The last instalment of the building of this great little kit from Great Wall Hobbies left us at the 90% construction completed and the undercoat on – the main painting was next for me – and with some new paints to try and a nightfighter scheme I wasn't completely at home with (and there being no information on this particular bird) would this come out all right? Read on intrepid Fw-189 fans….
Great Wall Hobby Focke-Wulf Fw189A-1 “Nachtjäger”
Styrene Parts: 182 (grey and clear) on 6 sprues
32 P/E parts on one sheet
Canopy masks + Decals for one aircraft
Where I got mine: Airbrushes.com for £34.99
Part I Here
Part II Here
Part III Here
Part IV Here
Part V – Getting the paint scheme right just right. (- or how a bad mottle can ruin you)
Part V – Getting the paint scheme right just right. (- or how a bad mottle can ruin you)
After the undercoat went on I made sure that it was smooth – Halfords plastic car primer is good but you must must must apply it with an airbrush otherwise it gets very thick and powder like pretty quickly. If you need to fill a gap then from the can is fine – but you will delete all of the detail you strive so hard to keep. So after the undercoat I rubbed down the Focke-Wulf with a soft kitchen roll. (Buy good stuff that doesn’t lose fibres.)
The aircraft is now pre shaded underneath and on the uppersides. I used RLM 66 grey to do this and not black. To tell you the truth it is all over the place like a mad woman’s breakfast as my science teacher used to say. But when it is all covered with the base coat with will just show up enough in the seams to look good.
Really I must stop drinking – Too much tea
The next step is painting the bottom of the aircraft in a very thin mix of RLM 76 Lichtblau. The paint I used was Lifecolour Acrylic. I hadn’t really used this at all in the past and some people I believe have a problem with airbrushing it. I have found out while the building of this kit that all you need to do is THIN IT PROPERLY! – also use the thinner that comes from Lifecolour, these two tips from a very nice man I met at Euro Millitaire really sorted me out when it comes to using this paint. On went the RLM76 in nice thin coats with 15 minutes drying in between (you can go faster than that if you like) I also gave it a little rub with a cloth between coats so it remained smooth. Sometimes bumps can occur when applying lots of coats so I made sure this wasn’t an issue.
RLM 76 all the way
It looks a little more bluish in the flesh
I went to town next with the Tamiya masking tape on the bottom of the aircraft. I didn’t need much on this ship as spraying downwards in the right direction on the wings and the fuselage at the right time makes the colour feather down well while the hard demarcation with the tape works very well when you need a hard edge. The colour for the top will be RLM 75 Grauviolet - as I will explain the reasons why I chose this colour.
I used the two sets of LifeColour sets for this build - tough and good in shade.
Having the bottom coat on and masked off left me with nowhere to go but to finish the top of this model – I had been coasting along the last few weeks looking at the kit but not really making any real inroads – I was undecided about the colour scheme for the top of the aircraft. I felt it necessary to waste quite a while on research of the colour scheme. This I can do any day of the week! So I sat at the book shelf and at the ol’ "T-initernets" looking for the scheme for these night fighters in this one unit – apparently only thirty-two in number – it would be a hard ask to find something to set my mind at total ease – this is what I came up with…
The actual aircraft – the only picture known
The next profile I found - I don't like the spray pattern here
The other profile from another aircraft in this unit - notice different mottling – ill stick to the original picture thanks
And another guess from another book - at least the mottling was right here
The next scheme from a squadron publications book – all of these schemes pretty much made it up from what I can assume!
The colour scheme as is on the instructions. I have decided to follow it pretty much but with a light blue mottle on the darker colour as in the picture above – not like this one – which looks better but I don’t think is accurate. I included the yellow wing tips as per the instructions
The first in this series of pics above is a picture of one of the nightfighters sprayed in what is quoted (in many different places as it is the only picture known to exist) in either RLM76 Lichtblau undersides and mottled on top over a dark RLM 75 Mittlegrau/ Grauviolett colour. This is what I am going with - as the one picture I see shows no demarcation as has been quoted by other schemes listed as RLM 70/71 uppersides with RLM 76 undersides. So I am sticking with the kit scheme and only changing the strength of the mottle to a bit lesser than what they have shown. It looks too light to me when I compare it to the picture. I am also doing the wingtips yellow as well (which no one has any pictures of either.)
The light shades of the RLM75 I was trying to show the pre-shading still...
Before I get ahead of myself and start mottling I had to apply the Grauviolet colour (Ohh lovely!) to the top sides of the aircraft – really thin coats made the top panel lines show off – it did let the paint get a little thick and before I knew it I had gone too far – the topside was a little to “scale” dark. I was a but stumped as to how to whether an very dark aircraft – easy on a flat surface but a lot harder on a mottled aircraft – hmm – while I pondered I took of the tape from the bottom of the aircraft.
The top of the aircraft was a little too dark for my tastes...
The good thing about the Life Colour I found (it always makes you worry the first time) is that is DOES NOT peel off when taking off the Tamiya tape. My last build with Vallejo paints was a nightmare as every time I masked something – no matter how much tack I took out of it – it took layers of paint off – really it makes you want to cry! I still had a way to go with sorting out my thinning ratios with the Life Colour though; I had overdone the top colour but soldiered on with the mottling on the top.
It DID look like a poisonous frog at first - "spot" the difference!
Great Wall Hobby
Great Wall Hobby
Focke-Wulf Fw189A-1 “Nachtjäger”
the Western Spotted Frog (Heleioporus albopunctatus)
The top colour RLM76 mottle was next. I started a rough pattern which I tried to copy from the picture of the cowling of the one surviving picture I had. The paint was coming out in splatters – and when it wasn’t It was looking a little bit like one of those poisonous frogs!
The pattern really wasn’t working for me – this is when the fun started to sap out of the build ad when you are stumped as to how to get the best results you get a stalled build.
I try again after rolling flat my airbrush needle – cleaning it – trying to use another airbrush, reverting back to my first when I found I couldn’t blame my tools – it was all owner/operator error here! I tried so softly add the light blue mottle again – not much better - So I went back to the drawing board and took some Italian white, which I added to the Grauviolet to make a lighter shade of grey and then lightly sprayed it over the whole top side of the kit – I didn’t worry about masking I just went at the right angle – then I had my revelation!!
The aircraft immediately looked more “right” - -to scale or whatever you would like to call it. It also beat down the harshness of the mottle as well and at the same time gave me somewhere to go when I apply the wash to the creases in the panels later. I was instantly really wanting to do more of the kit which was great as the colour and mottle had been holding me back from finishing this kit. There are no others to draw inspiration from around I had found, so I was happy to have forged my own way with this kit.
Slowly with the lighter colour over the top it was getting there
A little overkill but nearly there - after a change in paint ratio things took off - also highlighting and low-lighting made it look better
I mixed the paint again – I was under the false illusion that it was too thick – so I tried it again but thicker this time. It was starting to look better – I had it now! So ii continued to add layers of very thin mottle then let dry and really lightly sand, then take away the overspray with Grauviolet – this slowly highlighted the blue mottle and made it look more feathered.
The mottle finally came out like this and I was really happy with it – It did look random, but not any more like one of those little poisonous spotted frogs from Africa. I was really happy I rewarded myself with a tea while I waited for the future hard gloss coat to dry
I didn't show the birdcage mottled as it wouldn't have been in real life for such a quick field adaptation
I masked off the parts of the boom that needed to be RLM 04 Gelb – I also did the same for the wingtips – I was not sure if I wanted to make the tops of the wingtips yellow as well as the underside. There is no proof of either – I thought I would take a look!
Tamiya tape over some "future" floor polish I was very confident the Lifecolour wouldn't peel off - time for the "Gelb"
I picked the right shade of “Gelb” form the RLM colour chart I had - I selected the MR.Colour Gelb over the Tamiya acrylic yellow – it was a little darker and looked better. I sprayed the kit a couple of times to kill off the spotted pattern on the wings
The yellow on the wingtips just looked too much once I applied it - so I got out the grey and get rid of it and re-mottled the wingtips – oww man! It didn’t take so long now I worked out the thinning ratios of the Life Colour paint. If you haven’t tried them before I do recommend the hardness of the acrylic and the ease of cleaning, along with the colour matches they use. Really it is good paint. I am falling out of love swiftly with Vallejo acrylics as they are so "soft" and come off with even non tacky tape if you don't watch it.
With the yellow on the top of the wingtips it was too much - logic says that the uppersides would have been camo'ed anyway - i resprayed the mottle on the top of the wingtips.
The kit was now painted – inside and out – I have painted the accessories and the undercarriage and all of the internals and canopy. Next part of the build ( a little quicker in the making this time) will be the decaling and weathering while the last part will be the amazing diorama I have planned – this is going to be a spectacular night time diorama I am sure you will like!
The underside with pre-shading - it almost doesn't need weathering
Ready for decals and weathering - and to put back all the kit parts I had taken off it to paint it!
Thanks to the guys at Airbrushes.com from whom I got this kit.