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Spitfire - First Model

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  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Spitfire - First Model
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Monday, January 11, 2021 8:18 PM

This is my first model in roughly 20 years (I'm 33 now.) Looking for any feedback, positive or negative, as I would like to get better. I'll outline the process I took in brief and then list what I think the pros and cons are.

I chose the Tamiya Spitfire because I have heard nothing but positive things about Tamiya. I figured I would be making enough mistakes without also fighting a poor tooling. I also like the Spitfire a lot.

I live in an apartment and have no good way to ventilate in the winter, so acrylics seemed natural enough. I went with Vallejo Model Color. I used a brush for nearly everything.

The small detail pieces like the cockpit were hard to not show brush strokes in. It looked good all assembled (the cockpit), but nothing really holds up to a very close inspection.

Once the fuselage and wings were together, I used a grey Tamiya Surface Primer to prime. After the primer I experimented with the Vallejo paints to get the right brown for the camo and the correct grey for the belly. I think they came out really close to the right colors.

Both top and bottom paints went on with about 4 or 5 coats each with slightly water diluted paints. It was diluted enough to hide egregious brush stroked, but thick enough to not get in a panel line and run like a wash would. After, I used blue tack to shape the pattern for the green camo paint. The pattern worked well, but the green pain made a hash ridge line next to the blue tack.

I then used Pledge Revive It to coat the whole model. Only two coats because I wasn’t sure how thick the coats would be. I put the roundels and other decals on next. I only did the larger decals because I was running out of time (I am going to be traveling soon) and couldn’t spend the time on the little pieces. (The same goes for some of the very tiny model pieces) I used Micro-Sol to place them and many coats of Micro-Set to fit them. However, they didn’t “melt” into the panel lines as much as I had hoped. Also, the green paint ridgeline is painfully obviously under the roundels..

I then put pledge over them again. I tried to next put on the red decals over the gun ports but ran into two problems. One, I tore one with excessive handling. Two, the Micro-Set seemed to start fogging the outermost layer of Pledge even though it had not done so on the inner layer. Next time I plan to use a real clear coat from a model paint manufacturer as it appears (and I have read) that Pledge Revive It is may have some issues. Afraid the Pledge would fog and not being able to replace the decal I tore, I hand painted those red port coverings on with poor results as can be seen.

Everything was Pledged once more and then I used Tamiya panel line wash and cleaned it with Testors enamel thinner. The enamel thinner was eating though the clear coat down to the paint if applied too vigorously, so I had to careful clean the wash with the thinner on a cotton swab.

Everything was Pledged once more.

I then used some rust and corrosion pigments to add muzzle flash buildup and engine exhaust build up, streaking it as if the guns had been fired while in flight. I have no idea if this was even something that could happen on a real Spitfire’s paint job. I just played it by ear. I tried to do some weather on the wing around where the pilot would have stood. Not sure of those results.

Finally, everything was coated with Testors satin spray lacquer. This actually seemed to lock the lose pigments in place without disturbing them and gave it a nice satin finish. Unfortunately, in my haste I forgot to tape the windows, so they ended up a bit fogged. Stupid mistake.

Pros:

  1. It’s done. I would think the first build is uncharted waters, so it is nice to have one under my belt.
  2. A lot of the techniques I had read about or seen videos of proved to be something I could actually do. I always have doubts until I try it myself.
  3. The hand painting of large surfaces turned out pretty smooth, except for that blasted ridge line.
  4. Even though it is not anywhere near perfect, I am happy that it turned out as well as it did. Encouraging for next time.  

Cons:

  1. The ridge in the paint.
  2. The fogged windows.
  3. The missing decals.
  4. The missing parts.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Thursday, January 14, 2021 3:48 PM
How long does it take for new members to not have to wait for a moderator to approve their threads? Just asking because it took about two days for this one to get approved and it ended up down the forum list a ways. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Thursday, January 14, 2021 4:08 PM

I don't know about that question. Seems my first post here was basically the same. 

What I do know about is that you've done a fine job of that Spitfire. Maybe a bit heavy with the fx, but nothing that time and practice won't fix. It's hard not to go overboard with the weathering sometimes, even with experience lol.

I will recommend a different clear though. I have come to trust the easy to find Vallejo Gloss, but it took some practice to get it to spray from my AB correctly. The Vallejo matte works brilliantly as long as you make sure it's fully mixed up first. I've brushed it onto a few small things and it definitely works, but I've never tried it over a large surface without my AB.

Testors clear matte works okay, but not too reliably these days. It's like working with old stock and it doesn't appear to work like it used to. Sometimes an almost matte finish is what you get, but not quite a satin either.

You'll learn as you go, with tips and tricks galore here. Just keep building.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, January 14, 2021 4:14 PM

That is a very nice build. The brush work is good. You were right to use a lot of thinned coats.

Tip- use a neutral background for your photos. The tablecloth is very distracting.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Quebec, Canada
Posted by ww2Xplorer on Thursday, January 14, 2021 5:38 PM

Very good job. I am impressed by your camouflage. So if I understand you well, you just cut different shapes in a paper and put it on your plane to prevent painting further?

I would be very curious to see photos of the differents steps you took Because I am building my first model too and I am nervous about what my painting will look like. Another thing is that I can't have an airbrush too.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Thursday, January 14, 2021 6:19 PM

ww2Xplorer

Very good job. I am impressed by your camouflage. So if I understand you well, you just cut different shapes in a paper and put it on your plane to prevent painting further?

I would be very curious to see photos of the differents steps you took Because I am building my first model too and I am nervous about what my painting will look like. Another thing is that I can't have an airbrush too.

 

 

Thanks, ww2Xplorer. I semi told a lie when I said this was my "first" model. I actually started a spitfire over year ago. I got a decent way along in the build, but slowly life and work started to interfere and before I knew it, the incomplete model was just sitting by collecting dust. Then, the model was broken in an accident beyond repair, so I abandoned the endevour. At least until about a month ago, when I started working on this new "first" spitfire.

Anyhow, on the orginal one, I did take a bunch of photos documenting my process so see below for what I did with the camo paint. It works really well, except for the ridgeline I mentioned before which causes issues with the decals. I need to find some way to sand the edge down. The major issue is that the paint coat is so thin, it's very easy to take off too much...

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Thursday, January 14, 2021 6:20 PM

GMorrison

That is a very nice build. The brush work is good. You were right to use a lot of thinned coats.

Tip- use a neutral background for your photos. The tablecloth is very distracting.

 

Bill

 

 

Thanks!

Yeah, I need to make a nice photogrpah stage area with good lighting for furture shots.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Thursday, January 14, 2021 6:25 PM

M. Brindos

I don't know about that question. Seems my first post here was basically the same. 

What I do know about is that you've done a fine job of that Spitfire. Maybe a bit heavy with the fx, but nothing that time and practice won't fix. It's hard not to go overboard with the weathering sometimes, even with experience lol.

I will recommend a different clear though. I have come to trust the easy to find Vallejo Gloss, but it took some practice to get it to spray from my AB correctly. The Vallejo matte works brilliantly as long as you make sure it's fully mixed up first. I've brushed it onto a few small things and it definitely works, but I've never tried it over a large surface without my AB.

Testors clear matte works okay, but not too reliably these days. It's like working with old stock and it doesn't appear to work like it used to. Sometimes an almost matte finish is what you get, but not quite a satin either.

You'll learn as you go, with tips and tricks galore here. Just keep building.

 

 

I think you are right about the FX, but as you say, time and experience. I'm getting ready to start on another build, and I'll try some different detailing.

Thanks for the advice on the finishes. I think I can get away with brushing everything on until the very very end. I used some loose pigments on the FX and brushing on a finish would have caused problems. However, the Testors Matte in a spray can as the very last coat/step worked well to preserve the loose pigments while also dulling the high gloss finish. 

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Quebec, Canada
Posted by ww2Xplorer on Thursday, January 14, 2021 8:21 PM

Possible Pilot Deviation

 

 
ww2Xplorer

Very good job. I am impressed by your camouflage. So if I understand you well, you just cut different shapes in a paper and put it on your plane to prevent painting further?

I would be very curious to see photos of the differents steps you took Because I am building my first model too and I am nervous about what my painting will look like. Another thing is that I can't have an airbrush too.

 

 

 

 

Thanks, ww2Xplorer. I semi told a lie when I said this was my "first" model. I actually started a spitfire over year ago. I got a decent way along in the build, but slowly life and work started to interfere and before I knew it, the incomplete model was just sitting by collecting dust. Then, the model was broken in an accident beyond repair, so I abandoned the endevour. At least until about a month ago, when I started working on this new "first" spitfire.

Anyhow, on the orginal one, I did take a bunch of photos documenting my process so see below for what I did with the camo paint. It works really well, except for the ridgeline I mentioned before which causes issues with the decals. I need to find some way to sand the edge down. The major issue is that the paint coat is so thin, it's very easy to take off too much...

 

Wow, I really like your technique for camouflaging. I thought it was made with paper but I see a little box of rope caulk. That's the product you were using?

If yes, do you know if this product can be preserve for a long time or if it dries and harden fast?

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Thursday, January 14, 2021 8:50 PM

I think you did a wonderful job hand painting this Spit.  You noted areas that need improvement and with practice and patience you'll improve.  I've only built a handful of models myself and Im currently building this same Spitfire for the second time.  I just had so much fun the first time.   I didnt read anything in your post about the PE parts in this kit.   For me there's a bit of a learning curve working with metal.   

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Friday, January 15, 2021 7:36 AM

The rope caulk works OK, but I had better luck with mounting putty. You should be able to find some in your local hardware store near the paint section. You just roll up some into a ball and then pinch off what you need as you need it. It's very malleable, so you can shape it into just about anything you want.

As far as I know it never tries out or hardens. At least it did not for the whole month I was making the model. Maybe after a year, who knows...

I use it for tons of things, not just painting. It is great for holding small parts in place or on the end of a stick while you hand paint and let them dry. Sometimes when removing it from the model, some of it will stay stuck to the plastic, but fortunately, the putty sticks to itself really well, so I would just take the ball of putty and pat it against the excess on the plastic and it would come off.

 

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Friday, January 15, 2021 7:36 AM

ww2Xplorer

Wow, I really like your technique for camouflaging. I thought it was made with paper but I see a little box of rope caulk. That's the product you were using?

If yes, do you know if this product can be preserve for a long time or if it dries and harden fast?

My last comment was for you.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Friday, January 15, 2021 7:44 AM

wpwar11

I think you did a wonderful job hand painting this Spit.  You noted areas that need improvement and with practice and patience you'll improve.  I've only built a handful of models myself and Im currently building this same Spitfire for the second time.  I just had so much fun the first time.   I didnt read anything in your post about the PE parts in this kit.   For me there's a bit of a learning curve working with metal.   

Thanks!

Yes, the metal parts were a pain! I was able to get some of them to look ok, like the feet belt straps and the seat belts, but it took a great deal of efforts. The biggest issue I faced was that when I would bend the metal to fit a shape, like the foot loops for example, the metal would kind of act like a spring and want to open back up. This made gluing the parts into place challenging because while I could glue one side down easily, the other side wanted to srping away from its rightful place.

I had luck with Loctite Gel super glue. If you spread it on very thinly, it dries and sets really fast, so you don't have to hold the metal part in place while wet glue sets. However, it is a bit of a double edge sword, because the glue sets so quickly you have to place the part quickly and make sure you place it in the right position or you will be in trouble.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Friday, January 15, 2021 8:25 AM

Great job, and a great job of hand-painting!

My own experience with painting a scale model by hand is that it can be done well, if you thin the paints, just as you would for airbrushing.  Tamiya acrylics work well when brushed by hand, despite what so many people say, if you just thin them.

Regarding Future clouding or discoloring, it's temporary.  I've had that happen, too, when using decal setting solutions.  Once the decals and setting solution have dried, and the acrylic clouded, I'll just brush on a little more Future.  I seal everything with DullCote, and after that, there's no sign of the clouding.

As for keeping poster tack putties fresh, I keep mine in a zip-loc bag.  It will feel hard to the touch, but a couple minutes of kneading will warm it up and bring it back, good as new.  And that's even after using it for masking for painting.

I look forward to your next build!

Best regards,

Brad

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Friday, January 15, 2021 1:06 PM

Those foot straps can be a little tough.  I tipped I learned is always try and bend the metal before gluing.  I made the "U" shape first and then glued on both sides of the pedals.  I did a terribe job putting that compass in.  

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:06 PM

wpwar11

Those foot straps can be a little tough.  I tipped I learned is always try and bend the metal before gluing.  I made the "U" shape first and then glued on both sides of the pedals.  I did a terribe job putting that compass in.  

Looks great to me! You did a nice job keeping the gauge panel decal on staight. Mine was a little cockeyed.

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • From: Northern Utah, USA
Posted by Possible Pilot Deviation on Friday, January 15, 2021 3:07 PM

the Baron

Great job, and a great job of hand-painting!

My own experience with painting a scale model by hand is that it can be done well, if you thin the paints, just as you would for airbrushing.  Tamiya acrylics work well when brushed by hand, despite what so many people say, if you just thin them.

Regarding Future clouding or discoloring, it's temporary.  I've had that happen, too, when using decal setting solutions.  Once the decals and setting solution have dried, and the acrylic clouded, I'll just brush on a little more Future.  I seal everything with DullCote, and after that, there's no sign of the clouding.

As for keeping poster tack putties fresh, I keep mine in a zip-loc bag.  It will feel hard to the touch, but a couple minutes of kneading will warm it up and bring it back, good as new.  And that's even after using it for masking for painting.

I look forward to your next build!

Best regards,

Brad

 

 

Thanks! I'm glad to hear that about the clear coat. Gives me confidence to use it again.

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