Saturday, June 22

Build Guide Pt IV: Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 - Masks on, Markings on - Take Off!

The last part of the Tempest I story today - with Gary's build of the 48th scale Eduard Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 only needing the invasion stripes, the markings and a base with two pilots needed to finish it off. See how Gary did such a great job of finishing it off in the last part of his story...

Build Guide Pt IV: Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 - Masks on, Markings on - Take Off!
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
-Build Guide Pt III: Hawker Tempest Mk/V Series 1 - Final construction & mottled camouflage layers 

Today: Build Guide Pt IV:  Masks on, Markings on - Take Off!
The scheme I had selected was adorned with invasion stripes, which naturally covered the undercarriage doors and landing flaps. I carefully fitted the flaps and doors back into place on the model before masking and spraying the white (MRP-135 INSIGNIA WHITE)
The scale width of the 18" stripes were measured out and masked onto the wings. Of course (Murphy's law) the edge of one stripe went directly across the cannon bulge and so some additional masking work was needed to get the curve masked properly. The Hispano Mk. II cannons used on the Series 1 Tempest had long barrels resulting in the need for fairings protruding from the wing leading edge. These were not painted in the invasion stripe colours so also needed to be carefully masked off.
For reference, the black I used for the stripes was Tamiya XF-85 Rubber Black. I've been regularly asked if its accurate to have such nicely masked invasion stripes because "they were all applied by hand". Well from my research there are just as many photos of aircraft with clearly masked and painted stripes as there are of one with rough stripes. Like most things in life, one size does not fit all, so check your references if it concerns you greatly.
With the painting complete my thoughts turned to decals. I was impressed that so far the very delicate surface rivet detail had held up nicely under the paint coats. I was equally concerned however that even with thin Cartograph decals that the very same detail would be obscured. So it was that my thoughts turned to other ways of getting the markings applied.

I have owned a Silhouette Portrait mask cutter for some time and always find a reason to avoid using it as 'decals are easier'. Again in this case decals would have been faster/easier but almost certainly not give me the result I desired. With that in mind, out came the cutter and software and in relatively short order I had a set of roundel, fin flash and code masks. If you are looking for tips on making your own masks I can highly recommend the Cutting Edge Modelers group on Facebook.
Some of the masks I cut were on vinyl and some on washi (kabuki) tape. I found the vinyl worked well on flat surfaces, like the wings but would not sit down properly over small raised details like the rivets on the Tempest rear fuselage. For this paper (washi) tape worked much better.
I mixed all the roundel colours myself from Tamiya acrylics (using mix ratios found on the net). There is no doubt it a lot more work than applying a decal, but once you see the finished result it's most certainly worth it.
One of the essential tools you will need for masking is 'Transfer Tape'. This clear tape comes in rolls and is designed to help you move your mask (with all the elements in place) from the backing paper to the model surface. Most letters and numbers (like this R) have cutouts in the centre of the letter and without transfer tape, you would have difficulty keeping the spacing alignment. I used Cricut Vinyl Transfer Tape which is readily available from Amazon or Ebay.
Using the transfer tape position the mask on the model surface and then burnish it down (I used a pointed cotton bud). Peel away the transfer tape and check the mask is correctly positioned and aligned.
To deal with overspray, mask around the lettering using plain old Tamiya tape. MRP-118 SKY was applied (same colour as the tails identification band) whilst keeping the airbrush perpendicular (90 degrees) to the mask to minimise the chance of paint leaking under.
When dry, remove the mask and smile at your wonderfully accurate painted on markings :)
Of course, in reality, you can't avoid decals entirely as small markings like stencilling is beyond the reach of masking cutters. I applied a coat of Tamiya X-22 Gloss Clear thinned with Mr Color Leveling thinners to both prepare for decaling and protect the paint from later weathering/panel wash steps.
I have now settled on using the incredibly handy MiG Ammo Panel Line washes as I find the convenience (and consistency) of the product to be worth the cost. I used two shades of wash on the Tempest. For the invasion stripes I used a lighter wash MiG-1601 Medium Grey whilst on the remainder of the airframe, I selected a darker grey wash MiG-1602 Deep Grey. Leave the wash for an hour to set and then lightly wipe off with a dry paper towel (or tissue). I have found that you should not need to use thinners to remove the wash unless you leave it to set for over 24 hrs.
I next applied some oil washes to the flap interiors and wheel wells. Using a micro mesh pad I also lightly distressed the white on the stripes to simulate wear and tear. I was quite pleasantly surprised how much of the panel line wash stayed in the rivet detail.
With the main weathering complete the fiddly bits are attached and a matt coat applied. Here are a selection of photos of the finished model.
 The original example...
CONCLUSION - Eduard 1:48 Tempest Mk.V Series 1 (82121)
Let me get straight to it. This is a fantastic kit from Eduard, no two ways about it. Built straight from the box you really can't end up with anything but an excellent model. When you combine it with any of the extensive Brassin and third-party accessories already available you have, what will be for a long time, the ultimate Tempest in any scale.
Not only is it an accurate kit, perhaps even more importantly, but it is also an enjoyable kit to build. At no point did I find the kit fighting me, instead all the parts are cleverly engineered to "just work".
I don't use such a comparison lightly, but this kit is closing in on Tamiya. I can't wait for their P-51 !! I'll also be curious to see if Eduard extends the moulds into a Mk.II Tempest with the radial engine. I think that would be a welcome addition to their range.

Many thanks to Eduard for the kit and Barracuda for the upgrades and correction sets.

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