Progressive Build: The AZmodels Me-109 V-Tail with New Mission Models RLM Colors: Part Two

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Part One

Introduction:

This is my first attempt at a progressive build and I have to say it feels a bit like walking a tight rope in the wind. I’ll be posting as the build progresses so if I literally paint myself into a corner with a doozy of a mistake, there’ll be no going back (he types nervously)……

As the build progresses, each update will have a different title image hopefully making it easier for people to follow along.

Okay. Here we go…

As I said in the review of the kit, I like the AZmodels 1/72  109’s. I’ve built one previously, and have more than I want to admit in ye ole stash. The kit goes together nicely though there are a few steps where a little experience is a big help.

I started by removing all the parts from the sprues using a sharp pair of sprue cutters (Xuron). The parts are then given a good once-over using the grey portion of a Triple-Grit sanding stick or, in some cases, a piece of folded Alpha Abrasives 600 grit sheet.

In preparation for fitting the V-Tail modification, I removed the aft end of each fuselage halve at frame #8 using a fine-toothed saw.

The parts were then wiped down thoroughly with Denatured Alcohol (Crown) and a Kimwipe. Denatured alcohol is available from most hardware stores and is a cheap and efficient de-greaser.

 

 

The prepped parts were then affixed to pieces of wood with small wads of putty and shot with Mission Models Black Primer:

 

 

Spraying Mission Models Primer

I mix Mission Models Primer with Mission Models Thinner at a ratio of Primer to Thinner of 60:40. That’s 60% Primer to 40% Thinner by volume. Or, for the drop counters out there: 6 drops Primer to 4 drops Thinner.

I spray this dilution at ~15-18 psi using an H&S Evolution dual-action brush fitted with a 0.2 or 0.4mm tip. For a model this size, the 0.2mm tip was ideal. The working distance (space between the airbrush tip and model) was on the order of ~3cm.

 

 

This primer shoots beautifully: more like a lacquer than an acrylic. It dries in 15-20 minutes (2-3 with a hair dryer) and can be wet buffed with 3600, 4000, or 6000 micromesh pads to achieve a glass-smooth surface: awesome stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

The primed cockpit parts were then shot with Mission Models British Slate Grey to which a few drops of Mission Black was added to achieve a very nice scaled RLM-66. A Mission Models RLM-66 is due in August/September. The wheel wells will be sprayed with Mission Models RLM-02.

 

 

Diluting and Spraying Mission Models 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% by volume. 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 that the resulting mixes will spray in a predictable manner. In short, why re-invent the “the paint wheel” every time you mix up a batch of paint? Diluting all your paints with Thinner-10 will greatly decreases batch-to-batch variability.

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 (40ml) at a time and store this in an appropriate bottle for use when painting. Properly stored, Thinner-10 lasts for many months (forever?) with no issues.

Preparing Mission Models “Thinner-10”

1)      Using a 3.5ml pipette, transfer a total of 4ml of Mission Models Polyurethane Mix Additive to a        40ml beaker.

2)      Add Mission Models Thinner up to the 40ml mark on the beaker.

3)      After stirring the mix with a spatula, transfer into a 40ml paint storage bottle.

For general spraying, I dilute Mission Model paints with Thinner-10 at a ratio of 60% paint, 40% Thinner-10. For the drop counters: 6 drops of paint to 4 drops of Thinner-10.

And now, back to the build……….

The aforementioned Mission Slate Grey was diluted with Thinner-10 at a ratio of 60% paint, 40% Thinner-10 and sprayed at ~12psi using an H&S Evolution dual-action brush fitted with a 0.2 tip. The working distance (space between the airbrush tip and model) was on the order of ~2cm.

 

When this was dry, Alclad Aqua Gloss (ALC 600) was carefully applied with a micro brush over all the cockpit parts. I usually spray this but in this small scale brushing it on works just as well. I prefer finishing cockpits of this scale with gloss as it increases the amount of light bouncing around the cockpit once assembled making the finer details more readily visible. It also provides a protective barrier allowing small painting mistakes to be wiped off with a wet Q-tip without damaging the underlying paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the gloss was dry, details on the cockpit side panels and floorboard/seat were picked out using a fine brush and Mission Models White, Red, Black, Blue and Yellow. Scuff marks and a little wear was then replicated using a fine brush and Silver Ink (Color Box Inks).

 

 

 

The instrument panel decal was applied over the panel part and wonder of wonders: the fit was near perfect. A small drop of Micro Set was applied and after drying the result is very nice indeed.

 

Okay. That’s it for for the opener: so far, so good 🙂

I’ll be finishing up the cockpit (read seat belt decals) and gluing some of the major components together in the next installment so stay tuned…

If you have any questions, comments, or want more information on a tip or trick, post a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Now I gotta go paint something!

–John

 

Part Two

Hey Everybody!

Thanks for checking back in.

So I ended Part One suggesting that the beautiful seat harness decals provided in the kit were going to be installed in the pilot’s office. All the best laid plans..

Suffice to say I buggered them up completely and had to fall back on my standby, Edward PE belts. But I’m getting ahead of myself…….

In Part Two we cover:

1) Installing 1/72 Photo-Etch Harnesses

2) Basic Canopy Tricks: Removal from the Sprue, Buffing and Polishing, Coating with Future Floor Wax

3) Cockpit assembly

Installing 1/72 Photo-Etch Harnesses

The seat belt decals provided on the kit decal sheet are very nice indeed. I was quite jazzed about being able to install a “harness” in a fraction of the time required to assemble and install PE belts.

The decals came off the sheet normally and the first belt went on perfectly and looked really good. I then carefully picked up the next belt, carefully moved over to the cockpit assembly, and carefully dropped it: Somewhere. Despite a frenzied search and prolific profanity I couldn’t find it. I quickly removed the belt I’d already applied before it dried and set back to ponder my options: ah well. A quick trip the parts stash produced the appropriate photo-etch harness by Eduard (#73002).

I later found the tiny, mangled, misshapen, seat harness decal stuck to the hairs of my forearm J Modeling: this is supposed to be fun, right? Right. I chocked the whole situation up to experience, turned my work music up a bit, and set down for some photo-etch work.

The tools I use for removing PE belts (and parts) from frets are pretty basic. I remove all parts while the fret is placed on a sturdy piece of tempered glass. This makes the job so much easier. I use a new #11 blade that I place as close to the part as possible and push straight down. With practice you can remove the part with very little of the small connecting PE left attached. If a small nubbin is left, it can be easily removed with the Tamiya diamond file (#400): great tool. I also wear an Optivisor with number 7 magnifying lenses when doing this kind of work.

 

 

I mount the cockpit floor, seat or tub on a building board (small piece of wood that holds parts being assembled) and place small PE parts on wads of putty or red wax that have been pressed onto the board. In this way both the assembly and parts are all in one place.

 

Before I apply the belts, I decide how I want the seat harnesses to rest on the seat bottom: crossed? Draped? Both? For this job I decided the right lap belt would be in the seat bottom and the left would dangle off the seat edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To install, I bent the right harness pad so it looks as though it’s resting up against the side of the seat and glued it in place with a small dab of CA applied with a toothpick. I used fine forceps to do the bending.The right belt was then bent in the same fashion (angle and place) and glued on top of the pad with a dab of CA.

The left pad was then bent to look as though it was draped over the edge of the seat and glued in place. The left belt was then glued on top of the pad and allowed to dry before the front and rear end of the belt were bent appropriately.

Note: It helps to use a little “kicker” or CA accelerant to quickly set the dabs of CA holding the belts in place. I like the kicker made by Bob Smith Industries (#BSI-151). If kicker is used, it’s best to wait a few minutes (~10-15) to give it time to evaporate before applying another belt. It makes life much easier.

 

 

 

Each shoulder harness has a mounting bracket on the distal end (away from the pilot) that should be lined up where they mount behind the pilot’s head. I glued both shoulder harnesses in place unbent. This allowed me to look directly down on the assembly and ensure that the mounting brackets were parallel and appropriately spaced.

 

 

When dry, the harnesses were bent into the appropriate shapes using the ole’ Two Toothpick technique. Briefly, with the mounting bracket stabilized with one toothpick (left hand), each harness was gently bent into place with the other toothpick (right hand). You can substitute small tweezers for the toothpick if you’ve got a soft touch as the color coating on photo-etch belts can be fragile.

Small dabs of CA glue were then carefully applied to the undersides of each shoulder harness, which were then pressed down onto the seat bottom and held till the glue was dry. For some variability, I posed the right shoulder strap as though it had fallen along the side of the seat with the left harness is resting on the seat bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the seat harnesses installed, the cockpit floorboard/seat was largely complete so I turned my attentions to one of my favorite parts of an aircraft build: the canopy.

Basic Canopy Tricks

Removal from the Sprue:

This can be problematic at times if the sprue gate is large and connects to a slender or thin portion of the canopy frame. Such is the situation with the AZmodels -109 canopy. Luckily the gate is pretty small but so is the frame to which it’s attached. If mishandled removal of the canopy could result in a crack or a crazing of the clear plastic from stress.

I prefer to carefully remove the sprue gate using a photo-etch micro saw. These are available from multiple manufacturers including Tri-Tool, Radu Brinzan Productions, and UMM-USA.

To remove the canopy from the sprue, I line the saw blade up with the gate so it’s flush to the canopy piece. As with any saw no matter the scale, I don’t push down but simple move the saw back and forth carefully maintaining alignment. Close examination of the accompanying photo reveals the cut that’s been made about ½-way through the gate.

 

Once removed from the clear sprue, slight damage to the canopy framing is easily dealt with using a folded piece of Alpha Abrasives 1,000 grit sandpaper. I use this under magnification and with a little soapy water. This is awesome stuff to use on clear parts. It doesn’t cause as many unwanted scratches, as would a comparable grit of conventional sandpaper because the surface is finer.

With the canopy removed from the sprue and the attach point smoothed over with 1,000 grit paper, I set about buffing and polishing the canopy in preparation for a quick dip in Future.

Buffing and Polishing Canopies:

I have a thing for canopies. You might even call it a fetish but I wish you wouldn’t. Nonetheless, as a certified wingaholic, I find my eye quickly goes to the pilot’s office whether I’m looking at a 1/72 or a 1/1 scale airplane. That being the case, I’ve spent a fair amount of time working on techniques to ensure I get the cleanest, clearest canopies possible.

My first step is a good buffing with Novus Plastic Polish #2 or #3 and either a Polyester or Microfiber polishing swab: depending on the severity of the scratches being dealt with.

If there are only very fine scratches or imperfections, as is the case with the AZmodels -109 canopy, I buff with Novus #2 (Fine Scratch Remover) and a Microfiber swab. The small size of the swab allows the smaller clear panels both outside and side the canopy to be buffed out: handy.

I then follow this up with more Novus#2 on a folded piece of Kimwipe tissue. These tissues are exceedingly smooth, lint free, and dissipate static electricity when used. I was first introduced to them as the only tissue sufficiently smooth and lint-free to clean delicate glass microscope objectives.

When satisfied with the results of the buffing, I finish the routine with a final polishing with a dry Kimwipe tissue.

If the scratches were more severe (read deeper into the surface of the clear plastic), I would start the process using the gray portion of the Flexi-Pad Triple-Grit Polisher then something having more bite like Novus #3 (Heavy Scratch Remover) combined with a Polyester polishing swab. I would then switch to Novus #2 and a Microfiber swab when the deepest of the scratches had been dealt with.

With the canopy buffed out, it was time for the Future plunge. Future floor wax (or Pledge Floor Care with Future Shine as it’s now called) is my go-to for sealing polished canopies prior to painting or gluing. This is great stuff.

Coating a Canopy with Future Floor Wax:

To dip a canopy, I completely submerge it in Future and gently buff the part with a Q-tip. To do this, I grab the canopy by the framing as best I can with a small pair of tweezers, hold it submerged in Future, and buff the entirety of it’s surface with a Q-tip.

I then pull the canopy out of the Future and carefully touch a piece of Kimwipe tissue to it allowing the excess Future to wick into the Kimwipe. The fact that these tissues are lint free is crucial for this application.

 

After 20-30 seconds, I dip the canopy back into the Future and again remove the excess with a Kimwipe: I due this for a total of 3 dips. After the last, I thoroughly wick the excess Future from the canopy and carefully place it on a folded Kimwipe in a lidded container. I’ve used an old glass petri dish for this job for years (pictured). The sealed container is then set aside to dry for a minimum of 24 hours (preferably 48) before it’s handled.

A Note on Gluing Canopies:

I’ve found the combination of dipping a clear part in Future combined with attaching said part using only Super-Gold CA Glue (Bob Smith Industries) is a guaranteed way of getting fog- or craze-free canopies.

The Future protects the clear part from the fumes normally given off by normal CA however, Super-Gold CA is described on the bottle as being “odorless” and it does have less fumes than normal CA glue. When the two products (Future and Super-Gold) are used together the chances of getting a marred canopy is greatly reduced. Good stuff.

Cockpit Assembly:

With the floorboard/seat done and the cockpit sidewalls completed in Part one, it was time to start assembling the cockpit. I deviated from the instructions by removing the top portion of part C2 (firewall) so it fit more easily into the fuselage. I also opted to build the cockpit into the left fuselage halve to facilitate alignment. All the components were glued in place with thick CA glue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the cockpit is assembled, we’ll move on to closing up the fuselage and getting the wings together in Part Three.

Thanks for reading a long and post a comment if you have a question.

Now, I gotta get back to painting something!

–John

 

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