Managed to get some work done tonight. I’m on a roll I guess. 🙂
First I laid blutack around the demarcation lines. I originally laid some masking tape over the darker gray before the blutack to prevent overspray. Too much work though so for the rest I just went straight with blutack.
To make sure I get sharp lines, I had to spray directly perpendicular to the surface. Some touching up here and there will be required but I think the results turned out quite well.
As usual with acrylic paints, some paint got lifted when I removed the blutack and masking tape. I will need to sand these down and respray.
I’ve decided on the color scheme! Nope, not going with splinter camo this time… 😀
For the darker shade of gray, I’m using Life Color Light Gray (FS 36251).
The camo was done freehand.
This is actually my first time I’m airbrushing Life Color and I have to say that while it hand brushes very well, I find ease of use for airbrushing to be in between Vallejo and Model Master Acryl.
I didn’t have to be as precise when thinning it than Vallejo. But even at 15psi, it dries a lot faster on the airbrush tip than Vallejo so I ended up having to do a lot of cleaning of the tip with a wet cotton bud. Model Master Acryl is much easier to thin and doesn’t dry at the tip as much.
I’m considering making the camo demarcation sharper. First though, I’ll let everything dry first.
Work on the cockpit begins. The consoles are all decals. Looks decent enough especially since I’m keeping the canopy closed.
Ejection seat next. There’s quite a few details missing like the prominent canopy breakers and the green oxygen bottle on the left side of the seat. I added seatbelts using strips of masking tape. They are held in place with white glue. Then it’s a simple of handpainting, giving a dark wash and then lightly drybrushing the details.
The kit comes pre-molded with the older AIM-9 missile rails. The Italian ADFs replace these with the LAU-127 rail which allows for the mounting of the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. Hasegawa instructions say to cut off the existing rail and mount this new rail that comes in a separate sprue. So I chopped off the old rail and cemented the new one on.
The Italians use the ADF for the air defence mission and they usually carry a maximum of 4 missiles (2 AIM-120s and 2 AIM-9s) for this purpose. The number 3 and 7 hardpoints are therefore usually left empty without even the pylons. The kit comes with the holes for the pylon pre-drilled. These need to filled up. I used liquid putty for these.
With most of the construction done, I can close the top and bottom halves of the fuselage then cement the wings and tailfin.
I then sprayed black gray onto the cockpit consoles and frame. Then the seat goes in.
Stores next. A pleasant surprise is that Hasegawa provides 4x AIM-9 Sidewinders (2 old, 2 new versions) and 2x AIM-120 AMRAAMs. I’m giving the F-16 a standard air-to-air load of 2x AIM-120, 2x AIM-9 and 2x 370 gallon external fuel tanks. From what I gather, their F-16s don’t normally carry ECM pods.
I also drilled out the back of the missiles to simulate their exhausts.
Painting continues. First I masked off the bottom to prevent overspray.
Then the lightest shade is sprayed. This is Model Master Neutral Gray. I think I’ll switch to white primer from now on. It’s so hard to differentiate the gray of the paint and the gray of the primer I have on the kit. 😛
Painting begins. First up I sprayed the bottom an overall Gunship Grey. The outside of the vertical tailfins were likewise painted in Gunship Grey. I decided not to preshade this time round.
Notice the hole I drilled onto the bottom of the kit to prepare for the rod and base. Yep, it’s slightly off-center. And nope, it’s not on purpose.