Forum member icekj (Ken) submitted this great build report, detialing not only his Thunderbolt build, but his progress as he re-enters the hobby.
In the spirit of the military I am going to do an after action report before showing the fruits of my labors.
Build a Revell 1/72 P-47D-30 in Maj Glen T. Eagleston’s markings from the 353rd Fighter Squadron, 345th Fighter Group. In this build I wanted to learn two new techniques. First being my first NMF build so I wanted to learn to do a passable NMF. Second being my first work with resin. Had a resin cockpit and tires for this build and wanted to learn how to work with them.
Learned quickly that resin is softer then most the plastic used in kits so a gentle hand and slow going is a must. The cockpit kit was for a Hasegawa kit so I had to do some fitting to get it in there, ended up not quite getting it perfect. The cockpit leans to the right and is angled down to the front. Sanded away a bit too much of the fuselage above the control panel so I had to fill that with putty and sand it down. Working with resin introduced me to my new friend Mr. Razorsaw, I think he and I are going to get along very well for years to come.
My first try at a NMF was bad. Tried to spray games workshop metal paints through a airbrush and got a rough texture because droplets of the paint were drying between the tip of the airbrush and the model. After sanding the model down with 2500 grit sandpaper I tried Tamiya Flat Aluminum and was VERY happy with the results. I ended up having to sand the rear half of the airplane down a second time and re-painting with Flat Aluminum a second time but I will get into that later.
Along the way I found that the Hasegawa decals I had from a P-47D bubbletop kit with Eagleston’s markings were disintegrating as soon as I would place them in water. This lead to learning a new technique I had not anticipated. How to rescue decals. I bought some Microscale liquid decal film and through some trial and error learned how to use it. I learned that you need 4-5 coats of the liquid film for what I was trying to do. I ruined many pieces on the sheet finding this out. Luckily they were for the 2nd aircraft on the sheet that I was not modeling. After the 4-5 coats are laid on in waiting about 20 mins after each coat the decal can be used. You just have to trim the decal as if it was on a full sheet of decal film and not the shaped film most decal sheets now use. The result was a thicker film then I usually use but I did not have to shelve the build for a few months while I tried to hunt down the same decal sheet to complete the build.
After the first decal disintegrated I decided to try my hand at painting the black tail stripes and invasion stripes on the bottom of the fuselage. I got the areas masked off and sprayed the white for the bottom of the fuselage. No problems other then the metal finish paint tends to lift part of it with the paint, not in chucks like paint that did not adhere but like a partial layer of the paint, if enough masking and lifting was done eventually there would not be enough pigment left for a good color. I let the white dry for about 6 hours and then masked off the areas that were to stay white and sprayed on the black.
Everything still going well……let the model dry 6 hours or so and started removing the masking. All of the white areas came up with the masking, the fact that the pigment of the metal paint would come up was my foil. The adherence of the metal paint to itself was where the bond let me down. So after looking at it for a bit I broke out the 2500 grit sandpaper again and sanded off all the stripes and partial white areas. Washed and let dry overnight and then painted on a coat of Flat Aluminum the next day. Let that cure for a couple days and then a coat of Future. Another 2 days of curing and I was right back to where I was before the decal and stripe situation.
Each build I do my ability to squash out seams and rescribe the detail lost is getting better. I like the process of the ProModeller dark wash for the panel lines better each time I use it. I really like the fact that the smoothness of the surface you apply it on to determines how much is left and not the rub off technique. A glossy surface leaves just panel lines and recesses with the color and nowhere else. I assume that a flat clearcoat before using the ProModeller product would make the aircraft look more weathered.
I personally like a “cleaner” look so that is what I go for. I will be using more resin cockpits and tires in future builds. I really like the detail to time ratio these parts give. Someday I am sure I will work with some photo-etch parts too but that will be a learning experience in the future.
The new techniques I learned with this build were very enjoyable. I learned that I can stay positive and focused on a build even when things do not turn out the way I want them to. I will try to hang on to that as much as I can because after all, this hobby is supposed to be fun and not a exercise in frustration.
To The Future:
Getting a NMF technique that gives a good result opens up quite a few builds for me for my “Top 20 US Aces” project. Of those 20 aircraft 10 will utilize a NMF; 5 Lightings, 2 Thunderbolts, and 3 Mustangs. I will probably want to add some resin wheels and cockpits to the future builds for this collection.