Still lots of way cool builds going here! Peter, your B-25 is coming along nicely, and yes they do tend to be tail sitters! I'm confident that you'll resolve the issue. I'm a fishing weight person, and still stir my paints with a toothpick! I was a bit surprised on visiting the gallery that only three of us have uploaded our finished works, don't forget to upload them!
If you've not guessed by now, I was really jazzed to do this group build, and I'm very happy with my choice. If you get the opportunity to build the old Monogram/Revell B-25J don't be afraid of it. It's a great kit, with just a little work it turns out very nicely. Aside from the expensive decals, I also added a set of True Details seats, as they are quite visible from the cockpit and the kits are less than banner. I also purchased Eduard's Mask set for the kit, a purchase that was well worth the money. This is by far the most expensive kit for me to date. 54 USD, I'm a bit on the frugal side, so this was way over budget. Ironically, the wife got me the Tamiya F-14 for my birthday, so I've yet to pay more than this for a kit, hahaha!
Many a book have been written about the 340th Bomb Group. For me, none are better than Joseph Heller's tribute to them, where he served as a navigator, in his book "Catch-22". Since reading it numerous times, I've also got the real story behind the 340th. Not to give an in depth review here, my build focused on the planes following the German air raid of May 13-14 1944.
Prior to the air raid, all the planes were natural metal, and after the raid they were hastily painted green topside. With whatever green paint was available, be it olive drab, RAF dark green or Italian Green. Flying from Corsica, these paint jobs weathered quickly, and lend many possibilities for the average modeler!
I chose to model "Ruthie" from the 340th BG, 489th Bomb Squadron at Alesani, Corsica. With 108 missions completed, she was a true survivor, and I opted to do her as she looked during the Fall of 1944. So, a sharp paint job that had a good bit of wear and tear on.
While at first glance "Ruthie" may appear to be nude, she's not. I think she's a rendition of a Vargas painting, which at the time were pretty risqué artworks, but from what I'm told, they were pretty good moral boosters to the troops. Prior to purchasing the Bombshell decals, I spoke with the wife, and got full approval! Yes, she picked "Ruthie".
First order of business was to do a natural metal finish. Throughout the build, I made it a point to check all seams, and to polish any sanded areas, then I used Tamiya gloss black to double check my work and lay the foundation for the Alclad II Airframe Aluminum. All other paints on this project were Tamiya.
First up, Alclad II:
Next I masked the bird in preparation for the green topsides. My first attempt was XF-81 Dark Green 2 (RAF).
I then proceeded to chip off the green around the engine fronts, and various panel lines that would be in the prop wash, blowing any dirt and sand up from the airstrip. This was fun, but not the best chipping job I've experienced. I'm thinking that environmental issues are striking me again with the high humidity here. In the past, tape and toothpick yield a great chip job (think IJN late war paint jobs).
To my eyes, this green was not the RAF Dark Green I'd known. Having done some P-47's of the 56th, that used a very nice RAF dark green, and having a hangar queen still sporting some of the Model Master color, off to the mixing room I went! My version was 3 parts XF-81, and 1 part XF-70 Dark Green 2 (IJN). I diluted this 1:4 with Mr Thinner 400. I then airbrushed over the orginal paint job.
Satisfied with the color, I sprayed a mix of Future, cut 25% with IPA and a drop of dish soap, and glossed the bird.
Then came decaling. These decals are some of the best I've ever used. Worth 21 USD? No, but you get enough decals to do 2 birds, so really it's 10.50! Ha! Frugal to the end. Anyone wanting the leftovers, let me know, I can cut you a great deal on "Briefing Time".
Green and decaled!
Finally, I added the little stuff, gear covers, dorsal turret, waist guns/glass, and the radio wires. Note: MTO allied aircraft have this feature, unlike their ETO counterparts. Based on the radio used. I used EZ-Line for this, securing the lines with some leftover "E" guitar string, drilled and plunked in with superglue. Most post paint weathering was done with Mr. Color 182 Flat Clear.
Finished! I think it depicts a well worn plane close to the color pictures I was able to find on the web.
To all of you participating in this historic event, I thank you! This has been a most pleasurable build for me, and I highly recommend this kit to anyone willing to do some basic filling. I also recommend getting Eduard's mask set. This is the first time using them and my only regret is not opening the package sooner! I masked the wheels, only to discover that they were included in the mask set. All in all, I'm pleased with the outcome of "Ruthie", and hope you enjoy her as much as I.
These historic group builds are in my opinion the best! Thank you Michael for the opportunity! To all my fellows out there, keep it up, great builds so far, and upload those finished pictures!
Have fun, I am!