Category Archives: Military Models

Glad you asked: 1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear. Working landing gear in general


Among the not so surprising list of searches that brought people to my blog, yesterdays list (below) included one dear indeed to my heart: “1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear”

Ah yes, the great divide. Are we building scale models or toys? I come down firmly on the “toys” side, although many fine people I know personally are probably closer to scale modelers. I have to admit that almost any working feature of a model, particularly from a plastic kit, is going to compromise accuracy to some extent. Turning and propellers, wheels, maybe not so much. Opening doors, hatches? Mmmm, tricky. Retractable landing gear? Almost never truely ‘in scale’, but it HAS been done.

Personal experiences with working, retractable, landing gear:

1/32 Revell Supermarine Spitfire Mk I. Moving control surfaces and sliding canopy too.

1/32 Monogram North American P-51D Mustang. In “Phantom Mustang” or P-51 or F-51 form, this kit has retractable main gear and a tail wheel that are all actuated by turning a wheel on the belly. For the Phantom kit, an electric motor and gear train does the work. For the non-Phantom releases, the gear fixed to the plane becomes a knob to turn. Also comes with sliding canopy and bomb releases (again, under the belly for the controls in the pylon that the Phantom kit mounts on.)

1/32 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M Riesen “type Zero” fighter. Tiny super-strong magnets are said to hold the moving pieces in place, and there’s a hidden socket for a crank to operate the gear… or so I have read.

1/32 Revell Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat. Not only retractable, the complex multi-link F3F and F4F setup that brought the wheels up to sit flush with the lower sides of the fuselage. I keep meaning to buy one of these and see how well it works…

1/32 planes that do NOT have working retractable landing gear:

1/32 Revell Hawker Hurricane I or “II” (its not a II and would take much effort- buy a 2 hand copy of the original Mk I kit if you want one of these…)

1/32 Revell Hawker/BAe Harrier / AV-8A. If I’d been in charge… but I wasn’t. Not retractible. The Airfix 1/24 kits has retractible gear, but other issues.

1/32 Revell Bristol Beaufighter. Alas, this would be a good place for a home-made setup, dead easy, but not the way they made the kit. Very much tooled to a price, with just about nothing in the fuselage (and no way to see it…) Still how cool is it to have this?!

Yesterday’s search terms.

x-4 bantam cockpit 2
light gull grey acrilico 2
islader 1/72 2
polly scale paints 2
tamiya u.s. interior green mix 2
thinning vallejo 26.526 1
mosquito de interior 1
how to dull the finish of a plastic model? 1
trislander 1
paint striper for plastic models 1
eclipse tptp vs netbeans profiler 1
water based model paint 1
bac 707 gray 1
hawk 75 cutaway 1
how long does it take to build plastic models 1
diluting water based paint for glaze 1
how to mix model paints 1
hobby shops in san francisco 1
“…the place god calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” -frederick buechner 1
xf-56 1
tamiya spray paint solvents 1
future floor wax remover 1
building plastic model links 1
r/c car store in bay area 1
mosquito fuselage 1
elo easy lift off 1
sbd-5 camouflage 1
mosquito instrument panel 1
polly scale model railroads paints 1
airplanes painted black 1
who bought out hobby enterprises model airplane kits 1
deionized water acrylic paints 1
rc cars in bayarea 1
1/32 model airplanes with working retractable landing gear 1

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What the People want:


So, for example, here’s what brought people to my blog yesterday:
More editing tomorrow.

— Information pointed to from here:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23
boeing 707 gray 2
hobby store bay area 2
dh mosquito

— Information here for airplanes and other subjects for modelling:
mosquito bomb aimers position 23

— Information here for paint and finishing:
boeing 707 gray 2
how to sand down excess plastic modeling 2
how to thin model master acryl paint 2
remove decals to model aircraft 1
tamiya paint sets 1spraying with water based paint 1
water based paint diluters

— Information here about Bay Area hobby shops
hobby store bay area 2
san francisco rc plane shop 1

“wwii” and “model kit” and “kids” 2
“air international” magazine index 1

dh mosquito cockpit door 1
grumman f7f tigercat/cabin view 1
1
radio shack electric motor rf-500tb-182 1
thinning water based paint for spraying 1
tamiya acrylic remover 1
dh mosquito 1
model paint stripping 1
and dilute acrylic paints for models 1-20 y 1
boac mosquito 1
removing future floor wax 1

I— nformation *not yet*here
italeri c 27 1/72 2
spray paint for pots and pans 1
système de trim wheel en cockpit 1
misquito twin engine bomber three view 1
revell constellation lufthansa blue tamiya colours 1
cockpit/grumman tigercat/images 2

Project status Italeri 1/72 F-104G/S Starfighter


Italeri F104 G ‘S’Here’s the latest- I took this and the Revell TF 104G on vacation with me. I’d made a drawing that cartooned the instrument panel, based on the Verlinden Lock On book primarily. With that sketch in hand, I painted both kit’s cockpits and fiddly bits, and started gluing, I’ve got this 104’s major fuselage assembled, with cockpit and intakes. Needs wings, aft fuselage attached, so forth. Paint too. Here’s the latest photo of it: Italeri F-104G/S its not actually an S, just a G, no Sparrow or Aspide missile, though there is a pylon for it at least. Interior parts cruder than Revell/Monogram/Revell Germany kit, I’ve painted in parallel. Going to build it as an S and to heck with getting the aft fuselage and intake trunk bulky-ness correct. With an AIM-7-ish missile on the pylon and pretty Italian markings it will look great. Big issue is getting something like but not TOO like British Ocean Gray/Mixed Gray and Dark Green for topside- each nation in NATO has its own paint scheme and the fact that they often resemble the Dark Green, Ocean Gray/Medium Sea Gray Day Fighter scheme from WWII European theater doesn’t mean that exact color matches are in stock.

Project status Airfix 1/76 M4 Sherman


Airfix 1/76 M4 Medium – “Sherman” tank
All *kinds* of progress to report-
I’ve removed the not-straight bogie units from both sides of the hull, coincidentally making it easier to mount the tracks. I’ve fixed the broken or bent track return rollers and applied reddish-brown ‘rust’ to the rollers.

I laminated up the ‘bustle’ of the turret and then sanded it to match the plan from Steve Z’s book.

I had to put a ‘skin’ on the left side of the hull because it took a warp after being left in the car one day… There’s a lesson learned. When I was done, it looked and measured the same as the undamaged part on the right side…

Airfix "M4" Medium Tank, Sherman

Some of the bent styrene rod lifting eyes were not as successful as others: the port side forward and one of the aft eyes on the turret were completely bad. So I’m going to redo them.
I’ve drilled out the bad lifting rings. You can see the bad ones in this photo, and I promise, the bogies I removed were NOT straight…

Airfix M4 (Sherman) with improved turret, gun, return rollers and return skids.

Mosquito cockpit photos on the web, links, descriptions


Lets talk about Mosquito cockpit photos on the web:
First, credit where credit is due:

http://www.mossie.org is a GREAT web site and this first group of photos are found there, and taken by Phil Broad, to whom we are all indebted!

http://www.mossie.org/Phil_Broad/Phil_Broad_Collection.htm

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-10.jpg
This color picture looks b&w- only the dark red, wheel-shaped, handle for the landing gear shows that this really is a color picture. The bomb-bay hydraulic control in this cockpit has a white knob, the flap handle is black. THe interior gray-green on the inside of the fuselage shell just looks gray. The hydraulic control levels are bare metal- plated steel, stainless steel or aluminum. The handles on the magneto switches look like bare aluminum.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-11.jpg
Looking down at the rudder pedals. The rudder pedal yokes and foot rests are black. The bare metal (probably plated or polished) twin hand pump for canopy de-icing system is visible, and the handles on the pump rods seem to be something more than just bare metal.


http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-12.jpg
Engine instruments, ventilator outlet, three knobs probably associated with dimmers, a white paper in a holder (Compass deviation card?)

The inner (right side) engine and propeller knobs are just visible- on this airplane they are shiny black with a large, whilte “P” which I take to mean Propeller (ie “Pitch”)

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-13.jpg
The prop feathering buttons are black and white, diagonal-striped,with small red markers in the middle. At the center-bottom, somewhat out of focus, you can see the Observer’s Oxygen Economizer, a black box- bakelite perhaps. with a light color (paper or aluminum) plate in the middle. The oxygen hose is dark gray or black, with light highlights or possibly a light color on the external spring wrapping. The grab handle above the passage to the nose compartment is light in this picture,

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-14.jpg
Almost everything is black with white details, and interior gray-green. In this view, the color details are the red covers on the two buttons for the IFF self-destruction equipment. and the red handle on the forward (ie left or port) radiator flap control. The destruct buttons are at the front edge of the big electrical box

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-15.jpg
More Observer’s sidewall and black boxes, black and white instruments, black cable wraps, bare metal connectors for the big cables, switch levers, etc. The forward (left/port) radiator flap control lever is red with a dark yellow knob, the aft (right/starboard) radiator flap control has a white lever with a dark yellow knob.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-16.jpg Pilot’s sidewall alongside the pilot’s seat. Mostly gray-green fuselage shell interior, with a black engine and propeller control box, black electrical boxes, black, white and gray wires and cables,, black and dark red placards (anodized?) The smaller black metal bit, aft, is the pilot’s intercom connection, there’s a dark reddish-brown covered receptacle hanging on a small cable from the nest of cables under the black metal piece. The clip at the front edge looks like its for the receptacle.

The larger electrical box is no remote radio channel push button selector.
There may be a dark red/brown center on the electrical control knob mounted just about the pilot’s armrest. I suspect the straight black tube mounted at the top of the sidewall, just below the canopy, is for the Bowden cable that leads from the rudder trim control (above the center of the instrument panel) back to the rudder trim tab

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-17.jpg
Same area as GMOS-16 but from above..Its easier to see what things are and how they work from a higher perspective

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-18.jpg
Looking down onto the engine and propeller control box, control yoke “Carbon Mic” hookup, pitch trim indicator, etc. Part of the engine instruments too. Placards, brackets, gauges, throttle box, levers, cockpit lights, etc, all black. Cockpit sidewall interior gray-green. Dark brown center on knob that’s probably a lighting dimmer.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-19.jpg
Looking aft at observer’s seat (a nice, dark brown shiny upholstery with modern belts, and no armor plate. Not exactly authentic 1940s. All structure interior gray-green, black panel for fuel cocks and engine cutouts. Fuel cock handles are black, cutout buttons are red. Black receptacle for observer’s headphones, hanging on a medium brown cable. Large multi-wire cables along observer’s side wall are covered in a glossy black material.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-20.jpg
Looking straight up at the canopy roof escape hatch- canopy metal framework is all interior gray-green inside, except for the actual hatch, which has a black frame, and the canopy frames that the hatch touches, which are all yellow.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-21.jpg
Low angle of pilot’s seat and sidewall. All seat structure is black, with black or very dark cushions. In this picture the engine supercharger instructions placard looks distinctly brown. Root Beer color. Photo-flash intense light and age are the likely cause.

http://www.mossie.org/images/Phil_Broad/RS709_det/GMOS-22.jpg
In bomb aimer’s station, looking forward, out the nose transparency. Everything is interior gray-green protective paint, except clear windows, a black rubber hose carrying dry air to the sandwich-construction bombardier’s “flat” window.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/images/012%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.jpg

A pretty nicely restored B-35 cockpit. The condition of the trim wheel at the bottom of the column that supports the pilots instruments shows why I think this is a restoration. So its nice and clean and you’d like to hope the colors are mostly original, cleaned up, or touched-up/repainted with originals as references.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/011%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

A nice view up past the pilot’s seat, showing the vacuum system control, details of the seat and its mounting to the bulkhead.


http://www.airmuseumsuk.org/museum/dhaircraft/800/pages/013%20DH.98%20Mosquito%20B35%20cockpit.htm

Here’s the pilot’s sidewall, showing trim indicator, engine and propeller controls, misc.. stuff.

http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/index.shtml

KA114
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Cockpit%20Box%20B%20KA114.jpg
This is a recently ( 2005) built fuselage in New Zealand, the second they produced. This electrical box looks very much like the photographs of 1940s production Mosquitos. I say we give them credit for getting the colors right, just as they so clearly got the shapes right.

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Fuse%20@%20Avspecs.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery02/Large%20images/Nose%20browning%20doors%20off%20KA114.jpg
This is a fighter-bomber (F Mk-26, XXVI) fuselage, with a slightly different rudder pedal box than the bomber version.

NZ2308 – a T Mk 43
<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20Instrument%20panel.jpg

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Copy%20of%20P1000973.jpg
This is a refurbished instrument panel, hydraulics, etc, from NZ2308

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Bomb%20switch%20panels%20&%20elect.%20boxes.jpg
The left side of this picture shows the bomb switch panels

<a href=”http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg”&gt;
http://www.mosquitorestoration.com/cmscontent/Image/Gallery08/Large%20Images/Original%20WT%20transmitter,%20reciever,%20VHF.jpg
Original radio transmitter and reciever.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/aviation.html
Phillip Treweek has hundreds of very, very nice images of historic airplanes- from in flight to in the bilges. Civil and military, new and old. Replica Fokker Dr-1s to F-111s and F/A-18s, major airliners.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html “>http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/mosquito.html

Philip Treweek’s photos:

NZ2305 F 40 converted to T-43, sold from Oz to NZ
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/motadh98.html

NZ2328 FB6.
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html “>
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead13.html
Not hugely restored, photo looking aft from entrance. Cockpit is partially stripped, partially disassembled. Dirty gray-green. Intercom and related electrical stuff black with grey/beige cables. Fore and aft trim indicator is black. Control stick is black on both sides.area under the glare shield is interior gray green. Fuel cocks and one cutout button visbile, but not vaccuum control or whatever that other selector is. Engine control torque rods visible behind pilot’s seat.

<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/fmead14.html
looking straight across from entrance at instrument panel, stick, rudder pedals in same stripped/disassembled state as fmead14.html above. It looks un-restored or at least maintained as built, so wooden pieces are interior gray green, as is seat and related structure. Instrument panel faces are black, rudder pedal yokes are aluminum paint. Cable bundle running across behind the instrument panel is in white/cream wrapping, other cables black, gray, dirty silver? Tubing for instruments and controls is dull aluminum or silver paint. The handle of the control stick appears to be bare metal under a black finish which has worn and cracked off.

NZ2336 FB VI
<a href=”http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html”&gt;
http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith9.html
Another un-restored, maintained as built example, and not as dusty or disassembled as NZ2328. Wooden structure is interior gray-green, rudder pedals silver paint, control column black, throttle box black, black levers including parts that stick out the bottom. Relay rods to engine control torque tubes appear to be interior gray-green. Push-button at aft edge of throttle box is either black or missing, I think missing. I’d expected red. Radio control box and compass case are dark gray, Radio box has black over silver id plate, centered, and gray cable that connects to the back. Radio box and throttle box have crinkle finish, semi-matte, unlike control column which is semi-gloss and smooth.

Dark redish brown floor under pilot’s feet, Dark gray leather(?) rubber(?) over moving parts the control column sticks up from, between dark red foot-boards. Elevator control rod from control column to elevator trim mix appears to be aluminum paint. Left most, larger, inner, friction adjust knob has aged to dark orange. Smaller, outer, right hand friction knob is black. Seat height adjustment lever is chipped black finish over natural metal, with bright red pushbutton at the top, push to unlock probably. Glycol de-icing fluid pump handle and body are shiny natural metal, Sanitary tank or possibly first aid kit under seat is interior gray-green over redish primer

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith10.html
Oh, pure gold! Observer’s sidwall, looking back and up from entrance.
Black electrical boxes. Black knobs and bell-shaped bases for… lamp dimmers? Black gauge and control on a black bracket at the lower back corner of the sidewall electrical box. Black electrical gizmo (terminal strip, ??) has receptacle for observer’s intercom. Dirty white cable bundles along sidewall, with darker brown discoloration like caramel stripe in ice-cream. Bare metal connectors where cables meet sidewall box. Gray individual wires in harness the dips down and then rises over entrance hatch. Dark gray oxygen hose. Wide yellow stripe over entrance hatch. Some sort of gray, crinkle finish metal box next to observer’s leg cushion- trailing antenna winch?
.

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith11.html
More gold, looking back at observer’s and pilot’s seats, with original-looking harness. Big radio box on shelf in back. Dark upholstery on observer’s cushions and pilot’s cushions- black or dark brown color. Original???

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith6.html
Inside of crew hatch- interior green, Beware of propellers red letters on white, solid yrllow latch handle, brown leather loop at top of door rib, etc

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/smith7.html
The compliment to #9, this shows the pilot’s side up to the canopy frame, seat, sidewall, etc. Wooden surfaces all int. gray-green, Prop knobs same orange as larger friction knob, control stick semigloss black, everything screwed to sidewall is black or dark gray. Tube that carries emergency harness release is light gray/translucent

http://www.kiwircraftimages.com/pages/smith8.html
Looking sligfhtly forward to the instruments and controls Interior gray green, black, dark gray.Orange knobs on throttle box, red prop feathering buttons, seat adjustment lever unlock button. Black, white, gray, wires and cables

http://www.kiwiaircraftimages.com/pages/mp00mos7.html
FB Mk VI NZ2336, Box B, various stuff on the Navigator/Observer’s sidewall- this is a GREAT photo- you can see the bare metal over what might be trailing wire antenna, I think I see a crank on it. The whiteish tubing that the various wire bundles are collected in is aging and discoloring, but very clearly a light color, with silver or natural metal connectors where they attach to Box B. There is also a dimmer and an instrument lamp, and a short cable with a 1/4″ female connector for the headphones/mic. AND the twin red buttons to destroy the IFF and/or radar key components (magnetron?)

Spitfire spares

Flickr Mosquito cockpit pix:
DH Mosquito cockpit shot
low angle view of whole instrument pannel. Very clear.

DH Mosquito cockpit shot LH instrument pane
Engine instruments, throttes and propeller control, stick, dimmers, compass.

DH Mosquito looking rearwards from navigator's seat
Navigator’s back armor, 1154 Transmitter/receiver, Direction finding looop hanging inside canopy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904271707/in/set-72157622008359338/
This is a look down toward the rudder pedals, showing the low instrument panel, etc. You can see the wingnut and spool assembly that locks the two rudder pedals together to immobilize the rudder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904282687/in/set-72157622008359338/
Full instrument panel, A fighter-bomber, I’d guess, since there’s the bomb interval stuff on the center pedestal, This is a really nice photo, of a possibly un-restored example.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/sets/72157622008359338/

Lower instrument panel and obvserver’s side. Bomb controls, rudder pedals some kind of drift sight or other complex aparatus.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambda_nut/3904298041/in/set-72157622008359338/
Nice view of a fighter version’s pilot’s sidewall, from compass back to the person sitting in the seat

These next two are (C) Andrew Critchell. The watermarks further say lRPS http://www.aviationphoto.co.uk
Dave Hall’s 1:1 scae Mosquito crew compartment replica. This is not an actua Mosquito, as you can see from the former rings in the bombardier’s compartment, and the absence of cables, hoses, rods, levers, etc. I think this is extremely cool and I’d love to experience it. But its like a big RC model or super detailed static scale model. You
can get an idea how the builder(s) think it should look. Not a primary source, but a secondary source for sure.

My de Havilland Mosquito cockpit drawings:


Mosquito Pr/B Mk IV cockpit and nose This is the set of drawings, on Flickr

de Havilland 98 Mosquito B Mk IV Cockpit Port side 12

My Mosquito crew compartments port side drawing

Mosquito Cockpit Stbd, colored - in

My Mosquito crew areas starboard drawing

My Mosquito from seats forward cockpit drawing

My Mosquito cockpit nose-on drawing

/4332165664/in/set-72157623358284910/”>Forward view (as if looking forward from the wing spar)
Aft view (into the nose transparency)

Masking Tape, over a glossy finish, a sticky question.


My experience has been fairly good, using old-school beige masking tape, Scotch “Magic” (flat) transparent tape, 3M blue tape, or the light green 3M high stick tape. I prefer the 3M blue product. Scotch “Magic” tape can do really sharp lines on flat, smooth, surfaces, but it has no ‘stretch’. It won’t go around complex curves, stretch to fill engraved lines, etc. It can be hard to remove too, if you don’t leave an edge up somewhere.

First you need the base glossy paint to be well attached. Clean all the parts on their trees with Luke warm water and dish detergent, hand soap, light scrubbing with a green dish scrubber, light sanding with 600 or finer wet-dry sand paper, your choice. Do what’s worked for you in the past. Lay the paint down lightly and evenly. Keep the model parts warm enough before and after applying paint. Keep the paint warm too.

Having a gloss finish doesn’t require glossy paint. Future floor wax, gloss finish lacquers, gloss acrylic, gloss enamel, what ever’s right, after all the paint colors are in place, gives the thinnest finish.

If you’ve already got the glossy paint down and you’re wondering how to mask over it, there’s still plenty of little details to attend to.

Roughing the area the second color will go on doesn’t hurt- my problem masking is as much about the second coat not sticking on up to the masking line as it is about the first coat pulling off or separating.

Having a clean, fresh, edge with effective adhesive is VERY important. You can get along with the edges of the roll of tape as it comes from the maker IF its fresh and you just unwrapped or opened it. If the roll is a long term resident on your workbench, or the sides/edges are scruffy, its not going to make a clean, tight, line.

I keep my masking tape in a small zip-log bag now, stand it on its ‘tread’ instead of laying it on its ‘sidewall’, in or out of the bag. When I want a really crisp edge, I take a nice length of tape and my sharpest Fiskar scissors and cut the tape, straight, down the middle- this gives two, straight, sharp, edges. If I need a line longer than the length the Fiskar’s blades, I piece it from several pieces of tape, to make the edge, and fill with a second layer. I don’t overlap the joints, I trim the edges to slightly less than 90 degrees and lay the pieces down point-to-point, starting like:

1st color layer…
=====\/=====\/====
area for 2nd color.

Smallish filler pieces to cover the little triangular gaps are good. In general I find that small, narrow, pieces of tape are easier to use over curves (or to make curves!) than wide tape. I usually buy 1″ (25mm) and often cut it in half or thirds or quarters before I apply it. Getting a crisp edge is NOT the same as covering a large area- mark out the edges with narrow strips, then use full-width strips (or paper or plastic) to cover bulk areas. Yes, its hard to get long, straight, lines with narrower strips. Its hard to get long straight lines with big, wide, pieces too. Once its stretched out of shape, you’re better off throwing it away, or cutting it to the straight edge you need. Piecing out a long line in scissors-length pieces against a metal straight edge is possibly easier than applying a 2 foot (60cm) piece of tape…

Once the tape is down, burnish the edge, and any seams. Something smooth. slightly soft and gently curved like a Bic pen cap, orangewood stick, etc, is good. Fingertips work.

If you’re worried about stuff running under the tape (via deeply engraved panel lines, rough surface, whatever) dust a light coat of the base color or a clear to seal the edge of the tape. EASY does it, no blobs. Just enough to seal.

Now lay the second color down, in light, thin coats. More tape and a third color, etc, can follow. Using flat paint and not having to sand-down gloss finish for subsequent coats to stick to is clearly an advantage….

Some people like to lay a thick, wet, coat down and then lift off the masking as soon as the second color will stay in place… Ummm, that isn’t easy to do in thin, light, coats… Slicing along the tape edge with a brand-new knife blade is good, if you’re making a ‘straight’ line, a straight edge to slice along may help. Slice LIGHTLY, don’t go through the 1st color, or down into the base material of the model.

PEEL the tape, gently, slowly, pull AWAY from the masked edge. Peeling off the tape is a big part of getting a good masked edge. But like all human activities, it isn’t really true that there’s one and only chance, or that it can’t be fixed if there are problems. Personally, if I think any of the paint might still be wet (uncured) I shelve it and come back in a day or two.

But don’t heat something with masking tape on it, or leave it on the dashboard of the car on a summer day… Overheated tape stickum is a complete BEAR to remove. Ask me how I know…. After a year or two, the old, beige tape, stickum would vulcanize or cure or whatever you call it- become stiff and hard and require sandpaper to remove. The new, gentler, “blue” tapes are far more forgiving.

After the tape is off, there may be a ridge where a taped line was. Fine or extra fine fingernail sanding sticks, wet, are good for working down the ridge without losing the sharp edge. The stiff sanding stick is easier to control than a floppy sheet of sandpaper, and you only want to affect the stuff that’s sticking up.

Another reason to paint flat paint and gloss it later.

For natural metal finish with solid colors as well, I cover everything that will be bare metal and do the paint first, completely, including masking-ridge-sanding and the gloss coat, then tape off ALL the paint and spray Testor’s Metalizer (from rattle cans) over the bare plastic. So everything gets masked once, at least. (The airbrush-able Metalizer works just as well, and you can mix it and tint it, but I choose to use my time on other things.)

NEVER try to save materials when masking. Use fresh tape, use more tape, remove the tape and start over if you don’t like what you see. The tape is cheap, your time is expensive.

That said, don’t make your life harder than it needs to be. If you’re painting the tips of wings and rudder, mask the EDGES of the tips off, then cut some slits in a paper bag, and use the bag to cover all the model, except for the little bits you want to paint. Its not saving stuff, just making your life easier. Wrapping something completely in tape isn’t much fun, and risks overspray on gaps that require a lot of inspection to check.

Well, that went on too long, but you’ll have a good time doing multicolor paint and paint + natural metal. You can do the gray wings with polished leading edges, flat aluminum panels, satin finish engine intakes and maybe a titanium bit on the engine pylon.

Take a shot, take some pictures, let us know how it goes for you!