The Airfix 1/72 Me-262A-1a: Halb und Halb

Intro:

I started this kit not long after it’s initial release and, as usual with my builds, completion took longer than I anticipated. The kit goes together easily although it’s not without it’s issues: more on those later.

Initially, the natural metal finish (NMF) was intended to be the start of a Czechoslovakian S-92. Once done however, I couldn’t resist the temptation to try something a little different and thus was born the Me-262A-1a, Halb und Halb (Half and Half).

A review of the Airfix 1/72 Me-262 can be found here.


The Build:

Parts were removed from the sprues with cutters (Xuron) and cleaned up with a #11 X-Acto blade, the grey portion of a Triple-Grit sanding stick and/or a piece of folded Alpha Abrasives 600 grit paper.

After the parts were wiped down thoroughly with a Kimwipe saturated with Denatured Alcohol (Crown: “For Cleaning Glass”) they were affixed to pieces of wood with small wads of putty in preparation for being shot with primer.

A custom mix of Mission Models Grey and Black Primers was prepared to match slightly lightened RLM-66 by LifeColor. This was diluted at a ratio of 60:40 (Primer to Mission Thinner) and shot at ~12psi with an H&S Evolution fitted with a 0.2mm tip.

When this was dry, the interior of the fuselage, outer aspects of the cockpit tub, and portions of the lower wing and wheel well areas of the upper wings were shot with Mission Models Aluminum. This was sprayed at ~12psi straight from the bottle with a few drops of Mission Polymix per 2ml paint cup using an Evolution fitted with a 0.2mm tip. When this was dry a pin wash of Tamiya Black Panel Line Accent Color #87131 (Tamiya Dark Wash) was used to bring out the details. The halves were then joined with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement and the fit was excellent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To add depth, the cockpit tub was treated to a pin-wash of Tamiya Dark Wash. Having no self control; I broke my vow to build this out of the box and added a set of PE rudder pedals from the spares box.

The details on the cockpit side panels were picked out using Mission Models Blue, Red, Yellow, and White carefully applied with sharpened toothpicks. The fuse panel on the starboard side panel was picked out with black and detailed with thin strips of white decal film. The control column was painted with Mission Paints applied with a brush. The painted cockpit components were then glued into the cockpit tub using thick CA (Bob Smith).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seat cushion was painted with a small hairy stick (i.e., brush) using Mission Models Neutral Tan with a touch of Mission Red added. A set of Eduard color PE lap belts were then glued in place with thick CA (Bob Smith). The final assembly was given a pin-wash of Tamiya Dark Wash.

The instrument panel decals have little/no decal film on the periphery of the panels obviating the need to trim around them prior to removal from the sheet: nice. The decals were applied using Micro-Set and –Sol and they worked beautifully. I have to say the final result is quite nice with very little effort expended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the cockpit complete I set about assembling the fuselage. This kit is sure to be a tail-sitter so lead was added to the nose wheel well. The open ammo chutes were covered with strips of aluminum from a soda can. The assembled fuselage presents a few issues that have to be dealt with to ensure both accuracy and an acceptable fit.

 

 

These issues include:

 

1) Removal of over-sized “rivets” on the vertical stabilizer.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Lines for hinged panels on each side of the nose are missing and have to be scribed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) The loop antenna on the dorsal fuselage is rather clunky as is it’s large, square mounting hole. This was filled with a mixture of CA and talcum powder and a new PE antenna was sourced from the spares box.

 

 

 

 

 

4) The join between the wheel well and fuselage leaves a lot to be desired and had to be filled and blended.

 

 

 

 

5) Some of the gun ports were misshapen and required re-shaping and blending.

 

 

 

 

Once the fuselage issues were dealt with, I moved on to the wings and engine nacelles. The fit between the upper and lower wing halves is spot on and required just a little blending with a sanding stick.

I wish the same could be said about the pitot tube assembly. The clunky, Lego-like design is totally lacking in finesse and accuracy and results in something that looks akin to a child’s toy. This and the horrible fit of the main gear doors (below) are the real letdowns of the kit. The mounting point for the offending pitot was filled in and completely re-worked with files. A new pitot was fashioned from aluminum tubing.

The fit of the nacelle halves is passable. The fit of the nacelles to the wings is not. A fair amount of plastic had to be removed from the nacelle mounting points to achieve a reasonably good fit. Additional filling and blending with sanding sticks was required.

 

 

 

The canopy parts are acceptably clear if not a tad thick. After my usual dipping in Future Floor Wax (or “Pledge with Future Shine”), the canopy was glued in place with Odorless CA (Bob Smith). The poor fit of the canopy results in a step that runs along the left and right sides that had to be filled, blended, and re-scribed.

 

 

The canopy panels were then masked with Aizu micro masking tapes and Mr. Masking Sol.R.

 

In preparation for priming, the model and various parts were wiped down with a Kimwipe saturated with a 1:1 mix of Windex and Denatured Alcohol to ensure the surfaces were adequately de-greased.

 

 

 

 

To ensure the inner canopy frames would appear the appropriate color when viewed from the outside, the canopy was shot with Mission RLM-66 prior to priming.

 

 

 

 

The nose and main wheel wells, painted with Mission Aluminum were, masked with tape, foam, and putty.

 

 

 

The de-greased model was then sprayed with Mission White Primer diluted 1:1 with Mission Thinner. When dry, the finish was wet-buffed with Micromesh 6,000 (Pads and Sheets) resulting in a glass-smooth finish ready for metallics.


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The metallic paints were shot starting with the palest shades followed by progressively darker shades. First up was Mission White Aluminum diluted 70:30 (Paint to Thinner-10) and applied at ~12psi with an H-S Evolution fitted with a 020mm tip.

Note: Scroll to the end of the article for detailed suggestions on diluting and spraying Mission Primers and Paints.

 After allowing the White Aluminum to dry for ~2hrs, the first round of masking was completed using Tamiya Tape that had been made less sticky by rubbing on my hands prior to placement on the model.

 

 

 

 

The next darker shade, a mixture of White Aluminum with 25% Mission Dark Aluminum, was applied as described previously. This process was continued with 3 additional mixtures of White/Dark Aluminum culminating in the darkest colored panels being painted last.


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After the tapes were removed and some panels tightened up a bit the metallic finish was complete. Whew!

 

 

 

 

It was at this point in the painting process that I was struck with the idea of doing a half and half scheme: part bare metal, part camouflage. For years I’ve seen beautiful builds, online and in magazines, that were finished similarly and always enjoyed the results.

 

 

 

After a few moments of pondering the possibilities, I dove in and placed a piece of 0.40mm Aizu Tape down the middle of the fuselage and used this as the starting point to mask the right (starboard) half of the model.

 

 

 

The Scheme:

My goal was to find a scheme that would accentuate fuselage mottling. I found a suitable scheme in Volume 17 of “Planes and Pilots-German Jets of WWII” (ISBN: 978-2-35250-224-1). On page 28 of this rather colorful book is a depiction of “White 5” (Serial 111588), which served with II/JG-7 “Nowotony” at Brandenburg-Briest, January 1945. The camouflage worn by White 5 (RLM-81/83 over RLM-76) featured mottling higher up the side of the fuselage than was typically seen-perfect.

Prior to shooting any color coats, panel lines were pre-shaded with Mission Black, diluted for Fine-Line work (~20% Paint), and applied at ~10psi with an H-S Infinity fitted with a 0.15mm tip.

 

 

 

 

The scheme was started with a coat of Mission RLM-76 lightened ~10% by volume with Mission White, diluted for modulation (~30% paint), and shot at ~12psi with an H-S Evolution fitted with a 0.20mm tip.

The dorsal aspect of the fuselage and wings were shot with Mission RLM-81 and -83 each lightened with 10% Mission White. The mottling was shot with an Infinity/0.15mm tip at ~8psi using the lightened RLM-81/83 after diluting each to ~20% paint.

In preparation for decaling, the model was given a coat of Mission Gloss and allowed to dry overnight. Decals were sourced from the spares box and applied using Micro-Set and –Sol.

 

 

A Few Last Issues:

 

I opted to use aftermarket wheels (Neomega Resin), as the kit parts were a bit crude despite having separate wheels and tires. These dropped in as substitutes with no issues and look quite convincing.

 

 

 

Final assembly revealed an issue with the fit of the main gear wheel well doors: they simply didn’t fit between the main gear leg and the side of the adjacent nacelle due to the thickness of the mounting point. This was a bit frustrating as these parts had all been painted and modification would require a fair amount of additional work—ah well. Once modified and repainted, the gear doors fit with little room to spare.

 

 

 

 

Finishing Up:

I kept weathering to a minimum, as not many 262’s were in service long enough to show appreciable wear. I made an exception with the port Jumo-004.

 

 

 

Given the technological challenge of producing the first airworthy jet engines, the Jumo-004 was notoriously unreliable, prone to fire if mishandled, and limited by a short operational life. To reflect the nature of the beast, a greasy, wind-smeared, leak was added to the belly of the port nacelle with artists’ oils and Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner.

To maintain a contrast between the bare metal and camouflage, the metal half was briefly masked while Mission Flat was applied as light, dry coats to the camouflaged side.

With the addition of the dorsal loop antenna from the spares box and rigging the aerial with Uschi “Fine” line, the Halb und Halb was complete.

Whew, that was fun but I’m glad it’s done 🙂

 

 

Conclusion:

That was a blast! It’s good to take on a modeling challenge occasionally as the exercise often leads to new abilities and techniques. That was definitely my experience in finishing the Halb und Halb. I hope you enjoyed reading along. Drop me a line at john@modelpaintsol.com with any questions or comments and I’ll get back to you.

Now go paint something!

–John

More Halb und Halb pics below:


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Suggestions for Diluting and Spraying Mission Primers and Paints

Mission Primers:

I dilute Mission Primers 1:1 or 50:50 with Mission Thinner. No Polymix should be added. If it’s a dry or hot day, I’ll add a few drops of Liquitex Flow Aid to lessen tip dry. I usually spray diluted primer at 12-15psi. The size of the model determines the airbrush tip size used but usually between 0.20 to 0.40mm for 1/72, 1/48, and 1/35. I apply the primer first as a dry or tacky coat followed by a wet fill coat.

Mission Paints:

To spray Mission paints I first prepare a solution of Mission Model Thinner to which Missions Polyurethane Mix Additive (Polymix: a flow and leveling agent) has been added to ~10%. I then dilute Mission Models Paints directly into this solution for spraying. Using a pre-mixed solution of Polymix and Thinner allows you to prepare paint dilutions in a much more reproducible way thereby ensuring the resulting mixes will spray in a predictable manner.

If counting drops is how you roll, no worries. Thinner-10 is roughly 1 drop of Polymix to ~10 drops of Thinner. If you prefer to work in ratios Thinner-10 equates to a ratio of Polymix to Thinner of 1:10. I prepare a large volume of Thinner-10 (40ml) and store this in an appropriate bottle for use when painting. Properly stored, Thinner-10 lasts for many months with no issues.

I then dilute Mission Paints with Thinner-10 using the following guidelines:

General Spraying

Dilute 60:40 with Thinner-10. That’s 6 parts Paint to 4 parts Thinner-10. Spray at ~12-15psi.

Fine-Line Spraying

Dilute 50:50 with Thinner-10. That’s 1 part Paint to 1 part Thinner-10. Spray at ~10psi or less.

Modulation (spraying over pre-shading)

Dilute 50:50 to 40:60 with Thinner-10. That’s 1 part Paint to 1 part Thinner-10 and 4 parts to 6 parts Thinner-10, respectively. Spray at ~10-12 psi.

Mission Metallics:

I dilute Mission metallics 70:30 with Thinner-10. That’s 7 parts metallic paint to 3 parts Thinner-10. I apply diluted metallics as light, over-lapping dry coats. I let the preceding coat coat dry (sometimes aided by a hair dryer) before spraying the next coat. The metallic sheen will develop with successive coats.

Mission Clear Coats:

Mission Gloss Coat:

Dilute 40:60 with Thinner-10. That’s 4 parts Gloss to 6 parts Thinner-10. Spray at ~12-15psi. I like to build Mission Gloss up slowly using light over-lapping dry coats. Avoid getting too much gloss on the model as puddling and runs can occur.

Mission Flat Coat:

Dilute 25:75 with Thinner. That’s 1 part Flat to 3 parts Thinner. Spray at ~12-15psi and apply as over-lapping, light, dry coats.

 

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