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Grumman Martlet Mk. IV; Airfix 1/72 - FINISHED


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From way over here, the free hand airbrushing looks fantastic.  I think the tonal variation in the finish is just right.  Boy, I love this scheme... now you've got me thinking about the one I have in the stash... 🤔

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On 8/2/2022 at 12:26 AM, Ngantek said:

As for texturing, thanks I appreciate the help. I don't want to drag you into a long detailed discussion, but a quick rough bullet point of the stages you might do would be really helpful! In particular what you think of a 'complimentary colours'; being colourblind I have no trust in my own eye on these things. I see people breaking out all these gaudy colours from across the spectrum to match the weathering and texture of a dull grey airframe, and it looks fantastic, but I can't for the life of me see those colours in the source aircraft or indeed the final model!


Ok, bullet points.

  • Paint the base colour.  If it’s a light colour I will usually preshade access panels and control surfaces.  Sometime other structure.  I’ll do this very quickly and roughly - it’s a five minute exercise.
  • When the base coat is on, I lighten the shade a tad and thin the mix and work the middle of panels to slightly lighten them.  This is also done quickly and without much precision.
  • Then I darken the mix and thin it some more and start to build in depth by accenting structure and the areas that will typically attract grime IRL..
  • Then, depending on how I’m weathering and/or the effect I’m attempting I might slightly change the hue of the base colour with literally pinhead sized paint drops of either yellow or red mixed in, thin it even further and apply that randomly over the whole surface as a filter.  This technique can also be used to blend everything in.  When I talk about complementary shades I mean, for example, that khaki can be used as a fading filter over a Dark Green and Dark Earth scheme because khaki compliments both.  
  • With all of the foregoing the key is to work with very thinned paint, go slowly and be willing to adjust on the fly if you’re not getting what you are looking for.

All of the preceding is done in one session, usually, and I keep thinning and adjusting until I get whatever look I’m going for.  My art teacher at junior school told me nothing in nature is all the same colour and that’s always stuck with me. To address the second part of your comment above, I agree. I don’t go for the marbled effect either as a preshade nor as a finished look because for me - while I admire the skill required to execute that kind of finish and I enjoy looking at them - that doesn’t look like what real airplanes look like, to me.  What I go for is a randomised variation in hue and saturation around the base colour with accents to emphasise wear and sun fading as well as dirt and grime accumulation.  Sometimes I get close :)

 

 

 

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On 7/28/2022 at 7:29 PM, Ngantek said:

Cheers for popping by Chuuurles. Hows the spit coming along?

 

 

 

 

 

It took an unscheduled test flight last night at the hands of my brothers children 🙃 . Antenna is broken and exhuast missing, hopefully, I can get it back together and RFIed 

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On 01/08/2022 at 17:43, Grey Beema said:

Andy,

 

I am not sure what your source said but when it comes to putting the squadron markings on they read left to right Ø7D on both sides (I'll need to check fir around the roundel).  If your references say anything else they are incorrect.  If that is the case - give me a shout..

 

BTW - great job on the TSS.

Thanks, yeah I recall seeing this mentioned re: the US markings scheme. I don't have them to hand, but I'll shout it the xtradecal ones are off.

 

On 03/08/2022 at 01:39, opus999 said:

From way over here, the free hand airbrushing looks fantastic.  I think the tonal variation in the finish is just right.  Boy, I love this scheme... now you've got me thinking about the one I have in the stash... 🤔

Yeah TSS always looks good to me. I'm more attuned to the humbrol muted browned- versions; from my youth no doubt, so I might hit this one back a bit. I think I've learned enough to know I would do it differently next time. Fun kit I think, aside from a some necessary squaring up of the undercarriage gubbins, it's right in that 'airfixy' spot of going together quite nicely with a decent but not excessive amount of detail that might otherwise turn it into more of a job.

 

On 03/08/2022 at 09:59, mark.au said:


Ok, bullet points.

  • Paint the base colour.  If it’s a light colour I will usually preshade access panels and control surfaces.  Sometime other structure.  I’ll do this very quickly and roughly - it’s a five minute exercise.
  • When the base coat is on, I lighten the shade a tad and thin the mix and work the middle of panels to slightly lighten them.  This is also done quickly and without much precision.
  • Then I darken the mix and thin it some more and start to build in depth by accenting structure and the areas that will typically attract grime IRL..
  • Then, depending on how I’m weathering and/or the effect I’m attempting I might slightly change the hue of the base colour with literally pinhead sized paint drops of either yellow or red mixed in, thin it even further and apply that randomly over the whole surface as a filter.  This technique can also be used to blend everything in.  When I talk about complementary shades I mean, for example, that khaki can be used as a fading filter over a Dark Green and Dark Earth scheme because khaki compliments both.  
  • With all of the foregoing the key is to work with very thinned paint, go slowly and be willing to adjust on the fly if you’re not getting what you are looking for.

All of the preceding is done in one session, usually, and I keep thinning and adjusting until I get whatever look I’m going for.  My art teacher at junior school told me nothing in nature is all the same colour and that’s always stuck with me. To address the second part of your comment above, I agree. I don’t go for the marbled effect either as a preshade nor as a finished look because for me - while I admire the skill required to execute that kind of finish and I enjoy looking at them - that doesn’t look like what real airplanes look like, to me.  What I go for is a randomised variation in hue and saturation around the base colour with accents to emphasise wear and sun fading as well as dirt and grime accumulation.  Sometimes I get close :)

 

 

 

This is fantastic, immediately bookmarked. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this. Sounds like you work from a single paint mix, gradually altering it and thinning it? As I say, the results clearly speak for themselves. The point about nothing being the same colour informs the whole process and is a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, driving home the point you made earlier about the folly of trying to do too much in one pass.

 

I will certainly have a hack at shading on this one when I get a chance. Since I build in the office that I share with my wife, these kinds of airbrush jobs necessarily get put aside for extended periods, since it requires a rare combination of an unused office and a decent chunk of free time, to justify getting all the airbrushing gubbins out.

 

20 hours ago, Chuuurles said:

 

It took an unscheduled test flight last night at the hands of my brothers children 🙃 . Antenna is broken and exhuast missing, hopefully, I can get it back together and RFIed 

oh bugger! I guess it does look very swooshable! Best of luck with the repairs!

 

 

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45 minutes ago, Ngantek said:

Sounds like you work from a single paint mix, gradually altering it and thinning it?


That's it exactly.  I’m glad you might find it useful, and understandable!  It’s hard to write down a step by step description of what’s essentially a process of continuous improvisation until I get what I’m after.  

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On 8/1/2022 at 8:16 AM, Ngantek said:

Yep that's the fella. Thanks for posting, fantastic build!
 

Thanks. I'm using this one increasingly as a guinea pig, the poor thing, so I wouldn't keep your hopes up!

 

 

I'll try to keep the update reasonably brief. Basically, TSS has gone on. I had a mess around 'primer basing' the sky. I'm using colourcoats for the first time, they seem really nice and well behaved.:

20220731_142718

but had not the cohones to let that show through:

 

20220731_151842

 

I thought I'd have a go freehand, which slows the whole process down rather. Noticing I had a copy of Xtradecal Yanks with Roundels pt 1, with a similar scheme, I figured I'd go with that one to justify my random bouts of retail therapy for variety. Annoyingly the decals came with one of the pages missing, so there's a bit of imaginative interpretation of a low res image I found online. I don't suspect they were that accurate even before I butchered them with freehand mistake cover-ups. I'm not sure pencil guidelines is the way to go, though:

20220731_193116 20220731_194806

again I did some experiments adding 'texture' to the DSG, but the necessity of trying to create a sharpish edge means it's hard to apply a uniform effect, and harder still to overcoat gradually with a wide thin spray. Also I suck at airbrushing so the this approach leads to bumpy paint if you're me, kinda defeating the nice satin texture of the colourcoats. Also it was taking forever, so as I went on, I got lazier and lazier with this technique, particuarly because my lack of ability to make it look non rubbish.

20220731_210320

 

And finally the EDSG

20220731_223458

 

A reasonable amount of repair work needed, and while the booth LED accentuates the contrast a little, I think I might spray a light filter all over to tone it down a bit; the DSG in particular is a little bright for my tastes.

 

So my thoughts; yeah with my dodgy airbrushing I feel I may as well have blutack masked the scheme; I'm not up to giving it texture this way, and the sacrifice is a looser edge definition and much less even paint applcation. Not in a 'add variation' way, in a 'that be some schoolboy paintwork dere' kind of way. The demarcation taper is overscale. I knew that of course, I tend to like the look of over-tapered TSS, but I discovered the obvious truth that the taper sharpness is defined not by the sharpest line you can airbrush, but the accuracy with which you can airbrush the same line over and over again; which for me is... not.

 

Any hoo lots of airbrush practice and some good lessons learned. The great thing is that I didn't craze the Tamiya with the colourcoats. Coming up next, the comedy of me trying to repair the landing leg I snapped off when using it as a croc-clip target.

 

Cheers,

Andy

 

EDIT: oh and my arbitrary painting of the TSS scheme on the separated wings randomly almost lines up. Who knew!

20220731_223605

 

 

Those results look promising Andy. I agree with your comment about the comparison between Tamiya Laquer and aircraft black boxes

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  • 5 weeks later...

Haven't updated this one for ages, mostly because I've been off making tiny little ships, busy, or building other stuff. This one reached a bit of a block, partly because I wasn't that happy with the base colour (both colour and application) and partly because I wasn't sure how I'd do some chipping/wear.

 

In the end I did have a go trying to sharpen the lines with thin mixtures, but to be honest, it was much the same as the original application, and all I managed to do was make it a little more untidy. Prolly didn't help that was when it was about 35 degrees in London, so I was having a lot of issues with tip dry.

In the end I had a cursory stab at it with some sand paper. Those colourcoats are pretty tough, so really I've just about managed to get an excellent representation of a model that someone has had at rather roughly with sandpaper... The grey 'primer' coat also looks somewhat like grey styrene.

 

I did also give it a mist coat of EDSG all over to bring the contrast down a little, which I do think helped a bit. So yeah.. in the original spirit of this being a 'fun side build' I think I'll probably mash the wings up a bit to match the bad wear and just blunder on. We're here at the moment:

20220908_232023 20220908_232009

 

 

On the plus side, I've be busy in the meantime with other things, but have decided to spare the poor denizens of britmodeller from having to endure another couple of dodgy WiP threads.

 

20220908_231728

 

That thing on the left is a TSS comparison chart, which I'll post if I ever get to see the model desk in sunlight, which has frankly had a lot more attention than anything else!
 

 

And a special treat for anyone who wants to feel better about their benchspace, or anyone who enjoys getting triggered by mess:

20220827_130132

 

Yeah sorry about that. Hopefully time for more progress on the Martlet soon

 

Andy

 

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  • 1 month later...

Thought I'd just update this. Not much time for modelling and it's easy to discover that you've gone a month without getting the chance to progress anything. Making four things in parallel probably doesn't help either! I haven't been keeping WiPs of those mostly, since they're fairly vanilla, and frankly it seemed excessive! Getting the spraybooth out and all the thinners and cleaners and compressors and whatnot is always a bit of a palaver, so jobs tend to concertina up waiting for paint, then if ever I get a day of, it is necessarily spent entirely with the airbrush.

 

The Martlet was hanging around in that limbo state of not being where I wanted it to be, but without any idea how to improve it. In the end I did some repairs of overzealous chipping, and experimented with some light and dark shades. Mostly it looks shabby! Anyway, it wasn't going anywhere, so I figured 'meh' and slapped the decals on. These are straight down onto colourcoats satin, so I guess we'll see how that turns out. Another few of the overlaid stencils to go, and I'll probably get around to deep frying it in varnish. Really this one shouldn't be that far away. it was meant to be a quick shake and bake, and I ended up getting carried away using it as more of a test piece for new techniques. But about time I get it off my desk. We're here anyhoo:

 

20221012_215449

I'm using some Xtradecals I had lying around, if only for variety. They seem a little on the thick side, but otherwise pretty good.

 

Andy

 

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On 10/12/2022 at 10:44 PM, Ngantek said:

I ended up getting carried away using it as more of a test piece for new techniques.

I had an F-14 when I first came back to the hobby that suffered from this same problem.  I think it took me a year to finish it!  I think you're doing better than I did -- it certainly looks much better! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Not a huge amount here. I got rather carried away with the clear coat (GX100 probably overly swimming in MLT) and in my impatience and hope of just hosing over the rather rough surface arising from my various bad bits of freehand camo airbrush work, I ended up crazing the roundels, particularly where I'd sliced them into the panel lines. 

20221014_145726

 

The glossed surface was still pretty rough as you can see. The whole model got an oil panel line wash, uppers a dark grey brown grime, the underside wash apparently ended up a medium olive green (I was informed by a passing SWMBO), but thankfully I will be none the wiser.

20221014_145638

 

It sat like that on the naughty shelf for a few weeks and I've now finally hit it back with some sanding foam. I might take the eccentric approach of trying to tidy the roundels with some detail freehand airbrushing (to alleviate the risk of bringing up the decals with masking tape) but we'll see. I could also give it another very light protective gloss cote now the surface is rather flatter. A part of me is saying that, having sanded back the gloss, we're in the same place as we were weeks ago, but with beaten up decals. But I'm not listening to that guy, he's a bit of a jerk. Anyway....

20221031_222152

 

Andy

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On 7/26/2022 at 12:08 AM, Ngantek said:

Thanks, it's turning out to be a nice kit, although I think with my copy, the quality control has let it down a little.

 

Thanks for the heads up on that one Chris. Yeah, reading back, it looks like it's that cowl extension line that needs removing. I've had a go, but more remedial work still required I think.

 

 

!!warning meandering drivel!!

Actually looking at that 'incorrect' cowl that was shipped by Airfix, it looks too short to be suitable to turn a P&W F4F-4 kit into a Mark II; it's barely longer than the replacement one, so I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be. Perhaps an FM-2/Mk. VI, whose cowl I believe is longer than that of the earlier Wright single row Wildcats? Anyway speculation for another time. In all truth I'd quite like to make the second kit into an HMS Audacity Martlet of 802 squadron. Having an earlier colour scheme that predates Grumman's TSS matching, it would make a change; and seeing as no one can seem to agree what that scheme really was, I'd be free to do something to my tastes! I seem to see wildly varying reports as to whether they were Mk Is or IIIs or even folding wing IIs, but basically it's not looking like there's an obvious way to turn an F4F-4 kit into one. Ahh well.

!! \meandering drivel!!

 

Anyway back to the build, another week of not much progress, but have be tinkering on the side when I got the chance. Some Mr surfacer 500 went down on the seams:

20220719_212525

 

The wings got assembled. They took a little more fettling that I was expecting to be honest, but the tool design seems good. I drilled out the wing section perforations and did a little masking.

20220725_212548

 

And the canopy got masked pretty roughly and then had some interior green. The whole thing's had some of that delicious Mr Finishing surfacer 1500, which mostly ended up all over my hands when trying to lazily decant it straight from the can into the airbrush cup.

20220725_234603

 

More work needed on those seams. I might experiement with some CA glue.

 

Photos of this the aircraft in the included scheme show it to be in reasonable condition. Those pesky FAA fitters and their cleanliness! But I might nonetheless do them a disservice and have a go at weathering this one a bit more with layers, chipping and sanding.

 

Anyway that's it for now!


Cheers,

Andy

If you are putting paint straight into the colour cup, put a brush in the cup first and the paint runs down the brush with no mess, works a treat!

 

Nice job on the Martlet

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6 hours ago, Ngantek said:

I might take the eccentric approach of trying to tidy the roundels with some detail freehand airbrushing

Andy,

 

Crikey - a high stakes solution! You could also tape paper masks over the affected decals - they can be hand cut just to address the affected areas. Good luck whatever you try,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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As Roger stated paper masks would be your friend here.  You could use a slightly wet paper and that would stay in place over the roundel and allow you to paint around it without lifting, seen that before on BM.  Or try some brush work? 

Good luck with what ever you do there. 

Otherwise overall is looking good.

Chris

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3 hours ago, James G said:

If you are putting paint straight into the colour cup, put a brush in the cup first and the paint runs down the brush with no mess, works a treat!

 

Nice job on the Martlet

What a great tip, thanks very much! I will try, although odds even that I'll find a way to use the extra equipment to create extra mess.

 

3 hours ago, Dunny said:

Andy,

 

Crikey - a high stakes solution! You could also tape paper masks over the affected decals - they can be hand cut just to address the affected areas. Good luck whatever you try,

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

Paper masks! But of course! And I wonder why even my simple builds turn into a dumpster fire. I will go with that approach.

 

2 hours ago, John_W said:

Personally I think the worn look on the markings looks quite good. All to often you see a seriously battered aircraft with pristine markings.

Good point. To be honest I don't think I've completed a model without some (usually unintentional) decal shredding, so that's not a look that I'm particularly worried about achieving! I'll leave some damage probably (some of it even intentional!), but at the moment it looks a bit too 'bubbled because I'm crap at modelling' and not enough 'worn because it's worn'. 

 

Andy

 

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Just now, bigbadbadge said:

As Roger stated paper masks would be your friend here.  You could use a slightly wet paper and that would stay in place over the roundel and allow you to paint around it without lifting, seen that before on BM.  Or try some brush work? 

Good luck with what ever you do there. 

Otherwise overall is looking good.

Chris

Thanks Chris. Yeah all this faffing with airbrushes and masks and varnishes when there's a perfectly good hairy stick sitting there. It's the Google generation in a nutshell. I've done both in the past (repairing decal damage is something I get a lot of practice with!), I guess I don't have enough faith in my colour matching ability to get brush work not to stand out. But yeah maybe I should go with the sensible option...

 

Andy 

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I’d probably use a brush in this instance.  Get the colour close and the final treatments and flat coat will ameliorate any difference in tone, especially if you dry brush some of the new colour further out from the panels.

 

 

Edited by mark.au
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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally found some time to push on with this a little.

 

Tried a bit of post shading. Baby steps as they say.

20221118_114902

and generally, in tidying up the sky did an equal an opposite amount of damage to the topside.

 

I'd neglected to do the wing walks so used it as a bit of an experiment with chipping solution. Turns out it's easy to go too far! I resprayed and rechipped which gave an interesting depth of colour but that got removed immediately I sanded to smooth it out. So yes overchipped but then the whole build is over weathered. Experience gained time to move on.

 

20221118_115029

 

The prop got some sanding... struggled to get it even. Part of the problem is the yellow went over the ally basecoat, and a fair way down the blade.. so scraping nearer the tip doesn't work. Another lesson.

 

Lots of catching up with tyres and other gubbins, and then everything has had a matte coat. 

 

 

20221118_164001

 

 

Will probably throw some random oils at it next, we'll see. 

Cheers,

Andy

 

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Andy,

 

Coming along nicely! I'm currently researching a 1:48 version, and at least some FAA Martlets had the propeller 'cuffs' in aluminium (painted?). Might be worth a check for this subject?

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

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  • Ngantek changed the title to Grumman Martlet Mk. IV; Airfix 1/72 - FINISHED

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