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Weathering a Spitfire!

Keeping it Clear

Attaching clear parts before painting may seem an unnatural act -- maybe it is -- but doing so carefully can add more realism to a model by making the frames look like part of the aircraft structure. Since the Tamiya parts fit so well, I didn't have to worry too much about filling large gaps between the clear framing and the fuselage. Using sparing applications of Ambroid ProWeld, the windscreen and rear fixed section fitted in a tight, scale-like panel demarcation.

I use Parafilm M for most canopy masking. Once you get used to the idea of using a fresh X-Acto blade and a light touch to cut along canopy frame lines, the stuff gives much better results than masking tape, clear tape, masking fluid, PVA white glue or any other masking medium you can choose for canopy masking.

The cockpit and canopy insides were then covered with strips of 3M blue Painter's Masking Tape and damp facial tissue (Fig. 2). A wet brush allows you to poke and prod the tissue to seal off openings, while the Painter's Tape removes easily with effectively no residue up to seven days after application. I also masked the main canopy section inside and out, mounting it on a piece of dowel rod.

Humidity is a summertime occupational hazard in my area, but I had to wet sand only a couple of small sections of orange peel with 800 and 1,000 grit before wiping the Spit down with a denatured alcohol-soaked piece of t-shirt and a tack rag.

Using the various commercially-available military standard paint raises an issue -- the paints are generally mixed to exact milspecs and are going to look unnaturally dark on a model due to scale effect. Generally speaking, the further a full-sized painted object is away from you, the lighter the colors are going to appear.

Copyright 2002 - Text and Photos by Mike Still (modelcitizen62). All Rights Reserved.

Project Photos

Figure 2

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