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Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": KLP Publishing eBook now Available!


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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Feb 27/21, Decal Rivets Half Done

Thanks you Gents for your kind comments!


Minor update, but I'm a bit pumped.  I've started to add rivets to the Starboard side, and with my new found knowledge of how to apply these little suckers, not only am I now relatively fast, I'm actually enjoying it!  Rivet lines are straighter, film comes off early, no rivets are lost, decals strings are not sticking too soon and the added detail looks terrific.  I am now certain that this bird will be a stunner with several shades of Alclad, especially the High Shine ones.  That is all....;)




Edited by chuck540z3
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What an outstanding thread!! I am learning much about the complexities of natural metal finishes!! Chuck, your work is truly superlative and makes for some fabulous opportunities for the community to improve their skills, if they so wish. Thank you!!

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Hey guys, as I continue to add a few more thousand decal rivets, LSP Kevin has just sent me the a copy of his new eBook of my Tempest Mk V build.  He did a fantastic job of sifting through my cluttered WIP thread to make it nice and clear and added a lot of new information on both the kit and aftermarket items that are available for it.  It also has a few of my tutorials on how to apply a gloss black finish like this build, apply a camo paint job, decant paint from a spray can, use paint masks, apply HGW wet transfer decals and do salt weathering.  The book can be found at Kevin's website here:


Building the Special Hobby Tempest Mk V in 1/32 Scale





Edited by chuck540z3
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March 4/21


Well at long last, I’ve finally finished adding the entire second HGW decal rivets sheet, which combined with the first sheet is 9,460 rivets.  With a few throwaways during my second decaling session, there’s at least 9,300 of them, which isn’t all that impressive considering how tiny they are.  What is impressive- and a TON of work!- is that I estimate that I cut out and added over 600 tiny decal pieces.  The math here is that each strand is 172mm and there are 22 strands per sheet, for a total of 3,784mm per sheet, X 2 sheets = 7,568mm.  Most of the decals I added ranged from 5-15mm, for an average of likely 12mm, or 630 of them.  The reason for so many is that strands over 15mm were very hard to handle and place straight before they wouldn’t move anymore, so you need to move quickly with smaller pieces, which made it much simpler, but also very time consuming.  Over 4 days I bet I put in at least 30 hours, so I’m very glad it’s finally over!


Anyway, here’s another pic of what the decal strands should look like while they dry, ideally for 6-8 hours.  With Microsol releasing the glue underneath the film, it should look a little messy, which means the glue is working and it all wipes off easily with a damp rag after the film has been removed.  I am also very happy to report that I lost hardly any rivets on the starboard side, so the liberal use of Microsol was the key.  They are also surprisingly tough!  I didn't lose one rivet to being rubbed off with my hands.






And when it’s finished.  I added a bunch more of them to the port side….






And a bit of a walkaround if you want to use my positioning of rivet strands for future reference.  They aren’t perfect by any means, but I think they are about 80% accurate.









I think this added fine detail tones down the large panel lines and averages the overall look to something more realistic.




And the other side.  Remember, much of the recessed fastener detail doesn’t show until it’s painted, so you are only seeing about 2/3’s of this detail.



















I’m pretty happy with the result, despite all the extra work.  Next step is what the heck do I use to create a metallic polished aluminum finish and still be able to apply decals to it?  I found that some of the spoons that I painted earlier with several shades of Alclad had already started to discolor and stain a bit due to handling with my oily fingers.  You guessed it, it was all the shiny ones like Chrome and Airframe Aluminum, while the Chrome for Lexan just about rubbed off completely, which isn’t too surprising since it’s not really meant for outside surfaces. 


This got me to thinking that the main reason why the High Shine Alclad paints are not recommended for masking tape and decal solutions, is because they don’t bite into the primer coat like the other darker shades of Alclad.  They smell lighter too, so the thinner in them is less “hot”, rendering them more fragile.   So what if I added Tamiya lacquer thinner to them?  This thinner bites into the Tamiya gloss black lacquer, so maybe High Shine Alclads will work better if mixed with lacquer thinner.  So I did another experiment and while I was at it, I added some Alclad Chrome to X-22 clear coat, to see what it would look like.


Here are the results, which turned out pretty good and better than expected.  Alclad will indeed thin with Tamiya lacquer thinner, with only a slight reduction in shine.  The Chrome + X-22 was a bust, however, because the metallic particles just float in the clear coat, creating a metallic flake shine with poor coverage over the black undercoat.  It looks kind of cool if I was painting a car, but I’m painting a jet instead.






So after the paint dried for an hour, I rubbed the spoons with my fingers and found that the finish did not rub off as easily as it did before, so I was excited that maybe I had made a discovery.  You can Mask this paint and not worry about it lifting, but what about decals and decal solutions? 


Here are the two spoons again, but with a kit decal with decal solutions on the left and just a drop of Microsol applied to the right spoon.  The clear film under the decal turned a bit cloudy, while just the drop of Microsol ate right through the paint.  Dang!  Back to the drawing board!






With all the extensive work I have put into this model adding decal rivets and the disturbing results of decal solutions above, I have no choice but to go with a clear coat, even if it does knock down the shine.  A decal solution mark on top of all this work is a disaster to be avoided at all costs!  Since X-22 worked fairly well on my P-38L build, I’m now going with that and since it knocks down the shine a bit, I should start off with as shiny a finish as possible as follows:


  • Apply Alclad Chrome to everything.  It’s a bit too bright and shiny, but I need to overdo it first, then let the clear coat knock this down a bit which also changes the color darker
  • Spray a thin coat of Tamiya X-22 to everything.  This will allow masking and the application of decals
  • Paint specific panels darker shades of Aluminum and Stainless Steel, etc., to replicate references and add some interesting complexity
  • Paint specific fuselage details like antennae, which are dirty yellow/orange, and red around fuel caps
  • Add all the decals, being careful to minimize decal film
  • Seal in the decals with more X-22.  This should help eliminate decal film edges
  • Weather the paint here and there, including adding “scratches” by dry brushing metallic washes


So here is the first coat of Alclad Chrome on everything.  Remember, it’s supposed to be too bright at first!  Note the subtle “oil-canning” of the engine area, caused by the internal detail of the fuselage parts.  Pretty cool, considering I did nothing special to retain it.....








I was also pleased to see the tiny rivets on the rectangular panels on the spine still showed up through the thin paint.






Now you can see the recessed detail show up alongside the slightly raised detail, which gives it a more interesting and complex look.  I spy a little decal film remaining on one corner of the gun/fuel door above the fuel cap.  VERY easy to do, since the film is almost invisible.  Thankfully, it's an easy fix.








While some might think the rivets are raised too much





They are very subtle, as shown when you let light reflect off the panels.  Almost invisible from this angle....














I love these last 3 shots….










I am SO glad all this rivet detail is over, but by what I see, I think it was well worth the effort!





Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar 4/21, Decal Rivets Done!

Looks awesome with that coat of Alclad on it!  I think that with all the visual interest of the rivets, different Alclad shades, weathering, etc, having the clearcoat in the mix to ensure the decals work well is not going to be intrusive at all.  I’m really looking forward to seeing you build up the finish from this great base.

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I have only one question; how are you able to still see anything, how have you not gone blind after that Homeric Rivet Odyssey? 

In all seriousness, Chuck, that work (and blood and sweat, no doubt) is at a level that surpasses superlative!! Your work is inspirational, and your posts make fabulous lessons! (I think I may have said this before)... apologies if I am repeating myself but your work leaves me quite speechless. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. Cheers!!

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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": KLP Publishing eBook now Available!

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