Before weathering can begin, I needed to close up the cockpit. So first I installed the ejection seats.
The pilots were then cemented into place with CA glue. At this point I noticed that there’s a spot near the port side of fuselage (near the instrument coaming) that didn’t get painted due to my masking. I also realized I missed out on some of the black bands like between the tailfins and main landing gear. Sigh…
First though I attached the canopy with Mig AMMO Ultra Glue. I previously used Tamiya thin cement but realized that if I had to detach the canopy down the road I’d be up the creek. Once I addressed the unpainted spots I gave everything a gloss coat using AK Interactive Intermediate Gauzy Agent.
The decals that came with the kit were badly yellowed so I went with a set from another VF-1D box I had in my stash. These went on without issue with Mark Softer. I did have to use Mark Setter on the wingtip light decals so they would bend around the edge of the wing. As usual I went easy with the stencils.
Once cured and wiped down with a damp cloth I sprayed another gloss coat to prepare for the panel wash.
I went with raw umber oil paint darkened slightly with black to get a darker brown tone for the wash. As you can see, I wasn’t particularly careful with my application.
After about 30 minutes of drying, I then wiped down the whole kit with a tissue dampened with odorless thinner. The panels were also more carefully cleaned up with cotton buds to get as little tinting as possible from the panel wash.
Before I went further with weathering I went ahead and assembled all the other assemblies like the legs/engines, arms/bottom fuselage and head unit. Note the obvious color tone differences between the forward and rear sections of the legs/engines. This would need to be addressed in the weathering stage.
I also attached the stores to their pylons after giving them the same wash.
For the next step I first gave everything a satin coat with Vallejo Polyurethane Satin Varnish. I’ve finally cracked the code with this one by thinning it 1:1 with water and spraying at around 15psi from my 0.3mm airbrush. As you can see, the kit suffers somewhat with very contrasting tones even in its main gray colors. Now comes the part to blend all these different tones together.
I first slotted the wings into place. To keep everything still a cool gray tone, I went with cooler oil paint colors like white and blue. I randomly dotted over the surface and then with a almost dry paintbrush blended the oil paint together. Then to give everything a more faded look I added random dots of buff and neutral gray oil paints and blended them into the finish.
All this work lowered the contrast of the decals and reduced the contrast between the various grays. It also added a faded look to the overall finish.
This was especially apparent with the black decals which had their tone knocked down to a very dark gray instead.
Next I added Starship Filth which is a dark brownish-gray color that was used to dirty up the areas that will swing into the fuselage when the wings swept in. I also used Starship Filth on random panels and for streaks on the wing flaps.
After a few hours of curing, I then sprayed another coat of satin to seal everything up. Once the coat dried I removed the mask around the canopy. Luckily this time I managed to get away with a clear and shiny canopy. The masking around the exhausts were also finally removed at this point.
Then it was time to attach the various clear parts. All the backs of the clear parts were handpainted Model Air Metallic Silver. Model Color Transparent Red or Blue were painted before the silver color for the wingtip and the lights near the main landing gear. I attached all these with Mig AMMO Ultra Glue then gave them all a brush of Future. The red lights on the nose were attached first before being painted.
With only the weapons left I was almost done!
The GAF Telelens was attached with CA glue while the wing stores were attached with Mig AMMO Ultra Glue as they needed some minor adjusting to point in the right directions.
Once cured I attached the display rod, carefully flipped the kit over and I was done!