Saturday, June 15

Build Guide Pt III: Eduard's Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 - Final construction & mottled camouflage layers (& layers & layers)

Gary's build of the Eduard 48th scale Tempest Mk.V Series I continues, with help from Eduard and Barracuda Studios extras, this kit is shaping up into something special. See it come along in part III of his construction guide...

Build Guide Pt II: Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1
From Eduard Model Accessories
1/48th scale
Kit No #82121
Plastic Injection moulded kit
Six decal options from Cartograf
Photo-Etched parts
Painting mask for canopy included

Previously in this series:
-Build Guide Pt II: Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 - Radiator, fuselage & flaps

Today: Final construction & mottled camouflage layers (& layers & layers)
The joint between the rear fuselage and tail unit of the Tempest Series 1 (and late Typhoon) was reinforced, by riveting over with fish plates thus rendering the tail unit nondetachable. Eduard provides these reinforcing fish plates as individual PE parts (groan). By comparison, the older Hasegawa Typhoon kit has the plates moulded into the plastic. I personally find glueing and positioning PE parts very fiddly when using CA glue (due to the extremely short working time) so getting each of these plates properly lined up around the fuselage was tiresome. In the end, I settled for 'near enough is good enough' and hoped no-one would look too closely (and then I go and take an extreme close-up photo anyway and post it on the internet).
The fit of the wings to the fuselage is actually very good with only a small gap evident on the upper wing roots. To close that gap while the glue dried I used some tape from the wingtips to coax them upwards. There was not enough pressure applied to in any way affect the dihedral of the wing.
Once I fitted the wing to the fuselage I found a reasonably significant gap (about 15 thou) that needed closing with some plasticard. I'm assuming it was because I had to do some surgery on the wings and fuselage to accommodate the dropped flaps as I've not heard of anyone else having this sort of mismatch. In any event, it was an easy fix.
I also found that some 10 thou shims were needed around the fuselage ends of the flap cutout, again most likely caused by my less than precise trimming. Doing some minor shimming work now saves a whole lot of grief later with putty and sanding once the PE gets installed.
Once all my test fitting and adjusting was done I committed the PE parts to the model using Z-Poxy Epoxy glue. I needed something that would bond with the brass and plastic while giving me ample drying time to make adjustments to alignment as needed. The two-part epoxy glue is ideal as you get up to 5 minutes working time and when dry it is very strong (even more so than CA). The only downside of this glue is that it sticks like tar, to anything and everything. I therefore used some strips of tape to protect the wing surface from any stray drops or smears (as happens regularly with my clumsy fingers).
Whilst the flaps themselves may look complicated they actually took way less time and mucking around than the flap wells, probably because no surgery was needed. Eduard are masters at designing complex PE and if you follow their folding instructions things literally drop into place. For the hinge, the rod is 1mm Evergreen rod, which seemed to fit the PE hinge mounts well.
At each step, I was impressed with the engineering of this kit. The fit of the cockpit sills was perfect with no gaps or misalignment evident. I fitted the STEEL belts at this point as well. These belts are packaged together with the LooK instrument panel and are pre-painted. I applied a light oil wash to give them some wear.
By the time I began work on my Tempest, Roy from BarracudaStudios had already released a collection of useful detailing and correction sets for the Eduard kit. In many cases, aftermarket sets can be considered optional however for this Tempest kit I would almost say that at the very least the corrected spinner should be mandatory on your shopping list. This set contains a new detailed de Havilland 4 blade spinner with smaller & accurately shaped blade openings to replace the kit spinner in the Series I and Series II kits.
Barracuda has also released weighted wheels for the Series 1 (and 2) kits. The kit wheels are quite nice but as usual, the resin items give you that extra detail. This set consists of a pair of super detailed, accurate mainwheels as fitted to Series 1 Tempest Mk. Vs. The wheels feature subtle tire beading, logo and size data, as well as accurate front and rear hubs. Designed as a direct replacement for the kit wheels, this is a fast and easy upgrade.
The last item in the kit's plastic that benefits greatly from the resin treatment is the exhaust stubs. Barracuda does make resin parts here as well but I already had the Eduard Big-Sin set which includes a Brassin exhaust. The resin parts are properly hollowed out exhaust stacks with mounting flanges & weld beads. A simple and very visible upgrade.
With the airframe construction complete, I moved quickly (following masking) into the painting stage. For this model, I tested out a new black primer that I had not used before but heard of others having good results on the net. Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 (Black) was thinned with Mr Color Leveling thinners and then laid down using my Iwata Revolution. The result was an extremely thin and excellently smooth finish. Looking to continue my recent experimentation with deepening my paint finishes I applied some random colours (tan and blue) over the black to see what that might do to the upcoming colour coat.
For the primary colours, I once again turned to my current favourite MRP Acrylic Lacquers starting off with MRP-112 MEDIUM SEA GREY. I applied the paint in very light coats, working to build up the colour depth without overpowering the primer coat entirely. You can clearly see the effect of the spots where I used a different base colour. The trick I found here is to not let it overpower so much as to be distracting.
The end result, which I now think could have been a bit bolder with the variation (something for next time I guess). I also sparingly used my ArtFX mask to apply some darker and lighter patchy areas. More on this shortly as I used to much better effect on the upper colours.
As the upper colours on the Tempest scheme are darker when compared to the underside, I decided to try something lighter than the black primer. After some testing on my paint mule, I settled on a sandy tone as I found it gave a pleasing result under both the Dark Green and Ocean Gray. For the demarcation lines, I masked with rolled Blu-Tack.
First up was the MRP-110 DARK GREEN, not too heavy as I wanted at least some of the warmer sand tone to seep through. I felt the single colour was a bit lifeless and needed some colour variation.
I wondered what randomly applying some darker and lighter colours over the base green would look like. Out came my ArtFX mask and in short order, some "mottling" had been applied. At this point, I was shaking my head (probably much like you are right now) thinking "nope that's crap, way overdone". What it needed was toning down, not completely but by say - 70% (yes I was making it up as I went)
I loaded up the brush with the original "primary" colour once more and began covering the mottling. As I built up a few light layers the result starting to look more appealing and far less cartoonish. Perhaps this method could work after all. Would this work with the Ocean Grey as well?
For hard edge demarcation masking, I like to use Blu Tack for the edges with Tamiya tape to back fill. It's time-consuming but I am able to achieve a result I am happy with consistently, certainly compared to other techniques I have tried.
The first coat of MRP-115 OCEAN GREY was applied lightly so that some of the sand primer could be seen. MRP paints spray so smoothly and thinly I could easily apply 2-3 coats of paint without any fear of the surface detail being affected (just as well).
Next up I applied a darker grey (randomly chosen from my drawer) with the mottling mask from ArtFX. I started using the mask laying directly on the model surface but realised this caused edges that were too hard and so I lifted the mask to about 1cm above the model. This resulted in a much softer edge, closer to what I wanted.
Next, I selected a lighter grey, which just happened to be the underside colour (perhaps a mistake) and used the ArtFX mask to mottle the Ocean Gray again. This also helped to tone down the dark grey considerably.
The last step was to circle back to the original colour (Ocean Grey) and "mist" this over the previous layers to tie them all together, but not so much as to undo the mottling entirely.
With the masking removed I realised that the effect was quite heavy (especially under my camera flash lighting which seems to accentuate the effect greatly). Knowing that much of the wing would be next covered with invasion stripes and roundels etc I decided to leave it as is and see what happened. One thing I was happy with was that the colours were definitely no longer monotone or lifeless.
More to come next week with the final part of the build.

Gary Wickham

Stay tuned for more of this build int he coming weeks - You can order any of these items from the Eduard Store Directly  - Thanks to Eduard for sending these to Gary to build.
Thanks also to Barracuda Studios for sending their Tempest improvement kits to us to try out in this build...
You can also get Mr Paint's ready-to-spray shades at their suppliers worldwide