Updated: Jun 23
Finished with the painting process, I entered weathering stage of model building. It is advancing really well, but as it requires a lot of time, different techniques and layers to be applied I had enough time in between to take care of canopy, propellers and external tanks. With those parts finished I have everything ready (except for the gun bay) for the final assembly of the model. More on that however in the next blog entry.
I started with subassemblies - gunsight and non reflective shroud. First I cut out all required parts and cleaned them up as usual. Next, for the gunsight I additionally used a PE part which I first bended appropriately and then painted silver. Then I removed superfluous plastic from the original part and painted it accordingly. Next I painted reflector holder black with Tamiya X18 and when it was dry I applied A.MIG pigments onto it - gunmetal, airfield dust and black.
For the instrument shroud I started with priming with Mr.Hobby 1500 Gray and then I painted it with Tamiya X18 with a bit of white - just to get not entirely black color and as soon as it was dry I painted the extruding part with the mix of Tamiya XF-5 & XF-8. Next I weathered it using sponge chipping technique and then applied gloss coat (H101) as a base for the decal which was applied next. Next front frame of the shroud was painted with Tamiya XF-57 and whole element was airbrushed with semi gloss clear coat of Mr.Hobby H-102. Last step was application of brownish wash.
I decided to go for the open canopy and that required to make 5 parts - front windscreen, radio compartment canopy, left and right downward-winding side windows and rearward-hinged canopy.
Having whole cockpit nicely sitting inside the fuselage, first thing to do was to dry fit once more the canopy parts. I started with the radio compartment part and it turned out that due to the painting process of the fuselage it did not fit perfectly. I had to clean up a matting surfaces between those elements after which it was good to go. Next I dry fitted the shroud to the windscreen and checked fuselage fit. Unfortunately it turned out that whole element was sitting too high and created gaps on both sides between itself and cockpit. This was a result of changes introduced in this area (addition of gun bay and Yahu front instrument panel). Unluckily when I was dry fitting all the additions and the front canopy at the very beginning of the build I missed the fact that I would have to add the shroud eventually. To remedy this, first I tried to file off the top part of the Yahu instrument panel - unfortunately I was not able to achieve much here as this element is quite thick metallic part. By good fortune it turned out that the shroud itself is quite thick where it should be so I removed as much plastic as I could at the back of it and together with filing off the instrument panel it was enough to get a more less proper fit - I will still have to use strong glue and a bit of force to get it into place but now it seems to be doable. Downward-winding side windows fit was ok and for the rearward-hinged canopy the only thing which is to be figured out is the hinge itself - hinge is a part of the original backplate of the pilot seat which is not the case for the resin counterparts.
Before painting commenced I masked the canopy parts with pre-cut masks set from New Ware AM0661 and added PE part to the front windscreen . Then inside was primed with Mr.Hobby 1500 Gray and then painted interior green. Exterior of the canopy was primed with Mr.Hobby 1500 Black, then gloss base of Mr.Hobby GX-2 Black and on top of that I added layer of AK-Interactive XTREME METAL POLISHED ALUMINIUM. Base painting followed with applying similar procedure as for the top camouflage - first application of A.MIG 2010 SCRATCHES EFFECTS, next thin layer of base color (AK RC023 Olive Drab), then shading with Red Brown mixed with Black and again thin layer of base color to blend it all together nicely. As soon as it was dry to the touch I pealed off the paint with a bit of water and sharpen toothpick. To protect work done so far I used Mr.Hobby GX-112 GX112.
Heaving glossy surface it was perfect time to apply decals - which I did. Next stage was brush chipping - I used silver to add more chips especially around frames and then a bit lighter base color to add scratches around painted parts (Hataka Olive Drab mixed with a bit of White). Next I applied protective cote of H101 and then Green Brown wash followed inside the canopy and Dark Green Grey on the external surfaces. Then I airbrushed all the surfaces with mat coat of H103. Heaving mat surface I used weathering pencils to add even more scratches and paint chips in some places. Lastly I applied layer of semi gloss X-35. Now it was finally time to remove all the masking and reveal the clear parts. It turned out to be perfectly fine - no paint streaks or smudges of any kind (aside of two or three places where I had to remove bit of a wash). To finish the canopy I glued the shroud to the front windscreen and then added gunsight as well. Next I cut out a small part which is to represent mirror on the top of the rearward-hinged canopy. To make it more realistic I used Liquid Chrome from Molotov and painted one side with it and then glued it to the canopy with clearfix. At the very end I used 0.05mm blackliner to create a more pronounced border between the canopy glass and its frames.
Tamiya approached the propeller in this model with quite an interesting design. We get one part which incorporates all three blades and then 4 additional parts forms together a central hub, so I decided to paint blades first, then mask them, build the hub in the center and paint it - this way it will be much simpler than painting and weathering each of four aforementioned parts separately.
First thing was primer - Mr.Hobby 1500 Gray. Then gloss base of Mr.Hobby GX-2 Black and on top of that layer of AK-Interactive XTREME METAL POLISHED ALUMINIUM. Next I applied A.MIG 2010 SCRATCHES EFFECT and on top of that a dark color of Black mixed with Dark Grey. As soon as it was dry I started to chip off the paint using water and sharpen toothpick. Next instead of using decals to depict yellow ends of the blades I measured proper distance with my electronic calliper, masked the blades and painted the tips. First with white base and then yellow color. Protective layer of Mr.Hobby GX-112 GX112 followed. As soon as it was dry I applied decals and then added additional chips with silver and rubber & tires colors. Another gloss coat followed - this time Tamiya X-22.
Weathering started with application of rain marks effects wash over the blades. I applied it with a brush as a vertical stripes, then I started to blend it - I used for that special weathering brush slightly moistened in enamel thinner. After few minutes I used bigger and soft brush to finish the blending process. When it was dry I randomly applied AK Shafts & Bearings wash to introduce more dirt. All the work was now protected with gloss coat of H101. Lastly I applied Interior wash by flicking the product from the stiff brush with the toothpick to create splatter marks on the blades and applied mat coat of H103.
Before assembling the central hub I masked the blades with kitchen foil and Tamiya tape. I did not mask entire blades - only about half of them starting from the center as I thought it would be definitely enough to protect the painted blades when airbrushing the hub. Unfortunately it turned out differently, but more on that just in a bit. Heaving masks in place I started with the painting. Process was exactly the same as for the canopy (described earlier in this post). Weathering started with chipping. First I used Hataka Olive Drab with a bit of White mix to create scratches and paint chips. Next I used sponge chipping technique to introduce scratches around the front of the hub. For that I used polished metal color from A.MIG. Now layer of flat mat H103 followed.
At this stage I used weathering pencils (Dark Grey, Light Grey and White) to introduce more variety to paint wear and tear. Next I used Dirt shader around blades inserts to make slight color shift and then applied layer of semi gloss X-35. Next I applied few different streaking brushers to differentiate the front and back part of the hub. They were applied with the brush around the hub just below the panel line and then blended in the same fashion as the rain marks wash on the blades. Now by dabbing small irregular dots I applied two washes (Black Night and Desert Brown) to the front part of the hub and then blended it with clean, dry brush. Lastly Dark Green Grey wash was applied to the panel lines.
Getting back to the masking - at the end when I removed them it turned out that areas that were unmasked were slightly over sprayed, but with one color only - polished aluminum. You will probably not see it on the photos as it slightly visibly only at certain angles, but it is there. Lessons learned for the future - if metallic paints are used mask everything as this think goes further away comparing to "normal" paints when airbrushed.
This certain model represents one of the aircrafts which participated in the Operation Vengeance, which for the possibility of successful outcome required P-38 to be equipped with larger external tanks which happen to be delivered a few days before the mission took place. Each aircraft carried one 150-gallon drop tank and one 300-gallon.
After assembly I used Tamiya putty to fill joins and then sanded it smooth. Next primer Mr.Hobby 1200 Gray followed. Then I airbrushed thin layer of base color (AK Neutral Grey), next I applied shading with Red Brown mixed with Black and again thin layer of base color to blend it all nicely. As soon as it was dry Dark Sea Blue wash was applied all over the tanks and then protected all the work with Mr.Hobby GX-112 GX112. Now I applied decals and followed with Tamiya X-22 gloss coat for protection.
Next I used sponge chipping technique to introduce slight paint scratches - my assumption is that the tanks were quite new so no drastic weathering was needed. For chipping I used slightly brighter tone of base color (Hataka Neutral Grey + White) and A.MIG rubber & tires paints. Next I used Interior and Neutral wash to introduce a bit of discoloration to the paint and then I airbrushed mat coat of H103.
Flat surface was ideal for usage of weathering pencils - I use Dust/Reinmarks, Dark Grey and Light Grey to introduce a bit more paint scratches especially at bottom of the tanks and around fuel caps. Next I used Earth and Dirt shaders to add dirt at the bottom of the tanks, and next Starship Filth shader to shift color a bit around fuel caps and hardpoint slots. Next I applied layer of semi gloss X-35.
Next, to imitate a distinctive pattern created by hands of the ground crew while handling and maintaining the tanks I used two washes - PLW Black Night and Medium Tan. I dabbed the product randomly onto the surface with a round brush. Once dry to the touch, I used clean brush to further blend the stains until I was satisfied with the result. One last effect I wanted to introduce was marks of water dragging dirt and grim downwards - for that I used Brown Wash for German Dark Yellow - I applied thin vertical irregular lines of product and then used thin brush moistened in enamel thinner to refine the shape of streaks and at the end blended them in with clean brush. Then one more layer of semi gloss X-35 was applied. Lastly I added a tiny bit of Fuel Stains product around fuel caps.
This is it for today's update. Next entry will be the last one for this model - it will include weathering, finishing the gun bay and cockpit and final assembly.
As always if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.