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7 hours ago, Andrew said:

(I'm very wary of using my copy of these decals now)


Dont be mate, use my misery to your advantage!


The majority of the scheme that’s plane specific uses the dark decals. As long as they are not cracked and super yellow you’ll be fine. 


If I were to do this plane again - I’d use a grey between 36118 and 36081 as the H305/FS36118 recommendation for the skunk and caps by hasegawa doesn’t match the decals. But that just may be a brand thing as colours do vary between manufacturers. So testing the paint to get a better colour match is the way forward. 


Next I would replace all the generic  grey insignia/intake/rescue/navy/stencils stuff from the spares box. The Bureau number too could be made up from spares. 


So the only light grey misprinted grey stuff you would definitely have to use would be the crew names on the canopy 👍🏿


Hope that helps. 



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Meanwhile, the next two victims have been selected...




These will use the two mission gull greys (36440 & 16440) to follow on from the mission TPS vf21. 


The markings are still evolving, but will be along the lines of the following. 


The 16440 plane will wear an early 80’s initial toned down gull scheme, when they lost the white bellies from the late 70’s and reduced the gaudyness of the squadron markings but still had large insignia & colour rescue data. I would like it to feature a black anti glare and tan radome too if I can find one. 


The 36440 plane will hopefully be the elusive full low viz matt gull scheme, with all gunship grey markings/insignia/data. Totally drab. From the mid to late 80’s which ran alongside and then was replaced by the TPS. 


I have a few schemes in mind and trying to sort out my decals to make these up from spares. The drama is trying to cross reference between dated pictures on the web with info spreadsheets on some sites to make sure I get the Bu no’s correct. Also crew names are problematic so its trying to find ‘crewless’ line birds, which weren’t photographed as much as the CAG/CO birds either...


A good example is the boxtop option of the 1/72 hasegawa Atlantic fleet boxing, a 1980’s vf84 cag bird with gull tail fins and black jolly rogers on them. Tan radome too. Not seen it done in model form so may break my rule about doing a ubiquitous pirate cat... 


I’m thinking vf 103 sluggers (pretty drab markings anyways, just an arrow outline on the tail & vf 142 as well from when they went to the hooded ghost motif superimposed on the AE code with just a touch of yellow on the fincaps. 


Any other suggestions? 

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15 hours ago, Tony Oliver said:

...Hope that helps. 


Yes, yes it does - I was already thinking about how to deal with the concerns I have, and I'll definitely be heeding your sage advice. Thanks so much.


1 hour ago, Tony Oliver said:

Any other suggestions? 

I like your thinking about the FS16440 VF-84 jets as per Hasegawa's Atlantic boxing, but you might like to also consider a jet from VF-32 Swordsmen circa 1983, such as this beasty (Wikipedia photo). Decals are available on Superscale sheet 72-410 (all CVW-6 subjects, with numerous aircraft types on the one sheet), and potentially available second-hand... Interesting stage of Tomcat development reflected in those jets at that time, in that they seem to pre-date TCS pods, but they'd also discarded the earlier IR bullet fairing, so only had the small ECM (?) fairing under the nose. I'm not sure what style of gun gas vents they used - probably depended on the production block of the particular jet under consideration...

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On 12/10/2017 at 00:25, Andrew said:

also consider a jet from VF-32 Swordsmen circa 1983,

Yeah that is a super rare scheme in model form, nice suggestion. Anyone ever seen it done?

Plus its the year of my birth ha ha. 


However I have already done a gull vf32 A, the 1991 gulf CAG with insignia blue tails and skunk. 

I kinda have this self imposed rule that if I ever built enough to start doubling up on the squadrons, then I would try and do something opposite to what I have already done.

Eg: high vis vs low vis or A vs B/D etc. 

So if I was to ever do vf32 in plastic again, it would be a TPS and/or a B. 


Hope that doesn’t sound too mental!



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<Engages 'Very Tongue in Cheek' mode>


In response to the revelation about your age and your ridiculous criteria on depictions of the same unit, my only comment is, "Geez, you're too young to be so picky! Too mental by half"


<Disengages 'Very Tongue in Cheek' mode>


Here's another suggestion for a gloss gull grey jet with a tan radome and full colour markings - the VF-101 CO's jet 161134 as per the Furball decals sheet 72-004 Air Wing All-Stars Tomcats Part One. That scheme does nothing for me, but hey, my idea of an interesting Tomcat is the NSAWC jet I did a few years ago - a study in countless variations of a single shade of blue-grey.

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7 hours ago, Andrew said:

VF-101 CO's jet 161134


Yep nice one mate, got that sheet as started building the 1000 vf-114 CAG from that, which then was cancelled and became the basis for the vf-111 low viz as decided I had enough CAG/CO’s in the cabinet back then. 


Yes that is a good one, and works as I already have a TPS B from 101. 


I have that filed away for future use, as want to represent a few more difficult squadrons before I start doubling up on them. 


Think I’ve decided on this vf-103 bird. Pretty bland and fits the paint job I’d like to do. Plus no crew names to try and source. 


I like the general tattiness of the paint, with a mixture of fresh and old gull paint - especially on the tails. Also the odd repairs/spares on this plane:

Note the ghost grey front u/c door and ghost grey patch on ventral fin where the vf103 is 👍🏿




Edit - looking at the shapes of the tail repaint it could be over some vf-143 markings? The triangle for the griffin on the tail and the full rudder to cover the codes and ‘ike’ ??? Which would explain the patch behind the vf-103 too, but not why its a different colour as presumably would’ve been done at the same time as covering the tail markings? 


Either way still gonna have fun replicating this with two shades of gull... :D (and some ghost)

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Good choice of scheme and will be interesting to see how you take care of the subtle differences of colour (and thus add further to the instructive nature of this thread). I like your thoughts on the previous ownership by VF-143 for this jet; according to this page on the GoNavy site, 161164 was noted as modex 104 with The Pukin Dogs in 1981 (and possibly later). Can't wait to see your progress on this jet.

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1 hour ago, Andrew said:

161164 was noted as modex 104 with The Pukin Dogs in 1981


Thats cool and seems very likely then as the vf-103 picture is dated 1983. So perhaps the dogs had it for couple years then handed it over? 


Also had this decal sheet turn up from belgium - new old stock. 

For the lesser seen total low viz gull scheme - 




Looks to be an evolution of this bird, NE 206 from vf-2. Here the ‘navy’ is black but all the NE and stars/number seem very dark grey, not black as per the sheet. 




In most pics of this scheme however they still have colour insignia & rescue/warning data and the small tail sqn marking is in the R/W/B with a yellow outline. From picture 18 upwards from the bottom in the link below. 

The one which I *think* shows the full drab scheme as per the decal sheet is no. 28 from the bottom, two gulls in flight with three TPS versions of this same scheme: 







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In other news, still compiling this TPS paint chart comparison thing....

Going to guillotine it into the individual strips to make it easier to put different manufacturers next to each other or re-arrange from lightest to darkest etc.... 


Last two going on, xtracrylix and colourcoats 👍🏿


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Vf 21 snippets and progress....


Exhausts detailed with the different mission metals I mixed, glossed and then washes with grey/black/dark brown. Very pleased. 








Nose gear leg light box with the clear colours added. A bit coarse under so much zoom. 



Arrestor hook. From finemolds origin. Nice shape shoe on it. Did the rubber bump stop in very dark grey too. 




Nose drilled for the finemolds brass pitot. 



Found the perfect shade for painting the formation lights - 

akan lemon grey russian primer!




Then had a brown wash to define the inner corners. 



Last few bits waiting to go on. 

Seats for this build are complete plastic hasegawa ones with etch that are surplus to use in a D boxing. Needed sanding shorter and narrower to fit... added spare lap belts too. Detail painted with mission shades obviously in keeping with this build. Brush great. Two coats and the khaki on the cushions covered the black primer the seats were based in. 




Overall view of everything. 

Next is streaking and fading/salt stains on the airframe with some oil filters mixed from ammo oilbrushers




Thanks for looking 👍🏿


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Last update on the freelancer!

This last stage of weathering was done yesterday and then final assembly today.

This enabled me to take pics of it for the RFI along with the recently completed me-262, as its a chore clearing the kitchen worktop to set up the white background just for one build. Pics will be sorted through and then hopefully an RFI  for this composed middle of next week...


Anyways - 


Ammo oilbrushers used:


First it had some streaks done, tiny dots of paint applied with a toothpick then streaked back with a moist brush. Starship filth in general, with deep brown and dark mud mainly around the engines and lowers. 


Then a bit of white and grey were thinned in some milk caps. More like tinted thinner than thinned paint. 

These were used to change the colour of the panels slightly to add interest or fade them with a thin layer but doesn’t hide the variation in the paint.

Also for the salt staining, similar to what like I did on the sundowner the thinned white was ‘dabbed’ on to make lots of overlapping spots using the tide marks to an advantage. 














Thanks for looking 👍🏿

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Good day gents, 

Here’s a teaser of the freelancer at home with the rest of the ‘pounce’

8 complete from this wip now. Quite surprised myself that I have stuck it out this long! 


Top row GE cats L-R : vf’s 102, 31, 213, 101. 

Bottom row P&W cats L-R : vf’s 14, 21, 32, 111. 



Semi close up, added some eduard ‘steel’ rbf tags to it. Tophatter has superfabric ones 


RFI soon!


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Masochist project complete! 


9 different companies tps shades. 


There are other brands out there that aren’t in my stash eg lifecolor, humbrol etc so this isn’t the be all and end all. Plus there are different options by some manufacturers but you’d hope they’re the same in tone eg mr color/hobby, xtracolour/crylix, hataka red/orange lines etc...


Now to flat coat it, label them and then cut them into strips. 


Will post them here and in the general paint forum too for people to see there incase they dont like tomcats (if thats at all possible) so wouldn’t get to see this... 



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13 hours ago, Tony Oliver said:

... in case they don't like tomcats ...

Pardon? They don't what? Inconceivable! Thanks for this - I'm really looking forward to reading the results of all your hard work.


The Freelancers jet is a fine addition to the stable; I'm looking forward to even more Tomcats!

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Variations on a theme:


Going back to the question of replicating the patch work covered up griffin paint job of the next plane in the link picture - the slugger, I thought I’d do some experimenting. 


This is based around the maskol and postshade technique I used on the tophatter and sundowner builds. One as per them, and then one trying it using the two mission gulls which are more different than just matt & gloss of the same colour which I will try and use to an advantage. 


So first we have two fins, spare courtesy of a hasegawa kit. 

Both sprayed in mission 16440, the main colour the slugger will hopefully be. 



Then maskol applied as per the reference pic to keep this as the lighter ‘fresh’ paint thats recently been added to cover the griffin and rudder codes etc. Corbyn miserable as always...



The first one was done in the same way I have done on the other above mentioned builds, postshading a grimy colour over the panel lines as you normally would and then around the edges of the maskol. A bit crude here, will be finer when done for real. 




Then when the maskol is removed we have grime on some panel lines and areas of ‘fresh’ paint which looks lighter due to the darker edges. This can then have the base  colour misted over again if required to reduce the contrast if its too strong. (I have found its better to do it this way than be too sparse when postshading only to remove the maskol to see the effect isn’t visible enough so you have to re-maskol and re-postshade) 




Moving swiftly on. The other fin had 36440 sprayed all over it, as this is a slightly darker shade than the 16440 colour. The idea being that the 36440 is then the darker, older paint and the covered 16440 becomes fresh paint. (Not shown as not much to see there) Anyways here is the fin once the maskol was removed. Tilted towards the spraybooth lights to get the maximum contrast between the gloss and matt gulls. Bottles shown behind.  Cleaner finish than the first fin, but this would need griming up on the ‘old’ paint area still, either before of after decals. 




However once sheens of both gulls  uniformed with a varnish (which would happen with decals), the contrast all but disappears. Again tilted to try and get the maximum difference. So not the best route I feel. 




So if I were to do this again (two paints) a better option would be perhaps to use more different shades of paint (mix it or choose darker or ligher I suppose) but then I would run the risk of changing the overall tone too much. Depends on if there is to be more fresh or old paint in the finish. 


The two together: 





Expanding on the idea of using two paints with maskol to get a corrosion control/touch up look rather than using maskol & post shading: 


Example - majority of plane will be in ‘old’ paint which I want to be represented by straight 16440. So paint plane first in a very light, almost white grey (either off the shelf or mix it up, ensure to test contrast on scrap first) then maskol off a few bits then spray the 16440. Once the few bits of maskol are removed they will reveal the lighter ‘fresh’ bits. Would make for a very pale look though perhaps. 


Enough rambling and onto some modelling...


Thanks for looking! 

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So now the freelancer is out the way its time to hit the slugger hard... 



Anyways, a quick recap. This is the plane it will be, hence the trying out of the paint effects above.




Plain old tired gull with subdued squadron markings but still full colour warning and rescue data. Black anti glare and tan radome too. Going to do empty pylons, perhaps with a finless ‘blue tube’ captive sidewinder to add some colour. 

This build will use mission paints again like the freelancer did to try out some of their other colours - main scheme being mission gull 16440


Made a start a while back on painting my cockpit casting(s), just a quick job for a closed canopy, the whole reason for combining the hobbyboss tub with hasegawa etch consoles rather than buying a dozen or so sets of the pre painted stuff. (How many more builds planned?????)


So the tubs and insides were sprayed in the mission dark gull grey over black stynylrez. (The concurrent Bounty hunter’s one that will be in mission 36440 was done too. ) 




Did some detailing on the sluggers one using some of the mixed mission shades I made. 

First the panels picked out in an almost black, dry brushed in a mid grey, enamel dark wash then some details picked out in light grey. A bit of clear green (ammo) in the screens and some khaki on the canvas bits. Sorted. Note this was done last week during the final stages of the freelancer - its load out is visible in one of the pics. 








Another detail thats been done for this build is the removal of the RIO step plate, present on all hobbyboss boxings but not needed for a pre 90’s or so spec... scribed deeper before sanding it off so the step isn’t lost, and some tape to protect adjacent detail. 






Bye for now! 

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Lots of progress with the slugger...


Ventral fin removal for resin replacememts. 



Main Assembly done so onto some spot priming and seam checking with good old mr surfacer 




More of my etch bits going on. 






All major parts that will be gull grey ready for the paintshop! Just need to remove & polish canopy mold seam, mask it up then tack in place. 




In other news, these new release  oilbrusher colours turned up. Looking forward to seeing what they can do on this build, bought these two as reckon the bone will be a good shade to bleach gull grey  with and then the gunmetal for shading exhaust parts 👍🏿



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