This is one of the three Special Hobby kits ready for paint. Some small details have been added, such as the antenna terminal and holes for the gear indicators. All the vents are opened up and partitioned. The main gear legs were installed to ensure a good bond and to keep it off the bench while drying. All seams were checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and refilled as needed, then the whole model was primed with Alclad grey primer.
Painting is underway. My preference for finishing Japanese aircraft is to show some chipping, but most modelers rely on photos taken of derelict aircraft for inspiration and therefore tend to overdo the damage to the paint. Having said that, one of my subjects was photographed (from both sides!) during maintenance wearing a very distressed layer of camo. Cool! A nice challenge, I had to give it a shot. First the model was primed in Alclad gray primer, then given a coat of Alclad Aluminum. Alclad is a lacquer, and if you’ve worked with it you know it bonds well and dries very hard. Both qualities are very important for this process to work. Next small amounts of Micro Mask were applied to areas where chipping was desired.
The model then received the topside color, in this case Model Master Russian Armor Green. I generally use lacquer thinner when airbrushing, but here I used regular enamel thinner as I wanted a weaker bond. The paint was applied in thin layers and built up slowly.
One way to replicate chipping is to actually produce chipping. This was done using regular household masking tape. Seat the tape firmly in a small area and the Micro Mask will help separate the top layer. Once started, the chipped areas can be expanded with repeated pressings of the tape. This is somewhat imprecise. The exact location and size of the chips can be influenced but not completely controlled.
Afterwards the model can be masked as normal to paint on the markings. Most of this masking is done with Yellow Frog Tape. This has a much lower tack than most other masking tapes so the chipped areas won’t be expanded. At least not much.
This is the AML / LS “FrankenOscar” masked off awaiting the markings. I decided to paint everything on this one, no decals were used. Many Japanese aircraft utilized geometric Sentai markings and stripes to identify formation leaders, so they lend themselves to this approach.
The yellow wing identifications are on, as are the Home Defense “bandages”. The Hinomaru are masked off with Maketar masks. These are made from Kabuki tape and several nationalities are represented in their catalog. I have had good luck with them and can recommend them.
Here’s the heavily-chipped model with the markings painted. The chipping has been modified to better represent what can be seen in the photographs. Additional fine chips can be applied using silver paint or pencil. Some of the larger Aluminum areas were “de-chipped” using the topside green and a sharpened sprue to better match what can be seen in the photographs.
I have tried to match the overall impression of the chipped areas from the photographs, but it would be impractical to match each and every individual chip. I’ll post the actual photographs for comparison with the finished model but this shot gives a good impression of the effect.
Part IV here: