

To add a bit of chromatic variation to the top camouflage (mainly on the wing surfaces) I used technique called Enamel Fading. For that I used range of colours from Oil Brushers collection by a.MIG. I placed small dots of each colour onto the surface of the wing with a thin brush. Then using larger brush just lightly moistened in enamel thinner I started to blend them in brushing in the direction of the airflow.

It is important to blend one area at the time - otherwise everything will mix together creating a uniform filter layer and this is not an effect we are after with this technique. I used here neutral, dull colours in the browns and tans ranges. To protect all the work and prepare the surface for the weathering pencils and shaders application I airbrushed a layer of GX114 flat mat.



I used Dark Grey, Buff and Aluminium AK weathering pencils to add additional chips and paint flakes. Moreover I used Aluminium pencil to imitate metallic surface of panel fasteners around engines nacelles. Next I applied a.MIG shaders to introduce more shadows in certain areas of the fuselage and then next layer of clear coat followed - this time semi-gloss Tamiya X-35.



Streaking effects & Spill Stains

I started with streaking effect - I used for that Streaking Grime and Streaking Grime for DAK from streaking effects range of products. I applied those products over certain areas like empennage, ailerons, some panel lines. The product was brushed along panel lines and after a couple of minutes I started to blend it in by dragging it with a flat brush in the direction of the airflow. Depending on how much you wait and how diluted the product is the final effect might be quite different - just a matter of practice. For spill stains I used combination of different colours form streaking effects range, PLW range washes and AK products like Shafts and Bearings.


Exhaust Stains & Oil and Fuel marks

Some of the photos from WWII period shows very pronounced oil streaks on the bottom of gondolas which are starting at the back of the oil cooler and are dragged back over the landing gear doors and radiators and disappearing at the back of the booms. I decided to recreate those marks. To do so, first I airbrushed very diluted XF-59 paint over the area mentioned above. The further it was from the oil radiator the narrower and more diffused the pattern. Next I mixed XF-59 with XF-1 (2:1) and airbrushed it on both sides of the previously applied paint. As soon as the paint was dry I used Black Wash from a.MIG to draw a pattern of oil streaks over the applied paint. On top of that I added Shafts and Bearings product from AK and Fresh Engine Oil from a.MIG in certain areas to introduce more fresh stains. Next I I applied black Oilbrusher to add more dirt and oil streak marks and then airbrushed layer of clear flat GX113 to protect the work and make it much less glossy. As soon as it was dry a used Smoke pigment to darken the stains and at the end applied Fresh Engine Oil and Engine & Turbines washes to introduce more recent streaks and stains.

Exhaust stains are very much visible on the P-38 - they are starting just aft of the superchargers and are dragged over the top of the booms up to the vertical stabilisers. I think I was able to achieve quite realistic effect simply airbrushing three different colours. I started with mix of XF-57 and XF-2 (2:1) which I airbrushed all over the length of the pattern which was to be recreated - that was a base colour. Then I mixed XF-64 with XF-59 (1:1) and airbrushed it starting at just aft of the supercharger but inside of the previously painted colour and then followed with it a bit back creating a nicely diminishing pattern of darker colour. Finally I added to the last mix a bit of XF-1(3:3:1) and applied just in the vicinity of the super charger and then very lightly on the borders of the stain pattern so it nicely followed the surface of the radiators. Lastly I applied a bit of Smoke pigment to enhance the stains just aft of the superchargers and that was it. I will leave it as is - no additional layer of clear coat will be added on top.



Finishing parts painted separately

In between weathering stages I was able to finish and weather rest of the subassemblies, which afterwards were attached to the model.


Flaps

Assembly was easy, then painting followed - I used preshading technique, then applied metallic base and chipping fluid and followed with the base colour and actual chipping (for the details of base painting the model check previous post).


After application of gloss clear coat I followed with weathering. I started with paint chipping using same Hataka paints and same methods as for the fuselage, then washes followed and next protective layer of semi gloss H102. Next I used mottled spot technique to introduce worn paint effect - I used for that washes from PLW range. Next I applied flat mat and used weathering pencils and shaders. Another later of flat mat followed. Lastly I added streaking effects with Streaking Grime and Starship Streaking products and finally protected everything with layer of semi gloss X-35.


Gun Bay Doors

For gun bay doors I used parts from the Gun Bay set from Eduard. The inside of them is really nicely done, but unfortunately the exterior surface is missing panel line brake which should be there and is present on the original parts, so first I had to recreate it. First I measured with electronic calliper where this line should be and marked it on the surface. Then I used dymo tape to guide the carving needle and created panel line and then using Hasegawa Line Engraver I deepened them. Next I recreated fasteners by first marking with pencil spots for them, next I used carving needle once again to make small marks for the next tool - GT-70 Mr. Rivet Marking with which I finally created fasteners. Now Gun Bay doors were ready for painting. Exterior surface followed same steps as the rest of the camouflage both for painting and weathering.

Interior surface was first primed with Mr.Hobby 1500 Gray then XF-4 followed. Next I mixed XF-4 with a bit of XF-1 and airbrushed light coat of this darker colour into all the recesses of the surface. Next I protected everything with layer of clear gloss Mr.Hobby GX-112 GX112. Next decals and PE parts followed which was again protected this time with H101. Weathering started with application of Dark Green Grey wash from PLW line and as soon as it was dry I added AK Shafts and Bearings which was covered with layer of Hataka flat clear. During next step I used AK weathering pencils (aluminum, sand and dark grey) to imitate more paint scratches. Next PE hinges were glued with AK Magnet and then painted with a.MIG silver and weathered with AK Engine Wash and Turbines product. Additionally I used silver paint to add more scratches over the doors.

At this stage I decided to check the fit of the doors to the fuselage. It turned out that the doors were bit to long from the side of the gun bay back plate, so I used sanding sticks and carefully trimmed them to fit - that was easy fix which required small repainting of the sanded surface afterwards.

Lastly I protected everything with layer of semi gloss X-35.


Gun Bay

Main part of the gun bay, that is main body and ammunition canisters were painted, weathered and attached to the front of the fuselage at the beginning of the build process. Now it was time to add missing parts. I started with addition of the front plate. As it separates the gun bay from the nose of the aircraft it contains holes for the guns and cannon barrels so first I had to carefully dry fit it to be sure that it will sit properly with the fuselage and with the guns and cannon as well. I glued with the Tamiya epoxy glue as it has really strong bonding. For the armament I used resin machine guns and cannon parts from the Eduard Gun Bay set (though later on I will modify them a bit). First I primed them with Mr.Hobby 1500 Gray and next airbrushed glossy black base of Mr.Hobby GX-2 Black. As soon as it was dry I applied Gun Metal pigment and later on Starship Grime and Medium Brown from streaking brushers set. Next I attached all the guns and a the cannon. Then I added all the missing cables and wires and painted them a.MIG silver. Next I painted and attached ammunition belts and other elements. Lastly I adjusted the top central connector between the front of the canopy and back of the aircraft nose.

Then I made paint correction in certain places and then applied different kind of washes to finish weathering of the gun bay. At the end I cut away all the barrels just front of the plate. I did that as I decided to use armament set from Master - the barrels look amazing especially with the perforated coolers attached. I painted them gloss black with Mr.Hobby GX-2 Black, then I painted the muzzles a.MIG silver and finally applied Gun Metal pigment. Barrels themselves will be attached at the very end of the build.


Cockpit & Canopy

Canopy painting and weathering was fully described in previous post, though there was one thing which I had to add - mounting point for the antenna. In P-38 an antenna wire starts at one vertical stabilizer and follows obliquely to the centrally mounted rear canopy top point and then back again to the second vertical stabilizer. To make the mounting point, first I drilled a very small hole with 0.3mm drill bit just aft of the rear canopy top frame. Next I cut short scrap of 0.03mm rigging wire which I folded in half and then moved the open ends through the Albion Alloys 0.4mm aluminum tube leaving a very short part of it on the other side which created a very small knot. Next I used very small amount of AK Magnet to glue the wire to the tube. Next open ends of the rigging wire were moved through the hole in the canopy and glued to it from inside again using AK Magnet. Superfluous wire was cut away with small scissors.

Cockpit was mostly done at the beginning of the build. What was missing was to finish the radio compartment. Radio compartment was painted and weathered in the same way as the rest of the cockpit. To imitate wires I could use PE part from Eduard set but it would look very flat and boring. Instead I used for that 0.3mm wire from Plusmodel - those are great wires for detailing as being made of lead can be very easily bended and arranged as we see fit. First I glued the wires to radio compartment and then whole unit was attached to the back plate of the canopy. Next wires were painted with XF-80 and nicely laid out - I made them long enough so the ends of the wires were placed at the back plate of the cockpit, aft of the pilot seat. Next I made some small painting corrections and then used PLW washes to further weather the radio compartment and wires. Next I tried out new product - Drybrush paints from a.MIG - I used Gun Metal to emphasize edges of dark painted metallic elements. I must say I like the effect quite a lot. At the end I attached pilot seat, steering wheel and missing knobs painted black and red.



Final Assembly

In this part I am describing attachment of all subassemblies which were painted and weathered separately.


Attaching aircraft nose

Having gun bay ready, next step was to attach the nose. I dry fitted it before and I knew that I would have to handle a 1,5mm recess between the fuselage bottom and the nose. First I glued the nose with Tamiya epoxy glue, then masked the surrounding with Tamiya tape and used Tamiya normal putty to fill the gap. Next day I sanded it level with the fuselage. It turned out that there were still some small gaps so this time I sued dissolved putty to get rid of those. After second sending I achieved desired effect of quite clean surface. Now rescribed missing panel line and then painted and weathered corrected fragment of the fuselage and its surroundings.


Landing gear finalisation

First I weathered small radiators which will be attached together with main gear struts. First I used Landing Gear and Engine & Turbines for the vent and next Shafts and Bearings wash on the rest of the surface of the radiator. Few minutes later I applied Interior and Neutral washes from PLW line on the Shafts and Bearings. As the AK wash became quite tacky I was able to distribute the PLW washes in a very interesting way which resulted in very realistic dirt and grime accumulations. I will definitely have to refine that method in the future and use it more often.

I started with attachment of main and front landing gear struts - first I carefully checked the alignment of the parts and then used Tamiya epoxy glue to glue it - first main gear struts and next front one. Then I mounted radiators and nosewheel lower drag strut. Next I took care of landing gear bay doors - Tamiya designed them in the way that you just slot it in - that is it, you do not have to glued them if you do not want to. Lastly I attached the wheels using Tamiya epoxy glue again.


Attaching Canopy

I started with gluing rear canopy, then left and right downward-winding side windows followed. Before attaching front canopy I decided to make a good use of the space between gun bay back plate and front instrument panel. As I decided to show internals of the gun bay I could not use the "ballast" ball provided by Tamiya - so I was 10g minus the weight of the gun bay itself behind. Worried that I may end up with a tail sitter I selected to add some weight and this was basically the only place left. Yes, I forgot to add weight inside of the nose part.

I found small nuts and I added them in on the bottom. Next I used scrap of plastic to create kind of a ledge and added it on top of the nuts and then I poured in liquid gravity product and secured it with CA glue. In the end it turned out that it was an extremely good move as after adding all subassemblies the center of gravity was shifted forward just enough for the model to sit on its tricycle landing gear - without adding this additional ballast I would definitely end up with tail sitter. Last thing to do was to attach front windscreen which I did using again Tamiya epoxy glue.


Barrels & Gun Bay Doors

Barrels were attached with CA glue - care had been taken to align them parallel to each other and at the same angle to the fuselage. Next I cut off two fragments of 0.4mm wire to imitate gun bay holders - connecting the gun bay to the doors. Then connectors were glued at the right place to the gun bay and next gun bay doors were attached, again with CA glue and soon after that connectors and gun bay doors positions were adjusted so that they contacted each other. Lastly connectors were painted silver and weathered.


Flaps & External Tanks

Gluing flaps was rather straightforward - I just checked what should be the correct position and used CA glue to attach them. With External Tanks, first I had to add weathering to the hardpoints which was done in no time, then I glued hardpoints to the tanks and then whole thing to the fuselage.


Navigation Lights

I removed originally moulded representations of the navigation lights from the fuselage and decided to try to other solutions - first was to scratch build them and for the second I bought already painted lights from CMK. For scratch building I used templates from HQT Tools - with this method I created navigation lights for the vertical stabilisers. For the nav lights at the tips of the wings I used ready parts from CMK. When I had them ready, I painted the back of the nav lights with silver paint and then attached them to the fuselage. Lastly I enhanced red a green color by painting them with transparent colours.


Antenna
For antenna I used 0.03mm rigging wire. First I drilled very small holes on the vertical stabilisers with 0.3mm drill bit so it would be easier to glue the antenna. Next I cut off a bit longer section of the rigging wire and attached it to the left stabiliser with CA glue and then tapped the connection point with a bit of Tamiya Accelerator. Next I grabbed other end of the rigging wire and moved it through the mounting point knot on the rear canopy frame and then followed to the other stabiliser. I removed superfluous rigging wire and attached it. Lastly I painted antenna with gun metal color.


Final Touches

Now heaving all parts attached, first thing I did was application of final layer of clear coat - I used here mix of GX112 and GX113 (1:2). It was not apply evenly on all the model - to introduce some variety in the finish I left places like exhaust stains or oil leaks as they were. Next I took care of places like tips of the wings, stabilisers or superchargers which required small paint corrections. Next I removed masking tape from landing and positional lights. Then I used Starship Filth Oilbrusher to add another layer of dirt in certain places.

Next I added mud splashes intensifying the effect aft of the wheels. For that I used two different products from Splashes range. First I used lighter color which imitates older and dried out splashes and then darker one to represent more recent speckles. Before using the products I thinned them down with enamel thinner, then dabbed stiff brush into it and then unloaded the excessive amount by applying it first onto the pice of paper. As soon as speckles were of right size I switched paper with the model and applied it onto it. Then using clean brushes and a bit of thinner I removed superfluous splashes and blended in rest of them. Next I added fresh Fuel and Oil stains in places like fuel caps. Then using Track wash I added additional spill stains aft of the propellers. Next I used different pigments to add additional dirt and texture to places like flaps and wing roots. Lastly I used IPA to clean canopy glass and ultimately the model was finished!


Closing Words

I must say that it was hell of ride to build this model! Definitely this is the most complex and the longest build (even excluding months without modelling) I have done so far. I am extremely happy that almost a year after I cut out first parts from the sprues Miss Virginia is ready and that I was able to achieve look and finish I was after - that is an aircraft which still has slightly visible pattern of tape sealed areas (more on that here) here and there, but mostly covered by recent dirt and stains accumulated over time when flying missions in the Pacific. After this model I really feel that I have more and more control over whole process and I am more and more capable of choosing and applying proper techniques and products to achieve certain effects. Another great outcome of this build is that I experimented and learned a tone, including complex camouflage painting which consisted of preshading, texturing, application of chipping fluid to name of few techniques. Additionally I learned how to tackle bigger and more complicated resin sets and how to incorporate them into original plastic parts. My airbrushing and general skills improved a lot too.


What's next? Christmas is around the corner so I am gonna enjoy it and recharge the batteries first! Next subject is a WWII aircraft which was flown in 1945 by certain French individual who earned the accolade "France's First Fighter" from General Charles de Gaulle for 33 air-to-air combat victories which he had achieved during the war.


Below you may find a small gallery of selected photos, though for full gallery follow the link to the page of finished model. If you wish to leave a comment, or have any question please leave it below. Till next year!








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