In today’s news Ethelian finishes his 1/48th kit of the Kittyhawk models Jaguar A to an excellent standard. We left this kit at the sealed up and ready to paint stage – let’s see how Eth got it over the final hurdle…
Kit no: KH80106
Injection moulded & PE Parts
While the glue was drying the ordnance were assembled. Some research was needed to here to find out what weapons load would be appropriate. I settled on the AS 37 on the centreline pylon, four 250kg bombs on the two inboard wing pylons, one Magic 2 and the Barracuda pod on the outer two pylons. Kittyhawk provide a good choice of weapons load out so you can mix and match as you want.
As always before the painting started in earnest the model was washed with warm soapy water to remove all the dirt and grease that accumulates during the build stage. Once the model was dry the surfaces were buffed up to a nice shiny finish. This provides a good clean smooth surface for the application of the paint.
A primer coat of Halfords Grey acrylic primer was sprayed over the whole model and left for 24 hours to dry. Halfords primer is excellent and even if you puddle it slightly it will shrink back and leave a smooth finish. The model was pre-shaded with a dark brown, try to avoid using black as this provides too harsh a contrast. Then inside the panel lines I sprayed white, again to provide a good contrast when the final colours were applied.
With the pre-shade applied the first camouflage colour was applied, Lifecolor Sand (LC-UA019). For this model it was decided to spray the paint only in the areas it was needed and not to spray the whole model in the sand colour. When this was dry the second colour, Lifecolor Dark Earth (LC-UA529) was applied. Both colours were sprayed on in several coats to build up the opacity of the paint while still leaving a certain amount of the pre-shade showing through, more of a hint of the pre-shade is what is required.
The instructions would have you spray the underneath in light grey; however this is incorrect as French Jaguars were painted aluminium underneath. So Alclad II Aluminium was applied in several coats using an Iwata Eclipse airbrush with the compressor set at 12psi.
Most photographs of the Jaguar A that I have show the left hand side of the front fuselage in a different shade of sand, although the instructions say this should be grey, again wrong. So a slightly lighter shade of Lifecolor Sand was applied in this area then the model was left to dry before the decal application.
When the paint was dry, several coats of Alclad II Gloss lacquer were applied. This is an excellent lacquered and so far I have had no problems using it. With the lacquer dry it was time to apply the decals.
Kittyhawk decals go on very well, and the decals in the Jaguar are up to the usual standard, however I did have an issue with the unit number below the cockpit and this had to be replaced with some generic numbers/letters from Syhart decals. There is an omission from the decal instructions concerning the placement of the roundels on the engine covers, so pay attention here. Otherwise there was not an issue and the decaling went quickly and easily.
When they were dry, another two coats of Alclad Gloss lacquer was applied and then it was time for the weathering. Flory Models Dark Dirt wash was generously applied to the model and left to dry for an hour or so before it was removed with a dampened kitchen towel, making sure to go with the air flow. When this was dry, two coats of Alclad Matt lacquer was applied and the model set aside for the final assembly
While the decals were drying, the ordinance was painted and decaled.
So with all the painting and decaling completed there was just the small task of adding the ordinance and the various access doors, plus the canopy and the model would be complete. The access doors on one side were left off to show the detail that would have been hidden; however the doors on the right hand side were put in place to show how they would look. No hidden problems/issues cropped up at this stage and before too long the model was complete.
So what are the impressions of this kit now that it is complete?
The one thing that really impressed me about the Kittyhawk Jaguar is the level of surface detail. This is easily on a par with anything by Tamiya or Hasegawa in this scale. Some of the surface detail is so delicate that it would be easy to obscure it with the paint or the weathering but with care it is possible to make this detail stand out.
On the negative side the issues with the construction instructions and the painting instructions are an annoyance and could put modellers off this kit. However with patience and lots of dry fitting it is not so difficult to resolve these issues and they should not be allowed to deviate from what is an excellent kit.
The fit of the parts, in certain places, is not on a par with Tamiya, a certain amount of fettling is definitely needed and this is an area that Kittyhawk needs to address. The mistakes in the painting and decal instructions should not really occur in a modern kit but with good references these are easily overcome and again should not be allowed to detract from the overall quality of the kit.
Comparing this kit to any by Tamiya or Hasegawa may seem a little bit harsh considering that Kittyhawk are a new company and this is only their third kit. However due to the level of surface detail and the overall quality of this kit, mistakes in the instructions notwithstanding, it is a valid comparison and one that does Kittyhawk credit.
I would like to thank Glen from Squadron for entrusting me with the build of this kit and I have already started to build the second release in this series - the RAF Jaguar.
Thanks To Kittyhawk Models for the chance to make this kit