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Will Vale

F-22 Raptor - decals

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I've been sorting out my workspace a bit more, but I spent some time today airbrushing the light grey onto the edges (which is almost exactly the same as the primer!) and then masking it up. LQuite a lot of masking for a "boring grey" modern jet really, but I'm getting there:

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(click for bigger)

Just need to sort out the intakes, engine area and vertical stabilisers and then I can start messing around with shiny metallic paint.

Will

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After a fairly long session, several paint mix attempts and some practice at free-hand airbrushing I have the basic colours on and unmasked:

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(click for bigger)

The camo patches are a bit soft-edged, but I think it was good to attempt them this way and it made it possible to try and get the darker borders visible on some pictures of the real thing.

I went for a fairly low-contrast trio of greys since I thought that would suit the scale better. I did look at the Academy instructions for inspiration but ended up picking paints by eye. The light grey is Tamiya Sky Grey, the light metallic is about 50:50 Sky Grey and Titanium Silver, with a blob of Medium Blue to cool down the warm Titanium. Finally the dark grey is one of the IJN greys (the slightly bluer one) plus Titanium and Medium Blue again.

I tried some other combinations and the Titanium seemed to have much finer metal flakes than e.g. Flat Aluminium. I was surprised how much metallic paint I needed in the mix for the sheen to register at all - I was expecting something like 2:1 or 3:1 rather than 1:1.

The flakes are still visible in close-up, which is a shame but probably unavoidable:

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The good news is that the intakes look quite nice now!

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I've been waiting for some sun so I could evaluate the paint with a strong backlight to check the sheen in non-cloudy conditions. It finally arrived this morning, and I think it looks OK. From different angles it's possible to read the metallic light grey as lighter, darker, and close in value to the matt grey edging, which is what I was hoping to capture. :winkgrin:

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The really big question now is how on earth do I apply the decals without either a. silvering or b. spoiling the sheen?? :shutup:

I can see a few options for this - Klear the whole thing, decal and seal as normal, then Dullcote, re-mask the edges, and spray a mist of Titanium and matt varnish? Or try and polish/buff the paint so the decals can go on without Klear, or some combination of these. Bit scared at the moment since it looks pretty nice, but I guess that's normal as you get further into a build :)

I've got some other panels and bits to paint before I need to decal so I'll probably do those in order to put it off...

Cheers,

Will

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The model's coming on great. I have to say I love the look on the pilot's face in that report about cutting the canopy open: "Hmm, this never happened in Top Gun..."

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Whoops, just lost this post :( Second try...

I agree, he doesn't look very happy does he? It'd make a good diorama but I'm not brave enough to saw up my canopy. Maybe have the fireman poised to make the first cut?

I realised I messed up the light grey on the leading edges of the wings - Academy's paint diagram has it extending along the intake sides (up to the panel line) but it should be cut off sharply. So out with the masking tape to fix it up:

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(click for bigger)

I needed to do something in that area anyway since one of the dark grey blobs was a bit big, and I'd missed some light grey panels the first time around, including this fiddly pair underneath:

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Those intake tops :(

I also added the dark grey (scale black, sort of thing) panel on the top surface - Academy provide decals for all of these, but I thought it'd be better to paint them. Most of the grilles have engraved detail so a wash/drybrush will darken and metallise them nicely. And I've just realised the tiny diamond panel ahead of the refuelling doors (I think?) should be a grille as well - i.e. dark not light. Oh well, it's good practice at masking and it lets me put off the decals for a while longer.

Cheers,

Will

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Really nice work

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I think you've done a great job with painting the model! The F-22 doesn't need any weathering either, so just smack on those decals and you're done!

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Thanks folks!

The F-22 doesn't need any weathering either, so just smack on those decals and you're done!

I'm not sure I can make a model and not weather it! At the very least the vents need a wash-and-drybrush, and there's all sorts of interesting staining visible on the belly and exhausts on some of the aerial photos I've looked at. There are also what look like visible framing members on the central section between the cockpit and engines which would be nice to bring out, but maybe a bit much in 1/72?

I decided I'd better press on and apply Klear and decals, I've been worrying about how to preserve the varying sheens and it was getting to the point where I was putting things off and fannying around instead - never a good sign. I brushed one coat of Klear on to each panel where decals would be present, trying to go up to the nearest panel line but not spill over into neighbours or onto any of the matt trim (except the tops of the tails). Then wet-sanded with 2000 grit paper and buffed it again. It's not wildly different in sheen, but it is different so it should really have a top-coat to bring things together.

The decals went on nicely though:

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(click for bigger)

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They're mostly a bit more contrasty than I'd like, but not too bad. Except for the tail flashes (pawprints) which really need to be faded. One of those also wrinkled up a bit, but it's not awful. I still need to try and wrap them around the leading/trailing edges, or else slice the surplus off and touch in with paint.

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I should've extended the dark blob on the tail down a bit I think - oh well.

One thing I was pleased with was this little frame decal over the left weapons bay - it had a "grill spots" section in the middle, and as I was applying it I noticed there was actually moulded detail for this - I was able to put it back on the sheet and slice out the middle with a scalpel, then re-apply just the frame :)

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Once I've got the fins sorted out I have a few panels to touch in. I tried both variations (light and dark-on-light) for the refuelling target thing on the top, but they were much too stark so I removed them and I'll have to paint these markings instead - ulp!

Will

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