Over time paint discolors, chips and eventually peels off the surface of an airplane in a variety of shapes and sizes. Usually it happens on edges and corners of panels, and around rivets and screws. To simulate this effect, I went around the edges of panels adding random spots with Tamiya X-11 chrome silver using a small brush.
The photos show that it looks a bit too sharp right now, just like the paint peeled of minutes ago. My next step will be to make the effect look a bit more convincing by going over the chipped areas with thin grime color (a 50:50 mix of black and red brown) to tone back the peels and blending them into the overall weathering effect.
Getting the elevator and optional rudder servo in place is done in a snap. The aileron servos are a bit more complicated to say the least.
I had heard before that it could be quite hard to string the servo wires through the wing, but to my surprise the first one passed through without any worries on the first attempt. The second one was not as easy.. The pull string was tangled around the internal framing of the wing, so it didn't even move to begin with. Once I got it loose it turned out to be extremely tight in that wing half, because it took me forever to get the wire through. I didn't want to cut any holes in the wing, and I'm glad I didn't have to. Finally they were both there (after a lot of blood, sweat and tears).
Note 1: there isn't two pull strings (I thought there was one for each aileron servo), it is actually one long string from one end to the other (passing through the middle).
Note 2: the string is taped to the inside of the wing, just beneath the area that is marked for cutting. Be careful when cutting through this area and when getting the foam out of there.
Somewhere along the way, I lost motivation to complete my Spitfire. Today I finally got a desire to continue, and mounted spacers, motor and ESC. I guess one has to be lucky to get the distance for the spinner right out of the box, but I hope my spacers of ply will do the trick.
Tomorrow it's time for the servos, and it remains to be seen how easy it is to get the servo cables through the wing.
Finally got around to cut stencils and add the tail number. It is impossible to avoid underspray since the frisket film doesn't adhere to the Alfa foam for some reason. Nothing that can't be easily fixed though.
The decals where put straight onto the flat Tamiya acrylic paint with the help of MicroSet and MicroSol. I didn't have any problems with silvering, but since the decals have a glossy surface and the flat Tamiya paint doesn't, it took two coats of semi-gloss varnish to get the proper "painted on"-look.
Alfa decals don't have any large areas of carrier film around them, which is nice. But it also means that it isn't easy to get them on in one piece without twisting and tearing.
The images show the model with added decals and a first coat of semi-gloss. Painted details and all the weathering is not there yet. Left to do is also cockpit (including pilot), and details like machine gun barrels, radio masts, and wire antennas.
A first test in the center section of the wing showed that frisket film does not work on Alfa foam at all! The film just doesn't adhere to the surface resulting in heavy underspray (and a smooth edge). On the old P-51 wing i have lying around it worked just fine to use the frisket film on top of a base coat of Tamiya XF acrylics, but on Alfa foam it won't work.
My second attempt was to add a layer of varnish on top of the base paint, hoping that the frisket film would attach better, but no luck with that. Really weird..
After that I tried using repositionable spray adhesive to get the masks to adhere properly on the Alfa foam. I first thought I would give '3M Remount' a go, but then I found out that it contains acetone and that does not work with foam nor Tamiya acrylics. I found another brand (without acetone) and gave it a shot. Luckily I tried it in the center section of the wing again, because the solvent in the glue attacked both the varnish, paint and foam.
So, with no ideas left I today decided to use the frisket film, try to hold it down as much as possible and spray with a low pressure. Unfortunately some underspray occured, but nothing that can't be fixed.
The attached pictures show the result of the first step of the crown insignias, and the down-toned pre-shading. It is very subtle but is to be followed by usual weathering and perhaps a post-shade step as well.
A lot of time has been spent adding thin coats of the base paint for both upper and lower surfaces, and even though the "build" is progressing it doesn't really feel that it does since the changes are so small. Just finished what I think will be the last layer of base paint, will have to see the model in daylight to judge if the pre-shade is faded enough.
Dropped by my local hobby shop to get paint for the crown insignias and markings; yellow (XF-3), blue (XF-8), and white (XF-2). The yellow seems to fit the bill perfectly, but I think that the blue will have to be mixed a bit to be a perfect match.
There is a reference article on IPMS Stockholm that shows roughly what I am aiming for with my Spitfire (except that my Spitfire will be a 2nd division aircraft with blue spinner and blue letters):
A more general reference for colors can be found at IPMS Stockholms web, http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/helpdesk.asp#color_charts. The first part contains color reference charts with authentic military colors organized by country and time period and part two deals with model paints and color conversions between paint manufacturers.