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1/18 Scale Blue Box F4U-1A Corsair Modification


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23 hours ago, Maybach_man said:

If you are actually using Stainless sheet, it may be that it is Austinitic ( non magnetic)...that could be part of the issue 304 and 316 are two.


You are right - many stainless steels are non-magnetic.  However this thin sheet of steel I have is.  There is a good strong attraction when a little magnet pellet is dropped onto the sheet.  The reason I am getting a rather weak attraction is that there is some plastic gage between the steel sheet and the magnets.  Couldn't help it.  It's OK though, the panels stay in place just fine.     


22 hours ago, Maybach_man said:

When you are etch priming you only need the thinnest of coats, almost a mist coat then leave for 24 hours or so. would it be worth asking someone like Pheonix whether they would mix some ZCP coloured etch primer?


I will keep that in mind when I next have to use the stuff - for the forward fuselage that ship has sailed.  However I am so paranoid that I will get paint lifting, I might lay on a little more  than "the thinnest of coats".  Yeah a real YZC colored self-etching primer would have been great, but read on for my work-around.  It's OK.


Speaking of the forward fuselage - here it is awaiting the next steps:




All I have done is to lightly sand the primer'd surface, and paint black on the panel lines.  Next is a silver coat (Tamiya AS-12 bare metal silver, decanted for the airbrush).


Since my last rookie post, I have spent hours watching you-tubes of chipping via the hairspray method.   Thank you Thomaz (TAG) for providing links to those videos.  I quickly became convinced that double hairspray chipping is the answer for exposing both YZC and alum - it's done all the time.   It goes like this:


1.  primer

2.  aluminum (silver) coat in areas where chipping will take place 

3.  hair spray in areas where chipping will take place

4.  YZC in areas where chipping will take place

5.  chip away at the YZC to expose the silver layer

6.  seal with clear coat (flat is best)

7.  take a picture of the silver chipping for reference

8.  second coat of hair spray where chipping will take place

9.  tri-color top coat

10. chip away at top coat to expose YZC and alum layers

11. seal with clear coat (gloss or semi-gloss) for decals or stencils


I practiced on my two other nose cowls:




The left one was the success, and convinced me I could move on to the real thing.  


Here it is in work:




At that point in the picture, I am at step 5 (5.  chip away at the YZC to expose the silver layer).  Next would be a clear coat...


And here is my first attempt at chipping via the hair spray method:
















I didn't go whole hog, pictures of VF-17 Corsairs do not generally show alot of wear and tear on the nose cowl and engine access panels.  I used Tamiya AS-20 insignia white, AS-19 intermediate blue (lightened with AS-20 white 2/1 ratio), and AS-8 navy blue (lightened with AS 19 intermediate blue 2/1 ratio).  Just my simple attempt to have some sun bleaching on the paint.  Not very scientific I'm afraid.  Hopefully final weathering down the road will make it closer to the actual beat up South Pacific aircraft.  I may try to chip a bit more, but it isn't easy.  The Tamiya paints are a pseudo-lacquer (or pseudo-acrylic) and are not as water soluble as some other acrylics, I have learned, so it takes elbow grease.   Especially the white.


Accepting all manner of comments.  Next post should show progress on the fuselage painting.  Man does it have acreage!

Edited by JayW
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Glad I could help, those rattlecan Tamiya paints are indeed much hardier than their XF line, but in the end you made it happen. Now that you've got the technique down, the key is to study wear patterns and look at photos of mechanics maintaining the planes to make sure your chips and abrasions end up in the right shapes and in the right places. Congrats, buddy, stoked for you, and happy that it worked out in the end!


- Thomaz

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On 8/18/2022 at 5:53 PM, MOB said:

I would agree with the comment about adding more drying time between coats.  3-5 coats within a day may be asking a lot. Hard to say how all these different chemical layers are interacting.


Actually the pros I watched on you-tube (and they are pros) seemed to get it done quickly as they were running their mouths and recording at the same time.  One guy took a lunch break, and that was his only interruption.  I realize that the time element is affected by recording pauses, fast motion, etc.  Process done in one day.  Typically the subject model was already primed and a base layer laid down (in my case that would be silver).  Perhaps days before.  Then the hairspray, YZC, wet chipping, seal, hair spray again, top coat, an d second wet chipping all in fairly quick succession.  Was stated that the hair spray only needs a few minutes and if it is allowed to stay there for a long time exposed, perhaps it might not activate as well.  Was also stated by one guy that after applying a coat to be chipped and letting it go overnight, that the process still worked OK the next day.  Taking advantage of the relative softness of fresh paint seemed to be a good thing.

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Fuselage painting proceeds, with lots of caution.  This makes me very nervous - I am afraid to death of paint lifting on these aluminum surfaces!  Or painting something I didn't want to paint....


After the self-etching primer, described last post, came the bare metal silver (Tamiya AS-12) base coat, first element of the double hair spray chipping method I mean to use.  It was applied in areas where I want some of it to show (not in areas where it shouldn't), using my new Iwata HP-C+ airbrush with decanted paint.  Hoot hoot!  Silver was shot mostly on the wing leading edge, and the top of the wing where there is lots of foot traffic.  Also around the fuel filler cap just forward of the wind shield, and a couple more small spots.  Oh, and many of the Dzus or Camloc fastener heads.


Then, it was a coat (two thin coats) of medium duration hair spray, over the silver.  I tried decanting some and applying it with the air brush, but I found I just couldn't tell how much or how little was being applied.  So I gave up and just sprayed out of the can. 


Then came the YZC layer (I used Tamiya XF-4 yellow green, which several of us are using to approximate YZC), again applied in areas where I want chipping to take place.  This was thinned about 1/1 with Tamiya lacquer thinner, and applied with the air brush.   I notice many folks thin this bottle paint down more than that.  But I found it to be plenty thin at 1/1.  ??


After that YZC dried sufficiently, I began the chipping process which is to wet down (or damp down - gotta be careful) areas where you want YZC to chip or flake off, exposing the silver below it.  Using a stiff damp paint brush or a toothpick or other instrument, the YZC will indeed start to disappear in a random way.  I tried not to chip off too much; I am interested in showing more YZC and less silver.


After chipping to my satisfaction, I sealed the work up with flat clear coat. 


Here is what she looks like after all that:








Am interested in comments, as this is my first foray into chipping and the hair spray method (besides practice panels).


I tell ya - this model is very large.  Lots of acreage in which to swing an air brush to and fro.  Next is the involved and time sensitive steps of applying another hair spray layer, and then the tri-color top coats, followed by more chipping to expose YZC and/or silver.  You will see that next post.


Lastly, I took the opportunity, now that the top coat chipping was done on the engine cowls, to apply the first stencil (supplied to me gratis by none other than Thunnus):




Thanks John!  More to come.  This from Lee Cook's book "The Skull & Cross Bones Squadron":




The subject I am modeling.  Fingers crossed on the next steps.

Edited by JayW
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Say hello to my little friend:




I will get a chorus of "I told you so's".  I 've used it a dozen times or so, and I learn every time.  I wish I had bought one years ago; what a nice instrument.


And here is the latest progress, thanks to this instrument:




She's so pretty!  Not for long.


South Pacific land based Corsairs got beat up very fast is seems - about as beat up as any WW2 aircraft I have ever seen in photos.  In addition to paint fading there is punishment from debris filled prop wash and maintenance crew boots.   Just about every period picture I see of them shows annihilated inboard wing leading edges, and terribly scraped up wing upper surfaces where there's foot traffic.  Also paint flaking at the fuel filler cap and access doors.  A couple examples, of many many:






This also from the KD431 "time capsule" British Corsair:






Honestly I don't know if KD431 should be used as an example of weathering - It was in service for a great deal longer than typical WW2 aircraft and is just beat to hell and back.


All this to try to justify what I have done to Roger Hedrick's poor #17, using the second steps of the double hair spray chipping technique.  Recall last post I had completed the first steps with silver and YZC.  Then came yesterday - a day I reserved for those next steps.  What a day of as_es and elbows!  I was a busy boy, trying to get the hair spray and then three paint layers laid down, and then chipped before the top coats became too cured and impervious to moisture.  All on a very large model!  Take a look:














Looking for comments.  This is by no means finished.  I think in a few spots too much came off, and I will try to rectify that.  Also, one day the surfaces will get various washes after decals and more stencils, and a flat coat which ought to give it a more authentic beat up look.  Also note that a good many skin joints on the fuselage will be covered with white tape, as was done in service to help with fuel leakage.  I didn't do anything to those seams. 


If any of you think I overdid this please speak up.  I have seen so many examples on LSP and elsewhere, where I think modelers overdid the chipping, and I didn't want to do same.  I can attempt to restore finish in some places somehow, if it's unanimous.   But keep in mind - I cannot overstress just how bad these airplanes looked depending on how new or used they were.  I have some reason to believe Hedrick did not prang his aircraft and kept it a while....


Also note the stencils on the LG doors - #17!  Yahoo!


I hope to show work on the cowl flaps and their mechanisms next post, but I await a new punch and die set from RPtoolz (Australia) to replace my worn out Waldren set.  Necessary for fabrication of the cable pulley wheels.  Ought to be here in a few days.  


Take care and thanks again for looking in.





Edited by JayW
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Marvellous Jay. You appear to be mastering the techniques with aplomb. 

Looking at reference images of the forward portion of the inboard upper wing there seems to be a definite "chequerboard" type pattern to the wear over the rivet lines. Do you think replicating that might be possible? It's something apparent on many reference images and seems to be quite a distinctive Corsair feature. 


On another topic, may I suggest considering artist's pastel chalks as an alternative to a panel line wash?

The dry pastel/chalks are available in a very wide range of colours and hues. They are generally inexpensive, easily applied and worked and just as importantly, easily removed if necessary before they are sealed. 

They can be dragged or pushed using a moist Q top and can create very realistic looking staining. They gather in panel gaps, rivets and fasteners in an authentically random fashion if applied carefully and thoughtfully.

In conjunction with artist's oils for spills and leaks a suitably faded, battle worn or dusty appearance is possible.  


Very much looking forward to the next round of weathering, keep it up. :thumbsup:

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Woo hoo, awesome chipping is awesome!


I've just one nit to pick: I think the chipping around the fuel filler cap and the circular panel around it are excessive, at least from all the reference photos I've seen. The ground crew usually just unscrewed the filler cap to fill the tank, so while there might be some chipping around the edge of the filler cap itself the paint around the edge of the circular panel tended to stay in good shape.


However, nothing some touch-ups can't fix, and it'll make your model look even more authentic, as you noted these land-based F4U's got spectacularly beat up so the ground crews would touch-up the paint regularly, resulting in some pretty wild schemes after a few weeks in the field. Basically, anything goes on these birds weathering-wise and no one can tell you it's wrong because there are scads of reference photos to prove it.


Also, the "checkerboard" chipping that occurred in the wingroot areas where the mechanics trod whilst servicing the planes that @geedubelyer mentioned was definitely a thing, and easily verifiable in any number of reference photos, even on carrier-based F4U's.


Here's a link to a thread that Woody at @Archer Fine Transfers started about weathering Corsairs, I posted a ton of info on there that should be helpful. It starts off with GSB liveries, which isn't the case for your subject, but as Woody is also doing a 3-tone (4-tone? Who knows...) scheme I added some more refs about the early liveries as well.


All in all, big ups on your newly acquired chipping skills, Jay, you're a natural!



- Thomaz





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