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Academy 1/72, “A-10A “Operation Iraqi Freedom”


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Hi there fellow modellers. A few days back I posted for the first time in Ready for inspection. Because of the positive feedback and useful tips I thought I would give posting in Work in progress a go. I’m still a rookie (build 10 models in total, 2 with airbrush) and hope it will give my modelling skills a boost.

 

The model I’m going to build is one of the most badass planes that ever roamed the big blue sky, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.  The kit is by Academy (#12402) scale 1/72, “A-10A “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. I read the Academy kit has its flaws (like the shape of the engines) but as long I’m still learning it will do just fine.

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The kit has two options to build, but I’m going to build the 81-0987 version.  This specific plane has seen its share of action and now is on display (see links if you are interested)

http://www.aerialvisuals.ca/AirframeDossier.php?Serial=39646

https://www.airfighters.com/photosearch.php?reg=81-0987

 

After washing the plastic with vinegar and soap I started with the parts that are needed to put the main frame together (cockpit, wings, engines, fuselage). After sanding I glued some parts (cockpit, wings) and together with the rest I prepared them for priming. (note: I'm going to prime the main frame when it's all put together. Only the parts that need painting before being put together get primed separately) 

 

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The first thing I hope you guys can help me with is the color of the priming. As you can see the plastic itself is grey and the color scheme is going to be grey (light and dark ghost grey). Still I’m leaning to use white primer instead of grey primer, pure for visibility when applied (so that I don’t miss a spot). Any thoughts on that choice?   

 

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The second thing I hope you can help me with are the bomb racks. When finished they have the same color as the wings. What is the correct order, first attach the racks to the wings and prime/paint them and then attach the painted bombs or first paint the bombs and racks (separately) and then attach them to the painted wings? The first option right?

 

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This is my first model with instructions to add weight in the front. I’m thinking about using some putty with a screw. Any other easy methods?

 

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The last thing (for now 🙂 )  I could use some advice on is the inside of the engine. The blades are going to be gunmetal grey. The inside of the engine compartment is going to be the same as the outside of the compartment. Do you think it’s safe to cover the painted blades with liquid mask (Vallejo) while painting the inside or will removing the liquid mask mess up the paint? My experience is that metal paints aren’t the most durable kind of paints. I could always use regular masking tape of course. Any idea?   

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Nice plane and kit to build too. With regards to nose weight, make sure you put enough in there. I built this about 20 years ago when the instructions didn't mention weight. 

Maybe some weighty metal nuts or some steel wheel weights (the type an auto shop would use for wheel balancing).

Metallics can be funny, so maybe you could use a clear coat over the metallic before masking it? 

Have a look on dstorm.eu for some loadout ideas. https://www.dstorm.eu/pages/loadout/a-10.html

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9 minutes ago, Parabat said:

Nice plane and kit to build too. With regards to nose weight, make sure you put enough in there. I built this about 20 years ago when the instructions didn't mention weight. 

Maybe some weighty metal nuts or some steel wheel weights (the type an auto shop would use for wheel balancing).

Metallics can be funny, so maybe you could use a clear coat over the metallic before masking it? 

Have a look on dstorm.eu for some loadout ideas. https://www.dstorm.eu/pages/loadout/a-10.html

Use enough weight, got it! 

It looks like I first have to figure out what to make of it, but the site about the loadout is great, thanks!

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With regards  to the pylons and wings question, I personally would glue the pylons to the wings then paint. If I recall correctly, they were a good fit, but you may have one that requires some filler, so a bit easier to glue and fill and then paint.

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Hmmm, I just went ahead and used the white primer. As you can see in the picture, the result didn’t go as planned, the primer hardly covered. I didn’t want to spray any thicker because I already was getting some runners.

 

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I used Acrylic-Polyurethane Surface Primer by Vallejo (73.600), with Revell Aqua color mix . Almost at a 1:1 ratio, the paint looked thin enough and didn’t cause any hiccups during airbrushing.

 

It looks to me as I did something wrong or is this to be expected after a first layer? More importantly, how to proceed? Add another layer of the same white primer, convert to grey primer, no more primer just start painting etc. ? Anyone?  

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Well, the good news is that the grey primer worked much better. The bad news is that it looks like I blew the compressor of my airbrush 😞 (Revell basic set).

Just send an e-mail to inform about the warranty. I think it will be coverd, but I probaly will be without an airbrush for a while. <insert random curse word>   

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It will interesting to see how you get on with the Vallejo primer. I used it once and promptly binned it. It just will not cope with sanding. 

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On 17/08/2019 at 08:46, Leonl said:

It will interesting to see how you get on with the Vallejo primer. I used it once and promptly binned it. It just will not cope with sanding. 

Like I mentioned, I think grey primer went ok. Much better than with the white primer. Still have to do some tidying up on some areas (sanding and re primer) but that will have to wait till I have a working airbrush again. The online shop has good customer service so I hope the warranty covers it and there will be a swift solution. Fingers crossed.

 

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Meanwhile I already glued some parts that don’t need priming right now. I also went ahead with attaching the pylons on to the wings. I looked at the site member @Parabat mentioned ( https://www.dstorm.eu/pages/loadout/a-10.html ) but it seems to be about missions during Desert storm and I’m going with a version that ran during (the later) Operation Iraqi Freedom. Too bad because that site is awesome! 

For now I think I’m going with the loadout as mentioned in the kit instructions.

 

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Edited by DutchXActo
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In my Corsair Ready for Inspection post I mentioned that I have difficulties with canopies. Some members gave the advice to use precut canopy masks. For this A-10 build I searched the web and couldn’t find any that a) weren’t on lengthy back order or b) didn’t cost that much (including shipping!). I did stumble across a .jpeg file with the canopy outlines on it (I think it was of Montex - # SM 72053). So I printed that on a piece of paper with masking tape on it. Maybe I redo it to make it even better but for now I’m happy that this method worked!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Yesterday I got a happy little surprise in my mail! In exactly 1 week I received a (new) replacement airbrush.

 

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Because they send me a completely new set, even the accessories (paint and clean/color mix) were replaced with new full ones. Talk about good service!

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Now I’ve got a working airbrush again, time for some action.

 

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Thanks to tips in my ready for inspection post I used a higher ratio of thinner/paint than I usual did. Because I often use Vallejo Model air I didn’t think mixing wasn’t that important. Now I did mixing in a 1:1 ratio and it looks like it did the trick.

 

Next up were the decals in the cockpit. In the instructions no color was given to the seat cover. A quick google search didn’t give an exclusive answer but I did see some green seats, so green it is.

 

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Gluing the fuselage wasn’t a walk in the park. The fragile halves and parts made it hard to dry fit. It started with trouble fitting the dashboard and ended up with some nasty seams. I think I can blame some of it on my own skills but some seams are definitely caused by design of the kit (let’s call it 50/50 🙂). Hopefully I can repair them with some putty. I find good filling still one of the hard things to do, so fingers crossed.

 

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Oh, during my struggle putting the fuselage together I forgot to put in the extra weight in the front! Luckily I discovered my mistake before I glued on the wings. I managed to slip in some screws wrapped in silly putty. Hopefully it is placed enough to the front so it passed the center point of gravity and prevents the plane from aiming to the sky.

 

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Edited by DutchXActo
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During the time the putty is hardening I’m thinking about the best way/order to prime and paint. Quick question about masking. I see guys airbrushing with and without a (masked) canopy in place. When you airbrush with the canopy on is the canopy already glued permanently in its place (and therefore everything else in the cockpit must already be painted) or is it just a temporally hold so you can fine tune the cockpit later?

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