The cockpit area

The Pick a Shade game

Finally I got to start painting for real. The lightest of greys didn't sound too appealing so I went with the yet untouched USAF Medium Grey (VMA 71120). Simply enough I just airbrushed all the cockpit parts, the insides of the airframe and the parts that can be seen through the canopy. I did my best to cover so much that no observer should see anything unpainted, no matter what the angle - as if anyone could see much through the canopy, anyway.

Rapid fire

After this was done I took a small step away from my comfort zone and sliced off the necessary decals (9) from the sheet. My first stop was, naturally, the back seat, because it's instrument panel only required one decal. The front one took two and they overlapped each other a bit vertically. All three of IP decals were somewhat larger than the pieces they were to be set on.
When I was done with these, I applied the "armrest button banks", all four of them were slightly narrower than the tub's edges, with was handy and I didn't need to swear that much while working on them. And then someone wonders, why I loathe working with decals...

The instructions suggested painting the ejection seats brown so that's what I did (VMC 873 Tierra / US Field Drab), even though the area to be covered looked quite oversized in the instructions. But as my intention was to get this model done pretty quickly*, I didn't stop browsing a mountain of reference material and just followed the suggestion.

At this point it was the time to install the black-painted joysticks onto the floor. When I took the pictures, I hadn't remembered that I wanted to paint a small grey dot to represent the thumb-hat controller and a red one for the trigger. As if anyone could really see those details, either, but the importance is knowing they're there. Then I glued the cockpit tub on the nose part.

To wrap up beautifully I glued this subassembly into the airframe and looped some masking tape to hold it tighter. I know rubber bands would've been much more effective, but I just didn't have any of them handily available.

Coming soon

Next I'll need to glue on the glass panel of the gun's aiming thingy, do the aforementioned joystick details and then I can actually glue on the canopy. And assemble the whole airframe while I'm at it. I was just pondering, if the landing gear setup fits inside the wheel wells in the closed position...

*) My original plan was that if I got this done quickly enough, I could drag it to the Model Expo 2015 - but as time has flown like a headless chicken, it doesn't look too good. At the moment of writing there's something like three weeks to go, but I can't remember when the signup is closed. And yes, I know, you can take WIP models there as well, but but but.


Priming and masking the canopy

There wouldn't really be much more to say about the priming part of the project than "I primed the pieces", had I not thought that the rattlecan I got for the XXIII sub  would've been ok to use. In plain English: I did something wrong and a good amount of the applied white primer just flaked off the model when I was going to proceed to the next step.
So, now I had to reprime it with the airbrush, which is a bit slower but at least it's much more reliable in my hands. I don't intend to repeat my mistake anymore.

To get something more concrete and slightly more display-worthy I covered the clear canopy piece with masking tape. Then I traced along the lines with my x-acto knife and tore the excess crap away.

It went better than my attempt at masking Stuka's canopies
When I primed the last parts (top surfaces of the wings and the end of the airframe) I course primed this piece, as well, instead of waiting for it to be glued on. After a bit of good old-fashioned googling I should be aware of which paint to use for the insides of the cockpit and if I need to pop by my royal supplier of paints. Which would be a shame, right?




After a few weeks of not modeling I sat down and dug my tools into pieces of plastic. Because doing everything always the same way, in the same order is boring, I took a slightly different approach to this protohog. To make painting and decaling supposedly easier I decided, that the cockpit would be completed before it was taken off its sprue. Only the joysticks I skipped at this point, because they'd be only in the way of just about everything.

My idea was this: attach the seats, attach the instrument panels. The next time I'd prime it, the following time do the decals(!). After that nothing would prevent the sticks from being installed and this important subassembly from being crammed inside the airframe.

Initially I was almost gluing the bottom part of the cockpit / front landing gear wheel well under the cockpit setup, but then I figured out that it'd be much smarter to glue that part onto the GAU-8 piece instead. This way it'd be already aligned and when inserting the cockpit interior it'd be a classic plug and play operation. In t he second photo the aforementioned wheel well -setup is curing and being aligned inside the airframe, without being glued onto the airframe part yet.

To finish up my short stint I glued the wings together. Those pieces were hell-bent on grimacing like the Joker himself, so I pegged them down. In these cases I trust those much more than plain tape, based on previous experiences.

The plan

In case my order of assembly seems confusing, my idea is and will be to make the priming as easy as possible, as far as the model assembly is concerned. The simplest subassemblies that can be primed with the fewest painting sessions. As the airframe's top and bottom parts will require two sessions in any case, I can't get better than that, but I shall work on making those then only ones taking that many. If the rest are done with just a single spraying, I'd be a happy camper.


Project II/15

The prototype master of night and crappy weather

From the two available hogs I chose to begin with the funny prototype. That's the N/AW ("Night Adverse Weather") A-10A, a two-crew version modified from the normal Warthog everyone knows.

There's a boringly gray flying thing on the box, then the painting part of the instructions seems to suggest a really dark surface. Of course as we're talking about a proto, it could be painted bit more hysterically as well, but I guess talking about the paint scheme would make sense when the model itself is ready for it.

My building blocks

I got really surprised when I was looking at the sprues and pieces included. It's got something like twenty pieces and the largest pieces of the plane are cast as single parts. Maybe the biggest surprise (I keep repeating myself: I'm not a plane modeler) was that the airframe wasn't split in two along the lenght-axis, but the whole frame is slapped on the bottom wing-setup. Exciting.

Everyone's most interested in seeing how the GAU-8 is modeled in this model. Or at least I was interested in it. There's the business end, in the middle of the last photo: one piece. Considering the scale it's more or less the size of the pilot's head, if not larger.
As long as I don't go overboard and paint it shut, it'll be just fine.