Once fully cured and wiped down, I sprayed another layer of gloss to prep for a panel wash.
This time I decided to do it with Vallejo Dark Grey Model Wash instead of the usual Mig AMMO panel wash. I figured this one will give a subtler effect.
I haven’t used it in a while so I thought to try on it on the wing first.
I first used the wash straight from the bottle but ran into a problem.
Once dried it was really hard to remove. I had to use a combination of Windex, Vallejo thinner and even an eraser before the excess Wash was removed. I was sweating bullets since there was a very good chance the Windex or thinner would strip the gloss and paint underneath.
The results however, look good. Model Wash definitely gives a less contrasty finish than Mig AMMO’s enamel washes.
So lesson learned, I went ahead with panel washing the rest of the kit. The Model Wash was thinned about 1:2 with water.
Given about 20 seconds to dry, I then wiped with a damp tissue in the direction of the wind so front to back.
Subtle but still makes a difference.
I like the overall effect. The panel lines are not too contrasty.
I’ve been wondering how much I should weather the kit but from photos I’ve seen, it looks like the JADSF keeps their aircraft clean so I went with just some griming of the area near the exhaust.
To seal everything in, I misted light coats of thinned flat coat over the colored areas and the exhaust area. The rest of the metal finish was left alone although I misted flat coat over the markings to knock their glossiness down. Final assembly is next. First, the landing gear. These fit using polycaps and every aircraft kit should really do it this way. It’s so much easier and strong.
The main strut is big and solid and the whole undercarriage assembly is simple enough.
Unfortunately, the way the small bay door fits onto the strut is not good. The instruction is not entirely clear how a small strut fits connects the door to the big strut and there’s no solid connecting point for it. I wouldn’t have minded some sacrifice in accuracy for an easier connection. So while faffing with it, I naturally fouled up and dropped a glob of cement on the small door which I have to repaint.
So after faffing with it a bit more, I got all the struts on, handpainted them and gave them a bit of wash. I also attached the MLG doors.
A light made of clear sprue is attached onto the nose gear, which looks sufficiently detailed.
Then I remove the masking tape to check the canopy. Could be better, but I’ll take it. I like how the aurora sticker on the HUD projector stands out.
Antennas and pitot tube is last on. I only managed to install the Temperature Probe (part R3) though. I pinged one of the really small AOA indicators (part U3) into the wild blue yonder so I cut my losses and left the other off. They are butt-jointed anyway so they wouldn’t attach that strongly in the first place.
The pitot tube needed some careful sanding and adjusting due to the nose being slightly damaged in the fall but still fit quite well.
The wings go on last and I’m done!