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Weathering a Spitfire!

Lighten Up!

I use a generalized rule of thumb I pirated from a Scale Aircraft Modelling article from about 20 years ago -- lighten colors for 1/32 aircraft about 10-15 percent from the bottle, 20-25 percent for 1/48 scale, and 25-30 percent for 1/72 scale and smaller. As this project reminded me, this is a general rule of thumb. The point here is to make it look right to your eye, not to follow strict color codes.

I also used a 60-40 or 50-50 paint-thinner mix in most cases for airbrushing, depending on out-of-the-bottle consistency. The old saw about "consistency of table cream" is still a good rule to remember.

My airbrush -- a Testors internal-mix, double-action using Aztek tips -- worked well with this paint mix at about 13-16 psi. I also use a Campbell-Hausfield QuietAir compressor with a moisture trap between the regulator and the airbrush.

Loading the airbrush with Testors Model Master RAF Interior Green, I misted three light coats of paint over the canopy, in the wheel wells and on the main gear legs .I used unlightened paint because I needed a more intense green to show well through the canopy framing. After that dried for a day, I filled the wells with blobs of poster mounting putty (Blu-Tak is the best known brand, but it comes in yellow and white as well -- color doesn't matter) and covered the gear legs with folds of Painter's Tape.

The aft fuselage Fighter Command ID band and the assembled spinner were sprayed with unlightened Model Master flat Sky. The spinner was set aside, and the band masked with strips and patches of Painter's Tape.

I mixed up a batch of Testors Model Master Medium Sea Grey with 20-percent flat white -- the underside color for the post-1940 RAF Temperate Land Scheme -- sprayed and found it looked almost as dark as the upper Ocean Grey in color photos from the WW II period. After letting that coat dry a day, I went back with a spray of Medium Sea Grey with 30-percent white that made things look more scale-like.

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

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