The first fixing round with some brush painting

Some brush painting


After the paint had cured on the canopy I somewhat anxiously tore off the masking tapes. The result was, as I guess was somehow predictable, suboptimal. There were some white primer overflows here and there, which I scratched off to the best of my abilities with the tip of an hobby knife. For some covering up I did a bit of fine-tip painting over the nonsense, where I needed to. It was somehow tolerable from a distance, after all.

Now plese remind me, why I'm not primarily an airplane guy, hm?

Details matter

The propeller blades I painted almost black (VMA 71055 Black Grey RLM66) and the bottom half of the spinner that had turned blue I returned back to the yellow-brown world. While pondering on the bombs my searches took me via the FSM forums to some odd and unexpected sites (http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/bombs.html), where the Luftwaffe's bombs and their variants were described very nicely. It was a very handy link, now if I only managed to remember it in the distant future!

In this case the bomb pairs slung under the wings were model SC 50 Bi (reason for this choice: the colour) and the underbelly bomb was an SC 500 Grade III (the only one listed, no need to choose). With this in mind I painted the little bombs dark grey and left the main one blue, I just touched it up a bit here and there. The big one then needed a yellow stripe in each sector of the butt-end, between the winglets. So that's why I did (VMA 71002 Medium Yellow), it just didn't stand out too well out of a sky-blue bomb.

Fixing this and that

At this point I realized - while duckducking colour photos of the propellers of the jericho sirens - that I should've painted them sand-coloured, or to be more exact: I shouldn't have painted them blue in the first place. Learning is good, they say. I decided to fix them by hand and I think I saved at least half an hour of masking time, not to mention the time I could potentially have spent fixing any overspray.

By my gut feeling I masked off an area for the white theatre band. These have never worked the way I have wanted, but as I haven't found a better, more reliable way, this has been my method. I did the band and the tip of the spinner with white paint. To avoid the overflow, just like with the landing gear, I left the airbrush at the dock. And to make my life that much simpler.

While I was on a roll I also painted the radio operator's MG's barrel and handleable bits along with all three wheels completely black. I thought that in this case the contrast difference would be strong enough and this way they could maybe be distinguished from the dark grey bombs. Maybe I should go again to look for the rubber-coloured paint, just so I could at least once say that I have done wheels "correctly".


Priming and basecoating

A sandy base to Tunisia, for example

I airbrushed the vast majority of the plane's surfaces with a sandy colour (VMA 71246 Yellow Brown) that wasn't Dunkelgelb but looked pretty decent to me, especially after it had dried. Maybe I'd modulate it a bit when I reached the late stage of the painting process.

Not quite cerulean bellyside

The RLM blue (VMA 71101 Hellblau RLM78) wasn't that sky blue to my awful eyes, more like something from the endlessly grery, raincloudy, late November, but who was I to declare to an air ministry of how to name their paints. This was definitely supposedly be in the very core of their domain, not mine. Anyway, my image of this paintjob was a bit "toned down". That didn't mean it was wrong, just different from my own personal expectations. So, nothing new in the land of the Project Mumblings!


The gloriousness of a multi-pane canopy and masking tape

A masking tape adventure

I've always liked the general look of Stuka's multi-window pane setup. The last time I built a Stuka I tried to mask it by assembling it out of a gazillion tiny tape flakes and that didn't work out at all. After that I've done what worked better (and usually pretty well) then: first the inner panes were painted darkly, then the whole outside is covered with masking tape. Then the window lines are traced with a sharp x-acto knife (this is where the dark inner bits come in handy) and the excess tape bits get torn off. The result should be and has almost always been a more or less perfectly fitting maskset.

Either I wasn't as patient as I should've been or the knife had gotten dull, but this time all I achieved with this otherwise wonderful and simple method was loads of cursing. So as an A/B test I decided to give the fragment approach another but most likely doomed go. It wasn't going to be perfect but I just had had it. The second photo shows the results after the first masking session of the B variety.

I was mightily lazy and just popped the MG+window bit off and protected it with tape from the inside. This led to me having to paint the plane and the canopy imperfectly attached. It didn't seem like a noticeable issue and I thought it was actually going to be the simpler solution.

Please remind me never to attempt a Do-17 in this scale, no matter how amazing their nose windows were. The mere thought of it made me shudder.


Sleeve-ranks and more assembling

Adding the rank bars on the coverall sleeves

Yet again I ducked for the rank markings of the Luftwaffe for these ranks I pulled out of my sleeve. For simplicity I decided that the first guy'd have a single set of moustaches on his sleeves while the other one had a moustache underlined by a horizontal bar. Both'd be white as I really didn't feel like making a mess or multiple passes with yellow, if I really didn't need to. The white paint would also stand out a bit better, I thought, as the coveralls and the bibs were already yellowish and yellow, respectively.

Pictured: some flying colonel, who's being blinded by a misleadingly bright future
As a foundation I painted grey-black rectangular blotches on the sleeves and later I attempted to paint the tiny, tiny white  blobs on them. The radio operator got the single moustache so he was an Unteroffizier (which translated to a sergeant? Weird shapecount, considering that the other armies and branches usually have used three somethings for sarges, but who am I to complain?). The pilot then got the underlined moustache, becoming a Herr Leutnant, a lieutenant. Nothing too fancy but maybe even believable, I hoped.

No, you couldn't recognize anything there, but they are there and that mattered the most.

Employing some factory workers

At this point the instructions told me I had two options. Open dive brakes or closed ones, wingtip hardpoints loaded with either a pair of small bombs each or single external fuel tanks. Rather surprisingly and shockingly the Project Mumblings took the divebombing option in a divebomber project.

From under the masking tapes a pair of almost good-looking landing gear pods emerged. One of them was going to need a tiny bit of puttying, but they were quite an improvement from the last time I had seen them.

Next I glued the tail stabilizers with their diagonal support bars. Those settled into the airframe beautifully! Afterwards I tried to rererecheck that the damn wings were set straight, but that's what I've always done and always there's been some criticism afterwards :p

Under the aiframe I installed a couple of antennas and other things. Those identical hook-like things were to be glued on, with a glue specifically sold by Zvezda, so there's another case of "no glue needed", again.

Moving on, I assembled and painted the radio operator's MG and attached it to the rear glass piece. At this exact moment I realized I was just about done with the whole assembly part of this project. Before getting to that I thought I'd make my canopy masking subprocess a tiny bit easier by painting the frames from the inside. But nope, the plastic practically refosed to take and hold any paint on its surface. Gnaah.


Building session 2

Bit by bit

As the paint had dried I continued with the building itself, conciously ignoring the little dudes' sleeves bare at this point. My program consisted of installing a curious square-shaped window piece in front of the bottom of the airframe, between the wings. This looked like some sort of a "do we still have the bomb in there, Hans?" window or something. I had never encountered this detail in my previous Stuka models, so I was a bit uncertain of its purpose.

The cockpit

The next step was the traditional mashing together of the airframe and the wings. I was quite concerned of the fate of the poor little guys' shoulders but with some wiggling and a couple of reaimings everything settled together amicably and there weren't any huge gashes anywhere, either. The few gaps were sorted out with a drop of liquid glue and a bit of pressure over a short period of time.

Behind the first part of the engine's radiator (or oil cooler) a new neatly shaped arc was installed. Behind that I attached the main bomb on its amazingly swinging rack. A smarter modeler would've painted those separately, but as we've maybe realized over the years, yours truly is always not quite that smart.

As you could tell by the image 2, I still had space to paint the rank insignia to the arms of the coveralls. Maybe I would have to come up with some kind of ranks for them, but I didn't know anything about these things, what kind of chaps were paired and how they were typically ranked. I guess I could make the radio operator a general and the pilot a summer trainee replacement for an auxiliary loader's assistant. That'd keep us on the track, considering the quality of jokes in this blog.

Landing gear

I was very pleasantly surprised by the four-piece landing gear. In theory the wheels would be spinnable and there were even separate propellers for the jericho sirens!

Generally speaking these bits were really good but after assembly the fronts of the cupolas were grimacing more uglily than myself when the alarm goes off in the mornings. So I applied some glue, pressed them together for a good long while and then tied them together with masking tape. In case my first assault wasn't providing me an end-all solution, I'd use pegs for the second one.