Monday, July 3

Build Guide Pt II: 48th scale Bronco Models Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C) - Painting & Decaling.

Gary has already shown us how to build your 48th scale Bronco Tomohawk (P-40C) and today we continue on with the second part of the build phase - painting & decalling. Gary tries out the Slovakian brand "Mr.Paint" in this build - see what he thought of the paint and how it went on in today's part II.

Build Review: Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C)
From Bronco Models
Kit No# FB-4007
Scale: 1:48th
Started: April 2017
Finished: June 2017
Product Link on the Bronco Model Website
Retail Price:¥3,250/ $30.17 USD/ €26.93 at Hobbylink Japan

Build Review Pt.I - Construction: Bronco's 48th scale Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C)

Today - Part II - Painting and Decaling the Tomahawk...
Assembly moved along quickly now and a coat of Tamiya Grey Primer was used to check for blemishes. I had wanted to try out the new Mr Paint range for some time now and decided to bite the bullet on this model. Mr Paint provided the three primary colours I would need for this RAF desert scheme. Middle Stone, Dark Earth and Azure Blue.
The kit does come with recessed panel line and rivet detail but I knew that the supplied rivets were far too shallow to ever hold a wash and so I undertook the time-consuming task of re-riveting the whole model. This I did use a needle tool and sharpening/deepening each rivet. In places the kit detail was non-existent and here I switched to an RB Production rivet wheel. Under a coat of primer, the extra riveting work can be better appreciated.
Tamiya tape was used to mask up the open cockpit, pilot figure and windshield. Notice the photo-etch 'ring and bead' gunsight provided in the kit by Bronco.
To give the Mr Paint a dark primer to build onto I now sprayed the whole model with Tamiya X-18 Semi-Gloss Black. I have taken to thinning all my Tamiya acrylics lately with their own Lacquer Thinners (87077) as it results in the paint drying harder and much faster.
Before I started painting I needed to decide on a scheme. I had previously been suspicious of the accuracy of the Bronco decals in particular, the colours and shape and so I ordered the XtraDecal (X48163) Early P-40's Part 2 sheet from Hannants. When it arrived I did a side by side comparison to the Bronco sheet and the difference was quite obvious. The Bronco decals were consigned to the bottom drawer and I settled on one of the 112 Sqn aircraft (with Sharkmouth).
Looking more closely at my chosen scheme I noted two things that would need addressing:
This aircraft (AK578) had 'fishtail' exhausts fitted however the Bronco (and Airfix I believe) kit have only the tubular exhausts. To solve this is used a set of Quickboost (QB48683) resin exhausts from my A-36 Apache kit. I figured they were both Allison engines so would be close. The QB set fitted perfectly to the Bronco kit. The biggest challenge was removing the kit exhaust stubs from the now assembled and primed fuselage. This was done with pure brute force (yep I used some pliers !!)

The location of the roundel and codes on the rear fuselage was too far forward. It looks to me like XtraDecal has positioned the codes/roundel in the location used on later aircraft that included a tail band. These earlier aircraft had no tail bands and so the codes/roundels were placed further back, closer to the tail.
My first outing with Mr Paint was the Azure Blue on the undersides. This paint is designed to be used by airbrush only (pre-thinned) and comes in a tall glass bottle (complete with ball bearing) reminiscent of Alclad II. I applied several mottled coats as the paint flows very thinly from the brush so you need a few passes to build up a solid colour. The finish is a little semi-gloss but not glossy enough to be able to decal straight over it. The finish, once dry (which is very quick being a lacquer) is exceptionally smooth. To accentuate the patchy look I was after I mixed up some white with the Azure Blue and randomly applied it over the surface. Lesson learned here is that you can mix and blend Mr Paint with no problems.
The Azure Blue demarcation was then masked with Tamiya tape and the first of the upper colours, Middle Stone applied freehand to roughly approximate the pattern. When dry Blu-Tack was rolled into thin snakes and applied onto the Middle Stone to form the demarcation line. I use this technique a lot as it gives me complete control and results in a sharper demarcation.
The interior behind the Blu-Tack is now filled with normal tape to protect from overspray. I tend to use cheaper 3M low tack painters tape rather than the more expensive Tamiya tape. All up this masking task (Blu-Tack and tape) took me about 45mins.
The final camo colour, Dark Earth, is now applied and once again I mixed some white to give me some variation in the coverage. Incidentally, I use an Iwata Revolution 0.5mm needle for all my airbrushing these days.
Once dry the Blu-Tack and tape come away easily and our model starts to take shape. It takes a bit of practice to get clean demarcations like this with the Blu-Tack method first time around but it's a technique I think you can get predictable consistent results with once mastered, regardless of what airbrush or skill level with it you happen to have.
At this point, you can see the result of the extra work I did with the rivets. The black primer is almost enough to show the rivet detail through the top coats, it helps that Mr Paint coats are so fine yet provide excellent coverage.
With the main painting complete next up is a gloss clear coat. Contrary to popular opinion I still find Future floor polish to be my preferred acrylic gloss coat. I have noticed many modellers switching away from Future to using Tamiya X-22 Gloss Clear thinned with Mr Color Leveling Thinners. The Xtradecal sheet is actually printed by MicroScale in the US and I have historically always had good results with their decals (TwoBobs being a good example).
For the most part, the MicroScale decals performed as expected when applied with MicroScale's own Set and Sol solutions. I did, however, find they did not want to settle down into the rivets and panel lines as well as previous sheets I had used. No matter, I find that you can use a sharpened toothpick and sharp blade to get the decal to conform to just about any surface detail. All the same, I did take the easier option with the fin flash and masked/painted it on rather than try and get the decal to settle down over that navigation light fitting. Notice that for many of these RAF aircraft the serial number (AK578) was masked over and the desert paint scheme applied over top. To simulate this I sprayed a small rectangle of Dark Green over which I applied the decal. It's also worth mentioning that there was a lot of clear carrier film between the G and A fuselage codes that I cut away before applying those letters. I generally make a point of removing as much clear film from decals as possible.
The sharkmouth two piece decal proved to be a bit of a challenge as the two halves did not meet in the middle when applied. I can only assume this is because the sheet has been sized for the Airfix kit and the Bronco kit is wider in the nose, by about 5mm it would seem. Normally I dread any hand painting but there really was no other option to fix this. In the end, I was pretty happy with the result and think it's a passable result.

Gary Wickham

This build will be concluding next few week - Stay tuned for the next instalment here on TMN

You can buy this kit from any of the distributors that can be found on the Bronco Model Website
If you like what you see here of the colours from Mr Paint - then head over to their site to check out their ever-expanding range of shades.

Lastly - if you like Gary's models then please do go to his website for a whole lot more of that...