Motivated by the progress of the Zero builds, I finished my TBM-3 Avenger. Another great Academy kit. The instructions could have been a bit more involved, but I was able to get the job done. I’m always a stickler for an open canopy as well. Aside from that, I really can’t give an honest complaint.
Assembly went well. Joining the fuselage halves was tricky with all the interior parts that need to join with the opposite side. After you accomplish that, it’s calm waters with the rest.
I chose to go with the late WWII paint scheme of Sea Blue. I also ditched the provided decals and used a set of Micro Scale decals. This was a great kit. I enjoyed building all the way with this one.
My workbench has been a frenzy with activity lately. With the completion last weekend of the American Zero, the desire to finish the Japanese Zero increased.
Academy did a great job with this kit. Simple, yet still able to keep my attention, these Zeros were a fun twist to my normal builds. Assembly went well with no hiccups. All around, they were both smooth builds.
Painting bare metal is not my favorite to do, but I am pleased with the results. I used Model Masters Chrome Silver for the overall color. I also picked a few random panels to contrast the shiny chrome. I used Testors Silver for that effect. I used the pencil weathering method on this one to make all the panel lines stand out more without making the plane look dirty. My spare decals came in handy on this build. Luckily there wern’t too many decals needed.
The Japanese Zero was painted with Model Masters Japanese Army Light Gray. I used my normal pastel weathering for this one to show its use in the war. The decals were a bit tough to work with. Tearing was the main issue. I was glad to have two sets of decals so I could afford a few mistakes.
Successfully, I have kept my pace from the weekend and continued my progress tonight. I was able to get the final color on the Avenger. Also, I airbrushed the Zero’s yellow waist band and applied the decals. Both Builds should be done in the next couple of days.
While those kits sat idle for dry time, I went ahead and started a new build. I actually could have come close to finishing it tonight. My next two builds are both drones. I began Skunk Models MQ-9 Reaper tonight to get a head start. I never expected to get as far as I did. This is my first attempt with Skunk Models. So far so good. The kit looks well detailed but the plastic is a bit on the soft side. It’s a minor issue that I can get over. The Reaper should be complete within a few days.
The other drone I’ll be building is Platz’s X-47B. Upon review, it looks like a simple build. I think (hope) this one will be the same as the Reaper.
This weekend sprouted many sessions at the workbench. I was able to finish two builds and get close to finishing the other two kits. The first to be cleared for takeoff is the Stearman.
My timeline for this build was pathetic. Given the small amount of pieces along with the total size of the kit, this should have been done last week. Regardless, here I am with the Stearman complete.
The build itself went quite well. Very little sanding was needed along with zero filler. The painting actually took longer to complete than the build itself.
The recall paint scheme came out better than I expected. I was a little worried the blue would bleed through the mask and make a huge mess. Thankfully, pulling the mask off revealed crisp blue stripes.
I went in a different direction with the weathering on this one. A recall plane would stay relatively clean so I wanted to show cleanliness with a little bit of weathering. Instead of using pastels, I used a #2 pencil on the panel lines to give a minor amount of wear.
Another new technique for me was the rigging. I’ve tried to pull this off before with horrid results. This time I approached the preparation in a different way. In the past, when I gave it a shot, I tried to use black thread for rigging. It has always ended up with me getting frustrated because the thread wouldn’t be tight enough without pulling the opposite end loose. This time, I stretched a foot long thread, taped at both ends to a pair of spray cans. I coated it with super glue and let it dry. When it’s ready, you’ll have plenty of stiff rigging to use. This time was much easier using this method. Also, it adds a great detail to the kit.
This set of builds has become like a slowly melting icicle. The week brought almost nothing to the table. I was, however, able to get a tiny bit completed and I think this weekend will blossom great results.
The Stearman finally received its stripes this morning. I couldn’t find the exact color in my research, so I used Tamiya Sea Blue. It’ll be close enough. I’ll pull the mask off later today and do some slight detail work before I apply the decals.
The Avenger is my success story of the week. The fuselage halves were put together Thursday night. Last night saw the seams get sanded and primed. This turkey will get its wings on this afternoon and any gaps that need to be filled will get taken care of as well.
Painting on the Zeros is at an in-between stage. The Japanese Zero will get painted this afternoon. The American Zero will get a little more detail to its finish. I sprayed the entire plane with Testors Silver this morning for two reasons. One, it acts as a good primer for bare metal finishes. The silver shows all the imperfections in the plastic, such as scratches from sanding, that could ruin your final appearance. Second, I want to break up the finish with some different variations of silver. I’ll mask off a few random panels before I airbrush the final coat of paint, giving the Zero a little contrast.
My progress has been sluggish this week. I haven’t laid a finger on the Zeros or the Avenger since the weekend and I don’t foresee them receiving any attention until next weekend. Until then, I have been inching along with the Stearman. All major construction has been accomplished along with the base color of Flat White applied. The challenge of all the masking was accepted yesterday successfully. I’m hoping to get the last color airbrushed tomorrow. It won’t take long after that to get finished.
It’s officially the weekend and now is the time where I make my progress on all of my awaiting builds. The four kits sitting on my workbench are no exception. I have been crawling throughout the week spending a few mini-sessions prepping for this weekends push.
The Stearman is leading the way with all major construction finished. I need to do a little masking before it’s ready for an overall coat of flat white. After the white, I’ll mask off all the striping and spray it with a dark blue. This one should tentatively be done soon.
My progress on the twin Zeros is better than expected. As you can see in the picture, I have the fuselage halves together along with the wings. They both look like minimal sanding will be required with little or no filler needed as well. The plan is to have these ready for paint by Monday.
The Avenger doesn’t look like I have done much, but I really have. All the cockpit work is complete and installed. I would have the fuselage halves together if it weren’t for the rear machine gunners turret. I was hoping to mask the hole and get the plane painted before I installed the turret. It turns out that I can’t take that route. Now I will paint the turret first, then install it and just mask it when I mask the cockpit off. Not a favorite option, but problem solved. I also installed the windows in the fuselage.
Clear parts are a bit of a downer on WWII planes. It’s mainly in bombers, but the Avenger sports interior windows that need to be masked off. I have found a way to do this with ease. First, I glue the window in as usual. Second, I take a piece of packing tape (cut to size) and place it over the interior side of the window. After the glue dries, the tape secures the window enough to easily mask it off. No more windows falling out during paint prep.
It seems that the Avenger will be the last to complete. Although I have been wrong many times before. Regardless, this is a great kit so far.