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Foiled HKM B-25J Strafer - 345th BG Air Apaches - Lady LiL


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Guest Peterpools


Holy Cow Batman, what a story. Can't believe all that happened while I was MIA/AWOL and what seemed like working around the clock. Glad you were able to vent and while not the right way, it's always seems the way I vent went things go south on a build. The Engines and cowling assemblies looks awesome and the weathering is right up my ally: Used but not Abused.

Simply looking tremendous

Keep 'em coming


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Hi Brian,


You're making fantastic progress...


...canopy issues notwithstanding. You're making sure the canopy is well and truly pooched with your fist reminds me of how I used to be with cell phones. I would end up throwing them so much after getting ticked off at lousy reception or some other problem, a friend coined a phrase for me. The last time I did it he said "oh, you dropped another one horizontally". At least they would occaisionally hold up to more than one drop. :P


Just a question, why not just use the Bare-Metal foil for the finish? Or do you prefer your own foils. I know you weather and stain them from some of your previous builds but would it not be easier with the adhesive already applied?


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Thanks for the kind words guys. :)



Just a question, why not just use the Bare-Metal foil for the finish? Or do you prefer your own foils. I know you weather and stain them from some of your previous builds but would it not be easier with the adhesive already applied?



Carl, as to your question........


BMF is an option and I did start my early foiling jobs with it. What I found after working with BMF is 4 fold:


1 - The pre-applied adhesive on BMF is quite weak. It really does not hold on in any kind of small quantities and if you use it for large surface areas, it can and will slide on you if your foiling things panel by panel.


2 - BMF itself is quite weak. Its so thin it tends not to stretch, and instead will just tear. In this same light, it also does not sand or smooth well, and because the adhesive is not as strong, can tend to tear or rip holes in it if you attempt to grain it after installation.


3 - Because the adhesive IS pre-applied, I have found there is no lumpiness due to adhesive, and this is a distinct advantage. However, this advantage is offset by the fact that just the act of smoothing and burnishing even the smallest of imperfections in the BFM can tear it.


4 - BMF is quite expensive for what you get considering all the above.



Thanks again guys.


Ill be cleaning things up and prepping for foil I hope in the coming week. I might even try experimenting with some new foil glue application techniques.

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Thanks for looking in on me guys.



As to the foil, its really like most durable NMF paint job you can imagine.................thus you really dont have to mask anything since you can use (literally) anything to clean it. You can use anything from 90% alcohol to turps to spirits, or lacquer based thinners ( just dont get anything on the plastic areas :lol: ) Its possible if you tried to lift the foil up from a mistake, the paint might pull up.


As long as the paint was applied with good prep, and has good adhesion to the plastic surface, and as long as its cured, there wont be any issues with the foil adhesion. Its like foil on any surface though.................its a 1 shot deal. If you get it wrong................or have a hair under the piece.............your done. There is no pealing it up and re-attaching it. Pulling up the foil is possible, but it ruins the glue/foil mating surface and spoils the smooth finish needed to attache the foil blemish free.



Well its a large update this time around gents...............


I started off by getting the cowl flap push rod situation taken care of. To get the look of the actuator rod within the open hole like the 1:1 I had to find a way of getting the intake rod secured inside the actuator hole........suspended if you will.


This started by measuring around the intake/cooler ring plate and dividing equally in between the holes I had previously drilled -




Next with the help of the styrene strip and rod, I placed some 1mm rod pieces on the marks a couple mills from the holes, then took the super thin strip and glued it around the rod like so –




Next, it was just a matter of sticking in the appropriately sized smaller styrene rod for the actuators themselves –




I painted these a mixture of gunmetal and aluminum after these pics were taken –




I was going to attach this cooler ring with the installed actuators on it in each wing, but then I started looking at the delicate nature of the actuators themselves and even though they are plastic and a little flexible, I guarantee I would have broken some of them off during the foil application…………..so I left them off until I get near the area where the seam at the top of the intake is, then I will glue this to the wing. This will hopefully keep the broken oil cooler actuator breakage to minimum.






So, if I'm not attaching the oil cooler ring then there’s only 1 thing left to start…………


Let’s get cracking on the FOIL!!!!



Well its time to start foiling this beast. Its going to take a LONG……..and I mean LONG time to do this. I only say this since each and every row of rivets on this thing has to be burnished into the foil.


No huge tutorials this time around but I will pretty much go through step by step what I'm doing.

Here is a shot of the mess of weapons I'm using when I start the foiling process –




Some of the major players in the foil front including the obvious kitchen foil, toothpicks, 90% alcohol, Q-Tips, (not pictured however, is the highly useful Vaseline) balsa burnishing sticks (these I love because you can easily sand them into any shape you need and they are soft enough to conform and push the foil down) Crest “Pro-health” toothpaste and Steele wool for burnishing, a piece of thick glass or hardened man made ceramic, and of course MS Micro metal foil adhesive –




I also started this round of foiling unlike any before it Ive done. With all the talk of different ways to apply the foil, I thought a natural progression might be in order. What I mean is this…… I went in a natural progression of applying realistic metal exteriors going in progression:


- BMF – This does work well for some things, it’s just that the adhesive that BMF uses is week compared to the MS glue. It comes off in small quantities and instead of stretching, it tends to rip.


  • Kitchen foil with MS foil glue via brush – This worked well, but not only did it leave streaks, it occasionally left bristles behind…………NOT good in your NMF!

  • Kitchen foil with MS foil glue via putty spreader – This method also worked well, and is what I have been using up until now. It too had its drawbacks including un-even application, and in inconsistent glue thicknesses.


  • Kitchen foil with MS foil glue via air-brush – This is the latest method I have now pretty much officially adopted. It lays down smooth as silk, and as long as you thin the glue to the right thickness, it also dries in a heartbeat, and you can lay down as many layers of glue as you like.


Now on to business!

I basically just thinned the MS glue down to the bare minimum needed to shoot it through the airbrush, loaded it up, and shot at a high 25 PSI, with some tape over the top hole, to help slow the drying of the thinned glue. Since it wasn’t paint, I just cut a notch in the kit box right next to where I am foiling to be extra handy –




I started the usual way on the tile, with a bit of water to smooth things out. I squeegee the water out from under the piece of foil, and this gets the foil piece ultra smooth and prepped for glue. Wipe with 90% alcohol –








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You can either grain the foil ahead of time, with the above mentioned stuff OR you an even grain things after application. You just have to be careful of the grain on surrounding pieces. After cleaning, I shot about 3 – 4 thin coats of the thinned MS metal foil adhesive. This produced a VERY smooth (as smooth foil as Ive ever laid down actually) finish that I am very pleased with. Here is a couple shots before any real burnishing has been done. Only the major panel lines have been burnish down here to see where to cut the overall panel.

Normally I would not be applying such an overall large piece of foil at any 1 time, but in the Mitchells case I wanted to stear clear of the really bad “patchwork” effect as the 1:1 does not have a lot of that look, and a lot of the larger wing panels in certain areas all look of similar sheen/color.


Pre-grained, but still quite smooth prior to final burnishing –






The COOL part of the foiling process with this many rivets is that when you burnish them it almost has a “pre-shade” or even a slight distressed skin effect. Its quite nice. This bottom panel has been grained with Crest PH toothpaste which gives things a slight gray or titanium look. The panel lines only look highlighted at this point because the toothpaste gives off black polishing residue like most compounds do. You can see the distinct difference to a piece of foil grained with XXX steele wool next to it –




This darkness will generally clean off with only a hint of gray left. The distressed skin effect is not as evident here as on the upper wing.


I got both main under wing panels done –




Then moved on to the more complex curves of the two wing mounted intake panels. These presented quite a challenge but the thick foil pulled through –








I then moved on to the upper wing main section. I wanted to get this in all 1 piece too, again to keep the patchwork look to a minimum. There were distinct differences in the panels, but I will replicate this else where, where it more readily appears on the real deal.


In these pics you can really see more of the pre-shade/distressed skin effect that the burnishing creates. I'm really starting to like the look, the more I look at it –








This will all be toned down with a likely very thin coat of clear flat, as the real lady in her tropical environment has quirt dull looking/abused looking natural metal. Ill work on this later after complete foil application to bring the whole finish together...................


Tiz all for now lads. As the US 4th of July holiday approaches (MY FAVORITE!), I have a day extra off, and after watching some fire-works, Ill be back on more foil on this giant lady.


Cheers guys!

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Guest Peterpools


Absolutely exquisite work and the best step by step tutorial on foiling Ive ever seen. It's almost to the point of I have to give it a go the next time the opportunity knocks. Super work on the cowl flap actuators as well. I'm looking forward to the 4th myself and hoping I have the day off but I won't know until later this week.

I just had to go back and read the entire update again and marvel at the NMF/FOIL. Awesome work Buddy, just wonderful.

Enjoy the holiday :beer4:

Keep 'em coming


:clap2: :clap2:

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And finally the business end of the build! Thanks for detailing your evolving approach Brian. A couple of questions if I may. What are thinning the foil glue with? Water? Also, by what ratio? 50/50? I'll have to try this airbrushing approach the next time I use foil.



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Damn, this looks great! The foil is a really cool effect. I'm trying to make sure my Mitchell doesn't look like a patchwork underneath as well.


Thanks for the explanation about your methods and how to make it look good. Will really help if I ever try foiling a model in the future. Great idea on the pushrods, I'm just going to use metal rod on mine since I already attached the cowling fronts. Or I'll close the cowl flaps, not sure.


Keep up the great work!


Matt :party0023:

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