Airfix 1/24 scale Hellcat.

BarryW

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Looking good Barry..going Back a step or two how did you do the seatbelts. They look amazing?
carl
Hi Carl
They were simply sprayed an appropriate tan shade, buckles picked out with the AKI wax metaliser silver, a semi-gloss varnish coat (two needed) then I did enamel washes with two different brown shades. A final matt varnish overall with the buckles then picked out with a gloss varnish. The belts are the kit plastic ones.
 

BarryW

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Well I am back.... the missing part has not arrived from Airfix yet....

so on with the engine wiring.

I started off as recommended in the Airfix instructions using 0.7m copper wire (received from John) and decided to start with what looked like a more complex ‘odd’ section, the bit photogaphed.

1B2DA956-FAF3-4705-9728-AF8D43E9C5BA.jpeg

E, needs to be bent around the back and glued into place but after spending over an hour trying to do it in all sorts of ways decided it was impossible. The copper wire needs shaping first, if you don’t you cannot bend it into position after gluing one end in place, the wire is too thick, the glued end just pops out of the hole. As for ‘shaping’ the piece, not so easy at all, you are always left try to get the other end to match up to its hole with the other end opting back out in the process. The glue end does not give the strength needed. Fortunately I only have to worry about how it looks from the front so I cut off the back and only glued one end. Eventually after 90 minutes struggling I got to this.

7E69D656-286E-4D44-A535-9F2FC92CE966.jpeg

So I changed tac. Instead I used 0.5 lead wire as it bends easily and being smaller fits more easily into the holes. Also I did not worry about anything not seen from the front and in less than a minute I added two more leads.

8934634B-6973-475B-A1A8-8776A6E0A3F7.jpeg
OK, not perfect in appearance but once it is done, painted, weathered and engine covers are in place it will be fine.

So, on this kit ignore what Airfix say to use, it does not work and will drive you up the wall trying and if you want to display the kit engine leaving the covers off, good luck with that, I know some people have managed it, somehow. Incidentally, I used thick c.a. for this initially when struggling with the copper but I will use medium for the rest.
 
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Jim R

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Hi Barry
Worked out fine in the end. Bending short lengths of copper wire is very difficult.
Jim
 

BarryW

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Did you anneal the copper wire? Run it through a lighter flame and it becomes more pliable.
Thank you - I didn’t so I might try it on another build. I have always used lead before.

Using lead I have managed to get it done relatively quickly. Still a bit to do. The picture shows where I have got to.

Some elements are still quite tricky, it is harder than it looks. But it is getting done, I am so glad I don’t have to worry about it looking good from any angle other than the front though. Once I have it sprayed and weathered It will look fine when all buttoned up.
F441BC5B-525D-4C49-9A43-035CAA76F4E6.jpeg
 

BarryW

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There are a lot of parts to this engine and it takes up a lot of stages in the instructions. It is highly detailed and hats off to Airfix as the fit is really quite good but the tight tolerances do mean that you have to clean the parts up carefully. Lots of dry fitting is needed along with some scraping and sanding. It is not a job for beginners, I certainly did not find it easy. I am thankful that I am not having any open panels as that would have made the job a lot harder, at least to get it to the standard I would want. In fact I am not sure that I could get a satisfactory result doing it that way and I really admire those who manage it. My advice, unless you want a lot, and I do mean a lot, of headaches, build this model with panels closed and construct the engine on that basis from the start.

What would I do differently at this stage? Regardless of what the instructions say, leave off the front detail, wiring etc, until the exhaust piping at the rear is all done. OK, that would mean you cannot access it to do the wiring at the back of the engine, but at least you would not have to repair broken visible front parts from the struggles to get the exhausts into place. You cannot do that if you want the panels open of course....

some pics

The front of the engine all wired up.
1EB5669F-4E37-4B52-88FC-3038DDDE517D.jpeg

Exhaust pipes... lot of them, most being in two parts. They fit OK but it is a struggle to get them in the exact right positions, threading pipes, some pressure needs to be applied and that leads to some parts coming away at the front. Cement the two parts of sub-assemblies together and let the cement fully dry before fitting them to the engine. Make sure these parts line up exactly.

Below is with the first couple in place and others lined up, in order, waiting to be added. You need an organised workbench for this as it is inadvisable to mix these parts up.
D8AD0B55-C705-470D-9644-4D4BD615D665.jpeg

Here are more engine parts and subs cleaned up ready to be added, again in the order needed.
25763982-4907-4107-B756-F922B7466039.jpeg

A close up about half way through adding the pipes....
4F015301-DE4E-4682-835B-745EAD4B984A.jpeg

Here is a dry fit of the front engine panels. It won’t be fitted until a lot later and after painting the insides and engine.
B0BA8D88-068A-453D-8138-D3ADF2845C15.jpeg

Another picture of the engine without the front,
CD8321B9-8062-4420-B2E7-3A590B59DEED.jpeg

Hardly any of this will be seen, of course, take it from me that it is best that way. The picture looks better than it really is and if you sat it side by side with a picture of it fully wired and prepped for it to be shown you would certainly see the issues.

F85C117D-5425-4943-AB42-1FA07A0F60B1.jpeg

So, here is where I am at, two pictures of the cleaned up parts and sub-assemblies done so far.
0707634E-0C7D-4471-A21C-5A0E5DFA38F3.jpeg

824A80D8-7256-41F1-AB6E-104ACA193840.jpeg

The engine panels are laid out in order...

Right now I am very close to the point where I cannot continue until that missing part arrives from Airfix. I have the undercart, some flaps and a few ‘odds’ parts to sort out then I will be doing some painting of the engine and a few other areas. Maybe seven or eight more sessions before I am stalled., taking into account weathering the engine. Hurry up Airfix!!
 

KarlW

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That certainly is a detailed engine, not sure if your trials are putting me off or pushing this up my "to buy" list.
 

BarryW

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I finished cleaning up parts and the sub-assemblies are now done as far as they can be until they are either painted or I have been able to progress the build.

so, while waiting for the missing part I have started the painting with black primer (mostly)

I have most of a bottle of Alclad primer that I got to try out and thought I would finish this off. It is very much like MRP, just a little more matt.
BC8B2D9A-C43E-4AD0-96D2-24EC19157C5F.jpeg

I also used a littLe MRP Red Oxide on a piece that will largely be red, I find that primer underneath makes reds really vibrant.

These parts are those that I decided to work on In some way before continuing the build. A few pics of primed or partially primed parts.
F27AB5BE-488A-4CA2-88FA-7C98FC5D41DF.jpeg

11D9260E-19CB-4F32-AE7A-0735BC6D66BA.jpeg

4C451C59-1FB3-4989-9B01-DD4E2FD0CB52.jpeg
Above is the red oxide part. That will take a bright signal red and some aluminium.

A close up of the engine, I primed only areas that will be seen at the front.
D5C1C24C-DE4C-4995-9D3D-EFC9CE4318E0.jpeg

I have seen these engines beautifully painted in silver, copper and grey. I m not sure how realistic that is though, other than for well kept museum and show aircraft. I will just be using the metal powders below and some washes, to bring out the detail. I may not be 100% accurate but engines just look right to me this way.
AE1E247A-0C65-4B26-BF53-C3616A96316F.jpeg

I will post pictures of progress on the engine in due course.

I will also be spraying and In some instances hand brushing some detail using the colours below on these parts.
2A3F080B-4703-404A-A1E3-76BF4F831739.jpeg

First though, I must treat a few seams shown up by the primer. The bombs mainly. I applied some Mr Dissolved Putty and I will sand them down later when fully cured.
69C28D43-43CF-4013-A3A5-05C371ABE3E7.jpeg
 

Jim R

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Hi Barry
That engine is a thing of beauty, very neatly done. As in your other builds I am impressed with your organisation and planning.
Jim
 

BarryW

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Two shots of the engine. A mix of two types of Uschi Metal Powders, Chrome type which is a bit shinier and Steel type that has a hint of blue. The latter mainly on the front housing the prop shaft comes through. I did not bother with washes in the end as I felt the metal powders achieved the look I want. It was dry brushed overall but applied with cotton buds on the housing, polished and rubbed in.

3E27C7BB-6C1D-45BB-BE39-DE8EA75D871B.jpeg

Below with a dry fit of the front.
7D9C5EBC-25E0-4CA9-BADE-E6477CC3000A.jpeg
 

BarryW

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Some more part preparation.

First, I recommend giving the primed parts a wipe with a polishing stick. or if you have used MRP a most coat of Mr Levelling Thinner. This helps make sure that you get a perfectly smooth surface.

I painted some lights, I will fit the transparencies and mask them off.

6F4C8D2C-76C6-41BF-9A20-64E19079DC10.jpeg

Now, you will all have been told, paint light colours first. Most people also think that yellow is a problem colour for coverage....

Well not only can you turn that first rule on its head but you can get a perfectly even, solid, lighter colour over black even yellow, wherever you want to.

I can demonstrate with the propeller. First I marked off the prop tips. I cut a piece of masking tape to size and apply it to the tip of the prop as below.
DC3EB016-5314-481B-B7D2-E2083D85CF4A.jpeg

It needed a bit of adjustment to get it level and then, another piece of tape placed snuggly up against it.
4F5DFEF3-6C20-4991-80BE-6D04FAF7DFC6.jpeg
remove the tape from the tip, repeat on all prop tips, extend around the back and all the prop tips are masked with exactly the same width.

CC71BBCD-0D0F-4550-AFE8-8442D46EAEC6.jpeg
Above I extended the masking down the blades and masked the hub as well, as that too needs a coat of yellow.

A quick look at how I am holding the spinner, a piece of sprue superglued into the hole, don’t use much c.a. just a little and it will snap way when done.
F90E081B-27A5-4590-9CEB-4E1162BA9ED3.jpeg

Here is what I am spraying with.
D29AB3BE-FF9D-4D2F-A45C-1004675ED71B.jpeg

First a few very light coats of the sand primer, it is slightly matt and an ideal base for yellow. Don’t worry about getting a solid colour, not necessary.

A5F135ED-5FEE-417C-9AB4-B34EADFEE1C2.jpeg

3859D81D-388A-410E-9CC7-6B72EF2AC550.jpeg

Now your chosen shade of yellow. Again only a few light coats are needed.

B44238B4-AB0F-432C-B980-D3315EA542A9.jpeg
A perfect solid yellow sprayed over black. Who said yellow was a problem, who said always spray dark over light!

so, why spray a black primer anyway? When you want to modulate and vary a topcoat for a more realistic weathered effect. There are times when black basing is not the best method, my F/A18 for instance, but for most WW2 aircraft it can really enhance the realism of the model. Also it creates shadows deep in detail often in places your washes won’t touch.

Here is an overall shot of other parts now sprayed with their top coats. There is still some detailing needed. And weathering.
96FECFD4-DDEA-4982-8642-95DA8D867D2E.jpeg

The black basing certainly helps the appearance of the wheels, for some other parts I wanted a solid colour. The tyres are sprayed with MRP’s very nice tyre rubber colour, the best I have seen. A dry brush with brown pigment is ll they now need.

Finally - the prop, masking removed.
63BBBE8E-A363-49F7-83FC-8440325281BA.jpeg

Perfect.... a spot of weathering is now needed....

The missing part is on its way, so Airfix have told me.....
 

Jack L

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Love the tip for spacing the mask on the prop tips...never thought of that one before! Thank you.
 

BarryW

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Have painted the yellow stripes on the bombs and as I am covering off some modelling basics here is how I approached what can be a tricky process.

It is important to get a good base line. For that I used some very thin tape.
22D05EAF-3F54-40E6-8BDC-D1C11DBA76F5.jpeg

once in place I started masking the tail, first a piece of tape between the fins.
F64EAE17-5A1F-46DC-AE51-E7DF32C40358.jpeg

then the fins themselves
5E3B4583-DD9F-42D0-914A-FDCC02AD2D30.jpeg

A spacer tape, using Tamiya curve tape of the right thickness butted up to the base line. Then I applied another, thicker, section of tape butted up against that.
04823A83-151A-4ACB-90C2-086A1C7B1DB5.jpeg

Then extend the masking down the bomb and then remove the spacing tape.
You get this
720900FA-E3F8-4DB5-A181-490816A741B4.jpeg

Spray your yellow (don’t forget the sand primer first)
Remove the masking, you then have this...
F44BC323-7371-45DB-A236-7AB91EA5D32D.jpeg
Not perfect on the zoomed photo but they look pretty good ‘in the flesh’.

Here are the bombs and prop with decals done... they look OK but I needed to apply some softener to the bombs due to the curves.
F08C56B1-592C-4A7A-8507-8040948B455D.jpeg

Fortunately I did not do so to the prop as it was not needed, because the MIG decal softener I used seemed to react to the paint. It the first time this has ever happened with these paints but it is only the second time I have used the MIG softener, I won’t again. I tried washing the surface hoping it was just softener but that did not work.
57276D66-53F1-4AB6-8493-EE55C8DD4F29.jpeg

I could repaint but I won’t have the decals and it’s impossible to paint around them. Consequently I have decided to use the smaller 500lb bombs with the kit instead so I will start on the to tomorrow and, make no mistake, I will not use the MIG softener again. So, while disappointing and it’s causing me a little more work it’s not really a problem.

The missing part arrived so I can get in with the construction tomorrow
 

KarlW

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Bugger! Or similar such words......

I would be tempted to try a different softener over that, just in hope more than anything else, like respraying over varnish "bloom". You've nothing to lose.
 

Jim R

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Hi Barry
Thanks for the masking tips and the 'how to spray yellow' method - certainly works a treat. Shame about the MIG softener. It may be worth giving Karl's suggestion a go. As he says nothing to lose.
Jim
Great that Airfix came through with the part.
 

BarryW

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Bugger! Or similar such words......

I would be tempted to try a different softener over that, just in hope more than anything else, like respraying over varnish "bloom". You've nothing to lose.
Good suggestion. I will play around when next at the bench.
 

BarryW

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Some fun and games fitting the wings.

the top wing must be slid into a slot fitting. To be fair Airfix do say in the instructions that some sanding might be needed. Quite a lot actually and that is after some sanding I did in a test fit at an early stage.

Look...at the bottom you can see where the part slots into.
F2B4E380-E014-462B-A0EF-33FDC7868AA3.jpeg
It is tight very tight
get to this stage and it refuses to go further.
ADEB6B94-0622-49F7-8BD5-4E33DE34C638.jpeg

so I had to do a fix then I got this...
B91582B6-4758-489E-887F-58883A408C74.jpeg
it’s home but not a perfect fit. Lots of filling and sanding to do.

a modification I had to do - see the ‘square’ angle at the top
BE133CC5-25E4-421A-8981-4FC69930FE79.jpeg

It needed sanding at an angle to get it to slide into position
5A1B6A0B-43C7-41EF-9D73-C1BAB7EF1874.jpeg

That finally did it.
But, it was a struggle as the gun barrel broke off, always a problem when we have to fight a kit and sometimes use force. I got off lightly as other protruding parts bent but did not break.

Not a problem it can be glued into place.

But, I cocked up, when looking at the other wing I realised the middle gun should also protrude a little....

I am not sure yet how to fix this. I may see if I can get metal gun barrels so I can drill them out and glue metal one into place.

EF862B2F-1ABB-44DE-9791-FEA70F9A8E7F.jpeg

It was a real issue getting the two parts of the wing to meet up. Pressure had to be applied and clamps just slide off and could not be made to hold in the right place. So while the cement dried I had to maintain pressure.

On the other wing I did a lot of sanding to see if I could improve the fit. I also cut away some raised tabs as well as on the first wing I could not get the rear part of the wing completely flush. It will give me an issue with the flaps and aelerons.
3EA64DEC-178E-4C9B-A3A5-0E1BB7A9056A.jpeg
below is what I mean
F5BB57D6-C088-44EC-B823-D7ED7BF41B9F.jpeg

I did what I could with it, carefully carving away some plastic. It improved but was not perfect. The other wing, again not perfect but thangs to the major surgery I did it was a bit better, front still an issue but the rear fitted a bit better.

A52E527C-3644-4B94-8562-01E40D3D4163.jpeg

The problems are partly caused by warping of the awful cheap Airfix plastic and the over-complex engineering. Quite frankly, the wings really let down this kit, very poor engineering indeed.

in some way they have improved over the Tiffy but this kit, overall, is inferior to that. After all, the only real issue with the Tiffy was this crap plastic.

we will see..


Now I have to decide how I am going to sort the guns.
 
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BarryW

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A quick p.s. to this.
I am really glad I decided not to try to have open panels on this kit. All the painting and work for that would be ruined by the struggle and work to get it all to fit. It would not be fun at all.
 

BarryW

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I have ordered set of brass barrels, a Master set. I will have some drilling to do to fit them but does any know if it easy to cut the brass down? If so what’s the best tool for that?
 
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