P-47D WIP

1/48 Scale Tamiya P-47D “Razorback” Thunderbolt

In Progress Page


Here are the interior parts with their basic green undercoat. Republic used Dull Dark Green in the cockpit, but chromate everywhere else.


Modifications

I’m building the kit almost completely OOB. Technically, the Tamiya kit has the wrong cowl flaps to be the “Spirit of Atlantic City N.J.”, but it’s a pretty minor detail and I won’t bother changing it. Like my dad said, “I woulda never known the difference unless you told me.” Since the throttle column on this kit is a separate piece with much better detail than on the Corsair, I didn’t feel compelled to scratch-build any knobs, handles or doohickeys for the cockpit. The only really necessary mod I’m doing is to cut the elevators off so I can position them drooped. It’s a pain, because I have to cut off and rebuild the hinge tabs, but the drooping elevators really give a model “life”, in my opinion. Also, while the Tamiya kit comes with decals for the “Spirit of Atlantic City, N.J.”, if I can find an aftermarket set, I’ll probably get them because Tamiya kits come with THICK decals (my only complaint).


Here are the interior parts after basic airbrush painting, time for weathering…


Using Oil Paint

My big experiment with this model is the use of oil paints for washes and dry-brushing. So far, I’ve built every model with all water-based paint. I had bought the oil paint after reading about the technique online, but this was the first time I opened them up and put them to use. I used a “sludge” wash on all the internals and was very happy with it. I also dry brushed white over all of the cockpit details, and some of the landing gear bay details as well. WOW! This is a great technique! It’s very easy, doesn’t take long and if you screw up, just wipe it off! This combination of wash, dry brushing and a very thin airbrushed coat of light tan-gray “dust” really gave the internals a nice worn look. A definite step up from the inside of my Corsair!


Here are the interior parts after using an oil paint sludge wash and dry brushing.


Here is a picture of the elevator modification in-progress:


Using Mr. Surfacer

Another thing I tried for the first time was Mr. Surfacer. I saw a lone bottle of Mr. Surfacer 1000 at my local hobby store. Since I had heard of it and wanted to try it, I snatched it up. I’m very happy with it so far! It’s easier to brush on right out of the jar than it is to thin down putty. Also, it seems to blend in better with the plastic so that you’re less likely to have an edge after sanding, either at the seam or along the outside of the blob of Mr. Surfacer you applied. Putty will still be required for larger gaps and seams, but since this is a Tamiya kit, I don’t expect I’ll have any…


Here’s a picture after gluing the major pieces together:


The pain of masking a greenhouse canopy:


Ready for painting (finally):


Pre-Shading

    This is the first time I’ve done pre-shading on a large scale. I’m sold on this technique! It’s easier and faster than post-shading and gives better results. The effect looks a bit more mottled or patchwork, and adds to the realism in my opinion.

    I find it easier to fill in the panels and then mist over the pre-shaded areas as-needed to get the right amount of blending than to try to post-shade, simultaneously concentrating on putting on jut the right amount of paint and making straight lines. Typically I would have to touch-up my post-shading work. This was either because the post-shading contrasted too much with the background, and had to be toned down, or because I had post-shaded “outside the lines”.


Looks ugly:


Looks Good:


The top. Definitely shows lack of pratice where the green meets the gray. Also, Tamiya’s Olive is awfully brown. I wish the top looked as good as the bottom! Still, I think it will all work once the masking is removed and the declas are applied:


Decals

After painting, I put a coat of Future on the kit. It still left some rough patches and exposed how rough everything was. I chalk this up to several issues (or, this is what I learned from this kit). My first problem was that I quickly mixed up the white for the cowling and tail stripes and it was obviously too thick, resulting in rough paint. This was a really lame mistake that I haven’t made since my first airbrushed kit. LAME! The other problem was a lot of paint overlap from the interior color. My efforts to remove excess paint before painting the green and gray was only sorta successful. I tried to wipe it off with 409-soaked paper towels. This worked well on big smooth surfaces, but pooled rough paint in places like the wing root, and maybe made them worse. I the future I will use some high grade (smooth) sandpaper overall to make sure my surfaces are smooth.

I applied the decals over the mostly-glossy paint. For the most part, I used Super-Scale aftermarket decals, but since they were for another plane in the same squadron, I had to use some of the Tamiya kit markings that were specific to this plane. The Tamiya decals were better than I had expected; they didn’t seem as thick as the ones in the Corsair kit. However, the Super Scale decals were better, resting nicely in the panel lines. Then came many rounds of Micro-Sol, where I paid for being lazy with my only-sorta-glossy Future coat. Here I had the one real “disaster” of the model. For some reason I can’t fathom, the two stars on the bottom of the wing wrinkled badly and were full of air bubbles. It wasn’t the rough paint because the decals went on well over other rough areas. Lots of Micro-Sol helped, but eventually made the decals so brittle that attempts to pin-poke and squeeze out the last of the bubbles actually tore the decals. Every other decal on this plane went on with minimal problems, and with a good dose of Micro-Sol, even covered the rough spots nicely. What happened to these two stars???



Detailing and Weathering

So, with hell #1 behind me (decals), I stumbled into hell #2, panel lines. My first problem was fairly simple (at least to write down). With a weak gloss coat, I was having trouble getting the ink to glide onto the model and clean up when it went outside of the lines. At this point I decided to bite the bullet and break out the Future and really make a go of it.

My inexperience with airbrushing in general and Future in particular led me to settle for only sotra-glossy undercoats on previous models. It seemed that putting too thick a coat would cause drips and runs. At the same time, I felt that mist coats were getting me nowhere. It seemed that without a good, wet coat, the pieces would never get glossy.

Finally, I summed up all my patience and tried what everyone had advised. I sprayed MANY thin coats of Future, and sure enough, got a nice, glossy finish. This is the way to go and the extra time here paid dividends with the rest of my panel lines. I’m sure it would have saved a lot of time and Micro-Sol on the decals as well. Next time…

So I used black ink for the top of the plane, and made nice panel lines. Then I mixed up some slate gray to use on the bottom of the plane and here I went from panel line purgatory to panel line hell!!! It turns out the white had tiny chunks in it (a trip to my local art shop revealed it was an old bottle of ink). I didn’t see the chunks when I mixed the ink, but I couldn’t ink for more than five minutes without a clogged tip. I’d clean the tip and it would clog again. AHHH!!!!! I dumped the ink into one of my paint jars and swirled it. Sure enough, it was chunky, with grains as big as sand in it. Definitely no good for a pen with a 0.18 tip! After straining it through a piece of pantyhose, I got mostly good results. The clogs stopped, but every once in a while the ink would turn white as a small chunk got into the tip and slowly worked its way out.

I then flat-coated the T-Bolt with Future and Tamiya flat base. I overdid it, though, and it got a bit cloudy. I attempted to remove some of the dustiness with a paper towel full of 40% 409. This helped some, but it was still kinda cloudy.

I went ahead and did my oil paint weathering. After this model, I’m sold on oil paint!!! Not only does it get great results, and allow for a long working time, but if something just turns out bad, just wipe it off with Mineral Spirits! Great!

Once weathering was done, I put all the pieces together and sprayed a less-flat coat of future. It got rid of some more of the cloudiness in many places, but still left some. The net effect is a random pattern of faintly cloudy clearcoat that nicely resembles natural paint fading… SCORE! This was one of those “happy accidents”, although I’d be pretty hesitant to attempt to reproduce it since I probably got close to ruining my paintjob with a cloudy flat coat.


Conclusion

As with the Corsair, this kit is a huge step up from the old Monogram/Revell kits I built as a child. I’d even say it has some advantages over the Corsair in the level of cockpit detail and options for underwing stores. Parts fit on these kits is incredible. Many pieces just slide together and hold in place unless shaken.

I’m very happy with the two new products I tried on this kit, Mr. Surfacer 1000 and oil paints. I will keep using them on future projects. Overall, this is my best model yet, I think it came out even better than my Corsair.


Click the picture link below to see the completed model.

Completed Model

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