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1/32 Kitty Hawk F-5E Kicked Up A Notch. Oct 3/19. Finished!


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25 minutes ago, chuck540z3 said:


I hope so.  For those who might have missed it, this is the template, although nobody makes decals for this VFC-13 jet, so I'll have to compromise with a bit of a "what if" and use VFC-111 decals instead.  Note how clean and shiny it is- and I don't care that it's likely that way just for the air show.  If it looked that way for even 5 minutes, that's what I'm going to try and replicate.


give Advanced Modelling Products a hollar on facebook he might be able to help you out with some decals for that bird I know he did for my F-4..



Frederick Jacobs

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23 minutes ago, stusbke said:

give Advanced Modelling Products a hollar on facebook he might be able to help you out with some decals for that bird I know he did for my F-4..



Frederick Jacobs


Thanks Frederick, but I already did some months ago and they are no longer doing custom decals.



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2 hours ago, periklis_sale said:


Any tutorial on gloss black? Ot gloss?


Sure, here’s quickie in sort of chronological order.


  • As with all good paint jobs, the most important thing is to have a smooth and clean surface to begin with.  You can’t spend too much time sanding and smoothing the plastic.


  • I bet many of you guys thought I was nuts with all the fairly deep and prominent rivets that I re-punched and scribed all over the place, because it was sort of looking like an overdone Trumpeter kit.  I overdid this detail on purpose, because after a few coats of paint it gets filled by at least 50%, so you need a bit of overkill to still see it after painting.


  • I used decanted Tamiya Gloss Black Lacquer in the TS-14 rattle can line of paints.  After decanting the paint and letting it sit overnight with a loose cover, I add about 40% Tamiya lacquer thinner, because I know it is very compatible.  This paint sprays very smoothly and it dries to the touch very quickly.


  • I usually use my ultra-fine Iwata airbrush with a tiny 0.18 mm needle for most of my painting of small parts or any Alclad, but for broad spraying of the entire aircraft, the more commonly used 0.3 mm needle works much better, so I use another Iwata airbrush for that.  The smaller needle will work OK for a minute or two, but then it will start to sputter, while the bigger needle rarely does.


  • Before you start to paint, remove as much dust as possible and then use compressed air from a rattle can to get the remainder off.


  • I set the shut-in pressure on my compressor to a bit higher than normal at 23-24 psi, which sprays at about half that pressure in the 12-16 psi range.  Experiment with the pressure on your setup, because a pressure too high will cause air turbulence and “dust balls”, while a pressure too low will sputter over time.  This spraying pressure is also influenced by a host of other variables, like humidity, air temperature and how much the paint is thinned.


  • Fill the paint cup of the airbrush with a pipette at all times, because you don’t want any crap from the lid to get into the cup.


  • Have really good light and also directional light, so that you can see reflections to see if the paint is wet vs dull.


  • After blowing a clearing shot of paint elsewhere, start spraying near your body and move away from it in one direction.  Get the paint WET, but continue to move on once it is.  If the paint isn’t wet enough it will orange peel and if it’s too wet it will run.  You will find the sweet spot with practice.


  • Every few minutes or so, blow another clearing shot away from the model to keep the nozzle clean.


  • Paint in a continuous motion and always near where you just were.  It might be tempting to stop and paint other areas, but if you do, you could leave ridges of dry paint behind.


  • Paint just one horizontal surface at a time so that gravity is working for you and not against you.  This allows you to get the surface nice and wet without any fear of runs. If you’re painting the top (or bottom), don’t paint the sides until the top is dry enough to handle.  When doing the sides, hold the surface horizontal, or 90 degrees to normal.


  • The first coat should be quite thin and just enough to cover the model to check for flaws.  When the paint is dry for about 24 hours, fix the flaws, then re-punch rivets or re-scribe surface detail lost in sanding.


  • Apply a second coat of paint after removing all dust, but this time thicker and wetter than the first.  When dry, spot check and lightly sand out any crap that always manages to find its way onto the surface.  Spot paint the repaired areas, but not the whole model, to reduce paint build-up in the details.


  • Let dry for about 48 hours before handling it with your hands for any length of time.  While seemingly dry to the touch, oil on your hands can create fingerprints that need to be sanded out and repaired.

That’s about it and like all painting, practice, practice, practice to come up with a routine that works for you.




Edited by chuck540z3
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July 26/19



Inching along towards the finish line.  One major addition is the big center line fuel tank, which my subject usually has strapped on.  In many pics of modern F-5E/N’s, the vertical fin has been removed, leaving the base attachment, so I cut mine off.






Something missing is a fuel cap, because you’ve got to get the fuel in there somehow! I used another spare PE brass disk that I also used on the top of the fuselage when I moved the fuel caps from the starboard side to the port side.






Painting circular objects can be tricky, so this wire contraption worked out quite well to keep the tank suspended without touching anything.






The other side.  I will put a red circular decal on that fuel cap later.






Now some real fun and before somebody alerts me to the fact that the titanium panels at the rear of the jet are often dull, I will be adding some semi-gloss lacquer to knock down the shine a bit later.  For now, it looks pretty cool with all that raised rivet detail.



















Next up are likely decals and here’s my plan.  As cool as the gloss black finish looks, it’s too shiny for scale and I still need something to seal the decals in so that decal film edges will be minimized.  To do this, I’m going to be spraying the entire model with Tamiya Semi-Gloss Lacquer right after decals, which will also tone down the shine of the titanium panels and exhausts.  Fingers crossed that I don’t regret this!





Edited by chuck540z3
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Minor Update.  I've been told that Tamiya lacquers might attack the decals, so I'll seal them with X-22 first, followed by the semi-gloss lacquer, which is what I usually do anyway.


That is all,


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1 hour ago, flarpen said:

Hi Chuck
I have to ask, you may have mentioned this before, but, why do you decant TS-14 spray paint?
What do you gain from doing this instead of using standard Tamiya gloss black from a bottle?





Several reasons:


1)  Through a "rattle can", you are stuck with the viscosity of the paint as it comes out of the can.  Decanted through an airbrush, I can thin the paint to make it finer.


2)  I can control the air volume and pressure to get what I need for the application at hand, which allows me to spray closer to the model.


3)  I can control the air/paint mixture, making the surface wet without running.


4)  A good airbrush nozzle atomizes paint much finer than a plastic nozzle on a can.


It's all about control.  The most common painting flaw is "orange peel" or a rough surface.  With the ability to control the above, this flaw is minimized, so that you can get results like this.  The only drawback is that a smooth glossy finish reveals every tiny flaw, like the sink marks near the aileron that were not visible before paint.  With further coats of paint and a dull finish, these flaws disappear completely.  On this glossy black F-5E build, however, I'm stuck with them and therefore need to repair them as they are encountered.











Edited by chuck540z3
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