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AMT F9F Panther

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I am trying to learn how to use an airbrush. So, to further the experience, I selected this old AMT 1/48 F9F Panther. The kit is quite inexpensive, not very detailed, easy to build, and if I totally screw it up, I won’t regret it too much.

The cabin is quite barren of detail. There is basically a seat, control stick, a crappy instrument panel and that’s it. The model comes with a pilot figure so I thought I would use it to hide the lack of detail in the cockpit. Problem is my experience and skill with figure painting rivals that of using an airbrush. The contest in this kit will be see which is more rubbish, the figure painting or the airbrushing.

Here is the pilot figure painted up. I know it is pathetic and deplorable. The good news, the canopy is quite thick and even with a coating of clear, lets you view the detail if you were looking through the bottom of an old coke bottle. Here is my sad, little pilot; have pity.


The lesson with this kit is a can I make a glossy finish. My first attempt revealed how little effort I had made in making sure the surfaces of the kit were sanded and smoothed down. So, after the first coat revealed rough sanding marks, seams, etc., re-sanded places that needed it and polished the surface with 1500 grit sandpaper to get it smooth. The second coat pebbled. Back to sanding it back down, polishing the surface with 1800 grit sandpaper now and recoating; this time a bit more thinner was added. I was using Model Master Dark Sea Blue. Again pebbling. Sand, recoat, pebbling and bubbles. This is getting frustrating. So, decided to do a test. Is it me or is it the paint? Same set up, same amount of thinner used, same pressure, only Model Master Blue Angel Blue. Glossy coat, no pebbling, smooth as a baby’s behind. The only other thing I can think of that differed between spraying the Dark Sea Blue and Blue Angel Blue was that it was just a tad warmer outside on the day I sprayed Blue Angel Blue. However, the paints had both been inside prior to spraying at the same temperature. I was only outside for about 4 minutes to spray each coat. So either it was the difference in temperature (about 10 degrees F) or the actual paint itself. Here is the finished product.







Luckily my frankenpilot is not visible and only a hint of him can be seen through the canopy. The decals for this kit were not the best. Do not know if it was their age or they never were good. I have no idea if this is an accurate kit. Seems a bit toy like. However, it helped with my airbrush learning curve. Will tackle a couple of more inexpensive kits before my first real test, either the 1/24 Airfix Mosquito or the 1/32 ZM Raiden. Comments welcome.

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Probably the temperature. 10 degrees Fahrenheit is far too cold to be spraying.


I'm sorry Martin, I didn't make myself clear. The difference in temperature between spraying the glossy sea blue and spraying the blue angel blue was about 10 degrees warmer with the blue angel blue over the GSB. If it is 10 degrees outside, I'm not spraying. Am not a big fan of cold.

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I truly do appreciate your kind attempts at making my poor pathetic pilot appear less pitiful, but it is adequate at best. I am very lucky the canopy is so thick and not clear. It provides a nice representation of something in there besides blank space. I am going to work on figure painting this year though. There are just too many kits I have with wonderful figures in them that it seems a shame to relegate them to the doom parts box. (Those parts that seem too good to throw away, but the likelihood I will ever use them is slim to none.)

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