Category Archives: Metalic Paint

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 Minicraft 1/144 American Airlines MD-82 (?)


Wow, thanks for the vote based on not much!
here’s the state of play- needs antennae, bits and pieces markings:

Minicraft 1/144 MD-80, F-104J/G, Spitfire

Minicraft American Airlines MD-82
Minicraft 1/144 American Airlines McDonnell-Douglas MD-80
I’ve got a pile of home-made detail decals to put on the AA MD-82, and it needs antennae and lights

(T)F-104G paint colors:


http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/lofiversion/index.php?t157600.html is a great discussion about Luftwaffe (post 1956…) (T)F-104G (and other air-to-mud strike aircraft) colors.

I was privileged to see and photograph the Marineflieger F-104 flight demo team in the 1980s, at Moffett Field, and there is no question in my mind that the underside color on their F-104s was a metallic tinged light gray. NOT bare metal, NOT aluminum lacquer, mostly light gray, but unmistakably containing aluminum powder too. This was when they had uniform dark gray on top, and the customary day-glo bands on the wingtip tanks.
I ought to scan those pix…

A nice guy named “Peepeing Bear” and a Jennings (OUR Jennings H from various airliner groups? Probably.) have a discussion at the arcforums site, and here’s what I take-away:

(T)F-104G, Luftwaffe:
Underside:
pre “Norm ’72” RAL 7001 Silbergrau (a light gray paint)
“Norm ’72” RAL 9006, a metalic + white + gray mix. Revell Germany give a formula of 10% Aluminum, 40% White and 50% light gray, in their 1/72 TF-104G kit.
RAL 9006 Weißaluminium (white aluminium) paint.

Later, “Norm ’83”. a green / green /grey wrap-around scheme replaced Norm ’72

The polygonal camouflage (RAL 6014/7012/9006) was only used for Marineflieger F-104s for a short time.

If you desire a rara avis. German Starfighter memorial photo website is a good place to look for specific photos.

A good and well-informed source on (Bundesluftwaffe) camouflage colours is the website of JPS Modell “Don Color”

A terrific place to compare RAL and BSC381C colors, on line:
http://www.e-paint.co.uk/RAL_Colourchart.asp?pType=&pFinish=
Standard disclaimers apply- its on line, not printed, so your monitory and ambient conditions will affect what you see, etc etc.

For Canadian colors (for Canadian F-104s… aka CF-104…), try:
http://hedgehoghollow.com/buzz/Colour_Guide/aircraft_clr.html

which seems to cover all Canadian military, before unification and after.
Looking at my FS 595A, I can take 26152 for 7012 and 24064 for 6014. I have some thoughts on which bluish gray off the shelf best matches 26152, and I’ll post results when I have them.

Jennings sez:
RAL 7012 Basaltgrau (FS 26152), RAL 6014 Gelbolive (FS 24064), RAL 7001 Silbergrau (FS 26320), and RAL 2005 Leuchtorange (FS 38903).

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!

Monogram Fiero chassis, engine, suspension


Jean got me this Fiero kit as my Christmas model kit. Pretty cool. GM could never decide if this was the parts-bin special that had been sold to upper management or the sporty sports car it might have been. It did accomplish one major thing for the American automotive industry- the funny reaction-injection-molded plastic body panels never matched painted steel in quality of appearance, and the steel manufactuerers went to GM and said, how come you did that, and GM said, “You never talk to us about what we want”. And a dialog began.

Now here you can see what I was trying to accomplish: I used 4 or 5 different dark, dark, grays, mostly Polly S black with a touch of Polly S white. The shiny one is Testor’s Acryl “Semi gloss” black mixed 5:50 with Testor’s Acryl flat black, and the results lightened slightly with Testors Acryl Flat White. The basic chassis is the lightest tone I used. My theory is that the “flat black” used on an industrial scale for things like chassis is seldom dead flat OR a deep black.. Its dark enough you’d call it “black” but its not loaded with black pigment like a high quality black artist’s oil paint.

I took the liberty of painting the engine in my own ideas of good colors. I find the metallic silver-blue-green that Pontiac actually used as a corporate paint for engine blocks particularly uninspired. Sorry, Pontiac fans.

Testor’s spray paints, Tamiya, Krylon, Rustoleum and Ace Hdw house brand


Hey, I learned something!

Krylon and Rustoleum and even Ace Hardware spray paints come in bigger cans for about the same price as Testor’s little cans. And even with Testor’s expanded Model Master ranges, the big cans offer something like as many color choices if not more. Metallic and transparent colors too. The only area the model paints have a selection advantage is in metallics that look like specific metals- the Metalizer aluminum, titanium, steel, etc. And precise FS 595/a/b, BSC, RAF, IJN, etc, matches.

I made a bunch of samples of spray paint colors for a project, and ended up being able to compare various solvent based spray enamels, one lacquer, and whatever (lacquer??) Tamiya’s spray paint is. Krylon and Rustoleum spray paint smell similar and seem similar Ace Hardware’s house brand paint is pretty similar too. All dry to the touch pretty quickly and seem to be completely dry pretty quickly as well. You can smell their solvent system and its different from Testor’s.

Testor’s Model Master spray paint smells different and dries much slower. Its also MUCH thicker, and can make a single, shiny, coat in one pass. THAT’s the big difference. The Testor’s product minimizes the need to get the surface smooth and defect-free before painting. It will fill a certain amount of scratches and rough texture. “Conventional” spray paint is markedly thinner and quicker drying. It does NOT fill, or make a thick, shiny, coat.

This is not to say Testor’s product works automatically- you have to be alert and adroit to spray it well. Spray too little and it won’t fuse and you’ll get orange peel that way. Too much and it runs, ick! But if its shaken well, and sprayed lightly, correctly, the results are about as good as Santa’s elves could do.

The Testor’s products are very sensitive to how clean the spray nozzle is- dried paint that restricts flow will cause massive “orange peel” by making splatters rather than mist- the splatters don’t merge and flow into each other.

I also discovered that outlet and switch wall-plates make dandy paint samples. I’m never going to have to judge colors laid on cardboard again!

Lacquer dries even faster than the enamels, and Tamiya is somewhere in the middle.

We have a roll-around cart in the kitchen that holds the pots and pans and it needs painting. We just paid professionals to paint the whole downstairs and some of the upstairs, and had a pretty satisfactory process of picking sample colors, checking them under actual lighting conditions and making a final choice based on facts. With my sample switch plates, we settled on a color, and I’ll be sanding, priming, sanding again and then painting soon.

Glossy and flat paints and finishes


Two great questions brought people to my blog yesterday

1) How do you make a gloss paint have a matte (or matt or flat) finish?

a) You can top-coat it with a dulling finish- Testor’s DullCote laquer is the classic modeler’s tool, it is more or less clear but dries to a flat finish, with a microscopicly rough surface.  It comes in spray cans.  Some people spray it into a jar and then apply it with their airbrush for better control.

b) You can mix the Matte finish from the paint manufacturer into the paint before you apply it, or top-coat the paint with it (experiment with something not so important…

c) Krylon artist’s spray products or brushable matte finish for furnature.  One very good modeler I know uses water-based polyurathane matte and eggshell furnature finishes over everything.

If you use DullCote or Krylon, as always,  with any spray,  EASY DOES IT! Use light coats, don’t slather it on.  Since its a laquer, its very ‘hot’- the solvent will eat into anything and if applied too thickly over an enamel will probably wrinkle the enamel or worse. Not what you want. So build up light coats.

I can report two problems I’ve had and how I got around one of them, but I keep typing it in and it disappears, so not tonight.

Going in the right direction – fighting AMS


Like too many older model builders, I went from building a given kit in an hour or two (yay!) to clamping pieces  and letting the glue dry before putting on the decals.. so it was taking a day of calendar time for the hour or two… Then I started painting, first glossy, primary, colors, one or two on a given model, then more colors, flat colors, pretty soon every inch… I had a model car with the whole body painted, an airplane painted on top and bottom, AND insides AND nice glossy black tires.

The result was that it took me longer and longer to build a given model, particular if it was complicated or big. I reveled in complexity and detail, and added even more details on my own. But I finished more and more slowly, until I discovered I had a smallish pile of half complete kits and a burning desire to start more and didn’t really want to finish what I’d started. Well, I did, I wanted them to be finished perfectly. But I wasn’t really much of a perfect model builder.  Much easier,  to start fresh, than put in the sweat of effort and enduring the disappointment of a model that didn’t turn out like I’d wanted it to…

Inability to finish something is definately part of the dreaded AMS- Advanced Modeler’s Syndrome.

So I started a chart in my notebook with a line for each kit I had going and each 1/4″  (6.45mm) square represented a month- several years fit on one page this way.  I marked a small letter in the box for each activity I’d done toward finishing the model in that month, Cut, Glue, Sand, Paint, Decals, and Break for when an accident set me back. I didn’t mark L for Lost a part or R for researched the subject or A for aftermarket parts found, bought, etc. CGSPD covers most of what I do, F for File, D for Drill and that’s really about it.

The charts gave me several things. For one, as time went on I had an ‘aged’ status of my work in progress, showing how long each project had been going on and when it was last worked on. I could also see, clearly how many kits I had in progress and this was somewhat successful in stopping me from starting more…

I’ll have to scan a couple of sheets to show this stuff.

The point is, I have somewhat moderated in starting new projects, I know that I need to finish, and have some idea of what would be the easiest to finish.  So including back to December, 2008, ie the holiday vacation, I’ve completed:

Hasegawa 1/72  Ki-44 air-racer (flight of fancy)

Hasegawa 1/72 Grumman F11F-1 Tiger in Blue Angels’ markings

Airfix 1/72 Westland Whirlwind fighter

DML 1/144 F-117A as a YF-117 (small rudders) in 3 tone camo

Trumpeter 1/144 Spitfire Mk V

Crown/Mincraft 1/144 Spitfire Mk V

6 semi-scale toys about 1/160-1/175, made from square stock and scraps of sheet plastic

Crown/Minicraft 1/144 F-104J/G, a Christmas present form my family which I completed 2/6/09- less than 60 days!

1/700 P-38, P-47, P-40 in Olive Drab over Neutral Gray,  SB2C, F4U in gray-blue over gray, 3 P-40s in RAF Temperate Land, Day Fighter and D, desert schemes, P-51 Ds in USAAF natural metal and RAF Day Fighter schemes,  P-47s in Day Fighter and Frances Gabrelski’s camo bird.

Pretty cool!

Buying a plastic model kit for a kid


Wow, this is a really loaded issue. What’s a sensible “first model” for a kid who starts at age 4, like I did, or age 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14… Get it wrong and your gift will be uninteresting because its too simple, or uninteresting because too daunting (or requiring too many skills). Revell, Revell Germany and Testors in the USA are all promoting “easy” kits for beginners. Hasegawa once had a line of small, cheap, easy kits, and Heller had a separate “Cadet” range to this very end. With minor exceptions, the entire Matchbox model kit product line that was created in the 1970s and 80s was aimed at beginners.

Here are some postulates I think cover the decision space:

The younger the child-

the fewer pieces needed;

the lower likelihood of paint being needed;

the GREATER the need for good kit engineering and easy fitting of parts;

the GREATER the likelihood that the existence of the object depicted will be a surprise!

the GREATER importance of “play value”- moving pieces, tough construction that doesn’t break. lack of thin bits that might injure or break

So you want a high quality kit that makes a good toy when completed. The old Monogram 1/48 (aka ‘ 1/4″ scale ‘ – ie 1/4″ = 1’) airplanes; Car kits with hoods that open and engines inside, ships and boats that float (!!!). In the old days, smaller model tanks with molded rubber tracks and motors inside had pretty good play value. Lack of ‘drivability’ limits the play value of today’s scale model military vehicles.

The younger child will view building anything as aspirational, and will have all their attention consumed by cutting a dozen or two dozen pieces off the runners, matching them to the instructions, trimming and generally getting the pieces to fit, gluing it together and applying the decals with a glass of water and their fingers. They will need a Helper for the first 1-5-10 kits they build.

Tool kit:
Parent, grandparent, qualified sibling or friend, or other helper. REQUIRED.
Fingernail clippers will do for cutters and a file.
Moderate-tack/long release masking tape to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. 3M’s line of blue masking tapes are perfect.
Future floor wax. (aka Johnson’s Kleer)

Clip out the parts as needed, not all at once. The nail clipper and file is fine get the parts ready to assemble.
Fingernail sanding sticks are a nice luxury, as are diagonal cutters and a real file or two, but the whole job can be done with clippers.
Coat the clear parts with Future floor wax inside and out and non-toxic tube glue or the liquid equivalent (Testor’s blue label) can be used to firmly attach the clear stuff without messing it up. Liquid non-toxic cement is flammable but not poisonous… that’s a neat trick!

The older the child:

The more they’ll enjoy assembling larger numbers of parts.

The more likely they’ll want to paint some or all of the pieces; (HOWEVER, for a first model, not having to paint the whole things is real advantage, at any age)

The more likely they’ll have aethestic and or knowledge-based opinions about what kit to build.

50 to 100 pieces are fine for a first model for a teenager; (13 and above)

Buy a car kit molded in more than one color- white body, black and silver engine and fiddly stuff. Vinyl tires are supplied black and don’t need to be painted. In airplanes and ships, pick something appropriate to the gray or white the kit will be molded in. In the old days, kits came in white, silver, olive drab, light blue, red, yellow, orange, black, etc . Monogram and Airfix were particularly adept at this, and the late, lamented, Aurora. Lots of US car kits were molded in white because the builder would have the least trouble paint it any color they liked

Some prefer the good guys, some prefer the bad guys. Pointy planes or biplanes with the pilot sitting out in the breeze. Some kits will be an education, something they’d never seen before, but in the area they care about, they’ll know what they want.

So, OK, what do I recommend??

If you really want moving features, go for Legos. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Technic’s, Mars Mission, Underwater, sports, cars, trucks, airplanes, real Mars Rovers, Space Shuttles, cars and motorcycles, whatever. I find there is less play value in the Bionicles because mostly what they do is pose and shoot something and the relatively large pieces limit possiblities. Consider them as aimed at the under 8 crowd. Anything with hinges and the like make good basis for toys.

If you want models to play with, Revell’s tugboat is pacific in nature, floats well in a bathtub, can be painted in bright colors or left plain. The PT boat and flat-bottomed ships all float pretty well. The round-bottom Essex-class (or “Battle Of Midway”) aircraft carriers need to be carefully balasted. Lindberg or someone has a fishing boat which might once have been Aurora’s Soviet Spy Trawler…. Some big cargo vessels are out there too.

Any smaller airplane can be a fun toy in the bathtub or pool, if balanced more or less correctly (1/3 back from the leading edge of the wing). But ships are better.

Probably my fondest memories of moving parts models are

1) Revell’s 1/72 F-111A/B. Swing wings that move in and out. VERY fiddly landing gear that fold up and retract OR come out and and support the model. Crew escape capsule that can be removed from the model. Radome comes off and a somewhat generic radar dish is inside on the front of the fuselage.

Monogram (now Revell-Monogram)’s 1/48 scale
TBM Avenger,
SBD Dauntless,

Both have folding landing gear and a deploy-able tail-hook. Both have a pilot in the front and a gunner in the back, with a gun that moves. Both originally dropped their main weapons- the TBM dropped a torpedo when you flicked open the bomb-bay doors. The SBD dropped a bomb with the little displacing gear to keep it away from the propeller, operated by a tab that stuck out the bottom of the fuselage.
In the 1970s or 80s the bomb in the SBD was changed so it didn’t come off anymore. Since the torpedo just fell out when you open the doors, it may still work.

If you prefer a more peaceful working feature, paint your TBM in bright colors- white or silver with yellow, red trim,, with a big number on the tail, the wing tips and the engine cowling. Wad up a piece of very thin silk, red or pink, about the size and shape of a old school basketball player’s sock, and let it represent the “water” dropped by air-tankers fighting a forest fire.

The big differences between the kits are that the TBM has wings which might fold if you’re pretty good and follow instructions closely, and the SBD has 5 dive brake panels which opperate simultaniously. Sweet!

Tamiya’s early 1/12 cars- with a motor in the motor and a gearbox in the gear box and a suspension that works. I built the Matra MS-80 and it had two AA cells where the driver’s legs should have been. The steering wheel turned the front wheels, the suspension went up and down, the motor drove the back wheels through driveshafts with real universal joints… and the tires were hollow and smelled like real tires. AND the compltete engine and transmission could be removed from the rolling chassis.

Monogram’s (Now Revell-Monogram’s) other US Navy and other WWII planes with moving parts are: (all 1/48) F4F Wildcat,
F6F Hellcat,
F4U Corsair,
SB2C Helldiver,
Messerschmidt 109,
Mitsubishi Zero,
P-51 Mustang,
Supermarine Spitfire
Hawker Hurricane.

All but the Wildcat have landing gear that fold up, most of the Navy subjects have folding wings. The TBM and SB2C have opening weapons bay doors, the SBD, SB2C and TBM all dropped weapons originally, but that feature was disabled in the 1970s or 80s. (boo!) The SBD has opening dive flaps that all work together (5 panels) and are way cool. Later 1/48 models, the de Havilland Mosquito, TBD Devastator, bombers and jets had more details and less moving parts. An age had ended.

Lindberg’s Me-262 WWII German jet had folding landing gear and opening hatches over the cannons in the nose. They had a number of less detailed 1/48 jets with moving parts, along with a B-17, He-111, Mitsubishi BETTY and B-58 Hustler in somewhat odd scales with moving landing gear, etc. The B-58’s folding mechanism is fun to play with and you can detach the underslug bomb and fuel tank, and open the hatches for the 3 cockpits. But WWIII atom bombs have less play value that you might have expected. Monogram made a near-1/72 B-66 with a single bomb, no doubt nuclear, and it suffered in comparison to the 1/48 Navy planes.

Monogram’s 1/32 P-51D Mustang, available in colored plastic or as the Visible Mustang with a clear skin, went two better with retracting landing gear where turning a wheel made all threee legs and wheels move, and the doors open and shut. There was also a fiddly deal to hang a bomb under each wing and release them separately. The canopy also slid back, and in the ‘visible’ version, besides a motor to drive the landing gear (in the base) there was a motor in the plastic engine to turn the propeller. How cool is that?? But its hard to build, hard to make work and harder to keep working. Legos are more fun. Sigh.

Revell’s B-24 Liberator, 1/72 scale, had movable flaps and retractable landing gear, along with the usual moving turrets. Airfix’s B-17 main gear could fold-up. Revell’s 1/72 B-17 had bomb-bay doors that opened.

Tamiya made a small number of 1/25 tank kits (Tiger, T-34, others?) that had operating suspensions and separate track links- super cool to drive around on wrinkled bed covers, but very complicated and expensive

Any car kit with rolling wheels has good play value- the Revell Snap Together kits in 1/24th scale are very nicely detailed and roll well when completed. The recent Hasegawa and Tamiya car kits have soft plastic retainers that trap a pin (The pin is on the wheel for Tamiya, on the hub for Hasegawa) so they can theoretically roll, but in practice, are simply movable. They can be removed to admire all the fiddly brake and suspension bits though…

For older kids, detail and scale accuracy are more important that moving parts. Seeing how its built is as interesting as Brrrrrraaaaaawwwwww play. Here’s where Tamiya’s Formula 1 and Sports Car models really shine- the ones with opening engine covers and so forth are just packed with bits and pieces, and they tend to come in a tree of body color parts, a tree of silver parts and a tree of black parts, along with rubber-like tires. No paint required!

Here are a pair of the old Revell 1/72 scale Hawker Hurricanes, the second or third kit I built as a kid, that I experimentally put together with just touches of paint here and there, and decals (the black one) ; and one with NO paint (the light gray one). I put decals on the light gray one but they all fell off!, so I used some white glue on the decals for the black one…

A pair of 1960s Revell Hawker Hurricanes

If you click here you can see the kit parts and a couple of steps during construction, including when everything is taped together and glue is drying.
More later, happy modeling!

Answers to the questions that brought people to my blog…


Hmm, wordpress saves what the search key was that brought people to my stuff, and there were a bunch of questions in the last two days that I do have an answer for, but its not written down here. So here’s a grab bag of answers to questions people were asking when they found this blog, and perhaps the people who were looking will come back some time and find them… or someone else will profit from it.

Mixing Olive Drab ?

After ‘open the window!’, ‘keep the lid on the glue’ and ‘clean the paint brush while the paint is still wet’, my introduction to the secret knowlege of model building came in my early teen age years. I mentioned wishing there was an olive drab paint, as all I had were the glossy primary colors, and my father told me it was just yellow mixed with black. And indeed it is, which is why its so often seen in nature. Yellow and black are common enough colors among plants. Mix some for youself today, and give a thought to how much has changed since I learned this, in 1969.

Color Code Gull Grey?

The US Navy uses a color called “Light Gull Gray”, 595a # 36440 for flat, 26440 semi gloss, 16440 gloss. In the 1950s and 60s this was the standard color for the upper surface of USN and USMC military planes, with shiny white on the underneath. The white was removed from fighters in the 1970s when it was realized that the different top and bottom colors would give-away the way the plane was facing in a dog-fight. So the white/gull gray scheme was replaced with overall 36440.

I really like 36440, because it seems to precisely capture the color of clouds in sunshine- there’s a definate warmth to it. Surprisingly poetic, but if you want to blend into clouds, you need to be cloud colored. (Unless you choose the green balloon and want to look like part of the tree- appologies to A. A. Milne, Christopher Robin, Pooh and the bees…)

Prior to 1942, the US Navy used a light gray overall or for the UNDERSIDE of airplanes- the SBD, TBD, F4F-3, F2B-3, etc. There’s an Army/Navy (A/N) number for the USN Light Gray, but the AN USN LIght Gray and 36440 are indistinguishable by me. The formula may be different, or the same, certainly the purpose was the same.

Lots of airline model instructions call out “(Light) Gull Gray” or “36440” for the light gray frequently found on wings and horizontal stabilizers, on the wing/fuselage fairing, jet engine fan cowlings, and composite (fiberglass or carbon fiber) pieces. I find *6440 too dense and too warm. Boeing do offer more than a dozen colors for gray and another more than a dozen for white, to their customers, but there is a definate, ‘typical’, gray that’s about the same tonal value as bare aluminum that Boeing, McDonnel Douglas, Lockheed, Airbus, etc all use or used by default. At Boeing it’s called “Boeing Aircraft Company Gray” and has the stock number “707”. Sometimes this is rendered “BAC 707 Gray” but it’s not “707” gray- the number is coincidence. Or so I’m told.

Xtracolor make pre-mixed BAC 707 Gray, which is a spot-on match. Hannant’s in the UK own Xtracolor, and stock the paint. Airline Hobby Supply carry it in the USA, and perhaps others do too.

I recently decided to try mixing something similar using Testor’s Acryl, and found 3 parts 36495 Light Gray (I’ll look up the Testor’s part number and post it here) and 8 parts white were pretty good. Its far, far, from 36440 or Light Gull Gray, but its a pretty good match to what you see on the wings of DC-9s, 737s, A-320s, etc. Your milage may vary, of course.

There’s also a “Dark Gull Gray”, a darker color (FS595 36231), used in airplane cockpits and perhaps in more modern US Navy camoflague schemes.
Check out:

http://www.fed-std-595.com/FS-595-Paint-Spec.html

Its a complete list of 595 color names with samples for your screen- not definative but a great place to start.

Thining Vallejo paints for airbrush?

Al at D&J Hobbies in Campbell always advised thinning to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk, for airbrush use. That’s what I’d try first. Thin with whatever Vallejo recommend- water, water + alcohol. Some sporty airbrushers thin their acrylic paint with laquer thinner- boy I bet that dries fast, but you’d have to be used to laquer thinner to bother.

Used Radio Control Cars?

The RC Car-oriented shops, Sheldon’s or NorCal for example, often have a spot for people to post their stuff for sale. Not unlike the similar spots at PartsHeaven or other foriegn/speciality car parts places. And there’s always Craigslist.

San Francisco Bay Area Slot Cars?

I’ve used and recomend “Homeroom Racing Cafe” on Webster on Alameda Island. Slot Car Magic and Hobby in (San Lorenzo? Between Hayward and Oakland) have a great track and I hope to try it one day. Both are multi-lane layouts made from Scalectric Sport track. There’s an old 1960s commercial track with about 8 lanes and the big banked turn at the RC and slot-car place on Camden Avenue at Union Ave in San Jose. Others?

Bare Steel Colored Paint?

If you can take the time, smooth and polish the plastic to a shine, just like a molded part, and shoot rattle-can Testor’s Metalizer Stainless Steel on it. Then buff with a soft, clean, cloth, or paper, never touching it with your bare fingers, changing cloths frequently, until you get what you want, and seal it with their clear laquer sealer or Future floor wax- one coat, no more. Polly Scale make a “Steel” color, in their Railroad line, which is ok. Tamiya make a “Metalic Gray” (XF-56) which is also ok, though a bit more work to get looking good. For both acrylics, the key is to brush it out THIN and use more than one coat for coverage. The acrylic metalics seem to get thick and gloppy even more than regular color acrylics. Frankly, oil/solvent based paints make better or at least easier to use, metalics. So the Testor’s Model Master or 1/4 oz little bottles of “Steel” would seem like good things to try. Or Humbroil or Revell Germany or solvent based Mr. Color (Gunze-Sanyo) if you can get them.

Can Tamiya Paint Be Thinned With Water?

Yes. Absolutely. I’ve done it myself with great success. They sell an acrylic paint thinner, and its NOT water, but if you want to make Tamiya paint brush nicer, or make a wash of it, or spray it from a Badger 250 paint sprayer, water will work just fine. As will water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. I have never sprayed Tamiya acrylic paint through an airbrush, so I’m speculating when I say it’ll probably work fine thinned with water, but I think it will. Paint some test object first to be sure, of course. When I was a kid, the ‘test object” was always the inside of the lid of the box the kit came in. A ‘spare’ kit or the parts of a spare kit make superior test objects. You can paint different colors on the two sides (inside and outside, top and bottom) of each part- that’s a lot of test subjects! Make sure you keep track of what each test consisted of, you’ll forget in a year or two…

I have every confidence the Tamiya Acrylic Thinner will work as well- in fact, if you plan to airbrush a lot of Tamiya, you’d be well served by doing some experiements with different thinners and find what works for you.

Remember, thin to the consistancy of fresh, whole, milk. The stuff you put on your cornflakes, or did, when you were a kid.