Thursday, September 10

Construction Review Pt.III: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” in 32nd scale: Painting and Finishing the kit.

We have kept the last part of Andy Moore's build of Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” from you for too long, today we post the final part of his journey into the aircraft of WWI. Masking completed, today he paints, weathers and finishes the kit in a striking scheme with a great result...

Construction Review Pt III: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome”
Manufacturer: Wingnut Wings
Kit Number #32055
1/32nd Scale
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.

Today: Construction Review Pt.III: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup “Gnome” in 32nd scale: Painting and Finishing the kit.

Just to catch you all up - this kit will be featuring the rather striking black and white stripes of a Sopwith Pup B2192, HH Balfour & EL Foot, School of Special Flying, Gosport, Aug - Sept 1917
Tamiya NATO Black was used for the stripes, which is actually a dark grey and gives a better scale appearance than pure black. The upper and lower surfaces of the wing were masked and sprayed separately. While this lengthened the time taken to do the work, it made handling the parts during the painting much easier. With the tape removed, I gave the wings a gloss coat to seal the paint and ready the surface for the decals.
The lower wing and tail were painted in the same manner, keeping the fuselage masked off for protection. I'd masked and sprayed the stripes on the vertical tail fin at the same time, although I managed to snap it off during the unmasking process. The connection points for the fin are tiny and very delicate, so this is another part that you'd be best to paint separately and attach at the end.
The wings and tail were masked off by wrapping them with the plastic sheet held in place with cheap decorators tape. This was far quicker and, of course, much cheaper than using Tamiya tape to cover them. The fuselage stripes could them be masked, and this was a much more involved step than the masking on the wings. The stripes taper as they run toward the rear of the fuselage and getting the position and spacing correct took some trial and error. I eventually got to a point I was happy with and, while the spacing probably isn't perfect, it looked good enough for me. For those that don't want to mask the stripes, the decal sheet does provide them, but only for the fuselage. You'd still need to mask and spray the wings and match the black colour used on the decals.
With the fuselage masking removed, I was finally able to see the overall effect of the stripes – it's certainly a striking scheme! A gloss coat sealed the paint, and the decals were applied and these worked excellently, not surprising given that they're printed by Cartograf. I finished off the painting stage with a light matt coat to remove the gloss finish from the paint and sealed in the decals.
The only problem with the finish at this point was that it was looking a bit too pristine for my liking. To fix that I mixed up a dirty brown shade from Vallejo acrylics, thinned with glaze medium, and worked this around the panel lines and raised details across the airframe, blending the paint with a clean, damp brush. It's important not to go crazy with this step, but a little dirt and dust really brings the model to life.
The engine cowl I'd temporarily attached during painting was removed, and the engine fitted. When refitting the cowl I found it very tight to fit over the engine, and in the end, had to cut away some of the moulded detail on the ends of the engine cylinders. This allowed enough clearance for the cowl to slide into place, hiding the modified cylinders in the process.
At this point, the build was almost finished. Just the upper wing and the landing gear remained to be fitted. Before I could do that though, I had to tackle the one aspect of this build I'd been least looking forward too – the rigging. As this was my first venture into this area of modelling, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, so no turnbuckles or other fiddly and delicate procedures. I used EZ Line elastic thread for all the rigging, starting with the simpler sections like the cross-bracing on the upper wing struts.
When it came to rigging the wings, I used a technique I'd seen recommended in several WnW builds, that being to attach the rigging thread to the upper wing whilst it was still separate. I cut the threads to the required length and glued them into the holes in the upper wing with small drops of superglue. The loose ends were then taped to the bottom of the wing so they didn't get trapped when I mounted the upper wing to the rest of the airframe.
Once the upper wing was mounted (using epoxy adhesive for extra strength), the individual rigging threads were trimmed to be 5-6mm short, then stretched across and secured in the holes on the lower wing. The EZ Line thread bonded very quickly with superglue and I only had to hold the lines in place for a few seconds until they were secure. I did have a couple come loose during this stage, but they were very easy to reattach. In all, the process went far more smoothly than I'd been expecting.
With the rigging done I could breathe a sigh of relief and turn to the final stage of the build, fitting the landing gear. The undercarriage frame was painted with the same Tamiya NATO Black used for the stripes then given a light misting with a dusty earth shade. The wheels were sprayed white and the tyres brush painted with a dark rubber colour. After the 'PALMER CORD' decals were applied, they were given a light over-spray with the tyre colour, heavily thinned, to blend them in. Some dusty weathering was then applied to the wheels using acrylics in the same manner as used for the fuselage weathering.

And with the undercarriage and prop fitted, the build was finally done. I'll be honest and say I felt genuinely nervous and out of my depth when I first approached this kit as it was so far out of my comfort zone. As it tuned out, the build process, whilst undeniably fiddly at times, went far more smoothly and was more enjoyable than I'd been expecting – something of a testament to Wingnut Wings excellent engineering on these kits. There are challenging aspects to these kits, the rigging being one, and the generally delicate nature of the model another, and there are certain things I'd do differently if I were to build the kit, or one like it, again. If a little patience is used though, the build can be very rewarding and the end result is an exceptionally nice model. 

Some of the finished kit's details in close-up
If you've always wanted to try a WnW kit but have been put off by the thought of a complex build, my advice would be to get on while you can and give it a go, as it's not nearly as daunting as you think.

A walk around the completed kit...
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