Saturday, August 29

Construction Review Pt.II: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” in 32nd scale

Andy Moore's build of Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” is forging ahead - today he details the engine, wings, completes construction and starts to mask this kit before the final paint next week. See how he does it in part II of his story...

Construction Review Pt II: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome”
Manufacturer: Wingnut Wings
Kit Number - 32055
Scale - 1/32nd
Price (This kit is still available) for £89, ¥11,664, US$117, €98 from Hobby Link Japan
Original Product Link on the Wingnut Wings Website
The previous part of this kit's story

Construction Review Pt.II: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” in 32nd scale: completing construction & masking the kit.
In part 1 of this build of WnW's Sopwith Pup, I got the cockpit together, complete with my first bit of rigging work, and got the whole assembly installed in the fuselage. I knew that small amount of rigging in the cockpit was just the tip of the iceberg though, and I was in for a whole lot more of it in the near future – something I really wasn't looking forward to. Before I got to that point though, I had the rest of the build to take care of, starting with the lower wing.
This is a very nice single-part moulding, so none of the awkward seams, you'd get if the wing was in top and bottom halves. The only parts that need to be added are the ailerons and the control cable inspection windows which come on the clear sprue.
Before bringing the fuselage and lower wing together, I made use of the wing as a temporary jig to assemble the undercarriage. This is made up from multiple parts which need to be set at the correct angles and using the mounting points on the lower wing to keep everything positioned correctly until the glue dried made this step far easier.
The wing is moulded with a central channel, and the lower section of the cockpit slides down into it – at least in theory. In my case - the outer edges of the cockpit frame were too wide to slot into the channel. This could have been down to a mistake I'd made during the cockpit assembly, although all the parts seemed to be together correctly. Either way, I had to trim about 1mm from the frames on each side until everything slotted together. Once that was done though, the fit between the fuselage and wing roots was excellent.
With the wing in place, I also added the tail, which is another single-part moulding and simply drops onto the top of the rear fuselage. At this point, I'd also added to two forward upper wing support struts, and this proved to be a bad idea. They're very susceptible to being knocked during the remainder of the build and, sure enough, I managed to snap one off later on. I was able to reattach it okay, but it's much better to leave these off until you're ready to add the upper wing which, in my case, was after painting.
Two things that do need attaching now are the ailerons, although the attachment points provided on the wing are rather inadequate. To give them more strength, I drilled two holes in the front edge of the ailerons and glued short lengths of wire into them. Corresponding holes were drilled in the edge of the wing cutout and the ailerons glued into place.
At this point, with the lower wing and tail in place, I was ready to get the initial painting underway. The scheme I'd chosen was for a trainer based at Gosport and wearing a black and white striped paint job. 

A photo of the actual aircraft to illustrate the scheme I was replicating
The stripes on this scheme extend the full length of the fuselage, so I temporarily fitted the engine cowling before painting so I could ensure the stripes lined up correctly. The upper wing struts (all still in place at this point) were wrapped in kitchen foil to mask them, since they'd already had their woodgrain finish applied. I began with a light primer coat of Alclad white microfiller primer and followed this with two coats of Mr Color 107 Character White which left a nice smooth satin finish.
With this base coat on, I hand-painted the control cable pulleys at the end of each wing before adding the clear glazing that covers them. This proved to be something of a pointless step since, when I checked, the scheme I'd chosen had these windows overpainted with the stripes. I resprayed over the windows with the Character White, but if you build the kit and choose any of the other schemes, you will need to paint the pulleys and mask the glazing before painting.
Another thing I'd initially missed was that the lower surfaces for this striped scheme weren't painted white before the black stripes were added and, instead, retained the natural doped linen finish. Fortunately, this was easy to rectify. The fuselage sides and upper wings were masked off and the lower surfaces sprayed with Tamiya Deck Tan.
A common technique that's used on biplane kits is to mask off the wing rib tapes and spray a slightly darker tone to add some shading. I decided to use the same method here, cutting thin strips of Tamiya masking tape and placing them along the raised moulded ribs. I then added a tiny touch of dark brown to the deck tan and sprayed this along the masked lines.
As well as the shading, I also used a photo-etch spray template to add some staining and discolouration to the underside of the wings (seen here on the upper wing, which I'd painted separately). These steps need to be done quite subtly, but if the effect comes out too strong, a light misting of the base colour will tone it down.
The same effect was applied to the upper wings, using a very pale grey to shade the white. The shading here was kept far more subtle since these were painted surfaces rather than the doped linen on the undersides.
Before embarking on what would be a very lengthy masking process, I decided to finish some of the smaller details so they'd be ready for final assembly after the main airframe was painted. I tackled the engine and prop first since the prop, in particular, is very prominent on the finished build and I wanted to get it as good as I could. The engine was fairly simple, starting with a base coat of AK Xtreme Metal Polished Aluminium. This was then given a series of dark enamel washes to bring out the finely moulded detail on the cylinder heads and the bolt detail that covers the engine.
The prop was a bit more involved, starting with a base coat of Mr Color #21 Middle Stone to get the basic wood shade (step 1). This was followed by the grain using a mix of Vallejo English Uniform and Burnt Umber. As with the cockpit, the paint was mixed with glaze medium, painted over the prop blades, then wiped off with a small piece of torn sponge (step 2). To complete the prop, a coat of Tamiya Clear Orange was sprayed over the blades to leave a warm varnished finish, after which the hub was touched in with steel and the decals applied (step 3).
Moving back to the main painting, I set to work on the masking stages. Rather than trying to mask the whole airframe in one go, I masked and sprayed each section separately starting with the upper wing. The first step was to figure out the spacing for the stripes. Using the painting instructions as a guide, and after a few trials, I settled on 10mm. That proved to be handy since the Tamiya tape I was using was already that width. I was a little concerned that the high contrast black and white stripes would show through the wing roundels so I also applied circular masks the same size as the roundels, cut using a compass cutter, to the appropriate locations on each wing.
...And that is all for this instalment.

Join Andy next week as he paints and weathers his Pup in a lovely black and white scheme here on the news...

Andy Moore

Wingnut Wings sent us this kit - so thanks to them for letting us build this up for you to show you more about them. Sales of their kits are now no longer directly from their website as they have closed indefinitely.
You can still purchase these at Hobbylink Japan as well as several other websites
AK Interactive colours and information on their paint can be found on their website