Built date: March 2016
This model kit has so much potential to turn into a fantastic model. The cockpit is good as is, but when I compared it to photos of the real aircraft it is obvious there is still some room for improvements. There are many bundles of electrical cables hanging all over the deck of the rear cockpit. I made the cables from flexible fishing tie wires.
I improved the seats by adding cushions and seatbelts which were made from Milliputty. I scratch built an improved shroud and instruments for the rear observer’s instrument panel by using styrene card stock.
I painted the cockpit overall with Gunze Sangyo H307 and highlighted with H57. Overall, the finished cockpit matches the reference photos I have of this aircraft and that’s all that matters.
The wing joints between the outer wing panel and the main wing is rather flimsy as the joints are all edge joints. I followed another modeller’s lead by reinforcing this joint with styrene bar stocks glued to the inside surfaces of the wing panels.
The kit provides two engines so that both engine nacelles can be displayed open. I’m too lazy so I’m only building one engine. I added hydraulic tubing to match reference photos of the real engine.
Each main landing gear wells were enhanced by scratch built bulk heads and hydraulic tubing.
After I completed sanding of the glue joints, I did a quality check on the whole model by reflecting a light on the joints. Then I applied a thinned wash of black paint to check if all the panel line and recessed rivets are still in place after all the sanding. Any missing rivets or panel lines were rescribed. To enhance the double-slotted Fowler flaps, I scratch built the upper small flap and added it the kit flap. I tape up the model to protect the cockpit and engine and I’m ready for painting.
For this model, I choose the grey camo scheme used on VMO2’s Serial # 55479. Some of the best reference photos I found on the net are these shown below. You can find the link to these photos by Googling “VMO2 55479”
For the overall colour of this aircraft, I used Model Master Lt. Ghost Gray and Gunze H305. The camouflage pattern was free hand airbrushed to get the semi-hard pattern shown on the real aircraft. The over spray around some panels such as on the tail booms was deliberate and was done to match actual photos of this aircraft. These are typical of touch up painting performed by the Maintenance Crew to make repair around those panels.
There are not that many decals to apply for this model so that is perfect for me. I had to make the unit code ‘VMO-2’ with home-made decals that I printed from my ink jet printer. The aircraft code was made from combining other text on the kit’s decal sheet. It’s bloody shame Kitty Hawk missed these markings for this aircraft. The kit decals are very thin and I almost screwed it up a couple of times when I tried to smooth out the decals. So when you do yours, make sure you pool a lot of water on the setting location to float the decal and be sure to remove the water only until you are sure the decal is sitting at the right location.
Next I applied a dark wash to all panel lines and dirty up the model. With this model I tried out two brands of weathering wash: Pro-Modeller Dark Dirt wash and Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color Dark Brown. The Pro-modeller solution did a decent job as a wash and the benefit of this product is that the dried wash can be easily and safely wiped off with water. However, it does leaves behind a ‘water stain’ type effect which can look bad if one was going for a pristine finish. The Tamiya product flowed much better than the water product but it is an enamel based product and required an enamel solvent to wipe off, which if used excessively can remove the acrylic base paint.
Finishing this model is very slow due to so many little parts to assembled and each requires delicate painting and gluing. One such example would be the green house canopy. That alone took me 3 days of preparation before I dared to glue the pieces together. To my surprise, the green house came together fairly good however, there are some minor gaps but if the windows are displayed open then the issue with small gaps are solved. Noticed I even painted the cockpit side edge with warning stripes.