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Question on windows


Hix

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It seems many folk choose to bin the clear sprues and fill in the windows and opt to use decals for them.

What's the reasoning behind this choice?

I understand that prime and paint pose significant obstructions, but my thoughts were that you could prime and paint the line of the windows, install them and then, after masking, feather the paintwork in after assembling the fuses together.

Am I missing something bigger? 

Only built mil fighters thus far..

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In 1/144 decal windows look perfectly acceptable for me.  Look at a photo in Airliners.net.  Windows look like dark gray boxes, just like on a 1/144 airliner.  Some folks like to use decals for the passenger windows and clear injection parts (if provided) for the cockpit.  There is no right answer.  It is what you prefer.  I used decals for the windows on my Minicraft 1/144 C-135A, Roden C-141B and Minicraft NASA 757 and I thought it looked great.  Your mileage may differ.  

 

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Edited by Ad-4N
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I see what you mean.

Btw, love the diorama there and the great DoF. Makes it look sooooo real.

I wanted to try to use LEDs on the interior alongside tiny SMD LEDs for the nav and anti-collision lights, hence asking.

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Clarity.  Windows as provided in kits are generally thick, in order to meet flush with the outer skin and provide a lodgement on the inside.  They rarely achieve a smooth outside (though this can be helped by sanding and polishing), often include sink marks and rarely look clear. 

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2 minutes ago, Hix said:

I see what you mean.

Btw, love the diorama there and the great DoF. Makes it look sooooo real.

I wanted to try to use LEDs on the interior alongside tiny SMD LEDs for the nav and anti-collision lights, hence asking.

 

Thanks so much.  I've seen startling results with folks lighting the interior of 1/144 airliners, especially in low light situations, (starships too) and I am always jealous.  So yeah, you'd need clear parts.  But I know as much about lighting kits as I do about flying an SR-71.  

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18 hours ago, Hix said:

I understand that prime and paint pose significant obstructions, but my thoughts were that you could prime and paint the line of the windows, install them and then, after masking, feather the paintwork in after assembling the fuses together.

That's the approach that I've thought long and hard about trying. However, the issue that I believe would be encountered is that even if you achieve a perfect dry fit of the windows, after removing them and spraying, you would end up with overspray on the inside edges of the window openings, leading to the windows no longer fitting. Yes, it could then be scraped out, but then your lovely window fit could be compromised 

 

But this is just my thoughts..

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I hit the youtubes and discovered that some people use clear casting resin. By building a dam inside the fuse and then blocking the apertures from outside (there appear to be a good few methods to achieve this, ranging from just applying Kapton tape to the outside, to applying tape to card and sticking that on the outside) I have thought about using Kapton tape applied to some 0.25mm styrene board I have and then taping that to the outside.

I think you could spray the window section first and then pour the resin post paint and then feather as described before when final painting.

I think I'll buy a sacrificial model to test on. Worst case, if it all goes to turd, I can just fill and spray over it all.

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There are several reasons for using window decals.

 

In my case it's mainly laziness. I just find it easier to fill the openings (from the inside using a "sausage" of Milliput) and use decals.

 

Also, I like my collection to be uniform and there are quite a few airliner kits on the market, notably Minicraft, F-RSIN and some Eastern Express, where the fuselage is solid and you don't have any choice about using decals.

 

Another reason is that some well-known aircraft had different door and window arrangements depending on operator. Off the top of my head I think the Boeing 767-300 had five possible permutations of doors and windows even before the airlines started plugging windows to suit their own requirements. Decals just make dealing with that situation so much easier. A similar point applies if you are converting, say, a Boeing 737-800 to a -600 or an A319 to an A318. Decals make the job so much easier than trying to plug existing windows and carve new ones.

 

The recent development of "photo real" window decals mainly by Authentic Airliner Decals means that window decals have come a long way since the black or dark grey blanks which were the norm fifteen years ago. In case you're interested this is one of my models finished with Authentic Airliners windows and I'm happy with the result, particularly the details in the cockpit.

 

It is, of course, a case of "your model, your choice". There is no right or wrong and what works for me won't necessarily work for anyone else. Buying a "sacrificial model" and trying things out for yourself is definitely the best idea.

 

Dave G

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I will say that my paradigm is evolving on this one; Companies like Montex are now offering excellent windscreen (and window!) masks for some kits, like the Roden VC10 and Boeing 720.

 

In my experiences, one of the problems has been that the clear plastic inlays have difficulty sitting perfectly level and the projecting windows not being completely flush. In the case of my 2 VC10s, the fit was all over the place. Therefore, filler and sanding extravaganza.

 

So far, the masks for the windshields themselves have performed brilliantly. I feel that the individual passenger window masks are worth at least trying, provided i can get a clear, perfectly flush-fitting window on the next installation attempt.

 

Having said that- the window decals from Authentic Airliners truly are, in my opinion, a game changer and as others have mentioned there are many airliner kits that don't give you cabin windows (the Revell 1960s jet airliners, and the newer offerings from X-Scale, Minicraft, and Eastern Express are all good examples).

 

At this point in time its really a case of "more than one way to skin a cat" and none of these options have been universally accepted as the be-all and end-all preferred method.

 

Put another way: Your Mileage May Vary.

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I'm  a design engineer, so the way of my world is always the most tortuous route possible to any end goal.

Authentic airliners do seem to be a brilliant route, but what is life if it isn't filled with pain and torture 😂

I'm inclined to be a masochist just for the empirical (likely useless) data.

I've found that since picking up my first kit in 30+ years, I no longer have the need to finish it that night. I've also found that the sanding and getting rid of imperfections is also extremely cathartic. SHWBO and work all disappear into insignificance.

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So, tonight I applied Kapton tape to the outside of the fus on a Zvezda 789. From there I mixed up some clear polyester casting resin and applied it to the inside of the fus. Despite mixing it very gently to avoid aerating it, on application tiny bubbles appeared. Not sure whether that's a function of it catalysing or reaction to the adhesive on the tape. Either way I tried to pop as many as I could with a toothpick. But they seemed to reappear. Have left it to cure in the garage and will see what it looks like tomorrow. Can't upload photos as imgur will not allow me to upload from phone. So whenever I manage to upload I'll add them to this thread.

The plan is to use liquid latex to the outside of the windows and when it's all built and painted I can hopefully just pick it off with a toothpick.

To be continued...

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  • 3 months later...

I´ve have been successful also with the Kapton tape technique, but using UV curing resin instead (black Dspiae bottle). I don´t know if it will turn yellow in the future (hopefully not) but so far it worked great, i got crystal clear windows and you don´t have to mix 2 components = less bubbles to deal with, if any.

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Strips of clear decal film have always worked very good for me. If a kit has window holes which are properly sized, shaped and spaced, I won't fill them up. When it's Revell the decal sheet usually provides for clear cabin windows with silver frames, which always fit well. When I finish a model with clear coat I make sure I hit the window rows with an extra layer. These coated decal windows never failed on me, even after 15+ years.

 

However, the decals of Revell's Embraer 190/195's are extremely thin, which is nice, but the clear windows sunk too deep into the empty window holes. Luckily I had a spare which I applied over a strip of clear decal film (used for printing your own decals)  applied over the window row first.    

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Hix, I think it is a matter of both personal taste and expediency.

For instance, I lost the cockpit transparency for this Airfix F-27 and decided the next best solution was to use decals to "simulate" the windscreen.

It was actually a simpler task than masking - I am a real procrastinator when it comes to masking transparencies.

All I had to do was glue sheet styrene blanks over the windscreen, fill and sand it all flush.

I used some carbon fibre decal (I'm a race car modeler too) for the glazed panels, to avoid a "pure black" look.

The decal scheme provided passenger windows in grey because the cheat lines don't necessarily line up with the kit windows anyway.

Overall, I thought it looks okay in my display, even if it would be marked down by contest judges and their ilk.

I still have many builds to get on with.  🤨

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The main reasons why I prefer window decals to actual windows on 1.144 airliners are - 

 

simplicity

realism

consistency

 

Another reason is that many airliners have polished metal/chromed window surrounds (look at many 707s, 737s etc - especially earlier ones) and you can't really replicate these easilly any other way than using decals.

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I am not an airliner modeller as my skills have never included getting a seam-free and curved upper fuselage finish but it appears to me that the decals look fabulous in 1/144 as they appear to include curtains/blinds in different positions to mimic the real thing. As for the problem with bubbles in clear resin the simplest 'solution' in most cases is vibrate the fuselage either mechanically by placing it on a vibrating object (;)) or gently and repeatedly tapping it to ease the bubbles out of the resin. Works a treat when I mould my own solid resin pieces.

Hope that helps.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/30/2024 at 5:54 PM, kapam said:

@Hix, I think it is a matter of both personal taste and expediency.

For instance, I lost the cockpit transparency for this Airfix F-27 and decided the next best solution was to use decals to "simulate" the windscreen.

It was actually a simpler task than masking - I am a real procrastinator when it comes to masking transparencies.

All I had to do was glue sheet styrene blanks over the windscreen, fill and sand it all flush.

I used some carbon fibre decal (I'm a race car modeler too) for the glazed panels, to avoid a "pure black" look.

The decal scheme provided passenger windows in grey because the cheat lines don't necessarily line up with the kit windows anyway.

Overall, I thought it looks okay in my display, even if it would be marked down by contest judges and their ilk.

I still have many builds to get on with.  🤨

OnwJxdW.png?3

Nice!

And on the Airfix F.27 the cabin windows are slightly undersized, and about 2mm too low on the fuselage anyway. Using window decals overcomes both problems.

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