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Downen Scaled Replicas

1/48 A-1H Skyraider VA-65 Cuban Missile Crisis

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16 minutes ago, Dutch said:

Downen, Thanks for that spray can decanting trick.  Should prove useful very soon!  Excellent detailing sir.  R/ Dutch

 

You're very welcome. Thanks for following along.

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And heeeeeeeere’s the lineup!

 

The basecoat is Model Car World (MCW) 2119 Dark Gull Gray FS36231.

Bottom of the aircraft: MCW 2119 Insignia White FS17875

Top of the aircraft: MCW 2120 Gull Gray FS36440

Details: Tamiya TS-12 Orange (decanted for airbrush), MCW 2148 USAF Thunderbirds White (rudder stars), and MCW 2000 Gloss Black (nose anti-glare panel).

 

49505877216_77eb72a183_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint A by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

The entire lineup is lacquer which produces a fast-drying and rock-hard finish capable of taking some rough handling and masking, and also capable of withstanding a moderate sanding between coats using 1200 and 3000 grit sandpaper (1200 to knock down raised paint demarcation lines between colors which are due to the masking tape, and 3000 grit to smooth out any rough spots between coats).

 

I’m using a black-basing technique with this build to give the final paint finish a worn, but well-kept appearance. The first step is to put down a dark base coat. This would normally be black, but since the bottom topcoat will be insignia white, I start with Dark Gull Gray FS36231 instead of black.

 

49505367233_f583da1d36_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint B by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

The ailerons will also be insignia white so those are base coated too. I’m not showing the horizontal tail in these photos, but it receives the same treatment.

 

49505877176_411c2166d1_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint C by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

Before going further with the topcoats, I decide to take care of that colorful rudder. You can see in the photo above that I’ve put down a coat of MCW 2148 USAF Thunderbirds White. I created artwork for the stars on my computer and used a Silhouette Cameo to cut vinyl masks in OraCal OraMask 810. This is GREAT stuff; it adheres to the model surface, conforms to moderate curves, and pulls up easily without removing underlying paint. But note that I am using lacquer paints here and gave the model a good primer coat too. OraMask will work well over acrylics (I have not tried it with enamels) but remember that proper preparation of the plastic surface with plastic prep and primer is advised!

 

49505367448_c8e48c33d8_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint D by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

I guess that I failed to get a photo of the rudder with the masks applied prior to painting orange. But here you can see the end result after removal of the star masks. AWESOME!

 

This always feels so good… because it can also feel so bad if things go wrong! You know what I mean!

 

49505367403_28045fa0da_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint E by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

Back to the fuselage. The bottom is base coated with Dark Gull Gray. Time to start putting down light coats of Insignia White, starting with random squiggles and spots of the paint. It really looks scary as the process begins… WHAT HAVE I DONE!?

 

49505877006_e91c43c0fa_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint F by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

At this stage I begin to thin the paint, starting with a 50/50 blend. I put down a light overall coat of the thinned paint (no more creating squiggles; these are just uniform coats of thinned paint at this point). Then more thinner and another overall coat of the paint. And more thinner and more uniform coats of paint until I’m about 1 part paint to 3 parts thinner. Gradually those scary looking patches begin to fade and you get a more uniform, yet nuanced topcoat.

 

49505876956_28d26a8bea_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint G by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

See the slight tonal variations throughout the paint job? It is random and looks a bit worn – certainly not brand new – but yet it’s not IN YOUR FACE weather beaten.

 

49505876916_7d17167868_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint H by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

Pin washes in the panel lines will help to pop those lines out later, and an overall wash will contribute a bit more dirt and wear. But I feel that this black base technique gives me a good basis for starting those other weathering techniques later.

 

49506094782_e8d66da1c5_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint I by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

Hey, but there’s one more thing to do before decals and weathering: those orange thunderbolts on the fuselage need to be masked and painted. Again, I created artwork in Illustrator, cut the vinyl decals, and went at it with the decanted orange paint.

 

49505367173_6ea72ff8ee_b.jpgA1H Build 21 - Paint J by Troy Downen, on Flickr

 

A couple of things to confess: you can see the raised paint line around the edges of the thunderbolt created by the vinyl mask. I will use 1200 to 3000 grit sanding sponges to gently work down that paint ridge.

 

Also, toward the aft end of the thunderbolt (top of the photo) you can see that I let the mask lift up just a bit as I painted, resulting in a bit of orange spray under the mask. Now, we are WAY zoomed in here in this photo and I’ll confess that this is not too apparent on the actual model unless you’ve got your nose right up next to the fuselage. BUT, since this is a client build I do want to address this. Fortunately, I don’t need to do any tricky airbrush touch-ups with gray in this case because the thunderbolt has a black outline. Based on the same artwork I created for cutting the mask, I printed a black outline decal for the thunderbolt on clear decal paper using a laserjet printer. That black outline will effectively hide the slight orange underspray. Whew!

 

Decals are next.

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