Tempest Weathering & Final Assembly
Weathering wise I decided to go rather easy on this particular model as it depicts aircraft after VE-day (thus we have red spinner, unit badge and decoration with Clostermann scoreboard). I figured that it should still have signs of flying and fighting during the war, but not look totally used and battered.
Just as I wanted to start weathering process I realized that I made a mistake with painting RAF Dark Green camouflage pattern. It turned out that I missed a patch just aft of the gun bay on the starboard wing. I was a bit reluctant to paint it after decals and clear gloss layer were applied but it blended it very nicely - no problems at all.
Weathering was started with chipping. On the underbelly, first I used mix of Hataka Ocean Grey and Traffic White, and then A.Mig Rubber & Tires. Both colours where first applied with fine tipped brush in certain areas like hatches or edges of different panels. Next same colours where applied with the sponge in a more random fashion.
On the top, first I used A.Mig Silver paint to show deepest chips which went through all layers of paint, and then Medium Sea Grey and Traffic White mix followed for the RAF Ocean Grey and Dark Green and Traffic White for the RAF Dark Green. To blend decal markings a bit more with the painted camouflage I used same colours to add small spots of paint around edges to imitate scratches.
Now I applied first layer of panel line washes - though in case of this model it was applied more in a way as filters are applied as I wanted washes to fill not only panel lines but all rivets as well. This first layer is mainly applied to check how colours of the washes correspond to the camouflage colours. Many weathering steps are still ahead so operation will be repeated in closing stages of whole weathering process. For this first layer I used products from PLW line. For underbelly it was mix of Dark Sea Blue and Neutral Brown (3:1), for RAF Ocean Grey I used mix of Neutral Brown and Black. For RAF Dark Green Shadow for desert brown, Medium Grey and Medium Tan as I wanted to get lighter colour.
In general it looked ok, though some of my panel liners started to have strange consistency - they become a bit rough with kind of small particles inside and that caused unwanted effect of colours fading when excess was removed with the cotton pad. I need to check rest of them and get rid of those wrong ones. Aside of that I will check out washes from other manufacturers for sure. Next I airbrushed layer of Hataka satin clear XP08 to protect all the work and prepare surface for next steps of weathering, including oils application.
First I applied filters to some of the panels on the underside. I used Dark Grey for White, Tan for Yellow Green and Brown for White. I applied it 3 times in 30 minutes intervals and then next day once more, but only on some of the panels. Next I introduced first layer of grime and dirt on horizontal surfaces on the top side of the aircraft. For that I used technique called Oil Fading. After selecting few proper colours of oils (brownish, tans, etc), I applied small dots of them on to the surface it in random fashion. Surface itself was slightly moistened with the White Spirit before that. Next using clean brush I started to blend the dots in. It is very important to work the dots on place at a time, other wise we will mix all the colours together and will end up with more of a filter layer which is not the effect we are after. Again all model was airbrushed with layer of Hataka satin clear XP08.
Next I imitated old and dry splashes of dirt on the underside using product from PLW line (Medium Grey and Medium Tan). I dubbed the brush into the product and then pulled the bristles back releasing them to project small specks of colour on the surface. When it was dry to the touch I blended it in with a soft clean brush. I repeated the procedure for vertical surfaces on the top of the model with Black wash. Next I applied general washes around wings roots to imitated dirt, grime and usage of those areas. Here I used Neutral Wash and Streaking Grime. First surface was moistened with enamel thinner, then washes were applied one after the other with medium brush in dubbing motion. Just after that I used clear smaller brush moistened with enamel thinner to distribute it as I saw it fit. Next after waiting a couple of minutes I used bigger soft clean brush and started blending it in. Lastly after another couple of minutes I used another bigger soft brush to finish the blending. Semi gloss surface is perfect for this kind of work as it allows to work faster than on the glossy surface but still giving enough time to operate the washes. On the rest of the wings I used Black and Neutral Wash to get less apparent results.
Next I returned to the underside I applied Black and Streaking Grime for US Modern Vehicles washes on the central fuselage to introduce more usage and dirt in that area. Next whole model received coat of gloss varnish (GX112) as a preparation for another layer of panel line washes.
I used same washes as previously, except for the RAF Dark Green. I decided that in case of this model darker wash will be better so in the end I used Dark Green Grey. As soon as I finished I airbrushed layer of Hataka XP07 clear mat.
Heaving flat surface I could use weathering pencils - first Aluminium, then Dirty White and Sand. I used them to add additional scratches and paint chips. Next I used Cream Brown and Smoke oils to add some interest to the front part of the fuselage. Next another layer of satin clear XP08 was airbrushed.
Now it was time to add streaking effects which represent dirt dragged back by the airflow during the flight. This is especially seen along panel lines due to dirt build up and fluids seeping out. For that I used different products from A.Mig Streaking line: Streaking Grime, Streaking Grime for US Modern Vehicles and Starship Streaking. First I applied product along the panel lines, waited a few minutes and started to blend it in direction of the airflow. Depending on how long you wait or if you use clean or slightly moistened brush the effect will be different. Next I added spills. For that I used different products from PLW and Streaking lines. When that was done I decided to add a bit more dirt to the wings roots and for that I used Oil Brushers: Starship Bay Sludge and Starship Filth.
Next I decided to add a bit of grime and dirt around panel lines on the sides of the front fuselage - I used for that Starship Bay Sludge and Smoke oil paint. First I applied very thin lines of paint above and below of the given panel line and then after some time I started to blend it in by dragging the paint always in direction of the panel line. Next I used bigger and very soft brush to finish the blending process.
Next I used Smoke oil paint to imitate smoke marks from the cannons. Next I airbrushed layer of Hataka satin clear XP08. As soon as it was dry I got back to some of the spills and enhanced them with addition of another colour. Then I used Medium Tan to add specks of dirt on the underside of the fuselage - it was applied by dubbing the brush into the product and then blowing the air from the airbrush through it. After blending it in I used another product - this time Earth in similar fashion though this time instead of an airbrush I used brush and toothpick. Lastly I applied final clear layer of varnish - it was a mix of Hataka satin and matt.
With the weathering finished and all subassemblies ready it was time to put it all together. I started with the attachment of the missing harness and when doing so I corrected the pilot seat which was a bit skewed and to the side. After gluing the missing belts I weathered them with oils - same as for the rest of the harness.
Canopy was attached a bit earlier during the weathering process, but there is one thing I would like to mention. To paint canopy I used masks. It was painted in the same way as the rest of the model and then weathered accordingly, though I did one silly mistake. Before applying the base colour for the interior I primed it grey. At the end when all masks were removed it turned out that due to the thickness of the clear plastic we can see that grey colour when looking at given angles. Lessons learned - in the future always start to paint interior with the interior colour or black.
Next I painted lights housing with Liquid Chrome and lights themselves with clear paints. Then it turned out that clear parts with lights had to be adjusted to fit in - it was a bit of work with sanding paper and polishing pads but nothing drastic.
Next I took care of landing gear. First I dry fitted once more main struts and checked their position in respect to each other and the fuselage. It turned out that were slightly misaligned in the lateral axis of the aircraft. After making small corrections to one of the struts I was able to mostly eliminate that problem. Next I used my electronic calliper to check if the mode is standing evenly on the surface - perfect score here which meant I could start attachment of the struts. For that I used Epoxy Cement from Tamiya as it gives time (a few minutes) to align parts properly and then creates very strong bond.
Next I added aft wheel - this one was glued with CA. Then I attached front wheels - here again I used epoxy glue. Lastly I glued landing gear bay doors which were weathered a bit more before that to blend them better with the rest of the fuselage. The only thing to look out for when attaching gear bay doors is to get them at the proper angles - just check the instruction booklet.
Next I attached External Fuel Tanks - it was fast and straightforward job. Next I took care of engine firewall - as it was already painted I weathered it accordingly first with washes, and then I added products from Streaking line to introduce dirt and grime. Then I attached flaps with CA glue, which again was a straightforward thing to do.
Now it was time to attach the engine. It was the most fearsome moment of this build as I new that the engine support framework is very very fragile and that I did not manage to glue it perfectly well - it was a bit skewed. To strengthen the attachment of the engine I drilled a whole in the centre of the firewall, then prepared a short brass rod which was first glued to the back of the engine. Next I added glue to the upper attachment points on the firewall and onto the rod and started gluing process looking out for proper alignment of the engine. After a few minute when epoxy glue started to create a bond I added it to the lower attachments points and glued the lower framework. In the end it worked reasonably well, but unfortunately not perfect. The engine is leaning a bit to the front and is a bit skewed to one side which is mostly seen when looking at the turbocharger, but to be honest it went out better than I thought it would. With engine attached I added all missing cables and hoses which then were properly painted. Next I added additional weathering to the engine which included usage of Iron Metal Polishing powder on some of the parts and next I applied Engine & Turbine wash over the support framework. Lastly I attached propeller to the front of the engine.
With the engine in place I simulated exhaust stains. I started with airbrushing a mix of Buff and Dark Yellow colours - it was applied in very thin layers to gradually built an effect. Next I airbrushed mix of Black and Red Brown but as a narrower pattern so that lighter colour is still visible at the edges. Next in the same manner I added Black - again as a narrower pattern and only at the front of the stain. Later I used pigments to break a shape of the pattern - first Light Dust which was applied with a very thin brush in a dubbing motion and then blended it. Next I used Smoke pigment in the same way but only at the front of the stain.
For Hispano Mk.II cannons I used counterparts from Master (Cannon Tipis & Pitot Tube). First I submerged them in the Burnishing Fluid from AK and then attached them in the previously prepared housings. In Tempest Series 2 cannons are almost entirely hidden in the fuselage so there is really no point in spending time on weathering so I just painted the protruding tips with NATO Black paint. Next I attached all remaining small parts, painted them and weathered. As the last step I diluted Heavy Earth product, made splatters created by the wheels and finally model was finished.
Considering number of resin and PE aftermarket sets and their complexity it was the most difficult model I have build so far. I decided to count number of hours I had worked on it including time needed to write blog, taking photos, looking for images - basically every activity needed to finish it. The result is appalling. Clock stopped at 360 hours... This is crazy! Though when I think about it I am pretty much certain that most of that time was spent on building cockpit, engine, gun bays and flaps. I must say that I am pretty much exhausted after this build. This may be caused by the fact that my previous build was not so much easier as well. Taking that into consideration I have already decided that my next build must be bit easier and faster to get it done. If you ask me if I am proud and happy with final result - taking into consideration number of hours no, not fully at least. I had a few mishaps along the way and some of the work is practically not visible at all in the end - cockpit is so much hidden in the fuselage that almost nothing is visible. From next build I will carefully think where to put additional hours.
Aside of that there are positive aspects as well - again I learned / tried new things like free hand painting of the camouflage or tackling complex resin sets. I used some new products as well.
Now I need some time to rest and gather strength for next build which by the way I have already selected - though for now I will keep it to myself :)
One more thing - there are remaining parts to be finished for that model - that is, gun bay doors and front of the fuselage but I decided that I will get back to it when building simple diorama for this model someday in the future.
Below few shots of the final build, for more please follow the link to the finished project page.