Project IV/16

Subcontracting project II

My Project Assistant had been asking for her own plane model (to paint and play with, of course) for quite a long while, thanks to five consecutive planes I've done. From the Model Expo 2016 she bought, with her own money, a Spitfire made (or packeted) by Směr.

The scale was the familiar 1:72, its variant was apparently 5c and the box art I assumed to be a representation of the Australian version. Not that it mattered to me, the paintjob would be Something Completely Different in any case.


All the pieces were spread over six sprues and looked like they'd require quite a bit of cleaning up. In my hands the plastic felt pretty flimsy, I just hoped it wouldn't get totally ruined while being cut off the sprues already... I was a bit concerned in advance. There were an amount of optional pieces, at least I could see at a glance two spinners, air scoops for the engine and canopies.


The decal sheet had a good amount of markings, for both RAF and (according to the instructions) RAAF, so I had guessed correctly, it was Australian. Oh and the Chech roundels on the lower right corner. And the cheese-eating surrendermonkeys had their roundels there as well, I'd go mad with the choices. Most likely I'd let the owner choose which markings she wanted, if she wanted any of them on her plane.


I'm pretty sure that the instructions for this plane were the shortest I'd ever seen, at least based on my (unreliable) memory. There were more decal-laying and painting pages than construction pages. Looking at the pics the cockpit interior looked very weird, even if you remembered that this was representing something designed by Brits.


Finished: Project III/16

Last minute 'mumblings

First of all I shook all the extra junk off my baseplate. The grass coverage lightened up a bit, I thought it looked better this way. I took a couple of "just for the fun of it" photos with the Kübelwagen and then for size comparison also with the A-10. The car took way too much space from the limited area on the base, but I had to try as it was on the box art. Had this kit included some tiny plastic people, I'd tried to reproduce the cover pic, but no, it didn't so I couldn't.

In case you were wondering the sorry state of the Warthog, the reason is that my Project Assistant accidentally dropped it on the floor on its roof. Of course it broke beyond repair, but that was ok, as I had already taken my photos ages ago. And it was me who left it there "just for a sec" in a dangerous place, so it was my own fault.

Now for something completely different: I chatted with a coworker of mine about the paints in general and the different shades. So I took a photo of all the paints and varnishes I used to satisfy my own curiosity. 23 containers were caught in the frame, only a few (5) had been used solely on the Kübelwagen. If you thought that I used 16 different paints to paint the Fw-190 and the camo pattern required only four paints, the obvious verdict should be that someone went gently but firmly overboard.

Heinz Bär's Butcher Bird

As usual I took a random pile of photos with as white and well-lit background I could arrange. I shot them from different angles and heights with the traditional cardinal and intercardinal directions. Finally I took a few pics of some supposed details. Following the proud traditions of the Project Mumblings the photos haven't been touched up beyond cropping and downscaling.

Finishing thoughts

The Academy kit was extremely pleasant to build, the pieces fit best in all the plane models I've ever built. My nemesis, the decal sheet was fine in some ways (the decals behaved well, with few exceptions) but the printing did leave some to be desired. If all the Balkenkreuz and the JG1 insignia had a one-pixel offset that bled the background colour, they shouldn't have gotten through the quality control.

Again I forgot to write down my time usage, so I can't really comment on it scientifically. If I said that I spent less than five hours in total, I don't think I'd be too far off. Those cursed decals alone took closer to two hours, over two sessions.

All in all this was absolutely the last plane model of mine in a good while. Maybe in the future I'll return on the wings, most likely with propellers. At least I haven't planned on investing in a single 1:72 scale plane, but something like a Bf/Me-109 in the 1:32 scale could be a pretty interesting subject, for example.


To the grassy airfields, march!

A stroke of genius

I got a mad idea: let's build a base for this plane, too. Change is refreshing, they say, so I wanted to do something different from the previous two (which also had been not too alike). During the second world war grass airfields were in use, so that's what I was going to do!

Mozart, help me!

There was a box of Mozardkugeln that we had bought from TXL and the lid was just about the right size in my mind. I tried the Focke on the lid and it sat there nicely, with no room to spare.

I thought that it might be beneficial to roughen the smooth plastic surface a bit to get the paint and glue stick better. So I took out a bit of fine sandpaper and did some crisscross sanding both on the top and the sides. All the sides I painted with Vallejo's Chocolate Brown (VMC 70872 Chocolate Brown) and left them there.

Glue and railroad decorations

After the paint had dried I dropped a good dollop of white glue on the lid and spread it around to cover most of the surface while avoiding getting the layer too thick. I gave the edges a bit of a clear buffer space just in case.

I started applying the greenery where the model itself would block the base and I tried to leave a bit of clear space where the wheels were going to end up. Then I pressed the plane on its place and kept dumping stuff on the remaining base. Mostly I used some green fluff  (Woodland Scenics: Coarse Turf, Medium Green), but I also tore up a few larger bits of the yellower green (Woodland Scenics: Foliage, Light Green) carpet-like stuff. In a few random places I dropped tussocks[?] (Noch: Grasbüschel Sommer; Noch: Grasbüschel Herbst) just to provide some variety.

When I was just about content with the result and coverage, I detached the plane and pressed its wheels in a straight line backwards from its standing place. My goal was to get slight but hopefully noticeable ruts. This way the plane shouldn't look like it had just fallen from the sky (see my nitpickings in April regarding the AT-ST in the wintery scene).

Yeah, I had applied the decorations quite heavy-handedly so that I wouldn't even accidentally end up with bald spots on my base. I left the setup to cure for about a day before I gently shook off the excess material.


projectmumblings.queue.append(project1, project2)

New foldables

I decided to skip the excess ramblings this time, so the short version's this: I got a couple of new project entities introduced into my work queue. Both were Metal Earth Models sets, one of them was to enlargen my Imperial collection with an AT-ST scout walker and the other one was very familiar from my childhood: the awesome leader of the Decepticons - Megatron!

Apparently the ME's line had been extended with new stuff since I last checked. According to the back of the packet there were three other kits: Slave I, Incom T-47 and a beautiful Lambda-class shuttle. I have no doubts that we'll see a couple of these at some point in the future.

I immediately had a feeling that Megatron would be pretty quickly in progress and in the 'Mumblings as soon as there was space. One of the first thoughts was "I've got to bring this to the office".

Of course the Transformers title theme started playing in my poor head immediately, accompanied with several quotes spoken by Frank Welker. And that was all very good indeed.


Non-round roundels and whatnot

Pure madness

"Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results"
-someone somewhere, at some point in history

Despite my very bad feelings from the Warthog project's decals I decided to give those bastards another shot. At least the decals in this kit looked fresh, so maybe they'd behave. Thanks to the Strafgesetzbuch 86a the decal sheet didn't contain the swastikas for the tail. So I had to either skip them or paint them myself. I thought that skipping them would've been comical, as they were used everywhere, historically. But then again, I'm not German.

Painting some forbidden signs

I tried a new approach with this pretty simple shape. First I cut two square-shaped pieces of masking tape and put them on the tail so that they stood on their edges.

Then I laid a few thin strips of tape along the edges of the square. My fingers were a bit too large and cumbersome near the tightest of corners, but I got the basics covered and that was what mattered.

After these the middle bit was unnecessary, as it was only there to provide location data for the edges. Luckily I didn't scrape off any paint while peeling the tape bits off...

My last step consisted of painting a black X in the center. The problem was that I couldn't be perfectly consistent with my line widths. I also didn't want to use any extra masks for the angled bits and then just airbrush the whole thing. I had tried that and it caused more fixables than what it was worth.

After the crosses were done I painted the angled bits and tore off the tapes. I had to fix a couple of dots but that was it. Then I googled furiously to see how the tail swastikas were on real planes and apparently not nearly all of them had the white edges, depending on the camo pattern and whatnot. So I decided that I wouldn't ruin my model any more and let it be.

Glossy phase

I had to remember to apply the varnish over the drop tank as well, as that was going to get a couple of decals. This time I didn't waste time and material by varnishing things that weren't going to get decals. That also provided me some patches to hold on to so I could go over the whole model on one go.

The decal hell

Right now I still had the chance to make my life much easier and happier by throwing the decals into the garbage bin. In a moment of temporary insanity I decided to stay away from my comfort zone and I stuck to my earlier decision of using these cursed decals.

I don't know where I'm goin'
But I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday
An' I've made up my mind,  I ain't wasting no more time
Here I go again, here I go again

Session I

As usual, I started my decal-laying with the most important ones and the generally larger ones. First I put on the wingtop Balkenkreuz profiles. They behaved nicely. Then I put on the wing-bottom full Balkenkreuz. Then the ones on the sides. All these last ones had something funny, as if they weren't completely straight and even. Later I saw it clearly in the photos: one of the black bars was off by one pixel and therefore looked odd.

I proceeded to apply the minuses on the sides, the JG1 insignia on the nose (that was barely understandable in this scale, with my eyes at least), the red "23" in front of the Balkenkreuz. Wikipedia told me that the box art boy, Heinz Bär maybe flew the red 23 when he achieved his 200th victory, but the plane was an A7 while the kit has always been talking about an A8 model. Not that I cared, but I guess someone could get a nervous breakdown with this.

After all the easy ones were done, I tried to use the "don't walk here" dashed lines on the wings, but the second one went all spaghetti on me and I threw them all away. Frustrating. I did remember to use all the markings on the drop tank and those settled on pretty nicely too. Then I went on adding some random little markings that I could while my one-hour playtime allowed. At this point I was going pretty much in the number order, after I had used the octane markers and all those decals that weren't representing minuscule text.

At this point I was amazingly content with these decals. Maybe it wasn't as bad an idea as I had feared. The remaining decals (the ones that would go on the red bits took 10 equally unreadable smudges alone) I'd do the next time - or over the next few times if I got too annoyed with the tiny decals. Or if they just happened to take way too long, being tiny and all.

Those Balkenkreuz that I had been wondering about while working proved to be a bit more weird in the photos: if not all of them, three out of four had white shining in the end of one of the black bars. They were printed or designed off by one pixel. I guess I should've looked at them more carefully, but then again, had I sliced a bit off, I think I would've done too much damage. I guess I'd come up with something.

Session II

I went through the rest of the decals in an orderly fashion. Both the "Nur hier betreten" texts tried to take the spaghetti route but I managed to salvage them and set them straight. Sadly the edge lines didn't behave. After all the others I did the decals on the red pieces on the control surfaces. While looking at the first one I thought that I could've done the same, just much faster and much less annoyingly with a bit of white paint instead. All ten settled on beautifully, which was nice. I also glued the extra fuel tank under the belly of the plane, so this model was just about done now.

Matt phase

Before I applied the matt varnish I attacked the largest decals gently with a fine sandpaper. Those markings were just too bright, stood out too much in my opinion. I just wanted to get a bit of wear on them. Of course, had I some other kind of a paintjob underneath, I could've airbrushed over them lightly with the underlying tone to get them mixed in a bit better, but with this job it just wasn't doable.

In case I had used way too thick layers of matt varnish the last time, I tried to take it more easily now. It was also very likely that I didn't get a perfect coverage now, so I was mentally preparing for a later touching up session.

That was it. Now the plane itself was finished, completed, but I could try to come up with something interesting still...