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Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!


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6 minutes ago, Hemi said:

Chuck, I admire your work and thank you for taking the time to share with us. I wondered if you had considered metal foil for your CF-104. I remembered seeing this article on LSP and being impressed with the result. https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=2604   I look forward to future updates.

 

 

Thanks.  The topic of using foil comes up often for obvious reasons.  There's no better metallic finish than real metal, but there are significant challenges in my mind:

  •  IMO, and it's only my opinion, most foiled models do not look that good, especially when you can see close-up pics.  This isn't always the case, obviously, and your example above is one of the exceptions.  Peter Castle's (airscale) Spitfire also comes to mind, but none of his models are "normal" either.  They are precision works of art.
  •  A lot of the foiled models you see look "thick" and the foil covers a lot of fine panel line and rivet detail and don't look natural.
  •  Doing a good foil job takes a lot of practice and I would guess a ton of practice to accomplish something that looks good.  I don't have the time or inclination to try this for myself, but I certainly admire those who do. 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

 

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Thanks for posting your Alclad experiments, Chuck.  I suspect there may be some batch-to-batch variation (or age effects, as you note) in Alclad's products.  My bottle of Dark Aluminum is much darker than the reference shade (101 plain Aluminum) and does not shine well even over a very glossy black base coat.  I have suspected that there may just be something wrong with my bottle of it, and your result reinforces that.  Also, my bottle of Duraluminum is a markedly different shade than 101 plain Aluminum, and is also glossier - paint two side by side panels with the two of them and it's really visible.  In this photo the little access hatches and the reinforcement around the horiz stab root are Duraluminum, the rest Aluminum.  And the rudder is White Aluminum over flat gray primer (obviously the base coat makes a huge difference).

pmNo1hjjj

 

With apologies for the brief hijack.  I'm still trying to master the intricacies of Alclad, so appreciate your info and pictures.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing how your rivets and scratched effects on the upper fuselage come out!

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6 hours ago, chuck540z3 said:

Hi David.  Thanks for your input and I would agree with you that the Polished Aluminum may have changed with time and no longer looks like it should.  Having said that, it's still not much different than Chrome and Airframe Aluminum.  I'm also done with testing clear coats.  My prior experiments proved that X-22 was the best of the bunch and if I still have to add a clear coat, I'm going with that.

 

Cheers,

Chuck

 

Thanks Chuck, if any of it helps I'm happy. Yep, there is not so much difference in shade, I would say the polished aluminium is a bit brighter/whiter, straight out of the bottle a little too much for a model. I've not tested the Gauzy stuff yet, but agreed on when airbrushing a clear, the X-22 is the best all rounder. 

 

David

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Hi Chuck,

 

I've been watching your build (and most of your past ones) from the periphery and am always impressed by your corrections and additions. One things that really stands out for me are your efforts to produce such immaculate paint finishes; something which I still have much to learn about! I very much appreciate the time you take to document what you're doing, but more importantly the experimentation (along with excellent photographs) such as those with your alclad trials. 

 

Many thanks!

 

Craig

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3 minutes ago, brahman104 said:

Hi Chuck,

 

I've been watching your build (and most of your past ones) from the periphery and am always impressed by your corrections and additions.

 

Craig

 

Thanks Craig.  I try, but sometimes my "corrections" are actually errors!  John Kim (Thunnus) who is building the Special Hobby Tempest Mk V, is following my build thread to a degree and noticed that I had a lot of trouble with the tail landing gear well.  I found that there were a lot of fit issues which I "corrected" with trimming of the parts and adding strips of styrene.  Well, John has discovered that the reason I couldn't get the assembly to fit very well, is that I had one of the parts glued backwards!  For those who might have followed that thread, it's Part J2 in Step 17.  Anyway, if you glue the parts together correctly, they actually fit quite well. :doh::doh::doh:  Now how embarrassing it that!?  I've gone from shock, to denial of course as I re-checked my work, back to shock and now I'm just laughing at myself.  What a dummy!  :P 

 

Anyway, I am grateful that John figured that out and let me know, because the eBook from KLP Publishing will be coming out on that build soon, so I've been able to have those "corrections" suddenly disappear.  :rolleyes:

 

Back to decal rivets!

Chuck

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8 hours ago, Alex said:

Thanks for posting your Alclad experiments, Chuck.  I suspect there may be some batch-to-batch variation (or age effects, as you note) in Alclad's products.  My bottle of Dark Aluminum is much darker than the reference shade (101 plain Aluminum) and does not shine well even over a very glossy black base coat.  I have suspected that there may just be something wrong with my bottle of it, and your result reinforces that.  Also, my bottle of Duraluminum is a markedly different shade than 101 plain Aluminum, and is also glossier - paint two side by side panels with the two of them and it's really visible.  In this photo the little access hatches and the reinforcement around the horiz stab root are Duraluminum, the rest Aluminum.  And the rudder is White Aluminum over flat gray primer (obviously the base coat makes a huge difference).

pmNo1hjjj

 

With apologies for the brief hijack.  I'm still trying to master the intricacies of Alclad, so appreciate your info and pictures.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing how your rivets and scratched effects on the upper fuselage come out!

 

 

Thanks Alex!

 

The more info the better in my build threads, since I certainly don't know it all.

 

 

As mentioned I am beginning to apply many, many decal rivets and have found out the following so far.

 

  • The rivets are sticking to their backing real well and I've had hardly any separate.
  • They come off the backing almost immediately in warm water
  • They stick almost immediately as well and are hard to move around.  The solution is to cut shorter segments
  • Once the decal dries and the film is pulled off, the rivets are quite hard to remove without marring the paint.  This is good and bad- and I found a solution for that too.
  • The rivet size I bought is working really well for width, so I am able to try and replicate every major panel line without them looking out of place or too crowded
  • Getting perfectly straight lines is impossible- at least for my old eyes and hands.  Under a coat of Alclad, these imperfections will be less noticeable
  • Doing every panel line is also impossible- and would look silly
  • I figured out a solution for the clear coat dilemma.  Since this model doesn't have that many decals to begin with, I will only clear coat the panels where decals are placed.  Not totally accurate, but a lot better than spoiling the Chrome finish on most of the model and it will add panel color contrast.  Besides, the wings are painted anyways and that's where the biggest decals go.

 

Here's a sneak peak of what I've done so far.  First my "Decaling Invention" to keep the sides of the model horizontal and safe, which I also used on my Tempest and Harvard.  Using luggage on wheels, open the top zipper and shove a bath towel inside, which will protect the paint and hold the model securely while you apply decals- and you can roll it around!

 

JnsJXR.jpg

 

 

A close-up of the decals that were placed according to reference pics, along with decal film and glue residue.  When this dries overnight, I can pull off the film and clean the glue with warm water.  At this stage, I think I'm about 1/4th done on the port side, or 1/8th done for the whole model, which took me about 3 hours and I still have lots of horizontal decals to apply as well.  That means about 21 more hours unless I get a lot faster with practice, which is likely.

 

 QKcpLP.jpg

 

 

Later Gents,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Feb 24/21, Decal Rivets Begin!
23 hours ago, Scale_artisan said:

"I figured out a solution for the clear coat dilemma.  Since this model doesn't have that many decals to begin with, I will only clear coat the panels where decals are placed."

 

Don't you think that this will create a different shade, even after matt-clear coating the model, on those panels?

 

Absolutely!  If you look at a pic of the real deal, many panels are different colors/shades of aluminum and I want that complex look.  However, the panels with significant decals that will likely get the clear coat aren't necessarily the ones I want to be different, so it's a compromise between accuracy and being able to leave some panels bright Chrome without a clear-coat.  I also won't be using a matt-clear coat on hardly any of the model as well, which really changes the color of the aluminum panels a lot.

 

Of course these are all changing ideas as I plow through this build and try to adapt to the obstacles I encounter, so nothing is certain until I'm finished. 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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February 26/21

 

I’ve applied HGW wet transfer decals 3 times now, on my Spitfire, Tempest, and now this CF-104.  The Spit and Tempest worked perfectly with no issues or lifting, so I was certain that I found the magic formula, which is to let the decals dry for a long time before even attempting to lift off the film.  Otherwise, I generally followed the instructions fairly well, other than to use Microset rather than the recommended decal solution of Mr. Mark Softener by Gunze.  I started on the front of the fuselage and things went fairly well as shown earlier, although I could tell I had gotten myself into a LOT of future work!  The odd rivet came off, but those were easily fixed and rather than deal with decals that were generally round like my Spit and Tempest, these rivets are in long strings instead.   With the super thin decal film attached to them, they are fairly hard to move around once they hit the model, which takes a lot of coaxing with a fine paint brush and more decal solution. 

 

After experimenting a bit during my second big decaling session, I found that cutting rivet strings of about ¾” was the sweet spot for getting enough rivets on the model to make it worthwhile and still be able to move them around, but they could still be a bit sticky.  Thinking about this a bit more, I came up with the brain wave of using no decal solution at all and going with straight water.  This worked terrific and my progress increased dramatically to about 50% faster than before.  However, after letting the rivets dry overnight, I started to peel off the decal film and found a DISASTER!  About half of the rivets did not stick at all and peeled off!  :BANGHEAD2:

 

 

wEISEn.jpg

 

4sq9rs.jpg

 

 

So what was the problem?  Maybe a bad batch of decals and how do I fix this mess?  Add more rivets, only to experience more of the same adhesion problems? Sand them off and repaint, Shelf of Doom, What?  I was not a happy camper.  :angry2:

 

Of course by now you already know the answer, but it took me a good 10 minutes to figure it out.  One thing that struck me when I started cleaning off the decal residual glue is that there wasn’t a lot of it, maybe half as much as the first decaling session shown earlier, when the light bulb finally turned on:  These rivets NEED decal solution in order to release the glue, which is why they were so hard to move around when I used Microset in the first place!  Having wasted 6 hours of decaling the previous day, I started to experiment a bit more before I committed to anything lengthy for the third decaling session.

 

With nothing to lose, I removed a bunch of the remaining rivets (more on that later) and applied a few new strands of them, using Microset again this time.  I let them dry for only about ½ hour and again with nothing to lose, I peeled off the film anyway and made a new discovery:  The decal film came off cleanly and I did not lose one rivet!  Decal solution was the answer and drying time isn’t as important as I once thought!  With this new found knowledge- and a huge sigh of relief, I got back to work yesterday and finished the entire port side of the model in another 5-6 hours.

 

So here are a few pics of my completed work on half the model, with the following caveats:

 

-        According to many reference pics of the real jet with a bare metal finish, I tried to follow actual rivet patterns using adjacent fuselage detail as a guide.  Not perfect by any means, but fairly close

-        Not all rivet lines are equidistant from each other on the real deal, so I tried to replicate something similar as well

-        There are probably at least 4,500 rivets applied (more on that later too), which is likely only a tiny fraction of those on a real jet

-        I did not apply decal rivets on the bottom or the very top that is hard to see- and photograph.  As picky as I usually am, you have to stop somewhere!

-        Some rivet strings may appear to be missing due to kit recessed rivet detail that is already there, but you can't see it with the dark black paint

 

 

Nj2iCN.jpg

 

 

A few close-ups- and all better now. Whew!  I even applied some super tiny decal rivets on the 3 big panels on the spine.  A few came off, but I can barely see them on the real aircraft either that come and go, so I don’t really care.

 

 

1pJ6VD.jpg

 

 

ltkRCd.jpg

 

 

wCixH6.jpg

 

 

The front, but now with some horizontal rivet lines to go with the vertical ones.  Test panel is placed next to fuselage to maybe show what this will all look like when painted with Alclad Chrome or similar paint.  To give you a sense of how raised the rivets are, I can barely feel them when running my fingers over them.  This to me, is almost the perfect way to replicate rivets without depressions or highly raised rivets.

 

 

Il8aMO.jpg

 

 

 

To do all these rivets took one package of HGW 322011 which only has one sheet, for only $6.  Each string of rivets is 172 mm long and there are 22 strings, for a total of 3,784 mm.  At 0.8mm rivet spacing, that’s 4,730 rivets and if I threw away about 200 of them as re-done after my stupid mistake, it’s close to 4,500 a side or 9,000 when I finish the other side.  That’s a lot of added fastener detail and I think it will tone down the large panel lines and big recessed fasteners.  After all, every model will have the look of the sum of it's parts rather than one single feature?  Wishful thinking?  Time will tell  ;)

 

Now another Tutorial while all this stuff is still fairly clear in my old head.

 

How to apply HGW Wet Transfer Decals

 

HGW Wet Transfer Decals (HWTD) are quite a bit different than ordinary decals, in that the decal film is pulled off the decal rather than settle on and around it with decal solutions.  There are 4 layers to the decal sheet, with a tissue like protective covering, a clear film, the decal or rivet itself, and the backing. 

 

  •           Remove the tissue like covering, making sure to not remove the clear film underneath, which I found out the hard way is easy to do
  •           Cut out the decal leaving a lot of decal film around it, which will give you something to grab onto when you want to remove it later.  For long strip of rivets, about 4mm wide is sufficient
  •           Like all decals, dip the decal into very warm water.  These decals take only seconds to be released from the backing that way
  •           Apply either Mr. Mark Softener or Microset (never Microsol) decal solution to the area where the decal is to be applied
  •           Slide the decal off the backing to the surface and immediately start moving it around with either your finger or a tight cotton swab.  This will not allow the decal to grab onto something dry, which makes it stick, and it helps the decal solution to be applied to the entire underside of the decal which is important
  •           Once the decal is placed where you want it, wick up any excess water with a tissue.  If it moves, move it back quickly before it dries
  •          “Burnish” the decal film down with a microbrush to remove any water or air bubbles
  •           If the decal sticks and you can’t move it, use a microbrush with the head cut off at an angle and gently “dig” at one corner of the film until it lifts.  When it does, add more decal solution to a fine paint brush and slip it underneath and move it around so that the entire decal has been lifted, then reposition.  These decals are surprisingly tough and they rarely break, because the film is soft and flexible rather than hard and brittle like regular decals
  •           Apply the next decal, but not immediately right next to the first decal or you risk moving it again.  These decals stick and dry fairly fast, so you only need a few minutes before you can do so
  •            When the decals are dry, use the microbrush with head cut off to poke at the edge of the decal film until it lifts.  When it does, use fine tweezers to remove all the film, being careful to not scratch the paint with the tweezers
  •            Wipe off glue residue with a damp rag, like an eyeglass microfiber cleaning cloth with no lint
  •            Check for decal film that has not been lifted yet, which is very easy to do and leave behind.  If the glue doesn’t wipe off with the rag, odds are the film is still there 90% of the time
  •            Apply a clear coat or paint to all decals to seal them in
  •            Drying time is variable, depending on many things like humidity, size of the decal and how much you value the decal itself.  For hard to replace decals, use at least 8 hours and even longer to make sure the decal is totally dry before attempting to remove the film.  For easy to replace decals like rivets, ½ hour to an hour may be good enough, allowing you to add additional rivets over existing ones in a short period of time to keep the decaling process rolling
  •            For rivet lines that cross each other, do one orientation first, let it dry and remove the film, then do the other orientation on top of it.  The first layer will not lift if done properly- and I haven't had it happen yet
  •           For rivets that lift with the film- and there will always be a couple- simply repair with new ones no matter how few or how small.  Remember, the rivet isn’t attached to any film to strengthen it like regular decals, so size doesn’t matter
  •            For rivets that are out of place that you want to remove, simply “scratch” them off with the microbrush with head cut off.  Once done, remove any rivet particles with ordinary Tamiya tape, since the particles will tend to stick to the smooth surface.  Existing rivets that you want to keep will not lift with the tape- and if they do which is rare, they should be replaced anyway.

 

Here’s a pic of my tools for applying most decals, including these HWTD.  On the left is an electric cup warming coaster, that keeps the water very warm.  These decals are released from the backing in about 30-40 seconds when the water is cold and only about 10-15 seconds when the water is warm.  On the right I cut strips of decals about 4mm wide with scissors, which is straight down the middle of each row, and segments are cut according to size with a #11 knife.  Below that are the other tools I use, which are all very important: 

 

  • Paint brush to move decals around and get under them when they become stuck;
  • Fine Microbrush to rub the decal down to remove air and water;
  • Above with the head brush cut off at an angle that is sharp enough to dig at the edge of the decal film, but soft enough to not scratch the paint;
  • Fine but hard cotton bud to move the decal around much better than fingers.  You'd be surprised how well this works
  • Fine tweezers to remove the decal film when dry

 

kchLUL.jpg

 

 

Now on to rivets on the the Starboard side, which will be seen a lot more than the Port side with open cockpit and Avionics bay (which is why I started on this side) and hopefully no more stupid mishaps!  This will take awhile…..

 

 

Cheers,

Chuck

Edited by chuck540z3
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That's a great rundown on the HGW technique, Chuck.  Having just finished my second project using them (stencils, not rivets, although you are really making me want to try the rivets...) I've landed on a lot of the same method details as you have.  Like you I almost exclusively use Micro Set to wet the surface where I'm placing them, and find that 2-3 hours is enough to get them stuck down so you can remove the film.  The only exception is when they need to go down over a 3D surface like the fuel filler caps on my P-51 - I carefully wetted those with a bit of Micro Sol before putting the transfer down, and pressed it down hard with a Q-Tip to ensure it bonded to the whole 3D surface.  And left it overnight.  Instead of the headless microbrush, I whittle a toothpick into a tiny flat chisel shape to pick up the corner of the film when they're dry.  And then grab it with ABS plastic tweezers.  Haven't scratched any paint yet.

 

You did an amazing job getting those rivets lined up nice and straight and square, too!  Really making me want to try them...

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Thanks Alex!  In a bit of a surprising way, now that I know I can remove the decal film sooner than later (on rivets at least), I now actually prefer to remove the film sooner than later.  Once totally dry, the film tends to shrink into small hard tight spots in panel lines and rivets and is sometimes very difficult to remove.  Partially dry, like less than 2 hours, the film is elastic and still flexible enough that it allows me to pull it out of these tight spots with ease.  As long as the rivets remain in place, I'm happy!

 

Cheers,

Chuck

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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": Mar30/21, DONE!

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