Mustang Dio pt. 2

Sand, reprime, sand, reprime, paint gloss black (finally):

Spot more surface flaws, sand a bit, put a little Mr. Surfacer 500 on…

More sanding…

Final coat of black…

And finally!!! Aluminum!

I can still see a few surface flaws here and there, but it’s just time to move on…

It’s surprisingly hard to paint the aluminum and feel like you’re getting a solid coat on the model, especially while wearing a black glove. It’s hard to tell when the dark spots you see are reflections of the glove where the paint is good or just the black undercoat showing through where there isn’t enough paint. I guess I should get another color glove…

I’m looking forward to hitting some panels in different shades of Alclad and making the model look more realistic. Then I have to paint the tail and nose red, the trim tabs white, the olive green anti-glare panel and the yellow wing stripes and prop tips. Then it’s on to decals, woohoo!

I’ll probably just finish off the Mustang, then do the car and Germans, and then do the dio, but we’ll see. I may start sneaking ahead between clearcaots on the Mustang. The Citroen is going to be REALLY easy to paint and finish. Good ol’ Tamiya.

Okay, for once a week with good progress and without a SNAFU. Painting has moved along at a good pace and the model is ready for a clearcoat.

I had on really good day last Tuesday. It was a holiday where I work (Cesar Chavez Day) and I was home alone, so I took advantage of it! I started by masking off certain panels on the kit (based on a mixture of historical references and what I had seen on other models) and hitting them with Alclad Dark Aluminum:

I then masked off some other more random panels and used Alclad White Aluminum just to break up the NMF into panels:

Next I did the masking for the red. The nose was a bit of a challenge since making a straight line around a nose without compound curves was much more a matter of art than science. I made a really thin strip of Tamiya masking tape so that it could curve with the contours of the nose and make a straight line:

I then added thicker strips of masking tape in segments behind this small strip. I finished the red and had to call it a day at that point. I tried to post-shade the red, but adding white to the red made a God-awful pink, so I went back over it with the straight red. The result is a half-ass shading effect. I may try to do something with it, we’ll see… Also, the red wingtips may or may not be historically correct. I’ve seen this plane depicted in several paintings and several models/diecast replicas and seen it either way. The decal set I bought says they weren’t there, but also has a disclaimer that states that the squadron’s Mustangs were second-hand and were repainted between missions, so variations were possible.

I put some more time in last Friday and did the olive drab anti-glare panel on the nose, the white trim tabs on the tail and the yellow ID stripes on the wings and prop tips.

On previous models, like my Thunderbolt, I painted the striped area white, masked it with a strip of tape, then painted the darker olive drab over it. But since I was doing NMF, and that starts with BLACK, I wasn’t about to try to paint either red, yellow or white over it. In my experience, none of those colors cover another color worth a damn. So, I decided to make the whole model NMF and paint the lighter colors over it. In fact, if you look closely at the above picture, you can see I masked off the trim tabs on the tail and left them aluminum since it would be too hard to paint the white over the red.

So, to make the stripes on the wings, and make sure they were straight, I first made masking tape strips to be “place holders” for the stripes:

Once I got them into position and was happy with them, I butted other pieces of masking tape onto their edges:

Then I could peel away the center piece of masking tape and have a masked-off stripe that was straight and parallel.

So now paint is done and decals will be next. I almost got the clearcoat done yesterday, but my daughter had other plans. Plans that didn’t involve her taking a nap…

More progress. The decals on this plane were a pain in the arse. I used a mixture of Scale Master/Warbird decals for the main markings and Tamiya for the stencils. Compared with the Samuel Decals I’m used to using, these decals are THICK. The star insignia on the top wing gave me fits. A bunch of bubbles got trapped under it and to get (most of) them out I had to apply so much MicroSol that the decal then wrinkled up and I had to literally press it back to (mostly) flat by smashing it down flat with my thumb. It’s bad when you have to result to such a lack of finesse to get something done on a model.

Baby’s got back!

I also worked on mounting the Mustang. Insert joke here.

Now I can finalize the posing of the German figures.

And then this Zaku shows up… No, that’s just a MG size reference for those who don’t deal in 1/48th scale.

This is actually some old progress. I got pretty sick in the second half of April and that plus the PG Astray group build has weakened my interest in this project. I may work on it this Friday. Basically, the closer I get to really having to make the dio, the slower I go… Lots of untrieds there for me.

Jesus Christ it’s a Mustang get out of the car!!!

Still need to mix up some Magic Sculpt to fix the gaps in the legs, but the general pose looks right.

OK, with the bulk of the work on the Astray leg done and since I’m stuck waiting for decals, I’m back to the Mustang diorama.

For starters, the insides of the doors needed some detailing. I searched Google for pics of the Citroen and found that the only detail there was on most of them was the door handles and window roll-down handles. So I started with Koto’s smallest round mold and drilled some holes in them:

I then bent tiny bits of very thin brass wire to make the handles. It was a pain in the ass and they result is too big for scale, but I think it’s better than having no detail at all:

I also worked on sculpting all the missing chunks of the two German figures. I first sculpted them the best I could with Magic Sculpt, then filled the missing bits with red Bondo glaze and spot putty:


I also cleaned up the doors and door frames of the Citroen and painted it:

The paint started with a coat of Mr. Color German Gray pre-shade, which is REALLY dark. I then filled things in with a much-lightened mix, and then made an even lighter third color just to make an extra level of fade on the upper surfaces only.

The last couple weeks I haven’t had a lot of time or energy to work on this thing. Work has been crazy with the re-introduction of the new IT system. We get to do all the work on the old system and then do it all again on the new system. Yay.

Anyway, I started the base by gluing together several blocks of green florist’s foam and carving them to more or less match the oval shape of the base I had:

Looks like a green-frosted cake…

A whole bunch of Google image searching showed that there’s no such thing as a flat road in Italy (where I imagine this scene is happening) so after some sketches I drew some rough contours around the outside of the foam and went to town with my X-Acto saw and sandpaper. It makes a big powdery green mess, but it’s pretty easy.

I then used a loosely-wrapped sanding block to carve out a roadway. I went shopping for some tiny balsa wood sticks to make a fence out of:

Then I went to work on the fence since I figured it should be painted before I laid the ground on the dio. I distressed the wood by squeezing it with my fingers and also rolling it under my X-Acto knife handle:

I painted the sticks brown, then dry brushed them with a gray-tan mix of oil paints:

Next I clearcoated them to seal the oil paint and glued them in. I also glued on some rocks with white glue (the rocks are vermiculite, you can buy big bags at Home Depot).

Then i mixed up some celluclay (following these tips: [url][/url]).

I spread it on and then dusted on some oven-dried soil and blew off the excess. Finally, I “drove” over the road with the wheels and axle of the Citroen:

The celluclay is drying as I type. I just need to build the fence and add some grass and then wrap up the green sides with some poster board or very thin plywood or something and the dio is done.

Using a bunch of Woodland Scenics railroad foliage products, I’ve added some life to my dio. First up was some grass, which was made up from “Weeds” and “Burnt Grass” varieties of their Turf and also some crumbled Light Green Foliage, for some texture:

I then assembled the fence parts I had previously painted:

Then I made what I hope looks like recently cut hay by chopping up a mixture of some green and tan Woodland Scenics field grass. BTW all this is glued on with watered down Elmer’s white glue, which I brushed on.

I’m currently in the middle of sheeting the outside walls of the foam with balsa wood, which I will sand and then stain.

Finally, I’ll make a haystack, which I actually spent an hour researching on Google to get it right.

I need a reason why the two fields in the dio are different and one is behind a fence, sooo…

I added a historically-correct Italian haystack.

I also spent a couple nights this week doing the final AB painting on the Citroen and German figures.

The Elephant Man meets Invisible Man!

After a clearcaot, I’ll bring out more detail with a wash and some drybrushing, but I’m pretty happy with them so far. Keep in mind these figures are 1/48 scale and about an inch and a half tall.

Been looking at houses. LOTS of houses. But I’ve manged a filter on the Citroen and a panel-line wash on the Mustang. Just finished a clearcoat on both. Going to continue washes/filters. The Citroen doesn’t even have a panel wash, but it looks like it does. I was going to skip it, but the filter stuck in the grille and made it red/tan so I need to wash it near-black again.

Wash and a bit of paint chipping done on the Citroen:

The panel line wash on the Mustang:

Filter (with a bit of streakiness) on the Mustang:

Exhaust/gunpowder/leak stains on the Mustang done with Tamiya weathering master:

And Hans and Frans after their washes and drybrushing:

Other than applying appropriate clearcoats and giving the Citroen an airbrushed dust layer and touching up the diorama, this is done. I hope to finish this weekend, or at least in the next week or so.

Details, details, weathering, weathering…

The models are essentially done, I just have to add a few bits and finish adjusting their positions on the dio.

Among the last steps I’ve done weathering-wise was to paint different flat and gloss coats on the figures as appropriate with their skin and uniform material. The Citroen got a dry brushing and an airbrushed dust coating. Before doing the dust coat, I masked off the front windshield in the pattern of the wipers. I saw Fichtenfoo do this on a jeep he did and thought it would look good on the Citroen since I figure these Italian dirt roads would be dusty.

I started by making templates in Corel Draw based on measurements of the wipers themselves:

Then I cut out some Tamiya tape and put it in place:

Then I put a dust coat on:

Here’s a teaser shot of it all together. I still need to rig the Mustang with a wire antenna, and maybe the Citroen, too. The fences will have rails ending out in space since the dio is a cut-out of a landscape. Also, everything needs to be glued in place, or at least pinned so it doesn’t roll or twirl around.

UPDATE – 03-16-10

I went to Valley Con, the IPMS show in Pasadena two weekends ago. Since I was going to take my Mustang vs. Citroen diorama, I decided to take another look at it since I know that I was more done with it than it was complete. I knew it wasn’t going to win any contests with all the problems I had with the Mustang, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself by bringing it as-is.

The first thing I was really unhappy with (aside from the Mustang) was the way that the wood sheeting around the oval base of the diorama didn’t blend with the ground of the diorama, and in places there were large gaps. In a few you could even see green foam peeking through:

So I mixed up a small batch of Celluclay and went about “fixing the seams” using the same dirt and grass mixtures I had left over from the original build. This made a big difference in the overall look of the dio.

The other thing that I felt was kind of lame was the haystack. It just sits there in the field and it needed some sign of life. If I’d had more than a day to work on it (all of this was done in one day) I would have turned one of my spare German mechanics into a farmer, but instead I thought of making a little pitchfork and some loose hay so the haystack would look freshly stacked. I started with a handle made from a 1mm plastic rod. Next I soldered together the thinnest wire I had to make the tines. You can see how I taped it down before soldering because I would have needed 4 hands to hold each piece of wire, the soldering iron and the solder:

I kept the solder hot and teased off the excess solder with a toothpick and then rolled the tines around a plastic tube and cut the tines to an equal length to get this:

I glued the fork onto the handle with CA glue and used accelerator on the bead of glue to both hold the fork onto the end of the handle and round off the shape. After painting it looked like this:

After the Citroen, this is my favorite part of the diorama. Everyone I went to Valley Con with must have heard me say twice “You gotta check out the pithfork!” Here’s the pitchfork in place. You can also see the smooth edge of the ground in this picture:

I also added some crushed bits of dried leaves all over, but especially in the low spots on the road. Here’s the overall dio now:

I’m much happier with it now. In fact I’m quite proud of the dio and might even consider rebuilding a new Mustang to go with it someday.


Mustang Diorama

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