Monday, April 23

Revell 07651 1/24 London Bus Pt. IV – I see red - (repeatedly)

Part four of the award winning (if there were prizes handed out for procrastination I would win one) Revell Kit No: 07651 London Bus Build continues on it's route with this article. Read on below for the next steps i took towards double decker nirvana - or even Xanadu - whichever music genre you prefer really...
Revell Kit No: 07651 1/24 RML Routemaster London Bus Build Pt.IV
Scale: 1/24
Material: Styrene
Sprues: 13
No. of parts: 390
Decals for two RML Routemasters
Length 305 mm
Wingspan 417 mm
Skill Level: 5
Available from:

I must stress the importance of a tidy workbench!! :-)

 Well it has been a few weeks indeed since my last post on this and I must apologise for taking so long for this – the next part. Part of the reason for the delay was the consternation that faces many modellers – accuracy.

The problem was the colour. I see London buses every day – and to be honest they all look the same but they are all different. If only very slightly the colours vary, from day to day to different times in the day of when you are looking at them. They all seem to have a slight purplish or bluish tonal in the red colour making it very rich but a hard not to crack to get it right. 

The pre/post shade airbrushing with my H&S Infinity will keep the finished product (after more red in the finishing coats) looking much more interesting and life-like in appearance.

After a standing around a lot and looking perceptively odd at traffic lights looking at buses I opted to keep it the Humbrol 19 I had it at but to darken the undersides of the large protrusions and areas that would pick up shade on a normal day. This was a just a in essence Humbrol 73 (the interior chair colour I was going to use) which is a darker reddish purple to shade those areas – after a polish later on these areas will look suitably used and just a little worn, like most London buses in operation look. Weathered just a touch. More on the outer colour later – the next part of this build is about repetition….
Not bad repetition-  but just lots of the same processes over and over again. The interiors are the same shades upstairs and downstairs while the seats and the stairs all look the same. Revell’s colour call out asked for a lot of grey on the floors and the interiors of the bus. Seeing mine was going to be a late 60’s early 70’s variant I went for a used and partially restored version of dark red interior (Humbrol gloss 20 - a maroon colour) with some lighter colour on the ceilings above the window ledges. Chrome fittings all round and no modern signs. I wanted this RML to look like an old bus restored and not a new bus worn out.

I realize that instead of making the holes for the advertising boards that adorn the sides of the bus at he near end of the build like the instructions say to make the holes early while the bus want all sealed up – if you are going to use these I would urge you to make these holes while the bus can be either laid flat on a desk otherwise later on it will cause all types of headaches.

I used a 2mm drill to make the holes in the sides of the bus with a drill bit in a pin vice and moved on to my next problem – the frames themselves.

You can see here how the ribs of the bus have specific places to go into and how hard it would be at the near completion of the build to apply these large holes!

To make the 60’s/70’s era bus I want to make I had to modify the right hand side “L” shaped advertising bracket – I wanted straight rectangular (with rounded edges of course) on both sides of my bus, but the right hand panels are the wrong shape towards the back. Only on the more modern buses was the frame this “L” shape – a bigger advertisement basically!
 Luckily for me I was able to measure and modify the “L” shape brackets in to a rectangular or sideways “O” shape. These should be then glued in and joined when the bus panels are all sealed up – you will save yourself a lot of bother by securing these before you have to flex the model later – bending it all to make things work is never a good option.

 The problem has an easy solution - application of my Xuron snips and the addition of some plastic adhesive

 ...Led to two brackets from each side now being identical and now I had two rectangle advertisement frames instead of an "O" and an "L"
Parts of the interior walls of the bus were undercoated then sprayed a lovely shade of maroon Humbrol 20 gloss. Again the best reference for this I have found is either on Flickr on the web of the bus from the UK Transport for London RML or the excellent book I have had close to me the whole time - the book from Andrew Morgan “Routemaster Bus Enthusiasts Manual”

This book showed me just where to apply the maroon and where not too – the many many Routemaster pictures on the internet were as well a big help – and if you don’t use both of these to improve your build you really are missing out

This picture (and many more on the weight of continual evidence from other shots on the web) showed me where to differentiate the colours from the exterior red to the interior red. Here you can see the exterior (unshaded) red the half shaded doorway and the full maroon colour on the paint tin. Three variations in shade I was trying to achieve I hope will come out in the final product
I shaded some of the areas so they would be on purpose more worn or darker than others – I wanted a little variation I the colours of the bus internals otherwise it would look a little dull – again I wanted as well a “used” looking bus and not a pristine example.

A few splodges of Humbrol 20 made the interior a bit less new looking

The chrome strips I cheated on – I simply used silver paint pens which are a complete lifesaver when you want a nice thin line and when you can’t or don’t want to spend all of your day masking gloss paint (which sometimes comes off with the kabuki) was more than happy to “cheat” in this instance – I bet you will too!
 These varied thickness paint pens are excellent for touching up chrome as well as quick scuff jobs in the picture below you can see where I just ran the tip of a small pen over the grill on these stairs and gave a lightly scratched effect. These should be in your arsenal if you are a modeller – if not get to the newsagent.
These internal parts done it came time to get onto the floor. I made the floors the same as the internal red colour. All of the older buses were either this vinyl red or a wooden brown which I think many will go for. I opted for the red as I had a good picture with that flooring and a wooden walkway which I thought looked neat. For the wooden decking I applied brown Tamiya “TS-1” red brown decanted from a rattle can for the recessed  and darker parts where the mud and dirt ventures into and a buff , lighter worn colour Tamiya “TS-46” Light sand.

 This colour – dry brushed over the top and mottled in an uneven way gave a little chewed wood effect that I have seen on these floorboards in the past. Flat varnish went over these areas - covering them and making them look even dryer. The red floor areas that receive less travel and are harder wearing got uneven splodges of flat varnish – giving the floor an uneven and scuffed look – just the effect I was after. As it is I made the parts nearer the centre more flat and lighter whereas towards the corners was shinier and darker – I hope it is an effect that pays off later – time will tell!

My poor old airbrush after this looked like a murder weapon with this sticky rich red colour getting everywhere!! Thankfully H&S airbrushes are a cinch to clean with no tools needed - it cleaned up like a champ!
 The seats are next – strap yourself in for a day of painting, decaling and getting confused!

As it is the chairs needed a grey backing and a red/brown coloured fabric on their sides (unlike the instructions which again call out for grey (c’mon guys!!) Anyway I painted these seats a grey undercoat (Halfords grey colour plastic primer) and the fronts I airbrushed with my trusty Harder & Steenbeck airbrush the Humbrol 73 I used on the wheels – a very nice red/brown colour.
A nice dipping of Future on these chairs put a leather like semi-gloss on the back and front and assured me a good hold for the decals which were next.

Due to the nature of the comic book style instructions used by Revell and I guess my lack of attention it’s pretty easy to get things about-faced here but I have gotten it wrong so you will not have to! The left and right hand sides of the bus have slightly different decals and need to be applied as such. I split mine up into left and right hand side chairs - it doesn’t matter if you get the top and bottom decks messed up as long as you get left and right sorted.
I found a good way of teeing up the next decal so the next one was ready once you had applied the half seat you were on. KEEP THE NUMBERS NEAR THE SEAT BIT YOU ARE ABOUT TO APPLY is my main point here – as otherwise you put the wrong one on the wrong seat. The numbers don’t go crazy and apply themselves to everything they shouldn’t in the water so it’s OK to keep them on your current decal when it goes in the ol’ vasser.
You can see here the main ingredients I used to paint and help apply the decals and prepare the chairs. Humbrol 73 red brown for the leather on the chair base, Micro-Sol to settle down and get the decal hugging the chair itself and then Vallejo flat simply painted over the decal to flatten the appearance. (Ohh and my "cheat" pen in silver to shine up the seat rails too)

The mixture of ingredients make even the most stretched decal sit down nicely and matt out!
 That is enough of this part – next week( yes you heard me next week) ill be assembling all of these painted parts and indeed shading the roofs of the interiors ready to seal it all up. Then the advertising and maybe later some card stock bus scenery – much more to come!

Till then enjoy your modelling.

Adam Norenberg

For further information on this kit visit