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Crimea River

Achtung Anfanger!!! 1/48 Bf109E-4B

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Hi all. This will be my first WIP post and will actually be a bit of a catch up, since I started this build back in February and have made progress up to the point of painting. So, if anything glaringly wrong is found in these next few posts, it may be too late to fix!

 

The subject aircraft this Bf109E-4B of 5/JG51 depicted below from the Kagero BoB Volume 3 Topcolours series.

 

2ad3fb66d99009b6706f219d009a04b4-battle-

The rather unique inscription on the side says "Achtung Anfänger" which translates to a rather ambiguous "Caution or Beware Beginners". It could mean "if you are beginners, watch out!" or it may be "we are beginners so stay clear!"?

The other interesting feature is what appears to be an unpainted (or lightly painted) cowl covering the MG17s. Recent discussions I've had Dave (tango 98) has led me to conclude that the cowl was likely a factory replacement part and that Kagero's interpretation that the cowl was painted entirely in RLM 65 is probably correct.

 

The kit used for this project is Eduard's 1/48 Bf109E-4 which is rather nice. The cockpit and other areas are enhanced with penty of nice PE details including the pedals, scuff pads and oil cooler grilles. Eduard have provided a duct for the latter, a nice detail, so you won't see up into the engine.

 

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I didn't get Eduard's additional PE detail set but I went and embellished the cockpit walls a bit, adding oxygen tubing on the starboard side and a scratch built throttle quadrant and levers on the port side.

 

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The trim wheel and O2 regulator have been added here. Eduard would have you glue the trim wheel chains to the sidewalls but I decided to glue them to the floor assembly.

 

18030104-jpg.484605

 

I'll leave it at that for this first post and chuck some more pics up here soon. Thanks for watching.

 

Andy

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Finished off the cockpit by highlighting details: throttle handle yellow, T-levers silver, oxygen tubing blue and the trim and radiator cables in steel. The trim wheels have partial wood rims and were painted accordingly. The floor was scuffed up with a silver pencil but it's not easily seen in these pics. Stuck some paper in the map holder as well. The breaker panel is a PE part supplied with the kit as is the small placard behind the throttle.

 

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The seat was also painted and I decided to have a go at making a back cushion out of Milliput. This pic was taken when the slab was still wet and before tweaking he details.

 

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The Milliput seat cushion was painted and drybrushed to represent scuffed leather and the kit PE seatbelts were then installed. Straps for the cushion are fashioned of painted Tamiya tape.

 

18030401-jpg.484925

 

One needs to decide early whether to pose the aircraft with the cowl removed or closed as the number of bits to install on the gun deck and engine depend on that decision. I've decided to close the cowl so painting and detailing of the gun deck are not an issue. The instrument panel is PE and supplied with the kit. The dials are on a separate sheet and are sandwiched between the flat plastic backing and the outer PE panel with the bezels. Various PE levers and T pulls have also been added and the instrument faces got dabs of white glue to represent the glass but this is not really visible in the pics. 

 

18030403-jpg.484927

 

The other side with the halves glued together:

 

18030411-jpg.484955

 

Thanks for looking in! Bye for now.

 

Andy

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Great start! I'm in :popcorn:

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Thanks everyone.

 

Despite the decision to pose the model with the cowl closed, the engine block still needs to be installed so that the exhaust stubs have something to attach to. Before I realized this, I had added all the bits and pieces to the engine, only to find out late in the game that a lot of it needs to be left off so that the cowl will fit so I busted it all off and filed down the top plate. The exhaust stubs are all individual pieces and have the ends hollowed out so they are a rather nice feature.

 

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Wing halves went together with no issues, though Eduard would have you trap the cannons between the wing halves. I don't like having sticky-outy things present during the build process so I elected to leave these out. I will cut off the details that will prevent me from sliding the barrels in later and install the guns near the end of the build.

 

18031101-jpg.485678

 

This close-up shows the beautiful subtle panel lines and rivet details. Personally, I think Eduard have set the standard in this regard. 
 

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The PE coolant radiator grilles are quite nice and these were masked and shot with Alclad Steel. The contact surfaces for the housings were masked to preserve the glue surfaces and one forgotten piece of tape shows up in the pic.

 

18031108-jpg.485687

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Back to sticky-outy things, unfortunately there's no getting away from installing the tail wheel strut when you glue the fuselage halves together so I elected to protect the delicate moulding from knocks by inserting a toothpick into the opening and securing it with tape.

18031104-jpg.485681

18031105-jpg.485682

 

That's all for now folks. Thanks for looking in.

 

Andy

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Next step was to fit the nose cowls. The fit of the side panels was impressive but the gun cover required a bit of attention in that it fouled the moulded cover for the back of the instruments significantly. I had to thin both the cowl and chew off some plastic on the instrument cover before I could bring the cowl into place properly.

 

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A quick check of the engine cowl fit reveal some very minor tweaking to be done but it all looks like it will come together well. Thanks again for following along and for the feedback.

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She’s coming along nicely Andy; keep up the good work.

Cheers

Dave

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Hello Crimea, 

 

There’s some great work going on here, I particularly like what you’ve done in the cockpit. Tend to agree with you regarding Eduard and surface detail. They are my favourite manufacturer at the moment what with great subjects, Profipack and Weekend editions, over trees etc. They aren’t slow to re-tool their kits where necessary either. Looking forward to watching this come together. 

 

Regards

Howard

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Thanks Dave and Howard and all who have reacted. The build is stalled for a bit but the progress pics I've been posting are actually from about a month ago so I'll continue to post here to catch us up. Things have been going smoothly so far and I had been impressed with the fit of the parts - until some challenges showed up as you will see......

 

I got a bit ahead of myself on the starboard radiator housing (closest in the pic below) in that I thought I had sufficiently thinned the flange that fits into the recess in the wing before gluing it into place. The thing was, I was sanding down the mating surface but the inner surface of the housing impinged on the radiator bath and this was difficult to sand down due to the delicate PE grilles which would also have to be filled back. I therefore said the heck with it and glued it on but the more I looked at it, the more I didn't like how far the flange stood proud of the wing surface. I then went to my references and confirmed that it should be essentially flush, something I should have done first.....duh. In the below pic, the nearest housing is glued in and I started to take a file to it. The far one is loose and demonstrates what the other looked like before I started to work it.

 

 18031401-jpg.486282

 

The other one was thinned and glued in but it still needed a bit of tweaking, hence all the file marks. It looks pretty bad at this point but the surface damage was very slight and was easily fixed with a coat of primer.
 

18031402-jpg.486283

 

Here we have the finished assembly after shooting some primer on and the flanges are now flush with the wing.

 

18031503-jpg.486284

 

The same primer was shot onto the thin panel line I scribed on the spine and all looks good here.
 

18031504-jpg.486285

 

The nose assembly was next and here the fit, in my opinion, was pretty good despite some reviews making it appear to be a disaster. Dryfiting confirmed that things would go together fairly well and so I went ahead and glued all the parts in. the below pics show the initial fit with no seam work. There is a bit of a difference in gap on the engine cowl between the port and starboard side and the port side has a very small step at the nose.

18031403.jpg 

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The MG 17 barrels come as one piece and have the ends hollowed out already - a nice touch.

18031405.jpg 

After a bit of gap filling with stretched sprue, filing down the step, and rescribing details, the cowl joints were given a shot of primer to see how things look. Not bad at all and far from the mess some reviewers would have you believe this is.

18031505.jpg 
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As things dried, I worked on the landing gear. Eduard gives us the rigid brake lines with nice coupling details but after looking at them, I decided to turf them as they are too bulky. Nice try Eduard but.....no.

18031501.jpg 

After removing and discarding these pieces. I fashioned new lines using brass rod and stuck on some couplings on the end using tube that slid over the rod. This is now much more to scale as you can see the old rod in the foreground. 

18031502.jpg 

That's it for today. Thanks for looking in guys.

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Nice work, this looks a neat little kit :thumbsup2:

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Good work so far; and don't worry about that cowling, photos I have gathered in advance of starting my E-3 seem to show that on early 109's this was not a perfect fit, as seen here  (posting a link so as to avoid treading on anyone's copyright). I believe that later models had a rubber seal around the cowling to close the gap.

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Nice work Andy

 

Im currently building one of these kits for that BM 10th anniversary GB and agree that it is a lovely kit although I did struggle with the engine not really locating positively and then getting those panels lined up properly.

 

Look forward to seeing more progress.

 

James

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Thanks everyone

 

3 hours ago, CheshireGap said:

Good work so far; and don't worry about that cowling, photos I have gathered in advance of starting my E-3 seem to show that on early 109's this was not a perfect fit, as seen here  (posting a link so as to avoid treading on anyone's copyright). I believe that later models had a rubber seal around the cowling to close the gap.

 

Thanks and a good example of reality. Trouble is that I like to enter my models in local contests and judges don't take too kindly to misaligned parts, even if you grovel and whine that misalignments are realistic!

 

1 hour ago, franky boy said:

Nice work Andy

 

Im currently building one of these kits for that BM 10th anniversary GB and agree that it is a lovely kit although I did struggle with the engine not really locating positively and then getting those panels lined up properly.

 

Look forward to seeing more progress.

 

James

 

Thanks James. I'll have to go over there and take a look. Still trying to get my feel of this site as there's lots going on that I'm probably missing. There are some further fit issues yet to come and I'll show how I fixed them. Hopefully you'll find this thread helpful.

 

An overall shot of the Emil as it stood at this point:

18031801.jpg 

The wing roots took a bit of coaxing to get the surfaces to line up. I could apply pressure by hand but not with clamps so I had to resort to using CA so that the set time was minimal. The CA I have is a bit thick so did not run into the joints too well and it left a couple of bubbles of glue that had to be carefully filed away. In doing so, I lost some of the delicate rivet detail and ended up with a couple of minor scratches that I've now filled with thick primer. In the below pic, the primer has not been sanded down yet and nor has the detail been replaced. Nevertheless, the fit is not too bad.

The gun sight has also been installed but the reflector glass has been cut off and not replaced as yet. This sight is actually a spare from another kit as I managed to lose the Eduard one when it sprung from my tweezers. (Note: that was three weeks ago and it's still AWOL!)

18031802.jpg 18031803.jpg 

The braces for the horizontal stabs fit perfectly with the stabilizers in proper alignment. I was worried about this area but didn't need to. Note the seam down the fuselage center line and rivets I added on either side. This detail was lost when the glue seam was smoothed out.

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Some slight depressions on the underside wing seam needed a bit of surface primer. This will be sanded down once the paint has fully hardened.

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The small braces that prevented flutter of the radiator baths were installed. These are PE parts supplied with the kit.

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Before installing the canopy, the gun sight had to be finished and secured. As always, the kit part had the reflector glass and sun shield moulded far too thick so these were lopped off and replaced with thinner materials. The sun shield was brushed with Future mixed with a drop of green paint to achieve the tint.

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As I'm building a Jabo 109, a bomb will need to be fitted to the underside. The Eduard kit I'm using fortunately includes the bomb casing and the appropriate rack on the sprues but the fins for the bomb, which would be PE parts, are not including with this boxing so I had to make my own fins. Measuring the casing and consulting my references confirms that what I've got here is an SC250 bomb so I was able to scratch up some fins easily using the dimensions and pics in one of my references.

18032603.jpg 18032605.jpg 

The canopy has now been attached (it was dipped in Future and allowed to dry a few days back) and the masks were applied. These were pre-cut and included in the kit, a nice addition as it saves tons of time. Also, I've added the flaps, ailerons, and leading edge slats, the latter being posed in the deployed position.

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When the windscreen was installed, I noticed that the fit was not quite exact but I didn't know how bad it was until I squirted on some 02. Here you see the step on the starboard side and a perfect fit on the port side.

18032606.jpg 18032607.jpg 

 

After mulling over a couple of options, I decided to build up the area with thin styrene card. The the gun cooling air exit louvre was carefully cut out and left open and the layers of card were set using Tamiya Extra Thin.

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This next shot shows the area after I did initial filing/sanding of the built up card, then applied a coat of primer, allowed that to dry, and then sanded that smooth.

18032702.jpg 

After cleaning the area, a shot of 02 was sprayed on. This reveals a pretty good first pass at the repair with minimal additional work needed. The filed seam at the transition of the windscreen and the top of the fuselage needs a bit more work and scribing of the covered details can now start. The discolouration in front of the louvre is just some paint that dried a bit glossy and no cause for concern.

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Not the best pic but the area has now been re-riveted and rescribed. Looks like I could go over these details on more time and make them a bit more pronounced.

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Overall, I'm pleased with how this turned out and can now move on to some initial painting. By the way, the patchy paint you see in other areas of the above pics shows what I tend to do if I have paint left over in my airbrush. In this case, I began some preshading.

 

Thanks again for following and if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate!

 

Andy

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23 hours ago, Crimea River said:

in local contests and judges don't take too kindly to misaligned parts,

Hi Andy, :idea:why not take along a few photos of the real aircraft that show misaligned panels/cowlings; that should fix the judges' little red wagons eh? :smirk:

Looks like you're overcoming the fit problems OK.

Keep up the good work.

 

Cheers

Dave

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Posted (edited)

Maybe Dave, maybe....Thanks for the comments. Getting closer to the current state now and painting starts with this chapter:

 

Before spraying the 65, I had to add the rudder cables. Eduard actually provide PE parts for this but I elected to make my own out of stretched sprue. I prefer my cables to be round in cross section, not flat! The horns were actually made into a sickle shape using a scalpel - they were provided as lumpy half moons in the kit.

18032801.jpg 

Based on photos of bomb-mounted E-4's I went with this style of rack which fortunately was included in the kit. I had many spare racks of different styles but only one of this correct type. The stabilizers will be added later to minimize the risk of breaking them off. 


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With that done, I shot a first patchy coat of 65 on and allowed some of the preshade to show through. Tomorrow I'll go over this again with a slightly lighter mix.


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Here's the repaired area, seen for the fist time with the finished colour. The cowl fastener needs to be tidied up a tad but otherwise it looks OK. It appears I also duplicated some rivets that I couldn't see even with my magnifier lens. Grrr.

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I wasn't happy with the rivets and fastener rescribe so I decided to redo them later. So with the cowl once again undergoing a makeover and whilst the new primed surface dries in preparation for what will hopefully be the last scribe job, I attended to the tail wheel paint. These white walls are a PITA but the pics show the steps of painting the hub, masking, painting the white wall, masking, then painting the tire black followed by a brush touch up as I never seem to be able to get this perfect. It still is not perfect enough for a close up but anyone judging this will need a jewellers loupe to see it.

18032901.jpg 18032902.jpg 18032903.jpg
T

That's it for today everyone. Thanks again for your interest.

 

Andy

 

Edited by Crimea River

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Thanks once again for the feedback everyone.

 

It was at this stage of the project, about 10 days ago, that I reached out to enlightened members of this forum and elsewhere to determine the nature of the MG17 cowl. The Kagero profile shown in the introductory post in this thread states that the cowl is finished entirely in RLM 65. I had been looking, to no avail, for photographic evidence to determine whether, or not, the Kagero profile was accurate and to resolve questions in my mind as to how it would come about that this aircraft would have a cowl that was painted entirely in RLM 65. Long story short, Dave (tango98) produced photographic evidence for me that confirmed, beyond doubt, that the entire cowl was of uniform colour and much lighter than all of the surrounding surfaces. Further educated consensus was reached that the cowl was most likely entirely painted in 65 as it was likely a replacement part from the factory stock. Such parts were probably painted completely in 65 before being attached to a production aircraft and painted with the dark green demarcation together with the engine cowl and fuselage spine. With that settled, I happily carried on with the painting of my subject! 

 

Before finishing the MG 17 cowl, I repaired the rivets and reapplied the 65, then masked and sprayed the yellow engine cowl. However, when I viewed this photo (as often happens when looking at close-ups of my work), I realized that I forgot to rescribe the cowl fastener so I planned to attend to that later using a scalpel to cut into the paint.

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The splinter camo and mottling was then done. Started with masking the required areas and then splashing on the 02. The RLM 71, for which I used straight Tamiya XF61, was then applied freehand. 

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Admittedly, the RLM 71 looks a bit dark at this stage but I plan to soften the effect at the weathering stage. Note that I busted off one of the flaps during handling but this is back on now.

 

Thanks again everyone.

 

Andy

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Thanks again for the feedback everyone.

 

In talking with Dave, he suggested that I wrap the underside 65 a little further around the leading edge as this seemed to be a common practice. I looked at a ci of a line up of Black 6's contemporaries and decided to move the line up a bit more but not right up and around as seen on some. I also accidentally put a long scratch along one of the 02 camo fields and wanted to realign one demarcation line on the starboard wing. I decided to get all this done at once and then reapply the gloss in preparation for decals.

All masked up and no place to go. The paints have been sprayed already.

18040901.jpg 

Masks removed showing the revised demarcation of the 65 with the upper camo. Also see here is the realigned line between the 71 and 02 on the left side of the pic.

18040902.jpg 

This is the realigned camo demarcation. The 71 was previously covering the entire wing root and intersected the flap.

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The cowl fastener was rescribed into the paint, given a light sand and then repainted. It passes the close-up test so will be fine in real life. It just occurred to me that the fastener, which I think is attached to the fuselage, should maybe be green....Indeed when taking a closer look at the reference pic, this appears to be the case so I will need to attend to that. 

18040903.jpg 

Note that there's a bit of overspray in the above pic just over the wing root fairing. No big deal is this will get some exhaust staining anyway. 

Below is the square 65 patch, waiting on the swastika decal. I'm actually having second thoughts about this as a closer look at the reference pic seems to show mottles behind the swastika, so it may have been repainted. I had originally surmised that the ground crews would most likely have masked over the insignia when doing the heavy mottle overspray but maybe this was not the case. Or maybe they masked it all the way around the black edges.

18040904.jpg 

One other detail I noticed int he reference pic for this aircraft was the presence of a flare chute in the starboard quarter window, similar to this one:

 

bf109-flare-tube-2-jpg.489341

 

This is actually a miss on the Kagero profile which is otherwise quite accurate and so I will need to add this detail before I finish.

 

That's for another day. Thanks for looking in once more.

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She’s looking good Andy, not far from the finishing line now eh?

 

Cheers

Dave

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Nice one, you're doing a great job on this for sure :thumbsup2:

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9 hours ago, tango98 said:

She’s looking good Andy, not far from the finishing line now eh?

 

Cheers

Dave

Yes sir, she is and the following update will bring us current. Thanks to the others for the comments and encouragement as well.

 

The intake grille and the area behind were masked and painted in Alclad Dark Aluminum as it seems this area was left unpainted on most pics I've seen. Perhaps something to do with a fear of ingesting paint chips into the supercharger? The guns and exhaust stubs were masked and sprayed Alclad steel. Note also the green cowl fastener near the quarter window, my logic being that, even though the cowl may be new, the fastener would have had the original green paint as it is attached to the fuselage. When I touched up the yellow around the grille, I used straight Tamiya XF 4 (the nose cowling is the same but with a drop of red) and drybrushed some other areas to start the weathering effects. 

18041301.jpg 

In comparing Eduard's representation of this area with actual pics, it's evident that they got the detail a bit incorrect as the fixed grille section actually extends a small amount aft of the rest of the engine cowl so there should be a small step in the panel line there. A bit of a complicated fix, especially at this stage so I'm going to leave it alone.

So, I've now started on the decals and Eduard's kit decals are behaving beautifully with Solvaset, settling into the panel lines and rivets quickly with no trapped bubbles whatsoever. The only decals on the underside of the aircraft are the crosses and the radiator stencil.

18041302.jpg 

I got into a groove and moved onto the uppers as well, finishing off the crosses and wing walk lines. I decided against keeping the masked swastika squares. After looking closer at the reference pic it appears that some of the mottles appear behind the insignia so I masked off the adjacent surfaces and resprayed the fin with 65 and some limited mottles. 

18041303.jpg 18041304.jpg 18041305.jpg 

 

And that's how she looks today. Next up will be some more decals and I hope to attend to that tonight. Thanks again for following along guys. I appreciate the nice comments and feedback.

 

Andy
 

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All remaining decals are now on. I used the Eduard kit decals for everything but the Black 6, the "Achtung Anfänger" script and the "Verschnupfte Rabe" shield of JG51 for which I used the Kagero decals. These ended up being beautifully printed but a tad thick and therefore less reactive to the decal solution but they eventually settled down.

Here is a close-up of the shield and swastika. The background on the shield is actually a light blue/grey on the decal sheet but turns out to be almost white when applied.

18041401.jpg 

Oh, and I installed the tail wheel to lessen the chance of the fragile yoke being broken. The rudder actuator cables were also brush painted in Steel but I will need to touch up around this opening and on the strut. Also, the jack point hole was drilled out.

"Beware Beginners"!

18041402.jpg 

The reference pic actually shows the starboard side of the aircraft and the script can be seen there. It's very likely that it would have appeared on the port side as well. At this point, you can also see that I removed the mask from the quarter panel, drilled an angled hole, and inserted a piece of brass tube with the end cut on a slant to represent the flare tube. This was secured with CA glue.

18041403.jpg 

The flare tube with an initial coat of paint. The quarter window would have been replaced with a metal plate and so was therefore painted. At the moment, the detail here isn't very clean in the closeup so further work is needed to tidy this up a bit.

18041404.jpg 

Trim tab stencil:

18041405.jpg 

And finally, the frame numbers which were a pain in the butt. With the decals now on, I'll seal them with another clear coat and add a bot more 71 mottling as Black 6's contemporaries were quite dark on the sides.

18041406.jpg 

Thanks once again for visiting!

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Lovely airbrush work Andy

 

Enjoying the build

 

James

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Andy, i'm thoroughly enjoying following this build. I like your approach to dealing with the step on the windscreen.  Lovely paintwork as well.

Tim.

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Thanks very much chaps. It's appreciated.
Today I gave the model a dark grey panel wash and finished off the bomb. Let's start with the bomb. I started yesterday by applying a base coat of dark grey and a gloss coat. 

18041601.jpg 

I figured that this would be a good chance to try the salt technique as I had never done this before. With the gloss coat fully cured, I brushed on some water and sprinkled on some table salt in a random pattern. This was allowed to dry.

18041602.jpg 

The bomb then got a coat of a slightly lighter grey and, when that was dry, the salt was rinsed away completely revealing a blotchy finish of dark greys, which I liked but unfortunately forgot to photograph. I then cut some strips of spare yellow decals and applied them to the tail cone and gave the bomb a matte coat which effectively nullified the blotch effect achieved by the salt. So, my first trial salt method proved to be ineffective though some of it can be barely seen if you look closely. I then sponged on some silver to make the bomb look like it had been rolled around on gravel and then give it a final blast of an ultra-thinned coat of dusty brown. This is the finished product:

18041604.jpg 

On to the model proper, I started on the underside with the wash for which I used a slurry of water, dish soap and white and back pastel powder. The wash was applied liberally, allowed to dry and then wiped away with a damp tissue in the direction of the airflow. Here we have the underside with the port wing wiped off and the starboard still drying: 

18041603.jpg 

The uppers were given the same treatment and here's a look. I like how the fine rivet details get picked up, adding depth to the finish.

18041605.jpg18041606.jpg 

Here's the underside again. I'll do a bit more streaking on this after I give the entire model another gloss coat to seal the wash.

18041607.jpg 

Before gloss coating, I think I will tweak the dark green mottling a bit. Yeah, I know, I should have done that before the wash but it's no big deal to wash these few areas again.

Thanks again for your interest everyone.
 
 

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Just added more 71 mottle to the sides and wing root and applied a gloss. Looks closer to reality now.

18041608.jpg 18041609.jpg
 
 

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