Tuesday, September 27

Build Review Pt III: Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229

Our good friend Thomas from Scale Plastic Aircraft Modeller forum has already shared his thoughts on Zoukei Mura’s new 48th scale Horten in an extensive review. After part I,  then a second part of the build, Gary gives us his final wrap up in a painting & weathering guide along with a base to put it on. Let’s see how he got along in this important part of sealing it all up...

Horten Ho-229 - Build Review Pt II.Zoukei-Mura Super Wing Series No. 3
Scale: 1:48th
Started: March 2016
Finished: September 2016
Instruction download link
Product Link…

Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 In Box Review
Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 Pt.I Build review
Zoukei-Mura 1/48th scale Horten Ho-229 Pt.II Build review
Pt.III - Finishing it all off
The Paint:
As is usual I start painting with the underside colour. As this was a light colour, using a dark primer such as German Grey or in this case, Semi-Gloss Black is called for. For the RLM 76 Light Blue I once again turned to Gunze Mr Color using C117 with their Levelling Thinners. These days I am working at including a weathered appearance in even early painting steps and so here I have thinned the paint more heavily than you would have to achieve a solid consistent coat. In fact, my aim here is to not achieve a consistent uniform coat of paint, in fact quite the opposite. I'm actually finding myself more and more striving to avoid uniformity in each facet of my modelling as it's something that rarely occurs in the real world.
For this paint work, I use my trusty Iwata Revolution brush with a 0.5mm needle. Keep the airbrush moving in random small patterns trying to avoid a solid build-up of paint in any one place. Remember, you can always come back and add more paint, its not so easy to remove too much paint. This photo shows my first pass and yes, the wings look too patchy to me as well.
After your first pass, let the paint dry for a little while (10 mins) as this will allow it to darken and give you a better idea of what the final result will be. This photo is taken after I had gone back over the surface a second time and then a third time with a lighter shade of RLM76 so I could get a surface that had darker and lighter variances. The idea is to keep each individual stage subtle and hopefully if it all works it all adds up in the end.
When looking thru various colour profiles of Ho229's I noticed that the older Dragon kit painting schemes show a wavy wrap under demarcation between the upper and lower surfaces. Thinking that looked like a good idea I put it into action with some Blu-tack
Unless there is a compelling reason otherwise I tend to lay down the colours from lightest to darkest (darker paints cover better being the logic here). Notice that I have not primed the upper surfaces in black like I did the lower RLM76. Using a dark primer under darker colours like RLM 74 and 75 is more likely to result in them appearing too dark and an easy way to avoid that is to just use the existing light grey primer.

Here I have already laid down the Mr Color C37 RLM75 Grey-Violet and masked the hard-edged splinter camo scheme with Tamiya tape. Don't worry too much about there being a little extra here as we need a bit of wiggle room for the masking.
Mr Color C36 RLM74 Grey Green is laid on now and I have tried to again vary the finish of the paint using darker and lighter shades to avoid a uniform finish. I still have much to learn about using my airbrush and how to coax it to do what I want (not what it wants). One thing I know is that practice makes perfect, so practice I will.
With the masking removed its time to assess the result. To me, the effect on the green is too much and on the violet not enough. It's also worth noting that I use flash for lighting my photos and this has a tendency to enhance the contrast between shades on the model surface as it has certainly done here with the grey-green. To the naked eye, the greens did not look anywhere near this stark.
Viewed from another angle. Overall I'm happy enough with the result. I'm expecting that the flat coat yet to come will help tone everything down like it always seems to do.
A progress shot of the undersides. The leading edge demarcation worked well with the Blu Tack and adds an additional visual feature to the model.
With the main painting complete its time to deal with the small details. As the jet engines sat so far forward the Horten engineers had to come up with a method to deal with the hot exhaust gases as they passed over the wooden surface. The obvious solution was to use metal in these areas rather than wood. Here I have masked up the areas prior to painting with Alclad Aluminium. Note the small lumps of Blu Tack still present on the engines which I used to hold the covers on while painting.
Once the masking is removed we can see how well the Alclad metalizer paints cover, even on darker base colours. Work slowly with any metalizer building it up single lots of thin passes. The grainy finish which is now quite noticeable on the Alclad sections is nothing to do with the paint but the underlying finish of the plastic itself.
Pretty much all of the camouflage and markings on the Ho229 are speculative as none even entered service with the Luftwaffe. This gives us a bit of poetic license and here I have imagined that the squadron flying the Horten used a red band for identification. I've simply masked off a band around the tail, both and bottom and painted it with Tamiya XF7 Flat Red.
A few things have progressed in this photo. Firstly, you can see I applied some chipping to the red identification band to simulate wear from the heat of the exhaust. Secondly, I have gloss coated the whole model with several light coats of Future and lastly I applied the decals to the model. The walkway decal you see to the left of the engine cover was provided as a single piece. I learnt a long time ago not to push your luck too far with decals and before dipping this one in the water I cut it in half which made two smaller decals that were far easier to work with and position in place. The swastikas are provided in ZM in the box as two-part decals for you to assemble yourself.
ZM provide a complete set of identification numbers in various colours for you to choose from. I picked red to match the tail band and the number 14 randomly. I often get asked how much gloss I apply before decaling? As you can see here the model is not super high gloss and this is the result of probably around 3-4 light coats of thinned Future (I thin roughly 1:1 with Tamiya Acrylic thinners, in case you were wondering)
With the decals applied and sealed under a second coat of Future I was ready to apply the panel line wash. Ever since I have started using the MiG Ammo pre-mixed washes I have become quite a fan. In this case, I used one of the Dark Brown washes for the upper surfaces and a Dark Grey for the RLM76 under surfaces.
You don't need to be too tidy when it comes to panel washes. I find that leaving the MiG Ammo enamel washes for about 30 mins and then cleaning up with a dry tissue or paper towel works well. If you leave these washes overnight to dry, then you may need to use some thinners to properly remove the excess.

After clean-up of the panel wash any model with accurate scale recessed panel and rivet detail (i.e. not too deep or too wide etc.) really starts to come to life. Our scale models are 3D representations and properly shaded panel detail is just one way we can visually enhance the model and make it look closer to the real thing in my opinion.

It was now time to start adding all the "sticking out bits". Here we see the tricycle undercarriage parts prior to any weathering. Washes were applied to enhance the detail and chipping was added using a sponge.
A good view of the finished nose wheel undercarriage assembly once secured to the model. The lettering on the tyres has been very lightly drybrushed.
The now completed model with the doors, airbrakes (spoilers) and undercarriage parts having been attached. I chose to leave the model surface mostly unweathered. Going too hard with weathering on every model you build starts to look a bit overdone and I feel that with the mottled paintwork and washes the effect is about right for what I was aiming for. Its very much a matter of personal taste.
Before removing the masking, I applied a final coat of Flat Clear to bring the paint finish back to a realistic sheen. I have a good supply of the now discontinued Polly Scale Flat Clear (acrylic) and its by far my favourite flat finish product.
As a final flourish, I added some exhaust streaking over the metal sections on the tail. Several very light coats of Tamiya Red Brown and Tire Black hopefully give the right effect. Note how the flat clear finish has now toned down the patchiness applied earlier to the camouflage colours.
The finished model displayed on a simple round base. I'm happy with my choice of camouflage and markings. I don't think I mentioned it earlier but the kit decals performed very well, responding nicely to Micro Set and Sol and snuggling down nicely into panel lines and around raised details.

This small brother to ZM's initial 1/32 release of the Ho299 is every bit as good. There does not seem to be too much they have omitted in the scaling down process which is pretty impressive when you consider how much detail they pack in. As I mentioned during the build I am not a big fan of the use of clear plastic parts instead of normal grey styrene. The clear outer skin parts of the model were by far the hardest to work with and I'll be thinking twice in the future before building another "see thru" kit.
For photos of the finished model please jump over to the Ho229 Gallery

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Zoukei-Mura for sending this kit to us to build and review

See more of Gary's wonderful builds on his Facebook Page and his Scalespot Website.