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TA-4J Scooter Bandit Adversaries 1/48

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I always loved the many colourful paint schemes of the Top Gun and Adversary Bandit Squadrons in the U.S. Navy, Marines and Air Force. After looking at several I saw the TA-4Js of the U.S. Navy reproduces in 1:48 scale decals and paint schemes for the "Scooter Bandits" by Afterburner I wish I could do them all but I am thinking ill do two. 


Here is the kit that seems to be the most popular amongst Skyhawk builders.





I searched the internet high and low for the decals Part 1 or Part 2 I posted a plea for the decals finally thanks to a fellow member replied that he had the decals for Part 1 exactly what I wanted. Within a few weeks I had them and the kit.



I also looked at some Eduard detail sets also near impossible to find the coveted TA-4J interior set I was never able to find. I did get a hold of the Air-brake and exterior detail set so that's something.



I am starting with collecting the FS codes for the three schemes I am interested in and getting the paint I thing I have most of the colours in a stash. 




I think ill start with this one Bu No.158465  its going to challenge my masking skills the pictures are not great its really hard to see whats what. The photos of the actual plane depending on the year the scheme is altered a bit. The Green brown scheme Bu 153488 was done a few years ago by another modeller and would be hard to top its a stunning build.




I did find Bu 158465 photo before they went crazy with the additional colours here it is at least it gives me an idea of the base scheme.



And After...a night of partying in the spray booth!


I don't know something about it I like.


Here are the other two schemes one I need to choose perhaps I can get some feedback of what looks better desert browns or blue sky scheme?




So I started the kit without the interior detail set I looked at a lot of cockpit photos printed some off to have handy again I could not find any real clear close-up photos that really capture it all so if anyone has a source that would be appreciated . I am starting on the pilots left cockpit side wall I dint mind scratch building its easier that PE just takes a little longer.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Great subjects of course.  The VC-8 blue scheme is really only two blues and not that blue grey some sources show on the vertical stab.  I’ve seen the VC-8 TA-4s personally at NSRR in the early 2000s.   I think the Afterburner sheet has the correct FS numbers for the blues.  The brown/tan VC-8 bird is on my to do list.   

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So a few weeks have gone bye I finally found a interior PE kit in a dusty corner of the Internet.



Many weeks making parts using lots of reference materials.

20201007_221042-600x292.jpg 20201007_221109-600x292.jpg


It took some work getting the two halves to mate once all the PE, scratch built parts and kit parts were in.


Here is a before and after shot.





Next I am trailing some painting samples using post shading vs pre shading. I decided to go with the VC-8 Desert brown scheme.



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Just wanted to add I have had some really bad experiences trying to mate decal colors and paint FS colors. So a work around is using masks for the roundels and Navy that way I can have an exact match.



I found these pre cut masks that have nine sizes and 6 sheets per pack. I'll try them on my paint trial





Thanks for reading.

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Today worked on the pre and post shading. I soon discovered post shading is the best method.


Started with a scrap piece of plastic scribing lines and panels to practice on.





1. Primer coat

2. First coat of tan/sand color

3. Post shade between panels with flat white thin layers

4. Mist coat of tan

5. Touch up rivets and panels with brown pigment powder. 

6. Add oil stains thinned pigment powder.

7. Seal with flat varnish 


8. Mask for second darker brown and repeat process this time I post shaded with sand color over dark brown.



Next was trialing roundel mask which was strait forward.


Lay down mask and tape for over spray.




Just enough to still see the line to use as a guide for masking putty.



In this case I first sprayed light tan then masked and sprayed dark brown...done that easy.

20201020_204743-338x450.jpg 20201020_204817-600x450.jpg


Mask removed





Ok time to start assembling this model.

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That was simply brilliant! You just made a rather complex job, to me anyway, straight forward and doable. It's like you just showed me how some of these fantastic artists create their masterpieces. 

Thank you, I owe you a beer!🍻


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Yes there in lies the challenge I have some ideas on how to make clear sharp air intake masks so that you can get that two tone custom look.



Custom "Rescue arrow" and ejection seat triangles would be nice too but the printing is too small to mask it.

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