Saturday, September 12, 2015

Racing Mk. II Jaguar - part 2

I am getting on quite nicely with this kit. It is always a joy to return to a Tamiya kit as they do make them to go together well. So far, I haven't found anything that needed trimming, filing or fettling. Everything has fitted perfectly. In fact, the old adage still applies. If a part doesn't seem to fit properly then you have got it in wrong - Tamiya almost never get it wrong (I say almost but I really think that they "never" get it wrong but that is to definite a statement!).

I have finished the chassis and completed fitting out the interior except for the dash board. The real car interior is a mix of red carpet, material and leather. I decided that I would try and put some 3d effect into the seats and door cards* by using my Andrea Color Red Paint Set. This is actually designed for painting British Army uniforms from the Napoleonic period but its five shades let me put some depth into the seats.

However, there is one element of the kit that I haven't enjoyed. This involves the decals. Well, actually, there are two issues that I have with the decals in this kit. The first is that they take a very long time to release from the backing paper. I found that I had to stack the decals up in the bowl so that, once the first one was on the go, the others were nearly ready. The second issue is with the decals for the nicely varnished wood all around the Jaguar cockpit. The wood runs along the top of the doors and is all over the dash board. Here is an image of the dashboard as it is at the current time. I still need to finish off the painting but it shows you how hard it is to manage all of the little bits of decal that fit around the dash detail. Please remember that it isn't meant to be seen this close up. At normal distances and buried inside the car, it will look a lot more natural.

Obviously, I still have the knobs, switches and the radio/speaker to detail but you can see how the decals convert the dash to a wooden one very effectively. I still marvel that they didn't strip the car for racing. It really did race with carpets and wooden trim!

I have sprayed the body white and am looking next at putting the metal stripes onto it before I give it a coat of Klear. Once that is done, I can decal up the rest of the car and follow that with a coat of two pack varnish. All that will be left then is to fit all of the chrome parts and the wheels. Cor, I might really finish this soon!

* Door cards. I have always called them door panels but I have been watching Wheeler Dealers lately and Edd China always calls them door cards, so I follow his knowledgeable lead.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A rave from the grave

When I was a lad, motor sport was my passion. I was very lucky to live close to Crystal Palace which, at the time, had a motor racing circuit that was noted for the quality of drivers that would attend the races. With my best friend, Roger, we would get a 49 bus from Streatham Common up to the Palace, as we called it,  every bank holiday. According to my information, Jack Sears took part in the saloon car race at the Palace on Whit Monday in 1962 in a 3.4 Mk.II Jaguar. It is inconceivable that I wasn't there on that day. To remember the wonderful times that I had there, it was with great delight that I saw the Tamiya Mk.II racing Jaguar up for auction on EBay. I won it with a bid of £22.51 - bargain!

The model is of that same Jaguar that was at Crystal Palace on that Monday. The kit is a usual Tamiya kit and goes together without any problems at all. I have changed the way that I handle metal finishes. My wife really disliked me using Alclad because the smell lingered for hours in our apartment. Recently, my favourite paint manufacturer - Vallejo - released a range of acrylic paints that do exactly what Alclad does - give you a finish that looks like metal. The other good thing is that, with care, it can be hand brushed to touch up.

The first thing I do with any car kit is to remove all of the shiny chrome that they put on the wheels and some of the body work. To me, the chrome finish isn't realistic and creates problems once the items have been cut off the sprue. This always leaves a small area without chrome which is impossible to touch up. I have my trusty can of Mr. Muscle Oven Cleaner. I was told, via the internet, to put the sprue into a plastic bag, spray the Mr. Muscle into the bag, seal it up and leave it for 24 hours. I have found that is all unnecessary. I put out a sheet of metal foil on the kitchen sink. Place the sprue on the foil and spray it with the Mr. Muscle. I use a pair of tweezers to turn the sprue over. I have found that if you do this and walk away for about 5 minutes, on coming back, all of the chrome will be gone. A quick wash and it is done and dusted!

OK, so I started on the chassis. First off, I put the engine together. I had a look around the internet to see if I could do any small bits of enhancement. I found that the obvious thing that was missing was the ignition leads. I stripped a short length of flexible wire to get to the thin strands inside. A bit of jiggling and super glue and it was in place.

Fortunately, the lower part of the engine is hidden so I didn't have to attach that end to anything. I gave the chassis a coat of the Vallejo Metal Colour Gloss Black undercoat and all of the chassis part a coat of steel.

The chassis is now complete so I am starting work on the interior.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Tail of two spitfires (joke!!)

I have finished both Spitfires. In spite of their small size, I found them quite time consuming to complete. They were very fiddly and needed a lot of work.

First off is the more normal Spitfire in camouflage. This is the Spitfire Mk IXc flown by Otto Smik, No. 312 Squadron, North Weald, Late August 1944.

There is always a saga with any aircraft that I build and this was no exception. As mentioned, I lost one of the tailplanes. This meant that I had to make a new one from plastic card. I measured the thickness of the existing part which came out at around 1mm but when I used 1mm card it seemed way too thick. I reverted to two layers of 0.2mm (I didn't have any 0.4mm to hand). I had a couple of goes at it and finally I got something that looked the part.

The tailplanes look a bit askew at this angle but they actually sit on the tail OK. Once painted, it looked fine. What next? Well, the radio aerial is moulded onto on side of the fuselage so, with all of the handling, this got knocked off - as it usually does with me - even if I try hard. I got a length of 0.7mm brass rod and flattened it with a small hammer. I then filed it to shape, cut it to length and fitted it using Gator's Grip glue. As you can see from the top image, this came out OK.

Lastly, I had a brain storm and painted the two greys in the wrong order. The upper surfaces got painted in medium sea grey and the lower in ocean grey - wrong! Having sprayed all of this, I really didn't want to go back to masking everything out - especially the upper camouflage - so I hand painted the greys in the opposite way.

The second Spitfire was an unusual one.  It is MJ250 from No. 601 Squadron in Italy during the Summer of 1944. This is unusual because it is in bare metal. The normal reason for this is to eek out as much top speed as possible. The interesting thing about the scheme is that there is the usual anti-glare panel on the upper surface of the nose which is normally painted a matt black. On this aircraft it is dark sea grey and dark green - although I used medium sea grey so I got that wrong! This one went together quite well. The finish is the new Vallejo acrylic Aluminium paint which I airbrushed on over a coat of Vallejo Gloss Black primer (just released to go with the metal colours). This finish seems to be as good as I would get by using Alclad. The big advantage is that I don't get my wife complaining about the smell.

As mentioned, I also had to replace the radio aerial on this aircraft as well.

Overall I am quite pleased with these two although they were more fiddly than the Revell US Navy aircraft I have been building. They are nice additions to my growing group of 1/144th scale models.  Here is the full collection:

Junkers Ju-52 - Eduard
Douglas Dauntless - Revell
Grumman Wildcat - Revell
Grumman Hellcat - Revell
Chance Vought Corsair - Revell
Hawker Typhoon - Revell
Spitfire Mk IXc - Eduard x 2