Sunday, July 23

Pt.III Finishing & Weathering: Bronco's 48th scale Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C)

Gary has already shown us how to build & paint your 48th scale Bronco Tomohawk (P-40C) and today we continue on with the third part of the build phase - weathering and finishing the kit. Gary tries out the Slovakian brand "Mr.Paint" with some AK Interactive weathering materials in this build - see ho wit all ended up in Part III of the build.

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 - Bronco's 48th scale Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C)
Part II - Painting and Decaling the Tomahawk
Today: Pt.III Finishing & Weathering Bronco's Tomahawk
With the decals dry and sealed under a second thin coat of Future it was time for things to get dirty. I have been using the MiG Ammo pre-mixed Panel Line Washes quite a bit recently and so I continued that trend on this build. I liberally applied a 'Deep Grey' #1602 wash to the entire airframe and was intentionally sloppy with were the wash went. These aircraft operated in very harsh conditions in the North African desert and I wanted to try a recreate something of this look. Of course, this is meant to be a wash (not a filter) and so most of the excess will be removed.
The undersides received the same 'Deep Grey' wash as the top. Spot oil staining and deeper washes would be applied next around the engine cowl flaps area.
I find that the MiG enamel washes dry off fairly quickly and can be cleaned within an hour. Use a dry cloth or cotton bud to remove the excess. Unlike other washes, you do not need to wet the cloth with thinners to remove the excess wash. I used a darker colour, 'Deep Brown' #1618 on top of the Dark Earth camo colour to provide some variety and contrast.
The trick I find with any kind of rivet or panel line wash is to not over do it. The often made mistake is to pick a colour that is too dark and ends up making the surface detail too stark, unrealistically so. To my eye, at this point in the build, the rivets on the wing are too noticeable, they are distracting, but I know that as I apply more weathering, filters and such over the top that will tone it down. There are no formulas in modelling, sometimes you need to feel your way through a build and weathering is very much one of those areas where this applies.
Much like the top of the wing, the wash detail here is probably a bit overpowering right now but remember we are looking at an interim step, not the end result. Always keep the end in mind.
What's the best way to simulate paint chips on a model? You make your paint chip off like the real thing I would say. Based on the popular 'hairspray technique' the folks at AK Interactive have come up with a product that allows you to do just that. Simply apply a layer of their 'Worn Effects' fluid between the silver bottom layer and your red top coat, add water and you have instant chippable paint. A bit of practice is needed to get this to work the way you want (and not totally randomly) but you can't argue with the result. Using silver pencils or silver paint over top of the red just never looks as convincing as real chips to my eye.
One thing I was keen to try and reproduce was the chalky, faded look of the paint on these desert birds. One technique I had never used before was 'dot filtering' with oil paints. I read a bunch of 'how-tos' and watch plenty of YouTube videos and decided to give it a go. The process itself was easy enough and I already had a few suitable oil shades so on went the dots.
The oil dots were blended in with a small brush dipped in white spirit and slowly but surely I was able to get a feel as to how the technique worked. I probably could have gone harder with the effect but I decided on 'less is more' once I could see a visible change to the paint.
The last challenge the Bronco kit would throw at me was their treatment of the cloth covered control surfaces. I had previously sanded flat the heavily overdone scalloping on the plastic parts and now needed to re-create a visual effect to give some sense of cloth surface. Having learned some tricks from the JM Vilabala set of DVD's on using airbrushable filters I masked up the ailerons, elevators and rudder.
A super heavily thinned mix of Tamiya Flat Black and isopropyl alcohol sprayed at a very low pressure was applied carefully over the edge of each strip to try and create a shadow visual effect. The end result once the tape was removed was a simulated scalloping based entirely on a visual effect. I thought it was quite effective.
Wrapping things up I removed the masking from the clear parts, attached the sliding canopy frame and glued the fishtail exhausts in place. A final overall filter wash was applied to the airframe to simulate accumulated dust and sand. The gun barrels were painted black and some ground pencil lead applied to give a 'gunmetal' effect. The antenna wires were added using EZ-Line, an elastic line that comes in several shades are is very forgiving once glued in place.
To round out the build I placed the model on its stand and took some photos against a cloudy sky backdrop. I need to work on my Photoshop skills to simulate a blurred propeller but for now, I hope you can enjoy these few photos of the finished model and use your imagination to perhaps visualise this predator cruising the North African skies in 1942 looking for its next victim.
As I said at the start this was a quick and painless build for me. I think Bronco did a good job on the kit with the major drawback for me being the decals, these are pretty much unusable, which is a pity given they went to the trouble (and cost) of including 5 options. The general fit and engineering of the kit is very good with no major issues encountered. Of course, the cockpit depth issue will haunt this kit (and rightly so) but if you can see a way past that (plenty of resin after markets sets available) then you can turn this kit into a nice model. Does it represent value for money? Well at the time of writing it was selling for US$18.98 on so I would say yes it does. Thanks to Bronco for the review kit, I look forward to more aircraft releases from them.

A relatively quick build out of the box, with the exception of the fishtail resin exhausts. I was inspired by the Bronco boxart showing Clive Caldwell in a dogfight with a Bf 109E over North Africa. The plan is to eventually build an Eduard 109E to mount with this guy but for now, he's hunting the skies alone.

The kit has some basic flaws but all can be overcome with some imagination and sanding/trimming. Being my first Bronco kit build I was happy to find the fit was very good as was the surface detail. This was also the first time I'd used Mr Paint colours and was very impressed with how they performed. The decal sheet in the kit has some major shape/size and most of all colour problems so I opted instead for an Xtradecal sheet designed for the Airfix kit and this, in turn, caused me some extra work due to size differences (especially around the nose). 
Gary Wickham

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...